May 25, 1992                 HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS               Vol. XLI  No. 43


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

Oral Questions

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I have been going over some information contained in the Budget documents in the past, and looking at some of the figures and some of the numbers and reading some of the news stories that have been emanating around the Province for the last number of weeks and months. It is pretty clear that the people of this Province have been waiting now, at least for three years to hear some clear policy from the government as to how they are going to address the economic problems we are facing, that are becoming more and more severe every day.

Specifically, I would like to ask the Premier, when does his government intend to take some action and when are he and his government going to do something to create some jobs for the thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in this Province who are suffering today?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I have indicated publicly on a number of occasions, that the government is planning for the orderly development of this Province on a long-term stable basis, that will not see it subject to the uncontrolled gyrations that are the result of the former government's policies.

Now, the strategic economic plan, with a bit of luck, should be made public by about the middle of June. The other thing that I would say in terms of the specific question or the second question as to when we are going to do something to create jobs, that is the kind of attitude and approach that got us into the economic trouble that we did. The former government took only the position that we, the government are the creators of jobs, so we will take $100,000 from the taxpayers in order to get $50,000 worth of benefit, now that is a sure way of driving this Province into bankruptcy. We take a different approach.

Our management approach, Mr. Speaker, is to provide for an improved economic circumstance that will cause, will induce people to invest in the economy that will generate job opportunities and create economic activity, from which, the individuals involved, as well as the government, will benefit. This kind of grandstanding now is out of place. In terms of the specific situation, the recession at this particular time, the impact of the reduction in the total allowable catch in the fisheries and the federal decisions in the terms of managing the fisheries, we are trying to persuade the federal government to make an effort in that area to deal specifically with fisheries matters.

The government, itself, is dealing with it in general terms but not specifically for the fisheries. We are watching exactly what is happening, Mr. Speaker, and within the limits of our ability, we will provide for some assistance to induce or promote the generation of job opportunities in the private sector.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I do acknowledge in fact what the Premier said, that they have taken a different approach. There is no question about that, they are governing the Province into economic devastation. Mr. Speaker, the only obvious plan of this particular government, if you read the statistics, is to put more people on welfare. That seems to be what is transpiring. This is the government that budgeted $10 million more for social assistance this year than they did last year and millions of dollars less for job creation. The Premier's words are all fine and dandy, but the question that people are asking is, 'What is going on here? What is the government doing?' Is this a government that believes it is better to put people on welfare than it is to create jobs for them? That is what he intends to do.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I can say publicly that we refuse to follow the former government's policy of causing people to be paid to move rock from one pile to another. We intend to use the financial resources of this Province, to the extent that they are available to the Province, to provide for the development of the economy on a sound basis, not for the kind of insane approach the former government followed.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, what absolute hypocrisy! His own government brought in make-work projects last year after lambasting that kind of a process so I do not know what he is trying to prove by suggesting otherwise. This government should be realizing now that the policies they are undertaking really are leading to devastation around the Province. I don't think the Premier knows what is happening around the Province and how much people are suffering, Mr. Speaker. That is the problem. Does he realize that the policies his government is undertaking really are doing everything to deprive people of opportunities to work? The government has reduced spending on job creation. They have reduced spending on capital works. They have delayed the start-up of capital works. They have reduced employment in the public sector and they have increased taxes in the private sector, and that list goes on and on. Again, the question is, does the government know what it is doing at all? Do you realize how much people are hurting? Is there some grand plan that only the government knows about and nobody else?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, tomorrow I will produce the comparative figures for this Province with other province and the nation as a whole and that will show very clearly the level of impact there has been, and the kind of impact there has been in the rest of the county in terms of this recession and how the Province has been impacted. The biggest single factor in this Province today is not the economic recession, it is what has happened in the fishery and the complete failure of the federal government to discharge its responsibility, protected by the members opposite, fronting for them and shielding them from the criticism in order to make their arrangements with the Tory Government in Ottawa.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: That's exactly what has been happening.

Now, Mr. Speaker, they have an awful lot to answer for, and we are going to see that they answer for it when the time comes in the next election. They are going to answer for what they have done in terms of undermining the people of this Province to protect their political relationship with the federal government because the federal government has failed to discharge its responsibility to this Province.

If there is a farm problem in Manitoba or Saskatchewan, the federal government sends a cheque for a billion dollars. With the fisheries crisis here, with the full approval of the Opposition, the federal government sends us a get well card. And that is with the approval and full endorsement of the Opposition.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Now, Mr. Speaker -

AN HON. MEMBER: He sent you a get well card.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: Now, Mr. Speaker, we have to deal with the reality, not the situation that the hon. members opposite are trying to fabricate. If you look at the effect on our unemployment statistics of the last three or four years of federal reductions in the fisheries, you will see that it has cost this Province about 8,000 jobs. That is about 3.5 percentage points on our unemployment rate contributed by the impact of the reduction in the fisheries.

Mr. Speaker, this government can't shield the fishermen of this Province from the irrational, irresponsible policy decisions of the federal government in relation to managing the fisheries. They refuse to participate with us on the basis of joint federal/provincial management, and we are quite prepared to do it. We can't shield the people of this Province from the impacts of the national economic recession. We are going to feel some effects of that. I admit that. The difference is, the members opposite try to pretend to the people that they can shield the employees in this Province from the national economic recession, and the fact is they cannot.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I think it is time that this Premier realized that the people of this Province are sick and tired of this Premier's standard pat answers and excuses. They are sick and tired of it, Mr. Speaker!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: They are sick and tired of this Premier shirking his own responsibility and blaming everything on the federal government, or the recession, or the unions, or the media, or the previous administration. That can no longer be acceptable to the people of this Province. I want to ask him this: When is he going to stop offering the people of this Province excuses and start offering them some hope and some jobs?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: What the Leader of the Opposition, of course, does not recognize is that what he describes as excuses is honesty. He obviously doesn't recognize that, an honest statement of the situation. We are not prepared to perpetrate a massive political fraud on the people of this Province, as the former government did. We intend to deal honestly with the circumstances, and speak honestly to people and let them know just where the Province is and just what the limits of the Province's ability are. We intend to govern for the benefit of the people of the Province, not the Liberal party.

The difference between the Leader of the Opposition and the Members opposite and this side of the House is that we put the interests of people first, not our own political survival.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, a supplementary.

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

MR. SIMMS: If it were not so serious, it would almost be funny to hear the response of the Premier.

Members in our caucus every single day, and I suspect members on that side of the House, are swamped with telephone calls from people all over this Province desperately looking for jobs - desperately looking for some help.

I am glad the Premier brought up honesty. I am glad he brought up honesty. Let me ask him this question, speaking of honesty, or at least his interpretation. The people around the Province want to know this: When is the Premier going to live up to all those flowery words he mouthed and found in the Liberal party policy manual, page 18 in particular when he was talking about health care, when he said: Compassion must always take precedence over business administration. The people around this Province want to know what he is going to do to help them find work? What is he going to do to help them find jobs? What answer does he give those people - the same kind of nonsense that he gets on with here in the House day after day?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, we have lived up to our commitments in the manifesto. We corrected the unfairness of the past and abolished the school tax. We did that!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: We have an Elections Act before the House. We put in place the Economic Recovery Commission. We provided for the development of the strategic economic plan. We decentralized economic decision making in Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador. We have done a whole lot of other things to try and create fair and balanced and sound financial management. We put the pension schemes in order, to avoid the incredible mess that the members opposite created. We are working right at this moment dealing with the God-awful mess they created in workers' compensation.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: If we do not deal with that on an urgent basis, the workers' compensation fund will be bankrupt in four years, thanks to the mismanagement of the members opposite; and we are going to disclose all of that to the public.

In the meantime -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

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

The Chair has tolerated a lot of comments, particularly coming from my right, while the Premier is answering questions. I have, on many occasions, quoted to members appropriate quotations to remind hon. members that they are not supposed to interrupt a member when a member is attempting to answer. I refer hon. members to Erskine-May, page 423, again, which says: members are not to disturb a member who is speaking by hissing, booing, exclamations or any other interruptions. I ask hon. members please to follow these rules.

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: It's not me who is provoked, it's the gentlemen opposite who are obviously disturbed that they cannot deal with the reality.

Mr. Speaker, the government - which is the people - still have to live within the capability of the financial resources. A great deal of it has to go to cope with the totally unacceptable financial situation of the government that we inherited, so that limits our ability somewhat. The government has developed and has in place policies to help out to the maximum extent that we can in trying to act as an inducement for private enterprise to invest in job creating opportunities. The minister responsible has announced a number of these in the past. As circumstances develop, he may well announce some in the future, but that remains yet to be seen.

The government is acting responsibly in terms of coping with the present economic and financial situation in this country. In fact, thanks to the sound and sensible way in which the government has managed the financial affairs, this Province is proportionately in a much better position than several other provinces of Canada for the first time in our recent history.

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

MR. DOYLE: I have a question for the acting Minister of Health, Mr. Speaker, whoever he or she may be. Could the minister confirm if there is a new outbreak of meningitis, this time here in the City of St. John's, and could the minister tell the House what action government is taking to deal with this issue, to safeguard the health of the people of this area?

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, I have been informed by officials of the Department of Education that a sixteen year old female was admitted to the Janeway on Sunday, where the diagnosis was made, as the member said. All close contacts have been contacted, I am told. She is recovering with treatment. The principal of the school has been contacted as well, and letters have been sent to students and parents.

Mr. Speaker, he talks about an outbreak. I have been informed by the officials in the Department of Health that this case is not in any way connected with the two other cases that were identified in St. John's and it is being treated as a sporadic case, and that appropriate guidelines are being followed by the officials in the Department of Health.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. DOYLE: I thank the minister for his answer, and I will just leave that there.

I have some new questions for him regarding MCP. As the minister is aware, a lot of concern has been expressed by the medical profession regarding the audit procedure at MCP. These concerns, as the minister is aware, have to do with confidentiality of patient records and security of these records once they leave a doctor's office because, frankly, people are getting quite worried about it.

In order to protect the patients' confidentiality, would the government consider - if the Premier, as Leader of the Government, wishes to answer, that is fine as well - a new audit procedure where an MCP auditor representing the interests of government and a member of the Newfoundland Medical Association representing the interests of doctors would jointly conduct an audit by visiting the doctors' offices?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, there was an unfortunate incident a while ago where, through lax administration of otherwise acceptable policies at MCP, some information that ought not to have been discharged without being shredded was put into the garbage. Some doctor, for some reason or other, poking around in the garbage found these and called in the CBC. This necessitated a full investigation. The minister called a full investigation to be made. He satisfied the government and I think he satisfied the general public that the procedures have been tightened up and that MCP will henceforth make sure that they strictly apply the acceptable procedures that were in place.

So I see no necessity for the government causing a departure from the standard procedures that are in place.

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

MR. DOYLE: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

Doctors and patients, themselves, are making the point in expressing the concern that patients are objecting to their files being copied and sent off to MCP to be scrutinized by God knows who, because not only people with medical backgrounds scrutinize these files but auditors who don't have any medical background. Of course, the public now knows what can happen. It wound up in the dumpster at MCP. Could the Premier tell me what course or recourse is open to a patient who objects to MCP scrutinizing his or her records? Now if the patient objects to the procedure, what can the Premier tell him he can do if he objects?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, like many cases throughout life this is a matter of conflicting interest. All the taxpayers of this Province have an interest in making sure that their taxes are used properly in terms of the payment and provisions for medical services. That necessitates a random audit procedure to be conducted. I don't know of any other effective way to do this to provide for a means of protecting the interests of the taxpayers of the Province. It would be preferable if nobody else had to look at the patients records. That would be desirable. But there is an overriding public interest to make sure that we manage our health care dollars in a proper way.

Now there are circumstances. The MCP report was tabled as to how many doctors were earning over $300,000, how many over $400,000, how many over $500,000, how many over $600,000 a year in revenue. So the government has a real responsibility to make sure, Mr. Speaker, that the taxpayers dollars are being spent in a proper way. This is the only effective means of doing that, and I see no necessity to alter that course, but to make sure that we provide for strict procedures to ensure confidentiality.

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

MR. DOYLE: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker. Let me say to the Premier that I had the opportunity over the last week or so to meet with quite a number of doctors, and I am surprised at some of the things they are telling me about MCP. Is the Premier aware that some patients who have information say of a sensitive nature regarding their own medical condition are now going into a doctor's office and saying: look I have to tell you this because it is related to my medical condition, but please don't write it down. Now is this acceptable? Is that type of procedure where a patient has to do that acceptable to the government? Patients are forced into doing that because of a bureaucracy gone mad over at MCP who are afraid to change the system because it might mean a few jobs over at MCP. Why not change the system to have them go to a doctor's office, an independent auditor along with a member of the Newfoundland Medical Association to go and do it? It was recommended before.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: If there is anything worse than a bureaucracy gone mad it is an Opposition acting irresponsibly, and that is exactly what is happening here.

There may be one, maybe there is two - I don't even know if there are any more than that - people making the kind of comment the hon. member just suggested are being made.

Mr. Speaker, the system that is followed now is the system that the former members maintained in place for the seventeen years that they were there. The same system. No change. Just listen to them now. Just listen to them now with this feigned concern, great concern, for privacy of individuals. The difference, Mr. Speaker, is the Opposition want to try to use this to create a little political controversy.

