December 9, 1993          HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS             Vol. XLII  No. 32


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

Statements by Ministers

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

 

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to stand in the House of Assembly to recognize a very important event in the history of human rights. Tomorrow marks forty-five years since the first signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations. In 1948, the United Nations unanimously adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and for all nations, large and small.

Mr. Speaker, in honour of this universal declaration, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador proclaimed the Human Rights Code, along with other jurisdictions in Canada and other nations who have proclaimed human rights legislation. The provincial Human Rights Code, which is enforced by the Human Rights Commission, prohibits discrimination in the areas of employment, services and accommodation on the basis of race, religion, religious creed, sex, marital status, physical disability, mental disability, political opinion, colour or ethnic, national or social origin. Age is protected in employment. Harassment on the above noted grounds and sexual solicitation is also prohibited under the Code. As a matter of policy, Mr. Speaker, the Human Rights Commission also accepts complaints of discrimination and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation and family status. The Human Rights Code requires employers to pay equal wages to males and females who perform the same or similar work.

The Human Rights Commission, Mr. Speaker, has been established to administer and enforce The Human Rights Code. In so doing, complaints are investigated and attempts are made to effect settlements. To date this year, the Commission has received 187 complaints, an increased figure over last year which can be attributed to the Commission's efforts to promote, through education, an awareness of human rights. I might add as well that in March of this year, the Human Rights Commission joined forces with the provincial government on an awareness campaign in an effort to move the battle against sexual harassment into the Newfoundland workplace.

Mr. Speaker, I encourage all the members of the House of Assembly and the citizens of our Province to promote the observance of human rights as a shared responsibility and to reaffirm our commitment to eliminate discrimination in all its forms. I am pleased to bring to the attention of hon. members that tomorrow is the 45th anniversary of the Signing of the Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations, and to mark the celebration of International Human Rights Day.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This minister has just made his once a year statement mouthing platitudes about human rights. To mark International Human Rights Day for 1993, we should have the minister on his feet introducing in this House of Assembly, amendments to our provincial Human Rights Code to correct the flaws in the provincial legislation and remove the gaps.

We should have the minister rising to introduce a bill to ensure that our provincial human rights legislation complies with the Constitution of Canada. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms, in Section 15, guarantees rights and freedoms without discrimination. The courts have ruled that human rights legislation which denies protection to gays and lesbians is in contravention of the Charter, yet the minister responsible for Newfoundland and Labrador human rights legislation has failed to add that protection to our legislation.

Mr. Speaker, the minister said, "As a matter of policy..." our Commission accepts complaints on the basis of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, but in such a case the onus would be on the complainant to surmount a legal challenge by the offender that the commission lacks jurisdiction.

Other parliaments - the Parliament of Canada and provincial Legislatures - are moving to ensure their legislation complies with the Charter. Why is this minister, why is this government, dragging their feet?

Also, our provincial Human Rights Code doesn't adequately protect senior citizens. The minister himself says that the Code deals with three areas: employment, services and accommodation. There is no protection against discrimination on the basis of age for our senior citizens in the areas of services and accommodation. When this was raised by the G.A. Frecker Institute on Gerontology last spring the minister said he didn't know about the problem -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS. VERGE: - but that he would look into it.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The member's time has expired.

MS. VERGE: Now, this is many months later -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MS. VERGE: - and the minister is seriously deficient in his duties (inaudible) -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Does the hon. Member for St. John's East have leave to address the House?

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I join to commend the sentiments of the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations with respect to the Human Rights Code and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights being signed forty-five years ago, at a time when human rights throughout the world are still threatened in many countries. I do have to say that in advanced countries like Canada we expect governments to do more, and we would expect this government to amend the Human Rights Code to protect from discrimination against gays and lesbians on the basis of sexual orientation. We would also expect this government to have an employment equity program in hiring to guarantee an equal number of men and women to be hired, for example, in the police recruitment that is going on right now.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon member's time has expired.

MR. HARRIS: We would like to see other employment equity programs to guarantee those human rights and practices.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Questions

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I want to go back to an issue that I raised a couple of days ago dealing with the government's plan for some sort of income security program. The reason I want to raise it again today is that as a result of it being raised a couple of days ago in the media we have received a number of enquiries, as you can imagine, from people out there who are wondering what this is all about. They would like to have some idea of what is involved. So I want to ask today the Deputy Premier - I don't know if he was here on Monday past but I asked questions of the Minster of Employment and Labour Relations and he confirmed that the Provincial Cabinet had in fact given its approval to such an income security plan, which apparently has been prepared by the ERC, and has also submitted that proposal to the federal cabinet or at least to the Prime Minister - I guess that was the first time that it went to the federal government.

Now the reason I am asking the Deputy Premier is because in the Premiers absence the Deputy Premier would be responsible I suppose for allaying concerns dealing with the overall economy of the Province. An income security plan, as we all would guess at least, is intended to replace a number of existing income support programs like unemployment insurance and social assistance. So I would like to ask the Deputy Premier, the Minister of Finance, if he can tell us specifically what existing income support programs or any other transfer payments to individuals would be replaced by this new plan, transfer payments to individuals?

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Certainly because of a lot of things that have been happening in this Province - especially because of what has happened to the fishery or chronically high unemployment levels outside of what is happening in the fishery - that we are examining mechanisms, as he describes, in terms of income security for all people in the Province. I cannot answer his questions specifically simply because the first step has not been taken. We had discussions with the federal government at a variety of levels, not only to the Prime Minister but at the officials level as well. The first thing that we have to determine before we even look at the possibilities that he talks about, the first thing that we have to determine is what should an income security program consist of and what should be the basis of it? And what benefits should it provide to all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians? That first step hasn't been taken, and hasn't been finalized; therefore, we can't get on to the second step, which is then to see what happens to the current programs.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I realize the Deputy Premier was away for a few days, but we understand that the Cabinet has already approved, in principle, the plan. Therefore, the question I asked was a pretty simple question: What existing income support plans, like unemployment insurance and social assistance, will be replaced under this plan? Surely, he should be able to answer that question, but maybe he doesn't want to answer the questions - I don't know; but we are not prepared to sit back and avoid asking the questions simply because he doesn't want to answer them.

Let me ask him a supplementary, then. The central premise of an income security program, or plan, is that there would be a guaranteed minimum income. That is the central premise of an income security plan - a guaranteed minimum income that people would have and that they can supplement with earned income from other employment. That is the central premise of such a program. I want to ask the Premier: Is this, in fact, a feature of the plan that they have approved in principle in Cabinet, and if he can tell us, what area are we talking in terms of the minimum income that would be guaranteed - what dollar area are we talking about?

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yes, a guaranteed annual income is the cornerstone of the whole program and we have, as Cabinet, approved in principle making the approach to the federal government and starting negotiations with the federal government.

There are not a great number of details that can be released now, but whichever details can be released, that are firmed up, will be made public in due course.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, we realize that. We understand they are going to make details public in due course - next week, and all that kind of stuff. We understand all that. We have heard it before. I am asking him some pretty basic questions, which surely the Deputy Premier should be able to answer to give the people some idea of what we are talking about here.

Let me try another one. Can he tell us, in view of the fact that jobs are pretty hard to come by in this Province - I think everybody would agree with that - and depending on who you listen to, the unemployment rate is 21 per cent, or upwards of 63 per cent, depending on who you listen to, as I say, so I want to ask him this, and this is a basic question again: Under the new program that the government has already approved in principle - their plan has been approved in principle, worked on by Mr. House and so on - how many people would have to survive off that minimum income, because they won't be able to find other employment opportunities because of the job situation, and will these people, in fact, under this new plan, get more or would they get less from the new program than they now get under the existing income support programs, like U.I. and all the rest?

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Some of the specifics you mentioned, I guess some will get more and some will get less. The point is, we will be releasing, in the very near future, all the details we have available, and it will be released as a whole. Obviously, the job of the Opposition, I suppose, is to try to, first of all, go public and get out some individual facts and then they can twist and generate public opinion against, and so on, so that is obviously what is happening. We would prefer to do the sensible, honest, straightforward thing, and release the whole plan as far as it has gone, which is not very far, release the whole plan at the same time so that people can judge on a fair basis the whole concept and not just a couple of little segments of the whole plan that hon. members can then take two or three days to twist to their benefit. Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition obviously knows that I am not going to fall for that.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I am having trouble hearing the hon. minister.

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. You didn't miss much, I can tell you.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I am having trouble hearing the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

As I was saying, you didn't miss very much at all because he did not really say anything. I want to say to the Deputy Premier, I understand that they don't want to give out any information and they want to continue to do these deals behind closed doors and in back rooms, because that is the way they have traditionally done things. It was the leader of this government, his Premier, who said on a historic occasion about three years ago during a constitutional debate that deals of this magnitude should not be dealt with in the back rooms by ten or twelve people, so I hope the Deputy Premier will remember those words because they certainly ring hollow.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, let me get to my final supplementary. Having chastised us and imputed motives and everything else he did say, for once he did confess that some people will get more, and some people will get less, so we finally got one little bit of information on this program. Let me ask him this final question. Many of those who are lucky enough to get jobs in this Province are seasonally employed, as we all know, we all represent people like that, and then they receive U.I. during the off-season, so I want to ask him how his plan would affect those people and their incomes. For example, is it possible that some people will get less than they now get from U.I.? Is that possible under their plan? Is it possible that some will not even be eligible for any of the income support under the new plan that is being offered? Is that possible?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I suppose, when the whole thing is released, people will then look at it and see where they fit. I would take an extreme, I suppose, where somebody who makes $100,000 a year certainly would not need income support. That is an extreme. I would suggest to the hon. gentleman that what he do is wait until he sees the whole program. The people in the Province can look at it and see where they fit in, whether they gain, whether they break even, or, in some cases, whether they would lose. When the whole plan is available, everybody will be able to judge for themselves.

I would like to respond to the Leader's opening comments about some nefarious schemes being plotted behind closed doors. I would like to remind the Leader of the Opposition that, indeed, many plans are made behind closed doors. I will say that to the people of the Province. Plans are made behind closed doors. The hon. member knows that the discussions of Cabinet are held behind closed doors - they have to be. Plans have to be made behind closed doors. But we will make obvious to everybody exactly what is being discussed, exactly what our intentions are, in detail very soon, within the next few days. Everybody will be able to judge for himself. I would like to say to the hon. member that he talks about some kind of a deal. Well, there is no deal. This will be a discussion paper so that everybody can see and comment on what is being planned and have proper input and so on. We have not finished discussions with the federal government. That may or may not happen.

Things will unfold in due course. There will be ample opportunity for public response and so on. There will be ample opportunity for the Leader of the Opposition to pick out his little bits here and there and go around and try to turn public opinion against a guaranteed annual income. There will be all kinds of opportunities for the Leader of the Opposition to do that. It is a long winter and I assure him that he has time available. I'm sure he will go around the Province trying to convince people that a guaranteed annual income is not in their best interests. I'm sure he will do that.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. In the absence of the Minister of Fisheries, I have a question for the Acting Minister of Fisheries. Letters have gone out - we are getting calls to the office telling us, fishermen around the Province have received letters from the Fisheries Loan Board saying if they haven't paid up their dues, their payments to the Loan Board, in thirty days, their vessels are going to be repossessed. I'm wondering if the Acting Minister of Fisheries could respond to that and explain for the people of the House and for the fishermen out and about the Province why the Loan Board is being so harsh on these fishermen at this time when, in essence their fishery is closed?

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

MR. BAKER: I would like to say to the hon. gentleman that I don't doubt that these things are happening, that there are certain people who are being pressured for money from the banks, whether that be money that was guaranteed by government through the banks, and probably some people are being pressured by the Fisheries Loan Board, the ones who have direct loans through the Fisheries Loan Board.

If the hon. member has any specific circumstance that he wants to deal with, he can see me at any time and I would be glad to look into it. I will say to him that there are instances where money that is owed must be collected. There are instances where there is a certain amount of forgiveness given, and so on. I would have to deal with each case specifically. Certainly, where money is owed and where it is legitimately owed and where there is an ability to pay, then the money must be paid.

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

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

A supplementary to the minister. Fishermen are really being harassed around the Province, I say to the Minister of Finance and the President of Treasury Board. Fishermen are being given a very hard time by banks and the Loan Board. As a matter of fact they have threatened to move in on their cars and their homes and so on, so it is a very serious situation and I just want to ask the minister: has government given any consideration, in light of the fact that fishermen are required to pay back 20 per cent of earnings; we now know of course, that their earnings are substantially reduced because of the closure of certain fisheries; so even though they are still paying 20 per cent of their earnings, it is not enough, Mr. Speaker, to pay the interest payments is what I am saying, and are still being in a delinquent position, so, is government considering, in light of the fact that they are still paying 20 per cent of their earnings but their earnings are much less now because of the closure of fisheries, is government giving any consideration to an adjustment in that case, to help fishermen I guess, make ends meet and come out of this?

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

MR. BAKER: Yes, Mr. Speaker. We have given a great deal of consideration to this problem and I understand the problem that exists around the Province in terms of the fisheries loans. However, ultimately I suppose, because of the nature of the problem, decisions will have to be made on an individual basis rather than a group basis. We have made some decisions on a group basis but ultimately there is a process in place that allows decisions to be made on an individual basis. I think if the loans are with banks for instance, there is a process whereby the individual and the bank sit down and try to work out arrangements. If they can't be worked out then it comes to government, so there is a process in place where government will have a chance to examine each individual circumstance, but I say to the hon. member, that in some cases help is warranted, but in other cases help is not warranted.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I thank the minister for his answer, Mr. Speaker, but there is a great deal of concern out there and a lot of problems amongst individual fishermen, that the 20 per cent still leaves them coming short even though they are paying their 20 per cent.

I understand there are supposed to be some interest relief cheques or payments made or are in process of being made, and as a matter of fact, I have had a few calls as well to the office and different members on this side particularly, have had representation from fishermen wondering if and when those interest relief payments will be made and I am wondering if the minister, when he responds, could he sort of indicate in what kind of situations those interest relief payments are made? I mean it is not carte blanche, so could the minister give the criteria under what conditions the interest relief payments are being made, and when fishermen can expect to get them?

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

MR. BAKER: Yes, Mr. Speaker, what the hon. member says is correct and I will undertake to get the exact information made available to the hon. member and maybe even table it in the House tomorrow.

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

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

I would like to direct my question to the Minister of Environment and Lands.

Last week, the minister gave a response, not an answer to a question I had put with respect to the emissions at Come By Chance oil refinery. I was not really concerned about what is going on in other jurisdictions but I am more concerned with what is going on in Newfoundland, so again, I ask the minister, why government chose not to do the monitoring themselves but to have an outside group do it, please?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Environment and Lands.

MS. COWAN: Thank you.

At the time, actually this government was not in power, Mr. Speaker. When the monitoring of Come By Chance was set up, it was under the former government and I inherited the Compliance Agreement that was made at that time, and that Compliance Agreement did include the monitoring of the company by itself with the Department of Employment and Labour Relations double-checking.

It has not been an entirely satisfactory process I would have to say, and I have done a good deal of thinking about it and consulting with colleagues across Canada on the issue, and again, as I mentioned yesterday or the day before in the House, it is a matter that varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and from company to company within provinces. Some provinces actually will ask the company to hire a third party to do the monitoring and that will be paid for by the company, but the most common practice is to have the people responsible, monitor themselves; have them responsible for their environmental situation and for governments to check from time to time.

Now because of the concerns that have arisen over Come by Chance and the fact that the Compliance Agreement that was put in place by the former government was not rigid enough, I have made sure that we double-check and make sure their monitoring systems are working properly. Not only that, I do have the information downloaded as frequently as it makes sense so that we can see if they are keeping within compliance. They actually were not complying, and we were able to find that out very easily not only by monitoring, but by computer (inaudible).

I am sorry if it takes a long time, but you do not just deal with oil refineries in a simplistic manner, so the St. John's East Extern Member will have to bear with me, even if I do go on a bit long about it, but that is the nature of oil refineries.

It is possible that in the future we may change that approach, but I tend to think that we should encourage responsibility for environmental matters among the owners. I do not believe in this sort of command and control approach that is so popular with the NDP, and supposedly with the Tory government. I think that every individual, every company, should be monitored in their own environmental behaviour.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

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

Having the people monitor themselves is like asking prisoners to guard themselves.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. J. BYRNE: That government has been in power now for five years and, Minister, you have stated that there have been complaints of health impacts in the area. A doctor living in the area has stated that people in the area are getting sick from the stench from the refinery. Does the minister agree, because the monitoring is being done by outside parties, people will have to wait longer to find out if the emissions are indeed a health hazard?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Environment and Lands.

MS. COWAN: We do not want to get mixed up, Mr. Speaker, with the stench and the emissions. They are two different things.

The stench that people are witnessing out there this summer is from hydrocarbons that are not adequately burned. The company has ordered materials that will take a couple of months to come in, that will control this particular problem. It involves putting in special filters. It also involves putting a cover on a machine called an API separator, which separates oil from water. That is where the odour is coming from, and that is how it will be controlled. Cold weather will also see that these odours are not as readily transported in the area.

