May 24, 1991               HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS                 Vol. XLI  No. 56


The House met at 9:00 a.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

Statements by Ministers. Oral Questions.

MS VERGE: Mr. Speaker.

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

MS VERGE: Mr. Speaker, I believe the Minister of Justice was intending to make a statement to the House of Assembly this morning. Perhaps he did not hear Your Honour's call for Ministerial Statements.

MR. SPEAKER: Do hon. members want to revert to Statements? I said it on two occasions.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Agreed.

Statements by Ministers

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

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thought I rose at the point you said `Admit strangers,' actually, and I was listening after that but I did not hear you. I appreciate your intervening.

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. the Member for Humber East said, there is a statement I wish to make, which I think is of some importance.

I wish to advise the Members of this Honourable House of a Cabinet decision made yesterday concerning the receipt and release of the Report of the Hughes Royal Commission of Enquiry. It is anticipated that the Report will be presented to Government on Friday, May 31, 1991 by Mr. Justice Samuel Hughes, the Commissioner. This Report will be accepted on behalf of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council by the hon. the President of Treasury Board, Winston Baker, the hon. John Efford, Minister of Social Services, and myself, as Attorney General.

Upon receipt, one copy of the Report will be given to myself and the Minister of Social Services so that the recommendations may be reviewed and any immediate action required, taken. All remaining copies of the Report will be held by the Clerk of the Executive Council.

As Members of this hon. House are no doubt aware, there are criminal trials pending. It has been decided by Cabinet that the Report will not be circulated to other Members of Cabinet, the Executive of Government Departments or the general public, until the criminal trials have been completed. This action has been taken following advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr. Colin Flynn, in order to protect the integrity of the criminal charges and ensure that the process of justice is not in any way impeded in the pending criminal trials.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Minister has just announced that the Cabinet decided in secret, to cover up a Report that was commissioned to probe a cover-up by public authorities in the mid-1970s. Mr. Speaker, this astonishing announcement is bound to worsen public skepticism in Government and in the legal system.

In making the statement, Mr. Speaker, the Minister gave no indication that he has even read the Report. He says he expects to receive the Report next Friday. Is it ever possible, Mr. Speaker, that this decision could have been made by the Cabinet without having full knowledge of the facts? Mr. Speaker, neither did the Minister indicate in his statement, that Mr. Justice Hughes, the Commissioner, recommended that the Report be kept secret for an indefinite period of time.

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Justice Hughes is a senior justice, who is well aware of the requirement for a fair criminal trial, who is sensitive to the rights of accused people. The Commissioner's mandate was not to speculate on the liability, or the guilt or innocence of the people who are charged with criminal offenses. The mandate was to critically examine the way the police, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Social Services responded, or failed to respond, to complaints in the mid-1970s.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Questions

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have questions for the Premier about the Constitution. Has the Premier decided that it is no longer acceptable for him, alone, in patriarchal fashion, to state Newfoundland and Labrador's constitutional positions? Is he now prepared to include in the current process of Canadian constitutional reform, the Members of the House of Assembly and the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador? Is he finally prepared to set up a legislative committee on constitutional reform or, possibly, a task force comprising elected representatives and unelected citizens?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker, I have not now decided that it is no longer acceptable for me to manage the situation in a patriarchal manner for the simple reason that I never decided that it was in the first place, so the question is rather stupid and silly.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Does the Premier feel he can get away much longer with faulting other governments and other First Ministers for shutting the public out of their processes of constitutional reform without himself taking the initiative of opening up his process to the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador? Will the Premier finally set up a legislative committee, or a task force on constitutional reform and mandate that representative group to hold public hearings in this Province to get the views of our citizens about the stands Newfoundland and Labrador should be taking?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, it has always been my position, and it remains my position, that it should be opened up to the people of Canada, as a whole, in which Newfoundland should participate, along with everybody else. Mr. Speaker, I have explained, and have had the explanation accepted by virtually everybody except those who have fixed positions and will not alter them, that Newfoundland adopted this position of not putting in place a Newfoundland committee for a primary reason. The objective is to try to get the people in the different parts of this country to come together and moderate their positions so as to achieve a national consensus. It is my personal judgement - and it has been affirmed by the Government, by the Party on this side of the House, and by a great many other people to whom I have spoken about it - that if you put in place individual provincial commissions or committees, what you tend to do is build a hardened position for each respective province, and that makes it more difficult to achieve a national consensus. Now, I would think it fairly sensible and logical, that any reasonable person, being reasonably objective, might conclude that that is not an unreasonable position.

Now I discussed this the other day with Mr. Clark when I met with him. We talked about the national process that was being used, whether it should be a constituent assembly, and the arguments for a national constituent assembly, or another process that would involve a federal parliamentary commission. And while people might readily come to a conclusion that a constituent assembly may be best for some purposes, they may think it may not be best for the other.

It is probable, based on the comments I have heard so far, that the Federal Government will not go with a constituent assembly, that they will proceed with another process, namely a federal parliamentary commission; that, in my judgement, would be the wrong process, but that is only my judgement. If the national Government and other provinces agree to that kind of a process, Newfoundland will participate.

Now, if we end up going definitely with that kind of a process and it becomes necessary, because of that process, to put in place a committee of this Legislature, the Government will be asked to take steps to initiate that action, and I have no doubt the Government would come to the House and ask that such a process be put in place. But, if we are going to go with a national constituent assembly, if enough pressure develops for it and the Federal Government makes what I believe would be the right decision in going with such an assembly, then we would have a different approach. I would expect there would be Members from both sides of the Legislature chosen by this Legislature to participate in it, and I would certainly hope that there would be Newfoundlanders at large, elected directly to it, to participate in it, so that there could be direct democratic participation.

Now, frankly, I think that is the best process, but until it is decided, I do not see any point, whatsoever, in creating a committee of this House to develop a hard and fixed position for Newfoundland and narrow the abilities to develop a national consensus.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. There is one man in this Province who has a hard and fixed position on the constitution and I am looking right at him.

Mr. Speaker, the Federal Government has already announced its intention to establish a parliamentary committee on constitutional reform and to have that parliamentary committee visit each province this fall to meet with parallel provincial legislative committees or task forces. Now is the Premier of our Province going to wait until the last minute to set up some kind of committee here without giving our committee a chance to consult with our citizens? Is that what the Premier is intending to do?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I will explain my hard and fixed position to which the hon. Member referred before dealing with them. My hard and fixed position to which the hon. Member refers is to make sure that we put in place a system that provides for the fair hearing of all the Canadian people and for balanced treatment of people in all parts of Canada that Newfoundland will express its opinion in a sound and objective way, and if the people of the nation decide to go a different route than that recommended by Newfoundland we will participate with the rest of the country, but we will not be cowed into taking a position that we believe is not right for this Province merely because the national government or some other groups in the country want to pressure us. That is our hard and fixed position, Mr. Speaker, and it will remain so.

Secondly, Mr. Speaker, on the primary part of her question, will we wait until the last minute? No, we will not wait until the last minute, but neither will we rush at a decision before it is appropriate to make it.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. POWER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My questions are for the Minister of Health today. Every day in this Province we try to get some answers from the Minister of Health about what is happening to our health care system. Earlier this week and since then we have received some information about the cancellation of the three pre-natal clinics that were in Grand Falls, Gander and Mount Pearl. I would like to ask the Minister: isn't he aware that the pre-natal care has been more responsible than any other factor for the reduction in infant deaths and the prevention of a host of diseases and disabilities to which infants are highly susceptible if mothers are not able to obtain proper pre-natal care? Will the Minister please inform us if he agrees that these pre-natal clinics are a significant part of the health care system in the idea of prevention or is he only going to solve problems when they arise in the form of illnesses? Isn't prevention an important part of the health care system?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, anyone who has any knowledge of health care would have to agree that prevention is, indeed, a major part of the health care system. As a matter of fact all the major strides in health care over the years was done by prevention, developing a vaccine for polio. Prevention, of course, everyone accepts that, however this particular program that the hon. Member has tied his party to was attended to about 15 to 30 per cent of the pregnant women of this Province. Fifteen to 30 per cent of the women were taking advantage of it. In many cases it was found, Mr. Speaker, that the groups of people who probably needed it best in medical terms were not taking advantage of the program. So now in various parts of the Province we have decided to target groups which specifically need it: the adolescent woman who is pregnant, some low income people, and people who have special medical risks which would need this pre-natal care, Mr. Speaker. So, there was not a case of an overwhelming 100 per cent attendance and every pregnant woman rushed in to have those pre-natal classes. The whole issue is one of education and most women realize the educational process can be dealt with in other ways than pre-natal classes.

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

MR. POWER: Mr. Speaker, it is hard to believe that the Minister said that prevention is important, and that 30 per cent to 40 per cent of women who are pregnant might have used the service, and yet they are going to cancel the service because it is good and it is only getting to the 30 per cent or 40 per cent. Should we also close up our education system because only 50 per cent or 60 per cent of the people graduate? Is that the logic behind this rationale of closing down the pre-natal clinics?

Mr. Speaker, I would like the Minister to give me a straight answer: How much money is the Government saving by cancelling these pre-natal clinics? Even more importantly, does he have any estimate of the cost to the health care system if these pre-natal clinics are not available to even those 30 per cent or 40 per cent of the pregnant women in the Province who might have used them? How much are you saving?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, two things I have to address in the preamble to the question. I said 15 per cent to 30 per cent, not 30 per cent to 40 per cent. In the next supplementary the hon. Member will probably have it up to 50 per cent to 70 per cent. I said, 15 per cent to 30 per cent, and let the records show that.

The service is not cancelled, Mr. Speaker, that is another conclusion the hon. Member is jumping to. The system is simply altered. We are now targeting the groups who need this program most. How much money is being saved, Mr. Speaker? I do not have the slightest notion how much is saved because money is not an issue in this. This is simply reorganization in the way of presentation of health delivery in this Province. It should have been done and would have been done if we had had money flowing out through our ears, Mr. Speaker. It was a program which was not being delivered effectively and properly and we have made changes to it. Let hon. Members opposite watch and they will see other progressive changes made by this Government over the years as we adapt the medical care, the hospital system, to the realities. We are not going to keep hospitals open just because they have been there for a 100 years and all the demographics have changed. We are going to change with the times or else, Mr. Speaker, we will lose the health care system, as hon. Members opposite almost did. We got here just in the nick of time to save it and adapt it to the next century, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. POWER: Mr. Speaker, I am surprised the Minister is not going to say that he is doing something to expand the pre-natal programmes which are very essential to some women in this Province at least.

Will the Minister now confirm that this progressive approach he is talking about in health care in effect is going to lead to user pay for these types of services? And even in fact in central Newfoundland there may be privatization of that service where people are going to get charged? Is this his way to make sure that programme is accessible to all those people he mentioned earlier, the people who should benefit from the programme but are not taking advantage of it, is to charge those people?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is probably aware that two of the nurses who were laid off in Gander have indeed started a private consulting firm and they are operating on a fee for service. And people who want to have prenatal classes, men or women - and men and women do take part in those classes - they can have them for a fee for service.

However the targeted group - the adolescents and some of the low income people and the special medical risks - these services are made available free of cost by the Government of this Province, notwithstanding the pressure we are receiving from his buddies in Ottawa who have taken away the established programme funding. Notwithstanding all that we are making this programme available to the people who need it and I am proud of that.

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

MR. HEARN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Minister responsible for Social Services. Some time ago the Member for Fogo brought to the Minister's attention problems being caused by cuts to travel being paid to those who qualify. I wonder if the Minister has reviewed these regulations and if he has made any changes?

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

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, when we brought in the policy on transportation we realized that it was a totally new policy, in fact, not a new policy, it is the first policy that was ever brought in to the Department of Social Services on transportation. And it had to deal with the tremendous amount of money that we were spending on a yearly basis, some $5 million across the Province with no tenders called, nobody asking for prices - inter-district travel. When I say "inter-district" I mean within the social services district, not the political district. People wanting to go to (Inaudible). So it was a major new policy and you have some 435 social workers across the Province and FAO offices interpreting on a day-to-day basis a new policy, with different interpretations.

So we have asked the regional managers to meet with each district office across the Province and bring in all the staff and go over the policy and make sure that each social worker understands the full interpretation of each new policy that we brought in affecting transportation.

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

MR. HEARN: Mr. Speaker, I ask the Minister: does he realize that the policy is having a very detrimental affect, especially on those who have to travel from rural districts to St. John's for such things as medical attention or therapy, whatever? And does he realize that his people apparently do not understand the implications (Inaudible) new policy? Because they are just saying to them: look, all we can say to you is to complain to somebody on high. So if they complain to the Minister will the Minister guarantee that some of these wrongs will be righted?

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

MR. EFFORD: That is one interpretation by the hon. Member for St. Mary's and it is not a very correct or exact interpretation. Very clearly nobody requesting medical transportation, in need of medical transportation, or requesting it, or who does not have the means of paying who will be refused by the Department of Social Services. No social worker should refuse. The interpretation of the policy first (Inaudible) that clearly happened, we understand that. And that is what I very clearly said.

