May 27, 1992                  HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS              Vol. XLI  No. 45


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

Before introducing our routine proceedings, I would like to bring to the attention of hon. members the presence in the public galleries today of twenty-five students from Brinton Memorial School here in St. John's. They are accompanied by their teachers, Ruth Dawe and Judy Laurentius. I am also informed that the Minister of Mines and Energy has a son in that particular class.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, my original question is for the Minister of Mines and Energy, but since his son is in the gallery I won't ask it today. My question is for the Minister of Environment and Lands, who, unfortunately, is absent, so I will put the question to the acting minister, the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, who has answered questions, I presume.

This morning there had been reports, as the minister probably knows, that fishermen in the Long Harbour area have been catching herring with a reddish colour, red herring, or whatever they wish to call them, from waters around the phosphorus plant. Now, that plant has been closed for two years, I guess. I would like to ask the minister if he has any information from the environment people to indicate if effluence from that plant is somehow escaping into the bay and again polluting the waters?

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

MR. FLIGHT: No, Mr. Speaker, I do not, at this point in time have any information to that effect. I will, in a sense, take the question under advisement and see that the Minister of Environment and Lands is made aware of the concern and provides an answer immediately.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, perhaps I asked the wrong minister. Maybe somebody over there would be aware of it, the Minister of Fisheries, I don't know. I would like to have an answer to the question because it seems to be a very important matter. Can anybody give me an answer to the question?

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

MR. CARTER: I heard the reports, as did the hon. gentleman opposite, and I am having it checked out to find out exactly what happened. I recall very well the red herring fiasco that developed some years back. In fact, I was quite alarmed this morning when I heard that there appears to be a repeat performance about to happen, but it is being checked out by my officials.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, it is too bad nobody really knows what is going on over there. I would have thought somebody would have had a report on that. Let me ask the acting Minister of Environment and Lands this question. The Premier, I believe, in the House in the last week or two, or whatever it was, said it might take up to twenty years to clean up that Long Harbour site. I ask the acting Minister of Environment and Lands, what has the Department of Environment and Lands been doing to monitor the levels of pollution left at that site, and have the officials in the Department of Environment expressed concerns that any of the measures taken to contain the pollutants, might somehow break down and spread pollution into the surrounding waters? Have there been any concerns expressed by officials of the Department of Environment and Lands?

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

MR. FLIGHT: As the hon. member would well know, in the capacity of acting minister, I don't have day-to-day meetings or day-to-day briefings from the officials of the Department of Environment and Lands, however I will undertake to get detailed answers to the hon. member's questions. As a matter of fact, after Question Period is over, I will undertake to contact the officials or contact the minister, but no, I cannot at this point in time give detailed answers to what are obviously detailed questions.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, it is almost useless to try, but I guess I will try one more. I presume that the acting minister would have had a briefing if the minister is not here, presumably he would be the acting minister. Let me ask him this: The Minister of Environment and Lands said some days ago that she was very pleased with the effort made by Albright and Wilson to clean up the Long Harbour site, and in response to questions asked by my colleague from Torngat Mountains, she, in fact, referred to the whole issue as a 'Tempest in a Teapot'.

Now, in view of this particular information that is coming forth today, and in view of the alarming number of reports that we are receiving on this side of the House - maybe members on that side can speak for themselves - as to the actual site, that site is a gigantic mess. I would like to ask the minister, in his capacity as acting minister, on some occasion getting a briefing, I presume, from environment people as an acting minister, is he concerned at all with the clean up process that is taking place, what action is the government taking to speed it up and make sure it is done properly and correctly, and is the department still pleased with the efforts being made to clean up the site? I guess that is the question.

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

MR. FLIGHT: I am sure, Mr. Speaker, that every minister in this government and, for that matter, every member of the government side of the House is concerned about environmental issues in this Province. It is a very complex - and he well knows, Mr. Speaker, because he was there, he knows what happened at Long Harbour and it is a very complex issue. The clean-up, itself, will be very complex, never undertaken probably anywhere in the world, a clean-up of that magnitude, and if the minister indicated that she was pleased with the progress being made or pleased with what is happening, then I accept the minister's word for that and I can tell the hon. member that the minister might well be here present herself in the next few minutes, but certainly tomorrow. I undertake to make sure the minister is aware of the member's concern and comes in prepared to deal with the questions as asked.

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

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

My question is to the Premier.

The Premier, on May 7, in response to the question from the Member for Humber Valley regarding the assistance that could be made available to the Lundrigan group of companies, made a statement, and I quote the Premier from Hansard for May 7: "So I can assure the House, and assure the people of the Province, that the government will make every possible effort that it can properly make to aid in finding an acceptable resolution of this problem that will protect the interests of the employees, protect the interests of other creditors who will be affected if the bank gets its money and the other creditors are adversely affected, and also to protect the interests of a great family of entrepreneurs..."

Mr. Speaker, that is a quote from May 7th. I wonder if the Premier can update the House on what has occurred so far and what has been done by the Province.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, there have been a significant number of discussions, some in Corner Brook and some here with the senior executive officers of the Lundrigan organization. I have had a number of calls and petitions from representatives of the unions. We have indicated publicly and have reaffirmed for them that the government cannot get involved with providing financial support for essentially commercially competitive business enterprises, but there are certain aspects of the Lundrigan organization that don't quite fall into that category, and in respect of which is a major public interest in the Province - the Atlantic gypsum facility, for example, the prestress concrete construction facility which is the only capability in the Province.

There is also the fact that the Lundrigan organization is one of very few heavy industrial construction companies in this Province, and it is not in the public interest to lose that capability and diminish the competitive capability that will remain. It is very much in the public interest to try to ensure that is done and, in the meantime, it is in the public interest also to try to avoid job disruption, if we can do it reasonably, and try to avoid adverse impact on other creditors beyond their capability to withstand it.

So we have indicated to the Lundrigan organization after discussions that we are prepared to consider any proposal that they could put forward that would meet those concerns, that would provide for some means of addressing our concern with respect to maintaining the Atlantic gypsum operation, the prestress concrete and general concrete production capability and the heavy industrial capability that didn't involve financing such commercially competitive enterprises as City Motors, for example, which has competitors all over the Province; Avis Rent A Car, which has competitors all over the Province; Atlantic Building Materials, which has competitors all over the Province. So those discussions have gone on, and we have established a committee of Cabinet consisting of the Minister of Development, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Justice, to look at how this might be done. All of this is in progress right at this time, as I speak. They have developed a proposal, or put a suggestion forward, and we will have to take a look at it and examine whether or not it meets with the criteria that government has indicated, and that is what this committee will be doing.

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

MS. VERGE: I have a question for the Premier. Why has the Premier not appointed a judicial inquiry to probe the police mishandling of the Kelland investigation, in view of the following facts: Number one, it took the Constabulary twenty-one months to conduct the investigation. Number two, fourteen months after the complaint alleging sexual assault was made to the Constabulary, a member of the force, the originating officer, admitted to the complainant, in the presence of the Leader of the NDP, that the Constabulary had accidentally shelved the file and done nothing with it for more than a year. Number three, the Minister of Justice, for the last three months of the investigation, has been in a conflict of interest situation; and number four, the Premier's answers to my questions about his knowledge of the investigation were not very believable.

Why has the Premier not ordered a judicial inquiry in view of all those facts?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, two things would likely cause a judicial inquiry to take place. One is some credible evidence that there was something incorrect, or something untoward, or something improper about the police investigation or the handling of it by any justice official, or any official on this side of the House. That would clearly warrant an investigation, if there was one shred of credible evidence other than the political grandstanding of members opposite.

Now the second thing that could cause an investigation to be made is if that political grandstanding got so out of hand that it genuinely caused concern in the Province - it genuinely caused concern about the administration of justice. Even though it was totally unfounded - there was nothing there on which it could be founded - but if this kind of screaming day after day for political reasons really created any lack of confidence in the administration of justice, then that too would necessitate a judicial enquiry.

If that in fact happens I can assure the House - if the confidence in the administration of justice is undermined either by one shred of competent evidence to demonstrate any improper activity by anybody, or any failure to act properly by anybody, then, Mr. Speaker, we would cause a judicial inquiry to take place. We may be forced into doing it if, for their political reasons, the members opposite keep trying to undermine, unjustifiably, the confidence. They may force the Province to go to the expense also of having a judicial inquiry in order to restore it. In either case, if it becomes necessary I can assure the House the government will act.

MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary, the hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. How can the Premier rationalise having set up judicial inquiries twice into allegations against the Member for Port de Grave, and having set up a judicial inquiry into allegations about Sprung - the final report of which, incidentally, the Premier still has not released - when he is refusing, or at least dragging his heels, on having a judicial inquiry into much more compelling allegations about police mishandling of an allegation of sexual assault made against one of his former Cabinet ministers, when his Minister of Justice for the last three months has been in a conflict of interest position?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Seldom you hear such utter tripe and so much of it in one day. Mr. Speaker, the compelling reasons that the hon. member speaks about came from her. Nobody else. But came from her. She says it is either one of two things. Either there was a total failure on the part of the police, or there was improper interference politically with it. In the face of that, in a cowardly way, she puts the words in the mouth of this complainant. Doesn't acknowledge that she is speaking. She puts the words in the mouth of this complainant and says: that she is forced to believe that there was political interference.

Well, there is another, third possibility, that the member very conveniently covers up. That is, simply, the fact that there is no foundation whatsoever to those allegations.

Now I say again to any member who wants to raise it, bring me one shred of credible evidence that there was any failure on the part of the police or failure on the part of anybody or interference on the part of anybody in this government and, Mr. Speaker, we will be most anxious to cause a judicial inquiry to be held.

Now, in the other circumstances to which the hon. member refers, there was quite proper basis for putting forward the inquiry because the direct action and behaviour of a Minister of the Crown was directly involved. Bring me one single shred of evidence that any minister of the Crown had any direct involvement and this government will act. But I am not going to go about and create judicial inquiries and burden this Province with tremendous expense unnecessarily simply to satisfy the political cravings of the members opposite.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Why should anyone bring any evidence to the Premier when the Premier has a vested interest in the outcome of any investigation? Why won't the Premier appoint an independent judge to conduct an investigation and then let anyone with evidence bring it to the judge? Why won't the Premier appoint an independent inquiry? Is the Premier afraid of what might be found, perhaps about himself?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Don't bring it to me, lay it on the Table of the House. If you have one single thing, lay it on the Table of the House and then we will act. Put it there and we will act.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

What's the Premier afraid of?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Absolutely nothing, Mr. Speaker. But the government is not going to be goaded into wasting taxpayers' money because some member of the Opposition has this fixation or deliberately wants to create some kind of a suggestion that there is some improper action. There is absolutely nothing. You lay one shred of credible evidence on the Table and we will put in place a judicial inquiry.

Now, I will tell the hon. member something else: If an inquiry is called, anybody on this side of the House that had any indication or any improper action of any kind, you will forthwith have the resignation. Now, if one is called unnecessarily and it is merely because of the screaming of the hon. member opposite, I will expect her resignation.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

MR. SIMMS: Talk about tripe and silliness!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SIMMS: Make no wonder you guys would laugh, you are not allowed to speak to him anyway. At least we are allowed to speak to him.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I guess it depends on the day or the circumstances whether we get inquiries or not.

Yesterday the Member for the Strait of Belle Isle, the Minister of Health, was interviewed on the Fishermens' Broadcast about the crab plant at Roddickton. He said: The insurance cheque, after the fire which destroyed the original plant two years ago, was made out to Canada Bay Seafoods Limited, the Town of Roddickton and Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador. The member also said the town council subsequently endorsed the cheque.

I would like to ask the Acting Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs: Could he tell the House who endorsed the cheque on behalf of the council and if, in fact, the cheque was endorsed with the knowledge and approval of the full Council of Roddickton?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, obviously I don't have the answer to the question readily available. I will take it under advisement and report back to the House.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I've been told that the amount of insurance was in the vicinity of $850,000. I am wondering if the acting minister could inform the House or find out if any portion of that amount was paid to the Town of Roddickton?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I will endeavour to find out the answers to the questions being asked.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I think the answer to this question will be obvious as well.

I would like to ask the minister to find out for me: Was there a request to the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs to investigate the circumstances surrounding the insurance claim and the manner in which it was endorsed on behalf of the Roddickton Council? Was an investigation asked for, was there an investigation, and what did the department find out? Could the minister answer that or at least try and find out for me?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Again, Mr. Speaker, I will endeavour to find out the answers to the questions being asked and report back to the House.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yesterday, as well, the Member for the Strait of Belle Isle said that the cheque was also made payable to Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador, because it too had a claim on the building or were somehow involved.

AN HON. MEMBER: NLDC.

MR. MATTHEWS: Well, NLDC, which is now Enterprise Newfoundland.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: But the fire took place in April of 1990, Mr. Speaker. So I want to ask the Minister of Development: How much was owed to the Newfoundland and Labrador Development Corporation, now Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador, and what portion of the insurance claim was paid to ENL?

