March 8, 1994               HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS                Vol. XLII  No. 7


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, may I first of all, on behalf of all the members of the House, welcome the Member for Placentia who was sworn in today.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. ROBERTS: When I say we are glad to see him, I know that hon. gentlemen, lady, and woman, will understand that I am speaking as much personally as politically. We are glad to see him back with a very clear mandate to speak for the electors of the district of Placentia.

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

MR. SIMMS: The hon. the Government House Leader is not nearly as happy as we are to see him back, I can tell him that, Mr. Speaker. Having participated in the campaign with the member, I can tell members of the House that the individual was elected, and because he was elected it is a tribute to him and the service he provided to the people for the short period of time he was there, and a tribute to the people of Placentia for not being overtaken by that usual election gimmick that is used by the governing party which says, you would be better of with us on our side, and I am sure they are some glad today that they didn't vote for the government candidate.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I have a very short Ministerial Statement but let me just say to my friend, the Member for Grand Falls that I agree with the government member bit. I can recall winning a very famous by-election in 1974, which was fifteen years before the government lost office.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Does the minister wish to give a statement at this point?

I had not called Ministerial Statements. I recognized the hon. Government House Leader first.

Statements by Ministers

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

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you, Your Honour.

Mr. Speaker, yesterday afternoon, or yesterday evening, at some point, I spoke with Mr. James Chalker, Q.C. I gave a copy to the hon. gentleman's assistant.

MR. SIMMS: Do you have a copy of that statement?

MR. ROBERTS: No, I have no written statement. I only got this letter about ten minutes ago.

MR. SIMMS: What time did you get hold of him? Friday afternoon?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

We will hear from one person at a time.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Your Honour, as I was saying, I spoke with Mr. James R. Chalker, Q.C., later yesterday after the discussion in the House and asked him the precise details of the arrangements between him and Newfoundland and Labradro Hydro, and he has now written to me to set out those arrangements which are precisely the same as I advised the House on Friday and again yesterday. I will table a copy of his letter, Mr. Speaker. I provided a copy to my friend the Leader of the Opposition, or to his parliamentary assistant earlier, and copies have been provided to the press, Sir.

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

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, on Thursday the Premier accused me of digging for worms. Today I am seeing some squirming from the Minister of Justice opposite. Mr. Speaker, this arrangement stinks. I will have more to say about it later, and I will have specific questions for the Minister of Justice in Question Period.

MR. WINDSOR: And it's the early bird that gets the worm.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Finance.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I would simply like to announce that Budget Day will be March 17th.

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

MS. COWAN: Mr. Speaker, I rise today as the minister responsible for the Status of Women.

Today is International Women's Day, a day for women and men everywhere to celebrate women's contributions. It is also a time to examine what still must be done for women to be full and equal partners in our society.

Our government has undertaken a number of recent initiatives which we hope will bring us closer to achieving equality for women in Newfoundland and Labrador. I would like to take a few moments to update you on our progress.

To recognize 1994 as International Year of the Family, Women's Policy Office has distributed copies of the Federal/Provincial/Territorial paper Women and Men in the Workplace: A Discussion of Workplace Supports for Workers with Family Responsibilities to selected employers and union representatives across the Province. I might say, Mr. Speaker, that when I make reference to various titles of documents and so on, those are available to any member of the House who would like to have one; just contact my office or me.

This paper is based on the premise that implementing workplace supports for workers with family responsibilities is one of the steps necessary for achieving economic equality for women. Efforts in the workplace that facilitate the integration of work and family responsibilities will greatly reduce the stress that invariably accompanies the double work day that most workers, particularly women, shoulder. Employers who are concerned with productivity understand that they, too, have much to gain from the development and implementation of family-friendly initiatives in their workplace.

Gender socialization is the lifelong process by which we learn how we are expected to behave and act as women and men in our society. By the time children begin school, they will already have developed beliefs and attitudes about the roles of men and women and about what activities are "masculine" and "feminine". Feelings of inadequacy, a lack of self-confidence and the fear of taking risks are the all too common impacts of negative gender socialization on girls and women. With the restructuring of our education system we must be mindful of the need to develop strategies to ensure the learning culture is one that builds self-esteem, empowerment and social well-being for girls and women from their earliest years. Our Province led the Working Group of Status of Women Officials who contracted a University of Western Ontario education professor to develop Gender Socialization: New Ways, New World, a paper examining the effects of gender socialization on girls and women, and our Women's Policy Office is currently in the preliminary stages of developing Gender Fair Parenting brochures for parents of young children.

Violence and the threat of violence are depriving women of their ability to achieve full equality. The Consultation Process to Build a Provincial Strategy to Address Violence is almost completed. The five regional consultations were successful in gaining feedback from participants in the regions and initiating an exchange of ideas. Select representatives who participated in the regional workshops will be meeting on March 25 and March 26 to discuss the findings of the consultation process and further develop priorities. Government will then be in a position to commence work on a final draft.

Other initiatives on violence against women include the recent publication of Sharing Our Strengths, a manual for volunteer facilitators of self-help groups working with women who are survivors of violence, and the Take Action bookmark which I distributed on December 6, which outlines tips for men and women who want to take personal action to end violence.

Mr. Speaker, last year at the Annual Conference of Ministers Responsible for the Status of Women in Canada, I was pleased to take the lead in developing and gaining the support of my colleagues for a Statement of Commitment to Women's Equality, which we then publicly endorsed. I think it is only fitting that I should end with a quote from that statement. "We must continue to work towards the ultimate goal of full equality within the priorities and resources of our respective jurisdictions. We believe that strong government structures for the advancement of women must be maintained and programs strengthened." In these difficult times, Mr. Speaker, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador reaffirms its commitment to the advancement of women in this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. After five years in office, the best the Minister responsible for the Status of Women could do is list publications. Two papers, a brochure, a manual, a bookmark, a draft plan and a statement - words, not deeds.

Now, Mr. Speaker, if any objective person looks at the record of achievement of this government, examines the actions, a commitment to the advancement of women will be found to be sorely lacking.

If this so-called Liberal Administration had any real commitment to the advancement of women in the Province, the government wouldn't now be threatening to renege on its commitment to pay equity for women in the public service. If this Administration had any real commitment to the advancement of women in the Province, the government would not have sat idly by and fail to provide the small amount of money required to keep operating the Corner Brook Dunfield Park Child/Parent Resource Centre.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS. VERGE: If this Administration had any real commitment to the advancement of women in the Province, the government would not have allowed -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS. VERGE: - the erosion of day care subsidies for small children with special needs. If the government had any real commitment to the advancement of women in the Province, the Minister of Social Services would not be subtracting dollar for dollar, single mothers, child welfare payments from social assistance.

Mr. Speaker, women have made gains in the Province over the past several years through their own efforts, more often than not, despite governments and, Mr. Speaker, this is a day for those women to celebrate and on behalf of members of the official Opposition, I congratulate women who have brought about improvements for women in the Province. I urge them to keep up the effort, the challenge is ever greater and, Mr. Speaker, on behalf of women in the Province, I implore members opposite not to diminish resources available for funding and assisting in further advances of women by selling Hydro. Don't diminish our resources, don't give away Hydro.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: On behalf of hon. members, I would like to -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

On behalf of hon. members, I would like to welcome to the public galleries, twenty-one Grade V students from the Park Avenue Elementary School in Mount Pearl accompanied by their teacher, Miss Margaret Wakeham and two chaperons.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: As well, I would like to welcome to the gallery twenty-two individuals from an Improving Our Odds group from Dildo, New Harbour, New Shop area, Trinity Bay, together with their teachers Mr. Chipman and Ms. Churchill.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

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

MR. SIMMS: I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, I would like to defer to my friend from Placentia.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Before I was rudely interrupted -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. CAREEN: - I was pursuing last fall the reuse study in Argentia, and in the absence of the Premier, I would like to address the question to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology. The Province has a reuse study that was commissioned by ACOA, with provincial government input, federal bureaucratic input, and local people from the Argentia Development Corporation, who did the reuse study. The Province, like I said, has had it since last October, and I am wondering when we can hope to have it adopted, please.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I would like to welcome the hon. member back, as well.

That's a very comprehensive study that was done by an independent consulting group. It lays out a whole series of issues that have to be analyzed very carefully, the reason being, much of it has substantial price tags attached to it. We want to help Argentia and we want to look at the meaningful things that are in there, such as the American museum, and things of that nature, but we have to cost all of this out. It's quite one thing to have a study, but you have to, on the other side of the ledger, cost it out and see exactly how much it's going to cost to put some of this in motion, and to see where we can access the money to do these kinds of things.

One of the areas we looked at was the foreign trade zone concept, as my hon. friend is aware. The Premier has written recently to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance, and the Minister of National Revenue, to try to bring that back from the back burner to the front burner to see, in fact, if Argentia can be used as a tax-free enterprise zone to lure business into the area.

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

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister, I know what you're saying because I've heard it, but the clock is ticking, and ticking rather fast. Workers in Argentia got their six months notice, or a little better, Friday past, from the Americans that they will be leaving, and they got their lay-off notices, and I know that there is money attached to it, but I was wondering: Could things be speeded up more so than they are now, because the only ones who seem to be winning down in Argentia seem to be the Americans, Sir.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Industry Trade and Technology.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I take the hon. member's question as being sincere, and indeed will work to fast track it as quickly as possible.

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

MR. CAREEN: Thank you.

Mr. Minister, I spoke to your colleague, the Minister of Justice, before the House opened, and the package that the Americans are offering the Argentia workers, compared to what Canada is offering the civilians who are going to lose their jobs in Chatham and Cornwallis, since the Budget of February 22, is apples and oranges, and quite different than what Newfoundland workers have been offered in Argentia.

I told the Minister of Justice that I'll get some material for him on this. This goes back to a number of years ago where the base workers wanted to get a union and it went to trial up in Canada. The notice that they used was, `purpose and intent' which left the civilians in Argentia in a rather different state than the Canadian civil servants who are working on bases in Canada but there is a totally different agreement and totally 'way out of lunch' monies. So some time today or tomorrow I'll pass you over some documents and I'll ask both you and your colleague to get together to rectify this as soon as possible.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology.

MR. FUREY: Yes, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice tells me that my hon. friend raised this just prior to the House opening. I know that the Premier dealt with Ambassador Blanchard, the American Ambassador to Canada, as well as senior people in Ottawa. So we'll take it as notice and if you have further information to supply to us that would be very helpful.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to ask some questions of my good friend the Minister of Mines and Energy who by now would have had lots of time to study all the issues that have been raised over the last number of days. We now know that the government and Newfoundland Hydro will jointly fund the cost of a massive advertising and promotion campaign - we have been told that by the Premier - to try obviously, to turn around public opposition to the sale of Hydro. I want to ask the Minister of Mines and Energy, how much will this campaign cost in total, how much will be paid by the taxpayers and how much will be paid by Hydro? In other words what is the split, and please don't tell us that you don't know the answer because surely by now you have been able to get that information.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy.

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, I don't have the answer to that. I don't know how much any advertising will cost relative to the selling of the shares when we reach that stage, assuming that we do reach that stage.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, a supplementary. We're not talking about the sale of shares, I am talking about the government's advertising and promotion campaign that the Premier confirmed to me in a letter yesterday, that's what I'm asking you. So does he know the cost of that campaign? The Premier announced in a letter to me yesterday that the government was also going to participate in a public relations campaign along with Hydro. How much is it going to cost? What is the split on the cost?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy.

DR. GIBBONS: I don't know what it's going to cost. I'll check on it.

MS. VERGE: Do you know anything?

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

MR. SIMMS: Now, Mr. Speaker, I find it rather appalling that the minister doesn't have the answer. Can I ask the minister if he'll try to get the answer to the question today? Surely there is an estimate or a budget put together. I hope that he'll get back to us today on it.

Secondly, a supplementary question, Mr. Speaker, the bill before the House, the privatization bill, includes provisions that will allow Hydro to include all of the costs associated with the sale of Hydro in the base rate charged to our people, the electrical consumers of the Province. That is under Section 15, 4(c), page 19, and it says as the minister knows, "all costs or expenses of any sort whatsoever relating directly or indirectly in any way whatsoever to the reorganization or any distribution to the public of shares of New Hydro and paid or payable by new Hydro," et cetera, et cetera.

We know that the government's share of the cost of this advertising and promotion campaign will come out of the people's treasury. I want to ask the minister, will he confirm that Hydro's share of the cost of this public relations campaign will be added to the rates that consumers will have to pay for electricity? Will he confirm that?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy.

DR. GIBBONS: No, I'll check on that, Mr. Speaker, and see what is going to be in the rate base and what's not.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, it gets very frustrating if you're asking the minister who is responsible for this whole situation and he can't answer simple questions like that. How much is it going to cost? And the -

AN HON. MEMBER: He don't know.

MR. SIMMS: - Member for St. John's South shakes his head over there because we asked a question. My God! Can the minister tell us this, Mr. Speaker, in a supplementary, what public relations company or companies or firms have been given the contract or contracts for this particular campaign, and can he give us a copy of the public tender that called for this work?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy.

DR. GIBBONS: No, Mr. Speaker, I don't know what firm and I don't know the details.

MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I hate to say this, but if the minister has no better handle on these minor matters, then he should resign his seat in the Cabinet, that is what he should do.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Obviously the whole show is being run and manipulated out of the Premier's office. Let me ask him this. He should know this because he is familiar with the legislation, or at least, I assume he is familiar with the legislation, Mr. Speaker.

In addition to the PR campaign there will also be the campaign to promote the sale of shares, which is what he answered in the first question that I asked. Can he tell us what is the estimated cost or the budget for that particular campaign, the campaign to promote the sale of shares? Also, isn't it true that the expense associated with that cost will be added to everybody's electrical bills? Can he confirm that?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy.

DR. GIBBONS: No, Mr. Speaker, I can't confirm that. I don't have the details of what that would cost at this time.

MR. SIMMS: Will you get it?

DR. GIBBONS: When it is available I will get it.

MR. SIMMS: Will you get it? Today.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have questions for the Minister of justice. Yesterday when confronted by Hydro financial records, the Minister of Justice confessed that Hydro board chairperson Jim Chalker and Hydro board member Roland Martin have both been personally profiting from arrangements to sell Hydro. Astoundingly, the Minister of Justice defiantly said that is normal, entirely appropriate and proper.

I ask the Minister of Justice today: isn't it actually a gross and flagrant conflict of interest for government appointed directors of a Crown corporation to be working for personal profit on the sale of that very corporation? Isn't this unethical, and shouldn't the government both remove Mr. Chalker and Mr. Martin from the Hydro Board of Directors, and also terminate their work for profit from public coffers on the Hydro sale?

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I long ago learned that the vehemence of the question and the virulence of the words used simply indicate the lack of substance, and this was as vehement and as virulent a question as I've ever heard. "Confessed." I don't know where the hon. lady thinks she is - I'm sorry, the hon. woman thinks she is.

What I would say, Mr. Speaker, is to repeat what Mr. Chalker said in the letter I've tabled today. The arrangements with respect to his retention were approved by the Hydro Board of Directors, not by the government. Mr. Chalker is being paid by Hydro at the direction of its Board of Directors. That is neither a conflict of interest nor inappropriate. In my view -

MR. TOBIN: Who owns Hydro?