What we are saying is that if anybody lives within a particular community and there is a doctor's office there, what happened in the past was, somebody would have a doctor in a community twenty miles away or whatever and they would get transportation. We are saying that you must use the nearest medical service. That is not unfair. If a person needs to go a hospital and they need transportation it is being given by the Department of Social Services. What we are doing, we are eliminating special taxis. Where one person will call up the Department of Social Services and get a special taxi, sometimes costing as much as $200 and $300. It is not necessary, except in the case of an emergency. In an emergency, use an ambulance. If members of this House of Assembly needed to go to a hospital, they would not pay $200 or $300, they would use the cheapest rate; you would take your own vehicle or be co-ordinated through the regular taxi route, and that is what the Department is doing. We are not throwing away money, we are, in the best possible way, giving service to the people who need it, and nobody is being refused.

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

MR. HEARN: There is an old saying, there is an exception to every rule. I ask the Minister, in light of his statement that one person will not receive direct assistance to get a taxi, or whatever, what would the Minister tell the mother of a child who has had a serious operation on the muscles and sinews of the legs, so that the child will be able to walk properly from now on, and it is mandatory that the child take daily therapy? The amount being offered for the 90 kilometre distance, or 180 kilometre return, is $24.00, approximately fifteen cents a kilometre. The parents are unable to find anybody who will take the child on a regular basis for fifteen cents a kilometre, which is much less than the Minister takes to drive back and forth to work every day. What does the Minister tell a person like that, who is unable to find transportation, due to the cuts from $45.00 to $25.00? What is that person supposed to do?

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

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, if an individual, or a member of the family, had his own car, he would be given the cost of going back and forth to that hospital, or the medical service, whether it be ninety kilometres, one hundred kilometres, two hundred kilometres, or whatever. Now, if any person in the Province does not have a means of transportation, the Department of Social Services will provide that transportation, regardless of the cost.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes, on a final supplementary.

MR. HEARN: The Minister says, if the person has a car. Let me ask the Minister: If the family, a large family, has one antiquated vehicle that must be used to take the father to work so he can support the family, how, then, can somebody else, e.g., a mother who does not drive, take the child to the hospital on a daily basis? Are you suggesting that the father give up his job? It is extremely hard to find a job in this Province, since this Government took over.

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

MR. EFFORD: I am surprised at the hon. Member, because if the father were working, they would not be on social services.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Obviously, hon. gentlemen opposite find it amusing that people cannot afford to go for medical treatment in this Province today.

My question is to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. Two days ago, three security employees at the Grand Bank court house received layoff notices. This brings the total to five security, or public works employees who have received layoff notices since the Government announced cutbacks. In light of the economic situation in the town of Grand Bank, would the Minister reconsider on those layoff notices to those people?

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

MR. GILBERT: Mr. Speaker, the gentleman from Grand Bank is well aware that the program put in place by his Government was to automate the security and fire protection systems in the various government buildings and facilities throughout the Province, and we have continued it. This is the third year, and we are in the process, this year, of going into the trade schools throughout the Province with the equipment for security and fire protection. The program is there, and we feel that this is the most efficient and effective way to go. We will not be making any changes in it.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Let me say to the Minister, there is no automated system in place in either the Grand Bank Court House or the Seaman's Museum at Grand Bank. There is none in place. I ask the Minister, with three security employees left in place now to look after both the Grand Bank Court House and the Seaman's Museum, where there are many valuable artifacts, and so on, belonging to the Province and the people, how does the Minister propose to provide security for two of those facilities with three employees?

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

MR. GILBERT: As I indicated, we are now in the process of installing the security equipment in the museum and the trade school in Grand Bank. The people are receiving their notice. As the work will be completed over the summer months, we will be making adequate provisions for protection while the transition is being completed. Tell him not to fear, we will look after the Province.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Grand Bank on a supplementary.

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you again, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to thank the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation for providing Grand Bank with a trades school since the House started at nine o'clock this morning. I was asking about the Court House and the Seaman's Museum. It is obvious, Mr. Speaker, he really knows what is going on, to talk about trade schools when we are talking about a court house and a seaman's museum which does not yet have an automated system.

I would like to go to the Premier on a supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

I am sure the Premier is aware that since his Government took office, particularly during the last twelve months, there have been fifty-seven provincial government employees in the town of Grand bank who have lost their jobs with the hospital, the group home that the Minister is closing down and the security situation with the two facilities. The fish plant is due to close next Friday, which will bring the town to its economic knees.

In light of that, I ask the Premier, Would the Government reconsider the laying off of those security employees, because every job is going to be so important to a town that is about to be devastated within a week or so?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the Government is as concerned as I know the hon. Member is about the economic situation in Grand Bank. The decisions we had to make, were made on a sound basis, and were applicable throughout the Province. They were not made on the basis of giving a preferential or a priority position to any community for any particular reason.

In terms of the hospital, that was a decision, as the hon. Member is fully aware, that ought to have been made when his Government was in power, and was a consequence of a decision to build a regional medical facility on the Burin Peninsula. So, we had to do that which was right, because the former Government failed.

When the fish plant closure was announced for Grand Bank, Government took that into account, and together with all the other communities that are affected, we provided the money, some $14 million, to ensure that the four communities affected would have the fish plants operating for a prolonged period that would allow for time to try to find alternatives. That is the measure of the concern of this Government for the whole community of Grand Bank, and that concern remains.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we cannot solve the problems of Grand Bank by giving three people jobs, who by normal provincial standards of applying a fair and balanced test to everybody in the Province, would not be given those jobs; that cannot solve the basic problems of Grand Bank. We have to focus in another direction, and I am sure we will, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, my question, to the Minister of Environment and Lands, is a follow-up to my question of yesterday. No doubt, the Minister will, by now, know the results of tests that were done on the Come by Chance Oil Refinery. Perhaps he can confirm the information I was given, that tests performed in the community of Sunnyside demonstrated a level of hydrogen sulfide, apparently, almost 100 times the recommended standard for community living. Can the Minister tell the House the results of the tests that were done, and can he assure the people of Sunnyside and the surrounding area that they will not be in danger from these emissions?

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

MR. KELLAND: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have not had the opportunity to do a follow-up on the hon. Member's questions, as I indicated yesterday, but I will undertake to get all the information he requires and make it available as soon as possible.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, the House was advised, and the Minister was advised, as of yesterday, that these emissions were continuing and, in fact, I understand that Department of Health officials were out to Arnold's Cove, yesterday. What is the Minister waiting for? Is he waiting for people's health to be affected before he can respond and find out what is going on in his own department, while people are complaining about these emissions?

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

MR. KELLAND: Mr. Speaker, I have no intention of involving myself in a political charade with the hon. the Member for St. John's East. I undertook to get the information for him. I am not here to play political games. As soon as I get that information, I will make it readily available to him. I might mention to him now, that my colleague the hon. the Minister of Health, has some information on the subject, if he cares to address a supplementary in that direction.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to know, and `as soon as possible' is not really good enough, if the people of Arnold's Cove are still suffering.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: How about giving us a definite time when he thinks it will be possible for him to know what is going on in his own department? Perhaps the Minister of Health can tell us what the results of these public health studies are, so at least the people of Arnold's Cove and Sunnyside will have some information they can rely on.

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

MR. KELLAND: There is some information I have not had the opportunity to read yet, Mr. Speaker, but I will, as soon as possible. I suggest, if the hon. Member would like to come to my office immediately after the House closes, I would give him whatever information is available, if he cannot wait until Monday.

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

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

I have a question for the President of Treasury Board.

The President of Treasury Board is no doubt aware that the Allied Health Workers, this morning, took the drastic step of strike action. I am sure, if he drove along the Parkway today, he would see that all of these people, for the first time in the history of their organization, had to take the drastic step of strike action.

The professional people, the people we desperately need in our hospital systems to make them work properly, are out on the street. Mr. Speaker, what is the Minister's impression of the outstanding issues which remain in the dispute between the Allied Health Workers and the Hospital Board?

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I understand that the AHP has withdrawn services for one day and that this is the day. Secondly, Members will recall my answer to similar questions yesterday, posed by the Opposition House Leader, where I indicated that, up to a day-and-a-half or two days ago, the issue was money. I outlined that to the House yesterday, but I understand now, that the issue may not be money, it may be simply a study, as put by the Opposition House Leader.

However, the details were not as simple as was indicated yesterday; there were several items relating to the nature of the study that had to be discussed and analyzed and that was being done yesterday, when the questions were being asked, and should be completed some time today. So, things are progressing, and I suppose, sometime this morning, or this afternoon, as soon as the papers are finalized, something will be presented to the negotiators for AHP. The issue, right now, I am happy to report, is not money, it is a study that is now being discussed with AHP.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

Before moving on to other routine business, on behalf of hon. Members I would like to welcome to the public galleries today 29 Grade V students from St. Lawrence School, Portugal Cove accompanied by their teachers, Mr. Hiscock and Mrs. Warren, and Ms. Green.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Also, I would like to welcome to the public galleries nineteen levels 1 to 3 students from the Glovertown high school, Glovertown. Also with them are nineteen students from Quebec and they are accompanied by their teachers, Sherman Wiseman and Pierre Belanger.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, yesterday in the House the hon. Member for Grand Bank raised some questions concerning the leasing of the facility owned by the Province situated in Port de Grave. I want this morning to table some of the relevant documents to that lease and at the same time explain what the situation is. The Marine Service Centre in Port de Grave is a community stage facility as opposed to the other marine service Centres with lifts and storage capabilities. For some time the department has considered eliminating Port de Grave facility from the Marine Service Centre Program, and this was recently confirmed, Mr. Speaker, by a recommendation contained in a consultants report on a review of the Marine Service Centre Program, I believe they call themselves Coastal Associates was commissioned by the Government to undertake a study of the Marine Service Centre Program, and in that study they recommended that there was no further use for the Port de Grave facility and recommended that it be disposed of.

During the 1991-92 budget exercise the department decided to terminate the position of manager of that centre and to close out the operations. And again given the fact that it is only six miles actually from the major centre in Harbour Grace, certainly there was no need for a continuation of it or an extension on it. The department discussed alternative uses of the building with the local fisherman's committee. In addition a public meeting was co-ordinated by the Fisherman's Committee at which time the department called for proposals to lease and operate the centre on a commercial basis, and I should add that the fisherman's committee advertised the meeting, gave their reason for it namely to discuss the proposed use of the building. As a result of the proposal call, Mr. Speaker, two proposals were received and assessed by the department and the Fisherman's Committee, two. Subsequently, the department entered into a lease agreement with Pettens Marine Products Limited for a one year term. I should point out, Mr. Speaker, that I have here the analysis done on both the proposals by my department and I shall table that this morning. The other was Dawe's Welding: Dawe's Welding offered 60 cents per square foot for the building. Pettens Marine offered $1.20, and at the same time offered to allow the fishermen to continue using the building almost on the same basis as before. So clearly, Mr. Speaker, Pettens Marine was the best offer and we accepted the best offer given the fact that that building and its operation -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, the House Leader can -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, I should point out to the House that the operation of that facility that was serving no real purpose in the community was costing the Province on an average of $54,000 a year. We have now leased it to Pettens Marine for one year and we are receiving about $8,600 revenue, so there is a net gain there for the Province, naturally. I should point out, by the way, contrary to what the hon. gentleman said yesterday, that my colleague from Port de Grave had absolutely no input whatsoever except that it was a Cabinet decision and naturally he was part of that decision. But certainly he had no influence whatsoever on that decision. In fact, Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman opposed the closing of that facility, and he is about the only person I know in the area who actually took that action, but he did oppose it and certainly had no part whatsoever in making that decision. I have here, Mr. Speaker, the documents pertaining to the lease and I am prepared to table them.

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, yesterday the hon. the Member for Ferryland asked me how many members of the Allied Health Professionals in the Province were laid off because of the recent restructuring in the health program. I believe, or at least the impression that I got, was that the hon. Member was suggesting that there were massive layoffs of this particular profession. I undertook to get this information for the hon. Member and I have it this morning, Mr. Speaker.

Throughout the Province in that particular branch there were four people laid off, Mr. Speaker. Now, we have not been doing any tracking to see where they eventually ended up but I feel confident that for any who would have chosen to do so, they could have gotten work in other parts of the Province. So, the answer, Mr. Speaker, to the massive numbers which were laid off in the Allied Health Profession, four.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. DECKER: I would ask the Opposition to restrain themselves, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Environment and Lands.

MR. KELLAND: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I have asked for order on a couple of occasions now and have recognized another Minister and there is still conversation going on between other people.

The hon. the Minister of Environment and Lands.

MR. KELLAND: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, save me from the rabble.

Some information in the questions raised by the hon. Member for St. John's East yesterday and today comes from my colleague the Minister of Health. As I suggested to the Member he could have directed a supplementary question to the Minister of Health. I did not hear him do that, I thought it was directed to me.

When complaints were received at my Department, Mr. Speaker, with respect to the H2S levels there was some monitoring and checking done and the people concerned were referred to the Department of Health. The Department of Health through their regional medical health officer did some investigation to determine what the levels were and I am sure the hon. Member, I think he quoted those figures, but nevertheless the H2S levels range from 1.9 to 3.1 part per million which is higher than the acceptable community levels based on a twenty-four hour a day basis of 0.03 ppm and the occupational level based on an eight hour shift basis of 10.0 ppm. They were advised, as I said, to contact the Department of Health. The Department of Health had a look and advised these individuals that short-term exposure at that particular level while it could cause some irritation would not have any significant health affects. Long-term exposure to that level would be unacceptable. However, the determination was that the emissions were caused by the burning of sour gas from the refinery, they refer to it as. Mr. O'Dea, the environmental engineer, confirmed that this burning would stop and another method of disposal would be looked at.

