May 4, 1992                    HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS              Vol. XLI  No. 29


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I could have the indulgence of the House for one minute to offer congratulations to the Newfoundland team who won three medals, and one individual medal in the Youth Bowling Council championships held last week in Winnipeg. Teams from the Plaza Bowl won gold, silver and bronze medals while Lee Escott of St. Pat's won a bronze medal for the bantam boy's single section.

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that all members of this House of Assembly would like to send a note of congratulations to all of the youth bowlers. We are very proud of them. Some of the members of the House of Assembly will remember this young man Escott because we bowled against him a few weeks ago and he handily beat all the members of the House of Assembly who attended that bowl-a-thon. I would like all members of the House of Assembly to offer our congratulations to the Newfoundland youth bowling team.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like, on behalf of hon. members on this side of the House, to associate ourselves with the words of the hon. the Member for Kilbride. We certainly do offer congratulations. It was a great effort on behalf of the youth bowlers and I think we should congratulate those who organized it. After all, I think what is always seen is that the proof of the pudding, so to speak, comes out in the eating and the organization and the coaching always show when the kids perform like that. I associate myself with the hon. member's comments.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Statements by Ministers

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to inform members of the passing of a distinguished former career public servant, Mr. Cyril Banikhin on April 20th of this year.

Mr. Banikhin was born in St. John's in 1929 and first worked for his father's business which was involved in fish processing, shipping and marketing as well as manufacturing, retailing, forestry and milling. He joined the staff of the Department of Fisheries in 1956 as a field supervisor in the engineering production division. Over the next thirty years he held a number of senior posts within the Department of Fisheries; in the Department of Labour, where he was deputy minister from 1970 to 1972; and in the Planning and Priorities Secretariat of Cabinet where he was charged with re-organizing the administrative system of government and putting in place a better mechanism for long-range planning. He was appointed to head the Liquor Licensing Board in 1973, a position he held until his retirement.

He held the position of Chief Administrative Officer at the former College of Fisheries, Navigation, Marine Engineering and Electronics from 1963 to 1970. During that time Mr. Banikhin also served as a member of the Labour Force Committee of the Royal Commission on Economic Prospects (1965-1967); co-chairman of a joint federal/provincial industrial manpower resource committee for the Province from 1967-1972 and as a federal representative to the International Labour Organization in Geneva Switzerland. It was during this time, that I met Mr. Banikhin and developed an admiration for his knowledge, forthrightness and his commitment to serving the people of our Province. That service also extended into community organizations of which Mr. Banikhin was a member, including the Rotary Club and the Shrine Club.

Mr. Banikhin's family emigrated to Newfoundland from Eastern Europe in the early part of this century, like hundreds of other Jewish people, in order to escape persecution which they experienced. Many came here because they saw Newfoundland as a stepping stone to Canada and the United States but fortunately for our Province, many others, like the Banikhins, came to stay. They brought little with them except their talents and their determination to succeed but I believe that, on reflection, one can see that men and women of the calibre of Cyril Banikhin have given to this Province far more than could be easily repaid or properly acknowledged.

On behalf of the Government and people of Newfoundland and Labrador, I express our deepest sympathies to the Banikhin family in their bereavement. The sense of loss at his passing will be felt by all those who knew him and admired him.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise on behalf of the Official Opposition to associate ourselves with the remarks of the Premier. Mr. Banikhin was long known as one of our senior public servants who served this Province extremely well in various capacities in a number of departments of government.

I first knew him in his capacity as Chairman of the Newfoundland Liquor Licensing Board and I think it is there that he will, indeed, be remembered as one who, I guess, piloted a series of new policies, probably for the first time, and all of us probably know the past issuance of liquor licenses unfortunately was laced too heavily with politics. Mr. Banikhin's stewardship of the Liquor Licensing Board, I think, saw that come to an end. We saw him and the board that he chaired, develop a whole new set of policies which are being used today and which I think brought in a measure of fairplay.

Mr. Banikhin himself was known as a highly professional individual with a tremendous sense of fairness and balance in all matters in which he dealt. He was also known, Mr. Speaker, for his work in service organizations, most notably, Rotary Club, in which I worked with him and was associated with him as a fellow Rotarian and, of course, he was also very much involved in the Shrine Club, as has been said.

We join, Mr. Speaker, with the Premier and the members of the House in extending to the Banikhin family our sincere sympathy, and we take great pleasure in being associated with these remarks.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John's East, has leave of the House.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the New Democratic Party, I would like to join the Premier, and the Member for Mount Pearl on behalf of the Official Opposition, in offering my sympathy, and join in the sympathy offered by members of the House, to the family of the late Cyril Banikhin. To listen to the recital by the Premier of the many functions and contributions made by Mr. Banikhin throughout his very long career is to see how diverse a career as Mr. Banikhin had can contribute to the life of this Province, and to bring the experience and knowledge of other cultures and other countries to our Province and contribute to the future of a province that we are creating together with each individual's contribution. I am pleased to join in the remarks and associate myself and our party with the remarks concerning the late Mr. Banikhin.

Thank you.

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

DR. GIBBONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, on December 4, 1991, I announced a Request for Bids for onshore petroleum exploration permits in Western Newfoundland. At that time,I invited interested parties to submit bids in the form of work commitments by April 30, 1992.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce that I have selected bids totalling approximately $1,650,000 on three parcels covering an area of about 117,000 hectares.

The successful bids are in the form of work expenditure commitments whereby the companies undertake to spend the bid amount on exploration during the five-year term of the exploration permit.

The successful bidders are: For Parcel #8, Vinland Petroleum Inc. with a bid of $10,630; for Parcel #9, Vinland Petroleum Inc. with a bid of $10,630; for Parcel #13, the Parsons Pond area, Labrador Mining and Exploration Company Limited with a bid of $1,627,770.

Parcel 8, which encompasses approximately 38,000 hectares, is located east of Main Brook on the Northern Peninsula. Parcel 9, which encompasses approximately 38,000 hectares, in located north of Port au Choix. Parcel 13, which is about 40,000 hectares, is located around Parsons Pond.

Mr. Speaker, successful bidders have fifteen days to submit a $10,000 performance bond for the first year of operations. Receipt of these bonds is required before I am able to issue permits, pursuant to the regulations.

Thank you.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Maybe it was an oversight on the minister's part, or on my arriving late at the office, but I was not aware that he was going to make a statement.

Let me say that this particular news, I suppose, is good news. The exploration industry in Newfoundland for minerals, generally speaking, is on the broad of its back right now and in desperate need of some sort of stimulation. We would certainly hope that something good will come of this onshore exploration on the West Coast of our Province. The amount of money we are talking about is not a great amount of money over a five year period, but every little bit helps. I do wish the companies concerned the very best and some success in their endeavours. Thank you very much.

Oral Questions

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

MR. HEARN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Minister of Education. I wonder if the minister will tell us if he agrees with the decision by the Memorial University Senate to raise the entrance requirements from 60 per cent to 70 per cent?

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

DR. WARREN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to preface my answer with a couple of short comments.

I think in the 70's and the 80's, Mr. Speaker, the key word in education was equality - equality of opportunity. In the late 80's and certainly in the early 90's the term is 'excellence'. Schools, universities and colleges are focusing increasingly on excellence, and throughout Canada universities have been reviewing their entrance requirements. Memorial has done that over the last two or three years. Memorial, I gather, in the list of universities, Mr. Speaker, was surveyed by McClain's last year. Memorial was I think close to the bottom in admission requirements, and now the university has done some studies and is proposing to introduce and to increase the entrance requirements. They have the authority to do that, Mr. Speaker, and we will support them in that.

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

MR. HEARN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. More theory and equality being sacrificed! The President of the University said on several occasions over the past year or so that the university would have to reduce first year admissions in order to cope with budget cutbacks. Let me ask the minister: will these new entrance requirements reduce first year admissions, and isn't this the real reason that higher requirements are being put into effect?

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, I have not been fully briefed this morning on this, but it is my understanding that the issue has been on the table for some years. Memorial has been reviewing its entrance requirements and it is not to restrict enrolment or as a result of budget cuts, it is to increase excellence. We are told, Mr. Speaker, that large numbers of students are going to Memorial now and not completing successfully in a reasonable period of time. In fact, Mr. Speaker, this morning I talked with students from all over the Province and they support this. The students themselves support this initiative by the University. It is not as a result of budget restrictions or restraints, it is an attempt to improve the standard of excellence of Memorial University.

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

MR. HEARN: Mr. Speaker, the minister when talking about equality always (Inaudible) that relatively few students from rural Newfoundland get an average mark of 70 or more. Won't this policy severely reduce opportunities for rural students to attend University?

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

DR. WARREN: I thank the member for raising that question because I raised it at the University, I have raised it for years, and I raised it at the University just a few weeks ago in a speech that I was making to the University.

I have asked them to examine the impact of this proposal on students throughout the Province, and I have asked them whether they would monitor - I will ask them again to monitor this policy. It will not be introduced, I gather, before 1993. I gather it is a year away from introduction. But the member raises a very important point and I will ask the University to monitor the impact of these increases in admission standards on the various groups of students in the Province. We do not want these admission requirements to discriminate against any one group, Mr. Speaker, and I am concerned about that. I do not think they will. They have done studies at the University, they don't think they will. But I am going to ask the University to monitor the impact of these changes in admission requirements over the next year or two.

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

MR. HEARN: Final supplementary, Mr. Speaker. Given the importance of higher education to employment opportunities and to the whole economy, shouldn't the government do everything impossible to expand and encourage access to a university education? Will it tell the University - instead of suggesting that they monitor - won't the minister tell the University that higher entrance requirements are not in the best interests of the Province at this time?

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, on the question of accessibility, I am delighted to tell the House and the people of the Province that we have done reasonably well in the last few years on increasing accessibility for students. We had at Memorial a completely open door policy on admissions. As I said earlier, our entrance requirements were said by some to be among the lowest in the country for General Studies. Not for various faculties, because after General Studies some faculties require 70 per cent and higher. We are concerned about elitism. Queen's University, Mr. Speaker, I have been told in the last few weeks, Queen's in Ontario, the average is 85 per cent to get in.

I tell you that Memorial University is not moving in that direction. We are as a government expanding accessibility through first-year programs throughout the Province, improved student aid, more scholarships. No, there is no attempt here to restrict accessibility. Secondly, we want to make sure that not only the University expands and increases accessibility but that other post-secondary institutions, equally important, will make sure we prepare our people for the next century. Education is the keystone to the future development of this Province and our post-secondary institutions, all of them, have to provide quality education for our people so that we can compete as a Province and as a nation.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

In the absence of the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, I would like to ask questions about the Province's Public Libraries' Board to the Premier.

The public libraries' underfunding problem is much worse than many people realize. Perhaps it is worse than the Premier himself realizes. I would like to ask if the Premier knows that last year the government, his government, did not grant the provincial Public Libraries' Board enough funding to pay for relief or substitute staff while librarians were on vacation or off sick, and, consequently, in the majority of the Province's public libraries which are small, serving rural areas and employ only one or two part-time staff, the libraries had to close for three or four weeks? Does the Premier realize that?

Does the Premier know that the problem has been allowed to degenerate now because of the present year's budget to the extent that on top of the three or four week closure that started, for the first time ever, last year in the majority of libraries, all the libraries will close for two weeks? So that in the case of the majority of libraries, the rural libraries, this year they will be closed to the public for a minimum of five weeks. Does the Premier know that?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I am aware, through comments from the Minister of Education, through comments in the news media and so on and statements that have been made by the Chairman of the Libraries' Board, as to what they propose to do to deal with the fact that they don't have the funding they requested. But I would just like to set the record straight as to what they got and what was requested.

The amount budgeted for the Libraries' Board in 1991-1992 was $5,952,700. Now, I am having people check right now, but on a per capita basis I suspect we are pretty high by comparison with the rest of Canada. I am having it checked and I will report to the House of Assembly hopefully by tomorrow exactly what the situation is.

Now the Libraries Board requested for 1992-93 - $6,303,746. That, Mr. Speaker, was assuming salary increases, don't forget. That was assuming salary increases. Now with the restraint in public sector wages and everybody depending on the public sector, the government took out that salary increase, and we have provided in the Budget for $6,096,900 for the Public Libraries Board which, Mr. Speaker, is just about $210,000 less than was requested.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I don't know why the Public Libraries Board or it's chairman are carrying on in this particular way, but I would like an explanation from them as to why they are all of a sudden explaining that they must, because of government cutbacks, close the libraries of the Province for two weeks. If that is what they are doing they are doing some kind of mismanagement because they have gotten all of the money that they requested except for salary increases. Is that correct?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: Nearly as I know that is essentially correct. Now I need to know exactly what is going on here before I respond fully to these questions in the House of Assembly. So, Mr. Speaker, I have caused a full examination to be undertaken, and I will report to the House in some detail as to exactly what the Public Libraries Board is doing with the money it requested or how it proposes to spend $6.1 million this year.

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

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, it is outrageous that the Premier of the Province will stand before the House of Assembly and admit he does not know what is going on with the Province's Public Libraries Board, and then insult and belittle

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member is on a supplementary.

