May 25, 1993               HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS                 Vol. XLII  No. 3


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

On behalf of all hon. members, I would like to welcome to the House our colleagues from Fortune - Hermitage and Eagle River, who were sworn in this morning.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: I would also advise the House that I understand, the Liberal candidate has been accounted the winner of the recent by-election. I don't know what other proceedings may follow but, in due course, the winner will be sworn in. I notice he is sitting in the gallery and I would like to welcome him here this afternoon.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, an international event occurred recently which brought great honour to this Province. Commissioner Bramwell Tillsley was elected General of the Salvation Army by the Army's High Council.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. KITCHEN: The High Council is a body of the most senior officer administrators, holding the Army's highest rank, that of Commissioner. The High Council meets in London, England every five years and its only function is to elect, from amongst its members, an international leader, the General. The General-elect and Mrs. Tillsley assume office in July. In the Army, the spouse takes the same rank and is co-equal in status to her or his partner. Therefore, Mrs. Tillsley, the former Maude Pitcher, who was born and raised in St. John's, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Pitcher, formerly of Winterton, assumes responsibility for the Army's women's ministries, plus other special services throughout the Army world.

The Tillsleys served as leaders of the Officers Training College in St. John's and as Provincial Commanders during the 1970s. They quickly rose through the Army's ranks and were assigned various senior administrative positions throughout the world. Their last assignment was in London,where the Commissioner was Chief of Staff, the top executive officer for the international work of the Salvation Army under the direction of the General. By the way, Mr. Speaker, all of the Pitcher family, four daughters and one son, became officers. Their son, Arthur, also became a Commissioner, and therefore, was a member of the High Council. Once, he was nominated for the Generalship, but withdrew. He retired five years ago as a territorial leader for Canada.

I move, Mr. Speaker, that this House, through your good offices, write a letter of congratulation to Commissioner and Mrs. Tillsley, recognizing their contributions to Newfoundland and to the international work of the Army, and as a tribute to the Pitcher family, whose children have brought great honour to Newfoundland.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, we would like to be associated with the comments that have been suggested should be made by the Speaker on behalf of all members of the House and with the words of the Minister. I didn't quite get all of the information because we didn't have a copy of the statement that he read beforehand, but we will read it in Hansard, I am sure. I am aware of some other history with respect to the Salvation Army. There was, I believe, a General Wiseman, also a Newfoundlander, and I have a limited knowledge in this area only because of the fact that my grandfather was the first Corps Sergeant Major of the Salvation Army in Triton many, many years ago - Archibald Simms. I am proud to say, I am named after him. A lot of people did not realize that, I guess, at this point in time. But I would like to associate our party with the words of the minister and recommend that the Speaker send a letter of congratulation on behalf of members of the House.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to join with the Minister of Health and the Leader of the Opposition in sending our greetings and congratulations to the Tillsley family, and to recognize that the Salvation Army has, indeed, made a great contribution to this Province. It is very nice to see that Newfoundlanders are able to make a great contribution to the Salvation Army movement worldwide, and I would join with the other members of the House in asking that a letter be sent to congratulate them on their contribution and achievement.

Oral Questions

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I have some questions for the Minister of Finance dealing with the estimates procedure as announced on Friday by the Government House Leader. On Friday, as well, the Minister of Finance reintroduced the Budget that he had put before the House on March 18, a little over two months ago, but he did so on Friday without any revision to any of the numbers.

Now, the minister would know that virtually every head and every subhead in the detailed estimates of government departments has a vote for salaries and benefits, but the amounts in the Budget he tabled on Friday have not been adjusted to reflect the $70 million that the government says it intends to save on employees' compensation, therefore, every head and every subhead is actually wrong.

I want to ask the minister: Will there be adjustments made to the departmental Estimates in time for the Estimates Committees to do a detailed review of government's expenditure programs for this year? In other words, when will the Committees have the revised numbers that they need in order to do their job properly? Can the Minister of Finance tell us about those revisions?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, it is our position that the Committees can now do their jobs properly. The Budget has been presented to the House. It is in the process of being debated in the House. It contains a lot of headings and subheadings and there is an indication in that Budget, that there will be $70 million removed from the total salary and benefits package, so, Mr. Speaker, that speaks for itself; that will be done as soon as we get the agreements of the various unions.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I am talking about the Estimates Committees, the elected members of this House being able to perform their duties and their responsibilities in a proper and orderly fashion. Now, if they don't know what the numbers are, it is very difficult for them to carry out that particular job.

Now, the Premier has said, you will find $70 million by reducing employee compensation. How will the minister reduce the employee compensation - will it be by the pension scheme proposed before the election, will it be by taxation, or will it involve other measures, will it involve wage rollbacks, will it involve any kind of unpaid leave options, will it involve layoffs? What is the answer to that question? Can the minister tell us that?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I reiterate once again, that the members of the House and the members of the Committees can do their jobs. The expenditure heads simply indicate the maximum expenditure that we expect to be made in these headings and that still stands.

Mr. Speaker, in every single heading and every Budget that has been introduced in this House or any other House, in any time past, I suspect that very few of the headings at the end of the year were met exactly, and that is not a prerequisite for committees doing their jobs properly. The headings, the amounts that the hon. member sees, and other members of the House see in the Estimates for Salary and Other Benefits heading, will be the maximum that we project will be spent during the year for these headings, so the Budget is pretty straightforward.

Mr. Speaker, as to the rest of his question, I don't know where the hon. member has been for the last number of months - we could discuss that I suppose; but we have indicated that the $70 million will not be found through increased taxes - that is part of his question. I mean, that is something everybody has known, except for the Leader of the Opposition, that our preference is not to achieve the $70 million reduction in terms of a planned layoff in the public service. We have stated that very publicly and openly.

The mechanism we are attempting now to negotiate with the various public sector unions - and that process was continuing over the weekend, and is continuing today - we want to make sure that is given a full opportunity to be successful.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Let me ask the minister this question: Will any of the proposed cuts in employee compensation affect any government programs that are now funded in his Budget that he tabled on Friday? For example, if it were the pension option, the likelihood of programs being affected is not very great. But if it weren't the pension option, if it were some other option, if it were an option - for example, the Minister of Education at one time was talking about eliminating the curriculum directors people, the division in his department. He said so publicly. If something like that were going to take place, then it would affect the entire program of that particular department. Those would be the kinds of questions that the members would need to have answered before they can perform their duties or their responsibilities in a responsible fashion.

So let me ask him again. Can he assure the House that any proposed cuts in employee compensation that they have talked about will not affect any programs now provided for, funded, in his Budget that he tabled on Friday?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, any government is free to make changes and adjust programs as the need arises during any fiscal year. The hon. member knows that. He has been a member of a government that has made many adjustments during the year in terms of programs. So I can make no such commitment that there would be no changes in programs. The only commitment I can make is that as soon as we have concluded the negotiations with the public sector unions, then this hon. House will be informed of the exact measures that will be taken to achieve the $70 million reduction.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, let me move in another direction, then. In March, the minister announced major cuts in his Budget for funding for third party organizations. I heard him on the other day talking about it now being extended to June, I believe, before final decisions are made. But I think it was just before the election, one particular group had their funding reinstated. Yet the Budget numbers have not been changed in this document that he tabled on Friday. Why haven't the changes been made to the Budget documents to reflect the government's backtracking on that particular issue? He knows the one I am referring to - Daybreak. Three hundred and fifty thousand dollars, I think, was the Provincial Government's share - or whatever it was. Why haven't those figures been adjusted or changed to reflect those particular changes, and what other programs have now been cut in order to find that $350,000? Can he tell us that?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, we are in the process of examining several options to indicate where the source of the funds are going to be. There are many possibilities and this hon. House will know once our decisions are made. We did make that particular mistake in the Budget process and we were very quick to correct it. As for making a printing change that would cost thousands and thousands of dollars to do, to change all the books, to redo and reprint all of the information related to the Estimates simply because of a small change, Mr. Speaker, is something I was not prepared to do. I think we are all grown people here and if, for instance, it is necessary at some point in time to go through a procedure to get a little bit of extra money to change the headings we will do that process, but I do not intend to go through an extra expense of tens of thousands of dollars to make a slight change that we all know is there and will be openly discussed and will be identified when the time comes.

MR. SIMMS: One final short supplementary, if I may, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SIMMS: Can the minister tell us what other groups and organizations have had their funding re-instated? Can he tell us, and by how much? There were a couple that were announced, I think, during the election.

MR. BAKER: We are re-thinking some of the allocations having to do with where the departments had choices as to which organizations to sponsor for space. That process is continuing and must be completed before the end of June so that the organizations can be notified. The funding is already in the Budget for that amount of money.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have a question as well for the Minister of Finance. Analysts are saying that the heavy tax increases imposed in the Ontario and Quebec budgets will slow down economic recovery and economic growth for the remainder of this year and next year. Some have already predicted that the rate of growth will decline to 2 per cent from that forecasted at 2.9 per cent. I want to ask the minister, since he predicted economic growth of 1.2 per cent in this Province for this year would a 1 per cent percentage point drop in national GDP wipe out the Provinces's growth that he predicted?

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

MR. BAKER: No, Mr. Speaker. In terms of our projections we have tried to be conservative and take the conservative side of the range in order to be fiscally responsible, number one. Number two, Mr. Speaker, I do agree that tax increases would tend to slow down a recovery that may be underway, but the stress is on the slowdown and there are many objections a government must to examine to walk that thin line that every government does in terms of budgeting.

Mr. Speaker, I am in constant contact with analysts who are analyzing the Canadian economy and the numbers, I must admit, vary from one agency to another, but if I were to have to make a decision right now at this point in time I would suggest that perhaps the recovery numbers may be slightly better than we have projected.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A supplementary to the minister.

In his Budget the minister predicted an increase of nearly 4 per cent in equalization payments this year from Ottawa, and of course that was reflected in the federal Budget. If the Ontario and Quebec Budgets have the impact that is being predicted by some analysts and business people, will it wipe out any significant growth in equalization payments that the Province would receive this year? And what effect will that have upon the minister's Budget?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I cannot say at this point in time exactly what impact these actions will have on the Canadian economy, which is really the question that the member is asking. All I can tell him is that we do not make decisions based on simply one estimate of what is going to happen. We do not make decisions based on what happens in one month. We make decisions based upon an analysis of all of the estimates over a period of time, and I cannot guarantee this House that when we get our mid-year re-estimates in October - I cannot guarantee this House Leader there will not be any changes. There very well might be, but the numbers that we are looking at now, and the advice we are getting now, indicates there will be no changes.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. A final supplementary to the minister.

Is the minister as confident now as he was on March 18th that he can hold the deficit for the fiscal year 1993-'94 to the $51 million? Is he as confident now as he was then, in light of what has happened in Ontario and Quebec? We all know how that impacts upon the transfer payments, the equalization, from Ottawa to us. Is he that confident about that now as he was then?

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

MR. BAKER: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Waterford - Kenmount.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, on Friday, May 21, the Minister of Education announced the postponement of school board elections to coincide with the restructuring of the Newfoundland school system. The minister further indicated that these restructuring changes would not occur until 1994.

In view of the fact that at the AGM of the School Trustees Association recently, there were complaints of lack of consultation, I would like to ask the minister if he could inform the House of the restructuring models under consideration by his department and what protocols are in place to assure all stakeholders that they will be consulted in the restructuring processes?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, for one thing that gentleman is no Eric Gullage. It is obvious. I can see that.

Mr. Speaker, hon. members will know that it has been announced many times that after the Royal Commission made its report there was a Committee of Principals made up of church leaders and a Committee of Ministers which are the P and P ministers of government. Both committees have been meeting occasionally, but we have a working group of committees who are, at this time, reviewing the skeleton of a model which was put forward by the officials on the DEC's. No firm action has been taken, of course, on anything yet. We are sort of reviewing the thing as it is put forward.

The other question the hon. member raised is the involvement of other stakeholders in these discussions. Mr. Speaker, if we were to follow the strict letter of the law; if we were to strictly stay within theory, education in this Province is solely the realm of church and state. So if we were to follow the letter of the law, all we have to do is sit down and talk to the leaders of the churches; however, practical realities make that impossible. We recognize that we have to talk to the parents, who are very important in any changes which are to take place. We have to talk to the trustees associations. We have to talk to the Newfoundland Teachers' Association, Mr. Speaker, and there is a committee in placed called the General Advisory Committee to the Minister of Education. This committee is made up of Newfoundland Teachers' Association, the School Trustees Association, the Parent/Teacher Association, and I met with them last week. We had an in-depth discussion on the Royal Commission. We agreed, in that meeting, that the general advisory committee would be the forum in which the other stakeholders in the system would have their input into any action that we might take on the Royal Commission, Mr. Speaker.

