March 25, 1992               HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS             Vol. XLI  No. 13


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

On behalf of hon. members, I would like to welcome to the public galleries today, Mr. Claude Jones, the Mayor of Jackson's Arm.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WARREN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I don't know if it would be a point of order or not, but there came to my attention today, a brochure that has been issued by Marine Atlantic. I have a copy of it here. It shows Labrador as being a part of the Province of Quebec.

On behalf of all members of this hon. House, I suggest, Sir, that you write a letter to Marine Atlantic, advising them that Labrador is a part of the Province of Newfoundland, and asking them to withdraw this brochure from their publication circulation and have the proper brochure printed.

Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I want to notify the House that I have written to the President of Marine Atlantic this morning. We, too, on this side find it outrageous that anybody in this country could publish something like that and not recognize the individualism of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is strange that they would produce that, not reflecting the proper borders of this Province. It is even more despicable when you see that a Crown corporation run by the taxpayers of this country doesn't take the time to define the borders properly.

The government has made its position very clear to the President of Marine Atlantic. We thank the hon. member for pointing it out, as well, and we concur with his suggestion.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. member rose on a point of order. I think the hon. member realized that it is not a point of order, but I think all hon. members agree as to the procedure that ought to be followed. There is just one point for clarification of the Chair -the hon. member did ask that the Speaker take action, the minister said he had done it - just to ask for clarification for hon. members, whether the House -

Statements by Ministers

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the President of Treasury Board, the hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I rise to address questions that have arisen regarding the release of the Hughes Inquiry report. I am making this statement at this time to avoid confusion and speculation on the issue.

The trials of those charged in relation to events at Mount Cashel Orphanage in the 1970s are about to come to an end.

The Attorney General is advised that the proceedings against Mr. Edward French, earlier stayed by the Crown, will not be a cause to delay the report's release. Mr. French has been convicted, by a jury, of several counts, but the jury were unable to come to a verdict on the one charge in respect of which the Stay has now been entered.

That being so, the Attorney General informs me he has asked the Director of Public Prosecutions to determine if there now exists any legal impediment to the release of the Hughes Inquiry report. This review will address any problems posed by the recently announced investigation by the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary into complaints of incidents which allegedly occurred at Mount Cashel in the 1940s and 1950s.

The Attorney General expects a reply from the Director by 15 April. The Cabinet will then be able to decide when the report is to be made public.

Although the Hughes Inquiry report was presented to government nearly a year ago, its circulation has been severely restricted. Only eight men and women have had access to it. These are the Minister of Social Services and his predecessor, Mr. Roberts and his predecessors, and three senior officials.

The report will not be made available to any other members of Cabinet, nor to any officials, until we have received and dealt with the Director of Public Prosecution's report. The government will be unable to make any substantive comment with respect to the report, or to address any of its recommendations, for some time after the report is released publicly. That will give us time to read and assess it, and take advice from our officials. We shall also consult with those affected by the report, and any others with an interest in the matters touched upon by it.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, we are smoking them out.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, it is ridiculous that the report of the Hughes Royal Commission has been withheld from the people of Newfoundland and Labrador for the ten months that the government has had it, and now, the government is grasping at straws trying to come up with excuses to keep it from people even longer.

Mr. Speaker, the CBC Morning Show recently spoke to Mr. Justice Hughes at his home in Toronto, and Mr. Justice Hughes told the CBC that if the government doesn't soon implement some of his recommendations, it will be too late to achieve the desired goals.

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Justice Hughes is a retired judge of the High Court of Ontario. He is well aware of the requirements for a fair criminal trial. His mandate, the mandate assigned him by this 'real change' administration, endorsing the mandate originally set by the previous administration while I was Minister of Justice, called for him to critique the criminal justice and chid welfare systems, and to make recommendations about criminal justice and child welfare laws, policies, procedures, personnel and resources for the future. The mandate called on him to make recommendations about the police and about the relationship between the police and the Department of Justice, between the police and the government, recommendations which perhaps, if implemented, could have avoided the so-called Kelland affair.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Oral Questions

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

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

I have a question for the President of Treasury Board.

The minister promised on Friday of last week that he would table documentation concerning Cabinet's decision to overrule decisions of its officials and to award a $90 million contract to Trans City Holdings, who was neither the lowest bidder nor the preferred bidder. Will the documents the minister promised or intends to table, include the assessment done by officials, who evaluated the bids to determine the preferred bidder, and will the documents include the much-requested Hanscomb report?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, the summary that is now being put together will not include copies of Cabinet papers. The hon. gentleman knows that that is impossible, but it will include recommendations that we have received with regard to these facilities and I would like to point out to the hon. gentleman that the numbers he is using are totally incorrect.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We will see about the inaccuracies once we get the information. I have a supplementary, Mr. Speaker, for the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

I would like to refer the minister to the December report of the Public Tender Exceptions, which shows that government renewed a lease with the Lundrigan Group of Corner Brook for office space in Corner Brook, and the renewal is for five years at a cost of $1 million. I ask the minister, why didn't the government call tenders for this space?

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

MR. GOVER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of the particular reason why that exception is entered into the record; there are a great many exceptions in those particular volumes. I will look at that particular exception and report back to the House.

As I indicated, Mr. Speaker, when we tabled those particular exception reports, exceptions to the Public Tender Act with respect to leased space were being done incorrectly, even under the previous administration. Since I became minister, this matter has been corrected, and thirty-seven leases which should have been reported have been reported. It is not the intention to cover up any aspect of the exceptions in the report, and I will investigate that particular matter and provide a full answer to the House.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Opposition House Leader, the Member for Grand Bank.

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The minister tabled the report just a few days ago. It is his report that he tabled, and he should have familiarised himself with the exceptions to the Public Tender Act, Mr. Speaker. There is no reason here why tenders were not invited. That is why I raised the question to the minister. I say to him that five years is a long period of time and $1 million is a lot of money to be just giving out without calling public tenders. Most lease renewals are for one or two years. I ask the minister, is it not a fact that officials in his department recommended that there not be a five-year extension, but that the decision of his officials were overturned by Cabinet?

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

MR. GOVER: Mr. Speaker, to my knowledge, those allegations are completely unfounded.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Social Services.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, just a few days ago the minister sought an additional $12 million for social assistance, bringing the total vote for social assistance up to $153.3 million for the year, which is an increase of nearly 50 per cent since the government was elected three years ago. Now, that we are close to the end of the fiscal year, could he give us the present caseload?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, the present caseload is in the vicinity of 28,000. In total, that would involve some 63,000 persons, give or take a few, but certainly the caseload, itself is around the 28,000 mark.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Port au Port, on a supplementary.

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, with figures like that and with our calculations, will the $12 million supplementary supply cover the additional costs he has to meet this year?

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

MR. GULLAGE: The extra $12 million is to cover the existing situation up-to-date and the current fiscal year. I assume the hon. member is asking about the future and the next fiscal year, and I would anticipate that the caseload that we presently have will continue to be expanded and increase and no doubt we will need extra dollars to accommodate that increase.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, when the Government took office the social assistance caseload was under 20,000. The Minister now admits that it is over 28,000. In view of the cutbacks and restraints in hiring in the public service, is the Department adequately staffed with qualified social workers to deal professionally with the vastly increased caseload?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Yes, Mr. Speaker. We are presently planning to make sure that our professional staff, which comprises some 70 to 75 per cent of our staff - of the 1,100 staff some 70 to 75 per cent are professional people - that we can do everything possible to help them with the increasing caseload that they have. We have just announced computerization of the - just awarded a tender for computerization of all fifty-seven of our district offices. That no doubt will help us with the work load for the social workers and the other staff in these offices. So we are doing everything possible to assist our professional people and other staff with the caseload that they have to handle.

MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary, the hon. the Member for Port au Port.

MR. HODDER: Obviously, Mr. Speaker, from the Minister's answer he does not intend to do anything.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HODDER: But, Mr. Speaker, can the Minister tell me what his Department projects the caseload to be for the year 1992-1993? Could he tell us, over and above computers and professional staff, which means that no new social workers will be hired, what will he need to deal with the welfare caseload, which I might point out now involves nearly 5 per cent of the population of Newfoundland and Labrador?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, as we all know it is very difficult, if not impossible, to predict the future as far as the impact of the economy, of the times that we live in, the very difficult economic times that we are presently in, as to how the caseloads in Social Services will increase or not in the future.

All I can say is we are monitoring it closely throughout the Province - all regions of the Province, all fifty-two district offices, and the five regional offices. We are constantly in touch with them. We are trying to monitor the situation, looking at the economy in all the regions that we are responsible for. No question. If the economy continues to worsen, if we see more people displaced from the workforce and on the unemployment rolls and, ultimately, clients of social service, we will have a difficult problem to deal with. All I can say, Mr. Speaker, is that we are working with it constantly, in contact with our district offices on a daily basis, and doing everything we can to see that our professional and other staff are provided with the kind of support services that are needed.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINSOR: I want to follow up on the questions to the Minister of Social Services with some questions to the Minister responsible for Employment and Labour Relations in this Province.

The Minister of Social Services has just confirmed that the caseload for social services has escalated dramatically. The Minister is obviously aware that many of these people are able-bodied recipients who have been unable to find work and have had to resort to social assistance.

Let me ask the Minister this: Why hasn't the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations presenting a plan to deal with this employment crisis in the light of the fact that the Minister of Social Services just said that he expected this would expand and increase in the months ahead? Why hasn't the Minister presented a plan to deal with this crisis?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Just before addressing the question so that the hon. Member for Fogo does not misunderstand what my colleague said, he said, 'Should it be that the economy were to continue to worsen and those things were to occur, then there would obviously be an expectation that the caseloads might increase, if that happens.'

At the present time both the Provincial Department of Employment and Labour Relations in co-operation with federal officials from the Canada Employment and Immigration Services are assessing the magnitude of the difficulty that we have, and officials from both levels of government are trying to develop, as accurately as possible, a statistical base to determine the scope of the problem that we expect to have to deal with in the next few months.

We, as we demonstrated last year, tend to try to plan any interventions that Government actually gets involved with in terms of assisting people, whether it be through social assistance or whether it be through employment opportunities. We are in the process of trying to identify the scope and magnitude of the problem presently, and also have some fairly well-founded predictions for the short-term future. When we have that information - the people are already working on possible plans that could see governments at both levels intervene with employment opportunities. But it's certainly too early, Mr. Speaker, at this time for ourselves or the Federal Government to make any announcements as to what we will do on the employment side.

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

MR. WINSOR: Mr. Speaker, with a caseload of 28,000 I don't know how it can be too early.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINSOR: Mr. Speaker, while short-term jobs are not the solution to our economic woes, presently there seems to be no other solution.

Let me ask the Minister this, then. Has he determined the cost to the Government of having these people collect social assistance as opposed to putting them to work in meaningful, short-term make-work projects similar to the ones you had last fall? Has the Minister determined the cost of establishing these programs as opposed to taking the same people and making them rely on social assistance?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you again, Mr. Speaker. We do not have definitive numbers as to the current situation. That kind of analysis was done before we engaged in the emergency employment response program of last fall. It shows that in certain circumstances and with certain categories, by putting the people to work there can actually be a cost benefit as opposed to leaving them as social assistance clients and recipients. That is part of the assessment that is being done right now as to if money is directed from the different employment pools - whether it be Employment and Labour Relations or in Social Services - that we tend to try to use these monies in a combined fashion. That in fact there can probably be savings and more cost effectiveness by using some of the money to employ people in job development and job creation programs rather than just leave them as clients of Social Services. That is all part of the consideration that is ongoing right now for implementation at some future date.

MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary, the hon. the Member for Fogo.

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In three years this administration has failed to address the serious unemployment situation in the Province. In fact, a former Minister of Labour and Employment said when we questioned her on an employment strategy: they will just have to go on welfare.

Why has the Government adopted this attitude towards the people of this Province? Why hasn't the increase in the social assistance caseload from 24,000 to 28,000 - and 68,000 people now - convinced the Minister of an immediate need for action today - not next month or two months time?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you again, Mr. Speaker. We have been looking at this closely as the hon. Member opposite indicates ever since the Government, this group, took office. We have recognised fully that there is a need in the Province for economic revitalisation so that people can work instead of having to depend on any branch of government for assistance. That has not been occurring in the current recessionary time. This Government, of and by itself, cannot turn around the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador with its own efforts. We showed last fall, for the first time, even though we have resisted, and as the hon. Member opposite indicated in his preamble, that short-term job creation is not the answer. It is not the solution to the problem.

But we have recognised, and we indicated last fall, that we are willing to participate in that, knowing the difficulty of the times. When our assessment of the current situation is complete we will participate again in a meaningful fashion with the Federal Government, when the situation dictates that it is appropriate and proper to do so.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, some two years ago -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, some two years ago Project Haven approved funding for the construction of a transition house for the Burin Peninsula that was requested by the Burin Peninsula Committee Against Family Violence. That time the Government refused to fund the operation of that home. I am wondering, my question to the Minister would be: will Government this coming year be prepared to fund the operations of such a home if the capital funding is provided?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, obviously the question pertains to an item that would or would not be included in the Budget and we would have to wait for the Budget to be tabled tomorrow.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the Minister seems to refer everything to the Budget. I just want to ask the Minister once again: is Government committed, does this Government have any commitment, to the Burin Peninsula, in terms of supporting and financing a transition home?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, the Government's commitment, in all areas, in all divisions of my Department and other departments is there if the program is worthy of having support. I would say that we have the same commitment for the Burin Peninsula as we do for all other areas of the Province. We have to await the Budget to see whether or not this item is included.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. Back in December of 1990 the former minister announced the new municipal operating grant structure saying at the time that the existing system was most inequitable as monies paid through the grant structure were paid on a formula basis having no regard for equalization or need.