Mr. Speaker, every single patient that walks inside a hospital door has his or her records in detail on files that clerks and a whole lot of people maintain and have unrestricted access to it. All kinds of people in the medical records section. They aren't doctors. They aren't nurses. They maintain the filing system in the hospitals. What do you want to do now, destroy all those records so nobody can look at them? How nonsensical, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. DOYLE: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker. I say to the Premier that it might very well be the same system, but there were very few files wound up in MCP's dumpster over the last seventeen years. So is the Premier aware that doctors are now required to send to MCP such sensitive information as psychiatric information, psychiatric assessments of their patients, information that if it was to fall into the wrong hands, like out in a dumpster at MCP, that it could be used against a patient, say, in the job market. Does the Premier not consider that to be a gross invasion of privacy?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I guess there is something much, much worse than a bureaucracy gone mad. Indeed it is an Opposition gone in the same direction. That is where they appear to have gone with this. It is utterly irresponsible for them to, for their own narrow, political purposes, try and fabricate some kind of an issue out of this, that psychiatric records are somehow being subpoenaed because they are psychiatric records and they are going to cause a person harm in the job market. What utter nonsense!

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that there was a lapse at MCP. Now, I would hope that the attention that has been given to this will prevent that from ever happening again. I mean, God help us if MCP people are so irresponsible as to allow that to continue. Indeed we would fire or would cause to be fired people who are responsible for such lax procedures. Mr. Speaker, they know clearly what their responsibilities are.

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

The Chair has the second time reminded hon. members about interruption and shouting across the floor. This is a small House and the Chair has heard many comments that it would wish not to hear and that it is not going to tolerate in the future, but the Chair will deal with that at a later date. I just remind hon. members, please, to extend the Premier the courtesy that should be extended to every hon. member by other members, the courtesy to speak.

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the question is really not deserving of any more attention anyway.

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

MR. DOYLE: Mr. Speaker, as I said to the Premier, over the last couple of weeks I have had the opportunity to meet with quite a number of doctors and they feel that it is the Premier and the Minister of Health who have gone mad in this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DOYLE: Anyway, Mr. Speaker, doctors are telling me that they have no objection to being audited, that it is necessary to do that and they realize that.

Now, is the Premier aware that the Nurses' Association, for instance, objected to the current procedure? Is he aware that the Mental Health Association has objected to the current procedure being used by MCP? And is the Premier aware that the Auditor General also recommended a couple of years ago that the auditing system should be changed? What is preventing the government from tightening up the system to the extent that they would send their auditor from MCP along with a member of the Newfoundland Medical Association, to protect the interests of doctors, to the doctors' offices? Now, what is the problem with that, because the Premier hasn't answered that question yet?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, neither the Minister of Health on a personal basis nor myself nor the President of Treasury Board or anybody else arrogate onto ourselves the right to determine that this is the best or the most effective or the most suitable measure for auditing. We provide for auditing to take place within the limits of the financial resources available. I don't know whether it would add three times the cost to hire a doctor to go and visit and send teams visiting doctors offices. The cost of that would be infinitely more, I would expect, than we are presently encountering.

Mr. Speaker, I am satisfied that the people responsible are managing the audit in a correct way, except for that lapse that occurred at the MCP offices a while ago. Now, I would think that that problem has been satisfactorily resolved.

Now, I have talked to a lot of doctors too who see nothing wrong with what the government is doing, who recognize that it is necessary to do that, that it is essential in order to protect the public interest and in order to ensure that we provide for fair and balanced treatment for other doctors too who would not be inclined to abuse the system. They want to make sure that everybody is treated fairly and that the services of medical practitioners are provided on a proper basis within the reasonable limits of the financial capability of this Province. We must provide for an acceptable auditing procedure.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have a question that is not within the federal purview. It is a matter of forestry, for the Minister responsible for Forestry and Agriculture.

The Kruger Company in Corner Brook has passed out some rather bad news in my district over the last few days, that very small numbers of people are being called back for long periods of work. The work is not being spread out among the various loggers so that everybody can get their stamps. I am wondering if the minister is aware of this, and what he plans to do about it?

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

MR. FLIGHT: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I am aware that Corner Brook Pulp and Paper will not be calling back as many loggers this year as last. The hon. Member for St. Barbe found out in excess of eighty loggers who have worked for Kruger for years will not necessarily be recalled this year. I know that Green Bay is affected. I know that most parts of the Province are affected.

All I can tell the hon. member is that Kruger determined the amount of wood that would be required this year. They are working with the union - most of the people he refers to I am sure are unionized loggers. So that is the situation, Mr. Speaker. I am in touch with Kruger all the time and I am aware of their plans for this summer, and that is it.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

Notices of Motion

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow move that the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole to consider certain resolutions relating to the raising of loans by the Province.

I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled "An Act To Abolish School Tax Authorities And To Provide For The Collection Of Unpaid School Tax."

I also give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled "An Act To Amend Certain Taxation Statutes In Relation To The Payment Or Imposition Of Interest."

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I give notice I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled "An Act Respecting The Application And Effect Of Certain Acts Passed In The Present Session Of The Legislature Upon The Revised Statutes Of Newfoundland, 1990."

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

WHEREAS Section 28 of The Provincial Court Act, 1991 requires the Lieutenant Governor in Council to appoint a tribunal to recommend the salaries and benefits of the Judges and Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of Newfoundland, and

WHEREAS the tribunal submitted it's report to the Minister of Justice on April 16, 1992, and

WHEREAS on May 1, 1992 the report was laid before the House of Assembly as required by the act, and

WHEREAS the act requires the House to approve or vary the report within thirty days of it being laid before the House, and

WHEREAS the act provides that the recommendations of the report as approved or varied by the House would apply for a period of four years, and

WHEREAS The Public Sector Restraint Act, 1992 applies to the provincial court judges and the Chief Judge of the Provincial Court, and

WHEREAS it is expedient for the House to deal with the recommendations of the report for the two year period following the expiry of the restrain period, and

WHEREAS government has decided to ask the House to vary the recommendations of the report,

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that this House vary the report on the salaries and benefits of the provincial court judges by inserting immediately before 'Recommendation 1', as 'Recommendation A(l)', the following: A(1) Subsection (a). In light of the provisions in The Public Sector Restraint Act, 1992, it is recommended that the House defer consideration of the recommendations of this report until the expiry of the restraint period provided for in that act.

B. It is recommended that the House accept or vary the recommendations of the report within thirty days of the expiration of the restraint period, or if the House is not then sitting it is recommended the report be considered and accepted or varied within thirty days of the beginning of the first sitting of the House immediately following the end of the restraint period.

C. It is recommended that the report as then accepted or varied, be implemented within thirty days of acceptance or variation, with effect from 1994-04-01 for the then unexpired balance of the four year period contemplated by the report and The Provincial Court Act, 1991.

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

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled "An Act To Amend The Labour Standards Act."

Orders of the Day

MR. BAKER: Motion 3, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 3.

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

Committee of the Whole

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

Bill 16. Is the House ready for the question?

AN HON. MEMBER: No.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Chairman, continuing on with the debate on Bill 16, the payroll tax more commonly referred to as the health and post-secondary education tax. There have been a number of speakers already who have had a few things to say about this bill and this tax - regressive tax.

As I said on Friday, I thought that when the government introduced the health and post-secondary education tax, we were going to see significant improvements in the health care system of the Province. It seemed that government was going to put an emphasis on improved health care for the Province and on improved post-secondary education for people in our Province, but we have seen the opposite.

Of course, coming off the last election when the Premier promised the four or five universities around the Province, the one in central and other areas of the Province, we thought that once this tax was introduced that was where government was going to get the money to put that central Newfoundland university in place. That is what I thought anyway but then, of course, shortly after that we found that was just another hollow and shallow election promise. They never had any intention in the first place of putting a university campus in central Newfoundland.

Of course the great talk as well was about improved health care for the Province, how they were going to open more hospital beds. I will never forget the great trip around the Province the Premier made on his whistle-stops and everywhere he stopped he talked about opening more hospital beds. But what did he do in his first Budget? He closed hospital beds, Mr. Chairman. He closed hospital beds all over the Province. 300 or 400 hospital beds closed in the Province last year. Now, how does that jibe with the promise to open more hospital beds? That is the question, Mr. Chairman. How can you get opening more hospital beds out of closing 400? I have heard tell of new math, I have head of calculators, I have heard that there are problems in the Province with science and mathematics. There have been studies into the problems with mathematics and the attainment level of students in mathematics, but I would really like for someone to explain to me how closing 400 hospital beds is opening more beds. I am sure there will be somebody opposite get up in their place very quickly and will try and convince me that closing 400 hospital beds last year was indeed opening more hospital beds.

MR. DOYLE: It is unbelievable.

MR. MATTHEWS: They will try to do that I am sure. Maybe the Premier himself will get up in a minute, knowing full well he closed 400 hospital beds, but trying somehow to describe it, work it, and use the verbal trickery that the Leader of the Opposition refers to to try and somehow make us believe he opened more.

MR. DOYLE: He is a real Houdini.

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, he is a bit of a Houdini, there is not doubt about that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. MATTHEWS: We do not understand anything the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations says, but there is one thing I say to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations that I do understand and that is the transformation that took place within his skeleton, I say to him, within the structure of his body in a matter of a few months. I have difficulty understanding that, how he could be out weeping in public, caring about the teachers of this Province, wept openly in front of 700 or 800 teachers because he could not deal with that terrible government that was in power at the time. He wept openly with his Kleenex box of tissues. He took them out and said: I cannot get anything else from this terrible group in there now. That is what he did. Wept openly! Then what did he do once he got in government? He turned on them. We used to use a term down in Grand Bank - I should not say it because I suppose I would be called racist and all this stuff. I cannot do it. When you turn against your own people. That is what he did.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Turncoat. Traitor.

MR. MATTHEWS: No, it was not turncoat or traitor. That is what happened to him. I cannot understand that I say to him, how one could change in a matter of a few short months when he beat from one end of this Province to the other preaching and crying in front of the teachers of the Province. Then what did he do? He came in and froze their wages for three years, tore up contracts in front of their face, contracts that he negotiated just a few weeks before. He tore them up. That great defender of the Newfoundland teachers of this Province one Roger Grimes. Now, I know he can hear what I am saying out in his Common Room or wherever he has gone. I cannot understand that I say to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations anymore than I can understand how closing 400 or 500 hospital beds is keeping a promise to the people of this Province to open more. Do you know something that is frightening about it? The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations does not think there has been a change in him. He still thinks he is a great defender of teachers and the labour movement in this Province, as well as the Premier, as frightening as it is, thinks that he has opened more hospital beds in this Province. He really believes that he opened more hospital beds in this Province.

MR. TOBIN: The Premier does not believe that.

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, he does believe it, and in another twelve months or so he will be going around the Province, maybe at it again, and he will be trying to convince people then that instead of having their hospital beds shut down he opened hospital beds for them. He will be going around on the stump. I can see him now up on the stump, gets off the bus and wades out on the stump, that is what he will tell people: yes, your hospital is closed up there but you know, I really did open up more hospital beds in your community, is what he will tell them.

AN HON. MEMBER: Check with The Health Sciences (inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes I know all about the Health Sciences, I have checked with them a few times trying to get people in to have heart surgery, I say to the President of Treasury Board. I know all about what is happening over there. If there is one person here, if there is one member in this House who can identify with the problems raised by the Member for Harbour Main about heart surgery, I can do it, and I say that to the President of Treasury Board very seriously.

Two cases in the last four to six weeks of people who have been on a waiting list so long - can you imagine being on a waiting list for months, knowing that you have blockages in your arteries and wanting surgery, can you imagine the strain that is not only on that patient, but on the families of that patient, can you imagine that? I know about the Health Sciences, I say to the President of Treasury Board all very well, you call there to the admission's office and they tell you that the list is so long they do not know when they are going to be able to do the person you are calling about. They do not know when. The person may die before he or she has the surgery they need. They may have another heart attack, which happened in one case, I say to members opposite, of one gentleman I know in Grand Bank, who was on the waiting list so long, that he had such a serious heart attack that now surgery cannot be performed on that gentleman, and still members opposite look at me and say: everything is fine.

The Minister of Health stands in this House and goes around the Province trying to convince everyone that health care in this Province has been improved... where, I say to the minister, where? It may have improved for him, I say to the Minister of Finance, who is over there mumbling under his breath. It may be improved for the Minister of Health but he must be the only one. He must be the only for whom it is improved. It is a terrible situation and what I cannot understand, Mr. Chairman, is how members opposite won't admit to the truth! All you have to do is go to any of the hospitals and see the lineups. Go up on some of the wards; hear some of the tales of what is going on with patients who have been treated. Talk to some of them, go over and visit them.

AN HON. MEMBER: There is no problem (inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: No problem said the Minister of Finance, no problems. It is fine for him. It could be like the person who was in the hospital in Salt Pond; the lady when to the bathroom and when she came back someone else was in her bed. Someone else was in her bed, I say to the Minister of Finance, he does not believe it but it is true. A woman who had surgery a couple days before went to the bathroom, when she came back there was another patient in her bed. No problem, says the Minister of Finance.

MR. TOBIN: That is true, Len.

MR. MATTHEWS: That is true. I know of another case over there where a gentleman had skin graft done at the Health Sciences Complex - the Minister of Finance should listen to this if he thinks everything is fine.

AN HON. MEMBER: It is better than it used to be (inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, it is better than it used to be; there are twice as many dying I say to the Minister of Finance, it is twice as good as it used to be because I am sure that is how he compares being twice as good. It is a play on words that the minister and other ministers have over there. They have themselves convinced that things have improved, and any of them. I can understand it for someone in the city who as a member does not get quite as many calls from constituents as rural members do, that is a known fact. I can understand a city member - but I can guarantee you one thing if you are representing a rural district in this Province today, you will get a lot of calls about health care and other problems, but whether you return your calls is something else, I say to the Minister of Finance, but we return ours and that is why we know the problems that are out there, they are very, very serious.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes. Just as one member for St. John's told me one time, I said to him, I guess you are busy? He said: yes, I have had one call and one letter the last year, and he was serious when he said that to me. He had one call and one letter in a twelve month period, and he was serious, he told the truth, that is what he had-

MR. HEWLETT: City Hall handles most of the problems.

