March 13, 1991              HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS                 Vol. XLI No. 8


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

Before proceeding to the business of the day I would like, on behalf of hon. Members, to extend a warm welcome to the House today to fifty-five Grade XII students from the Glovertown Regional High School, Glovertown, in the District of Terra Nova. They are accompanied by their teachers, Mr. Alphonsus Farrell and Mr. Hubert Sparkes, and their bus-driver, Mr. Oram.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Statements by Ministers

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

MR. KELLAND: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to inform the hon. Members of this House, and the residents of the Province, of changes made to certain licences and fees, the big game licensing procedure, and Hunter Capability Testing. These changes apply to the 1991 draw and hunting season.

For big game hunters these changes include:

1. the elimination of the present method of applying for a resident big game licence where single applicants must include a total of $30 and 2-party groups must send in a total of $35 with their applications.

2. an increase in net costs to individual hunters, from $30 to $35 with no change in the net cost to a 2-party group which presently pays a total of $35 per licence.

3. the elimination of the need to include any money at the time the application is submitted so that only the hunters who will be required to pay any fee will be those who have been successful in the big game licence draw.

Mr. Speaker, before I announce other changes, I would first like to elaborate on the ones I have just stated. Under the previous system, when a hunting licence application arrived at the Cashier's Office, a receipt would have to be issued. Considering that the number of applications received in recent years has averaged 45,000, this procedure caused a number of problems. It resulted in a work overload for the Cashier's Office staff, delays in processing applications, and ultimately, delays in the timing of the big game licence draw.

The delays in the draw caused considerable frustration for applicants who needed to know as early as possible if they were successful in receiving a licence in order to schedule their annual leave.

In the past, Government collected a non-refundable $5.00 application fee with each big game licence application. Each applicant had to submit it along with the appropriate licence fee when he or she applied for a licence. If the applicant was unsuccessful in the draw, the $25 licence fee was refunded.

These requirements have become too cumbersome to continue and have led to unnecessary inconveniences for the hunting public. Also, when applicants were unsuccessful in the draw, additional administrative costs were incurred for issuing and mailing thousands of refund cheques.

This problem would have been compounded by the need to refund GST on the license fee but not on the application fee. Dropping the application fee and the requirement to submit the licence fee along with the application fee will streamline the licencing process considerably.

The changes we are making, Mr. Speaker, will save Government time and money, make better use of human resources, and provide better service to the hunting public. These changes will not apply to resident caribou licences in Labrador, since they are not part of the draw process. Fees and procedures in Labrador will remain the same.

Mr. Speaker, this streamlining of the process will mean that in the long run hunters will pay less for the big game hunting opportunities since they will not be required to pay application fees in years when they are unsuccessful in the big game draw. The net effects of these changes are as follows:

The current cost to an individual hunter who is successful in the draw is $30 - the new cost is $35. The current cost to a two-party application successful in the draw is $35. Therefore, there is no increased cost to these applicants. The new procedure will maintain approximately the same level of revenue and result in more than a $30,000 savings in administrative costs.

These changes will be described in the new Application Guide which will be mailed out shortly. Applications are being distributed later than last year because of the time required to implement these changes before the applications could be mailed.

However, the timing of the draw and the notification of applicants should not be significantly delayed because the new measures will expedite the process. We expect that timing of the licensing operation and the notification of applicants to be greatly improved in subsequent years.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) in the Budget Speech?

MR. KELLAND: Mr. Speaker, I submit that the Opposition -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. Member to carry on with his Ministerial Statement, please.

MR. KELLAND: Mr. Speaker, I would also like to announce the quotas for the 1991 hunt and a change which will affect those wishing to take Hunter Capability testing this year. The moose quotas on the Island have been increased another 22.5 per cent over the 1990 quotas to 29,227 licences, which is 5369 more than last year.

Caribou licences on the Island are increased by 8 per cent to 2640 licenses, 195 more than last year. In Labrador, 145 moose licences are available for the 1991-92 season, an increase of fifteen licences or 11.5 per cent from the 1990 quotas.

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

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Minister is reading his speech, and we do not have copies of it. I understand the Minister is not permitted to read in the House.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I am not aware that the rule of reading applies to Ministerial Statements. It has never been applied in this House before. I say to the hon. Member, it is not a point of order.

With respect to providing copies, again there is no obligation other than the courtesy to certainly supply it to the Opposition spokesman, and I trust the hon. Minister has done that.

The hon. the Minister.

MR. KELLAND: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We provided, of course, a copy to the official Opposition. And as it has been ruled in the House that a private Member does not have the opportunity to respond to Ministerial Statements he would not be given a copy, but he will get a copy subsequently.

These increases on the Island are made because our moose populations are high in most areas and can withstand an even greater harvest in spite of the substantial increases made in last year's quotas. Caribou populations on the Island are also doing reasonably well but they are much lower than moose.

It should be noted that the Department is committed to finding ways and means of conducting census counts of big game as soon as resources can be found. Areas of concern include moose populations in certain parts of Labrador, and moose and caribou herds in certain parts of the Island. This is necessary from both a sound management and sustainable harvest point of view.

I would now like to announce a change in the time of the Hunter Capability Test, Mr. Speaker.

Over 87,000 residents have now passed the test which in the past has been available to people from May to October or November of each year. However, in view of the hectic nature of our Wildlife Officers' schedules at that time, testing in the fall has become increasingly difficult.

It has also become too expensive to conduct testing over such a long period of time, often with only small numbers of people participating in each test.

For these reasons, we are going to concentrate the testing period between early April and the end of June. In this way we will complete testing before the summer holiday period.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I would like to announce some changes that will be of interest to small game hunters. Until now, hunters of both game birds and snowshoe hare and arctic hare had to purchase two separate licences at a cost of ten dollars each. For 1991, only one licence will be required at a cost of $15. This will result in a $5 reduction in costs to small game hunters who normally purchase both licences and will allow a hunter to take ptarmigan, ruffed and spruce grouse, snowshoe hare, and arctic

hare on a single licence in the applicable areas.

We are also changing the fee for a non-resident small game licence which previously cost the same as a resident licence.

The fee is now set at $25, which is ten dollars more than a resident would pay. Figures, Mr. Speaker, should remain approximately the same and again there will be significant savings in administrative costs.

We are also establishing for the first time a free Small Game Youth Licence for anyone 15 years of age and under. This licence will be for snaring only, Mr. Speaker, and will make it easier for our young people to share in the responsible use of our wildlife resources.

It should be noted, however, that the initiative is intended for our young hunters. Hunters who are 16 years of age and older who participate in small game hunting in any way will be required to have their own licences. Participation, in this context, mean accompanying free licence holders on hunting trips, collecting game from snares on behalf of free licence holders, or any other activity deemed to be part of the hunt.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I believe that these changes which I have announced here today are positive changes which show sound judgement and fiscal responsibility for the future. These changes will be beneficial to our provincial wildlife system, to departmental officials, and to the people of our Province.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains.

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

First I want to thank the Minister for giving me an advanced copy of his statement. In fact, about an hour ago he gave me his statement and I really appreciate it.

Mr. Speaker, at the same time I want to congratulate the Minister and his Department for increasing the moose licences by an extra 5,000. I believe he should go a little bit further and increase it probably to 7,000 or 8,000 or 9,000 because I think, until we tackle the problem in this Province with moose on the highways, we are going to see more lives lost and more damage to our people.

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to say I am quite pleased to see the increase in fees for non-resident small game licences. This is worthwhile too, Mr. Speaker. And I also want to say, Mr. Speaker, I am quite pleased to see free game licences for children under the age of 15. That is good news too, Mr. Speaker.

Now, Mr. Speaker, however, I have to go back and say to the Minister, with all of those announcements there is still $59,000 extra taxes that the people in the Province will pay - an extra $59,000. And, Mr. Speaker, if the Minister does not believe it, on page B-4 in the Budget it says there: Combined rabbit and partridge licences an extra $27,000; Eliminating big game application fees an extra $32,000, Mr. Speaker. Now, that is an increase of $59,000. Now, Mr. Speaker, that is in the document.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is in the Budget.

MR. WARREN: Now, Mr. Speaker, let us look at an example of what he is doing. Let us look at the small game licences. Ninety per cent of the people in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador today when they buy a small game licence they also buy a rabbit licence. Now only about 10 per cent buy the licence for the small game birds. Now, Mr. Speaker, even though that 90 per cent out there want to go rabbit catching they have to buy the combined licence which is costing them an extra $5. So here is the Minister trying to deceive the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: You tell him, Garfield.

MR. WARREN: Now, Mr. Speaker, in this statement there is not one word mentioned about Sunday hunting.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. WARREN: The Minister was too cowardly to come forward when 35,000 people said to the Minister they wanted Sunday hunting. The Minister was afraid to stand up, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I do not need to take seven or eight minutes because all this means is the Minister came in with a Ministerial Statement telling the people of Newfoundland and Labrador that there is going to be an extra 5,000 moose licence, but there is an extra $60,000 in taxes that the people will have to pay. That is what the Minister has told the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, in closing I must say one final thing: I can see trouble five or six months down the road when the small game licences come out. In all the schools throughout Newfoundland and Labrador there are all kinds of field trips. Every morning on VOCM, I listen to Dick Reeves giving the school report. Next year Dick Reeves is going to come on and he is going to say: would the students of MacPherson please be advised that your rabbit snaring trip is on today.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WARREN: So this is another activity of this Government, an activity for the school children to go out rabbit catching.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is for the Minister of Finance. Will the Minister of Finance confirm that the total salary savings for Government Departments - now I want the Minister to clearly understand that I am not talking about savings resulting from layoffs by hospital boards, or nursing home boards, or boards running the post-secondary institutions, or the university - just Government Departments, the fourteen or fifteen Government Departments - will the Minister confirm that the salary savings for Government Departments as a result of cutbacks announced in the Budget, and layoffs announced in the Budget in the public service in Departments, will amount to only $1.3 million for the coming fiscal year?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, my understanding is that there will be 650 people involved with layoffs within the Government Departments, and if you multiply that by the average salary - I do not know what the average salary is offhand, but maybe $20,000 or $30,000 at the low end - that should be about $20 million. I do not understand where the Member is getting his figures from.

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

So, the Minister has confirmed that he anticipates that it will be more that $1.3 million, and so would we. Mr. Speaker, I would assume that the Minister of Finance would have his estimates book, 1991, at his fingertips. If he does I would like for him to refer to it, and I refer the Minister to Page 277 in those estimates. Now, once the Minister gets his book I will very slowly and carefully run through Page 277 with him. Page 277, Mr. Speaker, is entitled Summary of Salary Costs by Department, and it lists all the Government Departments and their salary bills. Now, will the Minister confirm that this table on Page 277 shows a revised salary expenditure of $326.4 million for 1990-91 - the Minister is nodding his head but he can say it verbally when he gets up if he wishes - and will he confirm that an estimated expenditure of $321.2 million is confirmed in that table for 1991-92. Now, will the Minister agree that if these figures are adjusted to remove the salary costs of persons employed in the Employment Opportunity Program in the Department of Social Services and the Employment Enhancement Program - the Minister will see a footnote explaining those on the bottom of Page 277 - if those figures for both the last fiscal year and this fiscal year are adjusted to take accord of that footnote, in other words salary costs that are spent out in Ming's Bight, Harbour Deep and everywhere else employing people in the community development programs, if these figures are adjusted for that, will the Minister confirm that the salary estimates for bonafide civil servants employed in Departments is $300.1 million for 1990-91 and $298.8 million for 1991-92, a difference or a saving of $1.3 million. Can the Minister do his sums and confirm these figures, Mr. Speaker?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, I gladly take that as notice and I will look into his question and have an answer for the House tomorrow.

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, that is some Order Paper question - the document that the Minister brought into this House last Thursday. Let me ask the Minister this question. Can the Minister explain how he can lay off 650 persons in Government Departments, eliminate 500 vacant positions, and only save $1.3 million - according to his own figures - or is the Minister out to demonstrate again this year, like he did last year, that he is incapable of doing his own sums competently and correctly?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, I am glad to take lessons from the mathematical wizards across the House who ran this Province so ineptly for so long. What the hon. the Leader of the Opposition is not taking into account is that what we were faced with was a potential Budget deficit of $200 million. And it is not what it was last year, it is what it would have been this year had we not taken the appropriate steps, and that is what is missing from his mathematics, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. RIDEOUT: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker. Maybe the Minister of Finance will try to explain to some of the mathematical wizards he is laying off how come he is only going to save $1.3 million this year, and some of them are mathematical wizards and computer wizards and a heck of a lot more of a wizard than the Minister is, Mr. Speaker.

Now, Mr. Speaker, let me ask the Minister this. Is this paltry saving of $1.3 million, and that is what it is this year, the Minister cannot get out of it, is this paltry saving of $1.3 million worth the hardship and the pain that this Government and this Minister are inflicting on 651 men and women who worked for Government Departments, their families and relatives in Newfoundland and Labrador? Is it worth $1.3 million?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

DR. KITCHEN: The Leader of the Opposition is attempting to pretend that there is no financial problem facing this Province and what he is doing is misleading the people of Newfoundland in the tenor of his questions.

AN HON. MEMBER: You are misleading them.

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, had we not taken the drastic steps we had to take in this Budget, and had we not been able to borrow the almost $600 million that we are faced with having to borrow this year to repay debt that is coming due, as well as our $58 million deficit on current account, plus our capital borrowings, almost $600 million, had we been placed in a situation where we would have been unable to borrow, then we would have had to layoff, Mr. Speaker, 25,000 public servants.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition on a supplementary.

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, I am quoting the Minister's figures he tabled in his Budget in this House on Thursday. If anybody is misleading the people in Newfoundland and Labrador, it is the incompetent bungling Minister, Mr. Speaker!