Would the Minister now explain to the House how the new system is most equitable to municipalities, and explain to the House how it is that you are sort of fixing up and straightening up all the disparities with regards to municipalities in the Province?

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

MR. HOGAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The new grant system and the new debt retirement system that was introduced last year is being met with (inaudible) as all of us in this time of restraint and great difficulty, and we are hoping that the weaknesses, if there are any in this particular new system, are going to be addressed in co-operation with the municipal administrators and the Federation of Municipalities, who have asked for consultation in this regard. We are now reviewing the entire process, and at the end of May if there are errors and if the system is not working the way it was intended to, it will be addressed and reviewed.

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

MR. WOODFORD: In view of the fact that municipalities in the Province have to submit balanced budgets, and in view of the fact that because of the new municipal operating grant structure and creating further downloading on the municipalities in the Province, what action will the Minister take when a municipality in the Province submits a deficit budget? Would he dismiss the council and put in a commission, or would he accept a deficit budget?

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

MR. HOGAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. If a budget is submitted to the Department with a deficit, there are mechanisms in place now, Mr. Speaker, to address such situations. One is a consultation, and we have had this year, to my knowledge anyway, a number of budgets that have been submitted with deficits, and we have gone back to the drawing board and things have worked out generally well with the councils concerned. There are other councils that have encountered many difficulties. There is no denying that as the hon. Member is well aware. There is also a mechanism in that to deal with operating deficits where deficits can be addressed over a period of time, and increase taxation in time, and hopefully a revisit to the operating grants can deplete the deficits over a period of time. There are mechanisms in the act already to deal with this.

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

MR. WOODFORD: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, municipalities have been savaged by the reduction in the road component of the municipal operating grants. Does the Minister have any plans in particular to address this particular component of the MOG program?

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

MR. HOGAN: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I guess any plan or any formulas that are introduced have to be tried, and through trial and error, I guess, to learn what the mistakes are. They are revisited and reviewed. I was one who was with the municipalities for twenty years. I was used to having formulas and grant systems reviewed, and I would like to carry on that way in this particular portfolio and revisit items that are not working, if in fact they are not working and try and re-address them.

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

MR. WOODFORD: My final supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

The Minister, Mr. Speaker, has sort of admitted here this evening that the new MOG system is not working. In view of the fact that the former minister became known as Eric the Amalgamator, would the Minister now take the opportunity to become known as Billy the Terminator and do away with this MOG structure that is most unfair to municipalities in this Province?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HOGAN: No, I will probably go down in history, Mr. Speaker, as Billy the Kid, number two.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

I have a question for the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture. As the Minister will know, a former Liberal candidate for Humber West I believe, Mr. Scott Simmons, was given a $56,000 a year appointment with the Agricultural Products Marketing Board some time since they were elected. In March of 1991 Mr. Simmons resigned that position. I wonder would the Minister explain to the House why Mr. Simmons resigned that position in March of 1991?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture.

MR. FLIGHT: Mr. Speaker, in the first instance Mr. Simmons did not necessarily resign. As the Member should know, it was an appointment at the discretion of the Minister for a time specific. The appointment of the Agricultural Products Marketing Board, including Mr. Simmons who was Chairman, expired in March of 1990, I presume, or whatever the date was.

In the meantime, the real reason Mr. Simmons was prepared to retire - or resign as he puts it - is that the hon. Member is right. We were paying something in the vicinity in excess of $59,000 for the Chairman of the Agricultural Products Marketing Board, a position that was filled before I came along, by the ex-member - the ex-Tory member for Bonavista North, and later by the ex-executive assistant for the then Minister of Mines and Energy - one Mr. Leo Barry. Now, Mr. Speaker, it was a vacancy - it was a position that was being used for obvious reasons.

I was not in the office as Minister very long before I realized that there was not enough work - there may well not be enough work - for a full-time Chairman of the Agricultural Products Marketing Board. Mr. Simmons was not in the office very long because he wanted to feel that the money he was being paid he was delivering good value for. He was not there very long before we realized that the best way to go - and we looked at it and spent a long time talking to Treasury Board - would be by eliminating the position as a full-time chairman, and appointing the chairman as a member of the board on a per diem basis, with nothing less, I would guess, than at least a 50 per cent savings on that particular office to the Newfoundland Government.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

The Minister has confirmed that Mr. Simmons did resign in March of -

AN HON. MEMBER: Retired.

MR. R. AYLWARD: He retired, I mean, in March of 1991. The appointment came due on June 30, 1991, in case the Minister is not aware what is going on in his Department. So Mr. Simmons did retire, and he had planned to retire from active life.

Will the Minister confirm now that Mr. Simmons, some two or three months ago, was re-appointed as Chairman of the Agricultural Products Marketing Board?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: He is. You will confirm that he has been re-appointed as Chairman, not for the $56,000 a year that he previously was receiving - an average that would work out to about $220 a day had he kept working - but would you confirm that he is re-appointed for a more lucrative contract of $350 a day plus expenses?

MR. FLIGHT: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I am delighted!

AN HON. MEMBER: Way to go!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture.

MR. FLIGHT: I am delighted to confirm that, Mr. Speaker. I am also delighted to confirm that he has been appointed on a per diem basis at $350 a day. I would point out that if he only works ten days, it will only cost the Province $3,500. If Mr. Simmons, in his capacity as Chairman of the Board, sits for 100 days it will only cost the Province $35,000 approximately, with no fringe benefits attached like the previous board was getting, other than expenses. Yes, I confirm that, Mr. Speaker, and I would anticipate - and will report to the House when the time comes - that Mr. Simmons will cost us probably less than 50 per cent of what the Tory appointments cost us over the years.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

A final supplementary to the Minister. That appointment was costing around $35,000 to $40,000 when we were there, just in case the Minister is not sure. You raised it $16,000 already.

It is a poorly kept secret that Mr. Simmons has semi-retired. He is living in Florida for a good part of the year and now he is on a per diem basis plus expenses. Is it the Minister's plan, in case of any emergency meetings required by the Agricultural Products Marketing Board, to pay Mr. Simmons' way back and forth from Florida while he is serving on this board, Mr. Speaker? Or is it the Minister's plan to wait, and let the agricultural industry wait, until Mr. Simmons comes back from his days in Florida to have the meetings and delay whatever is necessary in the agricultural industry?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture.

MR. FLIGHT: Mr. Speaker, I could take that question under advisement and when I table the answer also table the agenda of the previous Chairmen of the Agricultural Marketing Board over the years.

Mr. Speaker, my information - and I know it for a fact - is that Mr. Simmons, over the past few days I think, has been representing the Province at what are very important meetings regarding some aspect of agriculture in Ottawa. So, if Mr. Simmons is in Florida, Mr. Speaker, he is earning no per diem. No, we are not paying any travel costs one way or the other or picking up any costs that don't directly relate to Mr. Simmons' responsibilities as Chairman of the Agricultural Marketing Board, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

Mr. Speaker, will the Minister confirm that Mr. Simmons flew from Florida to Ottawa to attend that meeting? And isn't the real reason why he was put on per diem so that he could live in Florida for part of the year and wouldn't have to spend his whole time in the office?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture.

MR. FLIGHT: No, Mr. Speaker. The real reason he was appointed wasn't so he could go to Florida. I can confirm one thing, Mr. Speaker, that Mr. Simmons is in Ottawa. Now, there are three ways you can get to Ottawa from Florida, you can fly, you can drive or you can hitchhike. I presume Mr. Simmons did not hitchhike and I presume he did not drive, Mr. Speaker. So, yes, I would presume that Mr. Simmons flew to Ottawa from Florida for the meeting. At this point in time, that is all I know.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair has recognized the hon. Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have a question for the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation about the four-laning of the Trans-Canada Highway in the Humber Valley between Corner Brook and Deer Lake. The Federal Government has committed funding for the entire cost of the project over the next few years. I would like to ask the Minister if he and the Government will make a schedule for the entire project and let people know what section of the work will be done each year until the entire corridor has been four-laned. I ask the Minister to do this so that the people effected will know what to expect, in particular so that the people who know that they will have to sell or part with their properties will know when that will be required.

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

MR. GOVER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I assume that the hon. Member is referring to the TCH portion of the Roads for Rail Agreement, which includes these various projects with respect to the four-laning of the road. Now, whether it is the provincial program or whether it is this particular program, the same procedure is followed, which is that roads are ranked in priority and the highest priority roads are done at any given time.

Now, I assume that this is under the Roads for Rail Agreement, the TCH portion of that. The hon. Member asks: Why isn't there a schedule? I would ask the hon. Member, when the Federal Government drew up this agreement with the Province, with the previous administration - anyway, the agreement runs from 1991 to 2003, the projects are listed, but the Federal Government, when they negotiated the agreement and put in the money, never insisted on a schedule being drawn up, and they seem quite satisfied with the process that -

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible) now. There is nothing (inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. GOVER: Mr. Speaker, it is impossible to make a schedule because priorities change year by year. A piece of road which may be in a moderate condition this year may be in a terrible condition next year. To tie the Government's hands in that way would be a violation of our commitment to do these projects on a priority basis. And, Mr. Speaker, no, we will not tie our hands to do these projects on a fixed schedule. We have to do them on the basis of need, and needs shift from year to year.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

Before proceeding to the next item of routine business, on behalf of hon. members, the Chair welcomes to the public galleries, council representation from Wabush in the persons of His Worship, Mayor Bill Kelly, the Deputy Mayor, Mr. Mike Cole and the Town Manager, Mr. Ed Kent.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Notices of Motion

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce the following resolution:

WHEREAS under Sub-section 4 (1) of the Auditor General Act, The Lieutenant-Governor in Council shall, under the Great Seal of the Province, appoint a qualified auditor to be the Auditor General of Newfoundland; and

WHEREAS The Lieutenant-Governor in Council has been pleased to appoint Mrs. Elizabeth Marshall, C.A. to the position of Auditor General of Newfoundland, effective April 1, 1992; and

WHEREAS under Sub-section 4 (2) of the Auditor General Act, the person appointed to the position of Auditor General must be confirmed in office by resolution of this hon. House of Assembly;

BE IT RESOLVED that this hon. House of Assembly confirm the appointment of Mrs. Elizabeth Marshall, C.A. to the position of Auditor General of Newfoundland, effective April 1, 1992; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that to ensure public confidence in the independence of the Office of the Auditor General, and to ensure compliance with the rules of professional conduct of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Newfoundland, requiring a member to hold himself or herself free of any influence, interest or relationship which, in the view of an objective viewer would impair the member's professional judgement or objectivity, the auditing or examining of the records of a department of government relating to a period during which the Auditor General held an executive position in that department, shall be carried out by an independent firm of chartered accountants, appointed as an agent by the Auditor General, under Section 28 of the Auditor General Act, and the report of the agent shall be tabled without amendment, in this hon. House, together with the Auditor General's annual report.

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, yesterday in the House, the hon. the Member for Harbour Main asked some questions about a conversation that I was supposed to have had with the President of the Newfoundland Psychiatric Association, and I undertook to pursue that because, as you can appreciate, I get a lot of things going through my desk and I cannot remember all the conversations I have had, so I wasn't sure if I had a memory lapse or not.

So, I have gone back and have had officials from the Department of Health get in touch with the President of the Newfoundland Psychiatric Association, and it has been verified that no such discussion ever took place, and furthermore, Mr. Speaker, the President of the Newfoundland Psychiatric Association said he would consider it very unethical to discuss with a Minister of Health, a specific case which would come under his care. So, Mr. Speaker, I believe if the hon. the Member for Harbour Main were in this House today, he would be on his feet and would apologise to the President of the Newfoundland Psychiatric Association.

AN HON. MEMBER: He should apologise. The Leader will apologise.

MR. DECKER: Now, Mr. Speaker, also, the hon. member asked for some details about a specific case.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask hon. members, please, for order. We are in Answers to Questions for which Notice has been Given, and I ask the hon. the minister to please proceed with the answer to the question, and do it as quickly as possible.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, I don't know under what order the minister is doing this, because there was no notice yesterday, he didn't take the question under notice that he would give answers. I mean, we have checked Hansard. So I really think the minister is abusing the rules of the House.

MR. SIMMS: He has a statement to make. It is under Statements.

MR. MATTHEWS: He has a statement to make.

MR. SIMMS: Yes, do it under Statements.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: No, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SIMMS: He didn't give us information, all he did was attack us.

MR. DECKER: It is a cover-up.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. MATTHEWS: It is not a cover-up, Mr. Speaker. If anyone should be apologizing today, it should be the minister, after hearing the father of the patient on the radio this morning.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Health, on a point of order.

