March 11, 1991                HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS              Vol. XLI  No. 6


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Before proceeding to Orders of the Day I would like, on behalf of hon. Members, to welcome different delegations of students to the House today. The first one is forty-five Grades V11, V111 and 1X students from Brigus Academy, Brigus, accompanied by their teachers Syliva Smith, Harold Stanford, Harold Clark, and bus driver Mr. Frank Bishop.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Also eleven Grades V111 and 1X students from MacPherson Junior High here in St. John's, accompanied by their teacher Mr. LeDrew.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: And ten Grades X and X1 students from Grey River, accompanied by their teacher Stephaine Haines.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Statements by Ministers

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Social Services.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you. Mr. Speaker, I would like to announce today that I have formed a Committee to review the adequacy of the Social Assistance program's response to single parents pursuing post-secondary educational goals. I believe the formation of this Committee is necessary as a result of a number of individual and group inquiries concerning the financial needs of single parents while pursing education. In fact, I have personally met with individuals and groups at Memorial University and I am satisfied of the need to explore the obstacles which appear to impede single parents from eventually becoming independent.

The Committee will be composed of two representatives from the Department of Social Services and three from the community at large. The members are as follows: Mr. Terrence Haire, Director of Social Assistance, will be the Chairman; Linda Hammond, Social Worker Supervisor, will be a member; Professor Sharon Taylor from the School of Social Work will be a member; Margaret Ackerman, Director of Single Parents Association and Donna Morrisey, fifth year university student, will be also be members.

The Terms of Reference of the Committee will be confined to the exploration of the following areas: (1) To review the response of the Social Assistance Program to single parents attending post-secondary educational institutions; (2) to assess and to consider the implications of not considering the loan portion of student aid as income when determining eligibility for social assistance; (3) to determine what impact, if any, changes to present policies for single parents would have for other groups, i,e., married and single students who apply for social assistance; (4) to assess the role of the Social Assistance Program versus the role of the Newfoundland Student Aid Program in providing financial assistance to students pursuing educational goals; (5) to prepare a report for the Minister, including recommendations.

Single parents as a group comprise just over 30 per cent of the total social assistance caseload. This group has unique problems characteristic only to single parents. It is important, therefore, where possible and appropriate, that regulations and policies encourage and facilitate single parents seeking independence of Government assistance. Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Port au Port.

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Minister for the prior copy of the statement. I have to say that the Minister knew about this problem for a long time now and I wonder why it is he announces a study now, when he has already been hamstrung by the horrendous Budget that was brought in here on Thursday. Mr. Speaker, I will say one thing, that the Minister is finally listening to the plight of the single parents in this Province, and I think we should thank the Member for Humber East for keeping the issue alive.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, the study is not really strictly necessary, because most of the terms of reference the Minister mentioned here now, I think can be answered by any Member of this House of Assembly. The Minister has called for a study, and the makeup of the people of the study group is certainly good. But I would say that this study should not take a long time and the Minister should act on it. The answers to study are very predictable, and the Minister should act on it as quickly as possible. I would also ask the Minister if he would make the report public as soon as he receives it and not keep it hidden. We would like to see the answer to that report in the House of Assembly.

And, Mr. Speaker, I can tell him that student aid loans and student aid should not be considered as income. I can tell him that right now. The Department of Social Services should do everything in their power to ensure that people who are on social assistance get the very best education possible, whether it be at university, at vocational schools, or anywhere else. Thank you, very much, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Is the hon. Member rising to speak to the Ministerial Statement?

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I seek the unanimous consent of the House to respond to the Ministerial Statement.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No. No.

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair, again, can only put it to the House to ask whether or not the hon. the Member for St. John's East has the unanimous consent to speak to this statement. I gathered prior to my rising that the hon. Member did not. Is that so? Does the hon. Member have the consent of the House?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! Order, please!

The hon. the Member for St. John's East.

MR. HARRIS: On a point of order. I am not certain who and what Members may have said no to that; it seems unclear -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: - it seems unclear -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair does not have to know who the Members were. When the Chair hears a negative, then the Chair can only say that the Member does not have unanimous consent, because when the Chair hears one single negative, that is not unanimous consent, so the Chair clearly heard 'no', I do not know where it came from but I heard no.

MR. BAKER: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Government House Leader on a point of order.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wonder if we could revert to Statements by Ministers. There is another statement that needed to be made today and then we could start Oral Questions a little later.

MR. SPEAKER: Do I have the consent of the House to revert back.

Statements by Ministers

MR. EFFORD: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, as you are aware, On March 31, 1990, I announced that the Department of Social Services would redistribute the resources made available to alternative measures programs within the Province. At that time, Mr. Speaker, at least 95 per cent of the monies directed to alternative measures programs were allocated to one program, The Central Newfoundland Youth Focus Diversion Program. As Minister, I never questioned the quality of service being delivered by the Central Newfoundland Youth Focus Diversion Program, however, my Department, in association with the other alternative measures programs were providing an equal service to young persons in conflict with the law for an insignificant amount of monetary commitment. The only reasonable option available to me at that time was, to redistribute these resources to make them available to all the volunteer programs.

As a result, my officials, in conjunction with the volunteer community in the Grand Falls area, were required to rebuild the alternative measures program for this area. This work has now been accomplished.

The Exploits Valley Youth Justice Committee was authorized under Section 69 of the Young Offenders Act on September 18, 1990 to provide a program for alternative measures for young persons in the Grand Falls area.

Not only have we been able to develop alternative measures in this area, but I am proud to announce that the Department of Social Services has been able to achieve my original goal in that small operating grants, totalling $14,950 for fiscal year 1990/1991 and ranging from $750 to $1,750 per program, have been made available to all volunteer programs who deliver alternative measures.

If I could just take a moment I would like to identify and congratulate the following programs for a job well done: The St. John's Youth Diversion Program, Bay Roberts Alternative Measures Program, Conception Bay North Alternative Measures Program, Burin-Placentia West Alternative Measures Program, Clarenville Alternative Measures Program, Gander Alternative Measures Program, Exploits Alternative Measures Program, Stephenville Alternative Measures Program, Corner Brook/Bay of Islands Alternative Measures Program, First Northern Alternative Measures Program, Port Saunders Operation First Chance Alternative Measures Program, Piccadilly, Happy Valley Alternative Measures Program, Labrador West Alternative Measures Program and Nain Alternative Measures Program.

In 1989-1990 fiscal year, these programs accepted a total of 1,035 referrals from young persons in conflict with the law, and it is projected that for 1990-1991, this number will be even higher.

Also, Mr. Speaker, during the past year, we have been able to redirect some money for training of volunteers in the vital skill of mediation and we have also, in conjunction with the volunteers, sponsored the first general meeting of Alternative Measures Programs. This event from all reports was very successful.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I would like to advise you and my hon. colleagues that as a result of my contacts with the professionals associated with alternative measures and the volunteers in this Province, and through my contact in other jurisdictions, I am able to announce that the volunteers in partnership with my department are leading the country in the development of alternative measures programs.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MR. HARRIS: A point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John's East on a point of order.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, am I to understand that the unanimous consent of the House is required to revert, to change the order? If that is the case, Mr. Speaker, I do not give my unanimous consent to the changing of the order.

MR. RIDEOUT: To that point of order.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition on that point of order.

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, I realize that the Member for St. John's East is new in the House - only here a few days - but he has been in parliament before. The fact of the matter is that some several minutes ago now the Government House Leader rose on a point of order and asked if there was consent to refer to Ministerial statements. Now, if the Member had been anticipating that he was going to refuse to give unanimous consent, that is when he should have done it. The statement has now been read, the official Opposition will, as is its right in this House, respond to the statement. The Member cannot withdraw. He sat on his right some five or six minutes ago, and I would submit that he perhaps had a right at that time, because we had moved onto another order of business, but the House agreed to revert and the Member cannot now stand and argue - having sat on his right to object a few minutes ago - that no further business under this item take place. It just is not acceptable, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: To that point of order, the Leader of the Opposition makes a substantive point or substantial point. When we are dealing with a ministerial statement we are dealing with a unit, if you will, a whole of a parliamentary proceeding, the sum total of which is that after the Minister finishes his statement then somebody on the Opposition responds. I would therefore rule that the point of order is not, indeed, a point of order.

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I wish to make three points in response to the statement just read by the Minister of Social Services.

The first is that the Minister did not give a copy of that statement to the Opposition in advance. Now, the proposed new rules, which most of us expect the House to adopt shortly, will require that Ministers give the Official Opposition at least fifteen minute notice of statements they intend to deliver under the heading Ministerial Statements. I actually had trouble even hearing the Minister read his statement. I was handed a copy just a few seconds ago, so I am at a disadvantage in responding.

The second point I want to make is, I do not know how the Minister can do anything to improve youth diversion or alternative measures for youth, when his Budget is slashing funding for youth correction by $4 million -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Shame! Shame!

MS. VERGE: - by one-third, fully 33-1/3 per cent, from 1991-1992 to what it has been in this Budget year.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, alternative measures for young people charged with criminal offenses are extremely important. The program that operated in the Central Newfoundland area, the Exploits Alternative Measures program, was extremely useful and valuable to young people in that area, and that should not be eroded. Furthermore, similar programs should be encouraged and fostered throughout the Province.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John's East.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I would like to seek the unanimous consent of the House to respond to the statement.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Again, the Member is rising to respond to the Ministerial Statement. The Chair can only ask the House once again whether or not the hon. Member has the consent of the House to speak to the Ministerial Statement. Does the hon. Member have the consent of the House?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No.

MR. SPEAKER: No.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier, on a point of order.

PREMIER WELLS: I ask Your Honour to advise the hon. Member that it is important that the House be able to carry on its duties in a proper way. Maybe the hon. Member thinks the objection to his speaking to every Ministerial Statement comes only from the Opposition side of the House. I can say to him quite clearly, it does not, it comes also from the Government side of the House, because we are committed to treating people fairly here. The hon. Member is a single member of the House, and if he has the right to speak to every Ministerial Statement, so does every other Member on both sides of the House. I would ask him to put the interest of the public of this Province first and let the House get on with its business in an orderly way, and stop this silly grandstanding after every Ministerial Statement is made.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John's East.

MR. HARRIS: I take it, Mr. Speaker, that that was a point of order. It sounded much more like a lecture. I have taken the comments of the hon. the Premier into consideration, but I also ask him and Members of the House to recognize that although I may well be a single Member of the House, I represent a political party that has sat in this House before, that is a major national party and that it has a point of view to express to this House and seeks to do so.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, very, very, briefly: we had this debate a few days ago and I am not going to carry it on for very long, but the Member must realize that the Government and the Official Opposition, and a third party, if and when there is a third party in this House, follow a set of rules. The Member at the moment is here as an individual, and when his predecessor, Mr. Fenwick, was here as an individual he was recognized as an individual Member of the House, the same as backbenchers, private members on this side, and private members on that side, but when Mr. Fenwick had another colleague elected and had two Members here, I believe the Speaker at that time recognized the right of that group to have about half the time that the Official Opposition of the day had in responding to Ministerial Statements. When the Member gets to that position, if he ever gets to it, the situation will change, but we will have to wait and see. At the moment he has no more standing in this House than the Member for Green Bay or the Member for St. John's South. He might belong to a political party, I am not denying that, but he has no more standing in this House than any other private Member and he cannot continue to take the House on his back, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: To that point of order. In the last minute what we have had is hon. Members commenting on a point which is clearly the rules of the House and to comment on the rules of the House is clearly a point of order. There is a responsibility and a duty on all hon. Members to follow the rules of the House, and when hon. Members know the rules of the House and flagrantly break them then, of course, they can be charged with a breach of privilege. I advise all hon. Members about the necessity to follow the rules of the House.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, a point of order.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John's East.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I rose to ask and seek the unanimous consent of the House and that is clearly within the rules of this House, that one can rise to seek unanimous consent. If it is denied, and denied it appears by both sides of the House now, well then that is a ruling that I have to accept, but to suggest that to seek the unanimous consent of the House may be a breach of the rules, I would ask the Speaker to make a ruling on that isssue - that seems to be the point that was made by the Leader of the Opposition and the hon. the Premier.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member knows Your Honour's ruling in this House a few days ago was clear. Your Honour ruled that the Member as a private Member of this House does not have the right to respond to Ministerial Statements. What the Member is doing by rising when every Ministerial Statement comes in is questioning Your Honour's ruling. Now, we are pretty reasonable people in this House, Mr. Speaker, and if there happened to be a Ministerial Statement some day regarding the Member's constituency, in this House in the past we have dealt with that and allowed the Member, whoever it might be, in this case the Member for St. John's East, to speak and rise by unanimous consent. Now I can tell the hon. Member on behalf of this group here, and the Premier can speak as Leader of the other group, that is the only time I am prepared to give him unanimous consent from this side of the House, when it is a matter affecting the hon. Member's constituency. We did that in the past for Mr. Fenwick when he was here, and out of courtesy, responsibility, and respectability for your constituents we would do it again, but you are not part of an official group in this House and you have no right to rise on every Ministerial Statement and make a statement on behalf of the political group you are part of. You just do not have the right under the rules of this House.

MR. SPEAKER: I allowed the hon. the Leader of the Opposition to comment further, because the Member for St. John's East did. But I clearly want to say again that the position of the Chair is that there are rules respecting who has a right to respond to Ministerial Statements. Unfortunately, at this particular time the Member for St. John's East does not.

Oral Questions

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, almost a year ago I rose in this House in response to the 1990-91 Budget and in my comments at that time I said that the Minister's Budget was a fraud. That has been proven correct over the past year. In fact, we found out within a couple of days that the Minister had information he did not give this House as it related to Federal transfer payments and so he, I believe, deceived this House. The question, I guess, in people's minds today is, based on the Minister's track record, can we trust him? Can we trust the Budget that was brought before this House last Thursday?

The question I would ask the Minister now, Mr. Speaker, is why is the Minister hiding the Salary Details? Is the Minister suggesting to us, as I heard him on a radio program suggest, that it was a last-minute thing? Is the Minister saying that some 3,000 public servants will lose their employment on a last-minute decision of this Government? What is he trying to hide from the people of Newfoundland and Labrador? Has he not, in fact, been planning for the last six or eight months to have such layoffs? And does he not at this point in time know where those layoffs are?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

AN HON. MEMBER: No, (inaudible).

