May 3, 1991                  HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS                Vol. XLI  No. 42


The House met at 9:00 a.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

Before proceeding with the routine business I would like to make a ruling on a point of privilege made yesterday, in the event that it could have some bearing on proceedings today, and I would not want to keep it too long. I am going to make a definitive decision on one point of privilege and a partial decision on another, awaiting further research.

As I have said so often, a point of privilege is a serious matter and ought to be raised very occasionally in the House, as said by all of the thousands of Speakers who have preceded me in all countries right throughout the British Commonwealth. First of all I want to comment on the first point of privilege, the one raised by the Minister of Health whose point of privilege was on the propriety of the types of questions - or the appropriateness, I should say, rather than propriety of the types of questions - raised by the Member for Kilbride insomuch as that they divulged confidentiality with respect to medical reports.

First of all I want to say that when a Member gets into this kind of thing, of confidentiality, we are more into the law if there is any substance at all, rather then dealing with the House. And hon. Members should know that the - I think it is stated so many times by the authorities - that a Member, with respect to the law, is not placed on any higher plane than the average citizen and the access the average citizen has in terms of the courts of the land, so does an MHA or a politician. So I read the Maingot and I apologize that I do not have anything written, other than lots of research and I have tried to put these together.

Maingot, page 13, is the first appropriate one I would like to read. And in addressing privilege Maingot says: "Because of its nature, a true question of privilege should arise in the House only infrequently. To constitute 'privilege' generally there must be some improper obstruction to the member in performing his parliamentary work in either a direct or constructive way, as opposed to mere expression of public opinion or of criticisms of the activities of the member (for example, threatening a member for what he said in debate, contemptuous reflections on members, allegations of improper conduct during a proceeding in Parliament, or allegations that a chairman was biased)."

I do not need, I do not think, to read other quotations for hon. Members which talk about what a point of privilege is and that it should show that the Member was obstructed in part of the performance of his parliamentary duty.

I think maybe I should read one more for hon. Members. Maingot, Page 200 which says, 'In other words, it must be shown that a Member was obstructed in his work relating to a proceeding in Parliament and not simply while he was performing his representative duties in his constituency or in other myriad areas, nor simply in his private capacity.' So, I simply rule that there was not a prima facie case established on that particular point.

With respect to the other one raised by the hon. Member for Grand Falls, the Opposition House Leader, this is the one where I am making a partial decision insomuch as I have not been able to find a lot of information so far. I am only in this one flying by the seat of my pants insomuch as my experience in the House where I know that one must be very careful about making threats, and I certainly caution hon. Members about that. I have in the past couple of months picked up things told me by members of the public and by commissionaires of things going on in the House that can be considered to be treats. Hon. Members should certainly be cautious in these matters. They have not been serious things, but they have been things perceived by the public not to look good in terms of things that Members were doing. I have meant to mention this at some other time but now is the appropriate time, so I caution Members with respect to these things. We know the rules - we are not suppose to threaten Members.

Most of the rules in Beauchesne refer to the protection of Members being threatened by people outside and this kind of thing. I think Members are protected by their own rules. What protects a Member in making certain accusations is the immunity of the House, the same things protects Members in debate, but there are some serious considerations with respect to threatening Members. I know that in this House on many occasions the threat of, 'Say it outside the House', has been made on several occasions. That does not make it right to say so, what a Member is saying, of course is: if you were saying it outside the House then I would take you to the courts, which is the right, of course. But I want to do a little further research. My own instinct is that it has never been a point of privilege in this House, but as I said, that does not make it right in that sense. It has never been made a point of privilege, but I want to be able to do a little research because I do want my rulings to stand up to future scrutiny and to be able to be used by future Speakers. I want to be very careful of the ruling I am making and I want to make sure that it is, as I said, supported by the various authorities.

Statements by Ministers

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, in accordance with Section 3 (2) of the Government- Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Limited Agreements Act, I now table the first amending Agreement to the Put Agreement. This amending Agreement was executed on May 01, 1991. The purpose of this Agreement is to give Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Limited a one year extension on the completion date for their new bark fired boiler, from June 30, 1992 to June 30, 1993.

Hon. Members will recall that on April 8, 1991, my hon. colleague, the Minister of Environment and Lands, informed this House that a decision to grant this extension to Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Limited had been approved by Government. At that time the House was informed that an amendment to the Put Agreement would be tabled at the appropriate time.

In tabling this Agreement, Mr. Speaker, I would like to extend on behalf of Government our appreciation of the efforts being made by Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Limited to carry on with the environmental capital expenditure schedule in these difficult economic times.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This Put Agreement is a fancy type of financial backing on the part of the Provincial Government to allow the paper company in Corner Brook to complete pollution control devices. The Government has granted the paper company a third deadline extension, to end the sooty particle emissions that are marring town site in the district of Humber East.

Last spring, the House of Assembly passed legislation providing the financial backing for the company to carry out that project, as well as other environmental projects, and in speaking to the legislation at the time the Premier promised that the Government would see to it that the air pollution was ended just as soon as possible. Well now, this will be the fourth deadline and people in Corner Brook, who of course value the role of the mill as the most important industry and the largest employer, believe that the Provincial Government has to ensure that the company carries out its business in a way that is not detrimental to our environment and people are becoming increasingly cynical, this is the fourth deadline after all, and, what assurance do people have that the Government will enforce this deadline any more than they enforced the last three deadlines?

Oral Questions

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

MR. POWER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My questions are for the Minister of Health. Yesterday in answering some questions about lab and X ray services to this Province, the Minister certainly gave some very conflicting advice to persons in the Province who may want to have lab and X ray work done. I believe it is important that we clarify what process actually is in place in this Province.

Yesterday, early in Question Period when the Minister was very dogmatic about the process used in western Newfoundland, and I quote him when he says, 'if a person wants to get an X ray in Corner Brook, all he has to do is walk in. No appointment is necessary.' Could the Minister please tell the people of this Province if, in effect, the process that he described so correctly for Corner Brook is, in fact, the process that is in place for all this Province, that X ray work and lab work is a walk in, first come, first serve no appointment type of services?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for his question because it gives me the opportunity to explain some of the things which transpired over the last little while. I will try to put this whole thing in perspective for hon. Members on the Opposition and for the people.

On April 25th, I had an appointment with my general practitioner - doctor. The doctor prescribed some tests for me; he prescribed some blood work, an EKG, and if hon. Members really want to know, he prescribed a urine analysis, Mr. Speaker. He gave me a requisition -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. DECKER: The doctor gave me a requisition, Mr. Speaker.

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

Hon. Members cannot dictate what the answer will be any more than hon. Members to my left can dictate what the questions will be. They have to extend the courtesy of giving the Minister some time to move into the answer. It is very difficult to know what the Member is getting at when he is in the first three or four phrases of his answer. So I would ask the hon. Members to my right to please bear with me as I am trying to listen to the Minister of Health and see what are the circumstances and the way that he decides to get to the question. I see somebody indicating short answers, and that is so. I have not timed it, but the Minister has not been into the question longer than 20 seconds.

The hon. the Minister of Health.

MR. DECKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is obvious that the intent here has nothing to do with getting at the facts.

The doctor gave me a requisition for these tests and ordered that I would fast sixteen hours before going in. Later in that same day I called Sister Elizabeth Davis who is the administrator at St. Clare's Mercy Hospital in this City. I have known Sister Elizabeth, Mr. Speaker, for many years, long before I became the Minister of Health. In fact, she was the only person I knew at St. Clare's. Now I called her as much out of courtesy, because after all whether people like it or not I am the Minister of Health of this Province and I did not feel it necessary to barge in, but I advised her I would be coming to her hospital. I assumed that appointments were required to get -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I think what the hon. Minister is now getting into would be more appropriately dealt with in a Ministerial Statement. I would ask the hon. Minister please to - I cannot tell him to answer the question any more than I can, as I have said, tell hon. Members what questions to ask, but I think the hon. Minister is now getting into some detail that could be more appropriately done within a Ministerial Statement. So I ask the hon. Minister to try and come to his conclusion with respect to the question.

MR. DECKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am leading up to the answer to the question, but I want to fill in the background. As I was trying to point out, I am the Minister of Health and before I visit any hospital, even to visit a patient, I would, as a courtesy, notify the administrator that I am visiting. I assumed that appointments were required, Mr. Speaker, and indeed I have since learned that appointments are required at the St. Clare's Hospital, which is the question he is asking, for EKGs, Mr. Speaker, and one of my tests was an EKG. I assumed -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DECKER: I assumed, Mr. Speaker, that appointments were required for blood work. I had the same work done five years ago and appointments were made. Now the hon. Member asked about appointments in this Province, and up until a few days ago, I assumed that appointments were necessary in Corner Brook. That is why when I answered the question I was amazed to learn that there was a walk-in service. I understand that throughout the Province -

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

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, this is an absolute abuse of Question Period. The Member for Ferryland asked a very simple question, what is the process around the Province for lab and X ray work. That was the question, and this Minister now - Question Period started 9:17, six minutes ago. He has abused four to five minutes of this Question Period talking about his personal situation which was not the question, and the Member should be called to order.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the President of Treasury Board to that point of order.

MR. BAKER: To that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I know that the Opposition House Leader does not want to hear the truth and he is trying to interfere with the truth. The truth of the matter is -

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible)!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. BAKER: He does not even want to hear my submission, Mr. Speaker.

MR. TOBIN: No, he does not want to hear your submission, (inaudible) hear the Minister abuse the House (inaudible)!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I would ask the hon. Member for Burin - Placentia West to please restrain himself. The courtesy was extended to the Opposition House Leader, he made a point of order. The same courtesy must be extended to the Government House Leader to respond.

The Government House Leader.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Speaker has on occasions in this House made reference to the fact that after a ruling is made and he is seated in his place that some hon. Member makes some comment. I do not know what the comment is, but quite obviously it appears to be a reflection on the Chair, and I tell hon. Members this Chair will not tolerate that and will take the appropriate action.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So the question was asked. Now many times in this House, if we go back through Hansard - and I invite Your Honour to check back through - you will find that the questions have gone on for two or three minutes. Not only answers but questions. Your Honour will also recognize that -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. BAKER: Your Honour will also recognize that in trying to answer the question the Minister was interrupted numerous times and had to repeat and had to sit down and so on, and that killed an awful lot of time. If Members opposite are refusing to let him answer - the truth of the matter is - the question -

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: I will repeat it again, Mr. Speaker. Members opposite do not want to hear the answer -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

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

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Members opposite do not want to hear the answer, obviously. I would like to point out to Your Honour that the question was asked in relation to the Minister's own personal problem that was brought up in this House yesterday. And, Mr. Speaker, everybody in this House knows it, everybody in the press gallery knows it. Everybody who was in this House yesterday knows that the question was asked in relation to -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: - the incident that was brought up yesterday and the Minister was giving an answer to the question.

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

I want to remind hon. Members that one of the reasons for not raising points of order in Question Period is, for the reasons that are now developing. We are proceeding on in Question Period just on a point of order and that should not be. I want to remind hon. Members that with respect to - and this has come up many times - with respect to the length of answers, if hon. Members want me to go by precedent, I can tell them with respect to the length of answers that I can bring in documents here that will flabbergast hon. Members, but I do not want to go by that; I am trying to establish short answers and I have been achieving that fairly well.

This morning we are into a complicated area. I have asked the Minister to try and clue up as fast as possible. I ask for co-operation, I have said before it seems to me some of the things the Minister was into could have been dealt with in a Ministerial Statement, so I will give him a few seconds to clue up his answers so I can get to other questions.

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, since Your Honour has not ruled on the point of order, I will want to make a submission under that point of order.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: He has.

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the object here, on the part of the Opposition, is not to get at the truth for the people of this Province -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DECKER: - the object here (inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I would ask hon. Members please, to co-operate, not to turn the Question Period into some kind of charade. I think when I made the ruling, I probably did not say precisely that I was ruling on the point of order, but I think the remarks were related thereto - if the hon. Member wants me to - what I was trying to do was, close up the point of order so we could get on with the Questions, there is no point of order, so I will give the Minister a few seconds to clue up his answer.

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, assuming that appointment was in order, I called Sister Elizabeth and asked her would she assist me with my - to notify her I was coming, as a courtesy.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I want hon. Members to also know that the rulings of the Speaker are not debatable and I am just giving the Minister fifteen to twenty seconds to see whether he has clued up his answer; if he has not, then the Chair will sit him down.

The hon. the Minister of Health.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: A bunch of dictators over there (inaudible) Speaker (inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

AN HON. MEMBER: Withdraw, withdraw.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I would ask the hon. Member for Mount Pearl, please, to withdraw that remark that the Speaker is being ruled by anybody.

MR. WINSOR: Mr. Speaker, in order to try to end the charade that was started here by the Government today, I will withdraw, but with reluctance, I assure this House.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: That is not acceptable to the Speaker. There should be an unconditional withdrawal.