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the member accused me of discussing a specific case with the President of the Newfoundland Psychiatric Association.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Shame! Shame!

MR. DECKER: I explained in Question Period that I could not remember such a conversation taking place. I undertook to get that information for the hon. member, Mr. Speaker. I am doing that today, and if hon. members don't want that information, they are trying to cover up the truth.

MR. SIMMS: Do it under Statements by Ministers.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A couple of times, members have run into problems in this area of Answers to Questions for which Notice has been Given. I want to tell hon. members that, obviously, the Chair is not in a position to know whether the hon. member gave notice or not. In this hon. House we have an obligation to believe hon. members that such was said. The Chair will have to check. If the minister says he did give notice, the Chair will undertake to find out from Hansard whether or not notice was given, in which case we will have to hold the minister responsible, or anybody else. The minister has said that he has given notice and, at this point, we can only believe the minister and ask him to continue with his question as briefly as possible.

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, furthermore, I undertook to get the details of this case for the hon. the Member for Harbour Main, if he wants the truth. The hon. member talked about a specific case in Grand Falls, and the intention I had was to get the details of this case, Mr. Speaker. If hon. members now want to hear them, I will bring them forward.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. the minister, please, to proceed to the answer as quickly as possible. The same rules apply in Answers to Questions for which Notice has been Given as in Oral Questions. The hon. member's question should be brief, and if we were in Question Period I would also urge the hon. the minister to get to the answer and be as brief as possible, please.

The hon. the Minister of Health.

MR. DECKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Department of Health was contacted late last week concerning a teenage patient from Central Newfoundland who was waiting for assessment at the Janeway Child Centre for a mental problem. Now, Mr. Speaker, there is a policy in the Department of Health where we try to protect the confidentiality of patients who phone in. There is a policy that those discussions be confined, whenever possible, to medical people within the department, so the issue was not discussed, specifically, with me. Officials in the department, medical people, dealt directly with the Janeway.

The child had, indeed, been a patient at the Central Newfoundland Regional Health Centre earlier in the winter on the paediatric ward and then the psychiatric ward at the hospital. The patient was re-admitted to the paediatric ward at the Central Newfoundland Regional Health Centre again last week, this week past. The patient has been receiving care at the Central Newfoundland Regional Health Centre from one of the staff psychiatrists, as well as psychologists, social workers and nurses. The Central Newfoundland Regional Health Centre -

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

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

MR. TOBIN: We do want to hear, but we want to hear it under the rules and conditions of this House, Mr. Speaker, that we all have to abide by, and that should go for the hon. the Minister of Health, as well.

Mr. Speaker, my colleague, the Opposition House Leader, raised, in the point of order, a very valid point as it relates to the minister not giving notice in this House, Your Honour. He didn't follow the rules of this House. The Speaker, has given instruction to the Minister of Health, stating that he must be brief, the same as in Question Period. The minister constantly and consistently ignores the Speaker's ruling. I believe, Mr. Speaker, he should be asked to clue-up.

MR. SIMMS: Table the answer, boy. Table it, if it's a lengthy thing, that's all you have to do.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, at least twice that I have been able to find during the exchange yesterday, the minister indicated he would check into something for the member because he could not, at that time, answer the question. So I understand that is indicating that as soon as the answer is available he will give it to the hon. member.

This is a very delicate matter, an extremely delicate matter. Members opposite have now got into the habit of picking specific cases, exaggerating them, making false statements about them -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Shame! Shame!

MR. BAKER: - and when we have a chance to check into it, Mr. Speaker, now they don't want us to give the answer to indicate how false the question was, and the incorrect statements that were made in this House. They don't want to give us a chance to do it. Well, that's okay, Mr. Speaker, there are other ways to deal with it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, what the member says begs the point. it doesn't make any difference. A member in the Opposition asks a question and the minister answers it. Now, yesterday, the minister was asked a number of questions from this side and he answered a number of times. Not one time did he say: I will take it under advisement. Now, if the minister can get up, and in the middle of a statement, say: Oh, I will give him the information later, then he should give the information later. But we cannot rebut here so the minister should have done it in Statements by Ministers.

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

The Chair has heard enough submissions on this. The Chair can only again say there is no -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I want to remind hon. members that when the Speaker stands to make a ruling, there are not supposed to be comments from anywhere.

I am ruling that there is no point of order.

Again, I remind hon. members that, with respect to our precedents in this House, on Answers to Questions for which Notice has been Given, members have generally been given the same latitude - ministers, particularly, because it is they who respond - as we do in the Oral Question period. There is, obviously, no length of time that one can put on it, other than for the Speaker to determine whether or not the question has been answered and whether or not the particular minister is stalling or getting into provocative matters.

With respect to whether notice has been given, the Chair will have to check that out. I think, as hon. members know, the Chair doesn't check Hansard every day to see whether notice has been given, but that rests with the hon. the minister. The responsibility also rests with the member making the charge, that he must know that notice wasn't given, inasmuch as the minister also says that it was given. So it is shared equally on both sides. But the Chair will check it out.

It is now 3:00 p.m. The Chair must call the Private Member's resolution for today.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

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

I haven't recognised the Opposition Leader yet because the Chair is calling for order.

The Leader of the Opposition has stood on a point of order and we will recognise him.

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On a point of order. We have no problem with the minister providing the information. That is not the point of the argument at all. As a matter of fact, I say to the hon. minister, we would be prepared to give leave to revert to Statements by Ministers and let him make it under Statements by Ministers and we have a chance to respond to it, which is the appropriate way, because it is a lengthy response. That is the only point we are making. Answer to Questions must be brief. So if you want to revert to Statements by Ministers, do so, and then we will give a response.

MR. SPEAKER: I remind hon. members that it is 3:00 p.m.

MR. SIMMS: I agree. By leave, whatever (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: If hon. members want to revert - the Chair has called for the appropriate Order of the Day because it is 3:00 p.m., but with the consent of the House then, of course, we can do what we want. Do hon. members want to revert to Statements by Ministers? Is that the ruling of the House?

I gather that the Government House Leader says no and I cannot do it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Orders of the Day

Private Members' Day

MR. SPEAKER: It is Private Member's Day and the resolution is one presented by the Member for Trinity North. I ask the Member for Trinity North to please present his resolution.

The hon. the Member for Trinity North.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. OLDFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair has recognised the hon. the Member for Trinity North. We have now gone past the previous matter and we ask all hon. members, please, to extend the appropriate courtesy to the Member for Trinity North.

MR. OLDFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

As I said, I am pleased to stand today to expand and elaborate on my Private Member's resolution, put forth because of what I see as a crisis in the fishery in this Province. Mr. Speaker, it gives me no pleasure to visit my district these days and to stand on a street corner in Catalina or to sit in a living room in Melrose and discuss the dilemma, the crisis, that we face in the fishery in this Province. These are people on the Bonavista Peninsula who have relied on the fishery for a living for a long, long time, and working in the fishery or the in the fish plant in Port Union, Mr. Speaker, has not been employment of last resort. It is not the ten/forty-two fishery that some people would make it out to be.

Working in the plant in Port Union is a full-time, year 'round economic means to raise a family in a rural setting. It is full-time, year 'round employment in the harvesting and the processing of groundfish. That is the choice of life-style that the people in those communities accepted. Never, in my forty-three years, have I seem such a level of worry, anguish or dismay at what is happening to the traditional way of life on the Bonavista Peninsula, the traditional means of supporting a rural life-style.

The people I have spoken to feel they are victims of circumstance and they are powerless to act. Their fate is sealed by forces and actions and decisions that are outside their sphere of influence. These workers cannot fathom what their short and long-term futures hold. They are totally disillusioned, Mr. Speaker.

Now, we have had downtime before in the fishery on the Bonavista Peninsula, but it has been caused by environmental conditions, ice conditions or water temperatures. We have even had good years where in short periods of time the trawlers have gone out and caught their quota. But the people in the industry knew that in a couple of months that plant would open again and they would resume their employment.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I introduced this resolution on March 9 and I had hoped that it would have been debated before today. We did have ample opportunity, I think. On March 11, we had a Private Members' Day, and again on March 18, but I am sure the 1200 unemployed plant workers and trawlermen in Trinity and Bonavista Bay and the 600 unemployed workers in Arnold's Cove or the 1000 or so unemployed workers around the rest of this Province will forgive us because we were debating more pressing issues.

There is another issue on which I want to touch. The Member for Burin - Placentia West asked across the floor the other day if I agreed that the plant in Catalina should be closed. As a lesson in Geography, the plant is not in Catalina. It is in Port Union. I guess the question that he was asking was: do I agree with the quota cuts, the quota reductions, that were put in place by the Federal Government? I guess that is the question.

MR. TOBIN: Do you support what the Premier said? That is (inaudible).

MR. OLDFORD: Obviously if the fish is not there, the fish won't be caught, so the quota does not mean a lot. It is a paper quota.

Did the Federal Government make the right decision? Leslie Harris will tell you they did. Aiden Maloney will tell us that they did. There are fish plant workers in my district who say that the Federal Government had no choice. There are trawlermen in my district who say that under the conditions that exist today, the Federal Government had no choice. They had to look at the long-term interests of the fishery in this Province versus the short-term interests.

When you look at figures that tell you that the spawning biomass, the spawning potential, in northern cod had dropped from 270,000 metric tons down to 130,000 metric tons, or that there was a 40 per cent reduction in the biomass of three years and older fish, then I agree that the Federal Government had no choice. But because of the quota reductions, the directed cod fishery in this Province has been basically closed down - eliminated - until at least June of this year, and Fishery Products International will be fishing under a by-catch agreement.

The cut in quotas to Fishery Products alone will mean a cut in their production, or in their raw material supply, of between 10,000 and 15,000 metric tons - 20 million to 30 million pounds of fish. That will mean a twenty to thirty week reduction in production in the fish plant in my district in Port Union. That is twenty to thirty weeks of lost income for 1,200 fish plant workers and trawlermen. The plant has a capacity to process a million pounds of fish a week. I am told by Fishery Products that other plants on the South Coast and Ramea will have problems this year. Even the plant in Gaultois, the people in Gaultois might not get ten weeks of work.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Ramea.

MR. OLDFORD: So the directed cod fishery has been eliminated, and there is no longer any room for the Federal Government to manoeuvre. The major problem is the lack of fish, which has brought about the cuts in quotas; but there is a second problem, and that is the size of the fish that is being caught. When you take -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member (inaudible) question.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member, in his presentation (inaudible) and all that, but I am sure he would want it struck from the record that he said that Gaultois may not get ten weeks. I think he is probably talking about Ramea, because Gaultois is now ...

MR. OLDFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I apologize. It was Ramea - not Gaultois.

The size of the fish that is being caught is another problem. It is uneconomical to process fish - codfish - that weigh one pound. It is obvious, and it is proper to conclude that the northern cod stock in 2J+3KL is at a point of extinction. I feel, and I agree with some other people who have made statements on this, that it can only be protected by the actions taken by the Federal Government.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the decline in the fish stock did not happen overnight. One of the problems we have is that the total management of the fishery, the harvesting capacity, is under the control of the Federal Government, but the Federal Government has had to deal with variables too. They deal with a science that is not ideal when it comes to setting quotas. We have had some negative environmental impacts and variables. We have ice conditions, moving stocks, and fish, I suppose, are like human beings, they move to seek out ideal environmental conditions, more ideal conditions in which to live or in which to feed.

The real problem has been that the margin of error that the Federal Government and the scientists have been using has been too small. Their tolerance for error, their tolerance for mistakes never favoured conservation, and the Federal Government had too many other outside influences, which I call diplomatic influences. They had to consider what would cuts do, and how would they affect international trade relations. How would it affect wheat sales to Russia if there was a cut in the Russian quota, or how would it affect the sale of manufactured goods to European countries or countries around the Pacific Rim if we were to cut quotas to Spain, Portugal, Germany or to Japan? How would it affect Brian Mulroney's stand or his seat at the francophone summit if we were to cut French quotas? What would the French say?

This crisis, Mr. Speaker, has been brewing for some time. I remember Brian Peckford when he stood one time with is coat off and his tie all askew, and he made a very astute observation and a very emotional plea when he said: they sold the shop. He was referring to actions taken by the Federal Government. So it is quite obvious that conserving global trade relations took precedent over conserving fish stocks for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

A fisherman down in Melrose made a very cute comment to me the other day, a very cute observation. He said: Our problem is that we have bureaucrats in Ottawa and we have politicians in Ottawa who reminds me of kippers, my son. You know what a kipper is like, he is two faced with no guts. That is the perception out there, that we have had gutless managers of the resource, and that has lead us to the dilemma and the crisis that we face today, and that is why this Province called on the Federal Government to put in place a joint management regime, a Newfoundland/Canada management board. But the Federal Government has insisted on a board that consists of the four Maritime Provinces, Newfoundland and Quebec. The key goals of joint management laid out in this document put out by the Provincial Government were to improve industry efficiency and stability by integrating key policy responsibilities and making decisions closer to the local level, to more effectively integrate economic and social priorities with major fisheries management decisions, and thirdly, to establish an open, predictable and accessible fisheries management process. That type of management regime was recommended by the Harris Review Panel, and by the Mahoney Commission.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. OLDFORD: Because I have been thinking about this, and we can picture a scenario. What will happen when you have these six groups sitting down - six jurisdictions sitting down talking about the fishery. We could have a problem. Maybe there are ticks on the underbellies of lobsters or crabs off the coast of PEI, and something like that would take precedence over maybe a total collapse of the fishery in this Province and that is why we have advocated a Newfoundland/Canada management board, one that recognizes our historic right to fish the groundfish resource on the Continental Shelf in Newfoundland waters, one that recognizes our historic right to conserve groundfish stocks on the Continental Shelf in the long-term interest of the people of this Province.

