April 1, 1992                     HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS            Vol. XLI  No. 17


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, having just got back to the building a few minutes before the House started and not having a chance to discuss this with the Government House Leader, I am wondering if members would entertain recessing the House about 3:00 p.m. today

MR. TOBIN: Before that.

MR. MATTHEWS: Well, in time to get to the waterfront, for all members to go, or whoever can, to welcome back the fleet that is soon to enter the Narrows on its way back from the Grand Banks, where it has brought national and world attention to the foreign overfishing issue. I am just wondering if members opposite - our caucus has no problem - if we would agree to recess in time to go to the waterfront and welcome back those who have drawn attention to the overfishing issue on the Grand Banks. I think it would be a nice gesture on behalf of the elected members of the House of Assembly to do that.

MR. TOBIN: Get a bus.

MR. MATTHEWS: I ask the Government House Leader to consider and probably respond. Even get a bus, as some members are saying, yes.

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that the hon. member did not contact me ahead of time. I understand his problem and if he would give me a few minutes to think about it we can go through and then make a decision shortly.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Port de Grave.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise, as a member of this House of Assembly, on a point of privilege. I do not want to use my privileges as a member of this House of Assembly probably in the normal way that the process is usually done. All too often, Mr. Speaker, we stand in our place on a point of privilege, to be critical, but I am going to ask the House to listen to me for a minute so I can bring to their attention and make a point on this and, also, at the same time, apologize to them. It has to do with the Member for St. John's East and myself. I am one these people who have been criticizing, as the hon. the Speaker knows, on a number of occasions, the Member for St. John's East for occupying two positions. It will only take a second to understand what I am saying. I don't stand here today to be critical, but to commend, and ask this hon. House to commend the hon. Member for St. John's East when I make my point. I use my privilege as a member of the House of Assembly to say this, because in my capacity as Minister of Social Services I had quite a job concerning the Mount Cashel affair and the children at Mount Cashel. It has come to my attention in the last couple of days as a member of this House of Assembly, it was pointed out to me, that I am too critical of the hon. member in what I have been saying, and I should clarify it in the House of Assembly to get my point across so that I can apologize and ask the House to pass along its explanation of this. It is this, Mr. Speaker: The children from Mount Cashel Orphanage have been placed in a very difficult position. They will be seeking compensation for what they went through over the number of years they were involved in the Mount Cashel thing, and it has come to my attention through some people in the general public that the hon. the Member for St. John's East is representing those people. It has also come to my attention that he is representing those children in a very commendable way; he is representing them, as I was told, free, as an individual who is helping those children to do this, and all the benefits they will receive when the case is decided will go to the people who suffered because of the Mount Cashel situation.

So I rise in my place, because I have, on a number of occasions, been critical of an individual, speaking publicly in the House of Assembly, about his being occupied as a lawyer outside the House of Assembly while being an hon. member of the House. That was pointed out to me by the general public and I thought I should use my privileges as MHA of the House of Assembly to commend the hon. member and ask that all other members do so.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I just wanted to tell the hon. member that I am sure he is aware that is not a point of privilege. The Chair was being rather generous in seeing whether something else was coming. This is a very important point for hon. members to know: a point of privilege, as all hon. members know, has been cited by hundreds of speakers before me and I am sure will be cited by hundreds of speakers after me that a point of privilege ought to be raised very rarely in the House.

I think the hon. member was doing it as a point to speak, which he could have done on a point of order, by the way, rather than a point of privilege. A point of privilege is a very precise thing and hon. members ought not to use it even for the situation in which the hon. member did. He could have used a point of order and that would have been fine. The Chair would have still allowed him to speak. But on a point of privilege, the Chair has to be very vigilant because a point of privilege is a special thing and when an hon. member gets up on a point of privilege he or she simply lays out what is the point of privilege. Very often in this House we get into debate, but that is for another day.

I am not sure where we are. We had not gotten into anything, quite frankly, any of the business. I assume that we are still not into anything, and that the hon. Member for Torngat Mountains is rising on that peculiar and strange order that we have in our House which is not anything.

The hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains.

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

With the concurrence of the House, Mr. Speaker. I wish that you, as Speaker, would convey to Kathie Riche of Davis Inlet who made history yesterday by being elected Chief of the Innu Band in Davis Inlet, the first lady to be elected to an Indian Band in Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, I have known Ms. Riche for the last twenty-five or thirty years and I believe that the Innu of Davis Inlet have made a wise choice in selecting her to lead them through the next couple years of a very difficult time in their history. I would say to all members present that we as elected politicians should listen to their aims and objectives and let's forget about the mistakes that were made in the past and let us try to correct the mistakes that government made in the past and support them in their endeavour of relocating, resettling to the mainland portion of this great country of ours and not leave them on an island where they are almost chained as prisoners.

Thank you very much.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to respond to the request made by the hon. gentleman, the Member for Torngat Mountains.