We also agreed that if there are any other groups which are not represented on the general advisory committee, that they too would be able to come and give advice and make suggestions. At the end of the day all suggestions will be taken under consideration and in due course we will come up with the best education system in North America today, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Waterford - Kenmount.

MR. HODDER: I thank the minister for his comments. We all recognize that all of the restructuring that we plan on doing, or government plans on doing, if it's going to be acceptable there has to be a way in which all of the stakeholders have a sense of ownership. In that connection, will the minister assure that before the final decisions are made that there will be a discussion paper presented to the general public, and will there be public hearings so that all partners in the educational system can have an input into the final decisions?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I don't want to specifically say which forum or which mode we will use to make sure that everybody has an input into it. I wouldn't want to say we're going to go with a special discussion paper or anything. I will assure the hon. member that it is the intent of government - which if the hon. member were to follow the way we have acted over the past four years, we are the most open government this Province has ever had, Mr. Speaker. We will continue -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DECKER: We certainly will be continuing in that direction, Mr. Speaker. Every single stakeholder who has something to say, and every single Newfoundlander and Labradorian who has something to say about education, he or she will be heard and will be listened to. At the end of the day this government will have to evaluate all the suggestions, all the discussions, all the input, and we will have to come up with the final decision at the end of the day. That's the open government. That's what they talked about four years ago when they wanted real change. They wanted open government where the people are heard, Mr. Speaker, and that's going to continue. The hon. member will be quite pleased to hear that, I'm sure.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Health. I want to ask the minister whether he is aware of any claims by individuals in this Province that they have contracted the HIV virus through contaminated blood received in this Province, and if so how many individuals so claim?

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

DR. KITCHEN: The question is, how many people in this Province have contracted HIV through blood transfusions? I don't know how many there are, Mr. Speaker, but I have asked our people to inform me about this matter and to see if it warrants any further action. I'd like to report that we have in the Department of Health an advisory committee on infectious diseases, and I have a report from them today - it's because they met on this issue - and they do not recommend any large-scale search and HIV testing for people who received blood transfusions in the Province in the early 1985s. So we won't be carrying forth any of this testing of people who've had blood transfusions. The risk is extremely low and we won't be - anyone who suspects that they have HIV, either through taking blood or from other ways, from needles or through sexual intercourse, or whatever, is quite at liberty to get a test. We won't be pursuing it.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, my question was quite specific as to whether or not individuals had already come forward and made a claim to the government that they had contracted HIV through the blood transfusion. I don't know if the minister's prepared to answer that question right now, but would he tell the House whether or not his government is party to an agreement with other provinces recently discussed by and broken by the Province of Nova Scotia to stay mum on the issue of compensation rather than open up discussions with people as the Province of Nova Scotia has done on the issue of compensating victims.

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, the member I believe, is confusing two issues. One is the question of haemophiliacs, and the other is the question of people who receive blood transfusions, who may not be haemophiliacs. The question of the haemophiliacs is under legal review, and their case is in the courts so I will not be able to answer questions on that, but I was answering the question on the broader issue of people who have received blood transfusions over the years.

MR. SPEAKER: A final supplementary, the hon. the Member for St. John's East.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, either way I guess, it would not be hurting the legal process to tell us how many claims there might be, and perhaps he could answer that while he is also answering the question as to whether he has satisfied himself that the issue raised in the St. John's Evening Telegram of today, concerning blood transfusion bags, can he tell us what information he has about where that came from, and how it might have been found located in the St. John's water supply area, as reported in today's, St. John's Evening Telegram?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, I am not an avid reader of The Evening Telegram, and so I am not sure just how accurate it is, but I have asked people to look into this question.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SHELLEY: My question is for the Minister of Fisheries.

The minister knows there is considerable anger among crab fishermen over the price being offered for crab in this Province. The fishermen can get sixty cents as compared to $1.50 to $1.75 in the Maritime Provinces; does the minister believe that this is a fair price differential, and has he made an effort to find out why it exists?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, I have had representations made to me by the fishermen's union and others involved in the crab fishery, all of whom ask the same question: How can the differential, the alleged differential be explained? It is reported that companies in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are in fact paying a higher price for crab than our Newfoundland firms, and I undertook, Mr. Speaker, to appoint a committee that would investigate and that committee is now in the process of investigating, in fact, there is a steering committee appointed on which the fishermen's union have nominated I believe, two or three members, a couple of members from the processing sector and Dr. Les Harris, who has offered to serve on the committee as an independent member. The committee is being chaired by my deputy minister and work is already proceeding, Mr. Speaker, on the part of that committee to determine once and for all, if in fact, there is such a wide difference in the price being offered by Nova Scotias and others, and to determine as well, if we are talking about the same kind of crab, is there a difference in the crab for example, that might bring about that differential in price offered?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay.

MR. SHELLEY: First of all, this committee that is struck, of course timing is crucial now as far as the fishery goes, the crab fishery, so when do you expect reports from this committee?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, there is a problem that has arisen in that, there is now a strike ongoing with respect to the crab fishery. The fishermen have, I believe, indicated that they are not going to fish for the amount being offered, and that then of course places the committee in the Province in a rather awkward position, because you do not want to be perceived as interfering with the due process of collective bargaining, but nevertheless, Mr. Speaker, that committee, the steering committee is due to meet I believe, it is tomorrow, to agree on the terms of reference, and to start the process of studying the entire crab industry.

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.

Last winter, the minister found some funding to reduce the long waiting list for heart surgery in this Province. I ask the minister: has this emergency funding been withdrawn, and is the waiting list for heart surgery now growing again?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

There was a fairly long waiting list for cardiac surgery and we did put some extra money in there to reduce the waiting list, which has now been reduced to acceptable proportions, Mr. Speaker, so we have no plans to put any additional funds in there.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is my understanding that there are long waiting lists still. I ask the minister, does he have any long term plans to deal with the problem of such long delays in patients being able to get heart surgery?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Sir, I guess the hon. member must have sources that are greater than ours, he manufactures long waiting lists where there are no long waiting lists. I am wondering where he is getting his information.

AN HON. MEMBER: From where you should be getting it.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We are getting reports that senior citizens are being denied heart surgery, not because they are not physically able to undergo surgery but because surgical procedure is being rationed and they are being excluded. Now, I ask the minister is it true and are otherwise fit seniors who could benefit from heart surgery being sent home to die, is that what our health system is coming too?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, I guess the new critic is very much like the former critic. The former critic basically stirred up public concern where there was no need for concern. I will say this though to the hon. member, if he knows of any case, I wish he would refer it to me and I will have it looked into.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes concerns have been brought to my attention regarding -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: It has been brought to the attention of cardiologists, Mr. Speaker, and recently - in fact a person who had to wait days to get in just to have an angiogram and other testing done was told that because of age that person may not be possible when a lot of the younger people being employed are on waiting lists also. So, I ask the minister, is this what our system is coming too? The minister seems to take all his questions under advisement, probably more questions under advisement than the President of the United States has taken in the last twenty years, so I ask him will he look into this and see if the waiting lists are increasing and let us know exactly what the waiting lists are?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, I will not be looking into the waiting lists. If the hon. member has concerns of an individual person he should bring it to the attention of the Minister of Health who would look into it. It is no good for him to pretend he is a cardiologist and all of this stuff, he should bring his concerns here to me and I will have them looked into.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The minister stated here in this House just recently that there are no long waiting lists. So, is he now saying that there are no long waiting lists for heart surgery?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes.

MR. SULLIVAN: Did I hear the minister correctly so Hansard will quote that?

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

DR. KITCHEN: My information, Mr. Speaker, and I have checked, is that there are no long waiting lists for cardiac surgery. No waiting lists that are not appropriate.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Social Services. What I would like to ask the minister, Mr. Speaker, is it true that his department has now decided to go after the sick and the suffering in this Province and as a result have asked social workers to have the budget for home care to the sick reduced?

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

MR. LUSH: Mr. Speaker, again that is a perennial question raised by the hon. member. I can tell the hon. member that the sick, the suffering and the disadvantaged are well looked after in this Province by the Department of Social Services.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, my question to the minister is: have social workers been instructed to cut the budget for home care to senior citizens? That is the question and I ask the minister to answer it.

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

MR. LUSH: Mr. Speaker, I advise the hon. member that nothing has been done to bring any further discomfort to the sick of this Province and if there is any kind of a cut than I am sure that it has been a cut that has been asked all departments to do that is in proportion with the expenditure of the department.

MR. SPEAKER: Question period has expired.

Notices of Motion

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Eagle River.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Mr. Speaker, I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce the following resolution.

WHEREAS Canada was granted a 200-mile limit on the basis of sound fisheries management principles; and

WHEREAS the federal government has ignored such principles to the detriment of our people and our communities; and

WHEREAS the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans promised to reform the system; and

WHEREAS the proposed Atlantic Fisheries Board is directed to follow principles which would eliminate us from our own fishery;

BE IT RESOLVED that the House of Assembly endorse the principles of adjacency, relative dependence of coastal communities, historic use, economic efficiency, and fleet mobility, as the basis of resource allocation in the fishery of the future.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

WHEREAS traffic congestion in and around the city of St. John's is a major concern; and

WHEREAS construction of the Outer Ring Road will provide a much needed boost to an ailing economy; and

WHEREAS funding for the construction of an Outer Ring Road is being provided by the federal government;

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the government take the steps necessary to ensure that the construction of the Outer Ring Road will commence no later than the spring of 1994.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Petitions

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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise to present a petition from thirty-four residents of the community of Beachside in my district of Green Bay. Some hon. members who were here before dissolution of the old House will recall that I brought a petition before the House with regard to the state and colour of the water in the community of Beachside, even to the extent of bringing in a bottle for display in this particular Chamber, a display of which I was told at the time was out of order. Nonetheless, Mr. Speaker, the problem remains and after the House was dissolved and an election was called I received an additional thirty-four names asking that another phase of the water and sewer system be attended to, to resolve the problem we now have in Beachside. Of course there was no House of Assembly at the time so I wrote back to the council and indicated that if re-elected I would bring forward the remaining thirty-four names, which I am doing today. The problem, Mr. Speaker, is one of discolouration and silting. It is in the water supply in Beachside and it is in the water supply in Port Anson. It is a problem that I have recently written about to the new Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, and one that I hope he will look into.

Mr. Speaker, I support this petition and ask that it be tabled and given to the appropriate department.

Thank you, very much.

Orders of the Day

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, could we do Motions 3 through 6 first, please?

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 3.

Interruption in tape.

MR. ROBERTS: Two through 6 are first readings. Let us get them out of the way.

Interruption in tape.

MR. SPEAKER: We can do all five at the same time with consent.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Education to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Memorial University Act". (Bill No. 2)

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology to introduce a bill, "An Act Respecting The Department of Industry, Trade and Technology". (Bill No. 4)

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Tourism and Culture to introduce a bill, "An Act Respecting The Department Of Tourism and Culture". (Bill No. 3)

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Taxation Of Utilities And Cable Television Companies Act." (Bill No. 5), and, "An Act To Amend The Municipalities Act." (Bill No. 6)

On motion, Bills Nos. 2, 4, 3, 5, and 6 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I propose to ask Your Honour to call the Budget Speech. My friend for Mount Pearl is absent for a short time attending a funeral I'm told, so we're prepared, if another Opposition speaker wishes to come forward and make his speech, to pick up with the gentleman from Mount Pearl when the gentleman from Mount Pearl gets back, if that's in order. What I would ask is whoever's to speak now finish his speech, which would be a normal twenty minute speech, and then we'll let the gentleman from Mount Pearl have at us again. If that's in order and with the consent -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Half an hour, is it? With the consent of members, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, Mr. Speaker. We're not sure when the Member for Mount Pearl will be here. So hopefully it will be before the first speaker concludes, but if not, if you don't have a speaker, then we'll put up another one.

MR. SIMMS: Lots of speakers here. Amendments.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: I don't think we need to put it to a motion of the House. I think we can accept that the difference in process will be followed.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Agreed.

MR. SPEAKER: Agree?

MR. ROBERTS: Motion 1, then, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion, 1, the Budget speech.

The hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today in the people's House with a great deal of pride and commitment. Pride from the fact that I am very proud to be able to sit in this House and represent the district of Bonavista South, and commitment from the fact that I think the only promise that I made during the election was the commitment to come and serve the people to the best of my ability. I can assure you there were a lot more promises made in the district of Bonavista South in the last election than those promises that people like myself were capable of fulfilling by their own wisdom and their own effort. I didn't make them.

I thank the good people of Bonavista South for their faith in me. I thank them for showing me their trust in electing me on May 3. I would like to reflect back on the election for a few minutes if I may.

