May 29, 1991                    HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS            Vol. XLI  No. 59


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Before calling our routine business, on behalf of hon. Members, I welcome to the public galleries, today, thirty-one, Grade VII students from the Fred Kirby Intermediate School, Foxtrap, accompanied by their teacher, Edwina Sooley.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Statements by Ministers

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, in the 1991-92 Budget Speech, it was announced that in order to achieve economies in the economic planning and advisory services of government, the Economic Council of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Advisory Board of the Economic Recovery Commission would be merged into one body with a resulting savings in the order of $200,000.

I am pleased to announce today that this process has been completed and the services and facilities of the two advisory groups have been consolidated under a single advisory board known as the Advisory Council on the Economy.

The Council is headed by Mr. Harold Lundrigan of Corner Brook, as Chairman. Mr. Lundrigan was previously Chairman of the Economic Recovery Commission Advisory Board and was also the first Chairman of the Economic Council, so he brings to the new Council valuable experience and the perspective of both former advisory bodies.

Mr. Campbell Eaton of St. John's has agreed to serve as Vice-Chairman. Mr. Eaton was also a member of the former Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

Other members of the 15-person Council are: Ms. Elizabeth Curtis, Mount Pearl; Ms. Shirley Frost, Pasadena; Mr. Glenn Kirby, Kippens; Mr. John Manuel, Corner Brook; Ms. Frances Nichols, Grand Falls; Mr. John O'Brien, St. John's; Mr. Wayne Russell, St. John's; Mr. Ray Smallwood, St. John's; Mr. Gerald Smith, Lourdes; Mr. Robert Warr, Happy Valley/Goose Bay; Mr. Victor Young, St. John's; and, Mr. Jim Skinner, Wabush.

Mr. Speaker, with the exception of the last one, Mr. Jim Skinner of Wabush, all of the persons named were members of the former boards and we took roughly half from each of the former boards and added them to the new one.

In expressing appreciation to these individuals who have accepted our invitation to serve on the new Council, I must also pay tribute to all those who gave so freely of their time, energy and expertise on both the Economic Council and the Advisory Board of the ERC. Now, bear in mind, Mr. Speaker, these are non-paying boards, these are volunteer services that these individuals are contributing for the benefit of the Province. They have made an outstanding and lasting contribution to their Province and it is an expression of confidence in both groups that the new Council is comprised almost entirely of equal representation from members of these boards.

The mandate of the Advisory Council on the Economy will encompass the role pursued by both its predecessors. The Council will: identify major economic issues which must be addressed by the Province; undertake appropriate research and analysis in order to provide independent and responsible advice and recommendations on government policies and actions to address these issues; monitor government economic policies and initiatives and evaluate the effectiveness and potential; advise on the manner in which social and economic polities may be interacting and the manner in which economic and social policies can best be co-ordinated; contribute to public awareness and informed discussion on economic issues and prospects; serve as an advisory board to the Government in respect of the Economic Recovery Commission, providing advice on its own initiative or on request, pertaining to the structure, function and performance of the Economic Recovery Commission; on request by the Economic Recovery Commission to provide advice as to its organization and policies and assessment of its methods and performance; on its own initiative, or on request, to provide advice as to any matter touching on the economic development of the Province.

The staff complements of each of the four advisory groups have also been consolidated and rationalized under the new Council to effect greater efficiency of operation and to eliminate duplication of effort.

The new Advisory Council on the Economy will provide an essential service to Government in the performance of its mandate and in helping to chart the proper course for future economic growth in the Province.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. DOYLE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I only received a copy of the Premier's statement on coming into the House, so I have not had time to really take a very close look at the statement, or to prepare a detailed response to it.

Let me say to the Premier, that it certainly appears, at first blush, to be just cosmetics that the Premier is involved in here. He is putting a different face, he says, on the Economic Council of Newfoundland and Labrador. What he is really doing, as he said, is amalgamating the Economic Council of Newfoundland and Labrador with the Advisory Board of the Economic Recovery Commission. Again, time will tell if there is any wisdom in that move, or if it is going to mean anything substantial to the people in Newfoundland and Labrador when it comes to employment. We have greater concerns with the Economic Recovery Commission and what that happens to be doing at this point in time to alleviate some of the long-term, and the short-term employment problems, that people are having in this Province. The Premier should be aware now that people are leaving the Province in unbelievable numbers, and I certainly, personally, do not see, and I do not believe anyone else in the Province can see what an amalgamation of these two boards is going to mean to the unemployed people in Newfoundland and Labrador. If the Premier can explain to me what an amalgamation of these two boards is going to do to reduce the unemployment rate, which is presently at 22.5 per cent, then I will certainly welcome the news of the amalgamation of these two bodies, Mr. Speaker. If it is going to help the 25,000 families who are presently on welfare, then we will welcome the news of the amalgamation of these two boards. The Premier should be aware that over the last couple of years we have had an increase in the unemployment rate in Newfoundland of a full 5 percentage points -

MR. SIMMS: Shame!

MR. DOYLE: - and 20 per cent on welfare, Mr. Speaker. So it is about time the Premier stopped the cosmetics and got down to the business of trying to build the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador and try to get the people of Newfoundland, who are leaving for the mainland, in droves, back to the Province -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: As he promised.

MR. DOYLE: - as he promised them in his last election campaign. Now, Mr. Speaker, we have no great difficulty with the players in this particular move. It appears to us that the people involved in this, the members of the fifteen-person council, are people who seem to be qualified.

There is just one question I would ask the Premier. The Economic Advisory Board, was set up under its own separate Act. I do not know if the Act will have to be repealed now.

PREMIER WELLS: Yes.

MR. DOYLE: The Premier says the Act will have to be repealed.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MS VERGE: Yes, there are only two from rural areas.

MR. DOYLE: Mr. Speaker, some of my colleagues, here, as well, are expressing concern that there are only two members from rural Newfoundland on this Board -

MS VERGE: And only three women.

MR. DOYLE: - and only three women. Mr. Speaker, as I said, hopefully, it will mean something to the unemployed people in Newfoundland and Labrador, but I suspect it is only cosmetics again.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy.

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, this Government recently promulgated the Newfoundland and Labrador Petroleum Regulations, 1991, which became effective February 15, 1991. These regulations are specifically designed for onshore petroleum exploration and development. They provide Government with a mechanism to issue petroleum rights and allow interested parties to explore for petroleum in the Province.

Mr. Speaker, in order to issue exploration permits, a competitive bidding procedure, known as a Request for Bids, must be followed, whereby the highest bidder wins the exclusive rights to explore and drill for petroleum on specific lands. To properly gauge the level of interest in acquiring exploration permits, it is customary to entertain "expressions of interest" from exploration companies in the form of a Call for Postings or a Call for Nominations prior to doing a Request for Bids.

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to announce today, that pursuant to section 16 of the Petroleum Regulations, I am hereby issuing a Call for Postings, and invite all interested parties to formally indicate those lands in the onshore area of the Province that they would like to see made available in a competitive Request for Bids process. This postings period shall close on September 13, 1991. I expect that several areas within the onshore western Newfoundland basin, outlined in the attached backgrounder document, will be the focus of some posting activity. Thank you.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. What can I say? I mean, we have a Government over here that has been recently rocked by a patronage scandal; the galleries are blocked with angry truckers; we have 50,000 people on welfare; the fishermen cannot get out because of ice; the hospital system is in a state of total crisis, and the Minister has indicated that he is going to ask the companies to look at drilling onshore Newfoundland. Mr. Speaker, I am underwhelmed. Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

June 4, 1991 is Census Day in Canada. This is the ninth Census of Population to be conducted in Newfoundland and Labrador since Confederation and, this year, approximately 1,000 people will be employed in the Province to conduct the Census.

The Census is conducted every five years, with information being collected from every man, woman and child in Canada. The answers from each form are combined to provide valuable insights into our social, demographic, and economic conditions, as well as the changes that are occurring in our society. Of course, the completed forms are kept strictly confidential.

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador uses census information for a wide range of federal-provincial cost-shared agreements, equalization and other fiscal arrangements. Government departments and agencies use census information in a wide range of programme planning and evaluation. For example, Mr. Speaker, both the Newfoundland Statistics Agency and the Economic Research and Analysis Division of Cabinet Secretariat make regular use of census information in their work.

While government is a major user of census information, many sectors of society also rely on the Census, including municipalities, businesses, labour unions, social interest groups, and native organizations for planning, implementing and evaluating their programmes and services.

Mr. Speaker, because of the importance, financially, to this Province, the Government fully supports the 1991 Census. Information collected by the Census is used for the benefit of all residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, and I encourage everyone in our Province to count themselves in on June 4th by completing their Census forms. It is a very, very important exercise.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, if my colleague the Member for Green Bay was underwhelmed, I do not know what I can be, after a statement of that sort. I imagine there will be dancing in the streets in Ming's Bight after the Minister's statement tonight, long into the wee hours of the morning, no doubt. It is funny how this Government jumps up to announce there will be a thousand jobs created by the Federal Government, when it seems like it might be positive, and every other day, they are up attacking the Federal Government for not doing this or not doing that.

Mr. Speaker, I fully expect the people of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador to concur with the law, to answer their census, to explain, and tell the people of Canada whether or not they are hungry, whether or not they are unemployed, whether or not they are on social assistance, whether or not they believe the Premier, whether or not they believe the Government or trust the Government, whether or not they have trucks that they cannot get paid for.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: The only other thing I would suggest to the Government House Leader is that he pass on to those doing the Census, they might want to go to Toronto and enumerate all the Newfoundlanders who have gone up there, lately, too.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a question for the Premier. During the last election campaign the Premier said and I quote: we have ideas that work so people can work, unquote. He promised, and I quote: workers in all sectors of the Province will have an opportunity to find meaningful employment, unquote.

Now two years after the Premier uttered those statements the unemployment rate in this Province is up from 17.2 per cent to 22.2 per cent; the number of unemployed is up by 33 per cent to 51,000 people; the number of people with jobs is down by 7,000, from 188,000 people working to 181,000 people. I want to ask the Premier, where are the ideas that work, and where are the jobs?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: The vast majority of them were stolen from the Province by the economic recession caused by the policies of the hon. Member's Party in Ottawa, which he supports with great glee and gusto. A great many were also stolen by the mismanagement of the fisheries that has caused a substantial loss in the fisheries. Some of the job losses that are now occurring are caused by the cutbacks in the public service in this Province. Most of those cutbacks were caused because the Federal Government kept its payments to the Province and left the Province in a very difficult economic situation, and because the Province, like every other province of Canada, is facing the consequences of an economic recession. It does not have the revenue to maintain all the jobs and the level of operations that have existed in the past.

The Government must operate the business of the public and the taxpayers of this Province in a sound responsible way and we intend to do so. In the meantime we have been building and have been continuing to build and broaden the base of the economy. It is difficult to keep up with the consequences of an economic recession and the disastrous impact of Federal policies that cause such loss in the fisheries. But we are trying and I believe that the Conference Board of Canada is right, this Province will have greater economic growth than any other province in the country this year. It will be 2.2 per cent compared to the next best - it was a loss two years ago - to the next best which is four-tenths of 1 per cent in Ontario.

The Government is managing the affairs of the Province in a responsible way. But I would never purport to claim for the people of this Province that we can guarantee everybody a job in the face of the policies of the Federal Government.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, the litany of blaming somebody else, I think, has probably been expressed again in this House today as it has been expressed around this Province. Nobody believes what the Premier is saying.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. RIDEOUT: Now I have a supplementary for the Premier. In three Throne Speeches now before this House, in successive Budget Speeches, the Premier has promised to present an economic plan to this Legislature. Now we are in days of seeing this fourth sitting of this Legislature end. I want to ask the Premier: where is the plan? When is it going to be presented to the people of this Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the plan of which the hon. Member speaks was mentioned in this year's Budget only.

MR. RIDEOUT: In three Throne Speeches.

PREMIER WELLS: The plan of which the hon. Member speaks was mentioned in this year's Throne Speech only.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: Say what they like, it was mentioned in this year's Throne Speech only.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

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

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the Planning and Priorities Committee met on Tuesday of this week and reviewed in detail the proposal for adjustment to the economic plan which they had reviewed in previous weeks and had gone back and made some adjustments and there were further adjustments. It is in process of preparation. And for the first time in its history this Province will have a strategic economic plan that will provide for co-ordinated, managed economic development.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: For the first time in its history it will have a strategic economic plan. Mr. Speaker, the Government will make the plan public when it is ready to make it public, and I expect that will probably be sometime by the end of this year, I would think. The necessary adjustments will have been made to it by that time, and the detail would have been done to make it public around about that time, but I ask the House not to hold me absolutely to December. I expect sometime around about the end of the year, or early in the coming year.

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, the Premier says for the first time in its history the Province will have an economic plan. I say for the second time in its history the Province will see a resettlement plan. That is what is coming out of this Government, Mr Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, Hear!