I would wholeheartedly endorse his comments, she is taking over the Band at a particularly difficult time in the history of the Band. The recent tragedy, the fire, the desire to choose a new location and all of the process that is put together with trying to determine where it is best for that Band to live, which is the best place for them to live and survive and enjoy life in this country, so, Mr. Speaker, it is a particularly difficult period in the history of Davis Inlet, and I certainly concur and we wish the Band and the new Band Chief, all the luck in the world.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John's East rose, but I had called Statements by Ministers. If the Chair is given permission to revert to that place again, where we were, which is not anything, if we revert to that, and with the concurrence of the House, the hon. Member for St. John's East, may speak.

Do we have both concessions?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave.

MR. SPEAKER: By leave?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I wish to make a few brief remarks on the comments by the Member for Torngat Mountains. It is of course, a very crucial time in the history of the Innu Band of Davis Inlet to have a new leader and I think that Ms. Rich deserves our congratulations and our support in leading her people in these difficult times and I endorse wholeheartedly what our colleague from Torngat Mountains has said.

Statements by Ministers

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this time to draw to the attention of hon. members an event that is taking place this afternoon. As we sit here, Mr. Speaker, seven Newfoundland vessels are steaming towards the Narrows, and are expected to enter the port of St. John's within the hour. As hon. members may be aware, these vessels are returning from the Nose of the Grand Banks where the flotilla organizers symbolically took custodial management of fish resources of the entire Continental Shelf as a visible sign of growing urgency to end foreign overfishing of vital groundfish stocks off the East Coast of Canada.

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador does more than congratulate those who took the initiative to draw national and international attention to the economic and environmental catastrophe of international proportion that is occurring because of years of foreign overfishing on the Grand Banks. Our government is proud, Mr. Speaker, that one of its own middle distance vessels - the Nain Banker - is one of the seven vessels comprising the flotilla that is returning to port even as I speak here this afternoon.

Also at this very minute, Mr. Speaker, our Premier, the hon. Clyde Wells, is at the United Nations in New York meeting with the ambassadors of Spain, Portugal, the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, Korea, France, and is focusing their attention on the serious environmental crisis that has been brought about by the foreign destruction of cod and flatfish stocks on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks. He is also meeting with the Secretary General and other officials responsible for planning the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development to be held in Brazil this June, and with the ambassadors of New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, Tanzania and the Solomon Islands. This forum in New York is just one of many ongoing personal initiatives undertaken by the Premier to focus national and international attention on the need for Canada to lead the world in the environmental stewardship of fish stocks within and just beyond the 200-mile boundary by taking custodial management of the stocks on behalf of the world community.

As you know, Mr. Speaker, the Premier was able to garner the unanimous support of all Canadian Premiers for the Province's position during the recent First Ministers' Conference on the Economy. I had the privilege of attending that First Ministers' Conference, and saw firsthand the extent to which other Premiers in this country, in fact all of them were willing - indeed anxious - to support the initiatives being taken by our Premier and by our government in addressing this problem. The Premier also addressed the Globe '92 forum in Vancouver and has met with editorial boards of several major Canadian newspapers, and will initiate other, similar opportunities over the coming months.

Mr. Speaker, on April 7 the Minister of Environment and Lands and I will make a joint presentation in Ottawa to the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Environment. On the following day I will address the foreign overfishing problem at a meeting of the Atlantic Council of Fisheries Ministers, just as I have done at each of the past several meetings of the ACFM. While in the nation's capital I will also brief the national news media on the issue of foreign overfishing, and will meet with the editorial board of the Ottawa Citizen for the same reason.

These are just a handful of current initiatives the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is undertaking to carry our message of the urgent need for immediate action to preserve the fish stocks on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks. Other initiatives will be announced soon.

Canada has had five failed years of diplomatic efforts to end foreign overfishing. The time for diplomatic negotiations has ended. Five years of that approach has not worked and fish stocks are on the verge of extinction. Canada must consider unilateral custodial management.

Having heard through the media that the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans flew yesterday to the Grand Banks where symbolic custodial management was taking place, one can only hope and assume that his gesture of support for symbolism will also become support for the reality - the genuine necessity for real custodial management. It is important as Newfoundlanders that we all speak with one voice on this issue.

I should say here that I take the strongest possible exception with the remarks made yesterday by Mr. Richard Cashin in his attack on our Premier. It seems quite unseemly that while Mr. Cashin was making those uncalled for remarks, our Premier was in New York at the United Nations presenting Newfoundland's case to the international community. I repeat, Mr. Speaker: while the leader of that union, Mr. Cashin, was castigating our Premier yesterday for having taken no action, it is rather interesting that while he was doing it our Premier was in New York attending the United Nations presenting Newfoundland's case to the international community.