The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINSOR: Mr. Speaker, as I understood what I just said, I will check Hansard; I believe I withdrew.

MR. SPEAKER: That satisfies the Speaker, if the Member says he withdrew.

I would ask the Minister please to clue up in fifteen seconds.

MR. DECKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On reflection, Mr. Speaker, I would indeed have phoned the administrator again; but maybe I should not have mentioned my personal appointments. I did it though, I did it innocently, and I accept responsibility for it, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. POWER: I will simplify it. We did not ask the Minister one question about his personal behaviour. If we want to ask that question, we will ask it; the Minister is trying very hard to cover up his, as the Premier said, less than good judgement.

The question I asked, which I would like the Minister to answer, and we are after the truth which is very difficult to get from the Members opposite. What is -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. POWER: - simple question, simple question, simple question. What is the process in this Province to get lab and X ray work done, is it an appointment service or is it a walk-in, first come first served, service? That is the question.

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the intent of this has nothing to do with getting at the truth, the intend of this is to try to drag someone through the mud. That is the intend, Mr. Speaker. This has nothing to do with the truth. Mr. Speaker, the policy throughout the Province varies from hospital to hospital and I would have to get in touch with all the hospitals to find out what their policy is. Over the past few days I learned, quite surprisingly, that in Corner Brook it is a walk-in service. Over the last few days I have learned that blood work, not EKGs, but blood work is a walk-in service at St. Clare's. I have checked, and it is also a walk-in service at the Grace Hospital. The first time I was aware of that was when it was brought to my attention by Lynn Burry of NTV during the scrum yesterday. Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, I think in view of what has happened over the last few days, and this was brought to my attention, I might indeed be talking to some of the hospitals because it would seem to me to make a lot of sense to have appointments for blood work. People are required to fast overnight and I do not see anything wrong with setting up an appointment. You have an appointment to get a haircut, you have an appointment to see a doctor, and it would make sense to have an appointment for blood work, Mr. Speaker. In answer to the question the practice varies from hospital to hospital. I will have officials from my Department get in touch with all the hospitals throughout the Province to see just what the practice is.

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

MR. POWER: Mr. Speaker, I cannot believe the Minister of Health does not know the systems in place in this Province for lab and X ray. We have in this House for the last month or so on health care cuts, and particularly in the last week or so on lab and X ray, before his own personal problems arose, asked questions about line ups in lab and X ray and we have not been able to get a straight answer that there is a problem. Obviously, the Minister is not aware of the problems about line ups because he does not have to join the lineup.

Mr. Speaker, a supplementary, yesterday in this House, yesterday on the news networks of this Province, the Minister said that anybody who wants to get an appointment for blood work in this Province should call the administrator, not the lab and X ray department, but the administrator of the hospitals concerned. What does someone do if they listen to the Minster of Health today? A trawler man who comes in for a couple of days, a taxi driver who works sixteen or eighteen hours a day, how does that person get blood work done at St. Clare's or at any other hospital? Do they call the administrator and make an appointment, or is it a walk-in service, first come, first served? Which one is it for all the people?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, since supplementary questions are (inaudible) preambles I want to be afforded the right to address the preamble.

MR. POWER: My preamble is not very long, boy.

MR. DECKER: The hon. Member talks about the line ups for X ray and lab work. I have to tell the hon. Member, in referring to his preamble which he was allowed to have, that until yesterday I was of the opinion, I thought that appointments were necessary for blood work, as appointments are necessary for EKGs. That is why yesterday, when the question was raised, I was surprised to learn that you could just walk into Corner Brook.

MR. POWER: You said yesterday in Corner Brook you can walk in, your comments.

MR. DECKER: Now, Mr. Speaker, in answer to the question -

MR. POWER: (Inaudible) walk in. That is the question.

MR. DECKER: In answer to the question, Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that when a person goes to his doctor and gets a requisition for whatever has to be done, it is according to the policy of the hospital that person wishes to go to. I do know for a fact now that if he needs blood work done and if he goes to St. Clare's he can walk in and wait. If he needs an EKG done at St. Clare's he has to phone the hospital for an appointment. Maybe it would not be necessary for him, as a courtesy, to phone the administrator and say, I am going to visit your hospital, but I am sure if anyone phones the administrator that person would put the patient onto the appropriate channels to have the appointment set up.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you, very much, Mr. Speaker.

I also have a question for the Minister of Health. Yesterday, when I asked the Minister who he called to make his appointment he was rather reluctant, actually he refused to tell us who he did actually call, but today he has admitted that he called the administrator of the hospital to arrange an appointment for blood work, Mr. Speaker. If the Minister was looking to have some blood work done does he not think that it would be logical for him to phone the lab to set up an appointment, if he believed that there were appointments necessary, rather than phone the administrator of the hospital? Would it not be more appropriate to phone the lab where he would have to go to get the appointment to get the work done?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is quite right, I was reluctant yesterday to mention Sister Elizabeth Davis by name. In this process where people are dragged through the mud, people who are not in politics, I do not consider it appropriate to mention their names until I have had the opportunity of talking to them. After Question Period yesterday, and after the scrum, the first opportunity I got I phoned Sister Elizabeth Davis and explained to her just what had transpired in the House, and asked for her permission to give her name, so that explains why I did. As I said people outside the political process do not often understand those smear campaigns when they are put in place.

Now, the next question I think I already touched on it for the hon. Member. Would I not think it is logical to phone the lab? Mr. Speaker, I have already addressed that. I believe it was perfectly logical and proper for the Minister of Health, whoever that happens to be, to phone the administrator of a hospital to say I am going to be taking advantage of your services on such and such a day.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DECKER: Whether or not it was logical to phone the lab, Mr. Speaker, and if there had been only one test I could have phoned the lab, but there were several tests. I was talking to Sister Elizabeth and I thought it would be appropriate to have her set up all the tests for me, and that was done.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, I do not understand the logic, the logic the Minister is using, that because he is Minister of Health he phoned the administrator to tell her he was going. I guess the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture will not be lining up in grocery stores any more. He will just phone the grocery department and tell them he is coming, Mr. Speaker. The Minister of Finance will not be lining up at the bank any more because he will phone the bank manager and say he is coming. The Minister of Tourism will not be lining up any more.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member is on a supplementary.

MR. TOBIN: When you are not a Liberal.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Is it not true, Mr. Speaker, that the Minister called the administrator because after checking on the policy of the hospitals and finding out, as he admitted yesterday, that there was a walk-in service, you come and take a number and wait your time, he knew that if he phoned the lab, phoned the director of the lab where he would be getting the tests done, he would be told that you cannot get an appointment, so he tried to use his influence and phoned the administrator so she would set up an appointment? What influence did the Minister use for St. Clare's hospital to break their own policy on appointments for blood work?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, as much as the hon. Members want me to answer questions the way they want them answered -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I again remind hon. Members to my right that when a question is asked that one should let the question be answered and not keep asking questions. That is the idea of supplementary questions and it makes it very difficult for the Chair to concentrate on the answers.

The hon. the Minister of Health, please.

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I cannot give the answer that the Opposition wants me to give. I want to give the truth of the matter, just what the answer is. The hon. Member says it was not logical for me to call the administrator. Well, that was my judgement and I stand by that judgement. When I visit any hospital in this Province I believe it would be proper to notify the administrator that I am visiting the hospital, because after all I happen to fill this position today and somebody else might fill it some other time, but in my judgement it was a perfectly courteous thing to do. I think the other questions addressed by the hon. Member have already been answered several, several times and I would suggest he refer to Hansard.

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

MS. VERGE: I have a question for the Premier. Yesterday in the House of Assembly the Premier said he saw nothing wrong with the Minister operating efficiently, working day and night for the people of the Province, getting an appointment for a blood test at a hospital. Last night on NTV News he was even more blatant. He said there was absolutely nothing unusual about the Minister of Health getting special treatment. After all, the Premier said, he is the Minister of Health. Does the Minister really believe that Ministers of the Crown and other VIPs should receive special treatment from hospitals? Is the Premier saying there is a two-tier system of health care in the Province, one for Ministers and the elite, and another for the ordinary people?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I do not know -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: If the Member for Grand Bank wants to answer the question, or the Member for Humber East wants to ask the question of the Member for Grand Bank, I will sit down. If they want my answer I will answer it, Mr. Speaker. The House can have whichever they prefer.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: Now, either the Member for Humber East or NTV has misled the people of this Province, I do not know which.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: Bring in the tapes!

PREMIER WELLS: Because - there is no trouble, I will bring in the tapes, and play everything I said in a scrum lasting some ten minutes. She may have heard ten seconds on NTV or wherever she heard it. But I stated very clearly - and the Member for Ferryland quoted me this morning - that it was less than good judgement in doing that kind of thing. I would not take that course of action. And the Minister has said that to me himself, and I do not disagree with his conclusion in that respect.

No, Mr. Speaker, I do not think the Minister did anything reprehensible. He has explained to this House what he did. As a matter of courtesy he also called the administrator and in the process he had an appointment made for him to have his EKG and blood work or whatever other analysis he wanted done.

Now the Minister has satisfied me that he did not do that or take that action to gain any preferential treatment for himself. Now, what NTV did not do, or the Member for Humber East did not say, was that when the Minister called and he was offered an appointment either the next day or the day following, he said: no, I am not in any hurry, I can wait until next week. So he did not do it to gain any particular benefit for himself. And I am satisfied that he did not hurt anybody. No harm was done to anybody. I am not aware that any harm was done to anybody.

Now, Mr. Speaker, in these circumstances to hear this kind of picayune nonsense coming from the Opposition is almost sickening. It disgusts the people of this Province to see that kind of behaviour. And no wonder the people of the Province think of the Opposition what they do.

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

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, I say to the Premier that he can fool some of the people some of the time, but he cannot fool all of the people all of the time.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, there are many situations in which the Premier and Ministers of the Crown can use their positions to acquire privileges and favours. Not all of them monetary, not all of them governed by the Criminal Code. Many are subtle. And we have seen one example of the Minister of Health throwing -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member is on a supplementary -

MS. VERGE: - around his weight to get a benefit -

MR. SPEAKER: - I am waiting for it.

MS. VERGE: - for himself. Is that the standard the Premier -

MR. SPEAKER: Sorry.

MS. VERGE: - espouses and now finds acceptable for his Cabinet?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I do not know whether the Member is deaf or deliberately closes her mind to what has been said. I said yesterday that no, it was not the right thing for the Minister - the Minister himself has said that. So I do not know if she wants it in writing or in print so she can look at it and stare at it and understand it, or why she keeps repeating it. The position has been made known yesterday, it has been reaffirmed by the Minister, it is reaffirmed by me this morning. I do not recommend that course of action. But I am satisfied, Mr. Speaker, that the Minister did not do it for the purpose of gaining preferential treatment for him as an individual, and that the Minister in whatever he did did not cause anybody in this Province any harm. In those circumstance I can only reiterate the disgust at the picayune minds that produce this kind of discussion.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Premier and his Government's cuts to hospital budgets have gravely hurt hundreds of people in this Province already. At Western Memorial Regional Hospital, which serves the Premier's own district, eleven staff have been laid off and the hospital has to serve a greater case load. People are waiting three and four hours to get simple blood tests. Now how can people expect the Premier or the Minister to understand people's suffering and inconvenience when the Ministers do not have to share the weights or suffer the pain because they get preferential treatment? They skip the lines.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, just look at the lack of logic in that proposition. The Minister not only did not seek preferential treatment for himself to get in ahead of others, he voluntarily waited a week. Now what else? How can they claim that the Minister got a blood test or an EKG ahead of anybody else? But their objective is not to look after the interest of the public of this Province. Their objective is, as it has always been ever since I have seen them on the opposite side of this House, to promote their own political interest without regard to, and in fact, in spite of the fact that it may be detrimental to the public interest of the Province.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Port au Port, time for a short question.

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier. I just want to tie up a couple of loose ends from last month. In respect to allegations that competition questions were obtained from the Public Service Commission and given to a perspective candidate for a job interview by the Minister of Social Service's office, the Public Service Commission undertook an enquiry into the matter. Is this enquiry complete, and when will we hear the results of this enquiry?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I operate on the assumption that it is not complete because I have not been advised of it, but I will check and see whether or not it is complete. I am assuming that it has not because I have not been advised of it.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

I just want to make a comment on Question Period to remind hon. Members again that the Speaker's decisions, with respect to Question Period, are final and not debatable, and hon. Members should know that, that is long tradition of parliament. I also want to remind hon. Members on both sides about questions being brief, and answers being brief. It is amazing sometimes the kinds of logic we get. Of course the question should be brief, the answer should be brief, and in the meantime, the gravity of the question or the shortness of the question has no relationship to the answer. In the meantime, hon. Ministers should keep in mind that they ought to be brief. Hon. Members to my right, keep it in mind that their questions ought to be brief. If that is done, then Question Period should operate very smoothly. With respect to supplementaries, I have noticed more and more that hon. Members are getting into preambles, and hon. Members know that on supplementaries no preamble is necessary, and they should get directly into the question.