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, when the Premier was elected Leader of the Liberal Party he said the following: We have to stop blaming our problems on others and start coping with them ourselves. Now, Mr. Speaker, is that another broken promise by the Premier? How is it that whenever the Premier is questioned about his record he blames his failures on the Federal Government, he blames them on previous Provincial Governments, he blames them on unions, he blames them on doctors, he blames them on the poor, he blames them on the widows of this Province. For God sake, he even blames it on the weather, Mr. Speaker. Now, I want to ask the Premier of this Province when is he going to give up this litany of blame on somebody else and accept the fact that he is the Leader of the Government, and provide accountable leadership to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition should get whoever drafted the question he just read to consult with the Federal Government. They have at long last recognized that there is an economic recession in the country. It took them six months of denying it when we identified the problem, and led the nation in identifying the problem, and in setting forth a proposal to deal with it. Now, Mr. Speaker, we did not cause the national economic recession. We did not cause the high interest rates. We did not cause the growth in unemployment rates. We did not cause the reduction in the fisheries. We are not prepared to stick our heads in the sand and blind ourselves. I just got through advising the House that we contributed to the unemployment statistics by the layoffs in the public service. Anything we caused I will acknowledge, but I will not be so blind and stupid as to take responsibility for what the hon. Member's friends in Ottawa have caused to this country.

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, I will gladly loan the person who is drafting my questions to the Premier, if the Premier will allow that person to draft the truth for the people of this Province. Let me say to the Premier that finding others to blame is the last defence of an incompetent. What we see here is an incompetent Government. Everything this Premier touches, Mr. Speaker, he bungles. I ask the Premier again: when is he going to provide the economic leadership to the people of this Province, create the jobs, create the opportunity, create the reason for hope, and, yes, even create an atmosphere and an opportunity for people to trust and believe the Premier? When is that going to happen?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Clearly, we have been doing it for the past two years. That is why the public of this Province continue to give their support to this Government and this Party. Clearly, Mr. Speaker, that is why.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Now, Mr. Speaker, have we been perfect? No. We have not been perfect. We have even made a mistake here and there. I understand that and I accept that proposition, but clearly we have given the kind of leadership that was lacking in the past, that caused this Province to be in the economic mess that the former Government left it, and caused us to have to deal with this massive problem. We are dealing with it and we are satisfied that we have the confidence of the people of this Province to continue dealing with it.

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

MR. DOYLE: Mr. Speaker, I have questions for the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, but as usual she is not in her place again today, so I will direct my questions to the Premier. The Premier will be aware as well that the Transport and Allied Worker's Union have requested the Department of Employment and Labour Relations to draft amendments to the Labour Relations Act so that the union may become the official bargaining agent for the owner-operators, which is the truckers.

Now about one month ago the Minister promised and assured the union that her Department would bring in the necessary amendments to the Labour Relations Act to make that possible. Let me ask the Premier, why has the Government reneged on that commitment?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I have to say that I am not aware, and I will check with the Minister when I see her. I am not aware that there was the commitment that the hon. Member speaks about. I met with the truckers at least four weeks ago, I think, about three or four weeks ago anyway, I met with a committee of truckers in a room up here and a representative of the Teamsters Union was with them and we discussed the problems. I undertook to immediately address the basic problem and that is that construction companies in this Province are using their immense power and position to unfairly treat the truckers by pressuring them to accept less than the Public Utilities Board would approve for them and causing them to be in a position where they do not get a fair return for the effort that they make, because, Mr. Speaker, the legislation that the former Government had in place did not adequately provide for penalties.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: Now, Mr. Speaker, when I looked at it the penalty for a contracting company probably pressuring or inducing a group of truckers to operate for far, far less than they should be getting and maybe save thousands and thousands of dollars by so doing, the minimum penalty was $100 and the maximum $500. So, Mr. Speaker, we put a committee of the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, Employment and Labour Relations and Justice to immediately draft the legislation or to draft amendments to the regulations to solve this problem.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I am happy to advise that yesterday I was delivered a copy of the proposed draft amendment to the regulation. The matter will be considered by Cabinet very quickly. It may even be considered by Cabinet tomorrow, and we will deal with the issue at that time.

Now, Mr. Speaker, at the same time the truckers talked to me about the possibility of amending our legislation to allow the Teamsters Union to have a position to have province wide bargaining for all truckers that would be applied to all contractors. Mr. Speaker, I do not know if the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations gave any undertaking, but I certainly told the truckers that I could not give them such an undertaking without doing a full assessment of the impact on Labour Relations of such an amendment to the Labour Relations Act.

Mr. Speaker, the matter is being assessed. We are looking at what is happening in the rest of the country. I have gotten some information on the situation elsewhere in the country, and it is a matter of making particular provision to try and accommodate a peculiar situation that will not unduly disrupt or adversely effect some other aspect of the construction industry. We must move with reasonable caution to make sure that we do what is right. But, Mr. Speaker, we will not hesitate to take steps to immediately change the law to require substantial penalties to ensure that there is no continuing breach of the law.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. DOYLE: Well let me say to the Premier, Mr. Speaker, that the truckers of this Province are getting some very, very confusing signals from this Government because the Premier should be aware that the union contacted the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations over the last few weeks regarding that request, and they were informed - and this is what the truckers have told me over the last couple of days and told me again today - they have been informed by her officials that these amendments were gone to Cabinet for consideration. Now, in fact, the Union's legal council, Mr. Randy Earl, and the Minister's officials jointly drafted these amendments at the Minister's request over the last month. Now what is the hang-up? Isn't the Premier aware that all of this is taking place and that these things have gone to Cabinet already? What kind of a game is he playing?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I do not deny that proposed amendments were drafted. What I am saying to the hon. Member and he knows, he served in a Cabinet before, you take a look at proposed amendments and consider the impact of it. That is what the Government is doing. The Government is not going to rush at amending legislation without being sure of what the consequences will be for the overall. Mr. Speaker, I do not deny that this whole proposal has been looked at, that proposed legislation may well have been drafted to deal with the issue, I do not suggest that. But, what I am saying to the Member is: I do not know what the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations said but I will check with her and find out precisely what she said. But I can say to the House with certainty when I met with the truckers I gave no such commitment that any such legislation would be introduced. As a matter of fact, I recall specifically advising the Committee that I met with, that I had some concerns about it and we would have to take a careful look at what the consequences would be before we could rush at such legislation.

What I did undertake to do was put in place a committee immediately to address the question of the enforcement of the existing laws and to protect the rights of truckers to have the rates approved by the Public Utilities Board paid to them as they should.

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

MR. DOYLE: Well, Mr. Speaker, I would like the Premier to explain to me what this letter is all about that the Minister of Employment recently sent to the business agent of the Transport and Allied Workers Union, just five days ago, saying that: I am not convinced that the introduction of the amendments to The Labour Relations Act is either appropriate or necessary.

Now that is a very confusing signal to be sending to the truckers of the Province. Does the Premier not realize, in the next couple of days this House is not going to be sitting any more until November, does he not realize that over the summer he is inviting labour confusion and confrontation in the trucking industry and the industries that are serviced by truckers? Will he agree, Mr. Speaker, to immediately bring these amendments that have been drafted by the Department of Employment and Labour Relations legal counsel and the truckers legal counsel before this House so they can be given speedy passage by both the Government and the Opposition?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I refer the hon. Member to the letter he just read from the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. She said she is not convinced that it is either appropriate or necessary to make such changes in order to deal with the problems. We are convinced that it is necessary to change the regulations that have been in effect for many years in order to deal with the problem. Whether or not that is enough or there should be a change in The Labour Relations Act we are going to continue to assess. We are going to look at what the situation is in the rest of the country and try and maintain a reasonably comparable basis for operation throughout the country and make sure that we do not rush at an ill-advised amendment that has an adverse impact on some other aspect of our economy or operation in the Province. We are going to do it right.

But, Mr. Speaker, I agree we should move immediately, and we are moving immediately to correct the situation that has existed for many years where contractors have been able to pressure truckers to work for far less than they are entitled to. Mr. Speaker, we are endeavouring to do that. I have also agreed to meet with - I met with one of the representatives, Mr. Pearce, of the Teamsters Union this morning on an urgent basis. He had not arranged a meeting, he had just asked if I would meet with him for a few minutes, and I did. At that time, we arranged a meeting for, I believe, sometime on Monday, noon or afternoon on Monday we will be meeting to review exactly where the Government is on the issue. By that time I may well be in a position to advise him of the decision of Cabinet with respect to the change of regulations. I did indicate to him -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: That quickly. It is no problem. We were not seventeen years sitting on it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: We dealt with it, Mr. Speaker, in little more than seventeen days after we met we prepared draft regulations and Cabinet will consider it to ensure that we give the maximum level of protection that we can to the truckers.

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

MR. DOYLE: Let me say to the Premier, Mr. Speaker, that a change of regulation is not what is needed, it is an amendment to the Labour Relations Act.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DOYLE: What the Premier is trying to do, is bamboozle everyone, while he can sit back and do nothing on this issue. Will the Premier tell me why truckers should be treated differently than fishermen, for instance? Fishermen have these same rights under the Fishing Industry Collective Bargaining Act; now why do truckers have to be treated differently, why cannot the Premier, why cannot the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations simply take these amendments that have already been drafted, bring these amendments to the House of Assembly, and with the concurrence of the Opposition tomorrow, we will give these amendments speedy passage, so that truckers can be afforded their democratic rights in this Province?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I can only assume that truckers are treated differently than fishermen for the same reason yesterday and the day before and the week before and the month before, as it was in the past seventeen years; I operate on a logical assumption that there was some reason for their being treated differently.

Now, Mr. Speaker, if there is reason to change and change is the right thing to do, we are prepared to make those changes, but, Mr. Speaker, we are not prepared to jump at it because the Opposition get out of control on one or two days in the House; we are going to do what is right to correct the problems that they allowed to exist and we will continue to do an assessment of whether or not it is appropriate to amend the Labour Relations Act.

If we find that it is the right thing to do, I can assure the House that we will take steps to do it. If we find that there was good reason for the past seventeen years why it has not been done, and should continue, then we will not do it, but, we will make the decision on an intelligent basis, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. DOYLE: Will the Premier confirm, Mr. Speaker, that the main reason these amendments were turned down last week, when they went to Cabinet for approval, was because of pressure from the Road Builders Association of this Province, who want to deny collective bargaining rights to these individual truckers?

Mr. Speaker, can the Premier confirm that? Can he confirm the reason why these amendments were turned down when they went to Cabinet, was because of pressure from the Road Builders Association of the Province, and is he aware as well, that there are about 900 carrier plates out there right now, and 600 of these have already said that they want the Transport and Allied Workers Union to be certified as the official bargaining agent for the truckers of this Province, is that not enough, two-thirds, to convince the Premier that these amendments are needed?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: At least three things need to be said to those comments, Mr. Speaker. Firstly, the proposal has not been turned down, it has not been accepted, but is has not been turned down; it is still under assessment. Now maybe the hon. Members Opposite do not understand that, which probably goes a long way towards explaining the mess they left this Province in after seventeen years of Government by their means.

Secondly, Mr. Speaker, I know nothing of any Road Builders Association or group, I have had no representation from them, I have no knowledge of whether or not anybody else has, but I can say, speaking for myself, I have not.

Thirdly, Mr. Speaker, if 600 signed up, they can apply now to be certified, but, Mr. Speaker, you have to acknowledge that the normal labour relations procedures are such that it would make it almost futile for most contracts by the time you got through certification process and so on, the job may well be over, so, it is not enough to simply say: well the Labour Relations Act presently provides for you to be certified if you want to be certified.

We have to deal with it responsibly and we are going to deal with it responsibly, but, Mr. Speaker, I can assure the House and the people of the Province, including the truckers of the Province, that we will not rush headlong into it and make a wrong decision; we are going to move very carefully.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, a question to the President of Treasury Board, who is also responsible now for Social Services.

Mr. Speaker, in view of the findings of the Public Service Commissioner's Report, which was tabled in the House on Monday and the unfortunate consequences thereof, does the Minister - and I am sure the Minister has read the report - intend to remove Mr. Ambrose Stoyles from the Social Assistance Appeal Board?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I understand that there is going to be an enquiry into that report and I guess we will wait until that is over.

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

MR. HODDER: Well, Mr. Speaker, it would seem very strange that the Minister of Social Services would have to resign but the person who took part in the whole affair would not have to resign. Now is it not important that the Minister act quickly to establish the credibility of that Board? Is the Minister not aware that, from the report, Mr. Stoyles improperly obtained questions for a competition in which he was a candidate? The findings of the Board clearly contradict Mr. Stoyles sworn evidence of the Commissioners' investigation. Now is that not enough to disqualify Mr. Stoyles from remaining on the Social Assistance Appeals Board?

