March 29, 1993                HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS            Vol. XLI  No. 15


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

Oral Questions

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, you caught me unawares there for a second. I thought the ministers would have a whole pile of positive statements to make this morning but I guess not.

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier. Over the weekend, two other public service unions have taken a vote on the government's proposals thus far to them. In addition to that we had the teachers, of course, last week, reject the proposal that the government put to them with respect to the public service pensions idea, so that makes some 30,000 employees, I guess, now who have all rejected government's recent schemes. I want to ask the Premier: Is the government still determined to save the $70 million from employee contributions, whether it be wages or benefits and, if so, could he tell the House and the people of the Province how he intends to do that, now that the pension option apparently has been turned down?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, House members should know that while the government would have approved of going the pension route, that was not a proposal that the government put for acceptance. There are a variety of things out there and the unions could pick and choose or do a mix of them, so I presume they will want to get back now and do a discussion of that. The government hasn't put forward the pension option and said, `This is what we are proposing that you accept.' We put forward a host of things and that was what they chose to go with, to the NTA. As far as NAPE and CUPE are concerned, they haven't put any proposal that I know of. I am advised - and I can let the President of Treasury Board speak because he can speak more knowledgeably - I am advised that NAPE and CUPE haven't, in fact, bargained on anything. They talk about - as a matter of fact, I heard them at noon, talking about the government not responding to any of their proposals. One of their proposals, or the only thing I am aware of that they are proposing would end up costing the government $400-$500 million more in one year. So, there has been no proposal that would be worthy of any consideration. They suggested time off without pay on a voluntary basis. Well, who is going to volunteer it and how many? It is just not a rational proposition.

The other one, this idea that, oh, there is lots of money to be saved in the Government Service. There are lots of areas where savings could be made. Well, name it specifically. What are you proposing we do? The government is quite prepared to consider any specifics but, to the best of my knowledge, there is not a single specific that has been put before the government that they could deal with to save any money.

So, in answer to the general question, yes, the government has no alternative but to try to deal with the $70 million along the compensation area. We have already provided for tax increases that are going to increase the tax burden this year by $63 million. There have been substantial cuts, last fall, and again in the spring's Budget, so there isn't much more. Now, the President of Treasury Board has more detailed knowledge on this than I do so the Leader's question might more appropriately be directed to the President of Treasury Board.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition, on a supplementary.

MR. SIMMS: I appreciate the advice from the Premier, Mr. Speaker, but I will decide, I guess, to whom I want to put the questions. It is up to the government who answers the questions. My question to the Premier was: How does he propose to do what they say they are going to do with the $70 million from compensation? That was my question, which the Premier skated all around and talked about everything else. My question is: How do you propose to do it, now that the NTA has specifically rejected the pension proposal, for example, as one sector of the groups? The second question I have in a supplementary to the Premier, and it would be he, as Premier, I expect, who would have to answer this question: Has the government ruled out a legislated roll-back in wages or benefits, as they once talked about, for public sector employees?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

First of all, everything I have heard so far about what has transpired over the past number of days, I have heard in the press. I have not had official notification from the NTA, from Mr. Reid, from the NTA executive. I understand there have been meetings held over the weekend and something will be communicated to government sometime tomorrow. I have not received official notification yet of what their intention is and I have to wait until I find out what their intention is. I assume there is still room for discussions to be carried on. As to how we are going to get it, Mr. Speaker, we have said that we must reduce that package by $70 million and it will be done, hopefully through discussions with the public sector unions. Now, the second question was, have we ruled out any options? The answer is, no, we have not ruled out anything but we would prefer to reach a sensible solution through discussions rather than to take unilateral action.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This supplementary is to the Premier, because I am going to refer to comments that the Premier apparently is reported to have said over the weekend. I think it is in the newspaper, in fact. Over the weekend, I think, the Premier suggested that layoffs were an obvious option. Now, to save $70 million, I guess, according to some sources, that would mean laying off probably another 2,500 to 3,000 employees, somewhere in that area, whatever it might be. In view of the fact that your two-week-old Budget already has provision for the layoffs, I am not quite sure of the numbers yet, we are still working on that, I do not know if the minister can tell us if he answers the question. But I want to ask him: is it really a practical alternative and option for the government to make more layoffs considering what we have had in the past?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I honestly wish that we had a lot of options that were painless. I honestly wish we had these options. We do not have options that are painless, we are going through a very difficult time as are all of the other provinces in this country. There are no painless options. Mr. Speaker, I do not want to speculate on numbers in terms of his question about layoffs because, as the Premier has indicated, and as I have indicated, we have always indicated that that is one of the options but only one of the options, and there is no indication that we would try to solve all our problems through massive layoffs. We have actually indicated that we simply do not want to do that.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I want to ask another supplementary.

The government seems to think that it has lots of time I guess, to deal with this matter, because every month that goes by, presumably it is about $6 million that the government must find to meet its target, its budgeted targets, assuming $70 million is the amount. I want to ask the government, the Premier, the minister, whoever wants to answer the question, maybe, even the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations might like to answer the question. How quickly does the government intend to move to resolve this problem, because they presented us with a false Budget thus far, because we do not know where the money is going to be found, the $70 million, so I want to ask the minister: how quickly does he intend to move, does he intend to put off action on this matter, for say, the next month or two, is that perhaps part of the plan?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, our Budget was a very accurate Budget and I would like to remind members opposite, as much as they would like to believe that disaster is around the corner and as much as they hope for that kind of thing, I would like to assure them, that that is not the case at all, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, we recognize better than anybody else in this Province I believe, the constraints that we are operating under. I do not need the Leader of the Opposition to remind me of the problem that we have, by and large, caused by excessive spending over the last couple of decades. He does not have to remind me of that problem, it has been around for a while, it has been building for a while and it has only now come to the culmination, not only here but in all provinces, so, Mr. Speaker, he does not need to remind me of that. I understand the time constraints we are working under, this government understands the time constraints it is working under, and I hope that the leadership and the public sector unions also understand the time constraints under which we are operating.

MR. SIMMS: A final supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition, a final supplementary.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt about it, this government has a superb track record when it comes to budgetary projections. They have done a magnificent job over the last four years. There is no question about that - dead on.

One of the reasons that the members of the NTA and the members of NAPE and the members of CUPE, I suggest, have voted down your pension option, in the case of the NTA, is because they do not trust this government, because the government, whatever they do, the employees know that the government is not going to get off their backs, whether it is this year or next year, and the only contracts this government has shown any respect for are the contracts they use themselves to buy furniture and everything for their offices. Those are the only contracts for which they show any respect.

I want to ask the Minister of Finance: Why does he think these public service unions would ever accept a deal from this government, given their record and their track record? Why should they ever trust this government?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, first of all to correct the hon. member, the pension option was not our option but one chosen from many by the leadership of the NTA with which to go to the teachers. So that was not our option. It was one they chose from a variety of options.

Mr. Speaker, the member - if you ignore his rhetoric, which I suppose everybody in the Province does - if you ignore his rhetoric, he is getting at the kernel of a very important point here, and that is that in the world today the collective bargaining procedures of twenty, thirty and forty years ago no longer have any place. The types of confrontational collective bargaining that have been the norm for the last fifty years or more no longer are useful. In private industry in some parts of North America this is recognized. Recently in an agreement with the British Columbia government, a union group in Canada - a public service union - recognized the fact that this approach has outlived its usefulness.

Mr. Speaker, we are years behind the time here and I think it is high time we got at that collective bargaining process to ensure that it is a sensible process that fits the present realities.

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have a question for the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. The minister knows that this Province has the highest UI rate in the country, and indications for 1993 are that there are going to be even thousands of jobs less than in the previous year.

I ask the minister: What new initiatives does he have in the employment sector of his department to help the thousands of unemployed?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the hon. member for his question as well. It seems that every two or three months when the hon. member gets an opportunity he asks that same question. Regardless of how many times he'd like to ask that question and have it answered, he will not find myself or any other minister on this side of the House standing to say that we would do the kinds of things that the previous administration did out of desperation and build a Sprung greenhouse or that kind of thing to try to desperately create jobs to make themselves look good.

We have spent almost four years now looking at the fundamental structures of the economy in the Province. Our plan is in place. It's been spelled out for the people. It will be more fully articulated as time goes on. We will depend upon largely the private sector with a proper climate and environment in the Province and assisted where and when appropriate by the government to create employment in the Province, not continue to take taxpayers' dollars as the previous administration had done to prop up some unemployment statistics for a few weeks or so, so that they could then give an answer to a question in the House of Assembly.

We understand the seriousness of the problem, Mr. Speaker, and we are working for the long-term betterment of the situation. We'll stay committed to those objectives.

MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary, the hon. the Member for Fogo.

MR. WINSOR: Mr. Speaker, the minister never ceases to amaze me. Let me remind the minister that last fall he found it necessary to implement a $12 million emergency response program because of a severe employment crisis in this Province. That was at a time when the unemployment rate was not as high as it is today. This year that entire program has been eliminated. Does the minister believe that the employment prospects in this summer in the private sector are so great that we no longer need short-term employment strategies?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Again just to point out for the hon. member who asked the question, and for everyone else in the Legislature, last year in the fall we did do an emergency employment response program of $11 million. The previous year, around about the same time of the year, we did a program of $13.5 million, and explained clearly on both occasions that while we are committed to the types of things that I gave in the answer to the first question, that we recognize that the responses and the answers and the kind of public sector responses to the type of climate that we're trying to establish don't happen immediately. They don't happen overnight, Everybody in the Province who's dealing with the employment issues recognizes that there may still be again some time, even in this year coming up, there may still be a need for some kind of intervention but this government will not plan on that as the solution and each time we have introduced a program before we have been careful to point out to everyone who cared to listen that we do not believe that that is the solution to the job problems in Newfoundland and Labrador. We do not believe that is the solution to the whole economic circumstance, but that it is the kind of help that individuals need and that some useful work could be done at the same time.

If we find ourselves in that circumstance again during another year coming up, we will address it as and when it is necessary, but in a budget in terms of planning as to what we will do for this year, we will commit again to try to make sure that the environment is such in the Province, that the climate is such, that people can get jobs of their own accord and that the government would assist when private sector employers need the help and assistance of the government to employ extra people, we would assist in that manner rather than plan, as part of the strategy, to put people to work on short-term job creation programs and try to hail that as being the solution to the job problems in Newfoundland and Labrador, because we have said repeatedly in four years that we do not believe that is the answer.

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

MR. WINSOR: Mr. Speaker, let me ask the minister again: If it was necessary last fall, and we have a higher unemployment rate today, why is it not necessary today - that you can eliminate it totally if we have a higher unemployment rate?

Furthermore, the minister indicated in his estimates that he spent $4.5 million on programs that were linked to the Strategic Economic Plan of the Province. If they were such an important part of the Strategic Economic Plan in 1992, how can they be totally eliminated in 1993?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Again I think the hon. member should check what he just quoted because it did not make any sense to me, and it does not relate to any of the numbers that are in the budget with which I am familiar and so on. Maybe tomorrow evening during the estimates, when he will have some three hours to examine the budget headings in the Department of Employment and Labour Relations, he might want to ask that question in more detail and might get an answer, because I cannot answer that kind of a question because it does not make any sense to me.

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member again always refers to the unemployment rate. I have been careful to say to the House of Assembly, and to anyone who listens through this medium in the Province, that while that is one statistic which clearly shows that there is an employment problem in the Province, just like there is in the rest of the country, just like there is in North America, just like there is globally, and that we cannot expect not to have a problem in Newfoundland when it is all around us, that we do not have the great benefit of having some kind of great fortune here that has not befallen anyone else in the world that we know of.

Here we have done a good job, as has been pointed out before. When the statistics are compared to what happened during this recession in this Province, compared to the previous recession with the previous administration, the record clearly shows that this government has done a much better job of handling economic matters and job related matters in the Province than the previous administration could ever hope to try to take (inaudible).

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

On Thursday past the Minister of Fisheries indicated that probably one of the reasons why the Roddickton crab plant has not been reactivated is that there is too much crab processing capability in the Province. Could the minister explain for the House where the processing capability came from at Cottlesville and Old Perlican? Since the minister became minister, is he not aware that he has provided licences to those places? Is that the reason why he made a statement in the House that there is now too much crab processing capability in the Province?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, let me deal with the Old Perlican application. Four days before this government took office, May 5, 1989, the then minister, one of the last acts that he performed was to grant a licence - or at least a transfer of licence - from a plant in Fleur de Lys to a plant in Old Perlican. He did that, of course, along with other transfers and other licences that were issued.

I immediately put a freeze on those licences and had the matter reviewed. It was found that subsequent to that we had to allow the owner of the plant in Fleur de Lys, because of circumstances certainly beyond our control, to transfer the licence on a permanent basis to Old Perlican.

The fact of the matter is that in the process the company spent a considerable amount of money in preparing the plant in Old Perlican to process a certain type of product - crab. We had no choice.

With respect to the latter part of his question regarding Cottlesville, the owners of the Cottlesville plant, Breakwater Fisheries, identified a licence in La Scie that was issued to National Sea that was inactive, and had been inactive I believe for maybe a couple of years. They on their own negotiated the transfer of that licence. As is required they applied to the department for permission to legalize or make official the transfer. The procedure that is laid down was followed to the letter including advertisements in the papers, and making the people of La Scie aware that the application was on file and that we would have to make a decision on it. There were very few objections. I do not think any objections came from La Scie, some came in from other areas that at least they thought might be affected by the transfer, the licensing committee of my department met and made a decision to transfer the licence and that is precisely what happened.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I guess the obvious question to the minister is, if there was excess crab processing capability in the Province, why did the minister's department allow this to happen?