MR. ROBERTS: The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador own Hydro until and unless it is sold. Mr. Speaker, the services provided by Mr. Chalker in connection with this matter have been all but invaluable. Hydro quite properly has paid for them. I wouldn't expect Mr. Chalker to work for free any more than anybody else in this world works for free. We would have been negligent in the extreme - "we" being a very broad word to include both the government and Hydro - if we hadn't taken advantage of the expertise of a man like Jim Chalker. I for one am very glad we've had him, and having been through a number of the negotiating meetings - not all of them, by any means, but a number of them in the Cabinet level - I can tell you that we, the people of this Province, are a lot better off because of his advice and assistance in this matter.

MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary, the hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I guess the Premier is a lot better off thanks to Jim Chalker too.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. VERGE: I have a question for the Minister of Mines and Energy. Yesterday I tabled Hydro financial records generated by computer showing substantial payments by Hydro to Jim Chalker's law firm, Chalker, Green & Rowe, and also Roland Martin's firm in Halifax, up to early January of 1994.

I'm told, Mr. Speaker, since those computer records got out, under orders from the top - obviously higher up than the minister - Hydro changed its accounts payable record keeping by taking it off computer and doing it by hand. Will the Minister of Mines and Energy now produce for the House and the public all the records of Hydro or government payments to Jim Chalker personally, or Jim Chalker's firm, as well as records of all payments to Roland Martin personally or Roland Martin's firms? Will the Minister of Mines and Energy reveal the total take right up to date of Mr. Chalker and Mr. Martin?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy.

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, when it became obvious that somebody was deliberately leaking information internally in Hydro, Hydro had to take some action to change the arrangements. They have changed the arrangements but they are not, I understand, doing it by hand, as the hon. member is suggesting. I think I answered that question yesterday. I have no knowledge that anyone is doing it by hand, but there is a change in the process, there is a change in how it is being done. I am not going to say right now - I am going to get the records. I don't have the records at this time and it will be some time before this process is finished.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have another question for the Minister of Mines and Energy. The minister just admitted to a cover-up.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, the minister knows full well that at the end of the day it is the taxpayers of the Province and the electricity rate payers of the Province who are going to have to pay for Mr. Chalker's work, Mr. Martin's work, and all others in the galaxy the Minister of Justice referred to yesterday. Mr. Speaker, will the Minister of Mines and Energy make available to this hon. House and the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador all information about payments made to date, and obligations incurred to Mr. Chalker and his firm, Mr. Martin and his firms, as well as others in the following list given yesterday by the Minister of Justice, law firms, the government's law firm, Hydro's law firm, the underwriters law firm, the mainland counsel retained by each of those three law firms, the financial advisors to all hands and the consultants?

Now, Mr. Speaker, the citizens of the Province are going to have to pay for all of that. Will the Minister of Mines and Energy lift the order of secrecy and open all this up to the public who are going to have to pay for it in the end?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy.

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, in due course, all of this will be appropriately accounted for through the appropriate audits and everything else. Right now, what is being done, is done in such a way that it can't be released by those who internally, clearly have been -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

DR. GIBBONS: - unfortunately - breaking the rules and leaking information out that they should not be leaking out.

AN HON. MEMBER: A cover-up.

DR. GIBBONS: It is not a cover-up. What is being done is being done legitimately by a legitimate firm in this city and all the records will be appropriately audited in due course, and made appropriately available in due course.

MR. TOBIN: What a cover-up! What a cover-up!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Minister of Health is not here again today for Question Period so I will direct my questions to the acting Minister of Health. The Assistant Executive Director of the Health Sciences Complex says that dispatching an ambulance from St. John's was the proper way to handle an emergency in Witless Bay. She said volunteer fire departments are not part of the emergency response team. I ask the minister has there been a change in policy, and are the only people who can now be dispatched to 911 calls, those who work at the Health Sciences Complex?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I will certainly take that question under advisement and pass it along to the hon. the Minister of Health, who, I am sure, will deal with it in the appropriate manner.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, I thank the immediate past Minister of Health and I want to now ask another question, if he would also pass this one along: All emergency calls, both medical and fire-related, in the Witless Bay area, are placed through the 911 system. Forty-nine calls were received by the Witless Bay Fire Department in 1993 and twenty-one of these were of a medical nature. I have reports of each call. If the Witless Bay Fire Department is tied into the 911 system and has responded to medical emergencies in the past, why were they not called on the night of the fatal death of Sylvester Lynch?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I will take that as notice as well. I should say to the hon. member, though, he hasn't been around a long time; that is really an Order Paper question which could be perhaps more appropriately dealt with.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible) too long trying to get answers.

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible) - you don't put that on the Order Paper.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is important that this area, which doesn't have ambulance service, are not left without medical attention. The Witless Bay Fire Department has seventeen personnel highly trained in CPR and twelve in oxygen therapy. Now, I ask the minister: Will he pass this on to the Minister of Health and ask him to give a commitment that steps will be taken to ensure that qualified medical attendants closest to the site of a medical emergency are dispatched until an ambulance arrives?

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

MR. DECKER: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology.

Last week the minister confirmed, approximately $40,000 that Jean Payne got from ENL was issued for the purchase of equipment. The minister said ENL has been unable to locate that equipment.

Now, Mr. Speaker, it is standard practice for any lender to requirer a borrower to take out a chattel mortgage on loans used to purchase equipment, so let me ask the minister this: Did ENL follow standard lending procedures in this case and require Jean Payne to sign a chattel mortgage?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I have addressed this issue publicly on a number of occasions. Mrs. Payne had a meeting with the ENL people on Friday morning. I haven't had a chance, because I've been in Ottawa for other meetings - at the CRTC and so on. I am told, though, that she had a good meeting and that it will be worked out. We require other information, and once that information is forthcoming then, hopefully, this matter will be dealt with.

I have also said, Mr. Speaker, we are not going to pamper Mrs. Payne, nor are we going to persecute her. We are going to give her fair and reasonable opportunity to deal with this properly.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, obviously, the minister must have on the best pair of skates available to anybody in the Province today. I asked him a simple question. Did ENL follow standard lending procedure when money was loaned to Jean Payne, and require her to sign a chattel mortgage, as they do with other lenders, or as they do with other people they loan money to? Can the minister answer that question, yes or no?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, as I said many times when dealing with this issue, yes there was a chattel mortgage on stenographic and computer equipment, supported by a promissory note and a personal guarantee - yes, I have said that publicly; I have said it here; I have said it outside, so maybe the hon. member should stop skating backwards.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, let me say to the minister that a chattel mortgage on equipment, or a chattel mortgage, requires that the owner, or the person who borrowed the money, cannot sell, lease or dispose of that equipment without guarantee or consent by the lender - in this case, Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador.

In view of that, how is it possible, I ask the minister, that the minister could stand here last week, and again today, and say that ENL does not know where that equipment is? Can the minister answer that question? Where is the equipment? Why hasn't it been found?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Industry Trade and Technology.

MR. FUREY: The hon. member, Mr. Speaker, is really pushing it now. He is trying to play political games. I don't know if he is dense, thick, or just wilfully stupid, but what is superseded in all cases is the personal guarantee. This particular client has a personal guarantee and that, Mr. Speaker, is perhaps the strongest that anybody could get in any lending institution anywhere.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Let me say to the minister, this member is neither dense nor stupid.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. E. BYRNE: Oh, I am sorry.

MR. SPEAKER: We normally give three questions to a member. The Member for Waterford - Kenmount stood up, so it is between the two of you.

MR. HODDER: I yield to my colleague.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Let me say to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology that this member is neither dense nor stupid, but this member recognizes clearly the partisan treatment given to Ms. Payne over the last four years, and that is what is really going on here.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. E. BYRNE: Now, let me ask the minister, in view of the laws on chattel mortgage, why hasn't the minister taken Ms. Payne to court? The loan has been outstanding for five years. She has clearly, clearly, broken the law of this land. She knows what happened to the equipment, and why has the minister and his department let her fly in the face of that law?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, there is definitely a display of density and stupidity if ever I saw it. The reality is that we are trying to deal with this particular client in a fair, decent and honourable way, as we would with any client. We have said, Mr. Speaker, and you have heard me publicly say this, that if it is necessary, we will exercise on the personal guarantee. Now, Mr. Speaker, short of shooting the person or assassinating their character or causing grief for their family, as the Opposition is doing, short of doing that, Mr. Speaker, we are doing everything legally, morally and responsibly that the corporation could do.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Waterford - Kenmount.

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, a question for the Minister of Education.

A large number of the school children of the Province have been deliberately omitted from consideration in Adjusting the Course Part 2, Improving the Conditions for Learning, and I refer specifically to children with special needs and those children who require special education services. It is ironic, Mr. Speaker, that the children who face the greatest challenges in the school system, should merit only a passing comment in Part 2 of his departmental proposals for change, and what measures is the minister taking to include these special children in his programs to improve the conditions for learning?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, Adjusting the Course Part 1 referred to about twenty-three to twenty-five recommendations from the Royal Commission. Part 2 referred to about thirty-five recommendations of the Royal Commission. The Royal Commission contained 212 recommendations. One of the recommendations concerning the special needs children in the system recommended that there is a problem there and that there should be some further work done before we deal with the problem. The process is already in place, Mr. Speaker, developing that recommendation of the Royal Commission, and I agree with the hon. member that it is a very important part of the system, but I would advise him that there is a Part 3 and a Part 4 and a summary coming of Adjusting the Course.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, a supplementary.

I thank the minister for his commentary, however, parents are afraid that their children, who face daily academic frustrations, have been left out of the process and I hope that this is not the case where the minister is looking around for, as he is for the kindergarten thing, a curriculum, and can the minister assure parents that there will be no reductions in funding for special education programs and that teacher allocations and teacher ratios will better reflect the Canadian average and that there will be no reduction in the total provincial allocation of student support services, including the number of student assistants, guidance and educational therapists?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the people of this Province that this Administration will be doing everything that it can to reform and make the educational system of this Province better for all of our children and that is getting more and more difficult, Mr. Speaker, because there is a lot of opposition, and members opposite, some of whom are educators themselves who know better, should be supporting government in our attempts to reform and make the educational system better, but they are not always doing that and it is a shame that they are taking the approach that they are.

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

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Environment and Lands.

I have been advised over the last twenty-four hours by several fishermen in my district that, while turr hunting yesterday, concentrating in the area of Colinet Island to O'Donnells, several hundred pounds of dead codfish have been found floating in the bay. I would like to ask the minister, if she is aware of this problem?

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

MS. COWAN: I might begin, Mr. Speaker, if you would allow me, just to sort of digress here a little but, three or four weeks ago I had a call from the media asking me what I thought of Fabian Manning's comment on something I was doing, and I said: who is Fabian Manning? Anyway, it is one of those things you can interpret however you wish. Anyway, Mr. Speaker, to get back to the question at hand, I am not aware of it. It is not something that in the normal course of events would be directed to my department, it would go to the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

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

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, my grandfather had a saying years ago; he said when you bother people, the slime and the dirt come so, I guess that is why the other side of the House is upset today.

I would like to ask the minister, there seems to be an environmental problem or some type of problem in St. Mary's Bay with regard to dead codfish floating around the bay. I had fifteen telephone calls in my office this morning from fishermen and believe me, they may be asking where is the minister sometimes too. I would like to ask the minister, would she plan on working with the Department of Fisheries in taking some action to find out what this problem is and to find a solution to it? Because it seems that the problem is spreading down into Placentia Bay this afternoon.

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

MS. COWAN: Certainly, Mr. Speaker, I don't think that my department will find the solution, but if it would help the situation I would be only too glad to make sure that the federal Department of Environment is aware of the situation. But isn't that his job? He is the MHA from out there and he should be calling the federal government about it. I've called the federal government when there is a problem in my constituency. Since I'm so generous and kind and not really in a bad mood, as he seems to think I am, I will do it for him.

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

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, I realize that it is the federal Department of Fisheries responsibility, and they have been notified by my office, I advise the minister, this morning. Last week in this House she advised us that she was responsible for the environment, she stressed it in the questions she was asked. I say, there is the possibility of an environmental or ecological problem here. I'm asking the minister once again, will she take the responsibility that her department has in trying to find a solution to this problem as soon as possible?

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

MS. COWAN: I will be very pleased, Mr. Speaker, to see that the federal Department of Environment is called. That is as far as I will be able to go with it unless these fish wash up on land. If these fish wash up on land then I will be there with open arms.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Question period has expired.

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to table six copies of an Order in Council that involves a pre-commitment of funds. I would also like to table, Mr. Speaker, a copy of special warrants, one special warrant relating to extra expenditures in the Department of Social Services, I believe, Mr. Speaker.

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology.

MR. FUREY: I didn't want to interrupt the hon. member, Mr. Speaker.

MS. VERGE: Public libraries report, please (inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: Cover up.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, on March 4 the Member for Menihek asked a question regarding the report of illegal kill of the Mealy Mountain caribou by residents of St. Augustine, Quebec. Previous to this issue being raised in the House, Mr. Speaker, the Goose Bay regional wildlife office received an anonymous call on February 15, reporting that fifty-six caribou had been taken from Labrador by residents of St. Augustine.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: On the fifteenth there was an anonymous call with respect to this issue. A routine scheduled helicopter patrol was initiated on February 17, and it was extended in through the eighteenth. During this patrol ski-doo tracks were discovered at the St. Paul's River and were followed to the headwaters of Paradise River. Two camps which had been used were checked and the officers checked the area that had been travelled by ski-doo. There was no evidence of any kills found anywhere in that area, no evidence whatsoever. Fourteen live caribou were recorded by the officers during this two day patrol. There was no significant snowfall between the time of the report and the time of the patrol as the ski-doo tracks were readily visible.

Considering this and the known caribou utilization of the area, it's unlikely that the reported killings actually occurred. After this issue was brought up in the House last Friday wildlife officers investigated the issue further. Yesterday a helicopter was in the area all afternoon again. These wildlife conservation officers reported that the complaint of the taking of caribou has been investigated with no confirmation whatsoever of any illegal activity and there appears to be no substance to these rumours. However, it should be noted that we are compelled to investigate rumours, Mr. Speaker, and rumours sometimes have a costly price tag. So it has cost us a lot of money to check out these rumours and we find no substance, no illegal activity, and I can tell you that if there were illegal activity we would use the full force of the law to deal with it.

Petitions

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

MR. TOBIN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a petition I want to present today on behalf of - in excess of 2,000 people. Mr. Speaker, this petition which I want to present is to be presented to the Minister of Environment and Lands and she has left. So with your approval, Mr. Speaker, I would yield to my colleague from Humber East and I'll get back to my petition when she comes in. I want the minister to be here when I present it. She is gone out for a minute so I'll let the Member for Humber East present her petition.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I'm pleased to rise in my place today to present a petition on behalf of many concerned citizens of the Province, residents of Gander, Corner Brook, Steady Brook and Churchill Falls. The petition reads as follows;

WHEREAS the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro will burden the people of the Province with higher electricity costs, higher unemployment, diminished economic development opportunities, alienation of water rights and the transfer out of the Province of millions of dollars every year in dividends to shareholders:

Therefore, we petition the Premier and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to retain Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro as a Crown owned corporation.

Mr. Speaker, citizens of the Province are shocked as they learn more and more about the government's proposal to give away Hydro because that's what people are seeing it as, Mr. Speaker, not a sale but a giveaway.

Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro has been built up through taxpayers contributions. We have state of the art facilities at Bay d'Espoir, Hynes Lake and Cat Arm. Bay d'Espoir was just paid off last year. It's now mortgage free or debt free. Mr. Speaker, those facilities are fuelled by free, eternally flowing water, water that comes from God, water that will flow forevermore.