The Mayor of Sunnyside in the meantime complained shortly thereafter they were still getting the effects, however, once the burning of the sour gas stops the level should decrease. But monitoring will be taking place, I believe, during this week and is probably under way right now. Hopefully, that will give the information. Our intention is, of course, to monitor as well and to ensure that levels are not exceeded.

Orders of the Day

MR. BAKER: Motion 4, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 4, the adjourned debate with respect to amalgamation.

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

MR. PARSONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today, and am delighted to have the opportunity, in desperation I suppose in what one would call a last ditch effort to implore, to plead with the Members of the House, to beg if necessary, to take another look at the resolution before this

hon. House. Before I go into details on the resolution there are a couple of things I would like to address. A couple of days ago the hon. Member for St. John's South, I have to say, delivered a fine speech.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who?

MR. PARSONS: The hon. Member for St. John's South. A fine speech orientated towards the people of St. John's, the people who he represents, and I must say that he did a good job, but he went a bit too far. He said the hon. Member for St. John's East Extern does not know anything about St. John's West. Well, I have to clarify that statement, clear it up, Mr. Speaker. The hon. Member did live in St. John's West on Hamilton Avenue, but apart from that I think he was assuming, or trying to get the message out to the House, that the hon. Member for St. John's East Extern knew very little about St. John's. Well, Mr. Speaker, looking at it in a historical background, or accountability, I perhaps have more background historically in this hon. House as it pertains to St. John's than any other Member. My grandfather came from Bond Street and in the 1850s when that disaster occurred my grandfather moved to Flatrock. Now, let me tell you something else that the hon. Member does not know about what participation our family had in St. John's. It is too bad the Minister of Finance is gone because he is about the only one who would recall it. My grandfather also built the old King's Bridge. I do not know if the hon. Member for St. John's South will remember or not but down on the foot of Kenna's Hill, between Kenna's Hill and the Stadium that we have today, there was a range of houses called Bulger's range - Cotters was right across the way. Well, my grandfather built Bulger's range. Have we got an association with St. John's historically? Yes, Mr. Speaker, and perhaps more than anyone else in St. John's. I do not want to repeat it again but I am sure that the Minister of Finance remembers Bulger's range.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. PARSONS: Do you remember it? It was down on King's Bridge. From King's Bridge south towards the Stadium was known as Bulger's range. I just wanted to explain that to the hon. Member for St. John's South.

The other thing I want to say before I get into the resolution itself concerns the hon. Member for Pleasantville. He was up the other day talking about how easy it was for me to get up here and talk about the district that I represent, and he mentioned one community, the community where I live. He said that per household income in Flatrock was higher than anywhere else in Newfoundland and Labrador. That is a myth, Mr. Speaker. I do not know where he got his information. There are as many poor people in Flatrock as there are in any other community, or any other small town. I want to correct the hon. Member for Pleasantville and tell him that Flatrock today has no services whatsoever. They pay 5.4 mils and their commercial rate is 15 mils. We are not there looking for something for nothing. Let me tell the hon. Member as well that the town hall in Flatrock that was built a number of years ago did not cost one cent to anyone, neither Government. They did not put a plugged nickel in there. The recreational facility that is there is worth $500,000 but did not cost one cent of Government money. The hon. Member then comes up with the idea that we should all pay some kind of a rate to help St. John's. Let me say to the hon. Member that that recreational facility is used by as many people from St. John's as from Flatrock, or the surrounding area. Are we going to charge them? There was never a charge put on those facilities. Let me tell the hon. Member as well that the grotto in Flat Rock from last June when there is a book comes out, only every fine day, they put a book on the stand for people who visit the grotto last year. From thirty-nine countries. Five thousand people. Now the fine days - it was taken in again in October - 5,000 people signed their name in that book from thirty-nine different countries. Are we going to put a surcharge on them? Are we going to tell them that they are using our roads, our community?

I mean, what hogwash! Poppycock! I am surprised at that Member to be going on with this old stuff. It is outdated. The people outside are not paying their fair share. They are paying their fair share. If we had the facilities that St. John's have, sidewalks, the supermarkets, the arena down there, the stadium, do you think that we would care about paying 11 mils? Indeed we would not. But at the rate we are paying now, 5.5 mils, and 15 mils commercially, that is enough, until this Government gets off its end and gives us some money to extend our services. We are paying plenty.

Just to point out to the hon. Member again. This weekend people from St. John's are in Flat Rock holding a boxing tournament. Are we going to tell them they can not do it, they can not come in there? I mean, we are sharing with everyone and everyone else, all the communities on the east end. There is no line drawn. I would be the last person to say that some of the statements that the Member said were not right. But the point remains, do not do it on the backs of the people who do not have any services whatsoever. I mean, the people who are paying that in Flat Rock do not have even a light. I mean, you have the bus service, you have all the necessities of life.

You know, I listened to the Premier this morning and he said: the whole deal on the Constitutional bit was the expression of opinion. People to have the right to express their opinions. I believe he is using a double standard. Because the people in Wedgewood Park and in the Goulds certainly expressed an opinion. And the opinion was that we do not want to amalgamate with St. John's with the information that we have. And that is where the trouble is. They do not have any information. And I ask the Members opposite and the Members on this side, they are supposed to be responsible human beings, responsible men and women. I ask them today to reconsider the situation, reconsider what is taking place here. Perhaps the best thing that ever happened could be the central core or the urban core to be the one municipality. Perhaps that could be the best things ever happened. But how do we know?

Can the hon. Member, the hon. Minister, anyone, the Premier, tell me what services are going to be lost in Wedgewood Park? Is Wedgewood Park going to be brought up immediately to 11 mils? Is the tax rate going to change? What services do they gain? Can someone tell me what the cost is going to be in the Goulds? Can someone tell me what the services, what the cost is going to be as far as transportation and the roads are concerned - the roads to Black Head, to Long Pond, Long Pond nearly out to Witless Bay, which now will be taken over by the City? What the cost is going to be? Look, this is not alone illegal, it is immoral.

I have to speak directly to the Members for St. John's, especially the Ministers, who might have some weight over there to change this decision. I mean, what they are doing, they are putting a burden on the heads of the people of St. John's. I mean, St. John's is going to be the loser in this, not the other areas. Six point five mils in Wedgewood Park, 6.5 mils in Mount Pearl, 11 mils in St. John's. So we take in the monetary pluses we have in Wedgewood Park, and the minuses that will be caused by taking in the Goulds, one will not even offset the other, there will be a greater minus situation than the pluses, so what did this resolution accomplish? - nothing. It puts St. John's in a worse position than they were in before the resolution came to the House.

I cannot, for the life of me, see how the Ministers - especially those from St. John's - and the Members, can tolerate or accept this resolution, It is impossible! And I ask them again today, as responsible human beings, responsible to the people who elected them, to say to the Minister, to say to the Premier - the Premier is an expert on constitutional matters in the country; still, he does not realize that the Municipal Act is a constitution of the municipalities; he does not understand that, he does not want to understand it, because he has tunnel vision and sees exactly what he wants to see. And he brings in this resolution so he will not have to amend the Municipalities Act.

If the Ministers and the Members for St. John's cannot see that this is doing nothing - let me just say to the Members: The biggest argument the Ministers and the Members had, and I had, was that, over the years we created two satellite cities, one in Wedgewood Park - that was the argument - and the other in Mount Pearl.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: Well, what are we doing now? The Town of Paradise is proposed to expand with the inclusion of adjacent Elizabeth Park, Evergreen Village and the Town of St. Thomas'; you are creating another satellite city, now, just to please the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island, who would not sign a petition yesterday. That is all that is - I mean, put politics aside.

If politics were the rule of the day a number of years ago, and this Government says we are going to change, well then, do not create another one, because ten years down the road that is going to be a problem for some other government; and that is what you are doing. If this Government were doing things in a righteous manner, then the Town of Paradise should be within the city boundaries.

Now, what did we do? Nothing. We have not done a thing, we have not solved one problem. If the people of Mount Pearl had been told, if you had done the right thing, if the Minister had, after the studies came in, appointed a commissioner or commissioners to look at the study, go to the people and ascertain from them, what their feelings were on the options, explain to them, give them the right to know - because today no one knows. The Minister was asked the question, by the hon. Member for Mount Pearl, the other day, What happens to the water? We all know the situation with the water. Bay Bulls Big Pond is expensive water, Windsor Lake is cheap water. Will the people in the West have to pay more than the people down in - will St. John's share, will it become an even playing field?

AN HON. MEMBER: It is not cheap water (inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: Well, it is cheap water compared to Bay Bulls Big Pond.

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, because it was put there (inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: That is what I am saying. Will that average itself out, now?

AN HON. MEMBER: That will be all upgraded now,

MR. PARSONS: It needed to be upgraded but the city was not satisfied for the Government to upgrade it.

Mr. Speaker, the Premier talked this morning about openness; now we are going to have a vote, presumably today, on this resolution, and, do we really look at one another as men and women and seriously say that there is going to be a free vote? If there were a free vote today, then we would not vote in favour of this resolution, especially the people from St. John's.

I represent part of St. John's.

MR. NOEL: You would never say it.

MR. PARSONS: Yes, I do. I do say it.

AN HON. MEMBER: It would not be up to you, it would be up to the people.

MR. PARSONS: Oh, now, now, now! I put my chances of winning the election next time up against yours any day of the week.

All I am saying to hon. Members, especially, the hon. Members for St. John's, is give it some consideration. You are not doing anything for the City of St. John's, and by the time the next election comes around, the people are going to realize it. They have 11 mils now, it will be 12.5mils, because taxation will have to rise. Who is going to pay for the Aquarena? The Premier says they are not going to put one plugged nickel in it. Eight hundred and ten thousand dollars was the subsidy last year to the Aquarena, from this Government. Now, that Aquarena is part and parcel of the liabilities of the City of St. John's. The Premier says they are not putting any money in it, so that means the City Fathers are going to have to cough up $810,000 to keep it viable. Now, the Premier says - and this is ironic, the weakness in his argument - he says, `Well, it is a regional facility.' The Aquarena is not a regional facility. I mean, there are people in the Trades College - the two gentlemen over there who were professors at the University know that many people coming in from the bays, from the Strait of Bell Isle to Port aux Basques, use that facility and they are charged for it. They are charged enough now; they hardly can afford to attend University now. You cannot charge them any more.

But what I am saying is, that is a provincial facility. It is a Provincial facility that now, the people of St. John's are going to have to pay for. I mean, I cannot understand that the Minister of Finance, who is from St. John's, who represents a St. John's district, cannot see what they are doing. Look boy, you have to pay for the highways out in the Goulds that they did not have to pay for before. You have to pay for the Aquarena. Someone has to pay for it. The Government is not going to pay for it. All this Government did was put the burden on the municipal taxpayer, that is all they did. And the President of Treasury Board realizes it. It is a schemozzle. It is wrong. It is illegal.

I have said over and over, where is the freedom, the democracy that we all love, when people are subdued or subjected to the whims of a few? And I say, when all the studies were done - and the people in the department, the Assistant Deputy Ministers, were people who did the study. As I said, I have almost finished, and all I am asking now is for the people on the other side, especially the Members for St. John's, to vote this time, not as the Premier says, but to vote with your conscience. And I want to leave them with one little point, vote with your conscience and vote against the resolution. We all remember the old Pied Piper story. Well, do not let him blow the horn and all of you follow along behind him. Stand on your own two feet and protect the place that has elected you, the residents of St. John's, the people who put you here. Do not sell them down the river.

I believe this little paragraph from a book I was reading the other day, fills the bill.

AN HON. MEMBER: Is appropriate.

MR. PARSONS: `Appropriate' does not, I think, express it deeply enough; it is not the right word. "We will have travelled in a mere week from a condition in which we have an equal distribution of blessings to one in which we have an equal distribution of miseries," that is what we will have done if we pass this resolution. So, I ask the people, again, on this side and on that side, to vote against that resolution. It is a bad, bad, resolution.

Thank you, very much, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Before recognizing the hon. the Minister of Finance, I want to welcome to the House, on behalf of all hon. Members, twenty-three Grade V1 students from the Inter Island Pentecostal School in Summerford, accompanied by their teachers, Mabel Rideout, Alvin Quinlan, Shelia Cooze, and Bruce Bowers.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, a generation in this area has avoided tackling a very serious problem. Every Government and every council has tried to confront the problem of amalgamation in the capital region. Every one of them have commissioned studies and studies, yet they have made no move. Then, suddenly, after a whole generation of avoiding the subject, of dodging away from it, of fear of coming to grips with a problem, we finally get a Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs who is prepared to come to grips with the problem.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. KITCHEN: Not only is that Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs prepared to come to grips with the problem in the city, he is also prepared to come to grips with the problems in other parts of the Province, the whole municipal problems. Let us take the Grand Falls - Windsor situation, which has been a problem for thirty years. There has been a serious problem of inequity and we had people from Grand Falls who ran for the leadership of the Party over there - we will not say any names - ran for the leadership and almost made it; yet, that Party over there, which has represented Grand Falls for quite a few years, had refused to do anything about it. Now, we have a Minister who is prepared to come to grips with the problems of amalgamation across the Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: Courage.