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am answering because the questions come under Treasury Board, not under Finance.

There were a number of questions, but first of all I will say that what the hon. Member is saying is simply not true. Decisions were not made months and months ago. We have gone through a very torturous and difficult process and examined all aspects of Government very carefully before we made decisions, and the very last decision we made, when we found we could not come up with the amount of money, we could not do things that would give us a satisfactory financial position, the very last decision we made had to do with the wage freeze. That was made a matter of days before the Budget date, and that was the very last decision we made, which gets back to the original question of the salary details.

Once that decision was made we were pretty ready to go. Once the decision was made on the salary freeze, we now have to back and re-do the salary details for all individuals. That takes some time. I can assure the hon. Member that when it is available, it will be made public.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, it is clear, obviously, that the Minister of Finance cannot even have the trust of his own colleagues in Government. He is not even allowed to answer a question.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINDSOR: I am embarrassed for the Minister of Finance, Mr. Speaker. If I were Minister of Finance and the President of Treasury Board or the Premier refused to let me answer the first question after the Budget was brought down, I would be totally embarrassed. I think I would have to resign out of self-esteem.

MR. SPEAKER: Order please!

The Member is up on a supplementary.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am on a supplementary question, and I will get on.

I would say to the hon. the President of Treasury Board, first of all, I was not relating to the wage freeze. I asked about the layoffs - the 3,000-plus layoffs in the public service. Is the President of Treasury Board, Mr. Speaker, therefore telling me it was a last-minute decision, that they have no idea which people will be laid off? The freeze is something that could be done very quickly. I say to him, in this age of computers it does not take very long to adjust the numbers. And I might also add, Mr. Speaker, they had a week's delay; they waited another week after the Federal Budget came down, under the guise that it was going to change. Will the President of Treasury Board therefore tell me, Mr. Speaker, will he now confirm that there will, indeed, be 2,500 people laid off in the public service? And do they know who those people will be at this point in time?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. There will be 1,300 full-time people our estimate is, and a combination of part-time/temporary of about 700, for a total of 2,000 affected by the layoff. And there will be an additional 500 unfilled jobs that will not be filled, giving a total of 2,500 positions that will be affected. I will say to the hon. Member that within the immediate Government structure, particularly in the management level, certainly we know, and these people have been notified and are being notified. That is being taken care of, and we tell the people affected first before we tell anybody else.

In terms of unionized workers and the people in the hospital sector and so on, that depends upon the bumping procedures that are in place in union contracts; it depends upon how the hospital boards are specifically going to respond to the amount of funding they have been given, so that the final individual effects will not be known for some time.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I thank the President of Treasury Board for confirming that there are 2,500 positions which will be eliminated within the public service. Will the Minister also confirm that based on a very conservative multiplier factor of 1.5 that will mean about 5,000 jobs in the private sector, as well? So really what we are talking about here are 8,000 jobs gone in this Province, Mr. Speaker. That is what we are really talking about.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Shame! Shame!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: No, Mr. Speaker, I cannot confirm any such thing. It is interesting to see how 2,000 becomes 8,000 so quickly. I suppose by next week he will be talking about 20,000.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Let me ask the President of Treasury Board this, or the Minister of Finance, or whoever the Premier allows to answer. Why is the Minister playing games with public servants in this Province? For the last six to eight months, every public servant has feared for his or her job. Since the Government did not say they would, but indicated strongly that all departmental budgets would be frozen, obviously there would be freezes. Why is the Government still continuing this cruelty? Why were some people, in the mailroom for example, notified while the Budget document was being read in this Chamber that they were laid off? Why are people in the Department of Transportation now being that they will have to wait until Wednesday before they find out, and other people being told they will have to wait even longer?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, the public service in this Province is very diverse and under the control of many masters. The procedure is being done as quickly and as efficiently as possible. I suppose, as I indicated a moment ago, the final effects will not be known until all the avenues open to employees through the collective agreements have been exhausted. The final position will not be known for some time. We do have certain rules and procedures that we have to follow in doing such a thing. So I would like to assure the hon. Member and the public servants, and the people in the Province, that we are proceeding properly and at some point in time, obviously, we will know the full effect. But we are proceeding properly. Things will be done as quickly, efficiently and as properly as they can be done.

MR. SPEAKER: The Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A question for the Minister of Finance this time, Mr. Speaker. The Minister has made a tremendous number of references over recent days to the level of federal funding that is being received this year from the Government of Canada. The Minister in his Budget, Mr. Speaker, quotes a figure of $1.37 billion as total transfer payments from the Government of Canada. I have evidence, Mr. Speaker, that that figure, in fact, should be $1.41 billion. In fact, those numbers came from the officials who gave us the briefing prior to Budget Day. Will the Minister tell us where that $40 million is, the difference between the figure he has in the Budget and the figure that we believe is, in fact, the real one? And, again, is he not misleading us by $40 million?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance.

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I have learned to be very careful about using the figures of the hon. Member who, a few minutes ago, suggested that there were 2,500 layoffs which escalated to 8,000. But I will check out his numbers and see if, in fact, he was so briefed and if so, what is the explanation.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Humber East.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Premier. Why did the Premier sign collective agreements over the last few months and up to just a few days ago agree to large public service wage increases when, for at least the last several months, he knew the fiscal situation and had absolutely no intention of honouring those contracts? Has not the Premier been dishonest in dealing with public employees?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: To begin with, Mr. Speaker, I have never signed a collective agreement yet, the Government did. So, then, the question should have been addressed to the Minister responsible, the President of Treasury Board.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: Now, as to the balance of the question, Mr. Speaker, the Government negotiated the collective agreements it has been negotiating all along, in good faith.

A very, very short time, a very short time before the Budget was brought down, the Government came to a conclusion as to what in all probability would have to be done in order to deal with the very serious financial situation that the Province finds itself in.

One of the first things we did was speak to four of the major unions - not all of the unions - the four unions that have the greatest number, to tell them some of the concerns that Government had and what some of the prospects would be. So they knew very shortly after we knew what we were thinking about, or what could have to be done in order for the Government to balance its budget. And there was no collective agreement signed after the Government had made its decision, none whatsoever.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, the ruthless rollback is saving the Government about $150 million in the next Budget year. Does the Premier expect anyone to believe that that was a last-minute decision and that he did not know about the rollback when he agreed to large wage increases for public employees?

AN HON. MEMBER: A good question.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I expect all people of objectivity and integrity to believe it, yes.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Last Monday, in this House of Assembly, in answer to a question I posed, the Premier said calmly, firmly, with determination and with a look of sincerity on his face, and I quote: "the Government commitment to pay equity remains as it was." Well, three days later, on Thursday, the Government made it clear that pay equity was being rolled back at a cost to just women in the health care sector of over $25 million. How does the Premier expect anyone to trust him or believe him anymore?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: It is very simple, Mr. Speaker, because I was completely accurate in what I said. We are committed to pay equity. We are committed to pay equity, and I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, with absolute certainty, that we will implement pay equity immediately it is agreed upon. We will implement it immediately. What we did, Mr. Speaker, was we undid the improper undertaking that the former Government gave, which they were prepared to give; so long as it was down the road, in the future, they would agree to anything, and that is exactly what they did. They got us into a $2.1 billion pension mess, and everything else they did has gotten us into a similar kind of financial situation. They aggravated it seriously, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: Our commitment to pay equity remains.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. What was the Premier doing two years ago, going around this Province promising to introduce and enforce pay equity legislation, promising to build universities in every part of the Province, promising to open all kinds of new hospital beds? How can anyone believe him anymore?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I am satisfied to have my credibility measured with that of any Member sitting on the opposite side of the House and accept the verdict of the people of this Province or of this country. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) I dare you.

PREMIER WELLS: We will, indeed. We just might.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Ferryland.

MR. POWER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is also for the Premier. For a long time in this Province, we have been subjected to the fairness and balance theory, and we just heard a little bit more of it. We have been led to believe that no matter where we live in this Province, no matter what our occupation, we are all supposed to be treated fairly. Mr. Speaker, I ask the Premier to explain the fairness and balance in last week's Budget. Assuming that all the draconian measures were necessary - I do not think they were - why have the Premier and his Government chosen to put the vast amount of the pain of paying for this provincial problem on the backs of a very small minority of Newfoundland people, namely our workers, through wage freezes and rollbacks? If this is to be a fairness and balance run Province, why are not the affluent in this Province, the Premier's lawyer friends, his former corporate executive friends, the professionals in this Province, the most affluent, the most able to pay, why have they not been asked to take their fair part of the burden of solving Newfoundland's health care and education problems?

AN HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: Light and Power (inaudible) profits.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the Government's policy decisions on the Budget were based on a judgement of the financial situation in which the Province finds itself, most of the adverse aspects of which were caused by reductions in federal transfers, to the tune of about $180 million impact on the Budget this year. Some of the financial situation we are in was caused by improper management by the former Administration, which put the Province in a serious financial position.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

AN HON. MEMBER: Answer the question, boy. All that is needed is, why are the rich not paying?

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, in the two prior Budgets of this Administration we increased the income tax in each year by, I believe, one percentage point; we increased other taxes and everybody - we put in place a payroll tax that is paid directly by all those corporations of which the hon. Member is speaking, and so on. That payroll tax was imposed-

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, we do not want to devastate the economy of this Province by taxing us into oblivion, driving all capital investment out and destroying the whole economy. We are operating on the basis of fairness and balance, and that is precisely what we did.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Ferryland.

MR. POWER: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health. It being a supplementary, I do not need a preamble, or not a very long one. The Minister of Health has said since Thursday's Budget that the cutbacks in the health care system of over 900 people and the permanent closure of 438 acute care beds is part of a restructuring plan, in his own words, that began when the Liberals took power in 1989. Mr. Speaker, I would like the Minister to explain to me, to other Members of this Legislature, and to the people of the Province, what kind of a planning process allows for, in 1990, funding for health care to increase by 11.3 per cent, the opening of fifty-five acute care beds and the announcement of new positions, then in 1991, one year later, there is a minuscule 3.6 per cent increase, a closure of 438 beds and the lay off of almost 1,000 people. Will the Minister please explain to the people of Newfoundland that plan? Or, maybe even better, will the Minister tell the truth and say that in effect there is no health care plan in Newfoundland?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Health.

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the answer is quite simple. This Administration is trying to clean up a mess, a mess that was left by the previous Administration, a mess that was exacerbated by their Tory friends in Ottawa. By the year 2004, this Province will be totally on her own with our health care system; we will have to pay for all of it ourselves. Mr. Speaker, because of that, it is necessary for us to begin a restructuring program which will put in place an efficient health care system, a health care system which we as a Province can afford. It has been extremely difficult, because we inherited such a mess of a lack of organization in the health care system, but we are trying our best to do it.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I have heard the hon. Member on the radio, or somewhere, accusing me of saying that we have a better system now. Mr. Speaker, the word `better' is a value judgement. But we are working toward a better system. It is difficult to do it. This mess which we inherited we are trying to clean up, and his friends in Ottawa are trying to make worse. But we are trying to straighten out the mess we received, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Ferryland.

MR. POWER: Mr. Speaker, let it be known that the Minister did not answer the question; he did not comment on a plan that was partly there last year and there this year.

Mr. Speaker, another question on the health care system. Hospital and nursing home boards in this Province are anxiously awaiting their version of this Budget that came out on Thursday. Is it true that those statements, those budgets for the hospitals and nursing home boards, were ready on Thursday but had to be redone and the figures changed because the Minister of Health and his professional advisors did not know that there was to be a wage freeze in the health care system? Is the Minister of Health and his officials part of the health care planning process?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Health.

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, in former years after the Budget was announced it would take two to three weeks for hospital boards to receive their budgets. This year because of the freeze that has been imposed in certain sectors we are making every effort to get the budgets out faster than the two or three weeks which it took in previous years. Most of the hospital boards will have their budgets delivered to them by courier this afternoon and a few will not receive them until tomorrow or the next day.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. RIDEOUT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

About two thirds of the thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who are going to lose their jobs over the next several months, because of the Budget which was brought down in this House last Thursday, about two thirds of those people, those thousands or however many it might be, live, work, and reside in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. Now, Mr. Speaker, in the 60s we saw a Liberal Government who first took away the teacher, then took away the nurse, and then took away the doctor. I want to ask the Premier, Mr. Speaker: why is the Premier placing such a burden on rural Newfoundland and Labrador today? Two thirds of the people who lose their jobs will come from rural Newfoundland and Labrador. Is it because this Liberal Government is setting out on a track to finish the job began by the Liberals in the 60s?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, this Budget was not directed at rural Newfoundland or urban Newfoundland. There will be a substantial number of people who will be laid off who live in St. John's, who live in Corner Brook, who live in Grand Falls and Gander, and other urban areas of the Province. There was no decision to change it here or there because it affects rural Newfoundland or that it affects urban Newfoundland. The decisions in the case of health care were made solely on the basis of an intelligent, dispassionate assessment of what was best to provide this Province with an adequate health care system, within the limits of that which it can afford. Now, I know the Leader of the Opposition is not used to planning on that basis and it may be more difficult for him to understand. He may think we operate on the basis of political motivation but we do not, we operate on the basis of good management for the Province.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, the Premier was right, dispassionate is the word, there is no doubt about that. Let me ask the Premier what message he is sending to all those laid off teachers, nurses, and other professionals around this Province - those highly trained Newfoundlanders and Labradorians? Where are they suppose to go now to get a job? Do they have to join the Premier's son on the Mainland? The Premier promised to bring Newfoundlanders and Labradorians home. What kind of message is he sending to thousands of people out there who are now facing starvation and unemployment, and who are moving out of the Province again, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, if this Province were sitting on pots of money and we could say 'we do not have to worry about repaying it, here is a job for everybody,' we would do it. We would do that, but unfortunately the Government is not in that fortunate position. Our objective is to restore viability to the economy of this Province and enable the private sector to generate the economic activity that is necessary to provide full-time jobs for our people. Now, I know the former Government had a different approach. Their objective was to create all these make-work and part-time jobs and let the economy slip and the full-time jobs decrease. That is precisely the effect of their policies. That is exactly what happened. Fortunately, Mr. Speaker, the people of this Province rescued themselves from those policies and put in place a Government that would change that and restore the economic viability of the Province. Now, it is not going to provide answers overnight and I do not have an answer for the person who is going to be laid off tomorrow or the next day. I greatly regret that, but, Mr. Speaker, we are working on restoring the viability of the economy of this Province and we are confident that in the end we will do so.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, in other words the real change that the Premier promised the people of this Province was a fraud, nothing more and nothing less.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. RIDEOUT: And, Mr. Speaker, the Premier had no message for the thousands of people who are going to be laid off. Does he have any message for the thousands of young Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who are training to become teachers, doctors and nurses, and so on, in this Province today? What message does he have for them? Is this message: as long as there is centralization, rationalization and recyclization, go to the mainland and look for a job? Is that the Premier's message?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker. The message of the Government is, that we are going to have need in the future for more nurses, more doctors, more engineers, more people who go to all of the schools, more teachers. But we will not, Mr. Speaker, bankrupt you young people by causing you to pay taxes beyond that which you can bear by maintaining in place a system of Government that the Province cannot afford.