Mr. Speaker, as this Province celebrates its 43rd anniversary of union with the Canadian family, it should be every Newfoundlanders' wish that our national government will see fit to protect and preserve for our long-term benefit Newfoundland's great gift to Canada and our fellow Canadians forty-three years ago, namely 80 per cent of what is now recognized as the Canadian Continental Shelf, with all of its wealth and potential wealth. To do otherwise, Mr. Speaker, is to relegate all Newfoundlanders to the status of second-class citizens of this country. Mr. Speaker, the word must go out today to all Canadians that while Newfoundlanders do not demand special status within Confederation, we will accept nothing less than that of first-class status.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

I would like to take a few minutes to react to the minister's statement. As I said earlier, it is quite significant that in an hour or so the seven trawlers will be coming back into port after being to the Grand Banks to draw national and world attention to the overfishing issue, and particularly to draw attention to the plight of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who have been unemployed or will be unemployed because of the pillage of our fish resources out there.

It is quite interesting in the minister's statement, that he draws attention, Mr. Speaker, to one of its own middle distance boats, the Nain Banker. You wouldn't know but the minister and the government were paying the cost of the Nain Banker to take part in the flotilla, because this boat is leased to a private fisherman who is involved with the union and the industry and they are standing the cost. The government has not put a nickel into this particular undertaking by the union and the industry, I say to the minister.

MR. R. AYLWARD: And don't support it, at that.

MR. CARTER: Were not asked to, by the way.

MR. TOBIN: You just said you did.

MR. MATTHEWS: No. Mr. Speaker, the minister was not asked to participate, but it is quite interesting to note that his federal counterpart was over there yesterday, even though the minister called it symbolic. But he did donate to the cause, Mr. Speaker. That is more than this government has done, this minister and this Premier has done. That is more than they have done, I say. It is so easy to knock everyone else. You can knock Mr. Cashin, you can knock Mr. Crosbie, and yet the minister stands up today and says we should work together on the issue. What does he do today, come in here and fire at the President of the Fishermens' Union who initiated this flotilla going to the Grand Banks, I say. I think the minister should be giving more credit to the union and the industry for undertaking this action.

Now, Mr. Speaker, it is also quite interesting to hear the Minister of Fisheries talk about the failed diplomatic efforts for the past five years. What is the Premier doing in the United Nations today? Preaching diplomacy, I say to the minister. Two years ago the Premier of this Province stood in the old Legislature and said that this Province could not afford to have more say over its fisheries. Five weeks ago he woke up to realize how serious the fishing problem is in this Province, and now he has gone to Ottawa, and to the United Nations, trying to impress on people the seriousness of the problem. That is what he has done!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MATTHEWS: The hypocrisy, Mr. Speaker, was never seen before in the forty-three years since we joined Confederation. The hypocrisy of Premier Clyde Wells. All of a sudden he knows, Mr. Speaker -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I remind hon. members that the Speaker is standing, and when the Speaker is standing and speaking he ought to be the only one doing so.

I have called for order and ask the hon. member to complete his statement. I remind hon. members on both sides of the House that ministerial statements are not an area for debate. They are an area for the communication of facts by the ministers, and for the Opposition to respond accordingly. But not a place for debate.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. It is no trouble to tell when you strike a nerve with members opposite. It is too bad that the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations does not have some impact in cabinet because then we would not have the problems with wage freezes and everything else in this Province that we have today. Too bad!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MATTHEWS: He can speak from his seat, Mr. Speaker, but he has no say in cabinet. We just reflect back a few years, the great defender of labour in this Province, what is he doing today?

But, Mr. Speaker, the hypocrisy of the Premier of this Province who up to two years ago did not want to have any more say over the fishery of this Province, who asked the question: what would we do if we had it, Mr. Speaker, what would we do if we had it?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I remind hon. members to my left that the minister has given a statement, they now ought to extend the courtesy to the member to my right to respond without interruptions.

The hon. the Member for Grand Bank.

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much again, Mr. Speaker. A few weeks ago the president of the Fishermen's Union went and met with the Prime Minister.

AN HON. MEMBER: Hah!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

MR. MATTHEWS: Then the Premier went and met with the Prime Minister. The Federal Minister of Fisheries went to the United Nations a few weeks ago, and now the Premier - so the Premier is following everyone else.

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

It is Wednesday, it is 2:30 p.m. The Chair will now call Question Period.

MR. BAKER: Point of order.

MR. SPEAKER: Point of order, the hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. BAKER: Before we start Question Period.

Mr. Speaker, I have had somebody go and check and I have been advised that the boats that the hon. gentleman are referring to will be here at 3:00 p.m. So I will say to hon. gentlemen opposite that I have no problem in terms of adjourning the House to go to the waterfront if members want. But we would have to leave now to do it at 3:00 p.m. I have had this double-checked and they are supposed to be in at 3:00 p.m. So I wonder if I could get some response from members opposite. Because if we wait till after 3:00 p.m. they will already be in and it will be too late.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

We have to do this by consent of the House, because the Chair has called Question Period. If we have by consent of the House....

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, yes, we concur totally, having made the suggestion that the House adjourn to go to the waterfront to welcome back those who have been to the Tail of the Banks.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Cashin.

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Cashin and the industry representatives, and people from all over the Province. We totally concur, Mr. Speaker, with that.

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

MR. BAKER: Then with unanimous consent I move that the House at its rising do adjourn until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow and the House do now adjourn.

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