MR. MATTHEWS: City Hall handles most of the problems, but when you are dealing with health care, post-secondary education and unemployment insurance problems and income tax problems, it is a serious situation out and about. People, as the Leader of the Opposition said today, are crying out for jobs. How many calls do I get in the run of a week from people looking for work? - wondering if there is any work coming up, wondering if there is going to be a project approved to hire some people. How many calls did I get this weekend? 'Do you know of any jobs coming up, Bill?'

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Call Graham Flight.

MR. MATTHEWS: No, I don't tell them to call Graham Flight, because he is shutting down Wooddale out there. I don't tell them that. I tell them the truth. That is the difference between me and the hon. gentleman. I tell them the truth.

My time has not elapsed already, has it?

MR. SIMMS: Yes boy, ten minutes goes fast when you're having fun!

MR. MATTHEWS: I must get up again. It isn't ten minutes, it's supposed to be thirty minutes, isn't it?

MR. SIMMS: Anybody else going to speak or what?

MR. MATTHEWS: I thought it was thirty minutes.

MR. SIMMS: It's only payroll tax - ten minutes at a time.

MR. MATTHEWS: No, it is supposed to be thirty - last week (inaudible).

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

MR. HEWLETT: Mr. Chairman, I am sure my colleague from the Burin Peninsula will no doubt follow me and be exceptionally eloquent on the matters he wishes to address.

I have a situation that I wish to bring to the floor of this House in my capacity as the Member for Green Bay. I guess it is my duty as a member representing my constituents to bring this matter before the House and before the press, if they are interested and so on. It has to do with the transfer of the crab processing license on Little Bay Island to Fleur de Lys, in Baie Verte - White Bay district.

An application has been made to make the transfer. I understand from the Minister of Fisheries that there will be a notice put in the media to the effect that those for and against the transfer can state their case. In this particular case, I have no doubt that the Minister of Fisheries will receive many submissions, both from Green Bay and from Baie Verte district, being neighbouring districts, on this particular issue.

Last year, this government tried to kill Little Bay Islands by cutting its ferry system in half. When that proved to be an embarrassing mess, in this Budget this spring they reinstated the ferry system and everybody on Little Bay Islands breathed a sigh of relief - prematurely, I must say. Because just after we got the ferry up and running in its usual fashion to service the crab plant on Little Bay Islands, we got word that the crab plant had been sold to new owners, and they are applying to transfer the license for that crab plant to Fleur de Lys in the nearby Liberal district of Baie Verte - White Bay.

This has caused some awkwardness on the government side, from two points of view, I suppose. The Minister of Health is himself married to a woman from Little Bay Islands, so he is under considerable pressure from his in-laws with regard to the proposed transfer; I am told the Minister of Fisheries is related by marriage to the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay, which would put pressure in the other direction on this particular issue. Behind the scenes I am told - no matter who is listed in the registry of companies downstairs - and checking, I found, only the lawyer incorporating Sea Treat Limited is listed as a shareholder - I am told Mr. 'King Crab' himself in Newfoundland, one Mr. Quinlan, is calling the shots on this particular issue.

Now, I don't know Mr. Quinlan from a hole in the wall, I do not know if I have ever met him. He has already started installing new equipment in the plant at Fleur de Lys in anticipation of a positive response to the transfer of the license from Little Bay Islands to Fleur de Lys. The transfer of the license will kill Little Bay Islands. You are not robbing Peter to pay Paul, you are killing Peter to pay Paul, in the case of Little Bay Islands. It is an island community, a one-industry town, and if you take its crab license away, you destroy the community - resettlement by another name.

So the decision is essentially in the hands of this government. Certain business interests have their own interest in mind, but the decision as to whether or not the license transfer can take place is in the hands of this government. This government has the power to kill Little Bay Islands, but let me put this government on notice. If they should kill Little Bay Islands, they can be assured of one thing, and that is that I am going to claw their eyes out.

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. PARSONS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, seeing we are dealing with Bill 16, the Health and Education Act, and the Minister of Education was not here the other day - he was on an open line show or whatever, unavoidably absent - I want to make it quite clear that when I spoke for the few minutes the other day I discussed the Williams Report.

The House Leader rose in his place and pointed out some of what he thought perhaps confused me. I want to make it quite clear, the Dr. Williams Report, from what I read of it, and I read all of the recommendations, has some good content. The Minister of Education will agree that he and I, over the past number of years, have spoken at length about certain numbers of those recommendations. But, Mr. Chairman, I want to go on record today saying, as far as I am concerned, the guidelines set out in the Dr. Williams report, in the first instance, were wrong.

I don't think the denominational question should ever have been part of that report. I really think I am being truthful in saying that the denominational educational system is a red herring, and that is not where the problem lies with respect to our educational system. I think each and every one of us in this Assembly today are there for the good of the student - what is uppermost in all of our minds, is to make it better for the student, to give that student the opportunity, perhaps, that he is being deprived of right now. And we hope that many of those recommendations will be put in place - like sharing.

How often have I spoken to the Minister of Education about sharing, which I believe in totally. The day is long gone when we have to see three different denominations with three different schools. And I think everyone agrees with that. I think we are slow in improving that situation along those lines, but I think that has come and has to come quickly. I also agree that the busing situation, as it is in this Province today, is ridiculous, to say the least. It certainly has to be changed, and changed immediately. I believe the recommendations for forming councils and committees in education are good ones.

But again, I go back to what I said in the first instance, that with respect to the denominational system itself, as far as the administrative aspect of it is concerned, I see no fault with it. I do not. And many more people, as this unfolds - I am warning government, don't accept what was said in that report. I said on Friday and I will say again that many of the recommendations, but in particular, one, the denominational aspect of this report, was based on surveys being done, on polls being taken. I said, and I repeat today that over the past couple of years we have been struck in the schools, in the educational system, by the misfortunes at Mount Cashel and other areas of supervision in the administration of our denominational schools.

In part, his report states, that 85 per cent of the people polled were in favour of the abolition of the denominational education system. I say to the minister that that poll is not a true one. Before this debate is over and before this is implemented we have to change the Constitution of Canada. I don't think that the Premier of the day, and I don't think the Prime Minister of Canada are ready for that. What you will see in this report if the good recommendations in it are not implemented you will see this report shelved as was the last one of the present minister. I am sure there were good recommendations in that, but it was shelved. It is picking up dust, and that is where this one will lie, because there is no way - look, we have to change the Constitution. We have deprived ourselves. Everything else that was in the Constitution that was applicable to Newfoundland, some of the goodies that we got through Confederation, we have lost them all. Now, we are going to lose our last bastion, the last agreement that we had to make us a little bit different. If I thought today that the denominational education system was bad for this Province, I would not venture to rise from my seat.

I know what the minister is saying, you're still going to have the religious aspect of it in schools. But I say to the minister, take away the administration, who today say you are going to have this religious part in the schools, and you will destroy the whole framework. A few years down the road there won't be any. I want my grandchildren to go to schools that teach religion. I don't care in what form, as long as they teach religion, the basic concepts of what I'm all about and I am sure what all the members in this hon. House are about.

Let's be careful what we do. We are losing the fundamentals by which we were brought up. Granted, people say they are outdated and, in many respects, they are. But in some respects they are not. Let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater. If we have to wait for a constitutional change in Canada to implement some of the good recommendations in this report, then I say again to you, Mr. Chairman, all that report will do is gather dust in some office in Confederation Building.

AN HON. MEMBER: What report?

MR. PARSONS: This report.

I disagree with my hon. colleague from Grand Bank. This study will be the same as all the rest of the studies, a cost to the people for nothing, if some of the good things in this report are not implemented. Now, if we are going to wait for a constitutional change, which we have no guarantee will ever come about, then I think all this was for naught.

I am quite serious, as serious as ever I was in my life, in saying that I agree with that party over there, with your own party, in saying we do have to bring about changes, changes in the structure of the classrooms, in the way that children are being taught, in the number of days that the children are being taught. It has to be addressed. The busing situation has to be addressed. And sharing - look, we are living in the dark ages. It has not to be addressed, it has to be done - not talked about, implemented in a tangible manner.

Mr. Chairman, I will have plenty of time to debate this issue at a later date, but I wanted to make sure that people understood from whence I came. That is why, while the minister was here, I wanted to make sure he knew where I stood on this issue.

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Before I recognize the hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West, I would like to welcome to the galleries this afternoon, a delegation from the district of Baie Verte - White Bay: Roy Goudie, Chairperson of the Burlington Community Council; Frank Clark, Chairman of the Baie Verte Peninsula Lumber and Loggers Association; Chesley Normore, Board Member of the Baie Verte Peninsula Development Association; and Gus Roberts, Chairperson of the Baie Verte Peninsula Community Futures Association.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, I have nothing to say, other than the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay is a good member. I don't know why he looked at me and said he is a good member. I am not the one you have to convince. It is the person who is after your job you have to convince you are a good member, not me.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, I have no doubt about it. As a matter of fact, I might even go down and help you get the nomination.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) your back (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: It is doing well, Jim.

MR. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible) making fun of you now, Tobin, look.

MR. DOYLE: I heard you got a crucifixion on Bell Island.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, I've a mind to call a quorum. Anyway, I want to have a few words on this regressive tax bill that the Minister of Finance has put before the House. There is nobody in the history of this Province who has put the tax burden on the people of this Province like the present Minister of Finance. Nobody. The Premier talks here about removing the school tax. What the Premier of this Province has done is create a tax that is three times as great as what people were paying for school taxes in this Province.

What is the difference between an education tax and a school tax? Nothing. Only it is some sort of a scam that was created and brought in. Thought up by the Premier and brought in by this Minister of Finance. The only difference between the school tax and the education tax is that you will be paying three times more for the education tax as you were for the school tax - the only difference.

Now, the only problem is, how many people in this Province can afford to pay this new school tax? That is the question we have to have answered. Because there is nobody working any more in this Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: There is so.

MR. TOBIN: I can speak for my constituents, Mr. Chairman. That when this crowd over there came into government there were 1,000 men and women working in the fish plant in Marystown. There were another couple of hundred on the trawlers in Marystown. There were 650 unionized employees working in the Marystown Shipyard when this crowd and this minister came into government. Today there is no one working in the fish plant in Marystown, no one on the trawlers in Marystown, and there are fifty or sixty people working in the Marystown Shipyard.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: That is true! The only work that has been in the Marystown Shipyard in the past year, or the past two years, has been due to the federal government - thanks to the sharp pens. It was not given to them, I do not want anyone to make that mistake. It was because of the bidding ability of the Marystown Shipyard people that the only work worth talking about was work from the federal government. Federal government vessels. There were two vessels up for cost plus in the end of it. The minister knows what I am talking about.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: There's not two - Mr. Chairman, that is not true!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: That is not true! That is not true!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: That is not true! The only deceitfulness in this, as it relates to the Marystown Shipyard, is the deception that this government is creating by blaming it all on Kvaerner. Kvaerner never did own the Marystown Shipyard, do not own the Marystown Shipyard, this government owns the Marystown Shipyard and has forgotten about the ownership.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes, the Minister of Employment should be singing across the House. He should have stayed and listened to what my colleague for Grand Bank had to say. He should have heard what my colleague for Grand Bank had to say about the Minister of Employment -

AN HON. MEMBER: Your own colleague should (Inaudible) to listen to what you have to say!

MR. TOBIN: - as to how he openly wept when he thought the government - when the government was going - how he openly wept on the steps of Confederation Building when the government was going to - how the bad government was attacking the teachers of this Province. He came into government. Before he got to the Cabinet, while in the Premier's office, he started putting the boots to the teachers of this Province, and he has not stopped yet. That is the hypocrisy that this government is constituted with....

The Minister of Finance will go down in history as the worst and most incompetent minister that this Province has ever seen in the finance portfolio. What has happened to personal income tax under this minister? In three years it has increased -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) you are not getting the school tax back.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, we are debating the school tax.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: We are debating the school tax. They have changed it from a school tax to an education tax. The only difference is that the school tax costs one-third of what the taxpayers will pay for this new education tax. The only difference, Mr. Chairman. They have changed the name.

AN HON. MEMBER: School tax is not coming back!

MR. TOBIN: They have changed the name from a school tax to an education tax. Not only that, the Member for Eagle River and the Member for Mount Scio believe what they said. Both of these gentlemen, and the other backbenchers, believed the Premier. They believed the Premier.

The Member for Eagle River believed the Premier when the Premier said he was not mature enough to go in Cabinet, and Labrador should not have representation. They believed the Premier when he told them that there was nobody in the back benches with the ability to come in, so he had to go down town. He had to go down on Duckworth Street and get a lawyer to come up and go into Cabinet because he had nobody in the back benches with the confidence to be able to go into Cabinet, he told the Member for Eagle River. What the Premier said publicly - what did he say? What was it, Rick?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Danny does not have -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: No, Danny does not have the political maturity. The political maturity, he said. Danny lacks the political maturity to go in Cabinet.

Well if that is not telling you that you are no good, by the leader of your government, I do not know what it is. Danny lacks the maturity, he said. Danny lacks the maturity to go in Cabinet.

Mr. Chairman, I think that Danny will mature some day, but it is going to be too late for him to go in Cabinet because they will not be in government. The government will be gone by the time that Danny matures politically enough to go in Cabinet.

AN HON. MEMBER: He is only young, though. He is only young.

MR. TOBIN: Oh, he is only young.

MR. PARSONS: Now Danny has the potential. He is not a bad fellow.

MR. TOBIN: In any case, I want to speak for a few minutes about this tax bill, but at the same time to be able to demonstrate to the people of this Province the economic condition that we are in today.