DR. KITCHEN: Courage. Mr. Speaker, we have a great Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, a great man, a man whom history will regard as courageous, perhaps the greatest of all of us.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. KITCHEN: I must say this, he had to convince Cabinet. It was not part of any manifesto that we ran under. He got into his portfolio in Municipal Affairs, looked at the problems and said, I must come to grips with this, and he did come to grips with it. We have had in our history, William the Conqueror, Alfred the Great, Joey the Confederator, and now we have Eric the Amalgamator.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, history will record that he did what had to be done. Now, Members opposite are saying, let us have another feasibility study. Another one? How many more do we want? I ask them, what happened to the feasibility studies on Sprung? They are suddenly coming up with the need for new feasibility studies, as another reason for inaction. I do not know what hon. Members opposite have against the City of St. John's. I know, they did not vote for them last time, but they have been treating the Tory Party fairly well over the years. I do not know why they are against St. John's, but they are against St. John's. All of them over there are against St. John's. St. John's, I must remind them, is the capital city of Newfoundland. It was for years the capital of our country. When we were a country, St. John's was the capital, a city whose history goes back for 500 years, the oldest city in the New World, and one of the finest cities in the world.

In recent years the city has become a clean city under Mayor Murphy and other people in council who did a tremendous job in sprucing up the image of the city. Where else in Canada are you going to find a city with as many beautiful parks as St. John's? Just think about it. I want the Members to appreciate this city. Look at Bowring Park. A park that goes back pretty well eighty years. A beautiful park which every person should be familiar with. And let us look at another park, the park that is next to Government House and the Colonial Building, Bannerman Park. So many people have memories of Bannerman Park.

I remember as a student in Montreal years and years ago, maybe half a century ago. We went out one night, I remember this very well, to a club as students usually do on Friday and Saturday nights. We were doing what you normally do in a club. And we noticed over there in the corner a fellow who was humming to himself and he broke out into song. "Down in Bannerman Park, down in Bannerman Park/ You take your girl out for a walk/ Down in Bannerman Park."

SOME HON. MEMBERS: "Down in Bannerman Park!"

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. KITCHEN: And I forgot the other line. "You gotta get home (Inaudible)."

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, I will skip over Victoria Park and the other verses of that one. And let us come to another great park which was created in Mr. Smallwood's day. Pippy Park! Hundreds of beautiful acres. A wilderness park in the midst of the city. You can play golf, you can walk for miles, there are ponds up there, you can pick berries and catch trout if no one is looking, you can have a great time. Pippy Park. There are people -

AN HON. MEMBER: Victoria Park.

DR. KITCHEN: I mentioned Victoria Park, just very shortly, because it is a small beautiful park there by the railway station. But Pippy Park is a great park. And not only that, but let me look at this. Look at another great park we have - Signal Hill. Look at Signal Park. You know, I think Signal Hill is perhaps the greatest of all our parks. If you go up on Signal Hill on a clear day and look westward, if you have a good eye, and if you are Irish, you can see the mountains of Kerry.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: East, you have to look east!

DR. KITCHEN: You look east. You look west if you have a mirror. And you know some people say they can see the city of Cork, and Waterford, but I do not believe they can. But the point I want to make is that we can look over there and there are our origins of half the population of this Province. And you look a little bit south, and you can try but I do not really believe, you can try, and there is Land's End. The counties of Cornwall and Devon from which so many of us have come, and the Scilly Isles. No other city in Canada has the parks and the beauty of St. John's.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. KITCHEN: I have lived in Montreal and you have La Fontaine Parc and the mountains, very nice places. But nothing compared to what we have here. You go to Edmonton and you go down to Emily Murphy Park (?), good park, but it is not like anything we have here. I could mention all the beautiful ponds and the river systems here in this city. We have more than a dozen beautiful ponds. And the rivers - Waterford, Rennies, (Inaudible). All these wonderful ponds collected up the rivers flowing out into the harbour. We have a history of 500 years. The oldest European city in the New World. Archaeologists are digging beneath our streets to find out what went on years ago. Truly, this is the greatest city of Canada.

And yet the Members opposite are against this city. They are trying to restrict our growth. They want to keep us back, and they would not act. For seventeen years they did not make a move, these - I will not call them cowardly - these timid legislators over there, too timid to come to grips with some of the problems. And now, Mr. Speaker, -

AN HON. MEMBER: One of them made a move.

DR. KITCHEN: I am not biased about St. John's.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, no, no, not you.

DR. KITCHEN: My people are from Harbour Grace. I have only been living here for twenty-five or thirty years, but I am a townie now, there is no doubt about that. But we have to pay tribute where tribute is due, and St. John's truly is the Capital and there is no sense in trying to make Wedgewood Park the Capital or Mount Pearl the Capital or anything else. There is one City, one Capital and that is St. John's.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. KITCHEN: We will not allow our city to be hemmed in or torn apart. We cannot have any Ottawa - Hull situation here.

AN HON. MEMBER: No, that is right.

DR. KITCHEN: We are not going to have any Halifax - Dartmouth situation here.

AN HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: That is right.

DR. KITCHEN: We are going to have St. John's. Now if it were St. John's - Bonavista I could understand it, or even St. John's -Harbour Grace, but not St. John's - Mount Pearl.

AN HON. MEMBER: Where?

DR. KITCHEN: There is no history here. We have to have this sense of Capital and the sense of heritage that St. John's has.

Now, the Minister has come up with an appropriate plan. It is a gentle plan, it is not going to hurt anyone. You do not want to tear people apart. We have to pay respect to the people of Wedgewood Park. The Wedgewood Park people are great people in a fine suburb. They have perhaps the richest suburb in the city, or one of the richest areas in the city, a very able group of people on city council. The mayor there is a tremendous person even though he has been associated perhaps with other political groups. But that does not matter, a good person, and the other members of council are great. I look forward to the time - I do not know how the Minister is going to appoint representation from or elect representation from Wedgewood Park, but I look forward to the time when someone from Wedgewood Park is on the city council of St. John's because I believe it will elevate the city council tremendously.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. KITCHEN: And I would like to pay tribute to the Goulds too, and we are so glad that they are going to become part of the city, and if we can help with municipal services there, we look forward to helping out there as well, and we look forward to them participating in the affairs of this great city and to bringing in an agricultural area into the city. It is one thing we have really lacked over the years is a good agricultural area.

I want to pay tribute to Mount Pearl as well. The people of Mount Pearl have built up their city through their own efforts. I remember when Mount Pearl was sort of a Cinderella in this area, and they grew up and became powerful, but we cannot allow this region to be split in two, but I do not think that we should move in and destroy the wishes of the people of Mount Pearl who are obviously so strongly in favour of remaining separate at the present time. So we are not going to move at that. There is a very large area and I think the Minister is showing admirable restraint in not moving in. I would suggest this, the gentle approach, I would say this: what about the future? What about the future? I think the future should not be decided now. We will see how things happen. It may be that Mount Pearl will remain a separate city forever. It may be that other changes may be made to Mount Pearl either to enlarge or not, but that is not our decision now. Our decision now is what is proposed in this resolution, and I believe it is a wise resolution. It is not the hobnailed boot, it is a reasonable approach to amalgamation, it is the art of the possible.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. KITCHEN: It is going to be hard for the City of St. John's to administer all of these new services, to be charged fairly, to service the Goulds, but I am convinced that the City of St. John's can rise to this challenge and the citizens of St. John's and the new citizens too will rise to this challenge and we will have a great city, continue to have a great city and a capital region.

I might point out too that this is not just changing from seventeen down to eleven. Actually there are a number of other areas that were in the metropolitan areas, little communities, which are now going to have democratic representation for the first time, and that is good. I think all twenty-three communities, you could call them that, they were not councils, but communities of sorts, and now there is going to be eleven. From twenty-three to eleven and that is a reasonable compromise at this stage in the game. There is one thing that has been mentioned and that I would also like to mention again. Members opposite have mentioned it, and Members on this side have mentioned it, that is the whole question of urban planning. We need very firm urban planning. We do not want uncontrolled housing and industrial growth that will cause future generations turmoil in trying to bring in municipal services. I understand from the Minister that he is going to, where necessary, beef up this whole question of urban planning outside the City of St. John's, so that we can come to grips with this whole question of uncontrolled residential and industrial growth in the area, as that is very important.

Mr. Speaker, we are putting our financial house in order, this Government is. We are putting our pension house in order. We are putting our economic house in order. We have put our Hibernia house in order. We are putting our constitutional house in order and we are putting our municipal house in order. This is another great achievement, Mr. Speaker, of the Wells administration.

Thank you.

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

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

I want to have a few more brief words on this resolution. First of all I want to thank the Minister of Finance for a very entertaining speech, and a very good promotional speech for the City of St. John's, and I agree with most everything he said. I was wondering while he was speaking why the Minister of Finance was supporting this resolution with so much enthusiasm. He is a likeable fellow in that he does not always get up in this House of Assembly and support things with that much vim and vigour. He is usually fairly calm and answers the questions, a man of few words, but he was very, very enthusiastic in supporting this resolution. Finally, while he was getting on to the end of his speech, I knew why, Mr. Speaker, because he has the most to gain as Minister of Finance from this resolution.

The City of St. John's taxpayers, the Goulds and Wedgewood Park, will pay extra so he can save a few million dollars, Mr. Speaker, and that is why he was so enthusiastic in supporting this amalgamation plan. He saves money in this Budget next year for the Department of Highways, quite a bit of money, millions, as a matter of fact. He will save money from Municipal Affairs because he will not have to give them money for the Aquarena and things like that. He will save money in the grant system that has just been brought in because the larger the city gets the less they will get in the grant system as provided by the Minister now. That is the reason why the Minister of Finance is so enthusiastic in supporting this. He does not care about the City of St. John's taxpayers as he was making out to do, Mr. Speaker. He cares about saving his money, getting his grubby little fingers into their pockets and hauling the money out of their pockets, getting his hands around their wallets and squeezing it so tight that there will be nothing left in it for them to spend. That is why the Minister of Finance made a very entertaining, but not so logical speech. If he had followed his logic he would have stood in this House yesterday and voted for the NDP Members resolution, but he did not do that, Mr. Speaker. He ignored the resolution prepared by the NDP Member, and betrayed by the couple of Members over there, actually where he did not get his name on it. I did not agree with his resolution. I voted against it. I know I voted against it and I know why I voted against it, Mr. Speaker, because it is forcing amalgamation on people and I do not agree with forcing amalgamation on people. That is the bottom line and that is the principle that I am working on.

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance should have voted for it. If he has other Members in his caucus over there who agree with that, they should have voted for it, and it should have passed. Yet, when the vote came yesterday, I heard three voices supporting that. I am going to put it on the record because we did not take a standing vote of who actually did support that resolution, Mr. Speaker. It was the Member for Pleasantville who brought it in, the Member for St. John's South who seconded it, and he had to vote for it, and the Member for St. John's East. Those were the only three Members in this House that I heard voices of supporting this resolution, yesterday. Mr. Speaker, I say for clarification that I did not support it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: Pardon? They were brought in 1985 after three votes. If you want me to go over that again, I did in my last speech, but if you want me to go over that again: they opposed it in 1978 or 1979, and the Government of the day said, okay, we will have to go back to the drawing board and see what we can do. In 1982 it came up again and the Government of that day said, okay, we will go back to the drawing board again and see if we can make it more acceptable. In 1985, when they had their feasibility study done and a commissioner recommended that their bus service was not in jeopardy and a commissioner recommended that we have a phase in in taxes over a five year period and a commissioner recommended that there were some capital monies to upgrade the town of Kilbride to try to complete the water and sewer in that area, which is not done, because in the last two years it was ignored by the Provincial Government. Mr. Speaker, when that happened and the residents of Kilbride who lived in the subdivisions were paying virtually the same taxes, I think, they were paying 10 mils and the city were paying 10.5 at the time, or paying just about, when they became over 60 per cent of the community they said, well, we are paying for the services let us go in anyway. That is how Kilbride went in there.

We did the feasibility study and we gave recommendations to people so that they could make a decision. Is that unfair to do? I do not see that is so unreasonable. That is what the people of the Goulds would like to see. They are not unreasonable people. They want to have - show me what this is going to do for me, come into the Goulds and tell me, Mr. Minister. That is what they are asking at the public meetings. If this is so great for the people of the Goulds come in here and sell it to me. I am not an unreasonable person, I know I am going to be paying more taxes whether I stay with the Goulds alone, or whether I go with the city. I just want to see what the advantages are of this great amalgamation plan. That is not being unreasonable. It is not being obstructionist. You will get some in there who will be obstructionists, some who just did not want to go with St. John's at all. But I would say close to 50 per cent of the people living in the Goulds now are from St. John's. Most of the ones who lived in Kilbride when it was amalgamated are from St. John's. Most of the people who live in Wedgewood Park are from St. John's originally. Well, why are they out there? There is some reason why they are away from St. John's. Either they were driven away by past city councils where it was made too expensive for them to live in the city or they wanted to go out in the rural areas to look at the farmland. The more of them who go out to look at the farmland, the more farmland is destroyed. I do not know what the reason is.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: Wedgewood Park, see you do not understand. When Wedgewood Park was built that was a rural area. I was surveying around this city for twenty years. I know what it was like in Wedgewood because I surveyed Wedgewood Park. It was a rural area with a little subdivision in the middle of it that nobody in the world wanted. Chester Dawe developed it actually and nobody wanted it. They said, okay, we are here now, we are a little subdivision, we are not going to do much on our own, our services are going out to the city, let us get a delegation and go down to City Hall and say it is just as well to expand your boundaries to here because we are not going to make it on our own, we are too small. What did the city council tell them at the time?... we do not want you. Go away, we are not interested in you, we have no interest in going up in that area of the Avalon to develop. Go back on your own and survive and suffer. Do what you like. We will allow you to run your sewer and we will give you the water and you will pay us for that.