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, that was a loan made by the previous government under the old NLDC. Certainly I will undertake to get the specifics of that loan and provide the House with those specifies within the next half hour.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yesterday the Minister of Fisheries said that there was no provincial government involvement in the Roddickton Fish Plant.

AN HON. MEMBER: He didn't say that yesterday.

MR. MATTHEWS: Oh yes, he did say it yesterday. Check Hansard again. He did say there was no provincial government involvement, that it was all federal money.

I want to ask the Minister of Fisheries, then: Is he today saying that all of the money that was put into rebuilding and reconstruction of the Roddickton Fish Plant was from federal sources or was any of the insurance money used?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, it was my intention to reply to the hon. gentleman's question that he asked yesterday during the appropriate time, after Question Period, but I will do it now.

The building in question is owned by the Town of Roddickton and leased to the Canada Bay Seafoods Limited. The lease is over a long period with options on the part of the lessee to purchase the facility. I understand that the operator has indicated to the town that he intends to exercise that right and that the purchase of it is now in process. The facility was destroyed by fire and the shell was rebuilt. The town received $249,500, CEIC funding last fall, you will recall, as a result of the failed fishery. There was a considerable make-work program initiated by the federal government and by the Province. The Province had a $1 million program that we undertook to help top up some of the funding that was provided by CEIC.

Now yesterday, in reply to the question, I said: To the best of my knowledge and belief, the Province did not, at least certainly my department did not, make any funds available. I intended to correct that today and say that yes, my Department did in fact make a $10,000 contribution to the material cost. Let me explain, Mr. Speaker. We had $1 million last year made available to try to generate some employment. It was agreed that in cases where CEIC was going to provide funding for fisheries related programs that my Department had authority to make funds available up to $10,000 as a contribution to the material.

That is what we did last year, and that was the provincial contribution to the rebuilding of the facility. Now whether or not the proceeds from the fire insurance were used, I have no idea. I would suggest to you that that is a deal between the council of Roddickton and a private company. I am sure that maybe if the hon. gentleman directed that question to the town or to the principals of the company that the answer would be forthcoming.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I thank the minister for that. So is the minister telling me that he is not sure if there was any insurance money that was received as a result of that fire used in the partial rebuilding of the plant? The four walls and the roof and the floor, I'm told, that is up there. There is no equipment. Can the minister inform the House then who was the real beneficiary of the fire in Roddickton?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, again that is a question that would be better directed to the people who were directly concerned and not - I mean, the involvement of my Department in this whole thing, was that we issued a licence to the town that was used by Canada Bay Seafoods to process crab. A fire took place, the building was destroyed, the building was rebuilt, CEIC funding was provided to the tune of $249,000. We gave them a grant of $10,000 under our make-work program. The licence is now being held in abeyance by my Department. The building is not completed. The plant is not functioning. I have discussed the matter with the principals of the company. I do not detect any interest at all on their part, certainly for this year, to reactivate the building. That is where it stands.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: It seems like the Premier was interested in giving the minister some information. I was interested to hear the minister say that the licence is being held, and I want to say that I hope the licence is held in case the people are fortunate enough to attract another operator for the crab plant, that the licence does not end up in some other part of the Province.

Yesterday as well on the Fishermen's Broadcast the member for the Strait of Bell Isle made it quite clear that Canada Bay Seafoods - and now the minister, I think, for all intents and purposes, has verified that they are not interested in operating the Roddickton plant. I would like to ask a supplementary of the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations: did the company's refusal to operate the plant had anything to do with the workers up there forming a union? Which I have been told, by the way. There were threats made that if a union was formed the plant would not operate again. There were more serious threats than that made, but that is as far as I am going to go with it today. Can the minister inform the House if the company indeed did tell workers that if they formed a union a crab plant would never operate in Roddickton again? Does the minister know anything about that?

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

MR. GRIMES: No, Mr. Speaker. If that kind of a threat was made in the environment at Roddickton it has not been brought to my attention.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a final supplementary. There are a whole lot of questions and lot of gray areas, it seems to me, as developments over the last week or so, since I started asking the Minister of Fisheries the questions about this. Several calls from that area.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: The Minister of Forestry can laugh about that all he likes, but the people in Roddickton are concerned about it. There is something not right about this. With the fire, I say to the minister, with the fire, about the fire. There is something not right about the fire. There were threats made, there was a fire shortly after they were unionized. There are questions about the insurance cheques. Who endorsed them, and who had the authority to endorse them, and where the money went. There are questions about that, I say to the Minister of Forestry.

So I want to ask the final supplementary to the Premier. So, for the people's satisfaction of the area, particularly, and my own and other members', would the Premier initiate an investigation into this matter and enquire into this whole situation in Roddickton? Because from what I have been told, and I say it very sincerely to members, there is something just out of whack here. I would like to have it put to rest for the people of Roddickton, and for myself and for others. So would the Premier undertake a full investigation into - someone look at what happened to the fire? What happened with the investigation on the fire? What happened to the amounts of the insurance cheques? Who are the real beneficiaries of the insurance cheques? What is going to happen to the people in Roddickton? Do they stand a chance, or will someone else in some other part of the Province benefit as a result of their misfortune?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I have a little familiarity with it, and it is a little hazy in the memory because it goes back maybe a year or six months ago. I have forgotten now. I met with the Town Council of Roddickton about the issue. I met with representatives, I think the Town Manager and the Mayor, on I believe at least two occasions, but it was about a year or so ago, as I recall. I do not remember. I was horrified, in the same way perhaps as the hon. member is, about the fact that the insurance proceeds were received but the plant was not being restored, and I could not understand why - how this could happen. So I discovered where the problem lies.

The problem lies with the terms of the lease that was entered into by the town, apparently with legal advice at the time. This is in the time of the administration of the former government. Now I do not know whether there was any involvement by the Department of Fisheries at that time or not, but the lease was entered into - five years ago? I do not know. It was long before we had any responsibility for it, anyway.

The fire occurred whenever it did. I do not remember when the fire occurred; but there was only a small amount of the money spent, and the cheque was held up for a long time. As far as I know it may still be held in a trust account somewhere. I do not know where the matter lies. Anyway, we asked officials in the Department of Justice to look at it, and they advised us that there was nothing that could be done. The lease agreement specifically provided for the entitlements and the rights of the parties and provided, I believe, specifically for what was to happen to the proceeds of the insurance in the event of a fire, because the property was leased with an option to purchase. So the agreement was not a very good agreement. It was a darn poor agreement. Whoever had responsibility for it I do not know, but it did not do much to protect the town's interests, or the department's or the government's interests in it at the time. It really left them exposed.

The result is, there is nothing you could do to enforce the rebuilding of it, because the lessee had the right to purchase the building for a sum that was either capable of calculation, or specified - I have forgotten which - and the lessee was entitled to receive credit for lease payments made and money spent on capital works to pay the purchase price. In effect the lessee, under the terms of the lease as it was written, had the right to the title to it, and you could not enforce the rebuilding of it for the benefit of the town.

Now my recollection is that the whole thing was frustrated by the specific terms of the lease, but I will again resurrect that file and lay the information before the House, Mr. Speaker.

I guess probably the easiest way is to table the lease, and show you the contents - if I had the permission of the town and the lessee, or one or other of them at least, to disclose it.

MR. SPEAKER: The time for Oral Questions has elapsed.

Notices of Motion

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Municipal Grants Act." (Bill No. 30)

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

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

MR. FLIGHT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I want to pass on this information to the House as a result of the questions asked by the hon. Leader of the Opposition relative to the red herring and the situation at Long Harbour. This is factual, Mr. Speaker. The fact is that two fish, two red herring have been caught near Long Harbour. The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans are investigating and carrying out an analysis on those fish and our own Department of Environment and Lands is co-operating and working with the DFO officials on this matter.

With reference to the clean-up at Long Harbour and the phosphorus leaking into the sea, or whatever, since the red herring problem of some years ago the department has taken measures to contain the leakage of phosphorus into the sea. We, the Department of Environment and Lands has no reports of leakage of phosphorus into the ocean since the measures to contain it have been taken.

Orders of the Day

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order.

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

MR. BAKER: We have quite a list of things to get through in the House and we have decided to forego Private Members' Day today, as it is government Private Members' Day, and go on with the business of the House which happens today to be the Estimates Committees and the concurrence debate on the Estimates Committees.

MR. SPEAKER: To the point of order.

It is not unusual for this to happen in the House on a Private Members' Day when for some reason or other one side or the other decided to give up its particular resolution, particularly if the government side wanted to go on with public business and if all members agree to it. What particular item has the minister called?

MR. BAKER: Order 2.

MR. SPEAKER: Order 2.

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

MR. HARRIS: I understand that such a motion, or such a change in the procedure requires unanimous consent but I do not recall the President of Treasury Board asking for unanimous consent to change the order of business.

MR. SPEAKER: I am not sure that it requires unanimous consent. It would be better if we had it or we might otherwise get into a procedural wrangle. Since it was the government's resolution, it was their day in a way, and since it has been done before the Chair would prefer that we had unanimous consent because then it could be done rather cleanly.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: We have no problem with granting leave, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I understand that the Standing Orders require that on Wednesdays at 3:00 o'clock, unless there is unanimous consent to the contrary, that private members' business takes place. Now, whether it happens to be a day that an individual government member is expected to present his private members' resolution, or somebody else, I do not think that matters. I prefer that Your Honour would make a ruling on that because I understand that is the rule based on Standing Orders. I have not been asked whether I will give my unanimous consent or not. No one has bothered to ask me but I would like Your Honour to rule on that point.

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair made it quite clear. The Chair said if hon. members gave their consent then the Chair would not have to look into it. The hon. member is quite right, it is Private Members' Day, but I have said to the hon. member many times in this House that we have done other things by consent of the House and that is what the Chair was asking. So, is the hon. member objecting or does he want the Chair to make a ruling? The Chair has in essence asked for that consent so that we can move on to the government business.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I think it is appropriate that we have a ruling on this point, because I know we have been operating on the Standing Orders and that when there is a change from that, then unanimous consent is required, and on previous occasions that consent has been asked by whichever party wishes to divert from the procedure, whether it is the five o'clock rule or whether it is Standing Orders of any sort, and I am not at this point saying whether or not I am giving my unanimous consent but I would like the Chair to make a ruling.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The hon. member is trying to make a point but I am not quite sure what it is. Number one, Mr. Speaker, it is the Private Members Day for this side of the House and does not interfere with Private Members Days for the other side of the House at all. As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, they have had two days in a row now and they will then have a third one next week presumably so, Mr. Speaker, it does not interfere with their rights in terms of the procedures in the House and number two, the hon. member has talked in vague terms about something about the Standing Orders and he has not quoted anything, Mr. Speaker, and I really believe he does not know what he is talking about.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I do not think -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, Oh!

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I do not wish to engage in the bitter debate that is occurring between the Government House Leader and the Member for St. John's East. I will try to rise above all that and raise a different issue altogether.

Mr. Speaker, the issue of whose Private Members' Day it is, is a red herring, if you will pardon the pun. The Private Members' Day is for the House of Assembly; it is not for this side or that side so, that really is not an issue, but, Your Honour is right, by practice and tradition members on either side of the House have from time to time given their consent to carry on with government business or whatever the case might be, and I am not sure if the member is objecting to that because clearly what could simply happen is that the House will close, it happened one time before if you did not want to proceed with the Private Members Day and that would be a little bit harsh I think, at this stage. We have already done that once and that probably was enough grandstanding.

Maybe I can plead with the Member for St. John's East, since the Government House Leader was not prepared to talk to him, maybe we could plead with him to let us get on with the day's business. But I would like to ask the Speaker at this point though for the future, for clarification. Can the House, which is supposed to be master of its own rules, can the House for example, move a motion, either by giving notice the day before or is there notice required, or could it move a motion before three o'clock under the Standing Orders and move that you proceed to some other business? Can that be done? So maybe, Your Honour, might just look into that because I would like to know the answer to that, so then we would not have to go through this stuff all the time.

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair will recess. Unless anyone wants to make a submission, the Chair will recess for a few minutes. The House not the Chair.

MR. SIMMS: No, no. I was not looking for the ruling now.

MR. SPEAKER: Okay, sorry.

MR. SIMMS: I would suggest Your Honour ask if there is unanimous consent.

MR. SPEAKER: Is there leave to proceed with government business?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I do not wish to hold up the business of the House -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. HARRIS: - and if hon. members want to laugh and jeer at that, let them do it and I can carry on and debate it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: My point to Your Honour, is simply whether or not the Standing Orders apply or whether they don't. Now, I am prepared to give unanimous consent -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: - I have not given it yet, I said I am prepared to but I have not done it yet and if hon. members -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. HARRIS: - and if hon. members want to shout and yell, maybe I won't, but I am prepared to give unanimous consent to change the order of business so that the government can proceed with government business instead of the Standing Orders requiring Private Members business to go ahead, but I would like at some point in the future, as the colleague on this side of the House, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition has asked, for a ruling from Your Honour on that point.