Mr. Speaker, my resolution is similar to one brought forward on November 13 last by my hon. colleague the Member for Port de Grave. I was interested in a couple of comments that came out of that debate. One was by the Member for Grand Bank who talked about the fact that some of the problems in the fishery in this Province have been caused, or created, by our own fishermen and our own fishing industry. Maybe he would elaborate on that if he gets up to speak today.

He also talked about the need to put the foreigners outside the 200 mile limit and then that resource could be utilized by our Newfoundland and Labrador fishermen and fish companies. It is my personal view, Mr. Speaker, that the Member for Grand Bank is correct in that statement, correct to a point. These countries that fish inside the 200-mile limit are fishing what we call underutilized species but they do have by-catch arrangements with the Federal Government, by-catches of northern cod have been allowed and I wonder sometimes if the reporting of these by-catches is really accurate, because northern cod do not understand that the nets the foreigners are using are meant for turbot, for redfish, or they are meant for silver hake, and I think we need to take a second look at these arrangements. Maybe the time has come to send out collector boats to take back the by-catch for use in plants here in Newfoundland and Labrador. We say they are underutilized species because no market exists. Well, my question is: why are the foreigners coming over 2000 miles to fish within the 200-mile limit if no markets exist? In my opinion it is a catch-22 situation. As long as the foreigners are supplying the market then there will be no market for our Newfoundland fishermen and plant workers.

Mr. Speaker, my first twenty minutes are just about up. In the next twenty minutes I will take a look at what the Federal Government can do in the short-term and long-term to make atones to the people of this Province who stand to be economically devastated by the Federal Government's management decisions.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

I want to take a few minutes to respond to the hon. Member's resolution. He spoke in a very reasonable and civil manner on a very serious problem that is facing our Province. In his resolution he is calling upon, mainly the Federal Government, to take certain actions and to recognize certain responsibilities, and so on, but the thing that is continuously absent from members opposite, regardless of whenever they rise in this Legislature to debate a private member's resolution, they totally ignore that they are the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, they are the Government closest to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government first responsible for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, but all they ever do is throw their arms in the air, blame it on someone else, and say, there is nothing we can do.

Now, that is the record of this Government, Mr. Speaker, and the people out and about this Province have very quickly come to recognize that they are a do-nothing Government, particularly when it comes to the fishery, particularly when it comes to the fishery. We have a Minister of Fisheries who is not here today, but I am sure he is on Government business, and the biggest thing he has done is move his offices from the west block to what was Exon House and it cost him $2 or $3 million to do it. That is the most we have seen from the Minister of Fisheries for this Province to date. He went to the Seafood Show, that is fair enough, he should probably be up there with the industry people, but there are far more important things which a Minister of Fishery should be involved with in this Province today.

Now, the first WHEREAS of the member's resolution: WHEREAS Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are suffering because of recent cuts to the total allowable catch of northern Cod made by the Federal Government: yes, he is correct, and of course he referred to the people in his own area, the Port Union - Catalina plant that is under a great cloud of uncertainty. I have two plants in my own region, one in my district of Fortune, which, even though they are still working are under a great cloud of uncertainty. It was only within the last year or so we saw the fish plant in Grand Bank go down the tubes because of what has happened to the fishery and right now, it looks like they may have a new opportunity with a new fishery for Newfoundland and Labrador which we hope is successful. But things are going well so far with that situation with the scallops and hopefully soon with (inaudible) plants, so I know what uncertainty the Member is talking about.

I know what the people in his area of the Province are going through, the same as those in mine, there is no doubt - and the Member goes on to talk about I guess to a degree, he questions what choice did we have? I want to say to the Member, that if the Federal Government had accepted the recommendation of his Government, of his Minister of Fisheries and his Premier, then the situation would have been more drastic. Now there are those who will argue that the cut should have been more significant, that it should have been 100,000 tons as opposed to 120,000, but I say to the Member, that he should realize and keep in his mind, that his Minister of Fisheries and his Premier, recommended to the Federal Minister that the total allowable catch be set at 100,000 metric tons, which would no doubt, if the Federal Minister had accepted that, we would have more plants in this Province shut down; more people thrown out of work, more trawlers tied up, so the Federal Minister was in a very difficult situation. He knew that we had to come down on the side of conservation, but at the same time he tried I guess, to exercise compassion, to realize that the situation in Newfoundland was bad, that what it was going to do was going to make it much worse and he still tried to keep people in his mind when he made his decision, Mr. Speaker. So I say to the hon. Member, if he had accepted his Government's recommendation the situation would have been worse.

There is no doubt that the Federal Government has responsibility for the management of our fish stocks and must take consequences for its decisions. No one in his right mind can argue that, this Province must have more say over our most important industry and I hope we are successful in accomplishing that, I really do -

MR. NOEL: If we get a Triple E Senate (inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Don't be silly!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I cannot wait for the morning when I wake up and hear the news that we have a Triple E Senate. How all the people in Catalina will be back processing fish; how all the people in Grand Bank will be processing fish and Marystown and Gaultois and Trepassey and they will all be processing fish because we wake up some morning with the Triple E Senate. How wonderful it will be, I say to the hon. Member. What balderdash, Mr. Speaker, a Triple E Senate, for the love of God, Mr. Speaker -

MR. NOEL: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. Member for Pleasantville, to restrain himself.

AN HON. MEMBER: Good ruling, Mr. Speaker.

MR. MATTHEWS: How do I proposed getting it, Mr. Speaker? I propose that I hope we are going in the right direction with our fishery. I hope we can keep Newfoundland body and soul together while we get through this crisis, that we get some economic activity in this Province and how much of that we get I say to the Member for Pleasantville, whether he wants to realize it or not, will be totally dependent upon the success of our fishery, how much our stocks rebuild, how much fish is caught by our fishermen and brought to Newfoundland and Labrador to be processed. Everything else is only secondary I say to the Member, only secondary.

The only other thing would be secondary processing - A Triple E Senate, my God, Mr. Speaker, if only Newfoundlanders and Labradorians could eat the Triple E Senate and the Constitution, we would not have people in Catalina laid off today. When will you come to your senses, for the love of God? But I know why you are like it, because you hear it day in and day out from your leader, who feels more comfortable talking about the Constitution and Triple E Senate and everything else than he does talking about the fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador. It is only in the last three weeks that he has opened his mouth about the fishery. And do you know why that is? Because he knows now that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians realize how serious the fishery situation is in this Province. So what choice does he have only to be a Johnny Come Lately? What choice does he have? It's the Members in his own caucus and members of the union who have embarrassed him into getting involved in the situation, I say to the Member for Pleasantville.

MR. NOEL: How do you propose we get more say in Ottawa?

MR. PARSONS: We had it, boy, in Meech Lake, only for you were so stupid.

MR. MATTHEWS: How do I propose we get more say?

MR. NOEL: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: Give him the flick, Mr. Speaker.

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, you could carry that argument down to the levels of the provincial political system. How do I propose that the Burin Peninsula get more say in the running of the Provincial Government? Create six seats on the Burin Peninsula?

MR. NOEL: Then they would have more say.

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, and then you will have thirty-six in St. John's, so the difference will be just as great, I say to the Member. What are you talking about, for God's sake? Talk about something that means something to this Province?

MR. NOEL: What could mean more than to have more say (inaudible)?

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

I remind the hon. Member for Pleasantville that if he wishes to interject and to ask a question, he must stand on a point of order and only then if the hon. the Member for Grand Bank accedes to that can he do it. Otherwise, he must abide by the Standing Orders that there be no interjection while any hon. member is addressing this House.

The hon. the Member for Grand Bank.

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, foreign overfishing: The Federal Government, as the Member says in his resolution, has recognized the affects it has, and it says in the resolution it is partly responsible for the depletion of fish stocks. It is certainly a significant reason, a significant part of the problem, foreign overfishing which has to be addressed, Mr. Speaker. It has to be addressed.

The demonstration that is taking place on Sunday will draw attention from the media people that they have from around the world. I am hoping that the word will get out and about Europe as to just how serious this situation is. Of course, that is why those journalists are here, so that hopefully they will take the proper message back home and those people who are out there overfishing will realize just what damage they are doing. But that will not be enough. The demonstration on the Grand Banks by the members of the union and the companies will not be enough.

There is only going to be one thing, in my mind, that is going to bring this to a head, Mr. Speaker, and that is for the Government of Canada to have a Federal Government sponsored activity of putting Canadian sponsored boats in the area where the Europeans are overfishing. We can talk, we can go out and raise flags, which I support, drop anchors and get all the media you want, which is good for the process, but there is only one thing that is going to bring any results, and that is for the Government of Canada, which has the financial resources, to put a Canadian presence out in that area. Everything else will be for naught. It will raise the attention of the Europeans and the media and so on, but it will not get the desired results unless the Government of Canada, the only ones who can afford it, put the sponsored presence out there.

Remember what happened in Iceland. We commend them for it. But it was their coast guard, it was Government sponsored boats that fought the cod wars of Iceland. It was not a group of fishermen getting together or the union getting together, it was Government sponsored, and that is what we have to have in this case.

MR. NOEL: What is your plan for making Ottawa do it?

MR. MATTHEWS: Go up and tell the Prime Minister to do it, I say to the Member.

MR. NOEL: I have told him 1000 times.

MR. MATTHEWS: Well, go up and tell him again.

MR. NOEL: Wouldn't it be better to have some real power in Ottawa that you could use?

MR. MATTHEWS: Like what, I say, unless we get a Prime Minister who is a Newfoundlander who understands and cares about the fishery, let me say to the Member, we need, not one who talks about the fishery because he has to because of pressure, but rather talk about things a little more aloof. That is the only way, Mr. Speaker.

I wish the Member for Pleasantville would get realistic about the real world, Mr. Speaker, not keep dreaming these wild dreams, because that is what he is doing, dreaming these wild dreams.

Mr. Speaker, talking about diversification, which is an important part of the Member for Trinity North's resolution, there is no doubt there is need for diversification, efforts and so on to try and get diversification. As I have said a number of times before in this Legislature, Mr. Speaker, with rural Newfoundland and Labrador, any time you come up with a means to diversify a town's economy it always comes back to the fishery. It will always come back to the fishery. We know there are gold mines, coal mines, forests resources in most rural Newfoundland communities, but any time you sit down and try to plan how we can diversify the economy of our community, it all comes back to the fishery.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, empty minds. And I say to the Member for Pleasantville that it is inappropriate now to call the minister who sits down in the corner the Minister of Mines because there are no longer mines open in this Province. The minister of mine, not mines, I say to him. But Newfoundland and Labrador rural communities that are going to diversify are going to diversify around the fishery. So if you have not got the resource, how do you diversify?

AN HON. MEMBER: They are not going to (inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Not going to diversify.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not to the extent necessary.

MR. MATTHEWS: Not to the extent necessary, okay. In order to diversify you have to have a product that allows you to diversify. Not only must you be willing to diversify, you must have a product for which to diversify from. Most Newfoundland rural communities do not have it, I say to the Member. They do not have it, if they do not make their living from the sea. That is the reason they are there. That is why they went there and settled. Where else are they going to get something to diversify? I could recommend a few more salt meat factories, Mr. Speaker, on the list that his Government sent up a couple of years ago to the Federal Government when the crisis was on. Salt meat plants. How many salt meat plants do you think we could keep going in the Province?

AN HON. MEMBER: They will not recommend them to diversify (inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, the last: BE IT RESOLVED that the House of Assembly call on the Federal Government to take immediate action to prevent foreign overfishing off our coast. I totally support that, and I hope all this pressure by the Member for Port de Grave by the Fishermen's Union, by the Premier, by everyone else, members of the Opposition, the Leader of the Opposition that the Federal Government takes action pretty quickly to stop the foreign overfishing off our coast. If they don't, I do not know what is going to happen to Newfoundland and Labrador. I do not know what is going to happen to us.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Well I cannot go up and take him by the scruff of the neck and take him over to Europe or take him out to the Grand Banks. I cannot do that. I don't get close enough for him to do that, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Well how long is that going to take? By that time, I say to the Member for Pleasantville, we will all be residing on the mainland. We will all be up in Nova Scotia, Ontario or Quebec. There will not be a country left. If he pursues what he is going on with, Mr. Speaker, and some others opposite including the Premier there will not be a country to go up to. We will not have to worry about Canada sending the boats out on the Grand Banks to stop foreign overfishing because we will not have a country to send a boat out there, I say to him. That is part of the problem that we are into now, that there is so much uncertainty created by his Premier and people like himself about the unity in this country that we cannot get the proper attention from the Prime Minister and others because they are trying to keep the country together. And poor little Newfoundland depends solely on the fishery. Which is only 1 per cent of the gross national product of Canada and doesn't mean shag all to them. That is the problem, I say to the Member.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: I did not say that, Mr. Speaker. I am interested in giving Newfoundland and Labrador what it wants, and that is a solid fishery, a good fishery. That is what we need more than anything else. Everything else will come with it. A good solid fishery is what we need most in this Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: Your preoccupied with Quebec, (inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: I want to mention, Mr. Speaker, in the few minutes I have left, about the Member's call for a response program that includes measures to help affected individuals, and again encourage economic diversification in the affected communities to ensure their long-term viability.