The government is proposing to turn all that over at a ridiculously low price to private interests. Worse than that, and this is truly astounding, the government is proposing through legislative measures before the House of Assembly, to give the Minister of Finance the power to transfer to the new private Hydro corporation undeveloped water rights anywhere in the Province. So that water rights now owned by the people for the benefit of the people will be turned over to private interests, many of whom inevitably will reside outside the Province.

This is an abomination. Collectively, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are haunted by the colossal mistake of the Upper Churchill contract in the 1960s. The Minister of Justice and the Premier were part of the government of the day, of Premier Smallwood's government, that entered into that deal which turned out to be so bad for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. As I've said before, few people of that era could have foreseen the startling rise in energy costs that occurred in the 1970s and 1980s that rendered the Upper Churchill contract so bad for Newfoundland and Labrador, that led to such an unfairly small portion of the benefit accruing to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

Mr. Speaker, for God's sake, these petitioners cry, don't repeat that mistake! Haven't we learned anything from our history? Didn't we learn anything from the failure of the Upper Churchill contract? People are urging the government to back off, to keep Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. If the government has any thought of privatizing Hydro, open up the process for public consultation and don't dare make a move without having a referendum, because Hydro is the citizens' birthright. People don't have very much left of their birthright. Our groundfish stocks have been badly mismanaged, our trees have been mismanaged. The Minister of Environment must be aware of the mistakes that have been made in resource management, but we've done a good job of managing our water resources. Don't blow it, people implore the government.

I join with the petitioners in calling on the Premier and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to retain Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro as a Crown owned corporation.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I'm going to present a petition myself which involves the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations and she has agreed to remain here. In the meantime it is my intention right now, to speak to the petition that was presented by the Member for Humber East.

In doing so let me say that I hope that the Minister of Mines and Energy will respond to the petition. It would be nice to have him in Hansard saying something other than: I don't know. I think his contribution would be somewhat greater if he had somewhat of a commitment. I don't blame the Minister of Mines and Energy, I really don't blame him. The Minister of Mines and Energy has been pushed out the door. The Premier of this Province has said: I am going to see that Hydro is privatized, I am going to carry the load for Hydro to be privatized, I am going to push, bull, bulldoze, whatever may happen, whoever gets in my way- get!

I would suspect that the Minister of Mines and Energy probably asked the Premier a few questions that the Premier did not accept. I would think that, as a result of that, the Minister of Mines and Energy has no choice. As a matter of fact, today, when you heard the Leader of the Opposition ask the question about the cost of the advertising firm, the Minister of Finance, had to turn around and say: Yes, `Rex', there's one on the way. I witnessed it. Yes, `Rex', it is happening.

The minister did not know and, Mr. Speaker, that is abuse, and it was embarrassing today for the minister. It was embarrassing for us as legislators, but it was especially embarrassing today for that minister, when he had to stand up here and not be able to respond to one question, because the Premier had not seen fit to invite him into what is taking place.

There is the Premier, the Minister of Justice, Jim Chalker, and a few others who are involved in this privatization, and there are a lot of questions to be asked about this privatization and the role that is being played. What role, Mr. Speaker? Are there some people involved today, on this negotiating team, who are presently on the board of directors, negotiating the sale of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, getting paid to negotiate that sale? I am just wondering if it is possible that some of these will end up as major shareholders in the new company, and will they, once again, be on the board of directors of that new company?

Are there people here today getting paid to negotiate the old Hydro into the new Hydro, who then will sit as members of the board of directors of the new Hydro? And some will say there is no conflict, Mr. Speaker? There is only one thing short, and that is the old shackles, Mr. Speaker, should be put on half of what is over there, and half of what is outside.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: What can you expect, coming from `old conflict' himself?

MR. TOBIN: That's right. My colleague, the Member for Grand Bank said it well. How would the Minister of Justice know whether or not he is in a conflict when he has never been out of one himself, because for the few years I have been around I have never seen anyone involved in a conflict of interest like the Minister of Justice. He never got out of one. If it were any other minister over there, he would be gone through the door so fast it wouldn't be funny, which makes me wonder if he has something on the Premier. Because, for the Premier to tolerate, day-in and day-out, week-in and week-out, month-in and month-out, year-in and year-out, the conflict of the Minister of Energy, with his shares in Fortis -

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Justice - the Minister of Justice.

MR. TOBIN: - trying to buy Newfoundland Hydro from the government that he was -

MR. SULLIVAN: He made a profit and got caught, then he turned it over to charity.

MR. TOBIN: This is interesting, you know. We have the Minister of Justice, who was a shareholder of Fortis and a member of government. So, as a member of government, he was trying to sell Hydro to his company called Fortis. What is happening now? The same thing could happen. You could have a member of the board of directors trying to sell old Hydro to new Hydro, which they own.

Now, if that minister had to sell his shares and donate the profit to charity, I just wonder. You never know, charity could benefit again, but I don't think so, because whoever the Premier of this Province is in debt to think they can do just what they like.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, my time is up, and the minister is not going to respond. I think the minister wants to go again.

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

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition of several of my constituents, residents of just a section of East Valley Road in Corner Brook.

Mr. Speaker, a resident, Eric Dyke, and his wife, on their own initiative, went door-to-door on their street and neighbouring streets with a petition opposing the sale of Hydro. They collected signatures from virtually everyone they met as they went from door-to-door. I am now presenting their petition.

`Whereas the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro will burden the people of the Province with higher electricity costs, higher unemployment, diminished economic development opportunities, alienation of water rights, and the transfer out of the Province of millions of dollars every year in dividends to shareholders;

Therefore we petition the Premier, and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, to retain Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro as a Crown-owned corporation.'

Mr. Speaker, these petitioners are taxpayers; they are also electricity rate payers and they have a very important stake in the future of Hydro, but they are being shut out of the government's negotiations. Mr. Speaker, they have been waiting for the Premier to have a public meeting about options for Hydro. They remember that the Premier, at a great fanfare preceded by a piper, held a public meeting in the Corner Brook area about the Meech Lake Accord. They expected the Premier to be consistent and on this issue, the most important legislative matter to come before the House of Assembly since Confederation, they assumed the Premier would have a public meeting in the Corner Brook area, but the Premier has failed to do that. Mr. Speaker, these people are trying to be heard through this petition. In the recital, they point out as the first of a list of negative consequences of the Hydro sale, higher electricity costs, and let me detail the extent of the rise of electricity costs. The cost of the reorganization and privatization will be close to $200 million, plus the amounts being paid to Jim Chalker, Jim Chalker's law firm, Roland Martin, Roland Martin's law firm, and all others in the Minister of Justice's galaxy, so it is $200 million, plus, that the privatization process is costing, and that is all going to get passed on to the rate payers. That will be done over a period of fifteen to forty years, and we estimate that will cost about $18 million a year, and that would be a conservative estimate, a small `c' as well as a capital `C'.

Now, in addition to that, Mr. Speaker, there will be $20 million a year because of the extra 6 to 7 per cent on about $300 million of equity purchased by new Hydro from old Hydro; Number three, there will be about $10 million a year, the extra 3 to 4 per cent, on the $300 million that will be converted from debt to equity at the time of privatization; Number four, another $5 million a year as more debt is converted to equity after privatization in order to achieve the 50/50 debt equity ratio new Hydro will need; Fifth, another $12 million for domestic consumers, for home-owners, because of their share of the world deficit that will be shifted to them. That is an astounding list of increases to the rate payers when they will get no improvement in service.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the petitioners are also taxpayers and they are now realizing, as they get more and more information about this rotten deal, that they are going to lose twice. They will lose as taxpayers as well, because the government is proposing to give an array of concessions and tax breaks, the $15 million rate adjustment fund, the $10 million -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will continue later.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise to support the petition from my colleague, the Member for Humber East. I will pick up where the Member for Humber East left off.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Social Services, on a point of order.

MR. LUSH: All hon. members know that there is a particular procedure and a particular format for presenting petitions, unless we have done away with that and I am not aware that we have. I think it is incumbent on all hon. members -

MR. SIMMS: You are cutting into the hon. member's time.

MR. LUSH: Well, if that is the case, I will do it afterwards. This is important and I will make the point after the hon. member does his thing.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My colleague, the Member for Humber East was commenting on the double effect the privatization of Hydro is going to have on the people of this Province. In fact, it is going to have a tremendous effect on the cost to rate payers of the Province. Those who are paying the cost of electricity now will see an increase anywhere from $150 million to $180 million in rate increases.

We will just look at each one, for example. The debt premiums related to the portion of Hydro's debt that is going to be transferred, the Premier has admitted $20 million, and it will be at least in the vicinity of $20 million to $30 million. The Premier also mentioned fees and commissions are going to amount to another $15 million to $20 million. We stand to be refuted on any of these - even the Premier, himself, has used some of these figures.

The foreign currency exchange on the old Hydro's debt is going to amount to from $90 million to $100 million, and this is going to be built into the base rate of electricity that is going to be charged to the consumers of electricity in this Province. Also, in the pension fund being transferred to new Hydro, the unfunded liability that applies to Hydro employees of $25 million to $30 million is going to be funded out of this Province.

As well, if you look at the other effects that we are going to see the cost to tax payers of this Province. The Member for Humber East mentioned the rate adjustment fund. This Province is going to take from its provincial treasury $15 million and put it into a fund to ease the cost of increases in electricity over the next three years. It is going to put $15 million so the consumers of electricity won't feel the brunt of this until three years time. They are also giving up their $10 million - and I think it was nine point some million dollars last year - that they get for guaranteeing the debt for Hydro. That is going to be turned over to Hydro out of the treasury of this Province.

They are also going to forego - and in the past they have given up and refunded under PUITTA, the Public Utilities Income Tax Transfer Act, that have seen between $9.2 million and $10 million a year that is rebated as a portion of the federal corporate income tax, comes back to the Province where 85 per cent is refunded. We are going to see now - have to apply that to Newfoundland Power. That is going to mean out of the taxpayers of this Province $30 million to $40 million a year. It is going to be lost and funded by the taxpayers of this Province out of revenues that we would get by charging corporate tax to any other company doing business here in this Province.

Newfoundland Power now, under Fortis, and the new Hydro, will be exempted from this specific tax that is going to cost the taxpayers $40 million extra in this Province, or $40 million less of revenues that we could generate in this Province. Other companies that are out there doing business in this Province will have to pay that tax. That is very significant and many members don't realize the impact it is going to have.

In fact, with regard to the Hydro pension fund, what is going to happen is, this Province is going to take the unfunded liability - there is about a $1.7 billion unfunded liability in the pension plans now. If we had to pay out in this Province all the pensions that are due now, we would need $1.7 billion. If we apply the portion of that pension that the Hydro employees are due, and should be matched by government, this Province is going to dip into its treasury next year, if this bill passes, and take $30 million to $40 million - the Premier's figure is $30 million, and we think that is low. We are saying $40 million - well, $30 million to $40 million. It is going to be put into new Hydro, reducing the unfunded liability by $30 million to $40 million, but we are paying it out. The Province is paying it now, not in twenty years time when they would have to draw it if they are a member, or thirty years time, or whenever they are ready to retire. We are paying out right now out of the treasury of this Province.

When you total up these few little figures there on what the treasury of the Province is going to have to pay out in immediate dollars, we are looking at a total of over $100 million outlay right out of the treasury of this Province in the next fiscal year. That is what is going to happen.

On top of that we are looking at an increase to consumers of electricity in this Province, up to $180 million for costs associated with the transfer of old Hydro to new Hydro.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: That is every single year for the rest of our lives.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave.

MR. SULLIVAN: No, I'll get it next time.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Social Services, on a point of order.

MR. LUSH: A point of order, Mr. Speaker. I could be corrected if the House has decided to accept all and every petition in every way, shape and form that it comes. I don't know if that is indeed the case. I thought that last year we had decided that Petitions would take the traditional form that they have always taken in this House and there is a format and if that is the case, I didn't see this last petition but the one that was presented earlier was completely out of character with what a petition should be.

Number one, the petition is addressed to the House, and I have seen members do this deliberately, I would suggest, that the petition is addressed to the House and it is done that way for a very specific reason. To address it to the Premier or to the government makes it a debate and sometimes makes it a very bitter debate and the reason why the wording is the way it is, is to take out that kind of bitterness and confrontation in the same way as we address members as hon. members and not as you, he, she, it. It is done deliberately to take out that element of debate because Petition Period is not supposed to be a time of debate. It is quite simply a period to present a petition and one speaks to the numbers of names on the petitions, the signatures and doesn't get into the debate.

It seems as though the Opposition is now using this period primarily for debate on Hydro and designing their own petitions. I say to hon. members, the onus is on all of us to follow the rules, the petitions are done in the Speaker's office, it is only a matter of sending them out to the constituents and doing them in the proper way instead of doing it the way we are, which is a rejection, an outright rejection of the rules and I don't think hon. members intend to do that.

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes they do.

MR. LUSH: Well if they do, then it should be corrected, but if the House hasn't allowed just any form of a petition to be presented, then I think we should deal with it and deal with it now so that petitions are presented that fall within the rules of the House.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: To the point of order raised by the Minister of Social Services, Mr. Speaker, I guess any way you try to cut this, basically what the Minister of Social Services is trying to do, is to stifle debate, stifle debate on the privatization of Hydro. He is trying to prevent the wishes of the thousands of people who are sending petitions -

MR. FLIGHT: He is an ex-Speaker.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, I say to the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, he might be an ex-Speaker, that may be so; there are a number of ex-Speakers in the House I say to the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture but, Mr. Speaker -

MR. SIMMS: He was a lot better when he was Speaker than he is now in parliamentary procedures, he is after forgetting (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, these petitions are coming in to members on a daily basis, thousands and thousands of people are signing them and sending them to members, and members feel that they have a responsibility in light of the public debate around this Province, Mr. Speaker, in light of the public opposition to the privatization of Hydro that we feel as members on this side of the House at least, that we are going to present those petitions on behalf of the people who ask us to.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the Government House Leader and I have discussed petitions on a number of occasions. We have been quite lenient I say to the Minister of Social Services. We have had people stand in this House with just a few signatures who felt strongly enough that they wanted to present it on behalf of their constituents and we have agreed and given leave for those petitions to be presented I say to the minister, so any -

MR. TOBIN: From members on both sides.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, by members on both sides, we have been lenient because we felt that members who receive those petitions and are asked by their constituents to present them for them, that we should not stop them from presenting them on the floor of this Legislature, particularly when Your Honour calls, under the routine proceedings, Petitions. So, Mr. Speaker, this is a very legitimate petition that my colleague is presenting; all the petitions that we presented yesterday and today are very legitimate and it meets all of the requirements.

Now maybe the member did not say how many petitioners had signed the petition, that maybe she does not say each time she stands how many signed it but in other respects, Mr. Speaker, the petition certainly meets the guidelines and understanding that have been worked out between the Government House Leader and myself and I submit there is no point of order.

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

MR. ROBERTS: If I may, very briefly, Mr. Speaker, both my friend and colleague, the Member for Bonavista North, and the Minister of Social Services and formerly the Speaker, and the gentleman from Grand Bank have made valid points.

There is no doubt the petition procedure as we have it in this House is not being followed, that is the point made by my friend from Bonavista North, and in my submission he is entirely correct. On the other hand, we have allowed to grow up over the years this really quite improper procedure but it's been tolerated and allowed and the problem with waiving the rules, as I've said in a different context, is there then are no rules. So we really should address it and perhaps when things get moved forward a little more in the House we can return to that. I may have some thoughts that I can put forward and other members may have thoughts which they would put forward.