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair will undertake to do that. I can say as a preliminary thing that in order to proceed with Private Members' Day we must have Notice of Motion. So the only Notice of Motion that we have is the government, is the backbenchers, the one they are giving up right now. So logically one can conclude since there is no other Notice of Motion given, and the Government House Leader has asked to proceed with government business, that would seem to be in order, but the Chair will check it out, research it and report back. The appropriate order is number 2.

The hon. the Government House Leader, order number 2.

MR. BAKER: Order 2.

MR. SPEAKER: Order 2 is the Concurrence Motion. We were debating the Resource Committee yesterday.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

I am glad to have an opportunity to speak on the resource sector in particular while the Premier is here because I was hoping today in Question Period to ask the Premier some questions about the resource area, specifically in the field of tourism.

As we look around us in the Province today, if we look at our resources and how we are or how we have developed them, and we look at the dividends that they are turning in, it is enough to make one a little bit uneasy. Our fishery is in extremely bad shape, our paper industry is uncertain, to say the least.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There seems to be far too much noise at the moment. The hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes is speaking but I think he is the only one who is listening to himself, he and I. So I ask hon. members if we could please extend to the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes the appropriate courtesy.

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

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

I was saying that our resources are in pretty hard shape. We look at the fishery, and it is extremely uncertain. The paper mills throughout the Province are going through, I suppose, a period of concern. No new mines are being opened up to provide any great employment, and mines are things that once they are depleted they are nonrenewable. Our water power is stable, I suppose, but we are using more and more of our power and no great new resources or sources are being developed there. The one area where we probably have a tremendous amount of untapped potential is in the field of tourism.

In this Province, unlike most of the rest of the Western World, and certainly unlike the rest of the world, we have a civilized settled area, but yet we are not overly developed in the sense of taking up all the prime territory we have, or the natural resource. There is still a lot for people to see in an area where it is accessible to be able to see it. I know there are areas in the world that are untapped or unspoiled, but many of them are inaccessible and will be for quite some time. We happen to have an accessible area, even though at the present time it might be very costly to get here. That is one of our biggest problems in the field of developing our tourist industry in particular, the cost of getting to the Province. Once people get here we have more to offer in our small space than anything I have seen in this country, and in fact I can say anything I have seen anywhere in the world.

One of the major concerns that we have, and hopefully the Minister of Development will comment on this a little later on, one of the serious concerns is that if we are going to fully develop our potential, a tremendous amount of time and effort and money but particularly time and effort and organizational skills will have to be put into letting others know what we have, because tourists are people who come looking to see what is there to offer, and if they do not know that we are here, number one - not to say the resources and the attractions which we have to offer - then they are not going to come.

Now we have been attempting over the last number of years to get the message out, but it is a very slow process. People say: Well you put an ad in the paper and everybody sees it. I even ask members: How many ads do you go looking for in papers? If you happen to run across it you might see it, but very few people go looking for these things.

We have to find ways of promoting what we have to offer people, not only across the country, but around the world. I do not think we can do it with a part of a department. I do not think we can do it if tourism is buried in a large Department of Development, an extremely important department; a department which requires an awful lot of time and energy to run; and if a minister - no reflection at all on the present minister or on any past ministers - but if a minister has to be responsible for development generally in this Province, he has his hands full, to say the least. But if, as part of that development, he has to try to accentuate the positive, which is really the tourism sector, I feel that it sort of gets the back seat, because when we talk about Hibernias, and our water resources and everything else, they seem to be much more attractive to the electorate than saying you are going to go out and talk about our scenery, or our heritage, or whatever. Yet, it is probably in that scenery we have, in the open spaces and our rugged environment and our wild animals, and our culture and our heritage, and our entertainers - it is in these resources that we can attract a tremendous amount of people and bring a lot of new dollars into this Province.

The amount of money that is coming in now in the field of tourism, compared to the past, is quite positive to look at. We can look at our neighbouring Province of PEI and we can see what they have done over the years to promote their Island. I would suggest to members, and I presume almost everybody, if not everybody, has visited PEI, that we in Newfoundland have a lot more to offer tourists than they have in PEI.

We may not be in a position to cater to them, and that is extremely important, but it is sort of a chicken and egg scenario where people say: When tourists come we will get ready for them; and the tourists are saying: When they are ready for us we will come. So somebody has to start bridging the gap and start the organizing and the promoting and the setting up of the industry generally.

The main concern I have is that it cannot be done by a division within a department. I would suggest to the minister that it is perhaps time that we had a full-fledged Department of Tourism. The Premier himself, especially in responding to the downturn in the fishery, when he talked in areas such as Grand Bank and Trepassey and Gaultois, he said to them: We cannot continue to pursue the fishery. We have to find ways of diversifying; and he basically committed to doing that. Now he did not do it. He did not even attempt to do it, but I suggest to him that one of the ways we can diversify the economy, and the Minister of Tourism has said this himself - he will not disagree with me on this - one of the ways we can diversify, at least to some degree in this Province, is by utilizing our resources in relation to developing our tourism industry, because I do think we have a tremendous amount to offer, but a lot of effort has to be put into it.

I think it is time that we had in this Province, a Department of Tourism whose main aim is to zero in on all aspects of promoting our tourism industry. That does not mean sending the minister on a trip to Germany, which would be a tremendous market for our adventure tourism in particular. Germany perhaps is one of the key countries from which we can draw a tremendous amount of tourism.

When I say about sending the minister on trips, I will never, or have never, criticized a Minister of Development, responsible for promoting our Province, for travelling. In fact, ministers in the past, who represented these departments, travelled extensively, because that is what their job is.

I have had some experience myself in representing the Province and the country internationally, and when you go as a minister - you know, we look upon ourselves as: Oh, I am a minister from the small little Province of Newfoundland and it doesn't matter very much to you. To people in other countries you are a minister representing a government. In particular, if you happen to be representing the country, you are looked upon as a key minister. You get access to people and press and everything else that somebody from a department, some civil servant, doesn't get. That is why our best salesperson for tourism in this Province is the minister responsible.

If that same minister has to go over and try to sell Hibernia or look for investors in Hibernia, has to try to look for investors into our water resources, has to try to look for new people to take over our mines and has a dozen other jobs, then the time and attention he can pay to promoting our tourism industry is slight. It is no good to send off somebody in his department, as good as they might be, with a little slide show, because the amount of attention they are going to get is going to be minimal. So, consequently, as I say, the only way to really move quickly in this area is to develop a full-fledged Department of Tourism, and hopefully we will see that in the near future.

In speaking about resources, I would like to draw to the members' attention the fact that in the immediate area of this capital city we have an area that has more to offer than any other place in this country or, as I said before, perhaps in this world. Any member in this House could get in his car now and within five hours he could drive around the complete Avalon loop. If he wanted to add another hour or hour and a half he could do what we call the double loop, go up the Southern Shore, through St. Mary's Bay, out the Cape Shore, in through Placentia and back to St. John's. I could list for him numerous attractions, all of which are completely different in their own way, which would draw the attention of anybody, things right under our noses that many of us don't even know are there.

Some time ago I visited some officials in Ottawa and I had a map of that loop and we had listed thirty special attractions. One of the assistant deputy minister that happened to be at one of the meetings was a German, and he said: Do you mean to tell me that within a few hours of the capital city you can fish, you can see moose, you can see caribou, hundreds of them on the side of the road, you have natural bird sanctuaries, you have historic sites, you have fossil finds which are world renowned, you have lighthouses, you can hunt, you can pick berries, you can salmon fish, you can do all of that in that area? We said: Yes, certainly you can. He said: If people in Germany were aware of that they would swim across the ocean to see it. That is why I say the potential is there. There are no fish in the way to interrupt them, so they would have no trouble swimming across the ocean.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

This might be an appropriate place to remind the hon. member his time is up.

MR. HEARN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

We will get back to it later because there is a lot in the resource sector I want to say. The point is I would emphasize to the minister that he should push, from his position - I am sure his experience will tell him it is about time we really started to organize there and go after a full-fledged Department of Tourism, of which maybe they will make him minister.

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

MR. FUREY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the hon. member for his vote of confidence. He certainly spoke eloquently and correctly when he said that -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, the former Minister of Tourism who occupied that position for three weeks and nearly put it off the rails altogether - thank God the election intervened and we put a good Minister of Tourism there to put it back on the tracks.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who is that?

MR. FUREY: The former member for Port au Port, the phantom from Port au Port.

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member raises some good points concerning tourism. Last year was a difficult year for the industry, as he well knows. It was a difficult year for the industry right across the country and, indeed, across the country we saw the numbers on average were down somewhere around 25 per cent to 30 per cent in the nation as a whole. I think one of the things that is a cause of that decrease, that trade imbalance in that sector, was the imposition of the Goods and Services Tax, which, as you know, put a considerable burden on people's disposable income, an additional 7 per cent.

In some provinces where there is no provincial sales tax, the impact was less than in others that had a significant retail sales tax such as our own Province. That Goods and Services Tax essentially did two things. It took a bite out of people's disposable income, and the American tourists that we are trying to draw from the south to the northern part of our continent simply said that they were not prepared to spend 7 per cent extra, or 15 per cent, or in our own case in Newfoundland, 19 per cent of their disposable income, written down on taxes immediately. That was one consequence of that tax.

Another equally devastating consequence of that tax was that Canadians, rather than stay within their own regions and pay the burden of that additional tax, went across the border. We hear of cross-border shopping to pick up consumer items. Tourism is a consumer commodity as well. So they chose to go south to avoid the tax. When you join those two consequences of this tax - less people coming north, more people going south - the imbalance is very clear.

Some provinces were hit very hard last year. Little Prince Edward Island, whose primary industry is tourism, was hit extremely hard. Nova Scotia was hit hard, to a lesser degree. New Brunswick had a significant impact. Little Newfoundland and Labrador, with a much smaller budget than many of these other provinces, we were down, but we were not down as significantly as other provinces were. We were down in the range of 6 per cent to 7.5 per cent.

Mr. Speaker, I see good things for the industry this summer. I really do, everywhere across the Province. Operators whom I talk to - I talked to a boat operator just recently who told me that their particular company, the number of bookings are triple over last year. Some bed-and-breakfast people whom I have talked to around the Province, their numbers are up. The convention sector will be up considerably this year and next year - groups coming, like the Shriner's Club, medical people from across the country - this is good stuff.

The cruise ship industry is up. My friend from Torngat Mountains talks about the beauty of the Saglek Fiords in the Hebron area. The cruise ships are moving more and more to the Northern region now, which is why we are pressuring the Government of Canada to look at that particular portion of our Province for a national park, and all of the expenditures that will come along with that. I know he supports us in that position.

I should say something very important to this Assembly that not very many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians know. Tourism is the fourth largest industry in this Province. It ranks just behind the fishery, forestry, mining. It is a service industry. Last year it accounted in our economy for $425 million worth of activity. That is pretty phenomenal when you think about it. What is even more mind-boggling is that two-thirds of that revenue, two-thirds of the $425 million, was spent by Newfoundlanders and Labradorians moving around our own Province. I think that is pretty considerable when you think about it. Two-thirds of all of the revenue generated in this industry were Newfoundlanders and Labradorians moving around the Province.

A considerable influx of people, for example, came to L'Anse-au-Meadows to witness the return of the Vikings. A lot of people are moving along the Northern Peninsula, particularly in the Strait of Belle Isle district, for the Grenfell celebrations, and Southern Labrador, and parts of the North, where people are taking part in those celebrations.