Now, what has happened in recent years when Wedgewood Park got a little bit of land around it and K-Mart happened to want to build a shopping center in Wedgewood Park and a couple of other businesses wanted to build in Wedgewood Park, it is a different story now. Now, we want to get some money out of you. Now, we want you in the City of St. John's. Well, Mr. Speaker, I do not disagree with Wedgewood Park going into the City of St. John's. But from a person who lives in Wedgewood Park's perspective, a person who lived there from the beginning and asked to go into the city and were refused and told that we do not want you, I can understand their frustration now. When they survived the hard times and they developed their community very rationally and economically, and provide services that the City of St. John's cannot provide and they provide them cheaper, I do not understand why anyone would expect them to say: yes, let's all go into the City anyway. I mean, I do not expect them to do it.

But the people of Wedgewood Park and the Goulds are not asking for any unreasonable conditions. They want to see an independent commissioner's report to say why we should go in the City, so they can make up their mind.

MR. HARRIS: What about Mount Pearl - Newtown? How did they get in?

MR. R. AYLWARD: I have nothing to do with Mount Pearl - Newtown. I do not what they did or how they got in or where they went.

MR. HARRIS: How did they get into Mount Pearl?

MR. R. AYLWARD: I have no idea. Ask someone else from Mount Pearl. I never did represent them so I do not know. But I do know who I represent.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: You were a Member of the Government.

MR. R. AYLWARD: I was a Member of the backbench at the time, yes.

AN HON. MEMBER: That's Government.

MR. R. AYLWARD: No, the Government is the Cabinet, I understand. Those are the guys who make the decisions. You ask some of your own Members over there if they think they are in the Government or they are not in the Government. Yes, you ask them sometimes where they think they are.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: Now, Mr. Speaker, I - pardon?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: Did I oppose it? I do not think we had a vote in this House on it. I do not remember having to oppose it or support it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: I do not think so, no. But I do not know if it was discussed. This is only being discussed... do not think that your Premier brought this in here to expand the democratic system. This resolution is brought here because the process that the Minister went through is illegal. That is the only reason that it is before this House. You cannot do it the way you are supposed to do it, it is illegal. So the Premier says he can override the laws of this Province by bringing it in to this House and vote on it. And the President of Treasury Board says that is right, or no, the Minister of Finance, sorry. I was not looking.

But you can bring it in here and change your laws or override the laws that are existing, that people had a chance to review, and do this. So this is no great democracy by having a vote in this House on this resolution. Actually, it is just the opposite. If we had to stick with the regulations I would say you would have a significant number of people, had there been a reasonable feasibility report done, you might have a significant number of people in the Goulds now who would not be objecting as strenuously as they are now. You might have been able to get this to work. You might have been able to sell this package, this proposal that you have, to some of the people in the Goulds at least.

But all this is -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: No, it is not my job to sell it. If you can give me the ammunition I will try to sell it. If I believed this was better for my constituents in the Goulds I would try to sell it. I tried to sell it in Kilbride and I did it, it worked. The proposition I am putting forward has worked in the past.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: No, I am trying to represent what the people of the Goulds want. The questions they ask I cannot give them the answers to, because there is no independent report done to suggest - they ask me: what is going to happen to our school bus system if the City moves in here? I do not know. I have no idea. Very important issue to the people of the Goulds. There are probably 2,000 kids in that area being bused, probably that many. Some go to St. John's with the Avalon Consolidated School Board, some go to high school and elementary in St. Kevin's. That is a big issue.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: They are still being bused in Kilbride and Shea Heights because their feasibility study recommended that it be done. Don't you understand that? I can say that 500 times and if you are not willing to listen it is just as well to forget it. There is no feasibility study. I cannot tell him that, I do not know if it is going to change. If the City moves in there with their - the St. John's Transportation Commission expands their franchise, technically they can lose it. Technically it is illegal to run school buses in Kilbride if the City expanded its franchise in there. All the City is doing in Kilbride is having a shuttle bus service go in the main road pretty well and come out to the Village Mall. It is not an expansion of the franchise. Maybe that is what will happen in the Goulds again but I cannot answer that question for them.

They ask me: well if we do go in and our taxes are going to raise some 65 per cent to 69 per cent, will the Government at least phase it in for us because I cannot afford it today. I really cannot afford, as of 1 January, to have my taxes increased between 60 to 65 per cent, or whatever it is going to be. I just do not have the money. I have five children in school, I have a house to try and pay off, car payments to make, and my budget is strapped. My wife just got laid off when she worked with the Health Sciences. Many of the public servants who lost their jobs, at least one in the family, live in that area of the Goulds. Many public servants live in that region of the Goulds and they are affected. They asked me if the Government would phase their taxes in over a five year period. I said it makes sense if they are going to do it. If they intend to expand it would make sense to give the people an opportunity to increase by 20 per cent a year. That is what we did in Airport Heights, in Kilbride, and in Shea Heights. This Government will not say what they will do so how do you expect that person to be in favour of amalgamation? They cannot be because they do not know the answers. They are scared. They are worried that they are going to have to sell their houses, actually. Some of the people who called me asked if they would lose their house if the city comes in. I said, I do not think you will. I doubt very much if you can scrape and do without some other things. You will probably survive. Mr. Speaker, that is why the people of the Goulds are objecting so much to this amalgamation proposal. The people of the City of St. John's are not following this issue close enough. The residents of the City of St. John's in my district and who I represent, and who I get a call from every now and then, are not following this issue close enough. Now, I say that flat out against my constituents. They are not as concerned as much as they should be against this issue. They are not concerned that next year, 1992, when the city takes over these areas there is going to be a bill come to the city for services that they are going to take over that I would estimate will range between $5 million and $7.5 million more than they have right now. Now, I do not know what $5 or $7.5 million would mean to the budget of the city. I am sure the Member for Pleasantville knows. Mr. Speaker, that $5 to $7.5 million has to have an impact on the city taxpayers. We are now, this day, in the City of St. John's, because of snow clearing, $2 million short in this year's budget. That is $2 million we have to make up before we even take on anyone else. That is a fact. It has been in the media. I have not gone down there to check it. They were $1.1 million out before the last two snowfalls. They had people out and it costs them $700,000 a snowfall, I think, to really do a job on it. Now, it would not cost that much for the last two but it costs some. We are close to $2 million in the hole now and we are going to get another $6 or $7 million tacked onto that next, so is that going to stabilize the taxes in this city? I doubt very much if it will stabilize it. That is what the City Council is telling me. That is what the Deputy Mayor and the Mayor have been saying, if we expand this area it will stabilize taxes. They do not say it will go down because they know it will not go down, but stabilizing may mean inclining gradually. I do not know what stabilization is. I would expect it means to sit where it is for awhile. It is going to sit at the same mil rate because we are doing a property assessment in there now, so everyone in this city will probably, for the last five years who have not had an assessment, are going to get about a 20 per cent tax increase, or 20 per cent value in their home in the next little while. I had my house appraised only two days ago. In 1986 when I bought it, Mr. Speaker, I paid $79,000 for it and when I had it appraised two days ago, early this week, the value of that house is now $95,000, so when the city finishes I have to pay that increase in taxes because the value has gone up. Then I have to pay for the extra services that you are going to put on my back, and all the residents of Kilbride, because of this amalgamation. Now, that is not fair, Mr. Speaker, and that is why the Minister of Finance is so enthusiastically supporting this resolution, because he can see where he can get his hands down in your pockets again and drag out the last three or four cents you have. The trouble this time is he is going to take the liner out of your pocket and you are going to have no pants to wear because the pockets will be gone out of them after he is finished with you.

Mr. Speaker, this resolution should be defeated.

DR. KITCHEN: (Inaudible)

MR. R. AYLWARD: Is there a 20 per cent increase in welfare since you took over? Are there 50,000 people on welfare this year, a 20 per cent increase since you took over? That should really pump up the economy. You put 50,000 people on welfare, that will pump up the economy. That is going to kickstart it really well, I would say. You have an unemployment rate of - what do we have now? ...twenty two per cent. That certainly has pumped up our economy. The highest time it has been since the early 'seventies, I believe it was. Twenty-two per cent unemployment rate. That is what the Minister has said is going to - as the economy improves.

The economy is going down the drain! Our economy is dead. Talk to people in the country in business. They are going bankrupt! They can just survive. There would be many of them gone bankrupt now except the banks do not know what to do with them, because there is no one else to take them over.

[There was a Disturbance in the Gallery.]

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

I would ask the Sergeant-at-Arms to clear the galleries please.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Now, there is the Minister of Finance. This is the man who is going to increase the taxes for these people and they have to be out on the street today to make a point. They want a study to look at the issues in their collective agreement that are not settled - a study. How much more reasonable can anyone be? They have the wages settled, they have the wage issue settled. They said we are going to do the same as everyone else, even though they think they deserve more.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, that is what this Government is doing. That is what our increased economy is doing for the Province. Probably the first time in the twelve years that I have been in here that someone actually got up and spoke. That union has to be the most reasonable group of unionized people in this Province. Never heard a sound from them before. They had to come in to this House of Assembly and plead from the galleries for this Government to try to listen to them. To give them a study to look at the outstanding issues. Gods, I do not understand it, Mr. Speaker, I will never understand what they are doing.

If anyone in this House has concern for the City of St. John's - and we have many Members over there who represent the City of St. John's - they will vote against this. The Members for Placentia and Carbonear have already said they do not support it and they intend to vote against it. So maybe we will have enough. Any other Members in this House of Assembly who notice that their areas are to be amalgamated and the residents have concerns should be looking at this resolution very carefully. Because they are going to have to make a decision fairly soon. What the Government gets away with on this one they are going to impose all over the Province.

I just want to say once more that the residents of the City of St. John's deserve better than this resolution and what this Government is doing for them. And the philosophy of the Members for Pleasantville and St. John's East when they were speaking, who suggest that we should amalgamate Mount Pearl and put it into this so that the St. John's region would not be coming to Government looking for money - well, I do not see what is so objectionable about that. The people in this region pay most of the income tax and the retail sales tax and every other tax that is paid to this Government, and I do not see why they do not deserve a share of that back. I do not see why we should be pushing a full region to amalgamate in order to allow them - so they will not have to come to the Government to look for the regular grants that are done for every other community. I do not agree with that.

I think the City of St. John's should be treated the same as every other community. And the roads leading into St. John's - the Goulds road, Torbay Road, Logy Bay Road, Portugal Cove Road - should be all plowed by the Department of Highways. That is how you straighten up the inequities if that is what you want done. The Provincial Government pay property tax on the buildings they own. That straightens the economic inequities that the City of St. John's are having trouble with.

Every other city or town in the Province has their main arterial roads plowed by the Department of Transportation, except St. John's. I do not understand why that would be. If the Department of Transportation took over that road network that brings everyone in to the City to work - which I am glad they do, because they spend money when they are in here - then part of the financial problems that the City is having would be solved.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I know they are not going to listen to me, over there; they are not going to listen to the reasonable requests of the people from the Goulds; they are not going to listen to the reasonable representation I am making on behalf of the City of St. John's. But, I hope some of them will, Mr. Speaker, because they are going to have to stand and be accounted for, before this vote is over. Thank you.

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

MR. DOYLE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Now, I want to make a few remarks, Mr. Speaker, on this particular resolution as it pertains to the part of the District of Conception Bay South that I represent. I am very disappointed that the Member for Conception Bay South has taken the position that she is not going to speak in this debate, and I am very disappointed, as well, that CBS apparently has not been adequately represented around the Cabinet table on this particular issue. Let us not forget that while there are some very good and legitimate and grave concerns with respect to the Goulds, Mount Pearl, St. John's and Wedgewood Park, there is also another area of the Province that has very deep concerns, as well, namely, the Town of Conception Bay South. We should not forget, either, that the Town of Conception Bay South is, right now, the largest town in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. I do not believe that the Member for Conception Bay South fully understood the impact of these boundary changes upon that community. If she did understand it, Mr. Speaker, and watched it all happen, without comment, then I believe that she has done a grave disservice to the largest town in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

When these boundary changes occur - and I do not believe the Member is aware, I do not believe any of the Members are aware - when these boundary changes occur, you will see the Town of Conception Bay South hemmed in, the same way that Mount Pearl is being hemmed in under these boundary changes. But, still, the Member for Conception Bay South says today, in a copy of the Shoreline Newspaper that she is not concerned. She says she is not concerned about that. The headline reads: `Cowan says CBS did just fine under amalgamation.' Well, let me inform the Member and the Government that CBS did not do just fine under amalgamation.

I cannot imagine that anyone could possibly think that CBS did well under this particular scenario and under this resolution that we see before us today. All you have to do is look at the map. All you have to do is look at the boundary changes as outlined by the Department of Municipal Affairs, and you will know that the Town of Conception Bay South did not do very well, at all. And all of these outlandish statements are being made by the Member for Conception Bay South while the town council and the Town Fathers are saying that amalgamation is going to prevent future growth in the town, by permitting St. John's to move its boundaries right into the Trans-Canada alongside the Town of CBS. The boundaries of St. John's will now take in a portion, believe it or not, of the Foxtrap access road.