SO2 also produces an unpleasant odour, but the company is now using a sweeter crude, which means that it is lower in sulphur content and, as a result the SO2 is now almost in a situation where it is controlled. We are not having the problems with it.

Again, there has been a sulphur plant set up out there which, when the SO2 reaches a certain proportion as it goes into the atmosphere, this plant kicks in -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MS. COWAN: They hate the truth, you know. It is a terrible thing when a minister gets up and knows a few answers. It is very difficult for them to listen.

Anyway, when the SO2 reaches a certain level, the sulphur plant kicks in and converts the SO2 into a solid substance which is then not harmful.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for St. John's East Extern, a final supplementary.

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

The minister has stated that the company has completed all of the actions that they were required to do by an order she gave last March, and yet the smell is still out there. I ask the minister: Will she take the bull by the horns and set a definite time frame for the Come By Chance Oil Refinery to put an end to the stench, the stink, the nauseating smell, emanating from the refinery?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. J. BYRNE: Or will the people living in the area eventually be asked to buy gas masks? Is that what we are coming down to, or do we have to wait for snow to fall to kill the smell?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Environment and Lands.

MS. COWAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To my critic from St. John's East Extern, I have met with Glenn Mifflin, who is the Chief Financial Officer of that particular operation. Actually, my officials will be meeting with him again next week. Because the House is sitting, I cannot sit in on the meeting, but I will be certainly interested in what goes on. At that particular meeting he did give me dates as to when I could expect the API separator to be covered and the carbon filters to be put in place. He did give me dates but I don't have those dates with me. They are contained in some information in my office but my officials will be checking to just see how the company is coming along in meeting those particular deadlines which they have set for themselves with our approval.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, is the minister and his department considering any changes to the Workmens' Compensation Act or enacting or bringing in new legislation affecting that act?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. At the immediate point in time there are no drafts of changes anywhere in the system in terms of Legislative Council or any of that nature that would lead to an immediate change in the act before Christmas or shortly thereafter. However, there are a number of outstanding items still remaining from the last legislative review that were referenced, that did not get covered in the changes that came into effect on January 1, 1993, and they are still under consideration.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Specifically, I would like to ask the minister about the Workmens' Compensation Appeal Tribunal. My understanding of the appeal tribunal is that it is an independent arm that will judge cases - Workmens' Compensation files on individuals who have been turned down - and in an unbiased fashion, judge cases that they themselves would see should not have been turned down. I say to the minister that the appeal tribunal itself, is ineffective as it now exists, the Workmen's Compensation Commission has every right to overturn and review the decisions made by that independent body and in doing so go against the very reason why they were established. I ask the minister: Can he confirm or will he look into legislative changes dealing with the Workmens' Compensation Appeal Tribunal to make its decisions final and binding upon the Workmens' Compensation claims?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The question does identify one of the remaining issues actually that is under consideration, because it is clear that two things are occurring, while the appeals tribunal is handling more appeals more expeditiously than they have ever done before, there are still some complaints about the time. However, the fact is that they are handling, on an annual basis, twice if not three times as many appeals in a year as they have ever done before while individuals still have delays. The other issue that arises is that there is, within the current legislation, a provision which allows the Workers' Compensation Commission to review again decisions of the tribunal, in the event that the tribunal itself would give a ruling that would extend or go beyond the existing policy which is not their mandate. From time to time there does arise a disagreement between the commission and the appeals tribunal as to the extent of the mandate. That issue is being reviewed at this point in time, by myself and other ministers, with respect to whether or not we will bring forward legislation in the new year to do exactly the type of thing that the hon. member says, which is to make the appeal final so that there would not be another review by the commission itself and to try again to expedite even further the time delays that people experience in the appeals process.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. First of all I would like to deal with a couple of points the minister has raised. In dealing with the legislation that from time to time the appeal tribunal goes beyond its mandate - clearly the legislation if the minister does not know this, clearly the legislation says that the appeal tribunal itself cannot go beyond the legislation that is governed by him and his department.

Secondly, I would like to say to the minister that the time frames that Workers' Compensation is dealing with expeditiously the number of cases - while it takes in excess of eight months to a year for a claim to go before the appeal tribunal, if that appeal is decided in the favour of the person who is filing and Workers' Compensation decides to review it, it will take at least another eight months - we are talking almost a little over a year-and-a-half while -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member is commenting, he should have a question at this point I think.

MR. E. BYRNE: Yes. In the extension, can the minister say when exactly will he move expeditiously himself? Will he move quickly, so that thousands of people who are affected right now without any income whatsoever can have some hope not only for Christmas but for future years as injured workers?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The matter is currently under review, as I indicated in answer to the previous question. I've also discussed at some length with both - well, I guess three interested parties, for sure, and a fourth, the tribunal itself. I've had discussions with the full membership of the tribunal about their future role and the parameters in which they will operate. I've addressed the issue with the Board of Directors of the Commission itself. I've addressed the issue as well with representatives of injured workers, because there are two or three associations of injured workers that have sprung up in the last few months, largely because of their frustration with time delays. We admit that. While the tribunal is doing more work there are still individuals who are dissatisfied with the period of time that it takes.

I've also expressed and discussed the matter with representatives of the unions and the Employers Council, from the point of view of looking to whether or not single arbitrators, for example, might replace the tribunals and would that in fact speed up the process. However, I can tell the hon. member that in the discussions that I've had there, there is not unanimous opinion as to whether or not that is a good move. There are certain people I've discussed it with who have pleaded with me to keep the tribunals in place and not have single adjudicators.

Those kinds of issues are currently under discussion and we would hope to have legislation here at a future sitting of the Assembly to deal with those issues.

MR. SPEAKER: Question period has expired.

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, having served in the House only eight years, I think this is where you table reports. I would like to table the report of the Recovery Commission for this year.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to table the reports of the Newfoundland and Labrador Public Service Commission for the years 1991-92, and 1992-93.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir.

MR. GILBERT: I would like to report on the Social Services Committee. Bill No. 44 has been reviewed and approved for passage without amendment.

MR. SPEAKER: Answers to Questions for Which Notice has been Given.

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, on Answers to Questions, I am wondering what happened to the report on public libraries?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

As the hon. member knows, the procedure is that if you wish to ask a question, you should ask it in Question Period. This is only a time period for -

MS. VERGE: I apologize, Mr. Speaker. Actually, I have a petition to present.

Petitions

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

MS. VERGE: This is a petition of men and women of the Northeast Avalon, residents of St. John's, I say to the Member for St. John's South, Paradise, Topsail, and St. Phillips. The petition reads, `We, the undersigned citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador, object to the government's recent action in appointing all men and no women as adjudicators for the Police Complaints Commission and we petition the House of Assembly' - that means all the members - `to take corrective action to ensure that the panel of adjudicators has an equal number of women and men.'

Mr. Speaker, I enthusiastically support this petition. I have signed it, I say to the Member for St. John's South.

MR. MURPHY: A point of order, Me. Speaker.

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

MR. MURPHY: Your Honour, yesterday, the hon. member got up with the same few names and presented a petition. Now, after she presented the petition some hon. member -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

What is the member's point of order?

MR. MURPHY: The point is that the hon. the Member for Humber East, yesterday, retrieved a petition from the Page and signed it. Now, I refer Your Honour to Section 90, Page 31 of the Standing Orders of the House that says a petition to the House shall be signed by the member.

MR. SIMMS: That is what she did.

MR. MURPHY: That was yesterday. The petition was on the Table and had to be brought back to the member to sign it, so I suggest that the petition was out of order.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

If the member has a point of order with respect to yesterday's petition, I don't know that the proper time to bring it up is when the minister is speaking on a current petition.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

There was no point of order. The Member for St. John's South could have easily found out by asking the Clerk or one of the other table officers about yesterday's petition. In fact, I signed the petition before I presented it, before it was tabled. At any rate, Mr. Speaker, that is really irrelevant to the question at hand which is the need to take corrective action to ensure that the Police Complaints Commission panel of adjudicators has a fair number of women and men.

Mr. Speaker, the legislation before the House, the bill sponsored by the Minister of Justice, does not permit the necessary corrective action. The act as it exists provides for six members. The government appointed six men, five residents of St. John's and one from Corner Brook. The amendment allows the Cabinet to enlarge the panel to nine, to add three members, and that would permit a maximum of three women, so we would end up with six men and three women.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice has responded to my representations on the subject by dismissing my comments as silly. Now, I don't mind the - I can't say I don't mind, but I am not surprised by the Minister of Justice putting down what an Opposition member says, but I am not the only one calling for gender equity. The Premier himself wrote the provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women, on the subject, and I will quote the Premier: `I assure you, it is government's policy to appoint, where possible, women to alternate discretionary appointments until their representation is at least 50 per cent.' End quote. Now, it is perfectly possible for the government to find dozens of qualified and suitable women to serve on the Police Complaints Commission panel of adjudicators.

Mr. Speaker, I would submit that it is more important that this panel have 50 per cent women than just about any other board or commission that is filled by discretionary Cabinet appointments because of the nature of the cases to be heard by the adjudicators. The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, the same as most police forces, is heavily dominated by men. The force didn't even accept applications from women until about twelve years ago. We know complaints voiced in the past, before we had a complaints commission, were, in many instances, by women pointing to insensitive police behaviour or police response to complaints because of police ignorance of or indifference to the situation faced by women in a sexist society.

So, Mr. Speaker, I heartily endorse the petition and join with the petitioners in appealing to all members of the House of Assembly, particularly the members opposite, I say to the Member for Fogo, the Member for Exploits and the ministers, to take corrective action to amend the Bill before the House of Assembly to allow the Cabinet discretion to appoint twelve or more members to the Police Complaints Commission so that there can be gender equity and so that there can also be a balance in terms of geography. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to say a few words in support of the petition so ably presented by my colleague, the Member for Humber East.

AN HON. MEMBER: How many names are on it?

MR. SIMMS: How many names? There are tens and tens of names on the petition, Mr. Speaker.

I didn't realize that it made any difference if there are.... I say to hon. members, if people wish to express their point of view through a petition and ask their MHA to present one, whether there are three names, ten, fifteen, or 5,000, then the member has a responsibility to present that petition to the House.

Mr. Speaker, to get to the specific point contained in the petition, it seems to me that these people and others, who perhaps have not even signed petitions at this stage, who have expressed interest in this issue, are trying to understand and figure out why a government which, on the one hand, has a policy, as I understand it, articulated by the Premier on occasion, which says that they should try to appoint to boards at least enough women to reach their policy of 50 per cent. In fact, here is what he said exactly: `I assure you, it is government's policy to appoint, where possible, women to alternate discretionary appointments until their representation is at least 50 per cent.'

Now, if that is the stated goal and policy of the government, then I cannot understand why the Minister of Justice and the government don't follow their own policy, because these are certainly discretionary appointments. The minister had acknowledged that they had a made a mistake initially when they appointed all men - six, I think it was, in the initial appointment stage - and then he publicly acknowledged that they had made a mistake. Then he said, in order to correct the mistake he was going to bring in an amendment to the legislation to allow him to appoint three more people and he indicated they would be women.

That doesn't do anything to reach the goal and objective that the government has of making the board gender equal. Why doesn't he bring in an amendment to appoint six more instead of three more, and appoint six women? Then you would have gender equality, six men and six women, on a board or a commission or whatever it is going to be, which in fact doesn't meet together all the time. They are farmed out to them one at a time, cases one at a time.

I think the Minister of Justice would be doing a great deal of justice, in fact, to this issue, if he were to say: Well, maybe we will amend the legislation to allow for the appointment of six more people and try to get six women to serve in this capacity. I think that would be a reasonable response to this kind of criticism and it would certainly be a big response and a big step forward for the government in attaining its own goal, and its own policy, stated publicly on many occasions.

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: That is tomorrow. Oh, I see, yes. Tomorrow, it being Human Rights Day, would be a fantastic day to make such an announcement and such an appointment.

Mr. Speaker, one final point that I want to make - in speaking to the petition and in support of it - to the minister, is this: There are a number of people who have mentioned to me that, in their view, it is not absolutely necessary and essential that the people filling these appointments be lawyers. Now, I don't know, I am not a lawyer, so I don't understand the law, I am not trained in the law, the minister is; but there are people out there who believe there are others, who perhaps are professionally trained in some other fields; I don't know, social work

MS. VERGE: Labour management.

MR. SIMMS: - labour management or whatever, who might also be able to fill these positions because, as I said, they probably may only get a case, I don't know, a couple a year - Who knows how will it be spread out? So, maybe the minister, if he intends to speak to the petition, could sort of respond to that question. I have had it put to me personally and I would like to know, myself, why that could not occur.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, if I may say a few words with respect to the petition, let me first of all respond to the hon. gentleman from Grand Falls, the Opposition Leader, when he asks why they should be lawyers. I said this in the House before but I am happy to say it again.

The adjudicators under the statute have a very significant degree of power. They can hire, fire, discipline, refer for counselling, refer for further study, whatever, any police officer who comes before them. It is our judgement, it is our belief, having looked at these matters, that these should be entrusted to people with legal training. It is almost certain that the proceedings will involve lawyers in the sense of representing, on one hand, the commissioner's counsel - remember, the commissioner has carriage of the matter and will engage counsel - and on the other hand, one would assume the police officer whose conduct is under scrutiny will choose to be represented by counsel. So it is simply our judgement, I believe it is a correct one, I have heard nothing to the contrary, I accept that there are people who take a different viewpoint, but I would simply say to my hon. friend, that in my belief, in our belief, this is different from a labour relations matter where one is settling, how much one should pay an hour or whether a given course of events is a breach of a collective agreement or not.

MR. SIMMS: But, at the same time, the commissioner, himself, is not a lawyer.

MR. ROBERTS: The commissioner is not a lawyer, but the commissioner does not have the power, I say to my friend, if he remembers the legislation, to decide these issues. The commissioner's role is to receive them -

MS. VERGE: He decides whether a matter goes forward or not.

MR. ROBERTS: The hon. and learned Member for Humber East, for once has got it right, the commissioner's role is to decide whether matters should go forward or not, and that is a matter of judgement and a matter of -

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, Dr. Harris is eminently qualified to do the things which he has done and is doing including the Police Complaints Commission, or commissioner's job. He is also a very, very good labour relations person. Now, Mr. Speaker, I would like to make one other point; I have only two or three minutes. Those who sign the petition, I have no doubt subscribe to it and agree with it, I have no quarrel with their belief, I may not agree with their belief but I accept it as being genuine.

We have taken corrective action, which is what the petition asks for. We have not made equal and we are not going to, Mr. Speaker, We do not believe in quotas, in matters such as this, any more than the Tory party doesn't believe in quotas. Mr. Speaker, the Tory party didn't lay down a rule that one-half of its candidates would be women. In its discretionary appointments, as opposed to nominations, the Tory party has not said one-half are women; this is just arrant, blatant, hypocrisy.

If I were to go into the hon. the Leader of the Opposition's office, I will wager my member's indemnity against his and they are equal in value; mind you, we give more different worth for them but they are equal in value. I will wager that I won't find 50 per cent of his advisers are female and 50 per cent are male, this is just blank, blatant, rank, arrant hypocrisy.

Mr. Speaker, yesterday or the day before, I called the conduct of the hon. Member for Humber East `silly'. I was wrong. Her conduct today is `sillier', and if she keeps this up, I will have to go to the superlative, because she is being superlatively silly.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MS. VERGE: That is worse than being lashed with a wet noodle.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. ROBERTS: I would say the hon. lady's lungs are getting better.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Orders of the Day

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I have been looking at the Hansard, and I notice how superlatively well my stand-in, the gentleman for St. Barbe, did yesterday.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. ROBERTS: And I must say, it has been suggested to my friend for Gander and myself that we should absent ourselves from the House more often.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. ROBERTS: It seems there appears to be unanimous consent for this course of conduct, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, the order of business for today, before the hon. lady gets to her wet noodles for supper -

MR. SIMMS: That won't hurt (inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Well, I have to say to the hon. Leader of the Opposition that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and the hon. lady has done me the most sincere form of flattery.

MR. SIMMS: They used that in the sixties.

MR. ROBERTS: Yes it is. It is nearly as old as the hon. gentleman, but I got here before he did, and in all likelihood, I will be here long after he is gone, Mr. Speaker.

Now, Mr. Speaker, let me come back to the order of business.

Bill 45, the Alcohol and Drug Commission Bill; then we will do Bill 55, and then we are going to address all of the committee readings, which stand as Orders 2 through 22. That will be a good afternoon's work. We should be through by 4:30 or 4:40, maybe.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, yes. Dream on.

MR. ROBERTS: We did the hon. gentlemen, the other day, the courtesy of adjourning a little early to oblige them. We will leave it to them.

In any event, Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do not adjourn at 5:00 p.m.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Exactly.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that the House do not adjourn at 5:00 p.m. All those in favour of the motion, `aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: Contra-minded, `nay', carried.