So our own people moving around is a big factor in the generation of wealth in this particular sector. Now, my friend for St. John's East Extern is aware, as the critic for tourism, that we have launched a campaign to even capitalize more on that. It is called Ours to Discover.' We don't really think that enough Newfoundlanders and Labradorians understand or are knowledgeable about the great things around us. How many people know, for example, that in the world, on this planet, there are 247 world heritage sites so designated by the United Nations through the UNESCO division - 247. Some of those are the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, for example. The Grand Canyon is another world heritage site, protected forever by law, by planetary law. Canada which is a smaller country in the context of the planet, has fourteen of those; fourteen world heritage sites on the whole planet belong to Canada. Two of those world heritage sites are right here in Newfoundland and Labrador. People don't stop to realize the magnificence of that. The L'Anse-au-Meadows site is a world heritage site protected in international law forever because it is the first landing point of the Europeans a thousand years ago when the Vikings landed here at L'Anse-au-Meadows at Vinland in my great friend for the Strait of Belle Isle's district. And down further in my own district, in St. Barbe, at Gros Morne National Park at the tablelands that Prince Edward in 1987 so declared on behalf of the world the tablelands is a world heritage site and that is a direct consequence of the geological theory known as the tectonic plate theory where, during the ice age, the earth erupted and the centre of the earth that came about and the continental drift and the plates that came together and were pushed apart.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. FUREY: That is right. The tectonic plate theory that shows the minerals of the earth. All of them can be found on that stretch of mountain known as the tablelands running down on the south side of Gros Morne. Two world class world heritage sites so designated by the entire planet through the auspices of the United Nations. There is a third being reviewed right now and it is in Southern Labrador at Red Bay where the first commercial industrial venture the basque whalers, procuring oil from the whales and setting up oil and blubber to be manufactured and sent back to Europe to light the lamps of Europe through kerosene and through oil, at Red Bay. The basque whalers of Spain came here in the fifteenth century and set this factory up. It was seasonal employment. Even then they understood the meaning of seasonal employment. Of course that is being reviewed now. Can you imagine the magnificence of that if that becomes a world heritage site? If that is declared by the United Nations through the auspices of UNESCO a world heritage site there will be a triple crown of world heritage sites right in Southern Labrador and along the Northern Peninsula, at L'Anse-au-Meadows, Red Bay Labrador and the tablelands of Grose Morne. What magnificence! We don't stop to realize and that is what we are trying to push and promote and the hon. Minister of Education is helping us with the school's program to promote our own history, our own culture, and our own sense of what we are all about. My friend for Cape St. Mary's talked about his own district briefly. I had better be careful saying this as Minister of Tourism but I will say it anyway, one of my favourite places on earth, my personal favourite places, is the Cape St. Mary's Bird Sanctuary, and if anybody has been there they will know what I am talking about. If they have never been there they really ought to take the time to go out there. You talk about a slice of heaven, Mr. Speaker. It is probably the closest place to heaven that I will ever get to on earth, and afterwards. It is absolutely spectacular to stand at that ledge and to look down the sheer cliff 2000 feet into the ocean into what is colloquially called the music box because of the noise of the birds. And again it is coming to nest on that rock face for hundreds and hundreds of years and the mystery of that - thousands of years. It is absolutely spectacular, Mr. Speaker. It really is.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: No, the birds didn't ask the Minister of Tourism to jump. I can vouch for that. At least I don't think they did.

AN HON. MEMBER: Did they ask you to fly?

MR. FUREY: They didn't ask me to fly either. We can joke, but I tell you, it is one remarkable, beautiful, spectacular place to go. My friend from St. John's East Extern nods, he has been there and probably knows what I am talking about.

Myself and the federal minister, under the Historic Resources and Tourism Agreement, plan to upgrade the road and the walking path to the cliff and that kind of thing - not too much, because you don't want to spoil the natural beauty of it, but we want to enhance it a bit. In fact, I put it on the cover of our Tourism Guide last year. I don't know if you remember that yellow cover with the birds.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. FUREY: If I could just conclude, Mr. Speaker. I will just conclude for a minute.

Mr. Speaker, what I am saying is that two-thirds of all the revenue - it is worth noting and members should be aware of this - is generated by Newfoundlanders and Labradorians moving around in our Province, spending in hotels and gas stations, shops and restaurants, craft stores, bed and breakfasts, that kind of thing. And it generates a lot of revenue. We are trying to promote that even more through our school systems, and the launching this week of Ours to Discover campaign because a lot of us haven't visited a great many parts of this Province, and we really ought to do that. Two-thirds of all the revenue generated in tourism comes from Newfoundlanders and Labradorians moving around the Province - my hon. friend from Harbour Main hiking through the Gros Morne National Park, myself, as the Member for St. Barbe, walking along the beaches of Holyrood - it is people moving around, spending and doing that kind of thing.

Let me say something else, too. In terms of infrastructure, we took a position when we took over government that it was very important to have proper facilities at the gateways. Now, Port aux Basques - my friend for LaPoile will vouch - has been given a great facelift and a lot of expenditure of dollars has gone into that. We have a magnificent chalet at Port aux Basques. We just will complete this June 15, a brand new million dollar chalet at the other gateway at Argentia, fully equipped and staffed, and just terrific.

Now, I was hoping to have the dollars for our third gateway in Labrador West. I am sorry I don't have the money.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Now, let's be clear about this. The commitment that I made is that this government recognizes the third gateway to be Labrador West, and at the first fiscally prudent opportunity, we will place money there to do that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible). The old smoothy.

MR. FUREY: No, we will do that. The hon. member will still have lots of hair by the time we get that concluded.

We also went and did some deals with municipalities, Mr. Speaker. We did one with the municipality of St. George's, the Port au Port area - the phantom of Port au Port was here a minute ago - and Stephenville, Stephenville Crossing. They all bound themselves together and cost-shared a beautiful chalet right on the highway between St. George's and Stephenville, and my friend from Stephenville tells me that last year the number of visitations was up by 15 per cent. Now, it is a magnificent chalet. They designed it themselves. We will help them stock it. They will pay the operating cost. It really, truly is a wonderful piece of architecture. It is wonderful to see. You should see it.

The other thing we are doing is taking portions of the Province, getting communities to co-operate and bind themselves into groups, such as my own area, the Northern Peninsula and that of the Member for the Strait of Bell Isle - those tourism associations, the Viking Trail Tourism Association - so that businesses together can harness and use the wealth and expertise that they learn together through that association to draw tourists there.

My friend from Stephenville has done considerable work with the Chamber of Commerce and the tourism group and Community Futures and others there to form themselves into a new identity for that area called the Festival Coast. What a terrific, magnificent, wonderful title for the area: the Festival Coast, because you have all kinds of festivals down there, the Cape St. George festival, for example, the French festival. So when you bind yourselves together like that and you can harness government monies and get proper studies done, and do a disciplined, orderly providing of tourist services, it really can make a difference.

I will conclude on this note, Mr. Speaker. I agree with the hon. member, tourism is the wave of the future, the service sector industry. We have the natural environment and products. It is our job to get out there and market and draw people here. We are doing a pretty good job on that, I can tell the House. There is more work to be done, but we are doing a pretty terrific job. But all of us and all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have to be ambassadors for tourism, as well. If you want, Mr. Speaker, I can go on and talk about some other things, about winter tourism and the kinds of things that are happening at Marble Mountain, but I will do that as debate proceeds.

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

MR. PARSONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I wanted to have a few words on our resources and the problems that we are experiencing in many aspects of our resources. I was surprised today, during Question Period, when I heard, on several news broadcasts, and I am sure everyone else in the House did, that over in Placentia Bay, one of the fishermen caught in his net a couple of red herring. I was surprised at even the Minister of Fisheries, because we all remember back in the days of the dilemma in Placentia Bay when the bay was closed because of the red herring issue. Hopefully, and I am sure that I join with everyone else in the House today in saying that we are not going to have a repetition of what happened because that was a grey area for that particular year. With the downtrend of the fishery as it is -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: I want to remind my hon. colleague from Labrador that it is not a joke. The people in Placentia Bay suffered tremendously because of that red herring issue, and if you can laugh at it, I can't, because I know a lot of people over there and have a lot of friends over there, and even if I didn't - if it were in Labrador, I would feel the same way.

I was surprised that there wasn't more emphasis placed. I thought today that the Minister of Fisheries would come in with a statement about an investigation of some sort in Placentia Bay, relating to this red herring issue.

All we think about of late is doom and gloom. I don't know if the Minister of Fisheries is aware of it or not, but in our prime industry, our fishing industry, we had some good news yesterday from St. Mary's, and we had some good news from over around Long Harbour and those places, where there are half decent catches of fish. Yesterday in St. Mary's some trap men there had 20,000 pounds, which is very good for this time of year.

When I was told about it last night, I asked about the size of the fish. I was told they weren't really large, but at this time of the year, the first of the season, it usually is not. They told me that the fish was anywhere between sixteen and twenty inches. You can certainly process that with no problem.

So at least there is a good sign out there. Perhaps our scientists again, and I emphasize the word 'again', might be wrong in saying that there is nothing out there to come in, because it looks like now - I also heard on the Fishermen's Broadcast yesterday, I believe it was, that one of the scientific endeavours off the shore, about 150 miles to the east of St. John's, they again found a sizeable amount of fish. That speaks well, and hopefully things are going to look up for the Province. As we all know, for the Province resource-wise, to benefit, then the fishery is uppermost in all of our minds. The fishery has to come through for Newfoundland's economy to gain any amount of strength.

I was listening also today, and I saw that rather than a plus in the economy, it is now rated, I think, a minus .03 of a downturn in the economy. So hopefully, with that bit of news on the fish yesterday, things may turn around.

I want to speak to the Minister of Tourism. I certainly agree with him, and agree with my colleague from St. Mary's - The Capes, that tourism is the industry of the future - not to take anything away from our fishery. That will always be our industry, our main industry; but tourism has become a prime resource, a prime means of monies going into people's pockets, of people being enthusiastic about this type of adventure.

I look at my own district. I spoke to the Minister of Development and Tourism the other day concerning an area in my own district, and people will say that I certainly love the cape shore, I love up the southern shore and I have visited the area of which the Minister speaks and I have to agree with him that it is spectacular to say the least.

But, Mr. Speaker, we have people who come to St. John's on charters; St. John's is the main centre of commerce in this Province and we have people who come to St. John's, who get off a charter, who fly into Torbay Airport and are only here perhaps for an hour or two, and visit our area, the scenic Marine Drive and other areas in St. John's East Extern, and see, Mr. Speaker, they are beautiful areas, beautiful spots.

I was down to the beach in Middle Cove the other day and I am sure that anyone, any Newfoundlander, Mr. Speaker, from around this area and from outside this area, has visited Middle Cove beach, sometime during the year. Wherever you are going to get a bucket of caplin, it is down to Middle Cove beach, but, Mr. Speaker, I was down the other day and the sea is eroding the face of the embankment, so I went to the Minister of Development and Tourism and asked him if there was anything in Tourism, any monies in Tourism, where perhaps we could put a fence across it and retain it so it would not erode completely and I must say, the Minister of Development and Tourism told me to call his deputy minister, which I did, and I wrote him a letter and it seems that there will be something done to prevent the erosion of that beautiful spot.

Mr. Speaker, I come from the community of Flatrock, the small town of Flatrock and we have a grotto there. There are a lot of people who do not know it. I asked the Member for Eagle River one day if he knew where the grotto was in Flatrock? He did not know, Mr. Speaker, and that will tell you what that hon. gentleman knows, nothing. He does not know his way from one part of St. John's to the other, he gets a taxi. He knows only one thing and that is, keep shouting the name Labrador, hopefully, his constituents will hear him and hopefully if no one opposes him he might win the next election, otherwise, he is out! Now that is as far as his vocabulary goes. Now he wants to take our Outer Ring Road and put the money down in Labrador, so I mean he is doing fine, he is doing fine but look, I am really happy that I said that because I can see the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation laughing, and it is a joke.

On a serious note, I am glad the Minister of Development and Tourism is back. That little grotto in Flatrock last year - they only bring out the book to be signed in June and it is only out on fine days because we do not get that many, there were 4,200 people signed that ledger from thirty-five different countries. There were thirty-five different countries represented in that book so that will tell you how many people visit from outside of Newfoundland. But what I said to the minister the other day, when I mentioned about Middle Cove, that it is because of our closeness to St. John's that we get a great number of tourists who just have a couple of hours; they do not have the time to go to Gros Morne because Gros Morne is beautiful. I used to go there every year when the children were growing up and it is a beautiful spot -

AN HON. MEMBER: Where?

MR. PARSONS: Gros Morne, a beautiful spot. I used to go there on holidays year after year and it was a grand spot, but there are a lot of people who do not get the opportunity to go, especially the people who are sort of fly-by-nighters, they come in here for a few hours and I think that more emphasis should be placed in this particular area. We all speak about outlying areas, it is a great thing in Labrador, it is a great thing out around this bay and that bay but we have beauty right close to the City of St. John's -

AN HON. MEMBER: Where is it?

MR. PARSONS: Where is it? Let me say this to you. There is not a city in North America that has that Quidi Vidi Lake situation, not one. Not one that has the historic background that Signal Hill has. Nothing to compare with it. The hon. Minister of Fisheries knows what I speak of. You go down to Flatrock, Torbay, or Portugal Cove or those places any summer's morning, and it's the nicest part of Newfoundland - fish -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: Yes. Twillingate, I have been there, a nice place as well. But what I am saying is we place too much emphasis on the great big thing. A few dollars spent around in different areas could be much more advantageous as far as the economy is concerned. Now this is my personal belief. I think it is a real case and I think that we should look at it. Because there is a number of communities within Newfoundland that have a great potential as far as tourism is concerned. I think that is -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. PARSONS: I would like to mention - could I have leave for a moment?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave.

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, by leave.

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

MR. PARSONS: The Minister of Development mentioned L'Anse-au-Meadows. I had a good friend, Lord have mercy on him, who was killed in a plane accident on his way to L'Anse-au-Meadows. Bill Manning, who was mayor of Torbay. He was the manager of historic sites with the federal department, at the time.