Before moving on to the routine orders, I would like to welcome some students because sometimes they leave. On behalf of hon. Members I would like to welcome to the public galleries of the House of Assembly today thirty Grade IX students from St. Paul's school here in St. John's, accompanied by their teacher, Mr. Carroll.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Petitions

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

MR. TOBIN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to present a petition on behalf of seventy-two residents of the communities of Petit Forte, South East Bight and other parts of the District of Burin - Placentia West, particularly Red Harbour, Parkers Cove, Rushoon and Baine Harbour.

The prayer of the petition is that the petition of the undersigned Friends of MUN Extension states 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 take such action as may be necessary to ensure that Memorial University reinstates its Extension Services, and that it be funded and equipped to provide the services it has traditionally provided. That is signed by seventy-two people particularly from the north part of Placentia Bay. If there is any group of people in this Province that has been the beneficiaries of the MUN Extension Services over the past few years, it has been the people in these isolated communities in Placentia Bay, Petit Forte and South East Bight, people who do not have a road system, and people, Mr. Speaker, who do not have any way of connection other than by boat or air. And for many years the employees, the workers of Mun Extension Services have spent time in Placentia Bay helping people organize. As a matter of fact it as Mun Extension in Petit Forte that got the people organized and with assistance from ourselves to go out and lobby Government for road construction. And that, Mr. Speaker, despite the present Government has been successful, and it has been successful because of the commitments of Mr. Crosbie and the Federal Government, and it has been successful because of the efforts of the previous administration. Despite the fact that this Premier and this Government has tried to scuttle the dreams and aspirations of isolated Newfoundland and tried to ensure that they remained in isolation forever.

Now, Mr. Speaker, this is a group of individuals, as I said, who have benefited from Mun Extension Services, and this Government does not seem to have money for health care, does not seem to have money for Mun Extension, but seems to have money for anything, Mr. Speaker, for the Premier Office and a few other places. Whenever the Premier wants security, Mr. Speaker, if they want to put retired constabulary members up on the 8th Floor so people can get in, if they want to have policemen lined in every hotel entrance in this Province there is no stop for money. When the Premier has to be chauffeured in a limousine there is no stop for a driver or a chauffeur, but yet there is no way to find money for Mun Extension to help out isolated rural Newfoundland.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TOBIN: That is where the sham is, Mr. Speaker. There are policemen everywhere, there are limousines everywhere, there are chauffeurs everywhere for the Premier and his Ministers, but there is nothing for the poor people in this Province. And it is time that stopped.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TOBIN: It is time that people in Petit Forte and people in South East Bight and other parts of rural Newfoundland had fair access to the organizational skills that Mun Extension possessed and the type of assistance that they offered. Why is there money for everything else? Why is there money, Mr. Speaker, for PR specialists, about $50,000 each year? Why is there $100,000 for the chief of staff in the Premier's Office? Why is there money for retired constables on the Premier's Floor? Why?

AN HON. MEMBER: Double dipping.

MR. TOBIN: Yes. Why is there money for all of that and nothing for the poor people who work in rural Newfoundland and for Mun Extension? That is the question that has to be answered. Why is there money and raises and increases for the senior public servants, four or five deputy ministers on the other side of $100,000, when people in rural Newfoundland have no access, Mr. Speaker, to Mun Extension and other benefits that they have had for years? That is the question that has to be answered. The Province of Newfoundland operated since 1949 as a Member of Confederation with dedicated and committed people serving Mun Extension, and, Mr. Speaker, they never made $100,000 or received the $10,000 and $15,000 increase that the Premier has given members of his staff in the past couple of years. And I believe and I believe very sincerely that the people of rural Newfoundland and particularly the people of isolated rural Newfoundland such as Petit Forte and South East Bight have a right to these types of services that they have taken for granted.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! The hon. gentleman's time is up.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave! By leave!

MR. TOBIN: I will clue it up for you, Mr. Speaker, I present the petition. It has my total support. And I ask this Government to come to their senses, and for god sake re-instate something that has been of benefit to the people of South East Bight and Petit Forte.

MR. SPEAKER: Are there further petitions?

Orders, of the Day.

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible).

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

MS. VERGE: Are we still on petitions?

MR. SPEAKER: I certainly asked the question: Are there further petitions? Nobody rose then I went to Orders of the Day.

MS. VERGE: Okay I was waiting for one of the Ministers opposite to respond to the petition, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair is not going to get into the semantics of - I asked for further petitions, an hon. Member will then stand and say they are speaking to the other petitions, and nobody stood. I was into Orders of the Day. But if Members want to revert to petitions, that is fine.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Pardon?

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair can only move when people are standing, the Chair does not invite people to stand and the hon. Member, having been a Speaker, obviously would know that. I do not invite people to stand and there was nobody standing. I called for further petitions, nobody stood, and obviously the next thing to do was to call for Orders of the Day. And that is the decision.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

Orders of the Day

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

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West on a point of order.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I presented a petition on behalf of the people of South East Bight. My colleague stood in this House, whether you saw her (Inaudible) and I do not question, obviously the Speaker did not see her at the appropriate time. But she did stand to speak to speak to the petition. Much to my disgust not a Minister opposite stood to speak to a petition on behalf of rural Newfoundland. I submit, Your Honour, that my colleague did indeed stand and it is unfortunate, Mr. Speaker, (inaudible) -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order. The hon. Member knows I saw the hon. Member when the hon. Member stood and it was after I called Orders of the Day. The decision is final.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: And the Member had called -

The Government House Leader.

MR. BAKER: Committee of Supply, Mr. Speaker, Estimates of the Executive Council.

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

Committee of the Whole

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Yesterday in examining the estimates of the Executive Council there were two speakers from the Opposition, and I attempted in a couple of minutes to respond to some of the comments that they made. The Member for Grand Falls, I did not really deal with what he had to say because he spent his ten minutes singing the praises of the Minister. He does not fool me though because I know what comes next. I know when the hon. Member for Grand Falls takes ten minutes to praise up a Minister on this side then we know what is going to come in his next ten minutes. So whereas I thank him, I am not lulled into a false sense of security by any means.

I was dealing with some of the comments from the Member for Humber East who made a number of comments. She showed that she did not understand some of the figures that were there and I straightened her out on that. And then she made some mention in her presentation of the Women's Policy Office and the Advisory Council of the Status of Women. And I would like to respond to some of the implied questions in her comments, because as I indicated she did not really ask a single question. But I will respond to it anyway.

In terms of the office of Status of Women and the Women's Policy Office and the Advisory Council, it is our belief as Government that the problems that women experience in society have to be dealt with in a number of ways. First of all, we have to react to the emergencies and situations that exist. In other words, we have to respond to the symptoms and try to treat the symptoms of a problem. And we do that. And we have to provide better legal aid, more shelters and so on, that is without a doubt.

But that does not address the problem. And in order to address the real problem we have to do some active research and analysis into aspects of the problems that women experience in our society. And to get at the root of the problem, which is essentially an attitude problem, we have to embark on an educational campaign, and we have to work through our educational system and day-care centres and so on, and attempt to change attitudes concerning the place of women in our society.

I would like to point out some of the things that have been done in the last year, that have been worked on and either have been completed or in the process of being worked on to address all three aspects, the re-acting to the emergencies, the analysis of the problem and the educational aspect, and I would say, Mr. Chairman, at the outset, that with a very small expenditure of money, the Women's Policy Office has been amazingly active and remarkably effective in the last couple of years.

First of all I will do it in sections. In terms of Education and Training, which is a crucial segment of the response, there are a number of projects which have been initiated in the Province; the support for the WISE programme, The Women Interested In Successful Employment, that WISE programme, there are several WISE programmes and funding has been provided through the Department of Employment and Labour Relations for the WISE programme.

The programme is delivered by a non-profit women's organization, designed to meet the career exploration and personal development needs of women who are re-entering the work force for one or, entering for the first time, in some cases. I know some of them with whom I have talked, were entering the work force for the first time and an integral part of that programme is to change the self- opinion or self-attitude that exists and to say to women, and to have them in the programmes and to say to them: look, you deserve what the society has to offer, that there should be equality in society and do not believe the attitudes which you have been faced with over the last few years; so part of the WISE programme is a change in attitude to the women involved.

The programme was operating in St. John's at first and seemed to be very successful, then we provided some base funding last year to expand outside St. John's and the programme was expanded to Grand Falls, and the point has to be made, that we believe the programme should be expanded further than that and should be expanded to Western Newfoundland and Labrador, but going from St. John's, the big jump was to Central and it was done in Grand Falls, so that is one aspect of the activity of the Women's Policy Office during the last year or so.

We have produced posters for use amongst pre-school, primary and elementary school children, school students on sex role stereotyping. This programme, the posters depict women, men, boys and girls participating in a wide range of activities in the work place, at home and at play and the posters have been distributed to day care centres, pre-school programmes, primary and elementary schools.

Now, Mr. Chairman, that may seem like something that is very simple and minor to do up six posters, a very simple thing; certainly it did not cost a lot of money, the cost was minimal, however, Mr. Chairman, the effect of these things goes far beyond the small cost it takes to produce them because this gets at the root of the problem of women in our society, it gets at the root of the problem which is, the basic attitudes that have been developed and it is going to take a long time to change these basic attitudes, but you have to start somewhere, and effort has to be put into making that attitude change now, so that, ten, fifteen twenty or fifty years down the road, that it may in fact happen in our society and, Mr. Chairman, there is no guarantee that, that will happen either.

The Women's Policy Office, in conjunction with the Career Support Services Divisions in the Department of Employment and Labour Relations, with funding from youth strategy have conducted a pilot monitoring project that involves role modelling, role modelling - and the project matches high school students and students in post-secondary institutions with women who are already employed in non-traditional occupations, and a very small attempt, Mr. Chairman, but a real attempt, to enforce in the minds of women that there really is no need for this role stereotyping, and that all occupations are open to males and females, and that they themselves should put some effort into getting into these non-traditional occupations. The Department of Education is encouraging school boards to develop employment equity plans and the Women's Educational Services Consultant has been conducting workshops on employment equity for school boards throughout the Province, one of the activities where we have people go around the Provinces to conduct workshops in terms of employment equity within the Province. The Department of Education and Women's Policy Office have provided funding to the community group Women in Science and Engineering to produce a video to encourage young women to enter scientific and technological occupations. There is a teacher's guide that goes along with this video and it is designed for use in high schools as a teaching instrument. It is an exceptionally good video and we hope it will have some effect again on attitudes. In this case it is attitudes of young women who are in high school.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. BAKER: It should, yes.

The Women's Policy Office in conjunction with the Cabinet Secretariat has developed guidelines for assessing proposed policies, program changes, and new initiatives for their impact on the ability of Newfoundland workers to balance work and family responsibilities. The guidelines were developed for the internal use of Departments within the Provincial Government, and that is something that normally never gets known about because it is kind of an internal working set of guidelines which, again, we do not go around boasting about the things we do. This is one of the things that has been done that is not commonly known. An awful lot of the work we do has to be done in conjunction with the Women's Policy Office in conjunction with Education, Employment and Labour Relations, as well as the Department of Social Services and Justice which are two other Departments that we work closely with. We hired a consultant to conduct research on employment policies of private employers in the Province that have an impact on the integration of work and family responsibilities. The researcher is also collecting information on employers knowledge of, and attitudes towards employment policies that will allow workers to balance work and family responsibility. This is a big area because we have gotten to the point in our society where not only is it desirable that in the workforce men and women be looked upon equally, not only is that desirable, but right now it is almost essential because in many cases in order to survive both husband and wife have to work. It is one of the realities of our society. Not only is it desirable from a philosophical point of view but it is necessary from an income point of view. Mr. Speaker, the integration of work and family responsibilities is a very big issue that needs a lot of research and needs a lot of understanding on the part of employers, certainly, throughout, not only Government but other private sector employers throughout the country. The Women's Policy Office is developing an information booklet for employers and this is really in conjunction with the research project.

It is titled, When Work and Family Collide, a health book for employers. This is not completed yet but hopefully by the Fall we will be able to have that book finished and then start distributing that particular booklet.

In terms of the -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please! The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. BAKER: Okay, I will come back and finish up. I have quite a list here, Mr. Speaker, and I have not even touched one quarter of it yet. I will go through the whole thing.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Chairman, first of all, I am curious the Premier is not here to defend his Estimates. We are talking about Executive Council which -

AN HON. MEMBER: Where were you yesterday?

MR. WINDSOR: Where was I yesterday? I was here.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I am well aware of that. But it is also unusual that the Premier is not here in the House to defend his Estimates.

MR. BAKER: No, no. It is usual.