Now, I want to ask the Minister, Mr. Speaker, is he prepared to stand behind the figures that he tabled as a Budget in this House last Thursday, or does he want to go out and bring in a new set of figures as he should have done last year, when he brought in the most deceitful, fraudulent Budget this Province has seen?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, I will provide the figures tomorrow, as I indicated, and I do stand behind the figures in the Budget.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I want to ask a question of the President of Treasury Board. Yesterday, in response to questions that I asked about layoffs in the Public Service, I think both he and the Premier in fact, gave the clear impression that the unions, in discussions leading up to the decision, really offered no solution to the layoff of thousands of employees. Indeed, he said they exhibited a lack of co-operation; those are his words, `they exhibited a lack of co-operation'. Is that still his position?

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As the hon. Member knows, what I pointed out to this hon. House was that as soon as we recognized what a serious financial problem we had, I spoke individually and with groups of union leaders in terms of the Public Service of this Province. I explained to them the very serious -

PREMIER WELLS: In October.

MR. BAKER: That was in October. I explained to them the very serious financial problem the Province was facing, I explained to them that the budgetary process we were now getting into, we were going to Departments and asking for impacts of frozen Budgets. I explained all this to them and, at the same time, indicated to them that we would like any input; we have asked for management input throughout our system, we would now like input from the Organized Labour Movement associated with the Public Service in this Province. What I did point out to the hon. Member was that there was some input from some union sources, but by and large there was indifference and an indication that they did not believe that we had a financial problem.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, one of the reasons for that, of course, is that the Government, every time somebody raised the question of layoffs and a difficult budget coming, always said it was `fearmongering' and all the rest of it. So they did not have much incentive.

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask a supplementary to the President of Treasury Board. Can he confirm that before the Budget was finalized, and before that now infamous February 24 Sunday meeting that was held with unions, and another one just prior to that, as I understand it, that in fact a proposal was discussed with one particular union whereby all Government employees would take a two week leave of absence as a way of saving jobs, money, and avoiding layoffs? And if it was discussed, why didn't the Government consider it and save jobs?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Opposition - I am sorry, the hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And thanks for the correction as well.

During our very torturous examination of the financial condition of this Province, I should imagine almost every conceivable option imaginable was at one point or another discussed in terms of Cabinet. We were searching for options and I suppose every possibility at some point in time was examined. But to get to the specific intent, I suppose, of the hon. Member's question, there was no formal presentation by the unions at these meetings or before those meetings concerning that one particular option, although it may have been mentioned. I have had many discussions with the union leaderships since last October, verbal discussions face-to-face, and letters back and forth; I have had many discussions with union leaders and some of them have suggested a number of options, so I would not rule out that, at some point in time, having been mentioned, either by me or by some individual union leader.

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

MR. SIMMS: A slight difference, I think, from the response we got yesterday, I believe. Mr. Speaker, let me ask a further supplementary then to the President of Treasury Board if I may. First of all, I say to the President of Treasury Board, or I ask him, did he actually request formal presentations to be made by the unions? Since he did not get any formal responses, did he ask for formal requests and alternatives? And can I ask him, as well, in addition to asking the unions for their suggestions and proposals, what proposals did the Government make in their discussions with union groups for discussion and consideration to avoid this situation?

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Starting with the last first. We did not make proposals. We explained

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. BAKER: Well, I am telling you what I have been telling you for months. We have explained to the union leadership the seriousness of our financial problem. We have asked for input from them. We went to all of the management groups around the Province, asked for input from them, and Government collects the information and makes its decisions. We were not asking these people to make decisions for us. We did not put options to them. We did not suggest things to them in that process, starting in October. We asked for input from the public service unions of this Province, we asked for that input. And I will repeat again, what I said a moment ago is not in contradiction of anything I have said before.

There were some suggestions from some unions. As a matter of fact, one union actually held a convention in Gander, bringing together their people from all around the Province, and put together a formal presentation and gave it to me concerning what they thought should be done. So there was certainly some input. But by and large, the reaction was that there was no belief that we had a financial problem. That, or they just did not care about it and just wanted us to make the decisions without any input from them.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Opposition House Leader, a final supplementary.

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I guess it is pretty clear from everything we have been hearing now in the last couple of days, and particularly today, that this Government was hell-bent and determined on laying off employees. That was their objective.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: But, Mr. Speaker, my supplementary is to the Premier. We hear from reports that apparently the Government has reached some kind of an agreement with the RNC to avoid layoffs. I want to ask the Premier now if he would consider rescinding layoff notices. Would he consider stopping the process of further layoffs in the Public Service? And will he now call in the public sector unions and sit down with them and try to develop a plan that might save essential public services and save jobs in the Province? Does he have any flexibility at all?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, we had flexibility starting last October, when we advised the unions, as the President of Treasury Board has said, of what the circumstances were and what the potential impacts were on the Government of this Province and on the Public Service of this Province. In our meetings that took place, I believe on February 20 and 24, on the 20th with representatives from unions on an individual basis and on the 24th there were representatives of four unions present, we told them clearly, `we are seeking input from you, not negotiating. We are not asking you to accept responsibility for the decisions. We are going to take the decision. It is our responsibility. We are not trying to shed it to the unions. Even if you give us advice, the overall interest of the Province may not enable us to implement it in the way that you suggest, but we want to hear your point of view.'

Now that, as I recall, is essentially what we said to each one of the groups individually and collectively. If there is some way of enabling the Province to cope with its financial situation in a way that has less impact on the ability of the Province to govern itself in this coming year and in the future, we will be happy to hear from the unions or anybody else involved. We don't close our mind to anything. But I remind this hon. House, Mr. Speaker, that we have to think in terms not only of this coming fiscal year.

Hon. Members will remember that the Federal Minister of Finance announced in his Budget that the cutbacks for this current fiscal year, which was announced a year ago in the Budget, it is now going to be extended for the next three years. So we have to deal with this problem not alone in this fiscal year, but we have to deal with it in this coming fiscal year and the next three. So we have to make decisions in a way that enables us to keep the Province on a sound financial basis, and that requires balancing on a fair basis the borrowing we can do, the taxes we can raise, and the reduction of expenditures.

MR. RIDEOUT: (Inaudible) call them in for that discussion?

PREMIER WELLS: No, you cannot call them in.

MR. RIDEOUT: You will not call them in.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains.

MR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, my question is also to the Premier.

In the Budget, the Minister of Finance said that the electrical subsidy to the three denominational colleges on Memorial University campus will be phased out over the next three years. Is the Premier aware that the previous Liberal administration agreed to defray the cost of electricity, and that this commitment was honoured by successive Progressive Conservative administrations?

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member will recall that last year the Government announced that the electrical subsidy to the colleges would be terminated as of the end of 1990-91. In the interim, we have met with some of the officials of the colleges and we determined that instead of ending it this year, we would phase it out over the next three years. So really it is a change of an earlier decision, Mr. Speaker, which gives the colleges time to find other sources of revenue to replace the subsidy money.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains.

MR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, my supplementary is again to the Premier.

Why is the Premier now refusing to honour the word of former Premier Smallwood to the churches of this Province? Why is he treating the churches the same as he is treating the First Ministers of Canada and the union leaders of Newfoundland and Labrador? Who can trust the Premier of this Province when he refuses to honour the obligations of previous Governments, including one in which he served himself?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, our concern is for the people of the Province. That is what motivates us in taking the action. Maybe the hon. Members opposite failed to do it, and that is why they are where they are today. We have to justify taking money out of people's pockets generally and giving it to any specific group; we have to justify it. And if it cannot be justified, then we should stop the practice.

Now it was announced last year that this would be eliminated. The groups concerned made a case for phasing it out instead of eliminating it all in one year. The Minister of Education, the Minister of Public Works, and I guess the Cabinet generally, took a look at the proposal and agreed that in the circumstances that was fair, but we could no longer agree that we would charge everybody who went to a store 12 per cent sales tax and take money from everybody and give it to a specific group on that basis. So that is the basis on which we made the decision; that is the basis on which we have made a great many other decisions. It is called fairness and balance.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains.

MR. WARREN: I thank the Premier for his answer, Mr. Speaker. However, at the same time I am going to table a copy of a Treasury Board Report of July 1975 where the Government of the day agreed that the colleges would be forgiven their electricity. I want to ask the Premier a final question: Is the Premier aware, when he is talking about fairness and balance -

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

I want to advise the hon. Member that we made a ruling some time ago about the tabling of documents by private Members. The hon. Member is not allowed to table the document. He can proceed with his question, of course.

MR. WARREN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I will pass it along to the media instead.

My final supplementary is to the Premier. Is the Premier aware, when he is talking about fairness and balance, that by taking away roughly $250,000 from the three churches which have colleges at Memorial University - colleges and residences - he is forcing the three churches to close down the residences, and outport Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will again have to pay more in order to get a proper education in this Province?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, there are no residences going to close down that I know of.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

PREMIER WELLS: I have no doubt the University will deal with that issue if, as, and when it arises. And whether the churches operate the residences or the University operates the residences will be for the churches and the University to decide. We still, Mr. Speaker, have to make the right decisions and to treat people fairly and spend the money of the taxpayers wisely. We can no more justify some of the expenditures that were in place, and put in place by former Premier Moores' Government, which he is talking, about in July 1975, not Mr. Smallwood -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Smallwood was not there in 1975.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: But in any event, Mr. Speaker, there were expenditures and commitments. The former Government committed to give 1,263 automobiles and pick-ups to people employed in the public service to drive around.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Shame! Shame!

PREMIER WELLS: We have cut that now to 908.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

PREMIER WELLS: We have cut that so far by 360, and we are going to save millions of dollars for the taxpayers. We are going to continue to do that and spend the taxpayers' money wisely, and we are going to do the same thing in respect of the church colleges on the University.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Harbour Main.

MR. DOYLE: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations is one of the people in this Government who is directly responsible for the creation of employment in the Province. We have now 2,500 people being laid off, and the unemployment rate is now at 19.5 per cent. Would the Minister tell us today what plans she has as Employment Minister to offset the terrible effect, the drastic effect these layoffs are going to have?

MR. SIMMS: A good question.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MS. COWAN: Thank you, very much, Mr. Speaker.

First of all the figure that my hon. critic gives of 19 per cent unemployment is the seasonally adjusted rate, and in fact we are showing greater strength in that area in Newfoundland than we have in the past, and are faring very well against the rest of Canada. That is not to say that we still do not have a long way to go. We have more people entering the work force and getting full-time jobs which has a very positive impact.

Now, regarding the second point in his question: what plans do I have? If you look at the Budget you will see what plans are there for employment programs at this time. My answer will be the same as it has been in the past to my hon. critic, that we will continue to watch the situation. Obviously, the layoffs in the civil service are going to impact on the unemployment rate in the Province, and we can expect that. Certainly, we looked at it and explored it at the Cabinet level in making this decision. I will be continuing, with my colleagues, to monitor the situation such as we find in the Burin Peninsula, where unemployment is really high, and if we see need to take action we will, as we did last year with the Employment Stimulation Program.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Harbour Main.

MR. DOYLE: Mr. Speaker, the Minister's answer is different. Her answer the last time around was - let them go on welfare. I am glad she mentioned her Employment Generation Program. In view of the new unemployment rate, as I said 19.5 per cent, could the Minister tell the House how she can possibly justify reducing the Employment Generation Program budget from the budgeted amount of $2.9 million last year down to $1.5 million this year, a cut of almost 50 per cent? Can she tell me how she can justify that?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MS. COWAN: Mr. Speaker, again, this was one of the very painful decisions that we as a Government were forced to take. Perhaps, if the Member opposite with his colleagues, would look deep into their hearts and acknowledge one of the reasons why we had to take these actions, my hon. colleague in particular would not be so ready to leap to his feet. As it is we have $1 million to continue the program, those monies already committed to individuals who had found employment, and we have $500,000 to put into creating new jobs.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Harbour Main.

MR. DOYLE: So what the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations is telling the people of the Province is she has no new money for employment generation this year and has reduced her budget by $1.5 million for the coming fiscal year. Could the Minister of Employment, again on her Employment Generation Program, tell the House why her revised estimates in the Budget, delivered just a few days ago, shows that $700,000 was not used from the Employment Generation Program of last year?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MS. COWAN: That particular point he ended with regarding the $700,000: in fact, we were not able to spend because of fiscal requirements which did not allow us to spend that money because there would have been a carry-over into the following year.

On your first question let us not fool ourselves and try to fool the public, Mr. Speaker, that the Employment Generation Program is the only program in Government that is trying to get people employed. That is absolute nonsense. We have a variety of programs that are trying to improve the employment rate in this Province, not only in my Department. If you would like to look at your Budget you will see them. There are all kinds of worthwhile projects being done under various agreements that we have with the Federal Government. Also, under the Minister of Development, we have all kinds of projects. It would appear, Mr. Speaker, that the answer is, they cannot 'bare' to hear.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS. COWAN: The Government remains committed to increasing employment. We heard the hon. Premier the other day when he referred to our not increasing taxes, that this was one of the ways we were trying to encourage business. And through the encouragement of business we will encourage employment. I could stand here for hours, Mr. Speaker, talking about what we are going to do to increase employment, but they do not want to hear it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

I just want to remind the hon. Minister of Employment and Labour Relations that Question Period is only half an hour, so we could not permit her to stay for hours and she should get to the point quickly.

I am sorry to advise hon. Members that Question Period has expired.

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, I have a number of documents to table: one is the Annual Report for 1989-90 of the Department of Finance; and a fine report it is, and I would be very glad to answer any questions asked concerning that.

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to table certain pre-commitments the tabling of which are required under The Financial Administration Act of 1973. I have four pre-commitments: one is for the Department of Education having to do with school books and supplies; for examination supplies $3,000; for purchase services and printing $100,000; and for textbooks pre-commitment $7 million; for a total of $7,103,000.

And, Mr. Speaker, a second pre-commitment to The Department of Works, Services and Transportation for purchases of equipment and components of $2.5 million, and $4 million for the purchase of heavy equipment; $2 million for the purchase of maintenance supplies. All this, of course, is subject to the freeze on the purchase of Government vehicles.