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The interpretation given by the hon. Member is the hon. Member's interpretation. I do not know if it is a correct interpretation, and I guess we will find out after the judicial enquiry.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, the report specifically questioned Mr. Stoyles' credibility. Is it not obvious that Mr. Stoyles placed great personal importance on his political patrons? Does that not bring into question his ability to overrule on appeal the decisions of those to whom he feels a personal obligation? Because he is in a situation where he has to rule on whether people or his former bosses or whoever it might be are right or wrong.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. BAKER: Certainly, Mr. Speaker, the occurrences in recent days create a problem in terms of that Board. But the hon. Member can be assured that we will handle it in a proper manner.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, I would just like to ask a question of the Premier. Does the Premier intend to review qualifications and procedures for the appointment of individuals to quasi-judicial boards? The Public Service Commission report reveals that Mr. Stoyles placed great personal stock in his political connections, yet as Chairman of the Social Assistance Appeals Board he is expected to rule on decisions of those whom he considers to be his patrons. Will the Premier not agree that this incident exposes the inappropriateness of patronage appointments to quasi-judicial boards? Will he put in place a selection procedure which is fairer and based on merit for such appointments?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I have already indicated in this House that I am not at all happy with the manner in which those appointments were made. I will not say any more about those particular appointments. I have also already indicated in this House that we will be putting in place a procedure to provide a better basis for such appointments, a special committee of Cabinet, or made up of Cabinet and other representatives of the Public Service or otherwise, we have not finalized it yet. We are going to put a special process in place to provide for it.

We have got to make sure that people who perform those functions are competent and independent to perform the functions on a proper basis. That does not mean that we will not ever appoint anybody who has ever supported the Liberal Party. There is a great number of competent people out there who have supported the Liberal Party. As a matter of fact, it is obvious that the vast majority of the people of the Province fall into that category. Nor will we fail to appoint people who may be supporters of the Party opposite if they are competent, merely because they are supporters of the Party opposite. We will make sure that we put in place competent appeal boards. I am not happy, as I have acknowledged, with the way in which this appointment has taken place.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Premier and follows on the last question. Given the fact that the Chairman of the Social Assistance Appeals Board, whose qualifications apparently were earned while he was sitting as a member of that Board, and given the fact that the Public Service Commission has questioned his credibility before that board and hence his integrity, and given the statements that he made to the Public Service Commission, is it not right and proper that he ought to be asked to step aside so that people who have appeals before that board can have some confidence they are dealing with a board and a chair that has the prospect, at least, of somebody who has not had their credibility and their integrity called into question by a Public Service Commission appointed by the Government of this Province.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is quite correct when he suggests that the individual who was appointed to be chairman of the board in fact earned his qualifications or credentials, or learned them while he was appointed or after he was appointed, and I believe that was the thrust of this, yes, and he is quite accurate. I acknowledge that he did not have the legal background at the time of the appointment. But, Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman who is also a lawyer, as I am, knows how darned expensive lawyers are and even Government cannot even afford to fill boards with lawyers. So, we have to appoint people -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: - and train them in the legal aspects that are necessary. Now, this is how this gentleman, I understand, earned his qualifications and that is what the hon. Member was referring to.

With respect to the second part of the hon. Member's comments, Mr. Speaker, I agree with the hon. Member that the matter has to be reviewed. As the Minister has said, we will take the matter under advisement and we will take the action that is appropriate in the circumstances.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The time for Question Period has expired.

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

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

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, I take pleasure in presenting to the House Social Legislation Review Committee with respect to the Bills, "An Act To Revise The Law Respecting The Provincial Court", "An Act To Revise And Consolidate The Law Respecting Jurors", and "An Act To Amend The Evidence Act."

Very quickly, Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my Vice-Chair, the hon. the Member for Humber East, the hon. the Member for Harbour Grace, the hon. the Member for St. George's and, on a number of committee hearings, the hon. the Member for St. John's East also sat in. Even though I do not have concurrence from all the Members of my Committee on one of these particular Bills, I do have majority concurrence and I would like to submit this report to the House, right now. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: As Chairman of the Internal Economy Commission, I table, today, certain information related to the activities of the Internal Economy Commission for the year 1990.

The hon. the Minister of Finance.

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, in accordance with section 14 of The Liquor Control Act, 1973, I lay before the legislature the 1990 annual report of the Newfoundland Liquor Licensing Board, which I received yesterday. With your permission, Mr. Speaker, since the Liquor Licensing Board is in the process of being combined with the Newfoundland Liquor Corporation, I would like to pay special tribute to the former Chairman of the Liquor Licensing Board, Mr. Ed White, who has performed remarkable service in that position for the past number of years.

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, some time ago, the Member for Grand Bank, I believe, asked me a question concerning the status of Blue Ocean Products in Argentia. I think he was responding to a rumour, or something, to the effect that maybe that plant would not be operating this year. I have made the necessary inquiries, Mr. Speaker, and I am advised by the owner of the plant that, in fact, it will be operating this year and it looks very good for them.

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

MR. KELLAND: During my absence from the House on May 27, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition posed a series of questions, a half-dozen questions, to the Premier, with respect to the Holyrood fourth thermal generating unit. I will not read the entire document, Mr. Speaker, I will table it, but in general terms there was an assumption or a statement made or an implication made that the introduction or the start-up of Holyrood four would increase the SO2 emissions from that total plant by an additional 48,000 tons, and that is an incorrect assumption or statement, to start off with. The total SO2 emissions for the entire Province, including Holyrood, is 45,000 tons. Hydro has given the commitment - and under that undertaking, we release the project at the EPR stage - that they would live within their 25,000 tons in total emissions. The question was raised on how they could accomplish that, and the answer to that part of the question, Mr. Speaker, is that they intend to, in all future tender calls for Bunker C, look for Bunker C with a lower sulphur content than currently is used. The current content is 2.2 per cent. It had been 2.8 some time ago, and will be further reduced until the emission levels are what they should be. The greater details are included in the document, Mr. Speaker, and I will table it for the hon. Member.

Petitions

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

MR. DOYLE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am pleased to rise, today, to present this petition to the House of Assembly, on behalf of approximately 2,000 people who are either directly or indirectly involved in the trucking industry. The prayer of the petition reads as follows: `To the hon. Members of the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly, we, the undersigned of this petition, hereby ask the Provincial Government to take immediate action to have the dump truck owner-operators of the Province certified under the Labour Relations Act of Newfoundland and Labrador.'

As I said a moment ago, Mr. Speaker, this petition is signed by approximately 2000 people from all across the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, not just on the Avalon Peninsula, not just in St. John's, but all over. From Port aux Basques to Bell Island, people have signed this petition today. What these people are saying, Mr. Speaker, what the independent truckers are requesting, is really not unreasonable. It is not unreasonable, as the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations seems to want to indicate. What they are looking for is not unreasonable. They are simply requesting the Minister and the Government to help in the process of allowing the Transport and Allied Workers' Union to become certified, if you will, as the bargaining agent for the truckers.

Now, the Minister has admitted, in the letter she sent to the Transport and Allied Workers' Union, that the situation truckers are facing in this Province is a very, very frustrating one. She has admitted that in the correspondence, but still she refuses to act, and still the Government refuses to do anything to try to help the truckers out of the dilemma they are in. The legal cousel for the truckers, and the Minister's officials sat down, over the last couple of weeks, and drafted up the amendments to the Labour Relations Act that would allow that to happen. They sat down and actually drafted up amendments at the request of the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, and she informed the truckers that the request was going to Cabinet for approval. Now, the question that the truckers have to ask, and the question that the Minister should answer is simply this, What happened from the time the request left the Department of Employment and Labour Relations and the time that it was supposed to be dealt with in Cabinet? And it was dealt with in Cabinet. I can tell the Premier and I can tell the Ministers what happened. The request was scuttled by her colleagues in Cabinet; it was scuttled by that great defender of corporate interests, the Premier himself. That is who scuttled those particular amendments that were drafted, both by the trucker's legal counsel and by the Province's legal counsel, as well. The Premier knows full well what happened, as every Minister sitting in the front bench of this Province knows what happened. They know that there is really only one vote that counts in Cabinet, and that is not a vote that understands the plight of the ordinary working person of Newfoundland and Labrador, not a vote that understands or cares anything about the rights of workers to negotiate on a level playing field with the people who employ them.

The truckers are very, very frustrated, today. They are in a very frustrating position because, if the union should go through the Labour Relations Act in an attempt to sign up each company on a project by project basis, by application to the Labour Relations Board, then the project is finished before the application is even dealt with, and they have to start the same process over and over again. These people are going bankrupt, Mr. Speaker, and everyone over there is sitting back with his hand under his head, reading his newspaper, going asleep, and nobody seems to care what is going on. You have the truckers in the Province going bankrupt. They have mortgaged their homes, let me say to the President of Treasury Board, and the Minister of Finance should have better sense than to be saying it is a silly issue. It is not a silly issue. These people have mortgaged their homes, mortgaged their families. You cannot go out and pick up a dump truck for $100. It is a $100,000 investment that these people are involved in. They are individual business people running their own individual business, and the Minister of Finance should be ashamed to sit there today and say this is a silly issue. It is not a silly issue, let me say to the Minister. Tell that to the truckers of the Province who have mortgaged their homes. A $100,000 truck is a big investment.

[Disturbance in the gallery]

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DOYLE: He should be ashamed!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I remind visitors in the galleries they are as welcome as the flowers in May, this is their House, but they are not allowed to participate in any way, shape or form, and I remind them of that. Rules of the House apply to the people in the public galleries as well as they do to members, and even though, sometimes, one might feel that one should participate, I remind visitors that the rules are clearly designed that they are not to participate. But, again, they are as welcome as the flowers in May. It is their House, but they have to follow the rules the same as members.

The hon. the Minister of Finance.

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order.

The hon. Member for Harbour Main made a misstatement in this House when he accused me of saying that the issue was a silly one.

What I did, Mr. Speaker, was ask him what he had done about the same issue for seventeen years. That was what I asked.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

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

The hon. the Minister of Finance can try to weasel out of it all he likes. What the Member for Harbour Main said is what the Minister of Finance said. A silly issue was what he called it, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, what are we coming to in this Province when we have a group of hard-working, dedicated, business people who want to get together and organize as a group and cannot. That does not sound very reasonable to me. We have 900 people with licences to operate these vehicles, in the Province, and we have 600 of them who have already asked to be able to organize and form a union under the Teamsters Union. Now, that sounds very reasonable to me.

I do not know where the fairness and balance is gone in this Province, if a group of people cannot get together, by their own decision, and the organizers go out and work and sign up 600 out of 900 operators to form a union. They only needed 50 per cent plus one. That is all I understand they need. For any other business in the Province, that is all you need. If, anywhere in this Province, 600 people out of 900 working in a fish plant came in here and asked to be certified as a union, what would happen? The paper would be signed immediately. Why can the truckers not be treated the same as any other workers in this Province?

Mr. Speaker, what really upsets me here, today, is that you have a petition, on behalf of all these people, presented in the House, and the only people who can do anything about it, the Minister of Transportation, the Premier, and the Minister of Labour Relations, are not here. Mr. Speaker, that is shameful! They should be here to hear the concerns of these people so they will not be sitting up their Cabinet rooms alone, rejecting these amendments that were put forward without knowing the true facts of what these people are looking for. They are not looking for anything that any other workers in this Province want. They are just looking for the same thing that anyone else in this Province gets. Mr. Speaker, that is not unreasonable. That is trying to be fair, that is trying to put a bit of balance into the construction industry of this Province. Right now, the companies have all the negotiating powers, and to listen to the Premier's answers today, when he says he is going to increase fines if you do not pay the public utilities rates, that is garbage, and he knows it. It means they will hire you on for six hours and make you work ten hours. They will pay you the rates for six hours and you still have to work the ten hours. There are 101 ways that the larger companies in this Province know how to get around those regulations.

MR. TOBIN: The brownbaggers.

MR. R. AYLWARD: The one who suffers is the fellow who went out and mortgaged his house to buy a truck to try to make a living for his family. He does not have a condominium down in Florida. He does not drive around in a Lincoln Continental. He has his truck and maybe a pickup home for his family to drive when he is on the road all summer. And what are they looking for? - the same as anyone else in this Province. If you have more than 50 per cent of that group and you want to be organized you go to the Labour Relations Board and you get organized.

Now, Mr. Speaker, that is all they are asking for, and that certainly is very fair and reasonable. I do not know what they have to do to get through to this Government. I do not know how many trucks have to be turned in. I would suggest to them that any trucks that the banks are coming to take in the next month, you should park it in the Premier's parking lot and leave the keys in it, So that he knows how many of the trucks are going to be taken away. I do not know how many of these people have to lose their houses before this Government will wake up. i do not know how many of these people's children have to suffer because they cannot find work in this Province. They have a truck, they are managing their payments if they can get a bit of work. They are not asking for anything unreasonable.