MR. WINDSOR: It is very unusual. Very, very unusual, Mr. Chairman. I realize the President of Treasury Board as the President of the Executive Council, is responsible for the Estimates. The Premier is also responsible for his Department and this is the opportunity in discussing these Estimates to drill the Premier on his own conduct and the conduct of his staff and the running of his office. And he should be here, not slough it off on the President of Treasury Board to try to do the cover up job for him, Mr. Chairman.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINDSOR: We may not get the answers we want, Mr. Chairman.

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Well maybe the President of Treasury Board would answer then, there is that $20,000 in the Premier's Office for allowances and assistance that was not in the Budget last year, but it was in the Revised Budget, and it is in the Budget this year. Is that the $20,000 for the Premier's housekeeper?

MR. BAKER: I will get up and answer that. That is a question. That is good.

MR. WINDSOR: I asked it six weeks ago of the Premier and the Premier undertook to give me the answer and he still has not given me the answer.

MR. BAKER: I will give you the answer. It is not true what you are saying.

MR. WINDSOR: No, but it is true.

MR. SIMMS: Do not be interrupting the Member when he is speaking.

MR. WINDSOR: It is true.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. WINDSOR: The Premier, Mr. Chairman, when he took office made a great deal to do about the number of staff in the Premier's Office. Yet we look at last year's Budget and he has estimated $53,800 for Salaries, Administration for the Premier's Office. Yet in the Revised Budget the figure had risen to $78,700, almost a 50 per cent increase. I am curious, Mr. Chairman.

MR. BAKER: What page is that?

MR. SIMMS: Open up the book and look at it.

MR. WINDSOR: I have to read the Budget to the Executive Assistant now, page 15 of the Budget Estimates, this red document marked Estimates 1990-91.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SIMMS: How stunned, boy! Resign!

MR. WINDSOR: It is titled Premier's Office, you see that, on the right-hand page, under 2.1.03 - Administration; .01 -Salaries.

MR. BAKER: Okay, thank you.

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Chairman, it is curious when a Premier that indicated that he was going to cut back on the staff of the Premier's Office, reduce the cost of operating the Premier's Office, and the overall cost of Government and in view of all of the cutbacks that we have seen in various other areas, particularly the social programs over the past couple of years salaries have increased from $53,800 in the Budget of 1990-91; $78,700 in the Revised; and up again this year to $82,300. Interesting, Mr. Chairman. Very interesting indeed.

The President of Executive Council, Mr. Chairman. Last year he budgeted $27,000, in total, for the Office of the President of the Executive Council, and he only spent $800 last year. Maybe the President would like to tell us why he is going to spend $14,000 this year versus the $800 he spent last year.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, the President is listening. It is under President of the Executive Council 2.2.01.

MR. BAKER: That is where we used to have (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Budgeted $27,000. Spent $800 last year. He is now budgeting $14,000 this year. Maybe the President would like to explain what is happening there. Why, first of all, did he only spend $800 last year? He cannot tell me because we had one President of Treasury Board and one President of Executive Council, they were one and the same the year before. They are talking about their own Budget of 1990-91. Maybe he would like to explain that for us.

It is interesting to note that under Resource and Social Policy Committees of Cabinet, Mr. Chairman, Transportation and Communications that is 2.2.02.03 - Transportation and Communications, budgeted last year $35,000, spent $1,600; budgeting $10,700 for this year.

Would he like to also explain that to us. I assume from that, that the Resource and Social Policy Committees of Cabinet are not doing very much travelling around the Province and are not getting out. They should do more, and I say this not to be critical at all, a bit of constructive criticism from my own experience of eleven years in Cabinet that I found one of the most productive things that we did as a Cabinet was get out of this building, get out there with the people, and we made a point of travelling with the full Cabinet and then latterly with two Resource Committees, Social and Resource Policy, separately, to go to various communities in the Province and spend a day or two looking at major industries, major issues in the area, meeting with the people and listening to the people. And I will tell the House, I will give the House one example of a Cabinet meeting that we held, I believe it was in Stephenville Crossing. You may recall that we had generally two days of meetings. We had a full Cabinet meeting usually a very full agenda, it probably took better than half a day, and we normally spent at least a full day of having briefings or hearing presentations from citizens or groups of individuals all pre-scheduled and arranged, twenty minutes generally we gave them to come in and make a presentation, written, oral, the twenty minutes was theirs. We asked them to leave us at least some time to ask and answer some questions afterward. We found that very productive.

I will just give one example in Stephenville where a farmer from the Codroy Valley came in very, very frustrated with the system. He was having a problem with the Department of Rural, Agricultural and Northern Development, I think it was called at the time. He came in and he had his opportunity to explain his case to the whole Cabinet, he had a very good case, and he was right. My colleague for Humber Valley probably was there at the time, I think she was in Cabinet, will recall. He was right. He came in with his coveralls and his boots, you know, his boots were covered with what normally is on the floor of the barn, and he came in before full Cabinet and the Premier and made his case. We said, you know, he is absolutely right. He has a good argument. Before he was finished, the Minister of Agriculture had made a phone call to his office and had arranged to have his problem corrected. He had a legitimate case. The point I wanted to make and the reason that I cite this example is what a tremendous opportunity for individuals who are really aggrieved. I do not want to spoil what I am saying by making a political comment, that they no longer have an Ombudsman to go to, but they do not. This is the greatest Ombudsman of all, to have an opportunity, be it only twenty minutes, to sit down with the Premier and Cabinet and be heard. They may not accept what you are saying, they may disagree, they may tell you that you are wrong. In most cases I have to say that we learned a great deal. We learned a heck of a lot more from the people who came to speak with us than they learned from us. In fact, they did 90 per cent of the talking, but there was a great deal of information gained, a great deal of feeling for what was going on out there gained by all Members of Cabinet.

In latter years we sent Resource and Social Policies Committees out rather than the whole Cabinet because it is rather expensive to sent a full Cabinet to a community for a couple of days. There was always a reception for dignitaries and, you know, a public function there that was part of it, and it became somewhat expensive. In order to reduce those costs and reduce travel costs and hotel costs and all the rest of it, and time, we found that it was just as effective to send the various Resource Policy Committee to deal with resource questions, and a Social Policy Committee to deal with those. So I am disappointed. I am disappointed here to see the transportation vote for the Social and Resource Policy Committees have been reduced. I would encourage the Chairmen of those two Committees, whoever they may be, to take the Committees on the road and to make themselves available to listen to the people of the Province. They may be surprised with what they are hearing, but it is good therapy for the House.

Mr. Chairman, executive support under the Cabinet secretariat, and note that has gone from $100,000 actually spent last year, $131,000 budgeted, to $210,000 this year.

Executive support professional services: Maybe the President of Treasury Board would tell us why that figure is doubling this year in the Executive Council and Cabinet Secretariat.

Now there are a number of questions. We look at, under Treasury Board Secretariat: Meech Lake Accord, of course, $150,000 was spent last year. We know why $150,000 was spent last year. I think it bears mentioning again though that we are not at all pleased that we spent that $150,000, sending Members all over the Province to -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Time's expired? Ah, we will have another kick at you.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to thank the Member for Mount Pearl. There are some questions there, I am taking note of them and I will eventually get to them, but I really want to finish off the topic I was into a little earlier, with the Member for Humber East.

I was talking about the need for studies and so on. There are three - I should mention this point - studies that are currently under way that the Member would be interested in. One is a study on teenage parenting. The study will assess the impact of parenthood on the lives of teens. Teen mothers, and where possible teen fathers, have been interviewed. Information gathered includes the impact of parenthood on education and training; the availability of services, pre-and post-pregnancy; the impact of parenthood on the social lives of both teen mothers and teen fathers. And the data collection is complete. The analysis is not quite finished yet but should be done in the next couple of months and then a report will be done. So again, by the fall we should have a report on this study of teen parenting. It has become a particularly important topic in recent years and there has been very little work done on it, we have found. So it is important that we study this particular problem. And we are doing so.

Another one that is - I really cannot overestimate the importance of the next study, and the Member for Humber East would appreciate it particularly and would be very supportive of it - and that is an evaluation - we are trying to get some analysis of the automatic charging policy - the RNC and the RCMP, their policies regarding laying of charges in cases of domestic violence and the ramifications of what is happening now or exactly what is happening now and how it filters through the system. And the topic of automatic charging and - if somebody breaks into your house for instance and they are caught, you do have to press a charge, the police can go ahead and prosecute. Whereas with family violence, it is not treated exactly the same and perhaps we need changes in our law to ensure that family violence is prosecuted as expeditiously as possible and dealt with in the legal system as a serious crime and nothing but a serious crime.

Perhaps we need to consider things like, once the domestic violence is reported or discovered some way or another, that the person doing the violence is immediately taken out of the situation, put in a lockup overnight, and appears before a judge the next morning, kind of thing, to guarantee that this appearance before a judge will come immediately and will be dealt with quickly. Maybe we need that kind of thing. So, the changing of the laws with regards to the charging policy, particularly with regards to battered women and children, is a very important thing that has to be done and we are currently researching this. We also obviously are working with the Department of Justice on this particular issue. The results of the research will not be ready until early 1992, unfortunately.

There is another research project being conducted by an external consultant on behalf of the Women's Policy Office. The focus of the project is on women who are employed as fishers or plant workers. The primary focus will be on any differential impact there may be for women workers as a result of the current problems in the fishery, and issues that need to be taken into account when planning adjustment or economic diversification policies or programmes.

That one will be completed some time in the Fall, so these are three very important studies that are currently under way. In terms of the violence issue we have this year provided extra funding to open up one new shelter, Cara House in Gander. The next one that should be done is somewhere on the Burin Peninsula. We are trying to have Province-wide coverage and trying to develop shelters for women and children who are experiencing a violent life at home, some place they can go to get some respite from their problems and where they can be helped by other people. We now have five of these shelters and we have put an extra quarter of a million dollars in this year's Budget, in spite of the tough times, to open up the fifth one, and we would like to, as well, go to work on the sixth one, and we are currently looking into it.

Funding has been provided through the Department of Justice in the coming fiscal year for the development of a Victim Witness Assistance Program which has been commented on before, and which is an important thing to have done. The program is going to be community based requiring full co-operation from police, courts, and community groups. There will be pilot projects in three places, Corner Brook, Gander, and Goose Bay. Proposals will be invited from community groups in the Province to offer similar projects in St. John's. Co-ordinators will be hired in the three communities outside St. John's and there will be strong emphasis on volunteer community participation supervised by the co-ordinators. The Victim Witness Assistance Program is an important program that we are working on.

We have published a brochure on Dating Violence. This particular brochure was done with the co-operation of the Department of Education and made available to educators and high school students throughout the Province, and a more detailed package of materials has also been assembled for educators and community groups who want to provide more information to raise public awareness about dating violence. This is a topic that has been coming to the fore more and more in recent years. I do not know if it is the result of more dating violence or because the dating violence is now being reported more often. There has been a tremendous increase, it seems on the surface, of reported instances of dating violence and somehow we have to deal with it, and one of the ways to deal with it, of course, is to point out that violence of any form is not acceptable. The other thing is, and a very important thing, that when a woman says, no, she means, no. No, means, no, and not, maybe. It is important that this particular problem be dealt with, and beyond the courts and information brochures, I suppose, there is not a great deal that can be done right now. It involves a change in attitude, that is what it involves. The Women's Policy Office is in the process of developing a brochure that will provide information to the survivors of sexual assault and the brochure will be available shortly.

Another brochure that was recently launched, and we were partially responsible for, of course in conjunction with a lot of other people including people from Justice, the Department of Health, and so on, the Women's Policy office has published a manual for professionals on Women with Addictions. Now, there really has not been a lot available for professional use and the development of this manual comes out of the production of a previous brochure, I believe it was on drinking, women and drinking. This was done for women. The professionals really have nothing to go by so we have developed this manual for use by professionals, indicating that perhaps alcoholism particularly should be treated and would have different causes in women and perhaps should be treated a little differently, or at least a difference in the cause should be recognized. This manual was released March 27, very recently, and is being made available with the assistance of the ADDC, the Alcohol and Drug Dependency Commission, to professionals in the Province, and this is not for general consumption but only for the professionals.

Also, Talbot House, the detox centre, is now being operated by the Alcohol and Drug Dependency Commission. This institution was formerly available only to men but now will be accepting women in this current year. In addition, the in-patient programme at Humberwood in Corner Brook - and the Member would I suppose be quite familiar with the tremendous work being done at Humberwood; it is a model I guess for all of Canada - operated by the ADDC will offer a women only programme for the first time beginning this month.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave, by leave!

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Chairperson. I quite enjoyed listening to the President of Treasury Board and the Minister responsible for the Status of Women in his last two presentations. He did a very good job of relaying to the House the briefing given him by his Women's Policy Office outlining several of the very important and useful projects they are doing. And listening to the Minister describe the purpose of some of those activities I sense that he himself has some empathy for that work. And that is encouraging, I say to the Minister.