MS. VERGE: - the volunteers on that board by accusing them of mismanagement.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member is on a supplementary.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to ask the Premier will he not find from within his governments $3.5 billion Budget sufficient funding to supplement what was granted the Public Libraries Board so that the public libraries can provide a decent service to the people of the Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, every government agency can make the same case. There is not a single agency providing government or public services in this Province that has adequate funding. I will admit that. There is not one that has adequate funding to meet the real need, but, Mr. Speaker, what we have had to do is provide funding within the reasonable limits of our capability bearing in mind that we have to bring in line the Province's sorry financial state, that has been in for many years, in difficult economic times in this country and in this world. Now that means that certain government agencies cannot have every dollar they want.

Mr. Speaker, this year when the Public Libraries Board made its request they had monies included, I believe, for computers and for increases in salaries. Other than that, we have provided what they requested including increased funds to purchase books, increases over and above what was provided before. So there is a provision for increased funding. As a matter of fact they are getting $144,000 more than last years budget, so there is some increase in funding. It is not very much. It is not enough to meet the genuine need, but, Mr. Speaker, it is clearly the maximum that the Province can afford unless somebody is going to decide that we are going to close schools here or close hospitals somewhere else, or fail to plow a road somewhere else. We still must manage the Province's public obligations in a responsible way and at the same time try to cause the government to recover from the financial mess that the former government has put us in for all the years they were in power.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This is not a supplementary, it is a new question which will be prefaced by a preamble.

Mr. Speaker, the Province's Public Libraries Board is the only provincial government agency, branch, department which is taking every single employee off the payroll for two weeks this year -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I want to remind hon. members that there is no procedure for asking a new question, although hon. members have done that. With the system under which we operate, with not a two or three Oppositions kind of thing, the Chair has been under obligation many times to acknowledge a member when a member stands. But I want to remind hon. members when the Chair recognizes a member the second time, when a member is standing, the Chair recognizes the person for a supplementary and not a new question. Hon. members ought to follow these rules.

If the hon. member is asking a question of a different minister, then the Chair uses some tolerance. But when a member is directing the same question to the same minister, it is a supplementary.

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, with respect, this is a new question. Had the minister responsible been here, I would have asked my first two questions to that minister. I was planning all along to ask this question to the Premier.

Mr. Speaker, my question has to do with the drastic measure chosen by the Province's Public Libraries' Board which is to take off the payroll every single employee of that agency, from the Director on down. For two weeks this year none of the staff of the Province's Public Libraries' Board will be paid. Mr. Speaker, if the problems of the Province have really come down to the stage where some public employees have to go off the payroll, does it really have to be the librarians? Could it not be the public relations directors or the political staff, the members, or some administrators or clerks in Confederation Building? Don't we have our priorities all wrong, I ask the Premier, to allow the libraries to shut for two weeks -

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

The hon. the member has put the question.

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the Public Libraries' Board has responsibility for making the decisions. It has the clear right to operate on a different basis. It has the clear right to reduce the number of hours from forty or fifty hours a week to thirty-seven or thirty-eight hours a week and reduce their costs in that way. It has a variety of other means. It chose to operate in this way. Now, I don't think it is right for the government to say to the Public Libraries' Board: You have responsibility for managing the libraries but you must make this decision and this decision and some other decision. We trust it to their good judgement.

Now, we assume that they made a decision that there was a certain time in the year when the demand for library services were so low that they could justify closing for two weeks, and that is fine. An alternative might be to lay off some employees, as other government departments have had to do. But, Mr. Speaker, I remind the House again that the government provided exactly the same amount of money for salaries as it did last year. So it is not because of salary they have to close. Whatever other decision they have made, I don't know, but it is not because they cannot afford to pay the salary. They got exactly the same money for salary as they did last year, and every other government agency is in the same boat. To allow them to do otherwise is to allow them to provide for an increase in salary.

So I don't know what is really behind their decision, that is why I have undertaken, Mr. Speaker, that I will make an enquiry and I will bring to the House a full explanation of what the Public Libraries' Board is doing. But this is all a red herring that they are creating, that they have to close for two weeks because they don't have enough money to pay salary. They have exactly the same money for salary as they had last year.

MS. VERGE: But they were closed for three or four weeks last year.

PREMIER WELLS: They have exactly the same money for salary as they had last year, and every other government agency and department is in exactly the same boat. Now, if they decide to operate on a different basis, that is up to them.

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

MS. VERGE: A final supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

What signal is this Premier sending to the business community, to the economists, to the academics, to the citizens of our Province and people elsewhere in the world about our values, if he and his government allow all our public libraries to close for not two weeks, in most cases, but five or six weeks this year?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I am glad the hon. member asked what signal we are sending. Let me tell the members of this House what signal we are sending with respect to literacy. Many people have tied this question into literacy. When we came to power, Mr. Speaker, in 1988 - 1989, the former government had spent a whole $79,300 of provincial funds on literacy, a whole $79,000. They got $225,000 from the federal government, but they spent out of provincial funds $79,000. In our first year, Mr. Speaker, we committed out of provincial funds $356,000.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: In the second year, $364,000.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: In the next year, Mr. Speaker, $440,800.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: And in the coming year, Mr. Speaker, $593,000.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Now that is the signal we are sending to the Province! That is where our commitment is!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Now the hon. member obviously is having great fun with the newspapers and others proclaiming this as a literacy problem and our concern for literacy and so on. That is where this government's concern for literacy is. I have to advise the House that I am having that examined too, and I will tell the House the full expenditures on literacy, and explain just where our commitment is and just what kind of a signal we are sending to industry and commercial establishments in this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. PARSONS: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Fisheries.

When the Premier returned from his trip to Europe he called for patience in dealing with the European community on the overfishing issue. This weekend in Toronto the Minister of Fisheries again called for a deadline, and if that deadline was not met, that unilateral action be taken. I want to ask the minister: What is the government's position? Is it patience or is it a deadline?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, the government's position is precisely what the Premier has stated and what I have stated on numerous occasions. No later than yesterday at a mass rally in Toronto I made a statement on the fisheries and the urgency for some kind of action, and that is precisely the position the Premier takes.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John's East Extern on a supplementary.

MR. PARSONS: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

Last week the Minister of Fisheries said that it may be necessary to close down the Newfoundland fishery. Are the stocks in worse shape now than they were perhaps a couple of months ago, or is the minister privy to some technical knowledge that the rest of us Newfoundlanders and Labradorians do not have?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, as hon. members know, some time ago the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans placed what in effect is a moratorium on the offshore fishery as it relates to northern cod. At a meeting in Clarenville during the past week at the Chamber of Commerce, at which I was the guest speaker, I made reference to briefing sessions that were held between senior federal scientists and senior officials of my department, and I expressed some alarm that the situation may be even worse than we anticipated, or at least than what they anticipated, and I said: it is not at all unlikely, it might well be, that not only will we have to put a moratorium on offshore fishing, as we have done; it might well be that we are going to have to cut back on the inshore fishery as well - not because we want to, but if it means the survival of the Newfoundland fishing industry then that might very well be the price we will have to pay.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John's East Extern, a supplementary.

MR. PARSONS: What I want to ask the minister: Is the government ready to deal with the economic and social crisis if the fishery is closed down? And does government have a detailed plan - something more comprehensive than the one or two pages that the minister sent to the Minister of Fisheries? Will the minister present this plan to this hon. House and give the hon. members a right to debate it? What plan do you have, and will you show us that plan so we can debate the issues?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, maybe that question would be better asked of the hon. gentleman's political soul mates in Ottawa, and not the Newfoundland government. Maybe rather than stand here and try to convey the impression that sole responsibility for addressing that problem rests on the shoulders of the Province, maybe he would be doing his Province and the people of this Province a greater service if he were to direct that question where it belongs, and impress upon his friends in Ottawa, including his soul mate, the - maybe, Mr. Speaker, that is what he should be doing, and not rise in this House to try to convey the impression that the Province of Newfoundland is solely responsible for addressing the problem.

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a question for the Minister of Fisheries. I ask the minister is he aware that the seal fishery, as of today, has come to a virtual halt because fishermen can sell neither the meat nor the pelts?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, I am aware that there are some problems with respect to the seal fishery, but I am also aware of the fact that the Province this year provided a considerable amount of money to promote the seal fishery, monies that were allocated for specific purposes. Now, if somebody within the organization of the seal industry, the Canadian Sealers Association or the co-op, spent that money in other areas, then that is something that I cannot be held accountable for. But, certainly, we are having the matter investigated to see exactly where it stands, and maybe tomorrow I can make a statement on it in the House.

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

MR. WINSOR: Mr. Speaker, thank you. Of the total allowable landsmen hunt of approximately 180,000 seals, can the minister indicate what portion of that quota has been reached?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, I know that initially it was their intention to harvest approximately 50,000 seals altogether. I think 20,000 of those seals would have gone to the Carino company for processing, and it was planned to harvest about 30,000 by the sealers' co-op and the Canadian Sealers Association. As to how many have been harvested to date, I can't say.

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

MR. WINSOR: Mr. Speaker, one of the Province's positions is that we need a seal cull. Having an harvest of only 50,000 out of 186,000 seems to be passing strange. But since ice conditions along the Northeast Coast appear to be worsening - ice is moving quite close to land, which means the start-up of the other fisheries is going to be delayed - is the minister going to consider putting further subsidies into place to allow for the harvest of more seals?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, I would caution the hon. gentleman to choose his words maybe a little more carefully when he talks about a seal cull. If he wants to bring environmentalists down on this Province, then suggesting that, is the way to do it.

I don't have any plans at the moment, Mr. Speaker, for recommending to my Cabinet colleagues that we put more money into the seal fishery. I think we have been extremely generous this year and last year, and the previous year, in terms of providing funding for the harvest of seals. I personally do not entertain any thought of recommending that any further funding be made available this year.

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

MR. WINSOR: The minister subsidized the seal industry in two areas, pelts, to the tune of $510,000, and I think it was $120,000 for seal meat, all of which was left over from last year, because there was no hunt. Will the minister consider making more money available for the meat sector and is he pursuing this matter with federal Fisheries to see if the hunt can continue in view of the fact there is no other kind of fishery taking place now?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, that question might have been better directed to the hon. Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, because the funds that were provided for that purpose were made available by his department. Certainly, we have no plans to provide any additional funding.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. To the Minister of Fisheries: My office has been in contact with the minister requesting a meeting for a delegation from Little Bay Islands. I wonder is the minister aware of the request and is he willing to grant that request?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, no, I'm not. It might well be that the request has been made, but I have been out of my office for a day or two, and maybe when I go back this afternoon I will be told of the request for a meeting. If that request is there, I will have no hesitation at all in meeting with the delegation from Little Bay Islands.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A different question to a different minister. I have been told - and I don't know if this is a rumour or not, so I take it under advisement in that regard - that Cumberland Farms in the United States has gone into receivership, or is about to go into receivership, or something to that effect. That being the case, I ask the minister, is he aware of it and what action is this government planning, whether there is any fallout with regard to this particular situation vis-a-vis Come by Chance?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My understand is that Cumberland Farms Incorporated has not gone into receivership but that on Friday of last week they filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the United States. They expect to be re-organizing their debts and hope to pay off creditors in the next three months. I have learned from a representative of the company that there is no immediate effect on Come by Chance.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries. The federal council of the New Democratic Party, at a meeting this weekend in Hull, Quebec, passed a resolution calling on the federal government to give notice to the participants at the NAFO meetings in Halifax in May and the United Nations Conference in Brazil that if the overfishing problem is not resolved by January 1, 1993, the Government of Canada would take immediate action to assume management over the stocks off the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks. I ask the Minister of Fisheries whether or not his government supports that approach in light of the Premier's statement on his return from Europe that he is getting tired of diplomacy, that diplomacy is not working and that it is time for some action. Does the government support the position of the federal New Democratic Party?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, the question hardly deserves an answer. For that hon. gentleman now to stand in his place in this House trying to impress the idea of the Government of Canada, if it is found necessary, declaring unilateral action over the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks - Mr. Speaker, it is sickening in my view for him to even make that kind of comment, when, in fact, the argument that is being made now by his party originated with the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. CARTER: I don't know where they are. I know they have their heads stuck in the sand most of the time. Mr. Speaker, I know their heads are buried most of the time, but surely they come out for air and when they do, surely, he should have know that the idea came from this government. It is one we have been pushing now for quite some time.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

I want to bring to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the hon. Mr. Ross Reid, Member of Parliament for St. John's East.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Before proceeding to the next item of business, the Chair feels its obligation to remind hon. members again about certain procedures in Question Period, and the one to which I referred during the Question Period, of hon. members asking new questions primarily for the sake of getting in a preamble. I remind hon. members again that there is really no provision in our Standing Orders for new questions, and I quote to members Paragraph 31, Section B, which says: In the discretion of Mr. Speaker, a reasonable number of supplementary questions arising out of a Minister's reply to an oral question may be raised by hon. members.

This again is substantiated by Beauchesne, Paragraph 410, Section 8. I want hon. members to pay attention to this, as well, which says: "Preambles to questions should be brief and supplementary questions require no preambles. Supplementary questions should flow from the answers of Ministers."