I stopped this morning and spoke with a person from Arnold's Cove, in Goobies, who told me that that area right now is in hard shape economically. He made a good point when he spoke to me about the fact that the fish plant, which was a deep-sea plant - the fish plant in Arnold's Cove depended on the deep-sea fishery - and the gentleman said that now it is going to be an inshore fishery, but the plant is probably too large to sustain that type of an inshore operation.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Crosbie's fault.

MR. TOBIN: It is the Premier of this Province who said: Close the deep-sea fishery for one, two, three, or five years. He said that, and he has insulted the men and women of Catalina and Port Union, of Marystown, Fortune, Arnold's Cove and St. John's, of Trepassey and Grand Bank, of Burgeo, Ramea and Gaultois. He has insulted the men and women of the south coast and down in my friend's district from Trinity North.

What business has the Premier of this Province in saying: The deep-sea fishery in this Province should close for five years? Who does he think he is? Who does he think he is to tell 10,000 or 15,000 people: You have to go on welfare or leave home? We have nothing to do. Who does the Premier of this Province think he is to stand in this Legislature and make that statement?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

I want to inform the hon. Member for Burin - Placentia West that unless he has leave of the House he cannot continue.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Yes, there has to be an intervening speaker.

The hon. the Member for Humber Valley.

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I want to make a few more comments on this particular bill, Bill 16.

At the risk of being repetitious, I suppose when you are talking about -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Chairman, I am not talking about repetition in the sense of other members. I am talking about myself, having spoken a couple of times on this particular bill, but I would like to have a few more comments pertaining to Bill 16, Health and Post-Secondary Education Tax Act. I would like to comment primarily on the effect it is going to have on small businesspeople in the Province, especially the payroll tax and the income tax part of it, but that hits everybody.

What made me somewhat hesitant about rising today and saying a few more words on this is like I said first at the risk of being repetitious, but there were a few people in the gallery a short while ago from Baie Verte. My understanding is, and I would say I am right, is that some of their concerns today in their trip to St. John's is concerning small business operators in the Baie Verte area.

Now I am not the only one around the Province, I suppose. The right people are not here now, especially the Minister of Transportation. You talk about taxes and how the payroll tax is going to hit small companies. Talk about small truck owner operators in the Province, how they were hit two years ago when they changed their fines pertaining to the weigh scales on the Trans-Canada Highway.

They were, Mr. Chairman, to put it bluntly, pretty well crucified. They were almost to the point of being put out of business when they changed the fine structure with regards to the weigh scales on the Trans-Canada Highway. Payroll tax now is going to add to that, and to add insult to injury, Mr. Chairman, we just heard today in questioning from the Member for Green Bay to the Minister responsible for Forestry and Agriculture about the further cuts that Kruger is going to have pertaining to loggers on the west coast of the Province. They are not going to hire as many loggers as they had last year. They have no intentions. They brought in slashers, new machinery to take the place of loggers, and I suppose to make their enterprises more viable.

But, Mr. Chairman, if there was one area, and I am sure the Member for Baie Verte, and maybe the Member for St. George's, and possibly a few other members from the west coast of the Province may have that particular problem with regards to truckers, the wood trucks. The Member for Stephenville for sure.

Mr. Chairman, it is an injustice as far as I am concerned that should be righted. Whether the minister is going to take it under advisement today coming out of his meetings with the people from the Baie Verte area on what they are going to do with regards to wood trucks alone. How can a driver, that is anybody who understands the forestry, anybody who understands the difference between dry wood, green wood, fir, spruce or anything else. But anybody who doesn't, I can see why the truckers have a problem because when they go in on a woods road and pick up a particular load of wood, in some cases the wood has been cut for months, in some cases the wood has been cut for weeks, and in some cases the wood has been just dropped the day before. Now when they load that particular trailer and head out onto the Trans-Canada Highway with pretty well the same load, they can look at the same load whether it is four or five feet high, whatever, and once they get to the weigh scales, what happens? You are pulled in, you are weighed, and the same load they might have hauled a week before, they are nailed for being over weight. How do they do it? They have no other way to weigh their trucks when they leave the logging site.

So what is happening, Mr. Chairman, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Finance is making a killing on the backs of the small operators in this Province namely the loggers and the owner operator truckers. I think it is radically wrong. I think it should be addressed, and if the minister is going to take - I think he had meetings today on it with the people from Baie Verte. My area is affected, the Member for Stephenville's area is affected, the Member for St. George's area is affected, the Bonavista area is affected. Not so much because a lot of that is going into wood chips now, around that area, but there is going to have to be something done about it. One of the recommendations made last year was to have a measured load. Put it up four or five feet, whichever, have a measured load so that the operators when they leave the work site and come onto the Trans-Canada can make sure they can proceed to a mill, whether it is in Stephenville or Corner Brook, without having the possibility of being stopped and being charged for being overweight.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Chairman, I am being distracted somewhat by a couple of members to the right of me.

Mr. Chairman, I wish the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation was here to hear what I am saying because it is a fact and it is one that he should take under advisement. The Member for St. Barbe is here now and he has probably eighty or ninety loggers in is district cut and he knows what I am talking about. He knows what I am talking about as well when I talk about the loggers and overweight. That is a policy that is going to have to be changed combined with the payroll tax they are hit with now, combined with the personal income tax and also the increase in the fines, the increase in the fine structure with regard to these truckers.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is not relevant.

MR. WOODFORD: It is relevant, Mr. Chairman, very relevant. It is all intertwined and combined. Those people are trying to make a living, the small trucker operators, are going to be put out of business in a very short time if something is not done through the Department of Works, Services and Transportation with regards to the truckers. A trucker leaves Hawke's Bay on the Daniel's Harbour road with a full load. He has loaded in there like I said with dry green spruce, fir, or whatever, and when he gets up in Deer Lake he is nailed for $700 or $800.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is shocking.

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, it is. It is terrible and there is no way for him to know it. Now, some fellows will try to get away in the nighttime with a large load and that is obvious and you can nail them as far as I am concerned, but a trucker who is hauling the same height on his machine and on his trailers should be given the leeway and should be given a measured load, five or six feet, whatever it is, regardless whether it is green or dry and be given the latitude to proceed to the mill. It is terrible in this day and age, Mr. Chairman, when I go to Corner Brook after passing the weigh scales in Deer Lake, go to Corner Brook and see eighteen and nineteen tractor trailers of people trying to scratch to make a living and see two RCMP cars there forcing them to go to the other side of Corner Brook to get weighed. That to me is wrong, it is an injustice and as far as I am concerned the minister has the jurisdiction to act quickly, to act decisively, and to make sure that these particular operators are put in a position where they will not be crucified and lose their trucks, lose their companies, and they are hiring people as well so they should be given the flexibility of proceeding with their work and creating employment and getting their product to the mill source without this interference.

The taxes and the fine structure as far as I am concerned is way out of whack in comparison with other infractions pertaining to the Highway Traffic Act and that combined with the payroll tax, the personal income tax, the fuel adjustment rate on their fuel, Mr. Chairman, something should be done. Members opposite should make sure that they impose on their colleagues, and especially the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, to act in a sensible logical way and manner that pertains to that particular problem.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. member's time is up.

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: The boys are always singing out 'question' over there, Mr. Chairman, and we have been asking questions now for I do not know how many days but are not getting any answers, I say to the Minister of Finance who is over there mumbling to himself again. Everything is beautiful with the Minister of Finance. We do not get any answers I say to the Minister of Finance. He brought in this tax.

DR. KITCHEN: I haven't been asked a question in Question Period for the past three weeks.

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, you have. That is not true. The Minister of Finance has been asked questions inside of the last three weeks, I say to him. We have been asking questions for the last three years and we have not yet gotten an answer.

AN HON. MEMBER: Only no.

MR. MATTHEWS: Oh, yes, we've gotten a couple of nos and a maybe.

MR. DUMARESQUE: We have a good candidate for Naskaupi.

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, we got a good candidate for Naskaupi, the Member for Eagle River says. I wouldn't know if he is a good candidate or not, but you got him. There is nothing like having something forced on you, I say to the Member for Eagle River. The people in Naskaupi District: There is nothing like having something forced on them, forced down their throats even though they don't want it, I say to the Member for Eagle River. They would rather have the choice of a good Labradorian. They would rather have a good Labradorian, I say to the Member for Eagle River, who gets up and mouths off about Labrador and how much he cares for it and all this stuff. Patriotic, nationalistic about his beloved Labrador.

AN HON. MEMBER: And only half of it true.

MR. MATTHEWS: Well, he fits in very well over there. I say, he is ahead of the rest of them if it is half true. If it is half true, he is ahead of the rest of them by 50 per cent over there.

MR. CARTER: He does care for Labrador.

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, he does, but only half as much as he pretends I say to the Minister of Fisheries. The Minister of Fisheries didn't get it. I said that is 50 per cent more than the rest of them over there care about Labrador, because there is no one over there who cares 100 per cent for Labrador. We are going to see that pretty soon when they are going to inflict Labrador with that candidate of theirs, inflict him on them.

MR. WINSOR: Whether they want him or not.

MR. MATTHEWS: Whether they want him or not.

MR. CARTER: If you care for Labrador, you can contest that by-election.

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, we do care for Labrador, I say to the Minister of Fisheries, and, yes, we are going to contest it. We certainly are. We are going to contest Ferryland, I say to the Minister of Fisheries. We are going to contest it and it is going to be interesting, I say to the Minister of Fisheries. They are both going to be very interesting. They are both going to be very interesting contests, I say to the Member for Eagle River. They are both going to be interesting contests. One will be interesting and the other one will be most interesting. The Ferryland one won't even be interesting, I say to the Minister of Fisheries.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: No, we are going to win it hands down, I say. It is not even going to be a contest.

Having said that, Mr. Chairman, and being interrupted by the Minister of Fisheries, I want to get back to talking about this infamous bill, "An Act To Amend The Health and Post-Secondary Education Tax Act."

I wonder how the people up in Naskaupi have benefited since the government brought in this tax? What has it done for them, I wonder, up in Naskaupi and out in Ferryland, since the government brought in this Health and Post-Secondary Education Tax? I wonder?

What has it done for the people of Gander, I wonder? No signs of the foundation being laid yet for the central Newfoundland university campus. It must be a terrible embarrassment for the President of Treasury Board every time someone brings it up. The Member for Lewisporte nodding. It must be terribly embarrassing. The great scrap they had going, one lobbying this one and that one, and getting the councils all worked up as to: Where is this great university campus going to go in Central Newfoundland? A big dog fight out there. Everyone thought the President of Treasury Board and Member for Gander had the inside track. For sure it was going to Gander. Of course, he thought so too.

I had people from Gander say to me: Oh, there is no doubt, Winston is going to have that university campus in Gander. The President of Treasury Board, the President of the Council, Acting Premier when the Premier is away -

MR. WINSOR: Acting Premier most of the time.

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, he is acting more times than he is not, because the Premier is never here.

They thought for sure, they had their bets on Winston, that he was going to deliver the central Newfoundland university campus. The Member for Exploits was all in a tizzy out there. He had his communities all worked up putting in proposals and submissions. They had the best site. When Clyde told them in the 1989 election campaign they were getting a central campus they believed it. They were going to have this great university out there.

AN HON. MEMBER: They should be made to pay the volunteers who put so much time in.

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, all those people on all those committees who submitted proposals, who did all the spade work to put before the government for consideration - they knew full well that they were never going to do it, the same way they knew when they negotiated all those contracts that they froze in Bill 16 and Bill 17, it is the same thing. They went around the Province promising better health care, better post-secondary education and it is worse, it is worse -

MR. DUMARESQUE: Have you been talking to Crosbie lately?

MR. MATTHEWS: Was I talking to Crosbie lately? No, I talk to Crosbie about as much as - I say the Member for Eagle River talks to Crosbie as much as I do; I know he talks about him a little bit more, I say to him. Now, I do not spend much time talking to the hon. Mr. Crosbie, I say to the Member for Eagle River, but if I have occasion to, I talk to him. There are occasions when I need to talk to him and I do -

MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible) fisheries.

MR. MATTHEWS: I never said I never talk to him. I said I only talk to him when I absolutely have to and I am not like the Member for Eagle River, who, one hour is putting the boots into Mr. Crosbie and then in the next hour is whining and weening, wanting to go meet with him. But all I have to say to the Member for Eagle River is, I am very grateful that we have Mr. Crosbie where he is today and I say that very sincerely because if we did not have him there, it is bad enough as it is, and I see the Minister of Fisheries nodding his head, it is bad enough as it is and if we did not have a man like John Crosbie up in Ottawa now, my God in Heaven-

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: No, I say it very sincerely because I am saying what I believe. If he was no good, I would say he is no good, but he works hard for this Province, he has a very difficult job I say to the Member for Eagle River and I would not wish it on any one, the job that John Crosbie has in Ottawa; up there by himself, sitting around that table, trying to squeeze more money for Newfoundland and Labrador, a very lonely job-

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Who said he is not getting any more? When you look at the money that comes into this Province from the federal government, how anyone can say that John Crosbie does not work on behalf of this Province, they do not say it for the right reason. John Crosbie gets a lot of money and a lot of benefits for this Province, a small Province, not that we do not need it, I am not suggesting that, we need every cent he gets for us but he works hard and he does well when you are a lone voice at that federal cabinet table, that huge system, the big system of Ottawa, trying to -

MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: No. It is fine for the Member for Eagle River to be going on with his nonsense over there, it is fine for him to be going on with that, but I would not wish it on the Member for Eagle River that he be put in John Crosbie's shoes, I would not wish it on him, and for a number of reasons. One is, he would not be able to handle it, he would have more temper tantrums than the children in the Janeway because when he does not get his own way, that is how he gets. Crosbie? I tell you, it is alright that he has a different approach to the fishery than the Premier of this Province, I say to members opposite. I say it is alright he has a different attitude towards our Province's fishery than the Premier because he would have it all shut down today, and we would have another 10,000 on welfare before midnight -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, another 10,000 before midnight. Shut her down, CLyde, close her down. No, you never hear a suggestion from the Premier about what he is going to do for the months it shuts down, he never makes a suggestion. He has no plan; he spends his time in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver and all around the champagne circuit talking the Constitution and he does not know what is going on in his own Province. He does not know.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Do you ever wonder why (inaudible)?