In the election of 1989 I contested the same seat which I lost by twenty votes. There are all kinds of reasons why I lost that election, but I won't go into that at this time. This election was won through organization and through people wanting a change in the district of Bonavista South because they weren't represented in the way that their hopes and their concerns were being addressed. When I went down into the district of Bonavista South and I heard of some of the people who were there campaigning for the hon. member, I must admit that I was in fear of mudslinging. Those fears were unfounded and it didn't happen, and I think the election we had in Bonavista South took the high road, and I thank the hon. people who were involved for doing that.

A lot of the issues that were raised at the doors in the district of Bonavista South were not any different from the issues that were raised in other parts of the Province. Employment and jobs are the main concerns of the people, and I can assure you that they want them now, and not twenty years from now. Youth unemployment, something that we're faced with every day; tuition fees to the post-secondary institutions come September will probably have gone up in excess of 50 per cent. I believe that as long as we make education only available to the rich and the well-to-do that our unemployment rates will continue to soar and to exist at the 20 per cent levels.

In Bonavista, the town of Bonavista and surrounding areas, to go back to the youth unemployment, I think it's unheard of in the history of this Province to know that there's been something like six suicides in the past eighteen months. Those suicides, Mr. Speaker, are happening because of the lack of hope, and the despair of our young people.

The other issue I continued to hear as I knocked on doors was the fact that government is not listening, and this is the biggest shame of all. Mr. Speaker, I think we will find, if we go out into the districts and listen to the people, not just the people who are involved in industry and occupation, that not only do they know the problems, if somebody took the time to listen, they would know the solutions, as well, but that is not happening.

The uncertainty about the future in the fishery - in my district there are approximately 1,800 people who work in the fish plants on the Bonavista Peninsula. Those 1,800 people are facing an uncertain future, not to mention the fisherpersons. If and when the moratorium is over in 1994, Mr. Speaker, the fisherpersons know, I believe, where they will be going if the resource is there, but the fish plant workers are not afforded that luxury.

Mr. Speaker, with respect to those fish plants on our peninsula, I believe the decisions are known as to which plants will open and which plants will close, and I think that the people should be made aware of that so they can make wise decisions and train for their future.

Mr. Speaker, the hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West brought up the topic of social services to the hon. minister. This is a concern that is very, very big in my district, and to hear some of the stories that people relate to you almost puts a knot in your heart.

As I was driving from - I used to drive home from Bonavista back to my hometown in the nighttime during the election; it is about an hour-and-a-half drive, and it gave me time to relate and to think back on the things that happened during the day. Mr. Speaker, one thing that burned in my heart was the stories I heard about the employable handicapped out there, people who have no reason to get up in the morning; people who are employable - no reason to go to bed and no reason to get up in the morning because there is nothing there for them. I think this is one area where we should seek adjustment, one area where, in the Budget, there should be money available to have those people looked after and put in the work force to do things that are meaningful.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FITZGERALD: I don't mean passing them a brown envelope, Mr. Speaker. I don't think that is the solution to their problem. I think they should be allowed to work in communities, do community work, to give them a reason to exist and a reason to go on. Mr. Speaker, it is totally unacceptable to have approximately one in every nine people in our Province on social assistance.

During the election, also, I remember walking down the street in one of the larger communities in my district and meeting this lady. She was a professional person and she asked me what our party had decided to do to try to solve the $70 million - the elusive $70 million that is being talked about all the time. One of the things I mentioned to her was the fact that we would try to get people on social services back to work. Her comments were quite quick and she said: You can't do that because you would have Human Rights against you. Human Rights would pick up on that.

It showed me how out of touch people can be when they are okay themselves, because I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, that most of the people out there on social assistance are not there by choice, but of necessity.

Mr. Speaker, I was informed on Friday that this is the first time in the history of the district of Bonavista South that it has been represented in the House in Opposition. That was an issue during the election, as well. A lot of people said to me: What would you do if you were in Opposition? My comment was that you should ask the other person, as well, because it is a general election and that is something you should put before the other candidates; but after the election, I left my campaign headquarters and went down to the Liberal headquarters to wish them all the best, and I stated to the people who were there at that time -

MR. SIMMS: You went down to the Liberal headquarters. They didn't come up to your headquarters?

MR. FITZGERALD: No, I took the courtesy of going down and wishing them the best. That is the kind of fellow I am, Mr. Speaker. I am a people person.

MR. SIMMS: I know that, but I thought they would have come up and congratulated you.

MR. FITZGERALD: I went down and said to the people who were there at the headquarters: Forget Liberal and forget PC, and I will forget the badges that were worn. When I go into the House of Assembly, I will represent everybody in the district of Bonavista South -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FITZGERALD: - not only the people who came out and supported me, but everybody from the district. And I don't think the Premier and his government, he being the reputable person that he is, will do any different. The Premier and his government, is the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, not the government for Liberal districts, and I am sure they wouldn't disassociate themselves from the Progressive Conservative districts.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Come on over, boy, you are in the wrong place.

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, somebody told me to come on over, I am in the wrong place. In fact, I have been hearing this several times. In fact, one of the hon. members from the other side mentioned that she had heard it. The only way I am going over there is if all of these people go with me.

Mr. Speaker, back in the 1989 election, I think the Liberal party at that time talked about having water and sewer available to everybody. I think they made a - I do not know if it was a promise, but I know it was an election issue, where they talked about having a corporation for water and sewer. I can assure you that this has not happened in the district of Bonavista South. In fact, one community there - and they are not looking for cadillac water and sewer systems, they are looking for a supply of clean, potable water, and a way to properly dispose of their sewage. In one community, the water supply is available for two hours a day. That is the length of time it can be turned on because of the leaks in the water line - never ever addressed, never attended to.

In the Town of Bonavista, fire protection is a big issue - fourteen hundred households, and they are left today with one obsolete fire truck which will cost $20,000 to repair and another 1972 fire truck to serve 1,400 people in the town, in excess of 1,700 people in the surrounding areas. Mr. Speaker, those are concerns that are real and that need to be addressed.

Mr. Speaker, it is all very well to come and be the government and talk about rolling back wages and making cutbacks - that is the easy way to run a government. What we need is somebody who will go out and create some initiatives and get people back to work. I believe this can be done, but I think a lot of time and effort and a lot of listening will have to go into that.

The fishery on the Bonavista Peninsula has been the mainstay ever since Newfoundland has been Newfoundland, and I don't see it changing within the next three or four years, but there is one thing that we have to do. We have to make sure that we get every dollar and every hour of work from our fish plants and from our fishery so that our people may once again be gainfully employed.

Tourism is one area that the people on the Bonavista Peninsula look forward to, with a lot of optimism. I, too, believe it is an area where we can create jobs, and I believe that in it there is a place for optimism. The "500" celebrations which will take place in 1997, Mr. Speaker, is very important, and I believe a lot of time and attention needs to go into those celebrations, and I think we can get a lot of our people back to work and involved in the tourist industry if we go about it in the right way.

Mr. Speaker, the government continues to talk about the home industries - the craft shops - in rural Newfoundland. In Bonavista this past number of years, there has been a craft shop operated in the facility known as the Bonavista Lighthouse. In March of this year, the hon. the Minister of Tourism and Culture sent a letter asking them to vacate the premises immediately, Mr. Speaker, with no reason or justified cause why they should do that. This is one area, Mr. Speaker, which employed five students with plans this year to have a coffee shop to employ an additional two students. I think this is unheard of and I ask the minister to take it under consideration -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: I asked him to take it under consideration to rethink that issue. I understand that there was some concern by a local business that operated in the area but from talking to the people around, those concerns were not valid reasons to close that shop.

Mr. Speaker, as I have stated, my district has many needs and concerns. The people of Bonavista South are honest, sincere, hard working individuals who struggle every day to earn a living. Their concerns and frustrations are my concerns and, Mr. Speaker, I can assure you that I will continue to speak up in this House and voice their concerns and I will not be stifled by government or anybody else in the decision making process. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, first of all I want to thank - the Government House Leader is not here - but all hon. members of the House who unanimously agreed to allow me to continue speaking, I think -

AN HON. MEMBER: It was not quite unanimous.

MR. WINDSOR: Not quite unanimous but they were browbeaten at least into agreeing to allow me to pick up where I left off. I was unavoidably absent due to a funeral in my district, a good friend of mine, Mr. David Squires, who passed away at a very young age as a victim of cancer and I felt it important that I attend the funeral in Mount Pearl this afternoon. I know all hon. members will join with me in extending sincere sympathy to his wife and family on the passing of Mr. Squires but I do want to thank hon. members for allowing me the right to continue speaking having not been present to take up because of that unfortunate circumstance this afternoon.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I again thank hon. members but I really do not intend to take a great more time. I spoke for some four-and-a-half hours, I think prior to the prorogation of the last Assembly and I have had two hours speaking to this topic on Friday past and there is not a great deal more that I really wanted to say, one could speak forever I suppose if one wanted to on this particular Budget. My friend from Grand Falls need not panic, I do not intend to speak forever. One could go on forever but one has to say: well what is the point? I made most of the pertinent points here and the most pertinent of those, I simply want to reiterate, is that we are talking about a document that is totally incomplete. It has not been finalized, we do not know yet where $70 million will be cut from this Budget, who will be victimized by that. The minister did give us a broad concept of some of the agencies, some of the funding groups, some of the departments that would be the victim of his cuts but he has another $70 million that he asks this House to accept that he will find - that he will find that $70 million and hold the deficit for this year to $51 million, hardly something to be commended for, Mr. Speaker, that he should hold it to $51 million. The real question, I guess, at this point in time is now that we are two months into the fiscal year, is the minister still quite so convinced that he can indeed even hold it at $51 million, assuming that he is able to find $70 million from the total compensation package of public servants?

Now, Mr. Speaker, as I have said before there is only a couple of ways that he can find that $70 million from those particular sub-heads. He either has to reduce the number of employees and, it is doubtful that he could save a great deal there because of severance packages because of the time required for notifications and so forth that it would be very difficult to save a lot of money by laying-off people, a lot of money in this fiscal year. It would be effective for next year but not for this particular fiscal year.

The other way he can do it of course is by rolling back wages and benefits. In other words reducing the present salary levels. Now, there was an option on the table of looking at payments in the pension plans that leaves the salary levels where they are but it reduces the pension benefit that has been purchased. That is a possible way of doing it, but we have every indication that the labour movement is not prepared to accept that. I do not know if the minister made any statements today at the opening of the House as to any success that he might be having; my friend from Grand Bank tells me that he did not, so we can only assume that there is no great breakthrough with negotiations yet with labour unions, as it relates to saving a chunk of money, a block of funding from payments to the pension plan by skipping for one year or for six months, I think it is, payments to the pension plan. That is something you can do once.

The real question, if that were to be the option chosen, if that were to be that option, what would the minister then do next year, because next year he has to reduce that $51 million to a more acceptable level, but first he has to find that $70 million again, so next year we would be looking for $70 million plus, at least some portion, I would suggest maybe half of that $50 million if not all of it, but certainly half of it he will have to reduce the deficit if he is to retain any credibility in the financial markets whatsoever, and we saw last week from the Dominion Credit Rating agency, what is happening to the minister's and this government's financial credibility in the bond rating market.

Mr. Speaker, that is a matter of real concern and I know this minister is concerned about that, but what concerns me is that he has not done anything about it. He simply asks us and perhaps even more importantly, he is asking the bond rating agencies to accept the fact that he will find $70 million. Now the history of this government is not good when it comes to doing what they said they would do at Budget time. We saw the former minister come in with three, if not four Budgets, and at the end of the year in fact, on a couple of occasions, in the middle of the year he had to come back to this House and admit that his projections were so far wrong that he had to make additional changes; last December we had huge tax increases imposed, we had massive cuts in the public service programs and some serious layoffs in the public sector.

The record of this government in predicting what the financial situation will be, and in sticking with a Budget, has not been very good, and now they are asking this House and they are asking the credit rating agencies to accept the fact that at the bottom line of the Budget document, there is a $70-million item which simply says: to be reduced from public service total compensation packages. That is a blank cheque, Mr. Speaker, that this government, this minister is asking this House to approve, while at the same time the expenditure side of the Budget, at least as it relates to the Interim Supply which is approximately one-third of the total Budget allocation; those expenditures, Mr. Speaker, are based on a $120 million deficit at this point in time, and government departments are spending on that basis, and he has lost two months of this year within which to try to make some expenditure savings to bring the Budget to what he says is the acceptable level of $51 million.

Well, Mr. Speaker, as we have said on several occasion, maybe it is $51 million, maybe it is $31 million, maybe it $71 million, whatever it might be, what is seriously lacking here is a long-term plan. Once again this minister has come in with a snapshot; he says that this point in time we have a $121 million dollar problem. He has said on top of that, I will find $70 million, trust me, but he has not said: here is the problem that we will have next year, and the year after and the year after. He has not given this House projections for the next four or five years; he has not come forward with a plan to reduce the deficit and balance the Budget over a four or five-year term, or a two-year term if that were possible or a one-year term.