I believe the hon. the Government House Leader indicated that he wished to call first the second reading -

MR. ROBERTS: Bill 45, Sir.

MR. SPEAKER: I am sorry - Order 25.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act To Repeal The Alcohol And Drug Dependency Commission Act". (Bill No. 45)

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This is a routine bill repealing the Alcohol And Drug Dependency Commission Act, which is now obsolete because the Alcohol and Drug Commission has been disbanded, and temporarily brought within the purview of the Department of Health's public health units, and as the regional community health care boards are established, our intention is to put the responsibility for alcohol and drug addiction within these organizations.

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

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, I can't hear the Minister of Health, and I am trying to listen because I am planning to speak in a few minutes. I wonder if Your Honour could get other members to quieten down so that we can all hear the minister.

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, I ask hon. members to follow the Minister of Health with equal interest as the Member for Humber East.

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I will repeat those few brief remarks, just in case somebody else didn't hear them. They are words of wisdom.

We have, in the Department of Health, taken the responsibility for the Alcohol and Drug Commission - have dissolved it - and taken responsibility for its actions into the Department of Health, into the public health units, and as the regional community health boards are established in each region, the responsibility for alcohol and drug addiction will be taken over by these commissions; so there is no further need for this act and we are asking that it be repealed.

Thank you.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The government announced, a couple of years ago, its intention to transfer responsibility for alcohol and drug dependency programs and services from a separate commission to regional boards. The minister has indicated that in the interim the Department of Health has assumed responsibility. I would like the minister, when he rises to conclude the debate on second reading, to indicate specifically, region by region, what kind of board will ultimately be assigned responsibility for alcohol and drug dependency services. It seems as though the government is proceeding to establish different types of health boards in different regions of the Province, and that may very well be a sensible approach because after all there are differences from one area of the Province to the next, but from what I understand, recently the minister and his colleagues announced a merger of hospital boards in the City of St. John's saying that they will leave senior citizens and nursing home boards intact.

In the summer the minister announced the formation of a St. John's Area Community Health Board. Has that St. John's Area Community Health Board been given responsibility for the programs and services formally operated by the ADDC? What will happen with alcohol and drug dependency programs elsewhere on the Avalon Peninsula, in Central East, Central West, Western, and Northern? The minister has indicated an intention to reorganize health boards in those regional groupings; St. John's, Avalon, Central East, Central West, Western and finally Northern. I represent Humber East which is in the Western Region and last week when I asked the minister about the government's plans for reorganizing health boards in that area, he did acknowledge that he has before him for consideration a proposal from health administrators in the Western Region for creating one super board to handle responsibility for all institutions, hospitals and nursing homes plus community health.

In explaining what is meant by or what is covered by community health he listed alcohol and drug dependency services. That model is being recommended by people working in the field of public health in Western Newfoundland as well as institutional administrators. When I first heard it, I personally had reservations about the effect of combining responsibility for public health with institutions fearing that public health would get less attention than it deserves. That is a problem with our current system but listening to public health advocates recommend this model I am told that there may be advantages to public health by working within the same board structure as institutions and having a say along with institutional administrators on the allocation of scarce resources. At any rate, I would like the minister to explain where the programs and services formerly operated by the Alcohol and Drug Dependency Commission, which is being formally repealed by this Bill, will end up in each area of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, a related problem that I would like to ask the minister about is gambling addiction. Over the past several months members would have heard, the same as I have heard, about many sad stories of individuals becoming addicted to gambling and losing horrendous amounts of money. There are individuals throughout the Province who have squandered thousands and thousands of dollars, who have lost their homes, and who have had their marriages break up because of gambling addiction. The government owned and operated video gambling machines which are proliferating in the Province have, as some of us predicted, exacerbated at a very major way problems stemming from gambling. The Member for St. John's North may be interested in this. Millions and millions of dollars are being spent on the video gambling machines. The government take, as I understand it, from the video gambling machines is in the order of $15 or $20 million and that represents only about one third of the gross revenue. The total spending on the video gambling machines in our Province now may be approaching $50 million a year and that is $50 million being taken out off the economy, $50 million that is not being spent on food, shelter and clothing.

Mr. Speaker, does the Minister of Health see gambling dependency, or gambling addiction, as a health issue, as a health problem, analogous to substance dependencies, alcohol and drug dependencies? Does the Minister of Health view gambling addiction, gambling dependency, as a health issue?

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: If the hon. minister now speaks he will close debate.

The hon. the Minister of Health.

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The alcohol and drug dependency services that were formerly offered by the Alcohol and Drug Addiction Foundation are now offered by the public health units of the Department of Health. There are five such units. One is in the St. John's area, which exactly corresponds to the boundaries of the Regional Community Health Board. In Central Newfoundland the boundaries of the public health unit, the way we have it divided, corresponds exactly to the double unit of the hospital boards on the East and the hospital boards on the West, and the boundary of the Regional Community Health Board that we will be establishing shortly in the Central area, and the Eastern will correspond to the boundaries of the Eastern Regional Community Health Board.

MR. SPEAKER: We are not hearing the hon. minister because of some conversations at the back of the House. If hon. members at the back of the House want to conduct a meeting would they please leave the Assembly as I am having trouble hearing the hon. minister who is sitting considerable closer.

The hon. the Minister.

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

In Western Newfoundland the same thing is true, that the responsibilities of the Alcohol and Drug Addiction Commission have been taken over by the public health unit in that area which will correspond - should we establish a regional community board for the Western region, it will be the same boundaries as the public health unit presently occupies. If we merge with the hospital boards in the Western region then again it will be the same boundaries. The Grenfell Organization normally looks after alcohol and drug addiction in the North because they look after the public health units in that area. There is no problem about anyone being out of line because the boundaries are exactly the same. I think that will alleviate the concerns that seemed to be raised by the Member for Humber East.

As far as addiction is concerned, the so-called gambling addiction, that will not come under the alcohol and drug addiction. The two names are there, alcohol and drugs are very much different from gambling. There are many addictions that people have. Some are addicted to the horse races, some are addicted to this and some are addicted to that, and some play gambling, but it is rather different from alcohol and drug addiction. We have no plans at this stage to put it in this area. In fact we have no plans to consider this a health matter, although there are people who think this is a matter of mental health

What we are trying to do in mental health is to try to define the boundaries so that we can do it. Mental health is becoming such a broad area that it is very difficult to deal with it. Everything is a mental health problem. Someone's unemployed, it is a mental health problem. You have problems with your spouse, it is a mental health problem. You don't have problems with your spouse, it is a mental health problem. Everything is a mental health problem. There are really some very serious mental health problems that must be addressed by government and these we will concentrate on. A gambling addiction is a problem that some people have. We have no plans at the moment in the Health Department to handle that matter.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Does the minister now move second reading?

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Repeal The Alcohol And Drug Dependency Commission Act," read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House, tomorrow. (Bill No. 45)

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

MR. ROBERTS: Your Honour, would you call Bill 55, please.

MR. SPEAKER: Order 32.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act To Amend The Colleges Act, 1991". (Bill No. 55)

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

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My friend and colleague, the Member for the Strait of Belle Isle, the Minister of Education, is away from St. John's today on government business. In fact, he is in Corner Brook I believe speaking to the Rotary Club, and no doubt will talk about our reforms in the field of education. In his absence I will ask the House to address this Bill and I will move that it be read a second time, in a moment or two.

The Bill seeks to amend The Colleges Act which is the Act under which the Colleges of Applied Arts, Technology and Continuing Education, to use the full title, are constituted throughout the Province. It seeks to make only two changes. The first is with respect to the membership of the boards of governors, and there is one of these as we know for each of the colleges.

The provision in the current Act is that one of the members - and I'm reading now from 13(4) - appointed to the board of each college shall be a student. Then, not only a student, but the section goes on to provide that the student is someone who is nominated by the student association in that college. So the student body selects their own.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) university.

MR. ROBERTS: Yes, that is my understanding. I'm not as familiar with the University Act perhaps as my friend for Kilbride, but that is my understanding. I think it was done on my first trip through a man named Percy Manguela was president of the Student Council, and that is many years ago. I believe he was from Botswana.

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible) law school with me.

MR. ROBERTS: Was he? I hope he is a better lawyer than the hon. lady is, in that case.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. ROBERTS: I wouldn't have thought the hon. lady had been around that long, because Percy Manguela and I were contemporaries. So that means the hon. lady and I are contemporaries.

Mr. Speaker, we will get over the linguini and we will go into the fettucini now. We've run into a problem in the application of this very wise and prudent provision, which obviously has the support of all members of the House. The Act says that the students appointed to the boards, chosen as they are by the student association, shall be appointed for a period of one year. But in the normal course of events these colleges come together in the fall, when the fall session begins, and that is when the student association selects its member, and then he or she - the name comes in to the Minister of Education who brings it up to Cabinet and it is appointed. But he or she is then there for a year, and come June may have gone. My friend for Grand Bank has the point exactly.

All we seek in the amendment is to allow us to make the appointment in Cabinet for a period of up to one year. So there will be no substantive change except that the person appointed to the board will cease to be a member of the board when the year extends, or such lesser period as would bring them up to the end of an appropriate period.

Then there is another amendment in the Act, and that is to allow the Cabinet, the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, to make regulations respecting an instructor classification system for college instructors. That is in addition to the act, and it speaks for itself. I would suggest it is unobjectionable, and thus commend it to the House.

With those remarks, Mr. Speaker, I move the bill be now read a second time.

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

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

AN HON. MEMBER: You do not have to speak.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, I say to the Member for Fogo, I do not have to speak. That is true.

AN HON. MEMBER: But he wishes to speak.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: That is right; I wish to speak.

I just have a few comments on this Bill. I think it is a wise amendment, a wise change, as the Government House Leader has so correctly outlined, that an academic year is not a calendar year, and a person might not even last the full academic year, the way things are with student performance, so it is a very wise amendment, a wise change.

Why I wanted to comment on it, as minister of advanced studies back a few years ago, I was very involved in the restructuring of the community college system, initiated some of the changes that have come into place over the last few years, and was very delighted to do so because I think the changes were very constructive and have proved very beneficial.

I see the Member for Bellevue over there looking at me.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I do not know about that. There were only two ministers, I suppose, in career development, advanced studies, I believe, if memory serves me correctly. There were only two of us, so I suppose if you were one of the better ones at that, well what can you say?

AN HON. MEMBER: You were the better one.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well I know how the Member for Bellevue feels about that, because I met him, I guess, just after I was appointed minister. I believe it was just a day or so after. It was not too long after. He was coming out of the department and I was going in, and -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) and you were bringing yours in.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes.

And he said to me: It is about time they got somebody sensible over here.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Now I do not know about that. I would not go that far. It is like the Leader of the Opposition and the President of Treasury Board talking today about `behind closed doors'. No one knows what goes on behind closed doors. We all know that is particularly true about Cabinet, except those who are in there behind the closed doors. So you cannot talk too much about whether you were effective, or ineffective, or good or bad or whatever, because that is left inside the room.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh, I would like that. The Member for Fogo is trying to get me away from this very important piece of legislation, because he now wants me to talk about one of my favourite - I was going to say `departments'. It was.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, my God, no. Perhaps that is wrong, but under the present minister, I guess, is the problem. As I said yesterday: Nothing lasts very long under the present minister - now referred to as the `terminator' - because once anything is shifted to education now, under him, we know it is not going to last very long; but it was a very positive department - Culture, Recreation and Youth - and a lot of those divisions are still doing a lot of good, but the funding has been cut so much, I say to the Member for Fogo, in the last five years, particularly in -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes. Recreation, Sport and Fitness Division is really whittled to the bone.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, it is. I am sure the minister is aware of that. They have really been rendered, I guess, ineffective because of cutbacks. It is too bad, because it is a very, very positive division, and it is could do so much good for people throughout the Province of all ages.

Getting back to the Bill, Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to have a few words on it. I think it is a good move. We all support the idea of student bodies being represented on the boards of governors, whether at the University or at the community colleges, so we support that.

In conclusion, with regard to the other changes to the Bill respecting certification of instructors, we have - our critic, the Member for Waterford Kenmount, has done a bit of research in this, and talked to a few people, and basically, I guess, the instructors at the various community colleges and so on support these changes, so we support it. If they do not have any problem with it, then why would we have any problem with it? So that is all we have to say about it.

I conclude my remarks, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, all that I need to say, given the degree of unanimity, is that I move second reading, and I might as well move third while I am at it, because -

I move the bill be read a second time, Sir.

On motion, a bill, "An Act to Amend the Colleges Act, 1991," read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House on tomorrow. (Bill No. 55)

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, could we put the House into Committee of the Whole, please?

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

Committee of the Whole

MR. CHAIRMAN (L. Snow): The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, I am going to ask the committee to address the bills in the order in which they stand on the Order Paper, dealing with No. 2, which is the Smoke-Free Workplace Bill. If I may say a word, Your Honour, with respect to Bill No. 1 and Bill No. 7 - but perhaps I should let you call the order first, Order No. 2, if we may.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order No. 2, Bill No. 1.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman, my friend, the Minister of Health, will speak on this in a moment, but this bill and the following one, Bill No. 7, which is the Sale of Tobacco to Minors, were dealt with by the House in the spring and were given second reading. They were then referred through to a Legislation Review Committee which I think held quite an extensive series of hearings throughout the Province, or at least, here in St. John's, and heard from people throughout the Province. The committee suggested a number of amendments and the Cabinet reflected upon these amendments and have accepted, not all of them but most of them. The bill has been reprinted with the amendments shown in boldface. Now, if the committee is agreeable, I would simply proposed to move the amendments, because the minister, of course, cannot amend his own bill under the rules; then, the minister can get up and deal with each amendment, why we have accepted it and, I assume, can also touch upon the ones that we have not accepted and give the reasons why. Then, any debate members wish to participate in would flow from there. If that is in order, Sir, I would suggest that we proceed that way with respect first of all to Bill No. 1 and then the same situation arises with respect to Bill No. 7.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Nobody speaking?

MR. ROBERTS: Well, I am sorry. It is very difficult - I don't mind members not paying attention to me, I am quite accustomed to that and I am not paranoid but it is difficult - I say to my friend for Grand Bank - on both sides when the conversations get such that the two or three of us in the House who are actually trying to follow what is going on can't hear what is being said.

Now, Mr. Chairman, the point I made was that these bills were sent out to Legislation Review Committee and were -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. ROBERTS: - and were dealt with at some length and the committee proposed an extensive series of amendments. The Cabinet are prepared to accept some of them but we are not prepared to accept others. We have had the bills reprinted with the amendments shown in boldface, otherwise members would end up with two bits of paper and be trying to compare apples and oranges and getting who knows what, succotash, fruit salad or something.

My suggestion, if it is agreeable to the committee, instead of moving each amendment individually, which strictly speaking is what the rules would require, is that I simply move the amendments. The minister cannot amend his own bill, of course, and then the minister will get up and can either go through each amendment and explain why we have accepted it, or, as members raise questions, can respond to individual questions. We have accepted most but not all of the amendments. Most of the ones we did not accept, I think, were drafting - I look at my friend, he concurs - with drafting amendments and quite simply, the advice we have from our drafters is different from that which we got from the committee. We chose to rely upon the advice of our own drafters for better or for worse; but that is our practice. If that is agreeable with the committee we can proceed and get on with the debate on the points as to why we've done what we've done.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) agreeable.

MR. ROBERTS: I gather it is agreeable, Mr. Chairman, so I will move the amendments to Bill No. 1, as they have been placed in the hands of the Clerk, by the law clerks, and as they are shown in boldface on Bill No. 1 as reprinted. If that is not a suitable motion, then the Clerk could let me know and I will make another in due course.

Thank you, Sir.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible), he can tell you what we have done and why.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Shall clause 1 carry? No amendment to clause 1?

MS. VERGE: Chairperson, (inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Oh, I am sorry.

MS. VERGE: I missed part of that discussion because I was out answering questions about public libraries but, what I thought I heard the Government House Leader say is that the Minister of Health responsible for this bill, was going to speak off the top, under clause 1 to explain all the amendments that he and the government are proposing, and before we leave clause 1, it is my understanding that Opposition members will have a chance to talk generally about the whole bill before we proceed to get into later clauses and details.

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

There are a number of changes that were proposed by the committee and the ones we have accepted are in bold type; I will go over the bold type ones first.

On page 5 of the reprinted bill, the word vehicle is there in clause 2 (h) (viii), where the word vehicle is in bold type, originally it was bus and this changes it. I guess in effect it means that any vehicle including taxis will now be designated a public place; and the next amendment that has been proposed by the hon. House Leader, is in clause 4, where the committee had recommended and the Cabinet accepted the insertion of the words, seating or other. Formerly it read: shall not exceed 20 per cent of the area normally occupied by the public and the committee suggested that seating or other be inserted and this is acceptable.