MR. MATTHEWS: Now I say to the Member for Eagle River, we will find out about your 11 per cents in another thirty days when the Premier gets the intestinal fortitude to call the two bye-elections. Now that the Premier has two vacancies and once he has the intestinal fortitude to call the bye-elections, we will see about your percentages, I say to him. Now when we come back I will match our fortunes against his after the two bye-elections are over. Okay?

MR. DUMARESQUE: That is fair enough.

MR. MATTHEWS: Grand Bank is the next one to go? You are talking about the plant again I suppose. You are talking about the fish plant, are you? They have gone two or three times but they are back again, I say to the Minister of Finance, the Grand Bank plant has been shut and opened about the same number of times as the Member for Grand Bank has been re-elected, so I do not wish it on them that they have to be re-opened again. I hope they don't have to be re-opened again down there, but I will tell you one thing, the member will be re-elected I say to him.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, the member will be re-elected. The Minister of Fisheries knows full well. He has been down around there a few times. He knows what is down there.

The Minister of Fisheries picked me up 300 or 400 votes when he was down there the other day.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: I am sure you did. And if you did I will tell you what it is about if you got a letter from down my way, it is because you are taxing them too much. You just about have their businesses closed up I say to the Minister of Finance. If you got a letter from my district it is because you have them taxed to death. Taxed to death. Taxed to death. That is what you have done. Payroll tax, personal income tax. It wasn't from Mrs. Pardy in Fortune was it? The farmer? It could have been.

AN HON. MEMBER: Tell me who it was from now.

MR. MATTHEWS: Tell me who it was from.

MR. PARSONS: (Inaudible) $50 a year school tax.

MR. MATTHEWS: Give them back some of this payroll tax you have stuck on them and the income tax, 4 per cent this year increased in personal income tax. I would say you may have a letter about that. They can't afford it - I will tell you who the Minister of Finance probably got the letter from, a store owner down there. From a store owner I would say talking about all the taxes, how regressive it has become and how he can't hire more people since the payroll tax came in, about all the taxes on tobacco and alcohol and all the bootlegging activities that it has encouraged. Is that the letter, I wonder, that the Minister of Finance is talking about?

DR. KITCHEN: I wish to God we had a good Liberal Member in Grand Bank.

MR. MATTHEWS: All I can say -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes. I say to the Minister of Finance, there has never been a good Liberal member down there yet. There has never been a good Liberal member down there yet.

AN HON. MEMBER: They wish Ed Roberts was running down there.

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, they sure would. They sure wish that because they would certainly like to give Ed a nice message, and I would say Grand Bank is the place to give it to him. There are a number of people they would like to give a message to. They gave a strong enough one last time, but next time they are going to give a stronger one. Next time they are going to give a stronger message because they have more reasons to give a stronger message I say to the Minister of Finance and he is a big part of it in what he is doing with this tax bill. This tax bill right here.

But the Minister of Finance had a letter the other day from a store owner in Grand Bank, and the tone of his letter was about all these taxes. They have a payroll now over $100,000 so they have to pay the payroll tax. He can't hire more people. He would like to hire more people, but he can't do it because of the minister's tax. So what is that doing to the economy of the Province when you penalize people for hiring more people? That is what the government is doing. They are penalizing businesses in this Province for hiring more people. They should be encouraging businesses to hire more people, not penalize them. That way you would have more people working, paying more personal income tax and sales tax, and the bottom line is the government would be better off, I say to the Minister of Finance.

The Minister of Finance has done so much damage in three years, Mr. Chairman, it is going to take three years to talk about the bad he has done I say to him.

DR. KITCHEN: I am very popular (inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, you are very popular. There is no doubt about that. That is one thing I say for the Minister of Finance, he is easily recognizable. He has a high recognition factor, I say to him. He has a high recognition factor. If you asked Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, the Minister of Finance in Canada that didn't know the tax formula, they would say Dr. Kitchen. If you asked the people of Newfoundland and Labrador what Minister of Finance called Kentucky Fried Chicken, garbage, they would say the hon. Dr. Kitchen. He doesn't understand the tax formula, calls Kentucky Fried, garbage, had Quebec by the - what did he say? Had Quebec by what was it? The short and curlies.

MR. PARSONS: By the short and curlies.

MR. MATTHEWS: By the short and curlies he said we had Quebec or we got them now. Yes. Recognition factor is amazing for that Minister of Finance. Everyone recognizes him, but what do they recognize him for, I say to the Minister of Finance?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: I will guarantee you. The old axe doctor. Slash. Slash Kitchen. And here he is whopping it to them again all in the name of health and post-secondary education. Tuition fees have never been higher. Over-crowding in the post-secondary institutions; people in the hallways of the hospital on little cots two feet wide, there for days and weeks. I see the Member for Fortune - Hermitage down there now. Some of his constituents go up to Salt Pond. On cots that wide for weeks. No privacy. Out in the corridors.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Whether I am nice or not I tell the truth, because that is what is happening up there, I say to the Member for Harbour Grace.

AN HON. MEMBER: That's not true!

MR. MATTHEWS: How would you know? You've never been there! It is true.

AN HON. MEMBER: It is not true.

MR. MATTHEWS: It is true. Families complain because their fathers and their mothers have been in the hallways on cots.

AN HON. MEMBER: Bull.

MR. MATTHEWS: You might think it is bull, they do not think it is bull. They think it is painful.

AN HON. MEMBER: Chicken up there, or what?

MR. MATTHEWS: No, no chicken up there. They cannot afford to feed them chicken, I say to the member. They cut their budget by $1 million last year at the regional hospital in Salt Pond, his government did. One million dollars you cut their budget by last year, $1 million.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: You cut the budget by $1 million in the regional hospital in Salt Pond, is what you did. They did not have a surplus in money. They needed other services. They needed other people to work there. It was only last night we met with three doctors who work in the emergency units up there, work the wards. Talk to them about the problems. You want to know the truth. Those are the problems, very serious problems in health care in this Province. Doctors overworked, I say to him. A lot of them not overpaid either, a lot of them are not overpaid. A lot of doctors making $100,000, $120,000, I do not consider them to be overpaid. The Premier stands up today and talks about those making $400,000 and $500,000. How many Doctors in this Province make $400,000 to $500,000? Not very many. The majority between $100,000 and $200,000.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Chairman, I just want to say a few words on this regressive piece of legislation. I am very sorry, I do not know if the Minister of Fisheries is leaving the House or not. No, he is going to be here, because I wanted to make a few comments flowing from some of the comments that were made on the other side when we were talking about Mr. Crosbie. Or when the Member for Grand Bank was talking about Mr. Crosbie there earlier.

I would like to tell members on the other side that it is very easy to criticise. But those hon. members were not around when the hon. Romeo LeBlanc was the Minister of Fisheries for Canada, when many of the rules, regulations and practises were instigated. When the trawler fleets on the south coast were built and licensed, that was not done in the last eight or ten years, I might tell hon. members. That was done in the last fifteen years.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)?

MR. HODDER: Oh, that is why I wanted to talk about the Minister of Fisheries. Because if the Minister of Finance, who knows very well of what I speak. The present Minister of Fisheries, when I was first elected, the first question I asked him - he was the Minister of Fisheries in the Conservative government of Frank Moores - that was shortly about the time that the 200-mile limit was declared in Canada. He had also been an advocate of the 200-mile limit in Ottawa while he was a Conservative member in Ottawa.

But, Mr. Chairman, when we start to place blame for what is happening in Ottawa we should remember that at that particular time - that was almost eighteen years ago - that in the district of Port au Port alone, there were sixteen long-liners financed by the provincial government that came into the district. That was a policy of the provincial government at that time and that Minister of Fisheries. I do not blame the Minister of Fisheries. But that was the thinking of the time, because we had just declared a 200-mile limit. It had gone from twelve to 200. The Minister of Fisheries for Canada was the hon. Romeo LeBlanc, and the Minister of Fisheries for Newfoundland was the hon. Walter Carter.

The feeling was, and it was my feeling too, that: now that we have the 200-mile limit, now that we have some control over the foreigners, we can start giving boats to our own fishermen to go out there and catch that stock that is there. That was the thinking. Nobody knew the difference. But when we start allocating blame then I think we should look to ourselves. It is not enough to say that one side or the other side was there, or who was there. In 1975 when I first came into this Chamber, the one upstairs, everybody, including the Minister of Fisheries who sits there now, felt it was right to put boats in the hands of our people, and a lot of money was spent. That was a policy of both the federal and the provincial governments.

When I see members on the other side of the House then get up and point fingers at an administration in Ottawa who has been there for some eight years, but worse still, point fingers at a Minister of Fisheries who is trying to do his best for Newfoundland, and forget, as if the past had been wiped out in a moment -

AN HON. MEMBER: Your buddies ruined the fishery; Trudeau (inaudible).

MR. HODDER: Yes, I remember, and I might tell the Member for Eagle River this. I was sitting in this House of Assembly as a Liberal a lot longer than he has, or will be.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HODDER: I remember when the Trudeau government was in power, and they came down, and the Liberals were in opposition, and not one minister would ever speak. We could not get to talk to them. The only time they ever wanted to see us was during an election campaign. I remember the frustrations long before the Member for St. Barbe came on the scene. When he was directing plays out in Stephenville Crossing I was dealing with these problems.

I just cannot stand to see the hypocrisy when members opposite say: It all happened today. All I am saying is that it did not all happen today, and we all bear collective blame for what happened with the fishery.

But I got up on a tax bill, and I just wanted to -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HODDER: - because I had heard these comments from the Member for Eagle River, as if the world started the moment that he was elected to the House of Assembly, and there is no collective memory before or afterwards. That is the kind of blind thinking that leads us down the garden path.

This particular bill, which is again another taxation bill - I heard the Premier in the House of Assembly today, in answering the Leader of the Opposition, waving his arms and saying: We discharged our duties that we promised in the last election. Then he went on to say: We abolished the school tax. But what is the difference in abolishing the school tax and increasing the health and education tax? It is the same thing, is it not? There has never been, in a three year period in Newfoundland, such an increase in taxation by any government since 1949 as we have experienced under this particular government.

I want to talk about what the Premier had to say today, because he said he discharged his responsibilities since the last election. We will forget that they were going to bring all the Newfoundlanders home. We will forget that. We will just leave that out there. He came out to Port au Port -

AN HON. MEMBER: I heard some of your promises in (inaudible).

MR. HODDER: I never made a promise in an election campaign - never - except that I would do the best job possible, which I did. They returned me to this House of Assembly five times, and if I decide to run again the next time, I will tell the hon. member that I will be over there and he will be over here.

AN HON. MEMBER: Why, are you coming back?

MR. HODDER: Possibly.

The Premier came to the district, and he made a speech in the district. It was quite a public speech, carried right across the Province, about how terrible the district of Port au Port was. The next night he went to Carbonear and, again in his speech to the people of Carbonear on the east coast, he talked about how terrible the district of Port au Port was, and how the roads were bad, and how the economy was bad, and the unemployment, and that if he got elected, this would change. At the same time we have to realize that this man is not going to play politics. He is above politics. He is going to do for the opposition districts as he does for his own.

This year, would the members get out their list of road work and get out their list of water and sewer projects and see how much road work and how many water and sewer projects came to the district of Port au Port? That is just for starters - not one. Not one cent of money has been spent in the district. Could we look at the unemployment statistics in the district of Port au Port from the time that the Premier arrived there until this moment? Mr. Chairman, all you can see are houses boarded up. Everybody is on the Mainland. Unemployment was about 70 per cent and now it is about 90 per cent in the area and this is the Premier who was going to change this and look at Port au Port as an example of what he could do if he became Premier. Mr. Chairman, what happened to all those promises? Hon. members over there sit there and have actually convinced themselves they are doing something for this Province. Mr. Chairman, there is more doom and gloom in this Province - in the Bay St. George area, the Abitibit-Price paper mill is still operating at full capacity with no down time. This summer the Atlantic Design Homes hired some 200 or 300 people for six months and the fishery has been about the same all the way along because we are in the Gulf region. Hon. members might not realize it, but we are in the Gulf region and this is a separately administered cod stock so it hasn't changed in the last four or five years. If anything it has probably got a little better but, Mr. Chairman, the area is facing a total decline and the reason is not because there are less jobs, it is because there are fewer expectations and more taxes.

This particular tax here, Mr. Chairman, means that the little fish plant in Piccadilly or the little fish plant over on Bell Island will now be taxed a payroll tax because the whole formula has been changed. Any businessman who wants to take over a small fish plant now, not only has the other taxes to contend with but he has these taxes to contend with, as well. Mr. Chairman, that is the problem in this Province now. It is gloom and doom.

I remember when Bowater decided to leave Corner Brook. I remember what it was like in Corner Brook before Kruger came. But did the government of the day sit down and say, 'Oh, we will let the market forces play here. We won't do anything else. We cannot encourage '- no, Mr. Chairman, government rolled up it sleeves, went to work, went out in the world marketplace and tried to attract someone and it did and we were successful.

Over the last eight years, Corner Brook has been economically viable, but if we had taken the attitude that this government takes for every single issue in every single case, Mr. Chairman, this Province is going down the drain because nobody is over there. Everybody is sitting back and we are all being fed constitutional pie.

