April 1, 1991                   HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS              Vol. XLI  No. 19


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

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

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

MR. SIMMS: Before we get to Statements by Ministers I wonder, on a point of order, if I might not ask Your Honour for a degree of clarification. On Thursday past, Your Honour is aware, the Deputy Chairman of Committees ruled in Committee - I think it was Thursday, at least - in essence that notices of motion now can be given at any point during the day. At least that is my interpretation of it. And I want to ask Your Honour, does that mean then that we should ignore and delete the Notice of Motion section of our daily routine proceedings as outlined in our Standing Orders? And is that a correct interpretation of that particular ruling? It is important I think for us to understand our procedures. And that is the way I interpreted that ruling that night and I wonder if Your Honour has had a chance to review the matter?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. To that point of order. The Opposition House Leader is once again attempting to take the House on his back. There was a ruling given by the Chairman of Committees that at the time the Opposition challenged and they were defeated on. And now, in a roundabout way, he is once again trying to challenge the rule of the Chairman of Committees, Mr. Speaker. I think it is despicable what he is up to.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

As I understood the ruling, I think for that specific ruling that it refers only to a motion of closure. I think that was the basis of the ruling that was found in Beauchesne, that only motion of closure can be brought in under that circumstance at any time.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Statements by Ministers

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On behalf of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, I take great pleasure in announcing that as of today, April 1, all buildings operated by the Provincial Government are officially smoke free.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BAKER: This policy applies to all Government workplaces throughout Newfoundland and Labrador and is in effect on a twenty-four basis. Visitors to Government buildings will be asked to comply with the non-smoking regulations. Crown corporations and agencies are not included in this policy, but they are encouraged to implement their own non-smoking policies. The intent of the policy is to provide a healthy work environment free from tobacco smoke. A four month period that ended today allowed for a gradual transition to a completely smoke free work place. In that phase-out period employees were provided with information on how to stop smoking and the public health units of the Department of Health operated workshops on how to stop smoking.

I will conclude by noting that while some people will still be addicted, Mr. Speaker, I encourage all smokers to try and give up the habit. Employees who require assistance should contact their Human Resources Division in their individual departments for information and help on how to stop smoking.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I do not know who the Human Resources Division is in the House of Assembly, but I would sure like to meet with them quickly.

AN HON. MEMBER: It is the Premier.

MR. SIMMS: Oh, it is the Premier, along with everything else. I might have suspected that.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: It is pretty evident, Mr. Speaker, that the Government is going through some very though times. I mean they see this as a bit of positive news, so they have had to announce it now for the second time in the last five or six months. I would like to ask the President of Treasury Board why Crown corporations and agencies are not included in this policy? They are included in the wage freeze policy and all the other policies that Government has instituted? Why are they not included in this policy? Perhaps he can answer that at some point in the future? And there are questions, by the way, that I have had public service employees put to me. What kind of disciplinary action will be applied to a public servant who is caught smoking? Can the President of Treasury Board give us some answer or at least give the employees some answer to that question? I have been asked and I said, I have no idea - if it is a letter of reprimand or are they susceptible to firing or what? And how far would it go? Perhaps he could bring in another statement.

But the thing that concerns me the most, Mr. Speaker, as I said, this morning publicly, is my dealings with the Government House Leader. I said this morning he is cantankerous enough at the best of times, but he himself now, of course, has had to give up the smoking, and you can see him shaking over there. He is probably shaking from fear of having to attack me in the House of Assembly. But more likely it is because of his nicotine addiction. And the thing that concerns me the most is he is going to be a lot more cantankerous than he has been in the past, not to mention Your Honour as well.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I wish to address hon. Members in order to clarify the tentative collective bargaining agreement recently achieved with the Newfoundland Teachers' Association. Comments by NTA President, Keith Coombs, and an editorial in The Evening Telegram dated March 30th, suggests that teachers have been shielded from Budget restraint, in that job losses are minimized and that an indexed pension plan has been negotiated.

Mr. Speaker, I will try to clarify these two points. There will be a reduction in the number of teachers next year by about 130 positions; a larger reduction would have been too disruptive for students. It should also be noted, Mr. Speaker, that the salary freeze applies to teachers in the same manner as for other Government employees.

Mr. Speaker, the teachers' pension plan has been a matter of grave concern for Government and teachers for many years. Hon. Members Opposite, refused to take appropriate action, even though they were advised by their pension consultants to do so.

MR. SIMMS: Not true.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, this tentative agreement places the teachers' pension plan on a course towards sound, financial status. Furthermore, it establishes that indexing is a desirable objective to be cost-shared by Government and teachers. No details have been worked out except the maximum contribution by Government and teachers. Government will soon be inviting other employee representatives to discuss a similar program as announced in the Budget Speech.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, Government believes that the tentative agreement with teachers is a good one for both teachers and taxpayers. Teachers have not escaped Budget restraint, nor have they been targeted to carry an unfair share of the burden.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I am sad to say, here we go again. It seems to me that there is more confusion, more botching, and another shemozzle is what we are running into here today, Mr. Speaker. It is as clear as a bell. Once again we have the Government House Leader, the President of Treasury Board, either trying to inflame the teachers, certainly trying to influence the outcome of the vote with respect to their tentative agreement, and I think that, itself, is unprecedented.

Mr. Speaker, it is also clear to anybody who understands this situation that the reduction in the number of teachers next year by about 130 positions, those would have occurred anyway because of declining enrollment, even if there was no restraint program. So they are trying to cloud it and cover it up by putting in these words. What he has actually done, in fact, Mr. Speaker, is confirm what the President of the NTA has said publicly; he has now confirmed that the NTA are, in fact, exempted from layoffs. He has confirmed that, even though there is a special restraint program. The reduction in the number of positions has nothing to do with the special restraint program, those positions would have been reduced by that number in any event because of declining enrollment. So all it is, Mr. Speaker, is an attempt to trick the people, fool the people and probably try to influence the teachers.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a question for the Premier. The Premier has expressed confidence in his ability to sell the Provincial Budget to the people. The people, however, seem to be rejecting his sales pitch; they are particularly upset about the health part of the Budget. People are concluding that this Premier and this Government have no more plans for improving health care than they have had for improving the economy or municipal government. Will the Premier admit that people just are not buying his health care budget?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the comment I made was not as the hon. Member said, that I expressed confidence in my ability to sell the Budget to the people. What I expressed confidence in was the people's understanding of the difficult situation the Province is in, and I get that from the tremendous feedback I get from people in all walks of life in the Province, expressing strong support and understanding for the position the Government has taken with respect to the Budget.

Now we have gotten a lot of opposition. You will see organized opposition by the leadership of NAPE, in particular. They will try and organize demonstrations here, and NAPE will organize a demonstration in Grand Falls, where the Minister of Finance was speaking in my place because I was ill last week. You will get these kinds of organized demonstrations, and the Opposition and others paint this as the reaction of the Province. The reaction of the Province is quite the opposite. And I re-affirm, Mr. Speaker, my strong confidence that the people of this Province understand very, very well the difficult financial situation the Province is in through no fault of the present Government and approve of the course we are taking.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I can assure the Premier that people in western Newfoundland do no accept the deterioration in health care which has begun over the last couple of weeks. I ask the Premier if he will admit that people who in larger numbers in western Newfoundland will have to rely on the x-ray department at the regional hospital in Corner Brook will have to wait twice as long as they did last year for x-ray services since the demand on that central facility is increasing by at least 10 per cent while the x-ray staff at the central hospital are being cut by 25 per cent?

MR. SIMMS: He would not answer that.

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, when a question is asked will someone admit something, you know right away it is a pretty foolish question, there is no research done on it. The fact of the matter is, Mr. Speaker, all the changes made to the health care system of this Province were made in co-operation with the administrators and the boards who administer the system. In the specific case the hon. Member is talking about, the Board suggested we close the x-ray unit at Deer Lake, the total unit, including the blood collections and everything. We accepted the recommendation on the x-ray and the x-ray technician, but we did keep in place the blood collections in Deer Lake. The hospital administrator and the board in Corner Brook assures Government, considering the recession and the mess the previous administration made of Government, we do have to make some cutbacks. That is accepted. However, the hospital is quite certain they can manage in these tough times and that there will be no unnecessary delays.

For example, x-rays used to be done in Deer Lake and then they were sent down to Corner Brook to be read. Now, instead of doing it over a two day period, the intent is that the person will go to Corner Brook, have an x-ray and have it read at the same time. Then the person's doctor will be called and everything will be done at the one time. So it is a much more efficient way of doing it.

The other argument coming up is that the Bonne Bay people are going to put an extra strain on it. The fact is, Mr. Speaker, there is a hospital in the Bonne Bay area which is doing x-ray and lab work.

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

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, a supplementary to the Minister of Health. Does the Minister of Health agree with the cutting of the x-ray staff at the Central Hospital in Corner Brook by 25 per cent? How can he explain or sell to the patients in the Western region this cut, this 25 per cent reduction in staff at the same time as the Deer Lake clinic, which processed 3500 x-rays last year, is being closed, at the same time as there are extra in-patient demands being put on the Corner Brook hospital?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, if this Province was floating in money, then we would have Health Sciences Centres in every single part of the Province and there would be no need for anyone to move out of their backyard to have x-rays done. The fact of the matter is, this Province is spending as much in paying interest on the debt that previous members ran up as we are on the total hospital system. The two numbers are exactly the same, $535 million for the hospitals, $535 million for interest.

The fact is, Mr. Speaker, we are in a recession, the transfer payments are being continually cut out by Ottawa, and we have to try to pay for the health care system according to our means. Now it is not a matter of selling that to the general public, because the general public understand. Even people who are laid off, and I know they are desperate enough, they all preface their statements by saying, I realize that something had to be done. People realize that, Mr. Speaker, and we are trying to do it in the wisest, most sensible, humane way that we can do it. We accept advice from everyone. I believe, Mr. Speaker, there might be one or two mistakes, and we are willing to listen to that. But I believe we have done the best we can under very trying circumstances.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I suggest to the Minister of Health that one of the many mistakes they have made in this Budget is unacceptably reducing the budgets of hospitals.

I ask the Minister of Health, who is going to operate the CT-scan and the mammogram which are due to be installed in the x-ray Department at Western Memorial Regional Hospital in Corner Brook next week? Will the existing staff complement, 15.6 down from 20.6, be expected to take on those additional responsibilities? Or will the Minister provide additional funding so the hospital can hire back a couple of the people who were laid off?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, when the new CA scan is installed in Corner Brook, provision will be made for specialists, experts in that field, to operate it. Now whether that is going to be John Jones or Mary Lou Jones, I do not know. That is an administrative function which will be carried out by the people there. However, if we demand that the Corner Brook hospital set up x-ray units all over the western region,then it is going to be more difficult for them to get the expertise they need to run the CAT scan in Corner Brook, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. POWER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My questions are for the Minister of Health as well. I listened to the Minister of Health talking about his grand new plan for the health care system and saying that things were done in co-operation with boards and the health care administrators.

Mr. Speaker, one thing we realized when the Budget documents came down on March 7 was that there was going to be a significant change as it related to the Placentia cottage hospital and the functions that were to take place at Placentia. We are concerned that this plan as it related to Placentia was not based on the bed study that was done some time ago, that in effect the Government had gone overboard and become much too aggressive in trying to save money and had sort of forgotten the idea that good quality health care was required.

