May 21, 1993                HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS                Vol. XLII  No. 2


The House met at 9:00 a.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, since the House of Assembly last sat two former members have passed on. One is Ross Barbour who was the Member for Bonavista South. I guess only the hon. Member for Naskaupi and myself sat in the House -

AN HON. MEMBER: And the Member for Twillingate.

PREMIER WELLS: I guess there are a great group of us who were colleagues of Ross Barbour. He was a member elected four times, in 1959, 1962, 1966, and 1971. During his period he made some notable statements and I think his was a name that was well recognized throughout the Province. He made a very significant contribution to many of his constituents.

The second member is a former Member for Fortune - Hermitage, Jack Windsor who served one term in this House. He was elected in 1975. I did not know Mr. Windsor but I am confident that he made a similar contribution on behalf of the constituents who elected him. I would ask, Mr. Speaker, supported, I am sure by the Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the NDP that this House express to the families of these two former members the sympathy of the House.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I would, on behalf of this side, associate ourselves with the comments and expression of the Premier. Mr. Barbour, of course, is an institution in Newfoundland politics and is well known, perhaps one of the most colourful characters ever to enter the House of Assembly. I did not know him personally, although I did meet him on occasion. Not in the House. He was not here when I was first elected but I do know of his work. In his district he was a tremendously effective constituency member. He worked very closely with the people of his riding and did tremendous things in that particular area.

The second gentleman I know far better because he was my uncle. He was elected as I was in 1975 and we sat on opposite sides of the House. Unfortunately, most of the Windsor's are Liberals and that is a cross that I will bear. Some of us younger Windsors are starting to see the light and I made a major breakthrough. My uncle was also a very dedicated member of the House of Assembly, as the Member for Fortune - Hermitage who is not here yet but will be here, I assume, shortly, attest to because he knew him well. He also worked very hard for his district but he also made a greater contribution probably to the fishing industry because he was involved for so many years in operating fish plants at Gaultois, Burgeo, Hermitage and other places on the south coast of the Province. He also made a great contribution to the Province, to the House of Assembly, Mr. Speaker, and it is with great pride that I have this opportunity to stand and pay tribute to him and to his life's work in this hon. House.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I also would like to join in the remarks of the Premier and the Member for Mount Pearl in paying tribute to these former members and to ask the Speaker on behalf of the House, to express the condolences of the House to these families. I did not know Mr. Windsor at all, I had met Mr. Barbour and of course we all know him as a very colourful member and politician and I think was known as the, amongst other things, as the boss of Bonavista South. In fact the kind of politician I suppose, of a sort of a former era but one who was very well known and very well liked by his constituents and I am happy to pay tribute to their contribution to this House of Assembly and the political life of Newfoundland.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, we all have constituents who leave this world from time to time and of course we would not be able to pay tribute to all of them in the House of Assembly but I would like to beg the indulgence of the House to pay tribute to a constituent of mine who passed away in the last few days, in fact was buried yesterday. My friend from Windsor - Buchans and the Member for Gander and others in particular would be familiar with this individual. He was a great humorous, a great after dinner speaker, a member of a very well known family in Newfoundland and Labrador, a very prominent family in Newfoundland and Labrador, a family that helped build up central Newfoundland, in particular, Grand Falls, Gander and those regions and I am referring to the late Denny Goodyear. Many people in this House, certainly many people in this Province, would have known of Denny Goodyear and known of his abilities, both as a human being but in particular he made a name for himself as a great humorous and a great after dinner speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would appreciate it if Your Honour would send a message of condolences to his wife and his family and the rest of his brothers and other relatives as well.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I had not heard until I just heard the hon. member say now, of the passing of Mr. Goodyear but I remember him very well and remember him very fondly. He was indeed the great humorous that the Leader of the Opposition has described him to be but he was more than that, he was a great human being. He was a very human and compassionate person. He comes from a very well known family. The patriarch of the family I also knew very well, Ken Goodyear, his father, and I would join with the Leader of the Opposition in asking Your Honour to ensure that the sympathies of the House are extended to the family of the late Denny Goodyear.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would join with the Leader of the Opposition and the Premier in asking the House to send condolences to the family; he is not an individual who was known to me, but I have heard of him and, quite obviously from the remarks of the Premier and the Leader of the Opposition, a man whose mark was made on his fellow human beings in central Newfoundland. I do know the family and I want to recognize his contributions to the life of this Province.

Oral Questions

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, some time ago - I guess it is a couple of months ago now - and the question I think is pertinent, in view of the discussion we had yesterday in this House, and the resolution that we passed. A couple of months ago the Premier announced that he was going to undertake a national travel campaign dealing with the fisheries management question. Can the Premier tell the House now, after two months have passed, when is this campaign starting, what will be the nature and scope of the campaign, and more interestingly perhaps by now, can he tell us how much it will cost, how much has he budgeted for the trip, the program and so on?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, at no time did I ever suggest I was going to undertake a national travel campaign. Many of the news media keep using the phrase and others do. What I said was -

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!

PREMIER WELLS: - listen very carefully now because it is important. The hon. Member for Burin -Placentia West, laughs -

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: I see. Well, I am sorry. The laughter was loud in an interjection in my comments.

Mr. Speaker, what I said was, we would have to take our case to the people of Canada. Now, I can understand people automatically assuming that you would do that by a speaking tour across the nation, and in fact, most of the media keep asking me about this speaking tour across the nation. I have never stated we are going to have a speaking tour anywhere that I ever remember saying, but we will take the case to the people of the nation. That may have to be done. A speaking tour is clearly one way by which that can be done but there are other methods by which it can be done, and that is being explored at the moment.

So, Mr. Speaker, there has been no budgeting for any specific travel tour or travel plan. We have looked at advertising costs. We have looked at an advertising program, and we have looked at speaking opportunities. I have a fairly substantial number of invitations to speak across the nation, and we are looking now at a list of those opportunities that are open and outstanding and where I might go to speak, so there has been no tour planned, as such.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I can't speak on behalf of the media but I can certainly speak on behalf of our party, and I am quite certain that the Premier did indicate he was going to undertake a national campaign. That was the feeling we certainly had and, in view of his answer, I am not quite sure if he said yes or no because towards the end of it he talked about lining up speaking engagements, so I don't know. Perhaps we will do what we did during Meech Lake, bring them all down here, before the Bar of the House.

Let me ask him a different question, but a fisheries-related question, dealing with the issue that we debated here in the House yesterday specifically - Bill C-129, I think it is. Can the Premier tell the House whether or not he has had discussions with the Maritime Premiers, in particular, with whom he has become very cosy over the last couple of years and has a good relationship, no doubt, and possibly with the Quebec Premier, as well. I would imagine he has an excellent relationship with the Premier of Quebec, no doubt, given his history and his reputation. Could he tell us if the Maritime Premiers and the Premier of the Province of Quebec will, in any way, to his knowledge, try to block any of our efforts now jointly here in this House by campaigning with MPs and senators to pass Bill C-129, contrary to what we would like to do?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I can't possibly speak for other premiers. Over the course of the last two to three years I have been laying the groundwork at Conferences of Premiers and Conferences of Atlantic Premiers. I have gone to Nova Scotia on two occasions and met with the Premier, the Minister of Fisheries, and representatives of the fishing industry, to make the case for joint management. The Minister of Fisheries was with me on at least one occasion, if not both, when we went to Nova Scotia and met with Nova Scotia government officials, including the Premier and representatives of the Nova Scotia fishing industry, to make the case for this kind of joint management.

Just last week, in Vermont, at the Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers, a resolution was passed, a unanimous resolution, to support the principle of greater involvement. Joint management didn't mean anything in the United States context, but what they did support was the principle of greater involvement in the management under regional jurisdictions. Now, that meant something to both Canada and the United States, because in the United States the jurisdiction is somewhat different. The States manage the fisheries up to three miles off the coast, and beyond three miles a federal panel manages the fisheries. So you can't use exactly the same words.

So, Mr. Speaker, at that meeting last week in Vermont, all five eastern Canadian provinces were represented, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland, and the six New England States, and all supported the resolution without comment. As a matter of fact, there was overwhelming comment after expressing very strong support for it. There was no objection whatsoever.

Now, beyond that, I can't speak for how those provincial and state governments might react.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I appreciate the explanation by the Premier, of what happened in Vermont. Perhaps he could table the resolution. We would like to see the wording of the resolution, as a matter of fact.

My question dealt with efforts - which we heard the Minister of Fisheries talk about publicly, and I believe the Premier as well - to try to stop Bill C-129. I raise the question because obviously the Maritime Provinces, in particular, have a vested interest in this whole fishery question. I would have thought that by now the Premier would have had personal conversations and talked to his counterparts in the Maritime Provinces. If so, surely he has asked for their support in your efforts, your government's efforts and the House's efforts, to try to get this legislation stalled.

What I am asking him is: Has he had such conversation and has he asked for their support? If so, did they give him any response at all, and does he know how they feel?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I haven't dealt specifically with the Maritime Premiers or Premier Bourassa of Quebec, specifically with relation to this specific bill. I have dealt with every one of them in relation to the principle of joint management on the basis that Newfoundland proposes. I have told you about the meetings we have had, particularly with the Premier of Nova Scotia, where the greater level of interest is, and the greater level of concern would be. I would not anticipate any difficulty from either Quebec or New Brunswick in terms of that. I should think they would want the same kind of joint management we would want of the fisheries and waters adjacent to their respective provinces. As a matter of fact, for nearly fifty years, Quebec managed their fishery themselves, directly, because the Federal Government delegated to Quebec the right to manage it while the legislative jurisdiction was exercised by Parliament, but I have not spoken individually to the Premiers with respect to this particular bill.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am a bit surprised at the Premier's answer. Now, maybe he cannot speak for his Minister of Fisheries, because his Minister of Fisheries was out there the last week or two bellowing about how they were going to undertake this big, aggressive campaign. Now, we find, they have not even talked to the Maritime premiers to see what kind of support they might get from them, so maybe he can clarify that.

I want to ask him this final question, and it is related to the broader issue, the bigger issue of joint management. I would like to ask the Premier, is he prepared to sit down with the Federal Government to discuss the issue of joint management in the fishery without setting any pre-conditions? - just to make sure I understand his position clearly on that entire issue, without any pre-conditions. Is he prepared to sit down with the Federal Government to discuss the issue of joint management?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I have been virtually on my knees to John Crosbie asking him to do just that for the last two years and get nothing from him. I went to the Prime Minister and asked him to do it. I did not set any pre-condition but there is one position, that joint management means jointly by Canada and Newfoundland in the waters around Newfoundland and Labrador, and not jointly by Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and PEI of the Newfoundland area. That is an absolute. Other than that, there is no pre-condition of any kind whatsoever. The principle of joint management is what we have asked. I have talked about it to the Atlantic Liberal caucus representatives. I have talked to the Chairman - I believe he is the Chairman - about it, and I have been advised they have adopted approval in principle, of the principle of joint management with the method to be determined, and I have no problem with that. I accept that without question. So, in answer to the specific question - absolutely, on the understanding that it is joint management by Canada and Newfoundland of fisheries in the waters around Newfoundland and Labrador.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Finance. Last week the Dominion Bond Rating Service lowered the Province's credit rating from a BBB to a BBB low, which is the lowest rating we have ever had in this Province. Can the minister tell us what impact that will have? He said already that it will not have a great impact on the international market, but a very high percentage of our borrowing is done in the Canadian market. What impact does the minister predict that low credit rating will have on our ability to borrow in the Canadian market this year?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is quite right, our credit rating was lowered by DBRS from BBB to BBB low, and he is also right, that is the lowest it has been. The last downgrading was in 1985. The statement that I made at that point in time indicated that we believe this will have no impact on our ability to access and borrow in the Canadian markets, and will not directly impact the rate we would pay if we go to the Canadian market for money.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, the minister, also, in his response last week said he did not think that Dominion had all the information they really needed to do a proper assessment. Would the minster like to tell us what effort he and his staff made to try to ensure that the Dominion Credit Rating Agency had all the information available? Secondly, Mr. Speaker, what information has the minister given to other credit rating agencies in New York which are far more important, perhaps, in the international marketplace? Has he ensured that they have all the information necessary to do a proper assessment of our financial position?

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

MR. BAKER: Yes, Mr. Speaker. In the statement made by DBRS, they made a number of points. They have indicated on three separate places in their release that the Government of this Province have been on the right track, doing the right things, to the extent that is possible in this Province, so they have given a vote of confidence to the approach taken by this government, number one. But, number two, they indicated there are things they felt were beyond our control and these were the things they used to apply their downgrading. They then got into some detail on it. They talked about the capping of federal transfers as being a reason, and they felt that this would have a serious effect down the road.

In actual fact, Mr. Speaker, only 20 per cent of our federal transfers are capped. The others are not capped, and I feel this is a misunderstanding that they had about what is happening federally. So, Mr. Speaker, I also feel that they did not have an understanding of the impact of the oil development in this Province and did not have a real understanding of what this Province is doing to attract activity and industry.