The next amendment is over on page 6, where, clause 5 (f) reads: a vehicle designed or used for carrying passengers for compensation. If you look at the original printing of the bill, that was just put in as bus and again, there is to be no smoking area or room in a vehicle designed or used for carrying passengers for compensation rather than just the word `bus' and we accepted that one.

Now under clause 7, you will see the words smoking rooms under 7 (2), smoking rooms, formerly that was as smoking areas and it should be smoking rooms. That was an oversight and we thank the committee for bringing that to our attention. The next one that was accepted is on page 8, where clause 13, subsection (1) which were the words, or public place, have been added. Before, it was just smoking in a workplace and the committee suggests that we add the words `or public place' and that is acceptable; and then, the final amendment which was proposed and accepted is in clause 15, where we had proposed that it would be one year - `the act comes into force one year', but because it has been debated for so long that everybody knows about it, it is thought that six months would be adequate notice and we are going along with that.

There are certain other amendments which the committee had proposed and upon reflection, we thought would be perhaps inadvisable. One was a clause suggesting that we add at the beginning, `the purpose of this bill would be to protect the health of persons from harmful effects of secondary tobacco smoke and to effect the movement toward the creation of a smoke-free environment.' It was thought that might be unduly restrictive and may interfere with the actual working of the bill, so we thought we wouldn't put that in.

In Clause 3, it had been proposed that we put in the words: `except as provided in this Act.' Now, Clause 3 read originally, `A person shall not smoke in a workplace or in a public place.' Then it said: `except as provided in this Act.' It was thought that was redundant, because the very next clause says, "Notwithstanding section 3...." There was no need of putting in that one, that would have been just a redundancy if we had added it.

The other one that wasn't accepted was the suggestion that we would prohibit smoking in food establishments, including the area of licensed premises where meals are served. As laudable as that is, we thought it was pushing it a bit too hard to prevent smoking in any food establishment. Now, there is a rule that there has to be a non-smoking area, but to forbid smoking completely, we thought was a bit too much at this stage, at least.

There was another one there. In Clause 13: `Nothing in this Act derogates from the right of an owner or employer to prohibit smoking or from the right of a person to a smoke-free workplace or environment.' It was thought that would be a bit confusing so we thought we would leave that one out.

That is about it, Mr. Chairman.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Chairperson. In the absence of the Opposition health critic, who is once again home sick, I would like to have a few words to say about this bill.

I spoke in support of the principle of the bill during the second reading debate in the spring. I participated with the Social Legislation Review Committee of the House in examining the bill in detail this fall. I would like to say that the committee process was quite satisfactory. The committee, made up of seven members from all three parties, co-operated to seek public submissions. We were pleased to get responses from several organizations and individuals, many of whom made oral presentations here in this Chamber, and others of whom made written submissions.

Most of the people who responded to the committee are health advocates who enthusiastically supported the measure put forward by the government but who suggested some improvements. A couple of others, one or two individuals, argued that the legislation represents an unwarranted intrusion on individual rights. The committee unanimously supported the thrust of the bill, and in making our recommendations to the full House of Assembly, which the minister just referred to, we did draw on some of the advice of health advocates who made presentations.

Mr. Speaker, the part of this bill that generated the most controversy within the committee and among the presenters, is clause 4. I draw to the attention of members of the House who aren't on the committee, who may not be aware of what is going on, clause 4. Preliminary to clause 4, the bill establishes the general rule that public places and workplaces shall be smoke-free. So the general rule is no smoking allowed. Clause 4 goes on to make an exception by saying basically that the owner of a restaurant, or a food establishment, as it is called here, is allowed to designate up to 50 per cent of the area in the restaurant as a smoking area, provided the area is continuous. Clause 4 also provides that the owners of licensed premises - in other words, bars - similarly be allowed to designate up to 50 per cent of the bar area as a smoking area.

Mr. Chairman, there was extensive discussion, within the committee and at our hearings, about these measures. A majority of the committee - actually, I believe it was unanimous, all the committee, recommended that in the case of restaurants, or food establishments, that the legislation be amended to ban, outright, smoking.

I was impressed, at any rate - I can't speak for other members of the committee - with presentations that recounted the experience of the airline industry in Canada. Not so many years ago, basically aircraft allowed smoking at the choice of the passenger. It was a free-for-all situation. In response to passengers, in response to consumers, airlines began to try to restrict smoking. Initially some airlines designated non-smoking sections. Other airlines banned smoking on flights of more than two hours, or more than one hour duration. Practically, that was problematic. The part-way measure was difficult to measure, and difficult to enforce. Within a couple of years the airlines went all the way and banned smoking totally. This seems to have worked well. Smokers are managing to cope with smoke-free flights.

Because aircraft are obviously small, enclosed spaces, smoking anywhere in an aircraft does contaminate the total air space, so it was proven that there was not much point in trying to separate passengers into smoking and non-smoking sections, because the people in the non-smoking sections were being subjected to smoke just the same as the ones in the smoking seats. Similarly, it seems to me, maybe it is appropriate now to ban smoking outright in restaurants in the Province.

Restaurant owners have been far ahead of the Department of Health and Members of the House of Assembly, responding to the marketplace, the same as the airline industry initially responded to consumers. Most restaurants in the Province now have no smoking sections, and in most eating establishments, on arrival, a customer is asked if he or she wants smoking or non-smoking. It seems to me, we are now ready to go the rest of the distance and ban smoking outright in restaurants.

Now, in the case of licensed premises, or bars, many of the presenters said that these places are one of the last refuges of smokers. Smoking and drinking seem to go together, and the fact is that most bars - the same as some common room Christmas parties - have thick smoke.

Chairperson, the idea of expecting bar owners to segregate their premises into smoking and non-smoking areas, it seems to me, is impractical and unenforceable.

I was one of a minority on the committee - a minority of two - which recommended that the act be changed to leave alone bars and licensed premises. Chairperson, it is not because I don't share the goal of the majority of the committee in wanting to progress toward a smoke-free world. It is not because I do not share the goal of the majority of the committee of wanting to reduce the health hazards that are associated with breathing second-hand smoke. I share those goals very strongly as I indicated when I spoke in the spring in support of the principle of this legislation but, Chairperson, I don't see the point of bringing in a law which is practically meaningless because it just cannot be enforced. The reality in bars - and perhaps the Member for St. John's South can elaborate on this - there are several of us here who probably have a sense of personal experience in bars but the reality is that a high proportion of bar patron's smoke as they are drinking, the reality is that bar patron's are there to socialize and tend to mix around. There are licensed premises in downtown St. John's where most people stand - on busy nights it is standing room only and it just does not make any sense to try to segregate the smokers from the non-smokers. Chairperson, it is difficult to operate a business in this Province today. There are many obstacles in the way of small business people. There are several hurdles that have to be surmounted by bar owners or lounge owners. I submit that it is really not fair to bar owners to expect them

MR. MURPHY: By leave, Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Member for St. John's South.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MURPHY: Just a few comments, Mr. Chairman. I just want to remind hon. members that nobody can deny that the Minister of Health is going in the right direction. I think what we see here is legislation that is slowly but surely working its way to the understanding that smoking is obviously extremely bad for ones health. I just want to remind hon. members, in all honesty, that smoking or nicotine - I have an article that I read not long ago in an american periodical, that nicotine is more addictive than cocaine, than heroin. So I say to the hon. Member for Humber East that yes, I agree with her, that it is basically a way of life for those who go out and socialize. We all hope that the day will come when nobody will partake of tobacco products, but that is not reality. It is legal and every government in North American has legalized tobacco products and we have to be realistic about it.

I say to the hon. member that I disagree with her. I think that well ventilated areas of food establishments can be designated and I am not saying 50 per cent but certainly a small amount because there isn't 50 per cent of the populous out there who smoke. So maybe 25 per cent who would be able to go into an isolated area that is well ventilated to ensure those that do not smoke that they are not absorbing second-hand smoke. So I just put that to all hon. members -

MS. VERGE: What do you think about bars?

MR. MURPHY: I think it is going to be very difficult to police in bars. Maybe at 8:00 p.m. you can police it and put people in their sections and so forth and so on but by our own nature, as we socialize and move around that bar, I think it is going to be very difficult to police but I hope it can be.

MS. VERGE: Should the bars be in the act at all?

MR. MURPHY: Oh yes, I think they should be. I think we should try to start a smoke-free area in a bar. I say to you that it is going to be awfully difficult, by midnight, to police.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: I agree, I agree, I agree but I say to all hon. members, have and show some compassion. As time goes on I think the Minister of Health will have his wish. The day will come when a lot of us might be on the other side of the fence rather than on this side but his wish will be granted and we will see a smoke-free society. At least today we understand that it is an addictive, a very addictive problem. A lot of people are spending a lot of money trying to get off cigarettes, through the patches and so forth and so on, even to the point of hypnosis. So I ask all hon. members to consider this legislation as it is. I ask anybody who presumes or tells the world that they have a social conscience to stand in their place and try to amend this Bill without having some compassion for those who are, obviously, addicted to nicotine.

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

MR. HARRIS: I rise to speak on this Bill because I think it is a most important Bill dealing with a very common poison that unfortunately many people are addicted to. It is an important Bill because it deals, not with smokers, but it deals with non-smokers, people who do not smoke or who have managed to give it up, who have managed to get rid of this addiction to this poison, and they are threatened by those who still smoke or those who do smoke, and that is who we are talking about here. We are not talking about compassion for those who are addicted.

The Minister of Health just talked about the addictions branch and how he was changing that, putting it into the department, and all that sort of stuff, and the Minister of Health has another branch, another arm, to deal with people who are addicted. We are talking here about people who are not addicted. We are talking here about ordinary members of the public who have managed to avoid becoming addicted in some cases or those who have managed to escape their addiction, and we are talking about what amount of poison are we going to allow them to suffer? That is what we are talking about.

Now, I want to say something about the process. I think I will probably be speaking a couple of times on this so I will use this first opportunity to talk about the process, and I think we had a very good process. I want to say to the Chair of the committee and to all members who participated in the committee that I was very pleased with the co-operation that existed between members of the committee, the Chair, and all parties of the committee to try and do our best to improve this legislation. I think all hon. members on the committee would agree that we have made recommendations that would have improved the Bill. In fact some of these recommendations have been accepted. I am pleased to see that in fact many of the recommendations have been accepted and these recommendations will surely improve the Bill. I say that, Mr. Speaker, to underline my commitment to the committee process and to say how important I think it is for private members, particularly for government back-benchers to play a role in the formation of legislation that is for the benefit of members of the public.

I say for the first time also, Mr. Speaker, that a committee of this House has heard from school children. Sitting here in this House were fifteen high school and junior high school children who are going to be affected by not Bill 1, Mr. Speaker, but by Bill 7. We heard comments on that from the school children because Bill 7, the one we are going to debate next, was about the sale of tobacco to minors and the importance of trying to stop young people from getting into this poisonous addictive killing habit of smoking.

Mr. Speaker, we do see some improvements here. We have heard some general comments from the Member for St. John's South. I am sorry he is not in the House to listen to them. Perhaps he is listening to them outside. Perhaps he has gone out to have a smoke. That might be the case, but I say to hon. members, and I say it particularly to the Member for St. John's South who knows something about industrial health and safety, that it is not a simple matter of ventilating a bar or ventilating a place with smoke in it. We heard expert evidence in fact from an engineer who was asked about ventilation and spoke about that. He said that the reports of one study suggested that in order to be able to reduce the level of emissions from second-hand cigarette smoke in a bar, to eliminate known carcinogens from cigarette smoke to the level that is permitted in industry would require you to take all the walls out of the bar and have a force nine gale. Ventilation is not a solution I say to the Member for St. John's South.

Now, what do we do with people in bars? I am afraid we are coming to the point in this Province where we are going to have an enclave, a black hole. Every place that has a liquor license is going to be a black hole, a den of inequity. We are going to allow gambling to the point of ruining your family, to the point of destroying your pay cheque, or whatever cheque you get. You are going to allow all sorts of evil doing, if you want to call it that. Smoke to your heart's content, gamble to your heart's content, sin the worst kind of sin, as long as it is in a bar. As long as it is in a licensed premises we can do that.

So there is a `buyer beware.' If you walk into a licensed premises there are going to be carcinogens thrown at you from cigarettes. You are going to have the bare-breasted women, you are going to have whatever else is going to be allowed in bars. As long as you have a liquor license. A liquor license is going to be a license to do anything. If you have a liquor license you can smoke, you can poison people with cigarettes, you can have gambling and destroy their incomes, destroy their family, no problem. You can have the bare-breasted ladies, you can go down to The Cotton Club, and as long as we are in this enclave of a bar, anything goes. Anything goes as long as you have a liquor license.

I would say there are very many people who are not very happy with that. I don't see any reason why we should make special rules for bars when it comes to smoking. If members of the public want to go to a bar, just because they happen to have a liquor license, shouldn't mean that they have to put up with levels of smoke that are dangerous for their health.

I see the Member for Humber Valley going. I'm disappointed that he has to go. He wants to make an amendment to this Bill. I agree with him. He wants to make an amendment which suggests that if you are going to have separate smoking facilities that you have it partitioned off.

We now have amendments here in the Bill that are going to allow - they are going to allow you in a restaurant or a bar, you can have 50 per cent smoking and 50 per cent non-smoking, or 25 per cent, and there has to be a dividing line somewhere. If I'm sitting in a restaurant in this seat and the next person sitting in the next seat is in the smoking section, I'm going to be inhaling their smoke. It is as simple as that.

MR. WOODFORD: Either you put up a petition or get a gas mask.

MR. HARRIS: As the member says, you either need a partition or you need a gas mask to avoid the smoke of someone who is next to you. That is what we are allowing by this legislation. If we are going to seriously do something about the poison that comes from second-hand cigarette smoke, been proven to be carcinogenic -

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!

MR. HARRIS: Proven! Proven in families, proven in public places. The cancer rates for individuals who work behind bars or in restaurants is very high. So it is a known carcinogen. Even non-smokers who work in bars get cancer at much higher rates than anyone else.

What we are trying to do in this Bill - and the Committee considered all the alternatives, and came up with something which I felt was a reasonable compromise. That for restaurants we ought to have a rule that says: no smoking in restaurants. None whatsoever. If you are going to go and eat, go and eat. If you want to have a smoke afterwards, go outside afterwards, stand outside and have a smoke, afterwards.

MR. EFFORD: Oh, oh!

MR. HARRIS: Just for restaurants. Now bars, well, you know, they are a little different. No, maybe we should have 50/50 in bars. But for restaurants where people are going to eat - you know, someone wants to take their family out to eat in a restaurant and have a meal, why should you have to ingest poison. You are going out to eat for a healthy meal. Why should you be required to put up with somebody else's poison? That is an amendment that was recommended by the Committee, I think it was recommended unanimously by the Committee, and the government to date hasn't accepted it. Perhaps hon. members opposite would have a different view.

I see the Member for Fogo appears to agree. So at least we have one on that side, and we perhaps have the members of the Committee. Maybe there are others who are listening and pay attention to this kind of legislation that is designed to make this Bill better, and to make the environment of the Province that people are required to live in, the confined environment, the environment of restaurants and bars, to make them accessible to members of the public without having to ingest poisonous smoke, and I hope the Member for Fogo, when he speaks -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I would like to have a few words on this Bill and I am sure my friend the Deputy Premier, will want to speak to it.

Members of this House will recall, I recall it fondly, an incident that occurred back in 1991, was it, I say to the Deputy Premier. He is not listening to me, as usual, not paying any attention.

I think it was back in 1992, I asked the Deputy Premier when he brought in the regulations for banning smoking in the building, when was that, does anybody at the table remember?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: '91?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes.

MR. SIMMS: '91. The President of Treasury Board in March of '91 brought in regulations to ban smoking in the buildings and he and I made a public wager; we publicly challenged each other because both of us were smokers and the challenge was that we would quit, at least we would certainly quit in the building because we had to because it was now the law, but the idea was that we would quit totally.

Now, in a bit of a confession today, Mr. Chairman, I have to say this. I do not want to tell tales on the Deputy Premier, but I happen to know personally that the Deputy Premier was very weak and had a lot of difficulty in eliminating that addiction at that time -

AN HON. MEMBER: Who are you talking about, anyway?

MR. SIMMS: I am talking about your buddy from Gander, and in fact-

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Well, I will get to that now, and in fact the Deputy Premier lasted, I think, - oh, oh - I see one of our friends in the gallery who had a great interest in this issue. He is a non -smoker; he is a non-smoker, reformed, and there is nothing -

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Good for him.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: -but then as they say -

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

MR. SIMMS: - they are the worst kinds.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

I wonder -

MR. SIMMS: Anyway, so the Deputy Premier -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. SIMMS: - I think fell off the wagon after about thirty days -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. SIMMS: -I am not sure about that but it was not very long.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: What?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

I wonder if the hon. member could just take his seat, until I announce the questions for the Late Show.

MR. SIMMS: Oh, sorry, Mr. Chairman. I did not hear you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The questions for the Late Show are in this order:

I would like to have further response to my question regarding the confidentiality information at post-secondary institutions - the hon. Member for St. John's East Extern.