After a very huge protest here in the lobby, the Minister and the Premier met with the Member and the group for the area and said that the plan was to be reconsidered. Could the Minister confirm that in effect a plan has been reconsidered for the Placentia cottage hospital, and that in effect major changes have been made to the health care plan for Placentia?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, as we said earlier, this Government will listen to anyone who wants to challenge our overall plan for the health care system. And we do have an overall plan, the first one, I suppose, the Province has had in ten or fifteen years. And there is a very real place in our plan for Placentia and Port aux Basques and Springdale and Baie Verte, and the list goes on, Mr. Speaker, they are all inter-related.

The people from Placentia came in and suggested to us that we had made a mistake when we had decided to award their budget. They made a presentation. That presentation is presently being reviewed by the Department of Health, and hopefully before this week is over we will have a reply for the people. Or if not this week, then certainly in the not too distant future we will have a reply for the people of Placentia.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Ferryland, a supplementary.

MR. POWER: Mr. Speaker, we are led to believe in talking to certain people on the Placentia Health Care Board that in effect ten acute care beds have been reinstated, that the person who chairs that Board was notified on Thursday afternoon that in effect ten acute care beds were to be re-established at Placentia. Now could the Minister please tell us if that is the truth or if the health care board from Placentia is lying to the people?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, that is total, unmitigated rumour.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Rumour? Is it true?

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

MR. POWER: Mr. Speaker, just a final supplementary to the Minister, because, again, it is very difficult to ask questions in this House if you cannot get straightforward answers from the Ministers involved.

That Board tells us today that in effect they have ten acute care beds re-established. We ask the Minister and he says it is a rumour, that maybe it has not been decided. In effect, they have been notified by the Department of Health.

Now I just want to ask the Minister, as it relates to his health care plan, how many other mistakes do they expect to be able to discover in their health care plan? And is there any relationship between the fact that the first mistake was found after a thousand people protested in the lobby? Is that how we are supposed to get our message across?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, this borders on mischievousness. There is absolutely no basis whatsoever for the arguments the hon. Member is putting forth. I wish there was some way this forum could not be abused in such a manner. Because it is simply an attempt of the Opposition once again to obstruct what this Province is forced to do because of the mess hon. Members over there left us with when they left. The truth of the matter is, Mr. Speaker -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DECKER: The truth of the matter is, Mr. Speaker, their last Budget, in 1989, was $661 million. Our Budget is $837 million, Mr. Speaker, which we are putting into it. There is no doubt about our commitment to it. And I would ask the hon. Member, if he cannot come to this House with truth, with his questions based on concrete, then I do not think he should be coming at all.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I guess we will see in due course about the truth, these so-called rumours, the Minister of Health says.

My question, Mr. Speaker, is to the Minister of Justice. I would like to ask the Minister if he can tell the House what the current status of talks with the RNC are with respect to trying to avert layoffs?

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

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The talks are going very well and I am cautiously optimistic that we will have a resolution this week.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, on a supplementary, I wonder if the Minister would be a bit more specific perhaps, since it appears publicly, at least, that negotiations are somewhat stalemated and Government appears to be once again arrogantly saying, 'Take it or leave it. It is this way or no other way.' Can the Minister tell us exactly what concessions the Government is demanding in exchange for averting layoffs?

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

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The hon. Member suggests the talks are stalemated. That is not correct. It might be more accurate to say the Member's information is staledated. In this case, Mr. Speaker, we have had ongoing negotiations. Several weeks ago we met with the RNC and tried to work out a plan whereby layoffs could be averted, provided that the RNC made concessions under their existing contract. Those included, essentially, the move from two person cars during the evening or the night shift, from midnight through to about 8:00 a.m., and secondly, that we would arrange to have more people on during the day and less during the night hours, when less are required. That would result in significant savings in overtime to Government and, as well, would provide better service in the sense that we could have more cars on at night, with, albeit, less people.

That was the agreement. It was very satisfactory to the Constabulary members and favourably received by the membership, which voted approximately 92 per cent in favour of it. When it came to putting words to paper there were some difficulties. I met with the Constabulary Association Thursday night and I asked them to put to me what their concerns were, in writing; we looked at a tentative wording we could add to the arrangement we had already put in writing. I am advised today that the discussions which have ensued with Mr. Dave Gill of Treasury Board have gone very well and Mr. Gullage, who is the Sergeant at the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary President of the Brotherhood, may be putting an arrangement suitable to both parties to his membership on Thursday night at a meeting specifically requested to approve the final version of it. So when I say I am cautiously optimistic, Mr. Speaker, that is the reason.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the Minister of Justice can tell us whether or not he agreed with the wording reached on Thursday night? Did he, himself, agree as Minister of Justice in his Department?

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

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is not for me to agree or disagree. The final decisions on all contractual matters, as the Member should well know, are left to Treasury Board, and the appropriate parties are Treasury Board and the RNC. I met with the President of the Association. We discussed certain wordings. I asked him to put it to me on those conditions, and I understand that there have been some discussions on that. And any particular additional provision, we are prepared to look at as well. So whether I agree or not is incidental to the issue. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SIMMS: A supplementary.

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

MR. SIMMS: My final supplementary is to the President of Treasury Board. I would like to ask him: has he re-opened or does he intend to re-open negotiations with other public service bargaining units in an attempt to avoid or modify the number of layoffs announced in the Budget?

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

MR. BAKER: No, Mr. Speaker.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WARREN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the President of Treasury Board. Earlier in the Ministerial Statement the President announced that all government buildings will be smoke free. During the past number of days, Mr. Speaker, I have had several public servants asking me, if I had the opportunity, to ask a question in the legislature concerning what penalty, if any, will be imposed upon public servants if they do break the non-smoking policy?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, this is a matter that is a very normal matter between an employee and the employee's supervisors within the departmental structure. The same thing would happen to an employee as would happen if he consistently broke other rules of behaviour within the department, so whatever they happen to be.

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

MR. WARREN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. My supplementary, Mr. Speaker, is to the Minister of Development. Now that this Government has a concern about health care as it pertains to smoking, would the Minister of Development advise why his department which operates five government stores in coastal Labrador are selling $55,000 worth of tobacco and cigarettes per month in those government stores if this Government is concerned about the dangers of smoking on the health of the people?

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

MR. FUREY: Probably because the hon. Member asks me all the time to make sure they are in stock in the stores, Mr. Speaker.

The stores in Labrador, Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is close, we sell $50,000 a month in tobacco products. Because this is considered a government work place there will be no smoking in the stores by customers or employees. We are continuing to sell the tobacco products. We do this with a whole range of products in these stores as required and demanded by the local people. It is not something that I want to do personally, it is not something that the government wants to do, but the hon. Member has asked us to ensure that we listen to the wishes of the people of coastal Labrador. The people of coastal Labrador ask us to ensure that we have certain stocks and supplies in these stores. One of those supplies and stocks that they demand and require is tobacco products.

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

MR. WARREN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, at no time did I ask the hon. Member to make sure the stores were stocked with cigarettes, however, I will ask the Minister now, whereas there are other retail outlets in all the communities, would the Minister immediately remove the tobacco products from the government stores on the coast of Labrador to keep in line with the policy that this Government is announcing as pertaining to smoking and health care?

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I do not know why the hon. Member is suddenly getting so health conscious himself. The previous government for 18 years supplied tobacco products in these stores along the coast of Labrador, indeed, the Member himself ensured that there were extra tobacco products on the shelves when he himself was Minister of Northern Affairs looking after these stores. So where he suddenly, instantly, magically becomes health conscious is incomprehensible to me.

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, I readily admit, are not good storekeepers. This is why we put in place the consulting firm of (inaudible) -Touche to look at the five stores to tell us in this comprehensive study how we could better manage these stores and make them more efficient. Hon. Members would be interested in knowing, Mr. Speaker, that we lost some $1.5 million last year in these stores and we have to clean up that balance sheet, and that is what we are intending to do.

Mr. Speaker, if the people of the communities of these five coastal areas ask me, as Minister, to remove cigarette and tobacco products from the stores, I would gladly take it under advisement, bring it before my Cabinet colleagues and immediately remove them from the stores.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have a question for the Minister of Finance. The Minister projected in his Budget a $54 million deficit and that depended of course on certain actions such as drastic cuts in health and education, social programs and about 3,500 jobs eliminated in the public service, including a $100 million payroll. We now know that it will take up to five months to attain certain payroll cutbacks dictated by the Minister. Will the Minister now tell us whether or not his projection of $54 million deficit is still accurate, if that is still the latest figure?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, yes, the projection is as we made it at the moment; I want to correct though, a couple of points that the hon. Member made. First of all, there are not 3,500 layoffs, we projected 2,000 layoffs and not 3,500.

He keeps using that figure, Mr. Speaker, and I do not know where he - I suppose if he repeats something that is not true often enough, people will believe it, that is the old technique that came forward a number of years ago and we are not going to have that Goebbels technique used in this Chamber unchallenged. Mr. Speaker, the other point he made was that people would not be laid off for five months, there may be several people, a number of people in some institutions will take awhile before termination but all that was anticipated in the Budget. Most of these terminations will occur, some of them have already occurred and others will be occurring immediately.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister may well be right, probably not 3,500, it is probably well more than that. If the Minister would table the salary details we would have an idea of just how many people are going out.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, last year, in the Minister's Budget, he instituted a new tax called a Health and Education Tax, ironic that we have such major cutbacks this year in Health and Education, when last year the Minister instituted his new tax, we called it a payroll tax, it is a penalty to those that employ people.

The Minister projected last year, Mr. Speaker, revenues of $15 million in the payroll tax in last year's fiscal year, and $25 million on an annual basis, both numbers were in the Minister's Budget, so I trust he will accept the accuracy of those; and in fact, Mr. Speaker, the Minister produced something like $28 million this year according to his Budget versus the $15 million projected and is now projecting $42 million, $42.5 million for this year. Are those figures now accurate and would the Minister please explain his obvious inability to accurately predict how much impact that new tax is going to have?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, the Member again is confusing the figures. Two things have happened, two things you should remember. First of all, last year the payroll tax did not cut in until August. This year we have a whole year and that is the great explanation for it. The other thing we have to be careful of is that a fair amount of this money flows in, it is not really a net figure, it is a gross figure because Government in effect pays for those institutions which are operated by the Government, then it comes back as tax so it is the net figure in which we are interested and also, the other part is the extended year.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, the Minister, obviously does not understand the annualization of the tax measure which he introduced. We all know it was instituted effective August 1st, that is what he announced and because of that he said we will only get $15 million this year, $25 million next year. Last year, Mr. Speaker, the Minister also predicted a 5 per cent growth in personal income tax and we saw a 10 per cent growth. This year, he is again predicting a 5 per cent growth, could the Minister tell us, is that 5 per cent growth based on the growth that he saw last year, does it include the $100 million payroll that has been taken out of the Province by laying off 3,500 plus civil servants and are these figures indeed accurate, and what impact is that going to have on his final budgetary projections?

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

DR. KITCHEN: The figures are accurate Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes.