Now, it is obvious that the Member for St. John's South has not taken out the map and had a look at it, but that is the reality of the situation. The boundaries for St. John's go right up the Trans-Canada Highway, on out the Foxtrap access road and out to Fowlers Road in the Town of Conception Bay South, taking in a number of houses in the Town of CBS. Now, how anyone could sit down in the Department of Municipal Affairs and draw up a boundary like that, is beyond me. This is why I say, the Member for Conception Bay South, obviously had to be totally unaware of what was happening. I say to the Member for CBS, and other Members, as well, the boundaries of St. John's are now going to take in the Conception Bay South dump, believe it or not. It takes in, as I said, a portion of Fowlers Road and a few houses in that area and a great deal of the farmland in Conception Bay South, as well, and that is why people are concerned, but still, the Member for the area, in today's Shoreline newspapers, says that is just fine, there is really no need to worry about that at all, and as a result, Mr. Speaker, of the St. John's invasion of the CBS boundary, some farmers in Conception Bay South will now be doing their farming in St. John's, as a matter of fact. Of course, that does not disturb the Minister of Finance, he will be able to get - as the Member for Kilbride says - his fingers on a few more pennies of the people of Conception Bay South; but the Member for Conception Bay South, says that is okay, there is no need to worry about it.

As I said, the CBS dump is now located in St. John's, and everyone in Conception Bay South, including the Town Council, is wondering if the Town of CBS is now going to have to pay dumping fees to the St. John's City Council. These are very, very legitimate concerns that have not yet been answered by the Department of Municipal Affairs. As well, the hemming in of the Town of CBS is a very legitimate concern.

The Member for the area is saying that they do not need to expand any more, that they have enough land available to them right now, and what they should be doing is in-filling, it does not need any future expansion. The largest town in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, possibly, the fastest growing, I believe, does not need, according to the Member for CBS, any further room for expansion, that it does not matter!

Now, I am beginning to wonder, Mr. Speaker, if the Member for Conception Bay South is asleep when all of this is going around the Cabinet table, when it is all being mulled over and discussed, because the interests of CBS have not been very well represented by the Member for that area. The Town is moving backwards, not forward, over the last two or three years, in particular, and since we cannot get the Member for CBS to give any information to the Town Council, I am wondering if the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs will kindly answer some of the concerns that the people of the area have.

Is Government in effect, saying, that there will be no future expansion in CBS? The Member for the area saying that water and sewer, while it might be a problem, is one thing, what they should be doing is looking after the areas that are built up. If you have a piece of land now, outside of the in-fill area, you cannot use it, and this is what it is going to mean, if you are not going to allow people to expand. Mayor Suter and Deputy Mayor Hillier, are very concerned with these boundary changes and they cannot get any satisfactory answers from the Member for the area.

What is effectively happening, is that you have the town bounded now, and hemmed in on all four sides, on one side by the Trans-Canada Highway, which is now the property of the St. John's City Council, on another side by the ocean, on another side by the Paradise Town Council, and on the fourth side by the Holyrood Town Council. So, where does it expand, I am asking the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs?

Is it the intention of the Department, is it a devious plan that in the not-too-distant future, the Town of CBS will be in the same position as Mount Pearl is right now? Mount Pearl is currently, as a result of these changes, the Wedgewood Park of St. John's, so, is it a devious plan to have the boundaries run up around the Town of CBS and have it eventually taken into the City of St. John's, as well?

So, there are a whole lot of questions which remain unanswered and, as I said, Mr. Speaker, I am not going to spend any great deal of time on this, but I am quite anxious, indeed, to have the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs give some answers to the Town of CBS, since they cannot get any answers from their own member.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, I just want to say a few words on this resolution.

First of all, I would like to say that I agree with amalgamation, under the right circumstances. I want, particularly, to talk about a situation which is happening in my own district, which I understand will take place at some time, if we are to believe what the Minister and other Ministers are saying, and what the Premier is saying.

Mr. Speaker, amalgamation, first of all, should take place in a democratic manner. There is no way this can be considered a democratic manner. Yes, Mr. Speaker, we are here in the House of Assembly, and yes, we have the power to pass bills and make legislation, bring down budgets and do all the things that we do. But, Mr. Speaker, there is another way, and I am sure that Members who have spoken before have alluded to it. The fact is that people should have the right to say what is happening. People are normally sensible. People are reasonable. It might surprise a lot of hon. members opposite, but people, when they look at a situation for what it is - and yes, they will look at their own self-interests first - most importantly, realize when something is logical and sensible.

Now, Mr. Speaker, my question is, Why is the Government forcing this here in St. John's? Everybody has said, it is not going to help anybody. The Mayor of St. John's has done the thing that will upset everyone in the whole town.

There are two ways of looking at this thing. First of all, the Government seems to be going on the assumption that larger is better. Now, I think, perhaps, we should - it is too late now, I guess, from the way we understand this will take place, I suppose, sometime in the very near future. But, Mr. Speaker, is bigger better?

I have no experience of living in St. John's. I went to university here and I presently reside in the City of Mount Pearl. But, if you look at City Hall in St. John's, and at City Hall in Mount Pearl, if you look, in my district, at a town that is about to be amalgamated - or so we understand - if we look at their town hall, which is not much larger than two or three Members' offices with one employee full-time, and you look at the town hall in Stephenville, you realize, the bigger the town, the larger the bureaucracy. I am sure that, after this amalgamation attempt, and the Government forces this on the people, in a short time you will see another expansion of city hall down here.

All I can say is, I do not believe when you have a big bureaucracy - and we have to remember that almost half the people of Newfoundland live on the Avalon Peninsula. If St. John's continues to grow, I mean, where do they stop? Certainly, the population is continuing to grow.

One of the hon. Members spoke here, today, about Wedgewood Park. The Member for Kilbride said that Wedgewood Park was just a little spot in the wilderness that St. John's did not want. They asked to be taken into St. John's and they were refused. Mr. Speaker, that trend will continue. Perhaps, it is better to have smaller towns with smaller administrations, particularly - and I also can see why, in a city where you are in a pure urban area, it might be of some advantage to have people in under that yoke.

Mr. Speaker, a lot of people in this Province, prefer to live in a rural area. Many people in Stephenville moved to the town of Kippens, because they wanted to be in a rural area.

What has happened since 1949, up until the time this present Government came in, is that amalgamation was very often encouraged, and amalgamation took place. Once you force - I think, Mr. Speaker, we will live to regret the forcing of people to live under the same rules. I noticed, living in Mount Pearl, that there is a tremendous community spirit there. High school teams are knocking on your doors on Saturday mornings, there is a lot of contact. People on the street on which I live get together once a year and have a social occasion.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is not going to change.

MR. HODDER: Oh yes, Mr. Speaker, yes. These things change with a larger administration, once there is a sports and recreation directors department down in City Hall which runs everything. Most things are now being run voluntarily. The hon. Member should come out to Kippins which has one full-time employee but yet is a very large town. Now what happens, Mr. Speaker, when they come under the yolk of Stephenville, when they are forced into Stephenville? I will tell you what will happen, Mr. Speaker, suddenly the recreation department will be in charge of this and that and all the bureaucracy that we see in this Government and in this city will come to bear. It seems to me, Mr. Speaker, that the smaller the town, very often the larger the community spirit. All I am asking the hon. Member -and I am not saying that amalgamation is bad, I am just putting forward a point of view because I do not believe that bigger is always better. That is why I say when the Government decides to amalgamate rural and urban areas that this is not necessarily the way to go.

Mr. Speaker, what has happened in the Stephenville - Kippins area: there was a feasibility study, but the feasibility study was done by a Member of the Minister's staff and one other person. After reading the study, even I who has been involved in that community I suppose since I have been elected, it has tripled in growth, could pick all sorts of holes in that report, and it did not say amalgamation, it said annexation. Stephenville should annex Kippins.

Now, Mr. Speaker, nobody is going to save money. The people in Kippins are willing to live without certain amenities of life. They knew that when they went there. They are also willing to pay taxes. Now we have a situation there where we have the mayor of one town wants to take over and the mayor of the other town is resisting, and now the mayor of Kippins has taken away the use of the fire trucks. I do not know whether it is right or wrong. Whether that is right or wrong, I do not know because I do not know the issue or what the thinking was, but I will say that the Member for Stephenville says it is wrong and he may be right. I do not know. But the question that I have to ask is: because two communities are in dispute why not ask the people what they want. I doubt very much, Mr. Speaker, that if the people of Stephenville were polled that they would want to take over Kippins. Would they want to take on a tax burden, because once the towns come together then the Town of Kippins are going to want what the Town of Stephenville has. They are going to want all the amenities of life. And oddly enough, the Town of Kippins, a non-unionized town, and the Town of Stephenville, a very unionized town, the town of Kippins does their snow clearing and does the work very cheaply.

So, Mr. Speaker, I am not saying they should not amalgamate, all I am saying is that they should have a fair chance, and there should be the people, the people, not the councils. I do not care if they fight forevermore, if one mayor wants to stay away and one mayor wants to stay there, and one mayor wants Kippins in and the other Mayor wants Kippins out. I do not care how they go. I think the people should have the right to speak, and the people have not had the right to speak in this. The people have not had a right to speak in St. John's. The people have not had a right to speak in the Goulds or in Wedgewood Park or in all of the other communities that are coming together and we all have their letters here from all over the northeast avalon who are complaining. So why, Mr. Speaker, what great brain? We know the great brain behind centralization, it was Parzival Copes, but what great thinker, what great brain down in the Minister's office or outside the Province brought this about because bigger is not necessarily best, and we might see a trend one of those days where people are going back to smaller communities.

So when the Government takes a step in which they have to force through their majority in the House of Assembly people to go together from rural and urban areas of this Province then, Mr. Speaker, I predict that the Government will live to see the day when they will shake their heads and say we should not have done that. I make that prediction, Mr. Speaker.

But, Mr. Speaker, I understand why the Minister of Finance is so happy about this. That is the real reason behind it because the Minister of Finance wants to unload a few things on the taxpayers. They have already taxed the taxpayers as much - the personal income tax is higher in Newfoundland than it is anywhere else, I could go on and on and on. Now, Mr. Speaker, they have found a new way of taxation because the larger the communities get the smaller the grants get.

So, Mr. Speaker, that is all I have to say except for the fact that I do hope when they look at the other communities around this Province, they look them over more carefully than they have looked at this one because, Mr. Speaker, this is not democratic. People should have a right to speak. These are institutions that, in some cases, have been there for thirty or forty years in some communities around this Province and communities right here in St. John's. So, they should have the right to the determination of their own destiny.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to speak fairly briefly on this resolution, drawing on my experience as the MHA for Humber East. Humber East is a district that comprises two municipalities that are the product of amalgamation.

The City of Corner Brook comprises four towns that came together in 1956. Now, I was not old enough in 1956 to have observed the processes that led to amalgamation, but it is a fact that the City of Corner Brook is made up of four towns that joined together in 1956. The combined territory is large and sprawling and I heard a few years ago that Corner Brook has the distinction of having more miles or kilometres of municipal roads per capita than any other municipality in Canada. I am not sure if that is still true.

The other municipality in the District, which is the product of a merger, is Pasadena, a town with a current population of 3,500. Pasadena is a product of the amalgamation of the former towns of Pasadena and South Brook in 1985.

I would like to explain to the House of Assembly how that amalgamation took place to illustrate a good municipal amalgamation, to point out an example of the correct process for municipal amalgamation, a very different experience from what has been occurring in this Province over the last two years under the Liberal 'Real Change' Administration. In the case of Pasadena, there was discussion at the local level involving municipal councillors with provincial authorities, preliminary, exploratory talk about the idea of combining Pasadena and South Brook following that local initiative the PC Administration of the day followed the law, observed both the letter and the spirit of The Municipalities Act and appointed an independent commissioner, somebody with no connection with the Provincial Government to carry out a feasibility study. The independent commissioner held public hearings, invited submissions written and oral from the citizens of the two municipalities and allowed plenty of time for that discussion to take place. The commissioner received mixed reviews. There were some people who were in favour of amalgamating the two municipalities but there were others, particularly residents of the smaller of the two communities, the town of South Brook, who were quite leery about the proposition. Indeed, there were a few who opposed it outright. The larger municipality, Pasadena, had been well planned, developed and enjoyed a good level of services. South Brook, the smaller of the two, however, was in grave need of municipal improvements. There was no proper modern sewage disposal system. Households used septic tanks for sewage disposal and with the growth in population through the late 70s and early 80s the community had outgrown septic tanks. Sewage was literally seeping to the surface of the ground. Very few of the roads in South Brook were paved. So there was some concern in Pasadena, the more prosperous municipality, that amalgamating the two might result in an unreasonable tax burden being put on Pasadena to finance the needed improvement in services in South Brook. All these concerns were aired fully. The commissioner listened to them and in his report the commissioner noted the differing opinions and advice from the residents. The commissioner went on to say that the Provincial Government had an important part to play and he called on the Province to pledge extra financing for the enlarged municipality in the event that amalgamation came about, extra financing that would allow the badly needed upgrading of services in South Brook without draining the taxpayers of Pasadena. After that report was written and made public, Mr. Speaker, the council of South Brook decided to have a plebescite and they carried out a referendum in their community, just South Brook. The result of that plebescite was that a majority indicated agreement with amalgamation, so with those democratic preliminaries out of the way the Provincial Government made a decision to amalgamate Pasadena and South Brook, to have the enlarged new municipality called the town of Pasadena, to provide extra provincial financing to the new municipality, specifically to upgrade services in South Brook, now know as Pasadena West, and the two former municipalities had worked out an agreement for the transition. That agreement included the new municipality employing all the former staff of both earlier municipalities. That agreement included having two extra seats added to the Pasadena council designated for what had been the community of South Brook for the first municipal term of office following the amalgamation. Six years later, Mr. Speaker, the citizens of Pasadena, both the former municipalities of Pasadena and South Brook, are very happy. It is a case where the Provincial Government acted in a democratic fashion, where the residents were listened to, where their wishes were respected, where the Provincial Government provided additional funding, where there were appropriate mutually agreed upon bridging, or transitional arrangements, and where people have been very satisfied with the change, with the transition, with the implementation, and with the results. How different that is from what this Liberal 'Real Change' Administration is doing. First of all a short two months after assuming office the Minister, without having taken the time to even talk to citizens around the Province, or their municipal leaders, like a bolt out of the blue, proposed a campaign of amalgamating some 115 municipalities combining them into some forty-odd groupings.