Now, I do not know how many of the families of these truck owners have to suffer before this Government will wake up. I think I probably know what the Premier, `King Clyde', wants to do. He wants them to go away to Toronto again. They are only a nuisance around here for him because they are opposing him. They are not supporting him like everyone did on Meech Lake. They actually have the nerve to come in to this House of Assembly, which is theirs, anyway, and suggest to the Premier that there is something wrong here. We have 600 out of 900 people who want to form a union, and this Premier will not let them.

The Minister of Labour, as bad as she is, at least prepared the regulations and brought them to Cabinet. And we all know, as the Member for Harbour Main said, what happened in Cabinet. `King Clyde' said `no'! And `no' it will be!

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

The hon. Member's time is up.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the President of Treasury Board, on a point of order.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I did not want to interrupt the hon. gentleman and use up any of his time, so I am rising now at the end of his presentation. I feel I must rise, because this is the second time today it has happened, and I did not interrupt Question Period for the same reason, to make this point to Your Honour: Your Honour knows, and all Members of the House know, it is improper to refer to absences of Members in the House. And I think the last case in point was an example as to why that rule and why that custom is in the House.

The Member for Kilbride tried to indicate that the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation had no interest because he was not in the House. Right now, the Minister is meeting with a representative group of the truckers, and it is not that he has no interest in the issue. He is sitting down and meeting with them and helping in trying to solve their problems.

So, Mr. Speaker, it is improper to refer to absences of members for the reason that anybody can get up and tend to indicate that, because a Member is not in his place, there is a lack of interest, and impute motives, and that is entirely improper in this House.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transportation might be out meeting with some of them but I can see some of the representatives of these groups up there. If it is unparliamentary for me to refer to members'absence here, I will withdraw, but I certainly cannot say they are here because, if I did, I would be doing the same as this, and I will not do that.

AN HON. MEMBER: You are a (inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: `Scumbucket'? That is not parliamentary!

MR. TOBIN: Is that parliamentary, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. R. AYLWARD: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: I did not get too upset the day the Premier called me a trained monkey. I was not overly upset by that, because I know the Premier's - but when the Member for Mount Scio calls me a `scuzz' that kind of puts me off.

AN HON. MEMBER: `Scumbucket'- he said, `scumbucket'.

MR. R. AYLWARD: `Scumbucket', was it? That is very, very childish, Mr. Speaker, for a Member of this House of Assembly to be getting on that way. That does upset me. Mr. Speaker, I am sure that would be unparliamentary.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

The members of the public are here observing a very serious debate and I expect they will judge the seriousness of the debate in the way in which the Members will act in dealing with this particular matter.

I would advise hon. Members as well that when somebody says something that is unparliamentary, it is not appropriate for some Member to shout out, "Is that unparliamentary?" The correct manner is for a Member to rise in his place and to say that he heard an hon. Member say a certain thing and to ask Your Honour's ruling on it.

I did not hear the matter referred to. But if an hon. Member said it, an hon. Member will know that he said it and certainly, in my view, it is unparliamentary. If an hon. Member said it, then I would ask the hon. Member to withdraw it. If not, I will check with the Hansard and see if it was said.

The hon. the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island.

MR. WALSH: Out of respect for the Chair I withdraw any remarks I may have made, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations I am the alternate Minister and I want to speak to this petition today which was presented to the House.

I would like to thank the members of the Truckers Association for bringing their concerns to Government. I am a bit appalled at the hypocrisy which we have seen displayed here today by Members on the Opposition who take every advantage and every opportunity they get to make some political points. The fact of the matter is, the Member for Harbour Main was the last Minister of Transportation this Province had before the Government was changed. Not only that, Mr. Speaker, he was also the last -

AN HON. MEMBER: He was Minister of Labour.

MR. DECKER: Oh, I thank the hon. Member for correcting me, that is even more relevant, the last Minister of Labour.

Now, Mr. Speaker, this issue involves an amendment to The Labour Relations Act. The hon. Member for Kilbride does not have a clue what he is talking about. Truckers can sign up and be certified as he believes. The fact of the matter is that by the time they get certified the job could be over and it could be an exercise in futility.

It has been brought to the attention of Government that an amendment may be necessary to The Labour Relations Act. As has been pointed out by the Minister on various occasions and the Premier today, Government is, indeed, looking at the reasonableness of amending this particular Act. However, when a government is elected, we have to govern the whole Province. We have to govern the truckers, we have to govern the fishermen, we have to govern the employees of various sectors of the economy, and we have to make sure that when we make an amendment to one particular Act that we do not trip off something which could upset something else in the Province. It is like dealing with a row of dominos, Mr. Speaker, if we knock one domino down, we could knock down fifty others. So, before we take any action on this particular request, we want to make sure that what we do will not in the long run make matters worse for all the people of this Province, including the truckers, Mr. Speaker.

We are giving their suggestions, their requests, very serious considerations. I can assure the truckers of this Province today that their petition will be given the utmost review, Mr. Speaker, and we will deal with it based on its merits. I can assure the truckers that we will not play favourites, we will not give any preference to anyone who happens to be members of construction associations or big companies or whatever. This issue will be dealt with as expeditiously as we can possibly do it and in the end we hope that we can find an accommodation which the previous administration ignored for seventeen years. We hope that in the very near future we can find a solution to this problem, if indeed there is a solution that can be found.

However, Mr. Speaker, I have to be upfront with the people who brought this petition today, that if a change to the Act would in the long run make matters worse, then we will not change the Act. But if it is essential that this be done this Government has proven one thing in the last seventeen months, Mr. Speaker, we do listen to our people, whether they be truckers, whether they be contractors, no matter what they are, and we are going to continue on with that position, and we will deal with this problem in due course.

Thank you, very much, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

The Speaker, will know that there are only three speakers permitted on a petition, the person presenting it, and one from each side of the House, so I wonder if the Speaker could see if there was consent of the House to allow me to speak in support of this petition, and in support of the truckers?

MR. SPEAKER: Does the Member have consent of the House?

No leave.

The hon. the Member for Menihek.

MR. A. SNOW: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise to present a petition on behalf of 331 residents, mostly of Labrador City and Wabush, although I understand that the petition has been circulated throughout Labrador. The prayer of the petition is as follows: whereas a completed Trans-Labrador Highway would provide a land route which would vastly improve the quality of life of Labradorians through easier access to goods and services, and whereas completed highways are a lifeline of increased economic activity, and whereas tourism would increase on the Island as well as in Labrador, because tourists could take a circular route through the Province instead of taking a backtrack, and whereas with the present condition of the Churchill Falls - Goose Bay road the tourism industry in Labrador would receive such negative publicity that it would take years to undo it, and whereas the cost of bringing goods into Coastal Labrador is rising at an alarming rate, we ask the Provincial Government to accelerate the construction of the Trans - Labrador Highway to begin immediately so that it will be ready for general public use as soon as the Ossokmanuan Bridge is finished.

Mr. Speaker, I speak in support of this petition, signed by 331 people, mostly residents of Labrador City and Wabush, because I would say 99.9 per cent of the residents of Labrador believe that the lifeline of any economic activity is communications, and road transport is one of the best methods of communications that we know of in this world today, Mr. Speaker. We know that it can help diversify the economy, and we know that we need it in Labrador because of the isolation, and also because of the sheer opportunity it will offer in development. It is not just the immediate construction jobs that will be available, Mr. Speaker, not just for the thousands of jobs that would be created by building such a fantastic highway across Labrador, not just for that, but for the opportunity of being able to increase exploration, to discover new mines, for the opportunity of lumbering, and for the opportunity of tourist development. That is what a highway could do in opening up all of Labrador. That is what it could do if the funds were made available.

There is presently about 600 kilometres of highway across Labrador, from western Labrador to Happy Valley - Goose Bay. The Ossokmanuan Bridge that is referred to in this petition, Mr. Speaker, should be finished next year. It would have been finished this year if the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation had not bungled with the awarding of the contract. If he had not bungled that contract and thrown away $1.5 million of the taxpayer's money we would have seen that bridge completed this year. We do have 600 kilometres of road completed, although the road that is asked to be accelerated in construction, is the road that I speak to here, the one that would be going from Churchill Falls down to Goose Bay. That is about 300 kilometres of road that could be vastly improved and would help the general economy of this Province. Again, I want to reiterate that the people of western Labrador want to participate and help this whole Province, not just their own local area, because they recognize the importance of contributing to the whole economy. They are not as narrow-minded as the Minister of Finance is. Yesterday when I spoke in a petition he thought that the people of western Labrador were parochial when they wanted an improvement of health care.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we saw that same Minister today, yelling and screaming that it was a silly idea that this road construction start or the unionizing of individual truck operators begin, he thinks that is silly, but I want him to listen to what a representative of a union in western Labrador says when he speaks in support of a highway across Labrador. He says: A very large portion of our Province's revenue comes from western Labrador, but very little is coming back in the form of services, and we have found that many of the services that we have enjoyed for years have been discontinued. Now, Mr. Speaker, he is not being parochial, he is being realistic because he lives in western Labrador, but he is also saying that he supports the funding of a highway across Labrador, Mr. Speaker, he supports it because he knows that the 1,600 people who he represents in the Steel Workers Union in western Labrador all support it.

Mr. Speaker, I would urge that this Government, this regime that now sits in its ivory tower in Confederation Building in St. John's get off it's butt, negotiate a deal with the Federal Government and start a construction programme to accelerate the construction of a highway across Labrador. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I am delighted to stand in my place in this House and support my colleague from Menihek and support him in the petition that he did present to this House of Assembly.

Mr. Speaker, again, it seems to be a fairly reasonable request. It is a way that this Government can increase economic activity for that part of our Province, and if we increase economic activity for any parts of our Province, obviously the whole Province will benefit.

Mr. Speaker, I would expect, when I saw a report on how many people used the Alaskan Highway, I believe it is, in going back and forth from even Alberta and BC and through on to Alaska, since that road has been completed there have been many millions of dollars in tourist money spent in those areas, and I would expect that if we could get the Trans-Labrador Highway completed after the disastrous bridge is done - the Ossokmanuan Bridge is completed, maybe we can create a larger tourist industry. I am sure there will be a lot of people interested in driving from Quebec right on through Labrador and coming out to Goose Bay and getting the ferry back to probably the Island part of our Province so that they could make a complete loop. I am sure this would improve the tourist industry for the Labrador area. I am sure that all Members here in this House of Assembly would support an acceleration in the up-grading because the road is already built, it is just in such bad condition that it is extremely difficult to travel over it safely.

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that all Member of this House of Assembly would support the acceleration of the completion and up-grading of that piece of road, and hopefully some day in the future we can continue that road down through the Straights area so that all residents of Labrador will have an equal transportation system, the same as many residents on the Island part of the Province have. People in Labrador deserve the same as everyone else, Mr. Speaker, they pay the same taxes, they are part of this Province the same as everyone else and they would expect the same services as anywhere else in this Province.

I support the petition presented on behalf of 331 people of the Labrador City - Wabush area, Mr. Speaker, and hopefully the road construction and up-grading in the Churchill Falls - Goose Bay area can be accelerated and completed quicker than it is planned to do now.

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

MR. DUMARESQUE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am proud to stand here today in support of this petition and the wishes of the people of Labrador, not only in Labrador West, but I know the people of coastal and central Labrador all share in the same aspirations as the Member for Menihek and the Opposition have already stated. The people of Labrador must have access to the outside world to be able to attain the level of social and economic well-being they deserve. There has to be a commitment to building that highway and I believe, Mr. Speaker, that it will be done. I want to point out, however, that it is strange in passing that the Member for Menihek has talked about bungling, and talked about commitment and what kind of commitment this Government has to the building of the Trans-Labrador Highway, I was even surprised that the Member for Kilbride would stand in support of this. The fact is that the reason we cannot get the money for the Trans-Labrador Highway is because it was sold out by the previous administration. It was sold out, $800 million, Mr. Speaker, in the Roads for Rails Agreement that was signed by that hon. crowd over there who stuck us in for fifteen years. They said to the people of Labrador, you are going to get 3 per cent of that, that is what you are going to get from us. When that hon. crowd over there were in government they should have made a commitment to Labrador, and to developing Labrador, but instead of that, Mr. Speaker, they put the heavy hand on us and said, you will never have a road, you do not deserve to have a road. That is what the hon. crowd over there said to the people of Labrador, and this Government here has said that it is not fair. This Government here has said the Roads for Rails Agreement should be reopened, and we have asked the Federal Government to do it, but they said, no, we will not give you any more than 3 per cent of that $800 million over fifteen years. When you are talking about bungling, Mr. Speaker, the cap should be put on the man that has actually done the bungling, and it is the Opposition over there that were the Government of the day, and let us never, never, tell the people any different. This Government here is being responsible. They have asked for the deal to be reopened so we will get our just treatment, so we will get the opportunity to develop our land and to be able to give the people the kind of access they require for our fisheries, forestry, tourism, and other development, Mr. Speaker. We do not want to be dependent on a ferry forever and a day, but I find it unbelievable that the Members opposite would have the gall to stand up here today and say they have seen the light. You saw nothing. You were in a Cabinet room and you signed a deal that perpetrated that kind of a decision on the people of Labrador after six months in the Cabinet, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I remind hon. Members that petition time is not a time for debate. Petition time is a time to speak to the material allegations of the petition, the numbers of signatures and the like, but not to get involved in debate. I do allow a little tit for tat, but I think we were into an intensity of debate that the Chair could not tolerate.