I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Ingstad and spoke with him for quite a while. Had a couple of sessions with him, through Bill, many years ago. But the L'Anse-au-Meadows bit really hits home, because I did have the privilege to meet that great man, and he was a great man. A great proponent, by the way, of Newfoundland.

Before I sit down, Mr. Speaker, I do not want to take up someone else's time, but the minister mentioned Red Bay. Red Bay was the first -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: Yes, I speak now of the member's constituency, part of it, Red Bay. It was not liver, it was not cod liver, but it was whale liver. It was the first refinery I think in this part of the world. You know the oil from the whale liver was used more than anything else in construction, in the running of machinery and whatever. Mr. Speaker, why that died out in Red Bay was because we had a different technology, and now that same industry uses herring oils and different oils. There are different bearings now, there is new technology, where bearings do not have to be oiled or whatever.

But yes, Red Bay was, I think, the first in North America, as far as an oil refinery was concerned. I want to say that I was at a 50th anniversary the other night for a lady and her husband had an oil refinery in Pouch Cove.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: Yes. They refined cod liver oil in Pouch Cove. Certainly I visit Trinity Bay on a weekly basis, and when you go to Trinity Bay you can certainly see every evidence of the industry that was there at one time. Certainly in Trinity Bay the whaling industry was a mainstay at one particular time, and so was the seal industry. Both of which have died for different reasons. With that said, Mr. Speaker, I thank you very much and I thank the members of the House for giving me leave.

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, this being concurrence debates, I presume in concurrence debates you ask questions. I took some mental notes of some thoughts that the hon. member expressed. I should tell him that I too met Dr. Helge Ingstad and his wife Dr. Anne Stine Ingstad. He of course being an explorer, she being an anthropologist. In fact, she did a lot of the digging at that site, while much of the glory accrued to the man. As usual, the woman did all the work.

In fairness to them both, he is a great man, and she is a wonderful woman. In fact, on behalf of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, two years ago when I was in Norway, I hosted a dinner for the Ingstads at the Canadian Embassy. At that time I spoke in front of his colleagues and friends and publicly acknowledged his great work and her great work and presented them with a gift on behalf of the Province and thanked them publicly in their own country and before their own media for the great work and great discovery that both of them participated so fully in for so many years.

Of course, we can't forget Mr. Decker, the -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I just want to interrupt the member for just one minute. I have been notified by the Table that there are five minutes left in this particular debate and then we have to put the motion. So the hon. member has five minutes to finish up the debate.

The hon. the Minister of Development.

MR. FUREY: Sorry, Mr. Speaker! You said I have five minutes?

MR. SPEAKER: Yes.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, rather that me take up the last five minutes, did hon. members across the way want to take the five minutes or a couple of minutes for any particular questions? Even the new hon. member, did he have a question?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: And I would love to answer it.

Mr. Speaker, we can't forget, as well, the hunting and fishing and the outdoor activities that bring and generate considerable wealth into our economy through outfitters and things. Particularly Labrador: Labrador still has some of the rivers and streams of world-class trophy trout, fish and salmon. My friend from Labrador West will know, because there are a number of outfitter' businesses in his region. It really is a great draw to the economy, isn't it, bringing new wealth from the outside? We have Americans in Labrador mostly, but more and more Europeans are coming in as well, to fish and hunt and that kind of thing. It is good for the economy. They tell me some of the outfitters are commanding up to $4,000 and $5,000 a week now for some of these licences and some of their activity.

As minister I was invited in, when I came back from a visit to the Labrador stores, to one particular camp. My friend from Labrador West will have to help me out. It was on Minipi Lake. That would have been, not Mr. Power but Mr. Cooper.

MR. A. SNOW: Jack Cooper.

MR. FUREY: That is right, Jack Cooper on Minipi Lake.

AN HON. MEMBER: He is not from western Labrador.

MR. FUREY: No, he is from the Goose Bay area. I meant my friend from Labrador West will help me out on the name of the operator. It is Mr. Jack Cooper. It is extraordinary, with the help from ACOA and other government agencies and his own investment, the building really is extraordinary. It is just unbelievable, huge fireplaces, proper modern kitchens, just really extraordinary to see. Therein is a great opportunity too.

Just to switch gears to the winter season and the fall season. My friend from Labrador West will know about the 400 dogsled races. I was there last year -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: No, no! I said dogs not coyotes, the dogsled races there. You know, we can't buy the media attention that that grabbed for us. NBC was there, as I recall, and CBS television. PBS wasn't there.

AN HON. MEMBER: It should be bigger.

MR. FUREY: Yes, it should be bigger, but it is just starting to grow now and it is starting to really take off. In fact, I entered a small race and beat everybody. It was a celebrity race. It was no problem, they gave me the fastest dogs and off we went. It is really extraordinary.

The grand old City of St. John's, that is attracting more and more attention too as the oldest city in North America, of course. Many conventions will be coming through St. John's this year and that can only help spinout activity in Flatrock and Torbay and Mount Pearl and all these other areas that encompass -

DR. KITCHEN: It ought to be declared a world heritage site.

MR. FUREY: My hon. colleague, the Minister of Finance, believes that St. John's, being the oldest known settlement in North America, ought to be declared a world heritage site too. I think you may be onto something there. Now, it was this hon. minister and his colleague here, from St. John's North, who pressured me against my will to put all kinds of money into a new tourism agreement with Mr. Crosbie to re-develop the old St. John's, to put money there for the tattoo at Signal Hill. There is all kinds of money there anyway, in small amounts but, accumulatively as an aggregate, there is a lot of money there from the agreement for that.

So there are good things happening in tourism. Winter tourism: Now, there is a golden opportunity. The White Hills out at Clarenville.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FUREY: Now, there is an extremely interesting project - and Marble Mountain, Mr. Speaker. We are getting more tourists -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. FUREY: Okay, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it the pleasure of the House that the report of the government's Resource Committee be concurred in?

All those for the motion, please say 'aye', contrary, 'nay', carried.

The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, Order 2, the Concurrence Motion on the Social Services Committee.

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

MR. RAMSAY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: What a member!

MR. RAMSAY: What a way to start!

Mr. Speaker, speaking about the order of business, the Concurrence Motion for the Social Services Estimates, we, on the Social Services Committee, dealt with a number of departments of government, the Departments of Justice, Education, Health, Environment and Lands -

AN HON. MEMBER: Social Services.

MR. RAMSAY: - and the Department of Social Services, no less. These departments that we were dealing with were all brought before the Committee. The ministers and their officials, I must say, were very forthright in providing answers to the Committee members.

We, on the Committee, did provide a very, very reasonable opportunity for Opposition members attending the meetings to address their concerns. The government members on the committees also raised some points which were very relevant to the proceedings. The points raised by the government members were a little different in nature, as is the case, I guess, often highlighting some of the positive moves that the government is making in the various fields under the Social Services subheads.

Also, I might add that the co-operation of all hon. members in filling in for other members who were unavailable due to prior commitments and also members of the Opposition were fortunate to have some of their members drop by and question ministers as members of the House of Assembly and not as specific Committee members. So we had some good proceedings.

Occasionally, the debate got a bit heated, as is the case. I noted that the hon. Member from Harbour Grace one evening did get a little bit upset and berated some of the Opposition members for some of the proceedings, but he was I think just in doing so. The hon. member was certainly forthright in his commentary to the Opposition members with regard to their points about - no, that was another Committee. We have been filling in for others so much that we get confused as to which Committee we are sitting on at the given time.

Anyway -

AN HON. MEMBER: 'Confucius say'.

MR. RAMSAY: 'Confucius say', yes.

Mr. Speaker, all of the Budget subheads were brought forward without any amendments. There were certain motions brought forward by Committee members from the Opposition which were defeated. Notably, the action taken by the former Minister of Justice to censure the current Minister of Justice at the proceedings was defeated, and I want that to be noted on the record here in the House as it was brought up in Question Period. Justice was served, I might add, for the hon. the Member for Humber Valley.

Also, I might point out that I enjoyed chairing these meetings. They were very fruitful. The delays this year, we managed to get one specific Budget subhead dealt with without an extension of time. This is certainly progress insofar as the hon. the Member for Humber East goes, because normally, she holds up all the Committee proceedings beyond the normal one meeting. This year she managed to let one of the four go through without holding it up. So I think it is certainly a measure of progress on the part of the hon the Member for Humber East. Environment and Lands did proceed - No. Hold on. Which one was it?

AN HON. MEMBER: Education.

MR. RAMSAY: Education was the one. I am sorry. Education passed without any further discussion and study by the hon. member, and I think she is finally understanding what the Department of Education is all about. After those years as minister, this year, 1992, the hon. Member for Humber East decided that it was certainly the right thing to do to let the minister have his say, and within one period of consideration by the Social Services Committee, she allowed that to pass. So progress is being made. I would suspect that within another three years of the hon. member sitting, if she continues to hold her seat as the Vice-Chair of the member of the Committee for the Opposition, that maybe we will see in three years time the Social Services Estimates pass without further discussion beyond the normal three hours, or single meeting, per department.

I have nothing further. I will take my seat and allow other hon. members to have commentary on these Estimates, accounting for the largest portion of the government's Budget, I think accounting for close to about 70 per cent in total of the government's expenditures. We are very pleased to have dealt with this in such an expedient manner.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

I am pleased to have the opportunity to rise and speak on some of the social policies and -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) should, too.

MR. A. SNOW: Yes, I should. We all should. We should all have the same amount of responsibility to be able to deliver fair and equal treatment to the citizens of this Province, and not be discriminatory in their treatment, and not treat them as callously as this administration does.

I understand that it is necessary to have revenue to cover a lot of the things that we are talking about in social policy, that there is a responsibility upon government to have the amount of resources available to be able to cover the cost of delivery of government services that are covered under the social policy committees.

What I find strange is that while this government finds it necessary to cut back in areas of social responsibility, in delivery of services to ordinary Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, they are cutting back on all of these things and they say that they just don't have the money. Yet they don't seem to have to create the atmosphere for the private sector to invest more money into the economy to create more wealth.

In this government, the only answer they have to increase revenue is to increase taxation. Of course, we all know, if you have any understanding of economics whatsoever, that we have undoubtedly reached the point of diminishing returns with regard to taxation in this Province.

The necessity to have the money is very important. We have to be able to afford to pay for the services, so it is incumbent upon the adminstration, the government, to come in with a policy to create more wealth in this Province, not just through increase in taxes, but to increase the opportunity for people to invest.

It was interesting to note the Minister of Development talking earlier. He was speaking about how tourism is one of the great contributors to the economic wealth of this Province.

Mr. Speaker, you get some people, such as the Minister of Development, talking about the importance of tourism and how they pay lip service to the actual development of this service, because the government hasn't really done that much to improve or enhance the Province, or the facilities of this Province, to promote more tourism.

Last year when the government laid off 2,500 people in this Province, those people couldn't afford to take a drive across the Island portion of the Province. Those people couldn't go skiing at Marble Mountain. The minister suggested that two-thirds of all the economic gain, or the economic activity, generated through tourism is by residents of this Province, generated by the person living in St. John's who used to work at the Janeway and used to take her vacation and go to visit Gros Morne in the summer, or take her vacation and go skiing at Marble Mountain in the winter, or come down to Labrador in the fall of the year and go skiing, Mr. Speaker.

But now, when the nurse got laid off, she couldn't afford to do that. So the Minister of Development, when he sat around the Cabinet table last year and talked about how tourism was going to create a tremendous amount of economic wealth for the Province, he forgot when on the day before, the week before, he was laying off 2,500 people, that this was going to impact negatively on the tourist industry in this Province.

Of course, we know it had a negative impact on tourism in this Province. That lowered the amount of revenue that this Province could get in order to accept more of its responsibility that it should have to the people of this Province in need of some of the things that are covered under social policy, such as improved education.

In Western Labrador, we have seen some of the things occurring that are going to have a detrimental effect on education there. We are seeing layoffs of teachers in our area. The first time in the history of education in Western Labrador, we are seeing teachers being laid off this year. It is important, in a time of recession, that we do not try to save money by merely cutting back on the expenses of educating our youth. The development of this tremendous resource, the resource of our young people, is undoubtedly the best resource we have in this Province. By cutting back on education in Western Labrador, we are stifling the development of these individuals, this tremendous resource, and it doesn't make any sense whatsoever.

We have to approach it that the development of education, the proper delivery and development of our health care system, have to be, I believe very strongly, the building blocks of building our economy in this Province. Because you cannot have anybody working in an industry if they don't have an education. There is a fear in the country today about free trade. We are opening up more free trade with Mexico. We shouldn't be afraid of competing with Mexico. With the type of labour that we could be able to provide to enhance our trading position, the types of things we are going to be doing with the education system we have in this country, they shouldn't be on the same block at all, with regard to being able to compete with us.