MR. HEARN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the President of Treasury Board and I ask the President of Treasury Board if Government Departments have been notified of the salary Budgets for 1991 and 1992, and, has there been any revision in Department salary estimates, since the Budget which could affect the number of layoffs in Government Departments?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I hesitate to say 'never' and 'not any' because in some instances there may have been some minor revisions for one reason or another, but I can tell the hon. Gentleman that by and large, the salary estimates and the amounts have been exactly as we predicted in the first place.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes.

MR. HEARN: Thank, you, Mr. Speaker. I notice the Minister did not answer the question whether or not the salary votes had been given to Department. Maybe he will answer when I ask him: can he now state categorically that the number of layoffs in Government Departments will not exceed the number announced in the 1991 Budget?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, when we made the announcement in our Budget that there would be 2,000 layoffs it was made amply clear that this was not an exact figure, that we were not saying that this is specifically, precisely, exactly the number of individuals who would be laid off.

PREMIER WELLS: It may be a lot less.

MR. BAKER: Hon. gentlemen understand that quite a lot of the employees are in, for instance, systems that we have no direct control over, like the health care sector, like the education sector, and so on. And that budgets were calculated on the basis that - as an example, in the health care sector, the budgets were calculated on the basis there would be approximately 900 layoffs, or jobs, positions disappear, whatever.

PREMIER WELLS: They may make it different.

MR. BAKER: And that was the basis on which it was done. Now, whether that is 850 or 700 or 950 remains to be seen when the whole process is gone through. A lot depends on how the institutions handle their budgets for the year. One thing is certain - they will live within their budgets and they will live within their salary budgets. And the exact numbers: Members of the House will be notified of that in due time as soon as we know, but we are estimating that it is around 2,000, and we stick by that.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes.

MR. HEARN: Mr. Speaker, will the Minister tell us if Departments now know which employees will be laid off? Have all redundant employees been identified and given their layoff notices? If not, when does the Minister expect the final layoff notices to be issued? And when does he expect all redundant positions to be vacated? And perhaps he will tell us: now that some Departments at least do have their salary vote, that in order to meet that budget, which he just said they must meet, they are going to have to lay off significantly more employees?

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

MR. BAKER: No, Mr. Speaker, it is not true that they are going to have to lay off significantly more employees. I know the hon. Member is hoping and hoping that the number is going to be what they say, which at one point was up to 8,000. I see now they are down to 3,500. They were at 4,000 a few days ago, now they are down to 3,500. They are taking those guesses and they are hoping that they can somehow twist it around so that it comes out to their numbers.

Mr. Speaker, we have gone through a very difficult time, we do not like laying off anybody, but because of the financial problems we face this year something had to be done. There were very few options. We had to downsize the public service. And the hon. gentleman asked me the question about - I believe he was talking about Government Departments and not the health care or education sectors. Government Departments at this point in time, Mr. Speaker, we do know exactly in the Government Departments which positions are disappearing and people have been notified.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Grand Bank.

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a question as well for the President of Treasury Board. Since the Departmental reviews which started, I believe it was last October, the Premier and the President of Treasury Board announced that they were doing Departmental reviews to look at what measures would have to be taken in light of the Province's financial difficulties.

I am wondering if the President of Treasury Board could inform the House as to how many public employees have been laid off to date in the Province? How many have received their layoff notices of the 2,100 announced in the Budget by the Minister of Finance. Could the President of Treasury Board inform us as to how many have been laid off to date?

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

MR. BAKER: It is very difficult to say right now, Mr. Speaker. As I indicated, as soon as we know for sure throughout the whole system, the 2,000 that the hon. Member talks about, or around 2,000, then these numbers will be available. I can simply say that as soon as I know for sure and have the breakdowns from the whole system, then I will tell the House about it.

Right now we know that layoff notices have gone out, and positions have been eliminated in Government Departments. We do not know how far this has gone through the hospital system, whether the bumping procedures have been all followed through within the unionized segment of our workers, and so on. So until all of this happens then I can't accurately answer the hon. Member's question. But as soon as I can I will.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, in accordance with the provisions of the Newfoundland Medical Care Insurance Act, I table the report of the Medical Care Commission for the year ending March 31, 1990.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Eagle River.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is my privilege to present the report of the Privileges and Elections Committee

respecting telecasting the proceedings of the House of Assembly.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the other Members on the Committee and to assure the House that we will fully inform the House on the issue when the issue arises in future.

Notices of Motion

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, this is actually a motion that we are going to put forth for Private Members' Day on Wednesday and we generally give notice of it today. It is a motion that is going to be moved by my colleague the Member for Humber East and the wording is quite simple: BE IT RESOLVED the House of Assembly oppose Provincial Government Budget restraint measures that discriminate against women. It is quite clear.

Petitions

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Terra Nova.

MR. GREENING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am pleased to rise and present a petition in this hon. House on behalf of residents of Charlottetown, Glovertown, Gambo, Eastport, Traytown, and Hare Bay in the districts of Bonavista North and Terra Nova. The prayer of the petition reads: we the undersigned the friends of MUN Extension state that whereas MUN Extension has provided, and continues to provide, an essential service to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, and whereas no other agency is capable of providing that service MUN Extension should be reinstated. Your petitioners respectfully request that the hon. House of Assembly take such action as may be necessary to ensure that Memorial University reinstate its extension service and that it be funded and equipped to provide the services it has traditionally provided.

Thank you.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: Are you on a point of order?

MR. HARRIS: I did not see anybody else standing. I do not have another, I was speaking to this petition. I did not see anybody else standing.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise to support the petition presented by the hon. Member for Terra Nova. I, too, share the concerns of the petitioners that the taking away of MUN Extension will deprive Newfoundland of very important services that henceforth had been provided by Memorial University. These services are vital to the cultural life of Newfoundland, not only in the rural areas where MUN Extension has provided a vital program of community development with important results to communities all over this Province, but there is another aspect of MUN Extension that is also very important to the communities of this Province and that is in the area of MUN Extension Arts. The MUN Extension Arts Program has provided for visual artists and the visual arts in general, employment for working artists whose incomes are abysmally low, as has been recognized many times before, not only by the artists themselves but even by commissions of this Government. It has also provided a high standard teaching facility and has really provided a major contribution to the cultural identity of this Province. What the Government has done by tolling the death knell of MUN Extension has also deprived, particularly the area of St. John's, which has no arts college or no special facility for artists, has taken a big chunk out of the cultural community of Newfoundland which, as I think Government recognizes in other fields, is vitally important. We know that just a few days before the Budget was brought down that Government spent $65,000 on the purchasing of art works from artists in this Province. These art works can only be produced if we have artists who are able to survive as individuals so that they can produce this kind of work. MUN Extension Arts has provided a very valuable addition to the cultural community. We have seen the MUN Art Gallery as well which exists right now as the Provincial Art Gallery also suffering severe cutbacks as a result of Government's budget action towards Memorial University. I think these petitioners want to see the valuable work that has been done by MUN Extension continued and not have the people of rural Newfoundland, or the working artists be treated unfairly and be victims of these cutbacks and pay more as artists as well as public servants to pay an unfair share of the financial burden of this Province.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, the Government has stated its position on the funding of Memorial University on several occasions in this House and on its arm's length relationship from the Government. I do not think there is anything else I can add to that explanation, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a petition to present on behalf of 2,825 residents of the Gander Loop Road area, 1,700 actually from Gander, 1,770 from the Gander area. And I will read the prayer of the petition, Mr. Speaker:

To the hon. House of Assembly in Legislative session convened, the petition of the undersigned residents of Gander and surrounding areas. Whereas the hon. the Minister of Social Services has announced the closure of the Gander group home along with others in the Province without first putting in place a programme to guarantee the adequate training of foster parents, whose responsibility it will be to care for the residents of these group homes, wherefore your petitioners urge the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to suspend a decision to close the Gander group home and other group homes in the Province, pending a thorough investigation of the implications of such a decision to ensure before any closures occur that the lives of the residents will not be adversely affected by such a change, as in duty bound your petitioners will ever pray.

Now, Mr. Speaker, that is 2,825 signatures. And I guess what bothers the people of the area who organized this petition is that the Minister seems to have moved rather hastily in announcing that eight homes would be closed. We on this side believe that the intent is probably right but it is the approach where the Minister went wrong.

The Minister - and in fact I heard him on numerous occasions out in central, for the day or two that he was out there, after meeting the board out there, to on one occasion announce that the home was going to close, and then he has done some backtracking and he continues to vacillate. His position seems to change almost on a daily basis as to exactly what he is going to do with the group homes.

The problem that the parents particularly have, and families of these young men and women who are in group homes, is that they are very concerned that the level of training for the foster homes has not been put in place, any kind of a programme that will train people to adequately deal with the needs of these mentally and physically delayed young people. And the Minister keeps saying that a suitable programme will be put in place, and what we are waiting for is to see what details there are, what kind of training is put in place, and we are also curious as to why these eight homes were selected.

What criteria did the Minister use to determine that the one at, I think it is Goose Bay, or the one at Gander, was going to close, and the one at nearby Gambo was not going to close? And why didn't the Minister before he announced his programme send up a trial balloon, did an experiment in closing down one home, to see how it would work out, put in a training programme, before he announced that eight homes would close? And when are the rest of the homes going to close?

We see a programme that has been announced for some time. The gradual transition from Exon House to group home and out into the environment, and indeed that is the approach it should take. What we are questioning is, why eight, why not one? What about the level of training? What plans does the Minister have in place? And are the people who are now trained in these group homes going to be the people who will assist the foster homes in the delivery and implementation of the programme, the people who are more familiar and most familiar with them? And in the event that some of these move on to apartments, I think, as the Minister has suggested, that some of them will move out of the home situation entirely and will move into apartments, what kind of support system is in place to adequately care for these people?

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

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

I rise in support of the petition that was presented by my colleague for Fogo. Mr. Speaker, that is 2825 names from the Gander/Fogo Loop area. However, Mr. Speaker, at the same time in supporting this petition I would like to extend beyond the petition concerning the group home in the Gander area and mention the one in Happy Valley/Goose Bay that the Minister is determined to close. Determined, Mr. Speaker, to send an individual from my District itself out into some other sort of home where he will not be looked after properly.

I should also say to the Minister, and this is very fair, I want to say this to him, when Exon House was closed, and I say this because at Exon House a lot of those individuals needed a little extra care, and those group homes were providing that little extra care. In fact, Mr. Speaker, in Happy Valley/Goose Bay the four individuals that were there, there are three there now at the present time, in talking with the staff, I visited the staff a few weeks ago, Mr. Speaker, they can see an improvement in the residents. What I am concerned about is that the Minister is now turning the clock backwards on those people who were given this small hope, and three of those people who are there now, in fact, it was only about one month ago that the Minister advised his colleague from Naskaupi to call a constituent of mine and advise him that the group home would not be closing for this year.

Now after that the Minister met with the constituent of mine and he told him to go home and tell his wife that the group home will not close. Now, Mr. Speaker, he said that, and I am telling this House what I have been told by my constituent. I have a funny feeling my constituent will go home and he would not tell his wife a lie. He would tell his wife what the Minister told him. In fact, that family became very happy with the response that was given by the Minister to the family. I hope the Minister will hold by it and not move those individuals out of that group home because there is no other place that can accommodate the particular needs that those individuals have. And I say to the Minister, do not be ashamed to draw back on some of the decisions that you are planning to make because some of the decisions may be in the best interest of the dollar, but not in the best interest of the individuals who live in those homes.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I do not know if there is anybody in the present House of Assembly who enjoys the participation back and forth from the House any more than I do, since 1985 when I came into this hon. House. But it disgusts me to no end to hear an individual, a Member, an MHA representing his constituents to stand up in the House and make the statements that he just made knowing very well they are untrue and unfounded statements.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Absolutely, Mr. Speaker. It totally disgusts me as an MHA, and a Minister in this House of Assembly to take part in those particular conversations.