The hon. the Member for Eagle River.

MR. DUMARESQUE: It is always unnerving to me to see the audacity being displayed in this hon. House from time to time by that crowd over there, and their attitude towards Labrador. We have no lessons to learn from them, Mr. Speaker, and I am sure every signature on that petition feels the same way as I do here in this hon. House today. Let there be no aspersions cast, that this Government is doing what is responsible for the people of Labrador. They are asking for a commitment to be made. We are willing and able to make our commitment, Mr. Speaker, and we are only hoping they will get up there and tell their Tory buddies, who got us in the position we are in, to change the plan and give us the kind of justice that the people of Labrador have been trying so long to get, despite the Tory agenda.

Orders of the Day

MR. BAKER: Order 25.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act To Amend The Schools Act." (Bill No. 31)

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

DR. WARREN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This is a very important amendment. It is rather routine in one sense. Section 23 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Mr. Speaker, provides that certain individuals in this country have the right to education in their own language, in this Province the right to an education in French as a first language. The present Schools Act does not have such a provision in it, although in the Province we have a number of schools that offer French first language instruction - Labrador City, the Port au Port peninsula, and, I am pleased to report, in St. John's. This amendment to the present Schools Act would certainly confirm that right as stated in the Charter; and secondly it would provide an opportunity for the Government to develop regulations to ensure that that goal is implemented in an appropriate way.

So I am pleased to introduce this amendment, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We in the official Opposition are glad to support this Bill although we do not think it is as important as the Minister suggests. We think the Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantee of the right to first language French instruction for francophones throughout Canada is very significant. The Charter is the supreme law, however, and Provincial legislation such as this is superfluous. Unlike the Minister I do not think it is necessary to enact a Provincial legislation simply to give the Provincial Cabinet the authority to make regulations to give effect to rights that are enshrined in the Charter. That authority for making subordinate legislation is already in our legislation.

However, it cannot hurt. And we are happy to endorse a measure which underscores our respect for the Charter guarantee of French language education for children whose first language is French. We have concentrations of francophones in three areas of the Province, two represented by Members on this side. I am speaking of the Port au Port peninsula, of course, represented by the Member for Port au Port. I am speaking of Labrador City and Wabush, represented by the Member for Menihek. The other area where there is a concentration of francophones is St. John's.

In supporting this measure I wish to go on to say that the Minister at the same time should enlarge the Bill by correcting a glaring flaw in our Schools Act. The Minister interprets the present Schools Act as denying to parents the right to choose a school for their children. There was an example of an injustice resulting from the Minister's interpretation of the present law last September. At that time a family in Corner Brook, in the district I represent, by the name of Day, tried to have their seven year old daughter enrolled in the school closest to their home. They live on Reid Street in Corner Brook. They tried to have their daughter enrolled in the Catholic school which is a three minute walk away from their home. There was room for the child in the school. When the parents made their first approach to the school principal the spring before the principal indicated that the school would accommodate the child. However, days before school was due to open last September the school board refused to take the child. On opening day the parents brought the child to the building and they were actually turned away. While they were there the school board superintendent handed them a faxed letter from the Minister saying that the Minister would not support them in their desire to have their daughter go to the school closest to their home which did have room to accommodate her.

Instead, since the family could not mount a legal challenge they have had to have their daughter bused to an integrated school about a mile or more from their home. Now, Mr. Speaker, in washing his hands of responsibility for this injustice, the Minister cited a flawed Act, but this is the Minister's chance to correct the flaw that he sees. I do not agree with his interpretation of the Act, I think that the parents have the right under the existing law to have their child go to the school of their choice, which is closest to their home and which has room to accommodate her, but the Minister has his chance now to enlarge this Bill and to put in it a second Clause, which will make plain that parents have the right to choose the school for their child, and I will be proposing an amendment to that effect in Committee of the Whole.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

 

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

 

MR. HODDER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I just want to say a very few words about this Bill. As the Member for Humber East has said, it is not an earthshaking bill, but it brings into line Federal Legislation, as I understand it, with the Provincial Legislation or the Provincial Legislation coming in with the Constitution.

I just rose to say that, as a person who represents a district which is primarily French, of french extraction; I could not say they primarily speak French on the Port au Port Peninsula, but within a number of communities they primarily speak French -

AN HON. MEMBER: How is the Member's French, by the way?

MR. HODDER: The Member's French has become a little rusty, it gets a little better from time to time.

Mr. Speaker, for years and years and years, the people of the Port au Port Peninsula were taught in English schools and in one particular case, the case of the community of Mainland, La Grande Terre, they were bussed into an English community, to the great distress I should say, of most of the people of that community, in particular.

I think they resented it very much and when I was first elected I used to hear a lot about it. What has happened now, is that a new school has been built in that particular community and rightly so, but that was not the first school that taught French; there was a school in Cape St. George, which is another French community where French was being taught, but not wholly French in the whole school, but in the community of Mainland, French is being taught and it is a French school in every sense of the word.

In the community of L'anse aux Canards - in French it is Black Duck Brook - there is probably as much French spoken in Black Duck Brook as there is, percentage of population, in the other two communities. However, geographically, they are situated out on Long Point and Long Point being that end of the triangle that stretches north on the Port au Port Peninsula and they are just as far away from Cape St. George as they are from Mainland which causes great problems and I do not know the solution to that, but certainly, they have the right to be able to speak in their own language.

I think, Mr. Speaker, that, and as I said I believe when I spoke in the Meech Lake debate, there is something very precious about a culture, it is not Quebec; the people of the Port au Port Peninsula do not feel themselves as Quebecers, they are from Mainland or Black Duck Brook or Cape St. George, they are from Port au Port and they are French Newfoundlanders; they have their own customs, they have their own music and if you stand ten people up beside each other at random, from the Port au Port Peninsula, about nine of them will be able to play a musical instrument and the other one probably can, but says he cannot, but the Member for Stephenville, I do not think he could play a musical instrument but he may be of French extraction himself.

Recently, and this is something that the Government has said, the people of Cape St. George want a new school; they need a French school as there is in Mainland. The understanding has been when the school was built in Mainland that when that school got to the end of junior high, by that time there would be a road from Cape St. George to Mainland or from Mainland to Cape St. George - you have to be careful how you say it these days - but nevertheless there would be a road which traversed the Port au Port peninsula. Not only would it link together the French communities but it would open up some of the best, the most beautiful areas for tourism in the whole of Newfoundland.

It would rationalize tourism in the district of St. George's, and in the district of Stephenville as well, because Federal-Provincial studies long ago suggested that the Heritage Trail down through St. George's, through the Stephenville area, and around the Port au Port peninsula would be an excellent area, an excellent trail -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HODDER: The Hubelle (?) report would have been done in - I can get a copy for the Minister. It was done by his Department. Wolfgang Hubelle, yes.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HODDER: Somewhere about that time.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. HODDER: The road across the Port au Port peninsula - it was very difficult in this Province - I should tell the Minister this -I want to answer his question. It was very difficult in this Province to get money to build a new road until such time as the Government decided that - what was the railway sale to get rid of the railway? Towards 2,000.

And then came the opportunity - and I have always felt that it was right to get rid of the railway. I do not believe you should get rid of railways and I should not let the Minister (Inaudible), I do not think you should get rid of railways because I think that is the transportation of the future. But the Newfoundland railway, the way it was built, its narrow gauge and everything else, I think that it was a correct decision.

But during that time this Member, who was then on the other side of the House, lobbied to get that on the Federal-Provincial list -the road. But the Minister is not listening, you see? He asked the question but he is not -

AN HON. MEMBER: He was interrupted by your colleagues.

MR. HODDER: But he is not listening, he does not want to hear the answer.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. HODDER: Okay, well I just have to finish up. But anyhow, I was just saying that before we left office -

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible).

MR. HODDER: Yes. Yes, yes, yes. He asked me a special question about the road across the Cape, why it was not done, and the Hubelle report came in at that time. But the thing is the money became available and I happened to be in a position to lobby. And when we left office the engine was in gear. And now the new Government, I understand - I hope, I pray - that they have maintained that. There were letters flying back and forth between Ottawa - and there are copies in the Premier's office. And my understanding is that the agreement had been made when we left office to put the road across the Cape. Now the Premier tells me in Questions in this House that he is going to put the road across the Cape and that that has not been breached, it is still there.

But anyhow, I should also tell the Minister that we do need that road. Because pretty soon - and I should not say this to the Minister of Education - if we do not start that road then we are going to have a problem with where the school is going to go, whether people are going to leave that school in Mainland and go to Cape St. George, whether the school will have to be enlarged, because that was not the intent. But the road across the Cape will save the cost of a school, I take it. And perhaps we still need two.

The other thing I should tell him is that we did build a school while we were there. We built the first French school in Newfoundland and there is nothing that has ever happened in my time - myself and the Minister of Education, the hon. John Crosbie, opened the school and announced it and the people of Mainland were so happy, with smiles on their faces, which the Minister of Education probably saw when he went out there.

AN HON. MEMBER: I opened it.

MR. HODDER: You opened it, that is right. I was there when the Minister of Education opened it. But the smiles on their faces to believe that they were going to get their own school was the most uplifting thing I have ever seen in my life. And, of course, I have to pay tribute, as well, to the Member for Humber East, who was the Minister of Education when that school was conceived. And it was because of her committee, that she formed, which a girl by the name of Geraldine Barter -

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible).

MR. HODDER: A girl by the name of Geraldine Barter was on a committee which -

MS. VERGE: A woman.

MR. HODDER: A woman, certainly. She was on a committee formed by the hon. the Member for Humber East. And she suggested that perhaps a school should go.

MS VERGE: She lobbied for it.

MR. HODDER: She lobbied for it. And, when she came to me very early on, I said, `Yes, Geraldine, I will do anything I can.' But you know, I did not really believe it was going to work at that time?

MS. VERGE: We were in different Parties at the time.

MR. HODDER: Yes, we were in different Parties. I did not think it was going to work, but I lobbied with her, and then, suddenly, we saw it was going to work. She was right, there was a way to do it, and it was done. And it was done in the right way, because the school actually came from the community; it was not imposed on the community, it was not a Party that did it, it was a combination. But the main thing about that school was that a person from that community conceived the idea and saw it carried through. And she had no political leanings, whatsoever. She was just a person who happened to be at University. I think she has a doctorate degree, now, in French. And she, being a very strong person, saw this thing through to the end. I think that is a wonderful story.

Anyhow, Mr. Speaker, this bill is not all about that. I just would like to say before I sit down that I would urge the Minister to move heaven and earth to get the road. Because the Port au Port peninsula - forgetting about the French! I mean, they have an economic disadvantage there on the Port au Port Peninsula, out in the Gulf region, where there is no fish left - certainly, not only would the road rationalize the school and the francophone population there, but the road would open up the area for tourism, which would benefit a number of districts and help the district, economically, as well. I do not think the Minister could ever do anything better than build that road. What an imaginative thing, to build a new road while the Minister is still Minister! If he does it, Mr. Speaker, I will be a very, very happy person. Certainly, I know the Minister is a good man, and I know he is going to do everything he can to get it there.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. K. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, I just want a minute to say that I -

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible) over here.

MR. K. AYLWARD: No, no. I just want to endorse the comments - now, it is not very often that I agree with the Member for Port au Port, I must say; but I have to say that, today, he is supporting the bill, so I support what he said. The road across from Mainland to Cape St. George is one that is required, there is no doubt about it. The Minister of Development and Tourism, a very hard-working Minister, has helped approve monies, only recently, to help build the Cape St. George theme park, down at the end. He worked diligently to get that through and, as a matter of fact, this summer it will be starting. It is the realization of a dream for them, down there. So, this Government is working very hard on getting that road through and also building other things down in the Port au Port area.

The Minister of Education was at the official opening of the school in Mainland and met a number of people who were involved in the building and construction of that school. I was at the opening with him, and it was a superb event. The French culture is flourishing in the Port au Port Peninsula and Bay St. George. I endorse the comments, I add mine also, and support the Bill, as presented by the Minister.