Now, for many of the municipalities on that list, the proposition that they be joined with their neighbours was foreign. It was a new concept that had never been discussed locally and, not surprisingly, the pronouncement of the Minister coupled with his expression of determination to use the force of Government to achieve the mergers within a short two months prior to the 1989 fall municipal elections got people's backs up. I am told by some leaders, one sitting opposite me, that a couple of cases where municipalities had been talking amalgamation, where progress in neighbours coming together had been noted, the Minister's crusade set back the clock.

Mr. Speaker, the Minister has retreated steadily ever since. Soon after his original edict he agreed to take Steady Brook off the list. He initially proposed combining Steady Brook along with Massey Drive, Mount Moriah and Corner Brook to make an enlarged City of Corner Brook. A few days after his announcement he removed Steady Brook from the list saying the physical separation by a few miles of the Humber River Valley made joining it with Corner Brook nonsensical. He did not follow through by taking Brighton, Triton, and Pilley's Island off the hit list however. Similarly, he called off the threat to Labrador City and Wabush recognizing that special funding agreements with the Iron Ore Mining Companies and those two municipalities might be jeopardized if the Government were to force merger of the two municipalities. But, he has stubbornly persisted in keeping the gun on all those other municipalities, Mr. Speaker.

Now a couple of them have come together amicably, Grand Falls and Windsor, and in that instance, as the Member for Exploits has to acknowledge, there had been many previous years of discussions. The way had been paved by the previous Administration and by the municipal leaders for the amalgamation of Grand Falls and Windsor, that has come about from what I know quite amicably. But, with those couple of exceptions, Mr. Speaker, eighty-odd municipalities from the Minister's original hit list are still living under the Government's threat. Now, after procrastinating for almost two years, finally the Premier has come to this House of Assembly with the resolution we are now debating.

The Premier has made a show of this procedure being democratic. The fact of the matter, Mr. Speaker, as many members on this side have pointed out is that the Premier did not have the legal authority to achieve the sought after amalgamations in the St. John's area by Cabinet order. So, his claim that he is doing us a favour by refraining from having Cabinet in secret decide on these mergers is a fraud. The law does not empower the Cabinet to make these amalgamations because the required preliminaries, the required feasibility studies have not been carried out.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the process we are are now taking part in, not voluntarily I might add, is similarly flawed. The passage by the Liberal majority here of the resolution before us does not authorize the intended result. This Legislature could authorize the result that the Premier desires but we would have to change the law. The Premier, yet, has not worked up the nerve to come before us with a bill to amend The Municipalities Act or the city's legislation. We will see what happens but, in my opinion, this is a flawed process. It is flawed legally, as well as morally. We, as Members of the House of Assembly, are being abused by the Premier in his effort to resolve the municipal amalgamation fiasco for the St. John's area to contain the damage in the St. John's area. Similarly, the rights of the citizens of the Northeast Avalon, and the current municipalities, are being violated. Under the present law, those people have a right to participate in a feasibility study of the proposed changes to their municipal boundaries and to the way they are governed locally.

Many speakers on this side have made the point that the resolution before us was a last-minute compromise, and that it pleases nobody. The Mayor of St. John's, who has favoured amalgamation on a grand scale, has said that this represents a municipal migraine headache. Part of this process, which was flipped in at the last minute, involves the Province unloading to Municipal Government the costly responsibilities of operating the Aquarena and the Canada Games Park without any corresponding transfer of provincial funds. This is a new precedent. Is the Government going to follow suit, by unloading provincial recreational facilities to the town of Gander, I ask the Member for Gander, or to the city of Corner Brook, I ask the Member for Humber West, to the town of Stephenville, I ask the Member for Stephenville, to the town of Happy Valley - Goose Bay, I ask the Member for Naskaupi? If I were those Members, I would be concerned. I am concerned, as a representative of part of the city of Corner Brook. In Corner Brook there is a provincially-owned and operated swimming pool.

Mr. Speaker, my friend, the Government House Leader, is pointing out the time to me and, having made the important points I had intended to go through, drawing on the Humber East experience, I will now take my seat and allow some of my colleagues to have a turn.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I do not intend to make a long speech, this morning. I have made most of my remarks in the debate on the amendments that were proposed, one by the Member for Mount Pearl and the other by the Member for Pleasantville, in which I concurred. When I rose to speak I noticed that there were more than just the Member for Pleasantville applauding my standing. The Member for Bonavista South appeared to be pleased that I was about to speak again. I think, he may have been one of those few on that side, who voted, yesterday, in favour of the resolution on the amendment proposed by the Member for Pleasantville, and seconded, so ably, by the Member for St. John's South. I want to speak on the resolution, as a whole. I have a number of things to say about the whole of the resolution, and explain to this House the reasons why I cannot support this resolution. I cannot support this resolution because it is unfair, it is, in some respects, incomplete, and it is unprincipled. It is unfair to the residents of St. John's.

MR. SIMMS: It is unconscionable.

MR. HARRIS: The Opposition House Leader says it is unconscionable, and I think the Premier would have to agree, if he thought about it. It is unfair to the taxpayers of St. John's, because it imposes, on them, additional burdens. It puts, into St. John's, an area of the Goulds. I do not think that the people of St. John's would not welcome the people of the Goulds as a part of St. John's, but, what it does, is, it puts what is a fundamentally agricultural area, into the city, which may well be a valuable move for planning purposes. It may be good for planning purposes; it may not be good for the people of the Goulds. If it were part of a comprehensive plan that made sense, it would have to be and should be tolerated by the people of the Goulds for the greater good. But it is unfair to the people of St. John's, because the additional tax burden on the taxpayers of St. John's, which will now include the Goulds, will be significantly greater to provide the level of services to the citizens of the Goulds that they will require.

It is also unfair because it does not do what needs to be done in order to make sense of the whole urban region in St. John's. As part of this resolution, there is the downloading of provincial services to the city. The inclusion of the Canada Games Park and Aquarena to the City of St. John's imposes a financial burden on the City, when the City has now announced that it cannot even afford to open the existing swimming pools that it has.

The Minister of Finance got up and, in his most humourous speech, after talking about going for a walk in Bannerman Park, he said: `I will not mention Victoria Park.' And I know why he would not mention Victoria Park, in the riding of the Member for St. John's South, because the City of St. John's has announced that it cannot afford to open that park, this summer. So, now, they have given him the most expensive swimming pool and recreational facility in this Province, to operate, without any revenues to do it. So, that is another reason why I can not support this resolution.

It is unfair to the people of Mount Pearl, and not necessarily for the reasons that the Member for Mount Pearl says. It is unfair to the people of Mount Pearl because it prevents Mount Pearl from existing as the kind of community it wanted to be, and does not provide a solution which, based on the amendment by the Member for Pleasantville and myself, would have at least provided a rational and principled basis for the continuation of the growth of the region, which includes St. John's and Mount Pearl, for the future. It is unfair because the Government has chosen to clip the wings of Mount Pearl and said, `You shall not grow.'

It is unfair to the people of St. Phillips, who are being asked, by themselves - just by themselves, not with any other plan or Government measures that would ameliorate some of the difficulties - to share the debt burden of a large municipality with diverse expectations and needs in terms of municipal services. They have joined up St. Phillips with Portugal Cove, with two very different sets of needs and approaches and an expanded debt which the taxpayers of St. Phillips are now going to be asked to share.

It is unfair to the people of Wedgewood Park, who would have accepted an inclusion in the City of St. John's, if it were done fairly and if it were part of a principal scheme that recognized an urban area in St. John's, where all taxpayers would pay an equivalent amount for the same level of services; but, they resent being told by this Government that despite the wishes of 99 per cent or 98 per cent of their residents, they are going to be part of St. John's, when Mount Pearl is being left to exist separately, also against their wishes, I might add, because they are not satisfied with it, either; but, at least, it would have been consistent and fair to the people of Wedgewood Park, if the Government had done more than just trample on them because they are so small.

I think the Premier and the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs said: `Well, after all, there are only 1,300 or 1,400 people,' as if they were insignificant, and `We cannot do this to the City of Mount Pearl, because, after all, there are 22,000 or 23,000 of them,' but the people of Wedgewood Park are insignificant in the eyes of this Government. Well, Mr. Speaker, that is not fair. And it is unfair to all the people of the region, because all the people of the region deserve to have a comprehensive and principal system of taxation and services and a say in what goes on in the urban area of St. John's.

So, Mr. Speaker, I say it is unfair, it is incomplete, because it does not do a proper job, and it is unprincipled, because there are no principles upon which this resolution is based. One looks at the preamble, which lists a series of Whereases, and all they really say is: We need to have fewer municipalities in St. John's than we have had before. Well, that is not much of a principle, Mr. Speaker, on which to disrupt the taxation system in the urban region, to disrupt the aspirations and plans of the people of Mount Pearl, to take away municipal Government from the people of Wedgewood Park, to destroy the existing structures in other towns and not replace them with something that makes sense, that is fair, that is comprehensive and that allows the urban region to operate on a proper basis for the future.

Mr. Speaker, I will conclude these remarks by saying that this Government has failed, miserably, the people of the urban region of St. John's, and that this resolution ought to be soundly defeated by all the members of this House. They have not even put into the resolution a way of ameliorating the effects, on the taxpayers, of what they have done, the taxpayers of Wedgewood Park, who are immediately going to have an increase in their taxes of some 90 per cent, that will happen immediately upon the amalgamation going into effect; the same for the residents of the Goulds; the same for the other areas that are included in St. John's. They are going to have major tax increases, and this, for people who can barely get by.

Mr. Speaker, many of you may have seen a letter to the editor, last night, by a resident from Torbay, who said that she and her husband were making a decent income, but they did not have sufficient monies to have the things that many people take for granted in terms of going out and enjoying entertainment on the town; they had to use all their money to pay their transportation and housing and other costs. These are the ordinary people, Mr. Speaker, who are going to be affected by this resolution.

I have been asked by a number of people, as has the Member for Kilbride, Will the Government phase in these tax increases? The answer to them, unfortunately is no, and the answer to this resolution, Mr. Speaker, by all the members of this House, ought to be no, `No, we will not support it.' This Member for St. John's East will certainly not support it, and I ask those Members over there, particularly those in the back bench, we know what their Government is going to do, to vote against this resolution.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. POWER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I know we are running out of time and we are hoping to conclude this reasonably quickly, I believe, but I just want to make a couple of comments and spend a couple of minutes to voice my concern about the whole amalgamation issue and to say that I fully concur with all of the statements made Member for Kilbride, who represents about 80 per cent or 85 per cent, I guess, of the town of the Goulds, and I represent the other 15 per cent of that town, and to say that the people of the Goulds, in particular, have not had a fair chance to make a reasonable judgement about whether amalgamation is a good thing or a bad thing. The feasibility study has not been done. The people in the Goulds simply do not know whether their tax rate is going to increase. I think most of them would be more that satisfied to allow it to increase if they were to get increased services. The real fear is that the taxation will come first and the services will come many years afterwards. That would be very unfair to a large community like the Goulds, that really does not have a major role to play in an urban core like St. John's.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to say that the recommendations made by the Minister, at least, in one case, were sound and sensible, and that was in the case of Petty Harbour - Maddox Cove. I give the Minister credit for bringing in a recommendation that leaves out Petty Harbour - Maddox Cove which is, certainly in the case of Petty Harbour, a very, very distinct old Newfoundland cultural fishing community with its very separate identity which does not have an awful lot in common with the urban core of St. John's; although, I also realize, of course, that there are very strong fishing communities in certain parts of St. John's, as well. But Petty Harbour is a distinct community and I am glad that part of my district has been left out of this amalgamating process.

I can only say as so many other Members here have said in the short amount of time I want to use this morning, that the process is wrong. I believe in amalgamation, I believe places have to go together. I do not see any reason why it cannot be done. Anybody who looks at big towns like Toronto, or New York, realizes that amalgamation takes place and places do not necessarily have to lose their identity. The way it has to be done is by people asking for it, by people understanding and supporting it. Simply being forced down from the top is not the right way to do an amalgamation of many towns in this area. Of course, I know it is going to mean an awful lot of other things, in other parts of Newfoundland, as well.

Mr. Speaker, I guess, with the short amount of time I have, I just want to say that I support my colleague from Kilbride, who has voiced many of the concerns of the people of the Goulds. I give the Minister credit for doing what was correct in the case of Petty Harbour - Maddox Cove.