I want to add one other thing, when my friend from Grand Bank says that we're trying to stifle debate on the Hydro bill, he's letting his partisan enthusiasm, and he doesn't do this often, but he's letting his partisan enthusiasm take over his common sense and his good judgement.

The moment, Mr. Speaker, we go to Orders of the Day I'll ask the House to deal with four motions which will take two seconds. They're the four bills which stand for first reading. There is nothing unusual about those. They have all been distributed to the committees and are being looked at but, Mr. Speaker, the moment that we go to Orders of the Day and dispose of this motion, I shall ask Your Honour to call the Hydro bill, we'll begin the debate and carry on with it. At the appropriate time I shall move the motion and ask the House to agree to sit late tonight, so we'll provide another seven hours of debate today, whenever we start.

So, Mr. Speaker, let me just simply put on the record, in case of any misunderstanding, the government is very anxious to debate this bill. We're not going to move a Standing Order 21. If the Opposition want to go on until 10:00 p.m. tonight, by all means, but the moment they come to the conclusion of their petition business, the moment Your Honour calls Orders of the Day, we shall ask the House to deal with the debate on the Hydro bill. We want to get on with it so that people can hear the arguments, pro and con, and come to their own decision. With that said, I agree with the point of order made by my friend from Bonavista North.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just want to address the point of order raised by my friend the Minister of Social Services. He and my colleagues, the Member for Grand Bank and the Government House Leader, have addressed what has occurred in the past, what the practices are, how we have been lenient from time to time to allow petitioners the right to put forth a petition, If they have a reasonable issue which they wish to have raised in the House. They're not going to understand specifically the details and the technicalities of how it has to be worded and all that old nonsense and because of that we have all recognized that on both sides of the House in the past and we agreed to be flexible. As long as we can vouch for the fact that this is a legitimate petition, with a legitimate prayer in it, and this prayer is quite legitimate.-

AN HON. MEMBER: Where's the prayer?

MR. SIMMS: The prayer is: WHEREAS the privatization of Hydro will burden the people of Newfoundland and Labrador with higher electricity costs, et cetera, et cetera - there is a prayer. These signatures were attached to the petition at a public meeting and on other occasions. People took the petitions around and got the petitions signed, with the names and addresses of the individuals, so surely we should not be trying to take away or diminish in any way, shape or form the right of these people to present petitions.

Now, Mr. Speaker, let me add something else for Your Honour to consider, and it's different from the arguments made by the other hon. members, I'm talking about our practices. I refer Your Honour to Beauchesne's sixth edition, paragraph 1029, page 279 and you will see, Mr. Speaker, several references in there that allow you to easily rule in order and accept these petitions because it says in subsection (1) "The language of a petition should be respectful, temperate and free from disrespect to the Sovereign or offensive imputation upon the character and conduct of Parliament. Nothing there along those lines, Mr. Speaker. On the courts of justice, nothing there along those lines or any other tribunal or constituted authority. There is nothing in the language of that petition, it doesn't do anything of that nature. Subsection (3) "A petition should not contain statements which constitute charges of a very strong character against the Minister or senior officials." Nothing in that petition, Mr. Speaker, nothing at all covering that area.

Now, Mr. Speaker, paragraph 1030 (1) "A petition is irregular if it does not set forth a case in which the House has jurisdiction to interfere". In this case, Mr. Speaker, this petition certainly relates to an issue in which the House has jurisdiction to interfere in because the House is the one - we're told by the Premier and everybody else - has to ultimately pass the legislation. So I think, all that is transpiring here is an opportunity for the Minister of Social Services, the former Speaker, to display his skills as a former Speaker, and his knowledge of parliamentary procedure, and try to impress Your Honour.

Nevertheless, the reality is we have used and followed this practice on many, many occasions, and if there is some technical problem, I can assure you we can adjust all the petitions we have by just writing on the top, `To the hon. House of Assembly', but I hardly think it's worth fifteen or twenty minutes of debate on this silly point of order.

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): The hon. the Member for Humber East, speaking to the point of order.

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, I submit that the former Speaker, the Minister of Social Services, is quite wrong. There is no technical problem with this petition. This petition is addressed to the House of Assembly. The prayer of the petition reads: Therefore we petition the Premier, and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Now, Mr. Speaker, a first-year university political science student knows that the government has three branches, one of which is the legislative branch, one of which is the House of Assembly.

Mr. Speaker, these citizens of Humber East and Humber West, and other districts of the Province, are addressing their petition to the government -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS. VERGE: - to the government, knowing that the government includes the House of Assembly. The House of Assembly is perhaps the most important branch of the government. It's the branch that makes laws. It's the branch that is being asked to deal with, in the words of the Minister of Justice, the most important legislative measures to come before the Legislature since Confederation.

Mr. Speaker, these petitioners want to have a say in that process

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS. VERGE: - and this is the only way they've been allowed to have a say so far, through a petition.

Mr. Speaker, these people signed a petition to the government, to the House of Assembly, and they asked me to present their petition on their behalf in this Assembly and, Mr. Speaker, I submit there is no technical problem. The petition, in the prayer, is addressed to the government. The government means the House of Assembly. There is no problem.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. members are quite right. The form of a petition has been raised quite frequently in the House, and there is a standard form, I guess, and a proper form that a petition should take. All hon. members have been made aware of that, at least since I have been here, and have been asked, in all instances, to take the proper matter and to deal with that, and that any petition which comes to this House, if it is not in the proper order, to have it cleared by the Speaker, or the Members of the House, I guess, can agree if they will accept the petition.

Now I wasn't here when the hon. member presented the petition. I had assumed that it had either been cleared by the Speaker's office, or by agreement of the House that they were presenting these petitions. I am not sure if that is the case. I don't know if hon. members have cleared it with the Speaker's office or the Table.

MS. VERGE: Your Honour, because, as I just indicated, I believe this to be in the proper form, because it is a petition to the government, and the government includes the House of Assembly, and because I presented petitions worded exactly the same yesterday, and the Speaker didn't raise any objection, no member raised any objection, I had no reason to bring any of my petitions to His Honour's office, but if that is what Your Honour now occupying the Chair indicates, I will be quite happy to bring my petition to the Speaker and get the Speaker's ruling on this.

MR. SPEAKER: If the House wishes to accept the petition, I think that there is no problem with the Chair. But, I am not sure, did the members have the consent of the House to present the petition that -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MS. VERGE: Again, the issue of consent is irrelevant, because the petitions are perfectly acceptable. The petitions are addressed to the government.

Mr. Speaker, apart from that, the form made available through the Clerk's office uses archaic language that is not understood by the majority of citizens of the Province. When people want to petition the government on a matter that's important to them, they want to talk in plain language. Mr. Speaker, the people of Humber East and Humber West who signed these petitions used plain language. They petitioned the government and they mean the House of Assembly.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Social Services.

MR. LUSH: This is not wasting the time of the House. The Orders of the Day, the rules and regulations by which this House is operated, I would say to hon. members, is not wasting time. The hon. members -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. LUSH: The hon. member suggesting-

AN HON. MEMBER: Why don't you close up the House and do what you want to do?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Opposition altogether!

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

The Chair has recognized the hon. Minister of Social Services.

MR. LUSH: For the hon. member to suggest that a petition addressed to the government is the same as a petition addressed to the House shows that she is missing the entire point of Petitions. I just make that point. That it is a very fundamental difference that the petition is addressed to the House of Assembly and to all members assembled, and not to the government. That is very, very important, a fundamental part of a petition, and I say to the hon. member that a prayer is the fundamental part of a petition. A letter can't be a prayer. A newspaper article can't be a prayer. A prayer of a petition is a fundamental part, and for hon. members to suggest otherwise is a suggestion that they don't understand what petitions are all about.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: To the point of order.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Opposition House Leader on the point of order.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I said, "To the point of order."

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Opposition House Leader on the point of order.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, I want to reiterate a point I made earlier, and that is that we have accommodated members in this Legislature -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: We have accommodated members who wanted to present petitions for the right reason, Mr. Speaker, that they had petitions from their constituents and we have agreed to allow that to happen. Members who've come in here with fifty or one hundred names on a piece of paper, their constituents have asked them to present the petitions, they have risen in their place and asked if it was okay to present it, and we have agreed to let it happen.

What we have now, as I said earlier, is the Minister of Social Services is trying to stifle debate and discussion, trying to prevent the Member for Humber East and others from presenting petitions, legitimate petitions that have been sent here by thousands of people opposing the government's privatization of Hydro plan. That is the problem. They don't like that, Mr. Speaker, and now they are trying to stop the member and others from opposing it.

If that is the way that the Minister of Social Services and the Government House Leader, and the back benchers on the government side want things - because before too long you will soon be in possession of petitions yourself that will be not so properly worded, and properly formatted, as the minister says, and we will not allow another petition to be presented on the floor of this Legislature unless it meets all the requirements.

If that is what the government wants to do, and the members, just remember. It is like a lot of other things. If you try to ramrod and bully and give the hobnailed boots to people it will come back to haunt you before too long, I say. If you people want to try and play those games we will play them, and we will play harder than you are playing with them.

I think it is incumbent on the Government House Leader. Because he and I were supposed to deal with this petition issue a long time ago. We were supposed to talk about petitions and what to do. I think it is incumbent upon the Government House Leader to get in his place and give Your Honour the consent and the members the consent to keep presenting those petitions, and let's get on with it, or else we will be here till 10:00 p.m. debating whether or not and who has the right to present petitions. Let's get on with it, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, what have I done now that I am being subjected to this? Let me say what has been the practice since my return to the House a year or so ago.

MR. TOBIN: Oh, oh!

MR. ROBERTS: There have been any number of instances where individual members have come to me - my friend for Burin - Placentia West quite rightly says a few days ago he came to me and he showed me a document. He asked did I have any objection to it. I looked at it and said I do not. He will confirm that when he stood in his place I raised no objection. That is the procedure that has grown up, and I have no problem with that.

I will say that the hon. woman - to call her what she wants to be called - for Humber East, who assures me she is not a lady, and therefore I call her only a woman, I don't want to be pejorative about this, she asked me not to. The hon. woman for Humber East, as opposed to the hon. gentleman for Burin - Placentia West did not come to me and ask my advice, and she does not have to. She can stand up and make a presentation to the House but then she is at risk of a point of order, and my friend for Bonavista North has made a point of order on which I suggest Your Honour will have to rule. There is a definite form for petitions to this House. Petitions do not come to the government. The government in the context of the House is the group of fourteen men and women who form the ministries. That is what one means by the government. Here in the House there are fifty-two, as of today, MHAs, fourteen of us are in the government and thirty-eight are not. Thirty-eight are trying to be and fourteen are there.

MR. CRANE: Thirty-seven are trying to be there.

MR. ROBERTS: Thirty-seven are trying to be.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. ROBERTS: All I can say to my friend for Harbour Grace, Mr. Speaker, is that twenty of his colleagues will be grateful to him for not standing in their way. There are twenty on this side.

Mr. Speaker, to come back to the point, if I may, our procedure on petitions is hopelessly out of date and it is not being followed. The gentleman for Grand Bank and I are delinquent, we often are delinquent, jointly, hand in hand as we trip down the lane.

MR. SULLIVAN: Why try to exercise it now?

MR. ROBERTS: I did not raise any point of order. I am not trying to exercise anything. My friend for Ferryland should possess his soul in patience, either that or call 911 and see what response he gets to it.

Mr. Speaker, what I am saying is that my friend for Grand Bank and I are delinquent. I say to the House and to my friend for Grand Bank, who is not listening to me, but who now is listening to me, that any time he would like to meet I would be happy to sit with him and discuss a new petition procedure. We could do it this afternoon if he wishes. I will be here in the House until we get on Orders of the Day. It is now 3:34 and I do not know whether we will go on all day today on Orders of the Day or not. We are prepared to debate this bill. We are anxious to debate this bill.

My friend for Harbour Grace, who is not questing for the Cabinet, is anxious, we are all anxious to debate this bill. The Opposition are deliberately trying to frustrate debate. I do not know why. If they feel they have such a strong case one would think they would be anxious to put it to the House, but they are not, so I say again that in my understanding, my friend for Bonavista North has made a valid point of order. The fact that the hon. woman for Humber East has not sought my views is beside the point, but the fact that she has not sought my views surely means that she does not care about my views and therefore I am not to be held as having given my view that what appears to be her irregular procedure is in order.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Minister of Social Services has certainly raised a valid point of order in that a petition has to be in a particular form, in a standard form, however we have presented petitions in the House before that were not in standard form yet were accepted by members of the House. I understand that the Opposition House Leader is now asking if he has approval to continue with the petitions whether they are in proper form or not. Is that being considered? If not the Chair will have to recess and have a look at the petitions. The Chair is going to recess to consider the matter.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. TOBIN: I have been sent in here today with petitions containing in excess of 2000 names dealing with ATVs. I did not go out and seek the petitions. I was called to present it the other day. I checked with the Minister of Environment and Lands. She sat down and read the petition, looked at it, and I gave her the covering letter. She is ready to speak on it. The minister has other commitments and she has been the last ten minutes at least, with a meeting supposed to take place, waiting here for me to present my petition and all we have heard, Mr. Speaker, is a bunch of foolishness started by the Minister of Social Services who is trying to impress everyone. He should know that in terms of the rules of this House he impresses no one.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TOBIN: Now I want to get on with my petition, Mr. Speaker, and on behalf of these 2,000 plus people I would like to be able to present it, and if the Minister of Social Services doesn't want the wishes of these people to be heard in the House, I would ask him to leave.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair is going to recess just to consider, for a few minutes, the matter raised by the hon. the Minister of Social Services.

Recess

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

On the matter of petitions, all hon. members are aware that the petition, in order to be presented to the House, has to be in a proper, standard form that has been set down in our Standing Orders, and precedent has it that unless a petition is in standard form when the hon. member rises to present that petition, if he or she is aware that the petition is not in standard form, then he asks leave of the House to present that petition.

If a petition is not in standard form, and if it's not by the leave of the House, then the Chair cannot allow the petitions to be presented that are not in standard form. So unless the member has leave, if the petition is not in standard form, then it can't be presented.

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, as I said before, I believe that my petition that I just presented, that the Minister of Social Services rose on a point of order respecting, is in the proper form because the prayer specifies the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the government includes the House of Assembly.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS. VERGE: The government has three branches, the legislative, the administrative and the judicial branch.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

On the point of order that the member has raised, the Chair has not seen the petition, but it is my understanding, from consulting with the officers, that the petition that she has presented is not in proper form.

The hon. the Member for Ferryland.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is my pleasure to present a petition on behalf of some of the residents of Ferryland in the District of Ferryland.

To the hon. the House of Assembly, in Legislative Session convened -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: The petition of the undersigned residents of the District of Ferryland;

WHEREAS the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has drafted and given approval in principle to an income supplementation program; and

WHEREAS the government has presented this proposal to the Government of Canada for its consideration; and

WHEREAS we believe this proposal is fundamentally flawed, and would have harmful consequences for tens of thousands of people, and for the economy of the Province generally;

WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that Your Honourable House may be pleased to request the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador immediately to undertake a process of consultation with the people of the Province on this proposal, and to halt any action with respect to this proposal until the voice of the people has been heard, as in duty bound your petitioners will ever pray.

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible) all that archaic language.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, it is certainly my pleasure to speak on behalf of this petition.

