November 25, 1992             HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS         Vol. XLI  No. 71


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

Before proceeding to our routine business, on behalf of hon. members there are several groups that I would like to welcome to the House of Assembly today. First of all I would like to mention the presence of the national executive for the Canadian Federation of Students, the executive council of the Student's Union, Memorial University, and the executive, Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Students and the university senate representatives. Also, we have represented here today, representatives of the Canadian Teachers Federation and branch presidents of the Newfoundland Teachers Association. On behalf of all hon. members we extend to all of those groups a warm welcome.

Oral Questions

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the member for Ferryland.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to direct my question, Mr. Speaker, to the Premier. I note the people in the gallery today are not here for the pleasure of this question period. I am sure they have a very serious message to deliver. Perhaps it is the same message that was delivered by the International Labour Organization. I ask the Premier: having introduced two pieces of legislation which stripped the contracts of teachers and other public sector employees in this province, can the Premier now tell the House how long the government will continue with Bill 17 and when will it return to free and collective bargaining in this province?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, Hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, last year when the government brought in the budget, and in the year before when we brought in the budget, we went first to the NTA and other representatives of employees and offered to bargain with them to deal with the massive problem that could only be dealt with in terms of some adjustment in the wage cost of government. We told the people that. I think there was substantial understanding, particularly on the part of the leadership of the NTA, but the impression I had from the - not the impression I had, the clear statement made to me, was that while they understood the very difficult position the government was in, they could not readily agree. They knew what we had to do but they could not readily agree. They knew and understood the decision government had to take in the legislation that we had to bring forward to deal with it. Later this Spring in meetings with representatives of the NTA they clarified that situation somewhat for me at least, others may have had a different view of it at the time but, for me at least they clarified it somewhat and said: well, we agree that we expressed the opinion that we understood what you had to do last year, what we did not agree with is your projecting forward and putting a cap of 3 per cent on the forward, that was my recollection of recent discussions with Mr. Reid. That was the gist of the conversation, so he talked to us at the time about possibly reviewing that and seeing whether that could be corrected and whether the government could bring in legislation to cancel that part of it. We are at the moment still having some discussions with the NTA, not about that alone but about other matters and the financial circumstances at the time and the government will, in due course, announce its decision with respect to that overall matter.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Can we expect that the Premier will deal with the current deficit in the same way that he has dealt with past deficits? Will there be a successor to Bill 17, Bill 18 which will further strip away more benefits from the collective bargaining process in this Province and from negotiated collective agreements?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I certainly hope not, Mr. Speaker. I hope we will not have to do that, but we cannot manufacture money. We have to deal with the very difficult circumstances that exist. The NTA, I am confident understands that -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: The meetings I have had with them recently clearly indicate to me that they understand fully this difficult situation that the government is in and that steps must be taken to do it. Now, I have not been at the most recent meetings, I was at the first meeting with the NTA but I understand there have been further meetings with the President of Treasury Board and others, and I believe there is some reasonable prospect that we may be able to work out some kind of an arrangement. If we cannot, in the end, this House has the responsibility to make the final decision. The government has the responsibility to bring forward the proposal and we bring forward the proposal and we will marshall as much support as we can get for the government's proposal, but in the end, this House will make the decision because this is where the ultimate responsibility lies.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Is it the government's plan to reduce the deficit by rolling back the salaries and benefits of teachers and other public sector employees for the balance of this year and for next year?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the government's plan for dealing with the deficit will be announced, as all government financial plans are, when the Minister of Finance stands in his place in the House and discloses it in full. At that time the hon. member, along with all hon. members and all people in the Province, will be fully advised as to the full details of the government's plan.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Premier apparently acquired his labour relations skills when he was Minister of Labour in the Smallwood government in the 1960s. Is it his mission to turn back the clock to that era, when public sector unions came to the Premier's office with cap in hand for the few crumbs that fell of the master's table?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: If there was anything significant, or any identifiable question, I would attempt to answer it, but I just take it as a bit of political rhetoric that is not deserving nor expecting of an answer.

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

MR. HEARN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is also to the Premier.

The Premier makes a great deal about his openness to ideas and co-operation with the public sector unions. It seems to me he has gotten more co-operation than he has given, if his idea of co-operation is to call in and lecture.

I ask the Premier: Will he give co-operation a real chance? Will he remove the 3 per cent limit that he talked about a minute ago on wage settlements imposed by Bill 17; and will he work instead to solve problems through free and open collective bargaining?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I really answered the question in answering an earlier question for the Member for Ferryland, and indicated that the government's decision on that issue, that that matter was under consideration and the government's decision on that issue would be announced in due course. I cannot state anything other than that to the hon. member now.

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

MR. HEARN: Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the Premier if the 3 per cent cut in operational budgets announced by the Minister of Finance in his Ministerial Statement will apply to the $118 million in this year's budget for the school board operational grants?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, there were no 3 per cent cuts announced by the minister. What the minister announced is that all offices, agencies, and departments of government, and everybody being supported by monies from the Treasury of the Province, would be asked to seek to achieve reductions of 1 per cent in the overall salary cost, and 3 per cent in the operational cost.

Mr. Speaker, nobody is exempt from that. Everybody has been asked to achieve that. Now whether it will be able to be achieved in every single agency and department is more than I can say. I can foresee circumstances where there may well be some areas where it will not be able to be achieved, but that process is under way right now.

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

MR. HEARN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It makes it quite clear.

My supplementary then is to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations - the minister who, when he was President of the NTA, could settle a contract with a handshake and the word of government was good. I ask him if this

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HEARN: Ask him or ask any of the others. Ask the Minister of Environment and Lands.

If this government proceeds for the third time in less than two years to use legislation to strip negotiated benefits from collective agreements, will he stand by his colleagues that he once led, and will he resign from this government?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I certainly appreciate the question, because while some of the words are slightly different it is the same question that my hon. friend from Fogo asked, I think, a couple of days ago in the Legislature, and I answered it at the time. It becomes clear, as I indicated then, that every member of the Cabinet and every member who is involved on this side of the House when decisions are made, we have to make up our minds whether we support them or not. The reality is there are no decisions made, there are lots of discussions ongoing, and there is nothing for me at this point in time to support or not support. I think that the Premier and others have tried to make that perfectly clear over the past period of time.

At a point in time when there is something, it will become obvious to everybody what I will do, because I will either stand in this House and support the motion being brought forward and go out and try to convince my constituents and everybody else in the Province that it is the right decision for the right reasons at the right time, or, as with any decision made by the government - and as my colleague would know from his experience in the Cabinet before, that option and that decision is made by a Cabinet Minister every time a decision of government is taken.

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

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

My question, Mr. Speaker, is to the Minister Responsible for Education. He is undoubtedly aware of the teacher internship program being offered to students studying in the faculty of education at Memorial University. In previous years the university made this program available to students studying education in western Labrador. Is the minister aware that this very important facet of teacher education is presently not being offered in Labrador west this year?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I am only aware of it because of the fact that, as any other private citizen, I know what is going on in certain parts of the Province.

The hon. member, certainly, is not suggesting that this administration would poke its nose into the administration of the university. We believe in operating at arm's-length, Mr. Speaker. If we were to do otherwise, the hon. members opposite, along with the vast majority of our people, would be severely criticizing government, if we were to interfere in the administration of the university. We have no intention of doing that, Mr. Speaker. The only reason I know about the incident is, as any other informed citizen, you know from time to time what is going on in the Province.

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

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, I won't dare suggest to the minister where he should poke his nose, but I would suggest to the hon. minister what he should do with regard to his responsibility to education in this Province. Is the minister aware of the tremendous cost burden this is going to be to the students in western Labrador or the parents of those students affected in western Labrador?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I can only reiterate what I already said. The university operates at arm's-length from government. Government supports the university to the tune of $119 million. We would be severely criticized if we were to say to the university: you must teach paleontology in Labrador West or you must hire a geologist to go to the North Pole and do some work. We are not in the business, Mr. Speaker, of administering universities to that extent and we have no intention of doing it. I am pleased to tell the people of Newfoundland and Labrador that that will continue to be our position, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

Again the minister refuses to accept the responsibility of delivering education to the people of this Province and directing the education of the people of this Province. Mr. Speaker, can the minister guarantee me, this House and the people of Labrador, that the university, when they have to go through their forced budgetary cuts, that it is not discriminatory, that it's budget cuts will be made across the board to the whole Province and not discriminatory towards rural Newfoundland, to ensure that the people of western Labrador and others parts of this Province are not discriminated against?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, this Province, as hon. members will know, is having an extremely difficult time adapting to the fiscal realities that exist. Hon. members will know that we have a $153 million deficit in our current account. Hon. members will know that we have rung up debt over the past number of years close to $5 billion. Hon. members will know that there is only one credit agency which has us rated at an A rating. If we were to lose that credit rating, Mr. Speaker, it would have severe repercussions for this Province. Now, hon. members know that.

One thing that government and I, as a member of this government, can assure hon. members opposite and the people of this Province, is that what we will do will be done fairly and with balance. No single group will be sorted out to bear the full brunt. We are, all of us, into this together. The fisherman, the farmer, the logger, the teacher, the doctor, the nurse, the politician, the minister in Cabinet, we are all in this together and it is for the well-being of all of our people, of the whole Province. That is the reason no one person will be discriminated against. But that also means, Mr. Speaker, that all people must share the responsibility for dealing with this very difficult problem.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier, and further concerns the International Labour Organization's findings and criticisms of this government.

Mr. Speaker, in addition to finding that the Newfoundland Government had gone beyond normally accepted limits in restraining collective bargaining by rolling back negotiated settlements, the International Labour Organization said that this type of legislation could only prejudice and destabilize the labour relations climate in the Province. Would the Premier not agree that the International Labour Organization was right and that the government's actions have, in fact, prejudiced and destabilized the labour relations climate in this Province to the point that there may be, in fact, an overwhelming reaction by the public sector unions in this Province to the great detriment of public order and public confidence in this government?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I wouldn't be so irresponsible as the hon. member to suggest that any public sector unions would be responsible for the lack of public order in the Province. I don't expect anybody to behave in this way. We run a democratic system here, and if the government is acting improperly, then in a few months the entire people of this Province will have a responsibility and an opportunity to tell the government how irresponsibly they have been acting, or give the government credit for what it has been doing and return it, which is what I expect will be done. So I don't expect hon. members to stand in this House and promote disorder in society. That is not worthy of the hon. member, really.

In terms of the International Labour Organization, I know what the International Labour Organization said about the Canadian Government, about the Ontario Government, the Manitoba Government and the New Brunswick and Nova Scotia governments, and the Newfoundland government. I know what they said. But what they did not know and were not told - and probably should have been told - is that the government, on each of those occasions, went to the public sector unions with a proposal to sit down and negotiate changes that would enable us to live within our means. What the International Labour Organization does not have is the responsibility to manage the finances of this Province. They can sit in their ivory tower in Geneva and make these great proclamations about what should or should not be, devoid of any responsibility for anything, to anybody.

It is easy for anybody to be an armchair expert in those circumstances. It is quite something else to take responsibility.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

What the Premier should know, if he does not, is that this body - the International Labour Organization - in fact is composed of governments, employers, and unions - trade unions - and they have responsibility for international standards in freedom of association and free collective bargaining.

Now, Mr. Speaker, is the Premier telling the people of Newfoundland that these international standards that apply are too good for the people of Newfoundland and that only the Premier's standards and what he thinks is right and proper and just and principled will apply here in this Province, and not the international standards that are developed by all of the countries in the world?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: It is not a question of standards being good enough or being acceptable or not. It is not a question of standards. It is a question of all of the people of this Province being able to pay the cost of government or not.

Now there are limitations on what the people of this Province can bear. The government cannot just use the power of the Legislature willy-nilly to force people to pay endlessly because groups want more. Everybody wants more. I want more, the same as everybody else wants more. Everybody understands that; but we have to act in a responsible way, and that is all the government is doing.

It is not a question of saying the International Labour Organization, which is a unit of the United Nations, is unacceptable in setting standards. I just point out to you that nobody at the International Labour Organization has any responsibility to raise the money to pay these costs. The government of this Province does.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, what the Government of Newfoundland has done is use the power of the Legislature willy-nilly to rip up contracts that it had negotiated -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HARRIS: - and that is the principle to which the International Labour Organization is referring.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. member to get on with his question.

MR. HARRIS: The question, Mr. Speaker, is: Is the Premier willing to acknowledge the finding of the International Labour Organization that the kind of legislation this government has put in place is, in fact, detrimental to workers' interest in unionization, since members and potential members could consider useless joining an organization which has represented its members in collective bargaining, if the results of such bargaining can be cancelled constantly by law. Is the Premier sending this message out to the people of Newfoundland: Do not bother with unions, because your agreements are worthless?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker, absolutely not.

I acknowledge what the International Labour Organization said. I also acknowledge that the International Labour Organization has no responsibility to cope with difficult circumstances. The government of this Province does; and when the Province, and for that matter the nation, finds itself in the kinds of difficult circumstances that Canada and the provinces in this nation have found themselves in in recent years, and find themselves right at this moment, there are emergency circumstances that warrant the use of the power of the Legislature if no other solution is reasonably available - warranted if those circumstances exist.

Mr. Speaker, it was the judgement of the majority of the Legislature - and remember, the majority rules in a democracy - it was the judgement of the majority of the members of this Legislature that the circumstances existed that warranted that action being taken.