So what did I do about it? A few minutes after we received indication that this was going to happen we contacted the rating agency. The phone call was returned by the owner of DBRS about ten minutes after they made the release public, and I had a rather lengthy conversation with him in which I expressed our extreme disappointment at what he was doing, at which point in time, I went over the information that I felt he did not take into account and had a misunderstanding about. I then immediately faxed him up at least twenty pages of information related to his very brief statement, which indicated that we felt this was not the right thing to do and it was not justified at this point in time.

Since then, Mr. Speaker, we have also had conversations with other rating agencies, and our conversations have confirmed our attitude that this Province is very highly thought of in the money markets, and very highly thought of in relation to the credit rating agencies in New York, who will be down here in the next four to six weeks, anyway, to do their annual run-through in the Province. They come down and spend three or four days each going through the books of the Province, talking to officials and to the ministers, so they are doing their normal thing.

Recently, we raised $150 million on the Euro-Canadian market, and the downgrading came in the middle of the sale of the last $50 million of that $150 million worth of bonds. The managers in that consortium indicate to me that - and when the downgrading was done, immediately there seemed to be an effect for a few hours, but after that the bonds sold at the normal rate and there was no problem, so it had no effect on the Euro-Canadian market either.

MR. SPEAKER: A final supplementary, the hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, a BBB- is hardly confidence in this Province being shown by a credit rating agency. What effort is the minister now making to give the types of information that Dominion obviously didn't have when they did their rating, to make sure that the markets in New York have that information? Specifically, Mr. Speaker, the minister must know that one of the most important things that bond rating agencies look for are long-term plans. This government doesn't have a long-term plan. They have no projections for the strength of the economy into the long term. Is the minister going to come forward with the kind of economic and fiscal plan that bond rating agencies will need, and specifically, when he brings down his Budget again in a few minutes, is he going to bring out the same dire document, that meaningless document that was brought in before the election, or is he going to now give us a financial plan that will lead this Province to economic stability in the future and give the credit rating agencies some confidence in the economy of this Province?

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is totally wrong - totally wrong in his assumptions - and I think he should think before he makes such public statements as he has just made. First of all, the Dominion Bond Rating Agency, which is a small Canadian rating agency, deals primarily with businesses and not with governments, as the hon. member knows. Number two, they quite specifically stated that they have total confidence in the ability of the Government of this Province to handle the fiscal affairs of this Province properly. They have indicated that we are doing the right things. They indicate that they are confident of the will that exists in this government to solve this problem, so they have specifically indicated this.

The reason they used for the downgrading, Mr. Speaker, I repeat again, was what they incorrectly perceived the Federal Government to do as a result of the Federal Government's budget. So, Mr. Speaker, the member has things all mixed up.

Now,the rating agencies in the United States - the two to which the hon. gentleman referred - know the financial situation of this Province. They are comfortable with the approach taken by this government, they are comfortable with the long-term planning that this government is doing and the direction in which we are headed into both the medium and long term. They are very comfortable with that, Mr. Speaker, and I might add one further thing, the people of this Province are comfortable with it, as well.

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

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

My question, too, Mr. Speaker, is to the Minister responsible for Finance. In the March Budget, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance sought expenditures of approximately $3.2 billion. In a Budget footnote he said that expenditures shown in the Budget for the departments and I quote, 'will be reduced during the year to achieve $70 million in compensation savings which are currently the subject of negotiations'. Now, of course, Mr. Speaker, we are nearly two months into the fiscal year. Will the new Budget show the real breakdown of expenditures for the various government departments?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Finance.

MR. BAKER: No, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. A. SNOW: I wonder how long we are really going to have to wait for the 1993-94 Budget, Mr. Speaker? Isn't this very kind of mismanagement and uncertainty, the real reason why the credit rating agencies downgraded our rating, Mr. Speaker, is that not the real reason because of the uncertainty?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, the real reason is, as I stated a moment ago, that I believe, through some information they misread, they were uncomfortable with the intentions of the Federal Government and they indicated their total and absolute confidence in the ability, the will of this particular government to do what is right, they feel very comfortable with that.

MR. SPEAKER: A final supplementary, the hon. the Member for Menihek.

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the Minister of Finance could answer this question: What do you plan to do if you are not successful in negotiating the necessary compensation savings from the public sector unions?

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The hon. member knows that I cannot give an answer to that question. We are meeting with the public sector unions now. We are, I believe, close to the end of our discussions and negotiations with the public sector unions. While that process is ongoing, I must allow the process to work, and it would not help anybody if there were any indication of exactly what we were going to do if the negotiations were unsuccessful. We believe in a co-operative approach, we believe in trying to work things out with the public sector unions, we have tried that consistently over the past number of years and we hope that this approach will continue and will work.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Health. A report by the House of Commons Committee on Health claims that the tracing of persons infected with HIV contaminated blood during the 1980s is still incomplete. I ask the minister, what is the situation in this Province? Is the minister satisfied that all persons who have received blood transfusions before mandatory testing for contamination have been contacted and tested for the HIV virus?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, the whole question with respect to contamination of blood is under careful review in Canada. There are a number of legal cases involved in this and I would like to assure the hon. member that this government is doing all that is possible but, at the same time, we have to be very careful of what we say publicly since these matters are under review by courts.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I gather, then, he is not prepared to say what the Province is doing. I ask him: Will the Province require that all hospitals contact patients who received blood before mandatory testing of donated blood before it began in 1985? I know, the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto has already started this practice.

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, I will have to take that question under review. I think the answer is yes, but I will take it under review.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am sure the minister is aware that Nova Scotia decided some time ago to negotiate compensation for patients who were infected with the HIV virus through blood transfusions. Is this government willing to negotiate a compensation package for persons who have been infected in this Province?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, this is a very complicated question. The Federal Government have compensated victims for four years. The matter is under review by the courts, and I do not intend to say anything more about it at this point.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. E. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

In the March Budget, the government decided to shut down pork production at Newfoundland Farm Products and end subsidies for hog farmers. To the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture: Does the government stand by this decision?

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

MR. FLIGHT: In the first instance, Mr. Speaker, the government didn't end subsidies for hog producers. The government is still paying subsidies for hog producers and will continue to do that until all the hogs in the barns are grown-out. Yes, Mr. Speaker -

AN HON. MEMBER: Grown-out?

MR. FLIGHT: Are grown-out and finished.

Yes, Mr. Speaker, the government intends to stand by its decision. After the industry, as we know it now, has wound down and the Swine Breeding Station has been closed, the hog producers who are in business as a result of subsidies from the Newfoundland Government, will no longer be paid subsidies for the production of hogs in Newfoundland.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Obviously, this decision is going to cause hardship for many farmers involved in the hog industry. Does government have any plan to compensate farmers for their losses, or to assist them to get re-established in other areas of the industry or in other branches of farming or any other careers?

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

MR. FLIGHT: Mr. Speaker, discussions are being held with the hog producers of Newfoundland and the Hog Marketing Board, by my officials and other officials in government. We are discussing the possibilities. We recognize there are difficulties for some, if not all of the producers, and we are working towards treating the hog producers in this Province in a way that is fair to them and acceptable to the government.

MR. SPEAKER: A final supplementary, the hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. E. BYRNE: Before making the decision to end the hog industry, did government do any research to find out what the economic impact would be, not only on the hog farmers, but on the entire Province generally?

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

MR. FLIGHT: Mr. Speaker, a lot of research was done on the economics. Let me give the hon. member one specific piece of economic information that he might decide would have helped us make the decision.

The average salary in the hog industry in Newfoundland was about $21,000 a year. That applies from the owner down to the employees. This government, the Newfoundland Government, was contributing $28,000 per job in that industry. Now, Mr. Speaker, most people wouldn't necessarily need any more economic information to make the kind of decision we made.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have a question for the new Minister of Social Services.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. VERGE: Will the new Minister of Social Services bring some enlightment and compassion to his position by making a start in amending social assistance regulations, to categorize once again maintenance and child support as allowable income, so that single parents on welfare have an incentive to get court orders for child support, and so that the thousands of children in single parent families on welfare will be slightly better off as a result of contributions from absent parents?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LUSH: Mr. Speaker, one substantive thing has happened since the member last asked that question, and that is, there has been a new minister, and I can only tell the member that the new minister is going to look into all of those matters to ensure that the social needs and the matter to which she refers, is looked into so that the people of this Province will have a quality of life, Mr. Speaker, that is equal to the quality of life in other parts of Canada.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

A supplementary to the Minister of Social Services.

Over the past four years, when two of his colleagues held the Social Services portfolio, the number of people in our Province on welfare rose steadily. Now there are about 70,000 children, women and men in this Province on welfare, many of whom are able to work, are used to working and have skills. What is this minister going to do to provide better alternatives than welfare, to provide opportunities for people now getting social assistance, to train, to be in school, to have jobs or do community service?

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

MR. LUSH: Mr. Speaker, the monopoly of caring about people and addressing their social needs does not reside on that side of the House. This minister is as concerned about addressing the social needs of the people of this Province as his record shows and he is going to ensure that that record is maintained and improved.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I would like, on behalf of all hon. members, to welcome to the public galleries six adult students from Cabot Institute with their teacher, Bridget Godden.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

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

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you.

Mr. Speaker, the striking committee that was struck yesterday, has struck again and is now prepared to present our first report if I may, Mr. Speaker. The committee reports and recommends the following to be the members of the three estimates committees as they are named, the Standing Committees which will deal with the estimates.

The following members, Mr. Speaker, will comprise the Government Services Committee; the Member for Trinity North as the Chair, the Member for Bonavista South as the Vice-Chair, the Member for Harbour Grace, the Member for Pleasantville, the Member for St. John's East Extern, the Member for St. John's North and the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes.

The Social Services Committee, Sir, will be comprised of the hon. Member for Burgeo - Bay D'Espoir as the Chair, the Member for Humber East as the Vice-Chair, the Member for Burin - Placentia West, the Member for Fortune - Hermitage, the Member for Port au Port, the Member for St. John's East and the Member for Terra Nova.

The Resource Committee, Mr. Speaker, will be chaired by the Member for Lewisporte, the Vice-Chair will be the Member for Humber Valley and the other members will be: the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay, the Member for Fogo, the Member for Harbour Main, the Member for Kilbride and the Member for St. George's.

This is our first report, Mr. Speaker. We will present reports with respect to the other Standing Committees I should think, in the next two or three days of the House.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that the Committees be stuck as read into the record by the hon. the Government House Leader. Is it the will of the House that the Committees be constituted as stated?

All those in favour, 'aye'. Those against, 'nay'. Carried.

The hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy.

DR. GIBBONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to table the annual report for 1992, for Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.

Thank you.

Notices of Motion

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

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I give notice that I will on tomorrow or later today, by leave, move that the following heads of expenditure be referred to the Government Services Committee. These are about the same as before, I would say to my friends Opposite, Finance, Works, Services and Transportation, Employment and Labour Relations, Municipal and Provincial Affairs, The Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation and The Public Service Commission.

The following heads, Mr. Speaker, will be referred to the Social Services Committee: The Department of Social Services Estimates, The Education Department Estimates, Health, Environment and Lands and Justice; and the Resource Committee will have referred to it, the following heads of expenditure, Mr. Speaker: Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture, Mines and Energy, Tourism and Culture and Industry, Trade and Technology.

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: During Question Period, Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition asked if I would table the resolution passed by the Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers, and I am pleased to do so; and also, to pass on the information that the Minister of Environment and Lands just gave me, that, during a national meeting of Ministers of the Environment, she spoke on the fisheries issue and the need for joint management, and received from the representative of the Government of Quebec the assurances of Quebec's support in relation to the matter; so I will just pass that on.

Orders of the Day

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

MR. ROBERTS: Motion 1, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 1.

The hon. the Minister of Finance.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I move that this House resolve itself into a Committee of Ways and Means and that the Speaker do now leave the Chair.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

As members know, once a year at least, there comes the time when the government presents its financial plans and details for the year. As hon. members also know, during the Forty-first General Assembly, which was dissolved recently, a Budget was presented in mid-March; a Budget was presented to the Forty-first General Assembly. Before that Budget was processed and had gone through the procedure for passing a Budget in the House of Assembly, of course there was an intervening event. The House was dissolved, an election was held, and now we are back for the Forty-second General Assembly.

Mr. Speaker, in the couple of short months that have intervened there have been no major changes in terms of the financial position of the Province. I suppose the next occasion at which there may be some major change would be late fall. Every year we get federal re-estimates and so on at that point in time, but right now the situation is the same. There have been no major changes in revenue. There have been no major changes in expenditure. There have been no changes which cannot be handled within the normal confines of the Budget that was tabled for the Forty-First General Assembly for the year 1993-'94.

As members know, our approach in that Budget was to rigidly control expenditures. Expenditure control was the key to that Budget, and of course I suppose this is consistent with the approach that we have had to take for a number of budgets. Revenues have been decreasing in actual dollars from the federal government over the last couple of years. Revenues have been decreasing and therefore we have had to plan our programs in such a way that we have to survive with decreasing revenue.