He has come in once again with a snapshot. Here is the situation for this year and he basically said: we do not know how to solve it, but we are asking you to believe that we will find $70 million of that problem and we are prepared to accept the $51 million deficit. When is this government, Mr. Speaker, going to come forward with a solid plan of economic development, of managing the finances of this Province in a manner that will regain for us the financial credibility that this Province had enjoyed for many years but this government has managed to lose over four short years? They've taken us from a surplus situation in 1989 to record deficits every year, including 1989, when they predicted they would have a surplus. Basically it's the surplus that the previous administration passed over to them. They ran it that year, if my memory serves me correctly, to about $117 million deficit by the end of the fiscal year. We've had similar deficits, record high deficits, ever since.

That's not to say that borrowing has decreased. It hasn't. It's not that we've spent money and invested in business and industry. We've spent less. It's not that we've built more roads and more water and sewer systems. We have not. It's basically mismanagement. This government has to reckon with that. This minister should have come forward now - not only should he have done it two months ago, when he originally introduced this Budget document, but now more than two months later, having gone through an election campaign, having had the opportunity hopefully during that campaign to listen to thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, what their problems were and what suggestions they might have to help government through a difficult period, he has come back with no new ideas after two months. Yet when he introduced the Budget he said in his Budget speech: we will by the end of this fiscal year - being the end of March of 1993, he said - by the end of March, by the time we get through - because the Budget was brought in somewhere around the first week of March, March 7, 8 or 9, something of that nature. He said: by the end of this month I hope to have a solution to that $70 million problem.

Here we are now, almost three months after that, and he still has no idea how he's going to solve it. He still has not told this House. He has come back again with the same Budget, with no changes, no new ideas, no new initiatives whatsoever. Instead of coming back and saying: we had a $70 million problem - $120 million, but we were going to find $70 - we said we thought we could do it but we haven't, we have been turned down by two or three collective bargaining agencies, so now we have to take a different approach. We have to take action that will save that $70 million or whatever part that is not going to be negotiated with the public sector.

He has not done that. He has come back with the same document. No new initiatives, no new ideas, no new mechanisms to try to deal with the problem, and no plan, no programs, no policies as to stimulate the economy of this Province to get the private sector moving, to create employment for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. His answer again is increase taxes and cut services. Whatever happened to stimulating the economy, creating jobs and creating revenue for the Treasury? That's the other side of it.

There are two ways to create revenue. One is to tax. We all know that thanks to this particular government over the past four years we are now taxed beyond the point of diminishing returns in this Province. We are seeing it in many areas, particularly in liquor and tobacco taxes, the so-called sin taxes, where we're actually now starting to receive less. So that's one way, is to raise taxes. The other way is to increase revenues. The way to do that is to stimulate the economy, get Newfoundlanders and Labradorians back to work. We've got 20,000 more people now depending on support programs, social programs, than we did four years ago. We have to question the legitimacy even of these estimates when the minister says: we need $10 million less this year for social assistance payments even though we have 20,000 more people on social assistance. The mathematics just doesn't add up.

So not only do we question the legitimacy of the expenditures and the revenues, we have to question the fact that there is no plan in place to deal with the root of the problem. He's simply trying to deal with the symptoms by increasing taxation and by decreasing expenditures, reducing government services, and putting a tremendous measure of that on the backs of the public servants of this Province. Mr. Speaker, I think this Budget is a total admission of failure. It is an admission that this government is bankrupt of financial ideas, is bankrupt of ability to manage the finances of this Province, and is not in a position to lead this Province forward over the next four years. Unfortunately, they have a mandate to do so and we are just going to have to suffer with it.

Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

Let me begin by thanking the people of St. John's East Extern for giving me the honour and privilege of representing them in this hon. House of Assembly. I look forward to taking on the responsibilities of MHA and I hope that I can live up to their expectations. I know I have some pretty big shoes to fill. The former MHA, Mr. Parsons, and I were campaigning in Flat Rock and one day I decided to drop into his House. Jokingly, I slipped on one of his shoes and it was like putting my foot into a canoe, so I have some pretty big shoes to fill. I also want to thank my campaign workers for a job well done and for the time and effort they put into it. We were very successful and I appreciate that very much.

AN HON. MEMBER: Were you against Confederation?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. J. BYRNE: Well, I wasn't around at that point in time. I am not as old as some of the members here.

I would also like to congratulate Premier Wells, who is not here right now, and the Liberal Party, for a job well done on May 3.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. J. BYRNE: It was a job too well done for my liking, but then again, we have to give congratulations and credit where credit is due, so congratulations. I would also like to congratulate the hon. Mr. Simms for bringing our party from 12 per cent to 42 per cent in the polls in a very short span of time.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: The previous election was 49, wasn't it?

MR. J. BYRNE: Well, don't worry about it.

I would also like to congratulate Mr. Simms on attracting a very good slate of candidates to our party this time around and giving the people a real decision to make. I would like, as well, to congratulate my colleagues on this side of the House for either getting elected or being re-elected to the House in these very turbulent times in our Province.

I would like to congratulate Mr. Speaker and the Deputy Speaker. I look forward to working with you in keeping honour and decorum in this House - doing my part in that.

There is a group of people who need to be mentioned, appreciated, and thanked - they are the candidates of all three parties who did not get elected. Without these people the democratic system would fall short.

I look forward to working with both sides of the House in getting this Province back on the road to recovery. I, and I believe most people here, realize that governments are elected to govern and Oppositions are elected to keep the government on their toes, so to speak, but I believe we can work together and do some great things for this Province in the next four years. I am of the view that what is good for my country is good for my Province, and what is good for my Province is good for my district and, in turn, good for the people living in my district, so if we work together, I am sure we can accomplish some great things.

Newfoundland and Labrador, and Canada, have gone through three very difficult years. Private industry has cut back and has streamlined, causing thousands and thousands of jobs to be lost. I have been in private industry for the past ten years and I know the problems that private industry and the people in business go through, and I sympathize with them. Small businesses and companies make the world go 'round. They create new monies and new dollars in the economy which, in turn, create revenues for the provincial treasury. Companies have been hit hard, really hard, particularly in this Province. Taxes have increased. The payroll tax for one, in my mind, is counterproductive and has been. It has cost jobs to be lost. I know companies out there who will not hire because they will go over the limit. The basic amount, I think, is $100,000 now. It started out at $300,000. Maybe the government can look at, either increasing the basic amount or cutting out that tax altogether.

We have to work together to get the economy rolling. One of the main things I see that needs to be done is we have to create some confidence in the public sector. The people who are now working in the public sector find that their jobs are not safe anymore. They are quite nervous. They are afraid to spend a cent. They are afraid to go out and buy large ticket items such as a fridge or a stove or a car. We have to get these people to feel that their jobs are safe, and encourage them to get out and start purchasing some items, and that, in turn, will create monies in the economy and, hopefully, create jobs.

Governments have to work together. I don't know - I may be accused of being naive here, but is it possible for the Federal, Provincial and Municipal Governments to work together when they are preparing their budgets? Because one depends so heavily on the other. Is it possible?

One thing, I believe, can be done - but I imagine I would get a lot of argument on this: Is it possible for government to consider reducing the retail sales tax by one point to stimulate the economy? These are some questions I will just throw out.

When I was campaigning in St. John's East Extern, a number of issues were raised that I had concerns about myself personally beforehand. One of them, of course, mentioned here today, was the Outer Ring Road. People in East Meadows and Woodlands and Northlands and Wedgewood Park and Torbay asked: What is the story on the Outer Ring Road? Why has it not been started? Studies have shown that it is environmentally safe. It is required. It will alleviate traffic problems in and around St. John's, yet it is not started. I believe, if it were started, it could create jobs. It would create jobs, of course. Funding is available. Let's get it started as soon as possible.

The fishery has been very important to towns like Torbay, Flat Rock, Pouch Cove and Bauline. Historically, these towns have depended on the oceans for their livelihood. The people in these communities have traditionally been very strong, independent, and self-sufficient. They have seen their way of life threatened by the collapse in the fishery. We have to start now - planning - to let the people know where we are going as a Province. The people have to know who is going to be involved in the fishery and who is not going to be involved in the fishery, so they can plan their lives. They have to be given the opportunity to plan their lives and the future for themselves and their families. They have to be given the opportunity to take advantage of various programs such as the educational programs. They have to be encouraged to educate themselves.

A topic that came up on the campaign trail was amalgamation. Now, personally, I have been very opposed to amalgamation for various reasons - the way it was done, or whatever the case may be - but I find the people in those towns and those communities are very opposed to amalgamation, also. It caused many problems a few years ago, so I sincerely hope that amalgamation has been dealt with and will not raise its ugly head again.

Another topic: the Agricultural Review Commission made its report last Fall. There were some very good recommendations in the report with respect to boundary changes. Mr. Simmons made some very good recommendations which would affect, in particular, the people in the town in which I live, Logy Bay, Middle Cove, Outer Cove, and the Town of Torbay. I would encourage the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture to implement those changes as soon as possible because they would have a very positive effect on the running of the municipalities involved. They will help the towns become more self-sufficient and, in turn, will allow them to plan their town properly.

Another problem that has arisen over the past number of years for the towns is downloading - downloading by the Provincial Government onto the municipalities. I realize that we all have to share our burden in the deficit problems these days, but I honestly believe that the towns have been hit too hard - really, really too hard. The debt requirement for towns like Pouch Cove and Torbay to have water and sewer has increased as much as 170 per cent in three short years. The municipal operating grants have been cut by as much as 50 per cent, with the roads component cut from $2,200 per kilometre per year down to eighty dollars per kilometre per year. It's just too hard on the municipalities. It has to stop.

Property assessments for the towns was another issue brought up to me by some of the councils in the area. The assessments were promised for 1992 - didn't come. They were promised for 1993 - didn't come. It looks like now they may not be coming for 1994. This causes problems for the municipalities. It causes undue increases in the mil rates, it causes the towns to lose revenues. So I would ask the Minister of Municipal Affairs if he would look at possibly allowing the towns to contract out assessments. Municipal Affairs has over the years given reasons for the consistency that they don't do that but I don't believe there's any consistency in the way that the assessments have been done and are being done.

Another very important topic that's come up, and it's due to legislation that was passed here in this House a year or two ago, a year and half, and that's the regional fire fighting. That's caused some major problems. Four towns in the northeast Avalon have had their costs increased as much as 1,000 per cent. In my district, the town of Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove had theirs increased similarly. The town itself - and I know, because I'm quite familiar with it - has increased their payments for that service 100 per cent in 1992 and another 100 per cent in 1993. This is being done unilaterally. The formula that's being charged by the regional fire committee is based on assessed value. It does not take into consideration the reduced services that the towns and the municipalities get in the region because of lack of water and sewer or response time, or whatever the case may be.

Also, the formula that according to the legislation has to be approved by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, has not been done. Yet the town of Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove has increased its payment for that service by 150 per cent because they believe in paying their fair share. I would like to personally sit on any committee or whatever the case may be to work out something that's more fair and reasonable to all concerned in that area.

Another problem that has arisen, and this concerns Environment and Lands. As we all know, the City of St. John's closed Robin Hood Bay to the disposal of septic waste at that site. For technical reasons, but anyway it's closed to neighbouring municipalities. All towns on the northeast Avalon. Environment and Lands has required that all septic waste is to be disposed of at the waste transfer site in Foxtrap. Of course, this has caused the rate that was being normally paid by the home owners in the districts to increase by as much as ten times, from sixty dollars up to between $600 and $800, for one load to be dumped at this site.

Because of that reason it now appears that people are actually dumping the waste in inappropriate areas in the countryside. I know that there is legislation in place that causes penalties to be pretty severe for that type of action, but if the people can't afford to make that kind of payment, as much as $600 per year, or every two years actually, then they are willing to take the risk. I believe we should look at possibly subsidizing the home owners for that service. Seeing that it was forced upon them.

Tourism in St. John's East Extern is sadly lacking, the promotion and involvement of tourism in that district. We have thousands of tourists visiting St. John's each year who travel the scenic Marine Drive from Logy Bay down through Outer Cove, Middle Cove, Torbay, Flatrock, Pouch Cove and Bauline. If you drive that area you'll find that there are very few places, if any, for someone to haul in and have a cup of tea or a cookie or whatever on their tour. I know of one young lady who was walking in Torbay one day last summer and there were three different people stopped in the span of an hour and asked where they could go to get a lunch. She couldn't give her any place. I think we have to work together.