Mr. Speaker, I can support a response program, but I want to say to the Member for Trinity North, and I hope he can hear me, when you talk about a response program to address the needs and diversify, I want to say to him that I strongly support the Federal Government being involved in a response and a diversification program. But his Government, he as a member of the Provincial Government of Newfoundland and Labrador must convince his Premier, his Minister of Fisheries, his President of Treasury Board, his Minister of Finance that his Government must come to the party. It is the people of Newfoundland and Labrador that we are talking about. The Government of Canada represents all the people of Canada. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador represents only the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. If we are going to have a response program that is going to come anywhere close to getting us through this crisis, I say to the Member for Trinity North and others opposite, that this Provincial Government must participate financially in a response program - must.

MR. NOEL: Higher taxes (inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Sorry?

MR. NOEL: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: The hon. Member - to say he exasperates me is an understatement, because we heard him here in the amalgamation debate ranting and roaring, and going on and making nonsensical statements. He made just as much sense as he is making here today. He doesn't know - he knew more about amalgamation than he knows about the fishery for sure, and that was not much. That was not much, I say to him.

MR. NOEL: What do you believe in?

MR. R. AYLWARD: Put a tax burden on the City of St. John's. That is all - a tax burden.

MR. MATTHEWS: I believe in Newfoundland and Labrador, I say to the Member. I believe in Newfoundland and Labrador - Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MATTHEWS: And the sooner we can revitalize our fishery and get Newfoundlanders and Labradorians harvesting it; getting better catches; providing more jobs on shore - either in primary or secondary processing - the lesser number of times that we will have to stand in this Legislature and listen to the kind of a Budget Speech that we are going to have to listen to tomorrow, because then the bottom line of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador - the financial situation for Newfoundland and Labrador - will be much better.

I have heard comments coming from the Premier up to two years ago saying that he did not want to have any more say over the fishery because if we had more say, what would we do with it? We could not afford it. He said that up on the eleventh floor of the old Legislature.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes he did.

MR. MATTHEWS: Up on the floor of the old Legislature, and I said to him at the time, we cannot afford not to have more say over our fishery.

MR. NOEL: We have always wanted more say.

MR. MATTHEWS: No you didn't.

MR. NOEL: Not more responsibilities, but more to say.

MR. MATTHEWS: Oh, more say!

MR. NOEL: (Inaudible) more say in management.

MR. MATTHEWS: We are all having more say on a daily basis.

It is an important resolution, I say to the Member for Trinity North. It is an important resolution, similar to the one that I think the Member for Port de Grave had last fall; a similar debate to what we had here a week or two ago on the emergency debate. It is because, if there is one topic and one item that deserves the attention of this Legislature, it is the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) do not want to do anything about it.

MR. MATTHEWS: No, that is why I am standing up here today, Mr. Speaker, because I do not want to do anything about it. I do not want to see it get better. I want to see it get worse. I want to see communities close down and all have to move to the mainland where there are no longer any more jobs. I tell you what I really want. I wait for that beautiful morning when the Newfoundland fishery no longer means anything to us, and we have those ten, twelve or fifteen Newfoundlanders and Labradorians that are up -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. MATTHEWS: - members of the Triple E Senate. I can go down in Fortune with my wife and my family, cock up my feet and say, we got her knocked. We got the Triple E Senate. We don't have to worry any more; cheques rolling in - everything wonderful.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, in concluding I want to go on record to commend the Member for Trinity North for putting forward this important resolution. I enjoyed his speech, and I look forward to other members following through on the debate and taking it a little more seriously than the Member for Pleasantville - taking it a little more seriously.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Port de Grave.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I want to try to take the next approximately twenty minutes -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Yes, I would even like to have an hour and a half to try to speak on this resolution, to pass my brief comments - the little bit of knowledge that I have about the fishery in Newfoundland and what it means - and I agree with my hon. friend over there, the comments he just made. It is absolutely the truth what he spoke - what happens to Newfoundland and Labrador if the fishery does not revive?

I want to commend my colleague from Trinity North for putting this resolution to the House of Assembly. I started this last June in a very, very serious way. I had an agenda given to me by a group of fishermen to do two things last year. First of all, to try to get access to fish on the Grand Banks so that they could at least survive the financial difficulty they were facing last year. The second thing on the agenda was to try and bring not only Provincial attention but national attention, and even worldwide attention, to the fisheries crisis facing Newfoundland and Labrador today. That was the agenda that I was given by a small group of fishermen.

I started out on that cause and that fight and with the good fortune of being able to attract the press I think that we accomplished that over several months, that we did bring some attention to the problem. I came to a position last week realising that that agenda was completed to what I started out in the beginning last year. The small task that I was asked to do by a group of fishermen. I began to realise last weekend.... I sat down, I think frustration was starting to set it, and understanding. Because I guess unlike a lot of Members in this House of Assembly I live in a small fishing village. I live in an area where the economics depends totally on the fishery. There are eight fish plants in my district. I looked around my district last weekend, compared it to Newfoundland and Labrador, and realised there was not one fish plant in my district in operation. Not one fish plant in eight in operation. Not one individual, not even the maintenance people, working in the fish plants.

All of a sudden it hit home that the agenda that I started out last year is not enough. To bring attention worldwide, Provincially or nationally is not enough. We have a major problem on our hands. I heard a colleague make a comment this morning. It was never more closer to the truth. That we have not reached the bottom yet. And we haven't. We have not reached the bottom. It is fine to point out that the seals are causing it, that the foreigners are causing it, that Newfoundlanders have played a role in causing the problem. That is no good any more. Pointing the fingers at the foreigners, at the seals and at politicians, Federally or Provincially, the present Government, former governments or whatever, Federally or Provincially, is no good any more. Newfoundland and Labrador, Mr. Speaker, is facing total economic collapse.

The question is: can we bring it back? I said all my life that you cannot solve a problem until you first recognise there is a problem there. I am saying to this House of Assembly now, evidence speaks for itself. We have not yet recognised the seriousness of the problem. Look around us. Look in the galleries, look in the House of Assembly. Look in the minds of individuals, your own colleagues. Ask yourself the same question: do we yet realise the seriousness of the problem? I tell you, Mr. Speaker, we don't, myself included.

I am no better than anyone else and I do not think I am any worse than anyone else when it comes to dealing with this issue. I committed to a group of individuals that I would do what I possibly could. But I am telling you, we have reached that close to going over the edge of a total economic collapse. You talk about budgets? You talk about cutbacks? You talk about wage freezes? You talk about restraint? You talk about layoffs? How can you have any other when the main pillar of this Province is on a 75 degree list?

I spoke to a group of students this week and I tried to get them to understand how serious the situation really is. I said to them: think of your school here now. Your school is up on one pillar and you pull that pillar out and the school collapses. Your building totally collapses. You pull the fishery out of Newfoundland and Labrador and the whole Province will collapse. There is nothing else. We are so close to that edge it is frightening. In fact I do not think I was ever any more frustrated in my life over any issue. And I have been involved in a lot of troubles, as most everybody who knows me knows full well. Sometimes I wonder if I was born with the word 'trouble' coming out of my mouth the first time I drew a breath.

So I am used to trouble. I have been a survivor. In most instances, most cases all my life, I have had the ability to survive in some manner. Probably not the way some people would like to see it. Probably a little bit of crudeness. But that was born into me in my bay bringing up out in Port de Grave. Not the elitist way that some people carry. But that is another issue. We all have our own style and we all do our own thing in our own way. As long as we have a certain amount of credibility and respect.

But yesterday, and the last two or three days, I have felt a frustration that I have never felt before in my life. When I see the people in this Province - because I started out to bring attention around the world, and national attention. The more I talk to people in this Province and the more I see people in this Province, the more frightened I become. Because, Mr. Speaker, there is where our problem lies. Here is where our problem lies.

More so than with the Federal Government, more so than with the Provincial Government, more so than with the seals, more so than with the foreigners. It lies right here with each and every citizen in this Province. Because I am telling you, the people in this Province do not yet realise what is happening to the fishing industry. I think there is a cause for that, an explanation for it. Until it personally hits an individual, most individuals until it personally hits them in their pocketbook, or slaps them right in the face, and they feel some hurt from it, then that is the way it is going to be. I think most of it is because of our social safety net. Because while we sit down in our homes we have a social safety net that takes care of our general essential concerns from day to day.

We have our UI benefits. We have our response programs. We have our social services. It is a safety net. So people do not have to do what they had to do three or four generations ago, and if they did not get a living out of the sea or off the land they starved to death. There is a safety net there to take people away from realising the troubles and what is happening around them. What they do not realise is that safety net is about to collapse too. It may not collapse tomorrow, it may not collapse next month, but let me tell you this here now, it is going to collapse.

AN HON. MEMBER: It's unravelling.

MR. EFFORD: It is starting to unravel. Absolutely. I make the next statements. I do not care what happens on the Grand Banks this week when they go out and they sail around and they drop their balloon overboard. It is just something bringing more attention to it. It has to be done. They will bring more attention. There will be a few reporters if they do not get sick when they leave the Narrows and they will be able to stand up once they get out there. But somebody will get a shot of it. But it is not going to solve the problem.

My hon. colleague made reference to the Federal Government. Trade relations. The Federal Minister of Fisheries, the hon. John Crosbie, on the end of Vanishing Point last Thursday night said very clearly, trade relations is the problem. He admitted it, he said it. It is natural. If you are trading so many million board feet of lumber from British Columbia, so many tons of wheat from the prairie provinces, so many multi-million dollars worth of manufactured goods from Ontario and Quebec, are they going to say: we are going to give up all of that for Newfoundland? No. We are going to lose if we are going to wait for the Federal Government to make that move. Because of trade relations.

We have proven at the very least that if the Federal Government took the step to put it into the world courts, for the world courts to make a decision, that it would be ruled in Canada's favour to extend jurisdiction out to 350 miles. Some of the bright legal minds, like the hon. Minister of Fishery, who is a lawyer by trade, by profession, will tell you that it is only for mineral rights. But that is nonsense.

Now let me put this before you. If we put that into the world court, and we know very well that the Law of the Sea states very clearly that the 350 miles gives you the right for the mineral rights, but let me put these two reasons before you. Let's say there was a judge sitting in the chair. You were advocating for the foreign fishing on the Grand Banks and I was advocating for Canada's right to protect those stocks. I made the case that you people - the foreigners - were destroying the environment out there, they are destroying the bottom of the ocean. That every living substance that crawls on the bottom of the ocean, you were destroying it. And I proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that that was happening. And the second case I proved that all the foreign fleets that are out there are destroying the stock. They are so close now to depletion it is only a matter not of years but weeks, and months. Do you not think that judge in the world court would rule in favour of Canada? Giving the coastal state the right to protect and manage those stocks? I believe with every ounce of blood that flows through my veins that the judge would in the world court.

So the question remains, why don't they put it in the world court? I am not a legal expert. It is common sense. I had it explained to me clause by clause by some legal people and I do not yet understand the legal terminology, but common sense prevails that they would rule in favour of Canada, a coastal state, giving them the jurisdiction to protect it before the stocks are depleted beyond return, but we do not have the political will Federally to do it.

It goes on and on, Mr. Speaker, that we are going to be out there crying and saying, a few of us: 550,000 people depend on the fishery in this Province. If you called a rally in St. John's today and you called a rally in western Newfoundland, if you called a rally just to bring it to the people's attention you might get 200 out. If you phone 200 you might get them out, if you beg them and send a bus to pick them up you might get them out.

What I am saying, Mr. Speaker, is that our problem lies here in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. We still have not realized how serious the situation is. Most politicians still do not have a gut feeling of how serious the situation is. Most people in the Province do not realize that six months down the road there may not be a fish landed in this Province. What happens? The Minister of Social Services frightened me this morning and brought awareness to my mind. How did it impact on everybody else when he said we have 63,000 people on social services today? That is 9000 more than when I was Minister of Social Services a year ago. That is not the fault of any individual, that is not the fault of Government, that is because of the collapse of the fishing industry and if we go through this in 1992 in the same state we went through 1991 we will add another 10,000 people to those lists. That is frightening, Mr. Speaker. Over 10 per cent of the population are now on social services and it is because of the main industry in this Province, the fishery, and you still cannot wake people up and try to get them to make a move.