I can only say that the amalgamating process, which is going to take place by the force of Government, if nothing else, is the wrong process. It is just as wrong as the process that the Premier so loudly decried about Meech Lake, where people did not have input. I find that this Government does not listen to the people of the Province, whether they are health care boards, or towns voicing concerns about amalgamation, or whether they are people voicing concerns about the Constitution of Canada. The people of this Province have not, in either of those three things, really had much chance to have their say. It is not the way democracy is supposed to work, and I can only say that maybe, somewhere down the road, this Government might begin to listen, but for the time being they are certainly not.

I suppose the amalgamation issue is going to happen. The people of the Goulds, like the people in other parts, will do their best with it but, certainly, I want to voice my concerns about the process. Because of the process more than anything else, I will be voting against the amalgamation resolution.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, assuming I can be heard, it is my intention not to prolong the debate. It is my intention to speak for five or ten minutes and zero in on a couple of principles. However, Mr. Speaker, if members opposite insist on intervening and interrupting, then the best laid plans of mice and men -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member has asked that there be no interruptions, and hon. members know that when an hon. Member requests there be no interruptions, then hon. members should acquiesce in that request, and acquiesce rapidly.

MR. SIMMS: Thank you for your protection, Mr. Speaker.

Members opposite may think I am joking, but I am not. I can assure them, I have a very short fuse since withdrawing from smoking, much like the Government House Leader.

Mr. Speaker, I want to talk briefly about three principles. I want to talk about the principle of democracy that the Premier talked about months ago when he talked about bringing this resolution into the Legislature in the first place as opposed to Cabinet making the decision. I want to point out exactly how silly that really is. Secondly, I want to talk about the principle of people's rights. People having the right, I suppose, to understand what is being proposed to them and having the right to have a say about what is being proposed to them, which has not happened in this case. And then finally, I want to talk about the principle of forced amalgamation.

In respect to the principle of democracy and the free vote issue, the Premier last year started talking about this camouflage approach of bringing in the resolution to the Legislature and letting the Legislature make the decision, as if the people of Newfoundland were too green to burn, as if they did not understand truly what was happening. I mean the reality is, Mr. Speaker, that this resolution is a Cabinet resolution. Where did it come from if it did not come from the Cabinet? It is a Cabinet resolution, and the reality is the majority in the House sit on the Government's side and undoubtedly - I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever that when we have this vote later this morning, or next week if Members opposite continue with their heckling like the Member for Pleasantville is doing, I have no doubt that the majority over there will toe the Premier's line. They will toe the Premier's line. As much as they wanted to stand and put their positions on the record for their constituents the Member for Pleasantville brought in this amendment to include Mount Pearl, and I dare say had a press release ready to go right away, I dare say he did. I would not be surprised. I would not be surprised if he did. So they are playing their little bit of politics. Here is what puts the cap on it from my perspective in terms of democracy. If the quote attributed to the Minister of Municipal Affairs in yesterday's Evening Telegram and the Minister of Municipal Affairs - the line says, 'Minister Eric Gullage -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, can somebody put a cap on that yahoos mouth over there so we can get on with it, or is he interested in prolonging the debate?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Perhaps we will just adjourn it until Monday. Maybe that would satisfy Members opposite. Is that probably what you would like to do? Okay, that is what we will do, Mr. Speaker, we will adjourn the debate until Monday.

MR. SPEAKER: Adjourned until Monday?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: The Member puts forward a motion to adjourn the debate until Monday.

Is the House ready for the question?

AN HON. MEMBER: Ready.

MR. SPEAKER: All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye!

MR. SPEAKER: Those against, 'nay'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Nay!

MR. SPEAKER: Motion defeated.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. SIMMS: That being the case, Mr. Speaker, I will continue on 'til 12:00 p.m. then, if that is what is being requested here.

Anyway, I was trying to make my point about democracy and I was pointing out the fallacy associated with this charade of bringing the resolution to the Legislature for a vote by Members. And here is what really capped it off for me. When I read this comment attributed at least to the Minister in yesterday's Evening Telegram where it says: Municipal and Provincial Affairs Minister Eric Gullage has said that after the amalgamation resolution is approved in the House of Assembly - after it is approved - a transition team will be put in place. He went on to talk about it.

Now I thought to myself

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Well, I thought it was a free vote. That is what we were all led to believe. That is what the people of the Province were led to believe. It is supposed to be a free vote. But your (inaudible), in assuming that this is going to be approved. What is the point of putting in place a free vote process, what was all this foolishness about bringing it to the Legislature and letting the Legislature decide? That is my point. I mean, it is simply another attempt to fool the people, I suppose. But if the Minister thinks it is automatically going to be approved then what are we doing here? Why are we bothering to carry on this charade of a free vote which the Premier put forward as his great principle? And where is the Premier?

Secondly, the other point I wanted to make is the point about the illegality, if you like, of this whole process. We have heard people who are involved and affected by this say publicly that they have not had the proper opportunity to address and speak on the groupings that are contained in this resolution. They have not had that opportunity and that right. And that is the principle of trampling on people's rights that I am talking about. These people have not had the rights.

I heard Mr. Byrne, I think, who represents the Northeast Avalon Community Groups, whom the Minister might not like, I do not know. But nevertheless he does represent a group of communities and he speaks on their behalf and he has said publicly that that is their big objection, and rightly so, they should object when the Minister does not follow the legislation and properly put forward to the people, and give the people an opportunity to speak on what is being proposed. So that is the second principle I think that has been eroded here and another reason not to support this resolution.

But finally, Mr. Speaker, I want to briefly mention the principle of forced amalgamation. That is a principle which we have, as a caucus I think, we have tried to stick by ever since this whole issue of amalgamation erupted a year or year and a half ago when the Minister and the Premier decided that this was what was going to happen. We have said all along that if communities were being forced against their will, their obvious will - if it was obvious they were being forced against their will - then we would support the people in those communities. We would support the people having the right to stay as they are for the time being. We certainly would not object if the Government wanted to take some initiative and cajole, persuade, argue, lead the discussions among communities as the Minister did in the case of Grand Falls - Windsor, which at least thus far worked out okay. But they were not forced, and the mayor from Grand Falls - Windsor said the other night at a public function, citizen of the year, when he hears all of the kerfuffle and fuss going on in the northeast Avalon, it makes him appreciate just how fortunate they were in Grand Falls - Windsor to have been able, even though it might have taken twelve years, it took probably twelve years, but certainly the last couple of years, the Minister can take credit if credit is due for bringing the two groups together and making sure they worked it out and that is all we are saying, and Bishop Falls eventually wanted to come in. So that is what we are saying. We support the principle of amalgamation if the Government in conjunction with other communities were able to talk to the people of Wedgewood Park for example or the people of the Goulds and convince them that it is the right and proper thing. If they want to take the time and do that, and if it takes two or three years, then sobeit, but do it properly - it eliminates animosities; it eliminates ill feelings. And so we have always opposed the approach since this started a year and a half or two years ago. We have always opposed the approach of forced amalgamation, and as an Opposition I think we have the responsibility to stand in this Legislature and speak on behalf of those groups, who are in this case a minority, no doubt about that in terms of population and so on, we have to stand in our places and support their positions. But not only are we doing it in support of their public positions, we are doing it because it is a principle that all of us on this side of the House at least also oppose and that is forced amalgamation. People like St. Phillips, somebody has to support them, somebody has to speak for them and support them, and we intend to support the St. Phillips' of the world, the Mount Pearls' of the world, the Goulds' of the world, the Wedgewood Parks' of the world, the Mount Moriahs' and all the rest of them, the Tritons' and everybody else because nobody on that side is likely to support them from the evidence that we have, Mr. Speaker.

So I just want to make those concluding remarks on behalf of the caucus. We will not be participating any further, I think. All the Members on this side have had an opportunity to express their views and make their points, and they have done so adequately. I think our position is fairly clear. Members opposite know what individual's positions are because everybody has spoken. It is a free vote but I think it is pretty obvious that Members on this side will probably be voting against the resolution. I cannot speak for them all, but I am pretty certain they will. I certainly will be.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to have a few short minutes, I do not have very much time, to close the debate. I think I will pick up where the Opposition House Leader left off in talking about the democratic process, if you like, of whether or not we should have taken a leadership role in taking a position on amalgamation and the whole principle of amalgamation. I think I said the other day, and I am probably repeating myself now, but I think it is worth repeating, we could have sat back for seventeen years, I suppose, or twenty years, or however long we are going to be in Government, probably about twenty-odd years I would say, and done nothing. But we decided that we would take a leadership role and that municipalities in this Province needed leadership. Amalgamation was something that had to be addressed and we took that leadership role. Now, whether being a follower as opposed to a leader is better or not is something that the public will eventually have to decide.

The idea that you can leave seventeen communities, including the Metropolitan Area Board, to decide for themselves, if I read the Member correctly I believe that is what he was saying, and hope that eventually amalgamation will evolve on its own and by some evolution that someway it is going to happen without any leadership. The Minister does not take leadership he sits back and waits for it to happen. Where the scenarios, the numbers of groupings in the seventeen communities are, I would not say endless, but there are quite a variety of groupings you could put together at the end of the day.

We foresaw that, Mr. Speaker, we had the foresight to see that when we put the public announcements out in the papers and on the radio and so on. Our announcements clearly stated the groupings that we had in mind to start out the hearings process and they were groupings that were not carved in stone. We would start with those groupings and this was the Government's position. But we also qualified that by saying: and any other grouping that might be suggested or considered would be also part of the process. So clearly for anybody to suggest that we did not follow the right procedure and cover the right procedure in the feasibility process as laid out in The Municipalities Act is totally incorrect.

The suggestion that was made, I believe, by the Member for Mount Pearl that we should go back through and do the process all over again, new feasibility studies, new public hearings, and then to top it all of a plebiscite. Can you imagine a plebiscite which has been removed from the Municipalities Act. The Whelan Commission, some fifteen years ago recommended and stated that plebiscites were totally undemocratic. Do you want to put something back into the process that is undemocratic?

AN HON. MEMBER: Time is up.

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, just to summarize quickly.

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

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

MR. BAKER: Could we have leave to stop the clock for five or then minutes?

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, assuming the Minister is about to summarize quickly, as he just said, and only going to be a few minutes we are prepared, sure.

MR. SPEAKER: Agreed.

The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, the main point I wanted to add today was that we decided to follow the democratic process of having a full debate in the House of Assembly rather than the undemocratic process of a plebiscite, which clearly Whelan saw in his commission some years ago. They are not being used by Governments much anymore except in cases of moral issues, something like abortion, capital punishment and that sort of thing. But the idea of doing it on an issue like this where clearly we are dealing with financial, administrative, planning problems which have to be looked at in a feasibility process, a detailed feasibility process, which we have carried on now for over some year and a half or more, is impossible.

Mr. Speaker, to quickly finalize, I think at the end of the day we have a recommendation that will serve us well. I think the people of the northeast Avalon, and time will tell, will see good municipal government. With the groupings that we have put forward in the resolutions I think we will see that the services that are going to be provided by a new arrangement with the City of St. John's, providing the regional services and costing them out, with the distribution of the metro lands to communities throughout the region where now democratically these people, who before did not have elective representation, except for half the board, now have full elected representation in these communities. We have brought twenty-five communities down to eleven, Mr. Speaker, if you include all the metro communities. We have made great strides, and I think history will show that what we have done in the northeast Avalon will prove very, very beneficial in the long-term interests of the people of this region.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

Is it the pleasure of the house to adopt the motion?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: Those against, 'nay'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Nay.

MR. SPEAKER: In my opinion the 'ayes' have it.

AN HON. MEMBER: Division.

Division

MR. SPEAKER: Call in the Members.

All those in favour of the motion, please stand.

The hon. the Premier, the hon. the President of the Council, the hon. the Minister of Health, the hon. the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, the hon. the Minister of Environment and Lands, the hon. the Minister of Fisheries, the hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, Mr. Barrett, Mr. Grimes, the hon. the Minister of Justice, the hon. the Minister of Finance, the hon. the Minister of Education, the hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, Mr. Hogan, Mr. Ramsay, Mr. Crane, Mr. K. Aylward, Mr. Gover, Mr. Penney, Mr. Murphy, Mr. Walsh, Mr. Short, Mr. Langdon, Mr. Oldford.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against the motion, please stand.

Mr. Simms, Ms. Verge, Mr. Doyle, Mr. R. Aylward, Mr. Matthews, Mr. N. Windsor, Mr. Hearn, Mr. Hewlett, Mr. Warren, Mr. Power, Mr. Parsons, Mr. Hodder, Mr. Harris, Mr. Noel.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

CLERK (Miss Duff): Mr. Speaker, Ayes, twenty-four; Nays, fourteen.

MR. SPEAKER: I declare the motion carried.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to inform Members of the House, that on the next day, Monday, I intend to proceed with the next three items in order any way; the second reading of a Bill, "An Act To Amend The Co-operative Societies Act", (Bill No. 24), the second reading of a Bill, " An Act To Revise And Amend The Law Respecting Pension Plan For Teachers", (Bill No.25), and Motion 3, which has to do with the Loan Bill.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, the Government House Leader and I never had an opportunity to discuss this; I wonder, if in place of the borrowing bill, Motion 3, as your third item, could we perhaps start the concurrence debates, which would be Order 4, is that possible?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I would be willing to make that change. Obviously, as he said, we did not have a chance to discuss it and if people are not ready for a certain thing, it is better perhaps if we got on to something else for which people are prepared, so concurrence would certainly be a reasonable substitute.

On motion, this House at its rising adjourned until Monday, May 27, 1991 at 2:00 p.m.