I am not satisfied with the answer to my question to the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture and would like to put it forward on the Late Show - the hon. Member for Baie Verte - White Bay.

I am not satisfied with the answer to the question I asked the Minister of Tourism and Culture today in regards to the tourism agreement - the hon. Member for St. Mary's - The Capes.

These are the three questions.

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

So as I was saying, the Deputy Premier fell off the wagon in a matter of days almost, maybe a month. I used to see him out on the front steps of Confederation Building; I used to see him. We all have our little idiosyncrasies but you have often noticed the Deputy Premier has a habit of walking very fast, I have noticed that and I used to see him, I don't know why, but I used to see him strutting very quickly out the front door of Confederation Building and I watched him. I used to look out the window on the fifth floor and watch him; right into his car, and he was not in the car before you could see the smoke coming out through the windows, puffing, puffing, puffing, and that was only a matter of weeks, I say to the Deputy Premier.

Now, in defense of my own personal situation, I am somewhat proud or I was somewhat proud that I lasted nearly a year, nearly a year.

AN HON. MEMBER: You didn't fall off the wagon?

MR. SIMMS: Yes, I did. Since it is confession time, I have to admit that a few months before last April, when we had an election call, I -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) drink.

MR. SIMMS: Well, I say to the Minister of Justice, I do not have the drinking habit too seriously, although anybody who may have attended our Christmas party last night might have a differing view of that as well.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: I am sure they are.

Anyway, I fell off the wagon, I guess, more than a year ago again, but I want to say to the Deputy Premier - now this is a great opportunity for he and I to renew our vows, if you want - to renew our vows.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: I do not want to make any blatant commitments here today, but I am prepared to suggest to the Deputy Premier that we may - he and I personally - might want to discuss this, and then maybe come to some agreement `behind closed doors', which is something that the Deputy Premier, of course, is very used to doing these days, in the government.

Mr. Chairman, I want to touch on two clauses in the Bill, specifically, and I want to give my views on it, and my position on it, particularly in Clause 5, which deals with the issue of smoking areas, or smoking rooms, not being designated in day care centres, nursery schools, secondary schools, elementary and primary schools, an acute health care facility, a retail store, a recreation facility, or a vehicle designed or used for carrying passengers for compensation.

Now my position on that, personally, is that I support that clause, even though I am a smoker myself, because I think that it makes eminent sense that you should not be smoking in a health care facility. It just does not make a lot of sense. It does not look good. It does not feel good, and of course we all know that secondary smoke affects people as well. So if I am a smoker, in my own view, if I am waiting in hospital for some testing, or in to visit, I can sure wait until the time comes to go outside, go outdoors, and if I have to have a smoke, do it out there.

So I support that particular clause, and I just want to put that on the record because I think it is sensible and reasonable, even though I am a smoker. Let us not forget the purpose of the legislation which is, I guess, to try to encourage those who smoke not to smoke because it is a terrible addiction.

The other clause that I just want to touch on briefly is Clause 4, and that is the issue of the area being designated in restaurants and bars, which has probably become the most controversial issue in this particular Bill. That is the biggest topic of discussion, I suppose.

I want to say to the Minister of Health, from my own personal view - now this is not an official party position. We have not discussed it in that sense, as an official party.

AN HON. MEMBER: Free vote, is it?

MR. SIMMS: Yes, it is a free vote on this one. In fact, my views differ from those of the Member for Humber East who just spoke a few minutes ago - on that particular clause. They do not differ on Clause 5. We agree on Clause 5, but on Clause 4 they do differ.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Yes.

So my view on the restaurant and bar issue, I say to the Minister of Health in particular, for what it is worth - it may be worth nothing to him, but I pass it on in any event - is that I kind of support the restaurant owners who tell me, at least, that up until now - and have convinced me - they have been able to handle the situation themselves. The Minister of Tourism nods. They have been able to handle the situation fairly well themselves, and I believe that to be true, as somebody who patronizes restaurants. You usually get shown to an area, if you want to go to a non-smoking area. If you want a smoking area they will try to find an area for you for smoking. Most people who go in could not care less. A lot of people could not care less.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Exactly.

So I say - and I think this is where I differ from my colleague from Humber East. I think she would like to see it banned totally, and I think that is what most people would like to see, I suppose, that it be banned totally, but we have to be practical and realistic too.

My own view is that I think the restaurants should be left alone, because I think they are doing a reasonably good job on it. There does not appear to be major pressure. I understand from the hospitality association that that is similar to their point of view as well.

In the case of bars I have a real problem with that anyway. Not that I patronize bars, because I don't, not very frequently. But I understand, having been involved in a family business years back which involved a bar and the operation of a bar, how difficult it is and would be to enforce such a regulation as saying: there has to be an area designated for non-smoking. It is very difficult.

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Sorry?

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Eliminate booze? I would challenge the Deputy Premier on that one any day, because I hardly touch the stuff anyway. Only periodically. I only drink on two occasions. That is when I'm alone or when I'm with somebody.

In the case of bars I think, as I said, it is difficult to enforce. Also, from what I understand, from people I've talked to - and I'm no expert on it by far; the minister would probably be more of an expert in this area because he has talked to more people about it - the ventilation systems, as I understand it, are not necessarily easy to obtain, first of all, a ventilation system that would do the job that has to be done, or that people would intend to have done. Secondly, as I understand it, it is fairly costly as well.

From those two perspectives I don't know how we can enforce or insist that bars have non-smoking areas in the bars. I really don't know how they can enforce or would be able to enforce that particular kind of clause. So I differ from the Member for Humber East on that, from a personal nature, and I just wanted to put it on the record, pass it on to the Minister of Health for what it is worth. In the end, I guess, the House will decide by majority what position it favours.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. BARRETT: Mr. Chairman, I would like to have a few words to say about this particular Bill. As a person who, like the Member for St. John's South, is addicted to nicotine, who for some thirty-two years has been a smoker, and as a matter of fact started smoking on Woody Island when it was very fashionable to smoke. If you were anybody at that particular time you had to smoke.

I agree with this Bill. I agree with certain parts of the Bill. I agree with the principle of the Bill. Not in terms of affecting me as a person, because I've given up smoking 110 times, but the problem is that I've taken it up 111, and still counting. It is an awful addiction. As a matter of fact, in the debate about smoking sometimes I get very irritated with some of the people in terms of what the cost of smoking is.

One of the reasons that we are banning smoking is because of the tremendous health cost associated with smoking. My understanding is that last year the Province brought in some $60 million in revenue from a tobacco tax. If we could eliminate smuggling from St. Pierre and Miquelon we would bring in another $20 to $30 million in tobacco tax. The health experts say that there is roughly a $30 million cost to the health care system due to smoking. I always say in a very joking way, if you can tell me a business that I can start tomorrow that I can bring in $60 million with a cost of $30 million, I would start it.

I think the debate should be extended further. As a person who doesn't consume alcoholic beverages, we never hear the tremendous cost to society of alcohol beverages. On quite a few occasions I've seen, or come upon, an accident of an impaired driver, and as a matter of fact some of them very tragic, where there have been not only tremendous costs in terms of health care, but tremendous costs in terms of families' lives. The social cost of drinking is tremendous.

I know people who have lost a child because of alcoholic beverages. I think there should be a discussion about some of these sins, that we call sin taxes. I think that alcohol is one that should be restricted to the age limit in terms of the people being able to buy alcoholic beverages. It should be raised as well as smoking.

I support this Bill. I've got a twenty-year-old who doesn't smoke. I've got a fifteen-year-old home, but I'm sure that he has, because his mother has caught him a few times, even though his father - and as a matter of fact, the annoying thing when he was younger, he would always complain about his father smoking but when you get out with your peer group and you get over to that junior high school - where the Member for Waterford - Kenmount was the principle - and they are allowed outside the door and allowed to smoke, you never know what is going to happen.

AN HON. MEMBER: Shame, you should have put a stop to it.

MR. BARRETT: He should have abandoned smoking on the playgrounds and in the parking lots but, the Member for Waterford - Kenmount, that is his fault. I support this Bill because of the young people who will come after us in terms that they will hopefully never get addicted to nicotine.

I disagree with the hon. Member for St. John's East in terms of his amendment, if it passed, it would eliminate smoking in food establishments places completely. A person who likes to eat and not drink but likes to eat a lot - as you can see - there is nothing more relaxing than to go out for a nice dinner and be able to have a nice smoke afterwards. I would not be able to support that amendment because of the pleasure that is derived from those of us who smoke but also I think that if this amendment were to go through, it would be a tremendous cost to the operators of restaurants. I would say to the hon. member that most of the restaurants on Duckworth Street and all those restaurants down there in his district, will close their doors if we pass this amendment which means that people will not be able to smoke in food establishment places. So I urge all my hon. colleagues on this side not to vote for the amendment to Clause 5, which would eliminate smoking in food establishment places but go with what is in the Bill as presented by the hon. minister. Thank you very much.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Member for Grand Bank.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I know the Government House Leader is getting a little impatient over there. The Government House Leader wants to get on with business and get progress or report progress but this is -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, I say to the Government House Leader, this is an important topic for many of us. We are talking about smoking in public places and in the workplace and there are some strong arguments on both sides but, Mr. Chairman, I have never been a smoker -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, that is true. I cannot speak with authority on what it does but I guarantee you one thing, Mr. Chairman, that I support the thrust of the legislation but I don't think it goes far enough. I have listened to members quite intently this afternoon talking about the restaurant situation. Now I don't think there should be any tolerance whatsoever for smoking in restaurants. I say that in all sincerity and honesty. It just should not be tolerated. Of course there is a greater understanding amongst people today, even amongst smokers that they really try to cut down and curtail smoking when they are in the presence of people eating. In my own case, I have people come to my house where I have a couple of friends who smoke and they don't even ask anymore, `do you mind if I smoke,' because they know I do. They will go outside on the patio somewhere if they want to have a draw after they have a bite to eat. So there is a greater understanding about that. I don't think that should even be entertained, I say to members, to the Government House Leader and ministers, there should be no smoking whatsoever in restaurants.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: And this argument that people are using about they will put you in a non-smoking section but of course we all know what happens in the restaurants. The first number of patrons arrive and they take you up one end that is non-smoking and down in the other end is smoking but as the restaurant fills up you get closer and closer together and if the owner or the operator of the restaurant is lucky enough before the lunch is over or the evening meal is over the restaurant is completely blocked. What you have then is a non-smoking table here and a smoking table here, back to back. What a farce it makes of it all, I say to members opposite, because if someone is at the next table, and it is a smoking table, and I am next to them at the non-smoking, then I, quite naturally, inhale and breathe in the smoke that is coming off the end of their cigarette and the smoke they are blowing out of their face. So I can't see how we can honestly stand here, or sit here, and even entertain voting for smoking in restaurants. I can't understand that.

I would appeal and ask members opposite, who have the majority -

AN HON. MEMBER: Is there a free vote on that?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I would hope that there is a free vote on such an important issue with the government members. Is there a free vote on this, I ask the Government House Leader. Is there a free vote on this very important issue? Because I am sure the majority of members on the other side are against smoking in restaurants, as well. I am sure they are, and I just hope they have the freedom to vote the way they feel on this issue.

AN HON. MEMBER: Are you against it?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Against what?

AN HON. MEMBER: Smoking in restaurants.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Totally against it. I don't think there should be any smoking whatsoever, because regardless of how big the restaurant is, you get air flow in the restaurant. You get smoke coming your way, even if you are in the non-smoking section. Then, like I said - I don't know if the Member for Fogo was listening - when the restaurant fills up, you have a non-smoking table here, and a smoking table here, so what is the point of being in a non-smoking area, I ask the Minister of Tourism and Culture? What is the point of saying, "I want a non-smoking table," when at the table next to you, four or five people are blowing smoke in your face all night?

MR. WALSH: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Don't argue too vehemently, now.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: What is the minister saying over there?

MR. WALSH: (Inaudible) shut down all the restaurants.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, I am not trying to shut down all the restaurants, I say to the Minister of Tourism and Culture, who I know has had past experiences in restaurants with varying degrees of success.

AN HON. MEMBER: Sixty-five per cent of the people don't smoke.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Exactly.

MR. WALSH: (Inaudible) successful one.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh, when you left they all folded up. Mr. Chairman, what can I say?

I say to the Minister of Tourism and Culture, do not tell me that people are going out to restaurants because they can go out there and smoke. That is not why they are going to the restaurant.

Let me say to the minister - let me just reverse the argument on him. How many non-smokers out and about won't go into a restaurant because there are people in there blowing smoke in their faces? Think about that side of the argument.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Think about that side of the argument, I say to the minister.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Chairman, could I have protection from the minister? Get up and speak in debate if you want to say something.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Don't sit in your place like a stuffed chicken and quack and flutter over there.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Chairman, if he wants to take part in debate, let him stand up and take part in it, and say he supports the legislation.

MR. SIMMS: Not be quacking.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Quacking and cackling over there all day.

Mr. Chairman, bars - people sort of bear leniency to bars. They think the kind of people who go into bars are more understanding. If they go into a bar they expect to find people in there smoking. When I go into a bar, which I do fairly often - I visit a bar or two on the weekends when I am home. My best friend owns a bar, which I go into almost every weekend, and it is a rather small bar. I think the capacity is probably thirty-five or forty people. Now, are you going to tell him that he has to have 50 per cent non-smoking capacity? So you are standing over here - I mean, I said to him the other day, `Where are you going to draw the smoking line?' He said, `What are you talking about?' I said, `Boy, you are going to have 50 per cent of this smoking - ' We are all in the one little area, Mr. Chairman. What is the point of twenty over there smoking and the other twenty here, where you can touch everybody?

That is the way I feel about it. I don't think smoking should be tolerated anywhere.

MR. CRANE: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, I don't, I say to the Member for Harbour Grace. I know he likes his smoke and that is fair enough.

MR. CRANE: But you don't mind smoking in bars.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I do mind smoking in bars. I don't want smoking anywhere. The member is not listening. I don't want smoking anywhere. When I go to a bar on Saturday afternoon I don't want to be breathing smoke. All I want to do is enjoy what is in my glass. I don't want anything affecting my lungs.

MR. CRANE: Why don't you stay home?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I am not going to stay home, I say to the member. Why isn't it my right to go out to a bar on a Saturday afternoon, or Saturday night, and have a drink? Why do I have to stay home because the Member for Harbour Grace wants to be in there smoking a ten foot cigar and blowing poison in the air, poisoning everyone in the bar, himself plus everyone else? Why should I have to tolerate that?

MR. WALSH: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Chairman, I wish the Minister of Tourism and Culture would close down, close his mouth if nothing else over there. I don't think you have opened up too many restaurants since you have been minister, I say to him. I don't see any big boom in the restaurant and club industries since you became minister. As a matter of fact, if we were to do a survey now on restaurants and clubs in the Province since you became minister, I would be awfully surprised if there were not one heck of a lot less open, I say to the minister. So don't base your argument on the success of restaurants and bars because people can smoke or not smoke in them.

I don't know why the Cabinet didn't accept the recommendation in total from the committee, why they accepted some but they didn't accept all of it. Mr. Speaker, I want to go on record as being opposed to smoking in bars and restaurants. I really do. I want to go on record as being against it. Having said that, I guess I realize what the problem is going to be for people who own establishments, who in a bar twenty by twenty, or thirty by thirty, have to have half their space smoke-free. It will not be smoke-free I say to members. The space will not be smoke-free. The only thing it will be is that people in that 50 per cent non-smoking area will not be smoking but they will be breathing in the smoke from the other crowd, so what is the difference?

DR. HULAN: That is worse.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The Member for St. George's says that is worse. What are we really doing here? Why are we trying to fool ourselves here? Why are we trying to kid ourselves and trying to make the people of the Province believe we are serious about promoting non-smoking, and that we are concerned about the effects on the health of our people that is caused by smoke? Why are we trying to do that? Who do we think we are fooling except ourselves here?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: By leave for a minute. Who do we think we are kidding I say to Mr. Chairman, when you have a place of a forty-or-fifty-person capacity, and you have a place thirty by thirty, of which fifteen feet is non-smoking and the other fifteen feet is smoking? My God, who are we kidding?

MR. WALSH: Go somewhere else.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, that will do something to keep the place open, I say to the Minister of Tourism and Culture. You will keep one place open but you will close up the place you just left, I say to the minister. There is one thing I would like to be able to do, Mr. Chairman, I would like to be able to trace the family tree of the Minister of Tourism and Culture, because I would say that somewhere in his background he had to be related to Valdmanis. With the wisdom that comes out of it, he had to be related to old Valdmanis.

MR. SIMMS: Colonel Sanders.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, Colonel Sanders was too successful, I assure you.

Mr. Chairman, to me, it is a very serious topic and one that I feel very strongly about. I don't know why we are here today trying to kid ourselves and think that it is alright for us to have 50 per cent space in a restaurant, or in a bar, where people can smoke and we think that is quite alright. You are still harming those who don't want to smoke. Everyone in the establishment is going to be breathing in carcinogens.