I see here that we are asking for response programs. I do not want response programs. I seriously do not want to see a response program come in this Province. I want to see people, as my colleague from Grand Bank said, working in the fish plants. I want to see boats sailing out and coming in with fish, and I want to see people in the spin-off industries working. I believe every member of this House of Assembly would like to see the same thing. I am sick and tired of handouts from Ottawa. Secondhand clothes is all we are getting from Ottawa. They send us down a few make-work programs. It is not good enough for a Province with the richest resource, the fish stocks, the richest resource in this world.

I was reading a book here the other day that was given to me by a friend of mine, a Newfoundland guide book, 1905, written by W.D. Prowse and it is unbelievable what was happening in 1905. There was a reference made to the foreign fishing fleets who were coming over here and saying that Newfoundland is a goldmine. They took the fish off the Grand Banks, brought them back to their countries, and made millions and million of dollars. It has been going on every since, so much so that now we are almost at the complete end. Everybody in the world have profited off our fish stocks except Newfoundland and Labrador. We take the handouts and everybody else takes the riches. It is unbelievable.

It is only a very thin book but it is unbelievable, the references to the situation that was going on then, the raping by the merchants provincially and from England, and from other countries over there, compared to what is happening today. It is unbelievable the significance you can get out of that. It is frightening. The only thing is that today it is almost coming to a complete end and there is only one thing that is going to save it, the people of Newfoundland and Labrador are going to have to take matters into their own hands. You are going to say I am a rebel. Somebody had a stupid cartoon in the Telegram last weekend calling me a rebel, or a webel. I get sick to my stomach. They called me a webel. I get sick to my stomach when the best our editorialists can do is make fun of the way a person speaks. I am not ashamed of the way I speak. In fact I am proud of the way I speak and I will never change the way I speak, but here we are facing one of the greatest crises that ever faced Newfoundland and Labrador in its 400 and some-odd years of history, and the best that our media people and our columnists and our editorialists can do is make fun of the way a person pronounces his words. God, make no wonder we are in the mess we are! Make no wonder we are in the mess we are!

Then, yesterday, to add insult to injury, we have the leader of the largest union in this Province, the Fishermen's Union, Richard Cashin, talk about going to clearing out the House of Commons, going to clear out the Prime Minister's office, fists going everywhere, and clothes and coats going everywhere. Come on in, let's tear it apart! And when he came out there was a smile on his face, you wouldn't know but butter and angels were coming down from Heaven and sitting on his face. Make no darn wonder, Mr. Speaker. Excuse the language. Make no wonder. With a $45 million job sitting on top of my head, I would smile, too. $45 million he has in the palm of his hands, and he is the Chairman. What would his per diem be - $1,500 a day, $2,000 a day, $2,500 a day, plus all expenses? Talk about a sell-out of your soul! How can a man who is supposed to be representing the fishermen of Newfoundland and Labrador, and fighting for the very survival of the fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador, sell his soul?

MR. NOEL: What is he going to do, two jobs the one time?

MR. EFFORD: Two masters, Mr. Speaker. I said it a month ago. I said it six months ago, and I will say it anywhere in this country and anywhere in this Province. He has sold out the fishermen of Newfoundland and Labrador, and every man, woman and child in this Province.

Can you imagine, running with the foxes and hunting with the hounds? That is just how silly it is.

MR. NOEL: Running with the skunks.

MR. EFFORD: That is just how silly it is. The leader of the union who is supposed to be advocating and fighting and bawling, and doing everything in his power to bring the message to the foreign countries and to the Prime Minister of this country, who has total control over doing something about foreign overfishing, is now sitting down in a nice perked up chair and is going to be serving on a commission for the next one, two, three or four years, raking in the per diems.

There is no hope for this Province while we have people like that. I cannot believe that a human being who is supposed to be so dedicated to this Province, and getting paid a salary by the hard work and the sweat of the brows of every fisherperson of this Province, to go and sell out to the federal government as he did. This Province is doomed with people like that.

I saw it down in Harbour Grace last week. We called the owner of the Harbour Grace Fisheries to come to two or three meetings to give us some advice - we don't profess to know everything - but to give the fishermen some advice from an industry leader as to what we could do to try to get back our fishery; to join with us; to be all together as one voice. We had a phone call back saying that he couldn't attend the meetings. Making no wonder he couldn't attend the meetings, Mr. Speaker, after the announcement last Friday that they got $3.5 million. I guess I wouldn't either, if somebody gave me $3.5 million to stay home. That is what is going on in this Province. Joey George got $3.5 million last week. How many jobs will it create in the Harbour Grace district? How many jobs were lost down there in the fish plant - 380 or 400 jobs? How many permanent jobs will building a new freezer down there create? Not one more than is down there now.

AN HON. MEMBER: Argentia (inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Argentia will suffer because of it.

But it is being bought off and selling any chance that Newfoundland has to survive. If we don't pull together as industry people, politicians, fishermen, and leaders of unions, and we don't all focus on the one area and put our attention on where the problem is and try to come up with a solution, then the problem will never go away. If people don't start realizing in their homes, and sitting down in their nice comfortable nests with their unemployment cheques coming in, or their social services cheques coming in, or their old age pension coming in, if they do not realize -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. EFFORD: In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, we have to try to bring to the attention of every Newfoundlander and Labradorian that they have to forget that safety net, that it is not going to last forever, that it is going to disappear, as surely as the fish is disappearing off the ocean floor. That safety net is going to disappear. Then what, Mr. Speaker?

I feel sorry. I am one of the lucky people. I will survive financially.

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

MR. EFFORD: But I have three children, and I would like to see an opportunity for those people who live in Newfoundland and Labrador, every young person and every other individual in this Province. The sooner we realise the seriousness of the problem -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. EFFORD: - the sooner we can come up with a solution.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HEARN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I wasn't sure whether you had recognised me or not in the great amount of applause that the Member for Port de Grave was getting. I am not sure whether it is just the desk thumping the member would like to get. He might like to see support in more obvious ways.

However, let me first congratulate the Member for Trinity North for putting the resolution on the Order Paper. There is absolutely no doubt about it, that this issue is the most important one confronting the Province. I will not go into any detail but repeat briefly what every member who has spoken has said, that is that Newfoundland was built on the fishery, we have survived on the fishery, and if we have a future,then it has to hinge on the fishery.

We talk about the downturn in the economy and how we have had such a rough year. The effect of the slowdown on Hibernia has put a damper on it all, but the greatest effect on this Province has been what is happening in the fishery. Those of us who represent rural districts, in particular, where most of the people either fish or work at a fish processing plant or work in local businesses which depend entirely on the dollars that come from the fishery and the work in the plants, we realise what people are going through. It has been a rough time and it looks as if it is going to be a lot rougher.

The resolution, itself, highlights the different areas of involvement and areas of effect: "WHEREAS Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are suffering because of the recent cuts to the Total Allowable Catch of Northern Cod made by the federal government...." Are we suffering because of the cuts made by the government? I don't think so. The wording has to be there for effect, but it is not because the government said: We are going to cut the Total Allowable Catch, it is because, basically, there is nothing there to catch, anyway. It is because the amount has been cut by people and predators who have decimated the stocks over the last number of years.

"AND WHEREAS the quota reductions have effectively eliminated the directed cod fishery" - the offshore, I guess, deep-sea cod fishery - "by the Canadian offshore fishing fleet...." That is certainly true. The Member who brought in the resolution from Trinity North, with his plant down in Port Union, knows probably better than anybody, right now, the effect it has had on the deep-sea fishing industry. The Catalina - Port Union plant, has been probably the shining star in the Fishery Product chain. Especially this time of the year when the Northern Cod would ordinarily be in abundance and Catalina would be going full swing; the plant at Marystown affecting a lot of people on the south coast is a close second; and then a number of others lumped in behind, including the one that Fishery Products had at Trepassey, where right now 600 people in my own district are sitting, waiting, wondering whether or not they will ever work at a fish processing facility again. They know full well that the chances are practically nil, that they will not work at a facility operated by Fishery Products again. They also know that if they are going to work at a fish processing plant, it will probably not be processing the type of product that they are used to - cod and other groundfish, flounder and so on.

So that is a pretty hard state of affairs for someone to face when we realise that perhaps it should never have occurred. Now, it is very easy to point fingers. The next part of the resolution, the next 'whereas,' says: "... the Federal Government has responsibility for the management of our fish stocks and must take responsibility for the consequences of its management decisions...." That is only true. Any manager is responsible for any decisions taken.

The question we might ask though, in all fairness, and also in light of the fact that the Government, the present Provincial Government, now is requesting joint management even though for years when we talked about it they were thoroughly against it. The Premier wanted absolutely nothing to do with the fishery, but now it is -

AN HON. MEMBER: Nonsense.

MR. HEARN: It is not nonsense, it is on the record -

MR. NOEL: (Inaudible).

MR. HEARN: Exactly, it is on the record, just do your research, but the point is, now it is a popular thing to ask for joint management. But whether or not the Province had been involved with the Federal Government, perhaps even if the Province had had total managerial control of the fishery over the past x number of years, in retrospect, would we, or would we jointly have made any different decisions? Maybe that is something we should ask ourselves before we say: oh, they really goofed up on it.

Hopefully, we would say yes, we are nearer to what was happening, we were much more aware of what was happening, consequently, we would have made some decisions, but we must remember that the decisions were based perhaps upon the best scientific advice that was available, and maybe there is a lesson in that, and that is, not to worry too much about scientific advice, rely more upon the advice from the fellow who is out there with his jigger and line every day, hauling or trying to haul fish over the side of his punt.

The next WHEREAS: WHEREAS the Federal Government has recognized foreign overfishing is partly responsible for the depletion of fish stocks - and it goes on to say that the foreign fleets continue to fish, and I will leave the next part, but: BE IT RESOLVED that they take immediate action to prevent foreign overfishing. Let me tie that in with the first remark here that the foreign overfishing is partly responsible, but the member, in his resolution, does not go on to say what else or who else is responsible for the state of the fishery today besides foreign overfishing. Granted, foreign overfishing is partly responsible; foreign overfishing might be the main reason, but I doubt that, why the state of the stocks is as it is today. There is absolutely no mention of the seal herds.

For years, going back to 1982, if somebody would research Hansard, on many occasions when I spoke about the fishery, I would always mention the effect that the seal herds were having on our stocks. Why isn't it mentioned, why hasn't it been mentioned over the last few years? Any time I mentioned it to the federal people, they would say, ssh, do not let anybody hear you saying that. Why?... mainly because a lot of decisions I guess, were coloured by the main players in the industry. The average little fishplant owner and certainly the average little fisherman is not sitting down with the decision makers over coffee, but the owners of the large corporations and the shareholders are, and they know that if you talked about seal herds you bring on Greenpeace and the other environmentalists and you know what they would do to the market.

They talked about showing pictures of our cod fillets infested with worms that will kill our market for cod; if we talked about bringing the seal fishery back, and we were blackmailed. We just sat down and we accepted it, but while they were threatening to destroy our markets by their protests and by showing the effect seals were having on fillets, that is something we cannot overlook either, not just the amount of fish generally that seals destroy, not only the feeding fish for cod that seals destroy, but the amount of product that is destroyed indirectly by the seals and the cost of producing a pound of fish when you have to have expensive candling lights and people on candling lines picking worms out of the product.

The cost that it has meant to the producer, the effect it has on the price of fish to be paid to the fisherman, the loss at the marketplace because of the indirect effect of the seal population, consequently, while we were backing away from the environmentalists, while we were afraid to say a word about the seal hunt, the seals were doing the job that they were going to do anyway, and doing it in spades. All we have to do is look at the number of seals. I won't go into that because we were sick of hearing it recently. The number of seals multiplied by the number of pounds of fish a seal will eat during the day, and surely God, we have to realise that the seal population has had a tremendous affect on our fishery. It is about time we woke up and did something about it. So we just cannot talk about foreign overfishing. That's only part of it.

Maybe the biggest affect on the state of our cod stocks is technology. If we want to think back to twenty-five, thirty years ago, when you came into St. John's for your one or two trips a year, and you drove down the waterfront. What was the most obvious thing that you saw? The White Fleet. Numerous boats. Three-masters, four-masters, whatever, with their sails sometimes flapping so that they would dry. One of the most beautiful scenes anybody could picture. But not only did we have the Portuguese and the Spaniards landing at our docks, we also had them in and out of all the stores downtown. We saw the suppliers - firms like Campbell's, I remember, Pinto and Hann, and others - backed into these ships loading supplies. We had water being taken on, we had fuel being taken on, we had the dry dock busy because these boats were there being serviced. Then when the foreign overfishing became a bit of an issue what did the Federal Government do to solve the problem? They banned the White Fleet and other foreign countries from using our ports.

Big deal. Great heroes. Who suffered? Did it stop the overfishing? No. The overfishing still went on. Did it mean that: oh, now they are so far away from their own home, they have no place to land, they cannot come over any more? Not at all. They still came and they still fished. They still overfished. They bypassed us and they went on to St. Pierre. I was in St. Pierre a couple of weeks ago. There is some difference in St. Pierre's waterfront now than there was ten or fifteen years ago. Mainly because of the extra work that is brought there by the foreign fleets which land, which are not allowed to land in St. John's any more. I won't say Canadian ports, because St. John's was their main port of call.