Now the International Labour Organization may not like it. I do not like it. I do not like seeing it happen. It does not happen on a routine basis. It happens only in circumstances that are warranted, where there is no other alternative - and that is exactly what occurred, Mr. Speaker, and the International Labour Organization should bear that in mind before it makes it's pronouncements.

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a question for the Minister of Education.

The minister is well aware that officials in his department

are responsible for administering Canada student loans, if not paying. He might try to say it is a federal government responsibility. Is he aware that student loan appeals are behind some two to three weeks, and now, only appeals that were in prior to November 2 are being processed, they are still that far behind?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is not correct. There have been some difficulties in the student loans office over the past number of months. I think, 95 per cent of the applications were appealed. Some of the employees were off on sick leave. Some of the people over there are undergoing a considerable amount of stress. I am not sure how the hon. member asked the question, but the reality is that yesterday, all appeals up to November 2nd had been dealt with, and the applications in today's slot are from November 2nd or 3rd onward.

I talked just recently with the Director of Student Loans and he assures me that by December 2nd or 3rd, I think it is, that, barring unforeseen circumstances, all of the appeals will have been dealt with, Mr. Speaker. So the hon. member is partly on the right track, but he should listen a little better when he brings information before this House.

I met with the Federation of Students for Newfoundland and Labrador, yesterday. We had a very intensive talk about this and we are all trying to find a way to deal with it. But the reality is, yes, there is a backlog there. Everything has been cleared up to November 2nd or 3rd and hopefully, by the first part of December, all of the appeals should be cleared up.

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

MR. WINSOR: Mr. Speaker, the minister is not right - appeals have not been cleared up. I have one that has been waiting six weeks and it is still not cleared up.

Let me tell the minister this: for post-secondary students, both at university and trade school, the term comes to an end the first week in December. How does the minister think these students are going to get through the end of this year when the term ends before the appeals are going to be processed? What is the minister saying - drop out of university?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Education.

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I am not going to stand in this House or anywhere else in the country and try to back up the student loan situation in this great nation. The hon. member will know that when that person who was going to inflict prosperity on Newfoundland got elected in 1984, one of the first things he did, Mr. Speaker, was put a cap on student loans.

AN HON. MEMBER: Which party was that?

MR. DECKER: That was the Tory Party.

Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, that same administration, my friend's bosom pals in Ottawa, also inflicted a 3 per cent administration fee on student loans. So the student loans program in this nation is in a mess. Every education minister in Canada has brought that to the attention of his Tory cousins in Ottawa, and if he is half as concerned about this issue as he pretends, by getting up here and going on with political tripe, he will talk to his colleagues in Ottawa and try to resolve the whole mess involving student loans. And, yes, Mr. Speaker, we have to administer it, but I can tell you, it is becoming more and more difficult to administer, because we are not getting the support we should get from the nation to provide those student loans.

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Let me tell the minister that I know a lot more about student loans than he will ever know. I happened to be getting them for six years of university, Mr. Speaker. I am not talking about the amount of money, I am talking about the processing of applications, and I am asking the minister: How does he propose to help students get through this crisis they are now facing as a result of the incompetence of this government to provide enough people to process student loans appeals, so that they can have their money now? How does he propose to help them through this crisis?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I addressed that in the first question the hon. member put forward. I explained to him that there have been difficulties with student loans. I have told him there was a problem with sick leave. I have told him that, over the next weeks - last week and the week before that, Mr. Speaker, employees have been working day and night to process the loans, they have been working flat out, day and night, weekends and whatever and they fully intend to have the whole thing cleared up early in December, but that is not in any way for me to get up and defend the student loans program in this nation, which is in a mess, and the hon. member's party inflicted the mess on the country. It is a bigger issue than Newfoundland and Labrador. The whole student loans program is in a mess and the hon. member should be out of this building, on the telephone to his friends in Ottawa and demand that they deal with the issue.

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

MR. DOYLE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have a question for the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

Is the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs aware that under the new utility tax measure which he announced a few days ago, that the Town of Conception Bay South will lose approximately $250,000 in municipal revenue, which will have a devastating effect upon the financial position of that town and cause a mil rate rise of approximately 1 mil for that, is he aware of that and would he tell the House what his plans are to deal with that particular problem that the town is going to have?

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

MR. HOGAN: No, Mr. Speaker. I am not aware that the figure enunciated by my friend for Harbour Main is the exact figure or not, and I do not know how he could arrive at it. The utility companies could not supply us with the 1992 information to arrive at that figure or any other figure.

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

MR. DOYLE: Let me inform the minister that I came at that figure from two sources. One, from his own department and two, from the Town of Conception Bay South. That is how I got that information. Now the people of Conception Bay South are in for a shock, Mr. Speaker. Is the minister aware also, that the town is going to lose another $200,000 when the third year of the new municipal grant structure comes in in January, and that loss is going to mean another hike of 1 mil in the municipal tax rate and that will be a revenue loss to the Town of Conception Bay South of $450,000 for that year, $450,000 for one year, Mr. Speaker?

Now when is he and his colleague, the Minister for Conception Bay South, going to take this issue seriously, the way they should, and can the minister tell the House how the Town of Conception Bay South is going to cope with a revenue shortfall of $450,000 for one year? Can he tell us?

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

MR. HOGAN: Mr. Speaker, the figure that the member just mentioned of $250,000 loss as a result of this is a figure completely foreign to this minister, Mr. Speaker. The best figure that I have is for 1991 and the figure is $106,000 that the town will experience in a loss.

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

MR. DOYLE: Mr. Speaker, I cannot believe that the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs is saying that. I mean, he is the one responsible for the new grant structure; he knows what the Town of Conception Bay South told him not too long ago that will mean an additional $200,000 in January and this revenue shortfall -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member is on a supplementary and please get to it.

MR. DOYLE: - of the utility tax rate is $250,000? Now, Mr. Speaker, is the minister aware that the Town of Conception Bay South faces a 20 per cent municipal tax increase in this coming year? Is he aware of that, and tell me what he plans to do to make up that revenue shortfall for the people of Conception Bay South?

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

MR. HOGAN: No, Mr. Speaker. This minister or this government or this House is not aware that there is a 20 per cent shortfall in the Conception Bay South municipal budget for next year because they have not submitted it to us for information or for any other purpose.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains. There is time for a short question and similarly, a short answer.

MR. WARREN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I have two or three different questions for the minister, so if it has to be short I will keep them for tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

Order, please!

I would like to correct some names with respect to the introduction that I made earlier in the session. Present in the House of Assembly today is the president of the Canadian Teachers Federation and presidents of other teacher organizations across Canada. I think I said branch presidents of Newfoundland, but they are presidents of other teacher organizations across Canada.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Notices of Motion

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This is not a notice of motion, but I do wish to give notice to the Chair that I have a question of privilege to raise in this House. Before speaking on the question of privilege, it requires some research with the Table to find exactly the nature of the question but I do wish to give notice of that question of privilege.

Petitions

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, before I present this petition, I have to ask permission of the House of Assembly to accept the petition in this form. It was delivered to me yesterday at a meeting and it is not addressed to the proper form of the House of Assembly that we usually accept. It is a petition from teachers in St. Kevin's Elementary School and I would like permission to present it today. I recognize that it is not on the proper form.

MR. SPEAKER: As the member said, the petition is not in its correct format. It is from the staff of St. Kevin's Elementary School in the Goulds and it is addressed to the hon. member. It is not at all in the proper form of a petition. It is up to hon. members whether or not they want to give the hon. member permission to present the petition in this form.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure what the practice is that has grown up over the years. I haven't seen the document. I wonder if perhaps the hon. gentleman would allow us to look at it overnight. I mean, let us get on with the regular business of the day. The difficulty with matters addressed to hon. members, is that we can all bring in all our letters, provided they are signed by at least one person, we can start presenting them as petitions, and the next thing we know -

MR. SIMMS: Why not?

MR. ROBERTS: The hon. gentleman, the Leader of the Opposition asks: Why not? There is no reason why not as long as the House decides to do it but we have a petition practice, Mr. Speaker, which goes back as far as this House goes, in my understanding, and that practice is well-established. The hon. gentleman has been in this House for ten or twelve years. All I will say - I am not saying we, on this side, say 'aye' or 'nay'. What I do say, is, the hon. gentleman didn't ask us in advance - he has no requirement to, but let us have a look at it. If it is in accord with what this House has done, then I shall certainly give leave, as one individual, and ask my colleagues to do the same. But I don't think it is proper of him to come in, spring a document on us that is obviously out of order and then request us to waive the rules. That is not why rules are here, Sir.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Kilbride, on a point of order.

MR. R. AYLWARD: The hon. member has been out of the House for some time and I realize what he is saying was the practice some years ago when he was a former member. Over the past couple of years, in particular, several members have risen in their place and asked permission to present a brief. I can tell hon. members of this House of Assembly, this was presented to me and I was asked by the person who gave it, to present it as a petition in the House. I advised that person that it was not on the proper form but I would ask permission of the House to present it - that is all I am requesting. If I have permission I will do it, if not, I will throw it away.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member is right with respect to some laxity being afforded petitions, but the Chair has always asked for the consent of the House. At this point, the Chair does not have the consent of the House, therefore, we cannot present the petition.

MR. R. AYLWARD: By leave, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. member doesn't have leave.

MR. ROBERTS: A point of order, Mr. Speaker. All that I have said is that -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Two members cannot stand at the same time. The hon. the Government House Leader is on a point of order.

MR. R. AYLWARD: I was standing Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: But the hon. member stood on a point of order.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, all that I have said is that I would like to see the petition. I acknowledge that what the hon. gentleman said is correct, that apparently, a new practice has developed. If he had the courtesy or the decency to give us a little advance notice, Mr. Speaker, then we would be able to respond to it. The hon. gentleman is either being genuine, in which case, he will accept what I have said, or he is playing political games, in which case, I have no interest in getting down in the mud with him.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. R. AYLWARD: A point of order, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: I do not wish to play political games with the hon. member. I made a simple request of this House. I am trying to carry out an undertaking that I made to constituents of mine, to come to this House of Assembly and ask permission to present -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

The Chair is listening to a point of order. It is a new one, but I am just giving the hon. member a minute or so to finish up.

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

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

Mr. Speaker, I am not playing political games, I am trying to fulfil an undertaking that I made to constituents of mine yesterday afternoon, after a meeting, a meeting which was attended by members on both sides of this House of Assembly. I told them that it was not in the proper form, but I said I would ask for leave of the House to present it on their behalf. If I have leave, I will present it. If I do not have leave, I will not present it. It is as simple as that.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

My understanding is that the hon. member doesn't have leave. So the Chair made that ruling and, until the hon. member gets leave, then the Chair has no choice but to move on to other items of business.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, I ask once again: Do I have leave to present the petition?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. member to take his place, please. The Chair has asked whether the hon. member has leave, and I will now ask again: Does the hon. member have leave?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No.

MR. SPEAKER: No leave.

Orders of the Day

Private Members' Day

MR. SPEAKER: It being Wednesday, we are onto a private member's resolution.

MR. R. AYLWARD: A point of order, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, I sent a letter, which was sent to me, to the Speaker to look at to see if it was acceptable in this House and it was not acceptable. As far as I know now, somebody is going to make a copy of that letter, which I request not be done, and I request the return of my letter.

MR. SPEAKER: The letter has been returned.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, it being Private Members' Day, I understand the Opposition wish to debate Motion 5 in the name of the Member for Humber East.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am very pleased to initiate an afternoon-long debate about higher education in Newfoundland and Labrador and focus the attention of all members of the Assembly on Grenfell College, in particular.

I will begin by reading my full motion, recitals and all:

WHEREAS the economy of North America is becoming increasingly based on knowledge; and

WHEREAS Newfoundlanders and Labradorians must become better educated if our Province is to advance economically; and

WHEREAS Grenfell College in Corner Brook is the only university campus in the Province outside St. John's; and

WHEREAS Grenfell College, with few exceptions, is only offering first and second year Arts and Science courses and is not even able to meet the needs of first and second year students because of a shortage of science laboratories, library facilities, classrooms and other space, as well as personnel;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the government immediately provide Grenfell College with capital and operating fund increases to equip it as quickly as possible to offer the full range of first, second, third and fourth year Arts and Science courses to meet the needs of the people of the Province.

Mr. Speaker, of all possible initiatives within the power of the Provincial Government, in my view, nothing is more important for the future of Western Newfoundland than major expansion and improvement of Grenfell College. I believe this is vitally important for the future social and economic well-being of the West Coast.

Mr. Speaker, the Wells Administration, which has now been in office for more than three-and-a-half years and which has brought down four budgets, has paid lip service to the importance of education. The government, in the winter of 1990, published a White Paper on post-secondary education. In that document, Mr. Speaker, right at the very beginning, the following statement was made, and I quote: 'The skills and knowledge of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will be a critical factor in determining the future success of our Province as a vibrant society and a viable economy.'

Then, on page 8, the following statements: 'Increased demand for post-secondary education is a challenge which government must meet as it prepares for the future. Meeting the challenge is particularly important if we are to improve our economic position in relation to other provinces and countries. Newfoundland's post-secondary participation rate in 1987-88 was 8.3 percentage points lower than the Canadian average.'

The White Paper continues by making the following statement: 'In addition, Newfoundland's labour force has a lower level of overall educational attainment than that of the Canadian labour force.'

So, Mr. Speaker, the Wells Administration has talked about the importance of higher education. The Premier, ministers, and supporters of the administration, since they have been in office, as well as when they were campaigning in the 1989 election, have promised to improve university education offerings in the Province.

Mr. Speaker, by way of background information, I will point out that, unlike most other jurisdictions, most other provinces of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador has only one university. We have only Memorial University of Newfoundland, with its major campus in St. John's and with another campus in Corner Brook - that being called Grenfell College. Only PEI, of all the Canadian provinces, the same as Newfoundland and Labrador, has only one university.

Grenfell College opened in 1975. The facilities then opened were designed to accommodate about 650 students. The plan was for first and second year Arts and Science courses to be offered. In the beginning, the facility was known as the Junior College - the Western Newfoundland Junior College of Memorial University. In 1979 it was named Sir Wilfred Grenfell College. In 1988 there was a significant expansion with the addition of full four-year degree programs in visual and theatre arts. In 1988 a new $8 million fine arts building was opened so that the Grenfell campus now comprises the main building, opened in 1975, with a temporary addition out back, and the fine arts building.

Grenfell College is still a satellite of the St. John's campus of Memorial University, and depends on the Memorial administrators based in St. John's for their operating budgets. Mr. Speaker, this arrangement has several limitations, and is not properly meeting the needs of the people of the Province.

First of all, the space, as I mentioned, was designed for only 650 students. The facility is now, in fact, accommodating over 1,100 students. The space is simply not big enough for the current program offerings and the present enrolment. Students are cramped. In the last year or so, half of the college cafeteria was taken away from students by being converted from cafeteria space into offices.

The library has seating for only about 150 students and, according to the librarian, typically, the library seats are fully occupied early in the morning. Consequently, there isn't enough study space at Grenfell College, and students are resorting to sitting on the floors in the corridors of the college building to try to study between classes.

Mr. Speaker, the science labs are terribly inadequate for current program offerings, and if there is to be any meaningful improvement of Grenfell, there have to be new labs built.

For the most part, only first and second year Arts and Science courses are being offered. This means that for the students who are being accommodated, after second year, they have to go elsewhere. They have to move to the Memorial campus in St. John's or go to the mainland, and that is disruptive. Students tell me that because most of them are only at Grenfell for two years, it is difficult to have ideal student spirit. It is difficult to engender on the part of the student body a substantial involvement in planning for the future of the college.

Mr. Speaker, for faculty, the limitations of offering only first and second year courses are somewhat frustrating. The faculty are extremely well-qualified. A high percentage of the Grenfell faculty have PhDs, and they are not being challenged or fulfilled in their teaching responsibilities in an optimal way. It would be much more satisfying for faculty, not to mention a better use of their talent, if the Grenfell faculty were able to teach some higher level, third and fourth year courses.

Mr. Speaker, in addition, by having a satellite status, the Grenfell administrators do not have proper flexibility in making decisions that are best for the needs of their student body and their faculty and staff. It is not sensible to have day-to-day operations at Grenfell directed from St. John's, as is being done now. It is not sensible for St. John's practices to be foisted on Grenfell when they may not be at all appropriate for the campus in Corner Brook.

Mr. Speaker, my motion calls for a substantial increased investment on the part of the Province Government in Grenfell College, in university education in Western Newfoundland, for western Newfoundlanders, primarily, but for all people of the Province.

People might question my timing; after all, the Province has major financial problems, and we are only days away from the dreaded minibudget. People might ask, How reasonably can we expect the Provincial Government to allocate millions of additional taxpayers' dollars for expansion and improvement of Grenfell College? What is needed is capital expansion, building expansion, but also, ongoing operating expansion. How can the Province afford to do this? Mr. Speaker, how can we afford not to do it? Education is the key to the future. If we are to progress, as a Province, if we are to advance as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, our people are going to have to become better educated. More Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are going to have to master sciences and technologies as I mentioned, some of the government's own publications point out the link between education and economic prosperity.

The Premier just returned from Ottawa, where he met with the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is presiding over a federal government which has a massive budget problem. The federal government has a gigantic debt, a gigantic deficit, yet the Premier asked the Prime Minister to borrow more, and what we are asking the Premier is to borrow more and re-allocate, to invest in expanding Grenfell College, to show faith in the future. What is this government giving our people? What hope is the Wells administration holding out for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians? All we hear from them is gloom and doom; to have a healthy economy, we have to have a positive psychology.

I do not see any positive thinking around this government. This government has shocked and scared people so that people with jobs and with money are afraid to spend, they don't know what is coming. This government has made virtually every public employee in the whole Province fear for his or her job, and government looms large in the Newfoundland and Labrador society, so what we have in this Province now is paralysis. The approach of the Wells administration through four budgets has been cut and tax. Cut, tax and depress and it is time for a new approach, it is time for the government to be positive and give hope to people.

What better way to engender positive thinking than to pledge a massive infusion of funding to improve university education by expanding Grenfell College. Mr. Speaker, what I am proposing is simply what the Premier himself promised when he campaigned for election in 1989. Now people might quibble by saying you cannot really pay attention to what politicians say when they are campaigning, the Premier probably got carried away in the heat of emotion leading up to the election, what do you expect, he had to pour on some promises fast and thick if he were going to have a shot at winning but, Mr. Speaker, after he was in office, this Premier in his first Throne Speech made the following statement.

It is a statement read on his behalf by the Lieutenant-Governor: My government will expand post-secondary facilities to allow more students in rural areas to participate in the development of their careers without being penalized by the high cost of accommodation and transportation. As a start towards this, the curriculum of the Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in Corner Brook will be expanded to include third and fourth year courses as quickly as they can reasonably be added and orderly expansion of facilities will permit.

And then, Mr. Speaker, in the White Paper that I mentioned earlier that the government published in 1990, the government mapped out a timetable promising a start of construction of new facilities at Grenfell College in 1991. After four budgets, approaching a mini-budget, leading up to a next election, everyone knows the Premier has done absolutely nothing. He reneged on his promises for expansion of Grenfell College the same as he violated so many other promises.

Mr. Speaker, what the Premier is attempting to do now in advance of the next election, before he has to go back and face the people of western Newfoundland, is a token expansion of Grenfell College; he is now talking to the university regents and administrators in St. John's about essentially conning the people - adding a few third and fourth year courses at Grenfell, but cutting enrolment in first and second years to squeeze in the third and fourth year courses. What will he say a few years later if fifty qualified students from the Corner Brook area are refused admission to first year at Grenfell because there is not enough space?

Plan B is to build a $2 million or $3 million building. What can $2 million or $3 million buy these days, Mr. Speaker? The Premier is spending over $700,000 renovating his suite of offices and penthouse Cabinet room - facilities that were completely and extensively redone a few short years ago. The administration allowed the President of Memorial University in St. John's to spend a quarter of a million dollars renovating his suite of offices and had the Minister of Fisheries spend $2 million to renovate Exon House for his offices and those of his staff, when they had new offices in the West Block of Confederation Building.

Mr. Speaker, we need a significant, large, multimillion dollar infusion of capital funding for expansion of Grenfell College, and then ongoing increases in operating funding so that proper first, second, third and fourth year programs can be offered in the Corner Brook university.

Mr. Speaker, my resolution calls for funding increases for Grenfell College, and I say Grenfell College deliberately, because it is high time that the government stopped providing Grenfell's allotment indirectly by requiring that it come out of a block allotment made to the St. John's campus. It is time that the administration provides directed funding, or a separate budget, to Grenfell College, the same as it has been doing for the Medical School and the Fisheries Institute.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, thank you.

This administration has some wonderful plans for Grenfell College in Corner Brook. About a month ago, or maybe less than that, I had the opportunity to visit Grenfell College in Corner Brook. I was extremely impressed with what is going on there, Mr. Speaker. I met with the principal of the college. The President of Memorial University attended the meeting with me, and we talked about the long-range plans for Grenfell College.

What I see there, Mr. Speaker, some day, is a university offering basic arts and science degrees, with maybe some specialities developed which will be world renowned. Some suggestions are - and this has not been yet formally adopted - that environmental science would become a field in which Grenfell College would play a big part in the role. So we have some great plans for Grenfell College.

One of the things which the hon. member brings forth in her motion is the fact that there is a lack of space in Grenfell College - and she is absolutely right about that. The college was basically built for about 600 or 700 students, and now has an enrolment of about 1,100 students. So, Mr. Speaker, she is right; there is a space requirement.

Now traditionally in this Province if you needed some space, the thing to do was to rush out and start building - laying bricks and mortar - without paying any particular attention to what else was available. It has just recently been brought to my attention that there are three schools in Corner Brook which have been closed. They have been closed down. I am not sure if three are closed, or two are closed and one is about to be closed.

There is a school close to the college which may be closed down in the next year or so, as the declining enrolment takes place at the high schools space is becoming available in Corner Brook.

Now, the hon. member might suggest that we go and invest so many million dollars in building a new school or an attachment to Grenfell College. That might, or might not, be necessary. We might be able to find some space. However, we do have to find some extra money to spend on labs.

So, we are looking at all of that. At the moment, Grenfell College is a campus of Memorial University and that, Mr. Speaker, is where it is going to stay for the foreseeable future. You see, the reason Grenfell College is there is not that it is just a place to put some people from the west coast who want to go to college, it is a place to put Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to go to college to get a degree which will be recognized world-wide.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I could start a university tomorrow. I could raise money. I could probably get a charter and I could start the Chris Decker university, and I could offer PhDs on any topic under the sun but, Mr. Speaker, they would be laughed at, because I would not have established the credibility which is required for me to start conferring degrees.

I could buy degrees. There are mail order departments in the United States where hon. members can, through the mail, buy their PhDs, Masters, Bachelor of Arts, and I would suggest that there is quite a demand for those degrees. But, really, the academic world does not take them all that seriously.

The reality is that in order to establish a university in Corner Brook which will be recognized world-wide, it is essential that, for a certain amount of time, at least, that college be a campus of Memorial University.

Now, I don't know what will happen at some future date. It might well be, at some future date, that university will establish a reputation, maybe, in environmental science. Maybe, in some special area, that college, over the years, will establish itself as being a renowned institution in delivering an educational degree; then, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised, Mr. Speaker, that it will evolve into a full-fledged, freestanding university offering its own degrees. That might well come at some future date, five years, ten years, twenty years, fifty years - Mr. Speaker, I don't know. It might never come. The University of California has campuses all over California, but the degree comes from the University of California.

So, hon. members should not get tied up in the independent status of the college. That might come at some future date, and I certainly would guess that, at some future date, it will, but, at the moment, the best and proper place for Grenfell College is as a campus of Memorial University. So, that, Mr. Speaker, is where it is at this moment.

Now, Mr. Speaker, in the 'WhEREASES' that the hon. member put forward, some of them are motherhood. The economy of North America is becoming increasingly based on knowledge. This administration, above all others, Mr. Speaker, sees the importance of education to the future of the world, to the continent, and especially, to this Province in which we live. We recognize the global economy, we recognize what is happening world-wide, and we know that in order for this Province to have a future in the world, we must have an educated population. Therefore, we are putting emphasis on education. We are spending $820 million this year in education. We are giving Memorial University $119 million - $7 million or $8 million of which is being spent in Corner Brook.

Now, if we were to fund that administration directly at this time, there would probably be less of it going to programs than is going now. By funding it through the university at this time, a lot of the top administration can be carried on at the university - the role of the bursar, the role of the registrar. A lot of the administration which belongs to the university is not being duplicated, therefore allowing the vast amount of this $7 million or $8 million to go directly into programming.

So, it makes all the sense in the world for us to fund Grenfell College, at this time, through MUN, notwithstanding the argument that, at some future date, it may well become a freestanding university.

The hon. member, in the third WHEREAS, says that Corner Brook is the only university campus in the Province outside of St. John's. Mr. Speaker, I suppose if you were to take every word literally, she is probably right, it is the only campus outside. But the hon. member must recognize that in addition to Corner Brook, the university is offering first year courses all over this Province, Mr. Speaker. Up in Labrador West first year university courses are being offered.

There is a tremendous take up of those courses, a tremendous amount of interest in these first year courses, down on the Burin Peninsula, out in Lewisporte, in the hon. Member for Lewisporte's district and in Grand Falls. So, all over Newfoundland and Labrador, the university is reaching out. So when the hon. member says that the only university campus in the Province, outside of St. John's, is Grenfell, she is partly right, but that doesn't mean that there is an educational void outside of Corner Brook and St. John's. There is educational activity going on at university level all throughout the Province, Mr. Speaker.

The hon. member talks about the degree. She seems to forget, or deliberately ignores the fact, that you can already receive one degree from the Grenfell College. There is a degree in fine arts which is being offered, Mr. Speaker.

MR. ROBERTS: That is the only place in Newfoundland and Labrador that offers that.

MR. DECKER: As my colleague from Labrador points out, it is the only university in Newfoundland which is doing that.

Mr. Speaker, on my recent visit I also visited the Fine Arts School, and I can tell hon. members that it is one of the finest Fine Arts Schools in the country. That school started giving degrees when it had established itself to the point where it could give a degree which will be known worldwide and accepted worldwide. That is what is going to happen to the rest of the college. When a degree is given from Grenfell College, it will be a degree of such superior calibre that it will be recognized worldwide, Mr. Speaker. If we listened to the hon. member, we would rush in and do something and deliver degrees which nobody would notice. So that is the important thing, Mr. Speaker.

Now, I want to reiterate that this administration has a tremendous commitment to Grenfell College to bring it up to par and make it a full degree-granting Arts and Science University. That is what we will have.

Now, Mr. Speaker, when I hear the hon. member get up and speak, and if I didn't know better, I would think she is on a brief visit from outer space, because she is talking as if she doesn't know what has happened in this country in the past few years. She is talking as if she just popped down from Mars or the moon or somewhere. You would never know, Mr. Speaker, that she was for ten years a member of an administration which went out and spent and borrowed like a bunch of drunken sailors. You would never know, Mr. Speaker, that she was a member of the administration which was picking the pockets of our grandchildren, Mr. Speaker, borrowing against generations yet unborn, driving us into the hole and into debt. You would never know, Mr. Speaker, that as a result of the mess that her administration made it is taking us years to try and compensate for some of the debt that her administration ran up. So she is speaking, Mr. Speaker, as if we were flush with money, as if we could do exactly what we like.

She is talking, Mr. Speaker, about spending $2, $3 or $4 million in the Grenfell College. I wish I had $2, $3 or $4 million to spend on Grenfell College, Mr. Speaker. I wish I had that.

MS. VERGE: But you had it to spend on the Fisheries Department's new offices and the Premier's office.

AN HON. MEMBER: How about this place?

MR. DECKER: I only wish, Mr. Speaker, that I could put my hand on the $24 million that the previous administration blew on Sprung. Think what that could do for Grenfell College? Twenty-four million dollars: What an expansion we could put on Grenfell College today. Twenty four million without any approval from this House, done behind the closed doors of the Cabinet room, refusing to accept the advice of top civil servants in their own administration, refusing to accept their advice and went out and blew $24 million -

MR. FLIGHT: And most of it by special warrants, they would not come to the House with it.

MR. DECKER: - and as they were taking this money which we could well be using today for Grenfell College, they refused to open the doors to the House of Assembly -

MR. ROBERTS: And the one in Central Newfoundland too (inaudible).

MR. DECKER: - so that the people of the Province would know what was going on. You would never know that this so-called visitor from outer space, you would not think she knew anything about the bloated Cabinet with twenty-three, twenty-four, what was it? - twenty-five, twenty-six, pick any number, the Cabinet bigger than that of the United States and Great Britain combined. That is the kind of Cabinet they were in, Mr. Speaker. Think of the money they were spending, the high life, cigars were being handed out as if they were candy cigarettes, stretch limousines at $2,000 a shot; hotels at $4,000 a night; a $200 tip was nothing. Now, Mr. Speaker, $400 tips -

MR. FLIGHT: $400 tips, stretch limousines parked for hours waiting for (inaudible).

MR. DECKER: - the list goes on and on, Mr. Speaker and the hon. member who just alights from outer space as if she was not a part of that, as if she does not know what happened and knows nothing about that, she says: go out immediately, go out immediately and spend money to expand Grenfell College.

MR. ROBERTS: What hypocrisy, what hypocrisy.

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, what hypocrisy is correct. If this administration only had the money that was wasted on cigars, we could put a small lab in Grenfell College and it would not be all that small, let me tell hon. members of this House. If we had the waste and the fat that were thrown out with a bloated Cabinet, of which the hon. member was a part, yet she wants to pretend that she is coming in now like some white, shining knight, from outer space, alighting momentarily on this planet and saying: go ahead now and put this college in Corner Brook, so the hypocrisy of this motion, Mr. Speaker, the hypocrisy of this motion.

AN HON. MEMBER: Lunatics, lunatics, lunatics.

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, history will show who the lunatics are because I can tell hon. members in this House what the people of the Province are already saying. The hon. members will know that when we took over the government of this Province, we arrived here in the nick of time, in the nick of time. They had used up our credit rating, our credit rating had dropped twice under their administration; they had borrowed to the hilt, they had put the sales tax to its maximum, they had spent everything they could get their hands on, taxed everything that moved or that existed or that was; they left a mess for us to come in and clean up.

Now we have worked wonders. We have worked wonders over the past two years, Mr. Speaker. Not only did we have a mess to clear up, a major mess to clear up, a disaster to clear up, not only did we have that but we were also stuck with a recession. One of the deepest recession since the 1930s was on our back; just look now where we are. We are being asked to build universities, build hospitals, deliver educational programs. Yet the handicaps that we have are, a mess which was run up by people acting like drunken sailors, a recession which is worldwide, a recession which is extremely difficult for us to shake off. Yet, in the midst of all that we are working wonders. We are working wonders in this Province and I get upset when I hear members Opposite coming in and telling us what we should be doing and what we should not be doing. Mr. Speaker, the very members who caused the biggest part of the mess that we inherited are telling us now, to rush out immediately and spend $8 or $10 million or $50 million or whatever it takes, the very administration which put us in all this mess.

Therefore, Mr. Speaker, in order to make this motion reasonable I will be suggesting that we amend the motion and that the 'Therefore be it resolved' be changed to read: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the government provide Grenfell College with capital and operating fund increases to equip it as quickly as possible to offer the full range of first, second and third. The word 'immediately', Mr. Speaker, would be deleted in the amendment I would present.

This, Mr. Speaker, is our way of saying that we are as committed as ever -

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible).

MR. DECKER: - to delivering degree-granting status to the university in Corner Brook. We are committed to this, and we will do it. However, the hon. member knows, as I said, in reality - I am only pretending that she came from outer space - in reality, she has been here; in reality, she was part of the problem; in reality, she was a major part of the problem, Mr. Speaker, running up expenses.

Did you want a copy of the amendment, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: The amendment is in order.

MR. DECKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, at the risk of probably getting our own backbenchers in an uproar, I am trying to protect the little bit of integrity, the little bit of common sense of the hon. members opposite. Because hon. members know full well that, considering the fiscal realities we find ourselves in today, we just cannot rush out 'immediately' - this disturbs me, you know; hon. members will come in one day and 'immediately' they want a building. This very Chamber we are in was the result of someone deciding 'immediately' to do something, Mr. Speaker, and we see the mess it got us in. This, like knocking down bowling pins, set off a chain reaction, causing expenses in this building to go up to $24 or $25 million dollars for work that could have been put off for another ten years and it wouldn't have hurt matters.

The way hon. members opposite operated was to do everything 'immediately'. I understand that some members opposite - I believe, the then Minister of Agriculture was one - went out to Alberta to look at some buildings that were being offered out there, which might make good stadiums, Mr. Speaker. This happened, I think, just before they were turfed out of office. It was the Sprung people who were making this particular kind of fabric -

MR. ROBERTS: They would make great tents!

MR. DECKER: - which would make great tents.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the minister's time has elapsed.

MR. DECKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, when the Member for Humber East, the other day, tabled this private member's resolution to be debated today, I thought it right away to be a very constructive act. I mean this is motherhood, as the hon. the Member for the Strait of Belle Isle just said. Most of the 'WHEREASES' are motherhood issues. But yet, I have had to sit here for the last twenty minutes and listen to nothing but rhetoric.

AN HON. MEMBER: You didn't have to.

MR. WOODFORD: No, I didn't have to. The hon. member is right, I didn't have to, but I did, because I didn't want to miss out on any of this. Because I am sure - What is the old saying? - Nothing instills something in the memory like the wish to forget it. And I tell you, we certainly can't forget some of the comments the Minister of Education has made.

Now, Mr. Speaker, right from the outside, I have to say, five minutes were spent on the spending by the previous administration, on the cigars, on the limousines, on the Sprungs of the world, on the new House of Assembly. Mr. Speaker, I ask hon. members opposite to take a pen and a piece of paper and I will give them five minutes to write down what they have done in the last three-and-a-half years. They have done absolutely nothing except add to the deficit. When they took over this administration in 1989, there was a surplus in current account, regardless of when I was there, there was a surplus in current account. I get into deficit. There was a deficit in capital account. Always was, it was there when the hon. member was there thirty years ago and I ask the hon. member before he leaves the house, how about Churchill Falls? Mr. Speaker - I hit a sore spot. The hon. minister the other day talked about sellouts. We have never had a sellout in this province, never had a sellout in this province, Mr. Speaker, like we had with Churchill Falls. $872 million dollars last year went to Churchill Falls Corporation, Quebec Hydro, $23 million came to this Province, so when you stand up to debate sellouts you better debate apples and apples, not apples and oranges, Sir. I can assure you.

You talk about what universities can be put around this Province today, I was one of the so called children back in the sixties, although it might be young, I was young. I was one of the so called children, now it is into the grandchildren, now it is into my children and it goes on into my grandchildren. We will never see a cent, not a copper, from Churchill Falls in this Province. We are only getting enough to keep the office open for Churchill Falls Corporation, in Churchill Falls. That is all we are getting. So, if we are going to get up here and talk about what a certain party done, certain administration done years ago, we better start talking about apples and apples. Not apples and oranges. Mr. Speaker, you talk about sellouts. Mr. Speaker, let us not get caught up in political rhetoric. I just want to make a few constructive comments, try to make a few constructive comments pretaining to this resolution. Everybody knows, and deep down the minister knows and the administration knows, especially members from the west coast and I was expecting the member from Humber West for sure and more specifically the Premier.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: They probably will, rightly so, especially the Premier, speak on this resolution and tell us. One of the questions I would like to have answered is why, three-and-a-half years ago everything was down-pat and documentated, why six months after office, everything was in a white paper, for the former hon. Minister of Education, everything was documented then in a white paper and then all of a sudden three-and-a-half to almost four years after, we got absolutely nothing to show. Now if there was ever a watered down educational institution in this Province today it is Grenfell College in Corner Brook. It is as watered down as you are ever going to get in an educational facility in this Province. How can a facility that was built for 600 try to cater to 1161? Two hundred and three hundred people turned down for residency every year, can't get classes - the White Paper, as the former Minister knows - 20.3 percent versus 30.2 percent differential between urban and rural centres when it comes to attendance at universities. Why is it? Again it is written in here, the reason is because people from rural areas find it hard to adjust, because of the expenses and so on, to an urban centre, whether it be Corner Brook, whether it be St. John's or in any other institution around the country. Now in Corner Brook today I have prime examples and, in fact, personal examples because my daughter attends Grenfell College in Corner Brook, this is her second year. I tell you it is sad, they don't want to leave home, none of them wants to leave home. When I say home I mean home as regards to the west coast versus central or versus east coast or whatever. But you go down there it is $875.00 for tuition. Nineteen hundred dollars to stay in the residence and get 5 days of meals.

Now this year, to add insult to injury, out of this $l900.00, rather than put it up to $2200.00, they have no cooked breakfast now at the university in Corner Brook. You cannot get a cooked breakfast. You go in and you get your cereals and so on, and maybe that is a good thing, in a way, when you look at the health part of it. Anyway, $1,900 for that. Then you have $200 or $300 for books. Now, more than ever before, people out here, or someone living right in Corner Brook - what have they got to pay? Eight hundred and seventy-five dollars tuition, and a couple of hundred dollars for books. That is $2,000 from people in your district, my district and other districts who have to go, even to Corner Brook, and that is per semester. For the Fall and the Winter semesters that is $4,000 over and above any other expenses anybody else from outside has. Well, out here it would probably cost you more. It depends on the rental rates.

Mr. Speaker, this was identified previous to 1989. It was identified by members opposite in their campaign manual in 1989. The question I ask is: Why wasn't there anything done? I mean, I could understand if they had to start in 1989 and 1990 and say: Well, we are going to do the consulting work, we are going to do the engineering work and we are going to have some work done in 1990 or 1991, but there wasn't anything done. Absolutely nothing!

The former minister had references in his White Paper. In fact, specifically on the last page of the White Paper - what did it say? It says: 1990 -1991 engineering plans for Central Newfoundland campus and Grenfell College expansion. Now, I can understand the minister, if at that time, after a year or two, he couldn't get the funds to put a new campus in central Newfoundland, because a new campus costs a lot more. That is understandable. But a campus that is already there, the infrastructure in place and so on, to me, Mr. Speaker, there is absolutely no excuse for it. There should have been something done with it. The plans were there, the engineering was supposed to be in place, and today, in 1991 - 1992, construction begins for Grenfell College expansion. Well intentioned, Mr. Speaker, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

I say to members opposite, especially the Member for Humber West and the Premier, that when the next election rolls around, whether it be next year or next Spring or next Fall, I will guarantee you they are going to have to answer for it. They are going to have to answer for it on the west coast of the Province. Those questions are going to be asked time and time again. They are asked now. It is no good to come up with excuses. It is no good to say: Well, the previous administration left us in the hole and we have got no money for this and no money for that.

I ask the hon. the Minister of Education: Why is it, just a few weeks ago we got a list of fourteen new projects to go to consultants in the Province, fourteen names of all capital works projects valued at some $234 million, and not one word in it concerning Grenfell College in Corner Brook, not one?

There is the Member for Bay of Islands, the Premier, sitting there and the Member for Humber West sitting - well, the Member for Humber West is not in the Cabinet now, but the Premier is there. I mean, they could have a say in it, if there are any monies going to be allocated for capital works for Grenfell College. Why wasn't it done? Give us one good, logical reason. If there was absolutely no money promised to be spent on capital in the Province and absolutely no money promised to be spent on any new capital projects, well then I could understand it.

AN HON. MEMBER: Planning.

MR. WOODFORD: Right! Right! Planning. And the planning was done previous to 1989. The planning was there when hon. members took their seats in 1989. That is my question: Why wasn't it even added to this list? Why wasn't it? A great project!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. WOODFORD: Yes. Some of the names on that list, yes, Mr. Speaker, were there, but I think there was one taken off, and that is the Grenfell College. My question is: Why was it taken off? Because that was one of the most beneficial - I mean, it is not only for Corner Brook. We must not forget that it is not only for the City of Corner Brook, it is for the whole west coast, northern peninsula and Labrador. Every week I go down there I talk to students from down the coast, the northern peninsula and I talk to students from Labrador. Every Sunday night I am in Grenfell College in Corner Brook and I talked to a lot of students, ten or fifteen of them, as I was going through or coming out, whichever. I asked them where they were from and they said, from Labrador or Cow Head, or Roddickton and so forth. And they can get home on weekends - the beauty about it is that they can get home on weekends and so on. But to get back to what I was saying, they are paying big money. If they had to pay the same money and go to the University of New Brunswick, or come out here to Memorial University in St. John's, they would get their courses. The problem I have with it - even today, we are only - it is one thing to talk about a new capital project, it is another to talk about what we already have. They can't get the courses they want.

We have second year students now in Corner Brook who cannot get a math course and could not get a science course in this semester. Now, that, to me, is ridiculous! That, to me, is nothing short of ridiculous. When you have a second year student at a college of a campus of Memorial University in this Province who cannot get a math or a science course in their second year, that, to me, leaves a lot to be questioned. It leaves a lot of questions.

The reason? I asked some of the professors at the college in Corner Brook: 'We cannot refuse anybody into university.' I said: You can't refuse anybody? 'No, whoever comes in, we must take them. We don't have the space to put the classes in; we don't have the lab space;' and they haven't, because I went through it. They don't have library space. They do not, because I went through it. They don't have the residence space in that particular institution. What we have is nothing short of a watered-down educational system on the West Coast of the Province. No question - nobody can argue that we have not - we have. We have a watered-down educational system.

The sad thing about this, is that a lot of the parents who send students off to Grenfell - I will use Grenfell in Corner Brook - because the students are taking five courses, for instance, whether it be history or geography or political science or psychology or sociology, or whatever, think that it is a great thing, it is wonderful. Now, if that is what the student wants, taking general studies, so be it; but a lot of the students that I talked to are paying the biggest kind of money and they can't get what they are supposed to be getting. Now, the parents are paying the bill. The students are down there taking something they don't want to be taking, and what do they do? When they come out they have to go for an extra semester or an extra year to try to get something in math or science, once they come out here.

Now, the sad thing about this, to add to it, is that they have to come out here, or go to the University of New Brunswick or PEI, without a science or a math course, if they want to switch. If they want to make up their mind, for instance, to take a Bachelor of Nursing - no science, and so on. What do they do? It is nothing but a waste, money down the tube, as far as I am concerned, and what parent in this Province today can afford to spend that kind of money and have the student come out not having what they should have, and what they thought they had paid for? That is a real problem.

I don't know who - I think it was the hon. the Member for Humber East, mentioned a separate budget for Grenfell. Now, the Minister of Education talked about the independence of Grenfell campus. That is not the question. I am quite satisfied, as an individual living on the West Coast, for Grenfell to be a separate campus of Memorial University, but I would suggest that it have a separate budget - a budget directly to the Grenfell College in Corner Brook so that they can put something in place; deal with their own administrative problems there with regard to the infrastructural part of it at least, and make some decisions locally pertaining to residences and so on, and how many students should go into science, math, or whatever. But there certainly should be a separate budget for the Grenfell College in Corner Brook. The independent status the minister talks about, yes, I agree; though as far as I am concerned there is absolutely nothing wrong with what is there now with regard to that - but a separate budget - yes.

Mr. Speaker, when I am talking about the Grenfell situation - you can talk about the university as a whole - what I am running into in the district is that a lot of students, for instance, in their third year of engineering, cannot get on a work term. They cannot get any company to take them on a work term. In fact, I had a couple of calls the other day, one from a fourth-year student and one from a third-year student, who are just going to call it quits. My hon. colleague from Harbour Main, I think, had several calls pertaining to the same problem.

MR. DOYLE: Right on.

MR. WOODFORD: They can't get work terms and they are in their third or fourth year. What do they do? They are going to pack it in and just leave, and that is wrong. I can understand, probably, to a certain extent - because the employment situation in the Province - a lot of companies are out of business, a lot of companies are going out of business, a lot of the engineering companies don't have any work; therefore, I suppose, if they have no work, they can't really hire an engineering student or any other student in any particular field.

I would like to refer to the student loan program. The minister, in answer to questions from my hon. colleague from Ferryland today - yes, I agree with the monies pertaining to the federal part of it, there should be more; the limits should be raised, every student in this Province, regardless of his status, as far as I am concerned, in a post-secondary institution, should have access to a student loan. But it comes down, now, to another problem, and that is the processing.

I have had forty-seven calls in this semester from students with student loan problems - and members opposite have had them, I know they have all had them. And student appeals - appeals are another thing.

Next Wednesday in Corner Brook, December 2nd, the semester is over. On December 7th, they start their exams, and a lot of the students don't have their loans approved - haven't had the first loan approved, much less the second appeal. I had a couple now and I suppose there were some extenuating circumstances pertaining to the first part of the loan, but the appeals, they should be out long ago so that the student knows exactly where he or she stands.

So, Mr. Speaker, I would support, without hesitation, the resolution from my hon. colleague for Humber East and I would say that as far as I am concerned, it is incumbent upon this administration to make sure that something is started, and if it is immediate, let it be immediate, especially when it comes to engineering. A lot of the engineering work is done, the consultants, in fact, some of them, are in place. There is no reason whatsoever why something can't be done immediately, especially now. Because, by the time you get it together and put it in place, spring is going to be here, and it should be ready to start construction by next spring. And that, alone, would send a signal to the people that something is being done - when the backhoes dig their teeth into the ground, then something has been done. And there should be not $1 million or $2 million -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. WOODFORD: There should be something put in place, I agree, but when it is put in place, there should be put in place the right amount of money to do the job and do it properly, not only to address a degree-granting status, but also to address the problems that are there today, and there are many.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. DICKS: First of all, Mr. Speaker, I am delighted that my colleague from Humber East and long-standing friend was kind enough to put this on the Order Paper. Today it is a private member's bill.

The question of the expansion of Sir Wilfred Grenfell College is a proposal that concerns all of us in this House of Assembly and throughout the Province. A mistake we sometimes make in seeking to address it, is thinking that this is a proposal that affects only Corner Brook and possibly constituencies on the West Coast such as those of my learned friend from Humber Valley, the Premier, and my learned friend from Port aux Basques, Stephenville, and so on. That is not the case, and I commend the hon. member's resolution to the extent that she has a limited view and has enlarged it somewhat beyond the West Coast to meet the needs of the people of the Province, but I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that even that, in itself, is insufficient to give us a proper vision of what type of institute we could have at Sir Wilfred Grenfell.

Perhaps, before moving to discuss the aspects of the resolution which members should consider and which have been in the public domain for some time, I would like to address some comments made by my colleagues here this afternoon. The Member for Humber Valley referred to a watered-down system of education and I think he is largely right, at least in respect of the secondary education system that has developed in the Province. One recurring concern that keeps coming to me from constituents is the fact that we now have a four-year system in place of a three-year system. The curriculum that is in place is not challenging to those students who have a greater degree of ability than average, and there is also a sense that perhaps we are not putting stress and emphasis on the key academic subjects, particularly core english, core language and french, and possibly even a third language that people should be learning - let alone math, sciences, that really seem to be the key to economic development, not only in the Province, but in the country and elsewhere in the world.

My colleagues have both mentioned the separate budget for Grenfell. This is not a novel idea. It is one that has come up repeatedly. The experience in Corner Brook, unfortunately at Sir Wilfred Grenfell, is that when Memorial is in the midst of a freeze, it is often asked in Corner Brook that a bigger bite be taken than the across-the-board freeze. I think this could be a problem that would be addressed by a separate budget. I have discussed it with my learned colleague and friend, the Minister of Education, and I know that he is receptive to the idea and is reviewing it. Whether or not, at the end of the day, that will seem to be, or be seen to be, the best course of action remains to be seen. But I have every confidence that the idea is under review and that an appropriate and proper decision will be made by the minister and my colleagues in Cabinet.

There are other issues which have been touched on - student loans. I think the minister dealt with that fairly well, and pointed out that the concerns that are expressed are not ones within the Province's domain - that to the extent that the Province is responsible for administration, we have coped with that. There is a person on the West Coast who is now looking to deal with local complaints. There are problems, perhaps, with not moving appeals through the system as quickly as we would like, but certainly, steps are being taken. Nevertheless, the overwhelming problem is the lack of funding for the system, and that falls back to the Federal Government where the levels have been frozen going back to the early 1980's, and if my memory serves me correctly, perhaps even 1978.

You cannot improve a system, Mr. Speaker, without sufficient funds in it, and the problem of student aid has little or nothing to do with how the appeals are processed, so much as the fact that there are insufficient funds to go around; and that problem will remain as long as the Federal Government does not have, as the prime item on its agenda, looking after the educational needs of the people of this country, young and old alike.

My friend from Humber Valley touched on engineering, and students being unable to find work terms. Let me enlarge on that for a moment. One of the problems that he may not be aware of is the lack of jobs that are presently available for people in the professions. I was told by a student who graduated from Memorial last spring, in Engineering, that 90 per cent of that engineering class were not able to find positions. I am not surprised when he says that people are unable to find work terms, but I would suggest to him that the problem is not with the educational system. The problem is with the economy, and that it is more than a provincial matter that can be resolved. It is a national and an international issue, and some of the causes are ones that we cannot address. I also happen to know that of last year's - and I do not mean this spring past, but a year ago last spring - 75 per cent of that graduating class from law school at Dalhousie did not have positions.

So what you are seeing, Mr. Speaker, is not a flaw in the educational system, but rather a deep economic malaise which has not been addressed by either the United States or the Federal Government of Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to deal directly with the resolution that we have before us. I have had three meetings with the people of the college, particularly Dr. Katie Bindon and her staff, since last spring. I have had occasion to review the academic planning for that institution, which is critical to any proposed capital needs and operational needs for the future. Those meetings have been very productive. I think Dr. Bindon is particulary to be commended for her insight, her ability to grasp the issues, as well as articulate them, and to do it in a manner that is nonpolitical. The information that Dr. Bindon has made available to us, I know my hon. colleagues have shared in, and I think it is helpful to us in formulating public debate and seeing where that institute should go.

I have every confidence in the staff at Sir Wilfred Grenfell, under Dr. Bindon's leadership, being able to bring that institution to a third and fourth year level, degree-granting status, and I would hope to have, eventually, other schools there beyond the School of Fine Arts, and perhaps even, in due time, post-graduate courses.

So, Mr. Speaker, let us first of all say that there is a great deal of confidence in the staff and faculty at Sir Wilfred Grenfell, and that they have the capability and capacity to teach university level courses that could and should result in degree programs.

Let us look at the resolution as worded, and let us see if this is one that should be supported as proposed or as amended - and I would suggest that the latter is the one that should be followed.

First of all, it says that the economy of North America is becoming increasingly based on knowledge. That could be expanded and you could say the world economy. What we are seeing right now in North America and throughout the western world is a shift of mechanized industry away from the traditional places in North America to the third world were labour is cheap, that is immediately adjacent to resources. If we looked to future development, clearly where we hope to see some improvement in our economic fortunes is in the knowledge based industries, computer software's.

The silicone valleys of San Francisco, northern California and Ottawa are the places where the intellectual knowledge will be found that will hopefully be the key to prosperity. Not all of it, Mr. Speaker, and let us not neglect the fact that in Newfoundland we still have a very resource based economy which is shown by our current problems in the fishery but we do have a mining sector which hopefully will improve, a forestry sector which surprisingly has remained strong given the international problems with the pulp and paper industry. As well, as my learned friend says, an incredibly well known and respected Minister of Forestry and Agriculture is no doubt responsible for that. Let us look at it and say that it is not the economy of North America which is becoming an increasingly knowledge base which justifies an expansion at Sir Wilfred Grenfell. It is an international phenomena that unless you are producing wealth of an intellectual sort, you are going to fall behind. You will have the fifty-cent per hour jobs in Mexico doing work perhaps that will not be done in other parts of the world because it is unacceptable. The high paying jobs, the ones that are in the thirty, forty and professional range are ones that we should be looking to establish here.

So, let us expand that somewhat, at least in terms of our concept if not in the actual wording. Should Newfoundlanders and Labradorians become better educated if they are to advance economically? Surly, a self evident proposition, Mr. Speaker, no one is going to dispute that. Whereas, the Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in Corner Brook is the only university campus in the Province outside of St. John's: not entirely accurate, Mr. Speaker. It is perhaps the only university campus but we also have to acknowledge the fact that university level courses, first year, are offered elsewhere in the Province. We have them in Grand Falls, as the member may know, Lewisporte, Labrador and in other parts of this Island. So, Sir Wilfred Grenfell is not the only university availability outside the Avalon Peninsula and St. John's in particular. Nevertheless it is the most prominent one and it is the only one that offers first and second year level courses. Which, as I suggest, where and why the next immediate post- secondary educational facility should be expanded in this Province. I think it naturally falls to Corner Brook to be the place that that should be done.

The next part of the proposition is largely correct, and that is that Grenfell College is only offering first and second year arts and science courses and is not even able to meet the needs of first and second year students. That is incorrect, Mr. Speaker, the needs are being met. The facility is expanded beyond its earlier capacity and frankly the staff there are doing an excellent job of meeting the needs. That is not to say that they could not have some gravy, that they could not do a little more with a better capital facility.

Let us not try in this resolution to undermine what is being done in Sir Wilfred Grenfell College. The calibre of education is excellent. I am just concerned with this part of the proposition that it might suggest that the needs are not being met. I want to assure colleagues, from my experience, that any student obtaining first and second year courses at Grenfell is receiving a first class education in this Province.

The shortage of science laboratories, library facilities, classroom and other space and personnel, Mr. Speaker, I fully endorse the proposition that we should enlarge it. There is a need but again, I just want to reiterate that at the present time there is first class education and of the highest calibre that the students are receiving at Grenfell.

The last part of the proposition or the resolution itself is that government immediately provide Grenfell College with capital and operating funding increased to equip it as quickly as possible to offer the full range of first, second, third and fourth year arts and science courses to meet the needs of the people of the Province. Interesting, Mr. Speaker, the first point that should be made is that Grenfell cannot now immediately move to third or fourth year level courses. Simply for the reason that the academic planning is not completed. It shortly will be but if you were to have whatever funds necessary to do that expansion, Grenfell could not tell you as of this moment, what exactly should be done.

AN HON. MEMBER: Because they are slack.

MR. DICKS: No, the hon. member should not throw comments across the House that may be misinterpreted by the public. There is at the present time the academic planning, and as members may know, if we are going to expand to third and fourth year level courses, you have to determine what courses you are going to be able to teach in order to determine what facilities you need. Part of the problem with the current facility at Grenfell is that they built a building without having a clear academic plan. If you survey university institutes across this country, one very common mistake is to build a building and later try to decide what you are going to put in it.

Now, I want, having said that to commend my colleagues across the House, some of whom were in government when the Fine Arts College was put in Corner Brook. That Fine Arts College was a good investment, I think. I think in retrospect, the money might have been better used in expanding Grenfell to third and fourth year courses, given the amount of money that was spent. Nevertheless - and I have heard some criticisms of that building - it could have been better planned and built had there been a clear idea of what academic courses were going to be taught there. So let's, first of all, say that if were going to immediately move, that would not be immediate, but would have to be as soon as reasonably possible, taking into account what the courses were that were eventually going to be taught there.

Now, you might be interested in knowing what some of those courses were. I was particularly intrigued by a recent meeting with my colleague, the Minister of Education, and Dr. Bindon and Dr. May, where we discussed the possibility, for example, for science degrees at Sir Wilfred Grenfell. Now, I have no background in science other than having taken a week of physics in first year university and deciding that perhaps I would enjoy history much more, having done a lab with rather dismal results. Not that I regret that decision - well, I won't get into the field of astrophysics. We will leave that aside for the moment.

Just let me say, Mr. Speaker, that the field of science, for those of us who are not part of it, is becoming an intriguingly complex one. What we normally understand as science, the hard sciences, chemistry, physics and biology, is changing. There is a greater mixing of disciplines. To give you an example: Dr. Bindon was quite eloquent in looking and describing the potential for science degrees at Sir Wilfred Grenfell, and she said: We could have a science degree at Sir Wilfred Grenfell that took into account the unique ecological systems of the west coast. It has been often said by my colleagues, who have been variously responsible for tourism and development in the Province, that the west coast is indeed unique. We have the archaeological sites at Port au Choix and in Red Bay, Labrador, we have the interesting geological formations and the natural beauty, as well as the flora and fauna of the national park, and we have the fisheries.

What Dr. Bindon was speaking of was a science degree that would bring together all these intriguing elements of the west coast, geological, biological, ecological and environmental elements, and bring them together in a different type of science degree format that would be particularly relevant to environmental studies. Now, it is a great idea, Mr. Speaker, and one that I am sure my colleagues hearing this will be wildly enthused about.

I notice my colleague, the former Minister of Education, Dr. Warren, nodding his head. It is one that he is aware of, having met with Dr. Bindon. Let me say at the same time, that if we are to offer that type of course, which will be unique not only in this Province but possibly elsewhere in the country, and that will attract people here, not only from the Province but from outside this country, what do we need to teach it? Do we need one physics lab, or should we be taking that money and putting it into actual field trips to other parts of the west coast to fully develop and appreciate the ecological significance, and to give people a variety of experience that they could use, in a way, for their degree.

So, Mr. Speaker, I point to some of the concepts that have to be worked out before the expansion can take place. Let me say that that is well in hand. I expect that in the not too distant future that academic planning will be complete, and that the college will be able to present to my colleague, the Minister of Education, an orderly plan for the expansion. The physical planning, the capital, is being done by a private engineering firm in Corner Brook and that is well underway as well.

Let me say that I fully endorse the proposition, with the exception of the word immediate. It is not possible to immediately expand. As well, Mr. Speaker, in this day and age, with resources being as limited as they are, I accept the priority of going immediately ahead with it but, as a responsible member of public life in this Province, I think we have to look at the possibility of using other facilities. There are three schools in the immediate area which are vacant, and I think we have to look at the question of, can we productively use those and still deliver a high quality of education to students.

I was encouraged, from the last meeting with Dr. Bindon and Dr. May, that the capital cost has been brought significantly down from the figure of $25 million and $50 million that confronted us when we first went into office. It is now being said that that expansion could take place for a capital expenditure somewhere in the order of $6 or $7 million. It surprises me that it could be done, but that is an expansion of approximately 40,000 square feet which would address some of the concerns raised by my colleagues here today. I am hopeful and I am expectant, knowing Cabinet's commitment to high quality education to Grenfell as a four year degree granting institution, and the Premier's personal commitment to the people of Corner Brook and to the district and to education, in particular, that that proposal when it comes forward would be given top priority.

My colleague for Humber East laughs as she often does of course. I would be not be so querulous as to inquire as to what may be the subject of her laughter, but I would comment, Mr. Speaker, that we on this side take the matter seriously, that when we talk about expanding Sir Wilfred Grenfell we do not try to make political hay of it, we are going ahead, we are doing the academic planning, we are looking at the capital cost. The minister recently met in Corner Brook and we are intent on that path. I am prepared to say that my colleagues fully support this, that we do intend to go ahead with it and that we do hope to have those courses in place as soon as is reasonably possible, given the factors to which I have alluded.

Let me say toward the conclusion of my remarks that beyond the efficient use of resources, let us look at the economic potential as well as the educational potential. The institutes of higher learning in this Province create jobs. They create them in a number of ways; they create them indirectly through creating a pool of well-educated people who have talents and abilities that they can use in their quest for jobs and eventual employment. As well, they create them through the people who work in the institutes, but beyond that, there is a factor where, if we are offering something valuable and unique, we will be able to attract people to the Province who would not otherwise come here.

If you look to the universities in the immediate Maritime area and if you start going south through Nova Scotia, you will get St. Francis Xavier and Acadia, St, Mary's and Mount Allison. All of these institutes have developed over a period of time great alumni associations and affiliations throughout the United States and they have been able to use that as a method to enhance their universities, having an enrolment of about 2,500, through alumni contributions, so we should look not only to servicing our own needs but also to creating a first class institution of post-secondary learning that will attract people from other parts of this continent and perhaps the world, because we offer something unique and valuable in Newfoundland and Labrador that does not exist elsewhere.

Having met with the staff and knowing so many of them so well, I can assure the hon. House that that is a real and distinct possibility. We have at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College the potential to fully realize a good liberal arts college, if we could call it that in the short term and maybe beyond that, a first class institute not only of post-secondary learning but leading up to M. A. and doctoral levels as well and I do not think we should limit our vision solely to the four years before us.

I am drawing near to the end of my time, Mr. Speaker, and I do not want to go beyond it. As I said earlier, I am glad that this is on the Order Paper, it is a matter which deserves public debate and we need to address in particular the question as to how quickly this can come about. For the remarks and given the thoughts that I have left with you and the information I have, I think the word 'immediate' does not justify passage here today. I think the minister's amendment suggests that we will do it as soon as is practical, as soon as reasonably possible and taking that into account, I believe that we should pass the motion as amended rather than as proposed.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WINSOR: Mr. Speaker, if I understood the member, was that an amendment to the resolution? I did not hear an amendment to the resolution.

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible).

MR. WINSOR: Oh, that was on earlier, was it?

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible).

MR. WINSOR: Okay. Mr. Speaker, I want to have a few words on this resolution because it is of some interest to me living out in central Newfoundland or in the north-east coast because the minister a while ago alluded to the fact he did not want to make political hay out of the talk of building university campuses -

AN HON. MEMBER: No.

MR. WINSOR: Yes, Mr. Speaker, he talked about he did not want to make this political hay as he referred to it. In 1989, in the famous manifesto, the Liberal Manifesto, Mr. Speaker, here is what the Liberals had to say about universities: To achieve this we will expand the curriculum of Grenfell College in Corner Brook to include third and fourth year courses. So that in time, bachelor degrees in the basic arts and sciences disciplines can be obtained at Corner Brook. A Liberal government will start immediately. Now, Mr. Speaker, 'immediately' the one they just removed from the -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh no!

MR. WINSOR: Yes, Mr. Speaker, a Liberal government will start immediately on the construction of a small university campus in central Newfoundland to develop there as Grenfell has in Corner Brook. Now, Mr. Speaker, how can you be so hypocritical, the same party who said we will do it immediately, now says, we cannot do it immediately, we have to have time as the Member for Humber West said, for academic planning.

Since 1987, I think, the academic planning started. In 1991, in the White Paper, construction was going to begin on that campus. Now we have been told today that planning still has to take place. I think we have been deceived.

AN HON. MEMBER: ((Inaudible).

MR. WINSOR: No, this might have been the beginning. The President of Treasury Board, the Minister of Finance, who came in, I think he was the -

AN HON. MEMBER: He was the instigator.

MR. WINSOR: - the instigator of removing the word 'immediately' from the construction of the small university campus.

AN HON. MEMBER: It was definitely the (inaudible).

MR. WINSOR: It was the Premier? No, I think the President of Treasury Board in central was the one, because I think when the bids were done, Gander did not get the campus. It was going to go to Exploits or Lewisporte, and I think he called a halt to it. Mr. Speaker, for once I supported him. I supported the Member for Gander in his bid to have the campus constructed there.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I want to get on to talking about some important things because I believe, as most other people here said today, that if Newfoundland and Newfoundlanders are to develop, then it is through a sound education program.

Mr. Speaker, having close contact with numerous university students, I feel that we are letting them down. In fact I talk to students on a regular basis because I take them home on weekends from the university. Many of them end up doing three and four courses - and you know why they do three and four courses? They cannot find a course to do at Memorial University.

AN HON. MEMBER: What?

MR. WINSOR: Cannot find courses to do at the university. The waiting list is so long, they cannot find courses. Now that is at Memorial. I can imagine the situation at a smaller institution built for about half the students that it presently serves, how difficult it is to get into a science program.

Now the Member for Humber West said that it is not true - one part of the resolution is not true - that students are not able to find courses. He says they can. Yes, Mr. Speaker, perhaps they can find courses, but are they the courses they want? If you want to do chemistry and you have to do sociology, is that the course? Is that the kind of education that you want?

MS. VERGE: Or need.

MR. WINSOR: Or need? If you want to go to medical school, or if you want to be a physicists, or if you want to do whatever you want to do - an engineer - is that sociology course the one that you are being forced to do because you cannot get any other course, the right course? Because that is what is happening to our students. They are being forced to take courses they do not want to do. Even at Memorial five year programs are now becoming six year programs, because students cannot find the proper courses to allow them to graduate.

If that is happening - and it is - then we fail the most important people in our Province - our youth. We failed, and failed them miserably.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who did?

AN HON. MEMBER: You.

MR. WINSOR: You and any government who is party to it.

Mr. Speaker, it is four years. We are now into the fourth year when this government promised changes, and I have no doubts that the former Minister of Education - I suspect there was a good reason why he resigned, because he was genuinely concerned about education in this Province. He spent a lifetime in a classroom and in the halls of university. He saw how crowded it became at Memorial - classes that used to contain thirty and forty students suddenly being moved to lecture theatres and having to teach 150 students. Mr. Speaker, the same thing is happening on the west coast. The same thing is happening in our community colleges.

Mr. Speaker, how people can play with words. I had to smile when the Member for Humber West said that: WHEREAS Grenfell College in Corner Brook is the only university campus in the Province outside St. John's, he went on to say that there were more. He went on to say there were more university campuses.

No, Mr. Speaker, there are not. There are some small community colleges that accommodate eighty, ninety and one hundred students, Mr. Speaker. They are not universities. What we were talking about here is the construction and expansion of a degree-granting institution in the City of Corner Brook. That is what we were referring to, the construction and expansion of an existing college so that students who live on the west coast, and perhaps students who live on the east coast, Mr. Speaker - I think we might have a tendency in Newfoundland to be a little parochial sometimes and say that students who live on the Avalon have to go to Memorial, students who live on the west coast have to go to Corner Brook and students who live in Labrador have to go to Labrador. Perhaps, Mr. Speaker, we need to expand our horizons a bit and not look at it as a college for the west coast, but look at it as a college for the Province. As the resolution says at the end, "To meet the needs of the people of the Province," because that is what we are talking about.

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to note - and, in fact, I heard yesterday, since we were talking about the overcrowding - that we see some strong evidence of that at Memorial. I have been told that presently Memorial University will not accept any more applicants this year, for the January campus, because of budgetary restrains. I don't suppose these same budgetary restraints are the ones that are preventing the City of Corner Brook from having Grenfell College completed. Mr. Speaker, it is a shameful indictment on any government that fails to provide the means whereby the youth and, in some cases, Mr. Speaker - not only youth because we have reached the stage now where many middle-aged and older people have to go back to university to train because we are not competent in the technological world that is around us. So, Mr. Speaker, it is incumbent on this administration or any administration to build sound educational facilities throughout the Province.

Mr. Speaker, the former minister, the Member for Humber West, when he spoke talked about 90 per cent of a class unable to find jobs and then 75 per cent of another class, another class in Dal, I think he said. He blamed it on the economy. Mr. Speaker, the question has to be asked: What are we going to do, shut down the educational system until the economy improves? Is that what we are going to do? Because if that is what he is suggesting, Mr. Speaker, he has missed the boat completely. He has no idea how we are going to get out of the difficult situation we are in. If there is any means of improving the standard and quality of living of Newfoundlanders it is through an education.

Mr. Speaker, sometime in the late 1980s, I think, a survey showed that 44 per cent of our adults were functionally illiterate, a full 20 per cent higher than the national average. If we do not improve on that, then I fear that for years and decades to come Newfoundland will not improve because we failed them from an educational perspective.

Mr. Speaker, I think the former minister was right when he started to look at the secondary level of education, not post-secondary but at high school level, and made some advances that, I think, were positive advances, to improve the quality of the student who is graduating from high school, so that they can go into post-secondary education improved on, and be better. Now, Mr. Speaker, that is good and I think that is the right start. But you can have the best students in the world graduate from high school, if they don't have a place to go after. Mr. Speaker, that is what is happening. We are turning off a number of students. We are sending the best students that we have out of the Province. They are going to universities throughout Nova Scotia, throughout Quebec and throughout Ontario because of the shortcomings and failures of our own educational institutions.

Now, Mr. Speaker, it just so happens that these are the brightest people, in many cases, that we have in our Province. Do you think they will come back to our Province? Once they graduate, do you think they are coming back? Not a chance in the world, Mr. Speaker, will they return to Newfoundland. They will stay where they have received their education. They will climatize and adapt to that lifestyle where they have lived in that city. It is a brain drain, Mr. Speaker, that is taking place of some of the very best, because of the failure of our educational institutions to give them that quality of education. So, Mr. Speaker, how can you not support this resolution, and immediately begin the construction of a campus - a full, degree granting campus in the City of Corner Brook? It is a motherhood issue, and I fail to see why the resolution had to be amended. This administration has had four years, four budgets, in which it had time to address this problem.

Mr. Speaker, I fear that what has happened in education is that universities have become a political football, and when it becomes politically expedient, and you think that you might be able to garner some votes, then you announce certain things. Education is too important for that. It is too important for the west coast, the east coast, and it is too important for the Province. It must rise above the level of a political football. We have to recognize that Memorial University now has to do one of two things. It has to expand, or some other university has to expand. I believe Memorial University has reached a saturation point where it cannot expand any more if we are going to provide quality education to the students, to say nothing of the cost that has to be incurred by students who live long distances from the campus that they attend.

Mr. Speaker, I cannot sit down without having to rebuke the Minister of Education today for what he said about student loans. The problem with student loans that we have talked about for the last number of days does not rest with the federal government. It rests with the processing which is wholly and solely the responsibility of this provincial government. It laid off three to four people in the student loans division. He has talked today about how the people were on sick leave; they were stressed out and worked. Make no wonder, with the processing system they have in place there where they send out - guaranteed, 95 per cent of them are going to have to appeal it because they have assumed they have worked for four months - every one of them; then, the kind of documentation that you have to get back. In fact I have tried, since nine o'clock this morning until we came to the House here at 2:00 p.m., to get through to the student loan division - since nine o'clock this morning and the line has been busy there all day.

AN HON. MEMBER: Off the hook.

MR. WINSOR: No, I do not think the phones were off the hook. I think the people are genuinely busy because there are so many people having problems with student loans.

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Education said that hopefully by next week they will be caught up and they will have appeals processed. Now I wonder, does the minister realize that exams begin at Memorial University on December 5th and the term is effectively ended - or December 7th I think it is this year - that the year is over and students now have had to rely on a meagre student loan? I will say that the federal government is derelict in its duties, in failing to provide enough money for students to properly attend university. There is no question about that, but that does not absolve this administration of the responsibility of processing these loans that are there.

Mr. Speaker, the students that I am talking to today are not complaining about the amount of money they are getting. They are complaining about their not being processed. Now that is the problem.

AN HON. MEMBER: They are finished Wednesday and do not have their bills paid.

MR. WINSOR: They are finished Wednesday with no bills paid, Mr. Speaker. That is deplorable, and the former Minister of Education nods in agreement that it is deplorable that these students do not have their bills paid because of the failure, the inability of this government, to process a few student loans. It is absolutely despicable - and for the minister to get in his place today and say that there is nothing wrong, it is absolutely appalling. He has no sensitivity - absolutely no sensitivity. When he was the Minister of Health he was known as the slasher. He has come to education with the same approach -

AN HON. MEMBER: That is why he was brought in there.

MR. WINSOR: - to cut and slash as he goes. And it is a thought that that is the reason why he was put in the portfolio for education. I used to kid the former minister quite often and I like to egg him on and bait him a bit. But I think he genuinely had the interest of students at heart.

MR. MATTHEWS: That is why he left.

MR. WINSOR: That is why he left - I have said that many times. When he resigned from Cabinet, that wasn't the first letter of resignation that he handed in, that was the second one. He withdrew one because of a -

MR. MATTHEWS: He had the letter with him every day.

MR. WINSOR: Mr. Speaker, I don't know if he had the letter with him every day, as my colleague for Grand Bank said, but he certainly had it on another occasion, and when I told him I knew about it, the first thing he said was: 'How did you know that?'

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINSOR: I don't think he did, Mr. Speaker. It was a serious discussion where Cabinet wanted education to go in one direction and the Minister of Education, rightly so, thought it should move in another, because he attaches great importance and great significance to education in this Province. With these few brief remarks, I will conclude.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave, get going, boy!

MR. WINSOR: No, Mr. Speaker, I will conclude. I ask that this House would support this resolution, because it is important that we give our people, the people of Newfoundland, the best education possible. And I believe it can happen and be enhanced by the construction of the university with degree-granting status for Grenfell in the City of Corner Brook. I think it should go a little further and do what the Premier said in 1988 - he was not the Premier then, he was the Leader of the Opposition. Perhaps it is easier to say it when you are the Leader of the Opposition. He found it easier then to say: I will immediately begin the construction of a campus in Central Newfoundland. It is a little more difficult, Mr. Speaker, when it is not in the political arena.

Mr. Speaker, it was the Member for Exploits, and the President of Treasury Board who got into a fight about the location. The Member for Exploits was offering all kinds of land that came out of the Roads for Rail Agreement. He had some money and the President of Treasury Board had a site picked out - it was a terrible squabble. The reason the construction didn't get started was the two ministers couldn't agree where it was going to be built and we ended up with nothing because we got into fiscal restraint.

The minister went out to Joe Batt's Arm, while I was advocating the Gander Bay Road to get a little closer to Fogo district, and the minister had three meetings, I think, with committees out in the Gander area, inviting briefs, and they begged and cajoled them to do everything; they wined and dined them. He gained twenty pounds in Central Newfoundland with people taking him out to dinner to try to get in the minister's good books, but the President of Treasury Board at the time and the Member for Exploits couldn't agree and we ended up with no campus in Central Newfoundland, no campus on the West Coast, and a government that shows an uncaring attitude towards the people of our Province.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Stephenville and Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier.

MR. K. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise and support the fact that we need to see Grenfell expanded and more services for Grenfell, but when I hear the Member for Fogo talking about student loan experiences, I am reminded of my own not that long ago, about ten or twelve years ago when I was a student at the university.

I don't know who was in government then, but I can remember getting a student loan in the month of December after having applied for it in July. I can remember going over and waiting three hours to get in to see somebody, and then being told to come back in three months. I can remember the way it was when, members opposite were Ministers of Education and when there was hardly any staff at the student aid office. You were lucky to get a student loan, but there was so much bureaucracy to deal with. I can remember those days, I struggled through them myself. So when I hear the Member for Fogo talking about a four-month - they assume that all students have worked four months. I think the Member for Exploits - I think that rule has been around for a fairly long time. As a matter of fact, when I was there, it was there; they automatically assumed that students worked for four months every summer and that they wrote it in as part of the contribution.

Now, I would like to see some changes made to the whole system. We all get calls concerning that and it is a major concern for all of us. But I think some changes have been made. A lot more have to be made, and the Minister of Education is going to deal with that in the next little while, as the hon. former minister, Mr. Warren, did while he was there.

In looking at where we are going, Mr. Speaker, down the road, the overcrowding situation in post-secondary institutions is a problem and it has to be dealt with. There is much more, I think, of an emphasis these days with younger people, and even with people who have been out in the work force, to get some type of retraining or expand their educational base. What we are doing is trying to plan for that, to provide the facilities, and provide the people to do the teaching.

The government is looking at the institution in Corner Brook very closely and I expect, over the next period of time, that we will see the commitments fulfilled and see the proper services put in place.

Many of my constituents go to the college in Corner Brook and have benefited very much so from the excellent teaching staff that are there. They have benefited a great deal from very much a spirit that is now in Grenfell College that has been established over a number of years. We want to do everything in our power to make sure that is going to continue, but we have to be realistic and deal with it within the confines of the budget process and the financial capability of the government.

That brings me further to the point of when we are talking about dealing with our younger people, and planning for the future, we had better make sure that the financial base for the Province is on a sound financial footing. That is the other major item that the government of the day now, has to deal with, and there is nobody to blame - well, I am not going to deal with the political blame. But it is a problem, and we have to find a way to deal with that, and at the same time provide for the needs of the education of our citizens of the Province. I think that the government thus far has made every attempt, and has done a very good job of doing that.

The new Triple E education which the former Minister of Education -that great, great former Minister of Education - Dr. Warren, brought in in the last couple of years, has restructured it so that the effective use of every dollar and the effective use of every program has now been put in place. There are goals laid out. There is a plan laid out. There is a plan there to get first year equivalent training, a university transfer credit, there to other campuses.

So there is an attempt by the government to deal with the very problem of trying to get education to the people where they are, instead of making them all go to one or two centres. So that has also been a very commendable initiative. In doing that, Corner Brook is a major part of that initiative, and Fisher was an example of seeing that completed. I believe the official opening, I say to the Member for Humber West, is coming up in the near future for Fisher. This government has fulfilled and followed through on a previous commitment, and has done so in very difficult financial times.

In a sense, Grenfell is in the same position, and the Fine Arts School is now operating and doing very well. Again, the benefits have accrued to many young people, and to people of all ages, really, who have taken advantage of the very good programs that are there.

The college in Corner Brook is not only an educational institution but it is a major contributor to the economy, really, of the Province - of the West Coast, especially. It has the support of many people on the West Coast, but I think, also, of the entire Province. Students are going there, not just from Stephenville and Port aux Basques, they are going from St. John's and Labrador City. They are going from all over the Province, and I believe even some outside the Province, because Grenfell is becoming a very recognized name, and I believe that in the future it will be more recognized with the establishment and promotion of the staff there, the programs that are there, and I think that down the road we can look to a bright future for Grenfell.

So, it is not all doom and gloom. As a matter of fact, I think it is the opposite, in many ways, when it comes to Grenfell and its future, and indeed, for Corner Brook and the West Coast.

I am working with the Member for Humber West to make sure that those concerns are brought to the table. He is working diligently, even with his bad foot, to deal with that matter. He is hopping around lately, but he is working to do that and is very concerned about what will happen there, as he has been on other matters. So, we are looking forward to seeing something happen in the future.

You know post-secondary education is extremely important to our people. We have to make sure that not only - it is not just the money question, it is a question of the quality of it, which I think is another major item that this government has attempted to deal with. It is the quality of it and providing the courses so that people can go the way they want to go and attempt to get out and contribute to the economy, contribute to the building of our society, and that is important.

When I went through and did my commerce degree back in 1978 - 1982, I struggled through my commerce degree - my marks weren't very good, I must tell you, but I did get through it and struggled. The benefit of that education has had a major impact on myself, and all of the people that I went through with are now out in society, in Newfoundland, a lot of them are here in this Province, are working in this Province and are able to contribute.

When I go into a classroom of younger people these days, I say to them - I draw on the board a list of the things that sprout out from an education, the different opportunities that you create for yourself if you get an education. The more you get, the more opportunities you get, the more doors you open, and that is extremely important.

So, the government is committed to major improvements in education. Even during the last two or three years of tight fiscal restraint, we have been able to increase funding in education in different ways, student loans, school tax gone, school boards have better funding. The student aid program got, I think, some changes to allow for single parents, to help single parents. A whole number of things, the daycare centre I believe, down at the university, got a contribution - not all of it, just some of it, but it got a contribution.

Other things have happened, even in these tight times. The Member for Humber East will well remember - she was Minister of Education at one time and understands what it is like to be in a recession. She understands that when you are in a recession and you have less revenue than you wish you had, that you have to work towards planning in trying to fulfil what you would like to see happen. That takes time, it doesn't come overnight. This government has done a great deal in a short period of time and it will do a lot more in the future and, in a sense, I think - but that is going to take good planning. It takes having your financial base on an even keel, and I think that is now under way. You never want to face such a dilemma but the time has come in this Province to get a sound financial base, get the economy on a sound footing and then plan and move ahead, and we are doing that.

So, when I hear the Member from Humber East, I understand her concern, and I agree we need to see the improvements made but we also have to understand that these times are very difficult and that we will work towards -

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) when she was minister.

MR. K. AYLWARD: We can get into that but, I mean, we - I am sure that because the Member for Humber East is now in the Opposition, she has become more enlightened as to what it is like to be -

AN HON. MEMBER: She is what?

MR. K. AYLWARD: Oh no, I give credit, I mean - become more enlightened in trying to understand the dilemmas of when you are in government. I know some of my colleagues disagree with me, okay. I believe she has become more enlightened and she understands the dilemma over here. Because I went back and I looked at some statements of when she was the Minister of Education -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. K. AYLWARD: That is why - I mean, I do my homework. When she was Minister of Education, she had to agree that government, under its tight fiscal restraint, could not do certain things. So, I am sure -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: Oh, yes. Well, there are all kinds of examples, you talk about teachers, dealing with teachers and so on. I have examples of that. The minister repeated several times that she was part of a government team that decided what offer to make to the teachers. So she was part of a government team that had to deal with restraint with teachers of the Province. So, I am sure that she, as a former minister, understands the dilemma that this government is in.

MR. EFFORD: And, at the same time, they dragged them all off to jail?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) resign?

MR. K. AYLWARD: Well, no, she didn't resign. But I understand that when they were the government, they had to deal with recession. They had to deal with less monies and they had to deal with less revenues. I am just saying to you, I feel that the Opposition, some of the members, are more enlightened. They should understand the dilemma that the government and some of the Cabinet Ministers over here have to cope with in trying to deal with these problems.

MR. GOVER: Sure, they created them.

MR. K. AYLWARD: In many ways the Member for Bonavista South is very correct. We can't afford - I would love to see Grenfell get $8 million, I really would.

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: That is right. The Minister of Finance and the President of Treasury Board remind me that when that was said in 1983, the transfer payments from the federal government were going up not down.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. K. AYLWARD: They were going up. Oh, yes! Oh, yes!

I wish we had $7 or $8 million to give to Grenfell, I really do. But you know I am not going to make an announcement, and the government isn't going to. You have to plan these things out. I remember when the government of the day called the election in 1989. There was no budget, the House had not been open, and they went ahead and announced all kinds of things. Where was the money coming from?

AN HON. MEMBER: We were not sure.

MR. K. AYLWARD: It takes time. Even now we have been hit again with cuts in federal transfer payments, and that is a dilemma. The government will try to deal with it. All I can say is that this side of the House supports seeing Grenfell get what it deserves, and I am sure that the government will see it through and see that that happens.

I think, realistically, that we have some changes we have to make. As I say, I think we all understand the financial position that we are in. Even our own hopes can't be realized at times, because we are faced with dilemmas. I think in this case we are just attempting to deal, as best we can, with the dilemma of a lot of needs in the Province.

Grenfell is going to have a major impact on the Province in education. It has already. Many fine graduates have come from that college. I wish I was one of them, but I have not been. I know a lot who have. Many of them are my constituents and have come through the system very well. The staff in Grenfell are creating more of an information base on the West Coast, in Corner Brook, and that is important, too, as far as I am concerned, because it adds to the quality of life and it adds to the quality of the people we have there. The more educated our people, the better and more open-minded we will all be in making decisions, and looking to where we go in the future, I think it is important.

As I said, Grenfell is getting a lot of attention from government and it will get more in the future. The Member for Humber West is doing a great job and is going to be continuing to work in the short term, even with a hobbled foot.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave!

MR. SPEAKER: I can't think that leave is granted when the Member for Humber East is standing.

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to thank all the members who participated in this debate this afternoon, my colleagues in the Opposition, the Members for Humber Valley and Fogo, as well as the Government members who spoke, the Minister of Education, the Member for Humber West and, lastly, the Member for Stephenville. Each of the speakers has made a certain contribution to the debate. I am very surprised, frankly, and disappointed that the government members are not prepared to vote for this resolution. After all, these are the members, with their Premier, who, when campaigning for office four years ago, made specific promises, if elected, to expand immediately Grenfell College. 'Immediately' was the word the Premier used when, as Leader of the Opposition, he was campaigning for office throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.

Three-and-a-half years later, this same group of politicians refuse to vote in the House of Assembly for a resolution calling for immediate funding increases to allow Grenfell College, as quickly as possible, to offer the full range of first, second, third, and fourth year courses - and they have the face to say that they are still committed to the expansion of Grenfell College - some commitment! We got a political campaign promise in 1989, and we are getting another political campaign promise in 1992. The Member for Humber West gives as the excuse the need for more planning. Planning - after four budgets and three-and-a-half years in office?

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Education, in his partisan diatribe, made certain comparisons between the Wells' administration and previous administrations. Let me point out that in 1972 the PC's, under Premier Frank Moores, came to power, replacing the Smallwood regime. They inherited more debt relative to the wealth of Newfoundland and Labrador than the Wells' administration inherited in 1989.

The PC's came to office in 1972. Three years later, in 1975, Grenfell College was opened - three years later. That was performance. Now, what do we see from the members opposite? Three-and-a-half years in office, four budgets, no action.

When they campaigned for office four years ago they and their leader, the present Premier, made effusive promises to expand university education in the Province, to build several university campuses, but specifically to expand Grenfell College immediately -not after planning; not after one term in office; not depending on the performance of the economy, but an absolute promise to expand Grenfell College immediately - some commitment!

Mr. Speaker, the Wells' administration, as I mentioned, came to office when the Province's debt, relative to the wealth of Newfoundland and Labrador, was less than the debt in 1972. They inherited a balanced current account from the Peckford administration. They put together a budget. They finalized a budget for the fiscal year 1989-90 projecting a $20 million current account surplus. What did they do for Grenfell College? Zilch! Zero! Nothing! And they have the gall to say they are still committed - some commitment!

Mr. Speaker, not only did the Member for Humber West refuse to support immediate funding increases to allow for Grenfell College to expand as quickly as possible, but he disagreed with one of the recitals of the resolution. He disagreed with the following statement: That Grenfell is not even able to meet the needs of first and second year students because of a shortage of science laboratories, library facilities, classrooms and other space, as well as personnel.

The Member for Humber West, who is elected to represent the district in which Grenfell College is located, says that Grenfell College is able to meet the needs of first and second year students. Well what do the students themselves have to say? Let me read to hon. members from a letter I received from students at Grenfell College.

AN HON. MEMBER: Table it.

MS. VERGE: What do they say? Number one: The actual student presence far exceeds the capacity for which the college was originally built. Consequently, student space has been taken away in order to provide office and faculty space. A prime example of this is the recent halving of the second floor cafeteria.

Number 2: Extremely long waiting lists for needed courses, needed courses, I underline 'needed', as examples: such courses as first year chemistry and biology have had waiting lists for up to 150 people. 150 people waiting to get into first year chemistry and biology courses I say to the Member for Gander, the Minister of Finance. Now how is the Member for Humber West claiming to meet the needs of first and second year students, if many of them cannot get into basic first year science courses?

Number 3: Admission to certain second year courses requiring an average of 75 per cent in the first year pre-requisites, given that it usually takes at least a semester or two for most students to adjust to the pace of college, they might not have this average. In other words, students are not able to get second year courses that they need. I underline the word 'need'.

Number 4: Overall admission requirements going up from a 65 per cent to a 70 per cent cumulative high school average. This is seen as an attempt to prevent overcrowding at both MUN and Grenfell College and has been criticized by many as creating an elitist atmosphere.

Number 5: The registration procedure for first year students which are done basically by a variation of alphabetical order. While this system is probably the most efficient, it often results in those past the middle of the list failing to acquire their courses. Of course this is caused by the limited course offerings of Grenfell College and that is because of the shortage of space and the shortage of personnel I say to the Member for Port de Grave.

Number 6: College Spirit. Since Grenfell is primarily seen as a one to two year stepping stone to another college, students are often apathetic to Grenfell's future concerns. As any member of the CSU, that is the Council of the Students Union would say, this stopover mentality often prevents students from even attempting to make a difference in Sir Wilfred Grenfell College. It is their opinion that since they will be not around to see the changes, they won't even bother, and then, Mr. Speaker, the students go on to say: a larger Memorial campus in Corner Brook, would not only take some of the burden off the St. John's Campus but it would also be more convenient and less costly for students in the central and west coast areas. This re-enforces the idea of accessible, affordable education.

So, Mr. Speaker, the students at Grenfell College support the recital and the resolution saying Grenfell College is not even able to meet the needs of first and second year students, because of a shortage of science laboratories, library facilities, classrooms and other space, as well as personnel.

Now, Mr. Speaker, members opposite ridiculed the idea of providing a funding increase to Grenfell College. They say the economy is in collapse. Well, we know that. Ever since they took office the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador has been in free-fall. Ironically they set up an Economic Recovery Commission in the Spring of 1989 and the economy has been deteriorating ever since. Now, we really have something to recover from. But what are they going to do to provide for the recovery? Everything they have tried so far has resulted in further deterioration.

Now, Mr. Speaker, if our people are not provided the opportunity to study science in university, to get a good university education, how can we expect our economy to improve when even members opposite agree that education is the key to future economic advancement? Let's compare ourselves with some other nations that have similar resources and similar geographic characteristics.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MS. VERGE: Let's look at Iceland, I say to the Member for Port de Grave. The Member for Port de Grave met with fishermen from Iceland who visited our Province last year. Now, Iceland is a country with half the population of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is an island nation which is located much further away from world markets and population centers than Newfoundland and Labrador. It has a cold and, at times, harsh climate. In terms of resources it has fish, hot springs and sheep. Iceland has fewer natural resources than we do here in Newfoundland and Labrador. In addition to fish we have hydro electric power, we have trees, we have minerals, iron ore in Labrador and offshore oil. We have a much larger and more fertile land mass. Yet, Iceland has virtually full employment.

MR. EFFORD: Two per cent unemployment.

MS. VERGE: Two per cent, the Member for Port de Grave says. What do we have? Officially, well over 20 per cent and that is not counting the 20,000 plus who have been displaced because of the northern cod moratorium.

AN HON. MEMBER: Why?

MS. VERGE: Why, the hon. member asks? That is what I was coming to. One of the main reasons is that the people in Iceland are well educated. The people in Iceland are well educated. That is a very significant distinction between the people in Iceland and the people in Newfoundland and Labrador. Iceland, for generations, has placed a great deal of emphasis on education and literacy.

Mr. Speaker, if we are to advance economically we have no choice but to invest, and invest more, and invest immediately in improving our education offerings.

Mr. Speaker, much to my surprise the Minister of Education dismissed the idea of the government providing a separate budget for Grenfell College. He did not explain why this was not a good idea. After all, his government has been providing separate budgets for two other branches of Memorial University of Newfoundland - the School of Medicine, which is funded by the Department of Health, and the Marine Institute, which his government amalgamated with Memorial University, subordinated to Memorial University, through legislation last year.

Why, I ask members opposite, is the Wells' administration providing a separate budget for the Marine Institute in St. John's, which is merely a division of Memorial University of Newfoundland, when refusing to do that for Grenfell College - a division of Memorial University of Newfoundland in Corner Brook? That does not make any sense.

Mr. Speaker, past governments have invested substantially in Grenfell College. In place and flourishing at Grenfell College is a fine group of academics who are providing excellent teaching. Despite the constraints of inadequate space and facilities, some of the best university teaching in Canada is going on at Grenfell College.

Grenfell, from its founding in 1975, has prided itself on its teaching. We in the opposition are calling on the government to build on the strength of Grenfell College, to expand on the buildings and facilities and programs and most of all faculty and staff who are there to make what is good better. To correct the inadequacies, to allow all qualified first and second year students to be accepted for science courses, for chemistry or biology or for whatever other courses they need for their degrees and for their careers, but more than that, Mr. Speaker, we are calling on them to provide the necessary buildings, space, facilities and personnel to add to Grenfell's offerings so that full four-year arts and science degrees in select subjects will be made available in western Newfoundland.

As I said in the beginning, apart from PEI, tiny PEI, Newfoundland and Labrador is the only Province which has just one university. Now we are not asking that Grenfell immediately be constituted a separate university. We are willing to support the current arrangement with Grenfell being part of Memorial University, provided it has a separate budget, the same as the Marine Institute, the same as the Medical School and provided it gets the capital and operating funding needed to equip it as soon as possible to offer the full range of first, second, third and fourth year university courses to meet the needs of people throughout the Province. Not just people in Corner Brook, not just people in the Humber Valley, not just people in western Newfoundland but the people throughout the Province because, Mr. Speaker, Grenfell is distinctive, Grenfell, because of its emphasis on teaching, because of its relatively small size, because of its appreciation of aesthetics shown in its landscaping and its art collection, is very appealing to some students from outside of western Newfoundland.

Of course the fact that the visual and theatre arts degree programs are offered there is another attraction for students from outside the immediate area. But, Mr. Speaker, we definitely will not settle for a continuation of the shortchanging, a continuation of the denial of students of the opportunity to get into the science courses that they need.

Neither will we be deceived by any halfway measures.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's - oh, I am sorry. The hon. member has another minute.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Any addition of third and fourth year courses crammed into the existing space with first and second year enrolment being cut -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, the members opposite are being quite boisterous, and I suppose it is because they are uncomfortable being reminded of their failure -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. VERGE: - to implement their very specific campaign promises made four years ago.

Some of them have the decency to be embarrassed by the excuses offered by the Minister of Education and the Member for Humber West. They realize that it does not take four years to plan -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

On motion, amendment carried.

On motion, resolution as amended carried.

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