But I have to ask: since this work is so necessary and since the Minister personally seems to appreciate the value of it, why is he cutting the budget of the Women's Policy Office by 12 per cent? Why is the Government shrinking the resources available to the Women's Policy Office to carry on their important work, to embark on other projects that are needed, when at the same time we see on the same page of the Budget the Government is providing a fivefold increase to the propaganda office, Newfoundland Information Service, and a fourfold or fivefold increase to Protocol, for entertainment, banquets and ceremonial occasions?

Since the Budget was presented on March 7 and I and others on this side have had a chance to analyze it, we have found - and I have made this point many times before - that one of the thrusts of the Budget in inflicting reductions and cuts is to make those changes in a regressive way, in a way that makes worse the disparities in income and well-being between different groups in our Province. The effect of the Budget is to give to the rich and take from the poor. The Budget makes worse, or exacerbates, the income gap between the poor - for example, the people on social assistance - and the well-off. While the Government is freezing the basic social assistance rate which anti-poverty organizations have said is below the poverty line, the Government is providing for large increases for the political staff of the Premier, executive and management personnel of the Government.

We see now that there are several of these privileged political aides and executives earning more than $100,000 a year. Who are being paid 20 per cent plus more this year than they were last year.

AN HON. MEMBER: That's not true (Inaudible).

MS. VERGE: So the Government is making worse the disparity in income and well-being -

AN HON. MEMBER: Name one.

MS. VERGE: - the disparity in income and well-being -

AN HON. MEMBER: Why do you not tell the truth for a change?

MS. VERGE: - in this Province. Secondly, the Government through this Budget is worsening the disparity between women and men. Women are suffering a disproportionate amount of the cuts dealt by this Budget. A disproportionately high number of women are being laid off in the public service. The hospitals and nursing homes of course are dominated by women, numerically. Most rank and file hospital and nursing home workers are women. And it is the health care institutions that are suffering most of the cutbacks, and therefore women are numbering higher proportionately among the layoff casualties than men.

Of course, we know that the Government is reneging on its commitments to implement pay equity or equal pay for work of equal value to benefit under paid women workers. And in doing so it is wiping out more then three years of negotiated pay equity adjustments. Now, Chairperson, that is costing women in the health care sector alone, according to the union's estimates $27 million, according to the Minister's calculations $24 million.

An aspect of that unjust reneging has to do with pensions for women who have retired recently or who are being forced out through the layoffs. Women hospital cleaners leaving now having all along been paid less than men janitors for doing work of equal value, a fact that has been acknowledged by the Government after objective job analysis, will for the rest of their lives get pension payments based on the unjustly low wages. Now if those women cleaners had gotten their due pay equity adjustments retroactive to April 1, 1988, their pension payments now and for the rest of their lives would be higher since they are based on the average of the last and best three years earnings.

Finally, Chairperson, the Budget has the effect of exaggerating or making worse the gaps or disparities in affluence between the rural and urban areas of the Province. The Budget is removing the life supports from some of the rural parts of our Province, closing hospitals, downgrading other hospitals, cutting down other Government services, closing Government offices. It is a more subtle variation of the brutal Smallwood resettlement program.

Now, Chairperson, just the same as the Minister of Health skipped the line up for hospital, lab and X ray work, Government executives and managers, the public service elite, beat the wage freeze. They got their whopping pay increases last year. So we see now in Executive Council, in the Department for which the Minister responsible for the Status of Women is responsible, that the Budget analysts get an average salary increase last year to this year of 27.9 per cent. What are the women working at the transition houses getting, I wonder? Can the Minister responsible for the Status of Women assure us that the workers at Iris Kirby House in St. John's are getting 27.9 per cent more this year than last year? He is not even looking at me now because he is embarrassed to have to admit that the Iris Kirby House transition workers are getting only a tiny increase this year over last year.

And further he might be embarrassed to admit that the Government grant to the transition house in St. John's and the transition house in Corner Brook did not even allow for inflation, the Government is predicting a 5.7 per cent rise in the cost of living from last year to this year, yet froze the grants to transition houses. The result is that the Iris Kirby House in St. John's and the transition house in Gander, to cite two examples, have to get a substantial part of their budgets for their salary bills, for their payroll costs from community fundraising.

Now, Chairperson, what else do we see here? The Minister responsible for the status of women talked about some of the useful studies -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please! Order, please!

The hon. Member's time has elapsed.

MS. VERGE: - that the Women's Policy Office has done. Thank you, Chairperson.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have spent the last twenty minutes going through some of the initiatives that the Women's Policy Office has taken. I must say that I did not pay much attention to the Member for Humber East during her last eight or nine minutes and there is a very good reason for that; that if she wants to be sensible, I am willing to listen to her, if she wants to say things that are not true and try to exaggerate and everything else, then I will stop listening, I do not even know what she said for the last eight minutes, because she got up in the beginning and talked about all those executive people, who had those big raises this year, over 20 per cent and all this kind of thing and it is simply not true, and once she starts getting on with that nonsense, that foolishness, the political foolishness, which she knows is not true, then I stop listening. So, I do not even know what she said for the last eight minutes and I do not even care what she said. Because obviously, if she is going to start off with foolishness like that and untruths and without backing it up with facts and figures that she knows are not there, then I am going to stop listening.

I was talking about the initiatives that the Women's Policy Office has been taking and before I stopped listening and before she got on with her nonsense, she did ask one question that I thought was fairly sensible and that was: why are we cutting the budget if the work is so important, and I think that was the question.

Now, Mr. Chairman, let me find the numbers in here. Mr. Chairman, last year's budget on the Women's Policy Office was $401,200 and it has been reduced to $375,300. It probably is a greater reduction because the revised in 1990-1991 was $422,000, it has been reduced to $375,000, so that is a reduction of $45,000 which is around 12 per cent, so I recognize the Member for Humber East, in this particular instance, and I was listening then, and as long as she is telling the truth, I will listen to her, she told the truth and I was listening to her and that is why I respond.

She does not always tell the truth, Mr. Chairman, because she talked about all of those executives and management - I was writing it all down until she gave the numbers for executive and management and political people in Government, all of them who were getting these big over 20 per cent increases from last year to this year, that is simply not true; it is simply not true, that is simply not true.

Everybody in the public service last year, whether they were executives, management, workers, political staff received increases that were relatively similar; there were some exceptions, nurses had a larger increase than everybody else, but by and large, everybody received his normal step progression that everybody gets anyway and they got 6 per cent. Now that is the salary increase that everybody received, not 20 odd per cent.

Some of them had step increases which would add another 2 per cent or 2.2 per cent or whatever it is to the 6 per cent, but nobody had huge increases. The Member Opposite said it is so, it is not so, she is in dreamland, she must be living in some other Province or some other part of the world, because it simply did not happen and I mean, I stake my reputation and my job on it; it did not happen. Will she stake her job on the accuracy of her statements, would she stake her job on the accuracy of her statements, I ask her, Mr. Chairman, and you know yourself that, that would be only fair, if the Member is proven to be false, will she then resign and forget about the leadership of the Tory Party which she is obviously going for and from what I hear she has got a pretty good shot at it by the way. She is obviously going for the leadership of the Tory Party. But if she is doing that I would like just to give a little bit of advice for her, get away from exaggerations, get away from making statements that are not true simply because she figures it might catch a little bit of press or something, get away from that and be sensible. Tell the truth. Present herself, as she is, and I am sure she will do extremely well. As I say, I understand she has a leg up on everybody else, she is ahead of everybody else in the race and the dark horse, I understand, is the Member for Ferryland.

MR. POWER: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: Oh, I did not realize that you were there. The dark horse is the Member for Ferryland, now maybe coming up from behind. He has indicated he is not interested, that he is quite willing to support the Member for Humber East. Now that is my understanding that he supports the Member for Humber East.

Anyway, Mr. Chairman, whereas -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. POWER: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: Now it is good to be in a dark horse position, you know.

So, Mr. Chairman, there have been no big increases in the salaries that the Member talks about. And I stopped listening at that point. But there was a decrease in the money in the Women's Policy Office, and I would like to point out where it is. There is a reduction in salary. Well actually the salaries are about the same as they were in the Budget of last year, it was budgeted $264,000 and it is up to $265,000, well it is about the same in terms of salary. I would like -

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: Pardon?

MS. VERGE: You spent $281,000.

MR. BAKER: Yes, we spent $280,000. It so happens that two individuals in the Women's Policy Office are pregnant this year, therefore, the Salary estimate is lower than what is actually going to happen, like the period of time they are out on pregnancy leave obviously will reduce the salary amount here. In actual fact if that were annualize at $265,000, and did not include the maternity leave then that would be above the $280,000 or around $280,000.

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible) temporary relief?

MR. BAKER: No.

MS. VERGE: No?

MR. BAKER: No. Well I better not say that because the Director of the Women' Policy Office is primarily responsible for living within that Budget and she may indeed be getting help from elsewhere in some of the research projects that are underway. But I would have to check, there is no replacement of salary due to the maternity leave is the point I am trying to make. Now if she is getting help somewhere else in terms of research projects that might very well be.

Transportation and Communications is down from $41,000 to $32,000. Professional Services are down. So the biggest drop, I think, percentage-wise you will find that Transportation and Communications and Professional Services, percentage-wise that is a tremendous drop. Simply we are not going to use as many outside services as we did last year. So there is a drop. Even if we spent as much on Professional Services as we did before, even if there was the extra $20,000 added on to Salaries, I would suggest to the Member for Humber East that even that perhaps is not quite enough, you know.

The Women's Policy Office with very few resources is doing a tremendous job. They are -

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: I do not know. I have never quite looked at it that way. It has never struck me as being that. But I know in this case, it obviously is. They have done a tremendous job and with very few resources. It is unfortunate, in fact, what we did, we froze their budget, but because of less demand for Professional Services and because of the two maternity leaves, it is down a bit. It is in essence, a frozen budget, which I do not like and I wish there was a bit more money in there. There is some extra in Protocol in terms of - but that does not show up under this heading for the Minister's meeting, there is a Minister's Status of Women's meeting here during the summer, so there is extra money there. I do not know if some of that could be used somehow, but that is under Protocol.

So, Mr. Speaker, it is essentially a frozen budget, and I am not happy with it, not at all. All I can say is that the office, I am sure will operate up to my expectations which are rather high in this regard, and I am sure that we will get through this year, and as the money loosens up a bit I can guarantee the Member for Humber East that is one of the areas that we are going to loosen up a little bit of money for as the money loosens up.

So there are a number of other things, Mr. Chairman, that I could mention in here in terms of what we have done. I really want to spend some time on pay equity, but I think I will wait until I have a ten minute section and deal with pay equity as a separate issue. I am sure the Member for Humber East wants to deal with pay equity. I would ask her, though, again to be honest when she deals with it. The number of licenced child care spaces, although it has been increased, has not been increasing nearly enough, and the Member for Humber East quite correctly points out that we did change the two tier system, and again I would like to spend some time talking about that, the fact that we increased the minimum wage and changed the two tier system. That is having an effect and creating, perhaps, a need for more organized day- care spaces that we somehow have to meet. I will deal with it a little later as a section, and if Members opposite have something to say for ten minutes, fine. I will get up again. I will deal with these issues in ten minute segments, there is no problem.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Chairperson. The President of Treasury Board does not seem to want to acknowledge, and I can understand why, that executives of the Government in political aides, especially in the Premier's office, will be paid in this budget year, in the 91-92 budget year, significantly more than they were paid last year. Now that is not because increases are being granted from April 1st, 1991 on. No, technically from April 1st they are frozen the same as everyone else, but they beat the freeze - the government allowed them to beat the freeze by giving them whopping increases last year.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is not true.

MS. VERGE: Well, I say to the President of Treasury Board, I have a list here of positions for which he is responsible. Budget Analyst, the position of Budget Analyst.

AN HON. MEMBER: Where is that.

MS. VERGE: It is in the Executive Council. Last year there were three positions at an average salary of $40,000, and this year there are five positions. Now I suggest that the government hired more Budget Analysts because there is more work to be done in hiding some of the facts, in camouflaging some of the regressive measures, so the government added two Budget Analysts. Now there are five Budget Analysts and I do not have the salaries of each individual analyst, but the average salary has gone up to $52,000, a 27.9 per cent for Budget Analysts on average. Now perhaps one or two of the Budget Analysts got increases of 30 or 40 per cent from last year to this year. The average salary increase for the Budget Analysts has gone up by 27.9 per cent.

Now, Director of Constitutional Policy, a position held by Deborah Coyne, last year, $44,790, this year $64,350. That is a 43.7 per cent increase. Director of Resource Programs: Last year that director got $47,812. This year the Director of Resource Programs will get a 20.7 per cent increase, $57,693. The Director of Social and Economic policy, last year, $47,811, this year up 27.3 per cent to $60,863.