MR. SIMMS: Smokers have some rights.

AN HON. MEMBER: The hon. member breathes in more trouble on a foggy day in by the mall than he does in a smoke environment.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I agree, smokers have rights. But, I mean, to me it is very serious and I want to express those views on it. I think we are only kidding ourselves to pass this today, or whenever we pass it, and I ask government members to seriously consider what we are doing here. We are only kidding ourselves and making a fool of ourselves by passing this legislation.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. member's time has elapsed.

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave! Leave withdrawn!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Leave is withdrawn. That is all I wanted to say, Mr. Chairman. Thank you very much. I thank hon. members for leave.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Before we get into the passing of the bill, I would like to welcome to the public galleries, on behalf of hon. members, the former Member for Baie Verte - White Bay, Mr. Harold Small.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

On motion, amendment carried.

On motion, Clause 2 as amended, carried.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Clause 4. There is an amendment.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have an amendment to - there are two amendments, actually, an amendment to clause 4 and clause 5. I would propose, with the consent of hon. members, to have both amendments -

MR. ROBERTS: They really are the same (inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: They are to the same effect, or have the same result, essentially, the purpose of which is to make smoking in restaurants to be prohibited.

The amendment would be to delete from clause 4(3) the words "for a food establishment or", and to add to clause 5 the following subclause (g), which would be one of the places where you couldn't have a smoking room - "a food establishment or that part of a licensed premises that is used as a food establishment". That is the amendment, Mr. Chairman. I would be happy to speak to it, perhaps at the end of the Late Show. There is one minute

AN HON. MEMBER: No Late Show.

MR. HARRIS: There's no Late Show? So I can carry on? Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

This amendment - some people have already spoken to the amendment or parts of it, in their speeches. I also say this is quite a serious amendment, and I say this as one who, like the Chairperson, the Member for Bellevue, I am also addicted to tobacco, nicotine. I happen to be not smoking, and I haven't had a cigarette since September of 1986. But I say to hon. members and to the Chairperson I am still addicted to nicotine. I cannot have one cigarette. If I took a cigarette today I would have another one tomorrow. So I don't have any cigarettes because I am addicted to nicotine. I say that quite sincerely. So I say this as someone who has a lot of experience with being a cigarette smoker. I smoked from the age of about ten or twelve - when it was cool, I think the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) long ago.

MR. HARRIS: It wasn't very long ago, says the Opposition Leader, and he is right, it wasn't very long ago. For many years, from the time I was ten or twelve years old until the time I was twenty-seven, when I smoked two packs of cigarettes a day, I smoked a great deal.

We are doing, with this legislation, two things: we are trying to create a smoke-free environment; we are also trying to discourage smoking. We are trying to make it less likely for people to smoke because we want to discourage smoking. I say that in restaurants, in particular, it is a situation where people go to have a meal. They go to enjoy themselves with their family. They don't want to have to expose their family, their own children, to cigarette smoking, to cigarette smoke, or to watching people smoke, for that matter, and individuals who are non-smokers, who are the majority at the moment, should have that right.

We are not talking about choices here, we are not talking: some people choose to be smokers and some people don't. We are talking here about people who are being forced to ingest poisonous gases in the air. That is what we are talking about. Evidence before our committee was that at least 20 per cent of the population have health problems directly associated with second-hand smoke, that they cannot tolerate second-hand smoke to the point that it endangers their health, whether by way of allergies, by way of emphysema, by way of other problems that they have, they can't tolerate cigarette smoke.

They would not be able to go to restaurants, Mr. Chairman, even with the 50/50 provisions that we have now. If we say there should be no smoking in restaurants, these 20 per cent will be able to go to restaurants without having to suffer any health consequence and that is what we are asking; we are asking here to make restaurants a healthy environment for people to be able to go to and eat. Now, you know, we have heard arguments saying that all the restaurants will close down, but that is a joke, are people going to stop eating?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You might have less hospital beds filled up.

MR. HARRIS: Well, as the member says you might have less hospital beds filled up; you might have less people going off to get asthma medication; you might have less people going to the emergency wards in hospitals suffering from lung problems and other respiratory ailments, you might have that but you are not going to have restaurants closing down. You may well have an increase in business in restaurants for people who want to be able to go out and enjoy themselves without exposing themselves and their families to poisonous gases in the form of smoke.

Now, the committee debated this, the committee had all the experts, we had more hearings I suppose than the Member for St. John's South had on the labour bill two years ago. We had hearings, we had witnesses, we had school children, we had adults, we had health professionals, we had people fly in from Toronto to make presentations to this committee on the basis of the research that they had done. Very competent, very qualified individuals from the Non-smokers Rights Foundation who had a tremendous amount of research, comparative legislation all across North America, and they gave us a great amount of statistical information which helped us in our deliberations in our committee. Our committee, the Member for Port au Port, the Member for Fortune - Hermitage, the Member for Humber East, the Member for Placentia and others, all listened to all of this information and we made the recommendation that a similar type of amendment is necessary to be passed and we did this knowing that it was of some controversy, knowing that it was a progressive piece of legislation, knowing that it would take an enlightened House to pass the legislation, but knowing as well, Mr. Chairman, that this legislation would enhance the health of individuals in our community.

Now we did hear information saying that in Newfoundland the proportions of smokers and non-smokers was sixty-five to thirty-five; 35 per cent smokers and 65 per cent non-smokers. The biggest concern that we heard about, Mr. Chairman, was that the new smokers are almost always young people between the ages of twelve and fourteen. These are the new smokers and mostly young women, and these are the people that the tobacco companies are targeting. They are advertising at them, they are aiming at them and these are the new smokers, and five years from now they will all be addicts and we will have another crop of young addicts who are going to come into this House and say: well, you know we are addicted so we should be allowed to smoke; why shouldn't we be allowed to smoke, we have become addicted to smoking too, but Chairperson -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HARRIS: If I may just have a brief leave to finish the last two sentences?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave.

MR. HARRIS: These are the reasons, Chairperson, and the members of the House, why I think that this amendment is a desirable one and one that I would hope that members would see fit to pass at this committee.

Thank you very much and thank you for granting leave.

MR. CHAIRMAN: All those in favour of the amendment to Clause 4, say 'aye'

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Against?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Nay.

MS. VERGE: Chairperson, I wish to move an amendment to clauses 4 and 5?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Clause 4 has already been carried.

MS. VERGE: We just voted on the amendment, Chairperson; I am about to move another amendment.

Chairperson, consistent with what I said when I spoke earlier, I believe the time has come for us to ban smoking outright in restaurants and food establishments, in a similar way as the airline industry has banned smoking on all flights in Canada. Also, I believe, the idea of expecting bar owners to segregate their premises into smoking and non-smoking areas, however well-intentioned, it simply won't work, it is ridiculous. I think unenforceable laws simply lead to a lack of respect for the law. Accordingly, Chairperson, I move the following amendments:

I move that Clause 4 be amended by deleting subclause (3) and substituting the following; not withstanding subsection (1), the owner of licensed premises may designate a smoking area in all or part of the premises, and I move that Clause 5 be amended by adding a subclause, adding an item to the list, letter (g), a restaurant or food establishment. In other words, Chairperson, I am seeking changes that would have the effect of realizing that basically all or nothing are enforceable.

MR. CHAIRMAN: On a point of order, the hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Point of order, the hon. Lady, as I heard the amendment she just made, that is precisely the one the committee just voted down, Mr. Chairman, and that being the case it is out of order. Now if it is different - she has not done me the courtesy to send me a copy of hers but my hon. friend for St. John's East gave me a copy of his and they appear to be the same. If they are the same - the first one she spoke of a licensed lounge, the second one, she spoke only of a restaurant. Now if they are the same, fine, it is over. If not - now this is all - look, all this confusion because they are playing these silly little games. If they want us to look at amendments seriously, please send them over, we will look at them. We are not closed-minded. I make the point of order in any event, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. HARRIS: I believe there is a distinction between the two amendments. When I moved the amendment - I moved the amendment that would cover food establishments including those parts of licensed bars. I know there was some disagreement in the committee between the Member for Humber East and I, on this. She did not think that you could deal with licensed premises because there were some bars that had restaurants in them and this, that and the other thing. So I believe this amendment is, although similar,- she could vote against this amendment in other words and propose her own and be consistent within herself. So I think it is a separate amendment.

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

MS. VERGE: Chairperson, despite being put down once again by being called silly by the Government House Leader, I will reiterate my motions. They are to ban smoking in restaurants and food establishments and to basically allow bar owners or licensed premises owners to regulate themselves, depending on the marketplace. In other words, free for all in bars and no smoking in restaurants.

Chairperson, I share the goals stated by the Minister of Health and others who support this measure. I support the principle of the Bill. The goals that I share have to do with minimizing the health hazards associated with second-hand smoke - decreasing and eventually eliminating smoking entirely because of the known health hazards for both smokers and non-smokers.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

I think the hon. member is speaking on the point of order and I think the Chair has heard enough to rule on the point of order.

MS. VERGE: Oh, I am sorry, Chairperson, I thought we were beyond that -

MR. CHAIRMAN: You are engaging in debate now on the amendment and I don't have a copy of the amendment but my understanding is that there is a difference in the amendment. I rule that the amendment is in order.

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Chairperson. If one of my colleagues would talk for a few minutes I will write out my amendment but I think I have explained it clearly enough for members to understand it. It is to delete Clause 4(3) and substitute not withstanding subsection (1), the owner of a licensed premises may designate a smoking area in all or part of the premises and then to enlarge Clause 5 by adding to the list (g), a restaurant or food establishment.

On motion, amendment carried.

On motion, Clause 4 as amended, carried.

MR. CHAIRMAN: We will deal with the amendment from the Member for St. John's East.

On motion, amendment carried.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The next one we deal with is the amendment by the hon. Member for Humber East.

On motion, amendment carried.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The next amendment is the amendment proposed by the Government House Leader.

On motion, amendment carried.

On motion, Clauses 5, 7, 13, and 15, as amended, carried.

Motion, that the committee report having passed the Bill with amendments, carried.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Sir, would you please call Order 2, Bill 7.

I would like to acknowledge and thank hon. members opposite for waving the Late Show. I can assure them that we will adjourn half an hour earlier than otherwise would have been the case.

Mr. Chairman, we earlier discussed the order of business for the day. Honourable members are masters of their own fate - or mistresses, as may be the case.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Sir, you tell me which ones you want to debate and we will -

MR. W. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I do not want to be here on Christmas Eve, Bill.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You won't be.

MR. ROBERTS: Well, the way to do it is to clear off these minor bills.

MS. VERGE: They are not minor bills. You invite people to talk longer than they would otherwise.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

Bill No. 7.

A bill, "An Act Respecting The Control Of The Sale Of Tobacco To Miners."

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman, as before, there are amendments - a similar situation with this Bill in that there are amendments which the government wish to propose. I would suggest we follow the same procedure we followed before, if that is amendable to the committee.

On motion, Clause 1 carried.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Clause 2.

MS. VERGE: Chairperson.

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

MS. VERGE: The Member for St. John's East was on his feet plus, once again, the Government House Leader misled the House. He indicated that, same as with Bill 1, the sponsoring minister would rise and explain all the proposed amendments to the Bill before we proceeded to finish with clause 1 and that did not happen, so I would suggest that we revert to clause 1, recognize the Member for St. John's East, or go to the minister and have him explain the amendments that the government is putting forward, plus, I would suggest that if the minister has a list of the amendments on paper, that he circulate copies.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

When the Chair called clause 1, there was no member standing. Clause 1 says: this act may be cited as a Tobacco Control Act and I am sure that the hon. -

MR. ROBERTS: I have no difficulty on behalf of my friends and colleagues here in agreeing to revert to 1. The hon. lady said that I misled the House, I hope she spoke in haste. I am not here to mislead the House and the hon. lady may be letting her emotions run away with her reason and her rationality. We have no difficulty, Mr. Chairman, in reverting to clause 1 and we will debate this Bill and any other bill at committee as long as hon. members wish to debate it, Sir.

MS. VERGE: Chairperson?

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

MS. VERGE: Chairperson, what we agreed upon, was a sensible, orderly way of considering Bill 7. Now the Government House Leader has a knack of messing up an otherwise orderly proceeding. As members from all three parties serving on the Social Services Committee co-operated in examining the Bill and recommending certain changes, the Minister of Health and his Cabinet colleagues looked at the committee's report, rejected some of the advice but incorporated others and amended the Bill.

Now, we were supposed to start this clause by clause analysis by hearing from the minister, what changes he has incorporated into this revised bill. Having heard the minister's explanation, then the Member for St. John's East, who was on his feet was entitled to be heard on clause 1, so I would suggest, Chairperson, that somebody over there, representing the government, give us a rundown of the changes that have been made to this Bill since we first debated it in principle back in the spring, and then we proceed to hear from the Member for St. John's East.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The Chair wants to clarify with the hon. Member for Humber East, that when the Chair called clause 1, there was no member standing. The House has agreed that we can revert to clause 1, so there is no point in arguing the point. If the hon. Member for St. John's East wants to speak on clause 1, he can speak on clause 1.

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

MR. HARRIS: That is if the Minister of Health is not intending to introduce the Bill, I would defer to the Minister of Health if he wishes to explain the amendments as he did with the other bill? It appears that he does not want to. The only reason clause 1 is being debated at this stage, Chairperson, is the normal procedure at the committee hearings in this House since I have been here at least, have been that clause 1 is a time when people talk generally about the Bill and generally about the legislation.

MR. ROBERTS: What is the problem?

MR. HARRIS: We are there.

MR. ROBERTS: Carry on.

MR. HARRIS: The only reason why we are at Clause 1, and we wish to debate Clause 1, is that that is the time since I have been in the House that we generally speak about general matters in relation to the Bill, and this one is just as important and probably more important than the other piece of legislation we just debated. The reason why it is is because it is an attempt through this legislation to control, by controlling the access to tobacco products, controlling the number of new smokers from becoming addicted to tobacco smoke and tobacco products. As was mentioned to us by the presenters the largest number of new smokers, new entrants to the smoking market are people under the age of sixteen, in fact, who become smokers. Some of them become addicted very early. In fact we had representatives of young people speak to our committee some of whom acknowledged that they were smokers and were already addicted.

MR. TULK: Is that number increasing?

MR. HARRIS: That is a good point. The hon. member for Fogo asks if that number is increasing? The answer is, yes, it is. The attack on the minds of young people by the tobacco companies through advertising is becoming very effective. Adults are stopping smoking. Adults like us here, and we heard other individuals speak today about their struggle to stop, adults are stopping smoking and young people under sixteen are starting smoking, particularly young girls. The increase in lung cancer amongst women is rising and amongst men it is going down. This is really devastating news and I think anything we can do here today in this House to stop young people from starting smoking we should do. The figures that were given to us are that 87 per cent of the lung cancer deaths and 29 per cent of asthma is aggravated by side stream smoke, so 87 per cent of lung cancer is attributed to smoking - and this is second-hand smoke, it is estimated that 300 Canadians per year, and that includes eight Newfoundlanders per year die as a result of inhaling second-hand tobacco smoke, and that is not counting those who are starting smoking themselves.

The statistics that were given to us was that 120,000 children begin smoking annually in Canada, a disproportionate number of whom are girls. That is a very devastating statistic. I know it is something that speakers have spoken to, the peer pressure that may exist on some young people to smoke.

What we intend to do, hope to do, though this bill and our committee, was to - at great discussion on it - try and restrict access to tobacco products.

The experts who talked to us said that the only thing that really works - education does not work. It is no good to tell a child - a fifteen year old or a twelve year old, that smoking causes cancer. It is no good to show them a pink, healthy lung and a cancerous lung. It does not work. Young people, we are told, have it in their mind that they are immortal. Young people are immortal. It is not going to happen to me.

That is the result of studies. It is not my idea. What we are told is that education does not work. Young people who start smoking know that it is bad for their health. They know it is bad for their health, but the attraction, whatever it is - through the advertising, that gets to them, through their peers, the peer pressure of how cool it is to be seen with a fag hanging out of your mouth, or whatever it is that attracts them - once they get the first initial smoke then they very quickly become addicted.

What works, we are told, is making it more expensive. The more expensive you make cigarettes, the fewer people start smoking, because if the kids only have a certain amount of money they are not going to spend all of their money to buy a fag. So the more taxes, the more expensive it is to get hold to cigarettes, the fewer number of people start. The harder it is to get cigarettes, the fewer of them will start.

In terms of availability - like cigarettes, buy a package. If you can buy one at a time you will have more people smoking. If you can buy five at a time, in these kiddie packs, you will have more people smoking, but if you are forced to buy twenty, and it costs $6 or $10 or whatever, fewer people will smoke.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) doing that.

MR. HARRIS: We are not doing it in this Bill.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Well I hope he will, because we did not have the Minister of Health dealing with it.