We have tried the approach of increasing taxes. Over the last couple of years taxes have been increased considerably in this Province - unfortunately. In the December statement of last year there were tax increases. We felt in this Budget that we were at the limit of tax increases and could no longer afford more tax increases in the Province; therefore we did no tax increases in the recently tabled Budget - the recently presented Budget. Instead, Mr. Speaker, we went for expenditure control, and one of the aspects of the expenditure control was a $70 million reduction in total public service compensation, in addition to reductions in program expenditure and reductions in operating expenditure. That was the approach that we had taken, consistent with what we have had to do for the last couple of years.

The reduction in overall compensation is something that we have been in the process of - the mechanism for this is something that we have been negotiating with the public service, public sector unions. The fact that the $70 million is being removed is not in question. The only thing that is being discussed is the mechanisms by which these amounts are to be removed and, Mr. Speaker, I can report to the House today, as I did earlier in Question Period, that we are getting very close to the end of these discussions, and I still have hope that we can reach an end to these discussions successfully so that the mechanisms used would be agreed to by the public sector unions; but, Mr. Speaker, if these negotiations are unsuccessful then government will introduce into the House its suggested method for retrieving this $70 million. So, Mr. Speaker, we are not at the end of that process yet, but we are very, very close to it.

The question often asked is why we have had to take this approach. The answer is pretty obvious. There has been a world-wide recession. There have been declining revenues from the federal government, and we have had to cope - and we have had to cope at the same time that we have been hanging on by our fingernails in terms of our credit rating in the international markets - hanging on by our fingernails.

When we took over government a little over four years ago we had a situation where we were rated in the B category by three of the four big rating agencies, two Canadian and two American, and in one of them we still maintained an A rating. That was the situation when we took over government, that was the situation given to us by some members opposite. We have been struggling, Mr. Speaker, under these circumstances to retain the confidence of the money markets of the world and it has not been easy. We have had to show to the financial markets that our approach is reasonable and sensible. We have had to show to them that in spite of the blows that we have suffered over the last four years, the blows that we have suffered from decreasing federal revenues, the blows that we have suffered internally from our resource shortages and so on, in spite of all of that, we have had to retain their confidence and, Mr. Speaker, we have done that. We have retained the confidence of the markets of the world in terms of our ability, desire and will to do what is right in this Province. We have retained that confidence and at the same time, Mr. Speaker, we have done it in such a way that we recognize there are fundamental public services that must be provided in the Province and we are providing these fundamental public services. As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, we are improving these fundamental services.

So, Mr. Speaker, it has been a very delicate balancing act. The Budget as prepared was part of this process and was part of a plan that this government has to eliminate current account deficits and to work on the elimination of any deficits, any budgetary deficits in the medium term. So, this is governments plan and our Budget was an integral part of that long-term plan. So, Mr. Speaker, there are no changes to the Budget. What I want to do here today is to simply retable the estimates, to retable the same information that was provided to hon. members in the Forty-first General Assembly so that we can carry on the process, pass the Budget.

That again I will stress, is part of our long-term approach to proper fiscal management in the Province, to retaining the confidence of the markets of the world, to retaining our essential public services that we must provide and to continue to improve these public services. A budget is an integral part of all that. We explained this to the people during the election, we explained it to the people before the election. As a matter of fact, we have been so totally open, honest and straightforward about everything financial, because this Budget was done in total public view. Budget secrecy disappeared, Mr. Speaker, everybody knew what the financial situation was, everybody knew what we were faced with and everybody knew what our approach was. The people knew, the public sector unions knew, the people of the Province knew and, Mr. Speaker, the people of the Province have spoken on this particular Budget.

So, Mr. Speaker, I would simply like to table the estimates for 1993 and all of the other relevant documents that are available to all members of the hon. House.

Mr. Speaker, I move that the debate be adjourned until later today.

MR. SPEAKER: On motion that the debate be adjourned until later today. You have heard the motion,

All those in favour, 'aye'. Those against, 'nay'. Carried.

The hon. the Minister of Finance.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I wish to inform the House that I have received a message from his hon. the Lieutenant-Governor.

MR. SPEAKER: All rise.

The message is directed to the hon. the Minister of Finance:

I, the Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of Newfoundland, transmit estimates required for the public service of the Province for the year ending March 31st, 1994 in the aggregate of $2,859,968,800.00 and in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution Act 1867 I recommend these Estimates to the House of Assembly.

Sgd:_____________________________

Frederick W. Russell, Lieutenant-Governor.

We will take a few moments to distribute documents to all hon. members.

The hon. the Minister of Finance.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I move that the message, together with the Estimates, be referred to the Committee of Supply.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that the message from His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor, together with the Estimates, be referred to Committee of Supply and that I now leave the Chair.

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

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Government House Leader.

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: The hon. Deputy Speaker.

MR. L. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of Supply has considered the matters to it referred, has made some progress, and has asked leave to sit again.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Notices of motion.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, there are no notices arising from the Minister's Budget Speech and accordingly I would ask Your Honour to call Motion 1 which would be the Budget Debate.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 1.

The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is most unusual to have two opportunities.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. WINDSOR: Perhaps we could go to Hansard and get a copy of what I said five weeks ago, distribute it, and then we could all go off for the weekend and go fishing. My first thought, Mr. Speaker, was that it would be somewhat redundant to say again everything I already had an opportunity to say for some four and a half hours, but then I looked around the room and saw so many new members who did not have the opportunity to hear those words of wisdom, and knowing the length of memory of hon. gentlemen opposite I figured they had forgotten everything I said, too, so I think in fairness to the people of the Province I really should go back and say everything I said, and so many more things that have occurred to me over the past four or five weeks.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. WINDSOR: I will not say it. It is too early in this session to get nasty with the poor helpless Minister of Environment and Lands. Mr. Speaker, the first thing I want to do is congratulate Your Honour on your election to the Chair of the House of Assembly. It is a very prestigious honour and I know from Your Honour's record in the House and outside that you bring to it a great degree of dignity and wisdom and that Your Honour will serve this House and the people of this Province well in that capacity. On behalf of my constituents in Mount Pearl and on behalf, I am sure, of all the people of the Province I congratulate you for that.

I would also like to congratulate the new ministers who have been sworn in very recently. It is very interesting to see two or three new ministers in. We were surprised there were not more changes but the Premier has indicated that he may well have a Cabinet shuffle coming up later on this spring. He probably wants to get out off the House first, and then maybe the fall, over the summer, or next year he will have it. I want to congratulate the former Speaker on the job he did as Speaker and wish him well in his portfolio. I am sure he is going to do well. He learns quickly. He answered two question today in Question Period and did not say a thing so he has already found out how to be a minister. He is performing very well. The old adage of saying absolutely nothing in as many words as possible is coming through very quickly. The minister has learned that very effectively.

The Minister of Social Services is back, but not as Social Services Minister anymore, he is back as Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. I congratulate the minister on his appointment, Mr. Speaker, but I find it a little strange that he would be given that particular portfolio. Here is a minister who left Cabinet because he interfered with the Public Service Commission and now he is put in charge of it. That is like putting Jesse James in charge of Fort Knox, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINDSOR: I have to say, I am not surprised that the minister was put back in Cabinet because that is the only way the Premier could shut him up, to get him inside again, instead of being outside sniping at the Premier's heels every second day and criticizing the Premier's policies, particularly on fisheries. I have to say, Mr. Speaker, I was really surprised that he was put in that particular portfolio. But, we wish him well.

There is one other portfolio that should be changed, Mr. Speaker, and that is the Premier. We should have changed the Premier. Unfortunately, that wasn't our choice.

I congratulate the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, Mr. Speaker. He has a history of being involved in municipal affairs in this Province. He was an effective mayor in Carbonear before he entered the provincial scene. We look forward to big things from that particular minister, because I think, or hope at least, that he has an understanding of the problems that municipalities in this Province are facing. He has shown in the past that he has some understanding. He has shown a reluctance to follow some of the policies of the administration while he was in the backbenches, as well. He was one of the rebels, Mr. Speaker. It is amazing that the rebels are the ones who are put in Cabinet. It is in the only way to keep them quiet I suppose.

The Member for Carbonear often disagreed with things that the administration was doing. He often spoke out, not very loudly but he spoke out, and he grumbled and stamped his heels and he walked out of the Chamber and refused to vote. At least he had the intestinal fortitude not to stand up like some many more ducks in a shooting gallery and be counted. We hope, Mr. Speaker, now that he is in Cabinet he will speak even more loudly for what he believes in, and that he will have some impact, that he is not just in Cabinet to be silenced as the Minister for Works, Services and Transportation is.

Now, Mr. Speaker, my friend from St. John's South is now the Parliamentary Assistant. He is the third renegade that was in the backbenches. Now he has been elevated, he has been brought in where the Premier can keep a hand on the back of his neck all the time. I suspect the Member for St. John's South is not going to be so quiet. He has never been quiet in the many, many years that I have known him. I doubt very much that he is going to begin now.

MR. TOBIN: He won't let Danny Dumaresque in the House.

MR. WINDSOR: No. I was coming to the member for Eagle River. I was wondering about the member for Eagle River, but I will have a chance to speak to him on Tuesday, I guess. I was wondering about the member for Eagle River. I mean, he is not here yet. He is the other renegade. I would have really suspected -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) resigned.

MR. WINDSOR: Who resigned?

MR. ROBERTS: Trying to cause trouble, are you?

MR. WINDSOR: I am trying to cause some trouble, yes.

MR. ROBERTS: You are not doing very well, actually.

MR. WINDSOR: Well, I am not doing so bad.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Tell them how much they paid you to knock off Bill Rowe.

MR. WINDSOR: I would like to know how much Bill Rowe was paid to commit suicide.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINDSOR: Whatever I might think about that hon. gentleman, Mr. Speaker, he is not stupid.

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, he is.

MR. WINDSOR: He might be politically stupid, but he is not stupid,

so there had to be a reason why he was sent in. I have to say it was great fun. It was an interesting campaign. Most elections are won district by district. My friend from St. Mary's - The Capes and I won our elections `Rowe' by `Rowe'.

AN HON. MEMBER: How many doors did you knock on, 'Neil'?

MR. WINDSOR: How many doors did I knock on? Almost every door in the district - almost every door. There were three or four little cul-de-sacs that I didn't get to, and the reason is that I spent a day-and-a-half on crutches with a knee problem. Other than that, I would have been -

MR. WALSH: It is amazing that you would win after so many people meeting you!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINDSOR: It is amazing, yes!

MR. SIMMS: Oh! What a low blow!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Yes, but they also met Bill Rowe, let me tell you.

MR. WINDSOR: I knocked at doors when people were home; I knocked at doors when people were not home. I knocked at the member's door when he was knocking on somebody else's door, and I knocked on his neighbour's door and planted signs on the lawns of all of his neighbours. In fact, I was told I had so many signs on his street, that Saturday afternoon when he came home, he had to put sunglasses on, it was so colourful.

AN HON. MEMBER: 'Neil', we heard Jim wanted to get rid of Bill Rowe so badly that he even voted for you.

MR. WINDSOR: Well, he was forced to put a red and white sign on his lawn, and if he wasn't out in Mount Scio voting - the only thing that saved Bill Rowe from having a vote cast against him was that the member was out in his own district voting for himself, as all members, I suspect, were. That is the only thing that saved him, Mr. Speaker. But it was an interesting campaign. Perhaps some time later on I will get an opportunity to ask the Premier if he is going to fulfil some of the commitments that were made by my opponent during that campaign. If I thought they would be fulfilled I would be tempted to retire because my goals would have been realized. There would be nothing left for me to do, there were so many hollow promises made during the campaign. I could relax and say that my district had been well served and I could go on to a far greater reward, I suppose, Mr. Speaker - but it was an interesting campaign.

I want to get back to my friend from St. John's South. I hope that he is still going to be on the Public Accounts Committee as Vice-Chair of Public Accounts. I don't know. He won't be?

MR. MURPHY: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Lost that.

MR. MURPHY: I got fired.

MR. WINDSOR: You got fired. You see? There is another example where the Member for St. John's South was being too fair and honest on the Public Accounts Committee. The hon. member agreed with me, and with the Committee, I might say, in fairness to the Member for Eagle River and the Member for LaPoile, who are also on that Committee, and somebody else, I think, one other - there is one more. The Member for LaPoile -

AN HON. MEMBER: Carbonear.

MR. WINDSOR: The Member for Carbonear. Well, he will be changed now, obviously, because he is now a minister, but all of those members agreed with the position the Public Accounts Committee took on a couple of major issues - one being the University, particularly, a very important one that we are not finished with yet, by a long shot. It was announced yesterday. A Notice of Motion was given of a piece of legislation to deal with the University. Now, there will be a fine piece of legislation to debate. I don't know if hon. members know what that piece of legislation is all about. This government doesn't feel that the University has to answer to the House of Assembly, more importantly, to the Public Accounts Committee, for the expenditures of over $100 million by the University. They are above and beyond, the fat cats at the University.