Hon. members are aware that if members made a practice of saying they were on to a new question, that, indeed, would make things very difficult for the Chair, and there is an obligation and a responsibility on hon. members, to follow the rules, and particularly, to obey the rules. I ask hon. members for their co-operation in this regard so that we can have Question Period, adhering to the rules and Standing Orders of both our House and the House of Commons inasmuch as that is possible.

I am asking members' indulgence, as I am just checking to see if we have some students - I don't believe we do; we had several but they all related to the same thing.

Notices of Motion

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir.

MR. GILBERT: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow present the following resolution:

WHEREAS the Inshore Winter Fishery has been a complete and utter failure this year on the South Coast, west of the Burin Peninsula; and

WHEREAS unemployment insurance payments for these fishermen will expire on May 15, 1992;

BE IT RESOLVED that this House go on record as asking the Department of Employment and Immigration to extend the Unemployment Insurance Benefits to these South Coast fishermen, as was done for the North East Coast fishermen in the 1991 season; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this House ask the federal Department of Fisheries to pay the $800 gear-up allowance which was paid to certain fishermen in the Province of Newfoundland and in Nova Scotia in March of 1992, to the South Coast inshore fishermen and women, who were omitted from the original payment of this allowance.

Petitions

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am pleased to present a petition of 618 residents of the Town of Pasadena in the district I represent. I wholeheartedly support the petition. It deals with the subject of the shortchanging of the public libraries. This petition was drawn up and circulated before last week's shocking news that all public libraries in the Province will close for an additional two weeks this year. This petition protests the downgrading that began last year. I will read it in its entirety:

'We, the undersigned residents of Pasadena and patrons of our local library, were outraged upon hearing of the intended closure of our library during our head librarian's working hours while she is on vacation from May 5 to the 26. This is a crucial time for our 800-and-some students, who will be amidst exams, year-end projects and science fairs. The library is the only source of research and reading materials accessible to most of us. Cutbacks have been detrimental to library services in our community, and we believe that for a Province which promotes literacy this is definitely a step in the wrong direction." End of quote.

Mr. Speaker, Pasadena is a town of 3,500 people, and 618 of them signed this petition. Pasadena is a progressive and well run community. It places a great deal of emphasis on education. In many ways it serves as a model in the Province. The Pasadena people quite enthusiastically support their library both in contributing to the efforts of the volunteer library board as well as in borrowing books from the library. The Pasadena library is a beehive of activity. The Town Council contributes generously by covering all overhead costs. The library is located in the new town building, and the Town Council pays for heat, light, maintenance, and provides parking.

Mr. Speaker, the Pasadena experience illustrates the growing, the escalating problems faced by the Province's libraries. It is a small library serving a small town, and it is fairly typical. Other libraries in the Province are smaller still.

Now the Premier talked about the Public Libraries Board mismanaging, and he suggested that they have other choices before them besides closing all the libraries for two weeks. He did not seem to realize how bad the situation had already been allowed to degenerate. He did not seem to know that last year the majority of libraries had to close for the time their staff were on vacation or off on sick leave. Mr. Speaker, he also suggested that the board could look at reducing the number of hours below forty or thirty-five.

Now, Mr. Speaker, in Pasadena the board employs only two part-time librarians who work together for a total of only twenty-five hours a week. At the best of times they were opened to the public for only twenty-two and a half hours a week. Last year the government did not provide the provincial board with sufficient funding to allow for relief workers or substitute workers while permanent staff were on vacation or off sick. That is the problem that this petition addresses. This year the situation is much worse. All library employees will be coming off the payroll for two weeks, so the Pasadena library will be closed this year not for the three weeks that the petitioners are complaining about, but for a minimum of five weeks. The three weeks vacation period, up to one week sick leave, and two more weeks because of the general close down.

Mr. Speaker, people who have analyzed economic developments agree that education, reading and learning are now more important than ever.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wish to rise in support of the petition and take the opportunity to expand a little bit on my remarks on last Friday when I first raised this question with the Premier. Listening to the questions today I was quite pleased to see the Member for Humber East raise this question again today to the Premier, but I have to say that I was very disappointed and quite surprised to hear the Premier's remarks today when he responded and seemed to be prepared to abdicate responsibility for this very important question and say that the management of the public libraries is in the hands of the board and that they can do what they want.

Mr. Speaker, that is not what this government has set up the Public Libraries Boards for. They may well be volunteers, but, Mr. Speaker, the government has to have certain principles under which these libraries should be expected to operate. The job of the Public Library Board, Mr. Speaker, is not to close libraries, the job of the Public Library Board is to manage libraries and if they are not doing it in the way that satisfies the government then government should do something about it. If they are happy with the way they are managed then they might as well say: well, we are happy they are closing down libraries because we gave that job to them and we are not going to say anything about it.

Mr. Speaker, that is the problem I find with this government, that the Premier gets in the House here and says: we have given them as much money as we did last year. Essentially what he says is if they want to shut down the libraries well let them do it. Now, Mr. Speaker, that is not good enough. I asked a very simple question last Friday and I think it has yet to be answered even after the valiant attempts of the Member for Humber East today. I see the Minister of Education is quite interested in this question and well he might be. He knows that the people of this Province have expectations for the future for their children and they know if they are going to have any hope for the future of their children it depends on excellence in education, increasing the level of literacy, increasing the availability of knowledge and access to knowledge. If he and his government allow the Public Library Board to shut down libraries, for whatever reason, for the time period that is being contemplated by the Library Board in Pasadena, or the board that controls that library, or in fact shut down libraries for the Summer period when many students are anxious, available, and have time to delve into the public libraries and explore the wealth of knowledge that is available. It is not the most pressing issue of the day but it is a very, very symbolic and important action that is being taken in this Province where we are seeing, and this government seems to be allowed to see that kind of backward step to be taken. If we are going to have Public Library Boards, and I think they are a very valuable thing, to have members of the public involved in the provision of these services, there still has to be some basic requirements that are being required of the boards in the operation of public libraries across this Province. Mr. Speaker, maybe it requires government to tell these boards, or if necessary change the legislation, to suggest that they in the operation of the public libraries must keep the public libraries open for a specified period of the year and not use the closure of libraries, whether it be for one week, two weeks, or five weeks, as is the case of the Pasadena library, and be part of the job of running these libraries.

Mr. Speaker, I support wholeheartedly the petition of the people of Pasadena and I think it is quite instructive that such a large and overwhelming percentage of the population of that community have gone to the effort of putting together a petition, in what appears to be a very short period of time since this announcement was made, Mr. Speaker, in calling upon this Legislature and calling upon the government to do something about it. The question still remains, Mr. Speaker, after my efforts on Friday and the efforts of the Member for Humber East today, the question still remains, is government going to allow these libraries to be closed or is it going to do something about it?

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I will have more information later this week. I will provide the full detailed information. I just draw the hon. member's attention to a statement about this matter made by Mr. Penney, the Chairman of the Board in the Evening Telegram.

MS. VERGE: He is not the Chairman.

PREMIER WELLS: He is the Executive Director. Now here I caution, it may not be accurate. I cannot vouch for the veracity of the Evening Telegram when I bear in line the headline they attributed to me about my asking for patience with the Europeans, it is just totally the opposite. The hon. Member for St. John's East Extern read that in the Evening Telegram. He read it as a headline out of the Evening Telegram. He never, ever heard me say it nor did anybody else. My position has been very clear. Months ago I asked the federal government to serve notice on the world that if the matter is not resolved by January 1, 1993 - and I originated the date - they should take action. I am pleased to get support from the NDP on a national basis, I am quite pleased to have it.

But back to this point, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Penney said: We received $5,900,000 from government this year, the same amount as last year. Government did not cut our budget, but as far as we are concerned we cannot operate on that. He said Wednesday there were a number of layoffs in 1991 and he wanted to avoid the number of layoffs this year. So instead of having any layoffs this year it was thought that they would close for two weeks rather than laying off twenty staff. Well now if he has got the same amount for salary as he had last year; if he is not paying increases, as he is not supposed to do because nobody else in the public service is getting increases, why would he either be having layoffs or closing - either one? Unless he has hired more?

In terms of money to buy books, we provided increased funding to buy books, Mr. Speaker. We provided increased funding to buy books.

Now the last two paragraphs of that article are rather instructive, because it clearly states what is happening here. At the moment there is no firm word on when libraries will close, but Mr. Penney said two options are being looked at: Libraries could close during the summer, when there would be less impact, or close at a busy time and send a clear message to all concerned.

Now the government is not going to operate in response to that kind of threat and blackmail. We are going to run this Province responsibly, and if the people are not satisfied that we are running it responsibly, I have no doubt they will tell us when the next election comes around. But I have equally no doubt that when the next election comes around they are going to embrace with complete confidence the government, and entrust to the government, to the Liberal party, the future running of this Province because we have been doing it on a sound and sensible basis.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Now we are not going to allow Mr. Penney to cause the government to alter its basic budgetary position because he is raising these kinds of threats, that he might close at a busy time to send a message to all concerned. If the government gave in to that kind of blackmail it is an invitation for every hospital, every school board and every other agency in the Province to do the same thing, and the government is no longer master of the Budget. This House will no longer be making the final decisions. They would be pressured by this kind of silly political pressure. Well the government is not going to respond to that, even when it is picked up and raised by the opposition - the official opposition - even when it receives all of the full force and credit of the New Democratic Opposition, we are still going to run this Province on a fair and balanced basis, and we are not going to be pressured into revising budgetary decisions that were made in a fair and balanced basis in the first place.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise again to present a petition from the citizens of Little Bay Islands. This is the fourth sheet of names voluntarily - I repeat, voluntarily - given me by the citizens of Little Bay Islands at a public meeting I attended there some time ago. This brings to approximately 110 the total number of names who signed up that particular night.

The prayer of the petition is as follows: We the undersigned residents of Little Bay Islands hereby petition the hon. House of Assembly to instruct the hon. Minister of Fisheries not to approve the transfer, either temporarily or permanently, of the crab processing licence of S.T. Jones and Sons Limited to any other area of the Province.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I think I fulfilled my mandate as given to me in that meeting. I have raised this on every possible occasion since the meeting, in the media, and in this hon. House. I have raised it on Bill Rowe's Open Line. I have done my best to get the message out. I raised it again today in Question Period. I am very pleased that the minister has indicated that he will meet with a delegation from Little Bay Islands. The request was placed by my secretary a week or so ago. I understand the minister has been on the road, but I do hope that he will honour his word and meet the delegation sooner rather than later at a mutually convenient time. Therefore, I would leave it at that. I support the prayer of this petition and ask that it be tabled and referred to the Department of Fisheries to which it relates.

Thank you very much.

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, really I suppose on a point of order, and it is something that I think I would like to get straightened out here. I did not want to interrupt the hon. member and take up his time, but what we are seeing is, I believe the hon. member mentioned this is the fourth sheet of a petition - fourth sheet from a petition.

MR. HEWLETT: Originals!

MR. BAKER: Fourth sheet from a petition, they are all originals I agree, from Little Bay Islands. Now, Mr. Speaker, I think we really should have some kind of ruling on that. Normally if you have a petition being presented from a number of communities, and members give a petition from one community and then a petition from another community and so on, I suppose there is some logic to not presenting them all together and presenting them as separate petitions from separate communities. Or, the same petition from different districts or whatever.

But I am wondering if it is proper to take a four-, five-, or six-sheet petition, all original, and submit it as four or five or six separate petitions. I am wondering if that is an acceptable practice. If it is, Your Honour, I would suggest that it would be acceptable I suppose to present - if there is a community with thirty-five or sixty houses in it, you could present the same petition from each house in the community and so on. You could go on forever in this House, and I am not so sure that is the intent of petitions.

If a petition has been presented as being from a community, then can you continue to present the same petition day after day from the same community, Mr. Speaker? So I think it is something that Your Honour will have to look into and at some point in time give a ruling on.

MR. R. AYLWARD: To that point of order.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, I do not know why the Government House Leader is wasting the time of the House on this one. It really astonishes me. All he has to do is open our book of -

AN HON. MEMBER: Rules.

MR. R. AYLWARD: - rules, or whatever you call it. Our book of rules. Look to petitions -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: - Mr. Speaker, in Standing Orders, yes, thank you, and you will see that the petition is acceptable in this House if it has three original signatures on it. No matter how many sheets it is. It does not matter how many names are on it, as long as you have three original signatures on that petition.

AN HON. MEMBER: And signed by the member.

MR. R. AYLWARD: So, Mr. Speaker, I do not know why the hon. member has wasted the time of the House with this matter. The hon. member has the right in this House to present that petition with different names, three different names on it, as many times as he wishes. The fact that the Government House Leader might like to see the hon. member muzzled and not present petitions on behalf of his constituents is irrelevant.

Our rules dictate that the hon. member can present that petition, or a petition, with three signatures on it. It is considered to be a separate petition, as long as it is of the standard acceptable by this House of Assembly.

MR. HEWLETT: To the point of order, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Green Bay on the point of order.