Collective bargaining: the director and staff specialists, five positions, average salary last year: $49, 236; average salary this year: 21 per cent more, $59,586. Now, Chairperson, these are the people responsible for negotiating with the former colleagues of the Member for Exploits, the teachers, these are the people responsible for bargaining with all the public service unions; what do these people insist for the rank and file workers? Freeze. What do they take for themselves, the 21 per cent increase from last year just in one year, in a twelve month period, these people got for themselves of course, thanks to their political masters, with their elitist outlook on life, 21 per cent increase.

Now, Chairperson, contrasting these large increases for the political aids and the executives with the rank and file public service workers is one thing, but comparing them to what the Government provided for the poorest of the poor, the people on social assistance or the women working in the Transition Houses is quite another. The social assistance recipients who all along were getting rates that left them below the poverty line, they were frozen; the basic social assistance rate was frozen, despite the Government's prediction that the cost of living is going up by 5.7 per cent.

The workers at the Transition Houses get minuscule pay increases and not all of the Transition payroll costs are even funded by the Provincial Government; a significant portion of the salary costs have to be raised through community appeals, through charitable donations. Now, Chairperson, this is not a new situation, but the Government has made it worse.

The Transition House in Corner Brook has been having an increase in its occupancy rate, more and more battered women and children are having to flee their homes and go into the Transition House in Corner Brook. I talked to the administrator of the Corner Brook Transition House two nights ago and she told me that their occupancy rate has increased significantly over the last few months.

The occupancy rate now is higher than it was last year, yet the Government froze the operating grant to the Transition House compounding their difficulties; they are using a house that is probably - I am guessing now - but it is probably thirty years old, twenty-five, thirty years old; it is a very good structure, it has been operated as a transition house for about ten years now and the building is in need of some maintenance and repairs, if the structure is to be kept sound and if major renovation costs are to be avoided in the future, there has to be a regular ongoing programme of maintenance and upgrading, yet the Government has not provided any Capital funding or for that matter operating funding for repairs to allow that regular programme of building upgrading.

This approach by the Government is ultimately going to cost the people of the Province more, because if there is not regular building upkeep, then there is going to have to be major work done down the road. Last year I raised this concern with the Minister of Social Services and he in his partisan way told me that the Transition House had not applied, so when I relayed that information, they promptly sent in an application for funding for specific repair jobs and now, this week, I find out they never got any money.

MR. SIMMS: Which one is it?

MS. VERGE: This is the Corner Brook transition house. Just to review they have been operating in the same house for the last ten years. It is a structure originally owned by the Catholic Church and used as a priest's house, a very good building but now it is probably twenty or thirty years old and, as the Minister might imagine, after this many years of its life, and after ten years of fairly great wear and tear through the transition house operation and the extensive use by families taking refuge there, it is in need of some major repairs and maintenance. Of course, every year that goes on without repairs being done the worse the problems become. The little leak in the roof becomes a major problem if it is neglected. Now, of course we have lived through that here in Confederation on the fifth floor.

MR. FUREY: Who have?

MS. VERGE: Well, I say to the Minister of Development I realize that he and his colleagues in Opposition suffered the leaks on the fifth floor, but I tell you the leaks this Winter were the worst ever, but thankfully it now seems -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: She is talking about the Cabinet leaks.

MS. VERGE: We should have fixed it five years ago and you should have fixed it two years ago. We certainly had to suffer for our own neglect as well as your neglect. Our inconvenience is nothing compared to the inconvenience of the transition house staff in residence. I say to the Minister responsible for the Status of Women I think he is genuinely interested in the plight of victims of family violence and I commend him for his initiative in getting Cara House off the ground in Gander, and I call on him to persuade his Premier to provide an adequate level of funding to operate all the transition houses. I call on the President of Treasury Board and the Minister responsible for the Status of Women to try to use more of his considerable influence with his Premier to improve the Government's allocation for operation of transition houses and for regular maintenance and repairs of the transition house buildings.

Mr. Chairperson, I have a few more questions here.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time has elapsed.

MS. VERGE: Thank you.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have just a few brief comments, and then I am sure the Opposition House Leader will have lots of time to get up before we finish today. First of all the Member for Humber East keeps referring to huge salary increases and I finally goaded her into reading out what she had in front of her, and it did not surprise me at all. Mr. Chairman, she is talking about two things here, some positions that perhaps were funded for half a year, and one year, and that perhaps show up as a small amount, and the next year when the funding is annualized it shows up as a large amount. That is not a salary increase. Sometimes you have to hire extra people and so on, and sometimes you have to let people go, sometimes you have to reduce your numbers, and in doing so you change the average salary. If we have an ADM, for instance, or somebody working somewhere in the public service, let us say a director or somebody getting $70,000 a year and that person has an assistant getting $30,000, then the average salary for that place is $70,000 plus $30,000, divided by two, or $50,000. There is no press listening but maybe there should be, so the average salary then in that heading would be $50,000. Now, suppose we had to reduce and in one year we had to do away with the assistant's position, then all of a sudden next year it shows up one position $70,000, and Members opposite say, ah, a $20,000 a year salary increase. The average salary is now $70,000 instead of the $50,000 the year before. Mr. Speaker, what balderdash! What nonsense! What foolishness the Member opposite it getting on with!

AN HON. MEMBER: Pure childishness!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. BAKER: They know that it does not make sense. They are embarrassed for doing it. I suppose they have to try and find some way to criticize this Government and that is the only way to do it is by making up and inventing little things like this. Mr. Chairman, to hammer it home even more the Member for Mount Pearl, as well as the Member for Humber East, and I am sure the Member for Grand Falls is eventually going to mention it, they talk about the Premier's Office, and the huge amounts of money spent in the Premier's Office and how we are out there squandering all kinds of extra money. We have all heard it. They have gone to the press about it. Well, Mr. Chairman, let me tell you the truth now about the Premier's Office.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BAKER: Then again there is no press around, maybe I will go to the press afterwards -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Yes, yes.

MR. BAKER: - and ask for a press conference or a scrum or something. Maybe what I will do is go and ask them to tell you the truth about the Premier's Office.

MR. SIMMS: Yes, 1988 (inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. BAKER: Let us deal with three headings, one is directly the Premier, another, the Executive, and the other, the Administration. Let us deal with them under three headings.

MR. SIMMS: 1985.

MR. BAKER: No, I am going back to 1988-89 -

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: Well, we could, very well. We will go back to 1988-89. In 1988-89 on the direct Premier's Office, $274,600 was spent; on the Executive in the Premier's Office, there was over $1 million spent; $1,014,700; and on the Administration side there was $172,600. So that is a fairly large amount. So now we took over the next year, and we started on a program of squandering money. We started on this deliberate program of squandering money. The first thing we had to do when we took over is pay severance pay to all these hacks who were in the Premier's Office.

AN HON. MEMBER: Tory hacks. The Member for Green Bay was -

MR. BAKER: We had to pay severance pay. That cost us some money. But in spite of the severance pay, in spite of all this we had to pay in that first year, directly in the Premier's part of it, there was $123,500, that is a change from $274,000; in the Executive part of it, there was $657,000 that is down from $1 million. And in the Administration $112,400 down from $172,000. We saved that year, in our first year in Government, we saved $568,000 in the Premier's Office alone. Now what a program of squandering money.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. BAKER: But maybe the Opposition will say, well we just did not get around to squandering anything that year. Ah, maybe we needed six months to get into our wasteful practices.

The next year, directly in the Premier's Office, $108,900; the Executive, $581,600; the Administration, $78,700; and lo and behold that total, the total the previous year was $893,000 total, in 1990-91 it was only $769,000, we cut it even further. Now, Mr. Chairman, is that squandering money? Well I would not like to take any the credit for actually cutting back in 1990-91, although it looks as if we spent a lot less. In 1989-90, I will remind you again we had to pay a lot of severance pay.

MR. DECKER: To the Member from Green Bay.

MR. BAKER: So it looks as if we cut more, whereas in actual fact we were holding the line. What a squandering of money. So in that year, Mr. Chairman, compared to 1988-89, the last full year the Members opposite were in we saved close to $700,000. We cut the cost of the Premier's Office in half. Now then in the Budget for 1991-92, the third Budget, the total amount in the Premier's Office is gone up a little bit, the expenditure is gone up from $769,000 to $791,000. What waste! What extravagance! What squandering of public money!

Mr. Chairman, as opposed to the $692,000 we saved last year, this year we are only going to save $670,000. What squandering of money in the Premier's Office!

Over the three years -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: Well whether it will wash or not, fortunately does not depend on the Opposition House Leader, who does not even understand what he is hearing anyway.

Over the three years compared to 1988-89 - now I really have to remind Members opposite, I have to remind our Members, I have to remind the press who are hanging on to my every word that in these years there were salary increases, there was inflation and everything else, right. Inflation over a four year period.

Mr. Chairman, in the two years that we have been in plus next year, we will have saved in the Premier's office a total of $1,931,500.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BAKER: And if you were to include the inflationary factor, if you were to do that in 1988 or 89 in dollars, you would find that is probably around $2.2 million that we have saved in the Premier's office alone.

Now, Mr. Speaker -

AN HON. MEMBER: What about the cigarettes (inaudible).

MR. BAKER: - how does that square with what the Members opposite have been saying?

AN HON. MEMBER: What about the cigarettes and the booze, you never asked us.

MR. BAKER: There is an awful lot of this, Mr. Speaker, and we have been through some of it. We have changed an awful lot of practices. Part of what we have done is staff reduction. Members opposite had a staff of twenty-five in the Premier's office. We have reduced it to eighteen, so there is a staff reduction involved there, but there is more than a staff reduction. There is much more than the staff reduction. We have eliminated the private dining room.

AN HON. MEMBER: The private dining room is gone.

MR. BAKER: We have eliminated the private dining room, that is one thing. Mr. Chairman, that private dining room is an expensive proposition. We have eliminated that. The Members opposite did not know that, I suppose, they did not realize that. We have eliminated that.

AN HON. MEMBER: What about the standing orders.

MR. BAKER: Well, I do not have the figures with me. Understand that when we took over we had to cancel some standing orders that were in existence. One of them was there was a $20,000 standing order for liquor and so on. There was another $5,000 for cigars and cigarettes, and another $8,000 or $10,000 for specialty fish products like shrimp, caviar and that kind of thing, and we had to cancel all that because we no longer have that luxury. As a matter of fact, Members opposite do know. hey know regardless of what they say, they know

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Members time has elapsed.

MR. BAKER: - regardless of what they say, they know that we have cancelled that because that is where they have their caucus meetings.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SIMMS: We have seen a really interesting example of what you do when you get cornered. You immediately try to use some statistics and numbers and try to cloud and cover up the real and proper issue, and the issue is the issue of the salary in the Premier's office. What he conveniently did, of course, is he took the numbers from the year 88-89, the last year before the government changed, a year in which there were two changes in administration and where severance pay was provided to employees in the office provided for under contracts and everything else. So that year of 88-89 -

AN HON. MEMBER: That is not true.

MR. SIMMS: - was not a normal year, 1988-89 was not a normal year, Mr. Chairman. I would appreciate some protection from the Member for Exploits. Let him get up and participate in the debate. The point is, Mr. Chairman, 88-89 is not the normal year, that is the point, and the hon. Member for Exploits knows it. The reason that they are trying to use this information is because it is information that the Member for Exploits as the lackey for the Premier, the man who carries his bags and his suitcases, has got to somehow try to provide some information to attack the Opposition. But, Mr. Chairman, if you look at a proper comparison, look at the salary figures for the Premier's office in 1985, look at the salary figures for the year '86, look at the salary numbers for the year '87 - I have them and they are on the way down - and then compare it to the numbers in 89-90, 90-91.

Have a look at these numbers, and you will see that the salary expenditures in the Premier's office have exceeded considerably what they were in those years, two or three years ago. Now that is a fact.

AN HON. MEMBER: Bring it in!

MR. SIMMS: That is a fact. I will bring it in. We have it, we have the information, it is quite clear, and that is what we will bring in and provide to the press.

So that little argument is not going to wash. They can keep trying it and that is what they will keep flicking back. And of course it is a great way to try to cover up the real questions that are being asked, cover up providing the answers. They will not provide the answers, they have not got the answers, they cannot provide the answers. They are more interested in trying to camouflage the answers by attacking the Opposition.

Now he talks about back in 1988-1989 too, talked about twenty-five in the Premier's office. And the Member for Exploits, as he often is wont to do, is picky about it. He says: now, it is really twenty-six when you count the Premier. Okay, so it is twenty-six. But today, after two years in office, already you have the number up to nineteen. So you are only down from twenty-six after ten years or after seventeen years, so you are down by six or seven positions, but you are only in office two years. There were twenty-six there you said in the Premier's office before, after seventeen years. So let's see how many will be there next year and let's see how many will be there the year after.