This government refused to direct the University to provide the information requested by the Auditor General of this Province, who has the right and power and authority to examine the books of every government department and every agency of the Crown - every single one, including the University - and this government has given notice that they will, retroactively, pass legislation which makes legal what has already been judged by the courts as being illegal, because the matter has been heard by the courts. The Auditor General referred it to the court, and the court said that the University was wrong in not responding to the Auditor General, and that the Auditor General, being a servant of the House, the University was wrong in not responding to the Public Accounts Committee, as well.

I came forward on behalf of the Public Accounts Committee with a point of privilege in this House. I say this particularly for the benefit - not only the benefit of our new members on this side, but some of the new members on the other side, who I see are listening very attentively, and I am pleased that you are because this is important. I want you to know the type of administration that you are supporting over there. I think it is important that you think about it, if you haven't already done so.

This government stood here in this House and said we will not make the University answer to the Auditor General. We will not force the University to appear before the Public Accounts Committee of this House. Now, the Public Accounts Committee of this House, is this House. It is a Committee of this House, it is a Standing Committee of the House of Assembly with all the powers and privileges afforded to this House. In refusing to answer to the Public Accounts Committee when summoned, formally, legally in writing before the Public Accounts Committee, the University officials, the President and the officials of the University basically said to the House of Assembly, 'No, we will not appear before you; we will not answer your questions.' Now, I ask, particularly those hon. gentlemen in the backbenches and the new members, do you honestly believe that the University is so different that they should not answer for $110 million of expenditure of public monies? You and all of your ministers will come before committees of this House, which are no different from the Public Accounts Committee, and will answer for the expenditure of government monies by every department of government. We will call before the Public Accounts Committee,in due course, as issues arise, boards of directors and officials from - we have had school boards in, we have had hospital boards in, we have had -

AN HON. MEMBER: Crown corporations.

MR. WINDSOR: - Crown corporations, MCP. We can call in Newfoundland Hydro, we can call in the Housing Corporation, we can call in every Crown corporation and every agency of government before the Public Accounts Committee to answer questions identified by the Auditor General, generally, in the Auditor General's Report. The Auditor General says, 'I don't agree with this, I don't agree with this, I don't agree with this.'

The role of the Public Accounts Committee is to examine that report, to examine the public accounts and to call into question any issues that may arise, and we do that on a regular basis. We have had many of those agencies in and given them a thorough questioning on how that government money is being spent and they have answered the questions under oath. It is a quasi-judicial board or committee. Witnesses before the Public Accounts Committee take an oath, sworn to by the Clerk of the House. But this government says the University alone will be exempt from that.

Academic freedom? What does it have to do with academic freedom? We have a board of regents, a senate and we have an administration, one agency deals with academics and one deals with administration. We are not interested in the academic affairs of the University. We don't want to tell them what courses to teach. We don't want to tell them what to say in those courses, what concepts should be taught to the students, whether they be democratic principles or religious principles, whatever you want to talk about. We are not interfering with academic freedom, but we have a right to find out how much was spent by the University on buildings, on furniture, on administration and on trips abroad. We have a right and a responsibility to the people of the Province, Mr. Speaker, to do that, as we do with every Crown corporation. We are not questioning whether we teach education courses, arts courses, science courses, mathematics courses or whatever we may be teaching over there or the content of the curriculum, but it is the cost to that, Mr. Speaker, how the costs are controlled. Is there any wastage over there? When we say to every government department, to every public servant, we must cut back, we can call - we used to call all government departments. They still do, the Estimate Committees; the ministers will come up with their staff and will justify how much the Minister's Office is costing, how much his travelling is costing and whether he needs seven or eight staff in his office. Every program within that minister's department, that minister comes into this House of Assembly or into the Colonial Building or wherever the Committee meeting is being held and answers questions from other members of the House of Assembly - the Estimate Committees that the House Leader just named.

Every minister is held accountable in this House, but the President of the University is not. He alone, in this Province will not be held accountable. He is, under present law - and the courts recently ruled on it. Judge Noel said the University was wrong in not responding to the Auditor General, and, by the same token, therefore, the University was wrong in not responding to the Public Accounts Committee, although the judge did not address that because the question was not put to him. And he said: 'The only remedy I have - I don't have a remedy, I have no means to penalize the University, I can't put it in jail, there is nothing in the law saying: You have committed a breach of this law, therefore, here is the penalty.' So he said, the only redress that the Auditor General has, which she followed and followed quite correctly, is to ask the House of Assembly to give direction, to take action; in other words, to ask the University or direct the University to respond to the Auditor General and, by the same token, two parallel issues, to respond to the Public Accounts Committee. What was the response of this government? Did they do that? No, Mr. Speaker, the government said: 'We do not believe the University should answer.'

'We now have a written judgement from the Supreme Court saying that the University was wrong in not responding, so we will bring in a law that says the University does not have to respond and we will make it retroactive, so that when they broke the law, it will now not be the law anymore, we will change it. That is like if I am driving home today and I get caught on Prince Philip Parkway, driving at 120 kilometres an hour and I get stopped by the police, I will say: Oh, I broke the law. Well, tomorrow, I will come into the House of Assembly and pass a law making the speed limit on the Prince Philip Parkway, 120 kilometres an hour, retroactive to today - no difference, no difference whatsoever. It is called breaking a law and then changing a law retroactively to make it legal afterwards. That is the method of operation of this government, but the real question still remains: Should the University have the right, they alone, to refuse to answer for expenditure of government funds, and the President of the University will say, 'Well, we have auditors and we have a Board of Regents and we have a Senate and we look after all of those things, but they are not elected by the people, Mr. Speaker. They are not elected by the people and it is the people's money. And we, as members of the House of Assembly, every single one of us, is responsible for every dollar that is collected from the taxpayers of this Province, and we are responsible for how it is spent, and the piece of legislation that will be introduced here in due course over the next number of days, our ability to account for that $110 million that is handed over en bloc to the University each year, our ability to question that will be taken away. It is a real question, Mr. Speaker, whether it is even constitutional; it is a real question. But we will get into that; no doubt, I will have another opportunity to say all this again. But I caution and I commend hon. gentlemen opposite who are very interested - and I am pleased to see they are paying attention - to think about that and have a look at that and think about the democratic principles here. Because, we still hope and believe that this is a democratic country and that this is a democratic Parliament, and as such, all of us individually and collectively, are responsible to our constituents, to the taxpayers of this Province, who pay the cost of running this government.

Mr. Speaker, you can go on for days and days, I suppose, but I don't really think I want to; I do not see a lot of point in it, because I have said most of what needs to be said. But I do want to go over the pertinent points of this Budget again.

This Budget, Mr. Speaker, will be remembered and will be recognized for one thing primarily. It is the first incomplete Budget ever brought before the House of Assembly, because you must realize that we have as a document that identifies essentially, a $120 million deficit. Now, the government says, and says quite correctly, that we cannot tolerate a $120 million deficit on current account in this Province. It is not acceptable and the evidence from the credit rating agencies, as discussed during Question Period, certainly confirms that. Even with the Budget that was brought in our credit rating is still in great danger, and I might say for new members who may not be familiar with it - what does a credit rating mean? Well, there are credit rating agencies that say to the bonding agent, the money markets whether or not this Province, or any government, is a good risk. Are we a good risk? Newfoundland is probably the worst risk in Canada.

Now the key credit rating agencies are Standard and Poor's and Moody in New York, on the international money market, because money is borrowed for this Province not only here but in Europe, in Japan, not so much in Great Britain, but certainly in Switzerland, Germany and France, money is borrowed. Japan is a big market and the United States is a big market and generally the Minister of Finance will try to borrow in all markets. The bulk of funding will be borrowed in the Canadian market and that is why this particular credit rating agency, albeit a very small credit rating agency, and as the minister said, perhaps did not have a great impact because they are a small, relatively young credit rating agency. Nevertheless, it is significant that they have shown concern.

Credit rating agencies do not just look at one document. As I said, also in Question Period, they are concerned about the long-term. Where is this government heading? Where is the Province and the economy of this Province heading over the long-term, so they want to know more than just a snapshot of what is taking place at this moment. Where are we going? What this government has done in this particular snapshot, first of all they have not given a long-term plan. They could go to the credit rating agencies and say: we have a $60, $70, or $80 million deficit that is unacceptable and here is what we are going to do over the next four or five years. Here is our five year plan. They did not do that.

In 1985 the government of the day was faced with an $89 million deficit and that was unacceptable and we knew it, and we knew our credit rating was in great danger. Economic times were no better then and perhaps even worse in many ways that they are today. More importantly they were probably worse because the economic times in Newfoundland compared to the rest of Canada were worse. Today we have an economic problem right across Canada and we can be forgiven a little bit because we are caught up in that national recession, but in 1985 there was somewhat of a recession but Newfoundland, for a whole host of reasons I will not go into, found itself in a much worse position, so we could be singled out very easily. We were very concerned about that $89 million deficit and we went to New York and sat down with the credit rating agencies and said: we cannot eliminate that deficit. We cannot bring in a balanced Budget, not without destroying some essential social programs or raising taxation levels to an unreasonable and unacceptable high level, so we said here is our plan. Here is our five year plan and these are the decisions that are going to have to be made over the five years and we are prepared to make them. We will reduce that deficit from $89 million to zero over five years and we laid out a firm plan. We said, here is our problem, here is how we are going to deal with it, these are the tough decisions this government will make over the course of that five years. Here is what we will do, and we did it. Not only that, we did it in four years instead of five years. At the end of four years, in 1989, we passed over to this government a Budget which had a small surplus on current account, and the credit rating agencies in 1985 accepted what we said. If we had come in in 1985 and said that we have an $89 million deficit and we do not know what to do with it, and we cannot lower it any more; we are not prepared to make the decisions necessary to reduce that deficit to deal with that problem, they would have downgraded us in 1985 - but they did not, Mr. Speaker, because we had a five year plan. They said to us: You have come to us before and you have said you are going to do something, and you have always done it, and we have confidence in you as a government. They trusted us again, and we did what we said we would do, and our plan worked.

Compare that with the Budget document that is before us today. Here you have a Budget document that is not complete. It predicts a $120 million deficit, and that is what is on the expenditure side, let us be very clear. And the Interim Supply Bill that was passed, based on the Budget, which is essentially one-third of the Budget, was passed based on expenditure estimates which result in a $120 million deficit at the end of this year. The government departments are now operating on that basis. If we do not do anything at the end of the year, if they stick to their Budget, we will end up with a $120 million deficit.

The government has said: No, we are not going to do that. We have a $120 million deficit. We are not sure how we are going to deal with it, but we are going to take it from the public service somewhere. We are going to cut off $70 million.

Well remember there used to be a TV program first when television came on, the $64,000 question. Well this is the $70 million question. Where is this government going to find $70 million? Now they have lost $200,000 every day that action has not been taken. That is how much you have to cut - $200,000 a day - over the course of the entire year, to save $70 million.

When the minister brought in his Budget he said: We will have this done by the beginning of the fiscal year - by April 1st. Well this is May 21st. Fifty odd days have gone by at $200,000 a day. So what is that? That is $10 million, we have slipped, that has not been saved because the Budget has not been changed to reflect $70 million in expenditure savings.

It is interesting - a most unusual way to do a Budget, to say our bottom line is $210 million, but - right at the bottom we will take out $70 million. If you look at the Budget document, it is very clear. If you read down just in the summary of the Budget document, function of expenditure, lists down all the main headings. Subtotal expenditures, $3.2 billion less compensation measures, $70 million. Where? How much? How many jobs are going to be lost? What programs will be cut back to save that $70 million? Or will we see rollback in wages? To save $70 million you either have to employ fewer people or you have to roll back wages and benefits that have already been negotiated and are now being paid. There is no way to reduce by $70 million without eliminating something, without reducing something, without rolling back something. It is not possible. Some benefits have to be given up.

It is a most unusual Budget. Have you ever seen a pie chart? The day of computers always gives us graphs and charts. A pie chart is a very useful way of showing how expenditures go. Here we have a pie chart - you always heard the old saying, pi are squared? Somebody said, well no, pie are not squared; pie are round. Well this pie is not round. There is another piece stuck out here - $70 million outside. Pie are round with $70 million added to it. They do not know how to fit that in.

AN HON. MEMBER: A mini-Budget will cure that.

MR. WINDSOR: A mini-budget will cure that. The minister does not need to bring in a mini-budget. An interesting Budget. This is the first Budget, I would submit, ever brought before this House that didn't require any resolutions. There were no motions coming out of the Budget itself, because there were no tax increases, there were no tax cuts. Amazing. Because it was all done on December 4 in the mini-Budget. Two hundred million dollars in tax increases on December 4, $200 million per year in tax increases on the people of this Province on December 4, in a little mini-Budget. They didn't all take effect then. The government likes to do that, you see. They like to come in and say: we're going to increase some taxes, but here's all it needs this year. Sixty million dollars this year, I think, is what it said.

What happens next year when you annualize it over the whole year? Big difference. It comes up to something like $200 million. So there were no motions introduced with this Budget. The government doesn't have to. Because they have asked - this Budget is asking this House for a blank cheque to take $70 million out afterward. Where is it going to come out? Because $70 million out of this Budget will change almost every figure in the Budget document.

So what they've said is: here's our Budget, it's not finished, we have a $70 million problem, we're going to take - we have a $120 million problem - we're going to take $70 million of it away. We'll tell you later on. I think it's time that the minister came in and told us now. I don't think it's acceptable to say that: we'll take it away from compensation. The people in this Province have a right to know. Particularly the public servants of this Province have a right to know. Where will we find that $70 million? Very interesting question.

More importantly, what is the impact of taking that $70 million? What cuts are there? You're asking us to buy a pig in a poke here. We do not know the implications of this Budget because we don't know where it's coming from. We've no idea. The Minister of Finance asking us to approve a budget and he will later on tell us how he proposes to do all that.

MR. GRIMES: Are you reading from the Hansard now?

MR. WINDSOR: I beg your pardon?

MR. GRIMES: Are you reading from Hansard the same stuff you read before?

MR. WINDSOR: Am I reading from Hansard? No.

MR. GRIMES: Sounds familiar -

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) sounds familiar, doesn't it?

MR. GRIMES: Sounds the same.

AN HON. MEMBER: So does the Budget.

MR. WINDSOR: Well, it sounds familiar. The members opposite might remember it, it's too bad they don't pay attention to it.

MR. ROBERTS: You've got him stirred up again Roger.

MR. WINDSOR: If they'd knocked on as many doors as I did in the election campaign I'm sure they must have heard a lot of this.

MR. ROBERTS: I knocked on as many.

MR. WINDSOR: You knocked on as many? I doubt that very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: The hon. member doesn't have as many doors to knock on as I do. His district is well spread out, but he doesn't have nearly as many constituents, nor did he get -

MR. ROBERTS: Mount Pearl must be one of the largest districts (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Mount Pearl is the largest. My friend had the highest percentage of the vote, I had the highest vote. Over 6,000 votes. My friend for Waterford - Kenmount had the second-highest. He has the second largest district.

MR. ROBERTS: What is the larger?

MR. WINDSOR: Pardon?

MR. ROBERTS: I thought Waterford - Kenmount was the larger district, but nobody really knows. The voting list is so hopelessly out of date.

MR. WINDSOR: We don't really know.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: One of the problems that we had - in fact, I have the only voters list that's available in Mount Pearl at the moment. Because we did it. We abandoned -

MR. ROBERTS: The hon. gentleman's the only one who needs it right now.

MR. WINDSOR: The only one who needs it. The 1988 voters list was of absolutely no value so we just ignored it.

MR. ROBERTS: The federal one (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: The federal one was of no value. Polls were different, streets were different -

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, great. It's fine in rural Newfoundland, where you go into a small community and there are 100 or 200 voters.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: It's just as easy to go do your own enumeration as to try to transpose all of the data from one to the other. In fact, you'll find that the enumeration that was done for that federal Yes campaign or No campaign, the referendum, was done so quickly it was not totally accurate anyway. We found in any case, Mr. Speaker, that in my own riding at least, and I realize my riding is somewhat unique, there are so many people that changed. First of all you had five years that passed by and many people have passed on to another world. You had young people who were thirteen years old when that enumeration was done, who were eligible to vote and a lot of mobile people in my district but even more importantly the growth area, all of Westminster, most of Admiralty Wood and most of Power's Pond areas did not exist in 1988. I think it represented some nine polls that did not exist at all in 1988. These are totally unknown people, totally unknown. We did not know who they were, we did not know where they came from. We knew nothing about them or how many people were there, names or anything. So we did our own voters list, computerized it and produced our own enumeration effectively and I have it on computer disk. In fact the returning officer is asking to get a copy of it and certainly it will be made available because it is the only list available. If those two parties did not go through that trouble.

MR. ROBERTS: They may have paid a price for it.

MR. WINDSOR: They may have paid a price for it, yes. They certainly paid a price for the signs that they had around. I would like to have the taxes that they paid on the signs that they put up.

MR. ROBERTS: Oh, the lawn signs.

MR. WINDSOR: The lawn signs, yes. I have to say my opponent was well financed. I do not know where he bought his signs. He did not buy them in the district. We have a couple of good sign shops in the district. To my knowledge he did not use anyone from the district, they were brought in from outside and that is fine but he certainly paid the price. He also paid to have them put up. He also paid people to put them up for him. Unfortunately, he had to replace them almost every morning. He had a real problem.

MR. ROBERTS: People were saving them were they, for posterity?

MR. WINDSOR: No, they were not saving them. They were destroying them almost as quickly as they were putting them up. I would say the hardware stores did a very good business on black paint, cans of black spray bombs. Unfortunately the signs were destroyed on a regular basis, very unfortunate. Something that we certainly had absolutely nothing to do with and would not tolerate, would not condone. We had some damage to our own, without a question. He had quite a bit more damage than we did but he spent a lot of money on signs. Somebody did well from his election campaign as they should.

Mr. Speaker, the question is, where are we going with this particular Budget document? Negotiations with public service unions may well be progressing as the minister tries to tell us. I think it is going to be very difficult for him to find $70 million. Now he may find a mechanism, and obviously as we go through the year it is going to have to be a mechanism that comes in lump sums. At the rate we are going it is going to be too late to make the changes necessary to the Budget document. So he is going to have to find solutions such as his famous pension plan contribution scheme that went nowhere. We all know how a couple of the major collective bargaining agencies felt about that. So that option may not be available.

I think it is important too, that government look at what the implications are of that for government because it is not all favourable to government. I think if government looked at that very closely, and they may have already done so, I have some reason to believe that they have had second thoughts on that option because of the long-term implications of taking that particular type of action. It may well be extremely negative to government, so you are not changing anything. You may not be borrowing that extra $70 million in the money market, doubtful if you could raise it anyway, doubtful that you could raise anything if you came in with $120 million deficit but you may not be borrowing at the money market but you are borrowing it essentially from pension plans from the future. You will pay it back one way or the other in the long-term.

MR. ROBERTS: It's a reduction in compensation, not borrowing.

MR. WINDSOR: Reduction in compensation, reduction in amount that you contribute to the pension plan now.

MR. ROBERTS: Reduction in compensation, no question about it but (inaudible) -

MR. WINDSOR: In effect you are borrowing.

MR. ROBERTS: No, no.

MR. WINDSOR: You are dragging it out at the end. You will pay back in those days, dollars. You are going to employ those people an extra six months.

MR. ROBERTS: If they want to stay.

MR. WINDSOR: If they want to stay. They are going to have to stay to get their thirty years in. They are going to have to work that extra.

MR. ROBERTS: Well, a lot of them will retire before that.

MR. WINDSOR: Teachers in this Province were on strike for thirty and out clause and now they are being asked to work thirty years and six months.

MR. ROBERTS: The teachers pension plan, the problem isn't thirty and out, the problem is that unfunded liability, and have a look at the age distribution (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: So somewhere down the road that extra money has to be paid out. No question about that. You've a big unfunded liability there, no question of that. We've been negotiating that for many years.

MR. ROBERTS: That's the greatest legacy, the curse that we inherited, I tell you, that one.

MR. WINDSOR: Oh yes. But we had begun to deal with it. No question, it was there. But in fairness to governments, though -

MR. ROBERTS: Goes back several years.

MR. WINDSOR: - actuarial studies and pension plans are relatively new animals.

MR. ROBERTS: Canada Pension Plan (inaudible) 'sixties.

MR. WINDSOR: That's right. Pension plans get put in place, you estimate what the cost might be, you find that the costs are much greater than you anticipated. So in fairness to previous governments, and to this government, but in fairness to previous governments particularly, because we had to deal with the problem, because it was during our term, during the latter year or so of our term, that we discovered that we had the problem. I recall in fact as President of Treasury Board in 1989 I think, 1988 or 1989, meeting with the present Minister of Environment, who was president of the NTA at the time. Calling her in to a boardroom here in the east wing, and other members of their executive, and saying, and showing them, with our actuarial consultant there, and he doing the presentation and saying: here is what has been happening and here's where we're going.

MR. ROBERTS: Just look at the age distribution. In about ten or fifteen years the roof falls in. It's the most serious fiscal problem confronting us.

MR. WINDSOR: No question whatsoever.

MR. ROBERTS: And all the answers are unpalatable.

MR. WINDSOR: We don't disagree with the need to deal with it at all. Back in 1989, when I met with my friend, the Minister of Environment, we said to her and to her colleagues at the time, the teachers' pension plan is a real problem. First, we have not been contributing enough, and we're still not. So we have an unfunded liability because government has been borrowing - the government's contribution effectively, is what it does. It doesn't actually put it into a bank account but makes that commitment. It builds up a liability but it doesn't actually put the money in. It uses the money.

We said: we have that problem, but we have another problem, in that we haven't been contributing enough. We haven't even been committing enough. So there's a deficiency from both sides. Because it's a 50-50 plan.

MR. ROBERTS: Also, there were some rather generous things. Allowing buying all that university time....

MR. WINDSOR: That's right. Incredible, absolutely incredible. That's been changed.

MR. ROBERTS: It's been ended now.

MR. WINDSOR: Been ended.

MR. ROBERTS: But to allow people to buy four or five years for a couple of hundred bucks was just nonsense.

MR. WINDSOR: We had the dilemma, that a teacher could buy four or five years of service while they were a student. Why couldn't a nurse buy four years while that nurse was in training? Why couldn't doctors buy it?

MR. ROBERTS: What that four or five years did, on the actuarial side of it, was just disaster. Because it meant, really, they got the pension five years earlier and five years less contributions.

MR. WINDSOR: Exactly. It was probably one of the most disastrous clauses ever put into a collective agreement. No question. But we found therefore at that time that teachers were not contributing enough and government was not contributing enough. We said to the NTA at the time: we accept responsibility for that, because government has been managing the plan. It was up to us to say to you: you need to pay more. But we're saying to you now as of today, you will have to contribute more or we'll have to reduce your benefits. But we accepted the liability that had been built up. We said: we will not ask you to pay what has been built up in the past because you had no control over it. Government was responsible and we'll accept that. We'll accept that liability but it has to stop, and we have to start paying our way.

I think that's fair. I see no problem with government cost-sharing a pension plan for its employees. It's in government's best interest to ensure that employees have some security into the future when they finish working for government, when they've completed their service in the public service. It's also obviously a huge benefit to the employee and that's why these things are cost-shared.

MR. ROBERTS: It's a form of compensation (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: It's a form of compensation but it's also an insurance policy purchased by the employee. The employee say: I will contribute 5 or 6 per cent of my gross income toward my pension plan. I am purchasing future security. They know what that pension plan is, and here's what I'm buying.

MR. ROBERTS: They are doing more than that because we are paying the five or six points on the top of that, so really the compensation is 105 per cent, 106 per cent of the stated amount.

MR. WINDSOR: It is 12 per cent total, yes -

MR. ROBERTS: Yes, or whatever, it depends (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: That is right, sure, there is no question, it is a real benefit, but I say to the Minister of Justice that if employees did not get that benefit in that, if we did not cost-share a pension plan, then we would probably pay them 105 per cent of what their salary is and they would go and buy their own pension plan; it is six of one and half-a-dozen of the other, it is the same thing. Either way today, pensions are very important and again I say, not only to the employer but to the employee, to both of them, the employee wants his own personal security and the employer needs to know that their employee down the road has some protection, and that when it comes time to terminate the employment that the employer knows that there are social implications from the employer's point of view that have been dealt with, but pensions will bankrupt this nation, not only this Province but this nation.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) David Dawe, a Deputy Minister of Finance in Ottawa made, he put the whole Canada Pension Plan, we are now paying 3 per cent on the first $35,000 or something of that order of our income, it has to go to 13 per cent on all our income to be actuarially sound in 2010, when you and I are going to be getting it, in theory?

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, if it is there for us to get. Unless something is done -

MR. ROBERTS: In the whole country it is a nightmare with these pensions, we have all built up these liabilities in good faith but what appears to be a (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Well, it is part of an overall phenomena, I say to the Minister of Justice.

MR. ROBERTS: I agree -

MR. WINDSOR: People today go into the workforce. They are very much aware of pensions and long-term security, they have to be. They have to be and thank God they are. In the past, too few of us paid enough attention to what is going to happen down the road and governments were forced through social programs

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) phenomenon that we borrow for current account. We all do across the country. I am not being partisan on this and you know, we think we can borrow and spend on today's money, not realizing that you have to pay it back some day sooner or later.

MR. WINDSOR: You do it in the short-term but not in the long-term. I say to the minister, we have a $70 million problem this year, that is fine, we will live with that $70 million or $51 million -

MR. ROBERTS: What will we do next year?

MR. WINDSOR: Next year, hopefully it will be less and again less, and less and less, but we have to know that somewhere in the foreseeable future, not way down the road but in the very foreseeable future, that we can only balance that Budget with the (inaudible) -

MR. ROBERTS: And if the country does not do it, the IMF is going to do it for us.

MR. WINDSOR: No question, no question, it is going to happen. The day of reckoning is coming and we have to deal with it. But I was about to say that pensions are very much part of the overall phenomena that has taken place in Canada and perhaps elsewhere, that people are very concerned about that, very much consumed by looking for that day of retirement, ensuring that they and their families are geared up for that day of retirement, unfortunately we spend sometimes far too much time, as important as it is, consuming ourselves with what do I have to do to get out of here as quickly as possible and have as much financial resources available to me when I do retire as I can get, so that I can retire and live a peaceful and leisurely life thereafter, but the cost -

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: No, far from it; far from retirement, Mr. Speaker, because I will probably never retire.

MR. ROBERTS: Of course I retired and came back.

MR. WINDSOR: You retired and came back. I may well retire from politics some day but I certainly will not retire in total. I will always find -

MR. ROBERTS: Better to wear out than rust out.

MR. WINDSOR: Pardon?

MR. ROBERTS: It is better to wear out than rust out.

MR. WINDSOR: Exactly. I would find it very difficult to sit around on the front porch in a rocking chair all day and read books and watch birds fly by, I have to say. There are too many things that I have, that I would like to do yet in my life, and once the people of Mount Pearl are tired of me - I should have actually, I meant to start off my opening remarks when I was congratulating His Honour and the various ministers and all hon. members on their re-election, I meant to start off by thanking the good people of Mount Pearl for the very strong vote of confidence that they have put in me. They have, after eighteen years, come back with a resounding vote of confidence and it is very gratifying. Somebody said earlier today, it is one thing to get elected, it is something else to get re-elected.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) first rule.

MR. WINDSOR: That is right, and to be re-elected six times - if you are elected for the sixth time, if you are elected five -

MR. ROBERTS: I was elected six times in one district.

MR. WINDSOR: Six general elections and a by-election.

MR. ROBERTS: No, no. Six times in the White Bay North, Strait of Belle Isle seat. One election and five re-elections.

MR. WINDSOR: Well, it is an honour and it says something. Several people, as I was knocking on doors in my district, said to me: What is your platform this time? I said: Boy, I cannot sell you on a platform. My platform is eighteen years of what I have done. You know me. I cannot fool you now.

The first time you are elected you can create an image, be it accurate or not. You create an image, I say to the newer members particularly, that the people are prepared to accept; but if you create a false image it is very tough to live up to that image thereafter, and if you do not live up to that image and in fact perhaps even exceed it, at the end of four years you may well pay the price.

Now my friend from Ferryland was elected very, very handily - not a huge majority, I do not think, in a by-election.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: One hundred and twenty-five votes - so here is a prime example. One hundred and twenty-five votes in a by-election eight or nine months ago, and he has worked so hard in that eight or nine months, he has established for himself such a reputation; he has been so well accepted and such an effective member that he came in with the highest percentage of any member in the House. Now that is quite an achievement, and that is exactly what I am talking about here - that you can create an image the first time you get elected, but that image cannot be created a second time.

Your election campaign started the day of the election. The day you are first elected you start to campaign for your next election. If you do not, you will find yourself going by the wayside, I suspect, very quickly, because your second election you are judged on your performance of the first four years, and every four years after that. What amazes me is that I got the biggest majority in my history this time, by far.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: What did you win by?

MR. WINDSOR: I won by almost 3,000 votes. It was only a little over 400 last time - a big change. Only the hon. gentleman from Port de Grave had a bigger majority.

AN HON. MEMBER: Some of us have had bigger percentages in the past.

MR. WINDSOR: Bigger percentages in the past, oh yes. Oh, many have. I was 15th. in percentages this time.

MR. FUREY: Is that a compliment to you or a message to us?

MR. WINDSOR: What is that?

MR. FUREY: Was that a compliment to you or a message to us?

MR. WINDSOR: I will not be unkind. There was a strong message from the people of Mount Pearl to this government, as it relates to the amalgamation issue - very strong. That was the number one issue in the district, without a doubt. The second issue was the $70 million, because I have a very high percentage of public servants in my district. People would come to the door: I am a teacher; you know how I am voting. I am a nurse; you know how I am voting. I am a public servant; you know how I am voting. There is no question about that.

Now in many areas in rural Newfoundland the NTA did not do us any good. In many areas it did not do us any good. It backfired - better they had stayed away and let the teachers do their own thing, but I found in my district that the big issue, without a doubt, except for those who are unemployed - those who are unemployed there is only one issue on their mind - getting a job. Where can I find work? That was paramount, and I have a growing unemployment rate, but far lower than most areas of the Province. Most people in my district have both husband and wife working. We are not a rich community. We are an average community, but somewhat secure; not as secure as we have been in the past, let me tell you.

I just drove up and down my own street yesterday and looked at the 'For Sale' signs on houses of people who are moving out, and vacant houses where people have been forced out and are gone, and houses that are for sale or for rent - vacant houses. It is frightening, but nevertheless my district is very fortunate in comparison to other districts. So for those people who are not employed, by far the biggest question was they needed a job, but for those who were employed and reasonably secure, no question, the amalgamation issue, taking away the fire department, taking away the Southlands. Even my opponent promised the Southlands. Now, here is a question I would like answered. Is this government now prepared to revisit that question and put the Southlands back where it belongs? There is a real question. There is a dicey one. My opponent promised he would. My opponent promised he would get the Southlands back, and he justified it as to why it was a wrong decision. The problem was it did not do him any good because the people of Mount Pearl knew he was not speaking for the Premier. The Premier is very clearly on record. The people knew that when my opponent made such promises that these were hollow election promises coming from a candidate. This was not party policy. Had the Premier come into Mount Pearl and in a public meeting promised that had the Liberal candidate been elected in Mount Pearl, or if the Liberal candidate were elected in Mount Pearl, he would immediately give the Southlands back, I would have been in big trouble.

AN HON. MEMBER: He said it.

MR. WINDSOR: No, he did not and that is the whole point. He did not come to Mount Pearl.

AN HON. MEMBER: I thought you said the Premier came to Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: No, I said, if the Premier had come to Mount Pearl and made the same kind of promises that the Liberal candidate made I would have been in big trouble. I might even have voted for him myself. I might have resigned and said, look, that is all I want for my district. Leave us alone, give us our expansion area, and let us carry on. My job would then pretty much be done.

AN HON. MEMBER: Are you not lucky that you have an honest Premier?

MR. WINDSOR: I do not call that honest. I do not call it honest trying to hide behind feasibility studies that were done on a completely different option. I do not call it honest that you make a decision at eight o'clock in the morning before coming into the House of Assembly on something that was not studied, was not recommended by anybody, and that undemocratically takes away from the second largest city in this Province, the most viable community in this Province, half of its land and (inaudible). It takes away a fire department that was totally built and paid for by the people of Mount Pearl and gives it to a neighbouring municipality which causes us to pay $700,000 a year more for a lesser service than we were able to provide ourselves. I do not call that being an honest Premier, nor is it democratic. It is far from it, and he will pay the price one of these days for that.

No doubt that was the issue and no doubt that issue will not go away I say to the government. Nothing is changed. Yes, there was a strong message that came out of my district to this government, the same message that came through with 18,000 names on a petition a year and a half or two years ago, 18,000 names that said, do not make us part of St. John's. There were 18,000 names collected in two hours, in one evening, that said we have a right to decide the type of municipality that we will have. We have a right to govern ourselves at the local level. We have a right to continue to grow and expand. It would be different if we were a pimple on the side of government that was costing the government five times as much per capita as any other community in the Province. It would then be a different story altogether and government would have a right to step in and say this is not acceptable, but there is no more viable community in this Province than is the city of Mount Pearl. There is no more self-sufficient community than is the city of Mount Pearl. There is no better developed community, more active community, and no community has so high a level of voluntarism as does the city of Mount Pearl. There is no more progressive community than Mount Pearl.

AN HON. MEMBER: It is not 450 years old.

MR. WINDSOR: No, it is not 450 years old, but it was built and paid for by the people of Mount Pearl. People cast jealous eyes at the city of Mount Pearl but I can tell you that the people of Mount Pearl can take credit for everything that has happened in there.

So, Mr. Speaker, I reacted very negatively and they gave a very strong message with that 18,000 name petition a couple of years ago and they gave a very strong message again now, as did the people of Waterford - Kenmount give a very strong message to this government. People of Waterford - Kenmount gave a more important message on behalf of all of the people because it was a minister who was responsible for that undemocratic act. He met his fate in Waterford - Kenmount and that was why, that was the issue, because the people of Waterford - Kenmount also disagreed with amalgamation.

The people of Waterford - Kenmount also found it wrong that a unilateral action can be taken by a government to destroy a major municipality without due cause. The undemocratic principle, that is what we are talking here. We are not talking this piece of land versus that piece of land or that fire department versus another fire department. Those are all parts of the issue but the overriding issue are the basic democratic principles and beliefs of the people of this Province and they believe, they hope that their democratic beliefs and principles are shared by the members of this hon. House and that this hon. House represents their democratic system. If we ever lose that confidence than this House will be of no value, if we ever lose confidence that the people's will is going to be done in this House. It is not enough to say that well, the people will decide in four years time. This is true, no question about that. The people will decide every four years, you will be judged, we all will be judged as we should be but it is not necessarily enough to say: well if we do not do it right, we will pay the price in four years time. Simply because we have a responsibility day by day to protect the democratic principles that I think we all believe in deep down. I honestly think that we all believe in these democratic principles. So these kinds of messages, Mr. Speaker, have tremendous importance and I think it is critically important that we pay attention to them.

Now, Mr. Speaker, let us get back to the Budget itself. We are talking here again of a $51 million deficit providing we can find that $70 million but in the midst of that there are a number of things that have been done. What else was done in the Budget? Contributions to third party agencies have been reduced. Mr. Speaker, there is an interesting area. When one first looked at the Budget and saw, I believe the figure was $800,000 being saved there and I guess you could look at that and say, well $800,000 I guess in the overall schemes of things that is not a huge amount to cut out. Maybe that is not totally wrong but then you had to sit down and look at the individual amounts and who was cut. The first one that came up of course, very vocally, was the Daybreak Centre and we all know what happened there, the government reversed its position on that and reinstated that funding as they should have but it is an example of not having properly considered the impact on these little groups and agencies that that $800,000 in small amounts of $5,000, $10,000 and $15,000 perhaps, the impact that it had. Again, during the campaign, there were so many groups who contacted us either in writing or verbally. I have several letters here somewhere in my pile of papers from various groups who talked about the impact that those cuts will have on them. I don't particularly need to go through them. But here again is a case where the government didn't listen, or didn't give people an opportunity to speak, before those decisions were made.

You all must be concerned about the deficit, and you have to deal with the deficit. There is nobody questioning that, but as has been said here many times before, it is not the dealing with it, it is how you deal with the deficit that can create the serious problems. When you unilaterally cut funding from groups, as in the case of Daybreak, by cutting the provincial contribution, you automatically lost considerably more federal contribution. That doesn't make any sense. And so many other agencies need the seed money from government in order to access private funding, or funding from other levels of government, be it federal or municipal. If you cut that small amount of funding - it may only be 5 or 10 per cent of their budget, but if it is the seed money that allows all the rest of it to be raised, then you may well be eliminating the whole program. If it is only 5 per cent or 10 per cent, then that 5 or 10 per cent is probably a good investment from government. Anytime you can create a program or any economic activity with an investment of 5 or 10 per cent then that is a good investment. Any government that turns down a thirty-cent dollar, for example, is making a bad mistake. And let me just use one example - probably the most blatant example, the most blaring example, of being counterproductive.

There is, I think my friend from St. John's East Extern will remind me - I think it is $125 million, or $100 million to $125 million dollars, allocated for the Outer Ring Road - 70/30 dollars - 70 per cent federal money, 30 per cent provincial money. Now, I don't need to tell hon. members opposite the implications of spending $100 million to $125 million on a highway construction program - the impact that will have on jobs and employment in the whole Province, but specifically here, when our contractors are literally starving to death out there. That money is sitting there, and has been there now for four years, a federal/provincial agreement in place - and this government, particularly the Premier, says we shouldn't be spending that money in St. John's. Why not? Fifty per cent of the population of this Province lives within 100 miles of St. John's. Why would we not spend money on highways? Why would we not build the Outer Ring Road? I ask the hon. the Member for Pleasantville. I am sure he supports the Outer Ring Road. I hope he does. If he doesn't he should tell us now. He should have told us before the election. He should let the people know.

With all of these new members now from St. John's, are they now supporting the Outer Ring Road? Not only is it needed from a transportation point of view - critically needed - but just look at the labour and construction activity that would create with our thirty-cent dollars. Government will get back more than thirty cents on every dollar in income tax and sales tax and corporation taxes. A thirty-cent dollar is a good dollar. This government should be up to Ottawa saying: Give me all the thirty-cent dollars you can give me, because they are good dollars from this Province's point of view. You can't go wrong, no matter what the project is, whether you like it or not. You cannot go wrong spending thirty-cent dollars, not only to the economy, as a whole, but to the Province, to the Treasury, itself. It is a good deal.

There is an example where government is spiting itself. Why can that project not be commenced immediately? Planning has long been done. Environmental studies have been done. There is an ongoing battle about environment. It will go on as long as you allow it to go on. The sooner you get it done, get it built and get it over with, the better off we will all be.

We heard the Premier yesterday in his response to the Throne Speech talking about creating a great petroleum industry here in Newfoundland. Part of that is creating infrastructure. The Outer Ring Road is critical to connecting the airport, the east end of St. John's, with the Trans-Canada Highway and with the south side of St. John's. The Outer Ring Road is a tremendous piece of infrastructure that will be a great benefit in attracting industry here, outside of the economic impact it will have in the near future. This government, Mr. Speaker, has very clearly, very deliberately, decided that they should not move ahead.

Also announced in the Budget were some cuts in the area of social assistance - reducing the cost of transportation services to persons on social assistance. No increase in rates paid to social assistance recipients or to senior citizens. Now, we all have to cut back, we all know that, we all know we have to cut back, but I can tell you, and I am sure if hon. members were knocking on doors, as I am sure they all were, they had to come across many cases of people who were living on social assistance. I am not talking about those who might be abusing the system, because there always will be some. Any system you put in place, particularly if it is a government program, will be abused by some, and we should deal with them very quickly.

Anybody who is living on social assistance in this Province today is not living very well at all. They have real problems. Not only that -

AN HON. MEMBER: They are going to spend less money (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: Spend less money (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: That's right, far more people, some 20,000 more on social assistance this year, and the Budget is less. But that is only a game. That is one of the foolish things. Here we have 20,000 more people on social assistance and the minister is saying we need $10 million less than we spent last year. Because he's forgetting about the special warrants he brought in last year. We all know that he'll be back in with special warrants again in the third quarter of the year - no question about that. So, he is not fooling anybody by doing that. He is not going to fool the money market either. They're not that easily fooled. They can see through that. That's only a charade. It is not going to help anyone.

I am talking about the rates paid for social assistance recipients. People who have not had increases now for three or four years, I say to the new Minister of Social Services. Inflation has gone upward by about 14 per cent in those three or four years. That means those people are living on far less money today than they did four years ago, and the same is true of our senior citizens.

Now, I ask the minister to consider this, and he may recall it. I raised the issue once before. Most of our social assistance recipients are living in social housing, in public housing, if they can get in there. Unfortunately, there's another problem that his colleague next door, the minister responsible for housing now, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, if he is listening - he's not, but I wish he were.

The other problem we have is in the housing area. There are some 1,500 families in the St. John's area alone waiting to get into public housing units. Is the Minister of Housing - he is not listening - but maybe the Minister of Social Services there next to him would give him a nudge and ask him to pay attention? He is not listening.

The Minister of Housing - I finally got his attention. I was saying that in speaking with the Minister of Social Services about the problems of social assistance recipients, who have not had increases in some four years and, therefore, because of inflation of 14 per cent approximately over that period of time, these people are living on far less money.

The other problem that most of them have, is, that they are either living in public housing, in social housing, or wanting to get in there. We have some 1,500 people on your waiting list in St. John's alone, waiting to get into public housing, by far the longest, the biggest waiting list we have ever had since I have been involved. It is a serious problem. The minister may not yet know but he is soon going to find out that in the federal budget that funding for new social housing through Canada Mortgage and Housing was eliminated effectively. There are $2 billion in there to continue maintaining the current housing stock, but no new funding to build new. If you are not building 300 or 400 public housing units a year, you are going backward, so that has been downloaded.

AN HON. MEMBER: Three years (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Three years, oh yes, every bit of it. The other point I make to both ministers is that most of the people on that waiting list are single parents, who are not in a position to help themselves. A lot of these people are desperate people. There is one problem that we created many years ago. Years ago, there was social housing and there was public housing; it used to be called welfare housing - housing units owned and operated by the Department of Social Services for those persons who were receiving social assistance; welfare, we called it in those days.

There was another block of houses operated by the Housing Corporation, for those whom we called 'the working poor', those people who were working but not earning enough income to support themselves and their families, and that is public housing which is geared to income. Your gross cost of housing cannot exceed 25 per cent of your gross income. Many years ago, we combined the portfolios together, all under Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation, so now there is no distinction. And there are many good, social reasons for that, and, management reasons. You have one housing agency with expertise and personnel involved in building and maintaining the housing stock, the housing portfolio, but unless you are on social assistance, you are not likely to get into one of those units. So what we called 'the working poor', men and women who are out there working, trying to support themselves and their families, would need that little bit of assistance until they can, somehow, raise their income perhaps, they will probably not get into a social housing unit, whereas all these people who are on social assistance, with absolutely no means of income, and the amount of funds allocated by the Minister of Social Services for housing is grossly inadequate.

A family could not possibly hope, with the housing allowance, to find in the rental market, particularly in St. John's - it may be different in rural Newfoundland, and I suspect the numbers are applied right across the Province. But a person on social assistance, with the $400-and-something a month, I think it is, allocated, could not hope to find suitable accommodation for the amount of money that is allocated, under the formulas that are in place. So, that family has to go into substandard accommodation until they can have the inspector from the Housing Corporation come in and see that they are living in inadequate accommodation, and do a rating based on the point system that is applied right across Canada - fairness - would do a rating and when they get a point score of sixty or more, I would say now, maybe seventy or more today, they would need on that rating system before they would qualify for one of the very few units that the Minister of Housing has available.

Members today, if a constituent calls and says: The house I am living in is not an adequate house, I need to get into a public housing unit, the best advice if the member were to be honest, the best advice the member would give to that constituent is get yourself evicted, get yourself thrown out on the street. When you are thrown out on the street then they will do an assessment of you and your points score will be higher and you will have a chance of getting in but these are games. How many constituents have I had call me, have other members had call, and say I am living in a place here, it is quite adequate but it is costing me $650 a month, plus I have to heat it and light it and I cannot afford it. So it is quite adequate, I like the place, I would like to be able to stay here, we love the neighbourhood, kids are close to the school but I cannot pay for it.

You take that to the housing corporation and do a home assessment: you are in adequate accommodation, you have a good roof over your head and because of the number of families who are looking for accommodation, many of whom are literally out there on the street, obviously they have higher priority. So until you are out on the street today you have a real problem trying to get into a public housing unit. It is a serious, serious social dilemma. Now, you add to that the rising cost, as I say to the Minister of Social Assistance, the normal costs of living are going up by 13 or 14 per cent since any increase has been given to these people. You look at heating and lighting costs, those costs are increasing very rapidly. These people are not protected from those. A very high percentage of their income goes on those essential items and those costs are going up. I suggested to both ministers, both former ministers about a year ago, that they consider in building public housing, constructing energy efficient homes so that the cost of heating those homes is less. You may have to put a few extra dollars in up front but you have an energy efficient home so that your ongoing costs - because you are paying it one way or the other. One way or the other you are paying, you either invest - an energy R-2000 house will cost you maybe 10 per cent more if it is a fully R-2000 house. So if you are going to pay $80,000 - I beg your pardon?

MR. RAMSAY: It will pay for itself.

MR. WINDSOR: My friend from LaPoile is absolutely right, it will pay for itself. If you are building a unit for $80,000 for the town housing unit on the average, I would think you are getting them for that, I may be wrong, maybe it is more but say it is $80,000 for a three bedroom, two-storey town housing unit which is mostly what is being built either townhouses or duplexes in this area. So for 10 per cent, for $88,000 you have an R-2000 unit, that is $8,000. If you saved $100 a month that is $1200 a year. You would pay it back in six-and-a-half years. Six-and-a-half years you have your money back, maybe less.

AN HON. MEMBER: Add your interest (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Oh, add your interest and all the rest of it sure, your up maybe eight to ten years, yes but it is a good investment. I still say to the Minister of Housing, I would say the biggest problem he has on his plate today is the fact that the federal government has just eliminated all funding for new housing. The real question here is, home construction is one of the biggest generators of employment in this Province. Very labour intensive, nothing I do not think, is more labour intensive except digging ditches by hand, which we do not do anymore, but for the construction industry home construction is the most labour intensive industry that we have.

So, if the government wanted to create employment quickly where the skills are available, walking around the streets, all kinds of people, plumbers, carpenters, electricians, masons, you name it, lots of them walking around the street available to go to work. We talk about having the skills available, we talk about education and training, we have many people well skilled in these areas, who are looking for work. There is a good way to begin not only creating some jobs but solving our biggest social problem at the same time because housing does consume a very high percentage. I would say to the hon. ministers, not only should you really consider the energy efficiency but maintenance efficiency as well. I have seen too many of these units that are constructed of materials that are not easily maintained, which is a high maintenance cost. Now obviously -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) particleboard.

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, it is a cheaper material. Now obviously you have a problem. You try to get as many units as you can, so you want to lower your initial cost as much as possible, but in so doing you are lowering the standard of the unit, both from an energy efficiency point of view and from a maintenance point of view. So instead of putting the cheap siding on the outside, maybe you should be putting brick on it. It is more expensive initially, but in the long term the appearance can be maintained over a longer period of time and the maintenance costs can be reduced, and that is worth looking at, the overall cost-effectiveness; but the bottom line, the biggest problem by far, is the lack of adequate accommodations. It is amazing, absolutely amazing, how that has increased in particularly the last five or six years.

The other problem, I say to the Minister of Social Services, that we are all aware of is that his staff is grossly overloaded. I realize the government made some effort to increase the number of people, but they have provided here some vigilantes - provided, I think it is ten people to look for abuse of the system, I do not think anyone will disagree with the requirement to stop abuse in the system, because if we were able to totally eliminate the abuse of the system I would suspect you could increase the rates to all legitimate recipients by 10, 15, or maybe even 20 per cent - who knows? Maybe you could afford to give these people enough to live a reasonable life, if you were able to eliminate all of the abuse. I do not know that you could ever possibly do that, but it is worth a try.

I would say to the minister that assigning ten people to that - I may be wrong; maybe the minister will prove me wrong - but assigning ten people to do that, I think, is not the ideal way to do it. Had he simply assigned ten new case workers so that all case workers had more time to properly do their job, because I have the greatest sympathy for them, as all members do, I work very closely with the case workers in my area. You have to. If you are doing the job for your constituents you will get to know the officers in your regional office very, very quickly, and they are grossly overloaded. You add 20,000 people in the last year, or the last three or four years, but you have not increased your staff that much, then their case loads have to be far higher than any normal, acceptable standard would dictate.

Senior citizens is the other area, while I am talking on that. Again, for senior citizens in the Province there has been no increase since this government took office - no increase for pensioners, for public service pensioners. Contrary to popular belief, contrary to all media reports, most people who are out on public service pension to date are on a very small public service pension. It is only in recent years that the pension plan has come up to a standard that is reasonably acceptable, and I reject some of the claims of these outlandish pension plans that people talk about, including MHA's. Many of the public service pensioners are on very, very small pensions - $10,000 and $15,000 - a paltry amount, and they have had no increase whatsoever but their costs are going up - absolutely no protection to them. I think it is time, Mr. Speaker, that in spite of all the problems that we have with the deficit, I think it is time that was looked at and that some measure of relief be given to these people. They are not asking for a lot. God knows, Mr. Speaker, they do not have very much, many of these people.

Now there is an interesting item. Funding will be provided for the opening of three new health care centres at Port Saunders, St. Lawrence, and Burgeo. Now, where did we hear those before, those three new health care centres? No doubt they are important and we are glad to see that, but when are we going to find out all the details of how they were built? Maybe I will ask the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, if I can get his attention for just a moment. It is an issue which I know he is familiar with, the health care clinics at St. Lawrence, Burgeo and Port Saunders. Funding has been provided here for the minister to open those this year and we are glad to see that. The minister may recall that three months ago the former minister sat in his place, just before the election was called, and he said, next week I will provide to the Public Accounts Committee the details of the contracts, the tender call, on those three units that had been refused, and that were before the courts and all the rest of it. The commitment was made so I just take this opportunity to ask the new minister if he would please proceed with that? It is probably the one item that was left on the Public Accounts Committee agenda when the election was called. I know we will have some new members on the committee but we would like to conclude that business quickly. We would like to have that as the first item of business when the committee next meets, so I simply take this opportunity to ask the new minister if he would follow up on that and provide us with all the information that was requested?

There are no legal impediments, I am told, now, as to why that information could not be released to the committee, and even if there are, I say again, the committee can meet in camera and they can take that information without prejudicing any legal case. They could have their hearings in camera on that issue and take that information confidentially, but I am led to believe that the Minister of Justice, I think, was involved in giving an opinion to the former Minister of Transportation that there are no legal impediments as to why that information should not now, immediately, be provided to the Public Accounts Committee so that we can continue to deal with that issue and fulfil our obligations to the House of Assembly and to the people of the Province, so I ask that. It is interesting to see that there, to see that in the Budget, interesting to see tenders awarded a week or so ago for the final completion of those units to the same contractor. The same contractor. We will look at all of that, Mr. Speaker, in due course.

Government is continuing efforts to reform the Province's tax system, to improve fairness and to create a more positive business climate. Now, there is a statement, Mr. Speaker. There is a statement from the Budget coming from a government that has increased personal income tax by 5 or 6 per cent, perhaps more. I had some figures here on when it was increased if I can find them. Anyway, we are up to something like 67 per cent now from 61 or 61.5 per cent, something of that nature. I had a little table made for myself but I cannot find it now. Anyway, we are now up to 67 per cent, the highest of any province.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Ontario.

MR. WINDSOR: Oh, Ontario has just made the quantum leap. They are going backwards though, I would say, and they will not survive very long. Retail sales tax is still the highest than in any province of Canada. As compared to other Maritime provinces, gasoline tax is higher - 13.7 cents per litre compared to 12.3 and 11.7 in other provinces - diesel fuel the same. Corporate income tax is at 16 per cent. The government dropped it back in December by one percentage point - dropped it back to 16, which was the level they had in 1989 when they increased it to 17, so they have now seen the error of their ways in that. Small business tax, they have reduced that for many small businesses, so we are now back to lower than some provinces but equivalent to others. We still have the infamous payroll tax, which puts us at an absolute decided disadvantage with other provinces of Canada.

How does this government propose to create a taxation and a business climate that will attract business and industry in this Province with a payroll tax? Now it is not just another tax. It is not just another tax. It is not a little increase in retail sales tax or personal income tax. We already have the highest tax rates in those areas - but it is a tax that nobody else has in Eastern Canada. It is a tax on creating employment. It is a penalty for creating employment, a disincentive, and it puts us at a clear disadvantage with other provinces of Canada, and it is very important.

This government is talking now about harmonizing our taxes - harmonizing the retail sales tax with the GST. It all sounds well and good, and I find it amusing. I find it amazing, too.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) tax grab.

MR. WINDSOR: A tax grab is right, but many in the business community are supporting the concept of harmonization. They are supporting the concept of tax harmonization, but they are looking at it from their own point of view of simplicity, and there are benefits in that, of simplifying the tax system. God knows we need to simplify not only the tax system but many things within government - many of the policies and programs can be greatly simplified - some of the paper burden reduced from the people of this Province.

I caution that if we harmonize the tax system, particularly if we do it before other provinces in Canada, if you are now going to put your 12 per cent, or the equivalent thereof - whatever might be prorated, because if you harmonize it, if you broaden the base, then the 12 per cent would no doubt be reduced maybe to 8 - I doubt that - more likely to about 10 per cent.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I wonder if the hon. member would permit me to interrupt him for a moment.

MR. WINDSOR: By all means, Mr. Speaker. I am delighted to have a chance to sit down now.

MR. SPEAKER: We have in the gallery a group of Grade V students from the Twillingate Elementary School. They are accompanied by their teachers, Mr. Cooze and Mr. White. I want to welcome them here on behalf of all hon. members.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: I thank the hon. member. The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to add my welcome to those students as well.

I caution the government that by harmonizing retail sales tax with GST you are now - unless it happened right across Canada, and I would hope that it would. I would hope that our Province would not adopt a harmonization in isolation of the rest of Canada because if it did we would now be spreading our 12 per cent or the equivalent, whatever the prorated amount would be, to say revenue neutral, which is the concept the minister has said, which we do not believe, any more than we believed the federal minister when he introduced the GST. He said it would be revenue neutral; in other words it would be a different tax system but it will not raise any more money than it did before. We now know that GST is raising a tremendous amount of money for the Government of Canada, going towards the debt. It is a noble objective primarily being applied to reduce the national debt. There is no question about that, but we knew then and we know now that's it's raising a tremendous amount of money.

If we were to harmonize RST and GST in Newfoundland, now you're going to find that your service industry particularly, services in this Province that are not now taxable, are subject to RST, or the lowered rate, the pro rated, or the harmonized tax, whatever form it might be, for those services that are not now taxed. You should realize that in Newfoundland and Labrador we have a higher percentage of service industry, perhaps, then any of the other provinces, pretty well. We're spending a higher percentage of our disposable income on services. So the impact on the average person would be greater in this Province.

So we have to be very careful about taking these kinds of measures which again impact not only on Newfoundlanders but on our ability to compete in a national, if not an international, marketplace. Every time you do something you change the competitive position of our business and our industry. Mr. Speaker, there's where the real answer lies in the economy and in dealing with the financial situation in this Province. It is not in increasing taxation, it is not in cutting expenditures. Obviously you have to do a certain amount of all of those things. But those are not the real answers and they're not the long-term solutions. Those are band-aids. They say: our costs are too high, we'll have to spend less.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Getting close to the twenty-fourth of May weekend, Mr. Speaker. The natives are getting restless now. They're thinking about picking up their tubs of worms on the way home to go fishing for the weekend.

AN HON. MEMBER: Some have already got their worms.

MR. WINDSOR: It won't be long now. They'll be all out fishing. I assume we're adjourning at twelve.

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes.

MR. WINDSOR: They're not going to give me the honour of going through -

MR. ROBERTS: No, no. Adjourn the debate whenever the hon. gentleman is ready.

MR. WINDSOR: Oh. But we'll go on after twelve?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No, no, (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Oh. Twelve o'clock is the limit. I wanted to know, because I had a dinner engagement eight o'clock tonight and I wanted to know whether I should cancel it.

MR. ROBERTS: To spare us the punishment I said at closing time yesterday that we would propose to adjourn the House at noon today. Whenever the hon. gentleman is ready.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave!

MR. ROBERTS: We are opening Tuesday, of course, because.... So whenever the hon. gentleman is ready.

MR. WINDSOR: I just wanted to assure the House Leader that I'm in great shape and that I can go for far more than four and a half hours this time. I'm sure you're right ready to listen and clinging to every word that I'm saying.

MR. ROBERTS: We keep hoping that somewhere - it's like the story President Reagan used to tell about the little boy who came down Christmas Day, the eternal optimist, found a great pile of horse manure and the kid said: this is terrific, and the President would say and his father would say: why? Well, he said I have always wanted a pony and with that pile of manure there has to be a pony in there somewhere.

MR. WINDSOR: Maybe he was hoping it was a full grown horse, I do not know.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: We have a couple of those around here too. But, Mr. Speaker, I want to get back to what I was saying, that the answer to our financial problems is this Province, lie not only in expenditure restraint and increased taxation. In the short-term we all know that you may have to do some of those things, but the emphasis has to be on creating economic activity in the Province and there are several components of that.

The first one has to be education and training. We have to ensure that our young people have the necessary skills to take advantage of the jobs when we create them, and if we do not, then what is the purpose of creating jobs, if we do not have the people here to fill those jobs? That has to be our primary, basic, long-term objective, to raise the standard of education for our young people in this Province, to make them competitive not only here, but wherever they may choose to live in this country or anywhere else. So that is number one, basic, education and training. The basic tools with which to work, the basic tools with which to compete and to support oneself and one's family. That is very basic.

The second component to stimulate in the economy, is through infrastructure, and I talked a few moments ago about the Outer Ring Road as one example only, of the sorts of things that governments should, can and has done in the past, of creating the kind of infrastructure that makes it possible for business and industry, not only to operate, but helps to make them more competitive and we have to recognize today that the marketplace is far more competitive and that the marketplace is no longer just Newfoundland, no longer just the Avalon Peninsula, we are into a national and international marketplace and the old myth that we cannot compete in international marketplaces is rapidly disappearing in this day of high technology and new modern communications. People people in this Province are doing business all over the world and doing so very effectively, but we have to ensure that we don't put in place any disincentives. If we are going to attract industry to this Province, we have to sell this Province as a place - not only is it a good place to do business, not only is it a good place to live, which is a very key component today.

In any company that is considering establishing a new headquarters, new office or a new plant, human resources are critically important to those companies today, considered far more than it used to be. Do we have the labour skills available? Secondly, do we have facilities for the people? Our management people, our specialists, people that we may have to bring in, are they going to be prepared to live at that location, be it in that Province or be it in that section of the Province? Interestingly enough, many of the larger corporations today are establishing headquarters, head offices, in what might be considered rural parts of Canada and the United States. They are not going to New York City anymore for their head offices. They are going down to South Carolina or some of these places where the quality of life for their senior employees and their families may be more attractive. That is a phenomena that is very, very predominant today. I have seen examples of it. They are very, very concerned about attracting and keeping their key personnel and the quality of life for their personnel and their families. That is what is happening. I believe that Newfoundland can offer that.

I believe that we can convince people that the quality of life in Newfoundland has much to offer as compared with many other parts of Canada and the United States. It is no longer a disincentive to live in Newfoundland. If the transportation and communication problems are greatly reduced, then I think a whole new world is opening up for us. We no longer have to think that we can't compete in high tech industries because we can, and many Newfoundland companies are not only competing, they are leading the way in many areas. Many new products have been developed here over recent years, in special areas, particularly in the marine areas, in the offshore. This is a spin-off that is coming from the Hibernia development, because the research money is available. The infrastructure money is available. The contracts are there, that which causes somebody to make an investment and to take a chance and to push forward to develop a new product or a new service. That initial thrust is there, that stimulus. So we are starting now to develop products which can be shipped all over the world and we can compete in a world marketplace.

I have often mentioned in this House, Terra Nova Shoes out in Harbour Grace, my friend's district. I had the honour to start up the first modern piece of equipment there, back in 1985, I would think, when they put in that first automated piece of equipment to laminate the soles to the boots. I was there. I was Minister of Development at that time and we had provided some funding, and I went out. I believe it was my birthday. I believe it was July 8. It was a hot Summer day. I went out there and we started that. And they have done extremely well. They were considered somewhat of an anomaly. What are we doing manufacturing work boots in Newfoundland? We don't have the raw material and we don't have a market. We have a small market but the market is now an international market for that company and by all normal standards and guidelines at that particular time, you would say, this company has no place being established in Newfoundland, because we have to bring in the raw material and we have to ship out the product. What was the special advantage of being here in Newfoundland? People - people who were prepared to commit and to work hard, a particular entrepreneur. I give him, personally, a lot of credit.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who?

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Aleven, his name is, Al Aleven.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: You have a couple of things you want to do? Okay, I will adjourn.

As I was going to say, that particular entrepreneur had an idea. He had the skills that were necessary and he was able to draw the workforce around him and produce a superior quality product that is not only competitive but has literally captured the marketplace. He is now considered number one. I remember what I said to him as I spoke at that particular opening, because his competitor was Kodiak. Everybody always talked about Kodiak, a very, very fine quality product. I remember saying to him: 'I have to say this to you - I have a pair of Kodiak boots that I wear on a regular basis and I have a pair of boots produced by Terra Nova, Terra Nova boots. I said: I have both of them and I say in all honesty, and I say it again now, that I found the Terra Nova boot a superior product. I'm still wearing the Terra Nova boot and the Kodiak boot is gone. It was a superior product.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: But I mean that sincerely. Kodiak is a good product -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: But Terra Nova now is considered the guideline. It is the bench mark that we now use. It is the top quality and the top selling product.

Mr. Speaker, I'll come back. The House Leader has some other things he wants to do. We'll have a chance to renew this on Tuesday and I'll come back with some more stories of success in business and industry, and what we should do to try to move this Province forward over the next number of years. Thank you very much.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, thank you. I understand we have agreement among the members to adopt the resolution that will refer the estimates heads to committees. I gave notice earlier today, and on that understanding I would ask if Your Honour would put the motion and if adopted then we'll get that piece of business moved forward.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Government House Leader is referring to the notice of motion he gave earlier today, and I understand from his comments that there's unanimous concurrence of the House, first of all, that we do this at this time. I take that to be the case, with no comment to the contrary.

It is moved and seconded, therefore, in accordance with Standing Order 84, that the standing committees of the House be constituted as indicated by the hon. the Government House Leader in his notice of motion, that the heads of expenditure be referred to the Government Services Committee as indicated by him.

All those in favour of the motion, 'aye.'

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye!

MR. SPEAKER: Contrary-minded?

Motion carried.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, the motion as you know, included all three of the committees. So I take it -

MR. SPEAKER: Yes.

MR. ROBERTS: I think the House agreed to that. Mr. Speaker, let me inform members, I've spoken with the Chairs who I understand will speak with their Vice-Chairs, and the request we will make of the committees is that they organize themselves so as to get their work in hand as quickly as possible. The fifteen days according to the rules will not begin to run until Tuesday, but until the estimates come back in the House, of course, we cannot conclude the financial business, which is the main business of this session.

Let me say that I've advised the Clerk that the Resource Committee will meet on Tuesday evening here in the Chamber at 7:00 p.m. and that my friend, the Minister of Tourism and Culture, will be present to dazzle the committee with his knowledge, expertise, learning, compassion, and genuine understanding of what is going on. I assume the Chairs of the other committees will arrange meetings of their committees as quickly as we can do and get them moving on.

Mr. Speaker, let me say that on Tuesday we propose to call the Budget Speech for debate. My friend from Mount Pearl will continue with the second part of his remarks, however many there will be, and we will carry on from there.

As a general practice we will be, I think, alternating the Budget and the Throne Speech, moving both along simultaneously so as to give members on all sides an opportunity to speak at their convenience. The members may wish to take note of that and have their maiden speeches, or their new maiden speeches as may be the case, prepared.

Mr. Speaker, I would move that the House adjourn until Tuesday, at 2:00 p.m.

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