I am proposing, and I have done this over the past number of years to some of the municipalities, that all the towns in that area which would include St. John's, Logy Bay- Middle Cove- Outer Cove, Pouch Cove- Flatrock- Torbay, to get together and create some sort of tourist commission to promote the area, to help create small businesses in the area to promote it, and hook into the tourism industry and create some jobs; maybe we could entice some of the fishermen to hook into the fishery in some way or other, especially if they are not going to be opposing the moratorium and we can create jobs for those people, let us get at it and I am certainly willing to help out in that area. Also, Mr. Speaker, St. John's East Extern is both rural and urban and that in itself is going to create some problems for me as MHA in the area, but I am sure that I will live up to the task as MHA for St. John's East Extern.

Mr. Simms, the hon. Mr. Simms, has appointed me critic for Environment and Lands, and I gladly accept that appointment. I look forward to trying to help keep our air, water and land in good, clean condition by keeping on top of legislation that may be going through the House or anything that may be put through by the Minister of Environment and Lands and I look forward to that. We have to keep our atmosphere, our water our land clean and in good shape for generations to come.

Many of you ministers and hon. members of the House have seen me from time to time sitting in the galleries of this House. I have been interested for a long time in politics in Newfoundland and I have read many books on Canadian politics and politicians, including recently one on the hon. Premier Wells, which, I found quite interesting. I believe that everything comes to he who waits, so here I am. Mr. Speaker, I will do my best to honour the traditions of this hon. House and to represent the people of St. John's East Extern in an efficient, effective and professional manner.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

I want to have a few words about the Budget debate as well. I want to certainly say that it is a pleasure today to sit and listen to two new members standing and getting involved in the Budget debate, and I certainly encourage all new members to do so, and I think the presentations made by my colleagues from St. John's East Extern and from Bonavista South, all hon. members will agree, that they were excellent presentations by two new members.

I want to, as well, avail of this opportunity to congratulate or to extend best wishes to the hon. Member for Humber West on his election as Speaker of this Assembly; to the Member for Trinity - Bay de Verte and from Bellevue on their elections to their respective positions. It is nice, let me say, to see the Member for Port de Grave back in Cabinet. I think that there is a role for him to play in the Government of this Province and I am delighted to see that he is there. I want to, as well, commend my friend from Carbonear on his selection by the Premier, to serve as Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. I am sure that it is a very challenging department, one that has a lot of divisions but one in which, I am sure that he will serve well.

To the Member for Bonavista North, I certainly wish him well in the Department of Social Services. I know the decisions to cut the Budget to home care by 30 per cent was not his decision, it was a decision made before he came to the department; I realize that, but I hope he will be able to stop it, however, I do wish him well in that department. Mr. Speaker, I also want to congratulate all of the new members who have been elected to the Assembly and certainly to all those who have returned. As a matter of fact, not a whole lot has changed in some regards, however, having said that, Mr. Speaker, there is work to be done. There is work to be done in this Province, and the Budget, brought in by the Minister of Finance, re-introduced by the Minister of Finance is not going to do a whole lot to stimulate the economy of this Province. It is not going to do a whole lot for the people who are on social assistance; it is not going to do a lot for the people who are on Unemployment Insurance trying to get work.

It is not going to do very much for any of these groups of people; but, Mr. Speaker, I think that as you go through the Budget and see what has taken place, only the Member for Gander could introduce that Budget. There is no one else in this Province as bold-faced, as brazen, and takes such satisfaction in attacking the poor, the suffering and the sick in this Province as the Member for Gander. It is only him who could introduce this Budget.

It is a bit different for me, Mr. Speaker. I want to say one thing. One thing I forgot when I stood up to speak and commended all of the people for the positions, I forgot to extend my best wishes to the Member for St. John's South - to my friend, the Member for St. John's South, on the position that he got as parliamentary assistant to the Premier. There is no doubt that the Member for St. John's South will serve that position well. There is no doubt. It is a good position, and I say he is the right person for it, and I think he will do well. I see he has experience in some of the aspects that are needed in terms of being a parliamentary assistant. As a matter of fact - I am not sure, Mr. Speaker - but for awhile, I believe, he was sort of an assistant to Mr. Vic Young at Fishery Products. I understand that he went around with Mr. Young and helped him out on several occasions, carried his briefcase, and I think with the experience that he had from FPI, in that same type of position to the executive -

AN HON. MEMBER: Gofer.

MR. TOBIN: Well I do not know if he was a gofer for FPI or not. I would not say that, Mr. Speaker. I would not say that, but if the member wants to call himself a gofer then he can do it, but I think it is an excellent position. I served in it. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I know the Member for St. John's South will enjoy it as well. I am sure that whenever he goes on to do other things, and looks back at his years in this House, he will probably remember with the greatest memories his time as parliamentary assistant to the Premier because it is a good position, I say to the Member for St. John's South.

There is only one thing. It is a bit different to have to speak in the Legislature these days because my old friend from Placentia is not here - my old sparring partner from Placentia - and in this Assembly I will probably miss the Member for Placentia more than anyone, because as most members who were around in the last session, I am sure Your Honour realizes, that myself and the Member for Placentia, while we were good friends, we always could bring out the best of the debate in this Assembly. I really enjoyed having the opportunity to work with him, as I did with the other members on both side of the House who are not back. They all did well in serving the Province and their constituents.

I want to, before I get in too much, again express my gratitude to the people of Burin - Placentia West for returning me to represent them in this Assembly. It has been an honour and a privilege now to have been elected four times by the people for Burin - Placentia West, and I look forward to -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the Member for Gander might have run four times, but he has not been elected four times. He ran five times - twice for the NDP, once for the PC's, and twice for the Liberals. Mr. Speaker, who would his seat mate be? Who would be more appropriate to be his seat mate than the Member for Twillingate, in terms of running for parties and getting elected? I suppose, in terms of holding public office in this Province I would suspect the Member for Twillingate has the record, whether it be in - when you put the two Assemblies together - I would suspect he has the record in this Province in terms of serving the people as members here.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: No, he served a term as -

AN HON. MEMBER: Deputy Mayor.

MR. TOBIN: He was called Deputy Mayor of St. John's, I believe.

AN HON. MEMBER: Are you going federal (inaudible)?

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, that is a decision that I will make at the appropriate time, I say to the Member for Gander, but as of now I have been elected to serve the people of Burin - Placentia West in the House of Assembly and I intend to do that. There will be lots of time to go federal because I am still only a very young person, I say to the Member for Gander. Like him - he has to make the decisions rather quickly, but I do not have to do that.

In terms of this Budget that was brought in by the Member for Gander, Mr. Speaker, when you look at, for example, the last department, the Department of Social Services, last year the Department of Social Services spent $172 million and this year they are going to get $157 million. There is $15 million cut off the Department of Social Services and the caseload in this Province has increased almost twice as much as what it was when this group came into power, Mr. Speaker. That is what is happening in this Province.

The Minister of Finance, for some reason, has decided that the people in this Province who are on social assistance have to do with $15 million less and I do not know how the minister is going to do that. I do not know how the new Minister of Social Services is going to be able to cope with it. For example, today in this Province there are social workers going door to door trying to determine those people who are getting care - the Member for Harbour Grace knows what I am talking about, those people who are getting care, where there are people in the homes who are bedridden and who have home care going in for their families. Today there are social workers in this Province being sent door to door to tell people that they have to be cut. If you have three people in your home on a twenty-four hour basis for someone who is bedridden, unable to look after themselves, unable to do anything, the social workers in this Province today are being sent by this minister and this government to go in and take away home care from the people who need it most. That is what is happening in this Province today, and that is the Budget.

Every man and woman in this House will be asked to vote for a Budget that is instructing social workers in this Province to take away home care from the sick and suffering, to take away as high as forty or fifty hours from bedridden men and women in this Province who are aged, sick, and suffering. That is what you are going to be asked to vote on. I say to new members opposite, have a conscience when you stand in this Legislature and think about your constituents who are today, I say to the Member for Eagle River, calling my office, and probably his office, complaining, are more concerned about that than who I am voting for in a leadership convention.

I say one thing to the member, it does not matter who I vote for in the leadership convention because Chretian cannot beat either one of them. That is what I say to the member opposite. It does not matter who I vote for because Chretian cannot beat either one of them so it is not important, but it is important in this Province to see how people call you. I had a sixty-four year old man call me yesterday about his ninety-one year old mother who is bedridden. She is unable to get out of bed and he is not able to care for her and the government of this Province have decided to take fifty hours a week home care away from that lady. That is what is taking place in this Province. That is what all you members are going to be asked to vote for, and all of us in this Legislature, so if you agree with taking away home care from the sick, suffering, and the aged in this Province vote for this Budget. If you think they should not have the proper care vote for this Budget I say to the new members, but if you think they should have care vote against it. That is the decision you will be making.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I do not know why he is so worried about Rompkey because he is not going anywhere anyway. I think your record of getting votes in the western part of Labrador was proven when you ran a couple of times down there and you got something like sixty-one votes. I do not know why you should be all excited about running against Rompkey. Your record outside of Eagle River has been put to the test I say to the Member for Eagle River.

MR. SIMMS: He will not run against Rompkey, that is for sure. He might undermine him but he will not run against him.

MR. TOBIN: Well, he has done it already. Was he the first to run against an incumbent?

MR. SIMMS: I do not imagine he was the first.

MR. TOBIN: I do not know whether or not he was the first. I know he was not the last.

MR. SIMMS: He was the first Liberal for awhile, was he not?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. TOBIN: You won by acclamation did you?

MR. SIMMS: (inaudible) nice young fellow from up there run against you. What happened to you when you ran in Menihek? Give us your record up there, tell us about the slaughter in Menihek?

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, that kind of cockiness and arrogance, I say to the Member for Eagle River, is the reason why he is back with his head against the wall and not in the Cabinet, I say to the member. That type of arrogance, that no one is running against me, that is the reason why you are beating your head off the wall over there and will continue to beat your head off the wall over there and not live up to the front benches like the Member for Carbonear and the members from other places, Mr. Speaker, you will be back against the wall, I say to the Member for Eagle River unless you change that -

MR. SIMMS: And the Member for Bonavista North, never interrupts -

MR. TOBIN: The Member for Bonavista North, it is time for him to get a front seat, Mr. Speaker, he certainly earned it when he was speaker to be put in the front benches. He served -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: As the Member for Carbonear earned the right to be there and the Member for Port de Grave earned the right to be called back but with the type of arrogance that the Member for Eagle River gets on with, he will never earn the right to get there, I will say to him. The Member for Pleasantville will get there before you.

MR. SIMMS: Glenn, do you think you might get the Member for Eagle River a job with Chuck?

MR. TOBIN: The Member for Pleasantville is over there smiling away, Mr. Speaker, he should smile too, I would say to him. He should never again deny the Member for St. John's East the right to speak in this assembly, he should never again.

AN HON. MEMBER: Did you hear the rumour?... they are putting in a full row for the Member for Eagle River.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Why did he demote you?

MR. TOBIN: Demote me? Most of my life I have been demoted, I say to the Member for Eagle River. I would say to the Member for Pleasantville that he should never again deny the rights to the Member for St. John's East, nor should the Member for St. John's South by the way, nor should the Member for St. John's South when you look at the vote that the NDP had and what he got elected by because if it was not for some of them thousand dollar candidates, Mr. Speaker, some of you might not be around. Who has the thousand dollars?

AN HON. MEMBER: Do you have a thousand dollars?

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I will tell you something, there was no one - I took the union - I say to the Member for St. John's East that I did not get a thousand dollars worth of union dues from anyone in this Province, I say to the Member.

MR. SIMMS: The Member for St. John's South is tied up with the Premier, he cannot make it right now.

MR. TOBIN: No, the Member for St. John's South is not tied up with the Premier, he is over there, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SIMMS: Oh, he just came in.

MR. TOBIN: The Member for St. John's South is not tied up with the Premier. I saw the Premier passing by and his shoes were shining and his tie was straight, Mr. Speaker, and the Member for St. John's South is no longer tied up, I say to the Leader of the Opposition.

In any case, I would say to the leader and to a lot of other people, that a lot of them would have liked to have had the opportunity to serve in that great position, as parliamentary assistant to the Premier.

MR. SIMMS: That is not what he used to say about you.

MR. TOBIN: He was not there when I was there. Well, Mr. Speaker, if there is anything you can say about someone being humiliated in this House, it was the Member for Exploits on two occasions.

MR. SIMMS: At least two occasions.

MR. TOBIN: At least two occasions. When he had to stand up a few weeks ago and apologize to the Premier. That was bad enough but when you apologize to the Minister of Education, then I tell you something that is hitting rock bottom, That is hitting rock bottom, I say to the member. When you apologize to the Minister of Education for saying something about him, that is hitting rock bottom because there is nothing you can say about the Minister of Education that you should have to apologize for, I say to the member Opposite.

The other time he was humiliated was when the Premier stood up in this House and he said: Roger have you still got that Jeep? Give me the keys. Bring them up and give them back and he came to the House the next day and reported, it was gone.