Now let's also look at some tricky little things that the Government has done to do some further camouflaging. Let's look at what has happened to the Director of Constitutional Affairs, for example. Now the Director of Constitutional Affairs as we understood it during the Meech Lake debate when it was in full swing was brought in on a temporary basis, contractual, to provide the Premier with some expert advice on constitutional matters. She is listed in the salary details last year in the Premier's office. This year of course what they have done very conveniently and sneakily, they have transferred it over to the IGA, so there is one position right there for example that they have conveniently covered up.

So who do you think you are fooling by doing all these kinds of things? Let me ask him this. Since the Member for Exploits wants to answer questions, let him get up and answer this one. The position - in the details this year she is listed as a permanent employee. Can he tell us when he stands why the salary budgeted for that position - Director of Constitutional Affairs - was increased from last year, $44,790, to $64,350 this year, an increase of 45 per cent for one Deborah Coyne in one year? Now maybe if he is so anxious to answer questions let him get up and answer that one, we would appreciate an answer to that one. And do not forget to point out, she was part of the Premier's office last year, this year she has very sneakily been moved over to another divisions. So that is one position that you are not counting in the Premier's office.

Now, further to this issue by the way, I should say that the President of Treasury Board during the estimates last year on Executive Council, May 7 1990, page 84, he said and I quote. I asked him about the amount budgeted for salaries. And he said: 'it includes the salary of Deborah Coyne, and it is not $70,000 or anything like that.' We had suggested that it might be $70,000. He said: 'it is not even $60,000, it is in the 'fifties.' He said: 'next year it will be $58,000.' Next year being 1991-1992, this fiscal year.

So, the fact is the salary was $44,790 in 1990-1991, this year it is $64,350. An increase of 45 per cent for one Deborah Coyne, who last year was in the Premier's office, this year has been shifted over to some other division, in IGA, so as to hide the fact that she is no longer associated with the Premier's office. Now what kind of trickery is that? Is that a fact or is that not a fact? Perhaps the Member for Exploits can tell us. We would like to ask him the question.

Now, the Member for Exploits asked if I could provide the salary information for the years 1985, 1986, 1987, and so on. Well, let me give it to him since he asked me. In 1985-1986, office of the Premier, total - this includes office of the Premier, executive support and administration, okay? Total: $657,500, twenty-three employees, 1985-1986. These are the revised figures now, not the Budgeted figures, this is another little trick that they play; they flick out the budgeted figures but forget to mention what was spent, these are the revised then.

1986-1987, $730,000, twenty-four employees; 1987-1988 revised -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) exact (inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: -$730,900. In 1987-1988 $782,200, twenty-six employees, okay? Now, -

AN HON. MEMBER: How many (inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: 1986-1987? Twenty-four.

AN HON. MEMBER: Twenty-three, twenty-four and twenty-six?

MR. SIMMS: Right and you have three amounts of the expenditure total, right? Now, 1988-1989 is the one that the President of the Treasury Board has referred to where the severance was paid to two groups of employees, so let me just exclude the 1988-1989 one because you have it and you know the number and we all know it was over $1.4 million or something I think in total, but then we come back to 1989-1990, the revised figure and the beginning of the mandate I guess of the present Government.

The total expenditure in 1989-1990 was $893,300, $893,300, twenty employees, okay, do Members have that? 1991, revised $769,200, nineteen employees and 1991-1992, estimated $791,719. Now, excluding 1988-1989, which is the unusual year that we talked about for severance, the comparative figures are very, very reasonable, the comparison in numbers is not unreasonable at all, but, six years later, here is what has happened, six years later, $657,000 was the total, now this year, $791,000, four less employees, so the people who are up there are being paid considerably more as we have already identified by exposing the salary of Edsel Bonnell, for example at $95,000 compared to the days when, who was it up there in those days, Alvin or Frank, Frank Petten or somebody, were being torn apart and torn asunder for making about $25,000 or $30,000 less than he is making these days, so, Mr. Chairman, my whole point is that for the Government, in trying to defend what is occurring, is making a very weak case by simply trying to compare it to what happened five or six years ago, that, they are missing the point totally.

We know that it takes a considerable number of staff to operate a Premier's office, and if it was twenty-three in 1985-1986 and it is going to be nineteen this year, I mean that is four, a difference of four, I mean that is not a really, really big deal, that is not a really big deal we all know it takes a slew of people to run the Premier's Office, we know how busy a Premier's office is, but the point is, the Government Members constantly try to give the impression that they have somehow or other cut it all in half, cut it all out and really pared it down, when in reality, Mr. Chairman, they have not and they cannot, it is very difficult, they cut -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please! Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. SIMMS: -the numbers down by four in six years, but they have increased the salaries by $140,000 in six years; so, I will get back at them, Mr. Chairman (inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Member for Exploits.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh my God, not Friday morning, no (inaudible).

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GRIMES: Just a couple of things, Mr. Chairman. Just a couple of things in reference to the figures again and I am glad that the hon. Member for Grand Falls and the Opposition House Leader brought in the figures for those previous years because it shows exactly what we have been talking about all along; the considerable savings that have been made and the lack of squandering of money. Because, if you take the 1985-1986 figures which are now six years ago, six Budgets ago, when he admits that at that time there were twenty-three staff in the Premier's Office which grew to twenty-four for some reason and then grew to twenty-six for some other reason of which nobody seems to be aware off has now been reduced to eighteen and the Premier, nineteen if you count the Premier. If you look at the kind of staffing and the kind of monies that were paid, the normal inflationary growth and the normal step progressions and increases, there is no doubt that, that number of $657,500 of 1985-86 which grew to $730,900 and grew again to $782,200 in their last full year would now be, if they were still in office and still operating in their same style, just to project, it would show that this year their numbers with their staff the way they ran the office would be pretty close to $1 million. Even with the most modern estimates, with their staff with three more years of increases, you would be well over $1 million on an annual basis to run the Premier's office in the style they were accustomed to, and there is no arguing with those numbers. We have shown that, in fact, in the third Budget year for which this administration is responsible our numbers still will not reach $800,000, so even by the very narrowest of margins you can show that we are saving people in real terms back to 1985, at least $200,000 per year compared to their style of operation. The staff has been reduced from their high in leaving office of twenty-six to a number now of eighteen. In the Estimates, if you look at the salary details, it says a total staff of nineteen because that includes the Premier. The Premier is there, so we have eighteen and the Premier. In the last years the former administration were in office there were twenty-five and the Premier for a total of twenty-six, so you can see that the staff component has been cut by seven positions realizing an annualized saving at this point in time, when you compare our numbers with their numbers, six Budgets later, of $200,000 a year at least in terms of the money that is realistically being saved.

The hon. Member for Mount Pearl brought this issue to the floor of the Legislature today, Mr. Chairman, by saying: what about all these savings that the Premier promised, the cutbacks and so on, how come all of a sudden he is squandering money? He very selectively looked at one component of the salary Estimates in the Premier's office and said that for last year under administration in the Premier's office there was $78,700, and this year it was going all the way up to $82,300, and instead of saving money the Premier's office was squandering money. How selective can you get over a few numbers? In fact it shows that the totals for the whole office are going from $769,200 to $791,700 and that will accommodate for step progressions and so on that staff members in the Premier's office earned last year. You might note as well that on a number of occasions the chief of staff has had his name raised in vein in this Legislature. To point out, in case Members opposite missed it, the current chief of staff when he assumed office in the Premier's office moved into the exact same position, title, and salary, as his predecessor Mr. Sullivan. Now, unfortunately Mr. Sullivan was only there a very short time because he was chief of staff for Premier Rideout. Most people in the Province even forget that the hon. Mr. Rideout was Premier. He was there such a short time most people do not even remember that, and most people would not know that there was a gentleman by the name of Mr. Sullivan who was his chief of staff because they do not know who his staff were. Most people do not even understand why one Conservative Premier who was a good Cabinet Minister and a good friend of the previous went in and wiped out his whole staff. What was wrong with the other crew that had very admirably served a Conservative Premier for ten years? There was a leadership convention and then all of a sudden everybody in the office is fired. That leads me into the issue of discussing 1988-89 versus 1989-90 because of the fact that in both of those years there was a complication due to severance, and we will get to that one at some future point. In 1988-89, the last year for which the previous administration had total budgetary accountability the Premier's office bill, undeniably caused by them, was $1,461,900 and there was one lot of severance pay, not two as the hon. Member opposite would try to suggest. There was one lot of severance pay paid in that Budget year because there was a leadership thing in late March, and for some reason as I just alluded to the new Premier, even though of the same stripe, fired twenty-five people, and therefore entitled them to severance pay. I believe the hon. the Member for Green Bay got $100,000 himself, did he not? One person who is now a Member of the House picked up - there is no reason to fire that man if he was good on the staff for Premier Peckford, why could he not be a good staff member for Premier Rideout? But he got entitled to $100,000 in severance pay just because they decided to change the staff.

AN HON. MEMBER: Peckford liked him.

MR. GRIMES: So the fact that there was severance in 1988-89, there never should have been any, in our opinion. This was money that one Conservative Premier decided to give to the political cronies of his predecessor another Conservative Premier so that they could fatten their pockets and walk out and he could load up the office with another bunch who could fill their pockets while they were in there. So they stroll in off the street, give one crowd $100,000 each in severance pay and put them out the door, drive the total bill up to almost $1.5 million because of very large severance pays, and then what did we inherit? We inherited a bunch of loyalists to the hon. Premier Rideout who was only there twenty-eight or twenty-nine days or something, the poor bunch of souls, I do not even believe they collected one full cheque, but in order to move them out because they were in and signed up all these fancy political staff contracts, we had to give them severance again. Now you could not expect us to keep them, you could not expect a 'New Look' - 'Real Change' Liberal Administration to keep the political staff of Premier Rideout, so we had to sever them. Now they forced us to pay severance which was paid in the next budget year, which is why in our first year instead of $1.5 million, the bill for the Premier's Office was down to $893,000 because there was severance pay again, not severance paid to Liberal by Liberals, severance paid to twenty-five more PC political appointees in the Premier's Office. There were fifty of them within two months that picked up $1 million in severance pay between them and drove the bill completely out of whack two years in a row.

Now in comparing the numbers, we finally get to a number for which the Liberal Administration had total responsibility. The actual number $769,200 which is $692,700 less than was spent in the Premier's Office the last year for which that Administration had responsibility because of their own actions, in moving out one bunch of PCs and moving in another bunch of PCs. And going around now justifying to the Province oh, that is fine. I guess what would have happened if you stayed there is every six months or so you would have replaced one bunch, give them severance, send them off happy, bring in another bunch and keep them five or six months, put them out and give them severance, bring in another bunch, and every year sure you would be spending $1.5 million just in severance pay. Give them ten weeks, give them severance, sent them home, bring in another twenty-five Tory appointees. I mean obviously this is what was happening. So we can see now if you compare the number from 1988-89 there is no doubt that this Administration has seen the Province spend almost $2 million less than probably would have been spent if the other group stayed and continued their ways. And even by the very marginal argument, if you want to buy into any of the argument presented by the hon. the Member for Grand Falls, the Opposition House Leader, there is at least the very minimum is in the range of $200,000 to $250,000 a year that is being saved even if you compare it back to 1985-86. And remember that the blips that were there did not occur because of anything that this Administration did, but occurred because of deliberate actions taken by one Conservative Premier replacing another Conservative Premier, throwing out one bunch of buddies, giving them the finest kind of severance, bringing in another bunch of buddies who unfortunately got thrown out by the people of Newfoundland instead of by the Premier of the day, and they had to be severed again.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave! By leave!

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

MR. TOBIN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I had not planned, Mr. Chairman, to get involved in this debate today, but when I heard what came from the Member for Exploits, the Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier today I had to come to my feet. He brought me to my feet.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: What's that?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I got a car?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I got a car. I had a car.

AN HON. MEMBER: Never had to go to Bally Haly to get it back either.

MR. TOBIN: And do you know what else, Mr. Speaker? I had, I think it was a navy Caprice, I am not sure. She is gone now, but I can tell the Member that the Premier knew I had it. I can tell the Member that the Premier knew I had it, and the former Premier never said, if he was asked the question, that I did not have one. He never said it, Mr. Speaker. But this executive parliamentary assistant had the car one day and the Premier got up in his holier-than-thou attitude and said, 'Well I don't know about that. I will have to check with Rog.' And he checked with Roger, Mr. Speaker, and he came back and he said, 'Well, yes, I have checked with Roger and he had the car.'

AN HON. MEMBER: Roger confirmed.

MR. TOBIN: 'Yes, confirmed, Mr. Speaker, but I want to assure the House that it shall never happen again.' Mr. Speaker, we took the Premier for his word. Then one day, one of my colleagues, I do not know who it was, there is a good chance that it was my colleague for Kilbride, saw this four wheel drive with the antennas going everywhere and the telephones in her coming down from Bally Haly, golf clubs sticking out of it, Mr. Speaker -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Golf clubs hangings out of her. Yes, Mr. Speaker, the white cap on the driver and a pair of golf shoes. Anyway, he came in the House today, and my colleague for Grand Bank, I think, got some license plate numbers, and he came in the House today and got up, and asked the Premier if his parliamentary assistants had a car -

AN HON. MEMBER: Exploits.