I would like to see the further development of the French language in the Province. We are always promoting that. I have to say to the Member for Port au Port that I have been getting a lot of calls from the Port au Port district lately, because of a certain editorial that appeared out there a little while ago, and I am just telling them to call the Member for Port au Port. I am going to pay for an ad, this week, to say, Call the Member for Port au Port, instead.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HEARN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Je parle en franšais?

AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible).

MR. HEARN: The member would not understand it if I spoke in French, Mr. Speaker, so I had better speak in pretty plain English.

It is interesting to see the previous speaker, the Member for Stephenville, mention that the Minister of Education opened the school. I say, big deal. It is a good thing that the school was built, since they certainly would never have the facility in light of the cutbacks that this Minister has reigned over for the last couple of years.

The credit for getting the school in Mainland actually goes to the Member for Port au Port and the local people. The initiation at the political level, the credit goes to the former, former Minister of Education, the Member for Humber East, who really did the spade work, and the actual construction of the school and the arrangement for the funding was done while another Minister was in the portfolio.

I would be remiss when I speak to this changed amendment, if I did not refer to the Member for Port au Port, because it was actually his initiative, as I said, that led to the school being built in the area, but it goes well beyond that, because the member probably has never received the recognition he deserves for the amount of interest he has shown, not only in his district generally, but specifically as it relates to the French population in the Port au Port district.

I remember when I first came into the Legislature, hearing the member constantly fighting for road signs in French. After a while, he was successful in obtaining that, but it was a tough battle. Then, the member came in, fighting for the school,

and did a tremendous amount of work; he was really the liaison between Government and the local area, and you can picture the bureaucracy that would result in trying to develop a French school and arrange funding, especially where you had federal-provincial agencies involved. The member was there in the middle, to make sure everything went smoothly, and it certainly did.

Somebody asked the member if he could sing. He was saying that most people of French descent in his area sing or play an instrument, and somebody asked if he could play. I am not sure whether he can or not, I know he is practising. I also know a famous jig or reel written by Rufus Guinchard, I believe -

AN HON. MEMBER: No, Emile Beniot.

MR. HEARN: - Emile Benoit, right - for the member, named `The Jim Hodder Reel.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HEARN: Perhaps, some day, we will have the member get up on the Table of the House and show us how it is done.

MR. SIMMS: You should build a monument to the Member for Port au Port.

MR. HEARN: There is no doubt about it, certainly, in Port au Port, they should build a monument to the member, but the place to build the monument to the Member for Port au Port will be half-way between Mainland and Cape St. George on the side of the new road when it goes through.

The member, on many occasions, has mentioned that road. When I was Minister of Education, and when I spent a lot of time talking to the member about building the school in the area, one of the things we discussed quite often, was the road between Mainland and Cape St. George. The area is not entirely dissimilar to our own area, the southern Avalon, where you can go around the complete loop, right now, which has opened up a whole new area for adventure tourism, in fact, an area that has become, perhaps, the most popular in the Province, certainly having the most to offer. But, if we could open up the road between Cape St. George and Mainland, the tourism potential alone, not only the effect it would have on promoting and preserving the culture of the area, you would have constant exchanges, perhaps one school with another, all kinds of positive things for the people of the area. So, I am sure the member will keep plugging at it and, hopefully, some day, that road will be a reality and it will be called `The Jim Hodder Highway'.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I would like to say a few words about the amendment. I am not going to say I have no problems with it, because I have a couple of concerns. When anything is brought in hurriedly, I always take a second look at.

When the Minister stands, I would like him to give us some assurances, not necessarily give us some assurances, but give the people who will be affected some assurances, that the Government are not trying to put themselves in a position of making quick arbitrary decisions affecting the education of children of the French language.

Section 23 gives people of French, or any other descent, the right to receive education or instruction in their own language, provided certain factors apply. The Lieutenant-Governor in Council may make regulations respecting anything that might be required to give effect to Subsection 1. That is where I have some concerns, because it appears that what the Government might be trying to do here is bring in regulations to define where numbers warrant, and I presume that is one of the reasons the Minister is bringing in the amendment, because French education or second language education or instruction - instruction is the word - has to be provided where numbers warrant, and the numbers game is one that has been played for quite some time. Different people, depending upon the situation, have their own interpretation of what you mean by sufficient numbers. If the Minister or if Cabinet, through regulation, can without proper and open discussion and without enshrining such decisions in legislation eventually as the new Act comes to the House, then the danger is always there that bureaucratic edicts could affect the numbers listed in stating where numbers warrant in the provision of second language instruction.

So, I ask the Minister to assure us that he will not use unilateral mechanisms like regulations to define where numbers warrant, but will bring in the appropriate legislation and, as we see the new Schools Act coming through, that decisions of such importance will be there in the legislation so that people will be guaranteed, down the road, any changes would have to be properly debated and decided upon here in the House of Assembly, not just by some bureaucrat who can change regulations with the Minister's approval and affect the instruction of so many children throughout the Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Education. If he speaks now, he will close the debate.

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the members opposite for their support, some more overwhelming than others. I want to pay tribute to former Ministers in order of priority, the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes, first, and second, the former Minister, the Member for Humber East, in that order -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

DR. WARREN: I will get to the Member next.

- for their contribution to the development of French first language programmes. I want also to pay tribute to the Member for Port au Port; he has represented his district well. Without patronizing him, I want to pay tribute to him and to the Member for Stephenville for their work on behalf of their area and the francophones of the Province, generally. I might say that I am encouraged by a number of things we have done in the past five years.

Let me go back five years to the Mainland school. And, Mr. Speaker, this Government opened the St. John's school for francophone first language instruction. We are developing curriculum programmes. The Member for Port au Port is aware of curriculum programmes that are being developed now for francophone first language. We are doing good work in Labrador West in this area, so I am encouraged by the number of things that are ongoing at the present time. We are looking at the organization in governance. We have a committee, in fact, looking at the governance of francophone first language instruction to determine whether or not we need a different structure to promote this in the future. So, I am encouraged.

One brief comment on the rights of non-adherence to choose a school district of their choice, not the school of their choice. This issue will be included and dealt with when the new Schools Act is introduced in this House, and we are moving forward on that. It took thirteen years, I think, to get a second draft done. We are about at a third draft; it has taken us a year to get it done, and we hope in the fall to introduce that. This issue of the rights of non-adherence to choose the school district, I stress that rather than the school, will be dealt with at that time.

Mr. Speaker, I thank all hon. members for their support, and I guarantee, I assure the hon. the Member for St. Mary's - the Capes, that we will continue to consult with the people. We have done that from day one on this issue. It is vitally important that they be fully involved in any decisions that affect the education of their children. We have done that, we had them involved in committees, and we will continue to consult with them over the next years, so that we provide the best possible education for these students.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move second reading of this bill.

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Amend The Schools Act," read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House on tomorrow.

MR. BAKER: Order 9, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

A bill, "An Act To Revise And Amend The Law Respecting a Pension Plan For Teachers." (Bill No. 25)

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. SIMMS: Does the Minister have something to add?

DR. KITCHEN: No, I am sorry. I was just speaking to No. 12, when it comes up.

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Chairman, last day, when we were in the Second Reading stage, the hon. House Leader for the Opposition asked for a comparison between the teacher's old plan and the new plan. I have these items here, prepared, and if we could have them distributed, perhaps it would help in the debate on this.

MR. SIMMS: I thank the Minister for providing that information. Obviously we wanted it, so that we could make comparisons much easier, because in this Bill 25 there are - what? -

DR. KITCHEN: Forty-seven or so.

MR. SIMMS: - forty-eight clauses, I think. Could I have a look at one of those there, please?

We just felt it would be a lot easier if we had a one-pager which could show us where the significant changes are, from the old bill to this bill. Subsequent to that time, of course, we have had occasion to do some research of our own, and we are, basically, familiar with the changes that have occurred, having had a copy of the collective agreement and everything else.

So, there is really not much else to say on this legislation, for obvious reasons. All this bill does is put in place what has recently been negotiated between the Government and the teachers, has been accepted by the teachers, has been approved by the teachers and, in fact, the agreement has been signed by the teachers. So, if the teachers accept it - and they voted on it - then there is not really much point in us adding much else to it. There is not much else to add to it, therefore, it might be just as easy to proceed with the question on the clauses, perhaps all encompassing, for that matter, rather than go through all forty-eight clauses. So, Clauses 1 through 48, or something like that, if you like.

A bill, "An Act To Revise And Amend The Law Respecting A Pension Plan for Teachers." (Bill No. 25)

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the bill without amendment, carried.

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Newfoundland Crop Insurance Act, 1973." (Bill No. 30)

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the bill without amendment, carried.

A bill, "An Act To Revise The Law Respecting The Provincial Court."

(Bill No. 2)

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

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This Bill came up for second reading and at that point there were some proposals for amendments that were put forward by the Member for Humber East, and I believe the Member for St. John's East. There was also a presentation and a report of the Legislative Committee that dealt with this and raised some issues with the Department. Pursuant to those considerations the Department is proposing that we amend several sub-paragraphs of the Bill. I do not know if my learned friend has received a copy of the proposed amendment. Essentially what they provide, and I would propose, that sub-clause 16 (5) of Bill No. 2 be struck out and substitute the following, sub-section 5: Each member appointed under paragraphs 2(a) to (d), (a) shall serve for three years during good behaviour, and (b) unless dismissed for lack of good behaviour shall to continue to hold office until he or she is reappointed or new members appointed.

The second amendment proposed is that Paragraph 18 (a) of the bill be struck out and the following substituted, again I quote as Paragraph (a): to consider all applicants for judicial appointment and make a recommendation to the Minister with respect to those applicants.

Those are the recommendations the Department is submitting to the Committee of the Whole, the ones we are prepared to support, and notwithstanding other submissions, there are none other that we are prepared to consider at this time.

Thank you.

MR. SIMMS: Perhaps the Minister would follow it as we go through but remember to stop at Clause 16 and 18 to move the amendments, because they have to be done there. My colleague has an amendment to move in Clause 7, so perhaps we can go from 1 to 7 and get on with it, then stop at 7 and my colleague can move her amendment.

On motion, Clauses 1 through to 6, carried.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Shall Clause 7 carry?

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Chairperson I move that this bill be amended by deleting sub-clause 7(7). As I explained when I spoke in the second reading debate of this bill I object to the division in sub-clause 7 (7) of prematurely truncating the term of office of the current Chief Judge. I disagree on principle with the Legislature tampering with the independence of a Provincial Court by changing the terms of office of the current Chief Judge.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Minister of Justice on a point of order.

MR. DICKS: Not to interrupt the hon. Member, but she is referring to sub-paragraph 7 of Clause 7. I think she might in fact be speaking of 7 (2) in my copy of the Act. Are you referring to the term of office, or do I misunderstand your amendment? I just want to follow you as you make your argument.

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

MS. VERGE: The essence of my objection is to the changing of the rules in mid-stream for an incumbent. I have no fundamental objection if a provision for the term of office of the next Chief Judge upon his or her appointment, being set at ten years. However, the incumbent was appointed to serve until normal retirement age, which is sixty-five. This is consistent with the arrangement for federally appointed Chief Justices. For example, the Chief Justice of the Trial Division of Newfoundland and the Chief Justice of Newfoundland.

I think it is wrong for the Government to have the House of Assembly change legislation to alter the terms of office of an incumbent Chief Judge. Therefore, I am moving that the bill be amended by deleting sub-clause 7 (7), which says that, "For the purpose of sub-section (2) - which on its own would apply, not to the incumbent, but only to the next and subsequently appointed Chief Judges - "the Chief Judge on the date of the coming into force of this Act shall be deemed to have commenced his position as Chief Judge on that date." This is a measure that is targeted at an incumbent Chief Judge, and it has the affect of undermining what is supposed to be the independence of the judiciary. It amounts to the Government, and its Liberal majority in this Legislation, undermining the independence of the judiciary, and, on principle, I object to that.

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

MR. DICKS: Mr. Chairman, I would just like to indicate that the Department does not concur with the member's comments, which were made on Second Reading. It is not an attack on the incumbent, contrary to what she states, and we do not agree with the amendment, as proposed.

Thank you.

On motion, amendment defeated.

On motion, Clauses 7 through to 15, carried.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Shall Clause 16 carry?

The hon. the Minister of Justice.

MR. DICKS: Mr. Speaker, I earlier read the amendments, as proposed. I propose those amendments. Thank you.

On motion, amendment carried.

On motion, Clause 16 as amended, carried.

On motion, Clause 17 carried.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Shall Clause 18 carry?

MR. DICKS: Mr. Speaker, the amendment, as circulated, amends sub-clause 18(a), and I would move that sub-clause 18(a) be amended as in the draft that I read earlier.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Chairman, I would like to get it on the record, of course, that we support both amendments, as proposed by the Minister, and they were, in fact, strongly proposed by the Member for Humber East in the Committee stage. I just want to get that on the record, in case there is any -

AN HON. MEMBER: Come on, now!