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I agree with my hon. colleague for Kilbride that I do not think there is any rule against my presenting different sheets as long as they are originals as separate petitions on the same issue, even if the wording of the prayer is the same.

However, I would point out - and especially for the edification of the Minister of Health - that I told the public meeting concerned that I could present one petition or I could present several petitions to keep the issue alive as long as possible to put pressure on this government to accede to their request for a meeting with the minister. They mandated me to use my best common sense and political experience to so do.

Now I remember some time ago, before I was elected and was an employee of the Crown, sitting in the House of Assembly when the present Minister of Health was a member of the opposition getting up and reading petitions, I do believe on electrical rates, if I am not mistaken, from the Town of St. Anthony. Doing it street by street, day after day, alternating even and odd numbers. He is grinning, Mr. Speaker, so he knows I have him cold on this one.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Just to correct some misstatements opposite. My intent - and I waited until the hon. member had presented his petition -was not to interfere with his presenting it. I allowed him to do that before I got up on the point of order. I simply requested some clarification from Your Honour with regards to this particular process. I understand that what the hon. members are saying about petitions is perfectly okay. There has to be at least three signatures on the petition part of the page. Regardless of the number of signatures, as long as three signatures appear on the front page, on the page with the prayer, then it is okay. It does not say that the same petition can be presented 300 times, each time with three separate signatures, Mr. Speaker.

So I would still request that Your Honour have a look at this problem, as I see it. The rules of the House, Mr. Speaker, are such that they are supposed to encourage the smooth running of procedures, and there are ample opportunities for members opposite to slow up proceedings and to interfer with proceedings of the House. One mechanism is by presenting petitions. If hon. members opposite wanted to generate petitions, they could do so on a variety of topics to slow up the business of the House, but, Mr. Speaker, it makes it so much easier if you can present the same petition 300 times with only three names on it, it is an entirely different problem.

Also, I would like to point out, Mr. Speaker, that the prayer of this petition, which I understand is to get a meeting with the minister, has already been agreed to. So I don't know what the purpose of doing it beyond this point is, Mr. Speaker, because the prayer of the petition has already been answered.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, I just want to differ with the hon. member. Our rules on petitions are very clear. Standing Orders 90 to 97, I believe they are, Mr. Speaker, are very clear. The hon. member can, if he has a petition with three signatures on the prayer of that petition, present it 300 times in this House of Assembly. He can. I mean, that is clear, it is not complicated. Our Standings Orders say that he can. Maybe we would like to change our Standing Orders.

MR. DOYLE: There is a process going on now.

MR. R. AYLWARD: I would say we might be able to have a talk about that, but, Mr. Speaker, our Standing Orders are very clear.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I thank hon. members for their submission. The Chair will take that under advisement.

I am not sure that all hon. members follow the rules of the House with respect to presentation of petitions and, again, without being repetitious on this matter, I refer hon. members to the right format. I will say that the hon. Member for Green Bay invariably has the right format for his petitions and one that all hon. members ought to follow.

I meant to say this before the hon. Member for Humber East left the House, that that petition again was not in the right format and I would really like for hon. members to deal with that.

I have said to hon. members in the past, if they think that their petition is not in the right format, they should take it to the Clerk of the House. It only takes a short time to get it in the right format.

The reason why the format is the way it is is because petitions are not for debate. That is the reason why it is designed the way it is. Now, hon. members can sort of disregard the rules, but the job of the Chair is to try to enforce them, and hon. members will have to understand that that is the reason why the petition is designed the way it is, to discourage debate. Not that that works every time, but at least the petition is designed in a way that it is supposed to discourage debate, because it is a forum in which no debate is supposed to take place. When the petition is not written properly that sort of encourages it because there are things on the petition that are debatable that ought not to be there. So I would ask hon. members to try and abide by that rule, which is a simple one.

On the matter raised by the Government House Leader, the Chair will research and just see what the situation is.

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

MR. HEARN: Mr. Speaker, I stand in support of the petition so ably presented by my colleague from Green Bay. I think perhaps what we just saw is a bit of camouflage because the government is trying to get away from the real issue here. The issue is the movement of a processing licence, that only government can do, from one community to another. If we were devious enough, I suppose we could look at the geography and the political involvement of the move.

Mr. Speaker, in this Province of ours, in the rural areas, we find that many areas are one-industry towns, whether it be a mining town, whether it be a paper mill town or whether it be a fishing town or village, particularly in our fishing areas we find that the industry, the sole industry in many cases, is the local fish plant. In Little Bay Islands the crab processing plant is the sole source of livelihood. Now, if the present operator, for some reason or other, is not interested or wants to sell his licence or facility, that is entirely up to him provided he owns the facility and it is not leased from government or whatever, but the licence is not his to sell. The licence is assigned, always was at least, assigned to a facility within the community involved and if a certain individual or individuals do not want to operate by using that licence, maybe somebody else does.

A crab processing licence, now, like any other licence in the fishery is a prime piece of property to hold; it is a commodity that many crave, and for which many will pay a considerable amount of money, even though you are not supposed to sell a licence as such, but licences are being bought and sold whether they are dragging licences or boat licences or inshore licences or whatever, they are being bought and sold as we know, because people know they are going to be harder and harder and harder to get. There is a freeze on processing licences.

If anybody wanted to start a plant, a primary processing facility tomorrow, you are going to be told by government: sorry, there is a freeze on licences so the only way you can get into the fishery is to pick up an existing licence which is there so if the operator in Little Bay Islands does not want to operate, maybe somebody else does, so that work will be provided there and it is very easy for the government to try to appease some of their own members or friends if they so wish, by allowing a licence to be transferred to a place where, perhaps, seemingly interested individuals are willing to operate a facility in that area, and I can appreciate people wanting to get involved in the fishery or anything else. That is what makes the economy grow and the world turn but you do not take away the only, the sole opportunity that a community has and we have had opportunities in our own area in the past, in recent years whereby, if we did not have control of the licences, then the individuals who owned facilities just packed up and moved and took everything with them, but by having the licence in the community assigned to the facility, even though the facility might be dilapidated and would have to be rebuilt, but by having a licence there it gave new entrepreneurs a chance to come in. The only choice they had to get into the fishery was to come where the licence was and they did and they continued to provide employment and in fact in many cases enhanced employment, but if we took away that licence and let it go with the individual or individuals, then we wipe out the sole source of livelihood for the area.

So I think this is why we see all our points of order and our concern about - it is not the concern about whether the petition is legal or not, it is just to throw up a smoke screen to take away the fact that they are not worried about meeting with the minister only, why you want to meet with the minister, is to get him to commit to not taking the licence, that is the case, because taking the licence means taking away their livelihood, so, Mr. Speaker, I stand in support of the petition, it is essential that a licence be left in place, whether it is in Little Bay Islands or anywhere else, whether it is a Tory district or a Liberal district. Where we have licences and employment provided, that is the only guarantee people will have that this employment will continue and I certainly support the petition.

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

MR. DUMARESQUE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to present a petition signed by 1,029 individuals from all parts of this Province, from Labrador to St. John's to Stephenville to central Newfoundland and, Mr. Speaker, the prayer of the petition is as such:

We the undersigned are concerned about the number of impaired driving incidents in our Province and we feel that the present penalties for impaired driving are not strong enough to deter people from driving while under the influence of alcohol. The lives of innocent people continue to be devastated and needlessly by the impaired driver, and we call on our government to enact legislation which will help to keep drunk drivers off the road.

Mr. Speaker, I guess there is not a lot more which can be said about this particular prayer, but certainly I am pleased to stand in support of it. I would like to commend the Friends Against Drinking and Driving, a voluntary group in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, which was instrumental in having this petition circulated throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, and of course they were assisted in this by the Member for Naskaupi as he presented I think, the first of a number of these petitions last November, so, Mr. Speaker, I would just like to say that I certainly concur with the prayer of the petition.

I believe, as everybody does, that anytime we have a tragic accident where life is taken by a drunk driver then certainly the whole community suffers and there is no doubt about the pain and anguish that comes to families who have to endure this type of very, very unfortunate tragedy. Mr. Speaker, I know that the Premier has struck a committee to look into this particular issue, and I hope that they will be making their recommendations to the government in the near future to see that we do all that is humanly possible to see that the signal is sent out there, to see that the people of this Province who ever had a thought about drinking and driving, that certainly they would feel that the government of the day would be taking whatever action is necessary to see that this kind of tragic thing does not occur. I am sure all hon. members would concur with the wishes of this petition. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Before recognizing the hon. the Member for Kilbride, again the Chair feels its obligation to again tell the Member for Eagle River that petition was not in the right format either.

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Although that petition is not in the right format, Mr. Speaker, I am very delighted that the Member for Eagle River did bring it to the attention of this House. Certainly it is a very, very serious issue. I want to go on record on my behalf and on behalf of all the members in the Official Opposition of supporting that petition wholeheartedly, Mr. Speaker.

We had some months ago a similar petition presented in this House from the Happy Valley - Goose Bay area, I believe, and it got unanimous support in this House of Assembly. Mr. Speaker, it is a very serious problem. Drunk driving in this Province, I guess in Canada overall and in this Province, is a serious, serious problem. There have been occasions when people drive who do not believe they are drunk - I don't know how you can avoid that. If there was ever some kind of a portable breathalyser that a person could have if they were going out for a night's entertainment or social evening, if there was some kind of a portable thing that you could take with you, and before you sat in your car you could blow into that thing and know if you were above the legal limit.

It certainly would be a great help to a lot of people, and I don't mean just people who - there are people who drive and don't realize they are drunk. There are people who flagrantly abuse this and they are caught many times, and you see their names in the paper for being convicted of drunk driving a lot of times. These are certainly the most serious ones, but there are other instances when people do not realize that they are over their limit. They do not realize how serious it is and how bad their judgement can be impaired by a few drinks of alcohol, Mr. Speaker. It is too bad there is not some kind of an invention, with all the brilliant minds that are in this world today, there should be something that can be left on a bar maybe before you are leaving a lounge or a bar, or something that you can personally take yourself or buy at a bar just to try it to see if you are over that legal limit. I am sure that would cut down on it once people realized. If they realize that they are over the legal limit, I don't think there would be as much impaired driving as there is now. Even people who are close to the legal limit, Mr. Speaker, if they realized it they would be fools, certainly, to continue to drive once they knew it. They are fools anyway to be taking the risk and many of us are guilty of that, of being fools, Mr. Speaker. I don't hide away from it that I have probably been guilty of it in the past, Mr. Speaker, not knowing - I don't hide away from it - not knowing that I was guilty but could very well have been. I am glad to be able to stand in this House of Assembly and support that petition, and I wish the group who collected the petition well, and I hope they continue to highlight this issue. I hope they continue to take up petitions, and if there is anything that the Official Opposition can do in this House of Assembly to help them highlight this issue, I am sure we will be more than glad to. We will cooperate certainly fully with any government initiative to try to impose stiffer penalties, if that is what is necessary. I am not sure that comes under the Criminal Code. I imagine most of it would come under the Criminal Code, but maybe some way under the Highway Traffic Act, that we do have control over in this House of Assembly. We can make tougher rules against drunk driving, Mr. Speaker. Hopefully we will have our law enforcement agencies enforce them even more stringently than they are doing now.

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It gives me equal privilege to rise in support of the petition presented by the Member for Eagle River this afternoon. Whether it was on the proper form or it suited our House rules or not, it still is an extremely important petition. I have had an opportunity over the years as past president of the Newfoundland Safety Council, and been involved quite a bit with the carnage that exists on our highways.

I would like to inform hon. members that whether we do or don't realise it that approximately 50 per cent of all highway fatalities that take place across this nation and down through the United States, and when you look at the number it is the highest cause of death outside of, I think it is, coronary problems.

You can see that these young people are to be commended by taking this approach and signing this petition. Half of those involved are impaired, not only of alcohol as we know today. We do have other problems associated with impairment. We find that when the accidents are over and people do the investigation, and when you look at the tremendous amount of people that are killed on the highways, then I think anything that we as legislators can do to discourage the general public from exceeding - and I would say the exception might very well be, and I think there is some room for this, that even one drink and/or one bottle of beer and/or even some medications. We see it on our pills today, our prescription drugs, and we also realise the terrible problems associated with other, off-street drugs, when we have young people and middle-aged people, I guess driving.

So maybe, it would certainly be extreme, but there are countries in the world - and I give you free countries, like Australia, New Zealand - that if you are caught with 0.08, if you exceed 0.08, you don't lose your licence for three, five, eight or ten months. You lose your licence for life. Now when the Iron Curtain countries were there - Yugoslavia, which is devastated today, and some other countries - impaired driving meant death by firing squad. So I would suggest to you that might be a little extreme. But anything we can do from the standpoint of legislation to deter our drivers - our young people and older people - from entering an automobile and getting behind the wheel, and moving 4,000 pounds of steel down a highway at 100 kmh or 120 kmh, than obviously we all know what it is. It is a loaded vehicle ready to deal devastation on somebody else coming in the other direction or whatever the case may be, and/or even worse, in a lot of cases to passengers who are in that vehicle.