MR. TOBIN: Exploits, if he had a four wheel drive jeep for golfing. Did the Premier supply four wheel drives for his parliamentary assistants to go golfing at Bally Haly? And the Premier said, 'How silly and stupid to ask such a question. I have told the House that I have taken the keys from the hon. Member.' Somebody said, 'Well you better check your pockets.' The Premier said, 'Well I will undertake - I will pledge to this House again to undertake and investigate the parliamentary assistant.' And lo and behold he came back and he said, 'I have directed my chief of

staff to take custody of the keys.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: But what the Premier never told us was that he was paying someone $100,000 a year to look after the keys. On balance, I believe it is cheaper, easier and less expensive on the tax payers of this Province to give the Member the keys to the car and to lay off the chief of staff.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes, the keys to the (inaudible).

Now, Mr. Speaker, that is the Member. That is the Member. He just got up in this legislature and gave a lecture.

AN HON. MEMBER: Old Edsel.

MR. TOBIN: And save them money.

MR. SIMMS: What gall, what hypocrisy!

MR. TOBIN: Now, Mr. Speaker, there are only one or two things that took place. Either the Premier did not do a very thorough investigation in the first instance or the Member for Exploits -

MR. SIMMS: Was not forthcoming.

MR. TOBIN: No, it is not that he was not forthcoming. The Member for Exploits probably knows the Premier a lot better than most of us and decided rather quickly that he is easy to fool. But in any case -

AN HON. MEMBER: Roger the dodger.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible) name, Roger the dodger.

AN HON. MEMBER: Roger the dodger two.

MR. TOBIN: Well boy, they are a lick alike. There is not much difference in them. But how can a Member in this Legislature, a parliamentary assistant who holds probably the best position in government, I know that I considered it the best position in government, I served in that, I served as a Private Member, and I served as a Minister, and I look back and I consider that the time that I was parliamentary assistant to Premier Peckford was probably my best years in politics, and do you know why? Mr. Speaker, do you know why? Because the Premier could trust me. And the Premier trusted me and he gave me work to do. I did not go out stealing the keys to the car behind his back. I did not do that. I earned the trust and confidence of the Premier. And he rewarded me. I was representing him from one end of the Province to the other. I represented him nationally and internationally at times.

AN HON. MEMBER: You weren't out playing golf all day long.

MR. TOBIN: No, Mr. Speaker. And I can tell you one thing. That if Brian Peckford wanted me as his Parliamentary Assistant I was in the office. I was not over in Bally Hally with a pair of golf shoes on me. The Parliamentary Assistant does not enjoy his position as Parliamentary Assistant. He cannot wait for a Minister to get in trouble. You should see the glee on his face in the past couple of weeks. Cannot wait.

But the fact of the matter is that the Premier does not trust him. And if the Premier does not trust him - and the Premier should not trust him.

MR. SIMMS: Teachers do not trust him either.

MR. TOBIN: The teachers never trusted him. It was far better for the Premier to use that four-wheel drive jeep when he went out to speak at a function in Carbonear rather than make the Member for Carbonear take his own car and pay for his own gas. And that happened too. The Member for Carbonear once had to take the Premier in his car - probably the Premier's chauffeur was sick, I do not know -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Rodger had the car gone!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Now that is what is going on. And he had the gall to stand up in this House today. And the Member for Exploits should not consider to be the next person in Cabinet because there is a tremendous act took place here this morning. And do not be surprised if there is not another article in the paper on the weekend. Do not be surprised if there has not already been a telephone saying: did anyone tell you who was sitting next to me in the House all morning? Do not be -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TOBIN: Do not be surprised if that call is not already made. Now, he is over rubbing his nose.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

AN HON. MEMBER: He is trying to get the brown off it!

MR. TOBIN: Well, I am not going to say that. If somebody else wants to say that he can.

AN HON. MEMBER: He is not going to say what?

MR. TOBIN: About him brownnosing and all that. I took exception to that being in the paper because I do not believe the Member is a brownnoser. And I can tell him that he should check with his colleagues who are spreading those rumours.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: Who? Who? Tell us who!

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible) no, I will not say who. That is too serious a matter. But that is what is going on. To tell you, to be honest with you, there is going to be a few minutes left, and what I am trying to do now is prompt the Member for St. John's South to come to his feet and speak in this debate. That is what I am trying to do. Because he owes an explanation.

MR. SIMMS: He owes an explanation to the House.

MR. TOBIN: No, to his colleagues. Because they should be careful. I can tell you, the Premier is briefed daily. But in any case I want to get back to the salary -

AN HON. MEMBER: What do you mean, the Premier (Inaudible)?

MR. TOBIN: No, I want to get - Mr. Speaker, if my colleague for Harbour Main wants to say that I think he should get up in the debate and say it. But I am not going to say that about - I am not going to make that accusation against my colleague for Placentia. Now the Member for Exploits, I have been told - now, it probably is not the truth - but I have been told the Premier has removed the Member for Exploits from the eighth floor.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: What!?

MR. TOBIN: That his office is no longer on the eighth floor. I do not know if that is true or not.

AN HON. MEMBER: Where is he?

MR. TOBIN: He is up in the corridor.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time has elapsed.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate Your Honour's acknowledgement and recognition, and I wanted to carry on a little bit in line of what my colleague -

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

MR. SIMMS: - the Member for Burin - Placentia West has been saying all morning. He has made some very interesting observations, I believe.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I am sorry, the hon. the Member for St. John's South is on a point of order.

MR. SIMMS: Oh, I am sorry, Mr. Chairman.

MR. MURPHY: Mr. Chairman, I realize it is extremely difficult to see sometimes what is going on with all the distractions around you, but I know the Chair did not purposefully ignore this Member, but I was on my feet seconds, many seconds before the hon. Member for Grand Falls. As a matter of fact, the hon. Member for Exploits was also on his feet before -

AN HON. MEMBER: What is the point of order.

MR. MURPHY: No, I said Mr. Chairman. Why would I say Mr. Speaker. I said Mr. Chairman. So, I would like for the Chair to consider me, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, that Member for St. John's South cannot be embarrassing the Chair like that, asking to change the rules -

AN HON. MEMBER: You are afraid, that is all your trouble is.

MR. TOBIN: Not -

AN HON. MEMBER: You are afraid!

MR. TOBIN: Not because he was talking to the Premier all morning can he take the House on his back. That is what can happen. You cannot take the House on your back. The Chair made a ruling, Mr. Chairman, and you cannot get up because you were talking to the Premier this morning and you cannot tell the Speaker what to do, and there is no -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please! Order, please!

I remind the hon. Member for Carbonear that I called for order.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. Member for Carbonear, yes. It is in our rules that naturally we normally alternate from one side to the other. The Chairman erred in that the hon. Member for St. John's South had rose in his place and for some reason I had assumed that the speaker was from that side previously -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) precedents.

MR. CHAIRMAN: No, it is not a precedent. There have been all kinds of precedents otherwise, and I recognized the Opposition House Leader in error.

AN HON. MEMBER: In error.

MR. CHAIRMAN: In error.

MR. SIMMS: In error?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Yes.

MR. SIMMS: You cannot recognize me in error. You either recognize me or you do not recognize me and those are the rules.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Yes, but normally we go back and forth.

MR. SIMMS: A point of order.

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

MR. SIMMS: Listen, Mr. Chairman, this is a ten minute debate back and forth. I have been recognized now since 11:47. I would have been finished by 11:57. The Member could have gotten up then. There is no big deal, however I was in full flight, so-

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SIMMS: - I would not normally have given leave to the Member for St. John's South because I was just getting started and I knew he could get up right afterwards, it is not like he could not get up for another hour or two days or three days. So, Mr. Chairman, I have to ask Your Honour if he would not consider a recess for just a couple of minutes to consult with his staff at the table because -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SIMMS: If I could make my point, Mr. Chairman. It is very, very -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SIMMS: But I cannot, the interruptions. Be quiet!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Chairman, my point is this, Your Honour, I think has ruled that it is in our rules that we alternate back and forth. It really it is not in our rules that we alternate back and forth. What is in the rules is that the Chair recognizes the speaker, and whoever the Chair recognizes is the person who should be entitled to speak. Now Your Honour clearly recognized me. Your Honour, clearly looked around the room, I do not think that was a big difficulty, but I would not want it to stand on the record that Your Honour simply because he recognizes a speaker, two speakers from the same side is necessarily an error. That is not. That is up to the Speaker. It is whoever catches the eye of the Chair. That is the point and that is the rule. And Your Honour's eye obviously caught the Member for Grand Falls because that is who Your Honour recognized. So I would really strongly argue that Your Honour is taking away my right to speak now in this particular debate and giving it over now to somebody else after the fact. It is a pretty serious issue and maybe Your Honour might wish to take a couple of minutes to ponder it.

MR. DECKER: To that point of order!

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Minister of Health to the point of order.

MR. DECKER: Oh, this is obviously no point of order. It is a point of foolishness, if there is a name on it. Your Honour recognized the Member for Grand Falls, the hon. Opposition House Leader. The remark 'in error was', I think, that Your Honour was joking which was some -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. DECKER: The hon. the Member was recognized and if he wants to speak and he has anything to say, which I question, I would suggest that he get up and say it. He has been recognized, Mr. Chairman.

There is no point of order.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! The Chair was in the middle of a ruling and then we got on another point of order.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please! Order please!

What the Chair was actually doing was, apologizing to the hon. Member for St. John's South; the Chair, for some reason had assumed that the previous speaker was on this side of the House rather than on that side and the Opposition House Leader is correct in that I had officially recognized the Opposition House Leader and I was about to rule in favour of the Opposition House Leader rather than the hon. Member for St. John's South, but I was interrupted in the middle of the ruling. Our rules clearly state, if a Member has been recognized, he has the right to speak, and I obviously recognized the Opposition House Leader.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Chairman, I do not want to have any ill-feelings towards Members of the House and I have no intention of doing that, and under normal circumstances, I would have no difficulty giving leave to the Member for St. John's South, but perhaps we can resolve it in a simple fashion, Mr. Chairman, if there was some feeling of agreement on both sides of the House, the Government -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No, no.

MR. SIMMS: - I have not even said how yet, if the hon. Member will let me suggest it. The Members opposite would know that their own Government House Leader has communicated with me and reminded me as the Opposition House Leader, that yesterday in the proceedings, Your Honour, of course will recall because I believe he was in the Chair, we did not do the readings from the Tobacco Tax Bill and we said we would do that today, so since there is only five or six minutes left, maybe, the simple way to avoid this argument, and any ill feelings or any aggressive attacks would simply be to rise the Committee, move the Committee rise, report progress and then do what ever other business we have to do before twelve o'clock. I would be quite prepared to do that and let the Member for St. John's South be the first speaker, Monday afternoon, presumably, when we get back on this the Executive -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh.

MR. MURPHY: On a point of Order, Mr. Chairman?

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Member for St. John's South, on a point of order, but before I recognize him, I would indicate that I was going to request that the Committee rise at five to, because there was some unfinished business from yesterday and, if he wants to make a quick point of order -

MR. MURPHY: No. The only thing is, I wanted to support the point of order that was raised by the hon. Member for Grand Falls, that was the only thing I wanted to say, and my contribution basically was to praise the hon. Member for Burin - I do not even know where he is from.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: He spends more time talking about St. John's then he does about his own district. Excuse me, Mr. Chairman. I wanted to support the position of the Member for Burin - Placentia West, that was the only reason I wanted to stand in my place. So -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: There is no point of order.

Mr. Chairman, I move that the Committee rise, report progress and ask leave to sit again.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Bellevue.

MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole on Supply have considered the matters to them referred, have directed me to report progress and ask leave to sit again.

On motion, report received and adopted, Committee ordered to sit again on tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: Now we are going to handle some unfinished business. Yesterday when the Committee reported progress on Bill 14, we just did not take care of the technicalities.

On motion, resolution read a first and second time.

On motion, a Bill, "An Act To Amend The Tobacco Tax Act, 1986," read a first, second and third time, ordered passed and its title be as on the order paper. (Bill No. 14).

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On Monday my understanding is that there has been no change, and maybe the committee chairman could correct me if I am wrong. Works, Services and Transportation, the Estimates in the House in the morning; Health, the Estimates in the Colonial Building in the morning; and at night at the Colonial Building we invite everybody to come along and listen to the Minister of Finance. These are the Estimates Committees that will be operating on Monday.

Also, the next order of business on Monday, of course, will be the order of business we are dealing with today, the Executive Council Estimates. So far, Mr. Speaker, I should say to you and to all Members of the House that the Opposition House Leader has got up and praised the Minister tremendously concerning these Estimates but I expect that on Monday the worm is going to turn and we are going to see the other side of the Opposition House Leader.

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