MR. SIMMS: Well, they were strongly supported and proposed by the Member for Humber East. So, anyway, we carry it now, unless you want to cause a racket.

MR. DICKS: I would like to put on the record, that they were indeed carried forward to the Department by the hon. Member for Carbonear, who did an exemplary job, on behalf of the Committee, of bringing the wisdom to our attention.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

On motion, amendment carried.

On motion, Clause 18 as amended, carried.

On motion, Clauses 19 through to 39, carried.

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the bill with amendment, carried.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order 10.

A bill, "An Act To Revise And Consolidate The Law Respecting Juries". (Bill No. 3).

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

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, there are some amendments proposed to this Bill as well. I do not know if my colleagues opposite have - yes, they have a copy. I should ask the Table if I might have a current copy of the amendment because I just want to make sure that mine is similar to the ones opposite and I would like to read it into the record because we initially looked at - the ones that I have before me, Mr. Chairman, are amendments to -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DICKS: Yes, (inaudible).

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

MR. SIMMS: If the Clerk just gave the Minister the same copies she just gave me, on page two you have the explanatory notes, and I think that is probably the best way to explain them because it is fairly clear, and it also points out which Clause we have to move the amendments at so we can move on up to Clause 21, for example, if you know what I mean, then move them and then explain them as per the explanatory notes.

MS. VERGE: Do we have the same -

MR. SIMMS: Yes, I presume he has the same copy, does he?

MS. VERGE: This has not been changed.

MR. SIMMS: No.

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

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Yes, we have the same copy, Mr. Chairman, I just had an earlier copy that I just wanted to double check against, but I think we could move up to Clause 20. The only amendments proposed are in Clauses 21, 32, and 42 I should add as well.

On motion, Clauses 1 through to 20, carried.

MR. DICKS: I am sorry, Mr. Chairman. Clause 21, this arose out of committee and some promise made in this House as well. The amendment that is circulated would clarify that a judge may determine whether or not a party is to pay jury expenses to the sheriff or the sub-sheriff. What it does is it proposes some controls on how we receive money, and I think that is an appropriate amendment.

Sub-paragraph 21(4) allows the repayment of any surplus funds and allows us as well to repay interest. The committee felt that it was inequitable to hold money without paying interest on the judgement interest act and we are agreeing with that. So those two amendments are in order, and unless they need to be read into the record, I propose that they be amended as in the circulated written proposals.

On motion, amendment carried.

On motion, Clauses 21 as amended, carried.

On motion, Clauses 22 through to 31, carried.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Shall Clause 32 carry?

The hon. the Minister of Justice.

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We seek to amend Clause 32 by adding a sub-paragraph (4) which will read as follows: a judge who orders a trial with a jury under sub-sections (2) or (3) may make an order regarding the expense of the jury and the conduct of that trial. So that vests in the trial judge a discretion concerning jury expenses, and I would so move that sub-paragraph (4) be added to Clause 32.

On motion, amendment carried.

On motion, Clause 32 as amended, carried.

On motion, Clauses 33 through to 41, carried.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Shall Clause 42 carry?

The hon. the Minister of Justice.

MR. DICKS: Mr. Speaker, it is proposed that sub-clause 42(1) be struck out and that we substitute for it a new clause as set forth in the circulated amendment. The effect of that is to add enquiries under the Public Inquiry Act to these vested summonses and so forth. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

On motion, amendment carried.

On motion, Clause 42 as amended, carried.

On motion, Clauses 43 through to 46, carried.

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the bill with amendment, carried.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Motion 3.

A bill, "An Act To Authorize The Raising Of Money By Way Of Loan By The Province." (Bill No. 23)

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I want to have a few words about this Bill by way of introduction. What we are asking for is the authority from the House to borrow $325 million. That is basically what the Bill is requesting. Most of that money is required to compensate for the difference between what we intend to spend this year and what we are able to raise. The difference is not $325 million, the difference is somewhat less, the difference is $295.1 million. The additional amount I will go into in a little more detail in a minute, but the additional amount we need is a bit for spare. We intend to go to the capital markets about four times this year to borrow a total of about $624 million. We have gone once already into the Canadian market and borrowed $150 million, but we did that under the authority of the former Loan Bill which means that we now have to raise $474 million, the $624 million less the $150 million. We do not need authority for $279 million of that because it is for basically refurbishing our debt. We are paying off old debt and borrowing new money to replace it. We do not need authority from the Legislature for that because we are not really increasing the debt in that fashion. That leaves, Mr. Chairman, $195 million that we do not have authority for at the present time, so we need to borrow $195 million, and we estimate that, since it may be a bit late next spring before we actually get around to getting the House going and that, we may be over what we anticipate, we feel we need another $130 million, the authority to borrow, we may not borrow, but we will see how it goes. We need the authority to borrow another $130 million which gives us $325 million. That is what we are asking the House for now, the authority to increase the debt of this Province by $325 million. That is basically what we are asking. Mr. Chairman, I might say that I have no joy in introducing this bill to increase the debt of the Province more than it is now. We now owe $5.35 billion and that is contained, if you look at your Budget document, in exhibit 5 over there on Roman 11 in the back of the book, over $5 billion made up of direct provincial debt $4.859, Crown corporation debt including the hydro, housing, and NMFC, and others, of $2 billion. Then there is some money in sinking funds which have to be taken from that leaving a total public sector debt of $5.35 billion. That works out to be over $9000 for every single person in this Province, and if you add that to our federal debt, as I indicated in the Budget Speech, that is a total of $24,000 for every man, woman and child in this Province.

The interest alone come to $527.8 million and that is over $1000 for every Newfoundlander. Every Newfoundland has to pay almost $1,000 in interest on the public debt of Newfoundland; every person has to pay $1,000 interest, which is a lot of money. It works out to be $1,000 a minute altogether, every minute we have to pay $1,000 worth of interest.

I might add it is worse than that, the situation is even worse than anticipated because, we do not include in this interest amount that I mentioned, the amount that is shown in the Estimates for $527.7 million, we do not show the interest that the Province pays through the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs on the interest on municipal debt and if we added that, what the Province pays plus what the municipalities pay themselves on the debt, the NMFC debt, we have to add another $40 odd million a year in interest; so the actual interest that we are really paying on that $5.3 billion debt, comes out to about $570 million, so it is even worse than that. Some of it is not shown directly under that account, and Mr. Chairman, it is so serious that we are actually borrowing to pay the interest, because the interest is, as I said, is about $570 million every year and we are borrowing to pay the interest. Now that is something, to borrow to pay the interest on the public debt.

AN HON. MEMBER: What a mess they left us.

DR. KITCHEN: Well, that is the situation we are in, and I am really disheartened when I hear people saying: why do you not spend more money on this, why do you not spend more money on something else, what about this honourable group of people who want more money for a road, or want more money for municipalities or want more money for something else or want more money for their salaries, or more money for MHAs and our own salaries, or whatever?

Everybody is looking for more, more and more and then at the same time, some people get up, while they are demanding more, they are demanding that taxes be reduced, like one of the hon. Members up there from Labrador West the other day said: take the gasoline tax off for us but give us more money. I do not know how we are going to get more money unless we raise taxes and taxes are fairly high in the Province now, so, I mention this very seriously, I do not want to castigate anybody but we are in a problem in this Province and we have to be responsible in what we spend and we have to be responsible in what we borrow.

Now, we have been able this year to preserve our credit rating; if we did not do that it would be even worse because we would not be even able to borrow very much, we would have very great trouble in borrowing, even to do such a thing that I do not really like doing, borrowing more money, going farther and farther in the hole, loading it on the children of the future, the children and the grandchildren, loading the debt on them, so that they will not have much more room as they are gradually getting squeezed as the debt goes up and the interest goes up, the amount of money that is left in the Province to pay is less, so, the problem with which we are faced is that we have to come to grips, both the Federal Government and the Provincial governments have to come to grips with this credit financing of living on credit all the time, we must do it.

Now I know that some people say it does not matter, you know that you owe, it does not matter and if we go in the hole, to build up the economy or to build infrastructure that will enable us to be more productive, there is some purpose in that - there is some purpose in that, but I must say this, that even in the capital expenditures that we have, you might say that capital expenditures are the infrastructure to develop the future and the potential of the Province so that we can produce more, but I say to you that, a great amount of what we spend in capital expenditure is not capital at all, but is merely replacing existing facilities; existing, it is not really capital growth and so it cannot be conceived of, as building for the future, it is merely replacing what is already there; so I really think that before long we are going to have to combine current account and capital account and just look at it as expenditure, because really, that is what it is.

We have been able to retain our credit rating at some great difficulty this year; next year is another problem, next year brings its own problems, we will see when we get the progress reports as to how the economy is progressing in the Province and how the financial statements of the Province, the Provincial Government, are going on, just how we stand. There is no reason to indicate that our budgetary figures will be any different from what we have proposed, and there is no reason to think that there will be any assurance that they will be, because the information is not trickling in as yet. So far, it looks reasonably good, but we cannot say for sure how things are going. Hopefully, it will be all right.

I think the fundamental thing we have to do, all of us, is to reduce the cost of Government. I cannot see any purpose in increasing taxes in the Province. I really cannot see any point in increasing the rate of taxes. As the economy improves, perhaps the amount of taxes that we get will increase, but I do not really believe we can increase taxes much more. The only solution, if we do not want to continue to borrow and go in the hole and mount up the interest and load this money on the backs of the future, the only alternative we have, is to reduce the cost of Government. I believe that we have, the Federal Government has, and other provinces have, to continue to be very prudent in our expenditures, and not to be forever calling for more and more and more.

There are a couple of more points, Mr. Chairman, and then I will stop, because I know we sort of want to clue this matter up. It really bothers me to have to ask the House of Assembly for permission to borrow another $325 million, but I see no alternative to doing that. So, it is with great reluctance that I ask for permission to do it, but I do not know what else to do.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Chairman, I only want a few brief words on behalf of the Finance Critic, who, unfortunately, could not be here today. I know that he had some very interesting comments to make in past debates with the Minister in terms of the Province's financial position and how much they borrowed and all the rest of it. Unfortunately, he is not available, today, to be with us, but, nevertheless, we have some members on this side of the House who wish to debate with the Minister, not necessarily solely on the borrowing. As he is aware, and every other member of the House is aware, members can speak on just about anything on a finance matter. In fact, they always speak on anything, and the Chair is always lenient in that regard, and I am sure Your Honour will be no different, in that respect.

So, I just wanted to make that very brief point. I know that my friend from Green Bay wants to have a few words. It may not be totally specific to the borrowing, but it certainly will be specific to financial matters, I have no doubt, and I know that the Leader of the Opposition wishes to have a few words to say, too. So I just want to make that point, and explain the absence of the Finance Critic.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Member for Green Bay.

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I would like a few words on this borrowing bill, to give authority to the Government to borrow some $325 million. As we are about to clue up this particular sitting of the House of Assembly, Mr. Chairman, it is probably a good time to reflect for just a few minutes, on the record of this particular Government, in the way it has managed the finances and affairs of the Province. It is now three budgets, and two years, since this Government came into office. In that particular time, Mr. Chairman, we have seen a steady rise in taxes, fees, and traffic fines on the highways, a steady drain on the pocketbook of consumers in the Province. We have experienced a 25 per cent increase in electrical rates, since this Liberal Government came to power, even though, when they were in Opposition, they were very much opposed to rises in electrical rates.

Under this Liberal Government, Mr. Chairman, we now have 50,000 people on welfare, and that is a shameful statistic in this day and age. The only job creation programmes that this Government has provided require that you go on welfare first, to get on a job creation programme. The only other one, I think, that is in existence, is so despised by the private sector that nobody wants to use it. So, as I indicated, $50,000 people on welfare, and the only way to get on a job creation programme is to go on welfare.

We have the unions in the Province in a state of total upset, in the galleries nearly every day with a protest of one form or another, dogging the Premier around the Province to really let everybody know, in every town and city, their disgust with this particular administration.

We have a rising unemployment rate, Mr. Chairman, and it continues to rise. Apart from the P.C. project, that is known throughout the world as Hibernia, there have been no new industrial projects in the Province, and we do not, today, have one single operating mine on the Island, in this Province.

The fishery is in crisis. This Government is quite pleased to play the role of Pontius Pilate, wash its hands of the matter, and say it is a federal problem. The fact of the matter is, it is a problem for many, many citizens of this Province and, for the most part, this Government has been only too willing to hand off responsibility to the Feds and do absolutely nothing to help alleviate that situation.

This is a Government that, when it was in Opposition, made much of the fact that it would not use chemical sprays for forest management purposes. It is a Government that refuses to spray a chemical insecticide on the budworm, but is only too pleased to spray a chemical herbicide on a birch or an alder. That, to me, smacks of hypocrisy.