This petition originated when I held a public meeting with members of a committee in our caucus up in Ferryland, attended by 225 people. These people at the meeting came up with the idea of presenting a petition so this government would listen to the wishes of the people and not as the government had done by taking a report and putting a proposal together by Doug House and the Economic Recovery Commission, long before the provincial election in May, meeting secretly, report went to Cabinet, made Cabinet approval in June and then was presented to the Government of Canada in November and released to the people of the Province in December. Now that is the type of tactic this government has been practising. They have done it with Hydro, they don't even inform the minister what is happening. The minister doesn't know, other ministers don't know what is happening, they are not hearing the real issues and the same thing with the income supplementation program, something that is so important and so vital and so basic to the people of this Province as the social security safety net that has been established and built up over the years, to try to have it eroded by the Premier of this Province and the committee in a matter of a few months. I think it is despicable, it is an insult to the people of the Province.

We have seen $2 billion come into this Province on an annual basis through transfers to individuals and to this Province and now we have a proposal sent to the Prime Minister of Canada without the people being versed and made knowledgeable about it. What the Premier stated is: what is the point in presenting something to the people of this Province, if the Government of Canada is not going to accept it. And the federal Minister of Finance stated: if we are going to change the social security net in this country, we must consult the stakeholders, the people of Canada must be consulted. The Premier didn't see it that way and I say to the Premier: what need is there to present a proposal to the Government of Canada if the people of this Province do not have an opportunity to have input?

People are not advocating that we become more dependent on social assistance, on UI; people in this Province want an opportunity for real jobs and real work, they don't want UI, UI is a means of last resort. It became nurtured in a system that failed to stimulate and provide jobs for these people, it became their only means of survival to put food on the table. That is what UI means to many families in this Province. It is little wonder that the federal government turned around in their Budget and instituted step one of that plan really. They haven't admitted it as such but they introduced twelve weeks of work and thirty weeks of UI.

In certain parts of the Province, like the City of St. John's, it would only be twenty-six weeks depending on the unemployment rate in your region, so the government has failed to consult with the people; they failed to do it on Hydro because they know they are wrong. They have failed to inform their own ministers of this, because they know they are wrong and they have failed to inform and educate and let people see the real issues, the backbenchers, but it will come out in the debate. We have addressed some of it today through petitions and we will address some very important points on some of the drawbacks and faults in the system as it pertains to Hydro and on income supplementation.

The Premier of this Province has asked the Government of Canada to discontinue payments under NCARP. He has asked the Government of Canada to substitute a fishery transition payment and he has asked them to decrease it to 61.6 per cent this year, 49 per cent next year and be eliminated after 1998. Now this is what the Premier of this Province has asked, to cut off the lifeline in Newfoundland and Labrador, to increase UI, to reduce the number of weeks you can get benefits, but what they should be asking the Government of Canada is for an infusion of money and capital to invest and establish business here in this Province so people can go out and get decent jobs and be able to make a living.

This Premier increased corporate income tax and then he went out and preached to the business community, we dropped corporate income tax; he rose it to 17 per cent and then he lowered and then he said: what a tremendous accomplishment, that's what the Premier did. He instituted payroll tax, the most regressive tax on business that you can establish in this country and the Government of Canada is going to ask provinces to reduce payroll tax; they have ignored the wishes of the people and their real concerns. It is quite evident here in this paper on income supplementation.

On the petition in fact, just a little evidence, just a small amount of evidence of what this government feels about the people in this Province. They submitted to the public under income supplementation a fifty-three page report, and they presented to the Government of Canada a 125 page report with I'm sure back up documents -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave!

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

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave!

MR. SPEAKER: No leave.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I'm pleased to rise and support the petition so ably presented by my colleague for Ferryland. An issue in the minds of the people of the Province that I guess perhaps ranks second in importance, I would say to the members opposite, to the privatization of Hydro. The income supplementation proposal certainly is second in their minds today, of course, as a result of the cuts in UI as announced by the federal minister in the federal Budget.

I want to stand today and speak in support of the petition, because people out and about the Province feel betrayed. They feel betrayed because the Premier of this Province with this document, took this document up to the newly elected Prime Minister without any consultation or discussion in this Province. Went off to Ottawa under the cover of darkness and said: Here, Mr. Prime Minister, I agree with this, I've told my Cabinet to agree with this, and now I ask you to agree with this, because we believe this is good for Newfoundland and Labrador.

Of course the Prime Minister and Human Resources Minister Axworthy couldn't believe what the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador was presenting to them. They couldn't believe that the Premier of this Province went to Ottawa and asked for all income supplementation programs to be decreased. That is what he asked for. To be decreased, to roll back the UI, and in some cases to eliminate the UI, and fisheries compensation packages to phase out over a five year period. Human Resources Minister Axworthy couldn't believe his good fortune. Having to bring down a severe Budget just a few weeks ago he said: My God, how lucky am I, to have the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador come up to Ottawa and ask me to take those measures. He couldn't believe his luck.

Of course, he couldn't believe his luck because on every other occasion since Confederation when a premier went to Ottawa he was asking the federal government for more for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. He was telling the Prime Minister and the federal Cabinet that we can't take any more cuts in Newfoundland and Labrador. Our people can't take any more reductions in income or social assistance or UI.

That is what all other premiers did when they went to Ottawa, but what did this Premier Clyde Wells do? Went off to Ottawa and asked them really to knock the insides out of their income support. People out and about this Province, I say to members opposite -

MR. BAKER: That's not true.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, I say to the Minister of Finance, it is true. I would say to the Minister of Finance that his brother George can't believe what the Premier did either. He can't believe it. If George was to come public -

MR. SIMMS: Come clean.

MR. TOBIN: George said he wished Wins would retire and get the hell out of here.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, but I tell you. People out and about this Province are very concerned about this matter, Mr. Speaker. They can't believe that the government of this Province would propose that UI, social assistance and fisheries compensation would be cut. Because that is all that is keeping body and soul alive out and about this Province. To have the Premier of this Province propose that - and that is very much in their minds today, and I have no trouble whatsoever in supporting the petition presented by my colleague, the Member for Ferryland, calling on this government to scrap the income supplementation program. Scrap it! The economy of this Province can't afford it, and certainly those who are receiving benefits from any of the programs cannot afford to have their compensation reduced, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend I suspect has another petition, and that is fair enough. I wonder, before he goes on, may I move that the House do not adjourn at 5:00 p.m., please.

MR. SPEAKER: It has been moved that the House do not adjourn at 5:00 p.m. All those in favour?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye!

MR. SPEAKER: Against?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Nay!

MR. SPEAKER: Carried.

The hon. the Member for Ferryland.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise again on behalf of residents of the community of Ferryland in the district of Ferryland to present the following petition:

To the hon. House of Assembly of Newfoundland in Legislative Session Convened, the petition of the undersigned residents of the District of Ferryland:

WHEREAS the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has drafted and given approval in principle to an income supplementation proposal; and

WHEREAS the government has presented this proposal to the Government of Canada for its consideration: and

WHEREAS we believe this proposal is fundamentally flawed and would have harmful consequences for tens of thousands of people and for the economy of the Province generally.

WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that your hon. House may be pleased to request the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador immediately to undertake a process of consultation with the people of the Province on this proposal and to halt any action with respect to this proposal until the voice of the people has been heard. As in duty bound your petitioners will ever pray.

 

Once again, Mr. Speaker, it's related to this government's inconsiderate approach and ignoring the wishes of the people. In fact, when they drafted this proposal in secret, brought it to Cabinet in secret and sat on it until November of this year, the people within their Caucus, I'm sure, our Caucus and members of the House of Assembly and the public knew nothing about it. In fact, I just want to read how sensitive they figured it would be in their more detailed document. Here is what they stated, on page 125 in the report, they said the implementation of this ISP will be socially sensitive. Although the evaluation of the program indicates that there will be more families who gain income from ISP than lose income, those who lose are highly organized by industry such as the fishery. In addition, those who lose income are the more affluent of the UI recipients and therefore have a stronger and louder voice. The poorer members of the population who are generally disenfranchised and unorganized are not likely to be a vocal organized lobby in favour of income security reform.

Now that's what the Premier of the Province gave to the Prime Minister of Canada, how he planned on dealing with the vocal minorities out there and the different groups as he wanted to push this plan along the backs of people in the Province as he's doing with Hydro, refusing people to get into meetings, not giving the full facts, stating mistruths here in this House and having to correct them outside the House when people don't hear the corrections, usually they only hear the mistruths that are placed. That is the type of policy, the type of strategies government has aspired to and are trying to carry out in this program.

When you have a family who has been working long and hard during seasonal employment and some families - and there are instances here that show it in this report - that have been making up to $48,000 and $49,000 with two workers working twelve and fourteen weeks and now because of this ISP proposal, a family in that category of $49,000 would make $26,000. That's a $23,000 decline, almost a 50 per cent reduction in benefits if the ISP is accepted. That's a dramatic impact on a family who has a mortgage payment, who has a car, who has built themselves into a certain lifestyle over a period of time.

Mr. Speaker, I call for a quorum. Quorum call.

MR. SPEAKER: Quorum call. Count the members.

Quorum

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair has determined that there is a quorum in the House at this time.

The hon. the Member for Ferryland.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Government House Leader said the important people were there. I guess it depends on whose definition is is, of 'important'. I think everybody in this House is important, and the people in their districts felt they were important to put them here. That's who is important.

The people in my district are important, and I would present a petition on their behalf anytime. I think if the people were so important they would have an opportunity to be a little more concerned about the damage you are inflicting on people in this Province, and it is the process that this government has gone through with this report, and many people, I am quite sure, on government side and in back benches, don't know what the government is doing. They don't know what is happening on Income Supplementation, they don't know what is happening on Hydro. They are not being informed what is happening, and that is the shame of what is going on here in the Province. And we have the opportunity of coming into the House and presenting petitions on behalf of people in our districts. It was permitted before, under certain formats -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No leave.

MR. SPEAKER: No leave?

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, I stand to support my colleague's petition from the people of Ferryland, who gave it to their member to bring to this House of Assembly for discussion, to present their views. I had the opportunity of chairing the meeting in Ferryland, and close to 300 people showed up at that meeting.

MR. GRIMES: That's not true.

MR. E. BYRNE: What is not true? I ask the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. What is not true?

MR. GRIMES: You're not supposed to multiply your attendance figures by three. One hundred people showed up.

MR. E. BYRNE: Well, I can say to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations that at least the Opposition on this side of the House had the sense and the decency to go out to the people of the Province to talk about income supplementation, and he did not.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. E. BYRNE: And if he attended the meeting he would know there were 300 people there. And I say to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations that if he took a Select Committee of this House to travel the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador on income supplementation, he would be surprised at the number of people that would turn out at meetings for him. Mr. Speaker, I would go as far as to say that the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations mightn't get out of some of those meetings as easily as he got out of the one in Corner Brook dealing with Barry's fish plant last year.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. E. BYRNE: If the indications from the people at Ferryland that night at the meeting - they were completely outraged and aghast that a provincial government would take a such a program, such a radical reform of social programs in this Province, and not even come to them for their consultation or view.

Let's look at the people in Southern Harbour during the recent by-election, who in the general election voted overwhelmingly for the Liberal candidate - and for the federal member, but more importantly in the last provincial election - voted overwhelmingly for the Liberal candidate. This election they did not. They voiced their concern and they voiced their outrage through the ballot process, through the democratic process. The Income Supplementation Program would completely devastate that community, I say to the minister. The people in Southern Harbour spoke loud and clear, as the people of the Province would if this government would give them the opportunity to voice their concern.

Mr. Speaker, just to provide an example of what this government -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. MURPHY: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, am I recognized as having the floor, or is the Member for St. John's South?

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

MR. E. BYRNE: I say to the Member for St. John's South that if he wishes to speak to the resolution, then stand to be recognized in the House and stop yapping off over there.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. E. BYRNE: Stand up and be recognized and stop yapping off over there!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. E. BYRNE: If you want to say something, stand up and be recognized by the Chair! That is what I say to the Member for St. John's South. Stand up, boy! Stand up!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. HEWLETT: Stand and speak!

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

MR. HEWLETT: I came in from Green Bay where people (inaudible)!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask hon. members to restrain themselves.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair has asked for order. I ask hon. members for their co-operation. The Chair has recognized only one member, the hon. the Member for Kilbride. If hon. members wish to speak in this debate they have to stand and be recognized by the Speaker.

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

Before I was rudely interrupted, I was going to demonstrate what this government has done in terms of the Income Supplementation Program. Prior to Christmas, they released this flimsy report, fifty-three pages, to the people of the Province, on what the Income Supplementation Program was about. Let me show you the report that they -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: The report that went to Ottawa was a different report, a confidential draft report, some 125 pages long. Why wasn't that released to the public? I will tell you why - because on the last page it says this: `The implementation of the ISP will be socially sensitive.' That is what they said. It wasn't released in their other report, the one they released for public viewing. It said: `Those who would lose income are the more affluent of U.I. recipients' - as if U.I. recipients are affluent members of our society! - `the more affluent of U.I. recipients and therefore have a stronger, louder voice. The poorer members of the population who are generally disenfranchised and unorganized are not likely to be an organized voting lobby.'

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I am finally getting an opportunity to present my petition. I stand today to present a petition on behalf of in excess of 2,000 people.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes, Mr. Speaker, in excess of 2,000 people. It is to deal with the proposed ATV regulations. Let me say from the outset that I have discussed this with the Minister of Environment and Lands and she is aware of the petition. She has a copy of the letter that was prepared, drafted and submitted by the group of people, whom the executive of the ATV Association on the Burin Peninsula -

Mr. Speaker, these petitions were signed by people from the districts of Burin - Placentia West, Grand Bank and Fortune - Hermitage. It is a petition whereby the people, basically, would kindly request that your government extend the deadline of the proposed all-terrain vehicle regulations from April 1, 1994 until such time as the general public has been more informed and consultation has taken place with all affected parties.

Now, let me say that I believe that to be a very fair request, to be a very reasonable request by over 2,000 people who signed this petition. Mr. Speaker, this petition is put in place by people on the Burin Peninsula who are concerned, very concerned, that they will not be able to use their ATVs in the future if these regulations are brought in. As we all know, there is a fear -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: What's that?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the minister that I signed it, as someone who enjoys the outdoors, and at the same time, I am like everyone else prepared to protect their environment, but not prepared to have to have to bar up our ATVs, not prepared to be denied the right to go to our cottages or cabins, not prepared to travel where we have travelled on the Burin Peninsula for long periods of time.

We have to realize, at the same time, that there is bog land on the Burin Peninsula, but I don't think it has been abused, I don't think it has been destroyed. I believe, Mr. Speaker, that we have acted very reasonably and respectably towards the environment on the Burin Peninsula. But what the people on the Burin Peninsula are asking - and I can include myself with them, because let it be known and let it be said loud and clear, that I support every word of this petition; I support totally the request of the people. What they are doing, Mr. Speaker, is right, it is proper, and it must be addressed by this government.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, this is a legitimate petition, I say to the Minister of Finance.

MR. SULLIVAN: To the hon. Members of the House of Assembly.

MR. TOBIN: Yes, it is. Hon. Members of the House of Assembly, we the undersigned, kindly request that you extend the deadline of the proposed all-terrain vehicle regulations from April 1, 1994 until such time as the general public has been more informed and consultation has taken place with all the affected parties. I say to the minister, that is the covering prayer.