There is one other thing I have to say, if we had passed the Meech Lake Accord in this House back a couple of years ago, there would be no constitutional problems in Canada right now. Our dollar wouldn't be as shaky as it is if we had passed it then. This would have been over with. But the situation this country is in bears directly on this government. Ever since that fateful day when the government was afraid to call a vote in this House, ever since that day, this country has been in constitutional turmoil and the Premier is up wandering around the Mainland with his mind in the sky, while he taxes this Province to death, more taxes in three years that in twenty-five at any particular time. I am not saying that is the cause of this recession, this is a worldwide recession, but certainly Canada has suffered more. The Canadian dollar has suffered more and the economy has suffered more because of the constitutional crisis and the uncertainty that was caused in this Legislature.

MR. WALSH: What happened in Manitoba?

AN HON. MEMBER: Elijah Wells voted.

MR. HODDER: Mr. Chairman, that could have been looked after. That would never have happened except for the intransigence of this Premier. The people of this Province have been taxed to death and yet, the government continues to get up and say that we are doing it. Oh, Mr. Chairman, the list that the Minister of Development tabled in the Committee the other day of the types of business that are - Mr. Chairman, are we now giving out money to people to buy existing businesses? Is this a way that you create funds where people buy existing businesses? Are we putting businesses in a place where there is somebody across the street in direct competition?

Mr. Chairman, I can show examples and I will, and this is not over.

AN HON. MEMBER: Show them.

MR. HODDER: Yes, I certainly can show them. I can show them where there is one clothing store on one side of the street, another clothing store on the other side and another right next to it. Mr. Chairman, I can go through that list in Grand Bank. In Grand Bank, there are twenty or thirty beauty salons.

MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible).

MR. HODDER: No, not this member, not me, Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

The hon. the Member for Eagle River.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I wasn't going to get up to speak today either, but obviously, I have been stimulated by the debate opposite, particularly the shots coming across the House at myself.

Mr. Chairman, I must say, the hon. member gave a fairly good speech just then. The last time we heard him address the House with such gusto, was when he put all the Province on hold, when he said: 'Look out, look out, there is an explosion of coyotes in this Province today.' He said: 'Be prepared, lock your windows, shut your doors, make sure there's nobody outside, don't put your children out to play because the coyotes are coming, the coyotes are coming' - the last time, Mr. Chairman, that he approached this House with such gusto as he did here today.

The hon. the Minister of Finance said that he heard there is a coyote on this side of Gander right now, so I know we are starting to attest to the fact that, yes indeed, coyotes are prevailing, are present in this honourable Province, Mr. Chairman. But I know the Minister of Health is standing by, the Department of Health is standing by, the whole force of this government is there at the ready to be able to go and grab this problem before, Mr. Chairman, it has the Province in total wracks of pain. The coyotes of the Province have exploded - coyotes here, there and everywhere, Mr. Chairman and, of course, we are thankful that the Member for Port au Port made us all aware of that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) babies (inaudible).

MR. DUMARESQUE: Yes, mothers have been frightened, Mr. Chairman, grandmothers having been calling home, people have been sending letters trying to get the message out: Please don't let them outside the door; teachers, principals, seminars everywhere, Mr. Chairman. Pleas in all the NTA meetings, parent-teacher meetings, ten minutes are spent on how to protect your child against the infamous coyote. The coyotes are coming!

There is now an inundation of seminars; consultants are making all kinds of money trying to draft courses. As fast as they can get the courses together there is a demand. Mr. Chairman, it is unbelievable, the demand for the coyote prevention seminar, with the introduction by the hon. the Member for Port au Port. We have never seen the likes of this kind of panic throughout our Province. However, Mr. Chairman, there is one fine note of progress to it all, the introduction is made in French - in two languages.

MR. MATTHEWS: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Opposition House Leader, on a point of order.

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, this has been a wide-ranging debate, but certainly, the rule of relevancy has to apply and I am wondering perhaps, if the hon. member now, could get some information from the Minister of Finance. I am wondering if the coyotes are subject to the health and post-secondary education tax. Perhaps they have already gotten into the schools, I say to the Member for Eagle River.

MR. CHAIRMAN: To that point of order, I ask the hon. Member for Eagle River to try to zero in on some of the aspects of the post-secondary education, Bill 16. I would like him to see how it is relevant to this particular bill.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Yes, absolutely, Mr. Chairman. It is definitely relevant. There is absolutely no way that the Health and Education budgets of this Province can withstand the cost of dealing with this panic that we have in the Province today. There is no way that the Health and Education budget can take it, Mr. Chairman, when there is so much vaccination and everything going to be required in the near future because of the infestation of coyotes.

However, I must admit that this is a little levity that I wanted to bring into the House today.

I want to touch on a couple of important things that the hon. member pointed out, and he rightfully did point out. The fishery is one that is near and dear to my riding, the people of Labrador, and indeed, to many people in this Province. The fishery is very important to our future. He made one particular point on which I must agree with him: In the late 1970s when the 200-mile limit was brought in by a federal and provincial government, and certainly by a Liberal government of the day, up there, that indeed, the people of this Province in both levels of government recognised that there was excess fish to our needs in this Province. They encouraged people to go and buy boats on the Port au Port Peninsula, and they did in the Labrador Straits, and so forth. I agree that was the situation at the time.

What the hon. member fails to recognise, particularly as it relates today to the actions of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Mr. Crosbie, is that as the supply of groundfish has obviously waned, as we have seen reductions in the groundfish quotas, what we are seeing is the politicizing of the Atlantic Groundfish Management Plan. What we have seen is a Minister of Fisheries and Oceans who is listening more to the politicians of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Prince Edward Island, than he is to try to take on and protect the interests of his own Province. He makes a good point about the National Sea plant in Arnold's Cove, that now it is going to be looked at as an inshore operation.

I would just like to propose a couple of things to the hon. gentleman that he may be able to take to his colleagues in Ottawa, particularly the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, that is, that there be a total review of the Atlantic Groundfish Management Plan. Because what we have in place now is a plan that is laid out, and the stocks that are in it - the cod, turbot, redfish, plaice, witch and other groundfish. What we have in place now is a plan that is supposed to be based on five principles: adjacency, economic dependency of coastal communities, fleet mobility, historic use, and economic efficiency. These are the principles upon which that plan is based.

However, at the same time, as we see Arnold's Cove having to go back to an inshore operation, as we see it taken back from a twelve-month operation to probably four or five months, as we see Catalina and other places - Catalina, down on the Southern Shore, over in La Scie, up in St. Anthony, down on the Coast of Labrador -we see plants closing down, the hon. member must realise that while this is going on we now have 47,298 metric tons of fish being allocated to Nova Scotia companies. This fish is taken back from 1,000, 1,500 miles, in the 2J - 3KL area of our Province, the waters adjacent to our shores. Some 5,000 jobs are being created as a result of this fish being taken past our plants, past our communities, and certainly is being all processed in plants in Nova Scotia, if, indeed, it is even processed at all. It is certainly not giving any jobs to this Province.

So, if the hon. member wants to wake up Mr. Crosbie and let him know what can be done - because in all honesty, what has happened is that in the late 1970s and early 1980s when the fish was given in surplus, it was all done with everybody's best intentions at heart. What has now happened, in the last five or six years, when we have seen reductions in the total allowable catch, the Nova Scotia percentage of the reductions, and the PEI - New Brunswick percentage of the reductions, have been applied the same as they are in Newfoundland and Labrador, and that is what is fundamentally unfair about it.

We have seen situations right now where National Sea is going to cut back on the plant in Arnold's Cove. Did you know that at the same time that National Sea is cutting back that plant in Arnold's Cove, they have 7,777 metric tons of red fish? Seventy-six per cent -

AN HON. MEMBER: What?

MR. DUMARESQUE: Seventy-six per cent of the total allowable catch for over 100 foot boats in the 2J+3K area is allocated to National Sea Products. That is plenty of fish.

To put it in perspective, the National Sea plant in Arnold's Cove processes around 10,000 metric tons of fish a year. That is what they get. Now, in terms of cod, the National Sea Company gets allocated 41 per cent of the TAC - 26,808 metric tons of cod. That is what they get allocated each year - certainly more than that, but even with the reductions that is what they have been allocated this year. So 41 per cent of the total allowable catch over 100 feet is dedicated to National Sea.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Northern cod.

MR. DUMARESQUE: That is for Northern cod.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. DUMARESQUE: There is absolutely no way they should be allowed to take that back to their plants while our own people go without work.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave?

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

MR. WINSOR: Does he want a minute to finish up?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, just a couple of minutes.

MR. WINSOR: Sure, by leave.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Member for Eagle River, by leave of the House.

MR. DUMARESQUE: I thank hon. members for this, because it is a very, very, important point. I think it should not be lost on the people of this Province that what we saw in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when we had excess supply to our Province, we saw it being given to our neighbouring provinces, but now we are in no position to be able to see this kind of resource going past our doors while our own plants are closing down.

The only final point that I want to make was another idea that is certainly getting very widespread support in this Province, from the letters that I have been receiving from many councils. Indeed, I had a discussion with Archbishop MacDonald of the Roman Catholic Church, their National Committee, last week, and I have been hearing from a lot of councils - that is on the community quotas.

What we have now is a very, very archaic system, one which is definitely outside the mandate of any government, and that is where the government is giving corporate entities the right to fish, and certainly, the right to sell any amount of public ownership of that resource. That is definitely wrong, because what we are seeing in the case of Burgeo, Arnold's Cove, and other communities around this Province, La Scie, up in St. Anthony, down on the South Shore when National Sea was there, and even when FPI was there, as we saw on the Southside of St. John's - what we must take a good, hard look at is having that offshore fish, that fifty-some thousand tons of fish that is allocated now to Nova Scotia and other interests, we must see that kind of fish being dedicated to communities.

That definition of community may be broad. It can encompass a whole bunch of communities like, for instance, in Fogo there is no reason why the Fogo Co-op cannot be dedicated 5,000 tons of red fish or cod, instead of having it dedicated to - now in Fogo's case, obviously National Sea doesn't have the quota, but in a place like St. Anthony, where FPI is, they don't know right now if they are going to get 10 per cent, 15 per cent, 20 per cent, of the cod that is allocated to FPI. They don't know if they are going to get an hour's work, because it is up to the corporate body to decide what they are going to do.

What we see in recent months and recent years is the corporate interest saying, 'If we don't have a certain profit margin, or if we have trouble with a particular labour union, or if we have a situation where there is more political pressure being put on us in Nova Scotia, or where their main headquarters is, they draw back unilaterally. Nobody has any say.'

I think it is time that we give that offshore resource back to the people. Give it to them through the community quotas, to be able to allow these communities to set up their fisheries management boards. That is a concept where I believe it can really work, where the power is fundamentally transferred to the people, because it is not the right of National Sea to sell that shrimp license there on the Coast of Labrador for $2 million. That shrimp quota is there for the benefit of the people on the Coast of Labrador, so we can get fifty well-paying jobs from that particular resource.

Mr. Chairman, I leave hon. members with a couple of these points. I don't make them in any kind of partisan posture. I make them with all the best intentions of trying to see a situation put in place where our people can have some confidence, our communities can have some security. That yes, indeed, they can go and plan their business opportunities and investment on the basis that they are going to have at least the option of being able to negotiate a public resource that is there for them, was there for them, and will always continue to be there for them, if we can get some kind of a transformation, and if, in fact, we can get Mr. Crosbie, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, who should have more sensitivity to our needs than any other Minister of Fisheries in recent time.

I will conclude by taking again this opportunity to call on Mr. Crosbie to extend the ice compensation package to the people on the Coast of Labrador and the Northeast Coast of Newfoundland. Because it is now almost two weeks since the benefits have ended and many people are in very dire straits. I would again plead with Mr. Crosbie to come forward and say to the people in these areas that the situation is no different than it was last year. He should do the thing that needs to be done. I am sure that all people, myself included, would acknowledge the benefit of that and be grateful for that positive decision.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I thank hon. members for their leave.

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I listened with some interest to what the hon. the Member for Eagle River had to say. His last sentence absolutely astounded me. Because no less than two weeks ago this hon. House was asked to pass this very same resolution to extend the areas along the Northeast Coast and Labrador that would in two weeks - because it was about May 1 - probably be looking for assistance. The Member for Eagle River was one who voted against it. He voted against it. It was the same one in which the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay slipped out of the House and didn't vote.

It was on that same resolution that the Member for Eagle River said: 'We will not do it.'

Now, today, after realising that fishermen cannot fish, then the member is calling on Mr. Crosbie to extend the fishermen's UI benefits in a fashion similar to the one that he did last year. I, too, have done that. I wrote Mr. Crosbie last week asking him to extend the benefits because it became painfully obvious to me last week that the fishermen in my district, in the island portion of the district, for sure, would not be able to take part in the fishery. As a matter of fact, as of this morning, ice is still within sight of Fogo Island and fishermen are unable to fish. So, consequently, I have done that. But I am shocked and amazed that the member would do that today, after only two weeks ago refusing to entertain the notion in this House of Assembly. It is beyond me why the member would do it.

But I want to get to Bill 16. I don't want to be sidetracked, as the Member for Eagle River did in talking about coyotes and other things. I think there are more important things to talk about. Bill 16, "An Act To Amend The Health and Post-Secondary Education Tax Act." What the member failed to do when he addressed these concerns was to look at the impact that Bill 16 will have on fish plants in his portion of the Province. Because this bill, for the first time, is going to now include - reduce the amount from $300,000 to $100,000, and I think is going to now include for the first time, at 1 per cent the resource sectors, the fishery. For the first time, the fishery will now be included.