Mr. Speaker, a third pre-commitment to the Department of Forestry for $220,000 for the construction of approximately seven kilometers of forest resource road at Chouse Brook near the community of Hampden which was referred to yesterday by the hon. the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture.

And a fourth pre-commitment, Mr. Speaker, for $514,000 to The Department of Development to permit the awarding of contracts for the printing of tourist information literature.

And, Mr. Speaker, while I am on my feet I would like to table three Special Warrants. One of these Special Warrants is for $1.6 million, I will tell you what it is for now in a minute when I get the heading here, for the Hibernia project - Professional Services. And another Special Warrant for $1,411,400 to enable us to meet the payroll this week for Government personnel cost employee benefits. And the third amount, Mr. Speaker, is for the amount of $4,960,000 to enable us to pay social assistance for this month. I will give you the breakdown; $4.5 million for social assistance allowances and assistance; and $460,000 for foster homes.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Are there further Reports By Standing and Special Committees?

The hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains.

MR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of privilege. It is not very often I do this but I think I am compelled to at least get the record straight.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, yesterday in a debate when the Member for Mount Pearl was debating the Budget, during the debate the Minister of Education sort of said: do you want me to answer some of those questions? And I think there was a fair debate going back and forth between the Member for Mount Pearl and the Minister of Education. Mr. Speaker, I have a copy of Hansard from yesterday and I would like to quote, Mr. Speaker, what the Minister of Education said and I hope I can establish a point of privilege with his statement. And he says 'Last year', this was referring to the three church campuses or the three church residences on Memorial University campus, the Minister said, and I quote 'Last year we announced in last year's Budget that the subsidy totalling about $250,000 a year will be terminated this year.' Now I believe that is correct, the Minister did say that yesterday. And earlier today I understood the Minister said the same thing. And I understood the Premier said basically the same thing.

Mr. Speaker, last year, on April 26, 1990, after the Budget was presented the Member for Green Bay asked a question in this House, and the question was, and I repeat the question, because I want to establish my point of privilege: Mr. Hewlett: On April 9 this year three church-run residences on Memorial campus, namely Coughlan, St. John's and Queens, were told in writing that their electrical bills would no longer be paid for by the Crown. I would guess this is more budgetary smoke and mirrors. In the case of my old master, Coughlan College, this amounts to a slash of $60,000 or more and would close the facility. My question to the Minister is: why was this not mentioned in the original Budget speech? Now, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Baker answered -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. WARREN: - Mr. Speaker, Mr. Baker answered the question.

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

The hon. Member in raising a point of privilege should get to precisely what the point of privilege is. What he is now doing is engaging in debate as if the Chair had ruled that there was a prima facie case. So the hon. Member should make his point and make it clear.

MR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, if you will listen another two minutes I think the point will be made. And Mr. Baker responded to the question and he said: -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. WARREN: -The reason I am answering this question is because something came across my desk this morning related to that and caused me to do some research. I believe it was given to somebody in the course of Budget preparation and in the course of the year, indeed, there are many, many things which are considered by officials within Departments as Members opposite know who were in Cabinet, and this was one of the things that was mentioned in the memo. I believe that went from the Department of Education to Development. That came to my attention this morning and it is why I have cause to research this. The reason this was not mentioned in the Budget speech is that it is not true.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Now, now!

MR. WARREN: Now, Mr. Speaker, one of the two Ministers is telling a lie. Mr. Speaker, either the Minister of Education or the President of Treasury Board has told a lie. Now, Mr. Speaker, I will go further and say to the Minister of Education, if he is willing to withdraw the statement he made yesterday and the Premier is willing to withdraw the statement he made today, and the Minister is willing to withdraw the statement that he made today, then I will withdraw my case.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. First of all, the explanation is very simple.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. BAKER: The hon. Member last year, and I remember the incident well, was indicating that these budgets had been cut last year, and it is quite clear from what has been said today the answers are not (Inaudible). There was an announcement made last year that for the coming fiscal year, which is this one, that there would be a cut. But there was no cut last year, and this is what the Members were on at the time, they were saying that all of a sudden somehow, we were cutting off these three colleges. And my point was, no, that was not being done, and it was not done last year, it did not happen last year, Mr. Speaker.

So there is absolutely no conflict at all. The Minister has said that the plans were there last year to cut it out in this fiscal year but now we have reviewed it and decided to do the phase-in over three years in the future.

So, Mr. Speaker, I do not know what the hon. Member is trying to prove. And what is more, Mr. Speaker, even if there were a difference in terms of the two answers that would not by any stretch of the imagination constitute a point of privilege in this House.

MR. SPEAKER: To the hon. Member: I have heard enough submissions but I will certainly take a brief comment.

The hon. Member for St. Mary's - The Capes.

MR. HEARN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. It is quite clear, the evidence is there in black and white, that the Minister of Education yesterday lied to this hon. House.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. HEARN: The Minister -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

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

The hon. gentleman is on a point of privilege and in making a point of privilege of course the hon. Member will have to make a motion accordingly, and we will take care of it in due course.

MR. HEARN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Because that is the basis of the point of privilege, the hon. gentlemen might not realize that but they will learn. The Minister said yesterday quite clearly, in fact -

AN HON. MEMBER: The sook is gone now.

MR. HEARN: - I will point out two statements that the Minister made which apparently are untrue. He said: last year we announced in the Budget that the subsidy totalling about $250,000 a year would be terminated this year, that is what the Minister said, they announced that in the Budget. Nowhere in the Budget Speech or Estimates will these figures appear, Mr. Speaker.

He further went on to say: we have met with the boards from the various institutions, today he said: we met with some officials; maybe the Minister will want to explain the difference between the boards and some officials, however, the President -

AN HON. MEMBER: It is pathetic.

AN HON. MEMBER: You are pathetic.

MR. HEARN: - of Treasury Board, in responding last year to the Member for Green Bay -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. HEARN: - following up to the original question and answers quoted by my colleague, the Member for Torngat Mountains -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I am asking hon. Members, to please bear with the hon. Member, I am going to listen to a very short further statement by him. The Chair has heard enough but I will let the hon. Member proceed.

MR. HEARN: Mr. Speaker, I think what I have to say will give further evidence to the fact that the Minister misrepresented the truth yesterday in the House.

The Member for Green Bay, in his questioning, determined that a memo had been sent or a letter had been sent from a high official in the Department of Public Works, stating that the subsidies would be cut. The Minister or the President of Treasury Board, in explaining the letter says: ' a letter, yes', and I ask you, Mr. Speaker to listen carefully to the words here; the letter refers to April 1, 1991 which is the date that is in the next fiscal year and therefore would not affect this Budget year, but, it was not in the Budget, it was a letter, but I need to go a step further and say to the hon. Member, that this was an item that was under discussion, under consideration as many hundreds of thousands of other items are, and that the decision has not been to go ahead with it, so, he is saying, they decided last year not to go ahead with it, it was not mentioned in the Budget and the Minister stood up yesterday and told us that it was decided in the Budget to go ahead with it and consequently that is why the subsidy was cut and, Mr. Speaker, the Minister did not tell the truth in the House yesterday and we ask you to rule accordingly.

MR. SIMMS: You are the pathetic one, have a look at (inaudible).

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

Hon. Members know that to make the accusation that somebody misled the House is not a point of privilege. The Chair has ruled on that several times. It is a difference of opinion between two hon. Members or it is a dispute as to the facts and it is a matter of debate, more than a matter of privilege.

Being Wednesday, Private Members Day, I think it is the Private Members Day for Pleasantville so I call on the Member for Pleasantville to present his resolution.

MR. NOEL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today, Mr. Speaker, to propose a motion in relation to the devastating policy of the Federal Government of this Country in its effort to redistribute the cost of running the Country, penalize those of us who live in the outlying areas of the Country, and increase the benefits for those who live in the central part of the Country.

As the motion begins, Mr. Speaker: WHEREAS the Government of Canada has presented, through Transport Canada, proposals to recover from users certain costs associated with air and marine transport services.

Now, Transport Canada's proposed new cost recovery policy, phase 2 discussion paper, follows release in May of 1987 of a discussion paper proposing guidelines and principles for increased cost recovery. The phase 2 discussion paper, which applies to both the air and marine modes, provides a clear understanding of the approach and methods that would be employed to determine the recovery levels.

Now, the purpose of this policy of the Federal Government, which is not really a new policy, they have always recovered some of the costs for the various services they provide in the country. But this is a new effort to essentially recover all of the costs, and they say that the purpose for adopting the policy is to contribute to the Government's efforts to reduce the deficit and ensure that users bear a fair share of the costs of facilities and services from which they derive benefits; relieve the general taxpayer of financial burdens properly born by users of the transportation system; impose greater discipline on user demands for additional or better facilities and services; and improve the efficiency of the transportation system.

Now, they say that is the purpose of this cost recovery program, and who could fault such a motivation? Who could fault such a policy in a Federal Government or any Government in this Country? It would be a laudable policy, Mr. Speaker, if the Country were run in a businesslike manner, then it could not be faulted, if we lived in a competitive economy, where the economy and the political system were not organized to benefit parts of the country. If we lived in an economy where Newfoundlanders, for instance, could buy all of the goods and services we consume at the best prices available in the world rather than being forced to buy them from the protected industries of Central Canada, and we have to do so at prices far above the world market, and, Mr. Speaker, even far above the American market.

Just last year a study done by the Toronto Globe and Mail indicated that the price, for instance, for ground beef in the United States was $1.73 a pound compared to $3.00 a pound in Toronto. The comparison was between business outlets in Washington and Toronto. The price of bacon was 46 cents for 100 kilograms in Washington and 74 cents in Toronto. And, Mr. Speaker, we all know our prices are far above Toronto prices. A bottle of ketchup was 26 cents in Washington and 53 cents in Toronto. People don't understand the price differences between Canada and the United States, you know. A lot of people do not appreciate the high cost of living we have in this country. A six pack of beer was $2.31 in Washington and $6.25 in Toronto - imagine, almost three times as much. A Mac computer was $1,160 in Washington and $1,799 in Toronto, almost 50 per cent more. A Maytag washer was $685 in Washington and $900 in Toronto.

So, we live in a very high cost country, Mr. Speaker, and particular regions benefit from the high costs, and that is the region that is now finding increased competitive pressures as a result of the free trade agreement with the United States, as a result of the increasing global competition in the world, and as a result of the Americans forcing trading relationships between the two countries that no longer permit central Canada to benefit from the extent that it had become accustomed to from trade between the two countries.

They are trying now to pass on the cost of free trade and the competitive marketplace, but they have no intention of passing on any of the benefits, Mr. Speaker. How many cars are built in Newfoundland or Atlantic Canada? This country is not run like a business and Transport Canada is not pursuing cost recovery efforts for that purpose. This is another chapter in what I call the voodoo economics of Confederation, the smoke and mirrors that my friend across the way is referring to today. It is not Transport Canada trying to be more businesslike, Mr. Speaker, it is Central Canada, through their majority in the House of Commons in Ottawa, trying to get other Canadians to bear more of the costs of Confederation, and trying to preserve more of the benefits for themselves. Central Canada trying to get the outlying provinces to pay a larger share of the costs of maintaining the institutions and structures keeping this country together, and it is Central Canada, again, increasing the costs and lowering the standard of living in other parts of the country. It is another reason why we have to change the manner in which this Country is governed if it is going to be worthwhile remaining part of it.

Revenue sharing plays a much more important role in Canada than it does in most countries in the world. It has been talked of as the kind of glue which holds the country together, and that is necessary because we have such a fabricated economy in Canada. We do not operate in accordance with a market system and we have not developed one of the most competitive environments in the world.

Transfers are the second largest item in Federal spending, amounting to some $40 billion a year. They account for a quarter of all provincial budgets in the Country and something like 44 per cent in this Province, an increase, I think, from about 48 per cent just over the last three years. But, you should note that federal transfers acquire for an average of 25 per cent of all the provincial governments in the country, so it is not just Newfoundland and it is not just the poorer provinces who benefit from transfer payments. As we all know it goes to all of the provinces. Cost recovery, Mr. Speaker, is the latest vehicle being employed by the Federal Government to change the balance of economic benefits and the advantages of Confederation throughout the country.

Now, the Transport Canada cost recovery proposals indicate users of marine and air services are being expected to meet recovery targets of $25 million and $40 million respectively in the first year the proposals are to be implemented. The only recognition of long distances is provided by capping the marine navigation service charge at 300 nautical miles and thereby reducing costs for all the ports between Quebec City and Thunder Bay - Central Canada again. Another policy provision again to the advantage of Central Canada, and not to the advantage of the outlying areas of the country. Newfoundland air carriers will pay increased landing fees and full air navigation fees. Shipping companies will pay a flat monthly fee for a net registered ton. Estimates of annual fees exceed $50,000 per vessel and the current recession has these carriers operating in a very thin margin such that cost recovery may drive them from the marketplaces. In airports such as Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver where traffic volumes are heavy, the cost per aircraft to meet the costs associated with that airport is small. The less heavily used airports such as St. John's, Deer Lake, and Gander will pay higher costs per aircraft.

The large market for air services in Central Canada already has many advantages, such as lower fares per seat mile and special fares which are not available in the outlying parts of the country. The bottom line of cost recovery, Mr. Speaker, is to place a larger proportional burden of user pay on remote, less populated areas of the country.

AN HON. MEMBER: You are not allowed to read your speech.

MR. NOEL: This goes completely against the philosophy of cost-sharing through cross-subsidy upon which Canada was founded.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Shame!

MR. NOEL: The hon. gentleman opposite might make a greater impression on people if he gave a little more thought to the remarks he makes in this House before he makes them.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. NOEL: As it is so often with the Federal Government, Mr. Speaker, the figures currently being discussed appear to be small figures and they are small in relation to the total cost being talked about. Forty million dollars for air services in comparison with a potential of $517 million, I believe. And $40 million in comparison with a potential of $1.2 billion, in potential costs which may be recovered for air services. And in the marine area $25 million in comparison with a potential of $517 million, which may be recovered.

Now this does not seem like a lot at present, but it is a great way to get to establish the principle and to get the Federal Government and its departments into cost recovery, and once they get that done then they can keep increasing the rates as they have done with so many other things in this country, and keep moving the costs from the centre of the country, where the benefits of Confederation are concentrated, to the outlying areas.

Now Air Nova, for instance, has indicated that it anticipates its costs to increase from a present $178 per metric ton to $201 in the first year of cost recovery, and $13.64 per ton under full implementation. An increase from $1.78 to $13.64.

Their overall impact is estimated to be in excess of $1 million in the first year, an increase of 12.7 per cent for most services, 100 per cent for air navigational services and a total in excess of $1 million for the whole year. And that is just in Atlantic Canada.

Air Nova's opinion is that Government charges and fees are going up 24 per cent, and there is a Transport Canada document on the table which has identified a 400 per cent increase in landing fees alone, under full cost recovery if it is implemented. The real cost in revenue data from one of Canada's regional airlines shows the airline in question could lose 30 per cent of its passengers if full cost recovery were to be implemented. The loss of 30 per cent, they contend, would mean the end of current airline service levels to numerous small and remote communities in Atlantic Canada.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we are talking about substantial sums here, and substantial penalties to the remote parts of this country. An increase for instance: by the time landing fees, if they are fully implemented over the next three to five years, a small plane landing in St. John's would absorb a cost of $11.66 per ton compared to $2.35 in Vancouver. Now that is not kind of contract that we made when we became part of Canada.

This cost recovery program will not just be limited to travellers and airlines and our transport industry, but it could extend to our basic industries, and one of the most important industry in this Province which stands to be vulnerable is the iron ore industry in Labrador. According to the Canadian Shipowners Association what may appear to be minor increases in the delivered cost of iron ore can cause sudden shifts in the delicate balance governing the ability to penetrate competitive hinterlands resulting in cost sales and markets particularly to foreign competition, free of this burden. The potential for competitive disruption is perhaps greatest in iron ore, in particular. And they estimate that under full implementation this could cost our iron ore industry some $4 million to $4.5 million per year. While it is not a big number in comparison with the value of the industry, it is a serious cost insofar as our exports are concerned because we are talking about a very competitive world market in which small amounts make a big difference. They could cut out the whole market.

The concern is such that both mining companies in Labrador West as well as the town councils of Labrador City and Wabush have come out against the introduction of the fees.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the Federal Government wants to do all of this in spite of our rights under the Terms of Union, and in spite of all we gave to Canada as part of becoming a province.

Under Term 33, Mr. Speaker, we turned over to Canada the Newfoundland Railway, our dockyards and wharves and harbours, the airport in Gander, Hotel Newfoundland, the other airports we have in the Province, some of which the Canadian Government helped build, some others of which the American government helped build. And the American shares have also since been turned over to the Federal Government. We turned over our public communications system, our broadcasting system, custom houses. We turned over a great deal to Canada, Mr. Speaker, in return for their commitment under Term 31, which obliged Canada to take over so many services in this Province.

And their undertaking was to relieve the Province of Newfoundland -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave!

MR. NOEL: If I may just have one minute, Mr. Speaker, to conclude this part?

MR. SPEAKER: By leave?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave.

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

MR. NOEL: Their undertaking was to relieve the Province of Newfoundland of the public costs incurred in respect of each service taken over. Now it is interesting how that has been interpreted over the years - to relieve the Province of the public costs incurred. I am sure the people who signed the Terms of Union expected that the understanding was that they would continue those services indefinitely at those kinds of cost levels. Not that sometime, twenty years, forty years along the way, they would look back to the Province to assume part of the costs for the responsibilities they had undertaken.

They were supposed to continue operating the Newfoundland Railway and steamships, civil aviation, protection and encouragement of fisheries, other public services. These are the responsibilities Canada took on when we became a Province, and these are the kinds of things that we gave up to Canada as part of the Confederation deal.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I believe the Government of Canada has begun in the past and is continuing to accelerate the extent to which it is endeavouring to welch on that deal, to impose more costs than we agreed to on this Province, and to retain more of the advantages for other people in this country. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Before recognizing the hon. Member I want to welcome to the gallery, on behalf of all hon. Members, Mr. George Billard, Deputy Mayor of Stephenville.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. Member for Kilbride.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I want to have just a few words on this resolution.

First of all, it has to be one of the most ill-timed resolutions that has ever come before this House of Assembly, I would expect, from the hon. Member's perspective. Only today did the Premier of this Province say in answering a question from the Member for Torngat Mountains, that they had to make decisions, and the decisions he was talking about was giving a subsidy to the residences at the University, some of them. The Premier said that during the process of preparing the Budget they had to make tough decisions on who would receive the money that is collected through the 12 per cent RST - they had to make decisions - and was it fair for the general taxpayers in the Province of Newfoundland to have to pay the cost of an electrical subsidy for residences at the University?

Now, Mr. Speaker, if the Premier got up to speak in this debate, and I doubt very much that he will, the Premier would give that same answer to the hon. Member. Because if you look at a study that was done by the Fraser Institute, which came across my desk a little while ago, and you want to look at who is benefitting most by the Federal Government continuing to subsidize the transportation costs, especially air transportation in Canada generally, you will find in this study that of the people who are benefitting most by Federal Government spending on transportation, 45 per cent of them are of the top 30 per cent of income earners in our country - 45 per cent of the people who benefit by the Federal Government subsidizing transportation and communication costs are the top 30 per cent of the earners in this country. So should we as general taxpayers, as the Premier said today, offer to the top 30 per cent of wage earners in this country, income earners in this country continued subsidies on transportation and communications costs? I do not know that we should.

Of the bottom 30 per cent of wage earners, only 13.1 per cent of those people benefit by Federal Government payments on communications and transportation spending. I would say that if the Premier was going to speak, especially if he uses the same rationale that he used in preparing his own Budget, he would say Well, we have to make choices. And I would imagine that is what the Federal Government is saying, too - We have to have to make choices as to where we can spend our money most efficiently. Should we continue to subsidize the top 30 per cent of the wage earners in this country, or should we try to get those people who are using the service to pay a fairer share? Because they can afford it. Forty- five per cent of them are earning more than $50,000 a year, and maybe they should pay a fairer share.

There is one other interesting statistic I saw in this. The hon. Member, especially in his speech in the Address in Reply to the Throne Speech, and again today, used some figures about the draconian Federal Government we have which is always beating down Newfoundland. There is a figure in this, and in actual taxes collected and actual money spent in this Province by the Federal Government, there is a difference. Newfoundland received $1.822 billion more than they paid in taxes in the year 1988. So, I mean, there must be some advantages. The Federal Government must be doing some good works in this Province, yet when we hear from the hon. Members, especially in their Private Member's resolutions, you would think that the Federal Government has abandoned us and left.

One interesting statistic I see in this, and I found it to be a bit surprising, is the net Federal spending benefits by province in 1970 as compared to 1988. Now 1970 was the big time of the Liberals, as far as I know. I think Trudeau was there. He spent so freely he almost bankrupted the country while he was there. But in 1970, they were great days for spending, the Liberal days, and Newfoundland's share in 1970, when the Liberals were in office in Ottawa, was $805 per capita, which ranked ninth in all of Canada for Federal Government spending benefits by province - in 1970.

Now that we have this Tory, free enterprise Government up there, you would expect that to fall a lot lower than that on a per capita basis. But what happened in 1988? For Federal Government services it was not $805 per capita as it was in 1970, it was $6,020 per capita - quite a big increase. And that does not say it all. We were ninth in 1970 when the Liberals were in place. Federal Government spending on Federal Government services now ranks us fourth in Canada. That, to me, does not sound like the information hon. Members opposite are giving, when they make statements in this House concerning the Federal Government.

Yes, I would like to see transportation costs kept down. Everyone would. That is a motherhood statement. This resolution by the hon. Member, if you read it over, is motherhood. Who is going to vote against that in this House of Assembly? I do not know that anyone would. They would be crazy if they did. The more (inaudible) keep it. We are the top 30 per cent wage earners in this country. You are benefitting yourself by keeping it down. That is what you are trying to do; you are the one who benefits most by Federal Government spending on transportation.

Mr. Speaker, this motion, this resolution here, the timing of it is completely inappropriate. Because, Mr. Speaker, since last Thursday the issues the people of this Province want to deal with today, the real issues, are the issues of trying to keep their homes, trying to be able to stay in their homes they have built over the past years; people who have worked for twenty-five and thirty years with the Provincial Government, who got their layoff notices yesterday, Mr. Speaker, kicked out on the streets, are going to lose their homes.

Mr. Speaker, I know of people in my district; one young couple, one of whom works as a security guard in this Province, which does not pay much money - you do not make much money as a security or a watchperson, whatever the title is - they scraped and saved and did whatever they could to try to get a home for themselves. They were very fortunate, because their family had some land. Their family gave them some land for free and they scraped together enough money to put a dwelling on it two years ago. He was fired yesterday, Mr. Speaker. Now, not only does he lose his home, he loses his family's land. Those are the issues that should be brought up in this House of Assembly today, not worry about some landing fees. This young family will not be worried about airport landing fees in the next fifty years, because they just lost the biggest investment of their lives.

They might have to worry about the ferry costs, going back and forth from North Sydney to Port aux Basques, Mr. Speaker. They will have to worry about that, because they are going to have to scrape up enough money now to try to get across there to get to the mainland to look for a job, because they are going to be left out in the cold here.

Issues that people in this Province are worried about today have nothing to do with landing fees at Toronto airport, as the hon. Member was saying, or St. John's airport. They are worried about educating their children, and that is the main issue we should be discussing here on Private Member's Day. I am sure if the Member for LaPoile was up here with a Private Member's motion today, Mr. Speaker, you would have a different story; he would have a motion today either on the fisheries, which is becoming a disaster and a serious problem in his district, or he would have a motion on hospital care, which is being gutted in Port aux Basques. If you had one of your backbenchers, the back bencher from Placentia, would he be here talking about landing fees and subsidized transportation costs across Canada, or would he be here talking about the closure of the hospital in Placentia? the real issues in this Province, Mr. Speaker.

The hon. gentleman has mistimed this resolution in this Province. I know people in this building who have worked very faithfully. One person in the Department of Development, of whom I heard the other day, he has been here almost thirty years - almost thirty years working for the Government - a very loyal employee, he told me that in all of that time he has not used 10 per cent of his sick leave - he never used it. If he could, he would come to work sick. Mr. Speaker, had he known he would have been laid off yesterday, if he had known that in December when the decisions were made, he could have bought his two or three years pension time and retired with a reasonable pension.

He is out on the street now, Mr. Speaker. And although he has been working for quite some time, he still has a young child five years old and a child who is seven years old, whom he still has to educate, and he still has to clothe and he still has to feed. Mr. Speaker, where is he today when the hon. the Member for Pleasantville - I believe, but I am not positive of this, that gentleman lives in your district. I will find that out for sure. But it is irrelevant whether he lives in your district or not. But you should be dealing with the issues of the public servants. The one who was in the gallery yesterday was from the District of Pleasantville and had twenty-three years service in the public service. I know that person lives in Pleasantville; he is involved with Mary Queen of Peace Parish. He is out the door; he has nothing. He does not have enough pension to live on, $6,000 or $8,000 a year. He has no other great training, except what he did in the Public Service of this Province, and here today we have the Member for Pleasantville talking about landing fees at Toronto airport. Mr. Speaker, that has to be the most ill-timed resolution that was ever presented in this House.

Mr. Speaker, transportation issues the people of this Province are interested in: I had a call from a constituent of mine two days ago who has a heart problem, and the only transportation issue that person is interested in is trying to get a taxi to go see the doctor. She cannot do it; she cannot get any money from social services. This person said, I would even settle for a bus pass, a bus pass to get on the city bus to go see her doctor because she has heart problems. That person is not interested in the landing fees or the costs of the Federal Government at Toronto Airport, the St. John's Airport, or the Deer Lake Airport. Mr. Speaker, that person wants to see a doctor.

The people on Bell Island - and I am sure the hon. Member is around here somewhere - the major transportation issue they are interested in is the losing of six months of ferry service in this Province. That is the transportation issue we should be talking about here today, not talking about air fares, landing rights, or so many cents per ton if you land in St. John's Airport. Mr. Speaker, the people on Bell Island want to get back and forth to work. They have enough problems now with weather and wind without taking off the ferry. They lost the new ferry they were supposed to get and that was a big enough blow, but now they are going to lose the ferry they depended on. There are two ferries running, and for six months they are going to lose one of those ferries. Those are the transportation issues we should discuss in this House today, Mr. Speaker.

Another transportation issue that should have been discussed in this House today is the lack of maintenance, snow clearing and ice removal, on our highways this Winter, Mr. Speaker. That is the big transportation issue that should be talked about today in this House by a private Member on the Government side or on this side, not Toronto Airport, and not so many tons per cent or cents per tons. It makes no sense, Mr. Speaker. A transportation issue that should be talked about in this House of Assembly: is the Premier being chauffeured around St. John's in his chauffeur-driven car and still getting $8000 expenses - $8000 car fare along with his chauffeur to drive him around St. John's. There is a transportation issue that could be discussed in this Province today, Mr. Speaker. The only transportation issue the Cabinet of this Province is really concerned about is making sure they get their $8000 a year for car allowance. That is the big transportation issue. Cutting out that alone would have saved five or six $30,000 a year jobs in this Province. That is all you would have to do.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. R. AYLWARD: Yes, Mr. Speaker, they just cleaned out the private dining room. Listen to the Member for St. John's South. He should be up on his feet talking about issues in his district, not pounding on the desk when someone here wants to see how many cents per ton extra it is going to cost to land a small plane at St. John's Airport. Most of the people on Shea Heights do not care whether it is two cents a ton or twenty-five cents a ton, because it does not affect them. The people who will benefit are the top 45 per cent of the wage earners in this country of ours, in Newfoundland; keep the cost down so the big money people in Toronto can get a benefit from it. That is who you are keeping it down for, the people out in Calgary who are bursting with money, making all kinds of money. Those are the people you are keeping the cost down for. I would love to see the cost down if there was some way to keep Newfoundland separate and keep the cost down for Newfoundland. Yes! Great!

But that is not the major issue in this Province on March 13, 1991. The major issue in this Province today, as it has been for decades almost, but it is much worse today than it ever has been in the past number of decades that I know of, are jobs for people who want to raise their families in this Province, jobs for the mother's sons who were supposed to come home to this Province, Mr. Speaker. They are leaving the Province in droves. It is so bad, Mr. Speaker, that the statue of Gaspar Real, which was hidden between here and the Trade School has even left. There is nothing left in this Province. Not only are mothers' sons not coming home, but the mothers themselves have to move away to try to find work so they can feed and educate their children.

If you want to talk about issues that relate to this Province in this House of Assembly today, do not talk about air fares or landing fees at Toronto Airport, because it is not relevant to the 2300 people who are losing their jobs; it is not relevant to the 2000 or so service jobs people are going to lose; it is not relevant to the young family who are going to lose their house and their family's land, Mr. Speaker, because they lost their job and they cannot find work. It is not relevant to someone who two days ago, when it was snowing, drove from the Burin Peninsula Highway to St. John's in the middle of the day and there was not one piece of snow clearing equipment on the highway from Whitbourne to St. John's; there were more accidents that day than there have been for a long time in this Province.

These are the issues that need to be discussed. If you want transportation issues to discuss, come over and I will do a few motions for you. If you are short of motions on that side come over and I will do up a few for you so we can get them on and be debated in this House. The Member for LaPoile, as I say, would not be wasting the time of the House with this silly no-nonsense Budget. And you know the foolish thing about it? I will probably vote for this when the time comes.

But, Mr. Speaker, you know what I would like to be able to do with it? I would like to be able to tear it up and throw it in the garbage and discuss the hospital in Placentia, that is what I would like to discuss. I would like to discuss the clinic in Come By Chance today, that would be a good thing to discuss in this Province today -

MR. TOBIN: Old Perlican, Old Perlican!

MR. R. AYLWARD: - 430 hospital beds closing down. Five operating rooms in the Province I believe is the figure, going to be three. Nurses who have to work sixteen and twenty-four hours to try to keep up today with the demands and now we are going to take - how many nurses are they going to fire, how many hundreds?

MR. TOBIN: Three hundred!

MR. R. AYLWARD: Three hundred nurses going out of the system, and the nurses today in the Province can't handle the work load. But the Minister of Health says he is going to fire 300 of them and the system is going to get better. What a joke.

MR. TOBIN: Closing Social Services' offices.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Respite care: These were not respite care workers, the people who would go to your home, try to keep senior citizens in their homes. It is a benefit to the senior citizens, it is a benefit to the Province, it saves money for the Province if that is all they are worried about, but it also benefits sick people in their homes. It relieves families who are looking after sick parents in their homes. It relieves parents of handicapped people in the Province. And what has the Minister of Social Services done? The one who was going - the real change when he got into Social Services. What has he done with twenty-seven of them, the whole lot of them in the Province? Out the door. Out the door and head for Toronto so you can go get a reasonable job, that is where he put them.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. TOBIN: By leave!

MR. R. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, by leave I will continue, if you would like.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave!

MR. R. AYLWARD: I have just a few more minutes to clear up, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Does the hon. Member have -

MR. R. AYLWARD: I haven't touched education yet, Mr. Speaker!

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

Does the hon. Member have leave?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No leave.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. Member for Stephenville.

MR. K. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Point of order! Point of order, Mr. Speaker!

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

The hon. Member for Burin - Placentia West on a point of order.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker the comment that the Member for St. John's South just made across this House was somewhat demeaning to the literally tens of thousands of people who live in Mount Pearl.

AN HON. MEMBER: What?

MR. TOBIN: He said, he is suggesting that Government should close down the city of Mount Pearl, Mr. Speaker. I take strong exception to that.

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

There is no point of order.

The hon. Member for Stephenville.

MR. K. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: Point of order!

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

MR. MURPHY: Not yet.

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

The Chair has ruled on the point of order raised by the hon. Member for Burin - Placentia West. There is no point of order.

The hon. Member for Stephenville.

MR. K. AYLWARD: Like I was trying to say, Mr. Speaker. It is a pleasure to be back on my feet in the House and make my first speech. I thank you for the warm welcome, and in the words of another politician in this Province, "Kevin is back."

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Youth Advisory Council!

MR. K. AYLWARD: I will get into that later, in another Private Member's motion, or in the next couple of weeks. I want to say that it seems as if the Member who just spoke thinks that transportation will have no impact on this Province. That it is nonsense to be even bringing the issue up, that it has no effect on the economy of the Province. Now let me show you how non-important it is in my case. That is one file. There is the other one. Now that is on Stephenville in the last two years.

Now, what I am amazed at is, there are a hundred issues, all kinds of issues, that we are all very concerned about, but I do not think we should downgrade one issue. I mean they are all important, and it has almost as much effect on the Province as any other thing. And there are a number of Members opposite who have been working on transportation issues for a number of years, and we are going to be debating the Budget for the next number of weeks, there are all kinds of things to debate, and they are all important to the Province. So I am just saying, transportation is extremely important to this Province.

As a matter of fact it can have more effect on the economy than a lot of other measures. There is no doubt about it the Federal Government's policy of deregulation is absolutely wiping out the transportation system of this Province. Now, if you do not understand that, that is too bad, but I am going to just try to go through it in my own particular circumstance and tell you some of the effects that it is having.

The airlines themselves, for example, are having an extremely difficult time right now, not only with increasing fuel prices and everything else that has been going on, but also with the policy of deregulation and how extreme an affect it is going to have on their operations. All the airlines have made representation to the Federal Government concerning user fees for the airports. And the only way you can get to this Province to develop the Province and bring in people to help develop the Province is either by marine ferry or by airports. We have only got two ways to get here.

AN HON. MEMBER: Labrador.

MR. K. AYLWARD: And Labrador, the same thing, basically. So we are an isolated Province - we are by our geography - and it is extremely important that we have a proper system to get people here back and forth. I find it distressful that a Member opposite would say that the issue is not worth it and not even worth a few minutes of the time of the House of Assembly, but I am just going to ignore those comments. It is extremely important to a number of people in this House, including the Province and the Provincial Government. They are wiping out the system. There are user fees for everything you can think of - increasing Marine Atlantic and so on. It is putting more pressure on the Provincial Government to take over these services and they are pitching that to all the provinces, and it is a responsibility that they inherited with Confederation. And they do not want to keep it going.

So I find it ridiculous that they are doing that. And they have made a number of moves to affect all transportation in this Province. In 1987 the NTA or National Transportation Agency brought in an Act which really took over from the CTC and they really have gutted being able to monitor transportation within this Province and across Canada. Now with reference to my colleague who just spoke a few minutes ago, he says that 30 per cent of the high income earners are what affects the airports and so on and the travelling. Well, I have to say to him that the ten cities of Canada have about 65 per cent to 70 per cent of the population, so there is only 35 per cent left and these ten cities have the best transportation system you can find. But in rural Canada, especially rural Newfoundland, we are now being treated the same as Ottawa and Montreal, in having to come up with the same type of funds.

So, what actually is happening is that rural provinces are being forced now to put more pressure on airports and marine systems and it is kind of bringing people together, moving them to the bigger cities, because the transportation system is getting destroyed. If anybody was to look at it in that fashion and look at it seriously that is what you would see. So it is extremely important for the future of this Province that we have a proper system. And a number of people here, I know, on both sides, have been working to try to get that done and to improve the system.

You know, it is very important for this Province to economically develop. You look at tourism for a moment. We are promoting all tourism in the Province, and if you are going to have a hard time getting here, you are not going to be able to get it going. I mean, the hon. Minister of Development and Tourism has produced new brochures, they are promoting outside the Province coming to this Province, and here we are with our system getting ruined and making it more difficult to get here. I think we should be fighting Ottawa and asking them to assume their responsibilities instead of wiping them out. And it is time that everybody got into the act and started doing it. The previous government's policy on deregulation was unreal. They let CP Air leave Stephenville for example, and Air Canada. We told them about it a year earlier and they never did a thing. Next thing you know they were gone.

So I do not need to be told that it is not an important issue from the other side. It is an important issue for everybody, including the Member for Deer Lake and the Members on this side, Mr. Art Reid, the Member for Carbonear, Mr. Ramsay - I can go on and on. It is important to everybody. And in the future we are going to have to really start dealing with it, because like I said, it is going to hurt our economy. It is already doing that. And it is going to hurt people getting here back and forth, and it is extremely important.

When the Federal Government brought in their policy of deregulation they were saying the benefits would be enormous, and I think a lot of people concur that it has not been good for the Province here and that it has not been good for rural Canada. We have to pick up the mantle and start going after Ottawa on it because if we don't, we will be into user pay for everything in this Province and other rural provinces. An example would be the fishery: they are trying again on the west coast to impose higher license fees and so on to the fishermen and the seiner operators. Again, it is getting to the point where every responsibility they have they are transferring to the provinces. This nation is becoming deregulated and I can see that from the way that Ottawa is handling the Federal constitutional problems that we are having right now, and it is just unfortunate that it is continuing to go on.

Now, the policy that the Federal Government brought in was called Freedom to Move, and in that policy they talked about areas benefitting because of more flights and more economical transportation; prices were supposed to go down when you fly from one end to the other. Exactly the opposite has occurred and there have been no changes in the transportation system for rural Canada. The Federal Government is going to have to soon have a serious look at it because in Newfoundland right now it costs over $500 to fly from one side of the Province to the other, and it is really getting out of hand for the travellers who want to go for medical purposes or for whatever it is. It is just getting crazy, and it is time that the Federal Government, through which all the Provinces deal with, made some changes in their transportation policy.

As a matter of fact, the Senate Committee, who came into Stephenville a couple of years ago and had hearings have recommended to the Federal Government changes to address rural Canada's needs. I do not know if they will act on them, but they seriously should be looking at them because they are extremely important to all of us down here in this Province. We are an island province, and with Labrador, very rural and very far away from mainland Canada, and transportation is the only way that we will every be able to survive and to grow economically.

One of the reasons that businesses come in here and have a look around to set up is because we have all kinds of resources, but half the time they set up their head offices outside of here because this is an island and we are a little bit away from everything. We have to be closer to Canada, not further away. I believe the policy on deregulation and the policy of bringing in user fees, etcetera, because it is the Federal Government's responsibility, is pushing that onto the provinces, and it is certainly pushing us not closer to Canada, but farther away. I think it is time that we all made a concerted effort to deal with it because it is to the point of being very negative for this Province.

Pertaining to the motion brought by the Member for Pleasantville, I support him wholeheartedly. I believe that it is time again, like he said, to bring forward this as a public issue because it is not getting the play that it should be, but it can have a large impact on this Province and I think the motion speaks for itself. It talks about the cost recovery proposals that they are bringing forward. It also, certainly, talks about the devastation that it can have on the economy. I mean if we are going to improve the economy and create more employment, etcetera, we are going to need a proper system. With Hibernia on the go and a number of other projects that are getting lined up, we are certainly going to need a proper system of transportation, and in the last four or five years that has certainly been devastated by the present policy.

So, I would hope that all Members will support this motion today, and I would say to the Member for Pleasantville that it is a very timely motion. It is never untimely to talk about transportation or how it affects a number of communities in this Province. It is certainly time to take this issue and make it as important as all the others, and it is time it was done.

I also want to reflect, Mr. Speaker, on the battle that Stephenville has had over the past couple of years when changes were made in deregulation and the imposition of user fees, which are coming down the line now. The CTC used to be there - the Canadian Transportation Commission - and they used to be able to monitor and regulate airlines, and so on, and marine ferries.

In the last couple of years there have been changes by airlines; they have hauled their flights out of a number of airports in Canada, but the Federal Government is not able to hold them there for economic reasons. And I think that we had a test case with Stephenville and it has been most unfortunate that the new National Transportation Agency and the Competition Bureau, which was implemented, do not have any power. There is no power. Right now if an airline wants to haul out of an airport or wants to shut down its services, they can leave at their will with no obligation to the community, and I think that is extremely dangerous for the economy. There have been a number of examples of that over the last few years, and I think people should take it seriously. They should certainly be lobbying to change that policy. It has great potential for Toronto and Montreal and Ottawa, but it has no potential for rural Canada; and I have reports here - the report from the Senate Committee - to justify that and all the recommendations which have been made. But it is really unfortunate that it has been allowed to go on and that the feds have not responded to, not only this Province's needs, but also to all the other provinces who are now starting to wake up and understand what is happening in their transportation systems.

One thing about it the transportation system within this Canada used to be from one end to the other and it has helped keep the country together. But with the dismantling of that it is certainly pushing everybody further away. So I would hope that over the next year or so, over the next number of months, that there is a review coming of that policy and we, as a Province, are going to be fighting and asking the Federal Government, or negotiating whatever we have to do, to get a proper made in Canada policy which reflects the needs of all places in Canada, and that is certainly not the case right now. So I hope that would be done over the next little while. It is expected some time in the next year that they will be doing those negotiations.

I find it unfortunate that there is no link from the Member for Kilbride. He makes no link to the economy when it comes to transportation, because everybody I think understands that there is and in this Province it is massive.

MR. SIMMS: A good speech.

MR. K. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Len.

I am hoping it is good, but it is my first run at it, so she is coming.

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: Us few Members have fought the battle -

MR. SIMMS: You should be Minister of Transportation with your knowledge of transportation.

MR. K. AYLWARD: Thank you.

- have fought the battle and will continue to fight the battle to get an improved system.

Now I have an editorial here from last year about: Stephenville's fight is not only theirs, but it is also all of the provinces. Because I was saying it a year ago, and now some of it is happening. St. John's hauled in some jet service a little while ago - no it was not going to happen, but it is happening. The regulation is having its affect on all these provinces and this area.

So it is an important issue. Nobody should downgrade it as not being important and so on. It is extremely important in my area on the Southwest Coast and it is extremely important to the Member for Humber Valley, and it is very important to the Member for Gander, and Labrador especially. So there is no way, you know, we should be reflecting on it as not an issue or whatever else. It is important in all aspects. And I beg to differ with the speaker who spoke before me because it is not the high income owners that are using the flights in Newfoundland, it is everybody. We are a rural Province and we have no other way to get from one side to the other except bus transportation or whatever, but they are even imposing further fees on that.

The policy was freedom to move, but now you are not allowed to move because the costs are too high. So I think we should all support the motion that has been ably put by the Member for Pleasantville, and we should certainly review it and look at it seriously because it is a serious issue. You know, any economist will tell you that if you do not have a good transportation system you cannot make your economy improve.

MR. HODDER: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Port au Port, on a point of order.

MR. HODDER: I do not mean to interrupt the Member's speech, but it is not the noise in the House, (inaudible) we plan to speak, if we get a chance today. But we just have not been able to

hear the hon. Member over here and I think it is a problem with the mike rather than anything else.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

 

MR. K. AYLWARD: I have never been known, Mr. Speaker, to be too quiet, so I will try and rev it up a little tiny bit anyway.

I must say, Mr. Speaker, this is a very important issue for everybody. You know, reflecting on what devastation it can have in our area it certainly has been that and in a lot of other areas the same. I believe that the Marine Atlantic service as a constitutional part of the Terms of Union should be again pushed by this Province to make that like the highway system is across Canada. I think that would be extremely beneficial to this Province if we could get the Federal Government to own up to that. Yes, they have budget problems like we do - they do have budget problems - but we have budget problems too, and they are all extremely tough decisions. But the transportation link is the only one that keeps us all together, and if that is not effective we are in a lot of trouble and that is evident across Canada right now as to what is happening.

AN HON. MEMBER: It is a unity issue.

MR. K. AYLWARD: Yes, it is a unity issue in many ways in keeping this place together, this country. It is getting wiped out. No wonder people feel alienated because they are getting pushed away not brought together. It is time they took it as an important issue.

I was noticing only a couple of weeks ago the Federal Government included in their Budget another $1.3 billion to the farmers out west, and in Newfoundland what are they doing? They are imposing user fees on fishermen. I mean it is crazy. That is no way. Everybody should be treated in the same fashion. It is about time that they did. You know, everything that affects the rural provinces, especially on the east coast it seems, it is taking away and it is not putting anything back in. The funds may seem to have gone up, but they have not. They are even trying to sell airports in all areas, as a matter of fact, to areas that might be interested, but in our case they may just cut the funding to them anyway in the next couple of years. It is a fighting ongoing battle.

If you do not think it has any negative impact I can tell you differently, because you can try and bring in all the business you want to in this Province, but if you do not have a decent system to get goods and services here you can forget it. And what is happening is we are out there trying to promote the Province and the Feds are hauling away the transportation system. There are all kinds of other things that they can have a look at, mind you they have looked at everything and done the same thing almost: the UI payments, the whole works have gone out, they are all out of that now, they are all out of this, that, and everything else. No wonder there is alienation, not only here in a sense, but in other parts of Canada. This is no doubt a unity issue. There are so many specifics on how it affects all of us, the hon. Member for Pleasantville pointed out some of the things - high costs to this Province that are getting worse. If you compare the prices of transportation within this Province as compared to four years ago it has at least doubled. A flight from here to Stephenville and back used to be $250 and it is now $500, and that is mostly the result of user fees which are coming in, and a lot of other costs that the airlines are incurring. We hope the Federal Government will understand how important the issue is to us and hopefully try to mend their ways or fix it. It is most unfortunate. I am very pleased that the Provincial Government has been dealing with the Federal Government on that matter. The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation has certainly made a strong effort to try and resolve the problems we are having and to get the Federal Government to respond with a proper transportation policy. It is unfortunate that the previous Government let the policy come into place, and actually supported it. Here we are now getting wiped out. I would think we should all reflect on where we are going in this Province when it comes to the future, and certainly that is one area that is extremely important to not only me as a Member but to also a lot of other Members in this area. Like I said, all the efforts you can take to promote are not going to be worth a darn if they do not have any improvements in the transportation system.

With reference to some previous comments made by the Member opposite for Kilbride. When we talk about what this Provincial Government is doing there are a couple of facts I would like to point out. The first time the unemployment rate hit 100,000 in this Province was when the previous Government was in, and the first time that employment hit 200,000 was when this Government is in. We could talk about numbers all day but I would just like to say we have only been here eighteen months and we are trying to do our best, and we are certainly going to continue to do that. One of the things we are going to try and do to make some changes is to get the Federal Government to understand how important transportation is to this Province. I would hope that everybody would get on side. Pertaining also to my airport, for example, it was only three weeks ago that the Federal Government which had previously announced a new combined services building, over two and a half years ago decided that they were not going to do it and that has had somewhat of an impact on our airport. I would also like to compliment the Stephenville Airport Corporation which has undertaken and made some excellent gains for the Airport, also, the town council of Stephenville who have been very involved in this move. In our area we have gotten together, and I would hope that in this Province we will get together and deal with transportation in a proper manner, and put it in its right light. I do not know if it is a new policy of the PC Opposition, what the hon. Member for Kilbride said, but I do not think so. Is it or is it not? I am not sure. Is transportation not important or important? I really cannot tell. I know how important the other issues are, myself.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. K. AYLWARD: It is okay. You can get your next Member to give me the answer. I would hope that is not the policy. I would hope the policy is not that. I would hope the Member for Port au Port and the Member for Humber Valley would know how important it is. Maybe they can have a chat with your caucus and try to work this thing out because I would hope that it has changed. I would hope that it reflects what the Province needs and I am not so sure. I still think it is an important issue and I hope others think the same.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Before I recognize the hon. Member for Humber Valley, I would like to welcome to the galleries today, on behalf of hon. Members, the Mayor for Grand Falls - Windsor, Mr. Blackmore.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, from the onset - maybe I should - on a point of order. On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: You are losing your time.

MR. WOODFORD: I am on a point of order, Mr. Speaker and I want to (inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Humber Valley, on a point of order.

MR. WOODFORD: I just cannot hear other Members speak - I do not know about anyone else, maybe I am deaf or whatever - but there is something radically wrong with those bloody microphones or something.

AN HON. MEMBER: What?

MR. WOODFORD: I like to listen to Members opposite as well as I do my own colleagues and especially when they are speaking on a resolution in which I have some interest and I cannot hear it, period. So as far as I am concerned it is a legitimate point of order and I think it should be checked out and checked out fully.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: It is a legitimate point of order and I will have the technicians check it. I have no difficulty in hearing the hon. Members, but I know that when I am sitting over there, I do have difficulty.

The hon. the Member for Humber Valley.

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

AN HON. MEMBER: If it is on the same point of order, he just ruled on that.

MR. SPEAKER: I just ruled on the -

MR. HARRIS: I will make another point of order because -

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

MR. HARRIS: - if the hon. Member is concerned about him being able to hear over there, I will add to the point of order by saying that there is a speaker on my desk here and you can barely hear even when you have it turned up at full volume, so even if you make an effort to put you ear to the speaker it is very difficult to hear what is going on in other parts of the House and it is something that really needs to be checked out. I could not hear the burden of the hon. Member's speech, you could pick up bits and pieces but not the full speech and it would be very difficult to reply in kind to it.

MR. SPEAKER: Okay. The hon. the Minister of Development.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, both Members make very valid points and I understand from the Government House Leader that he, in consultation with Mr. Speaker, is examining the problem of hearing in the Assembly and one of the things they are looking at is perhaps putting a heavy mounted curtain right across here to absorb some of the echo and other alterations to look after some of the sound systems. I know I had trouble myself hearing the Member for Stephenville and I sit on this side.

Mr. Speaker, my colleague from St. John's South says that there are head-sets available but I think there is something wrong with the system itself, even people who have the head-sets are having difficulty hearing. But I understand that the Government House Leader and perhaps the Opposition House Leader has had something to do with this as well, are discussing this with Mr. Speaker, so that should be rectified soon.

MR. SPEAKER: As was ruled earlier, it is a legitimate point and not to cut into the hon. Member's time, I recognize the hon. Member for Humber Valley.

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, this resolution brought forward today by the Member for Pleasantville, is a resolution that is very, very important to my district, particularly my district in the Province - and other districts - I would like to draw to the attention of Members Opposite and Members on this side. Now in the WHEREAS' and in the BE IT RESOLVED part of it, there is some insinuation that the cuts and the costs recovery may be caused by CAPS and EPF funding and so on, but we will forget that. I think, to be honest about it, that is why certain Members, even on our side in particular are drawn into something like that, because it does not really stick to the subject that the hon. Member started out to do in his WHEREAS', but, having said that, I would just like to say again how important it is to airports in this Province, and not only in this Province, Mr. Speaker, this particular resolution and the cost recovery attempt by the Federal Government in this case, to recover in user pay fees pertaining to the air mode and marine sector in this Province and Atlantic Canada is very important and is going to be detrimental, if it goes into full implementation in three or four years. If it stays at just 1991 levels then it will not be too serious. But if it goes beyond the 1991 levels it is going to be a radical policy change for the airports in Atlantic Canada especially.

Mr. Speaker, let me just explain for a minute that in Atlantic Canada we use primarily small aircraft, and namely the Dash 8s and BA 146s, the jets now used by Air Atlantic and Air Nova. We used the 737, one run between St. John's, Deer Lake and into Wabush, going to the Mainland from St. John's and Gander to Halifax, you used 737s or 727s or what have you. But mainly small commuter aircraft to try to connect not only within the Province itself, but also into Labrador and again on to Halifax to connect to go on to other centres.

This is where we are going to be hit. If it stays at 1991 recommended levels it will just be a 10 per cent increase, which will not be too serious. But if it does go on in the following years, the following three years that they recommend for a total recovery, it will mean a 30 per cent decrease in passenger movements within the Province alone. We have no other choice in this Province. To drive on the Island portion itself by car or else to get off the Island portion into Labrador you have no choice, in the summertime you can probably take the ferry and in the wintertime you have to fly whether it is Provincial Airways or Air Nova or Air Atlantic or what have you. To get outside sometimes because of the Gulf and because of the ferry situation out there, it is by air. So it is very important to the people of the Province and more specifically to the District of Humber Valley, when I say Humber Valley, I am talking pretty well about that whole part of the west coast except for the Stephenville area where you have another airport in western Newfoundland, we are fairly fortunate in that sense.

The Member for Pleasantville brought up the subject of competition. One of the things that I would like to make quite clear here today and I am glad that I got the opportunity to do so, is that in the Humber Valley area, the Deer Lake Airport area, we have three main airlines operating out of there Air Nova, Air Atlantic, and Provincial Airways.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Now one of the things the Member should do firstly, when you are talking about competition, is have a talk with the Premier specifically and the Cabinet as a whole, because, Mr. Speaker, I didn't see anybody, and I have not seen it for a goodly number of years, I can go back probably fifteen or sixteen, but there are other cases I will not mention here this evening, of interference in the private sector in this Province, when we had a Premier of this Province and a Government standing up publicly and telling the public employees in this Province: you use Air Atlantic, and do not use anything else. Tell me, Mr. Speaker, what that is doing to private industry in this Province? What is it doing to other airlines in this Province?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: That he did not.

MR. WOODFORD: What is it doing?

AN HON. MEMBER: No, no he did not.

MR. WOODFORD: Next week we will probably hear the Premier telling the Government employees to shop at Dominion.

AN HON. MEMBER: What?

MR. WOODFORD: I hope it does not get to that, or Sobey's or some other store in this Province. Mr. Speaker, nobody in this House should be more cognizant of what it means for an airline in this Province, in Atlantic Canada, to say that we are only going to use one airport.

MR. SIMMS: It is free enterprise.

MR. WOODFORD: It is free enterprise. The hon. Member for Stephenville knows full well how it hurt his community when Air Nova pulled out of there. Now we have every Government employee coming through Deer Lake and Gander. Gander, I might add, and St. John's, supposedly they could fly anywhere, now they have to fly Air Atlantic, and to me that is wrong. The airport system depends on all three airlines and as far as I am concerned the Premier and his Cabinet as a whole should take the bull by the horns and reverse that particular policy, because as far as I am concerned it is wrong. It is wrong for the Province and it is wrong for the people and more specifically for rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, the cost recovery, as I said, pertains to air modes, primarily the air mode, and the Marine sector. The air mode in this country, Mr. Speaker: DOT spends approximately $1.4 billion a year on the air mode in this country. They take in, and I think the hon. Member referred to it, $1.2 billion in revenue.

It is cost recovery now because they are claiming and reclaiming almost between 80 and 88 per cent of the total cost of air mode in this country. The marine sector, for instance, is recovering only 58 per cent. They are asking the air mode now to recover an extra $40 million which would bring it up to, I think, 91 per cent of recovery - something like that - 88 to 91 per cent recovery; and marine, I think, $25 million, and that would bring it up to 73 per cent. So, it goes without saying, Mr. Speaker, that the air mode in this country and the Province itself mainly is a total recovery now. So, I mean, to go on further what the air mode of transportation in this country is doing is subsidizing the marine sector and subsidizing via rail. That is what they are doing. That is where the money is coming from to keep those other sectors going.