This is a request, and I talked to the minister. Mr. Speaker, I spoke to the minister about even coming to the Burin Peninsula, to sit down and meet with the associations, and I believe, Mr. Speaker, that if her schedule permits, the minister would probably be prepared to do that. I sincerely hope she will. But what we are saying as residents of the Burin Peninsula, is, don't deny us the right to do what we have been doing. Don't deny us the right to go to our cabins, don't deny us the right, Mr. Speaker, if we are successful in the moose draw, to be able to haul out a moose if we are successful in the hunt. Don't deny us the right to be able to go into remote areas if we want to fish or pick berries or to go for a day outing with our families. And if you are, Mr. Speaker, on the Burin Peninsula - and the Member for Fortune - Hermitage and the Member for Grand Bank, I am sure, are aware of what I am talking about - you can go for miles down on the Burin Peninsula in certain areas without seeing any trees, but because we don't have, Mr. Speaker, the forest resources of the West Coast, or some of the lands other people have, what we do have is the same rights, the same desire and we should have the same privilege to be able to use our ATVs and enjoy the outdoors.

MR. MURPHY: What about your grandfather?

MR. TOBIN: Pardon?

MR. MURPHY: What about your grandfather - good old shank's mare?

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I say to the Member for St. John's South, that how my grandfather travelled is not important in this issue. There were no ATVs then; probably the Member for St. John's South travelled with my grandfather, but these days we have ATVs.

I would appreciate it if the Member for St. John's South would take this petition seriously, because what we are talking about here is the right to travel in the wilderness, the right to be able to use our ATVs and not have to bar them up, and the right to be able to have input. What we are asking government here, and I am sure the minister will address it now when she gets up to speak, is the right to have more provincial input into what is taking place, the right to be able to have groups come in and meet the minister, as I hope she will be able to do - I have spoken to her and she is receptive - and to have her come to the Burin Peninsula, Mr. Speaker, as I believe she did in the Placentia area a little while ago, and then the people can tell her first-hand.

Every part of this Province, Mr. Speaker, is not the same, and if people on the Burin Peninsula are not allowed to go out on bog lands and wet lands then you do not use your ATVs in many of the areas. I, for one, Mr. Speaker, have no intention, and let it be clear in this House, let it be clear to the minister and let it be clear to the government, that I have no intention of being denied the rights that every other Newfoundlander enjoys.

MR. MURPHY: You should walk a bit.

MR. TOBIN: Yes, I will use my ATV, I say to the Member for St. John's South.

MR. MURPHY: It would do you good.

MR. TOBIN: It didn't do much for you. Mr. Speaker, I will enjoy the wilderness. I will enjoy with my family the right to go to my cabin. I will, Mr. Speaker, enjoy the right to haul out my moose on my ATV if I am successful in the draw. I will do that, and no government should have the right to deny the people of this Province - how long has it been settled? almost 500 years, and now they want to deny us the right to go in the woods. It is not about to happen.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. TOBIN: In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I ask the minister, with whom I had the opportunity, I say again, to discuss this - I want to thank her for that - to look seriously upon the request not to implement the proposed bill on April 1, 1994, but take the opportunity to meet with groups of people throughout the Province, and if at all possible, come to the Burin Peninsula and meet with these people. I look forward to her response.

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

MS. COWAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

There are several things I want to say and they are important for the member to hear. I don't know whether I can do it in five minutes, but here goes.

First of all, none of us has the right to use the outdoors. None of us has the right to use it, or, as my colleague here says, to abuse it. It is a privilege that we live in a beautiful Province like this, and with that privilege comes the responsibility to use the resources of this Province in a particularly wise way. Now, the area that the Member for Burin comes from, the St. Mary's - The Capes area, parts of the Great Northern Peninsula, it is the citizens in this area who have the greatest responsibility, because they have the greatest number of wetlands and they have a resource there that we simply must use in the most responsible manner possible. Now, what the hon. gentleman is doing - and I don't think he means to be political, I am sure he doesn't. I don't feel that environmental issues of this nature are political. I feel that we all have to join together to preserve the environment. He made one statement that sort of made me feel it was political, but I do not think he meant it that way. He suggested that we are trying to ban ATVs. I say that is political, because he is misconstruing, and probably doesn't mean to.

AN HON. MEMBER: It was a slip of the tongue.

MS. COWAN: Yes, it was a slip of the tongue. We are not banning ATVs. All we are asking you to do is to have a properly licensed trail to cross that ATV. So go to your favourite berry spot, enjoy yourself - and yes, I would love to join you - before you go to that berry spot, come to the department and make sure that your trail is an acceptable trail. If it is, you will pay a $53 fee and that will be it forever.

So you are not being stopped from going after your moose, and moose, by the way, I say to the Member for Burin, love trails, so I expect I have done you a service, because you will probably meet the moose on the trail, and you will have it right there, and it will be the best hunting you've ever had.

Now, I am delighted to see, Mr. Speaker, that the Burin Peninsula area has an ATV association. I can't remember the name of the ATV association in the St. Mary's area. What is it? Placentia - St. Mary's, I guess, is it? The ATV association has taken a very responsible attitude, and I think that we could do this with your group. I met with them. We had an excellent meeting, and they have already been in to the department with about twenty-four trails. Now, I don't know whether we will approve them all, but we are able to look at those. They are started, and with an ATV association, it does allow people to get moving quickly, and to get started on getting their trails licensed.

I can see no reason, Mr. Speaker, at this time, to delay. We have had a lot of public input, a tremendous amount. I have not heard anything new in the last two months, so I feel that yes, the people have been heard, that all the questions that came up have been addressed.

Now, it could be - this is the first time we have had these regulations in Canada. Maybe, you know, next summer in some places we are going to find there are a few places that have to be tidied up in the regulations, I don't know; but at this time I feel that I have heard the people and we are making a few changes in them, nothing very drastic, mostly changes that just clarify it for the point of view of the legislators. But, you know, what really worried me was what the Member for Burin said, that nobody would stop him. Now, I don't think he means he would break the law. I would hope that he wouldn't even suggest that to his people at home. I know he wouldn't.

This is going to become a law of our Province, and like laws on the highway, or laws anywhere else, we certainly would strive to keep them rather than to break them.

I cannot put it off another year. Even one trip across bog land damages the bog land to the point that it's very, very difficult for it to revegetate and to return to its natural state. So unless something really horrendous happens, I tell the Member for Burin -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave.

MS. COWAN: Thank you.

Unless something really horrendous happens, I think it will go ahead on April 1st.

Yes, I am delighted to come to your area, but I am not delighted to come down if it's just going to be a Tory set-up. I will make that clear from the beginning.

The meeting I had in Placentia was one of the best -

AN HON. MEMBER: Why did you go to Placentia?

MS. COWAN: It was a beautiful meeting, wasn't it?

AN HON. MEMBER: It was excellent.

MS. COWAN: The Placentia meeting was excellent. It was planned far before the election, and I was invited to come by the chairperson of the ATV Association long before the by-election was ever called, so I think that is a bit of nonsense.

Alright, Mr. Speaker. Thank you for allowing me the extra few moments, and with that I will take my seat.

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

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

I want to rise to support the petition so ably presented by my colleague, the Member for Burin - Placentia West. It is very obvious from the number of people who have signed this petition and forwarded it to the member for presentation to the House, that it is, again, a major concern for the people of the Burin Peninsula.

I just want to say, first of all, that if the environment critic were here today, the Member for St. John's East Extern, certainly he would be responding to the petition and supporting it. I guess he initiated a call Province-wide for a delay in those regulations being implemented after April 1st, but as we know, he is recuperating at home and should be joining us shortly, so I just wanted to pass that on.

The minister's comment really surprised me when she said that no one has the right to use the outdoors. That is what the minister said. She wanted to correct the member, that no one has the right to use the outdoors. Now, I'm sure the minister really didn't mean what she said because I think we all have the right to use the outdoors, Mr. Speaker. We all have the right to use the outdoors, it's our outdoors, it's our Province, it's our wilderness area, it's ours.

Mr. Speaker, I haven't met anyone who owns an ATV or anyone who's concerned about ATV regulations, who are not willing to accept responsibility to avoid sensitive wetlands and bog lands. They all realize that and they're all willing to do their part to avoid damage in sensitive areas. When you look at an area like the Burin Peninsula that is not an easy chore. When you look at the make up of the Burin Peninsula it is not easy to avoid bog lands, wetlands and sensitive areas, there is no doubt about that. People recognize that but they are willing to do their upmost to be as environmentally conscious as possible, to avoid sensitive wetland areas where possible but they do not want their rights and privileges eliminated, restricted by government to the degree that they can't use their outdoors or their wilderness. They want to be able to hunt, fish, berry pick and go for a boil-up without being too restricted and they're willing to do their bit to protect the environment. So I want to go on record as saying that for them.

Now, the minister went on to talk about a licensed trail and sending in a fee for fifty-three dollars. I've had a few people by the way, who have asked me how do they go through the process. How do they go about applying for a license to construct a trail to their cabin or to some favourite area. So I think the willingness is there to do it but we have to realize that when you're talking about an area like the Burin Peninsula, that it is not easy to get from where you live to your cabin or to your favourite area without having to cross some bog lands or sensitive wetlands. So it's not as easy in some areas to do that. So they are willing to do their best to respect the wishes of the government, the environment minister and the environment.

The one other thing I want to say before concluding, Mr. Speaker, is that there are thousands of people out and about our Province who own all-terrain vehicles, thousands of them who have put a fair bit of money into owning those vehicles. That has meant a fair dollar for the Minister of Finance, it has been a generator for the provincial economy, there are businesses out and about this Province who are very much involved in the selling and supplying of all-terrain vehicles so we don't want to make any regulations or do anything that will threaten or harm those businesses. They do create jobs and they do help the provincial coffers. So, Mr. Speaker, I just want to go on record as supporting the petition as put forward by the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

The other thing that the minister mentioned was the damage to bog lands and wetlands and revegetating. Now there is an argument ongoing about that, Mr. Speaker. I have heard both sides of that argument. I've heard people say that it will take tens and tens of years for a bog land to heal, to regenerate, to revegetate. I've heard others say that it will regenerate, revegetate and heal in a relatively short period of time. So I don't think there is anything conclusive on that but having said that, I want to support the petition, Mr. Speaker, and call upon the minister to delay the imposition of these regulations until the people of the Province have been able to express their opinions, particularly about their particular region of the Province.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. Opposition Whip and the Member for Ferryland.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is my pleasure to rise and present a petition on behalf of the residents of my district. The petition is addressed to the hon. House of Assembly of Newfoundland in Legislative Session Convened, petition of the undersigned residents of the District of Ferryland:

WHEREAS the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has drafted and given approval in principle to an income supplementation proposal; and

WHEREAS the government has presented this proposal to the Government of Canada for its consideration; and

WHEREAS we believe this proposal is fundamentally flawed and would have harmful consequences for tens of thousands of people and for the economy of the Province generally:

WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that your hon. House may be pleased to request the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador immediately to undertake a process of consultation with the people of the Province on this proposal and to halt any action with respect to this proposal until the voice of the people has been heard and as in duty bound your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, this petition arose from a meeting back about two weeks ago in my district which many people attending and actually the CBC appeared and listened to the people there, and there were large numbers there. There was well in excess of 200 people. The hon. Member for Kilbride said 300 people. We had 225 chairs out and they were all filled. Anything above 225 would have been a very accurate number.

The people had a grave concern not only with what is in the proposal but also the process that occurred in dealing with this plan. One of the biggest concerns I'm hearing from people - and I've attended meetings in Southern Harbour, Ferryland and in Bonavista - is people are saying: We have not had an opportunity to be presented with what is in that program. All we are asking is an opportunity for the Premier and the government, if they are going to present something so important and have such an effect upon our futures, the least we could expect is have an opportunity in a public forum to be able to voice our concerns and to be able to deal with the information that is in this proposal.

Like so many proposals and things that this government does it is done in secret, afraid that people will find out about it. If it is good why not release it to the people? If you think people need tougher medicine that is important for the stability of this Province, give it to the people. The people realize at certain times tough decisions have to be made. They realize that. When you go behind their backs and try to make decisions and not consult people, they are very sceptical, they are resistant then, they know there is something behind it, and they are not very eager to agree and endorse what a government is doing.

That has happened in this case. I've heard it in many districts. I've been hearing it on an ongoing basis. It is a government that is operating in secrecy where only a very few people know what is happening. It is not right for the people of this Province not to have an opportunity to express their views on something so important as an income supplementation program that would have a very touching effect upon their lives.

When we look at this Province here, and the Finance Minister very well knows the importance of the $2 billion that comes into this Province on an annual basis, and the taxes that are generated. This money is circulated within the Province. It has a tremendous effect upon the economy of this Province. When two-thirds of the people rely on income support the least you could expect is to have the people consulted. To tell people that this program is an incentive for work, this program has a work supplement. Well, in a family of four people working, the highest work supplement a family can obtain is $2,000. That would be $500 per worker. If you call that an incentive to work I think they are sadly mistaken. It is not much of an incentive to have somebody work for $500. In fact, over all, what this proposal is intended to do is to take income from high income seasonal workers and redistribute that income over more people so that more people would be living below the poverty line.

This proposal also intends to redistribute jobs. In fact, it is going to take income from social assistance and redistribute it out so that there is only an incentive for one person in a family to work. One of the biggest problems with this program over all is that it is going to fuel a low wage economy. By fuelling a low wage economy, one of the concerns the federal government has, and they are very sceptical about it, is that fuelling a low wage economy will further depress the economy, and this program could end up costing more money than is being proposed here, and it could cost far more money than is being currently passed out under the various social programs at present.

Any program that is intended to reduce the number of weeks you would receive UI and increase the number of qualifying weeks must build into a program the opportunity to create extra jobs. A person just doesn't go from ten weeks work a year to twenty in a seasonal area where jobs are not available. In other words, it's a glorified welfare program where you are going to take people from the workforce and put them on a welfare program where each person receives the same amount of money. That's not an incentive for work.

Take a person out in Fogo. I will use an example. A person in Fogo now would have to work twelve weeks under this latest federal Budget scheme. They could only draw UI for thirty-two weeks, which means -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: And the people in Ferryland are in exactly the same situation, and the people in all parts of this Province are in the same situation, except the region here in St. John's and Northeast Avalon. They would have to work thirteen weeks. They can only draw six weeks UI based on their work, and because of the unemployment rate in the area at 14 per cent, they can only draw eighteen weeks of UI on the regional unemployment rate, for twenty-four weeks. Twenty-four weeks of UI and thirteen of work, for thirty-seven weeks, and there would be fifteen weeks of the year they would have no income.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It gives me pleasure to rise to support this particular petition. First off, I would like to acknowledge or concur that there are social programs and the changes they talk about right across this country, not just in this Province, that I agree with. We have all talked for quite awhile now, and I don't think anybody in this House would disagree that there are going to be changes to the social programs, but it's the way that we are going to do that.

First of all, how soon it's done and how quickly it's done has to be considered, and then we have to involve people in the process - not the process that took place here, where we had an income supplementation program dug up in the back room somewhere - I don't know where, or by who, because I'm sure that there are many members on the other side over there who didn't know it went to Ottawa, to start with, if we can get a few to agree to that.

I am sure there are a few on that side who didn't even know it went to Ottawa. Maybe they didn't even know their hon. members went to Ottawa. Maybe you don't know when they're there or when they're back here.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Oh, it certainly is true, I say to the hon. Member for St. John's South.

So first of all, if you people didn't know over there, of course, we're not going to know, and I'm darn sure the public didn't know that you brought it to Ottawa.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: I ask the hon. member: Did you know that it went to Ottawa? And did you know what was involved in the plan? Did you know that it was asking for twenty weeks?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes.