Now, Mr. Speaker, as we continue to operate in this Province -

MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Is there any way of gagging the Member for Eagle River?

We continue to debate the real issues in this Province, the economic issues that basically are nonexistent. The Fishery, Mr. Speaker, that this government has done absolutely nothing for, the only contribution that this government has made to the Fishery is to constantly attack Ottawa. There is nothing in this system, Mr. Speaker, that they have done for the fisheries. The Minister of Education shouldn't start banging his desk too hard either. He should be on his knees thanking Fraser March for getting him re-elected, I say to the Member for St. John's West.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I'm sorry, St. John's Centre, not St. John's West - boy, the Member for St. John's West, that was a surprise, you know. I was surprised with the Member for St. John's West.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: What's the Member for Fogo saying? Mr. Speaker, in terms of the fisheries, I say it again, this government has done absolutely nothing for the fisheries. There are people in this Province today where the fishery is operating who cannot even get help with a community stage that the governments always used to help out with. Cannot even get top-up money. Absolutely nothing for the fisheries.

In terms of the Department of Energy, I'd say that they have a competent minister, I'd say that much. I'd wonder what role they are playing in the energy field in this Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, if she did I don't know what you'd say will happen to the other thirty-five members in this Legislature.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I'd say to the Minister of Health, my majority was a bit bigger than his. I won't get into that, Mr. Speaker, I don't want to be boastful. In any case, I wonder what purpose some departments in this Province are serving. The Minister of Health today got up in this House and didn't know how to answer a question sensibly, when my colleague for Ferryland asked him a question. He admitted to this House and to the Province that he didn't know there were people waiting for heart surgery. He didn't know, a minister of health didn't know. The last minister of health, the only thing he knew how to do was jump lines, was to go in where there was a wait - he didn't know much about a waiting list, because all he did was jump lines. Go in when he came to the bottom of the line, went to the top, and left people in the waiting room. That's what took place in this Province. I don't think the present minister would do it but the former minister did it.

The Minister of Tourism, the fellow who wants to destroy the bird sanctuary for political reasons.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: That's another issue, Mr. Speaker. Bring in the Puffin Act and then want to destroy the bird sanctuary in Cape St. Mary's. That's the kind of hypocrisy and incompetence that department has seen from the minister. Then there's the old chop himself, the Minister of Education.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I must say, I'd say to the Minister of Education or to the Minister of Health, that I don't know a lot about the Department of Education, neither does the minister. On Thursday coming, I guess, the Minister of Energy and the Premier and Mr. Crosbie and Mr. McKnight and officials from the oil companies and other people will be in Bull Arm to launch the official pouring -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes, I got mine too, Tom. To launch the official opening....

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: If I tell you, you won't be going out there either. You be quiet. You're over in the second row too.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: What?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, there will be as I said people going out, and the Minister of Energy will be there, to pour a project that was put in place by a government that I was part of, I would say to the Member for Fogo, and at times -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

MR. TOBIN: Yes! At times, Mr. Speaker, there were times when the Member for Fogo stood in this House and voted against -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: What's that?

AN HON. MEMBER: You were the premier's gofer, then.

MR. TOBIN: Talk to the Member for St. John's South about that. I can say to the Member for St. John's South, I know someone over there would loved to have been the Premier's gofer, I say to the Member for St. John's South. That I know someone over there who would loved to have been the Premier's gofer, to the Member for Fogo. I say that to the Member for Fogo. You'd have crawled up over the stairs backwards if he had to offer it to you. Don't be telling me. You called the Member for St. John's South a gofer.

Mr. Speaker, that was a project that was brought into place by the Peckford administration, make no mistake about that. Carried on by the Wells' administration - no doubt about that - but I would say one thing, if it were not for John Crosbie I do not think that Hibernia would be going today. I do not think that Hibernia would be going today if it were not for John Crosbie.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I thought you were going to be Minister of Fisheries. You told everybody in Fogo you were during the election campaign. Why do you not solve the problems?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: You told everybody in Fogo you were going to be Minister of Fisheries, did he not?

AN HON. MEMBER: That is what we heard, yes.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, if it were not for John Crosbie, Hibernia would not be going ahead in this Province today, because I do not think that anyone else in the federal government of the day, or anyone else in the federal government anytime, would have gotten the federal government to buy shares in the Hibernia project after investing several billions of dollars in the project in the first place, and I think that credit should be given to the man for the tremendous effort that he put into getting the Hibernia project on the go, I say to members opposite.

The Minister of Mines and Energy knows what I am saying is true. What is that?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Jake Epp? Well probably he did play a role in it. Here is a group that is talking about the Hibernia project, and they are not prepared to give John Crosbie any credit for putting that package together. That tells you the hypocrisy that exists on that side of the House.

Now on Friday after they leave Bull Arm they will be coming to Marystown for the official opening of the Cow Head facility, I say to members opposite - a beautiful facility funded through the Offshore Development Fund. Now where did that fund come from? Where did that fund come from, I say to members opposite? It was not a fund that was brought in by this government. It was a fund that was signed by the Mulroney government and the Peckford government - put in place.

AN HON. MEMBER: Taxpayers' money.

MR. TOBIN: Yes, taxpayers' money. Sure it is. That is who is paying your salary and mine.

Now, Mr. Speaker, on Friday they will be opening the Cow Head facility, and it was four years ago when myself and my colleague from Grand Bank, and my colleague from Mount Pearl, who was then the Minister of Development -

AN HON. MEMBER: How many years ago?

MR. TOBIN: Four-and-a-half years ago. Myself, the Member for Grand Bank, who was the Minister of Career Development, and the former Minister of Development, Mr. Windsor, went to Marystown, together with John Crosbie, and announced that the Cow Head facility would be put in place.

I want to say publicly now that I am delighted that this government continued to ensure that that facility was finished. I think it was the right thing to do. I do not think they need any bouquets for it, or any accolades to be thrown in their direction, but because of the record of cutting and slashing and cancelling programs, we can only say how lucky we are that they left that one going, because it is probably the only one. It is probably the only one in terms of economic stimulus in this Province that was not slashed.

Now - and I would like for the members of this House to be able to come down on Friday - all of them hopefully will be invited - to come down and just see what that facility looks like, and the state of the art equipment that is in that facility that will make it one of the best facilities, with the best qualified work force anywhere in this country or on this continent, because that is the state of the art equipment, and the work force, most of whom have been trained in Norway, who are registered in - the Member for St. John's South knows whatever it is called. I know there are three or four different types of registration for welders and pipefitters and all of that, and they have reached -

AN HON. MEMBER: MED.

MR. TOBIN: No, no, not MED.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, I thought you were talking about (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: No, no, no. It is a Norwegian approval that is acceptable to the oil industry. That is what it is.

AN HON. MEMBER: What is it - DME (inaudible)?

MR. TOBIN: It could be something like that, I guess. Anyway, it is the Norwegian equivalent - it is being tested in Norway through this training program whereby they have now reached the standards acceptable to the oil industries to work on the GBS. And, you know, that is a good project and Cow Head is a good facility. The workforce at Cow Head, and all the people of this Province - but because of the training they have received, the workforce is there ready to go. Now, I also want to say that the place in Cow Head was built for mechanical outfitting, and what mechanical outfitting will mean to this Province is probably 800 direct jobs - that is just to do the prefabrication in Marystown and then it will be brought to Bull Arm, where it will be passed over and installed and where there will be a lot of jobs, as well.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes, but there will be a lot of spin-off jobs throughout the Province; but there will be 800 direct jobs for two or three years, in terms of being involved with it.

AN HON. MEMBER: What will be the spin-off?

MR. TOBIN: I guess the spin off will be around two or three to one, in terms of what you are doing. So that job is very important to this Province, and we are the only Newfoundland company that has bid. There have been submissions from all over the place, I think probably from Calgary East - we have MIL out of Quebec, they bid through one of their other companies even though it is done by MIL; you have Fox out of St. Catharine's, you have Dominion Bridge coming from some place else. So a lot of people have bid in this from all over the world, but certainly, from all across Canada, and I hope that work will be done in this Province. I know that the Federal Government are going to do everything they can to entice that type of work; I know that this present Provincial Government are going to do everything they can to try to entice that type of work, and I know that all members of the House of Assembly and, I am sure, all Newfoundlanders, are pledged to seeing that project committed to the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and I sincerely hope it happens.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, in conclusion then, let me say that -

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave, I have a supplement to (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: No. I am speaking on the Cow Head facility and I would just like to conclude on it by saying that, it is a good place, it is built to create work, a project 75/25 cost-shared by the Federal Government and the Provincial Government; it is state of the art, the best workforce and we cannot see it wasted. It has to be used for the purpose for which it was put there, and that is, in my opinion, mechanical outfitting.

It is nice to see people like the Premier and Mr. Crosbie and others committed to doing their best to see that the facility is utilized to the fullest extent possible, and I am grateful. I had the opportunity to discuss the Cow Head facility with the Premier the other day, and the type of work we would like to see carried on there. And there is no doubt in my mind that the Premier, like Mr. Crosbie, and, I am sure, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations and all members of this House, will be doing their best to ensure that that type of work goes there. It is important, not just for Marystown, not just for the Burin Peninsula, but for the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and I sincerely hope that the oil companies, in their wisdom, who will be making the final decision, the Hibernia management team, will see fit to address the needs of the economic plight of this Province and put that portion of the development of Hibernia in Marystown.

Mr. Speaker, my final comments are to the Minister of Finance: For God's sake, come to your senses, stop attacking the sick and suffering in this Province; the children, the education system because it all boils down to this: It was you who read the Budget and you must take most of the blame. Because the Minister of Education knows absolutely nothing about education. The Minister of Education hardly knows it is a department, so you have to take responsibility when you have a minister who doesn't know what he is doing. The Minister of Health, Mr. Speaker, doesn't know what he is doing, and the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, I would say to the Minister of Finance: Don't pay any attention to what he says because there is a good chance, he will be in the House apologizing for it. So it lies on your shoulders, and I ask you to do what you can to ensure that you stop attacking the sick, the suffering and the poor of this Province, and do something to stimulate the economy. Come to Marystown on Friday and see something good for a change.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I am delighted this evening to be able to rise in this august Chamber and deliver my first words as the sitting MHA for the district for St. John's North. I must confess, Mr. Speaker, that I have been suffering with the 'flu all weekend, and I did not come to the House this afternoon with the intention of delivering what is, I suppose, commonly referred to as one's maiden speech. However, after having arrived, and having seen the spirited animation of my colleague from Burin - Placentia West, my spirit could no longer be restrained within me, so I thought it best to deliver that which was on my soul, say that which I had to say, to this point, with full knowledge, I think, that the thirty minutes I am allocated will suffice for me to do that.

I want to congratulate Mr. Speaker, wherever he is at this point in time, and you, his deputy, and the Committee Chairman, upon your election to the post that you have been elected to fill. I am sure that you will have my co-operation, as well as that of the other members of this House throughout its duration as you carry out your duties.

I would like to congratulate Premier Wells and the members of his party who were elected during this recent general election on May 3. I believe that the endorsement the Premier and the party have received speaks for itself, really, in that it is a vindication of the course, of the program, of the direction that the Premier has laid out for this Province, and the one in which I am sure he will, with all members of his caucus and the co-operation of others in the House, pursue and see fulfilled during his term of office.

I would like to congratulate the hon. the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Simms, and the members of his caucus, for the election campaign they ran, that concluded with the May 3 election. I would have to say that from where I operated and from the district within which I ran, it was a very clean campaign and a very decent effort on their behalf. The results, I am most happy with, of course. The only difficulty that I encountered throughout the election campaign with respect to my worthy opponents who ran against me, was the problem of signs on the Prince Philip Parkway. It seems as though the message got to them incorrectly, and probably inadvertently, that signs on the Parkway translated into votes in the ballot box. I want to assure them that confirmation has been received by virtue of the election count on that night that the signs on the lawns and the signs in the windows of the residences speak infinitely louder than signs on the Parkway. So, while it caused me a little frustration - not on my part, but my workers became very concerned that voters were going to take to the Parkway recognition rather than the real places where the votes were.

The people in St. John's North were very well represented in the last House of Assembly by a very capable individual and my predecessor, the hon. Dr. Phil Warren. I would like to go on record in this House as saying on behalf of the residents of St. John's North that they appreciated that representation, and that they were pleased with what they saw from their member during the previous four years, to the extent that not only did they do me the honour of electing me with a number of votes equal to the number he had, but they also did me the honour of electing me with a clear majority, that is to say, more votes than the other two candidates put together and more votes than, believe it or not, the previous member had on election night.

So I thank the people of St. John's North for their trust and for their faith, and I assure them this evening that I will represent them fairly, I will represent them honestly, I will represent them as vocally as is needed before the chambers of government to ensure that their needs are brought here and that their opinions and whatever they have to be said in government is said by me on their behalf in a professional and a clear way.