He likes to talk about how much the federal government attacks this Province. At a time when the fishery is in its worst condition ever, this administration levies another tax on it, levies another tax at a time when the fishery is in perhaps the greatest decline we have seen in a number of years. If the indications we are getting now from the boats that are out in the 700 fathom edge is an indication of what the fishery is going to be like this summer, Mr. Chairman, the Minister of Finance or the President of Treasury Board won't be taking much money from the fish plants in payroll taxes; because, to date in Fogo, not one pound of fish has been processed. In Musgrave Harbour, not one pound of fish has been processed, not one pound. Mr. Chairman, in years past it would be quite common in Seldom for fishermen to have landed as much as 150,000 or 200,000 pounds a trap crew. So, thus far this year - and I have to say that we have no ice in that portion of the district either - not one pound of fish, not an indication of a fish out there. So the President of Treasury Board might have to look elsewhere for his money.

I think it is particularly appropriate, too, that we have to discuss this bill, because it gives us an opportunity to comment briefly on the Williams report that the minister tabled sometime last week. A long-awaited report, Mr. Chairman, that if it is implemented will, I suppose, change forever the face of education in Newfoundland. Mr. Chairman, unlike other members in this House, I suppose I am in a unique position that it won't impact significantly from the denominational perspective in my district because I had, I suspect, the first school in the Province that had a shared jurisdiction. The very first one, Mr. Chairman, that all the schools on Fogo Island combined, I think, the first time back in the 1970s and then in the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) school on Fogo Island.

MR. WINSOR: Out in Joe Batt's Arm. And the minister won't want to tell me what my constituents in Joe Batt's Arm said about him. I won't get into that kind of debate, Mr. Chairman, because that is not important and the Williams report is quite important -

MR. TOBIN: You were never down in my district since you closed down the headquarters.

MR. WINSOR: - because it can change forever -

No, the minister has never visited my district either.

If the Minister of Education wants to take part in the debate, I think he should get in his seat, Mr. Chairman.

Now, Mr. Chairman, I was saying that the Williams report, while certainly a significant document, in terms of denominational education, will not have the impact in my district that it will in others. I know my colleague in Lewisporte certainly doesn't have the same problems, doesn't share the same things because these have all kinds of denominational issues that surface in his district unlike mine. I am, I suppose, in this case, on the right side in being fortunate that we only have one school in each community and all students go to it right throughout the district from Lumsden on the south end to Rodgers Cove on the other end with the exception of four students who go to G.E. Shaw Collegiate. I am not affected by this change in denominational education.

There are some other implications in this report and I think the minister is going to have to address it because the most important thing that comes out of this report is what goes on in the classroom. Whatever happens at an administrative level or the people who govern schools, I think the most important thing to keep in mind is the quality of student that comes out. There are some implications in this report for curriculum, for teacher training, for teacher certification. All of these are going to be very important issues that are going to have to be addressed because the end result has to be that our students have to come out equally prepared as those in other parts of the world - we can't even say country anymore. We have to be as good as the best in the world. If we don't do that for our children then we have failed them. The Williams report might be the start. It might be the start in changing forever the face of Newfoundland education.

I hope the minister doesn't take the report, put it on his desk and let it sit there for days and days and days and fail to act on it. I am much afraid that reports of this nature, just like the Crocker report on science and math - I have seen no great changes in the curriculum. I follow what happens in the school quite closely. The minister has had that report and knows what I am talking about. He has had that report for a number of months now, and we haven't seen very many significant changes in the curriculum of our school.

Now, the minister says they are coming, but coming is not good enough, I tell the minister. Coming is not good enough.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINSOR: No in conclusion. The President of Treasury Board is not going to get away as easy as that. My colleague from Grand Bank is back all primed now. He is ready to go again, so there is no 'in conclusion' on this.

Mr. Chairman, I hope the minister doesn't take this report and shelve it like he has done with the other ones, like the one he did - in fact, his own report on financing, the one that he worked on right up until the election call and then resigned to let someone else do the final writing.

AN HON. MEMBER: A good report.

MR. WINSOR: A good report, the minister says. If it was a good report, I wish the minister would act on it. Those are three major reports the minister has in his possession now and he has yet to act on them.

Mr. Chairman, what is this tax going to do? This is the tax, as the Minister of Finance talks about, that is going to, I suppose, partially replace the school tax. The other money he is going to get from personal income tax. It will partially replace it, Mr. Chairman. What we find has happened in this Province, as a result of the elimination of one tax - I told the minister, but he doesn't believe it, but I checked my sources again - is that a fish plant on the northeast Coast will now pay $55,000 as opposed to $18,000 in taxes as a result of this infamous payroll tax that the minister has just increased. If we take what they paid last year in property tax and to the school boards and now compare the two we are going to find that that one fish plant is going to pay some $35,000 difference in tax. Mr. Chairman, those are five people at $7,000 a year that could end up out of the work force as a result of it.

Mr. Chairman, the other thing: Since we are talking about money, we had the opportunity last week to hear the Minister of Transportation tell how the government was going to give $400,000 to the town council of Happy Valley - Goose Bay for road maintenance and, at the same time, Mr. Chairman, saying in the same breath, I don't think there is a chance in the world it is going to be any good. It is an experiment that we know from the start is going to be a waste of money.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave! By leave!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No. No leave. Sit down.

MR. CHAIRMAN: No leave? Does the hon. member have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, go ahead.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Fogo, by leave.

MR. WINSOR: The Minister responsible for Transportation in the Estimates Committee the other night, in talking about money - and in a sense this is related to money and it would certainly be ruled relevant - told how he was going to give the council in Happy Valley $400,000. The minister said: I think it is a waste of money. His official, who was sitting next to him, said: I don't think there is a chance in the world that they can maintain the roads all winter from Goose Bay to Labrador City for $400,000. I think it is absolutely crazy.

The question has to be asked: If the minister thinks it is absolutely crazy, why, in God's name, would he give $400,000 of taxpayers' money to anyone if he knows from the start - his officials told him, he himself thinks and every bit of advice he has had says it can't be done. The minister has allocated $5,000 a kilometer a year for winter maintenance of the other roads in the Province, but, for some ungodly magical reason, he is going to be able to do it in Labrador for $700 a kilometer. Now, Mr. Chairman, if that makes sense, to take $400,000 of taxpayers' money and throw it down the drain, wouldn't the minister, by his own admission

MR. BAKER: Do you want the answer?

MR. WINSOR: Yes, I want the answer.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I just wanted to indicate to the Member for Fogo that, in actual fact, the council said they could do it for $300,000 and we gave them $100,000 extra, over and above the $300,000. We figured they might run into some trouble. So it was at the request of the council who said they could do the whole thing for $300,000. So we gave them the money.

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

MR. WINSOR: Mr. Chairman, I thank the hon. member and I think there is some debate as to who suggested that it could be done for that amount of money. It is a considerable debate in the Province. But the fact of the matter is that government officials have said it is impossible to do this. If that is the case, if the municipality of Happy Valley - Goose Bay can do that section of road for $400,000, then you should have them do every piece of road in this Province. Every piece of road in this Province we should get them to do. The minister knows that the $400,000 is good money being thrown away. The question is, why?

I do not suppose it has anything to do in the event that since Friday what will now happen in Goose Bay, the advent of a by-election, and he wants to try to prop up the support of the candidate there. I do not know if that would have anything to do with it. With the officials in the department - and it is not very often that this administration has listened to the advice of municipalities. Municipalities told them that the grant system did not work, was not a good system, and they did not listen to that advice. Now all of a sudden a municipality has come in and said: look, we can do this for $300,000 or $400,000. The government opens up the purse and says: here is $400,000, we do not think you can do it, we think we are throwing good money away, but we are going to do it anyway.

Now, Mr. Chairman, if that is the way this administration is running things, make no wonder we do not have to have Bill 16s looking for money. Increase the payroll tax and all other taxes. Because if the government is intent on throwing money away for projects that it has been told have not got a chance to work, then make no wonder we have to have a Bill 16.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

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

MR. MATTHEWS: We have been asking questions for three months, you haven't answered one. Answer some questions, we might give it up.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, I want to have a few words in this debate as well. I notice that there is someone present in the House who was paying much attention to what you were saying, as it relates to this new education Bill, the new tax Bill for education that the two pensioners brought in. I would like to have a few words on it.

What is wrong with this is that the Ministers of Finance and Education, and, by the way, the Minister of Mines and Energy, from what I have been told - particularly the Ministers of Education and Energy - put up a fierce battle in Cabinet.

MR. MATTHEWS: For what?

MR. TOBIN: Opposing the elimination of the school tax. I was told the Ministers of Education and Energy put up a fierce battle opposing the school tax, because they were going to - the Minister of Finance was concerned as well, I understand, in Cabinet, about the elimination of school tax. He was saying: we have to have the money. So they said to the Ministers of Education and Finance: go out and bring back something that will be more appropriate than the school tax. So the Minister of Finance, being the old rednecked conservative that he is, went out, Mr. Chairman, with the help of the Minister of Education, and brought back this new school tax, called an education tax.

Now the only difference between the school tax and the education tax is that you pay three times as much under the education tax. So that is what the pensioners brought in.

MR. MATTHEWS: Who?

MR. TOBIN: That is what the pensioners, my two friends -

MR. MATTHEWS: Mutt and Jeff (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: No, I won't call them Mutt and Jeff. They are two respectable gentlemen. But they brought in the new school tax called the education tax that costs three times as much. Now, I do not know how anyone - I do not know, for example, how the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island, or how the Member for Fortune - Hermitage, I do not know how the Member for Fortune - Hermitage can vote for a bill that increases the school tax to his constituents three times the amount that they were paying before.

MR. MATTHEWS: And put it on the fish plants.

MR. TOBIN: Yes, and put it on the fish plants, Mr. Chairman. No wonder the fish plants in rural Newfoundland are folding up and closing up. You have the Premier of this Province stand in this House and say he wants every man and woman involved in the deep sea fishery unemployed for five years. The Premier stood in this House and said, I want every man and woman in the Marystown fish plant unemployed for five years. I want every man and women in the Catalina, Port Union plant, I want every man and woman in the fish plant and on the trawlers in Catalina and Port Union, the Premier said he wants all of them unemployed for five years. I want all the men and women in Burgeo, all the men and women in Ramea, all the men and women in Harbour Breton and in Fortune, I want all of them to become unemployed. My great economic plan is to force every man and woman who depend on the deep sea fishery, I want them unemployed for five years.

My colleague for Grand Bank said in Question Period one day, you know, they are awful statements. What do you propose you are going to do for these men and women from Harbour Breton, Catalina, Fortune, Ramea, and Burgeo? What are you going to do for all these men and women from these communities that you want unemployed for five years? What is your plan? He said: I am going to leave it for the federal government. Now, that was the Premier's response, I am going to leave it for the federal government. The sad part about it, Mr. Chairman, is that the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir, the Member for Fortune - Hermitage, the Member for Trinity North, the Member for Bellevue which has Arnold's Cove plant, none of them are in the Cabinet but yet they lack the courage to stand up and support the men and women in their districts.

Now, I can tell every member here that has a deep sea plant in this Province that the employees of these plants will know what the Premier has said, they will know what I have said, they will know what my colleague for Grand Bank has said, and, Mr. Chairman, they will know the silence. They will be told how the silence of the hon. gentlemen was conspicuous. How can the members with deep sea fish plants in this House support a Premier that says: I want the men and women working in an industry in your district unemployed for up to five years? That is what the Premier said and I would not doubt that the Member for St. John's South is very disappointed and is sending a message to the Premier these days. I would not be surprised. The Member for Lewisporte, Mr. Chairman, I see him there talking, I can see why he would not upset the Premier. I can see why the Member for Lewisport would not want to upset the Premier, because there is a good chance he is the next parliamentary assistant to the Premier.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who?

MR. TOBIN: No, in conclusion he had a good shot at the last job except Brian Tobin tried to do the number on my colleague for Lewisporte. I can tell you about it. My colleague for Grand Bank was told the story in Corner Brook last Fall, about the Member for Lewisporte and how he almost got the job. My colleague for Grand Bank was told that in Corner Brook, how the west Coast had to go to bat, a couple of fellows from the west Coast, a citizen, a fellow we see fairly frequent in this House and Brian Tobin, whatever his name is, had to go to bat, Mr. Chairman. He is after doing an injustice to that name, Mr. Chairman. He is anything but kind to that name. It is something like my friend, the President of Treasury Board, how he has to be embarrassed from time to time by the Baker name as well because the President of Treasury Board would like everyone to think he is modest, calm, and collective. As a matter of fact a few years ago he would almost make you believe that he was a socialist but now that he has become the Conservative - the only thing I have to say before I sit down, because I have to go to some meetings outside the office, and indeed outside the city, the only thing I want to say before I sit down is that the Minister of Finance together with the Premier will bring this government to its knees sooner rather than later and remember I said that. That the minister who lacked the confidence to remain a Conservative, the Minister of Finance, did not have the qualifications. The Minister of Finance could not meet the qualifications to remain in the Conservative caucus, to remain in the Conservative party. He lacked the qualifications necessary to be a good member of this caucus.

AN HON. MEMBER: What was that?

MR. TOBIN: What was that? That was compassion, and understanding of people. The Minister of Finance lacked compassion, and he lacked understanding of the ordinary person, so we had to ship him off. We had to ship him away. I can tell you, if you were ever to meet a person - you could go anywhere in this world and look for someone who lacked compassion, who lacked caring, who lacked understanding, and if you want to find someone who lacks compassion, caring and understanding, the Minister of Finance met his buddy when he met the Premier. The Minister of Finance met his friend when he met this Premier, because the Premier cares about nobody, has no compassion, and the ordinary person, the poor people of this Province, are in his way.

AN HON. MEMBER: He cares about (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: He cares about me? Yes, there is no doubt the Premier cares about me.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. TOBIN: By leave, Mr. Chairman.

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

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave, no.