MR. SHELLEY: You knew all of that? Well, why didn't you tell your constituents, I say to the member? Why didn't you come clean and tell them?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: If there's anybody over there who can tell me that they would have stood up any time before May 3 and say: By the way, we're going to try to impose this income supplementation program... Not one of you had the gall to do it, because you know it was a hidden agenda right from day one.

You can smile and smirk all you like over there, but you know it was the biggest scam ever, to bring that in after the election, and then for any of you to stand in this House and say, we had a mandate to do this, you are totally out to lunch.

My question is: When have you ever stopped to consider - anybody who had the ideas to put forward for this plan - when have you ever considered the implications or ramifications for the people it is going to affect the most? When was the last time that somebody sat down with these people and said: This is what we are going to do with it. This is the change that is coming to you, the most drastic change in this Province's history. Thank god it on a - it's not halted, because the hon. minister was just trying to point out to me, it's in the paper today that talks are off and there are going to be some changes, and everything else. Well, I don't buy that, because that's the same thing you guys said about the Hydro deal: No, it's not on; there's nothing happening with that.

Well, as far as The Evening Telegram goes, and the story that's there today, I don't think it's halted at all. As a matter of fact, I think there's more behind the doors, back room thinking going on on this particular proposal.

All I can do is warn all members over there that they not even consider such a move again, as to bring it to the Prime Minister of Canada, without even a thought of who you are going to affect by such a proposal. I would suggest to you that you talk to your higher-ups over there, which I know you don't do very often, and remind them that you were voted in and elected by constituents in your district, not by the Cabinet ministers and your illustrious leader. Remember who elected you in there.

I'm sure I'm safe in saying that there is not one of you who can go out to your district and your constituents will tell you: This was a great idea. There is not one of you there that can go out -

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!

MR. SHELLEY: Name one constituent in your district, I will ask the member, who says: What a great idea, the income supplement. I will bet you I can relate that he was either elite or the well-to-do.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: I can name one.

MR. SHELLEY: Yes? That he liked the income supplement? Well, I tell you what, I would like for you to get your cousin to bring my cousin here. If there is anybody over there that is gullible -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SHELLEY: What a joke that would be. If there is one cousin - he would have to be twice removed to agree with an income supplement such as this.

There is only one group of people who would agree to such a thing. That is the people who made it up. The second is the elite of this Province, because it doesn't affect them, so they don't worry about it. You go out in any district - I've got to use my own because those are the people I talk to most often. I can tell you that I won't find a living soul out there who would even consider that.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is my pleasure to rise again on behalf of residents of Calvert in the District of Ferryland to present the following petition.

To the hon. House of Assembly of Newfoundland in Legislative Session Convened, the petition of the undersigned residents of the District of Ferryland:

WHEREAS the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has drafted and given approval in principle to an income supplementation program proposal; and

WHEREAS the government has presented this proposal to the Government of Canada for its consideration; and

WHEREAS we believe this proposal is fundamentally flawed and will have harmful consequences for tens of thousands of people and for the economy of the Province generally - I want you to make sure the prayer is read right -

WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that your hon. House may be pleased to request the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador immediately to undertake a process of consultation with the people of the Province on this proposal and to halt any action with respect to this proposal until the voice of the people has been heard, and as in duty bound your petitioners will ever pray.

It is my pleasure on behalf of the people in the community of Calvert in my district to present this petition that was circulated in the community. I understand there are committees in each of the communities. There is a committee that was formed at a public meeting with representatives in each community and they did door to door the entire area with thousands of names. Petitions are streaming in every day. There will be more tomorrow. The people want to be heard, they want an opportunity to be heard in a public forum.

The Member for Fogo was out in Placentia district and I am sure he heard from people there; I was out in Southern Harbour when we had a meeting on the income supplementation program, and from 42 per cent of the votes the last time in Southern Harbour, just a few months ago, to over 80 per cent of the people voted for the PC candidate and many people indicated while many of the votes were personal, this income supplementation program in that fishing community was devastating for the future of that community and they just couldn't support a Liberal member in that community, and that is why the people in Southern Harbour spoke up and that is why the people in other parts of the Province if they have an opportunity, will speak up and talk about some of the real concerns they have out there.

One of the big flaws in this program is that it is assuming there are massive employment opportunities out there in the communities. This proposal assumes that workers can get twenty weeks work if they want to. It is assuming that people are lazy, that is what it is assuming in this proposal, that people are lazy and the reason they only get ten weeks work is because they only want ten weeks work and then draw UI. If you have experience in these communities, people almost beg not to get laid off, they want to be kept on for another week, another two. Employers go above and beyond almost the need to keep workers employed to have an opportunity to qualify for UI. They find something for them to do, when really it would be more beneficial to lay these people off, and in many areas now we will find that it is not going to happen, with payroll tax and regressive taxes, employers are not going to be doing that anymore, because they are going to be paying for every person they keep on.

The UI premiums and the CPP and the make work, it really becomes a make work for that last week or two and the government of this Province and the Government of Canada realize in certain instances there is an unemployment problem and they have make work projects of their own and then they are turning around and saying: take away, take away those employment projects in the future, take away the opportunity to get decent jobs in an area. Let's increase it, let's push people off the system of UI, let's push them on to welfare, let's push them on to an income supplementation program, that is what they are doing and you are going to see, loggers, tradespeople, the carpenters, plumbers and electricians and fisherpeople out there having to get twenty weeks work to qualify and with the exception of fisherpersons I might add, they won't qualify for UI at all. These other people will need twenty weeks. Where, in the fishing industry can plant workers and loggers, and carpenters, and electricians, obtain twenty weeks work? What percent of the people have twenty weeks work? The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, I think, stated the other day about increasing UI qualifications.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

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

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I stand today in support of my very able colleague for the District of Ferryland who put forth a petition on behalf of several people in his area who once again have decided they must speak out against government's plan under the income supplementation program. I call it another part of the hidden agenda, the hidden agenda of this government last May which included the changes to education and which included the ISP program. Now, I do not say it is the hidden agenda of many of the people on that side of the House because as we have seen over the past few days there are a fair number of the members on that side who do not know what is going on within the government anyway, so therefore I say in all honesty that a fair number of those members were out in the districts plying for votes not knowing that government had an ISP plan in place.

I say again it was the hidden agenda of this government in the last election. They hid it in the federal election in October, Mr. Speaker. They never mentioned the ISP in the federal election even though it was developed last August because they knew the people would rise up. They hid it again in October and after the federal election they brought it forward and let the people know about it.

Mr. Speaker, this government is full of a hidden agenda, but when the time came for the by-election in Placentia we were out in Placentia helping our colleague, who I was happy to welcome, along with other members, back to the House of Assembly today. When we were out on the roads in Placentia plying for votes for our colleague the ISP program was on everybody's lips, Mr. Speaker. Everybody was taking about the ISP program, and when the people in Placentia had an opportunity to present their protest they presented it on February 21 when they elected the member to our side of the House, because they did not agree with the ISP program.

I challenge any member on the other side of the House to go into their districts, hold public meetings as my colleague for Ferryland did, and the party has done in several locations in this Province, I ask them to go out into the districts and hold public meetings, bring the media with them, and find out, not only on the ISP, on the Hydro issue also. But, no, they won't do that, Mr. Speaker, because they have no backbone. They won't listen to their own people, they are listening to a few in the government, a few of the ministers around the table, Mr. Speaker. But the Placentia by-election showed us that the people didn't agree with the ISP. On February 21st in Placentia they spoke out loud and clear.

MS. COWAN: (Inaudible). Who is Fabian Manning?

MR. MANNING: We have no public hearings - don't worry, I say to the Minister of Environment and Lands, you will know who Fabian Manning is by the time three years rolls around, I guarantee you.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: `Beaton' Who?

There were no public hearings held throughout this Province. The only public hearings that were held was when the committee of the P.C. caucus held them, and they were well attended. People got up and spoke about their disgust, about their distrust, about the vexation that is in them, Mr. Speaker, with regard to this government not holding public hearings on this very important issue. People are not to blame for what's out there now. Governments down through the years, of all stripes, have passed out into rural Newfoundland when times were hard, job development programs or the like and set people up. People got used to it, Mr. Speaker, but that's not the blame on the people. That is the government's fault. But they are coming down too hard on the people right now with this ISP. They are saying that we must come up with twenty weeks work. Mr. Speaker, in my district it is hard to get ten weeks work now.

MS. COWAN: You were such a nice young man when you started, too.

MR. MANNING: Yes, and you, Madam Minister, you and a few other ministers ticked me off, so that's why I changed, right?

The people out in my district can't find twenty weeks work, Mr. Speaker - but I promise you, Madam Minister, that before this session is over, I will tick you off.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, the fishermen out in my area cannot agree with the fisherman's U.I. being taken away from them. It is hard enough now under the present program, but what happens, come May, to the NCARP program with nobody working?

Construction workers: Over the past number of years, the construction workers have gotten an average of fifteen or sixteen weeks work across this Province. Many in my district travelled throughout this Province to work on construction sites and they are having a problem finding work. What will happen to them if they are successful in finding fourteen or fifteen weeks work? They will be left holding somebody else's hand looking for help from whatever level of government that can help them.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

The hon. the Opposition Party Whip, the Member for Ferryland.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is my pleasure again to rise to present a petition from the people of Calvert North.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: The Clerk has each petition I presented there and I'm sure he can confirm that. I will read the prayer of the petition, because I'm sure you want to know if it is correct.

To the hon. House of Assembly of Newfoundland in legislative session convened, the petition of the undersigned residents of the district of Ferryland: Whereas the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has drafted and given approval in principle to an Income Supplementation Proposal; and -

MS. VERGE: Did you say `drafted' or `shafted'?

MR. SULLIVAN: I said `drafted'. I have to read what the petitioners have written.

AN HON. MEMBER: Well, you know what they mean.

MR. SULLIVAN: I know what they would like to say, but the House wouldn't entertain it. I will continue. As the Member for Placentia - before I was rudely interrupted.

- Whereas the government has presented this proposal to the Government of Canada for its consideration and, whereas we believe this proposal is fundamentally flawed, and would have harmful consequences for tens of thousands of people and for the economy of this Province generally;

Wherefore your petitioners humbly pray that your hon. House may be pleased to request the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador immediately to undertake a process of consultation with the people of the Province on this proposal and to halt any action with respect to this proposal until the voice of the people has been heard. As in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray. This petition is signed by thirty-six people in the area of Calvert North.

MR. ROBERTS: Where?

MR. SULLIVAN: Calvert North, the north side of Calvert.

MR. ROBERTS: As opposed to the south side?

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes. Actually, that is my hometown area, where I was born.

MR. ROBERTS: Is that where (inaudible) cabin is?

MR. SULLIVAN: The answer is yes.

This proposal, the Income Support Program, is really an insult to the people, not only in its content, but in the process that has occurred and it is based on the assumption that if you want to find two extra weeks work or six or ten extra weeks, you will find it. This proposal espouses to provide great incentives for work. Well, the incentive we have for work is $2,000 per family maximum, four wage earners in a family, $500, in an economy where money coming into this Province on individual transfers, transfers to the Province generally, is very important to sustain the economy of the Province. In a Province where almost as much money comes in in transfers from the Federal Government as comes in in provincial revenue, it is very important.

In this Province, approximately, I think $1.4 billion has come from Federal Government, $1.7 raised in provincial revenues in this Province, and here is a program, and the social program that is bringing in $2 billion into the economy of this Province, about a quarter, I think, of our GDP of this Province, and here we have a proposal to Ottawa to slice and cut, and to cut off the lifeline of this Province, so we can send all the other mothers' sons off to the mainland, to join those who have gone since 1989.

This proposal implies, in many details, that Newfoundlanders are lazy and not interested in working. Some of the key things in the program they are proposing - and I am sure the Member for Fogo, who lives in a fishing district - they are proposing that NCARP be eliminated, and be replaced with a fishery transition payment.

The proposal the Employment and Labour Relations Minister and the Premier made and sent to Ottawa, is that in 1994 - it is on page 49 - they propose that the Government of Canada only give to the fisherpersons and plant workers and trawler people in this Province, 61.6 per cent of the money that was allocated in 1993, and they have asked to slice that again by over 12 per cent the following year, down to 36.5 per cent in 1996, to 23 per cent the following year -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.


 

March 8, 1994              HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS              Vol. XLII  No. 7A


[Continuation of sitting]

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

Again, it is a pleasure to rise and support my friend and colleague's petition from the people of North Calvert on their objection to the Income Supplementation Program.

MR. MURPHY: You don't know what (inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, I can tell the Member for St. John's South that I have fished up in Calvert and in many -

MR. MURPHY: You what?

MR. E. BYRNE: I said I have hauled fish up in Calvert and in many other areas along the Southern Shore and I have spent many of my young days travelling up the Southern Shore so I know exactly where Calvert is and I can tell him I know exactly where Tors Cove is and where he lives is. However, Mr. Speaker, that is a bit away from the issue.

Mr. Speaker, the Income Supplementation Program is a huge, huge program that needs considered debate in many areas in which it is recommended, and I would like to look at specifically what the impact upon rural Newfoundland would be, what would be the impact upon rural Newfoundland and seasonal jobs.

MR. GRIMES: Why would you (inaudible) something you are not going to do. The federal government said they are not going to do it.

MR. E. BYRNE: You didn't indicate that to me yesterday.

MR. GRIMES: No.

MR. E. BYRNE: If you didn't indicate that in the House to me yesterday, I would say to the minister that he told an untruth or didn't come clean with me in the questions that I asked him. However, I will say that the petition here, the impacts on rural Newfoundland are clear in the government's own secret report. They say the unemployed are the largest loser group, with 52 per cent of unemployed losing income. The changes to the UI Program and drop in income to the ISP from those who previously enjoyed top UI benefits would account for the high loser proportion of the unemployed. Those who would lose income from the introduction of the ISP are primarily those who work at short duration jobs, seasonal work; 70 per cent of those who would lose income, work twenty weeks or less, and many of these individuals would not qualify under the proposed changes to the UI Program that require twenty weeks or more.

Market income for this group would likely be less than 10,000, that is 48,000 individuals would receive a lower income from the ISP. Many in this group would receive much less income from the ISP than they currently enjoy. The remaining 30 per cent would have lower incomes and are individuals who would retain UI benefits but will receive lower benefits based on proposed UI changes. That is written in your own report, I say to the Member for St. John's South, I am reading directly from it.

The occupations most affected, Mr. Speaker, would be construction, mining and processing, agriculture and forestry and fish processing. The proposed UI changes, Mr. Speaker, will affect dramatically rural Newfoundland; there are many people in rural Newfoundland who would not even see the levels of money they are getting now but would be reduced almost to abject poverty I would say to the minister and to the Speaker. Those who currently receive a large proportion of their income will need to work longer to increase their market earnings under present economic circumstances, and here's the point, Mr. Speaker: Under present economic circumstances, those particularly in rural areas where unemployment opportunities are limited, longer duration employment for some would likely displace others from the labour force, at least in the short term.

It would also, this program goes on to say, encourage some workers who previously were on UI to seek work elsewhere in the Province or outside the Province. Now that is what this Income Supplementation Program will do to rural Newfoundland, and how members on the opposite side of the House representing predominantly rural areas can stand up and support this program is beyond comprehension. It is beyond comprehension, Mr. Speaker. Clearly, in the government's own report developed by the Economic Recovery Commission, there is an encouragement almost, implied in this program that people in rural Newfoundland will be encouraged to move out of rural Newfoundland either to larger growth centres or out of this Province altogether and that is the aim and objective of this Income Supplementation Program, but the people of the Province are not fooled by it. They see this, they will stand against it, in any way, shape or form.