Mr. Speaker, I did not as Minister of Social Services make the decision to close any group homes in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. I did not as Minister make the decision to close out any group homes in the Province. What I did, as Minister, was act on the advice of the experts in my Department, the people who worked in the MR Division of the Department of Social Services, since day one -

AN HON. MEMBER: You made the decisions.

MR. EFFORD: I did not make them alone. I made them based on the advice -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, when Exon was closed out there were a lot of fears among all of the people, and especially parents of the residents of Exon House: what is going to happen to my son, my daughter, my brother and sister now that they are going to be moved into group homes? - naturally, a fear of any move of people like that because of their disability - developmentally delayed, a mental disability or a physical disability. Most of the residents have very serious disabilities and it is only natural that parents or sibling groups of these people would have some fears. But when you hear those fears being added to by individuals in the community who have no understanding of what is about to take place, it is very, very unfair to the residents themselves and to family members. And that is what is taking place in the town of Gander. We are not closing any group homes - we are not closing any groups homes.

What we are doing is giving individuals living in group homes the right to live in the community. And if moving those people out to live in the community means that group homes become vacant, then so be it. If the community wants to keep that group home there, that is fine. All we are saying is that residents now living in those group homes have as much right to live in the community as I do or you do or anybody else in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, or in this great country of Canada. The only difference is most of those individuals cannot make decisions for themselves so it is the responsibility of the people within the Department of Social Services in co-operation with the community, in co-operation with the families, and in co-operation with the volunteers around the group home boards, the management boards, to make those decisions. Not one is made in isolation of the other. They are made co-operatively. We are not going to make those decisions flippantly, we are not going to say maybe it is right and maybe it is wrong.

There is a great deal of research going into the move that is being made now, a great deal of research. It was not done based on the whim of some Minister for political reasons, it was based on a very hard decision that was being developed over a number of years. In fact, when the group homes were opened, back in the early 70s, there was only supposed to be an interim placement until a better arrangement was made or an equally good arrangement in individualized living within the community.

Now in answer to the hon. the Member for Fogo, why were a certain number of group homes picked out? It was not the fact that a person had to pass an examination to move into the community. There was no criteria around an individual. What it meant was the Department of Social Services in those particular areas could identify support and identify foster placements or co-operative apartment placements in that particular community. Eventually, with no time schedule planned, all the group homes will find themselves in that position, with no residents. That is our long-term prayer, to make sure that those people have a right to live in the community. That is absolutely the way it is supposed to be.

Will there be training put in place? There always has been training in place. There always has been. People working in group homes now went through training sessions. We have a full-time trainer working with the Department of Social Services. That is the law. That has always been the goal and will continue to be the goal, wherever training is needed to be put in place. As for the hon. the Member for Torngat, I went to Labrador and I spoke to your constituent in a very good meeting; we spoke for an hour or more. I did not tell him at any time that the home would not close. In fact, I spoke to him about three days ago. About three days ago I spoke to the individual on the phone again. He was quite pleased, as a matter of fact, that I called him back and we chatted.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) are you trying to (inaudible)?

MR. EFFORD: Well, I apologise if I cannot get back every time someone calls. I go through about 100 phone calls every day in my department, my executive assistant, my secretary and myself personally. I am not trying to say that I can answer every call, but I will get back and I do get back, unlike Ministers in the former Government.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In conclusion, those moves will take place and all the residents will receive proper care.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I take pleasure in rising in this House of Assembly today to present a petition on behalf of some thirty-three students who are presently attending the Cabot Institute here in St. John's. I will read the prayer of the petition as presented to me by the students at Cabot Institute.

`As a voter and one of many citizens who believes that the Cabot Institute is vital to Newfoundland and Labrador I strongly oppose any move by Government to reduce programs and to cut funding to Cabot Institute. Thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians need Cabot Institute to ensure an economic future for Newfoundland and Labrador, and we want a quality education and we deserve no less.'

Mr. Speaker, that is the prayer of a petition from some thirty-three students at the Cabot Institute. It is my understanding that the way the students at Cabot Institute wished to have their petition presented was that each student at Cabot Institute would petition his Member in the House of Assembly in order that that person would be able to stand in his place and present the concerns of the students of Cabot Institute.

Now, Mr. Speaker, there are thirty-three names on this petition. I would suggest to some Members opposite that they let the students in their districts know who is representing them. Because, Mr. Speaker, I have a name on this from Empire Avenue, which is not in my district; I believe it is in the Minister of Education's district. And I have several names on this from Cowan Heights, which is not in my district, but I believe is in the district of the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

But that aside, the message which those students wish to give Members of this House of Assembly, particularly the Government and the Minister of Education, is that they oppose the cutbacks this Government has instituted at Cabot Institute in this Province.

Mr. Speaker, maybe I should declare a conflict before I start, because I am a graduate of the Cabot Institute, or College of Trades and Technology at that time. But I do want to say that the education provided students of this Province at that institute was, at one time, topped by none in the country. Students who have graduated, particularly from the technology programs at the Cabot Institute, could, at one time, go to universities like UNB, which offers a surveying degree program, and get probably 80 per cent credit for the subjects they did at the Cabot Institute. Now, Mr. Speaker, with the cutbacks this Government has instituted at Cabot Institute they have put programs like this in jeopardy.

Mr. Speaker, universities which did at one time accept the qualifications of technology students from Cabot Institute are soon going to start reviewing the quality of education that is going to be provided at this institute. And, Mr. Speaker, the quality is not being reduced because the professors are any less qualified to teach these courses, the quality is being reduced for one reason only, and that is this Government is cutting funds which the college needs to be able to provide the amount and the quality of courses which these universities require.

Mr. Speaker, I think Government should review all the decisions they have made concerning cutbacks in education. Because, Mr. Speaker, the root of a lot of our problems today are based on the quality and the amount of education a lot of the people in Newfoundland have. And if we cut back on educational funding in this Province, we are going to extend into the future some of the problems we now experience and have experienced in the past.

Mr. Speaker, when times are bad, when unemployment rates are high, I think the onus is on Governments to try to spend even more money than in good times on education, so that people who are unemployed during the hard times can have an opportunity to become re-educated, so that they might have some future by getting an education, so that they will not have to suffer through the hard times or the unemployment a person suffers -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes.

MR. HEARN: Thank you, very much, Mr. Speaker. I take pleasure in standing to support the petition so ably presented by my colleague, the Member for Kilbride, a petition presented on behalf of a number of students who, like students in most post-secondary institutions today, are extremely concerned about what is going to happen to them this coming year and during the ensuing years.

When we look at the present Budget we realize that the institutes and community colleges are going to have fewer dollars this year. Now the Minister will constantly get up and talk about a freeze in post-secondary. But it is not a freeze, it is actually a cutback. Not a cutback in terms of real dollars, where we have a 5.7 inflation rate and consequently the same amount of money really means less money into today's dollars. I am not talking about that, I am talking about an actual cut.

Last year, Government budgeted $57,132,100 - I am sorry, $100,000 -for the community colleges and post-secondary institutes. They spent, actually, in excess of $58 million - $58.75 actually, but this year they are budgeting $57.25 million. So they are budgeting $1.5 million less than they spent last year. So that is a cut. What ever way you want to cut the cloth, that is a cut. When we add on top of that, Mr. Speaker, a 5.7 inflation rate, then in real dollars this coming year the institutes and community colleges have a lot less money to operate with than they had last year. Consequently, one must ask, what do they have to do? Of course there are two answers which stand out. One is to cut, and the other is take in more money on their own, through tuition fees and so on.

When you have several million dollars involved, and we would be looking at $2 or $3 million at least, then consequently increased tuition is not going to get them all the money they need, they are going to have to look at trimming programs and trimming personnel. When the President of Treasury Board today talks about limiting the number of layoffs to what we had announced in the Budget - 2000 is the number being kicked around - I am afraid he is going to find out that as the universe unfolds, we are going to have many more than 2000 laid off, and the 5000 number being kicked around is going to be much closer to reality in the final result than the 2000 figure announced in the Budget.

Of course, Government can say we did not lay them off, we have boards who make such decisions and they have a number of options, and they were the ones who chose to lay off the people involved, but they know full well that if you do not give an institution enough money with which to operate, then the boards, the principals, or both in consultation, have no choice except to make some hard and fast decisions. One of the big fears of a number of students, the students I have talked to, some of whom are involved in ongoing programs, perhaps in the first year of a two year program or the second year of a three year program, or whatever, is that certain programs might be curtailed.

I would like the Minister, when he stands, to assure us that as he deals with, and I presume he will be dealing with the colleges and post-secondary institutions to try to find the best possible way around the present financial dilemma, he will make sure that no students will have wasted time. If students have been in this past year dealing with the first year of a two year course and find that course has been dropped, then these students have thrown away a year of their lives, and they have thrown away large amounts of money which they had to expend on the cost of tuition, books, board, and everything else involved, if they cannot complete the second year of their course. I would like the Minister to assure us that in his dealings with the post-secondary institutions he will make sure that no students will be deprived of completing a course of study in which they are presently enrolled because of cutbacks. That, I think, is perhaps, the most serious fallout of the present funding situation that we have. A number of courses -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. HEARN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We will have a chance to get back to it.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would just like to simply point out that whereas there is a statement on these sheets that is admirable - students defending the Cabot Institute and pointing out how important it is in this Province, and making a statement about wanting quality education, a very admirable statement, this, in fact, is not a -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Are you on a point of order, or are you (inaudible)?

MR. BAKER: No, I am speaking to the petition.

AN HON. MEMBER: You are speaking to the petition?

MR. BAKER: Yes, I am confining myself to the prayer and the names. Mr. Speaker, whereas the statement is admirable, it is not a petition to this hon. House, number one. And number two, Mr. Speaker, in looking at the names signed to it, I do not see the name of the hon. Member who presented the petition. So, Mr. Speaker, whereas the statement is honourable, it is not a proper petition and it is not signed by the hon. Member for Kilbride which would make the petition out of order.

But in any instance, Mr. Speaker, I am not pushing the point, I am just pointing that out, that this is not a petition and it is not signed by the hon. Member; I am sure the hon. Member would agree to sign it after the fact, even though he was supposed to have done it before the fact.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to move that we proceed to the reading of the Orders of the Day.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order.

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

MR. SIMMS: Yes, Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I understand that this occurrence happened on one other occasion. I know I was not in the House at the time, so I am not fully cognizant of the background and how it occurred. In my understanding, a Member moving such a motion as moving to Orders of the Day, proceeding to Orders of the Day, is taken from our own Standing Orders, I presume, and I refer specifically to Standing Order 33: "When a question is under debate no question is received unless to amend it; to postpone it to a day certain; for the previous question; for reading the orders of the day," etc. So I assume that is where this is coming from.