So what did we do? What did we gain, number one? We gained nothing. They still continued to fish, they still continued to overfish, and they still continue to thumb their noses at us. Well, what did we lose? We lost their business at the dry dock, we lost their business in the stores, we lost their business in relation to water, oil and other supplies. We lost heavily. But mainly we might have lost the chance by working with them and having them involved in our ports to control some of the overfishing. So we goofed thoroughly and who paid the price? Newfoundlanders in particular, and more especially, perhaps, the business people in St. John's.

So was it a good idea to ban the foreign fleets from our ports? No it certainly was not. There should have been a better way around it. Because it looked good as far as the Federal Government went, and we paid the price for it, and are still continuing to pay the price. So maybe it is something we can look at as we talk to the foreigners and we get them back on side and they understand what overfishing means. Maybe they will also realise that they are going to have to play their part. Maybe we can work together on increasing the fish stocks. Maybe they can come to our ports again. Maybe now when our plants are closed, where many of these countries will tell you: we wish we could process our product on your side of the ocean.

What would be wrong with Spanish, Portuguese or Australian fish being processed in Catalina or Trepassey or anywhere else? As long as it is their fish and it is caught legitimately by them, part of their quota that is allocated to them inside or outside the 200-mile limit - mainly outside - what is wrong with it being processed here? Does it matter to the fellow in Melrose tomorrow if he goes to work at Catalina to cut fish that was brought in by a Spanish trawler? No, it doesn't. What affect does it have on the Canadian fishery? None, if it is part of their legitimate allocation.

We have just not handled the whole thing properly at all. We have looked good by being the big bullies and saying: get out of here. But we have destroyed a tremendous opportunity for our Province, and Newfoundlanders are the ones who paid the price.

Our own technology of dragging.... Certainly compared to the old hook-and-line - which those White Fleet boats used years ago as our own banking schooners and Lunenburg boats and everybody else. Nobody heard anything about the fish stocks going down because choice fish were caught, food was distributed by the means of bait, the baited hook, et cetera. Our technology has changed, and that has been responsible greatly for what has happened to cod stocks, the raping of the spawning grounds, and we can go on and on. Gill nets: I heard a trawler man from the south coast being interviewed a few weeks ago, and at the end of the interview the interviewer asked him: how can we get rid of the problem we have now? How can we get our stocks back? He said: four ways. First of all you get rid of foreign overfishing, you get rid of seals - now he is a trawler man - you get rid of gill nets, then you get rid of John Efford. So I am not sure whether the Member for Port de Grave would agree with all four. He probably would agree with two: foreign overfishing and seals. He may not agree with gill nets. He might say get rid of trawlers and draggers and leave gill nets alone. But both gill nets and dragging have had a disastrous effect on our fishery. You just cannot throw hundreds and hundreds of nets, monofilament nets, out on the ground and not recover them and expect them not to have an effect on the fishing grounds and on our fishery generally.

So we are not lily white in all of this. We as Canadians, we as Newfoundlanders, we have played a part in the decimation of our cod stocks. We have to realize that, and we have to change our means and methods too, but we also have to address the other problems of the seal fishery and the foreign overfishing.

Diversification - I wish I had more time. I think I have about five minutes left or a little bit more.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HEARN: Four minutes. I wanted to talk about the section on diversification: "WHEREAS there is need for diversification of production efforts within the fishery." Absolutely no doubt about it. Newfoundland, we bring in the raw product, we take off a few pounds of good fillet and we throw away the rest. There should be possibilities there for more jobs, and with the fillets that we cut, certainly in the secondary processing and what have you, in all raw products there should be more jobs based here in Newfoundland. Once again the decisions there have been made by the major corporations who have their plants up in Danvers and other places, and it is more beneficial to ship their product up there for further processing. Those are the things that we have to look at to create jobs. This is where the jobs really are in the Province, in secondary processing.

We also have to look at economic diversification. We have to come up with 'an economic diversification plan to assist the individuals and communities affected.' Now that is almost laughable because two years ago when Trepassey and the other plants closed the Premier of this Province stood on the stage and he said: We are giving you a years extended notice - some people might say two years, FPI gave one and the Government gave another - so that we can arrange to diversify. We are not prepared and you are not prepared to address this problem right now. We need time to prepare for diversification. Let me ask: how many jobs have been created in Trepassey in two years by the present Provincial Government? The answer is up until a couple of weeks ago, three or four now, there was one, one job in two years thanks to federal money. The feds came in with money, but what is the good of money when you do not have anything to diversify to - using bad language as it is, or incorrect grammar I should say.

In Newfoundland - as others have said it today - once you get away from the fishery you are on pretty thin ice. We have to hold a fishing base to a large degree to keep Newfoundland alive, to keep our Newfoundland communities alive. So the Provincial Government has a part to play, and in light of that, Mr. Speaker, I move the following amendment that the resolution be amended and it's seconded by my colleague, the Member for St. John's East Extern, that the resolution be amended by deleting the words 'and implement a response program that includes,' substituting the following, 'and call on the Federal and Provincial Governments to implement a response program or programs that include,' because the Province has to take a share of this. The Province has already said it's satisfied. So now let's make sure that they stand up and support a resolution which commits themselves to supporting a diversification program for the Province. 'And call upon the Federal and Provincial Governments to implement a response program or programs that include,' and then we can go on without any change. But we are just involved in the Province, and I move that, as I say, seconded by the Member for St. John's East Extern.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Could the Chair have a copy of the amendment?

MR. HEARN: Yes. So, Mr. Speaker, before we vote I am sure you will rule whether it is appropriate or not.

One other point that I wanted to make is that the Province is stressing management, a share in management. We want say. What they are saying, basically, is we want a veto in any decisions that the feds make. In other words, they want to call the shots and they want the feds to pay the shot. If we are going to ask for a share of management in this Province, then we have to take our share of responsibility and our share of the associated costs, not necessarily dollars and cents but whatever else costs might mean. We just can't sit back and pontificate and say we want to make all the decisions but expect somebody else to do the work. That is not the way it goes. So maybe it is time to stop playing games in this Province, maybe it is time to stop disillusioning ourselves in relation to our method of fishing, in relation to the affect of foreigners, in relation to the non-affect of the seals, and we can go on. Maybe it is time we all got together, as others have said, and cut out the foolishness and stop playing politics.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. HEARN: As I finish, Mr. Speaker, let me say, if we are going to survive, if we are going to have this Province that was built on the fishery, has lived on the fishery, to continue on the fishery, it won't do it unless we all play a part.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Development.

MR. FUREY: Just on a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Could we have a copy of the amendment and have you ruled the amendment in order?

MR. SPEAKER: No. The Chair is in the process of looking at the amendment now, and we will have a copy distributed.

AN HON. MEMBER: Do you want to recess for two minutes and look at it?

MR. SPEAKER: No, that is fine. If it is agreeable with the House we can continue debate and the Chair will rule momentarily.

The hon. the Member for Pleasantville.

MR. NOEL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I, too, would like to congratulate the Member for St. John's North on bringing in a resolution on this -

AN HON. MEMBER: St. John's North?

MR. NOEL: Or Trinity North. I was looking your way.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. NOEL: Mr. Speaker, I trust you will impose the rules of order as well now as you did earlier in the day.

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

The Chair is just going to take a few minutes to recess the House and have a look at the amendment.

Recess

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair has looked at the amendment put forth by the hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes and it meets all the requirements of an amendment and, therefore, I rule it in order.

The hon. the Member for Pleasantville.

MR. NOEL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I wanted to speak in this debate today not because I know a lot about the fishery, although I must say I have learned something about it in the three years I have been in here, thanks in large part to the members of this House who have spoken with such knowledge about the various issues in our fishery. One of the things I had the opportunity to do this summer was participate in some of the meetings of fishermen in this City to protest the experience they had last summer, the absence of fish, the problems with overfishing. I got to know some of the fishermen, and I got interested in the issue. I have developed my interest and gained a little bit of knowledge, perhaps, since then.

I would like to endorse what the Member for Port de Grave said earlier in the day, insomuch as I share his view that this Province is in a very serious state. I agree with him that I do not think we have seen the bottom yet. I think that this is going to prove to be a devastating year for this Province economically.

I want to speak as the representative of a St. John's district to say, yes, the fishery affects the whole Province. We all have to realize that the fishery is the most important industry in this Province, and it affects every district represented in this House.

When you are not catching fish out in Port de Grave, or when you are not catching fish in the other districts in the Province, you feel the effects on Water Street in St. John's - even today when we do not have the kinds of relationships between the Water Street merchants and fishermen that we used to have - but you feel it.

Some people in St. John's and in the various kinds of businesses in our Province today are having as serious economic difficulty as any fisherman - as anyone in the fishing industry. We have far more people in these other industries who are being affected by the downturn in our economy. Somebody ought to add up all of the people who have been laid off from retail stores and all of the owners of other businesses that have closed down to understand the number of people affected, and to begin understanding the consequences it is going to have for our economy.

I do not agree with the Member for Port de Grave when he says that our people do not appreciate the situation, because I believe they do appreciate it. I believe everybody in this Province understands the serious economic problems we are facing, and the serious problems we have in the fishery. I also think that there is a great consensus on the cause of the problems; the foreign overfishing; the domestic overfishing; fishing during spawning periods and in spawning locations; tearing up the seabed of the ocean, Canadians and Newfoundlanders and foreigners as well; seals - seals are a real problem. Nobody can deny that, and it is natural that it would be a problem. Right now we have heavier fishing of all the other species in the sea than we have ever had, and less fishing of the seals. When you have a number of different species in an environment like that, and all except one are being overfished, in this case, and one is not being touched at all, then that one is going to grow. It is a predator on some species, and it is going to consume those species. Even if it does not consume the cod directly, it is going to consume the food of the cod. It is going to be involved in the whole food chain, and it is going to have a sad effect. So that has to be dealt with.

I think the most important challenge we face is to find a means of dealing with these problems in a unified fashion. We have to develop, I think, a body that can speak for the fishing industry in this Province without partisan concern - without concern for either level of Government. I think that we all have to concede we will always have some conflict between the Provincial and the Federal Government. We will always have some conflict among the various parties in how to deal with the fishery, but there is one thing on which we should always be unified, and that is the conservation of the fishery.

With that in mind, last summer, when we had so many demonstrations and when the seriousness of this problem was beginning to be widely perceived, I wrote to the Federal Minister of Fisheries and I proposed that he convene a conference of everybody interested in the fishing industry. So that we could see if we could determine a unified position so that we could speak with one voice to our own Government and to the world.

That was in July, I believe, I wrote to him. Mr. Crosbie wrote back to me on September 25 and he said: your proposal for a Federal-Provincial industry conference might produce useful results if undertaken in a constructive spirit, and will be taken into consideration over the coming weeks and months.

Now unfortunately that has not happened. But I think we should think of doing something like that. I think we should think of developing an organization that can speak with one voice on all of the issues on which we all agree. Those all relate to conservation of the fishery.

So I am in the process of developing a proposal for the establishment of a fishery conservation council of Newfoundland and Labrador that would include representatives of the unions involved, of all of the processors, of all of the fishermens' organizations. I see it as an organization that would be led by a respected individual, and probably founded by such an individual, as Dr. Leslie Harris, who is disinterested insofar as any of the particular groups are concerned.

I think if we had an organization built around an individual of that nature who concentrated on speaking on behalf of the conservation of the fishery - speaking to the Federal Government, speaking to the Provincial Government, speaking to international bodies, United Nations, European countries. So that whenever we have a problem that involves other countries that group can claim to be speaking for Newfoundland. I hope there is some interest in looking at a group like that.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we talk about diversification of the fishing industry. One source of diversification is to ensure that we have markets for fully processed fish products, and that has been a great problem for this country through the years, for this Province. We have exported jobs in fish blocks. The reason we have done so is because we have not had training access to sufficient markets for fully processed fish products. The reason we have not had that is because of the trading relationships between Canada and other countries. Other countries have tariffs against the export of our fully processed products because of tariffs Canadians have against imports from those countries.

One of the main areas I think we have to look to for potential new markets is the European community. We are presently practically closed out of the European community as a potential market for our processed fish exports. The way that we are going to gain access to that community is through international trading arrangements. That is why a few weeks ago I came out in support of the Government of Canada's efforts to reach a new agreement at GATT. Because I think it would be of immeasurable assistance to our fishery industry if we can gain easier access to countries with so many people. That is why I am concerned about the Federal Government's position in relation to farm subsidies.

We are not going to get an agreement at GATT unless we agree to freer trade. Freer trade is in the interest of the Newfoundland fishing industry. We should not allow ourselves not to support the Federal Government's effort to reach this agreement. We should not be intimated from doing so by the agricultural interests in the rest of the country. Some in our own Province, but in the rest of the country. Because I cannot see anything more important for Newfoundland than developing markets for fully processed fishery exports.

Now another thing we have to do and with which I agree, is to create new international law in relation to the fishery and we have to be prepared, Canada has to be prepared, to go out there and create new law and should not be intimidated from doing so.

In the debate in the House of Commons a couple of weeks ago, the Liberal critic on the environment, Mr. Paul Martin, said: some may well respond to this recommendation - and the recommendation was to extend the fishing limits - he said some may well respond to this recommendation for strong unilateral action by saying that force to protect straddling stocks are not optimal courses of action. To that, I would respond by saying that passivity, doing nothing when an important, irreplaceable Canadian and global resource is being depleted, is even less that the optimum.