Now, the former Government -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order please!

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the former Premier stood in this House, I believe, and said, 'in a few years it will be 1934 all over again.' Fortunately, Mr. Speaker, the people of this Province put in place a Government that would avoid that happening and we are in the process of doing it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John's East.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. We heard in his Budget Speech last week that there would be 1,300 permanent jobs in the public service lost, and in addition another 700. We are hearing the Member for Mount Pearl refer to 3,000 plus. We have had reference in the Budget Speech to 10 per cent of the management and executive positions. Can the Minister of Finance give us an accurate figure? Tell us whether or not the management and executive positions are included in the 1,300. Can he give us an accurate figure? Does the Government know or does the Government care how many people are going to lose their jobs?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance.

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The figures in the Budget are accurate. We might want to clear up a point about the management. As I understand it the 10 per cent management and executive: some of the management are in the 2,000 -most of them are - but there may be some that are not. So, to continue, Mr. Speaker, the 2,100 figure that some people are throwing out is an exaggeration. The 2,000 is a much closer figure.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John's East.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, the Minister does not know the answer really, I suppose, to that question, but the Department of Social Services was not given any increase in his Budget. In his same Budget documents he recognizes that there will be a 5.7 per cent increase in the consumer price index projected for the current fiscal year. Can he tell the House how he expects the poorest of our people living on social assistance will accept this nearly 6 per cent cut in the ability of their social assistance payments to make ends meet?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance.

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, we have increased the payments to people who receive social assistance by $8 million. Part of that is a fuel allowance to people who will be affected by the cost of fuel, and that cuts in in the winter months - six months - so that virtually almost all of the people on social assistance will be receiving an increase in their social assistance payments.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John's East.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, to suggest that the people who are living on social assistance - can he tell us how many of the people who are living on social assistance, who have to pay this basic 6 per cent cut in all of their payments, how many of them are going to be protected by the $50 a month increase in fuel allowance, when we know already that there is a 30 per cent increase in the cost of fuel for this Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Social Services.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

First of all, Mr. Speaker, as Minister of Social Services I would be one of the first people to admit that people living on social assistance are not receiving enough money. There is only one answer to that and that is guaranteed income, and the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador cannot afford a guaranteed income. That has to be implemented jointly between the Province or by the Federal Government singly.

Secondly, there are 9,900 single parents who will be receiving the supplement to their income with their first child being treated as an adult. The $50 fuel allowance: the majority of the 9,000 single parents whose heat is not now included in their rent will also be receiving that. So, that is approximately - well not approximately - that is $105 a month that they will be receiving extra. There are also several thousand other people who will be receiving the fuel allowance for six months of the year. All of those people who are now on social assistance who are not getting the heat supplement from the Newfoundland and Labrador House Corporation, and the people on the coast of Labrador who are already receiving that, all other people on social assistance will be receiving that amount of money.

MR. SPEAKER: Oral Questions has expired.

Notices of Motion

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a Bill entitled, "An Act Respecting Restraint Of Compensation In The Public Sector Of The Province."

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Further Notices of Motion.

The hon. the Member for Pleasantville.

MR. NOEL: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce the following motion:

WHEREAS the Government of Canada has presented through Transport Canada proposals to recover from users certain costs associated with air and marine transport services; and

WHEREAS these cost recovery proposals will place increased financial burden on users of transport services in Newfoundland and Labrador and other remote economically disadvantaged regions of Canada, and

WHEREAS as a result of such additional financial burden air and marine carriers may no longer be financially viable in providing services in thin and relatively financially distressed markets such as Newfoundland and Labrador, and

WHEREAS lost of transportation services will surely further reduce economic development prospects in Newfoundland at a time when the Government of Canada has placed a cap on transfers for post-secondary education and health services, and put a ceiling on equalization payments which restrictions have reduced the financial flexibility of the Province to address economic development concerns.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that this House request the Federal Minister of Transport to abandon the present cost recovery proposals, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this House urges the Federal Minister of Transport to consider the relative hardship to be imposed on remote economically disadvantaged regions of Canada by any future cost recovery proposals.

Thank you.

Petitions

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TOBIN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I have a petition that I would like to present on behalf of a group of parents who have children attending Christ the King School in Rushoon. I would like to say, first of all, if I may to the Member for Pleasantville: I am surprised that you are not up today standing on your feet calling for the resignation of some of the Ministers over there who are inflicting a lot more hardship on the people of Newfoundland and Labrador than what was in your resolution.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TOBIN: Because the real issues, Mr. Speaker, are the cutbacks that have taken place in this Budget. The drastic cuts that have taken place in this Budget, in the Department of Education with the layoffs, the teachers who will be affected, the numbers of students that will now be jammed into one classroom, Mr. Speaker, the cut backs in the health system, the people on social assistance getting a 6 per cent reduction. That is the bread and butter issue for the people of this Province and the cop-out such as the action just taken by the Member for Pleasantville, Mr. Speaker, does absolutely nothing except show up the weaklings in the Opposition who are trying to come to the defence of some useless and uncaring Ministers in this system. That is what we are seeing here today. That is what we are seeing here, a weakling trying to defend the actions of the close down of schools and hospitals throughout this Province. That is what we are seeing here.

Now I have a petition to present on behalf of the people from Placentia Bay in my District who have a genuine concern, Mr. Speaker, about the future of their children in this Province, who are concerned about the cutbacks in education, who are concerned by the fact that the Minister of Education could not and obviously did not convince his colleagues in Cabinet of the necessity to at least maintain the status quo in education. Instead of that we have seen a reduction. We have seen children, Mr. Speaker, in Christ the King School in this settlement of Rushoon, as well as a lot of other children in rural Newfoundland who will be graduating from high school and will not be able to attend university because of the actions of this Government because, Mr. Speaker, they have made post-secondary education in the coming few years an education for the elite, for the Premier's lawyer friends who can afford to send their children to university and a few more, but the ordinary

Newfoundlander, Mr. Speaker, under the savage attack we have seen in this Budget towards education will not be able to afford to send their children to university. And even if they could afford to send their children to university what would the future for these students be, Mr. Speaker? Teachers are being laid off and nurses are being laid off. What does the Minister of Education, and others on the other side, suggest they do? Now, instead of going to the mainland after you get your education you will have to go to the Mainland to get your education because you will not be able to afford to get it home. A couple of weeks ago, in Rushoon, Mr. Speaker, I met and spoke with a few classes, as I have in other schools, I spent Friday doing it. The teachers, parents, and students are concerned, and are pleading to the Minister of Education and to the Government not to do anything that will have a negative effect on the education system. Now, I understand from being around my district this weekend that in terms of layoffs in the school boards, in terms of the teachers that are going to be laid off there are classrooms - in fact, I know of one in particular where there is one teacher who has thirty-four students, I believe, in this situation, and there will be more. Let me say to the Minister of Education that it is 1991, and it is not back to the days when there was one room for every class. It is not back to the days when there were two classes in every room. The Minister should realize that and do something about it, because it is not in the interest of education. Our best resource is the youth of this Province and if we are going to advance into the technology that people talk about, to the technological era that is suppose to come upon us, it has to come with trained, competent, capable Newfoundlanders, and they are there, Mr. Speaker, all they need is the opportunity to be able to do it. The actions of this Government, and the Minister of Education can say what he likes, the actions of this Government has cast doom upon the future of Newfoundlanders. As you look across there and you see people who profess to be from the educational system, how in all conscience, Mr. Speaker, can the Member for Bellevue, for example, who comes out of the post-secondary system support a Government that is gutting this system, and is killing the future for young Newfoundlanders in this Province? How can the Member for Exploits, who used his position as President of the NTA to get into this Assembly, not be concerned about the teachers, not be concerned about the students, but concerned about no one only himself. That is what we have in this system. The Member for Conception Bay South, the hon. Minister was not much better. Until such time as people are prepared to take a stand and do what needs to be done, all the work of the former Minister of Education and others in this Province will not be able to stand the test, Mr. Speaker, will not be able to stand because of the actions of this Government. The Minister of Education knows full well that he needed a 12 per cent increase in funding. A 12 per cent increase in funding was needed in order for the educational system to maintain the status quo that they had last year, and they got less than 3 per cent, I believe. Now, that means there is going to be basically -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I do not know if the hon. Member heard me but back some time ago I told him his time was up.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, thank you, and in concluding I would like to place this petition on the table of the House and ask the Minister to consider it, not to make the cuts in Education and let the people of Rushoon and indeed all the people throughout Newfoundland live in peace, knowing that their children can have an education in this Province.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Ferryland.

MR. POWER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to support the petition so ably presented by my friend from the Burin Peninsula. Having taught school down in the Burin Peninsula for one year - down in St. Bernard's - I say to all those persons on the Burin Peninsula who signed the petition and to others in the Province who are concerned about education, that these are very, very sad days for education in this Province.

They are sad because the education system is deteriorating. It is getting worse on a daily basis. Not only is the education system getting worse but I am afraid that having, as a modern society, spent so much time trying to encourage young people to get educated - because that is where the future of the world is, that a lot of our young students in school are going to be saying to their parents who are nurses or health care professionals, to their parents who may very well be teaching in the school system, they are going to fling up their arms and say: what is the point of getting educated, why should I really bother, and when that goes out of the young people in this Province, Mr. Speaker, then I think we are going to be a long, long time trying to solve our economic problems.

One of the most unfortunate parts of this Government in the last two years, is that they seem to wander from place to place, they react to a crisis from year to year but they simply have no focus, they have no direction, they really have no vision. They say all the right things but they do not do any of the right things. When the Minister of Education gets up he is going to expound all the wonderful theories of education as he did at the university, but what he has to realize is that he is not at the university as a professor now, he is here as the Minister of Education, responsible for the direction of all the young students in this Province.

When I see what is happening in this Province in Education, when I see the silly arguments made by the Premier; on one hand that economic development, diversification is going to be the life-blood of this Province, that is what is really going to save us. Then I see the Minister of Finance saying we are cutting back on Education, we are cutting back at the university, we are cutting back at post-secondary, we are laying off teachers - the two things do not jive. If the Premier reads it all, and I am sure he is a very well read person, he knows what is happening in the world; if he looks at what is happening in the Pacific rim countries where there is such tremendous development taking place, read any other economic material they put out and all the economic material says: the higher the amount of money spent on education, the higher your employment rate. The more money you spend on research and development, the more money you put into education, the more jobs there are down the road. This Province, this Government, this Premier and his Ministers do not seem to know that. The Minister of Development is scrambling to get money for Enterprise Newfoundland. The Minister of Development should be scrambling to get money for Memorial University, Cabot, Marine and Fisher Institutes and our community colleges, that is how the Minister of Development will ultimately solve his problem.

This Government is still focused on how many fish you can catch, how many trees you can knock down, how many tourists you can bring in, when in reality, the only real resource we have, the only one which really matters, the only one that will make a substantive change in the future direction of Newfoundland - which the Premier always talks about - in the long-term, the only resource that really matters is our brain power, the amount of brains that we

develop or leave untapped and undeveloped.

The future of our students in this Province is, as I say, very sad and getting worse every day. Teachers are talking about working to rule; the few good teachers that we have in this Province are the many who do extra work, extra curricular after school, in the evenings, and on Saturdays and Sundays, they are now going to be forced, because of the wage restraints and rollback programs of this Government, to not be allowed to do that by the association who represents them. Education can only get worse, it cannot get better under those kind of circumstances, and all I say to you, Mr. Speaker, in supporting the petition, that anybody who is a parent, a teacher, a student; anybody who is a caring person would have to say, that in this Province in the next ten years, the next five years, there is going to be a severe cutback in the quality of our education and that can only bode very poorly for all of us, including the Premier and the Minister of Development, who seem to think that you can develop this Province by putting a few dollars into Enterprise Newfoundland, and that is simply just not the way to go. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Education.

DR. WARREN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would support one or two things that the hon. Members have said across the House. We believe that education is vital to the future of this Province and we cannot have a world class economy in this Province without a world class work force, and we cannot have a world class work force without a world class educational system. We all believe that. We believe that education is the best investment a society can make, but I think everybody including those in Education realize that these are very difficult times in this Province.

This was a tough, and as my hon. friend the Minister of Finance said, a severe Budget. I think the people realize that. I met with people from all parts of the educational system over the weekend and most of them realize that these are tough times; let me assure you, Mr. Speaker, that any negative impact from the Budget will be softened by a number of things.

First of all, education did get an overall increase, even though we have a frozen salary Budget - an increase in educational funding. We have a 3 per cent increase and in some cases - elementary and secondary - we have up to 5 per cent, even with the freeze.

Secondly, Mr. Speaker, over 90 per cent of all the positions that are going to be eliminated in the elementary and secondary system are due to declining enrolments. They would have gone anyhow, only 90 per cent of the positions. And let me tell you one other thing, Mr. Speaker, we are losing 3,000 students in this Province this coming year - 3,000 students. We have gone down 35,000 in the last few years. Declining enrolment is the major reason for any cuts in the number of teachers.