I would like to thank the workers of my campaign team, who worked so hard and so diligently to ensure our election, and to the electorate, of course, whom I have already referred to, I want to thank them again for the trust they have placed in me.

The election in St. John's North and the election throughout the Province, as I have already indicated, I believe, is clear recognition that the course set by the Government of Premier Wells is one in which the voters have confidence. It is the one that they believe is the right course for these difficult times in which we live. It may not have been a politically astute way or mandate on which to approach the electorate, but the people of the Province, I believe, think that it was the proper way to go. They believe it was the way that we should proceed in these difficult and somewhat uncertain economic times.

For the record, I would like to say that in my discussions with the electorate, and in my experience in the business community, I would have to say in all honesty that I believe that the days of probably biting the bullet, the days of probably alluding to the fact that our glass is half empty rather than half full, I think are behind us substantially, and I believe that the time is upon us when, if we stay the course, and if we co-operate with the Minister of Finance, and if we co-operate with the agenda of the present government, that before long we will be in a position to take advantage of the economic benefits that a turnaround in our economy and in the Canadian economy will have there for us. All is not lost, Mr. Speaker. All is not doom and gloom. All is not for naught, and the hard decisions of the past, I believe, will translate into positive and beneficial opportunities in the future for the people of our Province and for the people of my district.

Mr. Speaker, St. John's North is a rather unique little district to represent. It does not consist of a lot of geography, it does not consist of a lot of miles to cover, but it has all of the things and all of the factors and all of the types of issues, really, that are found in most districts in the Province. We have average people living there in the district. We have people who need substantial help from the government because of their circumstance, and we have, in particular, in the district of St. John's North, an abundance of students who come from all parts of the Province. And I can tell you that throughout the election campaign, I had the honour of speaking with many thousands of students - yes, that is right, thousands of students who were housed in the many apartment buildings throughout the district, and they come from all parts of the Province. Their needs and their questions and their aspirations are all very, very similar. The question that was asked time and time again is: 'What, Sir, if you are elected, will you do for me in terms of employment opportunities? What will you do for me in terms of my ability to be able to get a job and practice the trade that I am studying, or to take advantage of the education that I am trying to accrue to myself?'

The answer to that question, to be very honest, is not very easy to give. I will give to you the answer that I gave to them. That is this: If we will but again stay the course and take the hard decisions in the short-term, the opportunities will be infinitely more available in the long-term for them to take advantage of. We cannot create employment instantly, but we can do the prudent things that will give every opportunity for employment to be created.

I believe that, substantially, it is not the role of government, necessarily, to create jobs. Rather, it is the role of government, I believe, to set out parameters for the private enterprise sector to encourage them to be able to do the investing, take the chances, assume the risks that are necessary, so that they can take advantage of the economic benefits that will be upon us, I believe in a very short time, so having the opportunity to represent the district of St. John's North I want to assure you that the people in that district are appreciative of the direction, as I said earlier, that this government has taken. One of the interesting things I noticed while going throughout the district was this, that while St. John's North encompasses part of Memorial University it also encompasses something that is way, way down on the other end of the spectrum, if you like, in terms of educational institutions, and that is a little place called the Rabbit Town Community Centre. This is a little area where morning after morning eight or ten people get together of their own volition, and because of their own initiative, to learn how to do the very basic things in life, and that is to learn how to read and write. Nobody forces them to come. Nobody ensures they are there on time, nobody pays their way to get there, but they come with scribblers and exercise books and try to help one another to develop the skills of literacy and numeracy, so I think we should be reminded in this Chamber that while big things happen at big universities small things that are really big, if you analyze them, happen in community initiated projects.

I would submit, Mr. Speaker, that one of the roles of government is to encourage our citizens, our people, the members of our districts, the members of our towns, to put a little into, give a little back, if you like, to the community in which they live so that their fellow man, their neighbours, so that their friends can probably benefit a little from some of the things they have gained through education, through employment, through being just a little better off than probably others would be. It is, I believe, the role of government to encourage people to give a little, to invest a little, to sacrifice a little, so that the common good can be enhanced and so that we can be the better as people for it.

Mr. Speaker, the issues of employment are very much on the minds of people in the Province and on the minds of people in St. John's North. As I have said already I believe this government has embarked upon a course, a responsible course, that will ensure that employment opportunities will come and will be increased in the near future. One of the other issues in St. John's North, and it has already been alluded to today by one of the hon. members from the other side of the House, is this issue of the Outer Ring Road. Now, that is a road, for the benefit of those who may not know it, but I am sure there are none that have not heard of it, that has been slated to sort of circle the city of St. John's and enhance the transportation routes coming in and out of the city.

In St. John's North, of course, there has been a particular concern about this road because St. John's North borders upon the area known as the Pippy Park, one of the most beautiful, one of the most accessible, and one of the most enjoyed pieces of acreage within our Province. The result of that road, if it goes through in its present form and as it is presently being considered, will have a negative effect upon that park as it exists today, and I am not at all sure, Mr. Speaker, that the Outer Ring Road, as it is presently proposed, is the thing we need.

What we need in St. John's North, I would submit, is not a road to get people in quicker but it is a consideration of the transportation arteries that exist down in the district. When people have to come in from out of town to the Health Sciences Centre, have to come into Memorial University, have to come into Confederation Building, if there is nothing done in the district to accommodate that flow of traffic then bringing them in quicker from outside the city is really no answer at all, so I would submit that we need to give careful consideration to what can be done within the district to regularize the flow of traffic through the district and to reclaim the streets of our neighbourhoods in St. John's North from being main arteries for traffic purposes so that the people in the district and in the subdivisions can have their streets back to enjoy as neighbourhood streets and that people who have to come down to those institutions and get to work at Confederation Building will be able to do so a little more efficiently with what we have. I would not at all submit, Mr. Speaker, that the Outer Ring Road is the answer to the problems until the whole picture has been assessed and probably a conclusion has been arrived at. In that regard I believe we are awaiting the report of a commissioner at the moment. It will be interesting to see what he has to say regarding that total issue.

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to be able to participate in this Budget Debate and as I have already said, the Budget that is before this hon. House is a Budget I believe that does the best it can in mean and lean times. It is a Budget that has taken the necessary action to reduce expenditure where they could be reduced without adversely affecting programs that affect people's lives. I concur and I agree with the hon. the Member who spoke just before me from Burin - Placentia West, we need to look after the elderly, we need to look after the disadvantaged, we need to look after the sick and those who are indigent because of no fault of their own. We need to prepare and provide opportunities for our youth as well and the last people that should be touched in any Budget or adversely affected are the people who have no control over their situation but in the meantime, Mr. Speaker, the Budget has to be a realistic document. It has to be able to address the needs and cut the garment as it were according to the cloth and when big brother in Ottawa decides not to send us as much money in transfer payments or for whatever reason then we have no choice as a Province but to address the situation that we find ourselves in as a result of these things.

So, Mr. Speaker, I would endorse the initiatives of this government. To date I would endorse the direction that it intends obviously to take us during the next four years as a Province. I would submit to you that it will be or we will be as a Province, the better for the activities and the actions that the government has taken and will continue to take. We need to be vigilant, we need to be astute, we need to be careful and yet we need to do that which is synonymous, if I might say, with liberalism. That is we need to do things that do not take the heart out of people but rather are done with a passion and that are done with the knowledge that we are looking after all as best we can to the advantage of all and to the disregard of none.

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to be in the House, it is an honour to be able to speak in the Budget Debate and as I promised you I will not go over the time that you have allocated me. I would appreciate it probably if you would take due diligences of it and due note of it that I have been under time and tack it onto the next time I get a chance to speak. I intend to have the flu cured up very quickly and I intend to participate, not only on behalf of the people of St. John's North but on behalf of the people of the Province in this House in a vigorous and in a forthright manner and I thank you, Sir, very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I want to rise and participate in the Budget Debate but in doing so, first of all let me congratulate those hon. members who have made their first speeches in this House today, the Member for St. John's North, the Member for St. John's East Extern and the Member for Bonavista South. I think it is a very great honour, as they have said, to speak in this House and to participate in the debate to represent your constituents here regardless of which political party that you represent. I, myself, Mr. Speaker, was re-elected in St. John's East with a substantial majority, as St. John's East majorities go. In fact, I think it was the largest majority in St. John's East since 1985. So there were in St. John's East three elections since then, four elections, as a matter of fact, counting the most recent election.

AN HON. MEMBER: First time ever re-elected, Jack.

MR. HARRIS: First time I was ever re-elected, yes, and it's a - having been elected in St. John's East federally in a by-election, and in a by-election in St. John's East, and having lost in the general election in St. John's East federally, it was indeed a great pleasure to be re-elected for the first time in St. John's East provincial district. I do say, as I said on election night, although it's a very nice thing to be elected, it's even a much nicer and far sweeter thing to be re-elected by the people whom you've represented for a period of time.

So I do want to thank very much the voters of St. John's East for giving me their vote of confidence in the recent election. It was an important election for me to be re-elected. I hope that I will act in the manner over the next four years to earn the confidence that has been bestowed upon me by the people of St. John's East.

With respect to the Budget, Mr. Speaker, it is the debate that we're now in, essentially the same Budget that was presented to this House in the spring of this year, and I suppose the Budget that was discussed during the election campaign. The Member for St. John's North just recently spoke about the concern he had about matters being all doom and gloom. I'm afraid that the government of this Province have convinced the people of this - the government as the Liberal Party - have convinced the voters of this Province that gloom and doom is all that they can really expect, in as much as the people of Newfoundland in general returned this government to office.

Because it is a preaching of doom and gloom. The Member for St. John's North asks us all to cut the garment to fit the cloth, and says that what we have to do when 'Big Brother' in Ottawa closes down the fiscal transfer payments we must act accordingly and turn on our own people. That's not the solution that the people of Newfoundland really want. They don't want a government which has said, as this Minister of Finance has said in the Budget speech, that the government understands the fiscal difficulties of Ottawa in reducing transfer payments. The challenge to this government and to each party in this Province is not to understand the fiscal problems of Ottawa, but to challenge those economic realities which are keeping us behind in this Province when it comes to the basic measures of advancement, the measures of employment, the measures of income per capita, the measures of our participation in the economy, the participation rate of citizens in the work force. On all of these measures our economy and our Province fall far behind the Canadian average.

It's something that we must not accept. We must not cut the garment to fit the cloth. We must not in our public pronouncements say that we understand the problems that exist in other parts of Canada as they affect us here. We don't understand why it is we must be last - we must be always in last place. We do not understand why it is a new arrangement cannot be made with the Government of Canada with other provinces for a more fairer sharing throughout Canada of the wealth that this country produces - not only a much fairer sharing throughout Canada, vis--vis one region or another, but also a much fairer sharing as between the wealthy and the large financial and industrial corporations and the poor, the unemployed, those on social assistance, and those who do not have any opportunity to participate gainfully in our economy.

If we say we understand our poverty; if we say we understand our backwardness; if we say we understand the difficulties that we face, then we are also accepting them. There must be some response other than the blind acceptance of the realities and the economic realities. There must be a challenge to them. Mr. Speaker, that is why I am involved in politics, to find solutions, to try and make suggestions, to put forth challenges to the status quo; to challenge the reality that leaves us in last place in Confederation.

Some of the problems that we face are a result of geography. Some of the problems that we face are a result of the sparse population that we have in comparison with our land mass; the transportation system that makes it more difficult to bring goods in and more difficult and more expensive to transport goods out.

Mr. Speaker, this Country of Canada that we became part of in 1949 has, as part of its national heritage, for the 130 years of its existence, done things on a national level to provide a transportation system that favoured certain regions of this country at the expense of others. The great national policy of Sir John A. MacDonald was designed to alleviate certain financial and transportation difficulties of parts of regions of this country as compared to other regions. It made East/West trade in this country a viable option as opposed to the North/South trade that would otherwise exist between Canada and the US. It was that national policy which created the Canada that we inherited and we became a part of in 1949. The national railway policy was what provided cheap freight rates, special rates for western grain, special deals for central Canadian manufacturers, special opportunities to provide markets for central Canadian goods, and welded this country together by rails of steel.

Similarly we have had the St. Lawrence Seaway as a national project which was designed to favour certain regions of this country by alleviating some of the geographical concerns of central Canada, make use of the Great Lakes, in co-operation with the American cities and states bordering on the Great Lakes, to build a great seaway to allow the ports of Ontario in particular to take advantage and to participate in the seafaring activity, the shipment of grain and all of that that took place, to favour those provinces in central Canada at the expense of the taxpayers of all of Canada.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we were not favoured by this kind of national policy that would ensure that the geographic weaknesses of our position were overcome. We did have, as part of Confederation, an agreement that we thought guaranteed us forever a rail service, that we thought guaranteed us forever a link over the Cabot Strait to the rest of Canada on the same basis as if it were a highway.

Mr. Speaker, I think events have shown that the situation with respect to what is now called Marine Atlantic, what has happened to our railway, what has happened to our transportation system - and the Member for Eagle River knows full well of the difficulties in transporting and shipping goods to the great District of Eagle River and other areas of Labrador under what is left of our Canadian Railway System in this Province.

We are now, Mr. Speaker, down to the wire as it may be, in deciding what to do with the $100 million that has been allocated in St. John's area for what is known as the Outer Ring Road and that is what it has come to, Mr. Speaker. A great national dream, a national transportation system, a country that was once being held together by its policies are now being torn apart by the policies of the national government, by the policies of respective free-trade, first of all with the United States and the deal now being signed with Mexico. Taking away the dreams that we have in this Province for our children, the same kind of dreams that our parents had when they supported confederation with Canada in 1949. The dreams that they had for us and I suppose some of us here who may have participated in that debate. Those dreams that we have for ourselves may not be possible for our children in a country that does not seem to be able or willing to put in place the policies to protect our economy, to protect our national integrity and to protect our own future.

We are figuratively, Mr. Speaker, being put adrift here in this Province, left in last place, left with a federal government, which aside from a few projects and I have to give credit in fact, as I have done before and I make no bones about it, although there are those in my own party who do not necessarily like to see me do it but I have to give credit to John Crosbie with respect to the Hibernia Project. I think what the Member for Burin - Placentia West said is true, that were it not for the efforts and perhaps the stature in the federal cabinet of John Crosbie, the Hibernia Project continuation would be very much in doubt. Perhaps it would be unlikely that the project would have continued.

Aside from a few projects like that, which are not exactly designed to help Newfoundland, let there be no mistake about that, the Hibernia Project is not designed to assist Newfoundland and Newfoundland's economic development. It is designed, Mr. Speaker, to provide an industrial incentive to the oil companies, industrial benefits in a small respect to Newfoundland but in a great respect to the Province of Quebec and to other parts of Canada. Nevertheless, Mr. Speaker, it is of great benefit to this Province and hopefully it will spur other offshore developments and make it possible for a proportion of our young people, our skilled tradespeople, people looking to support their families to provide them with an opportunity to work and to improve their lot in life and to support their families, and also provide a basis for industrial expansion and growth in areas of high technology, and areas of other contributions that are being made and can be made, to the rest of our economic activity and our industrial base here in this Province.

But there is a need, Mr. Speaker, at this time in Canadian history, to turn our backs on the free trade agreements that the Government of Canada have developed, and to find new ways of working to the future to ensure that Canada can and will decide its own economic future, and for our province as our own fiscal and monetary future and that means revamping the federal/provincial fiscal relationship; it means having another look at the role of the Bank of Canada and the role that that bank was supposed to play when it was first established in the 30s, as a means of financing provincial debt, and financing provincial activities.

Newfoundland's fiscal position, Mr. Speaker, should not be less than that of other provinces; there should be a mechanism or mechanisms whereby the provincial debt of Newfoundland is given the same kind of financial support and fiscal support the Bank of Canada is a Canadian government's debt, and that should be done, so that we do not have the governments of this Province having to play the role of kowtowing to the bond rating services, kowtowing to the Canadian bond rating services or Moody's, or Standard and Poor or the other bond rating agencies that indirectly, are attempting to dictate social policy and other policy in this Province.

We need to see creative solutions and new ways of doing work and promoting activity in this Province. I see, Mr. Speaker, and the Minister of Mines and Energy may be interested in this, that the Province of Quebec has recently asked for prequalification bids for provincial wind energy producers interested in building a system on the Isle de la Magdalen in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The utility is aiming to minimize fossil fuel consumption in the (inaudible) systems and to reduce air pollution, and they are asking Mr. Speaker, for an offer from private sources to come up with projects for building a five megawatt system in the Magdalen Islands. That is a situation where, in 1992, Mr. Speaker, Hydro Quebec spent $5.8 million for fuel to run a diesel generation plant. Mr. Speaker, in this Province, if we have nothing in abundance, we certainly have wind in abundance, and I don't mean the kind of wind that is produced here in this House, or even after a bean supper at the United Church - I mean the kind of wind that blows across the oceans and around our bays and shores and cliffs, Mr. Speaker, I am told, on an average of fifteen miles per hour day and night throughout the year. That is something that there has been some experimental work with. I know there was some sort of an eggbeater-type of wind generator over on Bell Island for some time. I never saw it spinning around very much. In fact, I remember, there was one on the roof of the Trades College, the Cabot Institute, for some time, which again, I never saw spinning around.

AN HON. MEMBER: What was it?

MR. HARRIS: It was an eggbeater-style wind generator which I never saw spinning very much. But, Mr. Speaker, if it can be done in the Gulf of St. Lawrence by Hydro Quebec, then surely it can be done in some of the remote locations of this Province without causing the same kinds of dangers to the wilderness, where the concern would be that some of our small hydro projects take away the natural beauty of some of our areas and from some of our rivers for a very small return in hydroelectric potential. Perhaps the Minister of Mines and Energy can start directing Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro to start looking at some of these types of projects, not only for their innovation, their modern approach to reducing pollution, but also for the benefits of technology and the development of this kind of project. We see from time to time, Mr. Speaker, pictures on TV or in magazines of great fields of windmills in the deserts of California, or Nevada, and places like that, no doubt where electricity is very expensive. But, surely, the price of oil being what it is, and the kind of money that is spent, and the kind of pollution that is created by fossil fuels, if there is a way of reducing that in certain areas of this Province by putting into place these wind-generating facilities, that is the direction in which we ought to go.

As I said, Mr. Speaker, we have been reduced, as part of the great national transportation system that we had, to now debating in this part of the Province whether or not we will go ahead with an Outer Ring Road - a road leading essentially from nowhere to nowhere, but unfortunately being designed to destroy parklands in the St. John's area, which is unnecessary, by the most recent traffic studies, something that is not the best use of that money, and other ways should be found.

Perhaps the Member for St. John's North has some ideas as to how the traffic problems of his district and some of the other traffic problems can be resolved without having to build an expensive highway through the beautiful Pippy Park. It doesn't seem that the projections that were made when the road was designed and decided upon are realistic, and, in fact, there may well be other creative ways to reduce the traffic demands; by a staggering of hours in certain places by half an hour, I think we would probably reduce the traffic flow by one-third or one-quarter.

These ideas have not been fully explored. I know it would mean renegotiating the Roads for Rail Agreement, but I don't see any fundamental reason why that could not be done. Priority, obviously, would have to be given to the transportation needs of the St. John's area because that was the area for whom that money was negotiated - to resolve transportation needs, not to open up certain private lands for development, which may be part of the reason why certain lobbyists are pushing it forward, because it will open up certain private lands for development as opposed to really answering the transportation needs of the people of this region.

So there are many problems, despite the fact that the Budget that we have is the same one. The same problems still exist. We have, as the Member for Burin - Placentia West quite rightly pointed out, a serious problem in areas that this Budget covers. Now, the Minister of Social Services was, I would have to say, somewhat glib in his response. I understand that having come from the Speaker's Chair to the Ministry of Social Services, he has a little bit of catching up to do in the areas of policy and, no doubt, in a matter of days he will know his department as well as the previous minister. But I have to say that when he does his investigations on the Budget and finds the line items taking away from areas such as home care, about $3.5 million in home care for people who need the assistance of the home care services in order to be able to live in their homes, he will see, Mr. Speaker, that that kind of Budget reduction is counter-productive. It is counter-productive because those same people, as a result of having their services reduced, will more likely be people who will end up in senior citizens accommodations as opposed to be being able to be looked after in their own homes. They may, unfortunately, be more likely to end up in our hospitals because the level of care that can be provided to them in their homes can result in illness and sickness and they will end up in our hospitals, and not only suffer from disease and hardship that they would otherwise not have, but also be an increased financial burden to our health care system. The cost of providing home care services at perhaps $20 or $30 or $40 a day for certain services will all of a sudden be $400, $500 or $600 a day in our hospital system.

Even though, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Social Services responded today by saying that that part of the Budget may have had to take the same cutback as others, I think he will find, if, in his wisdom, he has a good hard look, that the cutbacks in this area ought not to be the same as in other areas because it is counter-productive in the short and the long run. We do have those kinds of problems when we take an across-the-board approach to reduction in services as a result of fiscal demands. I think that the government has an obligation to be far more compassionate and far more prudent when it looks at the kind of cutbacks in social programs and social services that are being provided. The government found it out to its cost in the Daybreak situation, when it had a good hard look it realized it was not really saving the dollars that it thought it was, because it would have to turn around the very next day or the very next week or even within the next six months, and reproduce those services at just as great a cost in other ways, and so when we examine the Budget estimates, as we will do in detail in committee, Mr. Speaker, we will be very interested in the details of the expenditures in the departments that are open for review before the committees, and will have further to say on the estimates committee and when this debate returns to the House for other debate on the estimates.

On the Budget Speech in general, Mr. Speaker, I think I will have to repeat what I said in the election campaign. The $70 million that we talked about is a figure that was made up, invented, devised by the government, not a real figure any more than any of the other figures that the government has come up with. A figure that they decided as a matter of policy that they will choose to take from the incomes of people who happen to work for the government. It is expected to be taken from those who are well off in the public service, those who are at the top end of the scale, it is intended to be taken across the board, from the very highest of wage earners to the very lowest, and that also demonstrates an unfairness and an unwillingness to make sure that the pain is spread fairly across the employees of government and across the Province generally, so we have, Mr. Speaker, still, an obligation on this side of the House to criticize, to oppose the policies that we were elected to oppose and to fight for the policies for which we were elected to fight, and the fact that the government has a new mandate to govern for the next four years, does not mean that they have been given a carte blanche to attack the public sector, or to do other than to sit down and to negotiate fairly on a basis of free collective bargaining, not just the items that they want to put on the table, not just the public sector compensation items that they want to put on the table, but all of the items that have been on the table since last February, the items that the unions have put forth for improvements in benefits, in wordings, in processes, in other aspects of the collective bargaining relationship, not just go into a bargaining room and say: We want to take this out of your pocket and you tell us how to do it. There has to be an element of give and take. If the government wants a particular result then they have to be prepared to negotiate and get involved with the give and take that is involved in that. So we will be watching very carefully to ensure that -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member has approximately one minute remaining.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The obligation of the government, despite their re-election, is to sit down and to fairly negotiate and be involved in the usual give and take of negotiations to come up with a fair deal. Obviously their bargaining position may have improved over the election period of time, but that does not mean they have a licence to run roughshod over the existing collective agreements and over the bargaining relationship. So you can count on this hon. member to continue to press in this House for the ideas and the beliefs that I took to the election campaign and that I will continue to present in this House.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: Another maiden speech.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. HULAN: I will not continue on to 6:00 p.m., but I will remember the two minute (inaudible) -

I am indeed, Mr. Speaker, pleased to rise in this hon. Chamber to take part in this Budget debate and to be able to do so -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

DR. HULAN: - as the member for the great district of St. George's.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. HULAN: My ancestral and my home district.

Mr. Speaker, as you and all other hon. members are aware, the district of St. George's is one of the oldest districts on this Island. It is also a very large district geographically, spreading from just south of Corner Brook at Gallants to Cape Anguille, almost down to Port aux Basques. It is a district, Mr. Speaker and hon. members, that is rich in many ways. It is rich in history for sure, and indeed it has had a glorious past over the hundreds and hundreds of years.

I have just indicated that my district is a very old district. I make that statement with a great deal of pride, since my ancestors first took settlement in that district for a few short years in 1585. Most people don't remember that. It's not in the history books because they didn't stay very long. Shortly after that they returned to Placentia and then in the early 1600s returned to the west coast of the Island. The district of St. George's is also very rich in cultural heritage, with its residents being derived primarily from British and French stocks, but there are some of us who come from a little further east with a Germanic background.

Before going any further in my comments, Mr. Speaker, I want to -

AN HON. MEMBER: Move the adjournment of the debate.

DR. HULAN: I guess I'm being told to move the adjournment of the debate and I'll continue another time. Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would thank my friend for St. George's. He said exactly the right thing. Because if he had not moved the adjournment of the debate the House would be back here at 7:00 p.m. tonight. Standing Orders provide that if we don't adjourn before 5:00 p.m. we're back at 7:00 p.m. I don't think that's the wish of the House.

I would move the House adjourn until tomorrow, Wednesday, at 2:00 p.m.. In making the motion may I say we'll be on the private member's motion moved by my friend for Ferryland, I believe. On Thursday we'll come back on the Budget, and my friend for St. George's will be able to continue with his remarks which are but yet begun. I move the House do now adjourn.

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