AN HON. MEMBER: If we had a Triple E Senate it would take care of all that.

MR. NOEL: If we had a Triple E Senate - and that is something that I am very disappointed in seeing on the other side of this House - they say that we need to have more influence in Ottawa, more say in how the Canadian Government operates -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up, and it being Private Members Day, I call on the mover of the motion, the hon. Member for Trinity North.

MR. OLDFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I guess I can say without fear of contradiction and it has been said here today, that the fishery is the lifeblood of the Newfoundland economy. It directly affects, I think, every community in Newfoundland and Labrador; it is our reason for being as a Province and has been that for 500 years. In a few short years, in 1997, the people on the Bonavista Peninsula have a reason to celebrate, they are going to celebrate the 500 anniversary of John Cabot's landing at Cape Bonavista, but I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, there is no reason to celebrate on the Bonavista Peninsula today.

I would say that if John Cabot knew what was going on in our fishery he would roll over in his grave. But, Mr. Speaker, some of the rhetoric that we have heard about foreign overfishing, the political rhetoric, has started to die down and now next week we are going to send the great armada, a great flotilla of six boats with cameras blazing to the Tail of the Grand Banks, and Captain Cashin and his crew, inspired by Margaret Thatcher and her escapade in the Falkland Islands, are going to go out and take back the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

They are going to drop Newfoundland flags, Newfoundland markers on the Tail of the Grand Banks and they are going to confront the Spaniards and they are going to confront the Portuguese, and on the Tail of the Grand Banks the only tail they will see is the Portuguese and the Spaniards hightailing it off to the Canary Islands or the Azores. They will be out on the Canary Islands, Mr. Speaker, sunning themselves, and I think this armada is going to be like a dog chasing its tail, I would say; what is he going to do if he catches it?

Mr. Speaker, I say to this group going out on the edge of the Continental Shelf: if you want markers to prove our sovereignty, if you want markers to prove our right, our historic right to fish and manage and conserve the fish stocks on the Continental Shelf, take a pair of goggles and a snorkel and an underwater camera and go down to the floor of the Atlantic Ocean and take pictures of the sunken trawlers and the sunken fifty foot boats and sixty foot boats and twenty five foot boats. If you want to influence international opinion, these are the markers to our 500 years of fishing northern cod and these are the markers to our 500 years of fishing the North Atlantic and the Continental Shelf, trying to eke out a living from the fishery.

What upsets me, Mr. Speaker, is we have Citizen Crosbie agreeing with this great entourage, this armada.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. OLDFORD: Because while the cameras are on the group that is going to the Nose and the Tail of the Grand Banks it takes the attention away from Citizen Crosbie and the do-nothing Federal Government. Mr. Speaker, 12-per-cent Mulroney will be off the hook for another ten days, and he can sit back and relax while the spectacle of bravado rages on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks.

Mr. Speaker, I have a word of caution for those in this Province who have a vested interest or a perceived vested interest in the well being of our fishery. I speak to politician of all stripes, Mr. Speaker, fish merchants, journalists and union leaders. While we are fighting among ourselves, while the spotlight is on the petty bickering by interest groups in this Province, the Federal Government and the foreigners who are overfishing our cod stocks can relax, sit back and watch us destroy ourselves economically. The only people who will suffer are the Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who are directly affected by foreign overfishing and by the Federal Government's management decisions.

I want to add this to my words of caution, Mr. Speaker. Ordinary Newfoundlanders are not stunned. They will not be used as pawns by people who are using the crisis in the fishery to pad their own self interest.

Now, Mr. Speaker, there are many reasons given for the crisis in the fishery. Some talk about foreign overfishing as being the main problem. Some say it is ice conditions. People talk about water temperatures, seals, or there is a lack of caplin or food fish for the cod. Some talk about the overcapacity in the harvesting and processing sector. Some talk about newer and better technology in both catching and processing as being the main reason for the problems in the fishery, and some say it is overfishing by domestic and foreign fleets within the 200-mile limit. And the list goes on and on.

The fact of the matter, Mr. Speaker, is there is a shortage of raw materials and there is a shortage of fish. That is the bottom line. We no longer have the biomass of ground fish to support our production capacity. The shortage of fish, no matter what the cause, is having a devastating effect on the lives of thousands and thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. As I said before, the crisis in the fishery is real. The crisis in the fishery is now. People need economic reassurances, and they need them now.

In 1991 we had a terrible inshore fishery in this Province, and people out in rural Newfoundland were begging for assistance. The Federal Government waited until late October to come forward with a plan of economic relief - of economic support. Today I have eighty-three people on the Bonavista Peninsula who do not have enough weeks of work to qualify for unemployment insurance. I am told there are fifty people or more in Arnold's Cove, and there are 150 or more in other areas of Trinity and Conception Bay who have no income today - no means of support today. They need help today, and not five months from now. The response from the Federal Government has been less than favourable. I find no compassion in the Federal Government, and they are the ones who got us into this mess with their fisheries management decisions, and they have a wait and see approach. Everyone I have talked to in the Federal Government knows there is a problem. The problem is real, and the problem is now.

The short-term problem that I see is to find the number of weeks of work to help these unemployed fish plant workers and trawlermen in this Province, to help them qualify for unemployment insurance benefits, to protect whatever level of self-esteem they have left. These people - these unemployed plant workers and trawlermen - did not cause the problem. They are the victims of mismanagement.

My question to Mr. Crosbie and the Federal Government is that you have cut the offshore total of allowable catch, and you have total jurisdiction. You have total control. You have total responsibility for the management of the fishery, and you must be 100 per cent responsible for an economic response program. We know that the stocks will not rebuild overnight so what is the Federal Government's long-term plan? What is their long-term plan of economic support and income support? These unemployed plant workers have very few employment opportunities. There are very few options. Toronto or Fort McMurray are no longer options. Retraining is only an option for a few and retraining must be meaningful, and retraining must be long-term.

Mr. Speaker, the economy of this Province has a narrow economic base. There is too much dependency on groundfish harvesting and groundfish production. There is two to three times more dependency in this Province than exists in the Maritime Provinces. Primary production in this Province accounts for 12 per cent of our gross provincial product whereas in the Maritime Provinces primary production accounts for only 6.3 per cent of their gross provincial product.

In employment, Mr. Speaker, 8.5 per cent of all employment in this Province is in the groundfish sector of our fishery and most of it in primary production. That is compared to 1.8 per cent of employment in the Maritime Provinces that is generated by groundfish harvesting or processing. That is why any cut to the Total Allowable Catch of groundfish in this Province has such a negative effect on our total economy.

It is obvious that this Province needs an economic face-lift, and because of the uncertainty in the fishery caused by drastic reductions in groundfish stocks which have caused cuts in the Total Allowable Catch, this Province needs an accelerated plan of economic diversification and we need a plan to lessen our dependence on a dwindling resource, namely groundfish. We need to rebuild a viable fishery based on conservation and sustainable resource management principles in primary and especially in secondary processing of groundfish. Most of all, Mr. Speaker, we need the assistance of the Federal Government to provide funding so that every facet of our economic community can be diversified where competitive advantages exist. As far as secondary processing is concerned, Mr. Speaker, I call on the major fish companies because they have a major role to play. They should review their secondary processing capacity in relation to existing and potential markets, and in relation to the existing groundfish supplies. Because of the shortage of groundfish, I call on Fishery Products International to reassess their secondary processing operations in the United States.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member is having some difficulty in trying to compete with the noise.

MR. OLDFORD: Yes.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Trinity North.

MR. OLDFORD: I think that Fishery Products International has a moral obligation to maximize the jobs in secondary processing here in this Province, in Fortune, Port Union, Marystown, or wherever.

I say again to Minister Crosbie, and to the Federal Government, you have a major role to play. You are the managers of the fish stocks. You must take responsibility for your management decisions. You must take responsibility for the state of the fishery, and you must look after the displaced workers in the short-term. Mr. Speaker, the Federal Government must take the lion's share of responsibility for rebuilding and revitalizing this Province's most important industry - the fishery.

In light of recent decisions by the Federal Government, they must provide the financial catalyst to revitalize and revise this Province's total economy. I call on the Federal Government to immediately put in place short-term measures - a short-term economic support program to assist workers displaced by federal fisheries management decisions.

Secondly, I call on the Federal Government to work with the Provincial Government to put in place a long-term diversification program to lessen our overdependency on dwindling fish stocks. I call on the Federal Government again to consider taking immediate action to place the fish stocks on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks under their custodial management so that a meaningful plan of conservation can be put in place.

Finally, the Federal Government has a legal and a moral obligation to assist the fishermen, the plant workers, and the trawlermen of this Province. The time for action is now.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

All those in favour of the amendment, please say aye.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: Those against the amendment, please say nay.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Nay.

MR. SPEAKER: Are hon. Members calling division?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes.

MR. SPEAKER: Division.

Division

MR. SPEAKER: Call in the Members.

Are hon. Members ready for the question? Place the bar, please.

All those in favour of the amendment, please rise.

CLERK (Mr. Noel): Mr. Matthews, Mr. Tobin, Mr. R. Aylward, Mr. Hodder

AN HON. MEMBER: Order, please!

I ask hon. Members to please be orderly. The Chair is finding it difficult to hear the voting count.

CLERK (Mr. Noel): Mr. Woodford, Ms. Verge, Mr. Hearn, Mr. Parsons.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against the amendment, please rise.

CLERK (Mr. Noel): The hon. the President of the Council (Mr. Baker), the hon. the Minister of Development (Mr. Furey), the hon. the Minister of Health (Mr. Decker), the hon. the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture (Mr. Flight), the hon. the Minister of Environment and Lands (Ms. Cowan), the hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy (Mr. Gibbons), the hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations (Mr. Grimes), Mr. L. Snow, Mr. Barrett, Mr. K. Aylward, the hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation (Mr. Gover), the hon. the Minister of Education (Dr. Warren), the hon. the Minister of Social Services (Mr. Gullage), Mr. Reid, Mr. Ramsay, Mr. Crane, Mr. Penney, Mr. Dicks, Mr. Noel, Mr. Murphy, Mr. Short, Mr. Langdon, Mr. Oldford.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

All those in favour of the main motion, please say aye.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against the main motion, please say nay.

I declare the motion carried.

Order, please!

I wonder if hon. Members would agree to call it 5:00. I would like to make an important announcement, but it will only take about two or three minutes.

The Chair wants to clear up for the public of this Province some views that have been expressed by the press with respect to a ruling that the Chair made... yesterday, was it, or was it the day before yesterday? With respect to the Point of Privilege raised. Hon. Members will know that one press coverage said that the Speaker did something that was unprecedented. I think it was that he drew back his ruling; and in today's paper, in the editorial, they are commenting that the Member and the Speaker got into a debate. The Speaker wants to clarify this.

The Speaker will tell hon. Members that the ruling made on unparliamentary language is a different ruling from most other rulings. If the Speaker makes a ruling that something is a Point of Privilege, well then of course the Members will debate that Point of Privilege in debate. And with other rulings it is not appropriate to get into a debate with the Speaker.

But with regards to unparliamentary language, the procedure in this House always has been: when the Speaker asks a Member to withdraw, the Member will get up and make an explanation. Most times the Member will withdraw, particularly when the Member knows that it was completely unparliamentary. But a Member has a right to ask the Speaker for an explanation. The Speaker will read from no other authority than Erskine-May. It is the use of disorderly or unparliamentary words which is the situation we were in.

'Where any disorderly or unparliamentary words are used, whether by a Member who is addressing the House or by a Member who is present during the debate, the Speaker intervenes' - well, in this case it intervened on a Point of Privilege; it is the same principle - 'and calls upon the offending Member to withdraw the words. If the Member does not explain the sense in which he used the words so as to remove the objection of their being disorderly, or retract the offensive expression' - notice there are two things; the Member makes an explanation or retracts - 'the Speaker' - if the Member does not do that then - 'the Speaker repeats the call for an explanation, and informs the Member that if the Member does not act immediately...,' well then the Speaker has to take certain action.

The Speaker is further cautioned in all of those matters with respect to naming a Member, to be very cautions, and to give the Member every opportunity to explain the situation. The Speaker maintains that the Speaker operated correctly, according to the rules, and probably the Member and I were maybe a little longer in terms of arriving at a sense of agreement.

But that is all the Member did, was to raise - don't call it a debate, it was a matter of explanation. The Chair made the ruling according to the rules laid down by all of the authorities under parliamentary procedure. The Chair thinks that it is important for hon. Members to know that.

The Chair just wants to sum up the remarks by reminding hon. Members - and all hon. Members ought to know this - under Privilege in Beauchesne. One section there in particular talks about reflections on the Speaker. Section 71 (1), page 21, says: "The Speaker should be protected against reflections on his or her actions." In the House and with respect to press reports. But the Chair is not going to go any further. The Chair has made an explanation that I believe explains what happened between the Member and the Chair and that should suffice.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: This House now stands adjourned until tomorrow, Thursday, at 2:00 p.m.