Now, Mr. Speaker, Standing Order 33 is quite clear. When a question is under debate -

MR. BAKER: There is nothing under debate (inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Now, Mr. Speaker, I draw to your attention the Standing Orders related to petitions, and specifically... if I can just get the appropriate Standing Order. Specifically, Standing Order 97: "There shall be no debate on a petition".

AN HON. MEMBER: Right on!

MR. SIMMS: So I would argue, Mr. Speaker, that it is inappropriate for a Member to stand to speak in speaking to a petition and then somehow move a motion to move to Orders of the Day. I do not understand at all how that could be acceptable, even though I understand it did occur one time, I think last session sometime.

So, Mr. Speaker, the Government House Leader was recognized to speak to the petition. In fact, we interjected and he said: yes, I am speaking to the petition. But if you are speaking to the petition you must confine yourself to the prayer of the petition, the number of signatories, and the argument contained within the petition. So how could one use that, Mr. Speaker, to then move that we move to Orders of the day? I think it is incorrect, improper and inappropriate, and I would argue that it is not appropriate to be able to do that at this point in the proceedings.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. BAKER: It is an interesting little piece of sophistry that the hon. Member is getting on with there now. By Members opposite getting up and speaking to petitions and not confining themselves to the prayer of the petition and the number of signatures and so on, they readily admit the practice of using and dealing with matters other than, Mr. Speaker, the prayer of the petition and the number of signatories to the petition. So by simply doing that themselves they have admitted to the propriety of bringing in matters other than what is specified in the Standing Orders, according to the practice of the House. So how then can the hon. Member use that argument to say that I could not move a motion to proceed to the Orders of the Day because it is not about the prayer of the petition or the signatures, when hon. Members opposite have, in the last three petitions, done exactly that, Mr. Speaker? So you cannot have your cake and eat it to.

I would like to refer Your Honour to Standing Order 21 which also points out, Your Honour: `A motion for reading the orders of the day shall have preference to any motion before the House,' which seems to indicate that calling for the reading of the orders of the day can take place when another matter is before the House.

MR. SPEAKER: I will entertain one more comment. The hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes.

MR. HEARN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Is the House Leader, Mr. Speaker, now telling us that despite the fact that we have an education system which has been devastated by the Government, by the Budget, and a health system which has been devastated, where we have a number of people who are affected and who have concerns and have asked us to present these concerns to this hon. House by means of a petition, which is their only recourse to the House of Assembly, that we no longer have the right to present petitions in this hon. House from our constituents? Is this what the hon. House Leader is saying? And is this what the House is going to dictate, that we cannot present petitions to this hon. House at a time when the only recourse of frustrated people is to the House by means of a petition?

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair is going to recess for just a few moments to look at the proposal.

Recess

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

[Speaker's mike not working]

Re the admissibility of the motion just made I should say that we have several precedents in our own House of this being done. We have not been able to pinpoint some of them at the moment, but they (inaudible) for hon. Members and in Ottawa we have (inaudible) will just read for hon. Members what we have here. `In 1970, the Speaker accepted the motion moved during Question Period, and in 1983 the motion moved during routine proceedings under Petitions was similarly accepted. In February 1987, the Speaker put the question on the motion moved at the commencement of the sitting. The following day a Member's right to move such a motion when it was not before the House was the object of a (inaudible). The weight of recent precedents favours the admissibility of motions to proceed to the Orders of the Day if moved before the Orders of the Day, whether or not debate on another motion is currently in progress.' So I have to say that from these rulings it is quite clear that the motion is in order.

All those in favour of the -

AN HON. MEMBER: `Nay'.

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

MR. SIMMS: I wonder, could we hear the motion, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: Why do we not tear up the Orders of the Day? (Inaudible) progress anyway.

MR. SIMMS: Could we hear the motion?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) this day.

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

MS. VERGE: We have more petitions here!

MR. SPEAKER: The motion was that we proceed to Orders of the Day.

MR. MATTHEWS: Just as well give up petitions here and tell the people not to send in any more.

MR. SPEAKER: All those in favour of the motion?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

All those in favour of the motion, `aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against the motion, `nay'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Nay.

MR. SPEAKER: I declare the motion, carried.

MS. VERGE: Division.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: On division, Mr. Speaker.

Orders of the Day

MR. BAKER: Motion 6, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SIMMS: A point of order.

MR. SPEAKER: On a point of order, the Opposition House Leader.

MR. SIMMS: Yes, a point of order. Mr. Speaker, motion 6, as I understand it on the Order Paper, is basically what is known as the Closure Motion. I refer Your Honour to Standing Order 50 in our Standing Orders, and Standing Order 50 says and I quote: `Immediately before the order of the day for resuming an adjourned debate is called...', and it goes on to say, a Minister may stand in his place and call the closure motion. But the operative words are: Immediately before the order of the day. I would point out to Your Honour that you, yourself, said that the motion we had voted on was to move to Orders of the Day. We are now in Orders of the Day and I would argue that this closure motion is out of order and must have been presented immediately prior to Orders of the Day.

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, again they are trying to kill a little bit of time. It should be obvious to anybody reading Standing Order 50. It says, `Immediately before the order of the day for resuming an adjourned debate is called.' It does not say immediately before Orders of the Day are called. It says: Immediately before the order of the day for resuming an adjourned debate is called, so I would suggest to Your Honour that the Opposition House Leader is totally misreading, as usual, one of our Standing Orders; he is not familiar with it; he does not understand about Standing Orders. He is totally misreading this Standing Order, Mr. Speaker. That is exactly what I did before calling that order of the day for resuming the adjourned debate, which was Bill 12. Immediately before calling that, Mr. Speaker, I have introduced the closure motion.

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair is going to recess for a couple of minutes to (inaudible).

Recess

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

After consultation we have decided that the motion is in order and that it is introduced in its appropriate place. (Inaudible) report the Order of the Day for the resuming of an adjourned debate is called and the House (Inaudible) and so on, that everything is in order as introduced by the Government House Leader.

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

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, just on a further point of order for clarification purposes I guess, more than anything else now. I would like Your Honour to advise the House if the amount of time used during the debate under closure actually comes out of the seventy-five hours for Budget debate? Your Honour could advise the House of that?

MR. SPEAKER: I will check but I believe it does. (Inaudible) hon. Members I will check with the Table.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, it does, I am informed it does.

MR. SIMMS: But what stage are we (Inaudible)?

MR. SPEAKER: The Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Point of privilege, Mr. Speaker. If you recall, before Your Honour recognized the Government House Leader when he pretended to speak to a petition and then switched to cut off presentation of petitions by moving that Orders of the Day were called, Your Honour saw me on my feet trying to get Your Honour's attention. I was on my feet because I have a petition which was given to me by a group of artists and arts administrators and they specifically asked that I present the petition at my earliest opportunity. I know some of my colleagues in the official Opposition had one or two other petitions that they were asked to present today. And, Your Honour, it is more than a coincidence that it is just once or twice a year when the Government is trying to ram through some unpopular measure - last year it was the recision of the Meech Lake Accord, this year it is the regressive Budget - that they cut off our time -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS. VERGE: - for presenting petitions

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair is not going to deal with any points of privilege on this matter. The Chair -

MR. SIMMS: Hear the point of privilege first.

MR. SPEAKER: I am hearing the point of privilege, and there is no point of privilege.

I am not going to debate with anybody in this matter. I will let the hon. Member just clue up the point of privilege rather quickly, but to this point I have not heard a point of privilege.

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I, as a Member of this House of Assembly, have been elected by the people of Humber East to represent their interests. I have a duty as a Member of the House to respond to the wishes of the citizens of the Province. I would submit that all of us collectively and each of us individually has that responsibility. Now, on each day's order paper there is the heading "Petitions." There is no qualification put on that title, petitions, plural. Mr. Speaker, last week, the week before, the week before that, each day as we sat here, Your Honour recognized Member after Member who rose to present petitions.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair is not going through this. There is no point of privilege. There is a place in the Order Paper and the Chair has no idea as to when they are going to be called every day. I recognized the Opposition House Leader and I suppose the House could object to that, but I had not recognized anyone from the Government's side, I just forget how many speakers there were. And the tradition in this House, is to - when there have been two speakers on this side, and there were two speakers on this side, so I went to the Government side, and so there is no point of privilege, no point of privilege.

MS. VERGE: Your Honour? Your Honour, the Government House Leader -

AN HON. MEMBER: Mr. Speaker, what is this?

MS. VERGE: - rose on false pretences.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

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

MS. VERGE: The Government House Leader was recognized by Your Honour specifically to speak to a petition that had been presented by a Member on this side of the House.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I have made the ruling on that from Beauchesne. What happened, I recognized the hon. Member, the Member moved a motion which was in order. Now there is a place where we are going to call the vote on that. And hon. Members have the right of voting against the Speaker, but we are not going to carry on with points of privilege delaying the House. That is the job of the Chair, to ensure that the business of the House is conducted properly.

AN HON. MEMBER: In accordance with the Standing Order, not getting around it.

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

MR. SIMMS: Now, Mr. Speaker, I want to understand exactly what it is Your Honour is saying now, and I am -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Well - I beg your pardon?

MR. WARREN: Close your mouth, boy, and open your ears.

MR. SIMMS: If hon. Members would restrain themselves -

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

MR. SIMMS: - I would be happy to get on with my point of privilege.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Does your Member for Exploits want to be Speaker of the House, or something? Well, go sit in the chair or go out back or whatever if you can't listen, and at least have the courtesy to listen to what people have to say in the House.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Well, listen who's talking.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I want to understand from Your Honour clearly what ruling has just now been made by Your Honour. Because it is important for us to understand our proceedings. I can't believe I heard Your Honour say he is not going to entertain any points of privilege on this matter, because the most basic fundamental right of any member of any elected parliament anywhere is the freedom of speech and the right to raise points of privilege. I am sure Your Honour would be the first one to agree with that. So, I would say that if Your Honour is ruling to the point of privilege made by the Member for Humber East and that it is not, in his opinion, a point of privilege, then that is fine. But I do not think that that would preclude any other Member from raising a point of privilege or a point of order. I am not aware of any reference, any parliamentary precedent, where a Speaker would revert directly to calling the vote on the motion if there was a Member of any elected party who wanted to stand and raise a point of privilege, a legitimate point of privilege in their mind.

So with that in mind, Mr. Speaker, I would like to have a ruling with respect to this point of privilege, because I know there are others who feel very strongly about what occurred here today with respect to taking away the rights of the Members to present petitions on behalf of constituents whom they represent.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, we have just gone through a process where obviously the Opposition wants to prevent us, the Government, from getting Interim Supply, providing money to the people of the Province. It has already been indicated by the Member that most hon. Members have a number of petitions to present and so on. Now, this is all a farce, Mr. Speaker, to start with.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Farce? Oh, oh!

MR. BAKER: What happened was that in response to a petition, I dealt with the petition, I dealt with the prayer of the petition, which, I should point out to Your Honour once again was not a prayer of a petition. It was not in order. The Member had not signed it, therefore the petition was not in order. I responded to the petition and then I moved Orders of the Day.

Now, Mr. Speaker, Your Honour has researched this point and has found, quite rightly so, that what was done was in order, it was proper. Now that is self evident. What Your Honour did was proper, and on the two separate rulings: one, on whether the motion to proceed in Orders of the Day was in order or not; Your Honour ruled it was in order, and properly so. There are precedents. Then on the second instance in terms of the timing when the motion was called, Your Honour quite properly ruled that I followed Standing Order 50 exactly. So these things were done properly according to rules of procedure.

Then comes the question of can you bring up a point of privilege because the proper rules of order are being followed? Mr. Speaker, that is what we have here. We have a point of privilege. The Member brought up her point of privilege, and her point of privilege simply was that she cannot control the House and get up and do whatever she wants to. She wants to go outside the proper rules of procedure, and her point of privilege is that the proper rules were followed. Now, Mr. Speaker, it is self evident, it is very obvious that it cannot be a point of privilege that the rules and procedures were properly followed. That cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, constitute a point of privilege. Mr. Speaker, it is merely a point of nuisance.

AN HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear!

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, all I wanted to do here this afternoon was present one petition the same as I did a couple of days last week. Citizens of the Province who are extremely unhappy with some of the provisions of this Government's Budget took up a petition and they gave it to me to present. Now there is a heading on the Order Paper: 'Petitions', petitions, plural, more than one petition. Last week, Thursday, Wednesday, Tuesday, Monday, Your Honour recognized every single Member of the House on both sides wanting to present a petition. Why is today different, I ask?

Now in the time that we have been arguing back and forth about the rules and about points of privilege, I could have presented my petition, and my colleague who is waiting to present another petition could have presented his.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MS. VERGE: Your Honour, I reject the inference or the statement of the Government House Leader that we are somehow playing a game to delay Interim Supply. We object to the choices and the decisions reflected in the Interim Supply Bill. We object to the regressive, harmful measures, but we have a limited time with which to debate, and that time is rapidly running out. So, Mr. Speaker, I suggest to the Government House Leader and the Members opposite, it is they who are playing with the rules of the House and trying to frustrate the legitimate interests of the people they are supposed to be representing.

MR. SPEAKER: Again, I rule that there is no point of privilege.

The motion is now before the House, the closure motion. All those in - well, we have voted on the closure motion and now we are on Orders of the Day.

MR. BAKER: Motion 6, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Twenty minutes?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: We have not completed the process. If hon. Members want to delay the process, what we have to do now is go into the Committee of Supply. I have to leave the Chair. I have to put the motion to leave the Chair the Government House Leader calls the order, so I now call the order to leave the Chair.

MR. SIMMS: Well he called motion 6.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that I do now leave the Chair.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: We just want to make sure that we have the process right.

MR. BAKER: My understanding is that we now debate the closure motion in the House and then we go to Committee and have the immediate vote once the closure motion has been debated. Now I could be mistaken, I have made mistakes before.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

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

MR. SIMMS: May I make an appropriate suggestion and suggest Your Honour recess for a minute and just find out? That is the simple thing to do. At least we will know what we are doing.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

Recess

MR. SPEAKER: For hon. Members, the procedure is the way we started off. We do debate now in the whole House and then we go back after we finish into Committee.

So I recognize the hon. Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: So, we are into twenty minute speeches now on...?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: On the closure motion?

MR. SPEAKER: Closure.

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, we are now involved in one of the most incredible procedures that I have ever seen in this House of Assembly. First of all it is highly unusual to try to force through supply using closure. Highly unusual. Now this Government is starting to make a practice of it. There was a money bill last year, and I do not recall which one, I believe it was supplementary supply, was rammed through this Legislature using closure. I made a strong plea at that time that it is highly unusual to use closure. A closure motion, Mr. Speaker, by any other name, is a stifling of the House of Assembly. It is limiting debate, limiting the opportunity for Her Majesty's loyal Opposition to criticize the Government plan.

Now, Mr. Speaker, not only are we seeing that here today, we are seeing the rules of the House being manipulated.

MR. SIMMS: On a point of order. I hate to interrupt my colleague.

MR. WINDSOR: As long as it does not come out of my time.

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

MR. SIMMS: Unfortunately it does -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SIMMS: -but I think the (Inaudible) -

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

MR. SIMMS: Sorry.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I think that Your Honour - not you, but Your Honour, the Speaker - may have ruled a little bit prematurely. I am referring to reference material that I have been given by the Table over the years, which points out that we are not doing this exactly the way it is supposed to be done. I think the Government House Leader himself was the one who questioned whether it was the right way or not.

I do not know if Your Honour might want to have a second to confer with Clerk at the Table, but I think it might be appropriate, because we have to make sure we do it properly. My understanding is that we are not doing it properly. My understanding is that the closure motion, which in this case was Motion 6, is not debatable, nor is it amendable. That one should be voted on, and in this case of course if it was voted on it would be carried. Okay? So that is the closure motion.

Then, if the closure motion is carried, the Government House Leader next calls the appropriate order, which is Interim Supply. So we should be in Committee debating interim supply using the closure rules - twenty minutes each. Now that is what I understand, and I have just checked with the Clerk again, and I think the Clerk might wish to confer with Your Honour, or Your Honour might want to just recess for another minute. Unfortunately this is coming out of the Member for Mount Pearl's time, and that is unfortunate. But the Government House Leader, I am sure, would agree not to take it out of his time until we can find out exactly what we are doing. I really think you should have a short recess.

MR. SPEAKER: Okay. The Chair will recess briefly to check on this matter.

Recess

MR. SPEAKER: Order!

We will go back to where we were in the beginning. I started off right from the beginning and we heard (inaudible ) suggested by the Government House Leader was right (interference in tape).

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: We voted on Motion 6 which is the closure motion. Then the order called should have been Order 3, in which case we will have the Order 3 called.

MR. SIMMS: Not Order 3, Motion 3.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 3, sorry.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: We have not voted on closure have we?

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, we have not voted on the closure motion yet.

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, we did.

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, we voted on closure.

MR. BAKER: We did?

Motion 3, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 3. The order is that I do leave the Chair for the House to resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole on Supply.

On motion, that the House resolve itself into Committee of the Whole on Supply, Mr. Speaker left the Chair.

Committee of the Whole on Supply

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINDSOR: Now, Mr. Chairman, having just been recognized in Committee for the first time I assume I have twenty minutes under the closure rule.

AN HON. MEMBER: Nineteen and a half.

MR. WINDSOR: Now, Mr. Chairman, as I started to say before we moved into Committee, the use of closure to force through supply, be it Interim Supply or the main Budget Speech, because Interim Supply is as much part of the Budget as anything could be. Well what we are seeing here now is the Budget, supply to the Government from Her Majesty being forced through by using the closure rule which is stifling debate on the Budget, Mr. Chairman. The hon. gentleman opposite will argue that there are a certain number of hours. Indeed there are and it is the Opposition's prerogative to use the number of hours available as we see fit, in the most complimentary manner to the way in which we wish to oppose this particularly poor Budget.

What we are seeing now is the use of the closure rule to restrict that debate. I would submit that is a breach of the privileges of every Member of this House and the people of this Province who have every right, and we have the responsibility, and the people have every right to expect that we would thoroughly fully criticize this and examine these Budget documents as to their adequacy and to examine the monetary policies of this Government.

So that there is a full democratic public hearing of all issues contained in the Budget, now, that is no longer possible, Mr. Speaker. This Government has now invoked a closure rule to limit debate, whereas in Supply and Estimates, and Committee as we are now, any Member of the Opposition can rise as often as he or she wishes, any Member of the Government can rise as often as he or she wishes, and debate the Estimates of the House, but now we are limited to twenty minutes, one time only. This is a serious, serious breach of our privilege, Mr. Speaker, and added to that what we just saw was Government also using parliamentary trickery, I will not say tactics, parliamentary trickery. I cannot debate the Speaker's ruling and I will not do so, even though, and let me be very clear, that I disagree totally with the Speaker's ruling, but I will not debate it at this point in time, but the effect of that ruling, Mr. Speaker, is that now my colleagues who wanted to present petitions today have been stifled from presenting them. Now, we have a second smack against the people of this Province, we also are not now given the opportunity to present petitions. Now, there are two things that happen, Mr. Speaker, when a Budget is presented by the Minister of Finance in this House, the official Opposition, any Members in this House, not only Opposition but Government Members, if they have the gumption to do so and stand up for the people that elected them, if they had the gumption to stand up and oppose some of the very serious cuts that are being imposed on them and their constituents they could do so in this House. They have the opportunity to stand in their place and represent the people who elected them in the manner in which they are asked to represent them. Members on this side, Mr. Speaker, could also represent them and carry out the constitutional responsibility of the Opposition which is to criticize the Budget, to analyze the Budget, to offer critiques on the Budget, and offer alternative solutions. And we have offered many alternatives to the moves announced in this particular Budget. That is one way in which the Budget is criticized, by Her Majesty's loyal Opposition, and the second way and probably a more meaningful way in many terms, Mr. Speaker, is criticism by the people, criticism by the people themselves, those that are most directly affected by things contained in the Budget, and there is no limitation on things that can be affected by a Budget. That is precisely why, Mr. Speaker, the Budget debate is a broad ranging debate, no holds barred, nothing can be considered to be out of order, nothing can be irrelevant in a Budget debate. There are no relevancy rules. You can talk about anything you want to talk about, anything that impacts on your constituent or any number of your constituents, or anybody in the Province, or anything related to the Province at all. There are very, very few things in this Province that are not implicated by the things announced in the Budget. The people have an opportunity under the Standing Orders to present a petition, and I say the people have an opportunity because in case hon. Members do not know it, we as Members of the House of Assembly are duty bound to represent the wishes of our people. When a petition is presented to you by the people you are obligated to present it in the House of Assembly. It is not something that you decide you might like to do. There is a solemn obligation on each Member of the House of Assembly to sign the petition, support the petition, and to present it in the House of Assembly.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is not true.

MR. WINDSOR: That is absolutely true, Mr. Speaker. I am not going to be diverted by anybody who does not know the fixed rules of the House of Assembly. There is an absolute responsibility, a constitutional responsibility to present the petition on behalf of your people in this House.

Mr. Speaker, what we have seen today is a Government that is abusing the rules of this House. They now have established a precedent whereby it is possible for this Government, and before any hon. people opposite start saying, 'oh, we would not do that,' humbug, we do not trust this Government anymore than the people of Newfoundland and Labrador trust this Government.

This Government now has established, by Mr. Speaker's ruling, a precedent that if they choose every day, they can introduce such a motion, and no Member of this House could ever again present a petition in this House. No Member could ever present a petition. So we have it by both barrels, Mr. Chairman, our opportunity to debate the Estimates here in this House are being stifled by the closure motion, and the people's opportunity to have their concerns expressed in this House are being stifled by the decision just made by Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I have never seen this House fall to such a low level of democracy, -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. WINDSOR: Never seen it before, Mr. Chairman.

MS. VERGE: Since Smallwood.

MR. WINDSOR: Well since Smallwood. Even in Smallwood's days there were rules. Never seen it before, Mr. Chairman. There were rules and he used them the best he could. Well I do not even know that Mr. Smallwood eliminated the possibility of presenting petition.

AN HON. MEMBER: There was no Question Period, first of all.

MR. WINDSOR: Well there was no Question Period anyway. This is true enough. That hurts them badly enough.

Well, Mr. Chairman, that is clear evidence - Mr. Chairman, has a phone in his shoe.

AN HON. MEMBER: He needs something now before Question Period.

MR. WINDSOR: There is clear evidence, Mr. Chairman, that this Government is hurting badly, they are hurting badly from the impact of this Budget. Public opinion, Mr. Chairman, as such is riding so high against them that they are scared to death, they want to stifle debate in the House of Assembly, they want to stifle all petitions in the House of Assembly.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. WINDSOR: They were afraid to go home for Easter. We saw all kinds of political procedural wranglings here on Thursday, Mr. Chairman, it is clear the Government House Leader is taking the rules on his back, Mr. Chairman

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. WINDSOR: I fear for the whole democratic system, when the people's House is allowed to be manipulated the way that this Government has manipulated it. I fear for what recourse the people have. There is only one left now. There was a third one, Mr. Chairman, that the people have, and this one, not even the Government can do anything about it, it is called an election, and that will indeed come. There will be an election within the next two or three years, they will probably run the limit. This Government will not have the intestinal fortitude to call an election very soon.

Then, Mr. Chairman, the people will have their voices heard. That is one thing that cannot be taken away. We may well take away from the people, by the actions which we have seen in the last couple of days in this House, we may well take away their confidence in this Parliament and the democratic procedures that are followed in this Parliament. They may lose their confidence that their voice can be heard here, or that their elected representatives can be heard here. But they still have their voice come election time, Mr. Chairman, come election time this hon. crowd will find out how the people feel about them. They may well be able to convince themselves that this is a good Budget and the people will accept it. They may well be able to convince themselves in areas where hospitals are being closed, schools are being cut back, that that was not going to have an impact on them. Mr. Chairman, they are in for a rude awakening. One thing that you cannot do is disrupt the democratic system and get away with it.

And this is what this hon. crowd is trying to do, Mr. Chairman. Absolutely incredible that a Government would call closure on Budget debate and that is what they have done here today, called closure on Budget debate. It is clear evidence that they are scared, that they are on the run, that they have no confidence that they can defend their Budget. And if you want further evidence, Mr. Chairman, just consider what has taken place over the last ten days or two weeks that we have been debating the Budget and Interim Supply, all and the same essentially. How much responsible debate have we heard from the opposite side? How many answers have we been given? Somebody stood in their place on Thursday, I believe it was, and said, 'We have not been asked any questions.' Well that hon. gentleman knew that was not true. The problem is, Mr. Speaker, there are only three things that we are waiting for before we will allow Interim Supply to get through: answers, answers, answers, and we are not getting them, Mr. Speaker. We have not been given any answers. Day after day we ask questions in the Question Period, and we know, Mr. Speaker, that Ministers are not obligated to answer by the rules of the House, they are not obligated to answer, because a Minister will not always know the answer to a particular detailed question. He or she has a right to take notice of a question. They can take notice of the question and give answers the next day, or they can say it is a detail question so put it on the Order Paper, and a detail answer then should be given. Again, the Minister does not have to answer. But, Mr. Speaker, there is a moral obligation for a Minister to answer these questions - a moral obligation. Day after day, Ministers are standing in their place and evading the questions.

In the last three or four days I have asked a dozen questions to the Minister of Finance. The answer I get is no, no, no. So we are calling him now, Mr. Speaker, Dr. No. No answers - that is what we are getting from the Minister of Finance. We have asked questions from about every Minister there and we are not getting meaningful answers, Mr. Speaker. Not getting meaningful answers with one or two exceptions. A couple of Ministers have, on occasion, attempted to give some information. We may not like the information, we may not agree with the Minister's assessment. The Minister of Education is shaking his head, and I say the Minister has at least stood in his place and given an answer. We may not like it, we may not agree with his interpretation, and that is fine, but when the Minister of Finance stands in his place and says, 'no, no, no, no,' and offers no more information than that -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: -when the Minister of Finance stands to introduce Interim Supply to ask for $1 billion and he takes 30 seconds or less to introduce his piece of legislation, offering no explanation at any of the items in the Bill, no explanation of the increases that are there.

We still have not received, Mr. Speaker, any attempt to explain the deficit that was generated last year. The Minister of Finance took us from a $4 million projected surplus to $117 million deficit in one year, I would say in less than one year because it was mid summer that the Government finally admitted, after the Opposition had repeatedly said, 'You are going to have a $100 million deficit.' Finally, I believe it was in August, the Premier - he would not let the Minister of Finance do it - the Premier called a press conference and admitted, 'the Opposition was right, we are going to have $100 million or more deficit.' Indeed, we ended up with a $117 million deficit. But have we seen an explanation of that, Mr. Speaker? No, of course we have not. This Government would like to put all the blame on the shoulders of the Government of Canada and you will find the truth of it is there is about a $30 million or $35 million variance in the amount of funds received from the Government of Canada this year from what was estimated.

Last year, Mr. Speaker, there was a similar variance, in fact it was a larger variance. I think it was a $60 million variance, but it was a positive variance, and so instead of a surplus of about $4 million that was projected we ended up with, I think, a $37 million surplus, plus we made contributions to pension funds, $20 odd million, a special contribution because we had such a favourable position, and we paid $4 million, as I recall, on the interest of the Marystown Shipyard in advance. So, Mr. Speaker, there was a very positive variance that year.

Last year we had a negative variance. It goes up and it goes down. This Government cannot put all of the blame for $117 million deficit on the shoulders of the Government of Canada. So, Mr. Speaker, they have not given us the answers. They have not told us why this deficit grew. We can look at the subheads and see the areas. We can see the areas, but no detailed explanation of any of the overexpenditures. Perhaps we will have to get them when we get into committees, Mr. Speaker. The one thing that we have left to us is the committees. I stand to be corrected, but if I am not mistaken, there are no time limits on the committees. The committees have to report in a certain number of days, but they can meet as often as they want.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Fifteen days.

MR. WINDSOR: They report in fifteen days, but they can sit morning, noon and night for fifteen days to study the estimates. Of course, the Government, controlling the Estimate Committees, having their representatives as Chairman of the Estimate Committees, they will control those as well, and so they will find a way to limit the debate there. Clearly the objective, Mr. Speaker, is not to give any answers, no answers unless they are absolutely essential.

Mr. Chairman, they will not get away with that. We will, one way or the other, continue to seek those answers, we will continue to let the people of this Province know what this Government has done to our financial situation, how they have taken us from a surplus position to a serious deficit position, to a point where they were forced this year to eliminate some 3500 positions in the public service taking a $100 million payroll out of the economy. Over $100 million has been removed from the economy, and yet the Minister of Finance and this Government continue with their merry projections of 5 per cent increases in personal income tax, increases in corporate taxes and all the other things, as if $100 million removed from the economy will not have any major impact on that. Mr. Chairman, this Budget, I would submit therefore, is no different than last year's Budget. It is a dishonest document, grossly exaggerating some of the incomes, and in some cases perhaps under exaggerating a couple of them, generally over exaggerating them, and under estimating some of their expenses. Some of the projected savings they were looking for we are now discovering they are probably not going to get. People in the health care sector, for example, are saying it is going to take us about five months to implement, and either we have more money or we are going to be forced to have more layoffs that we had predicted, because it is going to take us so much time to go through the procedures, the bumping procedures, and all the rest of it, the severance pays that are involved here, and the reorganization that the Minister espouses so fluently. All of these things, Mr. Chairman, are going to take time and I suspect we are seeing now from the health care people that these things are going to take more time than they thought they were going to take.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Chairman, if I am not mistaken I believe I have two minutes left.

MR. CHAIRMAN: At 3:57 the hon. Member started to speak.

MR. WINDSOR: I disagree, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, on Thursday afternoon I left the House a bit early. I sneaked out for the weekend because I assumed that the Opposition were reasonable, having been in Government at one time, and I assumed that the Interim Supply Bill was going to pass through at 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon. Now, Mr. Chairman, that was a logical conclusion to make because we are not talking here about some new piece of legislation. What we are talking about here is a routine piece of business which takes place every year. It has been taking place very year since this House has been in session, and every year all over the whole British parliamentary system. It is quite common, it is a normal thing for an Interim Supply Bill to come forward to help Government Departments carry on their business while they are waiting for the final Budget to be passed by the House. Now, Mr. Chairman, the Department of Health has been struck by this obstructionism which the Opposition is doing.

The Department of Health requires $272 million to get us through the few months between now and the time the Budget passes. I am going to tell hon. Members what some of that money is needed for. Mr. Chairman, that money is needed to provide and Air Ambulance Service. Can you imagine what would happen if we could not as a Government get a few days of credit to pay for some of the fuel which is used by the Air Ambulance? Hon. Members are always getting up and pretending they care about the sick people of this Province. Because of the obstructive tactics of those hon. Members over there it is possible that there could be some person at this very hour, up on the North Coast of Labrador, who desperately needs the services of a hospital, who needs an Air Ambulance to fly that person into Goose Bay or into St. Anthony or into St. John's.

Hon. Members over there are obstructing this process so that now we are finding it difficult to get an Air Ambulance to take some sick person off the Labrador Coast. Yet, hon. Members pretend they are representing the people of this Province. Mr. Chairman, we need some money for immunization, vaccinations. What happened out in Mount Pearl a few weeks ago, when we had the meningococcus disease? This Government had to find $ 15,000 or $20,000 to provide vaccinations to the students in that school.

Hon. Members were shouting and screaming and fearmongering and saying that Government was not doing enough. Let us hope there is no emergency this week, whereby we have to go and fork out money to provide vaccinations for people. For if such is the case, let us hope we can get credit from the company who sells us the vaccine. We cannot write a cheque. Government today is broke, yet Opposition Members over there are obstructing the viability of this Government to write a cheque to buy vaccine for people in this Province who might happen to need vaccinations. That is what is happening here today, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Chairman, the Department of Health needs some money for the Alcohol and Drug Dependency Commission. Is there anyone in this Province who somehow is against what the Alcohol and Drug Dependency Commission is doing? Is there anyone machiavellian enough to try and subvert Government's aim to fund the Alcohol and Drug Dependency Commission? Yes, Mr. Chairman, there are quite a number of Members in this very House, elected to represent the people, who are saying they do not want to fund the Alcohol and Drug Dependency Commission for a few months. They are quite prepared for us to close down Humber Wood Place, in Corner Brook, which is doing tremendous work; it is doing tremendous work for alcoholics and people who are addicted to various substances or various drugs, yet hon. Members over there are obstructing the work of this Government.

Mr. Chairman, Drug Subsidization Administration: Part of the money which we require, this $272 million, is to take us through the next couple of months and keep the Drug Subsidization Administration in place. For the many senior citizens in this Province, the many people who cannot afford to pay for their own drugs, Government pays for them through our Drug Subsidization Programs. Is there anyone in this Province who would interfere with drugs for the elderly when they need them? There are people on the opposite side of this House who, by their obstructionist tactics, are interfering with the ability of the Department of Health to administer our Drug Subsidization Program. I think it is appropriate that the people of this Province should know it, should know that there are Members elected to this House -

AN HON. MEMBER: The Member for Ferryland?