So it is a great privilege for me to stand today and say a few words in support of this petition. I want to say to the Member for Kilbride - last year when we brought in some higher fines and what have you to deal with this, and the loss of points and what have you - and he spoke so nobly today about his support, well, that is great. I do not want to hear the hon. member next year if we have fines that are increased or whatever the case might be, I know he won't rise next year now and talk about this great tax grab. But he will stand up and encourage the government, Mr. Speaker, to increase the fines to decrease the carnage on our highways.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: I believe we had the number of speakers on this petition.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes on a point of order.

MR. HEARN: Mr. Speaker, it arises from the discussion on the petitions that were presented and the type of format. Because a petition such as the one we just saw, which was so ably presented and also so important to have been presented in the House, could have easily been rejected if members were picky because of the format. It could be that we would have major petitions. When a petition is sent to the House, usually it is taken up by individuals in an area where, for some reason or other, they have a great concern about what is going on and want to express that concern to this hon. House. Quite often the individuals involved, all they know is that they are taking up a petition to give to the member to present to the House, and they have no idea at all that there is a special format. Usually we ask government or we ask the minister or we ask somebody, but the intention is that it be brought here and presented here for everyone to see and comment upon or whatever.

I am just wondering, in light of that - because if a petition came in that deals with a touchy subject, you know, some controversial issue in government where it could be used to lambaste the government, if government wanted or if the Opposition, on the other hand, didn't want government to present a petition, we could object to the format and say it is not legal and all this kind of stuff, and the petition taken up by maybe hundreds or even thousands of people, for all the right reasons, could be rejected simply because of the format. I am just wondering if there is some way that we could, educate, I suppose is the word, but let more people know, through at least the agencies, the councils and organizations who are usually the ones to start collecting petitions, some idea of the format. There has been some discussion among ourselves, but I don't think there has ever been a direct attempt to let the different groups and organizations know that if you want to send in a petition, there should be a format.

So it could certainly prevent embarrassing situations down the line if we could do something. Either that or we forget about the format altogether.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes makes a lot of sense, and he is absolutely right in his concern about petitions and so on.

We have to remember that the way petitions happen is that someone in a community wants something done, so they go around and collect signatures door to door and give it to their member or send it in and say: Would you present this? They have no knowledge of proper form. I would suggest to Your Honour that when you see a petition coming in in proper form it is probably one that was generated by the member. If I am going out and generating a petition, then I will make sure it is in the proper form. I cannot expect that the people out there would send it in to me in the proper form. I know we have been over this a number of years.

I don't think you can go on this big campaign to publicize all over the Province, that here is the proper form and so on - I think the greatest safeguard you have is kind of co-operation back and forth. I really believe that in the seven years I have been in the House I have seen that co-operation, because very few petitions have been in proper form and always, as far as I can recall, they have been accepted. Maybe we should just formally make that statement, that if the intent is that something should go to elected members somehow, that that then will be accepted, sort of by agreement from one side of the House to the other. I think that is perhaps the best safeguard. Reasonable people provide the best safeguard, Your Honour, I believe.

MR. SPEAKER: To the point of order: Hon. members will appreciate that the Chair's responsibility is to enforce the rules and as long as the rules are the way they are, then the Chair has to indicate that the petition is not in the right format. I have said to hon. members in the past - and if hon. members co-operated I don't think it would be necessary - I have asked hon. members, if they have a petition that they know is not in the right format, and hon. members ought to know that, that they just check it out with the Clerk and the Clerk will say that that is okay, either that or the hon. member just, in rising in his or her place, simply says to hon. members: I have a petition that is not in the right format. Will hon. members allow it given its subject matter? But the Chair has to protect itself, as hon. members will realize, because we do have the rules and hon. members can change them, but the Chair cannot change them. I think what the hon. Member for St. Mary's - The Capes says, and the submission made by the hon. the Government House Leader, does make a lot of sense.

Orders of the Day

MR. BAKER: Motion 6, Mr. Speaker.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Environment and Lands to introduce a bill, "An Act Respecting An Avian Emblem Of The Province", carried. (Bill No. 21).

On motion, Bill No. 21 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

MR. BAKER: Motion 7, Mr. Speaker.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Environment and Lands to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Waste Material (Disposal) Act, 1973", carried. (Bill No. 20).

On motion, Bill No. 20 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

MR. BAKER: Order 10.

MR. SPEAKER: Order 10. Second reading of "An Act To Extend Restraint Of Compensation In The Public Sector Of The Province", (Bill No. 17), the continuation of the adjourned debate.

The hon. the Member for Harbour Main.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DOYLE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I don't have a great deal more to say on this particular piece of legislation, but in summing up my remarks, we did introduce an amendment on Friday to Bill 17, that the legislation should be referred to the Government Services Legislation Committee. We think that is a very appropriate move. We realize the government will not go along with it, but we think it is a very appropriate move, that it should be referred to the Government Services Legislation Committee, so that the people most directly affected might be given the opportunity to have some input into this bill, to make their views directly known. They are the people most directly affected, the public servants of the Province, the public employees of the Province, and they have had virtually no opportunity to speak to government on this bill to make their views known.

At least, if we were to refer that legislation to the Government Services Legislation Committee, the people most directly affected would have the opportunity to appear before that Committee to make their views known, because it is becoming habit-forming. It is becoming habit-forming for this government, especially over the last couple of years, to freeze wages, to break contracts without any thought whatsoever to the people most directly affected, namely, the public employees of this Province. So, at least, they would be given the opportunity to appear before the Committee to make their views known, because whether we choose to believe it, whether we want to believe it or not, collective bargaining, as the former President of the NTA said, as the Minister of Labour indicated to the teachers last week, collective bargaining is not in jeopardy, collective bargaining is dead, and we agree. We agree.

MR. WINSOR: Say it again, the minister didn't hear it.

MR. DOYLE: The minister knows, because I said it to him on Friday, that when the teachers of this Province were out in the lobby with their signs saying collective bargaining is in jeopardy, the Minister of Labour quite correctly, quite accurately pointed out to these people that collective bargaining is not in jeopardy, collective bargaining is dead, and we couldn't agree more with the Minister of Labour. Now, we question the appropriateness of the Minister of Labour making that type of comment, by virtue of the fact that he is the Minister of Labour. We would question the appropriateness of the Minister of Labour making that type of comment. Nevertheless, what the Minister of Labour is saying is absolutely true, collective bargaining in this Province is not in jeopardy, collective bargaining is dead. And in spite of amendment after amendment after amendment that we intend to introduce to this bill, the government will have its way in the end, the unions will lose. They lost on Bill 16, they are going to lose on Bill 17. Just as surely as the government has a majority in the House to ram it through, they will lose on Bill 17. And just as surely, if government has the opportunity to bring in one more Budget, they will lose on Bill 18 when that one comes about, because this, Mr. Speaker, is part two or a three part series. This is part two of a three part mini-series, freezing wages, breaking collective agreements on Bill 16, enforcing it again in Bill 17, and it will come again in Bill 18, make no mistake about it.

So, what is at stake here, as I said on Friday, is not just the freezing of wages, it is not just the breaking of existing agreements, which is, in itself, very, very important, what is at stake here is the honesty and the integrity and the straightforwardness of the government. Even Ministers of the Crown going about telling their respective interest groups in the Province that they are not in favour of the legislation that they, themselves have devised is one on me. I never heard the like of it before, Mr. Speaker.

What is at issue here is not the recession or how much money the provincial government has to pay its employees, the issue, quite frankly, quite openly, quite honestly, is the honesty of the government. And the government, Mr Speaker, through its action in 1991, and now, again, in 1992 has brought on - and I believe the President of Treasury Board should be aware of it by now - what the government has brought on is a crisis in trust; and it goes far beyond the public sector unions, because government has set a very, very dangerous precedent in collective bargaining that is going to have repercussions in the public sector for years and years to come, and not only in the public sector but it is going to have repercussions in the private sector, as well.

Bill 17 is not only a reflection on this government, not only a reflection on this administration, but it is a reflection, I believe, on every single member of the Legislature, every member of the House of Assembly. Because when people can no longer put their faith and their trust in their elected representatives when they put their signature on an agreement, it is a very, very sad day, indeed, for democracy.

What we have seen, Mr. Speaker, is a breaking of trust. It simply means that no public service union in this Province will ever again be able to go to the government and sit down and bargain collectively as equals with any degree of trust in the employer, because government knew when they were making agreements last year and putting their signature to these agreements that a few days after they would come into this House of Assembly with Bill 16, essentially breaking the agreements. Freezing the wages was one thing. We knew that government was probably going to freeze wages but never in our wildest dreams, never in our wildest imaginings, did we feel that government would actually break existing collective agreements.

Mr. Speaker, that is where the problem lies, that is the sin, the dishonesty and the broken promises of the government which have incidentally become the hallmarks of this government over the last three-year period. It is not only in dealing with the unions, Mr. Speaker, look at the health care system, when government actually said to the people of the Province that there was no possible way they would ever close hospital beds as long as the need existed. What did we see shortly after the government came into power? - four hundred and fifty hospital beds closed; three hundred beds in acute case closed by this government; nine hundred and fifty people in the health care sector laid off, all from a government which a number of months before had made the solemn vow and the solemn promise that as long as the need existed they would never close down hospital beds.

So, what we have is a crisis in trust developing in this Province over the last three-year period. What it simply means is that no union could ever go to the bargaining table again with this government with any degree of faith in the people with whom they bargaining.

So, Mr. Speaker, as I said, I don't have a great deal more to say on this bill, but what we are seeing here is not a freeze, it is a cut. It is not a freeze, it is a cut that the public servants of the Province are taking. Because, with the 4 per cent increase in personal income tax, or the 6 per cent increase in personal income tax when you take into consideration the 2 per cent in 1989-90, and then, when you account for inflation on top of that, what you have then is not a freeze, you actually have a cut to the 40,000 public servants of the Province.

Now, the government can scream 'foul' and say what they want, but when you consider the 4 per cent increase in the personal income tax and then the changes in income tax in 1990-91, what you have here is a cut to the 40,000 public servants in the Province.

The wages are one issue, Mr. Speaker, but that is not the most important issue. The most important issue - and the President of Treasury Board just doesn't seem to realize. If he realizes, he is over there with a poker face. He doesn't seem to have any great concern about it. Mr. Speaker, it is not the wage freeze - governments in the past have been forced on occasion to make wage freezes. We did it. We did it, Mr. Speaker, we froze wages. Maybe we paid the political price for it, but we did it. However, one thing the unions in the Province can never say, and can never accuse us of, is breaking existing collective agreements. That is where the real problem comes in, breaking existing collective agreements.

Now the President of Treasury Board stood in the House - did the Member for St. John's South say something?

MR. MURPHY: (Inaudible).

MR. DOYLE: No, they are perfectly right, Mr. Speaker. The President of Treasury Board stood in the House - I remember it well - back a year ago when he brought in Bill 16, saying that this was to be a one-year thing, contracts and the whole thing would be reinstated one year down the road. I have a copy of his remarks here, and that is exactly what he said, that it would be a one-year freeze.

So what we have, Mr. Speaker, is a violation of trust. It sets a very, very dangerous precedent for future collective bargaining. Government is sending a very negative message. I don't know if it is the intent of the government to try to beat and hammer the unions into submission, to hammer and beat the unions into the ground; I don't know if that is the intent of the government, and I don't know if the government has any concern that it certainly undermines their own credibility, but it does. It seriously undermines the government's credibility, and I am not really too much worried about the government's credibility, to be quite honest with the President of Treasury Board. I couldn't care less about the government's credibility, from a political point of view, but I do worry about the unions.

AN HON. MEMBER: You are worried about that?

MR. DOYLE: Yes, I have always worried a little bit about unions to be quite honest, because I have been a member of the union for a number of years and I have always had some affiliation with unions and I have sat around the table and bargained on behalf of unions and I have stood on the picket line with unions and what have you, so, I am very worried about the unions because they have made a certain amount of progress since 1949.

They have made a certain amount of progress in the collective bargaining process and they have taken the various steps over the years and they have come along. They have not come along as quickly as they wanted to but they have made some progress over the years and to see that progress just destroyed and thrown to the wind causes me some concern, and I am very, very disturbed about it, that the unions should be treated that way, that the strides they have made over the years are just being ignored by government.

Now, if you had a problem, why did you not go back and renegotiate with the unions and say to them: look, we have a problem. We will renegotiate your contract but to break existing collective agreements without any thought to what effect it was going to have upon the union, is, in my view, an unwarranted use of power, Mr. Speaker, it is an unwarranted use of power and the government always seems to use the excuse: oh, we were elected to govern and we have to make tough decisions, that they were elected by the people to do a job for the people, that the Legislature is the all powerful arm of the government, and that may be true, Mr. Speaker, it might be true, but we have, under the British Parliamentary system of democracy in this Province, not a dictatorship, as the government seems to be displaying itself right now, as a dictatorship.