Mr. Chairman, this is a Government that condemned the previous PC government for having ministerial press aides, have subsequently done away with the concept of ministerial press aides and have hired a highly paid bunch of PR professionals, all of whom answer directly to the Premier's office. So, if we were bad, they have gone from bad to worse.

This is a Government that took away ministerial cars but, instead, gave Ministers an allowance so they could go out and buy their own car and keep the car at the end of a two-or-three-year period, after it was paid for. This is a Government that has rammed amalgamation down the throats of many municipalities in this Province, and many other municipalities are waiting for their fate to be decided in this entire amalgamation debate. Needless to say, our position in Opposition is that forced amalgamation is undemocratic but this does not seem to have thwarted the Government one little bit in its actions in that regard.

This is a Government that has laid off approximately 3,000 or more workers in the public service. It is a Government that has crippled the health care system and has set our school system back twenty years. In my own particular district, this is a Government that has not given one shovelful of pavement in three successive Budgets, and now, has even taken to cutting in half, the ferry system serving Little Bay Islands and Long Island. They have cut the ferry rates in half but, as a compensation, a poor compensation to the people; they have cut the ferry system, itself, in half.

We had, today, in the Assembly, the galleries blocked with a bunch of truckers who are being denied by this Government, their democratic right to form a union. This is a Government that, a little while ago, was refusing taxi rides to social assistance recipients who were sick. This is a Government that raised school taxes, instead of abolishing them as they promised to do in their election campaign. This is a Government that just lost a Minister over a patronage scandal, a Minister who used to openly boast on the floor of this House about his patronage appointments.

It reminds me, after reading this litany of woe, of what Jed Clampett had to say to Cousin Pearl when she was describing to him the glories of Beverly Hills versus the simpler life in the Ozarks. And, after listening to the contrast in the two communities, I believe Jed's comment to Cousin Pearl was: `Yeah, a man would be danged fool to leave all this.'

Well, unfortunately, we would appear to have to leave all this. Our session for the spring is coming to a close. This is the first session we have had in this new Assembly Chamber, and I do not think we have done this Assembly Chamber much good in the last little while. It is supposed to be a forum for democracy but we have not really christened it in any positive way, whatsoever, in the last few months.

Mr. Chairman, when President Lincoln opened the war cemetery at Gettysburg, he made a few remarks, he called it at the time. It went on to become the famous Gettysburg Address. He said, and I quote: "... we cannot dedicate - we cannot consecrate - we cannot hallow - this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it...." Similarly, I think it is up to us, in this particular new Chamber, to consecrate it with our struggle. Our struggle is supposed to be the exercise of democracy. And this particular sitting of the House,at the hands of this very heavy-handed Government, has not been a good exercise in democracy, not a good exercise, at all. In his closing remarks in that Gettysburg Address, Mr. Lincoln said something that is very well remembered throughout the history of the world. And that was about "... government of the people, by the people, for the people...."

Well, what we have in this Liberal Government under Premier Wells is Government of the people, by the elite, for the elite. Mr. Chairman, that is not good enough, and I say, thank God we have a Book of Remembrance out in the lobby, where we have the names of people who struggled for democracy, that can honour this particular edifice, because in this particular session in this new Chamber we have done no honour to democracy.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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

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

I was wondering if you might have forgotten who I was there for a minute. I was not going to get up, Mr. Chairman, but then, I was listening to the Member for Green Bay and it brings a saying back to my mind. Me doth think he protests too much, is what comes to my mind. The hon. Member used to be on the eight floor with the former, former, Premier, Mr. Peckford, and I can remember the secret enclave that used to be there when the Sprung deal was on the go. And all the press used to have to call - they did not bother calling the media assistance, or the media people, because they would be told to call the Eighth Floor, the Premier's office. We can remember this when we were in Opposition. When we got up to ask questions, the response we got was, `It is in a report, it is the feasibility studies that were carried out.' We used to keep asking for the feasibility studies, but we could not get our hands on those, and we came to find out later -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: I sat here and was quiet while you spoke.

We used to ask for the feasibility studies and were told, `No, call the Eight Floor, call the Premier's office.' And, this hon. gentleman, who is now the Member for Green Bay, used to be over there giving the press all these statements, little or none as there was, because there was no information, none whatsoever, and looked what happened. So, he talks about secrecy. Then, he talks about democracy. The House of Assembly was not even open for four years in a row for a fall session, never even saw the fall. The autumn used to come, and I used to be out in Stephenville because we did not have reason to come in here. If you wanted to come in and meet with a Minister, when they were in Government, you were lucky to get to meet with him and, if you did, you knew you were not going to get too much, anyway.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: I think the Member protests too much. Let us be a little realistic in criticism, let us be a little bit more credible, that is all I ask. The litany he talks about, of these things, and yet the same individual - if you are going to protest then you have to be able to say, Here is what I would do. I know what you did, and everybody else in the Province knows what you were part of and what you did. So, let us be a little more credible and maybe admit that it is a tough Province to govern. Maybe there are problems that you cannot resolve in one year, two years, three years, ten years, or seventeen, it takes a little while. So, I think you protest a little too much when it comes to those matters.

When you hear and see the past it makes you just wonder a little tiny bit about what the members opposite would do if they were the Government again. The unemployment rate is high, there is no doubt about it, but we are in a recession not created totally by us. We are the Government and we have to deal with it. We have the responsibility to deal with it. You cannot just shove it all off, and it is nothing but we are all bad and we do not know what we are doing, we do not know where we are going, and we are not doing anything right. Well, he is wrong. He says the education system has gone back twenty years. That is not the case, at all.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is the case.

MR. K. AYLWARD: That is what you say. You are an educator, so am I, and so are a number of others over here, but I would not say that. The Minister of Education has given over 100 per cent increase to the school tax equalization grant since we formed the Government in 1989. You will not get up and admit that, but that is the fact of the matter. We have increased school construction from $20 million to $27 million in 1989 and we have kept it there at $27 million. That is an increase of $21 million in school construction costs over the last three years, over 30 per cent increase in the school construction budget, but nobody says anything about that. I have a new primary school going up in Stephenville that is a year ahead because we had extra money in the school construction budget, a year ahead, $3.3 million for a new primary school, one of the largest primary schools in the Province. There are all kinds of other innovative programmes going on and a number of good things happening out there in Education.

I had to respond for a few short minutes because, you know, it is wonderful to get up and say all that, but let us provide some options; I mean, hon. members opposite give good credible criticism and I think that is good. We tried to do the same when we were over there, and that is the way the House of Assembly should work, but I think it is a little bit outrageous when I hear the extreme comments being made by the Member for Green Bay. So, I just wanted to have a few comments on this matter, Mr. Chairman, and give a rebuttal to the hon. the Member for Green Bay.

Thank you.

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Chairman, it is amazing, when this House has been asked to mortgage the future of Newfoundland and Labrador by an additional $325 million, that we have this kind of banter coming from the hon. the Member for Stephenville.

Mr. Chairman, I do not have all the figures in front of me, but I believe that this brings close to $1 billion, the amount of borrowing that this House has authorized for this Government since it came to office.

This is the third Budget, and I believe, as I said, that this borrowing bill will bring the amount somewhere around $800 million or $900 million that this Government has had authority to borrow over the course of three Budgets, getting close to $1 billion. So, Mr. Chairman, while this Government, from time to time - yes, the Minister affirms and nods his head that it is true - talks a great deal about past borrowings by past Governments, if we continue the rate of borrowing that this Government has embarked on in each of its last three Budgets, I am going to tell you, Mr. Chairman, that it is not going to take very long for the accumulated borrowing of this Government to get up to close to what the total public debt was when the Government took office.

It is really increasing at a tremendous rate.

AN HON. MEMBER: Seventeen years.

MR. RIDEOUT: It took seventeen years. It took twenty-three years. The Minister conveniently has selected amnesia when it suits his position, Mr. Speaker, it took twenty-three years. But if this Government continues to borrow at the rate of almost a billion dollars per three budgetary years, then it is not going to take very long for that accumulation to be up in very high numbers.

Now, Mr. Chairman, I am not suggesting that the Government has any alternative but to do borrowing. Obviously we would all like as a Government and as an Opposition to see the Government in a position where it is not borrowing to pay the heat and the light, to see the Government in a position where it is not borrowing to pay for the grocery bill. I suspect we would like to see that heavenly situation where the Government will have enough contributions from current account that it would not have to borrow on capital account, but, Mr. Chairman, we have not seen that position in Newfoundland since 1949 as far as I know.

If you go back through all past Budgets back to 1949 you will see that there was always an effort made to have a balanced current account, and the ideal was to have a significant contribution from current to capital, that there was always a capital requirement. And, of course, Mr. Chairman, the argument for that was that you were building assets, you were building infrastructure, you were developing things that would allow future generations and future people in this Province to be able to make a substantially improved economic environment and pay off that capital debt over a longer period of time.

What we are seeing now, Mr. Chairman, of course, is more and more deficit financing, not only on capital account but current account, and there are times when Government slips into that situation, particularly during recessionary periods. We had that difficulty as a Government in the recession of the 80's, the early part of the 80's, and we embarked on a fiscal plan that would take us to a balanced budget over a course of three or four years. What this Government has done, Mr. Chairman, is to dramatically increase borrowing, but yet there is no plan, at least no plan yet announced by the Government, to put the Province on a fiscal path that will see us achieving a balanced budget somewhere two, three or four years down the road.

This Government, Mr. Chairman, despite the draconian measures that it took this year, this Government despite breaking collective agreements, despite rolling back pay equity, rolling back the wages of its employees, despite laying off around 3,500 public employees, despite cutting back in the health care system, despite laying off teachers in the school system - despite having done all of that and despite having brought in the most significant tax increases that we have seen in this Province over the course of the last three Budgets - this Government still has not been able to come up with a fiscal management plan that is going to show some light at the end of the tunnel.

So I am reluctant - I have no choice - this House has no choice but to approve the Government's borrowing bill. And the Government majority will ensure that it is approved. But I tell you that every time I have to vote one red nickel for this Minister of Finance to manage it makes me nervous. Because this Minister has proven in three successive Budgets now that his budgetary projections are never accurate, they are not worth the paper they are written on. The Minister cannot be trusted to predict with any accuracy. His budgetary predictions have been the worst in Canada every budgetary year that he has been Minister. And I think that ought to make anybody nervous about allowing this Minister to borrow another $325 million.

But it has to be done or the Government will argue that there will have to be another 2,500 people laid off, or there will have to be some more hospital bed closures or teachers laid off, or they will not be able to plow the roads come next winter or you will not be able to operate the marine service centres. The Government will argue that unless they get the approval to borrow they will not be able to do all of those things that try to keep body and soul together in Newfoundland and Labrador.

And that is getting more and more difficult. Because as I said to this House yesterday evening, and I did not get a chance to finish, this year there are 50,000 men, women and children in Newfoundland on social welfare. That is a 20 per cent increase over the year before. So what is happening in this Province when there are 20 per cent more people on social welfare this year than there was last year? Fifty thousand people, 26,000 family units. Up by 20 per cent in one year and the Government likes to give us the impression that as far as the economy is concerned and as far as the economic plan for the Province is concerned that everything is rosy.

Now I see that we are a couple of minutes to 5:00 so if it is the pleasure of the House I guess the House will, after those few words, deal with the question before it.

A bill, "An Act To Authorize The Raising Of Money By Way Of Loan By The Province." (Bill No. 23).

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the resolution without amendment, carried.

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

MR. CHAIRMAN: Is it agreed to stop the clock before the Committee rises?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: It might happen in transition.

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

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

MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole have considered the matters to them referred, have directed me to report Bill Nos. 25 and 30 without amendment, and Bill Nos. 2 and 3 with amendments. In addition, Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole have considered the matters to them referred, have directed me to report that it has adopted a certain resolution and recommends that a Bill be introduced to give effect to the same, and ask leave to report again.

MR. SPEAKER: The Committee of the Whole reports it has considered the matters to it referred and has directed him to report Bill Nos. 25 and 30 without amendment.

On motion, report received and adopted, Bill Nos. 25 and 30 ordered read a third time tomorrow, Committee ordered to sit again on tomorrow.

On motion, amendments to Bill Nos. 2 and 3 read a first and second time, bills ordered read a third time on tomorrow.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The Chairman of the Committee of the Whole reports that it has considered the matters to it referred, and has directed him to report that it has adopted a certain resolution, and recommends that a bill be introduced to give effect to same.

Resolution

"That it is expedient to bring in a measure to authorize the raising from time to time by way of loan on the credit of the Province the sum of $375 million and the additional sum, or sums of money, that may be required to retire, repay, renew, or refund securities issued under an Act of the Province."

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

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Authorize The Raising Of Money By Way Of Loan By The Province," read a first, second and third time, ordered passed and its title be as on the Order Paper.

MR. FUREY: I move that the House at its rising do adjourn until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.

On motion, the House at its rising adjourned until tomorrow, Thursday at 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon.