May 13, 1991                   HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS             Vol. XLI  No. 48


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

Before going on to the routine business of the day, I would like, on behalf of hon. Members, to welcome to the gallery fourteen Grade XII students from St. Francis Xavier High School, Long Harbour, accompanied by their teacher, Mr. Adrian Norman.

Oral Questions

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier. Two years ago, in the election campaign of 1989, and in his Government's first Throne Speech, two years ago, the Premier said the priority of Government was to achieve a real and permanent resolution in the unacceptably high unemployment rate. The unemployment rate in April, 1989 was 17.2 per cent, one year later it was 18.6 per cent, and two years later, April, 1991, the rate is 22.2 per cent. It is going up instead of down.

I ask the Premier: When is the Government going to take some action to stop this particular trend, and will he tell us what he plans to do?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: To begin with, Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is mixing numbers and he knows that what he is quoting is not the seasonally adjusted rates.

AN HON. MEMBER: Stats Canada (inaudible) rates.

PREMIER WELLS: Yes, they are the Stats Canada rates, I know, and I have what the Stats Canada rates are.

Mr. Speaker, there have been three fairly significant factors affecting the Province in the last two years, that affect the current unemployment rate. One of them is what has happened in the fisheries. It has had a major impact on our unemployment rate. Second is the national economic recession which has had a major impact on the unemployment rate throughout the whole nation, and Newfoundland is not exempt from that. A third is that the recent cutbacks decided by the Provincial Government have had an effect on our unemployment rate now.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: We will debate that aspect of it another time.

Mr. Speaker, I just happen to have the labour market assessment done by the Economic Research and Analysis Division. It will be published and made available, shortly, to the news media and Members.

The thing that you will see on the front cover is what has been happening and what we have been able to do with what we set out to do to improve the quality of our employment and ensure that people have steady, reliable jobs. Now, you are not going to solve this overnight, and we made no pretensions to being able to solve it overnight, but when one looks at the graph on the front page of it, you will see the steady increase in the number of full year jobs and a decrease in the number of part year jobs.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we are are not going to solve all of these problems and we could not offset the ill effects of the national Government's decisions that caused the economic recession or that caused the reduction in the fisheries, though we made some contribution as far as the fisheries is concerned. But, Mr. Speaker, I am satisfied that when we are finished with our work, our objective will, indeed, be achieved.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I do not wish to be accused of playing with numbers or anything, but I say to the Premier, if he wants to use the adjusted rate of unemployment where, in April, 1989, the numbers were 14.5 per cent unemployment and today, 19.8 per cent unemployment - those are the adjusted figures - either way you slice it, it is 5 per cent over the last two years. So he can use whatever numbers he wants.

I want to ask him these questions: Is he not aware - he does not seem to be from what he just quoted - of the downward trend? In April, 1989, there were 188,000 employed and 39,000 unemployed. In April, 1990, the following year, 186,000 were employed, 43,000 unemployed. This year, in April, 1991, 181,000 are employed and 52,000 are unemployed. Now, those are the actual numbers. Is he aware of that? And would he consider that we are perhaps heading into an even deeper recession than most people are predicting?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

AN HON. MEMBER: Those figures are not true.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, just so that people will get the thing in perspectivbe and not draw the wrong conclusion from the comments of the hon. Member, the change from 1990 to 1991 was the unemployed increased by 15.9 per cent in the last year, in Newfoundland - 15.9 per cent, unemployed. Now, in Canada, as a whole, it has increased by 35.2 per cent, more than twice that figure. Now, Mr. Speaker, we cannot fight the Canadian nation. We cannot fight the economic trends that are taking place in the Canadian nation. Mr. Speaker, we have to run this Government in the context of the whole of Canada and in the economic situation that Canada is in, as a whole. We can do a great deal to offset and to try to improve our economic situation and, as most members know, most of the economic forecasters expect that Newfoundland and Alberta - some say Newfoundland will do better, others say Alberta will do better -will lead the country, this year, in economic growth. That does not mean that we are going to have acceptable unemployment figures. It means that we are performing economically better than the rest of the country, and that the increase in the number of the unemployed, even though it is unacceptably high, is less than it is for the nation, as a whole. Mr. Speaker, we cannot outperform the whole Canadian nation and eliminate growth in unemployment here, when the national economic policy creates a recession in the whole of Canada.

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

MR. SIMMS: It is interesting how the Premier always finds somebody else to blame. The fact of the matter is when you took office two years ago the unemployment rate was 17.2 per cent and today it is 22.2 per cent, it is 5 per cent higher. That is the only thing that really counts. Would the Premier agree that usually in the past, from year to year, the trend is that the unemployment rate normally falls from March to April? Let us take a look at that category. If he looks at the statistics he will see, and would he not agree, that the number of unemployed across Canada, in most of the provinces, fell from March to April by almost 10 per cent, everywhere in this country except in Newfoundland and Labrador where the number remained unchanged at 52,000? Would he agree that those numbers are alarming? Again, I ask him, when is he going to do something about it because he is now into the third year of his mandate?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I just reiterate that we cannot change the national economic situation. This little Province which has 2.2 per cent of the total population of Canada cannot alter the economic situation in the whole country, and when we function as an economy we do so in the context of the nation as a whole. Now, the fact that over the last year we have, in a sense, outperformed the average in the nation in terms of maintaining employment in recessionary times does not mean that we have prevented growth in unemployment at all. There is growth in unemployment and I do not like it. I am not happy with it but I cannot alter the national economic circumstances single handedly, Mr. Speaker, and I do not want the Members opposite to pretend that they can do it either.

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

MR. POWER: Mr. Speaker, my questions are also for the Premier and they are for one particular segment of our unemployment statistics which are our youngest people. It is the youth unemployment figures I want to question the Premier about today.

Mr. Speaker, in the Throne Speech, and certainly during the election campaign of 1989 this phrase was a common one by all Ministers and in particular the Premier, the commitment was to provide an economy that would allow our people the opportunity to earn a good income without having to leave this Province. What does the Premier now say, two years later, faced with what has to be called a human tragedy of youth unemployment? The rate has risen from 25.9 per cent in April of 1989 to 27.2 per cent in 1990 and to 33.5 per cent in April of 1991. Will the Premier admit that at least in the case of youth employment and youth opportunities that his Government has failed in its commitment to these young people?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I will not admit that we have failed in our commitment to young people. I will admit that we are faced, like the rest of the country, with national economic recession.

Now, Mr. Speaker, Members will remember 1981 and 1982; let me tell Members exactly what happened to the unemployment rate in April 1991 over April 1990; it increased by 20.9 per cent, it is 20.9 per cent more this year than it was last year. Now, Mr. Speaker, let me tell hon. Members what it was in April 1982 over 1981, 22.2 per cent and in April 1983 over April 1982, it went up by 33.3 per cent.

Now, Mr. Speaker, that was because Newfoundland was affected by the national economic circumstances. Does he think that merely because the people of this Province had the good sense to elect a Liberal Government, they could fight national economic policy and national economic circumstances, as though it did not exist? It is irrational, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. POWER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I mean obviously, I suppose the old cliche of: before you can solve a problem you first have to recognize that you have one, and I have not heard the Premier say that he recognizes there is a problem in youth unemployment. Now I would like the Premier, when he gets up, to at least acknowledge that we have a problem.

We also have a problem as it relates to out-migration in this Province. Last year over 4,500 people left this Province, an awful lot of them young people, ten times what it was the year before. Now I ask the Premier, when he gets up to acknowledge first of all, with 33 per cent, almost one in three of our youth unemployed; that first of all we have a youth unemployment problem and secondly, would he please give the youth of this Province some assurances that his Government is working on a plan to resolve that problem?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Yes, Mr. Speaker. We have a youth unemployment problem; we also have an overall unemployment problem of massive proportions partly because the economy has been mismanaged in recent years, while the hon. Members occupied the Government Offices and partly today, because of the economic circumstances in the nation that affected the Province when the hon. Members formed the Government in 1981 and 1982, as it is affecting the Province today; so yes, we do have an overall unemployment problem and we have a youth unemployment problem.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we are setting about, in an orderly way to try and rebuild the economy of this Province, and we are having a marginal degree of success at this stage; we are less affected by the national economic recession today than we were in 1981/1982. The work that we have done with the economy, has been able to protect the Province more today than the Government of the Province could in 1981/1982. We have not yet found the means of overcoming all the national economic problems as they affect this Province, but I have no doubt that given a term or two in office we will restore the economy of this Province to an acceptable level of performance and I am confident that we will, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. POWER: Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the Premier one, hopefully, final supplementary. At least he has acknowledged that we have a serious youth unemployment problem in this Province and that his Government has failed to rectify that problem when they are now entering the third year of their mandate. Just let me ask the Premier this question, Mr. Speaker: in last years Budget the Government spent $1.58 million on grants and subsidies in the youth employment strategy when the unemployment rate was 27.2 per cent. This year in March when the Budget was done you spent 1.583, an increase of $1,000 in grants and subsidies for youth employment strategy. Does the Premier actually feel that with the youth employment increase form 27 per cent to 33 per cent, an increase of 3,000 young human beings and an increase of $1,000 in that subsidy, is that an adequate response to youth unemployment from a caring Government? And will he, in answering that, because he has to say it is not enough money, will he immediately instruct his Minister of Labour to go out and develop some plans on an urgent basis to help this almost one in three of our young people who are unemployed?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: It is not an adequate sum to deal with the problem, but neither is any other amount that we have in the Budget an adequate sum to deal with the problem. Measured against what monies the Province has available and what financial ability the Province has left to it after seventeen years of Tory administration it is a reasonably good performance in all of those circumstances, it is not an adequate sum to deal with the problem.

Also, Mr. Speaker, remember that this is not only a problem for the Provincial Government, it is a problem also for the Federal Government and we try and work co-operatively with the Federal Government to put such programs in place. I agree, more money should be spent on it, but more money should be spent on nearly everything else we are doing as well, but we still have to live within our means. There was no actual reduction in that particular program, a very modest and minor increase to say the least. No, it is not sufficient, but it meets a test of the maximum that we could make available at this time.

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

MR. DOYLE: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. A few evenings ago in the examination of the Minister's estimates she confirmed that no new money had been placed in the Employment Generation Program for this year, and the Minister confirmed as well that the estimates show that $1.5 million expenditure is in this years Budget, but that it will be used to cover last years program.

Now in view of the alarming unemployment figures that we have before us today, does the Minister plan to put any new money into the Employment Generation Program or not?

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

MS. COWAN: There will not be any money put into the Employment Generation Program under that particular category, Mr. Speaker. I do not want to continue with that program until we have had an opportunity to evaluate it. I think it would be wrong for us to just keep on spending money hand over fist until we have had the opportunity to evaluate it. I make that commitment to the Newfoundland taxpayer, that I do not intend to be spending money on programs that have not been thoroughly evaluated.

Whether or not, Mr. Speaker, there may be a new program with similar aims or another program aimed at employing people, will come about if we see this continuing trend in the growth of the people who are unemployed. There are a number of reasons for us to think positively that this may start to change as the year progresses, but at this point in time we are just not exactly sure. I do not see myself today putting new money into any particular employment program similar to the one that is so dear to the heart of my Opposition critic.

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

MR. DOYLE: Let me say to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations it matters little if it is dear to my heart. It is dear to the heart of the 52,000 unemployed people in Newfoundland and Labrador. Not my heart, my heart does not matter in this.

Now, the Minister says that she wants to evaluate that program. Is she saying that the 52,000 unemployed people in Newfoundland and Labrador are going to have to wait until she makes that determination? Could the Minister indicate how much longer the 52,000 people who are unemployed in Newfoundland and Labrador will have to wait before she makes that determination? This is a crisis. There is no employment generation program this year. What is she going to do for that 52,000 people who are unemployed?

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

MS. COWAN: There are a number of courses taking place that will see some of those people with jobs before the summer is out. We have, for example, an increase in the construction industry which will see more people employed and as a result will see increases in the trade industry as well. The recession seems to be bottoming out in Canada which eventually will reflect in Newfoundland in a positive way. Seasonal employment will kick in shortly, which will also help reduce some of those numbers.

Again, my commitment to the Newfoundland taxpayer is to see that that taxpayer's money is spent in a very wise way. I am not convinced that the Employment Generation Program is doing that and that is why I want to see an evaluation of it. If I am proven wrong, then I will likely recommend to my Cabinet colleagues that we continue with that program. It seems that the most successful programs we have, Mr. Speaker, are those that are client oriented, not those that are oriented towards business enterprises.

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

MR. DOYLE: Mr. Speaker, let me ask the Minister: What is the Minister talking about when she refers to the construction industry? The construction industry is totally flat in this Province right now. It is totally flat.

Now, let me ask the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations: has she approached the Federal Government yet with a proposal for emergency funding to deal with the unemployment crisis? If she has, as I am sure she must surely have done by now, will she table the details of that proposal?

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

MS. COWAN: Mr. Speaker, being in this House is such an interesting exercise in the use of the English language. The construction industry is flat if you use the word flat as a statistical term, it is no different that means than last month and we have been showing a minor increase, and it had stayed stable this month. We are hiring more people at Hibernia. National trends across Canada show an improvement in the construction industry which will gradually reflect in the Newfoundland economy.

I have not at this stage approached the Minister of Employment and Immigration in Ottawa, as when I go to see that particular individual as I did with his predecessor, I want to have facts straight. I want to take the information that is available to me on a much more firm foundation than those that we can see in one week out of April, that week on which the unemployment statistics were based.

Certainly, Mr. Speaker, if I continued to see the problems over the next several months, I will be recommending action either to my Cabinet or to Ottawa or to both.

MR. SPEAKER: A final supplementary, the Member for Harbour Main.

MR. DOYLE: Mr. Speaker, what the Minister has revealed in this House today is absolutely unbelievable. We have 52,000 people unemployed and she has not yet approached the Federal Government for emergency funding, or even to make them aware of the problem. What is this Minister doing?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DOYLE: Now, Mr. Speaker, let me ask the Minister. One of the functions -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DOYLE: - of the Minister's....

MR. SPEAKER: This is a supplementary. I think it is two occasions now the hon. Member has sort of made a speech before he got into his supplementary. I ask the Member to get into his supplementary please.

MR. DOYLE: Mr. Speaker, let me ask the Minister. One of the functions of the Minister's Department is to monitor current unemployment and employment trends in the Province, and to project what the unemployment rate is going to be in the Province. What is her Department's projections of employment and unemployment for the first quarter of this fiscal year? Does she have that information? Could she make it available to us? Is it going to be any worse than it is right now at 22.5 per cent?

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

MS. COWAN: Mr. Speaker, it is hard to know which of his many questions to address. First of all, as far as approaching the Federal Government is concerned, I can have no control - believe me, if I could have some control over the Federal Government's interest rates and if I had some control over a government which could bring in bills like Bill 16, would I not be happy? But these go ahead without consulting me. So I am not sure just how effective my petitions to Ottawa would be.

As far as projections are concerned in unemployment, we can do some crystal ball gazing, but we cannot be absolutely sure as to where the unemployment will go. We know that a recession in Canada is going to have a bad impact on Newfoundland that may echo here for a little longer than it does elsewhere in Canada. Aagain, as I said, we are going into a time when seasonal employees are coming on. We do not know what the fisheries will bring this summer. At this point they are down. We do not know what will happen with a number of things within the Province, and that all has to be tempered. So it is very difficult to crystal ball gaze in this particular circumstance, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Social Services. Can the Minister confirm that his Department is engaged in a process of contracting out counselling and other services for young people - individual, family counselling, group work (Inaudible) - for a six month period? Can he confirm that? And tell us how much money is involved in that programme?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: I am not sure - counselling out to youth?

AN HON. MEMBER: Contracting out.

MR. EFFORD: Contracting out counselling for youth, is that the hon. Member's question?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: No, no, he did not ask me the same question. Mr. Speaker, we do not contract out counselling for youth for a six month period. What we do is whenever the need arises for youth to receive counselling we arrange that counselling for those individuals on a particular occasion. But to contract out for a group of youth? Absolutely not, not for a six month period.

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

MR. HARRIS: Well, perhaps the Minister can explain why the invitations for proposals have been sent to various people asking for proposals to provide administrative and case management services on an ongoing basis for challenging youth and care givers, and asking for proposals for a six month period for these youth? Can you explain that to us? This is what I am referring to as contracting out. The Minister may not call it that. But can you confirm that that in fact is the case? Can you tell us how much money is involved, and where these services are expected to be provided?

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

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, that is clearly to the point of exactly what we are doing. We have, in this Province, a major problem in the Child Welfare Department, especially with children in the age group of twelve to sixteen years. In the past, it was dealt with on an ad hoc basis. We had over 8000 children in this Province, under the department's Child Protection, with an increase to 11,000 over the last year. What we are doing is building a case management plan for troubled teenagers, covering the teenager with very severe behaviour problems - as the hon. member talked about - for a six-month period. In the past, sometimes, there were no plans in place at all. What we are doing now is trying to identify professional councillors in the Province, to deal with these children, on contract, only as the need arises.

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

MR. HARRIS: Is the Minister aware that these very services are provided by the Dr. Thomas Anderson Centre, Health Care, at the Janeway, and some of the people that perhaps he is proposing to assist in this are now overworked, under very heavy caseloads? Can the Minister tell us how much money he plans to spend on this program rather than urge his counterpart, the Minister of Health, to provide the additional staff required at the Thomas Anderson Centre to meet the caseloads they already have?

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

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, I can tell the hon. Member what everybody in this House of Assembly, on both sides, knows, that we do not have enough counselling services to provide for the youth in trouble in this Province. It is not something that has been unidentified, Very clearly, the program we are putting in place around individuals in the Province is not only for the St. John's region. We are talking about case management for youth all over the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The one thing, ideally, to be done for youth with severe behaviour problems, in relation to family, is to try to keep families together. We are not about to bring youth from all over the Province into St. John's to try to deal with their problems. I understand the point the hon. Member is making, that there are very heavy caseloads at the Thomas Anderson Centre here in St. John's, there is no question about that, but they are equally heavy all over the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. When we build a case management plan around individuals it will keep the child with the family; that is the best way to provide counselling services. As to cost, I do not have the figures here today, but I table them in the House at my earliest convenience.

MR. SPEAKER: A final supplementary, the hon. the Member for St. John's East.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I ask the Minister to consider the fact that many of these services to be provided, in the six-month period the Minister talks about, are inadequate for an ongoing counselling relationship. Does he have any concerns, and has he considered, with professionals, the potential problems of having a client base that become dependent upon the service, and that the six-month period is totally inadequate? Would it not be better, in fact, to provide the service on an ongoing basis to an existing facility, or to an expanded facility such as the Thomas Anderson Centre?

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

MR. EFFORD: To assume that six months is not long enough for a counselling service for youth - I mean, every individual case in this Province is assessed on its own merit; sometimes one month is adequate, sometimes six months is adequate, and sometimes it may take years. That is the very purpose of building a case management plan around the particular individual.

The second thing we prefer not to do is institutionalize young people. We do not want to separate family and youth, and if it is possible to keep the family and youth together by all means we will do that. But, you are quite right, there is a need for more counselling services all over the Province. There is a greater need where the population is heaviest, and that is particularly in the St. John's region. We are working on that. One of the basics is to put a proper case management plan in place. We are doing that, one step at a time. The problem is that in the past there was never any management plan in place for troubled children.

We are now working with a volunteer group in the community to find the capital to build an adolescent centre here in the St. John's region, where youth who are in difficulty can go for a two-to-four-month period for professional counselling. It is something that has to be built on initiative, co-operatively, by the community at large and the Department of Social Services, and we are certainly working with that group to accomplish that.

MR. SPEAKER: I said it was the last supplementary for the hon. Member, and a couple times now I have done that with Members. I recognize the hon. the Member for Grand Bank.

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a question for the Premier, following along the lines of the previous questioners on the alarming escalating unemployment rate in the Province. I am wondering, Is not the Premier concerned now, that the Chairman of the Economic Recovery Commission appears to have thrown up his hands in complete frustration over the Premier's and the Government's lack of economic leadership?

He has confirmed, finally, Mr. Speaker, that he intended to leave last year. He is leaving now after about three years. This follows on the heels of other resignations and, I think, shows complete lack of confidence in the Government to turn things around. Can the Premier give an explanation for Dr. House's leaving? The Commission has only been in place for about three years and the Premier said it would take six to eight years before the Chairman would be able to report his findings. In view of this, can he explain why the Chairman is leaving and what will replace Dr. House?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, as usual he has the whole thing backwards. When Dr. House agreed to accept the appointment, he accepted it for an even shorter term, and agreed that he got enthusiastic about the job he was doing and the opportunity for the future, and stayed on longer than he had anticipated.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) people of the Province.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, Dr. House told me at the beginning that he only wanted this to be about a two-year term. He wanted to go back to his academic career, and he made special arrangements at the university to get the leave to enable him to do that.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair just wants to make a point straight about supplementary questions. I mentioned it on Friday, and I think the Leader of the Opposition probably misunderstood what I said. He said something in Hansard that suggested maybe he misunderstood what the Chair said.

I just want to again point out that the Chair has full control over Question Period and over the numbers of supplementaries. Over the last little while, we have been dragging on with supplementaries. The Chair does not want to be unfair to any Member, but I think Members will appreciate, if we start allowing one hon. Member to go into four or five supplementaries, Question Period can really get dragged out. There are a number of hon. Members, and particularly now, with a different structure in the House - if there were just one party, then we could stay on, as hon. Members know, could orchestrate; as long as one hon. Member keeps standing, there is not much the Chair can do about it. But, as long as we have two different structures here, when other Members are standing, the Chair would like to keep the supplementaries down to a reasonable number, and asks hon. Members to co-operate.

Notices of Motion

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

MR. DOYLE: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce the following resolution: Be it resolved that the House urge Government to immediately bring in an emergency job creation program, in order to combat the alarming unemployment rate and the loss of jobs to the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a Bill entitled, "An Act To Revise And Amend The Law Respecting A Pension Plan For Teachers."

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a Bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Fish Inspection Act."

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

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

MR. HARRIS: I did not realize the Chair had ended Question Period when you were making your comments, but I would like it noted for the record that when the Chair declined to recognize me for a last time, there were no other Members standing in the House, other than myself, and Your Honour has commented in the past that when there was only one Member standing -

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

I ask the hon. Member to take his seat. The Chair is not going to accept any debates about my rulings during Question Period, but the hon. the Member for Grand Bank had stood simultaneously with the Member for St. John's East when he rose for the question. The Chair is not going to debate these things about who is standing and when. The Chair is in full control of Question Period, I observe what is going on, and I say the hon. Member has no point of order.

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

MR. SPEAKER: I ask, please, that hon. Members take their places. It is difficult for the Chair to recognize who is standing, to do what.

The hon. the Minister of Health.

MR. DECKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The hon. the Member for Grand Falls asked me to lay some information on the Table concerning my travels. I now have that ready, Mr. Speaker. Hon. Members will notice that I have been travelling to far-off exotic places over the last year. I visited St. Anthony, Deer Lake, Goose Bay, Corner Brook, Gander, Corner Brook, Labrador City, Corner Brook, St. Anthony and Gander, Mr. Speaker. I made four visits out of the Province - one to Victoria, one to Winnipeg, one to Prince Edward Island - all listed under (inaudible), Mr. Speaker. I have not yet made my trip to Mecca, to Norway, as previous Ministers used to do, but maybe I will get around to that sometime.

Orders of the Day

MR. BAKER: Motion 4, Mr. Speaker.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations to introduce a Bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Labour Relations Act, 1977." (Bill No. 26)

On motion, Bill 26, read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

MR. BAKER: Motion 5, Mr. Speaker.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Justice to introduce a Bill entitled, "An Act Respecting The Regulation Of Lotteries And Amusement Devices In The Province," carried. (Bill No. 32)

On motion, Bill 32, read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

MR. BAKER: Order 7, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order 7, continuation of debate on a Bill, "An Act To Revise And Amend The Law Respecting A Pension Plan For Employees Of The Government Of The Province And Others." (Bill No. 6)

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

At the close of the session on Friday, I had commenced my remarks in relation to this Bill. I was speaking about the concern I had that the Minister had obviously not given an opportunity for input and consultation from the women of this Province, represented by the Newfoundland and Labrador Status of Women Council and, indeed, the Women's Policy Office of Government, because it fails to take into account, Mr. Speaker, the differences between men and women with respect to career patterns and career paths and does not make any special provisions that would accommodate the differing career paths of men and women, with one small exception, which has, I think, nothing particularly to do with women. But, in its definitions of full-time employment, it makes a reference to job sharing as considered to be full-time employment. Mr. Speaker, that is, as I say, the only recognition that there may be differing patterns or career patterns that ought to equally be considered for the purposes of pensionable service. I do have a great deal of difficulty with that, because the whole of the differing career patterns of men and women was not taken into account. The Newfoundland and Labrador Nurses' Union made this point to the Legislative Committee, Mr. Speaker, but we do not have any amendments coming forth in this House from the Government, or at least, no indication of any amendments from the Minister, in speaking with respect to that aspect of it. There are a great number of women, Mr. Speaker, who take the time during their careers, as a result of decisions made by families, to spend time at home with young children and return to work and to the public service, and they ought not to be penalized, Mr. Speaker in their pensionable service as a result of that, or a way ought to be found to share that burden with their partners.

The bill itself, Mr. Speaker, fails to look after that in any aspect. Other aspects of the bill that I find problematic, and I want to comment, I suppose, on the whole of the differing aspects of the bill as outlined to us. Some parts, as I had indicated on Friday, are quite good and some points are not. There is a difficulty with the issue of the calculation of average pensionable salary. That is a difficulty in that you have the average of the best five years changed from the average of the last five years. That is a good thing, Mr. Speaker, because it does allow some flexibility in the calculation of the pensionable benefits because there may be in the last couple of years, for reasons of seasonal work, or other reasons, a lesser salary from employment without any fault to the employer, whether it be because of a seasonal layoff or seasonal work. Although seasonal workers are included in the pension plan there is no special provision there for their best five years of work, there is no flexibility there. The last five years of seasonal employment is taken into account regardless of whether it is the best five years or not. This could be a period, Mr. Speaker, when Government is cutting back, such as now, and there may be less seasonal work available, and despite the fact that an employee has given long service on a regular basis for years and years, and there are many, many individuals in the public service, Mr. Speaker, with that circumstance, they will not receive the same treatment in terms of the best five years of their service. There is, of course, a very new provision that the Government has introduced here which, I think, provides a decrease in the flexibility of alternatives for employees in that the redundancy pension is taken out of this plan entirely. Now, this was a very good option for Government employees who could, instead of retiring without any benefit and leaving divested debentures, could get a redundancy payment that would allow them to have the alternative of going out of the public service with a cushion. In view of the unemployment rate in this Province and the lack of alternatives for many people at least this was able to provide them with a base income and not force them into a state of unemployment from which they might never recover. The concerns that I have about this bill have to do with the lack of flexibility in that redundancy provision, in the calculation of average pensionable salary when it relates to seasonal employees, the lack of flexibility, I suppose, also in the purchase of services. Now, Mr. Speaker, the organization of the purchase of service is much less flexible in that there is an actuarial costing done of the cost of providing the period of service that employees are able to buy back. That is something that is unknown, together with a much higher interest rate on the financing of that through an interest rate chartered bank prime plus two. This is a much more expensive method of buying out prepaid service. I wonder why that was chosen, Mr. Speaker, because we have a prime plus two and that certainly is not the rate that the pension plan itself would earn. If an individual were a member of a pension plan and the actual actuarial cost of his or her benefits were at a certain rate, and that could be capitalized at a certain amount, then interest would not be earned on that at the Bank of Canada prime plus two. That would be a much higher interest rate than the pension plan as a whole would earn, so why would an individual, for buying back those years of service, why would he or she be expected to keep the chartered bank prime, plus 2 per cent? That would be much higher. I would say that if a pension plan were able to earn the chartered bank prime lending rate plus 2 per cent we would not have a problem with our pension fund in Newfoundland because the earning rate of the pension plan would be considerably lower than prime plus two because they are in long-term notes, bonds, or long-term growth investments, and not in the kind of short-term money that the chartered bank prime would relate to. So, in those circumstances, Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that there ought to be more flexibility and a lesser interest rate for buying back service.

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the vesting period it is a very big plus to see the vesting period for the pension decrease from ten years to five years. That is an advantage to employees who instead of having to take back their contributions plus modest interest are required in fact to leave those funds in the plan and have that benefit at retirement. Sometimes of course employees may want to take that, but in the long run having that in there for a period of time earning interest, earning a benefit over the years, and being payable at retirement age, is a much greater benefit than taking back merely their own contributions and a modest interest rate. There is a move on the national level to reduce that vesting period down from five years to two years. So that anybody with two years of service, and having funds in a pension service, ought to have the benefit of being able to obtain a pension when the time comes. And I hope that the Government will give consideration to that in the future.

I have a bit of concern, and this perhaps might be left better to the detail of a third reading debate, or a clause by clause debate. There seem to be certain difficulties with the way the Government has set up the ability to buy back leave without pay. Clause 11 of the Bill deals with buying leave without pay. Section 11 (1) says: "authorized leave of absence without pay" can be "credited as pensionable service," but pension contributions must be paid. And this has to take place 120 days from the commencement of the service. That has to - I am sorry, 90 days of participation in the pension plan by paying the contributions. And that 90 day period, if they miss that period they have a problem in not being able to get that credited service.

And it seems to me that there would be a lot of automatic leaves without pay - for maternity leave, for example, or educational leave. And it seems to me that rather than have that election period there or have it limited to a 90 day period afterwards, that there ought to be an automatic crediting of service and that the employee ought to be required to make the contributions afterwards. And instead of opting in, the employee may be allowed to opt out. I am not even sure that that perhaps should be permitted. But rather than having it as an optional thing where employees might have bits and pieces of creditable service added together. That their whole period of employment with the public service ought to be, at least in the first instance, regarded as pensionable service and that if there are special reasons for taking items out of that, that that should be the way to go rather than having to opt in. So I have a concern about that aspect to it.

Similarly, the Minister has a fair amount of power in this Act to determine whether or not an employee on a retirement, for reasons of illness - the Minister has a lot of power to determine whether or not an individual is properly rehabilitating himself or is engaged in a rehabilitation programme. And looking at Clause 16 in particular, the Minister needs to be satisfied that there is a medical certification of an incapacity that is likely to be permanent from a date determined by the Minister.

Now this is a normal Ministerial discretion. But what it does is allow the Minister of Finance, who obviously knows nothing about these things - he may, incidentally, but not by being Minister of Finance, he does not know anything about it - nor do his officials for that matter. Because they are not trained in assessing the rehabilitation plans or programmes or assessing doctors' or medical certificates.

So these considerations here - and whether or not the rehabilitation programme is properly recommended, whether or not the action to be taken by a person on medical retirement is reasonable in the circumstances, this is not really a function of the Minister or the Minister's office. It is something that might be more properly carried out by the Workers Compensation Commission, or somewhere in the Department of Health or Rehabilitative Services. But it is certainly not something that ought to be in the discretion of the Minister. And I ask the Minister to consider that and to respond to those concerns in his reply. But I find that is a rather onerous provision, and one open to establishment of a whole new level of decision making and appeals and boards and tribunals to determine all these issues.

Speaking of boards and tribunals, I would like to draw the Minister's attention to the manner in which people who are aggrieved by the decisions of the Minister - this is an appeal provision specified in Section 35 (1), which provides that: "An employee or other person aggrieved by a decision of the Minister or of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council" - and then there is a very broad statement - "in a matter related to, connected with or arising out of his or her entitlement to or the award to him or her of a pension or other money under this Act may appeal the decision to a judge of the Trial Division."

Now I do not have any grave problems with that. That allows for a route of appeal. But the concern that I have is that the notice of appeal that is provided for there in Section 35 (2) provides for "sixty days after he or she has received the decision of the Minister or the Lieutenant-Governor in Council" shall "serve on the Minister a written notice of his or her intention to appeal to a judge of the Trial Division." And then must set out the notice and the grounds and all of that sort of thing.

Now, that strikes me - I mean, at first glance it looks like it might be alright. But if one looks at the very broad provisions of Section 35 (1), there could be any number of decisions, letters, notices or entitlements that an individual might be notified or might receive in the mail or anything like that and in order to appeal them they have to give the Minister written notice within sixty days of intention to appeal. I would suspect that not very many people would be aware of this provision. And I would suspect that most people, when they are dealing with the pensions which are a matter of fairly broad, fairly detailed and sometimes confusing entitlements, that an individual may well not know that what he is dealing with in his hands in his or her mail or found on a bulletin board is a decision of the Minister, of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, for which a right of appeal exists.

And that notice provision would knock out very many appeals that might want to be launched at some point, once an individual realizes that there is no recourse other than an appeal to the court. I would suspect that the time for giving notice, the sixty days, would probably be long gone. So I would ask the Minister to reconsider that point. Or at least address it in his remarks so a proper amendment may be able to be made at third reading.

I also have a couple of concerns about the issue of the re-employment of pensioners before age 65. A pensioner who is re-employed after his first retirement continues to obtain pensionable service but a pension in these circumstances does not include a survivor benefit. And perhaps as a question of explanation, perhaps the Minister can explain what Section 21 (4) means and why the pension does not include a survivor benefit when we are talking about re-employment. That indeed, if an individual is re-employed and is able to gain further pensionable service why he would not wish the survivor benefit to also increase in age. Why (inaudible) of survivor benefits, Mr. Speaker. It appears that a special provision for survivor benefits are increased for children who are in full time attendance in school or a post-secondary institution. The survivor benefits under sections 23 of the bill, the survivor benefit is paid to the surviving children where the surviving spouse dies or where the pensioner, or deferred pensioner dies leaving children under the age of eighteen but no surviving spouse. So the children get the survivor benefit, Mr. Speaker, up to age eighteen and, in fact, can go as high as twenty-four if the child is in full-time attendance at a recognized school or post-secondary institution.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I cannot see any reason why that cannot be continued for all dependent children because there are, in addition to students who may be in attendance at full-time institutions up to age twenty-four, other pensioners leave dependant children who may not have any other source of income, who may be totally dependant by reason of a physical or mental incapacity. Mr. Speaker, if ordinary children, shall we say, or children without any special needs are able to get survivors benefits up to age twenty-four by mere attendance at a post-secondary educational institution, surely that same benefit, as a survivor of a pensioner ought to be extended to dependant children who are dependant by reason of a physical or mental condition or handicap. I would urge that the Minister consider himself introducing such an amendment at third reading or encouraging one of his colleagues to move it or accepting an amendment from this hon. Member or this side of the House.

The act in general, Mr. Speaker, provides some benefits, but it does limit the flexibility of the plan in a number of important ways, and I think for these reasons we have a lot of concerns and may not be able to support the Bill unless certain amendments are made that make it more palatable. I see another one just coming along here. This Bill has been praised by some people as expanding the definition of spouse under the definition section in clause 2 of the Bill. They have included in the definition of spouse, people who are married at the time of the employees death or who established to the Minister's satisfaction that they have co-habited. Now I do not know how the Minister will satisfy himself that the person has co-habited for a period of twelve consecutive months immediately before the employees death but the provision here, Mr. Speaker, that I find a little less than flexible is provided that the person and the employee held themselves out to the public as spouses of each other and there was no legal impediment to the marriage between that person and the employer.

Now, Mr. Speaker, this is one of the attempted definitions of common law spouse in the legal world. One of the definitions of common law spouse is people who are married to one another or people who say that they are married to one another, who pretend to be married to one another, who say that they are husband and wife and live together, and that there is no legal impediment to them becoming married. So in other words, a person who is not divorced by a court but is living what we all know is common law with another person, that person would not qualify as a spouse under this definition. Or if a couple were living together for many, many years and had children, more that one child, lots of children, but yet everyone knew that they were not husband and wife, that they did not hold themselves out to be husband and wife because everyone knew that they were not married and they did not pretend to be married then that person would not qualify as a spouse. I ask the Minister of Finance whether or not he thinks that is reasonable? Is it reasonable that because somebody pretends to be married legally that they should be regarded as a spouse, but if they tell the truth to themselves, to the public and to the community around them then they are not regarded as a spouse and they cannot obtain survivor benefits when in every other sense, Mr. Speaker, in the common law, in the common experience of mankind, in the knowledge of their community and the knowledge of those around them they are, in fact, living as husband and wife, they are acting as husband and wife, yet they do not hold themselves out to be husband and wife. They do not say, 'this is my husband and this is my wife.'

I see the hon. Member for Harbour Grace listening attentively to this because I think it is very true. There is a commonsense thing about that, and if you look at the definition of spouse in Bill 6 it does not really cover what I think, and what I think we all think, ought to be covered by that definition of spouse for the purposes of getting a survivor's pension under this act. And I think some consideration ought to be given to changes if the Minister is prepared to expand the definition of spouse beyond those who are legally married under proper laws and licences and not divorced by a court, if he intends to expand it beyond that then perhaps he should reconsider the definition and make the definition a little more in keeping with the realities of life today for families and different types of families that exist in this Province. There is much less of a social prohibition now about people living together. People do not have to claim to be man and wife or husband and wife in order to live openly in this Province and have families for that matter. If The Pensions Act is intending to recognize such unions then it should do so clearly and not just restrict it to those who are able to be married and yet have not, but say that they are or say they are husband or wife. That may sound like a -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: For the benefit of the Member for LaPoile, there is no definition, there is no legal definition that applies as knowning what a common law spouse is. It is different things for different purposes. In the unemployment insurance legislation, there is one definition. In The Canada Pension Act, the federal legislation, there is another definition. Sometimes it depends upon how long you have been living together, if you have been living together for twelve months and have children, then you are considered a spouse.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Yes, and the higher power is this Legislature. Because this Legislature makes the laws and it will determine who gets pensions and who gets survivor benefits and who does not. The law right now is defining who gets a survivor benefit and who does not. I am suggesting that if the Minister wants to give survivor benefits to people who are dependent spouses or spouses of a pensioner and wants to use an expanded definition then the expanded definition should be one that more adequately reflects the realities of modern life so that if certain individuals who do not happen to be able to get married for some circumstance but happen to be living together for many, many years despite the fact that a husband may be gone to the United States and unable to find this person to obtain a divorce, there may be other problems. This may be going on for many, many years and it is quite obviously a situation where it is a proper relationship but it ought to be counted.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to thank the hon. Members for their patience on my views. I will have other views at a later stage of debate, thank you.

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

If the hon. Minister speaks now he will close the debate.

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, I am very surprised at the Members of the Opposition not having more to say because we are used to a more protracted form of debate every time I bring in a bill. I am very pleasantly surprised. I must say there have been quite a number of points raised here that bear looking into in the long run. What I think we should do is to get into the Committee stage on this Bill as soon as possible and see if there are any specifics that need to be changed.

Let me just say that the purpose of this Bill is basically to address the serious problem of unfunded liability that we have been having with the various pension schemes. This is the Public Service Pension Plan and by accepting the new Bill, what we will be doing basically is preventing further erosion of the pension fund. That is the main purpose of the Bill, to come to grips with the financial problems of the Act.

Once we get the other three bills through the House, and we have that unfunded problem pretty well halted - we are not going to solve it completely, but we will prevent it from getting any worse from here on in - once that is done, we will see, as we look at the other bills, that there are a number of anomalies in the various bills. The rights of various public servants, as opposed to other groups working for Government, are somewhat different from group to group, from pension plan to pension plan, and that bothers me very much. So, I think the next stage of pension reform will be to go through all the bills, all the pension acts, which we will have, hopefully, in a few weeks, and then, go through them, systematically, over the coming year and make whatever minor thoughtful changes are required; because, all these things, although minor, have to be thought out very carefully. What we have done, basically, is taken the old Act and modified it to handle the liability question, the unfunded liability, to keep that from getting worse.

We have not addressed, though, two major problems with this, yet. We have not addressed the whole question of indexing, and this Bill does not address that. We will have to come to grips with that one, too. That is a major concern of many people. Up until now, every so often, Government has done some ad hoc indexing. Government has said, Let us give the pensioners a 4 per cent raise, or a 2 per cent raise, or no raise, whatever the case might be. That is all very well, but every time we do that, we build a cumulative problem into the pension fund. And this unpaid for indexing is a very costly provision, because the Government does not pay any money into the fund to take care of the indexing, and the pensioner does not provide for that, as part of his own plan. So, the indexing has not been funded and this Bill makes no attempt to address that issue. We are going to have to come to grips, shortly, with the whole question of indexing. It is not addressed in the Bill, and it is something we are going to have to look at fairly quickly.

There are a number of points I will address, but not too many now, because I would rather do it in Committee stage, if Members do not mind. We have a problem with respect to the disability or sick pensions, as they are called. We thought first that we might cut out sick pensions entirely and put in some sort of disability insurance towards which Government and the employees might contribute, so that if a person is disabled on the job, the insurance would take care of it, as some companies and institutions have that type of coverage. In fact, Government has it on a voluntary basis, now. We looked into that and had a report done by a consultant and, while I am personally not fully convinced that it cannot be done, at the moment, it looks like we cannot do it immediately. So we decided to stick with the medical pension, if you like, or the sick pension, for the time being, but to improve it a little bit.

Anyone who is sick and cannot perform his work, now, goes to a doctor, who certifies that the person cannot perform his work, and the report from that doctor comes to Government; then, one of the Government doctors looks at that report, checks it out, checks it carefully, and if he is not satisfied with the details contained in the report, he has the authority to have other people look at it. Then it comes on through, back to the Pensions Division, and eventually, it is signed by the Minister. There is some check there, but there is no provision, once a person is on medical disability; as the person gets better, they are still on medical disability. So, this attempt, here, to give twelve months, and if the person gets better during the twelve-month period, then he or she can be offered alternate employment, is an attempt to come to grips with it in an interim way. But, Mr. Speaker, I would like to move second reading reading now and examine the various points during the Committee stage.

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Revise And Amend The Law Respecting A Pension Plan For Employees Of The Government Of The Province And Others", read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House on tomorrow. (Bill No.6).

MR. BAKER: Order 13, Mr. Speaker.

Motion, second reading of a Bill, " An Act To Revise The Law Respecting The Provincial Court", (Bill No. 2).

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

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This Act, entitled "An Act To Revise The Law Respecting The Provincial Court", is an important piece of legislation for the Department and also the Provincial Court, itself. This is the court to which the public has the most frequent access, as it is the court of first instance in criminal matters and has recently assumed the responsibility for an expanded civil jurisdiction of $3,000.

I believe the Act is fairly straight-forward. It is divided into four parts, the first dealing with the Provincial Court and judges, the second part dealing with judicial counsel, the third part with administration, and the fourth with subsequent or consequent transitional repeal and commencement provisions.

First of all, the portion dealing with the Provincial Court and judges, sets forth a selection method for judges, how and when they may be deemed to retire or resign, whether or not they can obtain other employment during the course of their duties.

The second part deals with the judicial counsel; I believe it is an important factor for the public, and important protection, in that there is a theory, and it is in fact, a case, that the judges are independent of a political or other influence, so that they are totally free to hear facts and make legal decisions on the law as they understand it to be.

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, I am having trouble hearing the Minister.

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

MR. DICKS: I believe the speaker is on, Mr. Speaker. Are these microphones, by the way - Does it carry to the Chamber?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DICKS: No, okay, that is fine.

Mr. Speaker, I was discussing part two of the judicial counsel and all I really want to say, in summary is, the judicial counsel provides a mechanism to supervise the behaviour of Provincial Court judges. It provides, essentially, for their discipline and, in extreme cases, removal.

Part three is the administration and it basically sets forth the manner in which the court should be staffed and run and I do not think there is anything in there that would cause undue concern. Other than that, Mr. Speaker, I expect that my colleagues opposite will have some questions concerning it, which I will attempt to deal with in closing. Thank you.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This Bill, "An Act To Revise The Law Respecting The Provincial Court", was examined by the Social Legislation Review Committee in the early part of this year. Unfortunately, there has been a hiatus in the functioning of the Committee and, after a lapse of a month and a half or so, it is only now that the Committee is meeting again. We are due to meet tomorrow morning, actually, to clue up our deliberations on this Bill, as well as two other Justice Bills that are on the Order Paper, the Bill dealing with Juries and the Amendment to the Evidence Act.

However, the Committee's deliberations to date have been useful. As a result of recommendations that I made at the Committee, I understand the Department of Justice is planning to revise two clauses of this Bill. Both changes are technical, but I think they represent constructive changes.

This Bill, as I understand it, was generated by a committee established about three years ago by the previous Administration.

Actually, I was Minister of Justice at the time. The Committee was given the mandate of advising the Department of Justice on the contents of a revised Provincial Court Act to reflect many of the improvements and changes that had come about in the functioning of the Provincial Court in the appointment of judges in the preceding years.

The Committee was made up of members of the Bench, the Supreme Court as well as the Provincial Court, members of the Bar, and representatives of the Department of Justice. My knowledge of the functioning of that Committee over the past two years is that it consulted widely within the legal and judicial communities and that the contents of the Bill reflect fairly accurately the consensus among the judiciary, with some input on the part of practising lawyers. I think the process of drafting the Bill has been quite satisfactory considering the work of the Advisory Committee and also the deliberations of the House of Assembly Legislation Review Committee.

Over the past twenty years there have been major strides made in the functioning of our Provincial Court. The first significant improvement involved an initiative of the Moores' administration. That was the upgrading of magistrates' - as they were then known - education. The Department of Justice sponsored, in cooperation with Dalhousie University Law School, a programme for magistrates beginning in the late 'sixties. At that time possibly only one, or perhaps none, of the magistrates had a law degree. Many of the magistrates had come from the professions of education and social work. Very few if any had formal legal education. Beginning in the late 1960s the Department of Justice offered each of the magistrates a three year law school programme at Dalhousie University with all expenses paid in return for a commitment to serve on the Bench of the Province for several years following. Most of the magistrates availed of that opportunity and graduated from law school.

The next major improvement flowed from the findings and recommendations of a study done of the Magistrates Court, or the Provincial Court as it was later designated, by Mr. Justice Steel, now a member of the Court of Appeal. And it was the Steel report which guided most of the improvements in the Provincial Court in recent years including, I would suggest, the contents of this Bill.

One of the reforms introduced at some point during the late 'seventies or early 'eighties was the establishment by law in the Provincial Court Act of a judicial council. A body appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, comprising judges - Federally as well as Provincially appointed - and lay people who are empowered to advise the Government on all matters relating to the Provincial Court; to deal with complaints about judges; as well

as to consider applicants for the position of provincial court judge and to recommend to the Minister, and through the Minister, the Lieutenant- Governor in Council, the best candidates for appointment to the provincial bench. During that time patronage was eliminated from the selection of provincial court judges. I noticed in the news about developments in Nova Scotia politics, that it is only now that the Nova Scotia Government is promising to eliminate patronage from the appointment of provincial court judges in that province. That is a development that happened in our Province many years ago. I think it is now generally accepted, and I am pleased to see that the Wells administration has followed this part of the legacy of the former PC administrations, that provincial court judges are to be appointed on the basis of merit on the advice of the judicial council.

Mr. Speaker, there are a few provision of this Bill which I think detract from the admirable progress that we have made in the operation of the provincial court. The first one is contained in Clause 7, Sub-clauses 2 and 7, and it deals with the termination of the term of office of the Chief Judge. Under existing law the incumbent serves until normal retirement age which is sixty-five, as do the federally appointed Chief Justices, the Chief Justice of the Trial Division of the Newfoundland Supreme Court, and the Chief Justice of Newfoundland who presides over the Court of Appeal. This change represents an alteration in the term of office of the incumbent. Now, if the change were being made upon retirement of a Chief Judge then I might not have an argument with it, but I think a change of the rules of the operation of an office that is supposed to function at arm's length from Cabinet, from the political body of the Government, amounts to regression, and we have seen other examples of it with this administration. We saw the administration, by legislation, alter the composition of the Public Utilities Board reducing the number of members on the board and empowering the Cabinet to pick and chose from among the incumbents, and, of course, the choices exercised indicated a bias in favour of the utilities. The consumer advocate was fired. Then we saw the administration, through legislation, eliminate the office of Ombudsman altogether. Now, that act smacked of partisan vindictiveness, even though the incumbent had been unanimously recommended for his second term of office of ten years by the Members of the House of Assembly five years ago, Liberals and PCs. It was a fact that many years previous the incumbent, Ambrose Peddle, had been a PC politician, and it seems that many Members of this administration, including the Premier himself, although he tried to pretend otherwise, are, when it comes down to it very petty and very vindictive, and they targeted Ambrose Peddle. Now as Ambrose Peddle himself said it was a tragedy that in an effort to get rid of the person this Government burned down the church.

The excuse given was the need to save money. Now the cost of operating the Ombudsman's office was only about $200,000 a year, and the decision was made and announced when the Government was painting a rosy financial picture and forecasting a $10 million surplus on current account. The Ombudsman's office was created to be an important check against abuse of power by the executive, by the Cabinet and by the administration, by the public service. In defending the elimination of the Ombudsman's office the Premier said that there are fifty-two MHAs who can do the work of the Ombudsman, not to mention open line radio hosts. Of course, that is ludicrous.

And then there was the matter of the Auditor General. In the new Auditor General's bill there is a provision to truncate prematurely the term of office of the Auditor General. Now, the Auditor General is another officer of the House of Assembly who is supposed to function at arm's length from the political body of the Government. So there has been a whole series of actions by this Government showing contempt for offices that are designed to function independently of the Cabinet, which were created to operate in a way, to protect citizens' interests, and to shield them from abuses of power by the Cabinet and by the public service.

And I submit to Your Honour that this premature truncating of the term of office of the chief judge of the Provincial Court is another such example. And I think because it is the court - it is the senior office in the Provincial Court - it is more reprehensible than the other developments that I listed.

The other aspect of this legislation that I would like to dwell on now has to do with the Provincial Court districts in the Province. Clause 13 of the Bill, the same as the present Act, says that the Lieutenant-Governor in Council or the Cabinet by regulation must prescribe or delineate the Provincial Court districts, must prescribe the basis or the places of residence of the Provincial Court judges.

Now, the current regulations list fifteen Provincial Court districts. Fifteen places in the Province where Provincial Court judges are supposed to be based, where they are supposed to have their residences. Well, in a fashion that seems to be indicative of this Government's attitude, while they have gone ahead and centralized the Provincial Court and eliminated five out of the fifteen places on this list, they have not changed the regulations. The regulations still prescribe fifteen Provincial Court districts. The regulations require that Provincial Court judges have their principal place of residence in or near: St. John's, Holyrood, Harbour Grace, Placentia, Clarenville, Grand Bank, Gander, Grand Falls, Springdale, Corner Brook, Woody Point, Stephenville, Port aux Basques, Happy Valley - Goose Bay and Wabush. A total of fifteen.

Well what is actually happening in the Province today? Four of these centres have been eliminated. Presumably part of the Wells' administration's resettlement programme, part of the rationalization effort. Smaller hospitals have been closed, others have been downgraded. People in the rural areas are being required to go into the growth centres for health care services. In the case of education four or five of the community college campuses have been gutted and thrown to the local communities and the Federal Government. Bell Island, Bonavista, Springdale, Baie Verte and St. Anthony are community college centres in name only. If the Federal Government does not come though with assistance those education centres will be defunct.

The Provincial Government has abandoned its responsibilities for the community college centres, and I say Bonavista to the Member for Bonavista South, Bell Island I say to the Member for Mount Scio Bell Island, and he knows it. Springdale, Baie Verte, and St. Anthony, I would say to the Minister of Health if he were here. In the case of the Provincial Court, the same pattern. Bonne Bay and the whole northern peninsula are being served from Corner Brook. Now Labrador West, Labrador City - Wabush are going to be served from Corner Brook. The judge in Port aux Basques is to be phased out as of September 1st. Presumably Port aux Basques and all of south western Newfoundland will be served out of Stephenville or Port aux Basques.

Springdale has not had a Provincial Court Judge since the last judge there retired. I assume Springdale was being served from the growth centre of Grand Falls. Not only has the number of Provincial Court Districts been made smaller with judges serving more of the Province on a circuit arrangement, but many of the circuit arrangements have been eliminated as well. For years there was a court house on Bell Island, there was a court premises on Bell Island with a clerk. Judges from St. John's went there regularly on circuit and held trials, dealt with the public, dealt with the police. Through the court clerk residents of Bell Island could pay their fines on Bell Island. No more. All court matters relating to Bell Island will have to be dealt with at Atlantic Place in downtown St. John's. If a resident of Bell Island wants to pay a fine, ferry trip and a trip in to water street.

So it is all part of the Wells administration grand resettlement design. It is all part of rationalization, a cold, calculating, mechanical approach to social engineering. Amalgamation, of course, is probably the prime example of this type of social engineering. It might look nice and neat and logical on paper, but regrettably the whole human element has been screened out. I travelled from Deer Lake this morning on a flight with an education administrator, and he said that we might as well have an automaton as Premier, we might as well have a machine. The Premier seems to spit out mechanical, cold, detached, impersonal and inhumane decisions. And in the case of the Provincial Court, just another example of what we are seeing with municipal centralization and consolidation, merger, amalgamation, what we are seeing in education with a centralization of community colleges and what we are seeing in health care with the closure of rural hospitals. Of course, in the case of health care the regional central hospitals have been downgraded as well so everyone is suffering, residents of urban areas and rural areas. Big mistake.

Now, Mr. Speaker, in conclusion I would like to mention the two changes that I suggested which were accepted by the Department of Justice. One has to do with the clause delineating the functions of the judicial council, clause 18. Presently it reads: the first function of the judicial council is to consider all proposed judicial appointees and make a recommendation to the Minister with respect to those candidates. Now with this wording, Mr. Speaker, there was the danger that the Minister would manipulate the appointment process. I understand the change that has been approved will clarify the situation so that we will continue to have the judicial council being unfettered, indeed, the judicial council will be mandated to consider all applicants for judicial appointment.

Over the past several years of all members of the bar interested in an appointment to the Provincial Bench have been directed to make applications to the judicial council and the judicial council which, as I explained, comprises members of the bench Supreme Court Federally appointed as well as Provincially appointed. Members of the Bar representing the Law Society, and members of the general public appointed by the Cabinet, consider candidates without reference to partisan considerations.

The other change is one that I have advocated for all government boards and commissions. It has to do with continuity of the operation of the Judicial Council. It says that while the Cabinet appoints members of the Judicial Council for a term of three years, on the expiry of a term of three years, unless the Cabinet has appointed a successor, another member, or re-appointed the original member, then the first member shall continue to serve. That way there is no danger of a hiatus or a gap in the functioning of the Judicial Council, which sometimes in the past inadvertently has happened and which certainly can happen in the future.

So in conclusion, this Bill is on the whole sound although there are a couple of very regrettable mistakes in the Bill. The process at which the Bill was arrived at was a good one. It involved the judiciary and the bar; it involved consultation with the judges and with lawyers; and through the work of the Social Legislation Review Committee, there was an opportunity for the public at large to have input. In fact, no citizens availed of that opportunity. But our consideration of the Bill was publicized. We had a couple of meetings on it. I am sorry that we did not quite finish our deliberations before today, but we are scheduled to meet under the capable leadership of the Member for Carbonear tomorrow morning. And at that time the whole Committee will have a chance to make recommendations which can be presented to the House during the Committee of the Whole clause by clause analysis of the Bill.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. A. SNOW: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just want to speak for a few minutes on Bill 2, "An Act To Revise The Law Respecting The Provincial Court," as it specifically relates to the district of Menihek that I represent.

While the previous speaker talked about the effects Provincially and how she can see it Provincially as being a part of this social engineering that is occurring by this administration, part of that overall plan of restructuring the social fabric of this Province. The people in western Labrador, which is very remote from other settled areas of this Province, are very concerned about certain aspects of this Bill. In the fact that what this does is - for years now in western Labrador we have had the opportunity of having a resident judge in western Labrador. And this Bill suggests - and indeed, the announcement has been made to my knowledge - that we will not have a resident judge in western Labrador.

Now here is a district that is very remote from other settled regions of this Province. On a border. And undoubtedly produces I would say probably in the range of about 10 per cent of the gross Provincial product of this Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is the fifty-ninth time you have said that!

MR. A. SNOW: And it still has not sunk in. The hon. Member for Pleasantville has suggested that that is the fifty-ninth time that I have suggested it. I would suspect it is probably the thousandth time that I have suggested it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Well, the argument - the reason why - now the hon. Member for Exploits is also going to interrupt me and suggest that I cannot use economics as an argument for having a judge in western Labrador. Well I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. A. SNOW: I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that economics was used when they removed the judge from western Labrador. So my argument is, I want to use economics on having him continuing to stay there. I point out the fact that we have contributed so much to the provincial economy that we have more than earned the right and the responsibility, of having a judge resident in the district, in the community of Wabush.

AN HON. MEMBER: The only good judges in place is where you have lots of money.

MR. A. SNOW: No, Mr. Speaker, that is not the only thing that you should put in - you should not just have judges in areas that have lots of money; you should have good health care and you should have good schools and all those types of things there too, and you should have judges throughout this Province, that is what the Premier or the previous Administration did.

They had judges located throughout this Province and it is interesting to note that part of this Bill recognizes the importance of having a resident judge in certain areas. As a matter of fact, one of the clauses, is that, a judge shall maintain his or her principal residence within an area of seventy kilometres by road from the city or municipality in which the courthouse of the district to which the judge has been appointed is located.

Now that means that they want judges to live in the districts because they recognize that there is an importance of having a judge living in an area, Mr. Speaker. Now as I said, and historically I guess, we could be considered in this Province as a frontier community in the sense that we are very young, we are thirty years of age in western Labrador, and I can remember the growth and hon. Members on the other side can also remember the growth of the community.

We can remember the days when the courthouse was behind the Town Hall in a little office, and I can tell you there was an extreme amount of pride in both our communities, when we had a new provincial building built in western Labrador and staffed by a resident judge, Mr. Speaker, that was a tremendous growth. It gave the sense of permanence to the community; a sense, Mr. Speaker, that is very difficult to define, but one that I am sure somebody, probably more closely related and trained in the legal profession can probably define much better that I can; but, Mr. Speaker, that fact that we, living up in the north, producing a tremendous amount of wealth in a border community, could have a judge living in our community, it certainly helped, Mr. Speaker, in giving the community not just - it was not just going to be a mining town, this was going to be a resident community of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, living in Labrador with a complete rounding of the community in the sense that it was not just going to be a mining town with bunk-houses and transient population, we are also going to have this permanence about it, where we need it and should have a judge.

Mr. Speaker, the people of Port aux Basques, a couple of years ago, fought hard to retain a judge to be resident of their community, because they recognized the importance of having a resident judge in the community. Now, Mr. Speaker, this is not the first time that this Administration has seen fit to use economics to cut things in western Labrador, whether it was the air passenger subsidy programme or the Crown Lands technician who was removed from the area, the cuts to municipal grants from $310,000 a year from the Wabush Town Council, cuts from the Town Council of Labrador City of $800,000 a year, Mr. Speaker, imposition of the payroll tax on the only industry we have, the mining industry, the only resource industry that is taxed by this infamous tax, Mr. Speaker, the discrimination. We have seen the postponement of programmes such as the construction of the tourist chalet in our area, so we have seen this onslaught against the people of western Labrador and this is just another one of them, Mr. Speaker, and it is upsetting the people of western Labrador.

We do not see why, since we contribute so much to the economy, why we, in western Labrador are losing so much, especially now, when we have a closure of the mine in Wabush for ten to twelve weeks, and people are very apprehensive about the very life of that mine and now we see the Province ripping out the judges, moving them off to Corner Brook, for whatever reason, I do not know, and, he is going to live in Corner Brook.

Well, Mr. Speaker, that person gave a sense of permanence to the community, a sense that yes, we are going to be here for a long time; yes, this community is really part of this Province; we will put it in there, we will have a judge there. It also brings to question, Mr. Speaker, about what is going to happen now? I mean, we have to consider the geography of Western Labrador. We are remote. We do not have a resident judge in, say, a place like Holyrood. If they wanted to get a search warrant in Holyrood, the police could probably drive into St. John's, go before a judge and get a search warrant. Mr. Speaker, in our case, we are isolated. Where are you going to go, to the Town of Fermont, in front of a judge? No! What are you going to do, fly to Goose Bay? No! What are they going to do, go to St. John's to get a search warrant?

DR. KITCHEN: Don't break the law.

MR. A. SNOW: Now, Mr. Speaker, isn't that something! The answer to the whole problem of this bill, in the Province, is, `Nobody should break the law.' Now, that is really intellectual, coming from the Minister of Finance. That is how important he thinks this bill is to the people of western Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, I will submit to this House, that a judge living in a community gives a heck of a lot more than just adjudicating when someone breaks the law. They do give more to the community than that, Mr. Speaker, and it has been appreciated in the Town of Wabush, where a judge has lived for years and years and years. It has. It gives a sense of respectability, a sense of permanence, and a sense of credibility to that community, to have a judge living in the community.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I hope the Minister of Justice is listening to this. How would a person who is incarcerated and who has to get a bail hearing, go before a judge? I would probably think they are going to suggest that somebody in the court is going to be trained for that, and probably it is going to be the same suggestion as to what they are going to do with regard to the issuance of search warrants to police officers. Mr. Speaker, he is going to use the same type of argument. What he is going to suggest is that the people in the court system, local residents, and maybe even JPs will be trained.

Mr. Speaker, I brought economics up before, and I will raise it again, although the Member for Exploits suggested that it has absolutely nothing to do with this. Well, Mr. Speaker, I will suggest that the reason why we are going to lose the resident judge in Wabush is based on economics, they are going to save money. That is why they are doing it. They are not improving the system of justice in western Labrador by doing this. So, they are saving money by doing it. Now, if they are going to train court workers - and they will get it done cheaper then, in western Labrador, for the issuance of search warrants or for bail hearings, that type of thing - well, they should do that throughout the Province. Maybe that is what they should be doing throughout the Province, if it is economics. Maybe that is what they should be doing then, but leave the judge in western Labrador, Mr. Speaker. It is important that the people in western Labrador have the opportunity of living with the judge in their own community. That is a very important fact of life, I believe, Mr. Speaker. I also think it is good for the judge to live within the community that he is judging.

AN HON. MEMBER: So, you are saying that no community is complete unless it has a resident judge.

MR. A. SNOW: No. I am saying that a community of the size of western Labrador, that produces as much as western Labrador does, and living on a border as western Labrador does, that, Mr. Speaker, warrants having a resident judge in the community. He may, indeed, have to travel from western Labrador. Maybe he should be the travelling judge from western Labrador, so that people in other parts of this Province can say, `Here comes the judge,' as well as the people in western Labrador can say it, Mr. Speaker. I think that is important.

Mr. Speaker, we have seen this Government, before, go to the private sector for the motor vehicle registration in western Labrador. We were the only ones in this Province directly affected or grossly affected by the closure of the Motor Vehicle Registration Office, Mr. Speaker, for several months under the guise of approving the service. Now I am sure that the Minister of Justice is probably going to say that he has improved the legal system in western Labrador by removing the judge.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I suggest to you that they are also related because right now my understanding of what is occurring is that when the Motor Vehicle Registration Office was opened in western Labrador, the police would stop vehicles wanting to check the registration and that type of thing and it could be done right there through the Motor Vehicle Registration Office. Now it takes considerably longer to do it because they do not have access to that computer.

Now, Mr. Speaker, people over there say, 'what does that have to do with the judge?' Well, what it has to do with the judge, Mr. Speaker, is that it is all part of the legal system of the enforcement of the regulations and the laws of this Province because right now because of what has occurred by the closure of the Motor Vehicle Registration Office and not relocating the computer to the local detachment of the RNC so that they could have access has impeded the application of the laws of this Province, Mr. Speaker. That is what that has to do with the judge. That is what it has to do, Mr. Speaker.

We are also, I think, going to see when the travelling judge comes into western Labrador now, we are going to see probably night sittings in the court or weekend sittings like we used to have years ago. Mr. Speaker, this is going to affect local policing because what is now then going to happen is the fact that the policemen who are scheduled to go to court are going to have to be in court for this cramped in period of time. They cannot schedule the shifts in the manner that they would like to.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: That is exactly - they are going to get more overtime. There is no problem with overtime today, Mr. Speaker, in western Labrador. When I say problems - I will rephrase that, Mr. Speaker - there is no excessive overtime with the RNC in western Labrador related to court work, not like other detachments of police enforcement in this Province. It is not because of the lack of court action, Mr. Speaker, it is the availability of a judge and to be able to re-schedule or schedule the police officers who will be testifying in the court in advance time so that the schedules can be effective and not necessarily have overtime. That is why. Effective scheduling, Mr. Speaker, that is why there has been no excessive overtime in western Labrador.

Now, Mr. Speaker, -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Pardon? Now the hon. Member suggests that when the ore runs out we will not have anything.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

MR. A. SNOW: He would know, Mr. Speaker, that of course -

MR. HEWLETT: He is also retreating, Mr. Speaker.

MR. A. SNOW: In all likelihood, Mr. Speaker, when the ore does run out there will not be a community in western Labrador. The people who live there, like myself who have been there for twenty-five or thirty years, recognize that.

AN HON. MEMBER: You are not that old.

MR. A. SNOW: I just look young, that is all. I have lived there a very long and exciting life.

Mr. Speaker, in conclusion I would hope that this Government would re-think this procedure of permitting the court system to have a non-resident judge in western Labrador because of the affects that I have suggested are very real and are going to have an impact on the people who reside in western Labrador. You must consider the fact that we are a border town. It is very important for the courts and the Province to have an immediate presence there, a judiciary presence in the border community, an entrance to this Province, Mr. Speaker. I would hope that you would reconsider and think about the amazing amount of contribution that we make economically to this Province, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. A. SNOW: I would also hope that you would think about the people who could possibly be incarcerated and not be able to get a proper bail hearing, Mr. Speaker. I would hope that you would reconsider the fact that search warrants may be issued by people not completely trained well enough to be able to issue search warrants which could, I would suspect if there is some problem with the search warrant, that may, indeed, have some problems in a court case down the road. That would be the effect of some of the search warrants.

I would hope that the Minister of Justice and his colleagues in Cabinet, because of those serious reasons that I have raised, because it is very important for my community, a community that has contributed so much, to have a resident judge in western Labrador. We have enjoyed having him living there for the last twenty years, and we look forward to the next twenty years with a resident judge -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) twenty-five years.

MR. A. SNOW: Twenty-five, I have been corrected, Mr. Speaker, the last twenty-five years. And I look forward to having him for another twenty-five years. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Opposition Party Whip and the Member for Harbour Main.

AN HON. MEMBER: Hon. Party Whip? Oh, hear, hear!

MR. DOYLE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I do not have a great deal to say on this particular Bill, not a lot at all. But I do have a few comments that I want the Minister of Justice to take into consideration when he is speaking and closing debate today on this particular piece of legislation and that has to do with the courthouse at Holyrood, which of course, as Members opposite know, is in the great and historic district of Harbour Main.

I wanted to direct a few comments to the Minister regarding that particular courthouse and to actually ask the Minister, as a matter of fact, why he has chosen to ignore, if you will - for want of a better word, I will say to the Minister he has chosen to ignore - the legitimately elected body in Holyrood? The Minister I believe was contacted over two months ago by the Holyrood town council looking for a little bit of information as to why the court in Holyrood in closing. And to date the Minister has not yet responded to council.

Now, I may or may not have been on my feet today to speak to this particular Bill had the Minister been a little bit forthright and open in his dealings, and yes, indeed, a little bit courteous to the town council of Holyrood and to give the council a little bit of information as to why the court is closing.

Now, I would like the Minister to outline for me today when he speaks why he is ignoring that legitimately elected municipal body and keeping that municipal body in the dark as to why the court is closing. And can he also tell me why the court is closing down when it seems to me that the Holyrood town council has information regarding that court from well-informed sources that it is extensively used? It is very, very extensively used. It serves the Salmonier, St. Mary's, Admiral's Beach area from Holyrood right on over to Colliers. And why is it closing down, I would ask the Minister, when it will mean in actual fact extra cost to the Government? That is the information that I have been given. That it is going to mean a great deal of extra cost to the Government in terms of travel time for law enforcement people, in terms of meal vouchers, and what have you.

And it is a very, very extensively used court. The Provincial Court at Holyrood is used on a daily basis by the members of the RCMP detachment, and I am sure the Minister of Justice is well aware that we have quite a large detachment of the RCMP in Holyrood. In terms of the detachment you have nine members, seven constables and a corporal. And in terms of the highway patrol, you have nine members, seven constables and a corporal and a sergeant. And as a result of that presence in Holyrood you have quite a great deal of need for that attachment. It is used on a daily basis. And that would be, as the Minister is well aware, for the laying of charges, the obtaining of court records, the release of people held in custody and directing private individuals to the court for the purpose of private prosecutions, et cetera.

And it is, as I indicated, used extensively. As a matter of fact, the court sittings are held on the average of three weeks a month. Three weeks a month and that was being used quite extensively indeed. We are wondering as well, Mr. Speaker, how many court offices are going to be closed right across the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador? Maybe the Minister of Justice can make that information available to us as well? How many court offices are going to be closed? Insofar as Placentia is concerned, will there continue to be a judge resident in that particular community? I want to give the Minister of Justice a little bit more information on the Holyrood court. I am wondering if the Minister was aware when he made the decision to close that court down that on the average approximately 500 tickets are processed through the court on a monthly basis, based on the combined efforts of the detachment at Holyrood and the highway patrol as well?

I am just wondering if the Minister is aware of how extensively that court is used? Five hundred traffic tickets are processed through the court monthly based on the combined efforts of the RCMP detachment and the highway patrol? And approximately 100 other charges are processed per month as well, which include various provincial statute violations, the Liquor Control Act, the Wildlife Act, the Dog Act, Criminal Code violations, break, entry and theft, frauds, impaired driving, and what have you, so 500, Mr. Speaker. That is quite a number of charges that go through that court that are dealt with by the RCMP on a daily basis. In terms of saving money, is this particular move going to save money?

MS. VERGE: At whose expense?

MR. DOYLE: Yes, indeed, at whose expense?

Both the general public and the police will have to travel greater distances to obtain judicial services. I am quoting from a letter here that was given to the Holyrood town council recently, and it says, 'Many times private individuals take out private prosecutions and this movement of the court may intimidate many of these people from doing so due to distance and the sheer size of the provincial court at St. John's. The relocation could also, at times result in the detachment area being short of police personnel being available to respond to calls due to their presence being required outside their duty area while giving evidence at the St. John's provincial court, work that they previously could scoot down over the hill to the provincial court on the South side of Holyrood to do.' Costs will definitely increase as well. The costs will be found in the areas of transportation, meal vouchering, overtime, and greatly increased witness fees as well. There is no real justification for Government to be closing down that particular facility in Holyrood. It is one more move, I guess, Mr. Speaker, at centralization and rationalization by this Government. I am concerned that the Minister did not respond to the legitimately elected body in Holyrood, the Holyrood town council. I am wondering why he did not do that because they are quite concerned about losing that facility, and on top of that we have the Electrical Inspections Division, up in the town of Holyrood which has been moved. I am wondering if that is a political move on the part of Government. When you have a small community with a very, very small tax base it is very, very important that these facilities be kept in these small rural communities to make them more viable. When you close out a provincial court and when you take into account the fact that they do sit three times a week, and you have so many cases going through there, it attracts a lot of people into the town as well. It is serious business insofar as a small rural community in Newfoundland is concerned and I would like the Minister to address that also.

MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. the Member for Green Bay.

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to have a few words on this bill concerning provincial courts, as well. I guess, about two weeks ago, I attended a citizen's forum in Springdale, called by a group of concerned citizens who had formed themselves into a committee. They wanted to discuss Government cutbacks in the Green Bay area.

MR. EFFORD: Is that a Liberal District?

MR. HEWLETT: Green Bay is not a Liberal District, no, Sir, I tell the Minister of Social Services.

Mr. Speaker, during that particular citizen's forum, myself and Mr. George Baker, the brother of the President of Treasury Board, were on stage together listening to the complaints of the citizenry of Springdale, in particular, and Green Bay, in general, with regard to cutbacks on the part of this Provincial Government. A good many citizens got things off their chests that had been brewing on their chests for quite some time, Mr. Speaker, various aspects of Government services that have been considerably cut back in the Green Bay area.

One of the people from the audience, who stood at the microphone and had a few words to say, was a social worker from the area. He had a commentary to make with regard to the provincial court in Springdale. Being a social worker, of course, he sees many troubled family law cases, and has, I guess, on a weekly basis, had occasion to deal with the provincial court system. The social worker was complaining that the caseload of the provincial court at Springdale is such that humongous numbers of cases are being put through in a given morning or day, by a judge. The social worker made the comment that he really did not see how justice could be done to the individual cases involved, given the number of cases that have to be put through in the few days available. The reason we have just a few days a week available, Mr. Speaker, is that Springdale is now served on circuit out of the county courthouse in the Town of Grand Falls - Windsor.

The Premier, some time ago, in a weekend paper here, mentioned that he was considering a county system of government for this Province. Well, Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform this hon. House, that in many aspects that system is already in place, the provincial court system being a prime example. Springdale still has a courthouse. I would assume that there are some persons who do janitorial services and clerical services for the court, who reside in the town, but the judge who holds court, Mr. Speaker, comes from the county courthouse in the Town of Grand Falls - Windsor, and he is out there two or three days a week to process cases that were previously handled by a judge five days a week at the provincial courthouse in Springdale.

Mr. Speaker, Springdale does have a resident judge, but unfortunately for the justice system in Springdale, the resident judge is retired, and has not been replaced by this Administration by an active judge. As a result, we have court on circuit, a crowded court agenda, and, according to one social worker, who stood in the public forum and spoke on behalf of the clients he serves, he indicated that he did not think justice was being done to the court agenda or the court docket on any given day, because there just was not sufficient time to do justice to the cases coming forward.

Mr. Speaker, one wonders what this means for a place like Lewisporte, and, of course, I am duty bound to be concerned about the Town of Lewisporte, in that the Liberal Party has twinned Lewsiporte with my district. The hon. Member for Lewisporte is my twin in terms of politics in this Province, I have been told. The hon. Member for Lewisporte has made a couple of forays into my district to ensure that it is being well represented, etc. So, I, being my brother's keeper, have to be concerned that the Town of Lewisporte is well served by the judiciary, and I would certainly hope that my twin's district would not be on the losing end of court services, as his twin's district, i.e., Green Bay.

Mr. Speaker, one wonders whether or not court services to the southern part of the island are being affected by this. I understand Bell Island, which we know, from the news of late, has been ice-bound a good bit of the time, now receives its court services out of St. John's. Given the transportation system we have and the climate and ice conditions we have, I am sure that causes considerable problems for the citizens of Bell Island in receiving fair treatment at the hands of the courts, simply by reason of our climate and geography.

So, Mr. Speaker, one wonders exactly what this Government is up to. The Premier tries to put it forward as a positive policy that we are going to get like the mainlanders now, we are going to move a notch up the social ladder of life, we are going to have counties. But counties, unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, mean a loss to the Springdales of the world and to the Lewisportes of the world. The problem in a county system of Government, Mr. Speaker, is which community becomes the county seat. And, with all due respect to the communities involved, I would say that the winners in the county system of Government are the Ganders of the world or the Grand Falls-Windsors of the world, and the losers are the Srpingdales of the world and the Lewisportes of the world. Mr. Speaker, I have to be equally concerned about Lewisporte, of course, because my twin represents that particular area, and I would be remiss in my duties if I did not look out for him the way he looks out for me.

Now, Mr. Speaker, all of this boils down to a disguised form of resettlement. Just about every provincial government service that you can talk about is now being moved away from the district level, wherever possible, and moved to the regional or county level. In Green Bay, today, I mean, you have to co-ordinate in a given community outside of Springdale, half-a-dozen people getting sick so that you can share a taxi. If only one person is sick in town on a given day, that person has to hitch-hike to Springdale to get to the welfare office because the taxi is not forthcoming unless she is crammed to the rafters with sick people, Mr. Speaker. Services are being centralized even to the point where the Minister of Social Services is now quickly becoming the Minister of hitch-hikers, and that is relatively sad, when you think that many of the people who have to avail of the taxi services under his department are probably ill and in need of a doctor's care, and unless they can come up with a half-dozen sick people in the town of King's Point on a given Wednesday morning, Mr. Speaker, the sick person has to get out on the highway and hitch-hike to Springdale to see a doctor. Should they be on the south shore of Green Bay, in Robert's Arm or Triton, they are going to have to hitch-hike to Grand Falls, because the hospital in Springdale has been removed. They have to go to the county hospital in the town of Grand Falls-Windsor, another part of the countification of rural Newfoundland, Mr. Speaker.

So, education, the Premier says, along with the court system, and the hospital system is going to be countified. Well, Mr. Speaker, one wonders how that meshes with the denominational system, but we gather that the new Schools Act basically takes away most of the powers of the local denominational boards and puts it in the hands of the Minister or his officials. So, no doubt, the Minister and his officials can operate a county system of education nominally denominational, but again out of the county seat at Grand Falls-Windsor, and no doubt, the great and historic District of Green Bay, along with the great District of Lewisporte, may get a member or two on the county Board of Education for the integrated people, or the county Board of Education for the Catholic people, or the Pentecostal people, as the case may be.

So, Mr. Speaker, this is all part of a scheme that came to a grinding halt when the Liberals lost power in the early 1970s and the ball has been picked up again by the new Premier of our Province, and it continues. We understand that the town of Port aux Basques will be losing its resident judge, come this fall, September, Mr. Speaker. The hon. Member for Port aux Basques is not my twin, but nonetheless, in this hon. House, he is my colleague, and I do have a responsibility to be concerned and look out for his welfare and the welfare of his constituents. I presume the people in Port aux Basques will have to be served from Stephenville or Corner Brook. Heaven help us, Mr. Speaker, if they have to be served from Grand Falls-Windsor.

So, what we see, Mr. Speaker, in this Bill, regarding provincial courts, as we have seen in matters relating to health and education - electrical inspection, we have lost our resident electrical inspection office in Springdale - you name it, provincial government services that used to be delivered at the district level are now being delivered at the regional or county level and the communities, especially those that used to be the capitals of the individual districts, are the big losers, Mr. Speaker.

It was known for years that Springdale, in informal terms, was the capital of Green Bay District. Very quickly under this Administration, Mr. Speaker, the concept of capital of a district

AN HON. MEMBER: Which was the capital of the district?

MR. HEWLETT: Springdale.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HEWLETT: Pilley's Island is the historic mining site in Green Bay, the home town of our esteemed Opposition House Leader, etcetera. A town much to be commended, that gave much to the Dominion of Newfoundland in the 1890s by contributing its mineral wealth when most of the northeast coast was, as yet, unsettled.

But, Mr. Speaker, we in the outlying districts of this Province, are losing a lot under the philosophy of this particular Administration. It is fine if you happen to live in one of the larger growth centres, your Grand Falls-Windsors, your Ganders, probably your Clarenvilles, your Corner Brooks, maybe your Stephenvilles, but, if you happen to be in the smaller areas round about, the concept of a capital of a district has now become irrelevant, Mr. Speaker, because the only capitals around in rural Newfoundland today, are county capitals, and the losers are the towns that used to be the county capitals. The losers are the districts that used to be able to travel to the capital of their district. Now, we will have to travel a far, far greater distance to the capital of their county for services.

In the case of the courts, as we have in this Bill before the House now, the people have to wait for a judge to come out from the town of Grand Falls-Windsor to serve them on circuit for two or three days a week, where they are used to having a resident judge five days a week.

Mr. Speaker, Springdale still has a resident judge, but, as I said, he is in retirement. The Social Work Department in Springdale does not think that is sufficient to serve the needs of the people. I have had it brought to me at a public meeting. I am doing my duty, now, in registering that complaint before this hon. House, and I certainly hope the Minister of Justice will redress this matter, stop this centralization process and do justice, please, Mr. Speaker.

Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wish to rise and speak on this Bill. I have a few remarks concerning the legislation and a few remarks concerning the Provincial Court and the operation of the Provincial Court, in general.

I want to say that there has been a great deal of change and I suppose, on the whole, progress made, certainly in the status of our Provincial Court judges over the last numbers of years, from the point of magistrates, to now, the status of judges, the salary changes that have taken place to provide a very handsome salary for judges, that they do not have to - and, in fact, by this legislation, they are not permitted - engage in other gainful employment if they are given a salary sufficient to support themselves and to obtain a professional income and perform their duties of judging and deliberation without the concerns of having to worry where their next dollar is coming from. They do not have the life-style of the Premier, who apparently cannot afford to live on his salary, according to what he said in the House last week, nevertheless, they have a handsome income.

We have to get improvements incorporated into this legislation, some of which were raised in court, court matters challenging the impartiality of the Provincial Court judges. For example, when Government was permitted to transfer at will, individuals from one place to another, there was a fear, at least on the surface, a possibility that such transfers could be made for political reasons or for reasons having to do with the Justice Department's dissatisfaction with the kinds of decision that they were receiving from a particular judge. They could be punished, it was thought, by being sent to some place less desirable than the place they were, at least in their view. So, these changes have been made and incorporated into the Act. It is not now possible to transfer a judge without that judge's consent. The judge has to ask to be transferred, or there must be the approval of the judicial counsel.

Now, looking at the judicial counsel and its make up, I have not a lot of concern about it, but I do see that the Minister of Justice is entitled to

two persons to the judicial council. I do not know why, out of five persons, the Minister needs to appoint two - we are talking about the role of the judicial council in terms of screening the appointments as to their suitability as judges, to make recommendations with respect to candidates and their ability to act as judges - when we are choosing people for their ability to act as a judge in criminal and civil matters before the provincial court, why the Minister has to appoint two people to screen them and, at the same time, also go ahead and make the appointments from people who are screened from the council. It is not very clear, actually, who makes the appoints. It appears that the Judges' Council would screen all applicants and advise the Minister as to who are suitable candidates. The Minister, presumably, would pick from those persons, in accordance with Section 15, and make recommendations as to who should be the person to be judge of the court, and whether they should approve or disapprove the transfer of a judge.

MR. EFFORD: There is nobody listening.

MR. HARRIS: We hear the Minister of Social Services braying down in the back there, saying nobody is listening, but that is his problem. If he does not want to listen, he can shut up and let others listen.

MR. NOEL: Hear, hear!

MR. HARRIS: I thank the hon. Member for Pleasantville for his support on that point.

We have a Minister of Justice having the power to approve, and make the appointments of judges upon the recommendation of the committee, the judicial council, but the Minister also has two people on it. Maybe the Minister, in his closing remarks, will explain why it is necessary for the Minister to have two people on the judicial council that he appoints. Already sitting on the council is the Chief Judge of the Provincial Court, the Justice of the Supreme Court, nominated by the Chief Justice of the Trial Division, who obviously has no political control whatsoever. The Chief Justice of the Trial Division appoints one person nominated by the benchers of the Law Society. Now, maybe the Minister does not like that, but they have a role to play in the appointment of judges. He does not like the committee they have for the Queen's Council, even, so he is going to change that in another Act. But, in this one, maybe he can tell us why he wants to have two people on the judicial council. The President of the Newfoundland Provincial Judges' Association, well, that seems like a reasonable person to have there. The Chief Justice ex officio shall be on the council, as well. But the Minister has two, and I wonder if he could tell us why? There does not seem to be any reason why he should need people on a committee that is deciding on whether or not people are suitable persons to be judges of a court. These are really decisions having to do with the judicial nature of the office and not with whatever decisions, or whatever qualities or qualifications the Minister of Justice might recommend.

The other duty of the Judicial Council is to take decisions on complaints made to the council, of a judge's behaviour, whether that be a lack of partiality, his behaviour on or off the bench. This is something that would be considered by the Judicial Council, and it is quite appropriate and a very good measure to have that power there, so that the public knows, if it has a complaint about the behaviour of a judge, or a concern of a judge's capability or behaviour as it reflects on his or her judicial office, that a complain can be made to the Judicial Council, who will look into, as the Minister of Justice himself has referred complaints to the Federal Judicial Council. Again, I ask, why it is necessary for the Minister to have two persons nominated by him to be on that council to adjudicate those complaints? Surely, they ought to be adjudicated by individuals, certainly, who are not responsible to the Minister, and no doubt, the Minister's appointees would be responsible to him and answer to him for their appointment and for their reappointment, etc.

I understand there is one change being made to the Judicial Council. Section 18, I think, is being considered by the committee and being considered by the Minister under Section 18 (a). I understand that all applicants for judicial appointments are to be considered by the judicial council, and presumably they will look at all applicants and advise the Minister which of the applicants would be suitable persons to be approved or selected by the Minister as a provincial court judge. When one looks down through the judicial council's assumptions, the only ones who seem to have any bureaucratic side to it are the consideration and proposals for improving the services of the court and the report on the matter to the Minister, and also the review of the report on the matter referred to it by the Minister. So those last two, perhaps the Minister would want to refer matters to a council that he might have some of his appointees on to comment on, but it hardly seems to be necessary because the Minister can get recommendations or advice from anybody within his department.

Section 18(f): to consider proposals for improving the services of the court and report on the matter to the Minister. That too is something that does not need Ministerial appointees to consider on. Surely the judicial council's wisdom on this can be considered by the Minister as well as the representations that others might make or representations that he might seek from others either in his department or otherwise. But it hardly seems necessary, Mr. Speaker, to me to have two persons nominated by the Minister, appointed to that council, and it appears to be unnecessary to do so.

I do think, however, that there have been major improvements in the provincial court system over the last number of years, and I think that is a credit to the work of the Justice Departments over the years in seeing to it that provincial court judges who had been appointed received legal education and received - all of them now, I believe, have law degrees and are - is that correct? I see him nodding over there. I believe they all have law degrees now and have proper legal training in order to carry out their duties. These changes in the legislation, I think, are welcome and in general we would support the legislation before the House.

I do have certain concerns about what is happening under section 13, however, in that the Government has changed the number of districts from fifteen as spelled out in the most recent legislation, and has decided to leave that to the Cabinet to decide from time to time as it sees fit to reduce, change or limit the number of judges around this Province. I have a little concern about that because it keeps it out of public discussion and discussion in this House, and it allows them to do the kind of thing they have already decided to do apparently in Labrador West, and that is to remove a judicial centre, to remove a judge and stationing of a judge in a place like Labrador West. I think this is very important for a number of reasons. Provincial Court Judges play an important role in communities. It is part of - in terms of the judicial system itself, the criminal law, the civil law with the jurisdiction now raised to $3,000 which will bring a lot more work to the provincial courts, in particular in the districts of this Province that are not served by a Supreme Court Judicial Centre. And I would expect, Mr. Speaker, this function of the Provincial Courts will enlarge and expand.

To remove a judge from a place like Labrador West, I think, is taking away part of the sense of community that exists there. They perform other functions under other legislation, under the Child Welfare Act. The provincial court judges have an important role to play. Some might consider it to be administrative, others not, but it is an important role to play and often a provincial court judge is necessary to properly adjudicate a matter under the Child Welfare Act. There is other legislation to which provincial court judges are required to play a role in, in the granting and issuing of subpoenas - I am sorry, the issuing of search warrants, rather. They are necessary to have in place instead of having a decision on a search warrant being made by somebody far, distant away, that it is easier to be made by somebody on the spot who can question the police officers or RCMP officers or whatever the case may be as to the details and necessity of a search warrant in a particular case, and it is very important to have judges on duty in a place, particularly a place like Labrador West. We are dealing with a border community between our Province and Quebec, a large industrial operation at work there in Labrador West with Wabush and IOC a border town and a border area where it is important that our jurisdiction as a Province be maintained in this establishment to ensure that the judicial offices of this Province are represented there at all times. I think that in particular - the other areas which have been mentioned by the Member for Green Bay has mentioned Springdale, there are other centres where this is also a problem, Port aux Basques is another.

But I say specifically about Labrador West, because of its status and its isolation from the rest of this Province, I do not think it is proper and appropriate, to use the Premier's favourite phrase, I do not think it is proper and appropriate to have Labrador West served by a provincial court judge resident in the City of Corner Brook. I just do not think that is appropriate and I think that by changing the legislations to allow the Cabinet to make these decisions behind closed doors for administrative reasons, will not take into account -

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

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Member for St. John's East, but the level of conversations to my left is just getting intolerable and I am unable to hear the hon. Member for St. John's East. I would ask that hon. Members refrain and if they want to carry on meetings, could they go outside.

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

MR. HARRIS: I want to thank the Speaker for bringing this important matter of decorum to the attention of hon. Members Opposite, they may laugh, they may think it is funny but I do not, Mr. Speaker-

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: They may think it is funny, Mr. Speaker, but I do not, it is a very serious matter and this legislation before the House that is depriving the people of Labrador West of proper judicial service is improper and it is not funny and hon. Members should not laugh.

I make these remarks, Mr. Speaker, in the context of saying favourable things about the progress of the provincial court over the last number of years, but I think they have gone too far in taking over control of that court and keeping it to the Cabinet and also using it as one of their further elements of centralization. Centralization of services, centralization of Government, centralization of people.

If this keeps up, Mr. Speaker, we are going to have - anybody who lives outside of a large, large population centre in this Province is not going to have access to Government services and are going to have to put up with travelling to other places or put up with less services than other Newfoundlanders enjoy, and I think that is a very backward step and ought not to take place.

I have to make one comment, Mr. Speaker, on the term of office of the chief provincial court judge; I do not think that a term of office as set out in the Act is undesirable, I think that the ten years for the provincial court judge is sufficient term of office, it may be even too long; a sufficient term of office to provide for independence from an administration of Government, ten years would see two or three or more administrations of Government as sufficient period of independence to see that the judicial council as it operates, the provincial court judges as a group operate within an impartial framework where the chief judge does not have to concern him or herself with being turfed out of office or fail to be re-appointed by the powers that be, by the Minister of the day or by the Government of the day. But it appears here, Mr. Speaker, another example of this Government taking a pre-existing contract if you will, a legislative contract where the person in that office, the holder of that office, the incumbent, has a term of office now which expires upon that person's retirement age and saying that that person's term of office shall now be ten years and it is similar, and the principle of a ten year term of office is not a bad one, but what this Government has done, is taken an existing individual, in a position with a defined term of office, and said we will truncate that, we will cut it off.

It is very similar, Mr. Speaker, to the approach that the President of Treasury Board and the Premier have taken with the public servants of this Province, sign an agreement, enter into an agreement and then when it suits them turn their back on it, tear it up, and legislate it away. They have done the same thing for public servants who they have signed agreements with. They have done the same thing for public servants on pay equity agreements which were signed with honour by Government, and expected to be honoured by all parties. They turned their back on that and legislated that away, too. This is another example of how this particular Government has no concern over individual contracts, and the consequences to individuals of their actions. They are quite satisfied to do these things willy-nilly because it suits them and they do not take these things into consideration.

Mr. Speaker, those are the remarks that I would have on this Bill. I think on the whole it is an improvement and it puts into legislation the realities of the provincial court with its newly educated, or, I suppose, completed the education of the judiciary, a new status of provincial court judge. There was another area of the provincial court that I would like to speak to, and perhaps the Minister can speak to this as well, that is the area of the youth court. The provincial court judges, of course, have the responsibility for the administration of the Young Offenders Act. That was intended, Mr. Speaker, to be a piece of legislation that would treat young offenders in a separate forum, as it were, under a separate set of laws and hopefully a separate judicial aura, if you will, a different atmosphere of justice for young offenders. The whole attitude and approach to young offenders was to be different and part of that plan was to have separate youth courts. Now, obviously we cannot have separate youth court judges all over this Province, but what we do have is one youth court judge in St. John's, but we do not really have facilities that adequately separate the youth court from the other provincial court facilities down at Atlantic Place. The people who are coming into youth court are mingled with all the other attendees at court. Even though it is a court that is held in private their exposure to the media and to the court process is open. It should be a more separate and private space to properly carry out the functions under the Young Offenders Act. I think some moves are being made in that regard and perhaps the Minister can tell us in his closing remarks what those moves are and whether he has any ideas about special provisions for a youth court when it operates in other areas of the Province by provincial court judges.