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

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

I thought you were going to give leave to my colleague there from Burin - Placentia West. He seems to have problems getting leave. I do not know why you treat him like that. You were not going to give the Member for Fogo leave. Then when the Member for Burin - Placentia West gets up, you offered leave. The man was in the midst of a very important statement on this bill, and members opposite denied him leave.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) by leave.

MR. MATTHEWS: You did not say, 'By leave'.

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, I did.

MR. MATTHEWS: You did not.

Anyway, I think pretty much what could be said has been said on this Bill 16. I think it has pretty well all been said, and I must say, it has all been said very well. The problem is now, has any of it registered on members opposite? Has it registered with the Minister of Finance what he is doing to this Province and to the economy by those regressive taxes? That is the question that has to be answered.

Businesses out and about the Province are hurting because of this tax that this minister has put on; lowering the ceiling from $300,000 to $100,000; applying it to individuals who cannot afford to pay it. What is happening? The economy of the Province is shrinking. More people are being laid off. Businesses are shutting down. The minister's deficit continues to increase.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: The minister's deficit continues to increase.

AN HON. MEMBER: Doom and gloom.

MR. MATTHEWS: Doom and gloom the minister says. Yes. He is imposing and inflicting doom and gloom on everyone.

AN HON. MEMBER: Ha, ha, ha.

MR. MATTHEWS: You know, if the poor people out and about the Province were not finding it as rough, I would laugh out loud with the Minister of Finance. Obviously he lives in his own little cocoon. He has himself cased in. He has spun the cocoon. He is inside now, and he thinks everything is wonderful. He goes off down to the centre of St. John's, and that is where he stays and hides away in his little cocoon. He thinks everything is wonderful. Well I have to tell him it is not wonderful.

AN HON. MEMBER: What are you, against St. John's or something?

MR. MATTHEWS: No, I think the world of St. John's, I say to the minister - not like his Premier who called it parasitic city. I think the world of it. I spent a good bit of my life here, I say to the minister, going to university and teaching, and now in politics. I spend a lot of time in St. John's, getting to the end of it, I say to the minister.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: What is that?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) a lot of time in St. John's Centre, I bet.

MR. MATTHEWS: Not enough.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) every day.

MR. MATTHEWS: Not enough. Still not enough. There are a few days I should have been here when I was not, I say to the minister.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible). I get his occasional little blip in the mailbox.

AN HON. MEMBER: Did it convince you?

MR. MATTHEWS: Oh, I am convinced. Am I convinced? Yes. I was pretty convinced before 'almost persuaded', as the song goes, I was pretty convinced before but if there is one thing that has made me fully convinced is as this Minister of Finance said and this member whom I have representing me down in Allandale Place -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: What is that?

AN HON. MEMBER: I was blaming somebody else (inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Just me. Now you know the one who voted against you. Of course I could not vote in the city. I voted for myself as the minister did, voted for himself. But he thinks his own little world is fine, he cannot identify with the unemployed -

AN HON. MEMBER: No, but he spends more time in St. John's Centre that you do in (inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: No, that I don't, I say to the minister. I spend most time in my district but the minister would do well to go out and about some of the outports where they are having rough times; go into some of the little businesses and the corner stores; some of the convenience stores and ask them how they are finding his taxes. Do they agree with his tax? Would they hire more people if he reduced his tax? Those are the questions he should go out and ask because the answers would be obvious. This minister has strangled the provincial economy, strangled it totally.

You cannot increase taxes year after year in the amounts the minister has, and expect the economy to grow, expect businesses to employ people. I see the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay, looking up at me -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, I went through that before, why? We are not popular but the recognition factor is very high I say to the Minister of Development and Tourism, but the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay knows full well now that with this great tax imposed upon the fishery what it is going to do to those who will have enough resource to operate their fish plants, to those who will be lucky enough to operate their fish plants, what it is going to do to them, it is going to hurt them and he nods in approval.

I had a letter from a gentleman in Grand Bank last week, I thought that was the letter to which the minister was referring, he runs a business in Grand Bank and, with the lowering of the ceiling now for payroll tax, his business now is the subject of the payroll tax and it is crippling them, I say to the minister -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Sorry?

AN HON. MEMBER: That is an exaggeration.

MR. MATTHEWS: It is an exaggeration? I see. Well I am only using the words that the man who owns the business tells me. Why would he do it?....he asks the question. He increased the tobacco tax again the other day and the man in his letter said: you know, all this increase on taxes on tobacco and alcohol, what it is doing is encouraging bootlegging, bootlegging from outside the Province into the Province, that is what is happening. Bootlegging of tobacco products into the Province from other provinces, that is what is happening in a very big way. The minister thought I was referring to the little French Islands off from where I live, where they smuggle a bit of baccy and other stuff that they consume. That has grown to be fairly big too and the main reason for that is because of the cost of the taxes on alcohol particularly, and tobacco. That is the reason, that is why the industry has become so big, so what is it doing to the bottom line of the minister's department, to the government's bottom line? It is hurting it because all these goods are consumed outside, so I say to the minister, and I say to members opposite, that this infamous health and post-secondary education tax is regressive, it has not been used to improve the health care system. It has not been used to improve the post-secondary education system and the Minister of Education over there, sucking his fingers, knows full well that what he has done for post-secondary education in this Province has been backward steps -

AN HON. MEMBER: No.

MR. MATTHEWS: No, he moans no. How much proof do they need? How much proof do they need that what they are doing is wrong? They are bankrupt of ideas, they do not have any money so they are bankrupt that way -

AN HON. MEMBER: I am going to tell the truth (inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, I hope you do tell the truth. It is about time someone opposite told the truth, so I am looking forward to the day-

AN HON. MEMBER: About you.

MR. MATTHEWS: About me. Well that is telling the truth -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) change.

MR. MATTHEWS: No, the work was all done for the minister when he got there, most of the work was done. I will tell you how good it was when he got there he did not go out and take the Minister of Education's office, he went and took mine, that is how good it was there. Things were under control so much

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: I beg your pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: The best view.

MR. MATTHEWS: So, Mr. Chairman, we are going to conclude our remarks on this infamous piece of legislation, and I plead with the Minister of Finance, don't lower the payroll tax ceiling any lower. Don't come back next year and put it down to $50,000. Don't increase the rate of the tax anymore than you have because you are only going to make matters worse. You are making matters worse in this Province, so you have to rethink the fiscal direction that you are taking this Province in because you are taking us down the pipe. So re-think it. The school tax is gone. Well, almost. Really not gone because you are taxing people who were never taxed before. Taxing them. You never taxed them before, you are taxing them now, and you are not going to get away with trying to convince people that you abolished the school tax and there was no other tax to replace it. You are already caught on that one. So you didn't really fulfil your promise on that either because when Clyde Wells promised to abolish the school tax everyone thought it was abolish the school tax and that was where it was going to stop. But what did Clyde do? Increase taxes all over the place.

AN HON. MEMBER: Changed the name.

MR. MATTHEWS: Changed the name and increased the taxes. The Member for Fortune - Hermitage is over there shaking his head now. Not that long ago he was agreeing with everything I am saying.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. MATTHEWS: He is over there now shaking his head in disbelief. Not that long ago.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Health And Post-Secondary Education Tax Act." (Bill No. 16).

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Chairman, I move that the Committee rise, report progress and ask leave to sit again.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Trinity - Bay de Verde.

MR. L. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole on Supply have considered the matters to them referred, have directed me to report that they have adopted a certain resolution and ask that a bill be introduced to give effect to same, and ask leave to sit again.

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

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Amend The Health And Post-Secondary Education Tax Act," read a first, second and third time, ordered passed and the title be as on the Order Paper.

MR. BAKER: Order 7, Mr. Speaker.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act To Amend The Newfoundland Public Service Commission Act, 1973." (Bill No. 7).

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This bill is simply a housekeeping type of thing to clear up a problem that has existed for the last number of years.

Two collective agreements ago, with the NAPE hospital support staff primarily, in the collective agreement the conditions for employment were changed. Under the collective agreement, and this was a collective agreement signed by the previous government and since new agreements have been signed by us with the same clause in there, it made a change in terms of the employment practices, or the hiring practices. It essentially moved towards a seniority process whereby, with the hospital support staff workers under normal circumstances, where applications were received, particularly for jobs that did not require a lot of expertise and so on, that seniority would be the determining factor in terms of jobs, so it allowed for promotion by seniority. That is what was negotiated in the collective agreement back in 1985 or 1986, or some point in time, and it was again signed in the most recent contracts.

For a number of years the process has been occurring. As a matter of fact, by and large the hiring has been done following the collective agreement with the NAPE hospital support staff. So this is the way the hiring has been done. When a position becomes open, internal applications are received, and the person with the most seniority gets the job. This is the way it operates, according to the NAPE collective agreement. However, the problem was that the hospital support staff, that section of NAPE, unlike the general service workers, fell under The Newfoundland Public Service Commission Act, which was very clear. That act stated that when you hire for a job, seniority was not to be taken into account; that it was totally on the merit principle.

We have had, for a number of years, this contradiction where the collective agreement says one thing, and for these particular workers - and there is a fairly small group of them as a matter of fact - the Newfoundland Public Service Commission Act applies. It is only in one section of the hospital support. So this conflict has been there.

When the hiring took place, the hiring was done according to the collective agreement. Sometimes, because it fell under this Public Service Commission Act, the Public Service Commission would apply other principles and then NAPE would have to go through a grievance procedure. A grievance process is expensive, it was costing a lot of money and in the end it meant there was conflict between the union and Treasury Board, in the sense that if Treasury Board were insisting in following the Act then of course the arbitrator had no choice but to rule in favour of the Act but that then would be against their collective agreement. It is an untenable position where in Treasury Board we simply had to say: look, we will agree with the grievance simply because we signed the collective agreement that way.

Mr. Speaker, this very brief bill would straighten up that and would, for these few employees, make the Act agree with their collective agreement. This is essentially what it is. I should point out that there is also a clause in the NAPE collective agreement that says that where the collective agreement contravenes any existing legislation that the government will as soon as possible change the legislation to agree with the collective agreement. I think that is a pretty sensible approach because if government goes into a collective agreement knowing there is some provision in legislation already and negotiates something that is in contravention of legislation that already exists and then comes back and uses that mechanism to negate what was negotiated then that is not good faith bargaining at all.

The agreement is there and has always been implicit that when you negotiate something in a collective agreement that is different from existing legislation at the time then you change the existing legislation because otherwise why would you ever negotiate in a collective agreement? It is a very simple thing and has to do with the hiring practices of substituting seniority for the merit principle in some jobs in the support staff of NAPE, the hospital support staff group.

Mr. Speaker, that is the essence of the Act. It is a fairly simple kind of thing and simply brings this Public Service Commission Act in line with the collective agreement.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, I did not get exactly some of the things the member was saying. There was so much noise here that I just couldn't understand it. If he would permit me a couple of questions on it.

I understand that in the collective agreement now it was based on seniority. It was, for instance, just pertaining to the hospital support staff.

MR. BAKER: A small segment of the hospital support staff.

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, and that will be changed now to bring it in line. They didn't have to go to the Public Service Commission. Could you just explain that part?

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

MR. BAKER: In the Public Service Commission Act everything is done on merit. Two collective agreements ago, for one small section of the hospital support that comes under the NAPE agreement a clause was negotiated - government and so on - to change that to seniority because of the nature of the jobs and so on. It was just a very few workers as a matter of fact. There is also a clause in the collective agreement which says that once you negotiate something that goes against what already exists in legislation, you change the legislation otherwise that would be bad faith bargaining. It is just now that we are getting around to changing the legislation to comply with what was negotiated.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, one more question. You mentioned the difference and comparisons to the general service agreement. Now my understanding is that there used to be under the general service agreement that seniority, regardless of which, whether it was engineering, labour or whatever - I don't know, I am just trying to tie the two of those in now. For instance if an engineer in the Department of Transportation and a labourer regardless as long as he was employed by government that seniority would be the call. When they get a call back it would be seniority. Now I understand it is in different groups. For instance you have to have seniority in the engineering department or with maintenance, for instance. Now I was just trying to tie the two of them in and see if it was more or less linking the two together. Could the minister explain that to me please?

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

MR. BAKER: I am not aware of problems that have resulted from what the hon. member is describing. In transportation in terms of the call backs the agreement is that is done through seniority. I believe, although I am not sure - I will check into it - that is probably done by seniority in that particular job or type of job.

In this instance here we are talking about some of the lower level jobs in hospital support, and only a few of them, where right now they come under The Public Service Commission Act. In transportation they do not, in terms of the hiring. So a few people in the hospital support have come under The Public Service Commission Act and do not come under The Collective Bargaining Act. They come under The Public Service Commission Act, so what we are doing is now changing The Public Service Commission Act for those few people, that is all, to allow them to be hired according to seniority. There are similar type jobs that the hon. gentleman talks about, but they will be hired according to seniority as is in their collective agreement.

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Amend The Newfoundland Public Service Commission Act, 1973," read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House on tomorrow. (Bill No. 7).

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, in terms of the next few days, as I mentioned earlier, my intention is to get into the concurrence debates. There is a motion that I put to the House today having to do with the provincial court judges, and some time in the next couple of days I intend to deal with that as well.

There are also the estimates of the Executive Council that have to be dealt with.

These are the kinds of things we will be doing in the next few days. Exactly what gets called at what moment, the Opposition House Leader and I will discuss that before it happens.

We intended tomorrow to call the resource department, I think, the estimates of the resource department, concurrence motion.

On Wednesday the Private Members' motion is the one that was supposed to have been on the Order Paper a few weeks ago by the Member for Eagle River. That was inadvertently left off, and I presume it will be printed for Wednesday.

Mr. Speaker, I move that the House at its rising do adjourn until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday and that the House do now adjourn.

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