People trust their representatives and they do not expect them to use the heavy hand of the Legislature every time something comes up, to hammer unions into the ground. They do not expect that, so what we saw the government do, Mr. Speaker, in essence, was to bargain dishonestly. We saw the government bargaining dishonestly because they knew when they negotiated these agreements what they would be doing, that they would be coming into the Legislature and using the power of the Legislature to break these agreements and to hammer unions into the ground.

So, Mr. Speaker, as I said, I do not have a great deal left to say on this bill, I said what I wanted to say on Friday and I will sit down and give members opposite a chance to have a few words to say, especially the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. I am sure he is going to want to clarify his position, on people running around wearing badges that say: Down with Bill 17 and collective bargaining is dead in the Province. He should have the opportunity to clarify that, but, Mr. Speaker, this is a very, very sad day for democracy in this Province, if this bill passes which it will, because the government will use its majority in the House, to ram it through, to ram it down the throats of the 40,000 public servants in this Province. But make no mistake about it, Mr. Speaker, and all members should realize it, all members should realize that there is a day of reckoning - the day of reckoning is coming, it might be two months down the road or six months down the road or a year down the road or two, but make no mistake about it, a day of reckoning is coming because no government can abuse and misuse the unions of the Province to that extent and not have a day of reckoning. So, Mr. Speaker, that is about all I have to say on this bill.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

Just about a year ago I stood and we talked about Bill 16 and I made the point and I am sure some hon. members on both sides can remember that I thought it was probably the most dastardly piece of legislation that had been presented in some time, I think that Bill 17 could be classified with Bill 16. I do not think anybody in this hon. House, certainly on this side, if they had their wish, would want to see this particular bill on the floor of this Legislature, Mr. Speaker, because it obviously does something to a government who is sooner or later going to have to go back to the people of the Province and ask for a mandate to come back here as the government. The funny part about that, Mr. Speaker, is it would seem, and one would think, that the general population in the public sector unions would be totally upset and distraught with the decisions that have been forced upon this government. You would think they would be on the steps day and night, they would be in the galleries crying and gnashing of teeth, but we have not seen that, and the reason we have not seen that is because the people who work with the public sector unions in this Province, most of them, I do not know what percentage but certainly most of them understand exactly what is before this government. They know only too well that it is ludicrous, irresponsible, and downright stupid to try and bring in a wage increase at this time.

Mr. Speaker, it was only the day we saw a very long complimentary and concise article in the Globe and Mail about the health care services in this Province, and they were not negative, Mr. Speaker. It talked about a Province with the least ability doing the most for its money and that basically is the same thing we have in this particular bill. It is a Province doing the best and the most it can with the money that is available to it. Now, hon. members opposite can get up and pound away, and shout. It does not matter what periodical or newspaper you pick up, Mr. Speaker, you see headlines like: Saskatchewan slashes health care and school funds.

AN HEN. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. MURPHY: Yes, Saskatchewan. As a matter of fact it would be rather interesting tomorrow in this bill debate to have the information of the Saskatchewan Budget at hand. I somehow or other have a feeling that Mr. Romanow's Finance Minister will be standing in Saskatchewan today blasting the use of the Tory mismanagement in the province of Saskatchewan, and perhaps the hon. Member for St. John's East will be on his feet tomorrow pounding his desk because if he got something like this to read he would probably be well informed.

AN HEN. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. MURPHY: Now, there is an idea, however he will be pounding and blaming the Tories. They may not be as friendly tomorrow. The Member for Menihek and the Member for St. John's East will have a sit-in over there and discuss what is going on in the stock market and what is going on here and there in the investment capitals of the world.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. MURPHY: Well, the problem with the hon. Member for St. John's East is he only knows too well that here in this tenth Province as people call us, the poorest Province, the have-not Province of this country, that the people in this Province are supporting, in pain I might add, but supporting and understanding what the government of the day has to do. They understand that, Mr. Speaker. We can talk about tearing up collective agreements, we can talk about flying in the face of organized labour, we can talk about all of this hypothetical hogwash -

AN HEN. MEMBER: He knows what all that means.

MR. MURPHY: That is right. If we want to talk about principles perhaps some day we will get up and debate principles and we will see how that rolls out. Mr. Speaker, we have had devastation in the fishing industry through no fault of our own and I know the hon. Speaker, representing a fishing district in this Province, what has taken place last year, what has taken place all over the Province in the offshore and inshore fishery and a $700 million industry that is slowly but surely in great peril looking at us, and the tax base from that industry falling away. Looking at that, Mr. Speaker, looking at the reduction in transfer monies that historically came down from Ottawa to help this Province over the hump, so to speak, and get on our feet and become a have province, and there is a lot of things in that that could be debated. The Atlantic Accord and the devastation that cost and what the Tories tried to sell us on what a wonderful package it was and here we are now understanding that it wasn't.

That reminds me. The very party that we hear the squawking from, the NDP Party, in the House of Commons in Ottawa, was the very party that voted against the federal government supporting Hibernia. The hypocritical attitude and the hypocritical farce and comments that we hear in this House sometimes, it is extremely difficult to sit in one's place and contain oneself. However, I do it and I do it quite well as the Chair knows. I contain myself.

I would like to use an example of what we can do sometimes with collective agreements. They can have all the best intentions on behalf of the employees. The employer sits down in good faith with the employees and they hammer out, I suppose is a good phrase to be associated with it, a collective agreement. Now a couple of years ago the very union - how they find themselves in the private sector is beyond me, but if that is the wish of those who work with a company to have NAPE represent them, then all well and good. But what we have seen this year is simply negotiating a contract beyond the capability of the employer to fulfil. Now what happened in that situation?

What happened was we saw seventy-nine permanent jobs on O'Leary Avenue associated with Coca-Cola go right out the Narrows and plant themselves in Halifax. That is what we saw. That is the extreme of negotiating yourself out of business, negotiating your jobs out of business. We saw that, we witnessed that this year. I do not need to tell this hon. House, or these hon. members, how many small businesses in this city and throughout this Province are hanging on by their fingernails, so to speak. The hon. members all know full well, the same as I do. I get calls every day from small businesses in my riding: you know, Tom, you don't understand how difficult it is to hang on to those thirteen, or eighteen or twenty employees. They are working very hard.

What I hear - and the bottom line is - is that this government has taken the financial responsibility, the fiscal responsibility, to put the shop in order. Now that is one thing I hear. Though the hon. member - and I said it, and I will say it again - there is no one on this side of the House who would in all conscience stand up and agree with Bill 17. It is not a bill that is healthy. It is like that medicine that your mother told you, as I said before, you have to swallow it. You are not going to like the taste of it, you are going to want to throw it up, but if you don't take it -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: That's right. Your cold won't go away, the flu won't go away, or whatever condition you have won't go away. I know the trouble that the President of Treasury Board, the Minister of Finance, the Premier and cabinet, what they have gone through in this ordeal. Night after night they burned the midnight oil on this one, Mr. Speaker, the Cabinet did. They burned the midnight oil trying to do everything they could, but the end result was the bill that we have before us.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I don't want to resurrect too many of yesterdays, but just for the record, 'Crosbie tells Province to clean up its act.' - the hon. John. Mr. Crosbie zeroed in particularly on Mr. Peckford's statement that if Newfoundland does not get a better deal from Ottawa on such things as regional development, equalization payments, established program funding, fisheries jurisdiction, the problem we'll face is an 1933-34 style financial collapse in two years. That statement was made on Wednesday, February 25, 1987.

Now Ottawa funding helped lower provincial debt. So go back to that era. And then the hon. Member for Green Bay's former boss, anybody who would stand in this House and say that the Premier of that day was not smart and did not have wisdom, he was, Mr. Peckford was a wise man. He was on top of it, and he knew and he didn't hide it. He didn't hide it, Mr. Speaker. He said that if we didn't have fiscal responsibility, if we didn't watch, if we didn't pay attention that in two years this Province would have a 1932-33, 6 cents a day type of environment around us.

Now thank God, Mr. Speaker, I suppose if you pray enough or you wish enough the right thing happens. Newfoundlanders I suppose for 500 years have been fairly wise folks, and I suppose when 'necessity is the mother of invention' you get wise in a hurry. When you don't have enough to eat and you don't have enough clothes to put on your kids, and you are wondering about where you are going to get the dollars to send them to school and what have you.

When we look back on those days and we compare, even in a recession - that could be debated too - whether it is a recession or a depression that we are faced with right now. That could be debated. But even in this time of our lives when we had Mr. Wilson who was then this time last year or a little bit prior to this time last year who could not wait, he wasn't patient enough to wait for our friends down south who had this tremendous investment in Canada. He wasn't patient enough to wait for the Americans. He decided that he was going to create his own recession, and he would not move on interest rates. He would not move anywhere. There was not a five cent piece being invested and the private industry in the great Province of Ontario, Alberta and Quebec were finding it hard.

Today, Mr. Speaker, if you go to the Province of Ontario you will see a people who are beyond themselves with where their future is. When you live in Ontario for fifty or sixty years and you get up every morning and go to work and pick up a decent cheque every two weeks or every week, and all of a sudden you see what has happened to the Province of Ontario. It is frightening. It begs the question as to whether or not, number one, the Tory administration in Ottawa was too fast in starting a Canadian recession. Then we had the coattail and/or piggyback on the American's down south recession. And all of the things that have happened over the last year and a half, you beckon to ask yourself: if a province of the stature and nature of Ontario that always had twenty pages of jobs in the Globe and Mail on Friday is now down to three pages of very highly technical type jobs, what's happening in a Province like Newfoundland that has suffered the devastation of the fishery, that has suffered the very softening of markets in the forest product industry, that has struggled to keep its mines and associated products open, our three biggest natural resource industries. We are having a difficult time then surely heavens if we don't have a financial conscience to the rest of the people in this Province that Newfoundland - I mean if we go rushing off to the bond markets of the United States or Japan or Europe, and borrowing at 12.5 per cent and 13 per cent, all we are going to do is burden the folks of this Province, 560,000 souls or people, all we are going to do is burden them with an excessive amount of interest, and already that interest has climbed to $500 million a year to service the debt. The first thing we have to do is service that debt. Before we spend one copper on a hospital, one copper on a school, one copper on a road, we have to service that debt.

I don't want to stand here and debate who incurred that debt and what government incurred most of it and what have you. I think people understand who did that, and that was the false economics that kept governments in power. It is no longer fiscal or smart or sound to go running off to the money markets of the world and grab as much money as you can, come back and spread it around, and then next year wonder where you are going to go and borrow money again to pay the interest on the money you borrowed last year.

It is extremely interesting. And I compliment the Member for Mount Pearl. Just prior to the Budget I saw him on, I do not know if it was NTV or CBC. I think it might have been 'Face to Face' on NTV. He said with what I thought was real, logical sincerity that it was not the time for this government to go rambling around the world borrowing all kinds of money. He said that we have to be extremely cautious, we have to be extremely careful of what we are doing at this point in time. Those were sound words. But only two days after that, I heard his leader out on the West Coast somewhere, expounding upon the idea that it was now time to drive the economy; the economy needed to be kickstarted, and the only way to do it was get down and borrow some more money. I suggested to the Leader of the Opposition then that he should have a talk to his finance critic, because I felt the finance critic offered a whole lot more logic than the Leader of the Opposition.

Now to our friends in the NDP who administer governments throughout this great country, last year we saw Mr. Rae, in his first term of office, rushing off to the states and borrowing a billion dollars -borrowing a billion dollars. We know what Mr. Romanow was forced to do. The man who heads the NDP Government in B.C. is fortunate that that particular province is not in the same financial straits as Saskatchewan. Who would have thought that in Ontario, the master province of Canada, their credit rating would fall below the credit rating of any other province. That has taken place. And the Member for Mount Pearl who was President of Treasury Board, knows full well, the minute your credit rating is affected, then the points start to rise on what it costs you to go get money. That is logical. If you are AA or AAA, then you can borrow money a lot more cheaply than somebody with B+ or whatever the case may be.

This government was in the very precarious position this year, if we wanted to fulfil the needs and requirements as laid down by the public sector agreements, we would have had to jeopardize the credit of this Province to a degree that next year to go and borrow money on capital and/or current account we would have paid even more.

So it is all well and good to stand up and say that this is a piece of legislation that demoralizes the collective bargaining process in this Province, and shout and rant and rave, and put a face of conscience on it. I say to some members opposite, how soon they forget. How soon they forget when they were upstairs in the Cabinet room making fiscal decisions and probably - probably - decisions that were correct, they could not, and they had to freeze the public sector wages at that particular time. And I think they put a sincere face on it when they made that decision. It wasn't a popular one, and I want to remind hon. members opposite that they didn't pay the price at the polls because of that fiscal responsibility. They came out and told the people exactly where we were, and the people believed them and put them back with a bigger mandate in 1985, after the devastation of 1982.

Now, the NDP - I have a problem with socialism; I will tell you why: because anything that I have seen that has happened in socialism over the years in a democracy -

AN HON. MEMBER: Medicare, for example.

MR. MURPHY: The most devastating -

AN HON. MEMBER: Was it a Liberal Government that brought in Medicare or an NDP Government?

MR. WALSH: Not according to 'Jack'.