Those are my remarks, Mr. Speaker, and I thank those Members from the side opposite who did take the time to listen, and castigate those who managed to talk through my remarks.

Thank you, very much.

MR. SPEAKER: If the hon. Minister of Justice speaks now he closes debate.

The hon. the Minister of Justice.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My horoscope today said it would be a red-letter day but I certainly did not anticipate this endorsement from my colleagues, and for that, I thank them. I will attempt to deal with the aspects regarding the Bill raised by the hon. Members opposite, perhaps in the reverse order of Members speaking.

Perhaps I could start by noting for our Member for St. John's East that while he was speaking, as were the earlier Members, I was doing something else, as well as listening to them. And I came across a quote from The Merchant of Venice, Act III, scene iv, where Portia is speaking. And, of course, those who know the plot will remember that, in that, they dress up as men. And they are debating in what manner they should act, having acquired the attire of a young man, and to what extent they should do things that young men do. And they say a number of things. But the last three lines of the quote I have here commend themselves to the hon. Member for St. John's East. Portia, speaking, says: "I have within my mind/A thousand raw tricks of these bragging Jacks/Which I will practice."

Now, Mr. Speaker, I do not give that any particular context, nor do I suggest that the hon. Member is bragging, but perhaps in his day-to-day life he might consider the comment that commended itself at this particular point in time.

The hon. Member raises a few comments. He first of all questions whether or not in Section 16, the Minister should appoint any person, and the reason for it. It has been tradition for quite some time to have Ministerial appointees on all types of councils. The Judicial Council under the Provincial Court Act, in fact, has less Ministerial appointees than most other independent arbitral bodies. As the Member well knows, those that are under the Labour Relations Act, Workers' Compensation Act, are entirely appointed by the Departments concerned and have, entirely, Government representatives on them.

In this case, only one-third of the appointees are there and, in my view, that is proper, as it represents the interests of the people of the Province, as a whole, and not specific groups such as the Law Society and the judges, themselves, who are represented. He says that makes an issue about the complaints being reviewed, but I would point out to him that the authority under Section 18 is much broader than that. It will also advise on judicial appointments, will approve and disprove transfers, prepare a code of ethics for judges, and so forth. And I think that a lay input into that process is important and, of those members, some will be lay people.

The term of office of the chief judge, ten years - I am glad to see that the hon. Member agrees with that. I note the Member for Humber East has some concerns. That is a provision that I think is defensible. It only applies to the chief judge of the Provincial Court. And, of course, in making such an appointment, Cabinet would not know the particular talents of administration in that particular individual. If it should transpire that the individual is lacking, then, of course, there is an end in sight and that person will be replaced at the end of the ten-year term. It is a provision that was brought in in New Brunswick. I discussed it with the chief judge and he, Chief Judge Luther, has no problem with that, and, in fact, is in favour of it. So, to the extent that arguments have been made, they have been considered and they have been discounted prior to the Act being brought forward.

I see it in no way hampering the independence of the Court and I believe that the Provincial Court Act we have here is one that really addresses the whole question of the independence of the Court and will add to the maturity of that body which has now, as the hon. Member alluded to, acquired pretty well all judges who have law school degrees.

The Member makes a point about youth courts. I can frankly say that in the rest of the Province there is not sufficient demand to constitute youth courts in any particular area. I think courts deal with it by setting aside a day, or a portion of a day a week, to deal with youth matters. As of this point in time, the demand outside the St. John's area is not sufficient to justify a youth court. I believe that to be his point.

With respect to the other Members, the Member for Harbour Main - well, let me deal with the Member for Menihek and the Member for Green Bay, who expressed concern about the judges in their area. The Member for Green Bay, who is not present, had spoken immediately before the Member for St. John's East, and I will continue with comments to him. I would first of all suggest to this Chamber -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I wonder if the hon. Member could take his seat?

I want to ask the hon. Member for Kilbride if he could remove the display or the exhibit that he has on his desk? The rules do not permit that kind of display or exhibit in our House.

AN HON. MEMBER: Do not be so silly, boy!

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair could only see the display from the inside, so I ask the hon. Member to remove it.

The hon. the Minister of Justice.

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am sorry the hon. Member for Green Bay is not here to hear the comments I have to make. He said that Lewisporte was twinned with Green Bay by the Liberal Party and he, in turn, had been twinned with Lewisporte by the Conservative Party. Obviously, the game that the Liberal Party accorded to Green Bay was not returned by the Conservative Party in doing the honours for Lewisporte.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DICKS: It seems that Lewisporte received dross, whereas Green Bay received a golden `penney'. I think the Members of the Chamber will acknowledge that the best person to determine the needs of the provincial court and where judges should be assigned is the chief judge of the provincial court. Both in Menihek and in Springdale, and in Wabush where the judge was stationed, it was determined by Chief Judge Luther that there was approximately two weeks work there per month. It was not a Government decision as to where judges should be located or assigned. Chief Judge Luther came forward and indicated that he would like to re-assign judges from these areas to busier areas and do these on circuit. I say first of all that a circuit system is nothing new to the Province. It has been the case in the Supreme Court for many years and still exists, to some extent. It is also the case with the provincial court, as Members know, in Springdale and the West Coast, judges are sent on circuit to service our rural areas. Chief Justice Luther made the re-assignments himself, made a persuasive case for it, and I suggest to both Members, if they have concerns, that they be taken up with the chief judge of the provincial court, who has considered those Members.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DICKS: I say to hon. Members opposite that the whole nature of assigning judges and determining where they should be located is, in my view, not a matter that should be determined by the political agenda of any Government, including the previous Government, when they were in power. If we accept the principle that the provincial court is to operate independent of Government, then it should be free to make those allocations as it sees fit. It may result in political consequence in our individual districts, but that, Mr. Speaker, is the case of an independent judiciary. I would suggest as well, Mr. Speaker, that the hon. Members were referring to the current Act, which is the Bill before this House, and not the current Act which is in effect, and I suggest to them that if it is done properly, that politicians, be it the Minister of Justice, or elsewhere in this Government, should not try to interfere with the jurisdiction of the provincial court and its independence, as I

(inaudible) previous Government did from time to time.

As regards Holyrood, Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that all that has happened in Holyrood, as the public well knows, no judge has been transferred out of Holyrood. It was determined that it was no longer necessary to hold a circuit in Holyrood, but to call the Members in St. John's, or the matters in St. John's.

I say with due respect to the Member in Harbour Main, that 500 traffic tickets per month is a very, very scanty bird. Most courts dispose of those many on a traffic day once a week. So I would suggest to him that is not indicative of any unbearable workload for the court. Again, the workload was assessed by the Chief Judge of the Provincial Court and it was at his request, I know that our concurrence was requested to these changes, and we were not in a position to disagree with his conclusions, nor did we.

I also should indicate that I met with Members of the Bar from the whole area and they concur with that decision and did not question it. The other thing I should mention is about a letter from the community of Holyrood. I am not aware of it, but I will check when I get back to the office. The procedure is that where matters come it from a particular community they are referred to the individual concerned. If a letter did come it, it may have been referred to either Mr. Kent, who is our ADM in charge of financial administration and also in charge of policing the various matters, has a great deal of liaison with the Provincial Court, as well, on his financial matters, and may have gone to Chief Justice Luther. But I will certainly look up the letter. If there is information they were requesting, I would hope by now that it is dealt with. It is not one with which I am familiar as having come in, but I certainly will check it out.

So, Mr. Speaker, the whole point of this in dealing with this Bill is not to deal with economics or to look at it in any other manner, but to see this as a General Justice Bill that is intended to make the independence of the Provincial Court a reality and not a mere nominal matter in this Province. The consequence is that there will be decisions made by that court, at its own behest, with which hon. Members in this Chamber may like to differ, but I suggest to hon. Members that the benefit of having an independent judiciary is certainly preferable to continuing to rule it from Confederation Building, as may have been the case in the distant past. So, Mr. Speaker, this Bill commends itself for these reasons.

Now, I would like to turn to the hon. the Member for Humber East, who made some comments. I must say that I miss the acting justice critic, the Opposition House Leader, who has done such a commendable job in her absence. I had thought the appointment was to be made permanent, nevertheless, I see the hon. Member for St. John's East is back in the traces today - or rather from Humber - is back in the traces today.

I addressed briefly the matter of the term of the incumbent, Chief Judge Luther. It was indicated to him that this would be the case and he agrees with it, so I see no reason to pursue the matter further. In point of principle, it is a good measure. She brought up several acts that have been changed. The PUB Act, where a whole PUB Act was brought in and said the consumer advocate was fired. That is a mistake on the record. There was no consumer advocate. Unfortunately the previous government had seen fit to appoint a consumer representative to sit in a quasi-judicial capacity, and that, with all due respect, was a mistake in law. So the consumer representative was discontinued.

She mentions the Ombudsman's Act and the Auditor General's Act. Mr. Speaker, if we accept her basic premise that you should never change an act because there is an incumbent, then what you would do is really cripple the right of this House of Assembly to consider more and better legislation to deal with certain areas. And that would include public utilities, ombudsmans, and auditor generals. Two of these three positions still remain in the nature, and I suggest to her that it is an incident of law that when you bring in a new act that the boards are thereby up for reappointment. In these cases, the PUB, we did reappoint several of the members. In fact, two of the three members we appointed were members who were there previously of the three.

So as far as the other acts, I was disappointed with her approach to this. Justice bills should not be used as the occasion for editorializing about other Government decisions and it is to deal with points in principle at second reading. As well, I take exception to the fact that she has raised prospective amendments here in second reading when they are really a matter for Committee of the Whole. Certainly, rather than deal with them at this point, I will do so at the appropriate point. But I suggest to her in future that in considering what she says at second reading that she try to deal with it in the proper manner.

She mentions Clause 13, eliminating districts and so forth like that. That is certainly not the case. The whole point of having Clause 13 in here which gives an area in which a judge should live, 70 kilometers, is recognition of the fact that in areas of our Province, such as the court that was at Woody Point, which serves the whole of the northern peninsula, so why should the judge not live in Rocky Harbour? So it is just a matter of determining what a proper commuting distance would be. Previously it was looked at - and the current Act I think may have had some provision in that respect - and I do not think that 70 kilometers, given the large areas that our courts serve, say on the Burin peninsula, is an unreasonable area.

The rest of the Member's points were basically editorializing . All of these have been considered by the appropriate bodies concerned. The Provincial Court Act is looked forward to, I may say, with great enthusiasm by the provincial court judges. And if there is one matter I am being continually pressured on by the judges of provincial court, is that this Act pass. Because they see it as a substantial and significant improvement on the laws that now exist. And they are rather disappointed that something was not done sooner by previous Governments, nevertheless I can assure all hon. Members that the judges are very enthused about this and they look forward to it and I commend it to them for passage.

Just in closing, Mr. Speaker, I would like to say that the points that the Members have raised are not insignificant ones; I do not mean to belittle them by raising them here, but I think that in respect to those Members who raised individual concerns with regard to their district, I would just like to say that what you are considering in a bill is a matter of general principle and if the principles here are wrong, then fine, they should be addressed in Committee of the Whole, if the principles are acceptable, how it impacts on our individual districts should not deter us from doing the correct thing. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

On motion, a Bill, "An Act To Revise The Law Respecting The Provincial Court", (Bill No. 2) read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House on tomorrow.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a couple of items of a housekeeping nature. First of all, we intend to continue on with another couple of pieces of Justice legislation tomorrow, so that is what I intend to call; secondly, the Estimates Committee meetings, I believe this evening in the House at seven o'clock. There is a meeting of the Government Services Committee, they are going to deal with Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

There are two other meetings that may be scheduled; I believe there is one for Wednesday morning in the House, The Resource Committee, Department of Development and I believe the other committee may have another meeting scheduled but I am not aware of it, so, the immediate -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: Yes. The immediate meeting is the one tonight in the House, Government Services Committee, Municipal and Provincial Affairs. Also, I would like to advise hon. Members that the Legislative Review Committee meeting scheduled for tomorrow morning has been postponed until Thursday morning here in the House - or, where do you have your meetings?

AN HON. MEMBER: Here in the House.

MR. BAKER: Here in the House.

Mr. Speaker, I move that the House at its rising do adjourn until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, and that this House do now adjourn.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, just one question to the Government House Leader. If perchance, and I have no idea that it would, but, if perchance we might move tomorrow with haste on the two justice bills, just if perchance, it may not, it might go for two weeks, if perchance, what is the next item he would propose to call, would it be perhaps, the Uniform Pensions Act or -

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

MR. BAKER: Do we agree to stop the clock?

Bills 3 and 4, these are the two Justice Bills, if we finish that we could either move to the Loan Bill, Bill No. 23. I am not quite ready to go with the other one yet so we will probably move to the Loan Bill.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, for planning purposes then can we agree to go to the Loan Bill afterwards so there is no confusion whenever it is? Unless we do not finish tomorrow, then if we move into Thursday it is quite likely that you will be calling another piece of business on Thursday, possibly, I suppose, the amalgamation business.

On motion, the House at its rising adjourned until tomorrow, Tuesday, May 14, 1990 at 2:00 p.m.