And one other thing, Mr. Speaker, in order to protect the student, in order to carry out our 'student first' strategy, nearly half of the positions that are going to be eliminated in the elementary and secondary system next year are going to be at the school board offices. Now, that is tough for school board offices, but in order to protect the classroom nearly half of the positions that are going to be eliminated in education next year are going to come from school board offices, and I have talked with the boards about that over the weekend.

Here are a couple of other facts, Mr. Speaker: Monies will be coming in from school tax dollars next year, perhaps 10 per cent overall, so that will help soften the blow. We have not cut the school tax equalization; we have increased school transportation; we have increased many other areas of education; we have not cut the student assistance program, it is going to be the same as last year. We have increased student aid for students at the university. Where was the hon. Member for Ferryland when for the 10 years or 15 years he was over on the other side he did nothing to improve the student aid program in this Province, nothing for scholarships. We, last year, made dramatic improvements in scholarships and in student aid to help more Newfoundlanders go on to post-secondary.

So, Mr. Speaker, even though it is a tough, severe Budget, we think that we have done a number of things to soften the blow, particularly for elementary and secondary education. I must admit that the post- secondary system is suffering a little more in this Budget than the elementary and secondary system.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Orders of the Day

MR. BAKER: Order 2, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Committee of Supply. This is the Budget debate.

The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is a pleasure for me to have the opportunity to rise and address the Budget brought down by the hon. the Minister of Finance on last Thursday.

Mr. Speaker, if I were to try to put into one word the main difficulty we have with this Budget document, I would have to say that the one word is trust, or the lack thereof, and we do not have any reason to trust the Minister's Budget, nor do we have any reason to trust the Minister or this Government, Mr. Speaker.

Last year we had a Budget document that we addressed here in this Chamber for some six weeks, and I will not go over all the things that were said then, but we spent a great deal of time pointing out what we thought were the weaknesses in that Budget document. We spent a great deal of time pointing out why we thought that the document was a fraudulent document, and I think one thing that can be said is, that we have been proven correct. We have been proven absolutely correct. The Premier finds that amusing. I assure the Premier that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador do not find it amusing at all. They do not like being mislead by the Premier and his Government in this House of Assembly.

There is nothing at all amusing about it. There is nothing at all amusing about a Government that deliberately projects a $10 million surplus and then watches it slip away to a $117 million deficit, nothing at all amusing about it, Mr. Speaker.

This Budget document we are addressing now, Mr. Speaker, I say to you, is a similar document; it is another masterpiece in deceit. It is similar to last year's document. I think, however, that it is a serious attempt to try to tackle the problem with which the Government is faced. Now the first piece of deceit, Mr. Speaker, in some of the statements that have been made by the Minister of Finance and the President of Treasury Board over the past couple of weeks is that now we are facing a $215 million deficit. What we were facing, Mr. Speaker, was a $10 million surplus. That is what we were talking about from last year, which ended up as $117 million deficit because of the incompetence of this Government and their lack of any kind of an economic plan.

The $215 million figure, Mr. Speaker, was fabricated by the hon. gentleman opposite. It is a bogeyman, it is a flag sent up to try to make the people of Newfoundland and Labrador believe we have got such a serious situation we have to take these drastic measures, and I am not saying this Government is not faced with financial difficulties.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, at a time when these Ministers were saying we have $215 million deficit, it was about a month, I think, before Budget Day, they started playing with those numbers. Mr. Speaker, having been involved in preparing, I think, eleven Budgets, I can tell you that a month before Budget Day you are normally faced with $400 million deficit. When all the departments come in with their wish lists, you normally sit down after Treasury Board has gone through the first analysis of it, the Treasury Board officials, and you are looking at $400 million deficit. Then it was referred to Treasury Board. I do not know if that was referred to Treasury Board by this Government, because I understand that the committee system of this Government does not work the way it did previously. There may not even be a committee system of any substance; most of the work is done by the Premier himself, Mr. Speaker, a one-man show over there.

But in our day, Mr. Speaker, Treasury Board was the Committee of Cabinet charged with the responsibility of handling financial expenditures in Government. Treasury Board would go through the estimates of all the departments very, very carefully and would apply certain cuts in negotiating with the various departments. And when it finally came to Cabinet, about a month before Budget Day, you were probably still looking at a $400 million deficit unless you did certain things, which was to say no, you cannot have this new program, no, you cannot have that one, no, you cannot expand on programs that you want to expand on, you cannot have this new addition over that one, or you must cut back on this one, or, this program is no longer effective. It is not a good use of Government funds, so we will eliminate that program or cut back on it. So you start cutting and slashing and talking to the departments. Invariably we called in the ministers and the deputies and senior assistant deputies and senior management people, particularly on the financial side, and gave them an opportunity to defend their estimates and tell us how they thought they, perhaps, could cut back, or why they needed an expansion, as the case may be.

And when you went through that exercise, Mr. Speaker, then you probably got down to $100 million to $200 million, and that was about the level of projected deficit that the Minister of Finance and the President of Treasury Board then jointly brought to Cabinet as a whole, and Cabinet as a whole made the final decisions. And they made the tough decisions: they decided if there would be wage freezes, as we have seen here; they decided if there would be massive layoffs, as we have seen here; they decided that there would be tax increases, or increased borrowing, or which programs would be eliminated. These were the painful decisions.

So what this Government was saying, Mr. Speaker, a month ago was that we are looking at $215 million deficit. We have to make some painful decisions. So we have to reduce that figure down to something that is manageable. Because they knew, Mr. Speaker, that they could not possibly come into this House with $215 million deficit. They knew they could not come in with another $117 million deficit, as they ended with last year. They had to bring it down. They are on record as being very proud of the fact that the first Budget they brought in, in 1989-90, they had a $4 million surplus. That was our Budget. The Budget was just about complete when Government changed, and they made very, very few changes to the Budget that we had prepared. In fact, they brought it in very quickly, so that was essentially a PC Budget with a few changes made to it.

And last year they were able to come in with $10 million surplus. And we told them, and we told this House at the time of the Budget, that that was not a realistic figure. That $10 million surplus was not real, it was window dressing.

AN HON. MEMBER: Tell us about your budget, now.

MR. WINDSOR: Hon. gentlemen would love for me to tell them about my budget. I would be happy to tell them about my budget. I would be happy to take the whole document and go through it and show them all the positive things we did in that budget.

AN HON. MEMBER: You were right on!

MR. WINDSOR: Yes. There were no tax increases in it, either, and I was right on! What was the variance at the end of the year? I do not have it here in front of me, but the 1989 Budget would give it to me. I can get it. I have it here under my desk. I bet you I was not very far off at the end of the year from my projections. Certainly, Mr. Speaker, I was not off by $127 million, as this Government was. Not only that, that was in the first six months that they were off by $127 million; the middle of August I believe it was, the Premier had a press conference and admitted that at that point -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: The end of August? Somewhere in August. The middle of the fiscal year, not even six months into the year, the Government admitted that we were right. That was the second time they admitted we were right. We told them $50 million to $60 million during the Budget Debate, and a week or two after the House closed, in June I think it was, they announced the Opposition was right, it does look like it is going to be $50 million or $60 million. By that time, we were looking at it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) the Opposition was right.

MR. WINDSOR: The Opposition was right, yes. By that time we had had a chance to look at some of those numbers and refine them more, and had some more information, and we said, `Ah, it is more like $100 million.' It was not very long after that that the Premier came out and said, `You are right. In fact, it is probably going to be $120 million.' And he was right!

Government took some measures, I understand, over the past number of months. As we talk about 2,500 persons in the public service to be laid off, we do not see how many were eliminated over the last six months to try to keep that deficit down to $117 million. It may well have been $130 million or $140 million, if Government had not taken some action. So there were probably 400 or 500 jobs lost in the last six months. These were the fairly easy ones that one could eliminate, or some positions that just were not filled. A lot of that, I would suspect, was by attrition; the position was vacant and it just was not filled. Those are the relatively easy cuts to make. Well, now we are down to the tough cuts, $215 million, a fictitious figure - real but fictitious; real, in that if this Government did not make any decisions at all, they would probably have to come in with a $215 million deficit, but fictitious in that there is nothing real about it, in that it simply is playing with numbers during a budget process. The Minister could just as easily have said we are going to look at a $400 million deficit, and scared people out of Newfoundland altogether.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) telling the truth.

MR. WINDSOR: He would not have been telling the truth.

I would say, if you had talked about what your deficit looked like a month before, you were looking at $300 million or $400 million, before you made certain cuts internally.

So, Mr. Speaker, the problem this Government was faced with was not really in cutting the deficit from $215 million to try to balance it, they were talking about the $117 million deficit they had at the end of last year.

We are talking now, Mr. Speaker, in this Budget, of trust. Who, indeed, can trust this Government? It is clear from the comments that were made over the past weekend, and I took great pleasure, I must say, in listening to some of the comments made by various representatives, leaders, the President of the Nurses' Union, and I quote: "The fact that the collective agreement has been broken destroys our sense of trust in the collective bargaining system, for what it is worth." These are the nurses of the Province, Mr. Speaker, who were deceived into thinking that times for nurses and health care in this Province were on the upswing. My colleague, in his question a few minutes ago, very, very well, I think, put forward the fact that all the increases were announced in last year's Budget: all of these positive things in health care, more nurses allocated, more hospital beds open, in last year's, in the Minister of Health's new plan to reorganize the Department of Health. Well, what a plan, Mr. Speaker! It did not last very long. One year later, we are closing down 360 acute care beds.

AN HON. MEMBER: Four hundred and thirty-eight.

MR. WINDSOR: Four hundred and thirty-eight altogether, with the other seventy-eight which are being converted to chronic care. It is just incredible! And we are going to see massive layoffs in the health care sector. That is a wonderful plan, I say to the Minister of Health. That is a wonderful plan, that will bankrupt the Province in no time. So, Mr. Speaker, the Nurses' Union are not particularly pleased.

The President of the Federation of Labour, he said, `Residents of the Province feel betrayed about the Budget contents, since the Wells Government campaigned on promises of good labour relations and a new era of Government.' Well, this is wonderful labour relations, Mr. Speaker. This is wonderful labour relations. This is double cross. That is what this is. This is wage roll back, days after collective agreements were negotiated with labour unions in this Province.

The national representative of CUPE says, `Once you sign a contract it is legal and binding on both parties. Basically what we have just been told by Government is, Sorry, our end of the contract does not hold up any more. And we can do what we please.' Because Government has the power of coming into this House of Assembly with a piece of legislation, which I believe was just introduced by the President of Treasury Board.

So they will go out there and they will negotiate. And what is really sad about it, Mr. Speaker, what is really sad about this whole process, is that Government put on the poor mouth during the negotiating process. Time and time again they said to these unions, during the negotiations, `Look, we are in difficult times. We do not have a lot of money. We cannot afford to give you large increases. So you have a choice, you either accept lower levels of increase or we will be forced to layoff some people, some of your membership.' The unions in many cases, not wanting to see members laid off, accepted lower negotiated increases than otherwise would have been the case.

Well, what did Government do? They froze their increases and they laid off the people anyway. Now, Mr. Speaker, how can those unions have any confidence in this Government? How can their word be taken? And not only their word, but their signature on a piece of paper?

Pensioners, Mr. Speaker, we know are being ignored. The President of the Public Service Pension Association said he personally believes that Government has no respect for pensioners. That is a mild statement if I ever heard one as it relates to this Government, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Boswell, who is a great political scientist and a public commentator said, `Reading through the Budget documents I get the sense of a work in progress, the Budget is curiously incomplete. Now Mr. Boswell I do not often agree with, I have to say here, but he certainly got his finger on the pulse this time. The Budget is incomplete. The Minister of Finance put his new tax reform proposal in the back of the Budget. He did not announce it in the Budget, he slipped it into the back pages as a White Paper. A good idea I say to the Minister of Finance. Major tax reform, such as he is proposing, certainly deserves such a White Paper and the kind of debate that a White Paper will generate. Everybody in this Province shall have an opportunity to assess the impact on them, either personally or corporately, and to make their views known to the Minister, either directly or through their elected representatives in this House.

So I applaud the Minister on putting together that document. And there is a lot of information in that section of the Budget document relating to the analysis done by the Department of Finance (inaudible) very helpful in looking at some of the moves the Minister was considering, and I will say more about that later.

The Police Association have just negotiated a contract. The President of the Police Association says, `They cannot be trusted.' Once again, from a union leader, that word `trust' comes out - they cannot be trusted. The President of the Nurses' Union says, `When a contract is signed and then broken through legislation, how can the Province expect to be trusted?' Once again the word `trust' comes into it.

The President of the Teachers' Association says, `Their action makes a farce of collective bargaining.' How true, Mr. Speaker. Of course my good friend and colleague, Mr. March, the President of NAPE, a good friend who is becoming a very close friend I will have you know, we are onside on this one. He says, `Government has declared war' - now he really has summed it up - `Government has declared war on the labour unions and the working poor of this Province.' That is really what has happened here. Government is in for hard days. The President of Treasury Board has my deep sympathy - I have been there. I went through difficult times and, I say to the President of Treasury Board, had he been a little tougher, which is not easy to do, had he taken the same approach I took when I sat in his office, he would not be in the position he is in today. He will have to admit that I told him a year ago that he was abdicating the purse strings of this Province to independent arbitrators, and there was his mistake. Our legislation is there if you have to have it as a last resort. You did not have to give binding arbitration to all those groups. There were groups you gave it to voluntarily. The essential services do have binding arbitration legislation: Police, firemen and prison warders have binding arbitration, but other components do not, and they do not because they are not considered essential in the sense of not being responsible for life safety. Mr. Speaker, the Government, as I recall, voluntarily, under pressure of negotiations, gave some of these unions binding arbitration rather than get involved in potential strike situations. None of us like strikes, Mr. Speaker, but somehow we have to deal with that whole area of collective bargaining as it relates to Government.