MR. MURPHY: Mr. Speaker, this afternoon, right now, probably - I don't know what time it is in Saskatchewan. I would say that the late Tom Douglas is spinning like a top. That's what he is doing. He is not rolling over, he is actually spinning. Because thirty years later, the very ideals - and they were sound ideals. The only problem is, it is always good to have good ideas if somebody else is going to pay for it.

MR. WALSH: No no, just the opposite. If you can come up with a thousand silly ideas, somewhere in there, there might be one good one. That's what the NDP (inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: Well, I agree with Mr. Douglas' Medicare plan for Canada.

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, one out of a thousand.

MR. MURPHY: We have seen that it is probably - Medicare as we know it in Canada, not probably, without doubt, is the best medical program in the world. But we must understand in saying that, that somebody has to pay for it. Now, if the NDP had their way, they would drive everybody south of the border and there would be nobody left to pay for it, only the workers who weren't working, only the workers who were no longer working, because the free trade and the labour legislation that the NDP has thrown down on the tops of the entrepreneurs and the business folks in the Province of Ontario is catching up, is driving these companies south of the border, where they can get workers to do the same kind of task function, skilled tasks, in the workshops, in the manufacturing shops, for two and three dollars less an hour.

Now, we have to be one of two things, Mr. Speaker, and nobody can deny or denounce this: If I make fifteen dollars an hour working for ABC Lumber, and I produce sixteen dollars an hour, then I can justify my existence. But the minute that I make fifteen dollars an hour and I can only produce fourteen dollars, it is just a matter of time before ABC goes XYZ. They are gone. They are history, they are out the window.

But the NDP would like to do that on the backs of the entrepreneur: Open up the books, let's see what you made last year, you invested everything, you are the guy who built up this, you worked eighteen and twenty hours a day to put this company together. However, now we are going to close the books forever and time. We have to be extremely careful. Labour has a right to get its full share of the pie, always has, and always will. Good, sound, solid negotiations and legislation, in this Province and other provinces, have given the worker ample opportunity to obtain his or her full share of the pie.

But you cannot, Mr. Speaker, in private industry and/or in a government, bankrupt the government, the lumber company, you cannot bankrupt the fish company, because if you do, all you are doing is cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Now, I refer you back to the Coca-Cola situation, where we saw a collective agreement negotiated in good faith, but at the end of the day, it demoralized eighty jobs. So there are some eighty people in and around this city today saying: 'But we had a great contract, it was an outstanding contract, but it isn't worth the paper that it is printed on.' You have to be able to cut the cloth to suit the garment.

I also have a fear that there might be some entrepreneurs out there who would take advantage of workers during a time of recession and constraint. We all know that, we have seen it over the years. So we have to be very mindful of those who might try to take advantage of the workers and say: 'Look, you know, here's $6.50 an hour - if you don't like it, lump it. I will go somewhere else.' You have to be very careful of that also. But somewhere in the middle of 1992 and the recession that is down around us - and it isn't a Newfoundland recession, it isn't a Canadian recession, it isn't an American recession. We are seeing it impacting the other two great nations of the world. They are on strike right now in Germany. We are seeing what is happening in Japan. So it is worldwide. We won't even talk about the other countries because they can almost be classified as Third World. There may be a few countries and or a few small colonies that are up there like Hong Kong or Singapore, Gibraltar or Monte Carlo, somewhere like that where they have all kinds of income from the wealthy and the rich who come in to gamble and whatever.

But by and large, Mr. Speaker, it is time for us all to have a very serious look at the situation. Government has done that, and government will pay the price, as the Premier said, as the President of Treasury Board has said, as the Minister of Finance has said. This bill will cause one of two things to happen: for the people in this Province to say that this government has managed its financial situation to the best of its ability, or you did not and we want more borrowing, more mismanagement, more lights in the sky or we want something. I don't know what they want. But they will decide that when they walk into the polls and vote for the candidate of their choice.

Mr. Speaker, as I said in my opening remarks, I don't like this bill. I don't like it. I didn't like Bill 16 last year. Somebody asked if there will be a Bill 18 next year. I hope not. It is a bill that nobody wants - nobody, absolutely nobody. If there is anybody who wants to see this bill in this House, then they should stand up and say so. But reality is reality, and you have to face the music. You have to pay the piper. You have to do what needs to be done. There is no hon. member who, in all good conscience, can stand in his place in this House and raise all the hypothetical reasons and all the political reasons, and all the silly, stupid, foolish reasons, and all the other songs of sadness and whatever, and get up and say, 'This government have no feeling, no conscience, no nothing,' when ten short years ago, the very members opposite were on the 10th floor making the very same decisions.

Now somebody might say, 'Oh, well, we didn't tear up a collective agreement.' No, you didn't tear up a collective agreement, you ignored it. You didn't tear it up. You ignored it. You didn't bring new legislation in. You didn't need to. You backed in the paddy wagons. I have no criticism for that, if you felt, as a government, that is what needed to be done. I had some criticism after when I saw some people being toted away, and the way they were being toted away, but I haven't seen anybody toted away yet over Bill 16 or Bill 17. I see some tremendous outcries by people in this very building and other public sector buildings about the fiscal responsibility taken by senior management of public sector unions. It has to be said.

MR. R. AYLWARD: (Inaudible) you bluff!

MR. MURPHY: I don't mind being called a bluff by a fellow -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. MURPHY: By leave.

I don't mind being called a bluff, Mr. Speaker, by an unsuccessful strawberry farmer. I mean, I can handle that.

If I could have just another couple of minutes to clue up, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. MURPHY: Could I have a couple of minutes to clue up?

MR. SPEAKER: Does the hon. member have leave?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Agreed.

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. MURPHY: I thank hon. members opposite.

Mr. Speaker, let me say in closing that it is a sad bill. It is a bill that none of us want to support. There is nothing in there for anybody, only more doom and gloom. However, there is responsibility there. There is a responsibility that this government has no other alternative but to accept. In saying that, Mr. Speaker, let me suggest that this bill, as bad as it is, will not impact on the great minds of responsible people in Newfoundland, and they will return a Liberal Government next time. Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This bill, I believe number 17 they call it today - the hon. the Member for St. John's South said nobody wants it: It is an unfortunate necessity, etc. Nobody wants it.

That may be true for certain members of the Opposition, who are, in the classic definition, liberals. But let's not forget that the party governing this Province right now is not a Liberal Party. Its name is the Liberal Party. But the leader of this current governing party, he wants this. And because they are afraid of him they have to reluctantly put up with this. That is the bottom line on it, Mr. Speaker.

They talked about some good ideas, but then, again, someone has to pay. I sat in the gallery for fifteen years as a political employee of the Crown and watched the Liberal Party when it was a liberal party talk about good ideas and not having a worry about who had to pay. There was no thought of payment then. Many of the members who were in the Legislature at the time are still here. They are the senior members of this particular administration, a lot of them. We have former union leaders as senior members of this administration. Back in those days, this idea that someone has to pay down the road seemed to be totally nonexistent. Now, all of a sudden, we have a complete change of attitude.

'We have to cut the cloth to suit the garment, I believe was the hon. member's comment. When the Liberals were in Opposition, they were advocating flowing robes, not skin-tight jeans. I mean, things have changed a lot, Mr. Speaker. You wonder if the governing party now is actually a Liberal Party at all. Some of its individuals members may still have residual liberalism in them, somewhere deep down in their inner beings. Some of them may actually be real, honest to God Liberals, who are center to slightly left of center.

But where are these people? They are muzzled, they are quiet, they are absent, they are in the common room having coffee, because obviously, someone wants this piece of legislation. Because someone you see, who leads the government, likes this sort of legislation. That particular someone was a minister in the Smallwood Administration. He was Minister of Labour for awhile in the Smallwood Administration and he was an anti-labour minister in those days, that particular someone.

That particular someone, at that particular time, as well, was anti-feminist. We see further evidence of his reluctance in that regard with regard to the pay equity issue. However, times have changed, and his attitude has been forced to change by the institution by the PC Party of a Status of Women's Council, an independent council, and a women's policy office in the bureaucracy. So, while his attitude, personally, may not have changed in that regard, he is reluctantly faced with the reality of two bodies in the social policy area which were introduced by a Progressive Conservative Government and he now has to put up with it.

Mr. Speaker, this government took office with no thought of what it meant to be in office. You see, this government didn't win the last election. Let's be perfectly and brutally frank about it. We lost the last election, let us face it, Mr. Speaker, we have looked at ourselves in the mirror, we have done our own soul-searching, we are renewing, re-invigorating ourselves but we lost the last election, the Liberal Party did not win, and when it came to office it was bankrupt of ideas, except to spend on flowing robes and had no idea that skin-tight jeans were the reality that they were going to have to face.

For instance, the amendment my colleague for Harbour Main brought forward, he said: let's put this out to a committee and let's have further public input. One wonders, if such a thing had been done last year with regard to Bill 16, if the economy of our Province would be in such terrible shape as it is today. When the government of this Province, which has a highly seasonal workforce, where in many areas, especially rural areas, people have to scrape and scratch and claw to get ten weeks stamps, to lay off 2,000 or 3,000 workers who are relatively well-paid in the Newfoundland context, paid twelve months of the year, which is rare in the Newfoundland context, did anybody ever think that that particular action alone, along with the fear it put in the other twenty odd thousand bureaucrats, would turn a recession into a depression?

We have a Made in Newfoundland, depression. The world is going through a recession, Mr. Speaker, but we have a Made in Newfoundland depression because, something like is being suggested in the amendment put forward by my hon. colleague was not done, there was no consultation and there will be none, obviously.

Mr. Speaker, I was once in a union. For six months I taught and paid NTA dues, so I know what it is like to be a member of a union, but after a very short while teaching, I became a political employee of the Crown and I went through two strikes during my tenure as a political employee of the Crown. I know what it is like to have my car stall-out in the middle of a picket line and have had all nature of things said to me. I know what it is like to see union leaders stand on picket lines and stand on what they believe to be principle and get themselves elected on live TV, nationwide on Canada AM, I have been through all that. But, Mr. Speaker, in reporting to work under those circumstances I was doing my duty, and I presume the union leaders, in their circumstances, felt that they were doing their duty and there was no ill-will on my part towards them and I certainly hope there was not any towards us. We each had our respective roles to perform and we did them to the best of our ability, and I think where the measure of respect did occur, Mr. Speaker, had to do with the honouring of existing collective agreements.

The Premier of the Province of the day did not pass the buck. He went on Province-wide TV as my friend from St. John's South alluded to earlier. He told the people of the Province of the mess we are in and the great recession of the early 80s, but he did not eliminate collective bargaining. He said: when your existing contract runs out, collective bargaining will be suspended for two years, not eliminated, just temporarily suspended after a duly signed and executed contract has been carried out. Now, mind you, that was not popular, that was not popular and we did pay a political price, no doubt, but we did not tear up existing contracts, Mr. Speaker. Another thing we did in order to keep New York off our backs and keep our credit rating in good order, was, in addition to going and telling the people like it was, man fashion on TV, we went down to New York with a five year plan and we said: look, in the front end of these difficult times, we are going to have to borrow more heavily than usual, but we will work over a five year period to bring things into order, and when we were defeated in the election in 1989, Mr. Speaker, we basically delivered this government, a balanced budget, if not with a modest surplus, I do believe. So, I mean there are ways of going about things without being as arbitrary as this particular government was.

Prior to the first freeze Budget, Mr. Speaker, just about every economist in the western world was talking about the fact that the world was about to enter a recessionary cycle. It was no surprise. You turned on the television any given morning and Canada AM, for instance, would have economists on debating with the anchor person about the recession, or the pending recession or the possible recession. I mean recession was in the air. You could smell it, you could feel it, you could taste it. And yet what did this government do, Mr. Speaker? This government pretended that it didn't see Canada AM. It pretended that it couldn't see, smell, feel or hear. This government continued to negotiate with unions as business as usual right up until the last minute. Then, Mr. Speaker, down comes the hammer blow: Oh, we were caught by surprise.

Mr. Speaker, for a government that has hired onto itself a bevy of well paid professional public relations experts answering directly out of the Premier's office, I think the government is not getting good value for their money because these well paid professional people, surely to God during that particular year leading up to the first freeze would have informed the hon. Premier and the Cabinet: Listen boys, there is a recession coming. We had better start gearing our public relations situation to deal with a particular recession.

I find it utterly amazing, having been a political aid for fifteen years, that political aids to ministers and the Cabinet would not bring to the attention of the government, as busy as they are and so on and so forth, that a recession was coming and allow the government to continue to negotiate in good faith right up until the last moment when the entire world knew the recession was upon us.

So one can only assume one thing, that if these PR people were professionals, Mr. Speaker, they gave their advice and were told like employees: Thank you for your advice, but we are not going to accept it. We are going to play a game with the unions. We are going to be deceitful with the unions. We are going to negotiate and sign deals with the unions right up until the very last moment. Then we are just going to give them a swift upper cut and knock them flat on their rear, Mr. Speaker. That is the behaviour of this government.