Now, in the marine sector, the only marine sector that is going to be taxed is that any commercial ship, 15 registered tonnes or more, will be hit with this cost recovery factor. All commercial fishermen, all pleasure boaters will not be touched with regards to this particular thing, this particular part. But any boat, commercial vessel, 15 registered tonnes heavy or heavier, will be taxed.

Now, why the Federal Government would go strictly after the air mode in this case is obvious, I guess. It is obvious because especially, like I said in Atlantic Canada where you are sort of a captive anyway, and especially on the Labrador sector, you have no other way. By air or nothing, unless it is in the summertime.

The three parts that are going to be hit, Mr. Speaker, are the airport landing fees - an increase in those, the general terminal fees, and the air navigational services, and along with the airport ticket tax, which is applicable pretty well in all of Canada and parts of the U.S.

So, Mr. Speaker, if they are going to contemplate, at all, recovery, they should have a talk to the commercial airlines in this country - the airlines and the companies that are really keeping the Department of Transport going because they, I am sure, and I have seen some correspondence to that effect, they have already said that they would take over a lot of the responsibilities for air traffic and air transport in this country provided they were allowed to levy their own fees and live within their means. But I can see why DOT will not let it go or MOT will not let it go because, there is no doubt about it, they can milk this system to keep everything else going. That is obvious.

Mr. Speaker, to give you an example of what it would mean to some airports in the Province, and the one that I would like to refer to mainly is the Deer Lake airport, but when we say that it is going to cost more in Halifax and Vancouver and the Toronto's of the world, it will cost less, I should say, than it will in Atlantic Canada and specifically in Newfoundland, it is because in those cities they have more landings, and when you have more landings they pay more often and naturally there are more revenues. But in Atlantic Canada where we are being catered to by small commuter aircraft there are less landings in each city, there are less landings in each town, and therefore they do not pay as much landing fees. This is why they are changing it now from strictly the passenger content of the aircraft, to charging per metric tonne on the aircraft, for aircraft size; to put it simply, on aircraft size. And I stated earlier, we are using mainly commuter aircraft and small aircraft in Atlantic Canada and they are going to be hit hard. In fact, they will be paying more to land a dash-8 in Deer Lake or St. John's or Gander and Goose Bay than they will in Halifax or Vancouver, and

That is the part, as far as I am concerned, Mr. Speaker, that is wrong and it is going to have to be rectified.

Right now in Deer Lake it will cost $1.60 to land a Dash 8. The proposal for 1991 goes to $1.80. But if they go with full recovery on the metric ton unit pertaining to a Dash 8, you are talking about an increase of seven dollars - $9.60. And this is only the landing fee. This has nothing to do with the airport tax, this has nothing to do with the air navigational services they are talking about reclaiming, and this has absolutely nothing to do with the terminal fees. So God help us if they increase that, as well. This is only pertaining to landing fees. If that aircraft touches down in Deer Lake then touches down in Gander, he pays the same per metric ton. If he comes back through the system again back to Deer Lake, he pays the same thing again. Every time he touches those wheels down on the runway he pays that fee and that, to me, is wrong. It goes up and up and up, and we just can not afford it in this Province.

A BA-146, the two jets now that Air Atlantic and Air Nova are talking so much about, and that is good service -I think they are seventy-seven passenger jets, excellent service within our Province, especially for the tourism industry - they come within the Province and they can get from A to B to C and right on about, and at good rates if they book ahead. But, I mean, it costs $510.70 now to go from Deer Lake to St. John's.

AN HON. MEMBER: Shame!

MR. WOODFORD: Five hundred and ten dollars and seventy cents, or something like that.

AN HON. MEMBER: How much?

MR. WOODFORD: That is return trip, Mr. Speaker. And to add another, I think it is twelve, that would represent a 12.7 per cent increase just on landing fees. Now imagine where that is going to put the price of a ticket from Deer Lake to St. John's. Okay, we say Newfoundlanders do not travel by air. You ask the people in Deer Lake and the people on the northern peninsula with whom they travel when they go to St. Anthony and the Labrador areas of this Province - Provincial Airways; I think it is $199 return now from St. John's to Deer Lake. I mean, they cannot drive from St. Anthony to St. John's for that kind of money. They just cannot do it! But they can fly from Deer Lake to St. John's right now for that type of money, or from St. Anthony to St. John's. And if this particular increase goes on, full implementation will mean a 30 per cent reduction in passenger movement and it will mean that one or the other of the airlines will go. There is nothing surer than that.

And if this is the case, what they will do is one of two things: They will either up the rates, or they will take away some of the services. Less flights into Deer Lake, Goose Bay, and St. John's, that is the only other way they have to recover.

For a BA-146, examples: Right now, $2.35. For that same jet just for the landing fees alone, it goes to exactly the same, $9.60. Now the increases, when you talk about dollars, with Air Nova alone, just for 1991, it will mean a $1 million increase in the Province itself. That is based on 2,812 landings for a Dash 8 and 648 for a BA-146.

Mr. Speaker, this Province and this Government cannot talk about the Tories in Ottawa, and I will tell you why. Right here, just in this Budget, we have the Fogo Island ferry cancelled, and we have six months cut off one service to Bell Island. But after having said that, I, for one, as a Member who is representing a district which depends on an airport that employs probably 120 or 130 people full time, not counting the spinoff in tourism and everything else, will not stand by, and I am sure other Members would not either when a major industry in their town could probably go down the tubes because of increases, regardless of what government was in Ottawa or in this Province, I will not stand by, unlike some members opposite today when they have hospitals closing and probably schools and everything else, and ferries going, I will speak up, Mr. Speaker, for the people of my district -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WOODFORD: - regardless, Mr. Speaker, of who is in power. Right is right!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Then hon. Member's time is up.

The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. GILBERT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Port au Port, on a point of order.

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, the Member rose on a point of order. He was recognized on a point of order and then the Member for St. John's East also raised another point of order, so when he spoke I audibly said to him, it is 4:07. That means the Member spoke for fifteen minutes rather than the twenty minutes which he is allotted. I know this to be a fact, because I did time it and that clock is substantially the same as that clock right there. He does have five more minutes.

MR. SPEAKER: To that point of order.

MR. FUREY: To that point of order, 4:07 would give him another two minutes and we are quite prepared to give him two minutes if he would like to have it.

MR. SPEAKER: I can check with the table. My instructions from the Table is that we should give the hon. Member the benefit of the doubt, so if he wants an extra five minutes.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. To be honest with you, I did not think my time was up. Anyway, I will not get into that, because if I do I will lose it.

Mr. Speaker, one of the things I have to say on this before I sit down is, and I mentioned it earlier, that Air Nova and Air Atlantic, the two main carriers in the Province today, are quite satisfied. They have made some offers to the Federal Government with regard to cost recovery. Some of the offers they made were to insure equity and fairness between competing modes, and I agree with them wholeheartedly, related industry fees and charges to those facilities, and services needed by the industry. Now when they talk about user pay it is no good for Members opposite, or Members here, to get up and talk about the Federal Government doing this and the Federal Government doing that. Members opposite are doing exactly the same thing. They just asked the municipalities to pay up or else. And that is with regard to transportation, with regard to the road systems, water and sewer, whatever it is, pay up. The Federal Government is doing the same thing. The only thing about this case, Mr. Speaker, is they are picking on a mode of transportation in this country and in this Province that, as far as I am concerned, are paying their way now. What they will do on full implementation, as I said, is bring it up to 91 or 92 per cent in three years and that, to me, is wrong, when the air mode in this Province, and especially in Atlantic Canada, is subsidizing the other two modes of transportation. I think it is wrong. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. GILBERT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is certainly a pleasure for me to be able to get up and support my colleague for Pleasantville on this very important Private Member's resolution which he has put forward. I will sort of go backwards and make some comments about the Member for Humber Valley's response to it, and then I will get to my colleague, the Transportation critic. This is a very important resolution and I am sort of interested.

As I listened to the Member for Humber Valley, it seemed to me that he and the Transportation critic on that side have rather different views as to the intent of this resolution. As a matter of fact, I think the Member for Humber Valley was sympathetic and realized there is a serious problem there, whereas the transportation critic did not. Now it is interesting that the last time I spoke after the Member for Humber Valley, in May of 1988, I had a Private Member's resolution on then asking the Provincial Government to keep the railway open until such time as the Trans-Canada Highway and transportation in Newfoundland was brought up to the standard of the rest of Canada. At that time, the Member for Humber Valley spoke after me and he was the one who said, no, by God, we should close the railway now and let us take our money. People from Port aux Basques were in the gallery that day, and as I pointed out in my speech at that time, at the same time they were there, there was a company in Corner Brook holding a cocktail party that evening, bringing a new marine service into Corner Brook. I sort of pointed out to the people from Port aux Basques that there would be some problems that should be addressed before we so readily agreed to selling our birthright for a mess of pottage.

And one of the things the Member did that I think I would be remiss if I did not point it out, was he talked about Air Atlantic being the airline of choice of the Provincial Government and this seemed to be a very rational and sensible thing to do in view of the fact that out of the major airlines operating in this Province, Air Atlantic had their head office and their headquarters in Newfoundland, and they employed something over 200 Newfoundlanders, whereas Air Nova did not have the same significant Newfoundland involvement.

Now I realize that Provincial Airways is a Newfoundland company and it employs people of Newfoundland, but it is not into the traffic transportation system in Newfoundland the same way as Air Atlantic and Air Nova. It is breaking in and no doubt will become a contributor in the thing, but I think the statements the Member for Humber Valley made were unfair. It was the suggestion that was made, that Air Atlantic, because of the fact that it was a Newfoundland-based company, having their headquarters in Newfoundland, employing significantly more Newfoundlanders than any other airline operating in Newfoundland, it would be one of choice, the first choice of the Provincial Government. I think that makes sense. With one exception, the Member for Humber Valley was not bad. His was better than the normal debate you get from over there when they rise in debate on something that comes from this side.

Of course, when I come to the Member for Kilbride I cannot be as kind. Because the Member for Kilbride, as I referred to him one time before in this House, is like the long-necked geese of the world who forever hissed his praise. There is nothing that the Member for Kilbride can say when he gets up, he has got to be negative, he has got to be talking, he has to get down to politics. He just cannot stand up and address the issues as they are. An example of it, Mr. Speaker, is the questions the Member for Kilbride has asked in this House in the last year and a half on Transportation initiatives. He got up and asked a couple of questions -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. GILBERT: Yes, indeed he did announce the demerit system, and the reason for it was that you fellows did not have the guts to put it in when you were there. It took the policy of this side to introduce it, which has consequently made it a lot safer to drive in the Province of Newfoundland.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. GILBERT: That is the point. I am going to get to that now in a minute, Mr. Speaker. The thing about it is the other question the Member for Kilbride asked was about the Ossokmanuan Bridge. The Ossokmanuan Bridge, as I pointed out to him, was a mistake by an employee in the Administration of the Department of Works, Services and Transportation. I, as the Minister, had very little to do with it, nothing whatsoever to do with it.

There was another question you see, Mr. Speaker, the Member asked, and this was a very important, earth-shattering question. When the House opened last time, the first day it opened I tabled the exceptions to the Public Tendering Act up until August. I tabled them whatever day we opened in October. Again an employee in my Department did not pass the one for September to me to be tabled in December. Immediately the House opened last week, I got up and I tabled the exceptions to The Public Tendering Act. Now these are the two questions the Transportation critic has asked me in this House in the last year.

AN HON. MEMBER: Shame.

MR. GILBERT: Now the Member for Grand Falls made a very good point, and I am glad he brought it up. Because we heard the former Premier when he was going to retire say that he did not have the guts or the heart to be able to do some of the stuff that had to be done in Newfoundland; he talked about the economy, he talked about the deficit that was coming up. One of the points he made was about the demerit system. He did not have the heart to force his Cabinet to do it.

You see, Mr. Speaker, the difference between running a department and doing what those fellows did when they were in is that we as the Ministers of Department set the policy, and the policy we set was, okay, we feel we should have a demerit system. So we set the policy, and this is the job of the Minister of the Department. The administration of the Department is left in the hands of the civil service. Now the civil service were the ones who were trained by them, so they are making some mistakes. But they are coming along and they are doing a good job, and they realize now that they have the responsibility to administer the departments. We have the responsibility to set the policy and see that once it is policy then it is given to the people to administer. This is our job as Ministers.

Now, Mr. Speaker, it is too bad I do not have time. I will get back to the resolution we are talking about. The Member said it was ill-timed. Well, we have a Federal Government that is after spending millions of dollars over the last couple of years setting up a royal commission on national passenger transportation. They had meetings here in St. John's. The Member was not there, but the Member for Burin - Placentia West attended, as did I, and we presented briefs to it.

The point about it is this: There are some serious concerns with this user pay that the Federal Government has now introduced. One of the things they talked about and my colleague talked about, was the 300 nautical mile limit that was put on. Now that is an interesting little concept and it is one that we should look at. Because again what that 300 nautical mile limit that was put on by the Federal Government does, Mr. Speaker, is it inflicts a hardship on Newfoundland. What the Member over there did not talk about was that this 300 mile limit kicked in twenty-six miles off the Coast of Newfoundland. We pay to bring ships into St. John's and into Halifax, but there is a line of demarcation just before you get to Quebec City where this 300 mile limit is up. After that, Mr. Speaker, once those ships go across the line of demarcation and start to go from Quebec City to Thunder Bay and up through, there is no charge for those services. Once again, Mr. Speaker, what is happening is the inequality of the thing is being spread to the people who live on the peripheral of Canada. The very tenet that made up Confederation was our transportation system, and those people have inflicted this on the people of Canada.

Now, Mr. Speaker, that is just telling you what is happening in the marine mode. Again, we in the Atlantic Provinces, and Newfoundland in particular, are paying extra money. But the other thing that is after happening now, when we get into the situation with the airfares, is that there was a concession fee on turbo fuel, which is the type of plane that is going into Deer Lake and Gander, and that has been taken off; they have increased the landing fees. And not only that, Mr. Speaker, there is a new fee going on to tax the people who live in Newfoundland, called the local air navigation fee. Now what is wrong with this is that there is no line of demarcation there. This fee is on for every mile you fly from St. John's to Toronto.