Binding arbitration has the advantage of putting it to independent arbiters. If we had some legislation that says the independent arbiter must consider the ability of the Province to pay it might be a little different, but independent arbiters do not and this is what happened to them. I am starting to get into the area of why a $117 million deficit. We can go through the Budget documents and see what happened over the year. The Government might like to say it is all because federal transfers have been cut back and Government received less than it had expected last year. They still received considerably more than they received the year before, but they did receive a little bit less than they expected. You did not hear very much from them the year before that, when late in the year they picked up an extra $50 million, I think it was, in federal transfers. That is the only reason they had a $37 million surplus. They had predicted four and they finished the year with a $37 million surplus, in spite of having made a special contribution to pensions that year of $21 million, and, if I am not mistaken, they also paid the interest on the loans for the Marystown Shipyard up front, another $4 million as I recall, a couple of years ago.

MR. POWER: No contribution to pensions this year.

MR. WINDSOR: No contribution to pensions. Well, they have a standard contribution in there. but they do not have that special contribution of $21 million. My friend for Ferryland is quite correct.

MR. POWER: It was a priority last year.

MR. WINDSOR: It was a priority, and it was a good thing to do, something to do quickly. Otherwise, they would have had a $58 million surplus showing last year. They certainly did not want to do that. They did not want to have a $58 million surplus because they would have had to pay it the following year, and instead of a $10 million surplus, they would have had a $10 million deficit. (Inaudible) making certain payments now that you can make to come in within Budget, it is wise management of money, or otherwise deferring payments until the following year, if there is an advantage to that. People do that in business, you decide which year it is most advantageous for your budget to make that payment.

And Government is no different. So I have no problem with that. But when you are talking about the overall financial performance of Government for a year, it is important to recognize, in fact, just, what happened here.

Mr. Speaker, through all of these quotes I gave you, and there are others I could quote, but in all of them the word `trust' comes through, or the lack of trust. The word of this Government cannot be trusted. Mr. Speaker, I do not know why any of us are surprised about that - I do not know why any of us are surprised. The Premier made it very clear prior to his election that when he got in office, he would decide whether or not he would honour loan guarantees issued by the previous administration.

Now, Mr. Speaker, a loan guarantee is a solemn bond of the Government to accept the liability for a debt on behalf of a third party. It is the Government's word in writing, it is a commitment, a legal binding contract that if a company that received a guarantee was not able to make good on the loan, then Government would make good on the guarantee and would pay up that amount of money. And the Premier made great fun talking about the loan guarantees given in relation to the Sprung Greenhouse - it is always their whipping boy, the Sprung Greenhouse - and he said, `We will not honour them.' He very quickly found out, after the election, indeed he will honour them - indeed he will. If he ever wanted to destroy the financial credibility of this Province, if he wanted to destroy our credit rating, that would be a way to do it; turn us into a banana republic, don't honour the loan guarantees, have it made known in the financial community that a signature by the Premier of this Province or the Minister of Finance, a loan guarantee approved by this Legislature, is not worth the paper it is written on. He soon found he could not do that, but he wanted to.

And the second example we had, Mr. Speaker, of the Premier's trustworthiness is something for which this Province will bear the shame forever in this nation. I refer to the Meech Lake Accord. We all watched - we all watched with some enthusiasm as we saw our Premier sign a document with all other Premiers and the Prime Minister of Canada known as the Meech Lake Accord, or an undertaking that the Meech Lake Accord would be brought before every Legislature in this Country and voted on by June 15, I believe.

MR. RIDEOUT: June 23.

MR. WINDSOR: I thank the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. RIDEOUT: I saved you just in time.

MR. WINDSOR: He just came in in time.

June 23 was the deadline. An undertaking was given, signed by all eleven first Ministers, that every Legislature in this Country, the Parliament of Canada and all ten Legislatures, would be asked to vote. Not that they were committed to approve - no Premier can commit a legislature to approve - but that they would be given an opportunity to vote. The people of the Province would be given an opportunity to speak through their elected representatives.

And the Premier went further than that, Mr. Speaker. He came back and he said, `I really want to know how the people of this Province feel about this, and I am going to ask all Members of the House of Assembly to go across this Province and speak with the people. We are going to make funds available, make extra resources available to the Members to hold meetings across this Province and assess the views of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador on this most vital issue, probably the most vital issue that most Members of the House of Assembly are ever going to be asked to vote on.' And I say, Mr. Speaker, with a great deal of pride, I was proud of every Member of this Legislature in that debate. Never in my sixteen years in this House of Assembly have I seen every single Member of the House be so involved in one particular piece of legislation, spend so much time talking to their constituents and getting the pulse of their constituents as to how they should represent their constituents.

We spent a lot of time, Mr. Speaker -

AN HON. MEMBER: Speak for yourself. You did not vote.

MR. WINDSOR: - we spent a lot of time doing that and we came back to this House and we had what I believe was the finest debate ever held in the House of Assembly - bar none. We have had cases where three or four Members on each side made tremendous speeches, there are many examples of those. We have seen many examples of individual speeches that will go down in the history books. But never in the history of the House of Assembly, that I am aware of, was a debate entered into by every Member of the House with so much passion, with so much research and so much conviction, and in the final hour, what happened, Mr. Speaker? The Premier broke his word! He broke his word to this House and to the Members of this House in not giving us an opportunity to have our voice heard. Win or lose, Mr. Speaker, it does not matter, it is a democratic Chamber, win or lose. Members of this House should have been given an opportunity to have their voices heard; they should have had an opportunity to speak on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of people whom we consulted in that process, during the Meech Lake debate.

The people of Newfoundland had a right to have their voices heard across Canada, 'aye' or 'nay', we had the right to say no. We had the right to say no, we will not agree to the Meech Lake Accord, even though all other provinces might have agreed to it. But we were not given that right, Mr. Speaker, and the Premier did not have the right to say no on his own, and that is exactly what he did by refusing to let that motion come to a vote in this Legislature; the Dictator spoke on behalf of all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians and so, Mr. Speaker, there is no trust in the Premier any more -

AN HON. MEMBER: Part of the big lie.

MR. WINDSOR: - that is what we are hearing. How could the Premier expect to be trusted. Now, Mr. Speaker, there is a third one, which was the Budget of last year, and I do not need to speak about that because it has been proven clearly and conclusively. The Minister of Finance admitted that within a couple of days of bringing down the Budget document, he had evidence - not only evidence - I mean he was notified by Ottawa that transfer payments would be somewhat less than he had previously been advised, I think it was a $35 million or $40 million difference, he admitted that here in this House. Yet, Mr. Speaker, he refused to tell the people, he refused to tell this House. I do not know, Mr. Speaker, if it is not an abuse of the privilege of this House. That Minister was in possession of information which directly and materially affected the Budget that we were debating in this House, and he kept it from us. He refused to tell us, not only the Minister of Finance, I suspect every Minister over there knew that. I suspect the Minister was not so foolish as to keep that to himself. I suspect he ran to Cabinet the first moment and said: boys we have a problem, we have just been notified by the Government of Canada that they have reassessed the transfer payments for this year and we have $35 million less than we have in the Budget, it was even before the debate started; it was just before the debate started, because we had the Budget Speech and then we had a break, I do not know, Easter break or something; it was ten days later before we started and it was during that period that the Minister was formally notified by Ottawa.

AN HON. MEMBER: In writing.

MR. WINDSOR: I might be unkind in suggesting that the Minister knew verbally before he brought down his Budget but I cannot prove that, but I suspect that, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt. The Minister of Finance now says that I am exaggerating, well, I refer the Minister of Finance to, not his Ministerial Statement, I believe it was the Premier's Ministerial Statement that admitted it, I think the Premier had to come up and try to cover up for his poor old Minister of Finance and admit that he had misled the House, so, Mr. Speaker, how can he be trusted.

I do not often refer to somebody from Quebec, but the Minister of Inter-Governmental Affairs of Quebec, Mr. Gil Remillard, says and I quote: ' Mr. Wells refused to honour his own signature.'

That is about as clear as you can make it. He refused to honour his own signature.

MS. COWAN: (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: That is absolutely true I say to the poor old Minister of Labour.

AN HON. MEMBER: We know the difference, boy!

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, so you do.

MR. WINDSOR: I say to the Minister of Labour I will bring her a tape of the Premier signing his agreement, his solemn undertaking to bring that motion to a vote in this Chamber, and the Premier did not honour that undertaking.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. WINDSOR: And she can shake her head all she wants. She cannot change the facts. She may not like them. They may be embarrassing to her, but she cannot change those facts.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: This Chamber was not given an opportunity, and so there goes the trust.

So we have no faith in the Minister, we have no faith in the Premier or his Government. Government has shown, Mr. Speaker, that they are totally incapable of properly estimating. If you want an example of that, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance brought in a tax measure last year -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Interesting. He called it a health and education tax. And he said: we have to bring in this tax because we have problems in the health care sector, in the education sector, we have to give them more money. This was the great drive in the Budget last year, 1.5 per cent payroll tax. He said: it is only a small amount it will not impact on business and industry. We find out now, Mr. Speaker, that that payroll tax amounts to 53 per cent of the provincial corporate tax paid in this Province. That is how much it amounted to. That is the little Liberal impact that it will have on business and industry. The Minister told us: I will get $15 million this year. How much did he get? $28 million.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!

MR. WINDSOR: Almost twice as much. He did not even know how much money he was going to raise. He did not know the impact on business and industry.

AN HON. MEMBER: He was right on the button.

MR. WINDSOR: He was right on the button. That stupid comment from a stupid minister.

AN HON. MEMBER: Someone should have given him a calculator for Christmas.

MR. WINDSOR: Fifteen million dollars he said I will get and he got $28 million. And he said annually, because it was only six months of the year, he applied it the first of August, annualized I will get $25 million.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is what he said.

MR. WINDSOR: What does his Budget say this year? This is the Minister's Budget, $42 million. That is how much he is going to collect this year, additional, from business and industry.

AN. HON. MEMBER: Subtract the $14 million that has to do with intergovernmental transfers.

MR. WINDSOR: That had to do with what?

AN HON. MEMBER: Intergovernmental transfers.

MR. WINDSOR: Intergovernmental transfer. What has that got to do with the payroll tax?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I heard the Minister on open line, I do not often refer to open line shows, but I found it amusing.

AN HON. MEMBER: He did not know his salary.

MR. WINDSOR: I was on this morning, one caller called in and said, the Minister was on and we asked him his salary and he did not even know his own salary. He could not answer the question.

AN HON. MEMBER: He did not want to tell it was $85,000.

MR. WINDSOR: And when he was asked a question, he tried to answer it today, he stumbled over it today. He looked at the Minister of Social Services to bail him out, and the Minister of Social Services said you are on your own, sink or swim. Because the Minister of Finance did not even know what the implications were of the $50 fuel allowance that was introduced in the Budget. He was asked a question: does it apply to fuel? Does it apply to electricity? I do not really know, boy. The Minister of Social Services will tell you. I am only responsible for the Budget. How do you expect me to know what is in it?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. WINDSOR: And he was asked by a gentleman of the implications of the eye examinations no longer being covered. And he was not sure which eye examinations were covered now and which were not. The Minister of Finance did not know that he had just cut out all eye examinations; and he calls me stupid because I look in his Budget and see a figure of $42 million and I look in last year's Budget and see one that says it should be $25 million. Who is stupid, I ask you?

AN HON. MEMBER: Be nice, now! Be nice!

AN HON. MEMBER: Be nice! How can you be nice with that kind of incompetence on the go?

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is, we are faced with a serious, serious financial problem - I do not underestimate that. The $215 million deficit he talked about a month ago was a bogeyman. That was something put up there to scare people. I was not impressed with that, but, yes, we have a deficit problem. The question is, why do we have a deficit problem?

MR. MURPHY: Because of seventeen years of Toryism.

MR. WINDSOR: We have a deficit problem because of the incompetence of that Minister. I remind the Member for St. John's South, we handed him a surplus two years ago. We handed him a surplus of $4 million and, in two years, they have run that to a $117 million deficit. That is performance, Mr. Speaker, and all we hear from people like the Member for St. John's South is, 'Oh, but look at all of the debt.' In the last two years, we have had the largest borrowing program of any years in our history - the two years since this Government came to power. That is really tackling the deficit problem. What a wonderful economic program that is. Over $600 million, this Government borrowed last year.

They may be exasperated a little bit, too. I just spoke a few moments ago about the Premier's actions as it relates to Meech Lake. Well, there is such a thing in this country today, Mr. Speaker, thanks to one Mr. Wells and Mr. Wells alone, called the Meech Lake premium. This Government and almost every Government in Canada are paying 1.5 per cent more for their borrowing than they would have had Meech Lake gone through.

MR. NOEL: Prove it! Prove it!

MR. WINDSOR: Go talk to the economists. Go talk to the money markets. I know they will not understand them, but the facts are there. I can quote them and I can show you documentation - 1.5 per cent more; and 1.5 per cent on $600 million that this Government is borrowing this year is $9 million a year more. There is where $9 million is going. Out of his $117 million deficit, $9 million of that is extra debt cost, because the Premier of this Province broke his word to the people of Canada.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINDSOR: There is where their problem comes from, Mr. Speaker. We have a $117 million deficit because this Government deceived the people of this Province last year with their Budget, deceived the people of this Province into thinking that everything was hunky-dory: What a great Government we are, we have a $10 million surplus: when they knew they did not have it. When they set the scene in this Province, Mr. Speaker, of heavy collective agreements, when they said to the union negotiators: We have a $10 million surplus, boys. Come and get it. That is what they said: Come, get it. Then, they turned it over to independent arbitrators to let them deal with it. The independent arbitrators said: Government is not in a bad position; they have a $10 million surplus, so we are not too bad, we are doing very well. Thank you. That is a surplus two years in a row. This Government is so proud of it.

So, the majority in this Province, any union member who came in, I would have, had I been out there, I would come in with a very positive attitude, saying: Government is not in bad shape. We have come through a number of years of deficit budgets and now we have a surplus. What a great time to start negotiating. We have taken some pain over the years - of course, they have - taken some pain over the years, and now we can start to make up a little bit. The President of Treasury Board turned tail and ran and said: I am not taking a strike. Do not think I am going to do what Windsor did. I am not coming up the steps of Confederation Building with 500 people standing around me. I will send it to an independent arbitrator - he will bail me out: He bailed him out with a 25 per cent increase over two years, which set the stage for all the rest of the collective agreements. He bailed him out.

Then, the Government went back negotiating and started passing out money, hand over fist. Ah, Mr. Speaker, but they knew they were not going to honour those agreements, either. They knew they were going to come in here with a piece of legislation and overrule themselves, Mr. Speaker. They were only playing games with the unions in this Province. They had no intention of honouring those agreements either. That is the bottom line, Mr. Speaker. That is what we are into here. It has been nothing but one big charade for this Government since they came into power. So now we are indeed faced with a deficit situation, because this Government chose not to deal with the problem last year. They tried to cover it up and make it look rosy. They looked at their Budget through rose coloured glasses last year and tried to fool the people of this Province into thinking that we had a surplus when they knew it was not true. Now, Mr. Speaker, that is going to have far-reaching implications for this Province, very, very far reaching implications. What are the options for the Minister now then? Let us assume for a moment that he is faced with that $117 million deficit. How does he deal with it? How does he turn that around? He knows, as we all know, that there is some difficulty caused by the fact that transfer payments from Ottawa are not growing as quickly as we would have otherwise predicted.

MR. POWER: They are growing.

MR. WINDSOR: Oh, they are growing. People out there are saying: we are not getting as much money from Ottawa. Ottawa is cutting back. They are not really cutting back, but just not giving us as big an increase as we had thought we were going to get. That is a big difference from what you are doing with the public service, when you have given them something, when you have awarded them something, signed a contract and then you are cutting it back to zero, that is not what the Government of Canada is doing. The Government of Canada is saying: you are going to get a lesser increase. That is not rolling back the 7 per cent increases that have been awarded to 4 per cent. Saying: boys, we cannot afford it but we will give you 4 per cent. The cost of living is going up by 5.7 per cent. We cannot give you the 7 or 8 per cent that you might have negotiated but we will give you 4 per cent. That is what the Government of Canada is doing. The Government of Canada is saying: you might have 16 per cent debt service ratio but we have a 35. They have a bigger debt problem by far than the Province of Newfoundland has, so they are saying we have to deal with that or pretty soon we will not be able to give the provinces anything. None of us liked it but at least they are honest and up- front about it, and trying to do it with a little bit of compassion. Did we see any compassion with this Budget? No, not one ounce of compassion. What really frightens me is that the Minister of Finance stands up and says: we really did not know what we were going to do with salaries until the last day or two. Now, either that is a total admission of helter-skelter or not knowing where they are going, either it is an admission of that, or it is an admission of absolutely not caring about the workers in this Province. They have all floated their problem onto the backs of the public service. There are a number of options that a Government can take when you are faced with a deficit. You can increase your borrowing. God knows they cannot do that. We have the highest borrowing program in the history of this Province this year. They told us some time ago - we had meetings with the money markets. We had meetings with the credit rating agents, and our fiscal agents, to determine how much can we can borrow, and they are borrowing the maximum they can borrow. I accept that, they are, borrowing far too much more than they should. They talk about our great debt, talk about our great problem that we left them. Sure, we left them a debt but have a look at Page 9 of the Budget document, if I recall correctly, deficit as percentage of gross expenditures and you will see. Here we were in 1984, a very high point, after two or three years of serious national recession. We were in serious trouble because we had to borrow during the recessions of '82,'83, and '84. We had to borrow heavily, and we had some wage freezes and things of that nature that we had to implement. Wage freezes by the way, Mr. Speaker, slightly different than what we are talking about here. We told the people what we were going to do, and we said it would take effect the end of your existing contract. We will honour every contract that we have in place. Not once was the signature of our Government not honoured - not once. What we are seeing here are collective agreements that are being rolled back. You can call it a freeze if you want to. It is no more a freeze, Mr. Speaker, than the sunshine is. It is a rollback by any stretch of the imagination. Increases that were awarded have been rolled back. A one year hiatus, I say to the Minister of Forestry. He could have implemented at the end of the current contract and said: at the end of this contract you will go for one year without an increase and then we will start negotiating again. That would have been half honest, but that is not what they did, Mr. Speaker.

Now, Mr. Speaker, in 1984 we were up to just about a 15 per cent deficit as a percentage of gross expenditure in the Province - 15 per cent of our gross expenditure for the year was servicing the debt. We came into this House, and we did it publicly on television, and we said: we have a serious problem. We have to deal with our deficit. We cannot allow it to continue. As I recall it was around an $80 million deficit at that point in time, and we said: this is not satisfactory, and we are going to have a five year plan. We will have a five year plan to eliminate that deficit and we are going to have to do certain things in the interim, certain very painful things. We made those painful decisions, and we made those cuts, and we had a plan. I recall meeting then with the fiscal agents and the credit rating agency and showing them our plan saying: we have to borrow $80 million this year and we do not like it, and we will probably have $50 million next year, $30 million the following year, and $20 million the following year, but in 1989 we will bring in a balanced Budget. Well, Mr. Speaker, have a look at what we did. In 1989 we delivered to the present Minister of Finance, who delivered my Budget, we delivered him a $4 million surplus in 1989. On target, Mr. Speaker, with our five year economic plan - a $4 million surplus. That is what we delivered to this Government two years ago.

Now, Mr. Speaker, where have we gone from there? Is there a five year plan for this Government? There is not even a one year plan, Mr. Speaker. Less then six months after the Budget was brought down last year the Minister of Finance admitted: I was off by about $120 million or $130 million. Sorry about that.

AN HON. MEMBER: He should have resigned.

MR. WINDSOR: Bigger, Mr. Speaker, a greater variance than we have ever seen in the history of this Province. Nothing has ever come close to being that inaccurate. Never have we had a Budget that was so inaccurate as last years Budget - never. So, instead of carrying on with a surplus situation over the $10 million that they brought in and they said they were going to have and say: whoop - we slip to a $117 million deficit, and now we are facing a $57 million deficit only because we are going to destroy the lives of 3,000 or 4,000 public servants, not to mention the impact on the private sector, the jobs that will be created in the service sector because of these number of jobs. Now, Mr. Speaker, there is a lot of people and a lot of families that are going to suffer because of it. But what were the options? We talked about borrowing, and said well: we could borrow I suppose but I guess $600 million is a fair piece of borrowing. Can we afford to borrow any more?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. WINDSOR: And the answer to that, Mr. Speaker, I think, is no. I think they have borrowed the maximum they could have this year. They might have gotten away with another $50 million. They might have. But they have to convince the money markets again of why we had a $120 million deficit. We had figured we would have a $10 million surplus, a whole bunch of things happened, we will talk about those. A whole bunch of things happened and we have slipped from $10 million surplus to a $117 million deficit. Could not do anything about it. Got out of control on us. They could have come clean and said: boy, we just did not have a handle on it. Things did not happen the way we thought.

They could have said that a lot of it was of their own making. You know, when you say that times are tough, when you say that the economy is in a recession, when you say that the Government is going to have to cut back, and you ask departments to tell you what implications there would be if their budget were frozen for a year, when you ask them how many layoffs they would have to have to accomplish that, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. Because this Government destroyed the confidence of the people of this Province, destroyed the confidence of the investment community and private enterprise. We have seen a tremendous slow down in investment in this Province over the past twelve months, because who would invest in such an uncertain climate?

AN HON. MEMBER: The same thing is true all over the country.

MR. WINDSOR: It is true all over the country, and not as much as here.

We saw a great slow down as evidenced in the amount of retail sales tax brought in. We saw a great drop in consumer confidence, a tremendous weakening of consumer confidence. Certainly you have 15,000 public servants, none of them who knew whether or not their job was save or not, because we were also doing layoffs.

AN HON. MEMBER: Thirty thousand.

MR. WINDSOR: Thirty thousand public servants. The hon. gentleman corrects me and he is quite right. Thirty thousand people in the public service, all of whom could honestly say: I am not sure if I am going to have a job next year. Because the Premier also made it clear: you see, previously when everybody looked at cutbacks most people in the public service could say: well I am okay I have seniority or I am in management, I am a senior person and if there is going to be cutbacks it is usually at the bottom, it is usually the last person hired, the lower end of the scale is where you get your cutback, simply because even if you laid somebody of at the top you get bounced up through the system anyway. That person would bounce their way down. So it is always the person at the bottom end of the scale that ultimately would be replaced.

And the Premier went on television and made it very clear we are going to have cutbacks and it is going to be throughout the public service. There will be management and executive people laid off. We are not just going to be laying off the lowest person on the totem pole. So that meant that 30,000 public servants then were afraid of their jobs, and they stopped buying. Now, Mr. Speaker, this is not my theory. This is not something that I am fabricating. I am telling you I spoke with hundreds of Newfoundlanders in the last two to three months, in particular, who said: boy, the public service, some of them in uniforms, some of them with Government uniforms on, in positions that require them to wear a uniform in the Department of Public Works or the Department of Forestry or the Department of Health or Transportation or whatever, some of them walked up to me in a shopping centre and said: Mr. Windsor can you tell us when they are going to make a decision? I am scared to death to buy anything because I do not know if I will have a job next week or next month.

Literally, and I say this in all sincerity and all honesty, Mr. Speaker, literally hundreds of Newfoundlanders have asked me the question, When will we find out? And I ask the Minister of Finance today, how long is he going to prolong this agony, even now that he has announced how many layoffs there will be? People in this building today, upstairs, downstairs and in the other wing, are wondering, am I going to get the pink slip tomorrow? Or on Wednesday? Or on Thursday? So even just from those 30,000 people, certainly the consumer confidence was destroyed.

As a result of that, even the Minister's own projection of retail sales tax were not realized. They were not realized and well they might not be, because things slowed down; most people did not have any less money to spend, they had the same amount of disposable income as they would have otherwise had, but they are saving their money, they did not have the confidence. Go talk to the automobile dealer or talk to the real estate dealer and you will see the implications.

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible) recession.

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, I say to the Minister of Forestry, who said, is some of that not related to the national recession? of course it is - of course it is. But if you are looking now at what is happening today in economic circles, every economist, every forecaster will tell you Newfoundland is the bright spot in Canada; Newfoundland is the bright spot because Hibernia is coming in. The great development in Canada today is Hibernia, and so many jobs will be created.

AN HON. MEMBER: A Tory development.

MR. WINDSOR: A good Tory development. So many jobs are going to be created, so much investment is coming into Newfoundland because of the Hibernia development, Newfoundland is going to be the bright spot. And we should be building on that. This Government, in its Budget, should be out saying, `this is going to be a good year. There are opportunities here.' And there are opportunities here. As I said in debate last week, I see them every day; there are lots of opportunities out there for private enterprise and they are all afraid to move or are unable to move - afraid or unable. They do not have the financial wherewithal to make that step.

(Inaudible) the last time that there was a euphoria about oil and gas, when Government at that time constantly said, get yourself ready but be careful. Make haste slowly - make haste slowly. I have to quote the former Premier, Mr. Peckford. How many times did he say to us, make haste slowly; yes there are opportunities coming, but we are not there yet. And I recall when I was Minister of Development, in fact, we put together a plan to develop some offshore servicing sites, some new ports, and we had people come in with proposals. I went back out after we studied all those proposals and we announced what our programs would be. And how many of those businesspeople looked to me and said, you are stopping it. Why are you stopping this? We want to go ahead. And I said, because you are not yet ready. And they cursed me that day. But I can tell you most of them have come back to me since and said thank you, you stopped me from making the worst business decision I could have ever made in my life. I was ready to go and make a huge investment, and you stopped me. Thank goodness you did. Because we would have had a lot more companies bankrupt than are going bankrupt even now.

Mr. Speaker, that confidence is not there. Retail sales tax is down because this Government has destroyed the confidence. And they had an opportunity in this Budget to turn it around. Economic forecasters were saying it is going to be a good year in Newfoundland, growth in Newfoundland better than anywhere else in Canada. Not a great year, but some growth.

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: I am glad to see the Government House Leader is listening.

MR. WINDSOR: We will come to it. We will come to it.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) is at it again.

MR. PARSONS: He is learning something. I am glad you are sitting in your seat. You are learning. It is a hard (inaudible), it is going to be difficult, but you are learning.

MR. NOEL: You need to learn how to listen.

MR. PARSONS: You all are learning. I am delighted that you are all over there. You are learning.

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, when hon. gentlemen are finished their bantering back and forth. It is all very pleasant.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: It gives me a break, my vocal chords a little rest.

Mr. Speaker, Government had an opportunity with this Budget document to change around the feeling in Newfoundland, to put some confidence back into the economy again. We know what the Government of Canada is doing. We know where we are situated there. As the President of Treasury Board and the Minister of Finance said, no great implications there; maybe $10 million or $15 million in the federal Budget, nothing too serious, nothing that in the overall schemes of things could not be dealt with, recognizing the problem the Government of Canada has.

Now I have to say to you that I am not as content with the action of the Government of Canada, because the cutback - or not the cutback but the slowdown in the growth of transfer payments hurts provinces like Newfoundland more than it does the more affluent provinces of Canada. I would have preferred to see the Government of Canada deal with their problem a little differently. But having said that, it is another issue for another time. We all know what the Government of Canada's plan is and it is a good plan. The basis of that plan, Mr. Speaker, is to lower interest rates. And what a welcome thought, lowering interest rates at a time when Newfoundland is poised for the greatest investment in its history. Lowering interest rates, an opportunity for those who want to take advantage of all the opportunities that are out there. For those who want to start up new ventures, joint ventures, to make investments now to take advantage of those opportunities, lower interest rates to help us. It is a very welcome thing. All the economic indicators are that Newfoundland, although not having a great growth, will probably have the biggest growth of any province in Canada this year. That is what they are saying. The President of Treasury Board agrees with me. He confirms it, because he knows it is right. That is exactly what they say.

What an opportunity, therefore, for this Government to come out and say we are going to do something, too, to stimulate the economy; we are going to lower sales tax by 1 per cent, for example, to give back the 1 per cent we are picking up because of the GST. In other words, we are going to roll it back to what it was. Maybe we should admit that we have a windfall because of GST. No? The Minister of Finance is shaking his head. I am not going to say we picked up $50 million. We did not pick up that much. I am well aware of how it works. It would be very easy for me politically to say, well, it is 13 per cent instead of 12 per cent, so that is $50 million you picked up this year. The Minister should know by now I am not that deceitful. I heard him say it was $8 or $10 million, but I suspect it is a bit more than that. But it is not $50 million. It is somewhere between $10 and $50 million - maybe $20, maybe $25, but no, it is not $50 million. The Minister had an opportunity to cut back sales tax to 11 per cent and it would have cost him maybe $20 million, maybe $25 million. I will be generous with him, $1 million. That is less than he lost last year from his prediction of what he was going to gain from retail sales tax, I think. Let me have a look and see what that number was. RST is down by $35 million. So he lost $35 million because he destroyed the confidence of the consumer. For the price of $15 or $20 million, he could have not only restored that confidence but stimulated the confidence; he could have enticed the consumer to get out there spending more. And, I say to the Minister of Finance, it would not have cost him five cents. Because spending would go up that much more, that he would have picked up his $15 or $20 million and more besides. But what a signal it would have been to the consumer, to the investor, and the businessperson. What a signal, that this Government cares about business and industry, cares about people and is trying to do something to strengthen the economy. What an opportunity, Mr. Speaker! Because the GST was coming in, he was picking up half of it anyway. All he had to do was give it back. A great opportunity.

The GST has been a negative thing in many areas. You see it, unfortunately. It is a lot more visible. I have some personal questions as to whether all of the federal manufacturers' taxes that were in there before have actually been taken off the price tags, whether or not they have been given back. I see some good evidence that it is being turned back to people, particularly the larger corporations, I have to say. The larger corporations, larger companies and larger retailers are showing it. I can see it - I hate to use it. Maybe I should not. I can see it when I look at a catalogue, for example, and compare it with last year's prices and say, 'Here is last year's price, and here is this year's price with the manufacturer's tax taken off. But you have to pay GST at the cash register.' You can see it.

I suspect there are many areas where we are not getting that manufacturer's tax back. But it hurts us, particularly in the tourism and the restaurant business. When you go into a restaurant now and you are basically paying 20 per cent tax on top of your meal, if you buy a twenty dollar meal, it is going to cost you twenty-four dollars. That is what it is going to cost you. It is very visible, very negative, and, I suspect, it is going to hurt the tourist industry this year. I am afraid it is going to have a very negative impact on the tourist industry. So dropping down, even by 1 per cent, would have made a big, big difference.

The Minister is considering rationalizing the tax system. And he has a very good section here, Appendix C, which deals with the proposed tax reform. If hon. Members have not read it yet, I suggest you read it. It is a very interesting section. As I said earlier, it contains a lot of very good analysis, very good information. And I am grateful the Minister included it in his document, because it certainly does give us a lot of information to work on in trying to assess the implications of some of the proposals. Obviously there is more information we would like to have, and perhaps the Minister will give it, but it does give us an opportunity to look at the various options of lowering retail sales tax and broadening the tax base.

It worries me a little bit, Mr. Speaker, that his Budget basically says there are no new taxes in it, and there are really no new taxes. There is $8 million taken out of the pockets of those who smoke tobacco, and the Minister will not get a lot of flack from most people on that. Tobacco is not a popular commodity today. Hon. gentlemen are hiding their cigarettes now.

MR. NOEL: (Inaudible) cigarettes now.

MR. WINDSOR: Not smoking in the House, no. But, you know, there is not a lot of sympathy for those who smoke having to pay more.

So, he took about $8.5 million out of that. He took another half million out of alcohol I think, and $240,000 in licences and fees. At least, he came out this year and told us what they were. Last year, the Minister took over $5 million in licences and fees. That is what he told us it was going to be in the Budget. In fact, I suspect, if you analyze the Budget document carefully, which I will do in due course, in that particular area, you will find that the Minister, I think, gained far more than $5 million last year in licences and fees. But he chose not to tell us about that last year; he tried to sneak it in last year. This year, he came clean. He came up and he said, `There will be certain increases in licences and fees,' and he had a nice little table here in the Appendix to the Budget listing all of it down, as to what is going to happen. It is interesting. He said, `We are not going to have an application fee for moose licences anymore. We will eliminate the application fee.'

MR. RIDEOUT: Yes. What a fraud that was!

MR. WINDSOR: Now, the application fee was $5.00 and it was refundable. You sent your $25 in, and if you did not get a licence, you got your $25 back and they kept your $5. He then cancelled that, but he upped the licence to $35. He forgot to tell us that in the Budget Speech. He forgot to tell us that he is picking up about $30,000 on moose licences. He tried to convince us that, `Oh, no, boy, that is okay. We are not going to bother to charge you that nuisance tax now. We will eliminate that.'

MR. RIDEOUT: That is not deceit.

MR. WINDSOR: I thought it was pretty neat. It was a good effort.

MR. RIDEOUT: And he is giving young people under fifteen a free rabbit licence.

MR. WINDSOR: As I was quoted as saying on the radio, kids under fifteen are given a free rabbit licence while the Minister is skinning their parents. I will not take credit for that. That was a quote that was given to me by one of my colleagues. I used it, and it is being quoted widely. But that is the truth. He picked up $27,000 by giving away free rabbit licences to the children. And he said, `No, no, we are going to combine rabbit licences and partridge licences.' You used to pay $10 each - $10 for a rabbit licence and $10 for a partridge licence. `What nonsense,' he says. `We will have one licence for small game, and we will charge you $15. So you are saving $5. I said: you do not sell very many partridge licenses, except on the Avalon and in Labrador.

AN HON. MEMBER: He sells too many.

MR. WINDSOR: He sells too many, one too many.

And so the Minister is picking up $32,000 by charging $5 less for a combined license and for giving licenses to children under 15 years of age free. I dare say there will not be a rabbit license sold, that everybody will be off hunting with their son this year. Everybody will have a son under 15 years old with a free rabbit license.

AN HON. MEMBER: Or a daughter.

MR. WINDSOR: Or a daughter. There will not be a license sold this year. What a great move.

Park fees, Mr. Speaker: there is where we picked up a dollar. Park fees - $200,000 mostly on the backs of the senior citizens who used to have an exemption. I would be delighted if the Minister would tell us what percentage of that $200,000 will come from senior citizens. Can the Minister tell us that? I will yield for a moment if the Minister will tell us that.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Environment and Lands.

MR. KELLAND: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I will just let the Member know that this week there will be a statement by me with the details on big and small game licenses and the new park fees. That will give all the details he requires.

I shake my head over here when he is making some of these statements because in my opinion what he is saying is incorrect to some degree, but it will be explained in two statements, I believe, this week for the Members information.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: I thank the Minister for that lack of information, but I accept what he is saying. He told us absolutely nothing. He gave me a chance to sit down for a moment though, and rest my weary bones, but he did not tell us anything and what I am saying is, if it is inaccurate, then the Budget is inaccurate. I am simply quoting the Budget document, Table B.1 on page B-4, I refer the Minister to it, which tells me $27,000 from combined rabbit and partridge licenses, $32,000 from elimination of big game application fees, and $200,000 in increasing park fees.

Now, if I am inaccurate, then I suggest the hon. Minister talk to his colleague, the Minister of Finance because I am quoting his Budget document. He says that senior citizens will now pay and there will be no season passes. These things are in the Budget. I am simply quoting those. I cannot wait to hear what detail the Minister is going to give us later on this week, and I will wait for that. But that is where $200,000 is coming in, right there.

Interestingly enough there is great mention here of changing the structure for heavy equipment vehicles. We are going to standardize commercial vehicle fees, we will increase vehicle registration fees, we are going to eliminate the Board of Commissioners public utilities motor carriers fees, we are going to allow single trip permits to be issued to commercial vehicles based in the Province. All of those things will net us a total of minus $34,000. Why are we giving back $34,000 to the transportation industry? I am sure the transportation industry will be delighted, but we are collecting $34,000 less from truckers, many of them from out of Province, most of these carriers who are coming in here are out of Province. We are eliminating that and putting it to the senior citizens in the parks. That is what it amounts to.

Anyway, those are interesting little numbers, but those numbers are there. So, those are the only revenue measures.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I was about to say that those are the only tax measures, I think, looking at the surface of the Budget, but as we had to do last year we are going to have to start digging, and the first easy one that we will see, of course, is gasoline tax: a change from ad valorem to a straight fixed flat rate.

AN HON. MEMBER: Supply is (inaudible).

MR. GRIMES: No.

MR. WINDSOR: The Member for Exploits says, no. I say yes that is what is happening. Sorry. That is exactly what is being done. And one says, well so what? When we ask the question well what is the rate? Well it is exactly the same rate now. There is no increase. The flat rate is exactly the same as the ad valorem rate right now. But the price of gas is almost the highest price it has ever been in history. A couple of months ago it was a little higher. So what Government has done, Mr. Speaker, is saying: ah, ha, we have got the highest rate that we could ever get right now, freeze it right there, right now. Let us keep it up there. Knowing that the price of gas is going to go down over the next few months and the Minister of Energy I am sure cannot deny that as being the understanding of anybody who knows anything about the petroleum industry. The price of gasoline is going to go down in this Province over the next few months, but the tax on a gallon is not going to go down. He fixed it now. It is like a thermometer, you take your temperature it goes up to the highest point and it stays there. You can put it in ice after. It is going to hang in there. It gives you the highest point. And that is what the Minister has done.

The gasoline tax revenue was very good this year. I suspect, off the top of my head, that we had some increases in gasoline tax. No, I do not have the estimated number there. The estimated number for gasoline tax, I will just take a moment to look at Statement 2 - gasoline tax last year was estimated at $83.8 million. And we actually got $87 million. So we picked up $3.5 million over the Minister's poor old estimate. Even the Minister could not go wrong on that one - picked up $3.5 million last year. Maybe the Minister can tell me, did consumption increase this year? I suspect it went down.

DR. GIBBONS: It went down by 6 per cent.

MR. WINDSOR: It went down by 6 per cent.

DR. GIBBONS: For a peak period it went down by 6 per cent.

MR. WINDSOR: I thank the Minister. The Minister is being very honest and obviously he is very knowledgeable on the subject, and I thank him for that information. He confirms that consumption went down by 6 per cent as one would expect, the peak period when the price is so high people start using as little gasoline as possible. Yet we picked up $3.5 million on the gasoline tax. Now we are going to make sure we are staying up there. But the price of gasoline may go back down, the tax will not.

DR. GIBBONS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: No, I realize that. Yes, the Minister had the right back in, May?

DR. GIBBONS: October or November.

MR. WINDSOR: In October or November the Minister could have adjusted as is done, some hon. gentlemen may not be aware of it, the Minister does a survey every number of months to see what the average price of gasoline is, and he will up his rate then to accommodate the average price of gasoline.

AN HON. MEMBER: About every month.

MR. WINDSOR: About every month. It is reviewed every month but it is not changed every month.

So the Minister chose not to do it. He said, no, no the price of gasoline is up and we will not bounce it up to the maximum. But he is there now, he just changed it last week. A couple of days before the Budget he did adjust it to the level it was at last week.

DR. GIBBONS: (Inaudible). It is still six cents below the peak.

MR. WINDSOR: It is still six cents below the peak.

But he still got it up to where it was last week before it was frozen. Why did not the Minister leave it where it was for the last four months, before he froze it? He picked up $3.5 million at that rate over and above the projections. And what are we looking at for next year? Oops! $12 million more next year than the revised figure this year - $12 millions more. A combination of two things, the increase the Minister bought in last week, and hopefully some increased consumption I assume. Under normal circumstances there would be an increase of 4 per cent or 5 per cent in the consumption in the Province, but that is a good chunk, $12 million, that is a 15 per cent increase in gasoline tax revenue. A pretty healthy increase for a Province that has, I believe, outside Quebec, the highest price of gasoline in Canada. Quebec is higher because their tax in Quebec, I think, is even higher than ours.

DR. GIBBONS: It is 14.5 cents a litre in Quebec and ours is 13.7 cents a litre.

MR. WINDSOR: That is right. So I am correct when I say that the price of gas in Quebec is higher than it is in Newfoundland.

AN HON. MEMBER: It is about the same.

MR. WINDSOR: We have a little more transportation charge in there, but basically I am right. We are well up there in the price of gasoline. Mr. Speaker, those are some of the tax measures, but there are others that will be hidden in here. Essentially, this Government, as I started out to say had three choices, we can increase borrowing, they assessed the money market and they found out this is pretty well it. I will have to accept the fact that maybe they did, maybe they did sit down with the fiscal agents and with the credit rating agents, in particular, and asked how much they were prepared to let us borrow. Maybe they did get the maximum. I would like to think that maybe they had the option of saying, look, we had a $117 million deficit, can we keep it to $100 or even $90 rather than the $57 or $53.7? Maybe we can get away with a $90 million deficit and borrow that extra $50 million, because as you know Canada is in a recession and all of the economic indicators show that Newfoundland is going to be stronger than the rest of Canada, so can you live with us for one more year, because otherwise we have to lay off 3500 people, and the obvious domino affect that will have on the private sector. We do not want to do that, we would like to keep those people still employed. They did not choose that option, or maybe they did not have it, I do not know. Maybe the credit rating agency said, sorry, $600 million, or $594 million, whatever it is we are borrowing this year, $574 million is the maximum you are allowed to borrow, so that was the end of that option. Taxation is an option - I just discussed that. It is not a very pleasant one. I think they should have reversed it. I think they should have, in fact, lowered taxation rather than try and increase it in this Province. I think I have just demonstrated that they could have done so without in fact losing revenue. The growth would have been greater than the loss.

MR. EFFORD: (inaudible) for seventeen years.

MR. TOBIN: You should talk the way you are starving the poor in this Province, and with a 6 per cent increase in inflation giving nothing to social assistance. It is the first time since 1949 they never had an increase. You should resign my son, or go out and live on what they are living on, that is what you should do, any man who would starve the poor and attack the poor the way you did.

AN HON. MEMBER: And we pay him $100,000 a year to do it.

MR. WINDSOR: Now, Mr. Speaker, there is the complete lack of sensitivity of the Minister of Social Services for what this Budget is doing to the people that he purports to represent in Government. That is what we are seeing here; here is the lack of compassion again.

MR. EFFORD: You are a nice one to be talking (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, I am.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I think -

AN HON. MEMBER: I think it is the Silly Hour, Neil.

MR. WINDSOR: Some places in town have happy hours around this time. We are into the silly hour, now, Mr. Speaker. My friend from St. Mary's - The Capes will invite us down for happy hour, I am sure.

Mr. Speaker, the crux of the matter, as I have tried to say over the last hour or so, has been the scene that was set by Government last year. The Minister of Finance should have known, if he did not, that inflation rates last year were going to be very high - inflation rates were high. He should have known the value of the Canadian dollar, and the implication that has on the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador, particularly on companies which export - in most cases, the major resource-based industries are exporting 80 per cent, or more, of their product to the United States, and, so, the high value of the Canadian dollar is negative to those companies. He should have known. Everybody else in Canada knew, that we had very high interest rates and were going to continue to have high interest rates throughout the year, so that was no great surprise.

He should have known that the fishing industry was going to have a bad year. New quotas were going to be down. Prices were fairly weak, although they strengthened throughout the year, but he should have known that quotas were going to be down, because this Government asked the Government of Canada to set the quotas even lower. Had the Government of Canada listened to this Government, the quotas would have been even less than they were.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINDSOR: So the Minister has no room to say he did not know the quotas were going to be so low or that landings will be down as a result of it, and that layoffs would occur in the fishing industry.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I would not expect the Member for Port de Grave to know anything about the fishing industry, either.

The Minister of Finance should have known, Mr. Speaker, that as a result, we would have extremely high unemployment rates in this Province, and that the high interest rates and the weak economy would destroy consumer confidence, and therefore, RST would be coming down; and he knew GST was coming in, and that would have somewhat of a negative impact on consumer spending.

So, Mr. Speaker, none of the things that happened over the past year should have been a surprise to the Minister of Finance. If we could keep him awake, there, Mr. Speaker, maybe he would have a chance of doing a little better next year, but I doubt it.

AN HON. MEMBER: At least he (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: The lights are on and there is nobody home.

Mr. Speaker, he should have known last year that his revenues would not be what he predicted. I think he knew and he was just dishonest, I think he misled this House and the people of this Province, by bringing in a fraudulent, deceitful Budget, and failing to deal with the problem last year, instead of implementing some of the measures they implemented, instead, Mr. Speaker, of taking the actions they took, had this Government dealt with the problem that had to be evident to them last year; they had to know. I cannot, for the life of me, believe that the people who advised them, the economists, the professional people in the department who advise them on these matters, were not able to tell them we were heading into a serious situation. I cannot, for the life of me, believe that they did not know we were going to have that kind of a problem.

What did they do last year, what did they do, knowing we were going to have these problems? They started out by implementing $170 million in tax increases. What a great boost to the economy that was last year, $170 million in tax increases.

AN HON. MEMBER: Is that right, last year, 170?

MR. WINDSOR: $170 million in tax increases.

AN HON. MEMBER: Last year?

MR. WINDSOR: Last year. That was at Budget time, they did not know that they were going to get $28 million in payroll tax to the 15th, so they did very well there. They did not know that they were going to pick up another $3.5 million in gasoline tax because we were going to have a war in the Persian Gulf and prices of gasoline were going to go through the ceiling

AN HON. MEMBER: Is this their economic plan?

MR. WINDSOR: This is their economic plan. At a time when the economy was low, we wanted to stimulate the economy: pile the taxes to her boys, pile the taxes to her. A payroll tax: it was supposed to go into Health and Education, did they ever see it, did they ever see it? No, indeed they did not, indeed they did not and if they did, they will lose it ten fold this year. A Health and Education tax, what a joke. What did they do? They spent $4 million or more to create an Economic Recovery Commission, a bureaucracy of all bureaucracies, Mr. Speaker. Neutralized the Minister of Development, took all control out of his hands, basically said you will be a pawn for Mr. House and his band of merry men, and the great economic stimulant this year: combine the Economic Council with the Economic Recovery Commission,-

AN HON. MEMBER: That is right.

MR. WINDSOR: -that is going to be good. Then it says in the Budget here: great new thrust in the Department of Development and in Economic Development, a buy in the Economic Council, all that does is eliminate one board, which is the same board anyway-

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Essentially. It is the same board anyway.

AN HON. MEMBER: Create a lot of jobs.

MR. WINDSOR: Oh what a joke. A lot of jobs created in Economic Recovery this year because of that.

Now clearly, Mr. Speaker, there is no economic plan. There is no economic plan, there is no financial plan, there is no Budget, there is no Budget that anybody can have any confidence in. The track record of the Minister of Finance is abysmal, the track record is abysmal, nobody can have any confidence in this.

If the Minister thinks that his $53.7 million projected deficit is going to give anybody in this Province any comfort, he is sadly mistaken. And I will tell the Minister of Finance that his deficit, unless there are more drastic measures taken, unless he comes in with his new tax measures that he has talked about here, he will try to sneak those in midyear somewhere, January 1 of next year even, unless he does that he is going to have a $100 million deficit at the end of the year. That is what he is going to face.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

AN HON. MEMBER: I would say $120 million for sure.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Because, Mr. Speaker, he is just about to put 3,500 public servants on the street.

AN HON. MEMBER: What?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) economy.

MR. WINDSOR: Thirty-five hundred. That is what will be out there. That is what will be there. Twenty-five hundred directly in the public service. How about the school boards and the Fisheries Loan Board and the Farm Development Loan Board and other agencies whose budgets are frozen or cut back? Are you trying to tell me that is not going to mean layoffs? There will be at least 3,500 people in the public service on the street before this year is out.

AN HON. MEMBER: With no money to spend.

MR. WINDSOR: And you can add another 5,000 or 6,000 people in the private sector as a result of it. Nearly 10,000 people out of work. And what does this Government say? -

AN HON. MEMBER: A job creation program.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. WINDSOR: What does this Government say? Do not worry, boys, we have 300 jobs out at Come By Chance. Hibernia brought in 300 jobs. Alleluia!

MR. TOBIN: All the jobs at the Come By Chance clinic.

MR. WINDSOR: The Come By Chance clinic is gone, yes. We are opening up major industrial development and we are going to close down the nearest clinic.

MS. VERGE: After all they said.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. WINDSOR: Close down the cottage hospital and clinic in Come By Chance.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. WINDSOR: Absolutely incredible, Mr. Speaker.

MR. TOBIN: The Member should resign.

MR. POWER: They should send the Cabinet to Bell Island where they would not be able to get off for six months.

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker -

MR. POWER: Come over once a year, it would be enough to see you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, at a time like this one thing we should not do is attack the educational system.

AN HON. MEMBER: Right on!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. WINDSOR: We should not attack the educational system. Somebody said here a couple of weeks ago, I believe, the first Premier of this Province, Mr. Smallwood, is not held in high esteem by many people on this side of the House for many things that he did.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. WINDSOR: But one thing that I will give him credit for is that he put a lot of emphasis on the educational sector.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINDSOR: I will give him credit for bringing Memorial University into the stage, not where it is now, but he certainly started on the right road, he had vision. And he said we have to educate our people. Give them an opportunity. Give them an opportunity. But what are we doing here?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. WINDSOR: Cutbacks in the education system. Serious cutbacks, Mr. Speaker.

Hon. gentlemen opposite, and ladies, with due respect, I say to the Minister of Labour, may make light of the implication on the education budget. I say to you that it will have very serious implications. You cannot freeze budgets to school boards and not expect to have very negative implications. You cannot lay off that many teachers. Some of them, yes, you can. But because a classroom has 30 students this year and 28 next year does not mean that you need less teachers. You still need a teacher for that classroom, and so it is not one on one. And this is why, as a previous administration, we chose not to eliminate all of the teachers that essentially, if you look at a computer, become redundant because student enrolment is declining, which it is. It is a fact of life. And we saw it as an opportunity to improve the standard of education, by providing more specialist teachers; instead of replacing those teaching positions, to leave some of them there for career counselling, for guidance counselling, for librarians, specialist teachers, science teachers, departmental managers and so forth. We made some great strides in the last three or four years, Mr. Speaker, and we guaranteed, as I recall, a 2 per cent maximum number of teachers that would be lost in any one year as a result of declining enrolment.

MR. HEWLETT: They put a floor on it.

MR. WINDSOR: In any jurisdiction a maximum of 2 per cent.

AN HON. MEMBER: Only because we still had a collective agreement.

MR. WINDSOR: A Maximum of 2 per cent, because you cannot just remove that many teachers and expect the same programs to be provided. And all of the strides we made in the last three or four years have now been eliminated by one swoop of the pen by this Government.

MR. POWER: They are destroying the post-secondary system, destroying it!

MR. WINSOR: The dismal failure of the Minister.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: It is true. It is true.

Now, let's look at Memorial University. The Minister of Finance, what a deceitful statement in the Budget. `More money, more funding, increased funding provided for Memorial University - $1 million additional money'.

AN HON. MEMBER: Three quarters of 1 per cent.

MR. WINDSOR: Three quarters of 1 per cent, that is right.

MR. POWER: If they are not careful, the Minister of Finance will be booted out of the Alumni at Memorial.

MR. WINDSOR: Yes.

MR. POWER: He will be booted out. He will not be allowed to go back there.

MR. WINDSOR: And the President of the University made it very clear. He said, `If we don't get $14 million - that is the bare minimum - $14 million more this year, we are looking at eliminating some teaching positions, we are looking at closing down certain programs, perhaps. We are in danger of losing our accreditation in certain areas, because certain things will not be able to be maintained to national standards required to have full accreditation.' He has an option, I suppose. He can take another $14 million of tuition out of the pockets of students. Here we are, at a time when the great development of Hibernia is coming forward, when we need our people to have the highest level of education possible so that we can take advantage, instead of bringing all that education and expertise in from outside of Newfoundland and Labrador, we are making it more difficult.

DR. WARREN: No.

MR. WINDSOR: Let the record show the Minister of Education does not agree. The students of Newfoundland and Labrador are going to be delighted with him. They would not even talk to him last week when they were here. That is how much respect they have for him. They would not even talk to him. Get out of here Phil, we want Clyde, they said. That was a blow to his ego, Mr. Speaker. That was a blow to him. They had had his lip service too many times. They said, `these are hollow words. We want the Premier.' That did not do them any good, either. The Premier ran away. He turned tail and went sneaking out the backdoor somewhere. He found a staircase somewhere, I do not know where, and went sneaking out of here somehow.

But, Mr. Speaker, what a time to do that to the educational system in this Province. What a signal to send to young people in this Province. The bottom line is probably it makes financial sense for Government, because we are only educating these young people to send them out of Newfoundland and Labrador anyway. `Bring all your sons and daughters home', said the Premier. Now he has changed his tune. Send them away to be educated. We are not going to educate them here and then send them away looking for a job. We will send them away first. That is what we are getting into now.

Mr. Speaker, the Government had a serious problem and said, `How will we deal with it?' The first thing they did, which is obvious, of course, were these major layoffs. The hon. gentlemen opposite are saying now, `Well, they are not that great.' Well, we know that there are 1,300 permanent people in the public service, we know that there are 350 part-time and 350 temporary. That is 2,000. There are 500 vacant positions not going to be filled. Now, I ask the President of Treasury Board this question, because I think he or the Minister of Finance has been quoted as saying, `Well, those are only vacant positions. Those are not jobs. That is not people losing their jobs.' No, there is no pink slip required to eliminate that position, neither is there a vacancy for somebody to fill. Members will know that departments have a certain vacancy rate that they are required to maintain.

When the President of Treasury Board is listening, I will ask him a question. I would like to ask the President of Treasury Board a question. I am talking about vacancy rates and the 500 vacancies that are not going to be filled. Maybe the President of Treasury Board will tell us then, are the departments still required to keep the same vacancy rate they are required to keep now and have been for a number of years? Every department has been restricted and they are told to keep a certain vacancy rate, and they do that by delaying hiring or by keeping certain positions vacant; not losing them, they are still there, but they just do not fill them. So if we eliminate 500 positions, 500 of those vacancies, the positions are no longer there. Does the vacancy rate now decrease, or are they going to be required to keep the same vacancy rate? Would you like to answer that?

MR. BAKER: May I have one minute?

MR. WINDSOR: I will give you one minute, gladly. I would like to know the answer. I yield to the President of Treasury Board for one minute, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The answer is that there were two kinds of vacancy rates. One was a vacancy rate that is in any large organization. On the average, during the year, there will be, maybe, a 3 or 4 per cent vacancy because of illness or whatever, or people changing jobs and so on. Then, on top of that, another 3 per cent that was imposed because of the early retirement factor. So there was really a combined 7 per cent vacancy rate over the last number of years. That requirement, because of the early retirement plan, will no longer exist. There will simply be the normal vacancies that occur in large organizations because of turnover, illness and that kind of thing.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, that just confirms what I have said, that if there are 500 positions less, and if that same base vacancy rate is there - we are aware of the vacancies created as a result of the early retirement -

MR. BAKER: There will be 3 per cent less (inaudible)

MR. WINDSOR: But if the 3 per cent figure is based on 500 less positions, then that is effectively a higher - well, you have the same percentage, but it means those 500 positions are positions that would otherwise be filled, because you are going to keep the same vacancy level. So there are 500 jobs that are not available to John and Joe and Bill and Mary and Paula and Susan and Jan. Any way you look at it, there are 500 jobs eliminated, and the 350 temporary positions here, Mr. Speaker, let us be clear -

MR. POWER: Neil, (inaudible) time.

MR. WINDSOR: - I am running out of time - 350 temporary positions, I would suggest to the President of Treasury Board, some of those have been there twenty years. They are only temporary because Treasury Board refuses to classify them as permanent.

Mr. Speaker, I adjourn the debate until tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. First of all, I give notice that the private member's resolution to be debated on Wednesday is the one introduced today by the Member for Pleasantville.

I would like to inform the House that we will continue on with the Budget Debate tomorrow, with a view to switching on Thursday to Supplementary Supply.

On motion, the House at its rising adjourned until tomorrow, Tuesday, at 2:00 p.m.