MR. DECKER: - including the Member for Ferryland - if I were over there, Mr. Chairman, and God forbid that I would be with such an hon. crowd, but if I were over there and I were the Health critic, there would be all hell to pay if anyone tried to interfere with the Drug Subsidization Program in this Province. If I were the Health critic and if I had my eye on being the Leader of that Party, Mr. Chairman, I certainly would make sure that there would be nothing done which would in any way jeopardize the Drug Subsidization Program which belongs to the poor and the elderly and the people who are less able to help themselves. The people who are less able to care for themselves, it is those people the Opposition is attacking.

Mr. Chairman, we need this money to take us through the next couple of months. We are looking for money to help us with the people with cystic fibrosis; we need to be able to fund assistance to adults and children suffering from cystic fibrosis by funding the high cost related to drugs, appliances and accessories, Mr. Chairman. Hon. Members on the other side of the House have obstructed the ability of the Department of Health to provide funding to cystic fibrosis people who require that funding.

MR. DECKER: Mr. Chairman, during the next couple of months - hon. Members are continually shouting about grants to hospitals in this Province; they are handing us criticism because we are re-organizing and restructing the health care system of this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. DECKER: Now some of the money we are going to need is for the board operated hospitals, grants to hospitals in the Province. By the obstructionist action of Members of the Opposition it could possibly jeopardize our ability to pay grants to the hospitals over the next few months. Now hon. Members over there are shouting and making quite a racket because we have had to make a few cosmetic cutbacks. How much would they shout if the hon. Government House Leader had not attempted to use the parliamentary rules of this House in order to get this bill? That is one of the reasons we had to bring it in, Mr. Chairman, so that we can fund our hospital boards.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. DECKER: Long-term facilities for the elderly who have no place to go and are too sick to stay in their own houses. They are in long-term nursing homes in this Province. Some of the money we are looking for for the next couple of months is to fund long-term care facilities. Hon. Members over there are obstructing that, Mr. Chairman.

The Waterford Home for special care. We are looking for money for that, Mr. Chairman. The hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains, I know, who is very, very committed to the Labrador Coast, who daily brings representation to this House about the Labrador Coast, we are looking for $500,000 so we can start work on the health care centre in Hopedale. If I were over there representing a District in Labrador I can guarantee you that hon. Members would not be obstructing the Interim Supply Bill for $500,000. The hon. the Member for Eagle River, you would hear him on radio and on television; you would hear his voice if this side was trying to obstruct Government's ability to build a health care centre in Hopedale.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. DECKER: The Newfoundland Cancer and Research Foundation: Planning for the proposed new facility for the Newfoundland Cancer Foundation is ongoing and it is fully expected that part of the construction to prepare the site will be underway very early in the Spring. The amount of $900,000 is in this Interim Supply Bill, so we can get that project started.

So you can understand why I was surprised when I came back today to learn that hon. Members did not allow this Interim Supply Bill to go through. Because I did not think the hon. the Member for Ferryland, the Heatlth critic, he would allow the heavy footed people in his Opposition to ride roughshod over the wishes of this Government when we are concerned about the health care of our people, especially in view of the fact that that hon. Member wants to be leader of the party. I am not saying he wants to be Premier, because that is totally out of the question. But he can be leader of the party.

AN HON. MEMBER: He would really like to be.

MR. DECKER: Now, Mr. Chairman, I would suggest the reason the Opposition is doing this is because the Opposition Members over there do not understand the difference between the words `oppose' and `obstruct'. There is total confusion in their minds about opposition and obstructionism.

Now, Mr. Chairman, I spent four years as a Member of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, and I wore that position proudly, I wore that position responsibly. I did my job, myself and the hon. Minister of Social Services. I do not want to brag, but probably we were two of the top Opposition Members in this House since Confederation, Mr. Chairman.

MR. FUREY: I disagree. I disagree.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. DECKER: Some of my colleagues are disagreeing, but I would say - I will remove myself from it - the hon. the Minister of Social Services was probably one of the best Opposition Members. Never would the Minister of Social Services, when he was critic, allow Opposition Members to do anything which would interfere with Government's ability to deal with people who required services of the Social Services Department. Never would he do it. But, Mr. Chairman, we have over there now a group of people who cannot tell the difference between oppose and obstruct, and no matter what this Government tries to do, no matter how good it is, no matter how reasonable we are, they are going to obstruct it. If we came in with a program tomorrow which would give every Newfoundlander and every Labradorian a $1 million to put in the bank and guarantee him he could live off the interest for the rest of his life, they would obstruct. They would not oppose, they would obstruct, Mr. Chairman.

There are a whole lot of things I could do, I have twenty minutes, but I realize that every minute I take is one minute longer the people who need the air ambulance, or the people who need vaccinations are going to have to wait. So I am not going to take my full twenty minutes. However, what I want to do is make an appeal today on behalf of the people who require social services, and make an appeal on behalf of the people who might need to use the health care system. I am appealing to Opposition Members over there, to those of the Opposition who are reasonable, the ones who have some humanity and some compassion for sick people, I am appealing to them to consult with their fellow colleagues and say, Look, let us get over this obstructionism. Let us get away from this obstructionism and let this Interim Supply Bill go through so that Government can go out and govern.

Mr. Chairman, while I am appealing on behalf of the downtrodden and those who cannot help themselves, I am also aware that maybe Opposition Members are not fully aware of what they are doing. Maybe hon. Members of the Opposition are new in their job, and maybe they need a few lessons. The hon. Minister of Social Services just stepped out for a minute, but I am going to offer the services of myself and the Minister of Social Services to put together a small seminar and we are going to advise hon. Members in Opposition how to conduct an Opposition. Now to be a Member of an Opposition does not mean you have to be walked over, it means you have to be tough, it means you have to ask penetrating questions, it means you have to take every single bit of legislation and go into it and deal with it inside out, turn it upside down, turn it bottom up, and question it. That is what being in Opposition is all about. But that is not obstructing. The hon. Minister of Social and myself will take a few evenings and conduct a seminar to show hon. Members how to be good Opposition Members. We are not doing it because we have any love for hon. Members over there, we are doing it out of our deep concern for the people of this Province, so that in future we will never again find ourselves in this mess, where such a routine piece of legislation as an Interim Supply Bill cannot get through the House.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, before I sit down I want to thank God for men like the Government House Leader who had the stability, stamina - what is a nice word for guts? - who had the intestinal fortitude to get up in spite of all the phoney arguments that were put forward to bring down the closure motion. Because the hon. Government House Leader is saying to the people of this Province there is an hon. bunch of obstructionists over there who are trying to keep away our drug subsidization program, who are trying to keep away from paying for our air ambulance. But, the hon. Government House Leader is saying to the people of the Province, have no fear. We were elected to govern and we are not afraid to govern.

So they can try as they might to obstruct, but I can assure the people out there: do not worry about your drugs, do not worry about drug subsidization, do not worry about your ambulances, do not worry about going to see your doctor, this Government is looking after your interests. The only thing is, I cannot say Members on the opposite side are looking after their interests. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am just going to speak briefly to this motion. I have made a number of comments throughout the debate, but there comes a time when these matters have to be voted on. I do think that one thing ought to be said. During all this debate about whether or not the matter should go to a vote, whether or not Interim Supply should be granted, there has been a lot of talk about Government's policies. And I just want to say there has been talk about our problems in Newfoundland and the problems in Canada being the same, and that the tough economic times and recession have brought about the demands of action by the Government in Ottawa and action by the Government here.

But I think it is important to note that there are different ways of doing things. This Government has made a choice; they have made a choice to bring in a budget and supply measures that will have the effect of reducing employment in this Province. I just want to point out to them that this is also what the Federal Government has done, but they have done so in direct opposition to advice being given to them by economic advisors, in particular the Economic Council of Canada. In the recommendations made to the Federal Government in its annual report, the Economic Council of Canada urged the Federal Government to adopt inflation targets; they have done so, they have tried to tackle inflation. But it also recommends that the Conservative Government follow a policy of full employment, something that Finance Minister Michael Wilson took no direction on in his recent budget.

And we see here in Newfoundland, Mr. Chairman, the Newfoundland Government taking the same tack as the Federal Tories in Ottawa and ignoring economic advice, ignoring the necessity for full employment as a means to bring about a recovery from the recession, and, in fact, are adding to the unemployment, adding to the recession, and adding to the despair some of our people are feeling because they have no security in their employment, no security for their futures. We will have more time to debate the specific measures of the Budget and attack the programmes in detail when the Budget debate is on. So I say that as my closing note in the debate on Interim Supply and this closure motion. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

On motion, resolution carried.

On motion, clauses 1 through 3, carried.

Motion, that the Committee report having passed a resolution and a bill consequent thereto, carried.

On motion, that the Committee rise, report progress and ask leave to sit again, Mr. Speaker returned to the Chair.

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

MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of Supply have considered the matters to them referred and have directed me to report that they have adopted a certain resolution and recommend that a Bill be introduced to give effect to the same.

On motion, report received and adopted, resolution ordered read

a first and second time, bill ordered read a first second and third time, Committee ordered to sit again on tomorrow.

On motion, resolution read a first and second time.

On motion, a Bill "An Act For Granting To Her Majesty Certain Sums Of Money For Defraying Certain Expenses Of The Public Services For The Financial Year Ending March 31, 1992 And For Other Purposes Relating To The Public Services", read a first, second and third time, ordered passed and its title be as on the Order Paper. (Bill No. 12).

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Because I have not given notice of what I intend to call next and so on, and Members opposite may not be prepared, I am going to suggest we call it 5:00. At the same time, I would point out to hon. Members that the next Bill I intend to call is Bill No. 16, and that some time over the next week or so hon. Members can get ready for the resolution on the tobacco tax and on gasoline, Bills Nos. 14 and 15. We will be getting along with those some time in the next week as well, but tomorrow I intend to call Bill 16.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. the Government House Leader for giving us that notice. Can he also indicate whether or not it is his intention to get back to normal sitting hours after today, or whether he intends to sit tomorrow night and Thursday night or whatever? That is point number one.

Point number two. Just for clarification, I am not certain, I presume the Government House Leader has researched this, but the Bills to deal with the tax on gasoline and tobacco, they have not been distributed. And aren't they dealt with after the estimates procedure has been completed, the seventy-five hours being used up? I just ask the question because I am not quite certain. You might want to check it, anyway.

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

MR. BAKER: Yes, Mr. Speaker, we will check into it. But my understanding regarding the seventy-five hours is that we are now going to use that time in Committee, and there is a small amount of time for Concurrence Debates but not the full nine hours. So the time is essentially used up, but I will check and see.

MR. SIMMS: I did not mean that. I think he misunderstood me.

MR. BAKER: The Budget has to pass before -

MR. SIMMS: Yes, before you bring in the tax bills.

MR. BAKER: The answer to his question is we hope to get back to normal sittings, one of the reasons being that I am hoping within the next few days to announce the Committees so that we can start the Committee process. As hon. Members know, it would be very difficult to go through the Committee process if, in fact, the House was sitting day and night. It makes it next to impossible to carry on the committee process. So sometime in the next couple of days I hope that will be done.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, just to be sure, it is not his intention to call a sitting tomorrow night, for example, so we can plan for that, nor no intention at the moment to call one for Thursday night - at the moment. Having said that he intends to name the committees fairly soon, is he also indicating then that the discussions we have had with respect to the salary estimates documents, these are just about ready?

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

MR. BAKER: I will have something formal on that in the next day or so.

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