This government was sly, Mr. Speaker. This government was not decent in its negotiations with unions leading up to this particular thing. The Premier didn't go on Province-wide TV like the former Premier did when faced with that. In that day, the buck stopped at the Premier's office. Today the buck never stops at the Premier's office. The buck never stops at the Premier's office. It is passed on to this hon. House where by some accident you people have a majority. It is passed on to electrical rate payers. It is passed on to tax payers generally. It is passed on to municipal councils. It is no longer a buck either, Mr. Speaker, it is called a loony.

There is a television ad, Mr. Speaker, for a beer company, and I do believe it runs something like: The black horse runs by here. Perhaps we should put a new sign in the lobby of the eighth floor: The loony runs by here, because it certainly does not stop there, Mr. Speaker, at all.

The unions, Mr. Speaker, had a button on the go not to long ago. My hon. colleague from Kilbride was forbidden to wear it in the House because it broke with parliamentary tradition and rules I am told. It basically accused the Premier of uttering terminological inexactitudes.

AN HON. MEMBER: Could you say that again?

MR. HEWLETT: I do believe, none the less, they had good reason to wear such buttons, and I think that time has born out the veracity of the message on that particular button.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HEWLETT: This is a matter, Mr. Speaker, of public trust. Who can trust this government? Is it any wonder, Mr. Speaker, that they took away the ministerial cars? Is it any wonder that they took away the ministerial cars?... because they could be traded in for new vehicles after a few years. But in all honesty, who would buy a used car from this government?

AN HON. MEMBER: The people.

MR. HEWLETT: Not on your life. No one would buy a used car from this government if they did not have their own personal mechanic check it out first, and I certainly would not buy an extended warranty from this government because it would not be worth the paper on which it is written. The signature on the bottom of the page could not be trusted. No wonder they gave the ministers a grant to buy their own cars so they could keep them, because the trading business was over with this government, and the dictatorial business was in.

The Minister responsible for the Treasury Board has his name to this bill, and many people have called it a Draconian measure. If this Chamber were the Senate of ancient Rome I guess we could refer to the Minister responsible for the Treasury Board as Draconius. He may be, because in his day he was a shade of pink, if not red - one of those reluctant believers in this bill, as is the Member for St. John's South. So we have Draconius Reluctant. But the Premier, I do believe, because of his philosophical outlook on matters relating to labour and the political spectrum, we have a better name for him. It is Draconius Maximus. So we have two names now. I am going to reinvigorate the economy of Newfoundland by giving the sign painters a chance. They can do two new signs for the lobby of the Premier's office. 'Home of Draconius Maximus' and 'The Loony Runs By Here'.

AN HON. MEMBER: Are you speaking Latin to him?

MR. HEWLETT: Yes. Is it any wonder that a union member looks up from his torn and tattered contract to read the motto under our Coat of Arms, the Latin of which I will not attempt to pronounce, but which is a quote from the Gospel of St. Matthew: 'Seek ye first the kingdom of God' is the quote. That is the motto under our Coat of Arms: 'Seek ye first the kingdom of God.'

That Coat of Arms was granted to Newfoundland in the 1500's, but its designer must have been a prophet. He must have known that in 500 years in the kingdom of Clyde, in the kingdom of Draconius, in the kingdom of Draconius Maximus, there would be grief and misery and unemployment, and above all else, mistrust in the land. That the only hope would be to look to heaven, and thus the motto under our coat of arms.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: You might as well speak Latin to them because they can't understand English.

MR. HEWLETT: Is it any wonder every mother's son hasn't come home, Mr. Speaker? Heaven help us if they all come home because heaven knows what we would do to them, and heaven is where we have to look. Heaven is where we are commanded to look. The man who made up the coat of arms certainly was a prophet.

Americans, they speak of their place as the land of hope and glory. Newfoundland, we can only speak of our place as the land of mope and worry. Up with democracy, down with Draconius Maximus; all's well that ends Wells. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: Do you know a fellow by the name of (Inaudible)?

MR. HEWLETT: Yes, sir.

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I don't know what that look from the President of Treasury Board was. I suspect he thought I had spoken already on the amendment but I haven't. I want to have a few words on this amendment that was put forth. I first want to react to some statements that I heard the Member for Exploits, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, say the other day: That this Bill 17 was different from Bill 16 in that it allowed unions to renegotiate as long as the total compensation package stayed at zero. Now that is what the member said.

I suppose you can essentially do that, but to do that you obviously have to take away some benefits that are already in place that the unions have. Now in most union terminology that amounts to contract stripping. Taking away the existing benefits - now the member shakes his head. But that is all he can do. The Minister of Labour. Of all people, the Minister of Labour to stand up in this Legislature and say: we said to unions, you can be as innovative as you want, as long as the total compensation package does not exceed what was already established this year, we will give you money.

Now on monetary issues the only way that the minister can do that is to take away benefits they already have. Contract stripping. That is what the minister was proposing to be done.

MR. GRIMES: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations on a point of order.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Just on a point of order to point out to the hon. member that when you use phrases like that in the House you should make sure that you understand what they mean. Contract stripping in the context it is used in collective bargaining means that your employer goes to the bargaining table asking to remove certain provisions from a contract. In Bill 17 what it says is that if the employee representatives want to come to the government and offer to give up certain benefits in exchange for salary they can have it. That can never, ever be construed as contract stripping. There is no intention whatsoever for the President of Treasury Board on behalf of this government to approach any public service union and ask them to give up anything, however, if they come forward and say that in our best interest right now we would like to offer up some of these benefits so that we can get some salary for our employees that is available, and that is what I said in my address to the House.

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair is ready to rule there is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Fogo.

MR. WINSOR: I expected the Speaker to make such a ruling. There is no point of order, just a point of nonsense. The minister is trying to retract what he said the other day. I suspect he got his knuckles rapped again this weekend for daring to get up in this Legislature and suggest to the teachers of this Province that they would enter into negotiations which would strip the contracts that were negotiated for a number of years. Since 1971 teachers have been trying to improve their lot, and to have this Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, a former teacher himself, a former president, stand in this Legislature and ask that the contracts be stripped, shame on him.

The minister is playing a game here and we have watched this game unfold. What the minister is attempting to do is to pit, for example, the full-time teachers against the substitute teachers. That is where he is proposing to get benefits from, the elimination or reduction in the benefits paid to substitute teachers. The same minister sat on the negotiating team and put teachers out on the street through a lockout. Call it what you want, a strike, a lockout, or whatever, the same minister sat on the negotiating team and put teachers on strike for substitute teachers and now he stands in his place in this Legislature and calls on teachers to go back to the table, that is what he is saying, take away some of the benefits from substitute teachers and give it to full-time teachers. What kind of an admission is that from a former President of the NTA?

MR. R. AYLWARD: He backed out on them the last time.

MR. WINSOR: The same minister who went down to the annual meeting and saw the sign, 'Collective bargaining is in jeopardy', and said to his buddies who were there: it is not in jeopardy, collective bargaining has ended. That is the message he sent to the union, trying to be funny perhaps with his buddies but it was not perceived as being very funny at all. Teachers did not take too kindly to what the minister had said and the minister is going to do it again, negotiations have started and I suspect that is the word he is feeding out now, that if you want to get some benefits, if you want to get some increased compensation, go after a weaker sector of your union. What is going to be the next thing, Mr. Speaker? Is he going to take away the northern allowance, isolation thing, is that the next thing? Mr. Speaker -

AN HON. MEMBER: They do not want to come in and take away anything. They want to come in and offer us (inaudible).

MR. WINSOR: Mr. Speaker, that is pretty good, he wants them to come in and offer, I guess that is a pretty wise move for the President of the union to come in say: but, Mr. President of Treasury Board, we have come here now to give you half the pay that substitute teachers presently receive and we are going to give away this benefit, we do not want anymore health insurance, we do not want government to pay for that, Mr. Speaker. Is that what the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations is saying, because those are the indications that are out there, that the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations is one of them, representing government, a senior policy maker who is proposing this kind of thing. How devious!

MR. R. AYLWARD: The same thing they are saying, I hate this bill but I am going to vote for it (inaudible).

MR. WINSOR: How devious, to say - yes. The President of Treasury Board said that - one of the saddest days of his life, or a sad occasion was to have to stand in his place in the Legislature and introduce this piece of legislation for the second time, Mr. Speaker. I do not know how sad he was last year but a big grin on his face from ear to ear as he introduced this piece of legislation taking away the benefits of workers.

Now what Bill 17 is all about, it is not about wage restraint, that is a small part of it. What Bill 17 is about is what the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations said to his friends at the NTA annual meeting, it marks the end of collective bargaining, collective bargaining is dead he said, it is not in jeopardy and the minister is right. That is about the only right thing that the minister said in the last few days, certainly nothing he said in this Legislature. The minister -

AN HON. MEMBER: And he is proud of it too.

MR. WINSOR: - well, I do not know if he is proud of it. It might be a front that he puts up because the orders came from somewhere else to introduce this piece of legislation and the minister is forced if he wants to stay in Cabinet, to go along with it and that is why he defends it. I do not think any former union leader can be happy with this piece of legislation, especially knowing, as he did with Bill 16, because this is just a continuation that the contracts that were being negotiated, signed days before were going to become null and void in a month or two months or three months. The minister knew that, the President of Treasury Board knew it, he has already admitted in this House and he says the unions also knew it, that some of these agreements would be cancelled out by Bill 16, or the provisions of the agreement. The agreements are still there but if there is no provision in them then there is no agreement.

Now, Mr. Speaker, it also goes on to stipulate that Bill 17 says that in the third year of the restraint, total compensation is to not exceed 3 per cent, a maximum of 3 per cent. The President of Treasury Board confirmed the other day that this would include, I think for teachers for example, their negotiated pensions. I think it was supposed to have gone September of '92, to 8 per cent and it did not go because there was wage restraint. So we are assuming that next year, if there is going to be some kind of a fund stabilized for the pension, that that will have to go up so teachers will have to pay the extra 1 per cent next year and then we will have to assume of course, that if the total package, that means the government is going to have to pay its 1 per cent as well, meaning there is very little left - if we can get to the 3 per cent. That is with the assumption there is going to be a 3 per cent wage increase, or a total compensation package. We are not sure of that yet. We could see an amendment to Bill 17 come next year that will restrict it to zero - restrict it to zero, or as the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) elections.

MR. WINSOR: Well the Premier would have us believe that would have nothing to do with it. It is what is necessary to be done for the running of the Province, and the elections or any of these issues would have nothing to do with this kind of thing. The Premier would do as he has to do for fiscal responsibility. Well we will wait and see. We will see if the Premier and the President of Treasury Board will have Bill 18. Perhaps it will even come before then. Perhaps it will even come before then if the recession continues and the economy does not grow and improve as they had anticipated. Perhaps we will see it before then. They will give notice that the restraint is going to continue for another year.

When I spoke earlier on this bill, and the Minister of Labour still has not satisfactorily explained it, is how come government treats itself differently than it does the private sector? In the private sector now many of them have entered into wage agreements or contracts that they are having great difficulty living with. They will not do what this administration did. I read in the paper last week of a paper company in Cornwall, Ontario, who had negotiated contracts with its union, and the company fell on tough times, as most paper companies around the world today. They fell on tough times, threatened the possible closedown of the plant in Cornwall, Ontario. The President of Treasury Board is listening. So what they did, the union and the company, they met and talked. Then the two of them together renegotiated a contract - renegotiated a contract. That is the way it should be. Now the question is, why did the government not do it this time? The company did not tear up the contract and say: take it or leave it. The company sat down and they negotiated contracts with things such as performance bonuses and things that allowed them, if the recession ends, to increase the benefits that are going to accrue to members. The President of Treasury Board says that's the way it should have been done, and that is the way it should be done, but the minister chose not to do it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINSOR: Who wouldn't do it?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINSOR: Unions chose not to do it, Mr. Speaker. Unions were not called in to negotiate. Unions were called in and told: here it is, take it or leave it. Now, Mr. Speaker, the President of Treasury Board has said: here are the options -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINSOR: Call it 5:00 p.m.

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes.

MR. WINSOR: We will continue tomorrow, Mr. Speaker. It is near 5:00 p.m. I will adjourn debate.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I look forward to hearing the rest of the hon. member's speech tomorrow. So we will continue with this tomorrow is the point I am trying to make.

I would like to point out to the hon. house that first of all there were the members of the committee to examine changing the name of the Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: A select committee.

MR. BAKER: I neglected to table that earlier today, so I would like to simply table a list of names. Everything has been checked out with members opposite. I would like to inform the hon. House that the estimates of the Department of Health will be considered tonight here in the chamber, and the estimates of Mines and Energy will be considered at the Colonial Building.

Tomorrow morning there is a cancellation that I would like to make members aware of. The Fisheries Estimates Committee was supposed to meet tomorrow morning, and it has been cancelled. There is a problem that has arisen and it has tentatively been set for tomorrow evening at the Colonial Building. Maybe the Clerk could indicate whether there is something else at the Colonial Building at that time? No. So it is tentatively set for tomorrow evening at the Colonial Building; that is fisheries.

Mr. Speaker, the Private Member's Motion for debate on Wednesday will be the motion put forward by the Member for Burgeo - Bay D'Espoir today.

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