Now the point we have made and would like to make to the Federal Minister, and I wonder if Mr. Crosbie will be in on this, is that we feel that if it is fair to put a line of demarcation for the seaports in central Canada, it should be fair to have a line of demarcation from Toronto out, in other words, that coming towards Newfoundland, that from a 1,000 miles towards Newfoundland that you would not pay this fee coming to Newfoundland. And then you would pay it and pick it up the 1,000 miles from Newfoundland into Toronto.

That would be fairer. I would like to point out as the resolution says, that in the last BE IT RESOLVED, what we are saying is 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." We realize that there has to be a cost recovery, Mr. Speaker, but the thing we do not realize is that it should be put on the backs of the Newfoundlanders. This is what this fee is doing right now, what those people are doing with the user fee. It is making it a disproportionate charge to the people who live on the periphery of Canada. And that is where our concern is, and that is why that man stood up today and said it was ill-timed.

Now it is interesting, you know -

MR. SPEAKER: It is 4:40, and do we have the permission of the hon. Member for Pleasantville to- ?

MR. NOEL: By leave!

MR. GILBERT: Alright. Thank you. We see the Member over there for Kilbride who gets up and says it was an ill-timed resolution. No, Mr. Speaker, it was not an ill-timed resolution, it was very aptly timed and one that we should have to consider. Because what we are talking about now, in a situation - you just saw us bring in a budget that showed that we are getting $180 million less from Ottawa than we were two years ago. So this contributed to some of the problems that we have in this Province right now - the fact that we are getting a shortfall of $180 million in transfers from Ottawa.

Now we hear the Member for Kilbride getting up and saying it was ill-timed, because we are going to lose millions of more dollars out of our pockets out of user pay. It is alright for a civil servant to sit down in Ottawa and look at the Labrador Coast and say: users pay the same as if they lived in the Ottawa Valley. But I tell you, the transportation critic is very ill informed, and of course I have known that by the quality of his questions. So there is no doubt about it, when he speaks it is the situation that he does not know what he is talking about and he is toeing the Tory line of the man he is trying to bring home, Mr. Crosbie. He is trying to bring him home, so he would not say anything against Mr. Crosbie, and that is the problem.

Just an interesting aside to this. I have here a letter that was written by a gentleman from Mississauga, to the Premier. One of the things that he is talking about brings a very important point to mind. He says: here is one of my reasons why our country lacks cohesiveness. Two clippings from The Toronto Star, February 23 1991. I can fly from Toronto to Miami cheaper, $269, than I can to St. John's, $319. He says I can fly cheaper to Nassau, $299, than I can to St. John's, $390.

Now he says there is something wrong with a Canada that you can do this in. What the Federal Government is doing right now is going to make it increasingly more difficult and more expensive to fly to Newfoundland or from Newfoundland or within Newfoundland. And the Member over there who stands up and says this is an ill-timed motion, I feel he has serious problems and he really does not understand the problems of the transportation industry in this Province and in this country. I had an occasion the other day where a friend of mine told me he was going to Tampa. He went to a travel agency in Ottawa, and tried to get a ticket from here. It cost $900 -

MR. SIMMS: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible) interesting and entertaining but I mean I do not think the Private Member's rights should be affected.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: You do not have 'by leave' by the House. Because the Standing Orders say, Standing Order 53 (3), as Your Honour is well aware - I am sure he does not even have to look it up - but I will just quote it for him and for the Members of the House: The Member introducing the private Member's motion has a right to close the debate - the right. And if at 5:40 on the second day of the debate, the debate has not been concluded, the Speaker shall recognize that Member who shall then close the debate - the Speaker shall recognize that Member who shall then close the debate.

Now, Mr. Speaker, quite often we will give leave to a Member who is speaking at that time to finish it off in a minute or two, but this Minister of the Crown has taken almost five minutes of a private Member's time, and as one private Member, I do not think that is fair at all to the Member proposing the resolution, and I think the Minister should finish his comments and let the Member for Pleasantville, who introduced the resolution, tell us what he thinks of the debate and summarize as most Members would do. He is not going to have any time to do it.

MR. SPEAKER: I would ask the hon. the Minister to clue up in sixty seconds.

MR. GILBERT: What I was saying, Mr. Speaker, is that this resolution is to try and preclude the possibility of increasing the cost to people who live in Newfoundland in their travel; and that if it is allowed to go it is going to become increasingly more expensive to travel by air, and also as we get goods shipped in. The point that I was making with the concession fees, the 300 mile limit is, the people from Quebec to Thunder Bay are getting a benefit on the marine; the air fee is imposed right straight across.

So, Mr. Speaker, I again say that the motion was very well timed and it should be acted upon. Thank you very much, Sir.

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

MR. NOEL: Mr. Speaker, it is really gratifying to realize how the hon. Leader of the Opposition has come to look forward to my speeches with such enthusiasm that he -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. NOEL: Oh, the House Leader, I am sorry.

AN HON. MEMBER: He does not want Crosbie home.

MR. NOEL: - that he does not have sufficient patience to wait for the Minister to have his say.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleagues who, I think, all supported and expressed their enthusiasm to varying degrees for this motion today. I would particularly like to thank the Minister and my colleague from Stephenville and from Humber Valley.

I have a bit of difficulty understanding just what the position of the Member for Kilbride is. He says he believes he is going to endorse the resolution but he does not know why it should be brought and what it is likely to accomplish.

MR. R. AYLWARD: It should not be here today.

MR. NOEL: It should not be here today he says and you know, what he says goes to the heart, to the heart of the difference between his Government and our Government. What this Government is trying to do is to deal with things in a long term and substantial fashion. What the hon. Member for Kilbride was doing, was continuing the mentality that had this Province dealing with things in an ad hoc and short-term fashion and that is what has gotten us in the mess we are in today.

He would sooner that we come in here every day and debate about things that we cannot do any thing about; we cannot help the lady who needs travel service in St. John's today and the people on Bell Island who need another ferry service, we cannot help them today because the previous Government put this Province so far in debt that we do not have the resources today and we have lost our borrowing and taxing capacity.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. NOEL: They raised the taxes to the highest levels possible, we cannot increase taxes in this Province; they have stretched the Province's borrowing capacity to the limit, we cannot borrow any more -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. NOEL: The hon. House Leader for the Opposition is making quite a

AN HON. MEMBER: You are not going to be Premier that way.

MR. NOEL: - display of himself, particularly for a gentleman who was complaining about not being able to hear today -

MR. SIMMS: Very hard of hearing.

MR. NOEL: Well if you were quiet you might hear a little better.

AN HON. MEMBER: He is not going to learn anything.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. NOEL: The problem is that the only possible way we could provide more services in this Province at this time is to borrow more and we all know that there is great risk of our credit rating being lowered if we borrowed any more and how much that would cost our Province in the future.

Now we have to try and deal with the economic problems of the Province on a long term basis, and that is what this Government is doing and our long term interest lies in getting a better deal within Canada.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. NOEL: The problem with the previous Government was they dealt with symptoms rather than causes and this Government is dedicated to dealing with the causes of our problems, and the causes are the kind of system that we have set up in this country.

MR. SIMMS: The old anti-confederate, himself.

MR. NOEL: The voodoos economics of Confederation.

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible) the press will pick it up.

MR. NOEL: And as the Minister said this -

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible).

MR. NOEL: I wonder would the Opposition House Leader like to have the floor for a while?

MR. SIMMS: Sure.

MR. NOEL: Well then bring in a private member's resolution next week and you can have it, it is your turn. This week is our turn, so why don't you keep quiet for a while.

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible).

MR. NOEL: No, I never said you had to. I asked you, why don't you?

AN HON. MEMBER: He is having a bad day.

MR. NOEL: And as the Minister indicated -

AN HON. MEMBER: He just found out, Lynn is ahead of him.

Lynn is ahead of him now.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

AN HON. MEMBER: The Member for Humber East is ahead of him.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. NOEL: Mr. Speaker, as the Minister has indicated this cost recovery effort, which is being stretched out, it does not just apply to marine, it does not just apply to air. They are trying now as we saw just recently with the mobile gear fishermen on the West Coast, they have increased their boat fees from $500 to $3,500 a year, I believe it is.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Shame! Shame!

MR. NOEL: And the Government of Canada is moving into all of the areas that it can move into in order to get more taxes out of the outlying parts of this country, more regressive taxes, taxes that are regressive individually, and are regressive on a provincial basis. Taxes like the GST, which will hurt this Province more than most other provinces because of the transportation distances from central Canada. It will hurt us in terms of the goods we import. It will hurt us in terms of what we ship out, and it will hurt our tourist industry. And that applies to the cost recovery in the field of transportation. That is going to hurt our tourism business. But what we are seeing here is an effort by the Central Government to look at all possible ways to collect more money from the outlying regions and reduce the contribution of the centre of the country to the cost of running it.

The hon. the Member for Kilbride talks about -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SIMMS: Question!

MR. NOEL: The hon. the Member for Kilbride talks about transportation costs benefitting the 30 per cent highest wage earners in the country, the highest income earners. And he says half the people using the transportation services are the 30 per cent highest income people in the country. That is the case, and that is what is wrong with the system. Those 30 per cent highest income people in the country do not live in Newfoundland. And I do not see how the Member can feel that by making efforts to reduce the costs to Newfoundlanders, which is what we are trying to do, is going to hurt Newfoundlanders.

MR. GOVER: Good point! Good point! That is logic, see. That is logic! That is research.

MR. NOEL: Now if the Member is interested in making the wealthier people in this country pay more, that is what we have our progressive income tax system for. We accomplish that through the progressive income tax system. But the transportation system in this country is, as I said earlier, part of the glue that holds this country together. And, you know, people do not understand how the subsidies in the transportation system operate.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. NOEL: People assume, for instance, that the cost of subsidizing the transportation service from North Sydney to Port aux Basques constitutes a benefit for Newfoundland. But is that really a benefit for Newfoundland, or is it a subsidy to the industries in central Canada who have their goods shipped over here and make a profit off what we are forced to buy from them? So who gets the subsidy for that ferry service across the Gulf?

MR. SIMMS: What about the cost of shoes (inaudible).

MR. NOEL: The cost of shoes, my friend? We can buy shoes anywhere in the world today at cheaper prices than we have to pay for them from central Canada. Why do we buy from Toronto and Montreal? Why do we have to buy shoes? Because of the whole package that is Canada - the economic and political package that is Canada.

MR. SIMMS: Where would you buy them from, Japan?

MR. NOEL: We can buy them from every country in the world. Canada is the most expensive producer in the world; it is the most inefficient country, it is the highest-cost country, it has one of the highest levels of government participation in the GDP of the country. It is a very expensive country to live in. It is an even more expensive country to live in because we try to make it a bilingual and bicultural country. So we have lots of costs in this country that people in our Province are being forced to share, to bear the burden of, but to bear an inequitable burden because we do not get our share of the benefits of Canada.

AN HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear!

MR. NOEL: We do not get our share of the industry that is protected by the tariff system that has made Toronto and Southern Ontario the epitomes of wealth in the world today.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member on a point of order.

MR. SIMMS: It never ceases to amaze me, the hon. Member's talents. I thought he was a constitutional expert, and now all of a sudden he is an economist. I think he is straying a bit from the resolution itself and he perhaps should be called to order.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

It is not a point of order, although the Member was straying. But I think he was provoked by some hon. Members to stray.

The hon. the Member for St. John's East with about two minutes left - Pleasantville, sorry!

MR. NOEL: I just live in that direction, Sir. That is the only connection I have with the Member for St. John's East at present.

Anyway, Sir, in concluding I would just make the point that when we became a Province of Canada, we signed the Terms of Union in which we gave over a lot to Canada in return for a lot of commitments from Canada, and one of the commitments was Section 36 of The Constitution Act, 1982, on equalization and regional disparities, in which Canada undertook to maintain an equitable level of services throughout this country at reasonably comparable cost. Now what they are trying to do is increase the cost in this country. We do not have the level of services in this Province that they have in other provinces, and now they are trying to increase the level of cost we contribute to running this country. As we have seen, the changes that have come about in Canada since 1982 have resulted in a cost to this Province in transfer payments of some $750 million since 1982, almost $1 billion - $185 million in this year alone. As the Minister of Finance said in the Budget the other day, our debt in this Province has gone from practically nothing at the time of Confederation up to $25,000, he said, and he did not include our personal debt which has increased. People talk about the benefits of Confederation and all the things we have around this Province now, but we have it because we have run up a tremendous debt. We contribute to the cost of running this country, and we have benefited less than we should. So I ask hon. Members to support this motion as one effort to improve our situation in this country. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Is the House ready for the question?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Question.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion? Those in favour please say `aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: "Aye."

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. SIMMS: I wonder if the acting House Leader could advise the House of the status of the Wage Freeze Bill, I will call it. I am not sure what it is - Bill 16. Yesterday in the House, you will recall, I raised the matter and the Government House Leader said the Bill would be ready today. It is now today, today is about to expire, and it is not here.

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

MR. FUREY: I was not here yesterday, Mr. Speaker. I can only tell him today that I was not here yesterday. But Supplementary Supply is what will be called tomorrow, and I am sure the House Leader will be here tomorrow and he can answer that question.

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible) asked.

MR. FUREY: I know what you asked me. He will give you the answer tomorrow.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure if the acting House Leader understood what I asked. Yesterday, the Government House Leader said the Bill would be ready today. So is the Bill ready today?

AN HON. MEMBER: We do not know.

MR. SIMMS: I can advise them anyway that the Bill is not ready today. Because they ran into a snag and it is not even printed yet, apparently.

MR. SPEAKER: This House stands adjourned until tomorrow, Thursday, at 2:00 p.m.