MR. ROBERTS: My hon. friend for St. John's East will find, in the Tobacco Tax Act, Mr. Chairman, Bill No. 46, will find a provision that makes it unlawful to sell cigarettes in any packet under twenty, I think. I will just look it up, but I remember we put it in there directly.

MS. VERGE: Let Hubert explain it.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman, the hon. lady obviously didn't work in a Cabinet where members worked collegiately, but this one does. I will find the records but I assure my learned friend that we have addressed that issue and we have addressed it by amending the Tobacco Tax Act to make it unlawful to sell any pack under twenty in this Province.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Chairperson, I thank the minister for that and I take his word on it and if he happens to be mistaken, that inadvertently was left out, I am sure he would accept an amendment at the appropriate time. But I do take his word on that and thank him for pointing that out.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Any package that contains fifteen or less cigarettes, I have found (inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Fifteen or less?

MS. VERGE: Where is that?

AN HON. MEMBER: Bill 46.

MR. ROBERTS: Yes, it is in 6(4) of Bill 46 which is found on page 7: `A person shall not sell, give, possess, mark or stamp a package of cigarettes that contains 15 or less cigarettes.' I am told that there is no pack between twenty and fifteen. In my days they used to be two cents each and three for a nickel but that was a long time ago.

MR. HARRIS: In my day you could get a Coke and a smoke and a raisin square for, I think it was twelve cents - it was ten cents or fifteen cents - I know a Coke was seven. A Coke and a smoke and a raisin square for fifteen cents. I remember Spur Cola yes - Royal Crown Cola.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I will remind hon. members to keep the debate relevant.

MR. HARRIS: Is my time up?

AN HON. MEMBER: No, you can go ahead.

MR. HARRIS: Is my time up, Chairperson?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Close.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Chairperson.

I am very pleased that the government has taken that up. I thought in looking at the bill - because I examined the bill when it was reprinted. I didn't see that amendment that was proposed by our committee was accepted. I am very glad to see that it is in another piece of legislation.

There was another concern that we had in committee and made recommendation that vending machines be prohibited in areas except those that are in licensed premises not available to children under nineteen, so that you couldn't have a hotel lobby with a vending machine, you couldn't have a school with a vending machine, you couldn't have vending machines anywhere except inside bars. I am told, Chairperson, that that is one of the ways that kids get access to cigarettes. They just get their looney coins and go to a place where there is a machine that sells cigarettes. I don't see that amendment in this legislation to outlaw vending machines. I know that the Province of Ontario has recently passed legislation banning vending machines for cigarettes altogether. The Province of Nova Scotia has made the regulation banning the selling of cigarettes in vending machines, I believe, except in licensed bars or maybe altogether. We propose something less than that in our amendment and that was to say, yes, you could sell cigarettes in vending machines but not in any place other than places where children did not have access and that was licensed premises. So that is another clause that I would like to see and perhaps the Minister of Health could comment on that, why the government is choosing to allow access to children to cigarettes through vending machines, who cannot of course, ask all the questions as to whether or not persons are under nineteen, who are using vending machines, or ask for ID or anything like that because after all, it is clearly only a machine, computers haven't become that advanced yet. Even under the wise guidance of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, we don't see vending machines able to ask for ID for age. So I would ask that the minister consider an amendment that would have the effect of outlawing, or making sure vending machines selling cigarettes are only in bars or places to which children under nineteen, or minors, don't have access.

I think it is a very important piece of legislation, Chairperson, and as I mentioned before, it was the first time that the young people who are going to be affected by this, were brought into this House of Assembly and had their say on this legislation. And I must say, that we heard some very interesting views from these young people, fourteen of the fifteen of whom I might say were women, young female students; only one of the fifteen who came was a young man.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: No fifty-fifty parity. It seemed that the young women were more outspoken than their male counterparts when it came to coming into this House to speak and I don't know, but it seems that some time after that, Chairperson, they were dissuaded from entering public life. I don't know what happens, maybe they get involved in party politics and find out that it is not so palatable to women when they get involved at that stage.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Chairperson.


 

December 9, 1993            HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS        Vol. XLII  No. 32A


[Continuation of sitting]

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

MS. VERGE: I will yield to the minister if the minister is going to give us an explanation of the amendment he is incorporating into this bill and also respond to the Member for St. John's East. I will just need two or three minutes after the minister.

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Now that the procedure is sorted out, I would like to report on what we have done with respect to those amendments that have been proposed by the Committee. I would like to thank all members of the Committee for the tremendous work that they did in improving these two bills, specifically this particular one.

The first amendment that the Committee brought forward had to do with changing the definition of tobacco. We were advised that it would be better to stick to the definition of tobacco that is in the tobacco tax act, which is what it is here. The second amendment that was proposed by the Committee we will go along with, and that is the one in clause 4(1). Clause 4(1)(a) and (b) read in a fairly complicated way: "It is an offence (a) for a retailer to sell tobacco to a person under the age of 19 years; and (b) for a person to purchase tobacco on behalf of, or for the purpose of resale to, another person who is under the age of 19 years."

The Committee quite properly I think strengthened that by saying in 4(1): "It is an offence for a retailer or other person to sell, give or furnish, directly or indirectly, tobacco to a person under the age of 19 years." I think that is a stronger way of putting it. We agreed to accept that one.

Then we go on to clause 7. Clause 7(1) indicates the offenses for a retailer. Clause 7(2) was proposed by the Committee that we have a different schedule of fines for a person other than a retailer, which is somewhat less, and we agree that that was appropriate, so we incorporated that in the bill.

It has already been explained about the cigarette packages under twenty. That is already included in another bill. As far as the vending machines are concerned, the federal legislation that has been recently passed by the federal government does outlaw the selling of tobacco in machine form to people eighteen or under. That is covered in the federal legislation. The other point that was raised is changing the enforcement of the act to six months after the day it receives royal assent, rather than a year. That is thought to be appropriate as well.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you. The Member for St. John's East raised the questions and concerns that I had on my mind. The Minister of Justice, the Government House Leader, pointed out that another bill, Bill No. 46, deals with the question of outlawing kiddie packs. We will have a chance to debate the adequacy of that when we get to Bill 46.

Another point raised by the Member for St. John's East which the minister didn't deal with is vending machines. The Committee unanimously recommended that legislation be changed to restrict cigarette vending machines to bars where people under nineteen are not allowed. I'm wondering why the minister didn't incorporate that into this bill.

Other than that, Chairperson, I would like to reiterate my support for this bill. I spoke in the spring praising the government for its initiative in trying to discourage young people from smoking. Legislation, of course, is only one of many aspects to a much more comprehensive campaign that is needed to discourage young people from starting to smoke. I would urge the Minister of Health to try to negotiate cooperative arrangements with the federal government and others to conduct a massive media campaign designed by people skilled in the mass media to try to make smoking seem unattractive for young people.

Apparently now kids who are ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen years old regard smoking as cool, as trendy. Somehow we have to change the image of smoking so that young people are not enticed to take it up only to become addicted. The Member for St. John's East mentioned that for the first time a House committee heard from young people. Several high school students and junior high school students from the Avalon Peninsula came to this Chamber and made presentations to the Social Legislation Review Committee on this bill.

We heard from several who themselves smoke. They told the Committee that they wish that they had never started, but now that they have reached the age of fifteen or sixteen they can't break the habit. These young people underline the need for all kinds of measures, this legislation being but one, to discourage young people from smoking. They made the point that the effort should be targeted at elementary and junior high school students. It is too late by the time they have reached senior high school.

Thank you, Chairperson.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Clause 2.

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

MR. HARRIS: I have one comment on clause 2, Chairperson. If the minister dealt with this, I apologize.

One of the Committee's recommendations was to provide for an expanded definition of tobacco. The definition of tobacco that is contained in clause 2(e) is: "`tobacco' means tobacco in any form in which tobacco is consumed and includes snuff...." A number of presenters had made the comment that that is a very narrow definition of tobacco and suggested another definition which was more comprehensive. Indeed, the child welfare act which makes the smoking or providing of cigarettes, cigarette papers and tobacco to children, contributing to their delinquency, is even somewhat more expanded than what we have right here by including cigarette papers.

The definition that was recommended by the Committee, as proposed to us, was deleting after the word "tobacco," substituting the following: leaves and tobacco in any form in which tobacco is consumed, and includes snuff, cigarette papers, cigarette tubes, cigarette filters, cigarette makers, cigarette holders and pipes. In other words, it would be illegal to supply or sell a cigarette maker and all the makings to a minor as well. This would be a greater discouragement to young people to smoke.

I say, I don't know if the minister made a comment on it. I had to take a message while he was speaking. It seems, Chairperson, that if we are aiming to discourage tobacco smoking amongst young people by prohibiting supplying them with the ability to smoke through tobacco, we should also prohibit cigarette papers. In fact, some young people suggested that to us, that you should also prohibit cigarette papers and tobacco makings and these cigarette makers and other paraphernalia as well. Perhaps the minister would care to comment on that. Otherwise, without a comment from the minister I would move an amendment.

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Chairman, we mentioned that in the remarks. Our advice was that we should keep the definition similar to that which is in the tobacco tax act.

On motion, clauses 4, 7 and 12 as amended, carried.

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the bill with amendments, carried.

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the following bills without amendment, carried:

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Gasoline Tax Act." (Bill No. 25)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Health And Post-Secondary Education Tax Act." (Bill No. 26)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The City Of St. John's Act." (Bill No. 34)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The City Of Corner Brook Act." (Bill No. 33)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Fire Prevention Act, 1991." (Bill No. 32)

A bill, "An Act To Revise The Law In The Province Respecting Rail Service." (Bill No. 36)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Highway Traffic Act." (Bill No. 37)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Judgment Interest Act." (Bill No. 43)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Statutes Act." (Bill No. 31)

MR. ROBERTS: Order 13, Mr. Chairman.

MS. VERGE: Chairperson, I would like to speak on Order 13, Bill 29, "An Act To Repeal The Criminal Injuries Compensation Act.

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

MS. VERGE: Chairperson, thank you. As I said when I spoke in the debate on second reading of this bill, this is a regressive measure for which there is no need. The stated reason by the government is cost saving, however, the government is getting additional revenue from the new victim fund surcharge, so there is a source of revenue that by law is dedicated to improving services for victims of crime.

There is a cost associated with neglecting victims of crime, neglecting child sexual abuse victims and survivors, neglecting adults who are sexual abuse victims, adults who are beaten in their homes, who are victims of domestic violence. There is a cost to neglecting these victims.

Chairperson, the Minister of Justice says that he is substituting a better program. What he is doing, in fact, is implementing a program that was designed five years ago, the victim worker program, which was intended to complement the financial compensation program. The victim worker program covers only part of the geography of the Province, a few of the urban centres. The minister announced the other day that he is expanding it to a few more centres. Still, a great number of citizens of the Province will not be served by the victim worker program.

Formerly, when there was a financial compensation program, victims of personal injury crimes could get compensation to reimburse them, to pay them back for out-of-pocket expenses resulting from crime, and also to enable them to access fee for service counselling. Counselling is not widely available in our Province. It tends to be concentrated in the urban centres. There isn't much at all now delivered through hospitals, covered by hospitals or MCP. The little that there is, by and large, is fee for service, but many people can't afford to take advantage of it.

Now, Chairperson, our whole criminal justice system which has evolved, starting in England, over a period of hundreds of years, is oriented around the rights and interests of the accused and the convicted. We have created elaborate protections of the rights of accused people and we have put in place expensive programs to incarcerate and treat offenders. We have, as a society, virtually ignored the victims, however. There is a serious imbalance. Over the last twenty-five years in Canada, slowly there has developed an appreciation of the imbalance and gradually we were putting in place appropriate services and supports for victims of crime.

In our Province - I don't know if the Minister of Justice is aware of this - we have provincial legislation on the rights of victims of crime. We have a victims of crime act, and the victims of crime act sets out a statement of principles which are supposed to guide the Minister of Justice and Attorney General and his officials, which are supposed to govern the actions of the Crown attorneys and the police and the corrections people. But this government action, in wiping out completely the crimes compensation program, is a blatant contradiction of our own provincial legislation, of the statement of principle for victims of crime.

Chairperson, the Federal Government withdrew support for this program a few years ago, and I share the frustration of members opposite about that. I realize that the lessening of federal cost-sharing creates a difficult burden for the Province, but I would make two points. One, the Province, especially with the new revenue that is being raised from the victim fund surcharge, can provide some financial compensation, can do what Nova Scotia did, for example, and continue compensation for out-of-pocket expenses while eliminating it or decreasing it for pain and suffering. The second point is that with a new administration in Ottawa, with the red book, members opposite, such as the Member for Fogo, can talk to their cousins at the federal level and negotiate a new cost-sharing arrangement, a new federal-provincial co-operation agreement, for programs and services of victims of crime.

After all, the Federal Government has responsibility for the criminal law. The Federal Government pays for penitentiaries, for people sentenced to more than two years incarceration. Surely the Federal Government should assist the provinces in providing services and supports for victims of crime, particularly child sexual abuse victims, I say to the former Assistant Deputy Minister of Social Services responsible for child welfare.

Chairperson, I strongly object to this bill which obliterates our financial compensation program for victims of crime and I urge members to reconsider, especially those members who have some personal awareness of the trauma experienced by victims of personal injury crimes. They must realize that the minister has not put in place anything comparable. His victim worker program is a good program but it is not a substitute for the financial compensation program. I was minister when the victim worker program was developed, and it was conceived to be complementary to the financial compensation program. It was never intended to be a replacement.

The victim worker program doesn't cover the constituents of the Member for Fogo. Even the expansion that was announced the other day won't extend the service to residents of Carmanville. Victims of crime in Carmanville or Gander Bay or Tilting are second-class citizens. They don't have a Department of Justice victim worker program. People who live in Corner Brook, people who live in Happy Valley - Goose Bay, have the benefit of the program. However, residents of Fogo Island do not.

I don't know how the Member for Fogo can sit in his place and go along with this measure to wipe out the financial compensation program. I wonder if he has even talked to his minister to try to arrange for the financial compensation program to continue for his constituents, who are not getting any benefit from the victim worker program that covers Gander but doesn't cover the rural areas of the Northeast Coast.

Chairperson, before I finish, I wonder if the Government House Leader would indicate his agenda for this evening. He mentioned intending to cut off a half hour early. What time might that be, pray tell, and how much of the Order Paper is the Government House Leader intending to work through this evening?

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Chairperson.

I rise to speak once again on the legislation, "An Act To Repeal The Criminal Injuries Compensation Act," and I do so as one who knows a fair bit about the problems that are suffered by victims of crime.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Act is not a new act, but it has newly found a use, Chairperson, for a lot of individuals who were victims of sexual assaults in their childhood. They have, as result of the Hughes Inquiry and other changes in society, been given courage to come forward and expiate some of the pain they have bottled up inside of them for many years, quietly destroying their lives. They have made disclosures of personal tragedies that would bring many to tears and to grief to realize how young people could be treated, in some cases by parents, in other cases by relatives, in many cases by strangers, and in other cases by persons of high regard in society, members of clergy, members of religious order, priests and brothers. They have come to disclose these events and have felt themselves victimized once again.

In going to court, the process has not been easy for individuals, for young women who were victims of incest, perhaps, young men such as we have seen in Mount Cashel, and other victims of sexual assault who have gone to court, who have had their credibility challenged by defence council, who spent days on the stand and who once again feel victimized by the system. They had open to them through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, an opportunity to go and state their facts and their case and receive some compensation, and in addition to receive some money to help pay for counselling.

I say to hon. members opposite, the victims of crimes, in particular, sexual assault, will feel themselves abandoned by this government in the removing of this very important and necessary support and aid that was offered to them. We have heard the problems of finances, the fact that the program was not fully federally/provincially funded and the federal funds have been taken away. It was necessary to cut back on the program, to cut back on the pain and suffering awards, perhaps, but they could still provide the out-of-pocket expenses, the cost of therapy, the cost of treatment, and the cost of counselling. That would be a cutback, but it would still provide some basis for access to help to overcome the consequences of crimes of physical assaults, of sexual assaults, and other types of crimes, particularly in areas where services are not so readily available, like so many of the constituencies of members opposite. On the South Coast there is very little, if any, counselling services available. In the District of Fogo there is very little in the way of counselling services available for individuals who are trying to recover as survivors of sexual assault. In many districts of this Province individuals have come forth and were able to receive, through the Crimes Compensation Board, payment for counselling and transportation to that counselling. So I say one last time to members opposite, and plead on behalf of those victims of crime, that you do not take this measure and you do not remove this assistance to victims of crime which is so important to them. I ask that sincerely.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: I was getting closer, Mr. Chairman, but I see the Member for St. Barbe, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology over there, is anxious to see the debate concluded on this.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. HARRIS: I misunderstood. I thought he was saying we were getting closer to the end and getting closer to passage of this bill which is going to take away crimes compensation assistance to so many people who are victims of the kind of sexual assaults that we have seen all too often in our society. As the Minister of Social Services' reports will indicate, we have seen evidence of a 2000 per cent increase.