Mr. Speaker, while manual labour in Mexico may do well, in the sense of - that's the wheelbarrow jobs, they are slow, you don't need a lot of training. But where we can really help is not to cut back on education. What we have to do is put more money into education so that our employees will be better educated. I recently heard somebody talking about how, at one time, I believe it was a short time ago, as much as, say, twenty years ago, a person would probably only have to be trained once or twice in their lifetime for their career of work. We are probably going to have to train them to enter the work force now, and as many as twenty-five times before they finish their journey through the workforce, Mr. Speaker.

Now, if we are going to cut back on the funds that we are allocating to education, cut back on this investment in our greatest resource, the youth, all for the sake of saving a few dollars, it is very shortsighted, very shortsighted, Mr. Speaker. We have to use the education and our health care system because, not only must we have these people well educated, we also have to keep them healthy. We have to keep them healthy so that they can go to work and work and produce wealth for their employer. They can produce wealth for the whole Province and for the country so we have to use these things as building blocks for building the economy of this Province. We cannot just look at them as being an expense on the expense side, we have to look at it as an investment in the future.

Mr. Speaker, the importance of that cannot be overlooked, and I am very disappointed in how this government approaches the health care and the education sector. I touched just a little at the beginning of my speech or debate on the social policy issue on the importance of this government having revenues to pay for the delivery of government services and goods to its citizens -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Minister of Education.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, may I just interrupt for one minute.

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

MR. FUREY: I promised to table for my hon. friend at Question Period today, an answer to a question he has posed to me with respect to Newfoundland and Labrador Development Corporation, the forerunner of Enterprise Newfoundland, and his question I believe was, how much government involvement was there by the Province? Can we agree that the Minister of Education will be next, incidentally?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes.

MR. FUREY: How much government money was involved in Canada Bay Seafoods? This loan was approved at the St. John's office, May of 1983, Mr. Speaker, and at that point in time they approved $340,000, that loan was subsequently paid off in full in November of 1988. There was a second loan, Mr. Speaker, from NLDC corporation for $100,000 in May of 1984; that loan was paid May of 1990 and when I say that loan was paid, the bulk, the majority of it was paid back prior to this problem that they have. There was a shortfall of $5,000. The insurance company paid that out to the NLDC corporation, but most of the loan was paid or the bulk of it was paid by the proponent.

Thirdly, Mr. Speaker, there was also an RDA loan from the previous government that was approved for this corporation for a forklift, but that loan was never drawn down, none of it was ever used or exercised and therefore it lapsed.

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

DR. WARREN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is difficult to know where to start in this discussion but I would like to go back and say over the past two or three years, many people have asked me questions about why I am doing what I am doing. Why are you in government and why are you a Liberal and these are the questions - why? Now let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, why I am Liberal and why I am proud to be part of this government.

I am Liberal because philosophically Liberals believe in a number of basic principles and I won't go into all of them. Certainly, Liberals believe in the rights of the individual, the primacy of the individual. Secondly, if there is another principle which Liberals believe in, it is equality of opportunity, especially for those disadvantaged people, who through no fault of their own have suffered. These are two of the basic principles which Liberals believe in, and I am proud to be part of a government, that even in these difficult times is trying to promote the achievement of these goals.

Mr. Speaker, in difficult times, those who suffer most are often those who are weakest, -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

DR. WARREN: - there is a danger -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

DR. WARREN: -there is a danger, Mr. Speaker, that in difficult times you cut back on those who have just achieved their rightful place in society. This government is determined not to let that happen. This government, in health, in social services, in education is determined that even though times are difficult, and we are going through, with other provinces and other countries, one of the most difficult periods in the history of civilization, even though that is happening, Mr. Speaker, this is government is committed to providing social policies that promote equality of opportunity, that promote individual rights and, Mr. Speaker, our Budget reflects these two principles.

This government in these very difficult times provided funding for programs that helped the disadvantaged. Now we did not have enough! The Minister of Development keeps asking: Are we perfect? No, we are not perfect. We have not done enough. But I can provide you, and to the people of this Province, with example after example of where in the last three years we have tried to enhance the position of those in our society whose needs are greatest. It is not enough. But, Mr. Speaker, let me take education. The opposition member talked about education. Even this year with the difficult financial times we have, with the freeze, government increased the total educational spending by 6 per cent. Even if you eliminated the monies we put in to offset the school tax we increased spending in education very significantly in tough times.

Look what happened in Nova Scotia and in New Brunswick, and in Saskatchewan. In Saskatchewan they did not freeze educational spending, they cut it. They cut educational spending from last year's gross figures. We, in this Province, even in these difficult times increased spending. In elementary and secondary education we increased the amount of money provided by $30 million. Mr. Speaker, if there is one thing I am proud of this year it is that we were able to replace the school tax with funding that provided equality in this Province. We not only replaced the money for school taxes but we levelled up. When the public find out about this, particularly in rural Newfoundland, we put $12 million more on top of this for the next school year.

Let us take the school year, the full twelve month period, we not only provided $34 million to replace the school tax, through income tax and more progressive tax, and a fairer tax, we added to that $34 million an additional $12 million so that students in all parts of this Province would receive from the school tax an amount comparable to St. John's. Do you know that the former administration let it happen, and we let it happen for two years? I do not play this blame game really. I do not want to go back and blame the Opposition for all the ills of society. They let that inequitable, unfair, inefficient, regressive tax system remain and they did not level up. They did not provide for rural Newfoundland the kinds of funding that would give our students in these parts of the Province a reasonable chance at a quality education.

Do you know there are school districts where the school tax in 1991 brought in $375 to $400 per student per year? There are other areas of this Province where the school tax, because they did not have the wealth, because they did not have the industrial base, because they had a large number of exemptions, people were not making a great deal of money, were raising about $100 per student per year. This government could not tolerate that. We believe in equality of opportunity, even in these difficult times. We levelled up and we are going to do more. A new grant system is being developed in education and we are going to do more. You know, Mr. Speaker, the people of this Province will see, maybe a year from now, when I send out this accomplishments report, I have an accomplishments report here, I will send it out probably shortly.

AN HON. MEMBER: A report card.

DR. WARREN: A report card on what we did from 1989 to 1992. Tremendous numbers of new initiatives in education. We have only begun, Mr. Speaker. Because I can assure you we believe -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. WARREN: I tell you, Mr. Speaker, we have only begun. I got a letter from the trustees association congratulating the government. I should have made it available to the press. They were the ones who said, when the school tax was threatened: this government will not find the money and replace that money. We will have to raise money through dinners and through collections. We not only found the money to replace the school tax but we levelled up. We added another $12 million for the next school year.

Have you heard that before? The trustees wrote the government, the trustees wrote the Premier. I should have sent it to the press. I should have made it available to the Opposition. Congratulating the government on providing the extra funds in these very difficult times.

AN HON. MEMBER: They want the school tax back (Inaudible)!

DR. WARREN: I do not think they do. I think they are going to back off that. No, I do not believe they want it back. The public of this Province will know what we have done in the next few months, particularly within a year from now. We will have to tell them all of the facts about what we have done.

Mr. Speaker, on distance education. Let me just give a few other examples of what we did this year. We increased our distance education offerings over and above last year, $150,000. Literacy: We maintained the level of teachers that we had last year. We maintained the level of substitute teachers. We maintained the level of student assistants. We maintained it at last year's level. Student assistants, the hon. member, my friend, I am pleased he mentioned it.

Do you know we are increasing the funding of student assistants this year, in this difficult fiscal year, by over $1 million? We have reclassified student assistants. We have 400 throughout the Province, 410. We reclassified them and we provided extra funding, this year in these difficult times, as we excluded from the freeze student assistants, so that we could pay them a reasonable rate of salary. This government wants to do what is right, and even in difficult times we continue to fund programs in health. Look what we have done in health. Maybe the minister might want to get up and tell it. It is embarrassing to the Opposition what he has been able to do in three years. The Minister of Social Services, he is not here, I mean, it's just fantastic what we have done.

Environment. Now environment is something that, as a social person, I take great interest in. What we have done this year in environment. It's both a social and a resource issue. We put extra funding into environment. We have to preserve and enhance our environment. We have to teach our people to care for the environment - to recycle, reuse, reduce. Are these the three R's? Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Tremendous challenge, and this government wants to promote environmental education, and preservation and enhancement of the environment.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

DR. WARREN: Well, I will have another shot at it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave! By leave!

DR. WARREN: By leave?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave.

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

The hon. the Minister of Education.

DR. WARREN: I've got a few other things. Let me list just five or six things we have done this year. I just want to list a few other things we have done in this difficult fiscal year in education. Five hundred thousand dollars to the Smallwood Foundation for the encyclopedia. I am proud of that, Mr. Speaker. That will be a gem, an historic document in the schools of our Province and throughout Canada. We put $275,000 into a youth transition study. We put some extra money into a variety of other programs. One area we did -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) scholarships.

DR. WARREN: - scholarships, bursaries, a little extra for bursaries; student aid, a little extra, we did not increase the rates, but we know more people are going to be taking advantage, so we increased it.

One area we did make a substantial - not a substantial - we made a small reduction in funding for transportation. I must be frank with the House. I must not only tell the positives. I must tell that we did reduce spending on school transportation. We are trying to rationalize the whole transportation system. There is a perception in this Province that we have a significant wastage in school busing; that there are too many buses travelling with too few people. In fact, I am told there are communities where you have two or three school buses going in and out. This government decided that we cannot tolerate that. Last year we started a program of rationalizing the school bus system so that we can have money to put into other areas of education. That is going to continue this year.

One school board last year - the Minister of Finance knows this, so I am not telling any secrets - last year one school board helped us save about $200,000 for school busing. We gave them back one hundred thousand.

AN HON. MEMBER: What?

DR. WARREN: We gave them back $100,000 for books and computers, because they helped us.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. WARREN: Because they helped us restructure the whole school bus system and save some money, and we put it back into - the assistant superintendent told me yesterday, I was at a meeting in Gander, that they put it into books and libraries. What a tremendous investment for funding that was saved as a result of rationalizing the school transportation system.

I could go on into the other areas, but maybe the Minister of Health wants to get up. I must say, we have not done enough. We need to do much more, but in these estimates this government has remained true to its Liberal principles of trying to provide a quality of opportunity and trying to promote, in my area in administering education, the most important resource that we have.

The Member for Menihek mentioned the resource of people. The Royal Commission Report is entitled 'Our Children, Our Future'. He and I agree on that. The future of this country depends on the quality of the resources we have - the human resources and other resources. Our people are our most precious resource. Our school system and our post-secondary system must be changed and reformed to better prepare our people to meet the needs of the future.

Mr. Speaker, I will talk about post-secondary later.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Minister of Education for warning the people of this Province when he stood up and said: We have only just begun.

This minister has terrified more teachers in this Province, and disappointed more teachers in this Province, than any other minister. They are very disappointed, and I suppose a lot of the disappointment is because they were expecting so much.

I suppose where they had gone out and campaigned for the minister and his colleagues to get elected, and they elected quite a few people who came from the teaching profession, a very honourable profession, they had campaigned for them and they felt, well they will understand the plight of the classroom, of the students - not just the teachers, the students; because the teachers understand the plight of the student. They went out and campaigned, and voted, and worked hard to get the minister elected. Then he turned his back on the teachers. By doing so he turned his back on the students, the education process, and that is what made them disappointed.

I suppose to use the analogy it would be like the child who had hoped so much for Christmas, had been promised so much for Christmas to only go down on Christmas morning and find that underneath the tree it was bare. There was absolutely nothing under the tree except empty boxes. That is what was underneath the tree that this minister delivered to the people of this Province, Mr. Speaker, empty boxes underneath the Christmas tree, empty promises after the election when he was sworn into Cabinet. He forgot all about the classroom as soon as he entered the Cabinet room, he forgot all about it. He did not understand. He cannot believe what is gong on now.

The teachers of this Province are starting to speak up, and I know that a lot of them in my district are concerned. It is the first time in the history of western Labrador that we have layoffs in the teaching profession. The place where the highest percentage of people go on to post-secondary institutions come from Labrador West, the highest percentage of people from this whole Province who want to have a post-secondary education. We find that this government has seen fit to make it more difficult in this Budget for these people to go on to post-secondary institutions, making it more difficult on the parents in Labrador West to be able to afford to pay for their children, the future of this Province and this country, Mr. Speaker. They are making it tremendously more difficult for the parents to pay because of the increased tax burden that this minister has advocated placing on the people, especially of Labrador West. A miner is going to have to pay about $350 more a year. That is a lot of money.

AN HON. MEMBER: He must be making $150,000.

MR. A. SNOW: Well, all the minister has to do is go talk to the miners. They will show him. Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, the people of western Labrador recognize that the government needs money to pay for services but what they cannot understand is why the government continues to tax the people more and cut back services. They talk about one of the basic principles of Liberalism being equality of opportunity and to be able to help those less fortunate. How can the minister square that when he says that somebody who is getting social assistance in this Province - he talked about how he was proud of what they were doing in the social services sector - how can he honestly stand there and say that $130 a month is enough for a young man to live on for a whole month to supply food, clothing, and a roof over his head? The minister spends more than that on lunches in a day.

AN HON. MEMBER: No.

MR. A. SNOW: He says, no. He says he does not spend $130 in a day on lunches but I am willing to bet that he spends more that $130 a month. He does not live on $130 a month yet he expects somebody on social services to live on $130 a month, and that is tremendously unfair. They have to have more compassion for those less fortunate. You cannot stay in a Cabinet room with your plush carpets and your comfortable chairs and completely ignore the plight of these unemployed Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. You have to understand that the plight they are in is not their fault. It is the fault of this administration in not doing anything to promote more opportunity for people to go to work. That is the problem. The people in Labrador understand that the government needs money to deliver services. They understand that. The hon. Minister of Finance said that is why he increased the taxes in western Labrador. What they do not find as fair -

DR. KITCHEN: (Inaudible) increase taxes everywhere else except Labrador.

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, what they do not find fair is the fact that they cut back services to the people of western Labrador. They do not think it is fair, they do not think that is Liberalism. They want the Minister of Finance to take - they understand that it is necessary to have funds. They also understand that there are ways of creating more economic activity than just taxes. The Minister of Finance thinks that the only way of creating more revenue to the government is to drive up the tax -

DR. KITCHEN: How else do you get revenue except through taxes? (Inaudible)!

MR. A. SNOW: Ah, yes, you can do it through taxes, but you can do it by creating more economic activity. By creating more economic activity, what occurs - the hon. Minister of Finance should have been here when the Minister of Development was up speaking and when he talked about the value of the tourism dollar in this Province - I forget the exact figure - but that two-thirds of this value that is accruing to the Province is created by the people within the Province. The Minister of Development stated this, that is whom I am quoting. His colleague in Cabinet. The one that he does not see eye to eye with, or does not sit cheek to cheek with.

They undoubtedly cannot be working together, because he suggested that two-thirds of this wealth created in tourism is created by the people of this Province who travel within the Province. They are considered tourism dollars. The Minister of Finance does not agree with that. That is why he was the one who laid off the nurses, the teachers, and the people here in Confederation Building. He laid off the 2,500 people, I guess. Because he did not understand the economic value of what they put into the economy.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)!

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, they think that just by raising the level of taxes they get more money. That simplistic, piggybank, personal chequing account mentality has got this Province into the problem that we are in today. That is what has created the recession, the R word. Or is it the D word now? The depression in this Province. Because that is where we are. It is because of that piggybank, personal chequing account accounting policy and mentality of this government that they are imposing on the people of this Province. That is what has done more than the national recession, that mentality. Done more damage. It is important for this government to realise that mistake and not do even more damage next year.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. A. SNOW: By leave?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: I gave the hon. minister (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: The hon. Minister of Education, stood there and said that he was proud of imposing these new taxes, the increased taxes, the higher school tax on the people of this Province, and he was proud of that. Mr. Speaker, the teachers and the workers of this Province, the ones who are left out there working, are going to show the minister that they are not very excited about his increased taxes and cutback in services. They are going to show him that they are not going to work for him this time. They are going to work against him.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Before I recognise the hon. Minister of Education I would like to welcome to the galleries today

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

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

I would like to welcome to the public galleries, on behalf of hon. members, a group of Boy Scouts and Cubs from that great historic community, the gateway to Trinity, Placentia, St. Mary's and Conception Bays, the community of Whitbourne in the great district of Bellevue, accompanied by their leader, Mr. Bishop.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, yes, the great community of Whitbourne, and Trinity Bay is a great bay. I know I am pleased to see in the gallery -

MR. WOODFORD: Was the Speaker a Boy Scout?

DR. WARREN: Yes, I am sure the Speaker was a Boy Scout. We all pay tribute to the Boy Scouts for the contribution they make to the lives of our Province and our country, and I want to join you in paying tribute to them.

Mr. Speaker, I will make a bet with the hon. member. I spend less on lunches, of government money, than he does. We will check out a certain week, and if I win, he takes me out to lunch, and if he wins, I will take him out to lunch. As a minister, I spend less of government money on lunches than he does.

MR. WOODFORD: If you win, (inaudible).

DR. WARREN: We will get together. Put up or shut up. I spend less on lunches, of government money, as a minister than the hon. member does on lunches on government money. I will put up, and we will get together and do it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

DR. WARREN: No, I don't want to go back to the past either.

AN HON. MEMBER: A point of order.

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

MR. A. SNOW: The only reason I raised the issue of the amount of money being spent on lunches by the hon. the Minister of Education is because I have heard - many teachers are telling me that the minister is 'out to lunch' all the time. That is what I based my statement upon. That was part of it.

Of course, the other part of it was the unfairness of this minister, who talks about the social commitment to the people of this Province, and he agrees with $130 a month for somebody on social services. I do not know how somebody making $130 or $170,000 a year can justify that.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order, just a disagreement between two hon. members.

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, he should put up or shut up.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Education.

DR. WARREN: Thank you.

A couple of points that he made, I would like to react to in a rather modest, moderate way.

DR. KITCHEN: Not too moderate.

DR. WARREN: Not too moderate, the Minister of Finance says.

Mr. Speaker, I don't know why the hon. member wants to bring back the school tax. We are not going to bring back the school tax!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. WARREN: He can go into the next election campaigning on the school tax if he wishes. I am sure the other hon. members I see sitting in their seats will not agree with him. They are not going to go into the next campaign promising to bring back the school tax, as the hon. member does.

The school tax was the most regressive tax that we could have imposed. It didn't matter if you were making the money that the hon. the Member for Menihek was making, his salary, or you were making $10,000; you paid exactly the same tax. You could make $10,000 or $100,000 and you paid the same tax. It was a regressive tax, and we are not going to bring it back. It was an inefficient tax. It was very difficult to collect. A poll tax is always difficult to collect.

The third criticism of the tax system is that it resulted in vastly different amounts of money for students. The amount of money was determined by where you lived in the Province. If you were fortunate enough to live in an urban area with a great deal of business enterprise and with people who could pay, the students in those areas got much more money than other areas, and you cannot tolerate that. You cannot let the level of education be determined by where a person lives. Neither can you let the level of education be determined by the wealth of the parents of the students, or the colour of the skin, or the religion, or the ability. The school tax was a very inefficient, regressive, inequitable, unfair tax system.

He can argue. He may convince his party to go into the next election promising to restore the school tax, but this government will not do that. We are going to fund education equitably using the income tax, which is the most progressive tax, the fairest tax, the most efficient tax, that is used in this country. That is the first point. I got a little exercise with that because I am upset that the Opposition, or this member of the Opposition, wants the school tax back.

Secondly, on what we have done for post-secondary education, I could take a long time - and my hon. friend from Grand Bank knows what has happened in the last two or three years. He did a lot of good things in post-secondary education and I want to pay him a tribute. And, I am going to say some nice things about the Minister of Career Development. He is going shortly - and I may not be in the House; I will not be here on Friday - and I would like to be able to speak about him. He has done some very good things. What I have done in the last while is build on what they have done. Now, they promised to start first year in Burin. The former administration said they were going to open first year in Burin but we did it. They promised to do it and we implemented it. Mr. Speaker, how the Member for Menihek can stand there in his seat and not pay tribute to this minister for reinstating first year university, one of the most positive developments in Labrador City in the last ten years, we reinstated the first year university program. Dozens of his constituents write me and tell me how pleased they are that this government listened to the people and put first year back in Labrador West. We increased student aid, we increased scholarships, we tripled the number of electoral scholarships. The list goes on and on and on.

You may question my relevance, but let me come back to this year's estimates. Even with the freeze - and I guess everybody in the Province knows now why we froze some of the salaries that he talked about. The choices were, borrow more money, lay off more people, or institute a freeze, and this government made a tough decision. We are not here going from election to election. We are not here to get instant gratification, borrowing a few million, and spending a few million more this year because it is the easy thing to do. This government believes that we must look to the long-term.

MR. DECKER: Do what's right.

DR. WARREN: Do what's right, and we have made some very difficult decisions. This year we felt that was the best decision. But even in these difficult times in the post-secondary level, Mr. Speaker, we did increase the funding for Memorial University. For example, we gave them $2.5 million more for building, for maintenance. We bought a residence and passed it over to Memorial University. The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation certainly is aware of this and supported this initiative. We have done a lot of things in post-secondary. Mr. Speaker, when I say we have only begun, we have only begun to provide the best education that we can for the people.

The people of this Province deserve the best. We are proud to be Canadians and we want to take our place in Canada and in the world. Education will help us do that. We believe that education is one of the keys to our future and we are going to ensure that the government continues to spend on education. We are also going to ensure, as I was quoted in the Globe and Mail as saying the other day - I was up to Ottawa and they never heard this one before, I was surprised, headline, 'Minister says we must get more scholar for the dollar.' Well, I have been using that term for a long time. I used it at the university.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is right.

DR. WARREN: I didn't teach the hon. member because I think he felt he couldn't pass my course so he didn't take it. I think he shied away from my course. He heard it was a difficult course and he didn't take it. Mr. Speaker, we have to do better with the monies we now have and I, over the next few months, will probably expand on that theme, that we have to rationalize the school system. We have done it in the post-secondary system. We have to get more scholar for the dollar and, at the same time, we are going to increase our funding. When the economy turns around - and that will not take very long, that is going to happen very shortly, we will not only spend more on education, we will spend more on many of these services that are so vital to our people.

Mr. Speaker, thank you very much. I think I will conclude my remarks.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

The Minister of Education forced me to get up and take part in this debate. He forced me up. It's amazing how one can have such a selective memory as the Minister of Education. He doesn't remember when the Premier went to Labrador West in the election campaign and promised the first-year university courses. Then when he became Premier, he denied that he made the promise. He wasn't going to give it. He rejected the people of Lab West. They came in for meetings with the minister and the Premier. Then, they showed the magic tape on CBC television with the Premier committing the first-year courses to Labrador West. It was so embarrassing that the Premier and the Minister of Education had to give them first-year education. Now, they did the right thing by doing it, but they were embarrassed into doing it, I say to the Minister of Education.

He talks and waxes eloquent about abolishing the school tax. He talks about his days at the University, I say to the Minister of Education. Do you know what one of his favourite topic was at the University? He lectured on school tax and the benefits of school tax more than any other topic when he lectured at the University. He was a great proponent and supporter of school tax. Lecture after lecture, he talked about school tax and how important it was, and how we must have school tax. What a change came over him! I was never in one of his courses but many of my colleagues were, many members opposite were.

AN HON. MEMBER: Hearsay! Hearsay!

MR. MATTHEWS: Oh no, it's not hearsay. Oh no it's not. To see the change that came over the Minister of Education!

AN HON. MEMBER: What about the task force (inaudible)?

MR. MATTHEWS: The task force, yes, oh I remember - what task force are you - he did so many task forces that I don't know which one he is talking about. He did one in the 1950s, he did one in the 1960s, he did one in the 1970s and he was doing one in the 1980s.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) fire him.

MR. MATTHEWS: It's unbelievable - no, we didn't fire him. We hired him.

AN HON. MEMBER: You hired him!

MR. MATTHEWS: We hired him, that's what I said. Yes, we had him doing one. Then he double-crossed us. He promised the former Minister of Education, he said: I'll take on the job of the Royal Commission. I'm not interested in politics, I will never run, I will complete my work. What did he do? We all know what he did. He turned on the poor Minister of Education and he abolished the school tax.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, but we can all remember the election campaign of: We are going to abolish the school tax. All Newfoundlanders and Labradorians thought: Abolish the school tax, and that is one less tax we will have to pay. That is what Newfoundlanders and Labradorians thought: This terrible school tax is gone.

After the election, many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians refused to pay the school tax, because they believed the Premier when he said he was going to abolish it. It took him two-and-a-half, three years, to abolish the school tax. But he really didn't abolish it, Mr. Speaker. He has now taxed Newfoundlanders and Labradorians more as a consequence of abolishing the school tax. He is taxing them more. They are paying more tax because he abolished the school tax. So it is just the tax by another name. Personal income taxes in this Province have been increased 4 per cent this year. The Minister of Finance, in his Budget: 2.5 per cent as of January 1, 1992, another 1.5 per cent as of January 1, 1993 - 4 per cent, on top of the already 2 per cent that he imposed in the Budget before - 6 per cent increase in personal income taxes.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Oh, the cigarette tax, yes, he has taxed that. I don't feel as bad about that, because that is up to people, themselves, whether they want to smoke. It is up to themselves. It is not good for them, but tobacco tax is different from personal income tax. Anyone who is fortunate enough -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: No, it is not the same thing. Anyone who is fortunate enough in this Province today to have a job must pay the minister's personal income tax. But anyone who has a job in this Province, or doesn't have a job, who smokes, they don't have to smoke, I say to the minister, that is their choice. They don't have much choice about jobs these days, either, I say to the minister. Most of them are unemployed, they don't have many choices.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Ask my constituents what you want, I say to the Minister of Education. Ask them what you want. I would suggest to the Minister of Education that he is the one who is going to be asked the questions tomorrow, when he goes down -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: I have called them already and said: Now, applaud the minister. Don't do what they did with the minister down at the Radisson. Make sure you welcome him to the district, applaud him warmly but ask him very hard questions because -

AN HON. MEMBER: They will shake your hand.

MR. MATTHEWS: - oh they will shake your hand, they will provide you with good hospitality in the Town of St. Lawrence, I am sure, but they will have some very hard questions for the minister. He is going in to talk to teachers, we know what is happening with teachers in the Province, they will have some questions for the minister. But I am sure he will enjoy his visit and I will get a report immediately upon his car going up over the hill out of St. Lawrence, I will have a report on how things went in St. Lawrence for the minister.

I will have a call and they will tell me how he made out and what his answers were and how he skirted and did not answer anything, but used these magic terms and tried to convince them that what he was doing was in the best interests of education. That is what the minister is going to do, but they will see right through it and he will have some questions to answer on the Royal Commission I am sure, Mr. Speaker, and I hope he does, because I really hope that the teachers he is going to see over the next few days or whenever it is he is down in my district, that they get very, very involved in the debate on the Royal Commission.

I spoke at a graduation ceremony in Fortune on Friday past, and I used the opportunity most of all to - well, you always congratulate those graduating but I said this: you are graduating from high school this year and as you are doing that this Province is on the threshold of major educational reform, so maybe you will remember your graduating year for that as well as all the other good reasons you should remember, but I encouraged the students and the parents and the teachers and the other educators and special guests there to not only follow this debate but to get involved in it, because it is going to mean so much to the future of this Province, particularly our young people -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, exactly - and if the Williams report is going to get the results that Dr. Williams hopes it will get, then we are going to have to get significant more parental involvement in education and I think the suggestions he makes along those lines are excellent ones, and are ones that I will have no trouble in supporting whatsoever and I hope, as I said before, that we will get some time put aside here with all the other important things we do to let members have their say on that report.

I think that if we expect this report to receive the attention of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, that we at least as members should take the time to express our views on the Williams' report and I know that the Government House Leader is considering that and I hope we get a day or two days, whatever it takes, to have a say on it. I think we owe it to the people of the Province, not to ourselves, to debate that very, very important piece of work that Dr. Williams has done. So that is education. You can go on forever on education and health care and all the other social departments that we are talking about today, but education seems to have gotten the attention today and maybe rightfully so. It is our future and we all know that with better educated people we will have a better economy, we will be a more progressive Province, a more progressive society and we will all be better off in the long run and I guess it is probably more important today than ever that we get the best quality of education offered out and about our Province that is humanly possible. We are going through rough times, the world is going through rough times, but as I told the group in Fortune on Friday night, that is more reason for us to put greater emphasis on education because we will be more successful as a people if we become better educated and our quality of education increases.

Now it is going to take some difficult decisions to do that but it is going to have to be done and I am sure the minister agrees, he is nodding so I hope that the minister and the government will do that. I am hoping that what has to be done will be done regardless of what various individuals and interest groups in the Province say and stake out turf on this report. It will be done I say to the minister, I really hope so and I look forward to a chance to debate it further as we go through, within the next two months before we close, I am hoping that we will have a chance to spend a couple of days debating -

AN HON. MEMBER: Before the soccer season.

MR. MATTHEWS: No, not before the soccer season starts, I say to the Minister of Development and Tourism, because I still spend a fair bit of time with members of the teaching profession and every weekend I spend some time with them. We talk education and we talk politics, we talk everything and they always say to me: when is the House going to close? I always say to them: there is one thing you can be sure of, that the House will close before school closes because a lot of us in there are teachers, and we didn't go into politics to be working long into the summer after teachers are off. So I guarantee my teaching friends that there is one thing you don't have to worry about, we will be out of the House before you are out of school. School closes around the 20th of June I believe, so for the Minister of Development the soccer season will be started long before that. It is not linked to that. So with that I will conclude my few remarks and maybe speak again later today or tomorrow, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HEARN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I had my say on tourism. I was hoping we wouldn't get through the resources so fast. I wanted to have my say on fisheries, but I will switch to education seeing it is the relevant topic.

A couple of things really concern me about the budget estimates mainly coming out of the minister's continuous statement about all the extra money they put into education, the $9 million that he talks about. I have said to him before that is not factual at all. They really didn't put $9 million extra into the budget, they just played games with the funding, robbing Peter to pay Paul.

The minister looks at his capital construction amount and he finds that he is down $7 million right there, and when he plays around with the extra amount of money put in to help boards he has to remember a couple of things that are extremely important. Number one, with the abolition of school tax the government has to offset the losses.

Now the major concern that is out there right now is whether or not boards are going to have money enough to cover themselves until things get stabilized next year, if they do. The minister has continuously said: don't worry, boards won't be hurting. Now that is great consolation, but it is the same consolation as the Premier telling every mother that he is going to bring home their sons from the mainland. It is great consolation to think Johnny is coming home, but when they find out that Johnny is still in Ontario and Mary is gone up to join him, then they start to worry.

People at the school board level are starting to find out the minister is saying don't worry, but the bills are coming in and the money is not coming. So the minister is going to have to make sure that any deficits that they have are offset. It is a bit late to say we have to wait to see how much school tax comes in. Then the summer drags on and they are back into next fall with all this debt built up.

The minister also has to remember that this year, boards, he says, did not get any less money. There is a freeze, but that means they are getting the same as they received last year, and he is wrong again on two counts. Number one, they are not getting the same amount in real dollars because of the cost of everything else, the escalated costs, and he hasn't added anything to match the CPI, for instance. But besides that, school boards are funded based upon population and the school population this past year and this present year dropped compared to the year before, and it will continue to drop into the future, which is a major problem, as we know, in education anyway. But because x number of dollars are allocated per child, school boards got fewer dollars this year than they did last year. So they have gotten hit twice. Number one, they get fewer dollars based on population, and number two, the amount that they got, the static amount, is in real dollars less than they would have gotten the year before. So consequently school boards got the double whammy.

Now you might say fewer kids means fewer costs. Once again that is not so because you lose say a child per class, and where is the cost? You might have a few teachers who lost jobs, but the point is it doesn't affect the cost of operating the school because you lost a child per class. It really doesn't affect the number of buses because there would be so few children on any bus run that you wouldn't be able to change greatly the size of the bus or eliminate a bus. The cost of electricity hasn't changed. In fact it has gone up considerably, as well as all other costs. Cleaning costs, labour costs, all of these costs have escalated tremendously. So the direct money that boards have to pay out to their cleaners, to their secretaries, for heat and light, for maintenance, all these costs have gone up, and yet they have gotten fewer dollars. So it is quite evident where they stand in relation to the bottom line. The minister can talk about all the extra money he is putting in, but the dollars he is talking about are just moved around dollars and not real dollars to address the problem of supporting the costs associated with running schools and school boards in the Province.

When the minister talks about all this extra money that we put in to help boards, you know it looks as if it is above and beyond everything they had in the past. It is not. When the minister says: oh, there are a few more dollars gone in to school boards for their operational costs. What the minister fails to address - I mentioned before - if you look at the capital costs, they are down $7 million.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HEARN: Oh, yes. The President of Treasury Board, a former school teacher, should know that it has a fair amount to do. Now let me tell you what it has to do.

You are putting in fewer real dollars than we did. Yes, you are. You are not dealing with the boards or the educational system in the way we did. I would suggest that maybe what you should do is take a poll and say: we have a choice of proceeding next year along the lines which we are doing presently, or we will revert to five years ago and let you deal with us as you did with the former government. It would be interesting to see which, A or B, which one they would select.

I am getting off my topic and my time is getting short. I just want to say to the President of Treasury Board and the Minister of Education. When you say that capital dollars do not affect the maintenance money or the operational cost. Where you have fewer dollars going into capital construction it means -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) not true!

MR. HEARN: Oh yes you do. You have $20 million compared to $27 million last year. That is $7 million this year, fewer dollars. What does that mean? You might say it only means that a new school cannot be built. Capital costs are used for more than new school construction. They are also used for major repairs. Now, when that money is not there to repair the roof, the windows or the doors, quite often then you get this borderline area between operational costs and capital costs.

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

The Chair feels obligated to bring to the attention of hon. members again, the tremendous noise level in the House. A lot of members may not realise it, it didn't go on before, they were not here. It did not go on before because the House was not conducive to the level of noise-making that goes on here. I can only ask hon. members please to try and cooperate with the Chair, We now have about eight meetings going on here with everybody talking. When you multiply that it becomes quite loud.

It is a good time to do it. There are not many people in the galleries. But I can assure hon. members that if there were a lot of people in the galleries it would not look good at all. They would wonder what we are doing here. I have done it on several occasions. I can only ask hon. members for their cooperation.

I do not think it goes on in any other House. Again, it is because of the design of the House. We have so much space. People will sit down and talk, and they have the swivel chairs. I have told hon. members before that a member is not supposed to have his or her back to the Chair. That has been going on all afternoon. I do not like to embarrass hon. members, but it is the job of the Chair to maintain order and decorum. I know there are not many members of this side of the House. I know there are a lot absent on this side of the House. It might be that every time I talk about this, that people are absent. I would ask hon. members to bring it back to their caucuses, and I should not have to mention it again, because it is the hon. members who will decide the level of decorum. Believe you me, when I am sitting here and listening, and listening to an hon. member trying to talk, I would have great difficulty in trying to talk, under the circumstances.

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

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

I could not agree more. It is the height of ignorance, and the sorrowful thing about it is that they could learn so much by listening, that they are losing a tremendous amount.

Just to finish up on what I was saying, where the capital funding is not there this year, many boards are finding that they have to cut into operational costs to do things that they would do out of capital funding, which means the few extra dollars that are going in there are used up on capital costs on the building.

The minister of Education also has basically been giving the impression that the Royal Commission is going to solve all of our problems. I suggested a few days ago, and would like to suggest again to the minister, that The Royal Commission Report is going to solve absolutely nothing. It is only if some of the recommendations in the report are carried out that we will get, or see some improvements in our educational system.

As times change, ideas have to change, approaches have to change, and there are some ideas in this Royal Commission which should get people in the educational field thinking and working and implementing change. I would also suggest to him that there are some recommendations in the Royal Commission Report which, if people get caught up with them and lose sight of the bottom line, which is the improvement of education in our classroom for our children, then we are going to find ourselves running around chasing red herring, like the couple that are out in Placentia Bay, and lose sight of what is happening.

One of the biggest fears I have is that this is happening now. Any time anybody from the press talks to anybody, the only question they ask is: What do you think of The Royal Commission? And do you agree with the abolition, or as somebody said the other day, I think when they called the minister they said they were in favour of the demolition of the denominational educational system.

Whether it is abolished or demolished, I say to the minister, to the bottom line it probably does not make a tremendous amount of difference in the sense of cost, and if we get caught up with this, then we are going to lose sight of the real thing, because our system of education in the Province - not talking about the denominational system but our system of education generally - has to be improved. It can only be done by making sure that improvements take place in the classroom. These will not necessarily occur because we have or do not have a denominational system. Maybe what takes place in the classroom can be extremely enhanced if we have some values and so on within our educational system that we are tending to lose perhaps, and might lose even more so in the future.

I say to the minister, one of the things we have to look extremely hard at is improving the quality of teaching. I say to the Minister of Health, to whom somebody will say a few years down the road, undoubtedly, it is too bad you did not do those things when you were there, that when we were there - and you can check this with the educational authorities - that the progress and direction set during these years were ones in the right and proper direction and, I would say, in an environment that was conducive to improving the overall educational system in our Province. I am not sure whether that is the direction in which we are headed at present. It is just a word of caution.

I say to the minister, that if he looked at the improvements that took place in the health field and the educational field over the eight or ten years of the former administration, if he can only hope that the same improvement and progress take place, especially in the field of education in the next five years in this Province, then we will be very lucky. Fortunately, of course, within the next year or so there will be a change of government again, which will get us back on the proper track.

I was hoping to have time to maybe even comment on some by-elections but time is running out, Mr. Speaker, and there are probably a few little things that have to be done. So I adjourn the debate.

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, we intend tomorrow to continue with the concurrence debates. When the concurrence motion is over, at this point in time, although my mind could be changed, and I am subject to mind changes at some times in the week, but after we finish the concurrence it is my full intention to go to the estimates of the Executive Council.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: Well, whenever we finish concurrence, tomorrow night or whenever. We will get on to the Executive Council Estimates, Mr. Speaker.

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