A supplementary to the minister:

It is my understanding that there has been increased processing capacity installed at Little Bay Islands I think it is, and as well at Fleur de Lys, who were into some processing last year, will be into processing again next year, can the minister confirm that there has been increased processing capacity at Little Bay Islands and that Fleur de Lys will process again this year?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, the answer to the first question is yes and to the last question is no. Yes, the plant in Little Bay Islands is a licenced plant, has been re-activated and rebuilt, in fact I do not think it was ever inactive; granted there were times when, because of the shortage of crab and for other reasons the production was down, but the plant will be operating in the summer as it should.

The plant in Fleur de Lys does not have a crab processing licence. Last year, to accommodate the fishermen in the area, with the Little Bay Islands plant down because of a fire, we authorized the issuance of a glut licence as we quite frequently do, which the owners of the Fleur de Lys plant used but we have no intention this year, certainly not that I am aware of, to issue a new licence to the Fleur de Lys plant. There does not appear to be a need for it.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have a supplementary, Mr. Speaker, for the Minister of Tourism and Culture.

On Thursday, the minister, when I questioned him about funding from his department to the Roddickton Crab Plant Committee for a feasibility study, the minister, perhaps understandably, was caught a little off guard and did not understand, but then in Answers to Questions, Mr. Speaker, the minister went on and I refer the minister to his statement when he said: I do not have the full details but my department has informed me that no funds were given to the committee, no funds had been given to the committee, he repeated it. I want to ask the minister now, I am sure he has had a chance to review the situation, has the money that the minister committed in his September 25/'92 letter to the Roddickton Crab Plant Committee, has that been paid to the Committee?

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

MR. WALSH: Mr. Speaker, I have been advised by my officials that no, the funds were not transferred to the Committee.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Opposition House Leader, on a supplementary.

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

A supplementary to the minister. Why did the minister, on September 25th/'92, write to his colleague the Minister of Education, informing him that $5,000 necessary to complete the study would be transferred, why did the minister do that and when can the Roddickton Crab Plant Committee expect to get their $5,000 from the Department of Tourism and Culture for the Roddickton Crab Plant Committee feasibility study?

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

MR. WALSH: Mr. Speaker, in the original letter that was sent to my department, one of the sentences in the letter was very simple; I will read it and then I will table it for the hon. member. They said: `Further to our conversation, this to advise that a Roddickton crab plant committee is conducting a feasibility study to determine whether or not it is viable to re-open the crab plant in Roddickton. While conducting this study it would be an opportune time to explore the tourism potential in light of the newly-paved cross-country road.'

Then he went on to talk about the fact that there was an opportunity to study the tourism potential in the Roddickton area. In my letter, I virtually quoted back that line, saying: You are right. If you are going to have people in there who are doing study on a given plant or a given structure, it might be an opportune time to study the tourism potential.

Since that happened the study has been completed. In the study that was completed by the committee there was no tourism component included in the study. And because there was no tourism component in the study - which is what we were agreeing to help finance - based on that no funds were transferred. They did not follow through with taking advantage of the opportune time to build in a tourism component. In view of the fact that they didn't, we decided not to finance.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Premier. I notice that the Fortis bill, the one to give a tax break to Fortis Trust, hasn't been reintroduced this spring. I wonder is that because the government has other plans for Fortis Inc. Can the Premier tell the House whether or not there have been any discussions with Angus Bruneau or other officials of Fortis Inc. about the possibility of privatizing Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I haven't had any discussions with Angus Bruneau in months and months. I can't speak for anybody else. I will take the question under advisement and determine whether or not anybody has had such discussions on behalf of government. We will advise the House.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In the Budget Speech, it was said that the government is committed to actively examining and acting on the privatization of certain Crown corporations and that further details would be announced over the coming weeks. Is Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro one of those corporations which the government is considering privatizing?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: When the Minister of Finance read in his Budget Speech that further details would be announced in a few weeks that is exactly what he said. A few weeks haven't gone by. So let's leave him the amount of time that he suggested and then details will be made known.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Can the Premier or the Minister of Finance give some assurance to the employees of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro that they won't lose their jobs in some sort of government-sponsored merger between Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and Newfoundland Light through Fortis Inc.?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, if and when anything becomes necessary as a result of a statement the minister may make to the House, or some other minister may make to the House, then I am confident that a statement of position can be made to employees at that time. At the moment, it is pure speculation and I am not prepared to engage in it in the manner which the hon. member is.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have a question for the Premier. Two weeks ago, in the Budget Speech and Budget documents, the government announced as a major decision a $3.6 million cut to most third party organizations. It was number five in the Budget highlights. Despite repeated requests for the list of organizations cut, the Premier still hasn't provided the list. My question is: Are you hiding the names of the community groups being cut because Edsel and Judy warned you of negative PR repercussions, or do you still not know where the cuts will be made?

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As I indicated to the hon. member last week, I was in the process of compiling such a list. As soon as it is compiled it will be made available. I would like to point out to her, as well, that in some instances the funding was done in a block to the departments and they have needed a few days to decide where that block funding is going. That is the only thing that has so far held up the list. I was hoping to have it ready today but it wasn't ready this morning. I hope it will be ready for tomorrow morning.

I would also like to advise her that an awful lot of these grants were not necessarily to community groups in this Province but there are grants that have been made over a period of time to groups outside the Province, and organizations and so on, and that these, in fact, would make up a great deal of that list.

MR. SPEAKER: Question period has expired.

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. GOVER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to table the report of Public Tender Act Exceptions for February 1993.

MR. SPEAKER: Before calling the next item of business, on behalf of hon. members, we would like to welcome to the public galleries, today, the Mayor of Corner Brook, His Worship Mayor Pollett.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to table six copies of an Order-in-Council to meet the requirements of the Financial Administration Act. This refers to the pre-commitment of funds in the Department of Education.

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

MR. FLIGHT: Mr. Speaker, as required by statute, I want to table the annual report of Newfoundland Farm Products Corporation ending 1992.

Notices of Motion

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

MR. NOEL: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce the following motion:

'WHEREAS the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador has not become more viable since Confederation; and

WHEREAS our earned income per capita has not increased relative to other Canadians; and

WHEREAS the public debt for which we are responsible has grown from practically nothing to almost $20 billion; and -'

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible) daydream.

AN HON. MEMBER: Can you contain her, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. NOEL: 'WHEREAS enormous private and business debt has been accumulated to finance our current living standards; and

WHEREAS Canadian Government mismanagement of the national economy, in our fishery, in particular, has proven disastrous; and

WHEREAS our increasing dependence on federal financial transfers is creating an increasingly colonial culture and economic structure in our Province; and

WHEREAS Canadian economic policies and international trading relationships have not proven conducive to our development; and

WHEREAS cutbacks in payments from Ottawa to provincial governments represent a decreasing willingness on the part of the primary beneficiaries of Confederation in Central Canada to compensate other Canadians for the costs we endure; and

WHEREAS Canada has become one of the highest cost, highest taxed, most indebted, and most uncompetitive countries in the world; and

WHEREAS initiatives of the past several years have demonstrated that the kind of reform of the Canadian system of government necessary to make it better serve the needs of Newfoundland and Labrador will not be easy to achieve; and

WHEREAS Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have the human and material resources to sustain a far more viable self-sufficient economy than we presently enjoy;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. NOEL: - that a committee be struck to analyze the consequences of Confederation, assess our prospects for progress as Canadians, and recommend action likely to improve opportunities for economic growth and social viability for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair thought this might be an opportune time to remind hon. members that in some Houses they do have more rules with respect to resolutions than we do, controlling the number of whereas's and the number of resolutions but we do not have it.

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West, on a point of order.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the resolution proposed by the Member for Pleasantville but it is my understanding, Mr. Speaker, that the Member for Pleasantville who obviously appeared to be very sincere about the Daybreak situation had made some commitment to bringing in a resolution dealing with that, I wonder why they kicked him out -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order. I ask hon. members please, to observe the rules of the House. They know what points of orders are and points of privilege and all of that and we ought not to abuse these points of order.

The hon. the Minister of Finance.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow move that the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole on Supply, to consider certain resolutions for the granting of supplementary supply to Her Majesty.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Justice and Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a Bill entitled, "An Act to Amend the Electoral Boundaries Act", and that is the one to ask the House to add a fifth Electoral Boundaries Commissioner.

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. GOVER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, on Friday the hon. Member for Mount Pearl asked some questions relating to information for the three leaseback health care facilities. Mr. Speaker, the department has received the opinion from the Department of Justice. Based upon that opinion, Mr. Speaker, the information has and is being compiled. The information which can be made available based upon that opinion should be made available to the Public Accounts Committee next week.

Petitions

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is my pleasure to present a petition on behalf of 118 people, mostly constituents of Ferryland District. The prayer reads: we urge you to restore funding to the Daybreak Parent Child Centre as soon as possible.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: It is critical that this service be one of the options available for families who need child development, parenting support and other specialized services. I do not need to elaborate greatly on a minimal cost associated with continuing Daybreak but the benefits are enormous which can be derived from parents and family members alike, from the services provided by Daybreak. Just to focus upon the real importance of that to the family itself, I would like to quote from a few parents, one a Louise Kennedy and her quote; 'I was raised in a very violent home and I can say that I wish to God that there was a Daybreak when I was growing up. I was twenty years old with this little girl whom I love dearly but every day I was terrified that I would do to her that which was done to me. I said dear God send someone to help me. I do not know how I got hold of them but these wonderful people in Daybreak showed me how to discipline my child and how to take care of her. Now I have another little girl and I do not have to be afraid anymore of hurting my children.'

Valerie Fillier, another example of the importance really to her and to her family, 'it is not just for one child, it is for the parents and other kids in the home. When I first started going to Daybreak I was isolated and I did not do anything, I just sat around the house. I just got to the point where I could not handle life anymore. Now I have my grade 12 education and I am going to Newfoundland Career Academy. If it was not for Daybreak I would not have the confidence in myself to get out and do something. I would still be home depressed and sitting on welfare.'

I will just read another quote from one other parent, and there are many here, Andrea Glynn, 'I had my son Ryan in Daybreak for four years, he has Attention Deficit Disorder, until then I was ready to tear out my hair, until they taught me how to take care of my son. They taught me how to be patient with him and how to be loving with him. I have a second son who is possibly diagnosed as having ADD. I want him to go to Daybreak in September, will Daybreak be around in September?'

These are just some of the many quotes by parents showing how vital and important it is for them in maintaining a family unit. In giving that support that parents need, who are out there all alone, trying to care for children who have various types of deficit disorders that they cannot possibly provide on their own. Very often today with people being so busy themselves and getting help from people, from neighbours and family, it is always kind of difficult, but to have other groups around them give that moral support I think is very important, and to take away that very vital service is unconscionable I think would be the most important word I could use.

I support this petition and I ask government to have some conscience and to restore the services of Daybreak on a regular basis, and continue in the next fiscal year too.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I wholeheartedly support the prayer of the petition so eloquently presented by the Member for Ferryland. The petitioners are urging the government to restore funding to the Daybreak Centre as soon as possible.

It is hard for me to believe that the government cut funding for Daybreak understanding the value of the service provided there, but if they actually made that decision they failed to take notice of a recent independent evaluation of the Daybreak Centre. Independent evaluators assessed the service and concluded that it is extremely valuable.

One of the people who took part in the study, Dr. Gary Jeffery, a professor at Memorial University and a registered psychologist, said, and I quote: 'As a professor and a psychologist, I have studied and used this service.' He said to the government: 'Your actions are wrong. They are not cost-saving. They are destructive to the futures of families who have no other locally available chance to better their situations.'

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the Premier giving excuses for the government decision to withdraw funding from Daybreak. He said first of all that the government is not funding comparable child/parent resource centres in other parts of the Province, and there is a centre that has operated for a year or so in Corner Brook with federal funding that may have to close. Therefore, it would not be fair for the government to continue funding Daybreak in St. John's.

Mr. Speaker, that is a reprehensible attitude to providing essential services to families with special needs. Essentially it amounts to hurting everyone just because some are hurting.

Now I represent part of the City of Corner Brook and I can say that nobody I know of in Corner Brook would begrudge ongoing provincial government funding to keep operating the Daybreak Centre. It is a centre that is long established. It has been operating for twenty years.

The centre in Corner Brook, which is in Dunfield Park, in a high density, subsidized rental complex, is in Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation premises, especially renovated for the purposes of having the child/parent resource centre there. It is operated with federal government, Health and Welfare Canada, child care initiatives funding for salaries and supplies and so on. That child care initiative's funding runs out at the end of this month, but in sight is new federal funding under the program called 'Brighter Futures'. That is a program that is going to provide over $1 million new federal funds to this Province for each year for five years. It is targeted to young children at risk, as well as their families.

The Dunfield Park program and the Daybreak program in St. John's are ideally suited for this new program, and according to both provincial and federal officials, arrangements for the federal/provincial protocol that will guide the allocation of the new money have just about been complete, and even if the protocol is not signed until part way into the new fiscal year, the federal funds will be provided with effect from April 1st.

So, Mr. Speaker, the Wells' government will have at their disposal new federal funds which they will be able to tap to operate Daybreak, to operate the Dunfield Park Centre in Corner Brook, and to start new child/parent resource centres in other areas of the Province. All along, as has been pointed out by Daybreak participants, the provincial funding for Daybreak has been 50 per cent cost recoverable from the federal government under the Canada Assistance Plan.

Mr. Speaker, given the value of the Daybreak Centre in terms of human lives, the lives of young children and their families with

special needs, given the fact that no suitable alternatives exist, given the projected medium and long-term benefits - benefits to other branches of the provincial government, to other parts of the Department of Social Services, to Education, to Health, to Justice - for heaven's sake, listen to what Daybreak parents and participants and the experts are saying and take immediate action to restore the funding to keep going a good and excellent program.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise also to present a petition to this hon. House on behalf of 244 names, residents of Shea Heights primarily in the district.

The prayer of the petition is: to the hon. House of Assembly in Parliament Assembled the petition of the undersigned residents of Shea Heights in the district of St. John's South, humbly sheweth whereas the Daybreak Parent Child Centre is about to be closed, and these important services will no longer be provided to people in the district of St. John's South, and whereas all other daycare users in the district of St. John's South must now pay for equivalent services offered within the district and/or Province, and whereas the residents of St. John's South cannot bear the cost of this service, wheretofore that Daybreak not only provides employment for some people who live in the district, but that the children and families served by Daybreak live in many districts, and this service is essential to the well-being of deprived families. We humbly ask that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador reinstate the necessary funding to keep in operation the facility of Daybreak Parent Child Centre. It is critical that these services be one of the options available for families who need child development and parenting support and other specified services.

Mr. Speaker, as my hon. colleague, the Member for Ferryland, already said - and I would sooner quote the Member for Ferryland than the Member for Humber East, I assure you - there are lots of good, sound solid reasons - and I think what we see here with Daybreak is a group that has been involved over the years and doing tremendously good work, have not had the opportunity to address themselves to the public the way that they might have. The reasons are obvious. I also would like to read from the information sheet provided by Daybreak: Daybreak deals with the fundamentals of prevention and mental health promotion for the next generation. I think it's exceedingly important that we so note that. It is through programs like Daybreak that we can hope to interrupt the negative cycle of family problems.

I think, Mr. Speaker, what we have seen over the twenty years that Daybreak has existed, a tremendous opportunity for the less fortunate throughout this Province for one reason or another who have not had the opportunity to be involved in a family type environment that Daybreak provides for those who are certainly less fortunate. I would be very hopeful that in Daybreak's meeting tomorrow with the Minister of Social Services that we can reach down and find the funding that is needed, and the support. More than the funding, the support that is needed through the department to ensure that Daybreak continues to foster and grow.

I would suggest, it's sad that this government is faced with the horrendous amount of negativity associated with seventeen years of... mismanagement, I suppose, is as good as any word. I think if that did not precede this government we would see no need to be even dealing with these kinds of situations and problems that face us today. Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I support the petition and support the group. Thank you.

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

MR. TOBIN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I stand to support the petition presented by the Member for St. John's South and I support it, I can assure him, with more enthusiasm than he supported the petition he just rose to present. He talked about seventeen years of mismanagement. I say to the Member for St. John's South, to the Premier, and to other members opposite that he can call it what he likes, but for seventeen years, whether it was mismanagement or good management, Daybreak was funded. While the Conservatives were in power, Mr. Speaker, Daybreak was funded, I say to the Member for St. John's South.

I say also that I am very disappointed today, extremely disappointed, as Wednesday was Private Members' Day, a day when we were going to have a private member's resolution. The private member's resolution for Wednesday had to come from the government members. It couldn't come from the Member for St. John's East or from us, it was their day, and for the Member for Pleasantville to stand with that mushed-up resolution, Mr. Speaker, and not bring in a resolution calling upon government to support Daybreak is shameful. Now, I have to make the point that it was not just the Member for Pleasantville who could have brought in that resolution. The Member for St. John's South who just stood up and feebly tried to make a presentation could have stood in this House today and asked government to bring in funding for Daybreak. That is what the Member for St. John's South could have done, Mr. Speaker. Shame on the Member for St. John's South!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for St. John's South is on a point of order.

MR. MURPHY: As a point of clarification, I ask the Chair, is it right for a private member to have two resolutions on the Order Paper at one time?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

It is not appropriate to direct a question to the Chair, but I want to remind hon. members that we are into petition time. Hon. members know the rules about petitions and I ask hon. members, please, to observe the rules.

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I would suspect the Member for St. John's South is trying to chew up a bit of time, as I exposed his feeble presentation. Let me say one thing and let every member over there understand and realize it, Daybreak is not going anywhere. Daybreak has been there for twenty years and Daybreak will be there in twenty years time I say to members opposite.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TOBIN: The sooner the Premier, the Minister of Finance, and the Minister of Social Services let that sink into their thick heads, as soon as they realize and recognize the importance of Daybreak, they will eventually be forced to change their minds. We will force them in this Assembly, Mr. Speaker. We will tie up this government, if there is any way of tying up this government. And I hope and pray that this government will do it before we get into Estimates Committee, because if there is any courage left on the government side - the vote for the Department of Social Services will not pass. The Member for St. John's East, the Member for Humber East, the Member for Ferryland, and I, as the critic for the department, will be on that Committee, and we will fight it with every ounce of strength we can muster. If the Premier wants to save any little bit of face in this, he might as well move tomorrow and announce that Daybreak will not close. He might as well do it tomorrow because Daybreak isn't going away. In the next few months there may be a new government over there which will ensure that Daybreak receives the same type of funding and treatment that it received for the past seventeen years, I say to members opposite.

It is not enough for the Member for Pleasantville and the Member for St. John's South to be feeble-mouthed and lacking enthusiasm in their support for Daybreak. Get up and be counted. Tell the government that Daybreak isn't going away. The Member for St. John's South should have said to the Premier of this Province, today: I will not support your government, I will vote against the Budget unless you include funding for Daybreak.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TOBIN: One final point before I sit down: The Member for Ferryland presented a petition, supported by the Member for Humber East, but the minister didn't stand to support it. Now, I say to the minister, do not show any more disrespect for that cause than you have already shown. When I take my place, do the hon. thing, stand in this House and support Daybreak, I say to the Minister of Social Services.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

The hon. the Member for Carbonear.

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, I wish to have your permission to present a petition to the House. I spoke to my hon. friends opposite and to the House Leader on this side, and the prayer of the petition is not exactly right, but it is one of the petitions from some of my Roman Catholic constituents in Carbonear district, over 1,100, Mr. Speaker, and I have no hesitation in supporting, I guess, is the right word, their stand as it relates to denominational education. I can honestly say that in Carbonear district, I think that sharing started a long time ago. And in my hon. friend's district next door to me in Bay de Verde, we have had a shared school system between the Roman Catholic and the Integrated now for, I guess, the last ten or twelve years, and that system is working.

The people in my district, Mr. Speaker, including the people who signed this petition, want to make the educational system in the Province the best possible education system and they will work towards doing that. I present it, Mr. Speaker, with great pride, even though there are only a little over 1,100 people in my district who have signed this petition. I think I can honestly say that most of the Catholic people in my district have signed it.

I want to finish by making a comment about Daybreak. I don't think, Mr. Speaker, that we, as politicians, should use Daybreak as a political football.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

The hon. member is presenting a petition about education, I believe, and the hon. gentleman should keep his comments to that petition and not engage in comments with respect to another petition.

MR. REID: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I will close by saying that it gives me great pleasure to support my constituents in this particular area, and I know that most of the people who signed this have been told what the agreement is with the government as it relates to denominational education and they are quite pleased even though -

MR. HEWLETT: Consultation, not agreement.

MR. REID: - even though the petition came after consultation or agreement was made. They have said to me, because of all the effort that went into collecting these names, they wanted me to present it, anyway. I support the people of my district as it relates to denominational education, and I thank the Opposition, as well the House Leader, for allowing me to present it.

Thank you very much.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Mr. Speaker, I would like to say a few words on that particular petition. I support the petition, but what I find passing strange is that the member delivering that petition, when he served on another committee with me, when we were looking into the efficiencies of educational expenditures, did nothing but make fun of the denominational system in this Province. Mr. Speaker, I, support for real, that particular petition.

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. REID: I really don't know, Mr. Speaker, whether or not this is a point of order, maybe it is a point of privilege. I don't know that my hon. friend could actually stand and accuse me of doing something - and I don't even know what he is talking about. I think, as a member of this House, Mr. Speaker, that you shouldn't be allowed to get up and make blanket statements like that unless there is some proof, and I take exception to the fact that that gentleman would get up and say that.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order, it is a difference of opinion between two hon.members.

MR. REID: (Inaudible).

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

When the Chair is giving a ruling, hon. members ought not to be shouting across the floor. The Chair has made a ruling that there is no point of order, just a difference of opinion between two hon. members.

The hon. the Member for Harbour Main.

MR. DOYLE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise, today, to present a petition on behalf of approximately 2,800 people of six parishes at the Head of the Bay, Assumption parish Avondale, St. Peter/St. Paul parish in Harbour Main, Holy Cross parish in Holyrood, St. Anne's parish in Conception Harbour, Immaculate Conception parish in Colliers and St. Edward's parish in Kelligrews. The petition reads: 'We, the undersigned, are committed to the highest quality education for the children of our Province. We support Roman Catholic schools and we want to keep them. In the same way, we support the right of others to have the schools they desire. We also support co-operation between churches and education, especially shared service schools where they are needed. We do not want our rights and the rights of other people in our Province taken away, and we ask you, as our representatives, not to tamper with the rights that we now have under the Constitution of Canada.'

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to support this petition today and I rise to support it without any reservation whatsoever. Mr. Speaker, I have always been a strong supporter, all my life, of denominational education. I am a strong supporter today and I will continue to be a strong supporter of denominational education, because I believe it is the right of any individual to be educated in the school system that reflects the moral and ethical values of the individual, in whatever religion with which he happens to be associated. I believe this is what the church leaders are talking about and this is what they want. I think that in spite of what some people may feel, this is what the majority of people in Newfoundland and Labrador want, as well.

I think we would all do very well, Mr. Speaker, to think about all of the positive things associated with denominational education and with having our children educated in a manner that addresses the whole person. I think this is what the church leaders have been concentrating on, that the denominational education system concentrates more on addressing the whole individual, not just the academic end of it - which is very, very important, as we know - but also the spiritual and the moral end of it, as well, which is important for our young people also.

I have thought about the denominational education system, Mr. Speaker, a great deal over the last number of weeks and months. While I have heard a few people here and there condemn the system, I can't say that there are too many people in the Province who would not want to have their children educated in the ways of christianity and in a manner that reflects the moral values of the particular religion with which they happen to be associated.

The message, in my view, Mr. Speaker, is loud and clear from the various church leaders and from people in general, that people do want that system of education preserved in the Province. They want a guarantee that there is not going to be any tampering with the Constitution of Canada, with respect to the rights they have under the denominational education system. They also feel, Mr. Speaker, that it is in danger at this point in time, because there are a few people out and about the Province who manufacture reasons every now and then, as to why the denominational education system should be thrown out. The opponents of denominational education would have us believe that there is costly duplication everywhere in the system, right across the system, which is not true, Mr. Speaker. There may be isolated cases every now and then where there is a little bit of duplication but these issues are being addressed, have been addressed in the past and there is a commitment to address these issues again in the future.

So, I say, Mr. Speaker, and I have said it all my life, let's retain that system. It is a good system of education. We are the envy of other provinces in Canada. We are the envy of most places in the world who realize that we do have that kind of system. It is a good system because it ensures that our children get a good foundation in moral values and whether or not we choose to stand up in public forums like this one and talk about it, is something that each of us, as individuals, have to decide. But it is a good system of education because it ensures that the churches are involved in laying that foundation for young people and I think that is very important, indeed, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. DOYLE: I support the petition.

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

MR. PARSONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the Member for Harbour Main. Certainly, I am not going to take up all of my five minutes, Mr. Speaker, but he presented a petition and his remarks were along the same lines as mine. I congratulate that member for presenting the petition and presenting it in the way he did.

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure if those petitions would have ever come to the floor of the House if Dr. Williams had stayed within his terms of reference, because I do not think that ever it was meant to be, at least not by the terms of reference, for the denominational educational system to be explored, and I think that may be what caused the biggest problem. I think he went beyond his mandate when he explored the denominational educational system, and I think that is where all of this originated, and it is too bad because it did leave some doubt in some people's minds.

I did want to go back to the Minister of Health's remarks a few days ago, and he said it right, and I certainly have to congratulate him on it. He said: There are so many things out here in the schools that are happening because of the educational system that we do not see, that we take for granted, such as music, sports, and other advantages that we have because of the system that we have.

Mr. Speaker, I will rise every time I have a chance and support people like the Member for Harbour Main and the Member for St. John's Centre, in saying: Thank God that we all see things - and that the ex-Minister of Education - he and I have discussed it over and over and over again about the sharing aspect of education and how we could improve the system to be more beneficial for our children and grandchildren. I think that is where we are all coming from, Mr. Speaker.

Everyone - you have to change. Systems have to change. There should be always an opportunity for change to help to make the system better, and I think that is what we are all talking about, but I said it before. In my area alone there are three denominations who are prepared to activate, or to be actually involved in the one school. They have been given the land for free, to build the school, again which is a lovely area surrounded by a recreational complex, safe for children, a paved road right to it, but the monies are just not available to the school boards to build it.

No matter what we talk about sharing, we do not have the money right now to support our needs, and until that day arrives we are going to have to sort of do with what we have and try to improvise where possible, but it is sort of a white elephant. Out of all the schools, there is only 12 per cent of all the schools that has any type of duplication. That is being worked upon.

Everyone here in the House seems to be in line, and with this message coming from all of us, certainly I think that it would be detrimental to any government to even tamper with or try to change the system of which we are very proud.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Mr. Speaker, I am standing to present a new petition, unless the other man is supporting one.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. member is presenting a new one as well, so the hon. the Member for Green Bay.

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

I wish to present a petition signed by five residents of the community of Beachside in my district.

The petition is simple. We, the undersigned residents of Beachside petition the honourable House of Assembly for approval of another phase of our water and sewer system.

It has been signed by five, Mr. Speaker, because those were the five community councillors who were present at a meeting I attended this weekend.

Beachside is a small town of a few hundred people, that had a water system installed a few years ago but they have had a lot of problems since in terms of discoloration in the water and silting in the water. I have seen ice cubes in Beachside where they are clear on the top and on the bottom they are actually brown. Bedclothes and linens cannot be washed in automatic washers because they are absolutely ruined and stained. A lot of people in Beachside go to church and their Sunday best white shirt you cannot wash in the local water. You cannot drink the local water. It is terrible.

As evidence I show you this here. It is the colour of tea. That is the local water. It is the colour of tea, and when you shake it up it is like a cup of black coffee, so we have water not fit for human consumption.

The government saying that money is allocated on a needs basis, and here is a need that is not being met. I table the petition, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. FUREY: (Inaudible) point of order.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology on a point of order.

MR. FUREY: It is improper to bring any objects like that into the House of Assembly. That should be taken from the House of Assembly immediately, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Yes.

The hon. the Member for Green Bay to the point of order.

MR. HEWLETT: If I have broken the rules of the House of Assembly in presenting this particular bottle of water, Mr. Speaker, I apologize to the House and will remove it.

MR. SPEAKER: To the point of order. Hon. members know that there are certain objects not allowed to be presented in the House. I'm not sure, but I'd expect a bottle might be one of them, but the hon. member apologized.

The hon. the Minister of Health.

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a petition here from the students and staff of Gonzaga High School. I showed it to Your Honour earlier because I don't think it quite fits the specifications for a petition, but if I have leave of the House I'll present it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

DR. KITCHEN: On the church issue, on the religious issue, on church schools.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, attached to the petition, which is signed by quite a number of students - and I'll refer to that in a minute - is a letter from the principal, signed by the principal and one of the teachers, to accompany the petition.

He says: "Enclosed you will find a petition, signed by approximately 400 students, staff, teachers and Jesuits of Gonzaga High School, firmly supporting the right of Roman Catholics to attend Roman Catholic schools. The petition strongly asserts the right of all parents and students to attend denominational or secular schools if reasonable numbers of students permit.

"We, the students, teachers, and Jesuits of Gonzaga High School seek your support in protecting our legal constitutional right to administer and attend Roman Catholic schools."

Mr. Speaker, I won't read it all: "We expect you to make our views known to the Government, at every level, respecting the right of Catholics to the education of their choice. Although this petition was begun only days before the Premier assured the House of his intention not to take away the rights of Catholics, we want to be officially recognized for the record."

The students had, as a preface to their petition: we the undersigned students, parents, teachers, staff and Jesuits of Gonzaga Regional High School support Catholic education and the inherent right of all parents to choose an education appropriate for their children.

They quote Article 26 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which says: "Everyone has the right to an education. Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children."

They quote Vatican Council II's Gravissimum educationis: "The task of imparting education belongs primarily to the family, but it requires the help of society as a whole. Parents who have a primary and inalienable duty and right in regard to the education of their children should enjoy the fullest liberty in their choice of school. The public authority, therefore, whose duty it is to protect and defend principles of justice, to ensure... that parents are truly free to select schools for their children in accordance with their conscience."

Also quoted is number eighty-two of The Characteristics of Jesuit Education: "The aim of Jesuit (Catholic) education is to help students realize that talents are gifts to be developed, not for self-satisfaction or self-gain, but rather, with the help of God, for the good of the human community. Students are encouraged to use their gifts in the service of others, out of love for God."

They also quote Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, who says: "Our ideal is the well-rounded person who is intellectually competent, open to growth, religious, loving, and committed to doing justice in generous service to the people of God."

Finally, from the pastoral Team of Gonzaga High School: "The Gonzaga High School community is dedicated to preserving an environment of christian values as expressed through the Catholic faith. The Gonzaga community endeavours to provide every person an opportunity to grow in knowledge of God and the world, and to develop a living faith that reaches out to others in mercy, justice, and love. Therefore we support the fundamental right of all parents and students to choose an education according to their beliefs and traditions. It is our belief that public money should be used equitably to support the schools desired by them.'

Mr. Speaker, this petition is signed by 400 students, and when I look at the students, I recognize quite a number of constituents in the district of St. John's Centre, some of my neighbours' children, some friends, and many of whom I know personally, but not all. It is signed by eight Jesuits - I didn't know there are that many Jesuits at Gonzaga - eight Jesuits, and quite a number of teachers and staff other than teachers, the people who work in the school but are not teachers, also by some alumnae and parents, but few of those. It is also signed by the MHA for the district, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. minister's time has elapsed.

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you.

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

DR. WARREN: I have just two or three comments. I am pleased to support the petition presented by my colleague, the Member for St. John's Centre.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased also that the government has indicated his support of the principles that he eunciated in his statement read by the Premier some weeks ago, supported by the churches. I just want to add a comment about the fact that students have signed this petition.

One of the most interesting things that I did in my period as Minister of Education, was to visit schools and talk to students. Mr. Speaker, I visited a school a week, on the average, and talked to students, teachers and after school, often parents. In fact, I think, every Minister of Education - and I am sure the present Minister - is doing or will do the same thing. I think every Minister of Education should visit schools - a school a week.

I found, in my discussions with them, that students strongly supported moral religious education. Now, I want to be honest with the House and you, Mr. Speaker, and my members, they were not - let me put it this way, they were critical of the traditional type of religious moral education programs that were offered in many of our schools, but they did stress in their conversations with me, the importance of a strong moral religious education program for schools, that permeated not just a class a week, or two or three classes a day but permeated the whole operation of the school. I am pleased to say that many of the denominations in this Province have already changed the approach to religious education. We are not into the traditional types of programs. I have been in Catholic schools, Pentecostal schools and Integrated schools where they focus on the problems with the environment, that are facing the environment in the world, and the importance of dealing with that in the christian context.

So, I do support the petition presented by my friend, the Member for St. John's Centre, and I support the basic principles enunciated in that petition. I am pleased to say that religious education, in a new format, is alive and well in many of our schools in the Province. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. NOEL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I, too, have a petition on the denominational education issue. It is from the parishioners of St. Paul's parish, which is located in my district. The prayer of the petition is: 'We, the undersigned, are committed to the highest quality education for the children of our Province. We support Roman Catholic Schools and want to keep them. In the same way, we support the rights of others to have the schools they desire. We also support co-operation between the churches in education, especially shared service schools where they are needed. We do not want our rights and the rights of other people in our Province taken away, and we ask you, as our representatives, not to tamper with the rights we now have under the Constitution of Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I don't guess there is much need for me to go into very much detail in relation to this petition, which is similar to others that have been presented by numerous members of the House. I have met with members of the parish council, who tell me that there are about 433 signatures on this petition, which constitutes about half of their parish.

The petition was started prior to the statement made by the Premier here, a couple of weeks ago, and the parishioners are quite satisfied with the plans government have for dealing with this, quite satisfied by the joint statement made by the Premier and the church leaders. They do want to make sure that they retain their constitutional right, that given to them in Term 17 of the Terms of Union, assuring them of the right to denominational education for their children.

But they realize that we have to do everything we can, Mr. Speaker, to ensure we eliminate all unnecessary costs from the educational system and to make sure that we have the best possible educational system that we can afford. They merely want to make sure that an opportunity for religious teaching is retained; they want to make sure that the values, their values, the values by which they want their children brought up, are inculcated in them through their educational years, and I must say, the Minister of Health, made a pretty good speech the other day on the value of our denominational system and how it has entrenched real values in the young people, who have benefitted from it in this Province.

These parishoners, Mr. Speaker, don't want to have a system of education that is going to be unduly costly for the Province, but they want to make sure that their children and their children's children, will always have the right to religious instruction through the school system. However, they also encourage the government to make sure that it does everything possible to eliminate all unnecessary costs, as I said, and to make sure that we have the best possible system of education we can afford.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to present a petition on behalf of 158 residents of St. Joseph's parish in Petty Harbour, Maddox Cove.

Mr. Speaker, I support this petition which states: 'We, the undersigned, are committed to the highest quality education for the children of our Province. We support Roman Catholic schools and want to keep them. In the same way, we support the rights of others to have the schools they desire. We also support co-operation between the churches and education, especially shared service schools where they are needed. We do not want our rights and the rights of other people in our Province taken away, and we ask you, as our representatives, not to tamper with the rights we now have under the Constitution of Canada.'

Mr. Speaker, the churches have played a very significant role in education in this Province, and up to 1949 they were given a constitutional right to maintain a strong presence in schools here in this Province. The Terms of Union entrenched in 1949 -

MR. ROBERTS: There was no constitutional right before 1949.

MR. SULLIVAN: In 1949.

MR. ROBERTS: In 1949 it was entrenched.

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, that is what I am stating.

MR. ROBERTS: Before that there was no protection.

MR. SULLIVAN: That is correct, that is what I am stating. I said, in 1949, they were given that specific right and it was entrenched in Term 17 of the Terms of Union with Canada.

The churches have continued to play an important role, not only in the delivery of these systems, but also in terms of the financing of education. It only has become primarily a public function, the financing, over the past number of years, but churches have still used some of the funds from churches to be able to put money into the programs and into capital expenditures.

Tremendous progress has been made over the past number of years in interdenominational sharing, in shared services and joint service schools in the Province. And things were moving on a very even footing, without much fuss, until they felt that their right was being threatened - the right to have a say into education of their children according to the specific religion of their choice.

The key point here is that parents should have the choice of selecting the type of education they want for their kids, and if they so choose, that of one specific religion. They should have that right, which is entrenched.

Over the past several months, this government have raised a lot of concerns about the rights of parents to have a say in the specific type of education they want for their kids, and it has set back our education system probably a number of years. It has built up a mistrust in this government for a fear of what they may legislate and what they may do. But co-operation has increased. We have only to look around this Province to see the numerous examples of shared schools and services being delivered in the Province.

Now, people have built up a great mistrust in government. They fear that their rights are going to be taken away. They haven't received anything of a definitive nature whatsoever to allay those fears and concerns they have. While this government have indicated what is not their intention or their objective or what is not their plan, they have not specifically stated what is their plan.

Bills 16 and 17 started building up a mistrust in this government. Statements by the Minister of Education, last fall, on denominational education raised that level of suspicion and even anger, in certain sectors, that much higher.

All we are asking is that these churches be permitted to continue to have a say in the education of this Province, that their rights not be trampled on, that they have an opportunity to continue to deliver education in as cost-efficient a manner as possible. They are as cognizant of the need for efficient delivery of education as anybody else, and education can be delivered through co-operation between the various churches and denominations in a cost-efficient manner. We have only to look back over the past several years to see that we have been moving in that direction at an accelerated pace.

Now, concerns are being raised and people are very concerned that they may have a weakening of that specific role that they have played, and all because this government have been very wishy-washy on the issue.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

I would like to have just a few brief words on this petition presented on behalf of the people of St. Joseph's parish in Petty Harbour - Maddox Cove, half of which would be in my district - the Maddox Cove half of it.

I want to stand here in this House of Assembly and support the people of that parish, as I have St. Kevin's parish and Corpus Christi parish, when I presented petitions on their behalf.

Mr. Speaker, I just want to note that pretty well every member in this House of Assembly has presented a petition from some group, from the Roman Catholic parishioners throughout the Province, and there have been thousands and thousands of petitioners on that specific issue.

I would say, the main reason there is such nervousness about what is going to happen to our education system in this Province would be our present Minister of Education, obviously, who said that he wanted to be remembered by his grandchildren as the Minister of Education who did away with the denominational education system. So that would create a bit of concern for people who support it.

The Premier of our Province made an agreement with the churches, and the agreement was to consult. The agreement was not that he would not try to change the system. The agreement was not that he would not, some time in the future, go to the Government of Canada and try to change our Constitution to get rid of denominational education. The agreement was only to consult in the future. That, in itself, would make people nervous, because we know the Premier's record on consultation. It is not very good.

Mr. Speaker, I am a supporter of the denominational education system, but I haven't always been. I was at one time when my children went to school in the denominational education system. I supported it very strongly. I went through the system myself. Obviously, we all did.

Mr. Speaker, there was a time before my children were going to school when there were some comments coming mostly from the education department of Memorial University. A couple of professors in that area were suggesting that the denominational education system was costing us too much money. I did, at that time, question whether or not it was costing us too much money, whether there was a lot of duplication, and I did check it out. I checked to see if that was possible.

I asked people about the duplication. In my constituency, especially, there is not much duplication because the schools are bursting at the seams. It is a growth area. There is not enough room in the schools we have now to accommodate the people who need to be there. But when I asked people who did not support the system, what was the problem, one of the things they mentioned was school busing. That is only a management problem. If there are two school buses passing each other on the street, going different ways, or going the same way, picking up different kids, that is only a management problem. Any of the problems that were raised to me about the duplication and about the expense of a denominational education system were not inherent because of the denominational education system. It is inherent because we have poor management of that system. If the system is not managed properly, any system, it will be expensive. There was a letter in the paper a little while ago which showed our per capita cost of education in this Province as compared to four or five other provinces. We were in the middle. We were not the most expensive, we were not the least expensive, we were somewhere in the middle. Mr. Speaker, that is usually where Newfoundland comes out in most comparisons, most national comparisons across Canada. Our education system is good. I think we have a good system but we certainly need improvements. We certainly need more effort, more money, and more facilities in place but we are not going to get it with this government. We are not going to get the necessary improvements if we keep laying off teachers and if we do not build the classrooms that are necessary, and if we prevent our education system from providing courses such as music, art, and other courses.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

Orders of the Day

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Justice and the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, could we give first readings, if the House is so minded, to Motions 2 and 3. I understand as well there is unanimous consent to give first reading to the bill with respect to the electoral boundaries commission, the Electoral Boundaries Act of which I gave notice today. That will enable the bill to be printed and made available to members in the House later today.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Justice to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Internal Economy Commission Act," carried. (Bill No. 17)

On motion, Bill No. 17 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Health to introduce a bill, "An Act Respecting A Smoke-Free Environment In The Workplace And In Public Places In The Province, " carried. (Bill No. 18)

On motion, Bill No. 18 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Justice to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Electoral Boundaries Act," carried. (Bill No. 20)

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

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Government House Leader and Minister of Justice.

MR. ROBERTS: Let me preface what I am about to move by saying that the government has no present intention of asking the House to sit after 5 o'clock tonight but I do want to retain some flexibility in planning, so with that said let me move that the House do not adjourn at 5 o'clock.

MR. SPEAKER: It has been moved and seconded that the House do not adjourn at 5 o'clock.

All those in favour 'aye.'

AN HON. MEMBER: Aye.

All those against 'nay.'

Carried.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, the Interim Supply resolution, and perhaps I could advise members that I am informed by the table officers that we have now had six hours, thirty-six minutes, which, if arithmetic does not fail me, leaves eleven hours, twenty-four minutes to go, assuming we take the full time allowed by Rule 118, Sub (5).

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

Committee of Supply

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

Bill No. 12.

The hon. the Member for Menihek.

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

I'm pleased to have the opportunity to rise and speak on this Bill, an interim supply bill. I notice in the request for funds or approval for funds that the Department of Employment and Labour Relations requests approximately $11 million in interim supply for their expenditures. Yet this afternoon I heard in question period how the minister, that young and inexperienced minister -

MR. WINSOR: Only in Cabinet for a year.

MR. A. SNOW: Only in Cabinet for a year. Yet he said today that he didn't feel it necessary at the time to come in with an employment program because they're not concerned about the short-term. They're more concerned about the long-term picture, Mr. Chairman, the twenty-five year plan that they have.

I want to remind this young, inexperienced, but charismatic minister, this former labour leader, that there is a problem in my district specifically with regard to requests for short-term employment. We are not a district accustomed to seeking short-term employment projects as a method of being a major part of our economy. This young, inexperienced minister who has learned to eat crow - and I know it was difficult, after being used to the steaks and the caviar in the Cabinet and all that stuff - I know it's tough now to eat crow. I would hope that he would get down to the ground level now, keep his feet on the ground, and understand some of the problems that are out and about within this Province. More specifically, to the problems in my district.

We used to have 1,600 people in the bargaining unit of Local 5795 a year and a half ago. Now that's down to 1,200. We've lost several hundred jobs, 400 to 500 jobs when you look at both bargaining units in western Labrador. These are people accustomed to making very high earnings and producing a lot of wealth for this Province. Producing a lot of wealth that you, Mr. Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, with your cohorts in government have - they've felt, a lot of people in my district have felt that you've squandered a lot of their tax dollars. Buying luxurious, lavish furniture for your digs up on the eighth and ninth floors. Going on tours and trips, expensive briefcases and suitcases, and all that stuff. It's obscene, they tell me, how you people have handled the funds, their tax dollars.

What they're looking for now - they can understand that the minister, when the minister stands and says that they're more concerned about the long-term solution, how they're going to create more economic wealth and more opportunities for employment in this Province, but then they say: it's going to take probably twenty-five years to get there. These people who have worked for the last five to eight years in the mines in western Labrador, in Wabush or Labrador City, some of these people have decided to stay around there, because there isn't much opportunity out and about in other mining areas in this Province, or indeed the whole country. So they want to stay there now and hopefully carry over - maybe through a make-work program. Because we have maybe about 100 people who are accustomed to producing a lot of wealth that you, as Cabinet ministers, have squandered over the last four or five years. That's what they feel. You've squandered it, you've blown it.

MR. FLIGHT: What about the seventeen before that (Inaudible)?

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Chairman -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Chairman, a lot of my people in my district were disappointed with the squandering that occurred over the previous seventeen years too. But they're disgusted with the obscenities that are occurring now with expenditures that are going on in this Province. Absolutely disgusted with it. Because they work hard for the amount of money that they get paid and the amount that they have to send out to this building here so that you people can squander it here on your luxurious digs, as I suggested, up on the eighth, ninth and tenth floors, and your big expensive trips around the world.

They would like to see some things done in western Labrador that would help ease the burden. They are not looking for even assistance. They would like to be able to get the opportunity of a make-work program to do something within the community and possibly get back to work in the mining industry after the contracts have been settled. They want that. They want a short-term employment program from the minister, and I know that the minister has been specifically asked - specifically asked - to come up with something for that district, but in the long term in western Labrador what we also want is for this government to pay attention to what the mining companies are doing in western Labrador. They have to discontinue placing such a high tax burden upon the mining industry itself.

Now, Mr. Chairman, the mining industry is taxed more than any other industry in this Province. It creates an inordinate amount of wealth, comparatively speaking, to other industries to the general revenues of this Province. It is time for this Province to realize that they are going to have to decrease the tax burden upon that particular industry.

Mr. Chairman, I asked in this House last week that the Minister of Mines and Energy would request his cohorts in government, when he is allowed to speak, and when he is in the Province, if he could get to a Cabinet meeting, if he would request that they would actually decrease the tax burden placed on the mining industry, because it is too high.

The day after the mining company in Wabush requested their employees to take a wage concession, this government attacked that mining company by going back to appeal a court case that the company had won over a million dollar tax dispute. That is what they did. After the company going to its employees, requesting that the employees take a $4 or $5 an hour decrease in salary, this government then attacks that company by appealing a court case which that company had won.

That angers, disappoints and disgusts people working in the industry - that that is the amount of consideration you would give the industry. You would attack a company that is requesting that its employees give back wages - wages that they have earned by working very hard, producing very hard - working for a company that competes in the global economy and competes very well, even with the high tax burden. They should discontinue this appeal, this attack, on the mining company in Wabush, because that is basically what it is.

They should also look at the royalties that are being paid. I asked the Minister of Mines and Energy to also investigate whether or not we - when I say 'we', I mean this Province - should condone and accept the fact that the mining industry pays so much royalties - to royalty holding companies either in Toronto or stationed in Vancouver, because really what do these companies - do we still owe them that amount of royalty, or is there some method we should be looking at where we can change the legislation to restrict and lower those royalties they are paying out to NALCAP in the circumstance of Wabush mines operating over in Wabush.

The $4.5 million that these people are paying in royalties to NALCAP is a very heavy burden upon that mining company, and I want to emphasize that we could do this because this company does not produce any wealth within this Province.

I recognize that the people who held mineral rights, the people who held and still hold - the company that still holds the mineral rights to that ore deposit - yes, they did put together a package, so to speak, for the ultimate development of that ore deposit, but times have changed. That was thirty years ago. Maybe it is time to revisit the royalty schemes that the industry must now pay to that particular company, because they do not do anything else.

They are not spending money on exploration. Maybe, if they would change the regulations, change the tax regime so that these revenues would be directed out into exploration or as an incentive for other mining companies to start, Mr. Chairman, maybe then that would be more creative, that would create more wealth.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: By leave?

Mr. Chairman, because that would create the opportunity of creating more wealth within the Province. I recognize, as the people of my district recognize, that yes, this government still needs money to operate, to deliver its services to the residents of, not just western Labrador, but the whole Province, to come in with some type of legislation where you can create a lesser burden on the operating company and yet allow a certain amount of protection for the people that own the mineral rights to the mining concession. Yet, Mr. Chairman, and even more importantly than those two things, also create an atmosphere where people can still willingly go out and invest money to explore and develop other mining properties or mineral rights within this Province and more specifically around western Labrador because I believe this is what we have to do to create a larger economy. The answer of this government to its economic needs, when they look at the budgetary process, is either to tax or to cut, which I think has been totally wrong. What they need to do is be more creative. They have to be more creative and present legislation to the House that is not just going to tax and cut but is going to be creative and allow the economy to expand and thus create more revenues, Mr. Chairman.

But, Mr. Chairman, in the short term, I realize that it is going to take a longer time. I do not think it is going to take twenty-five years, as the Minister responsible for Employment and Labour Relations has suggested and the Premier has suggested, Mr. Chairman, that it is going to take twenty-five years to have this economic plan implemented. I think that is balderdash, Mr. Chairman. It is silliness for the people, for the Cabinet Minister and the Premier of this Province, to suggest that the people of this Province are going to have to wait for twenty-five years for any economic recovery, Mr. Chairman, to have some employment in this Province. That is absolutely silliness, Mr. Chairman, but in the short term this government has to respond to the needs of individuals who are not just living in my district but throughout this Province but more specific to my district, these people who have worked in the mining industry for six, seven, and eight years and are now presently laid off because of technological changes, because of not just the global economy or the recession that we are in but for other reasons they have found that they have been laid off.

The manpower levels are down drastically in both mines. So, Mr. Chairman, they would like to be able to get some short term work opportunities, employment opportunities and then maybe have the opportunity of going back to school and learning an additional skill so that they will be more marketable when the recession is over, not just in this Province but the whole country.

So, I specifically asked the young inexperienced minister who has become accustomed to eating caviar and thick steaks up in the Cabinet room and yet comes down here in the floor of the House and eats crow, I would specifically ask him to investigate the opportunity to have more funds allocated within his department to create some short term work opportunities in western Labrador.

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: No, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, the Minister responsible for Forestry and Agriculture agrees with the statement that they eat caviar up in the Cabinet and they come down here and they have to eat crow sometimes during the sessions in the House of Assembly. Now, he agreed with it and he suggested that he has to do the same thing. I feel sorry for him, Mr. Chairman, that he has to come down here and apologize and beg for forgiveness from the voters. I feel sorry for him that he has to do that. But he has done it and he will have to continue to do it because of what he does within his jurisdiction as a Cabinet minister. That's why he has to do that and that's why he has to behave the way he does.

Also in the interim supply bill I notice that the Minister of Finance has requested $14.5 million, a substantial amount of money. Here is the minister whom I have talked to several times about things that they could do to encourage more economic activity in this Province. He just says: I have more important things to do. Because he is still going along the guidelines of: we either cut or we tax. We have no other method of doing anything. There's absolutely nothing being done by his particular department to be more creative, in creating more economic activity within this Province.

That particular minister, that department, I've been several months now trying to get some movement with regard to taxes between the two provinces on the fuel tax, because we have an emerging industry occurring within western Labrador, with the opening up of the connected road to the Canadian highway network we're seeing now about ninety-odd per cent of our consumer freight in western Labrador now comes in on rubber tire from and through the Province of Quebec. I would suspect - and we're seeing it beginning this year - I forget the percentage but probably half, at least, or 90 per cent, of the perishable freight now consumed over in Churchill Falls and in Naskaupi, or over in Happy Valley - Goose Bay and central Labrador, also comes on in rubber tire. Transport trucks. This is over what's commonly referred to as the Trans-Labrador Highway and the Baie Comeau road.

This emerging industry creates new economic activity within Labrador West. I've asked the minister to see if we can do something with regard to the rate that we charge, or has been charged within western Labrador, for diesel fuel. If you compare the amount that the truckers pay in the Province of Quebec there's a tremendous difference in the price. I've asked the Minister of Finance to look at this because we know what's happening. Truckers are putting oversized tanks on their trucks so they only have to fuel up in Quebec. They have enough fuel to drive all the way to Happy Valley - Goose Bay and return, because there's such a difference in the fuel prices between the two provinces.

He knows, because I've made him aware of the problem, if we were to adjust our tax rate within western Labrador, in a border community, similar to what they've done in Quebec. They recognized the tax structure in Quebec as being a graduated tax, and lowering it when they come into a border situation where they can allow the entrepreneurs, the people who are selling the fuel, to be more competitive with their competition across the border. I've asked this administration to look at a very similar situation for this province.

They say: yes, that's a good idea, but they don't move, they don't do anything. They're too busy just looking at the bottom line of saying: yes, we can do that, yes it might create some more economic activity, and it might give an advantage to a Newfoundland and Labrador business to be able to do this, but we've got too many other things to be doing. We have to look at the big picture. We are worrying about all the layoffs that we're going to do or how we can cut back or how we can increase taxes, not decrease. That's how this regime looks at it. They just have two solutions. One is to cut, two to tax. They don't realize that if they followed examples set out in other provinces that there are methods of creating more economic activity by lowering taxes.

I've also asked the Minister of Finance to create some method of working, more specifically with the Province of Quebec with regard to sales tax paid on vehicles being purchased in Quebec, it is a very big problem here for individuals to be able to get, when they purchase a car for whatever reason, or a truck, in the Province of Quebec, they are having difficulty when they then have to pay their sales tax to get licence plates in this Province, they find that they cannot get them and they cannot get a refund on the amount of taxes that they pay to the Province of Quebec and the Minister of Finance has promised several times that he is going to; oh yes, we will have a look at that but it is not getting done.

Now, Mr. Chairman, those are just a few things that I wanted to raise with regard to the Department of Finance, but the thing that the Department of Finance has done in my district I guess that has the greatest impact, next to the lack of action upon the mining industry in decreasing the amount of taxes or the tax burden upon the mining industry itself and more specifically Wabush mines, Mr. Chairman, next to that lack of action has been the change in the school taxing situation in western Labrador. What this government has done with the change in the school tax in western Labrador is absolutely criminal. It could be and will be devastating to the quality of education being delivered in western Labrador because of the changes proposed by this government in the school taxing.

We are finding individuals working in the mines are paying twice or three times as much taxes as they paid previously. We are also finding that although this government promised that the school boards would get the same level or more funding with the change in legislation, we have found in western Labrador that we are going to lose $1 million a year out of local funding to schools and education in western Labrador, so it is going to drastically affect the quality of education being delivered in western Labrador and of course, we in western Labrador have been very, very proud of the quality of education we have had over the number of years, and we recognize that one of the reasons why we had a better education system than anywhere else in this Province, was that we paid more for the education system than anywhere else in this Province.

Now we are finding that with the changes that this regime brought in, is that we still pay more than anywhere else in the Province but we are getting a lower quality. We are going to have a lower quality of education in our area and we find that fundamentally unfair to ask people to pay more and receive less, but that is exactly what is happening in western Labrador with regard to the delivery of education and the change in the school taxing authority in our area.

Those are just a few remarks, Mr. Chairman, on Interim Supply. I notice that the Minister of Justice has requested $34 million in Interim Supply, and, Mr. Chairman, we live in a border community in western Labrador and I have always felt that we were one of the most prosperous, one of the best looking communities in this Province and yet - I can remember when I went up there in 1964 to go to work there, we were probably considered then to be a mining camp and a lot of the community was single men's housing, or we lived in bunkhouses, in trailers and that type of thing; it was a very temporary setup and a lot of the people in this House, Mr. Chairman, their first jobs were in western Labrador.

But over the years, Mr. Chairman, we have become a thriving, healthy, young community very proud of its contribution to the provincial and the national economy. We also evolved to be a healthy participating community with very, very community minded citizens. Mr. Chairman, it does not matter what volunteer service people are asked to do in western Labrador they come out in droves to do it. We have hosted national and international athletic events, symposiums and conferences, and do a better job than anywhere else in this Province, and we are very proud of it. We evolved from a mining camp to this healthy community because of community participation and because we felt this was our new community. As a person living there we felt that this was our town, this was our place to live, this was our home, but his government has the mentality that you should not make western Labrador your home, you should not live there. What you are suppose do it is just go up there, go to work and send your money back to the Island so we can live high on the hog.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. A. SNOW: Now, Mr. Chairman, the Member for St. John's Centre, the former Minister of Finance, says, hear, hear! Hansard will record that. That same Minister of Health who has allowed the health budget to be decimated and who has brought in cut after cut to the Captain William Jackman Memorial Hospital, that same minister who attempted to force the federal government not to allow a Labrador tax benefits package. He was against that. He went to the federal government to request that the federal government not institute a tax benefits package to the people living in Labrador, that same member now says, hear, hear! What they should be doing in Labrador is not making it a place to live. Do not call it home. Send your money down to the Confederation Building so we can have deeper carpet, plusher chairs and more caviar in our Cabinet room. That is what he says. Well, Mr. Chairman, the people in western Labrador do not believe that. They want to participate in this provincial economy. They want to have the amenities that are being offered elsewhere in his Province. They want quality health care, they want quality education, they want the opportunity for employment, they want the opportunity for investment. They want to participate but this government does not want them to participate and that is why they keep taxing, and taxing, and not putting anything back.

The Department of Justice under the previous administration changed from RCMP policing to the RNC policing and built a new building, but what does this regime do when this group take over? They cut back the RNC policing, and what else do they do? We used to have a resident Provincial Court Judge in western Labrador but this government felt they could save money by sending a travelling judge in with his suitcase to actually hold court sometimes, Mr. Chairman, in a local bar. That is what they do. I am told he did not have a real expensive briefcase though. He just had an ordinary Justice Department issued briefcase. They probably only cost $100. Our travelling judge does not warrant the expensive luxury jobs that the Cabinet minister gets. That is the type of abuse that this government has heaped upon the people of western Labrador.

Send you money down to St. John's, send it into Confederation Building. We will not allow you to have a resident judge because you are only a mining camp. You do not need to be living up there. We will just send in a judge, take a policeman, and if anybody has to go to court we will just lock him up and wait three or four days for a judge to show up then maybe we can allow somebody to go to court to defend himself. I firmly believe the fact that this administration saw fit not to have a resident judge was because as they said, of budgetary measures and they would save money, it is not only then a travesty in justice but it has actually been more expensive when you talk of flying prisoners out to hear a court case or judges in because they have to hear a court case. All this extra travel has actually been more expensive for the system, apart from the fact that we could very well have a travesty of justice in the sense that justice delayed is justice denied.

The other aspect, of course, of having a cutback in the Department of Justice, and more specifically a non-resident judge in western Labrador, is the fact that a judge resident within a community gives a community a sense of permanence, and that was very important for a community that is only thirty years of age, and a community that some people suggest may disappear because of closure of a mine.

It was important for this government to show confidence in the local economy, in the local people - but what do they do? No, they transfer them. We will just send one in with his travelling suitcase and sometimes, as I said, they hold court - most of the times in the courtroom, but I am told they have actually had to go out to the bars and hold court in a bar. Can you imagine? What a step backwards.

AN HON. MEMBER: The wild west.

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Chairman, you only get comments then from the ministers of Cabinet referring to this part of Labrador as the wild west.

The people of western Labrador are proud of the contributions that they make, but they are disgusted - absolutely disgusted - with the treatment that this administration has heaped upon them.

Those are just a few of the things that they are disgusted and disappointed with. I am pleased to have the opportunity and I will speak again in a little while to have a few more remarks. Thank you.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Over this past number of years we have seen the corporate income tax by this government drop from $70 million down to $39 million - not very positive indicators that there is a very healthy business climate in the Province. At the same time we have seen a tax on jobs increase from zero dollars up to $61.6 million in the budget - $100 million total under corporate tax and payroll tax upon business in the Province.

It is a disincentive for people to hire individuals, and a disincentive really to create and promote a good, healthy, working environment. As a result, the people who are working are being overworked. A company is trying to get by with less personnel because there are so many disincentives to creating jobs.

With reference to the budget, with Interim Supply, there is $55.1 million Interim Supply under Municipal and Provincial Affairs, and one of the sad things about the budget is that it is not a budget of truth and hope. It is more a budget of deceit and despair - deceit in that there are so many hidden cuts that just start surfacing as the days go on. It is one of despair in that it hits upon a lot of the helpless people, especially young kids who do not have the opportunities and so on in avenues to be able to fend for themselves.

One specific area that is hitting really hard across the entire Province, and particularly across rural Newfoundland, and especially in my district, is the electrical power subsidy that was provided to arenas.

The southern shore arena is unlike many other arenas in this Province. It had been operating at a profit for each of its five years. I had the opportunity to serve for almost four years as the president there, and it provided an opportunity for 300 kids in minor hockey, 150 kids in figure skating, and seven different leagues of recreational nature, in addition to school skating and school sports and so on at that arena.

This past few years, with tougher economic times, it has always shown a profit and been able to operate with a balance sheet at least in the black, unlike this Province, and a far cry from it. It has been fairly successful, too, in setting forth its budgets, and have been able to keep them on target. It has operated, unlike other municipalities, strictly on a volunteer basis by selecting a board from thirteen communities, with a representative each, and an elected executive of four people. It has no municipalities to fall back on. The money has to come out of the pockets of the people, with no other form of revenue. It has to be on their ice rentals, and to be hit with a $10,000 cut in the middle of a fiscal year doesn't give an opportunity to budget and meet their expectations.

It's also very characteristic of what has happened overall in the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs over the past year. Since I've had the opportunity to be involved, this short while, I've seen - back last June I saw municipalities in the middle of their year being hit with cuts in their MOGs. Unable to adjust and ending up with deficits on the year, when they had budgeted to break even, as is expected with a municipal budget.

We've seen municipalities being hit extremely hard throughout the entire year. We've seen cuts coming almost continuously. One of the opportunities for rural areas in particular to be able to level the playing field of taxation was by taxing utility companies. While some municipalities, yes, did charge exorbitant amounts, many municipalities were very reasonable. Most municipalities in my district charged at a rate of 6 per cent. To introduce a 2.5 per cent limit basically on revenues is limiting the ability of rural areas to access one of the few revenues that they have available to increase their taxes.

At the same time government was cutting back on various components under the MOGs. The roads component has almost vanished - $81.40 per kilometre of road - putting a further burden upon communities that are now paying up to $1,000 a kilometre to have roads snow cleared by Works, Services and Transportation, and receiving $81.40. A loss of $918.60 per kilometre of road for each kilometre road that they took over, over the past number of years, because of a grant structure that was in place that gave some stability to these communities in their specific budget.

It's really unfortunate that this government has produced a budget that's one of despair, one that has attacked important centres like the Daybreak Centre, one that's so vital to maintaining an opportunity for parents to be able to put their kids in a meaningful environment. An opportunity to assist members of a family in at least getting a break during the day, as the name implies, to be able for them to cope with their lifestyle where they've been unfortunate to have children who had various deficiencies and so on that other normal people do not have.

This government has been very callous and has given no reason at all to build up any hope. It has nurtured and grown on despair. Doom and gloom has been the process industry has taken. Even with making the decision to shut down the hog industry in this Province. They have been very callous with - as they were reading the Budget, people were being notified that they were losing their jobs with no advance notice. This government has taken a very unrealistic and a very inhumane approach through their methods. One of the biggest problems encountered with this government is not just in what they do but in the manner in which they go about doing it. That has caused a lot of unrest, uncertainty and despair among the people.

Mr. Chairman, education has probably taken the biggest hit of any particular department. The government boasts that they spend a higher percentage of their Budget than every other province. They don't boast that they spend the lowest per capita or that we have the longest to go to raise our educational levels up to a reasonable standard. It's time to focus our funds into areas that are going to give us long-term results and stop looking at band-aid approaches. It's important that education lead the forces into the next century. It's important that we put in place today certain standards and certain opportunities for education that are going to reap long-term benefits.

We've had one of our prime institutions here in this Province, Memorial University, slashed with cuts of several million dollars. Practically $11 million. One million on furniture and other materials, $5.5 million cut in capital. They're being told that they have to find, out of the $118 million proposed in the estimates, approximately another $6 million on top of that, looking at about almost $l2 million extra in increasing costs from year to year with inflationary factors.

The university is faced with a problem where they are going to be forced to increase tuition. The president has said it could be anywhere from 10-15 per cent up to 50 per cent if they are going to recover the full cost of what they need to balance the budget at the university. I think it is very unfair that they have taken the approach to try to balance a budget on the backs of students of this Province. Their direction and their approach have been to look at education in a budgetary sense, not in the sense of delivering an important quality of service, not in terms of delivering education with an opportunity for some people to have hope, it has been far from that. School boards are being plagued again, in a time when it is so important that consolidation and amalgamation occur in various aspects of our school system that this government has said, there will be no new school construction in the Province, that has done more to hamper and hold back the forward movement of education and so on and with shared services between different denominations.

So, this government has not approached things in a realistic sense. It has made cuts and looks back after the cuts are made to try to find a rationale for their decisions. We have seen a case here with Daybreak, you make a decision and you try to develop a rationale for it after the decision is made. Now, this government had lots of opportunity over the past several months to build a rationale and to research the various areas and look at the implications of serious budget cuts and program cuts. The minister indicated, here in the House, that there are six lay-offs. Actually, we have seventeen lay-offs within education. We have six consultants who were notified that they will be laid off, nine seconded back to boards where they will displace nine people that have taken up their positions there, we have two people retired, two less positions, we have actually seventeen less consultants within the Department of Education than we had previously. The minister stated in the House, that they were all people put in a few years back. Well, they have been there for the last number of years and for the past three years there has been nothing done. Now, in the fourth year -

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, thank you, Mr. Chairman, I will come back later.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, it is hard to believe that with something as important as Interim Supply that there is no member opposite prepared to speak but that being the case I will certainly stand in my place, I would say to the Minister of Health.

DR. KITCHEN: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I just might do that.

MR. MATTHEWS: Do what. Do not be provoked.

MR. TOBIN: Yes, Mr. Chairman, I will. I think it is important that we all speak in this debate. Mr. Chairman, it is a very important issue, I would say to the members opposite, that we are debating here today. It is extremely important when you have the government coming in here looking for Interim Supply. A government, Mr. Chairman, that has chosen, in particular I say to the Minister of Health, that it is unfortunate that in this day and age when you come with this type of Interim Supply Bill before this Legislature and a few days after that you have $119,000 worth of furniture being brought upstairs. Now, it is my understanding that it included chairs, chesterfields and love seats and it has been suggested that the love seat is a chair for the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. MATTHEWS: What was that again?

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs should stand in this House and confirm or deny that rumour. Confirm or deny that rumour, that is what the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs should do, that the love seat that was brought the other day was a chair for you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. HOGAN: That rumour is not true.

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

MR. TOBIN: Well than, Mr. Chairman, who is the love seat for?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: No, I say to the Member for St. John's South, he was not here, that is what the word circulating in the building was, that out of all the chairs and chesterfields, the love seat was the chair for the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. Now I do not know if that is true or not and when I asked the minister he said it was not true so from now on when someone mentions to me I will be able to say that is not true, and I will be honoured to say that on behalf of my good friend from Placentia.

MR. R. AYLWARD: You will defend his good name.

MR. TOBIN: Sure I will defend

MR. MURPHY: It is a big seat but it is not fair to call it a love seat.

MR. TOBIN: Well, Mr. Chairman, I do not know what you call it but that is all I have ever heard them called.

AN HON. MEMBER: Carried.

MR. TOBIN: No, Mr. Chairman, it is not carried and it will not be carried today I would say to the Minister of Justice. It will not be carried today, I say to the Minister of Justice.

MR. ROBERTS: The story of my life.

MR. TOBIN: I do not know and I do not care what the story of the hon. member's life is, I say to him but I will say -

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, a point of order.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, something just -

AN HON. MEMBER: - flew across the House.

MR. TOBIN: The last time I saw something thrown across the House was an ice cube -

AN HON. MEMBER: Right there.

MR. TOBIN: - was an ice cube, Mr. Chairman.

AN HON. MEMBER: What?

MR. TOBIN: An ice cube.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Ray Baird hit Leo Barry.

MR. TOBIN: No, he did not, it passed in front of Mr. Barry's -

MR. R. AYLWARD: I happened to be in the chair at the time (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I remember it well. As a matter of fact it passed by Mr. Barry and the Leader of the Opposition at the time, Mr. Neary, rose on a point of order to say that he thought it was a missile that passed through the House-

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) disappearing.

MR. TOBIN: That is right. Anyway, Mr. Chairman, we have a government that is asking for Interim Supply and I want to know, I want answers; I want to know how much money is in that Interim Supply for the chesterfields, the plush chairs and the love seats. I want to know if that is included in Interim Supply, because if it is I do not think we should give approval to Interim Supply if the government is going out wasting money in a time of restraint, on such frivolous items as chesterfields.

The Minister of Education says: oh my. I say to the Minister of Education, how can he sit in this House, how can he sit around the Cabinet table and see big plush chairs and chesterfield sets going all over the place for the Premier and the Cabinet room, when at the same time they stripped a half-a-million dollars from one of the most basic, needed institutions namely Daybreak. Today we saw the Member for St. John's South perform a very cowardly act, when he stood in this Assembly today and was not prepared to take on the government over an issue as vital and as important to his constituents and the people of this city as the continuation of the Daybreak operation.

There is a lot of other issues we have to get into here today and I can say that there are a few people around here who should not be satisfied with what is taking place. When you look at this situation and then you look at how government has tried to go around this Province and sell people as to the reason why teachers are in the situation they are in today, why are CUPE and NAPE sitting on a major strike vote, Mr. Chairman, there is one reason and that is because there is no one who trusts this Premier and this government, that is the reason. Why did teachers vote 83 per cent for a strike vote and 75 per cent? Now there are some people in this Legislature who did not think it would be 75 per cent. I will not mention any names -

MR. WINSOR: Is it the Member for Exploits?

MR. TOBIN: I will not mention any names, Mr. Chairman -

MR. WINSOR: Is it the Member for Exploits?

MR. TOBIN: I am not mentioning any names but there are some people in this Legislature who told me the vote would be passed -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I do not know and I am not getting into any names and I am not confirming or denying anything about who said it. But I will say that I told someone in this Legislature that it would be rejected by about 75 per cent and that member told me that I was crazy, and it would be accepted by 55 per cent. Now, Mr. Chairman, I guess my prediction is right and that same member thinks that they will win thirty seats in the next election.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I never mentioned any names. I do not know why the Member for Exploits, the minister, has such a paranoia about what I said. I am not getting into names, I say to the member, but the same member told me they would win thirty seats. Now, if he is as accurate on his thirty seat prediction as what he was on his 55 per cent approval rating by the teachers, then I would say that we are going to have a massive majority when the government calls the election.

Anyway, there is another reason why the teachers in this Province do not trust the government - do not trust the Premier - that is because there are two former NTA presidents who sit around the Cabinet table and have betrayed the teachers of this Province - betrayed the teachers of this Province, turned their backs on them. The very foundation that they used to build a reputation among teachers to get them elected to the House of Assembly they have kicked out so that no one else can get involved; but I would suspect, according to reports, that it is going to haunt both of them whenever the Premier decides to call the election. It will haunt both of them, Mr. Chairman.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh my, oh my, oh my.

MR. TOBIN: I say to the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, he can 'oh my, my, my' all he likes. He knows what it is like to be 'oh my, my, my-ed' out of this House and have to sit in the gallery and watch the proceedings. That is about to happen again to the Member for Exploits.

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

MR. TOBIN: Yes, but you will not come back anymore. You will be going down for your third time. You will be back no more, I say to the member. Not only that, after the next election the Premier is going to be looking for another seat in which to run.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Does the hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West have leave of the House?

MR. TOBIN: A few minutes, Mr. Chairman.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Yes.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. member has leave.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, I say to the Member for Windsor - Buchans who, no doubt about it, has been around this House for a long while, I guess he has been - what, do you have four elections in now?

MR. FLIGHT: Five.

MR. TOBIN: No you do not. You ran in five. You were elected in four.

AN HON. MEMBER: Four-and-a-half.

MR. TOBIN: No, he was elected in four, ran in five.

MR. FLIGHT: A good member.

MR. TOBIN: Well it is not for me to judge, but if you are a good member, with the majority that you had, I must be some kind of member with the majority I had, I say to the Member for Exploits. That is all I would say about that. If you are a good member with the couple of hundred majority you have, I must be some good with the 3,000 I had, I say to the Member for Exploits. That is what I would say.

Now the Member for Harbour Grace is over there, yawning away as usual. I must say one thing about the Member for Harbour Grace, I find him to be a pretty good gentleman, but I do not think he is going to be back in the House of Assembly.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, I can tell you one thing, that whether or not Mr. Moores is there, the poll was there to show that he could do exceptionally well.

MR. MATTHEWS: Forty-eight and twenty-four.

MR. TOBIN: Yes, forty-eight and twenty-four, the poll in that region. That is it, forty-eight to twenty-four was the result of the poll, the same as the poll out in Lewisporte in the past few days shows there will be new representation in this House come the election, and Exploits, and Waterford - Kenmount.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I said there is a poll on the go that shows that after the next election there will be a new member in the House for Waterford - Kenmount, I say to the member. That is what I said.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: What is that?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Well I tell you one thing, I have been around now for eleven or twelve years, and I have won majorities much larger than the Member for Waterford - Kenmount had, and I say to him that I would never be that presumptuous of the voters in my district, or my constituents. They will decide on whether or not you win a poll. They will do the same to me I say to the Member for Waterford - Kenmount but if someone wants to take their constituents for granted like the Member for Waterford - Kenmount just did then I say to the Member for Waterford - Kenmount that they might rebel. My constituents would not want me in here today taking them for granted and I know the people of Waterford - Kenmount would expect the same thing so for the member to be so presumptuous as to say I will win every poll, let me say to him -

MR. GULLAGE: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Well, we will see. We will let the people of Waterford - Kenmount know what you said. As a matter of fact I lost one the last time, lost it by one vote.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. TOBIN: What is that? I will probably not win one. I will not be as presumptuous as the Member for Waterford - Kenmount. The people of Burin - Placentia West will decide whether I win one, none, or all of them, I say to the Minister of Tourism and Culture, the same as the voters from your district will decide on whether or not you win.

MR. R. AYLWARD: All of the St. John's members over there say there will be no trouble to get candidates for the municipal elections next November.

MR. TOBIN: That is a very valid point. Some of the members for St. John's are now talking about running in the next municipal election.

MR. R. AYLWARD: There will be no trouble to get candidates from that side next November.

MR. TOBIN: That is right. The Member for Pleasantville ran 100 times trying to get into this Legislature and he finally got in and blew it the first term. He will never be elected again. The Member for Pleasantville will never be in the Assembly again unless he looks at it from the gallery. Like Mr. Neary used to say, there is many the person on that side of the House that should get his picture taken in his seat because after the Premier issues the writ it is the only time he will ever sit in it again. How can a government come before this Legislature and ask for Interim Supply to buy chesterfields, love seats and plush chairs? How can they? That is the question that has to be asked. How can they, in times of fiscal restraint, be asked to cough up $119,000 to buy love seats? It is ridiculous. What about the $600 doorknobs and the designer birch doors? That will come at a later date, the designer birch doors.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. TOBIN: I say to the Member for Windsor - Buchans, the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, that those very same limousines are parked out there.

AN HON. MEMBER: A Pontiac.

MR. TOBIN: It is not a Pontiac, it is an Oldsmobile. That is what the Premier drives around in, car number one. What about the 4-wheel drive Blazer that his former executive assistant used to go golfing in? What about that one, Mr. Chairman?

MR. FLIGHT: She is long-gone.

MR. TOBIN: She is not long-gone I say to the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture. The Blazer that the former -

MR. WINSOR: The one the Premier took the keys from?

MR. TOBIN: The Blazer the Minister of Labour went golfing in is still being used by the Premier's staff. I do not know if she is on the golf course or not but she is still being used by the Premier's staff.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. TOBIN: I do not know anything about that but he said he got clear of her. He did not get clear of her? The Minister of Forestry and Agriculture should probably check with his colleague. In addition to that the Premier is getting thousands of dollars a year for car allowance so how can the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture make such a statement? This is the situation we have in this Province. We have a government that does not care. We have a government that does not want to manage. We have a government that wants to do in the public servants in this Province. We have the Department of Social Services that have been stripped of $15 million, chopped by the Province, $15 million, never heard of it before. Mr. Chairman, the people on social assistance today do not get an increase when they are basically starving to death and yet this government can go out and spend $120,000 on love seats and other furniture. That is what is happening in this Province. How can the Minister of Social Services announce that there will be no increase for people on social assistance?

There is another very serious problem coming out of that Budget, I say to the Minister of Social Services, and that is dealing with home support. That is going to be very serious because we have today in this Province, an aging population. The policy was, and I do not know what changed it, is that you try to keep people in their homes as long as they could stay there. Social Services will provide people to go in there but now the minister said the other day that there are going to be some negative changes made to that. The Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes, I am.

This weekend I met with people from Port au Bras. I think every member should listen to this, I never seen anything as disgraceful or as despicable in my life, they live by the law. They raised the poll tax to the highest poll tax in this Province, $350. The people of Port au Bras, the community of Port au Bras, they raised their poll tax. The Premier brought in this minimum requirement, they are the only council in this Province that have brought in a poll tax of $350 based upon what the Premier said in the House and the former minister, when they did the realignment of the grant structure or whatever it was.

Mr. Chairman, last year they received $300 and some odd thousand dollars to start a water supply. The water supply went in, they took it from the pond, brought it out to the community and they serviced seven houses. Now, they brought in the $350 poll tax because they do not have property tax. If there are three or four working in the house, you are looking at $1200-$1400 being paid. This year the government did not give them a red nickel, not a cent, not a penny. So, how can the minister expect councils in this Province to - lets face it, the majority of other communities, including my district, are paying $180, $100, $120 - I seen one in the paper today from another district, paying $80 poll tax and they can receive money and yet someone that does what the Premier of this Province says, and that is increase the poll tax to $350 and not get a penny.

So, how does the minister justify that? How can he justify doing that to these people? These are the questions that I would like to have answered because I think the minister would agree, being involved in municipal politics for a number of years, that it is not easy to get people to serve in these small communities now, it is not easy, but I will tell him something right now, that it is very few councils who are going to stand up and bring in a poll tax, now not a property tax but a poll tax of $350. I know of one family that had four people in the house working and at $350 that is $1400 they are paying a year plus they are paying $300 for the hookup. Now, that is a council in my opinion, listening to what the Premier said, recognizing the need to get water and sewer to their community. By the way, the Member for Pleasantville had basically stated that several times as well, I have heard him say it 100 times, people have to start paying their way and things such as that, in speeches. Yet, this council goes out there and raises taxes, the highest poll tax in the Province, not a penny - what?

AN HON. MEMBER: And no services.

MR. TOBIN: No services, no, Mr. Chairman, no services at all. Seven houses, seven homes have water and the government said if you want to get more water you have to balance your budget, it works out to $327 per household. Then they had the garbage collection that they get once every second week or something, that is the other service that they have. There are people today in Port au Bras, in my district, that are being charged a $350 poll tax and not getting any water, no sewer and garbage collection once every two weeks. I do not think that is right, I do not think that is fair. Not only that, the council had to take it on the chin, from the residents of Port au Bras because they said listen, we are going to pay $350 with no service, we are not going to get any service? Council, how do you expect us to pay $350 when we are not going to get any water and sewer for up to five years?

The council said, 'Well this is the situation. We have discussed it with the officials in the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. We have to balance our budget to get more money. They have worked out the formula with us, and in order to deal with it we have to pay $350.' And they put it in and took it on the chin from the residents, I say to the members opposite; but much to the council's dismay, and to the residents dismay - No, Mr. Chairman, there is no one there. I am just saying it to the minister. Much to their dismay and the council's dismay, they are not getting a cent.

So I ask the minister: Is there some way he can do something for that community? Is there some way he can give them - arrange - it is only a loan guarantee anyway, based on the way that it is done, coming into play right now. Is there some way that a council who has brought in a budget, submitted it to you for approval, and has been approved, to charge a poll tax of $350 - is there some way you can do something for them?

I also say to the minister that they have written you a letter and a petition from the community - I presented one in the House - requesting someone from the department to go up and speak at the public meeting. Now, I don't know if the minister - my personal preference would be that the minister go up and speak to them, but if he can't do it - or if he is going to do it, great - but if he is not, will he ensure that there is a commitment made and that person, whomever he is going to send, if he doesn't go himself, gets up there very soon to meet with the people? Because we all know what is going to happen. How does he expect a council to be persistent in charging the residents $350 now when he knows there is not a nickel in the ground from this year. Seven houses in Port au Bras are getting water, and because seven houses got it, all the rest of them now are paying $350. Government brought in a budget the other day with $50 million for water and sewer and didn't give that community a chance.

Mr. Chairman, I may even take that issue up with the Premier, to be honest with you. After what the Premier has said in this House, I may even take that issue up with him. Because, if the Premier is going to come out and make these statements - I remember one statement the Premier made, in particular, something to the effect that people are paying more for cable television, I believe he said, than they are paying for water and sewer services.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I say to the Member for Waterford - Kenmount, what I am talking about is very serious.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: What I am talking about?

AN HON. MEMBER: You don't know what you're talking about.

MR. TOBIN: Now, Mr. Chairman, did we ever hear such arrogance? Did we ever hear such arrogance coming from the minister who brought it in? You don't think I am listening, surely heavens! Well, I tell you right now that what you brought in is what I am talking about.

AN HON. MEMBER: What is that?

MR. TOBIN: Charging the community of Port au Bras - they worked out a formula - $350 is the poll tax. Because it is your policies -

AN HON. MEMBER: What is your point?

MR. TOBIN: The point is that there were seven houses that got water last year from the money they got, every one in the community is now paying $350, and this year, the government of which you are part, didn't give them a cent. Isn't that serious? I ask the former minister - because I think it is very serious, when there is no other council in this Province charging that much money.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) keep a straight face.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, I can tell you, I can keep a straight face on it, I say to the Minister of Justice, but I don't expect him to keep a straight face on it because he doesn't know where rural Newfoundland is. And he can laugh all he likes, but the people of Port au Bras are not laughing. I don't care who laughs, I do not care if they laugh on this side either, I say to the Minister of Forestry, but I do care about the people I represent.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: Come on, crank her up.

MR. TOBIN: I will crank her up, Mr. Chairman!

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I don't know what you said.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: It is the first time you left your seat to do anything. You never did anything in your (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, I was very serious in what I was talking about and the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, thank God, was listening to me. We don't need such arrogance and contempt as is being shown by the Minister of Justice, Mr. Chairman, one of those city Duckworth Street lawyers all his life, wouldn't know where Port au Bras is and wouldn't know what it means not to have a drop of water and sewer, I say to the Minister of Justice - stuck down on Duckworth Street making more money in a day than those people would make in a lifetime and he sitting around the Cabinet table charging them $350 and denying -

AN HON. MEMBER: Go for it.

MR. TOBIN: I will go for it, I will tell him what I think of him if he is going - Anyone, Mr. Chairman, anyone -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: What is that?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: On pension, what fellows? Who?

Mr. Chairman, I know there are people over there on pension and I couldn't care less. If they are on pension then be on pension. That has nothing to do with the issue that I am talking about and that is the people of Port au Bras having to pay the highest poll tax in this Province and for you and your government not to give them a penny for water and sewer. That is the issue, I say to the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. That is the issue I am talking about, and he should stand up in this House and try to explain it, because there has never been such bungling as the Member for Waterford - Kenmount did with the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. He ran it to the ground, and now he is on the same course in terms of the Department of Social Services, exactly the same. But I ask the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs if he would stand up now in a minute, when I sit down -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: What is that?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: That is up to him, but I can say to him that there is a very serious problem in Port au Bras, and I would sincerely hope that he would do something about it - or if not, have his officials go back to the council and tell them to scrap the $350, because you are not going to give them any more money. That is what they should do. People should not have to pay for what was given to them last year unless the minister is going to fulfil the commitment of government, and that is give them so much a year. That is one or two things the minister must do.

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

MR. NOEL: If the hon. member truly hopes to see that I won't be elected in the coming election down in Pleasantville, then he should stay out of it more. If he and the other tired Tories over there keep going down there, making fools of themselves the way they did at the Daybreak meeting this past week, I am sure I will have a much larger margin of victory than I had in the last election.

AN HON. MEMBER: Were they at the Daybreak meeting?

MR. NOEL: He was at the Daybreak meeting, down there trying to exploit this Daybreak issue. Some of the most vulnerable people in our society who are really concerned for this valuable service - and what do we see the Tories do? - try to exploit it for their own political purposes.

He comes in here day after day, and when there are supporters up in the galleries he goes on about Daybreak - what we have to do to save Daybreak. Well, the people involved with Daybreak remember what kind of treatment they got when he was the Minister of Social Services, and they are more than happy that he is no longer the Minister of Social Services.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. NOEL: They know what kind of treatment they would be getting today if he was still the Minister of Social Services.

When he sees them in the galleries here he gets up and his heart bleeds about the poor people involved with Daybreak, but when they go out of the galleries what does he talk about? Who got elected back in 1970? Friday morning he went on for half-an-hour or something - who got elected, where they got elected, and the nonsense he was getting on with here again today. That shows how concerned he is about the issues. That shows what kind of concern you see in the crowd on that side of the House. If they hadn't made such a mess of governing this Province over the seventeen years that they formed the administration -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. NOEL: If they hadn't mismanaged the Province, run our debt up from $1 billion to $5 billion over the seventeen years, set up fancy pension plans for themselves, fancy salaries and perks for themselves -

MR. TOBIN: A point of order, Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West, on a point of order.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, if he starts talking about pension plans in this House, name the members who were receiving it. The Minister of Fisheries, the Minister of Health and the Member for St. John's North, name those who are receiving pensions. Don't talk about the crowd in here. And if you want to talk about severance we will talk about that further. We will talk about the ones who are going to get it next year.

MR. CHAIRMAN: There is no point of order.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please! Order, please!

Does the hon. -

MR. ROBERTS: To the ruling?

MR. CHAIRMAN: I have already ruled. There's no point of order.

MR. ROBERTS: Right. You let him get - I don't care to -

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

MR. NOEL: Mr. Chairman, if they hadn't mismanaged this Province for seventeen years, if they hadn't done everything they could to keep buying the elections, election after election, we could have had our offshore development start back in 1984, if they had not, for their own partisan, political purposes, refused to make a deal with the Federal Government. Just imagine the shape this Province would be in today if Hibernia development had started back in 1984.

AN HON. MEMBER: Didn't want to overheat the economy.

MR. NOEL: Didn't want to overheat the economy, they said. Now they are getting overheated themselves, and they are going to get overheated even more in the election coming up, because they haven't learned anything in the four years they have been in Opposition. They were defeated because they didn't know how to run the Province and now the Leader of the Opposition is out speaking about what he would do to rebuild the Newfoundland economy. He would go off and borrow more money; he would reduce taxes; he would keep everybody in the jobs they wanted to be in; he would provide municipal services to any community they wanted, whatever level of municipal services they wanted.

MR. MURPHY: Who knows what they would do? They haven't told us a thing they would do.

MR. NOEL: He has told people what he would do. He spoke to the business association in town here the other day and he told them what he would do.

AN HON. MEMBER: What did he say?

MR. NOEL: He said what I just said he would do - he would reduce taxes, he would borrow more, he would give everybody what they wanted. But he doesn't say where he would get it from. But people see through what the Leader of the Opposition is talking about and The Evening Telegram editorialist saw through it. The Evening Telegram editorialist said, Mr. Chairman -

MR. PARSONS: Who gave (inaudible) The Evening Telegram? tell us.

MR. NOEL: 'In sum, the Conservative Leader's address to the Business Association of Newfoundland and Labrador is pretty thin gruel. If intended to be the measure of the economic blueprint the Tories will carry into the coming election, it also is good evidence why they are languishing at about 12 per cent in public opinion polls.' That is what people think of them today, and once people learn the truth about what they did over the seventeen years they formed the government, the truth about the real deficit of this Province, the truth about the state that the Province is in, as a result of the damage they did, the debt they ran up, the irresponsible government they provided, I will be surprised if they ever get back here again.

The only way they will get back again, I think, is if the NDP collapses altogether and according to the way the Leader of the NDP is talking these days, he is not too far from it. He is also asking, why don't we go out and borrow hundreds of millions of more dollars this year? New Brunswick, he says has a much larger deficit than we do, but New Brunswick has twice as many people as we do, to pay it off. They have almost twice as many people as we have and they have much less debt than we have.

The Government of New Brunswick debt, as a percentage of the Gross Provincial Product, is 28 per cent, ours is 49 per cent. The reason this country's economy is in the state it is in today, is because politicians in the past haven't had the guts to do what needed to be done. They have run up debt, given people whatever they asked for, in order to get re-elected, and that is why the combined provincial debt in this country today is $150 million, gone up from $112 million just five years ago; it is why now our federal debt is $454 billion.

Mr. Chairman, the Assistant Vice-President of Canadian Ratings at Moody's said a little while ago: Current provincial deficits in Canada are already, Mr. Chairman, already, at the point where they are not sustainable any longer. Our debts are not sustainable any longer; we are facing a prospect of not being able to borrow anything else. What is going to happen? Last year, this Province borrowed $266 million and this year we are budgeting to borrow another $225 million and people are complaining about the standard of services they are going to receive, about the levels of employment, but what are they going to do if the markets tell us in a year or two that you cannot borrow anything or that you can only borrow if you want to pay rates of 15 or 20 per cent, Mr. Chairman? What will we do then? That is what we are facing.

Thank you, very much, Mr. Chairman. I will continue tomorrow.

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

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Bellevue.

MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, the Committee on Supply has considered the matters to it referred and wish to report some progress and ask leave to sit again.

On motion, Committee ordered to sit again on tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Justice and Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, we are not under the automatic adjournment at 5 o'clock but I propose in a moment to ask the House to move that the House do adjourn until tomorrow. Earlier when I made the motion which had the effect of suspending the 5 o'clock adjournment I said that the government had no present intention and I wanted an opportunity to consult with my colleagues on both sides. I have now had an opportunity to do that. Let me say that we propose to ask the House before we adjourn, now it is irrelevant to me whether we adjourn on Friday as we had hoped to do, or whether we carry on through Holy Week and after Holy Week, I could not care less as I am in the hands of the House, but it is our plan to ask the House to adjourn on Friday for a fortnight, assuming we have dealt with a number of items of business.

Let me tell my colleagues, the members, Mr. Speaker, where we are. I have already consulted with the House Leader for the Opposition, and I guess the gentleman for St. John's East is also the House Leader for the third group in the House, if one member can be a group. We have Interim Supply before us now and the government will have to be assured of Interim Supply before we can ask the House to adjourn. To those who think we have ulterior motives let me make the obvious comment and remind them that once the House is dissolved the government can govern without Interim Supply because then the special warrants come in, but we do not have any present intention of dissolving. Now, that is when I last spoke to the Premier a couple of hours ago when he left the House to go off to some meetings. He may have changed his mind, who knows? But we have no present intention -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I am sorry?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Yes, and the hon. member does not hope it one-half as much as I do.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: There is a supplementary supply motion, Mr. Speaker, before the House. That will have to be dealt with.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I beg your pardon?

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: In that case they will be getting better advice than the hon. gentleman opposite ever gave anybody.

Now, Mr. Speaker, let me carry on. I do not know why the hon. gentleman insists upon feeding me straight lines, but that is all he has ever been able to do. He comes to the battle of wits half-armed.

MR. TOBIN: That is an old one.

MR. ROBERTS: It is an old one, but then again when you are dealing with old dogs you cannot teach them new tricks.

Mr. Speaker, we shall also ask the House to deal with what I call the pay reduction bill for members, which I believe is an amendment to the Internal Economy Commission Act. It is Bill No. 17.

The Memorial University Auditor General legislation will be in the House. I understand it should be available tomorrow or Wednesday. We will want to deal with that. That is, I believe, Bill No. 7 on the Order Paper.

The Utilities Taxation Act, a familiar one, it has been here a number of times. Apparently it keeps coming back.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Well maybe the third time is lucky. Who knows?

We shall be asking the House -

MR. TOBIN: If the House is going to close Friday (inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: It could be. It may not close Friday. I am in the hands of the House, Mr. Speaker.

I would say to my hon. friend from Burin - Placentia West, the vehemence of his rhetoric does not necessarily mean it has any logic or any force.

We shall also ask the House to deal with the Electoral Boundaries Act, and there may be some amendments to the Election Act. There are consultations behind the Chair. I understand both of those will be relatively non-controversial, but both have an importance in the context.

I think that is all. That is the modest list of matters we hope to ask the House to address.

We on this side, as I have advised the hon. gentleman opposite, and my friend from St. John's East, are prepared to ask that we forego Wednesday as being Private Members' Day to deal with government business, but that is a matter which will require unanimous consent. If we do not get unanimous consent then I shall ask that the House sit tomorrow night. We will have to deal with some of this legislation, and we will probably have to ask the House to sit for awhile Thursday evening. I do not intend that we have late night sittings -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I am sorry?

AN HON. MEMBER: Are the estimates committees (inaudible)?

MR. ROBERTS: The estimates committees are in the hands of the Chairs and the committees themselves, but I understand they are planned. I have not looked at the rule. Is that the rule? They cannot sit while the House is sitting? Is that the case?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: No, I am not sure that is the case. In any event, that is not for me to say. The committees make their own rules. The rule done by Mr. Marshall a number of years ago, 118(5), I believe says that they have fifteen sitting days from the date to which they were referred. They were referred last Thursday, so Friday would have been the first sitting day and this is the second.

The committees are masters of their own destinies. I'm trying to lay down the order of business that I foresee so members can make their plans accordingly. We'll have to adjust as circumstances come but that is our present suggestion. We're not in any rush to get the House closed, Mr. Speaker. To the contrary, my colleagues and I are enjoying it. We're finding the performances by members opposite to be enlightening, entertaining, informative and altogether entirely worthwhile. In fact, if we weren't here it's difficult to see where we could possibly be where we could do any better.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now adjourn. I don't need to make this as a motion, but at its adjournment it will rise until tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. I think my friend for Grand Bank wants - I'm not sure. May want to get into this.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, just a short comment. We have known all along about the requirement and the need for Interim Supply. The supplementary supply bill is there as well. There are a couple of bills, as the Government House Leader has pointed out quite clearly, that we haven't seen yet. So it's hard to comment on how long it will take us to get through those when we haven't seen them. Having said that, it's something that I'll be taking up with the caucus tomorrow to just run through this list and try to make a determination to see what might be controversial, what might be light that we can pass quickly.

On first blush, Mr. Speaker, I would say that even with some night sittings it would seem a little ambitious to hope to get all this done. Because I can see that there are a couple of things here, like the MUN - Auditor General's Act, and the Utilities Act is back again. That's going to take a bit of time. So, I guess, it seems to be at the surface to be a little ambitious to think that we can get this done by Friday. I'll have a look at it again tomorrow, I say to the Government House Leader.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate what the hon. gentleman says. I will ensure that he gets the Auditor General - it's an amendment to the Memorial University Act - that he gets that as quickly as it comes to me. So that once it's settled - and I told the House on Thursday, as I recollect, that we had asked the Auditor General to comment on the University's comments and the University to comment on the Auditor General's comments. I was informed this morning that their responses have been received and they're being evaluated by the officials who are addressing these for us. As soon as the bill is settled - it'll be a government measure - as soon as we've settled what we propose to ask the House to do, I'll make sure my hon. friend gets it. Then he and his colleagues can deal with it as they see fit, obviously.

There'll be no surprises in the Election Act because that's been a matter behind the curtain. Some technical matters, Mr. Speaker, that I think there's a degree of agreement among the members on. The Electoral Boundaries Act my hon. friend has seen, and I believe has shown a number of his colleagues. There are no surprises in that. The Utilities Act is before the House and I anticipate there will be some vigorous and vociferous debate on that. That's fine, we've no quarrel with that.

The pay reduction bill is not before the House. In fact, I don't think I have seen the draft of it but it implements the measure announced by my friend, it is really quite straightforward, it is 4.5 per cent -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Yes, it is to implement the Budget measure and there is no surprise in it but as soon as we get it we will get it to my friend and we will just go on. We are prepared to stay here, we do not get paid by the day, so it is fine. If I was not here I would be dealing with something else, it would be no more important and possibly less interesting.

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