With those remarks, Chairperson, I end my remarks here, but with a plea to members opposite to vote with their conscience on this issue and vote to continue the criminal injuries compensation system.

Thank you, Chairperson.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Chairman, I would just like to have a few words on this matter and then I want to have a brief word with the minister privately, behind the curtain, if I may, when we get a chance.

I just want to have a brief comment on this bill to repeat, I guess, what has been said by members on this side of the House, particularly our Justice critic, the Member for Humber East, who has been a vocal critic of this particular move and a strong supporter, in fact, of keeping the criminal injuries compensation in place for those people who have been victims. It is regrettable that government has seen fit to eliminate this, because there are a lot of people who have been victims, and victimized needlessly, as we all know. We hear of cases every day, in the news, on television, on the radio stations, all this kind of thing, and if we had this kind of compensation available for those people, I think society would be much better off.

So, I just wanted to intervene for a moment or two to indicate my disgust, as well, with the government's decision and hope that government members will be able to plead with the powers that be, the Minister of Justice, in particular, to try to get him to come to a sensible conclusion, rethink this whole thing and change his mind on it. There is lots of time to do that, and hopefully, members opposite will do that. That is all I have to say on the bill.

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

MR. ROBERTS: All I really can say is that this issue, I think, was very thoroughly debated by the House when the bill was in second reading. I can't add anything. I don't see anything I can add. We don't bring this bill in with any great joy, and I am not trying to blame anybody for anything. I hear what hon. members say and I certainly have sympathy for the point of view they espouse. The problem is, simply: How far can the State go in any of these matters? We have extremely limited resources.

AN HON. MEMBER: What about all your video gambling money?

MR. ROBERTS: All our video gambling money, the hon. gentleman says, goes into the general revenue, but we still have extremely limited resources.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is contingent on people gambling.

MR. ROBERTS: If hon. members want to carry on the debate, I am quite happy to. I have listened to what they say.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Well, that is up to hon. members. No minority is going to dictate to this House. The Leader of the Opposition and I will speak behind the curtain and I will see what he says - that is fine, but if members think they can take the House on their back we will have to deal with that. But the rules are the rules and we will observe them gladly.

Now, Mr. Chairman, let me get back to the point here. The victim services surcharge to which the hon. lady refers, the revenues have been coming up and I have been doing the steps within my power to encourage the judges who apply the victim services surcharge legislation to use the power given them by the Parliament of Canada in the criminal code. We do not control it. The judges decide whether to levy these and, if so, within what degree to levy them subject to the criminal code.

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible) are you getting?

MR. ROBERTS: We are getting about $120,000, from memory, for the last twelve months. It is far less than even the Victim Services Program costs us. The Victim Services Program is a very substantial expansion. I don't know if we will meet the needs of everybody in this Province but we are going to go a lot further towards it than we have and that is where we have chosen to put our money, so the matter is really that simple. In our judgement, the best place to put our money, given the shortage of money, is to put it into the Victim Services Program and that is what we have chosen to do. That is why we are going to ask the House to repeal this act. It is not to detract from the merit or the sincerity of what hon. members say but rather to address the reality of the situation as we see it. If at some point in the future either this administration or some other can see its way through to fund this program again we shall do so. That is just simply a matter of coming back into the House, asking the House to approve an act, and I would assume the House would approve it readily, but that is a matter for another day, Mr. Chairman.

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

MS. VERGE: I would like the minister to elaborate in commenting on the Victim Services Program that he and his colleagues have chosen to put in place. As I understand the program, it started a year or so ago on a trial basis with five staff, a co-ordinator in St. John's and victim services court workers in three or four locations, I believe, in Gander, Corner Brook, Happy Valley - Goose Bay, as well as St. John's. Those court workers were assigned realistic caseloads - actually, that may even be debatable, but they were given geographic boundaries. The worker based in Corner Brook is responsible for a thirty-mile radius, basically Deer Lake, Humber Valley, Corner Brook, and Bay of Islands.

The other day the minister announced an expansion of the program and an intention to hire workers for four or five other locations in the Province. He also indicated in his written news release, expansion of the program by providing counselling services. Now, that sounds good, but I would like the minister to indicate what parts of the geography of the Province will be served and whether people who live in areas not covered by the workers will get any benefit from the program. Will there be some funding for people in the left out rural areas to access counselling, for example?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

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

MR. ROBERTS: I assume my friend for Placentia has got the news, good as it is.

Mr. Chairman, let me reply to the hon. lady. We now have victim services workers at Goose Bay, St. John's, Corner Brook, and Gander. We are proposing to station the new ones at Nain, Port Saunders, Stephenville, Grand Falls - Windsor, and the Bay Roberts - Carbonear - Harbour Grace area, the urban conglomeration on the north side of -

MS. VERGE: What about somebody in Marystown?

MR. ROBERTS: The hon. lady asks: What about somebody in Marystown? Well, I can say two things. My understanding is that we are no longer restricting the workers to the provincial court districts, which we did as part of the pilot project. The worker in Corner Brook was told, I think it was a woman, that she could deal only with people from the judicial provincial court district of Corner Brook. That restriction is being removed - we now regard the whole of the Province. Secondly, if there are people who need assistance, then the workers will be authorized and funded to travel.

If, for example, there were a trial in Marystown - and the victim services workers work generally, I won't say always, but most always, with witnesses and victims in the criminal trials helping them through the process - then the victim services workers would go down to Marystown, if that is where the case is, where the trial is, and work with it, or will visit with the person there from time to time. Now, that is not as good as having somebody in Marystown, I acknowledge that, but I will go on and say, I think we can be very pleased, that in a era when we are not looking to expand the public service, my colleagues and I have found the extra money to fund this. It is never enough, but I have to say I am pleased we have been able to do this much, and I think it is a step forward. Now, whether we will meet all the needs, I don't know, but it is like all of these things, you do what you can and then if the need is not met, you move forward.

We will be stationing these workers at these other places throughout the Province and we have picked these locations on two criteria, one is the geographic locations, obviously, and secondly, we have gone to the court records and to our own records in the prosecution, the Crown Attorney's offices, to see where the workload seems to be heaviest, and these dispositions correspond to that.

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

MS. VERGE: I thank the minister for his elaboration. What I heard the minister to say is that there have been, for the past year or so, with the pilot, court workers in four locations, together with a provincial co-ordinator, and that now the government is hiring - is it four or five more? The locations where the workers are to be based, as I heard him - although I found it difficult to take it all in, for he was speaking quickly - are going from east to west, St. John's, Bay Roberts; I don't recall hearing Clarenville. Is there to be one in Clarenville?

MR. ROBERTS: I am not certain - I don't have notes - but there are eight new ones, so we are going from four to twelve.

MS. VERGE: Twelve, okay.

MR. ROBERTS: I made a statement earlier in the week. I am not sure. I can either get the hon. lady a copy of the statement or I can undertake to bring the information to the House, as she prefers.

MS. VERGE: The original purpose of the court worker program which, as I said, was designed the last year I was minister -

MR. ROBERTS: I think it has changed.

MS. VERGE: - through advice of a committee and through community consultations, was to assist victims and witnesses through the investigative and criminal trial process, to give them information about the criminal justice system and to support them through the months, and sometimes years, of police investigation, preliminary enquiry, and trial.

The purpose of the Crimes Compensation Program which is being abolished by this legislation was to provide financial compensation from the government, from the State, to victims, to acknowledge that a wrong was done to the victim, to provide token compensation for pain and suffering, but also to reimburse people for out-of-pocket expenses, for financial losses attributable to the crime. Those losses could include time away from work, lost wages, could include ambulance bills, prescription drug costs, could include the cost of repairing clothes, or could include the cost of counselling.

Some of the crimes compensation awards to victims of sexual assault crimes or serious personal injury crimes involve payments over time. For example, a young woman who lives in the district I represent, who was sexually assaulted as an adolescent, was given an award by the Crimes Compensation Program which was to be paid in instalments to subsidize her post-secondary education.

From what I am hearing the minister say, the Victim Worker Program really is no replacement for that, but his news release - perhaps his public relations officer wrote it, but it was in the minister's name - the release which went out the other day indicated the expansion of court worker personnel and the intention to post workers in several additional locations in the Province, but it also said that the program would be expanded to provide counselling. And I am very concerned about the absence of opportunities for counselling for many victims of personal injury crimes who need it. I am hoping that what the minister has arranged is to provide for victims to get counselling, including fee for service counselling when that is the best kind, or the only type of counselling available. I wonder if he could clarify what he meant by counselling in his news release?

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

MR. ROBERTS: The release, I thought, spoke for itself. I think it used the words, 'access to counselling'. I do not have a copy of it here with me. We hope to be able to expand the program. The hon. lady looks at me in wonder, but I said we hope to be able to expand the program, and we have expanded the program. We hope to be able to provide access to counselling for people who need it. The awards of which she spoke are very different. Now, what the hon. lady will have to accept, whether she likes it or not is another matter, is that this program is not a substitution for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Program. I made that very clear and no matter how many times she says it the fact remains it is not a substitute. We had to make a choice and we have made our choice.

Now, we are going to provide assistance to community groups and we are going to provide access to counselling. We do not have it all laid down but we are going to see what there is. There are as many varieties of needs as there are people who are hurt by these criminal acts. Some people need assistance at one level and some need it at another, we are going to try to be very flexible, but I do not have a list here of what we are going to do, nor if I had it would I bring it in because I do not think this is the appropriate place to do it. The fact behind it all is that we are trying to expand the program to help people who need help using the resources we have. I am not trying to be vague and I am not trying to duck the issue. We are not looking at hiring a bunch of counsellors. We provide that through other means. The social services people provide them. When it came to the Mount Cashel case voluntees came forward, organized and coordinated by officials who worked for me, police and others. There was a great deal of voluntary effort put in by people. We have to see what the needs are and deal with them. We do not live in a Utopia and I can tell you in a financial area we are doing the things that governments have to do. We have to measure priorities very carefully and this is what we have tried to do. We cannot make everything perfect. Now, hon. members seem to wish we could. Fine. Were I where they are now I would probably say the same thing. Mr. Chairman, we cannot cure all ills nor do we pretend to. We are going to do the best we can and that is what this program is. It is an expansion, an improvement, it ain't perfection.

A bill, "An Act To Repeal The Criminal Injuries Compensation Act." (Bill No. 29)

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the bill without amendment, carried.

MR. ROBERTS: Before I call the next order may I say I have been persuaded in the spirit of Christmas to suggest that we will not call Order 17 today. We will deal with it tomorrow, along with the two bills that stand over for tomorrow, but I will ask the committee before we rise the House to deal with Orders 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, and 22, all of which, I think, are relatively straightforward pieces of legislation, but 17 which is the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Act, where there is a need I gather for some more antics, we will put that off until tomorrow. That is a pleasure I look forward to - dealing with that then. I ask that we call Order 14 which is the Judicature Act.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order 14. Bill No. 28.

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Judicature Act." (Bill No. 28)

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the bill without amendment, carried.

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the following bills without amendment, carried:

"An Act To Amend The Forestry Act." (Bill No. 27).

"An Act To Amend The City Of St. John's (Loan) Act, 1978." (Bill No. 51).

"An Act To Repeal The Youth Advisory Council Act." (Bill No. 38).

"An Act To Repeal Certain Obsolete And Spent Statutes." (Bill No. 40).

"An Act To Amend The Department Of Social Services Act." (Bill No. 35).

"An Act To Amend The Chiropractors Act." (Bill No. 41).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order 22, Bill 44.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman, what I am asking is, since we are in Committee, do we want to do Orders 25 and 32, these are two minor bills to which we gave second reading today and we could move them through the Committee stage now? There is nothing to either of them, we debated them earlier today and I think members agreed to put them through -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: It is a matter that will take leave from everybody. You have dealt with Order 22, Your Honour -

AN HON. MEMBER: No.

MR. ROBERTS: Oh sorry! We are getting ahead of ourselves.

MS. VERGE: Chairperson, are we on the Nursing Assistants bill?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Yes.

MS. VERGE: I would like to move an amendment to the clause that sets out the composition of the board.

AN HON. MEMBER: It's party time.

MS. VERGE: In due course, I say to the Member for Port de Grave.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

We have already -

MS. VERGE: Go out and have a drink.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member for Humber East wants to make an amendment to one of the clauses in Bill 44, shall we revert to the -

MR. ROBERTS: Yes.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay.

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, gentlemen. We were going so fast I lost track and I don't have my bill in my hand but I would like to move an amendment to the composition of the nursing assistants council. It now provides for a maximum of ten members with five registered nursing assistants. The motion is to enlarge the size to eleven, eleven definite, with six registered nursing assistants.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MS. VERGE: Well, talk to your Government House Leader I say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. VERGE: It is not my idea.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

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

MR. HARRIS: I would like to speak in support of the amendment. If there is a mood in the opposite side of the house, as demonstrated by the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, perhaps we can very quickly add an additional person to this board and the purpose of it will be of course to have, on a board of eleven, six nursing assistants on the nursing assistants council so that they would be the majority of that board just as in the law society. I know the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation supports the majority of the benchers of the law society being lawyers and a majority of engineers on the board of the engineering society and the board of the Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland, the majority being nurses and that equally so, on the nursing assistants council, the majority ought to be nursing assistants. So I think that that is a fundamental right of the self governing professions to have a majority on their board and I support that amendment wholeheartedly.

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

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CAREEN: I don't know if you are a cross dresser or not but anyway I did not have a chance earlier - I had to be excused from here because of a bit of news, but anyway I am back. I do support the amendment - no, I am not wasting any time with her - I do support the amendment. But what I found out this morning - I don't know if there were people who spoke earlier - is the large area, the gulf between the council and other people within the RNA's. The argument was made that the cost efficiency is the total utilization of the RNA's. It does not seem to be a close thing with any of those groups but I know RNA's and I respect them for their work. I have seen what they have done. They are carrying on and talking about the erosion of their responsibilities - now as a person who respects them and I know all hon. members respect the work of RNA's, we should be able to listen to what these people have to say.

The council in its deliberations, as word came down from health, did not consult all the RNA's across the island. They had a meeting on educational purposes some weeks ago out in Gander and it was not even brought to the attention of the 250 RNA's who gathered there. So there is a matter of them being on opposite ends of the pole and that concerns me. It concerns me that people involved in health care have to look over their shoulders while they are tending the sick and the infirm of this Province and it should be a concern for all of us about the erosion - what people are saying - their duties being eroded for one reason or another. I am here in support of RNA's and I am here to also support the amendment put forward by the hon. member. Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

DR. KITCHEN: We are opposed to this amendment. We believe in making haste reasonably slowly. We have made enormous changes in this act and we will see how this works and if necessary other changes may come in the future.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I declare the amendment defeated.

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the following bills without amendment, carried:

A bill, "An Act To Amend Nursing Assistants Act". (Bill No. 44)

A bill, "An Act To Repeal The Alcohol And Drug Dependency Commission Act". (Bill No. 45)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Colleges Act, 1991". (Bill No. 55)

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

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

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Trinity - Bay de Verde.

MR. L. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole has considered the matters to it referred, and has directed me to report that Bill Nos. 25, 26, 34, 33, 32, 36, 37, 43, 31, 29, 28, 27, 51, 38, 40, 35, 41, 44, 45 and 55 passed without amendments, and Bill Nos. 1 and 7 with amendments, and ask leave to sit again.

MR. SPEAKER: The Chairman of the Committee of the Whole reports that it has considered the matters to it referred and has directed him to report Bill Nos. 25, 26, 34, 33, 32, 36, 37, 43, 31, 29, 28, 27, 51, 38, 40, 35, 41, 44, 45 and 55 without amendment.

On motion, report received and adopted, bills ordered read a third time on tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: The Chairman of the Committee of the Whole reports that it has considered the matters to it referred and has directed him to report Bill Nos. 1 and 7 with some amendments.

On motion, report received and adopted.

On motion, amendments to Bill Nos. 1 and 7 read a first and second time. Bills ordered read a third time on tomorrow.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, it is with reluctance, I know, that my colleagues will support a motion to adjourn, filled as they are with the Christmas spirit - singular - but what I want to say is two things.

Sir, first of all I would like to thank members for their forbearance and co-operation. Secondly, tomorrow we will ask the House to deal with the two bills that stand in the name of my friend from Gander, Order 23, "An Act Respecting The Newfoundland Volunteer War Service Medal Act", and Order 24, "An Act To Amend The Tobacco Tax Act".

We will also then go on to the Newfoundland Constabulary Act Bill, and when we finish that tomorrow we will go home for the weekend.

With that said, Mr. Speaker -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Well if the hon. gentleman wants to be here for the weekend, I am willing to oblige him.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I did not think so. Mr. Speaker, I move that the House at its rising do adjourn until tomorrow, Friday, at 9:00 a.m., and that the House do now adjourn.

With that said, you are all asked to join us - those who have not are welcome to have a glass of something.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

On motion, the House at its rising adjourned until tomorrow, Friday, at 9:00 a.m.