Now what the Income Supplementation Program proposal has done, the Province has given carte blanche to the federal government to make any changes whatsoever, changes that disproportionately require Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to provide a greater share than the rest of our Canadian brothers and sisters. Require us, as was seen in the federal Budget, to come up with 30 per cent more than what the rest of Canada and people living in Canada would have to come up with. It has opened the door, Mr. Speaker, for the federal government to close off programs in this Province and to diminish the types of programs we have right now without any consultation.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

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

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a petition which I will read in full, and I hope the Minister of Social Services is listening.

The petition is dated March 1994. It is headed: Petition to the House of Assembly. To the hon. the House of Assembly of Newfoundland in legislative session convened. The petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador: that

WHEREAS the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro will burden the people of the Province with higher electricity costs, higher unemployment, diminished economic development opportunities, alienation of water rights, and the transfer out of the Province of millions of dollars every year in dividends to shareholders,

WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that your hon. House may be pleased to request the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to retain Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro as a Crown owned corporation, and as in duty bound your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, this is a petition of citizens of St. John's, Jeffrey's - I say to the Member for St. George's - as well as Corner Brook. Corner Brook residents of the Districts of Humber East and Humber West. These citizens are outraged at the proposition the government has introduced in the form of the two legislative measures now before the House of Assembly. These citizens really can't believe that a government in which many of them had considerable trust would sell a resource -

MR. MURPHY: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. MURPHY: I wonder, Mr. Speaker, if the Table would examine the petition and see that the petition is in order?

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, if the Table could examine it.

The petition is in order. It is addressed to the House, it does have a prayer, and so forth.

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The conduct of members opposite is nothing short of disgraceful. By the admission of the Minister of Justice the legislative measures to privatize Hydro and regulate the control of electricity in the Province are the most important to come before the House of Assembly since Confederation. Not only are members opposite for the most part ducking the issue out in the public, not only for the most part are members refusing to talk to their constituents about it, refraining from holding public meetings, but now they are trying to block petitions from being presented in the House of Assembly.

If the Premier and the Cabinet ministers and the government back bench members were holding public meetings throughout the Province people could meet directly with those government representatives and give them their petitions. But they have no such opportunity so they have to come to members on this side of the House of Assembly with their petitions in the hope that through intermediaries on this side the government will get the message that the people are adamantly against the sale of Hydro. The people fervently want the government to retain Hydro as a Crown owned corporation.

Hydro has been providing benefits for rate payers and taxpayers of the Province. What the government's privatization proposal involves is no improvement in service for them, no improvement in the receipt of electricity but higher costs, higher rates and higher taxes. The recital in the petition lists the reasons the petitioners are calling on the government to keep Hydro and number one on the list is: the prospect of higher electricity rates and, Mr. Speaker, people are just finding out how much rates will go up; they will go up in the short-term but they will go up even worse in the medium and long-term.

Mr. Speaker, the cost of the lawyers and the consultants and the directors and the galaxy the Minister of Justice referred to, is one cost that will ultimately be passed on to the rate payers but there is a whole long list of other costs that, as a result of privatization, will show up on their bills and I would like to run through a list of them.

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

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to rise and support the petition against the privatization of Hydro so ably and capably presented by my colleague from Humber East.

Mr. Speaker, the people who signed this petition are very concerned about the privatization of Hydro, and they have just cause to be concerned about the privatization of Hydro because of how this government has presented it in the first place, behind closed doors, Mr. Speaker, and the secrecy of the Cabinet room and the board room and the cocktail circuit of St. John's of the people who have, I would suspect oodles of money to invest and purchase this Crown corporation that the people of this Province own.

The government talks about how this has been public knowledge for months; it may have been, Mr. Speaker, it may indeed have been public knowledge for months to a select group of people, and that's what really bothers, Mr. Speaker, really, really bothers and concerns the people of this Province; the ordinary citizens of this Province who, when the Minister of Justice stands up in the House of Assembly and says: This is the most important piece of legislation that has come to the Legislature since Confederation; probably the most important legislation to be presented to the Legislature since Confederation, the Minister of Justice said, and having said that, he plopped himself down in his seat and said: You have had the bill for three or four days, why don't you pass it, why don't you just give it back to us so that we can get ahead with our business and sell off this asset that the people of this Province have paid for, have worked for and have earned, Mr. Speaker, over the last twenty or thirty years.

The people of this Province own that asset, Mr. Speaker, the people of this Province own that tremendous resource that we should be handling for the purpose of insuring a financial security not for us today, not for the short-term party mood gaining dividends for your next door neighbour or your corporate buddys but for our children, Mr. Speaker. They are no different from any other resource that we have, our natural resources that we sometimes talk about.

Mr. Speaker, if we high-grade it today, it is gone tomorrow. That's what we say in the mining industry; you don't high-grade a mine because you know you are raping the mine and can possibly endanger the future viability of that mine. The same works, Mr. Speaker, with natural resources, whether it is the fish off our coast or the caribou in Labrador. We can't high-grade it and do away with it, destroy it today, the same thing as what we are doing with Hydro. The people of this Province are saying that we are high-grading it. What we are doing is selling the resource today for a few quick bucks, a few quick dollars, to fix the few little problems that we have this year and next year, and what do our children do? They have to endure the hard-term pain for our short-term gain, and that's tremendously unfair.

That's why the people of this Province are so adamantly opposed to it, because they don't trust what is happening. A lot of it is not because they think the people in the Cabinet are crooks. It's because of how it was done, how a group of individuals sitting around a cocktail table were out before Christmas talking about this, how much money could be made on private investment through selling their resources. It is because of the secrecy that was about it, because government wants to ram this through, the most important piece of legislation to be presented to the provincial Legislature since Confederation. That's what the Minister of Justice called it, and yet we get it for three or four days, as legislators, and they say: Look, will you pass this back to us so we can get on with our business of selling off the people's property.

That's what they want, and that's why people are concerned, and that's why I speak in favour of that petition. It is tremendously unfair for this government to go ahead with this, and the people of this Province are saying it time and time again, because they recognize that they should not be selling off their resources, because they are concerned about the viability of what is going to happen to their children's children, and your children, too, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

MR. A. SNOW: By leave, Mr. Speaker?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: No leave.

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have another petition which I would like to present to this hon. House, a petition to the House of Assembly dated March, 1994:

To the hon. the House of Assembly of Newfoundland in Legislative Session convened, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador; that

WHEREAS the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro will burden the people of the Province with higher electricity costs, higher unemployment, diminished economic development opportunities, alienation of water rights, and the transfer out of the Province of millions of dollars every year in dividends to shareholders;

WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that your hon. House may be pleased to request the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to retain Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro as a Crown owned corporation, and as in duty bound your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, these petitioners, together with thousands and thousands of other Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, including Art Wicks from Badger's Quay, and the members of the development association in that area, including residents of St. George's District and Port au Port and Trinity North and Torngat Mountains and Fogo and Pleasantville, together with thousands of other Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, are pleading with the government to come to its senses and keep perhaps the most important and valuable resource we have left.

For god's sake, they are saying, keep our water rights. Keep our hydroelectric generating facilities that we built and paid for with our taxpayers dollars and our electricity rates over the last several years.

It was just last year that Bay d'Espoir was paid off. We have just had it debt-free for a year. It is a state-of-the-art facility. Mr. Speaker, all these electricity generating facilities now owned by our Crown corporation are fuelled by free water - water that will flow forevermore unless there is a total ecological change, unless there is another ice age. Mr. Speaker the fuel is free and eternal.

Now people say it's crazy to be turning this over to a private concern. There's nothing in it for us. There'll be no improvement in our service. We won't get electricity any differently or any better from the way we're getting it now. Our prices won't go down in fact, they'll go up. Our rates will go up and go up substantially. Our taxes will go up. There'll be no new jobs. In fact, the likelihood is that there will be a loss of jobs. There'll be no new construction. The facilities are already modern. There's nothing in it for us.

They must be nuts, that's what people are saying or there must be an ulterior motive because, Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of people angry and upset about this and signing these petitions who voted Liberal in the May 3, 1993 general election. There are a lot of people who are against the sale of Hydro who supported our present Premier, who think that he's a smart man. Mr. Speaker, they just can't understand why these liberals and this Premier would want to sell or give away - to use their language - Hydro. It's crazy, it doesn't add up. People are speculating that there's some skulduggery going on. There's no logical explanation. There's nothing in it for the citizens of the Province whether you assess their position as rate payers or whether you measure the effect on them as taxpayers.

There's nothing in it for the provincial government. Now the Premier and the one or two members opposite who have been allowed to speak publicly on the subject say that the government's financial position will be improved but, Mr. Speaker, the bond rating agencies in New York - Standard and Poor's, and Moody's - have already contradicted that. They have already said that the Province's credit rating will not improve and it's preposterous to think otherwise because, Mr. Speaker, Hydro is a golden asset. Hydro is making money. Hydro is now turning over $10 million a year directly to provincial coffers every year in the form of the annual loan guarantee fee.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The member's time has expired.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise to support my colleagues petition regarding the sale of Hydro. I would like to touch on a few specific points why the sale of Hydro is going to be detrimental to the taxpayers of this Province and to the consumers of electricity. I'd like to just follow a few points of fact, I might add, and I'd like to - the Member for St. John's South, maybe he could pay a little attention if he wants to debate on fact and not just on rhetoric. Let's look at the cost to taxpayers of this Province first of all. There are four direct areas in which the taxpayers of this Province are going to have to fund the sale of Hydro. Number one; the Province has agreed in the bill to put $15 million into a rate adjustment fund so that -

AN HON. MEMBER: A what?

MR. SULLIVAN: A rate adjustment fund, a rate adjustment -

AN HON. MEMBER: How much?

MR. SULLIVAN: $15 million into a rate adjustment fund whereby the consumers now in this Province - industry is bearing a higher than proportionate share of their consumption in costs of electricity in this Province. So the Province is putting $15 million into a fund where that could be eased back onto residential consumers in the Province over the next three years. After that the residential consumers will bear their full share of costs as it is. That's a $15 million cash outlay on that point.

The next point, right now this Province receives in excess of $10-$12 million guarantee - by guaranteeing the debts of Hydro this Province receives from Hydro in excess of $10 million a year.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: That's the PUITTA was $9.199. I'm talking about the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. SULLIVAN: I know. I said pending, and he corrected me. I said no, it is PUITTA. It varies with the debt. If the debt is $1 billion it is going to be 10, and if the debt is $1.2 billion it is going to be $12 million, so let us say the debt is around $1 billion so that would be $10 million. Is it correct that the figure is $10 million?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. SULLIVAN: Okay, it is about $10 million. The point I am making is that the Province has been receiving -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SULLIVAN: Could I finish? Then you will have an opportunity to rise and speak if I am wrong.

Here is how the taxpayers are going to be effected. There is a $15 million tax adjustment fund. The $10 million that this government receives for guaranteeing the debts of Hydro will not be coming to the Province now, so that is $10 in revenue the Province will not be getting. That is $25 million. We have under the Public Utilities Income Transfer Tax Act - in this Province 85 per cent of the cost of corporate tax is rebated to the private utility that delivers that specific service. That as applied to Hydro has been between $9 and $10 million. It was $9.9 million three years ago and it was $9.2 million this year, PUITTA. I think it is $9.199 that is in the Budget for this year. When you have to apply that same scale now to Newfoundland Power it is going to mean that not only is new Hydro going to get a rebate on PUITTA, it is going to apply to Newfoundland Power and that is another $30 to $40 million in total that is going to come from the taxpayers of this Province. In addition to that the Province is going to contribute directly into the pension fund $30 to $40 million.

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I know, but I tell the Minister of Finance that this Province right now has an unfunded liability of $1.7 billion on the total pension fund, I believe, and when Hydro breaks as a Crown corporation and becomes privatized there are now going to have to shift the employees portion of the fund that they have into new Hydro and this government is going to have to come up in tax dollars in the fiscal year 1994-95 with this $30 to $40 million of the unfunded liability that applies to employees of new Hydro.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SULLIVAN: The Minister of Finance will confirm that. That is factual.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

MR. SULLIVAN: Could I just have one minute to finish up?

I will conclude. Out of those costs I mentioned two of those costs are going to be an ongoing cost for eternity. The unfunded liability is a one time cost, this tax adjustment thing of 15 is a one time cost, but these other costs are eternal costs of about $40 to $45 million under PUITTA and the loss of this guarantee we are receiving now is a permanent loss to the taxpayers of this Province. That is how it affects the taxpayers of this Province, and I will address the cost to consumers when I get a chance on the next petition.

MR. BAKER: You are wrong.

MR. SULLIVAN: I cannot be all wrong.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Government House Leader on a petition.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I do not intend to engage in a debate on a petition. Honourable members opposite are demonstrating with striking clarity that they have no desire to debate these bills which are among the most important ever brought into this House. They are not debating these bills, they are presenting petitions. I say to my friend the hon. House Leader opposite that according to the rules of the House one is not to debate a petition. They are simply trying to stymie the work of the House, everybody is hanging from the galleries. Look up, look up, the whole world is watching us, breathless. Downtown they are lining up for tickets.

What I do want to say to my hon. friend for Ferryland is that his arithmetic is as weak as his logic, and when we get into the debate I will deal with these things. The pension liability has got to be absorbed anyway. The question is, who pays -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: No, not today. That's the Tory philosophy. That's exactly why this Province is in the perilous financial state that we have seen in the past, because `not today'.

Secondly, the PUITTA rebate, as the Premier has explained, flows directly through to the rate payers - nickel for nickel, dollar for dollar - flows directly through.

Did he talk about the foreign exchange loss?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Doesn't know about that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, the other point I want to make while I am on my feet is that I neglected last night, in the overwhelming emotion of the moment at ten o'clock when we debated the adjournment at seven o'clock motion, I forgot to advise the House, and I humbly crave pardon and forgiveness from any who are offended by this, that tomorrow we shall be debating the motion that stands in the name of my friend from St. John's North, on Private Members' Day.

Now the government is willing to waive Private Members' Day. It is a day for our members, and they are willing to waive Private Members' Day if the Opposition want an extra day of debate on Hydro, but it's obvious to me that the Opposition have no desire to debate the Hydro legislation. That's becoming obvious to every member of the House.

With that said, Mr. Speaker, I commend the petition but I commend the truth as well. The truth shall make ye free, I say to my friend from Ferryland, and it is time he recognized the truth and admitted it for what it is.

Thank you, Sir.

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

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition of citizens of St. John's and Corner Brook. It is dated March, 1994, a petition to the House of Assembly:

To the hon. the House of Assembly of Newfoundland in Legislative Session Convened, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador; that

WHEREAS the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro will burden the people of the Province with higher electricity costs, higher unemployment, diminished economic development opportunities, alienation of water rights, and the transfer out of the Province of millions of dollars every year in dividends to shareholders;

WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that your hon. House may be pleased to request the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to retain Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro as a Crown owned corporation, and as in duty bound your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, these people, when they talk to their members face to face, use more direct, more blunt and more colourful language. They say: You gotta be off your... head to talk about selling Hydro. Don't you realize that it's one of the few remaining natural resources of any value? Don't you see that it's part of our birthright?

MR. RAMSAY: A point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for LaPoile.

MR. RAMSAY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, with reference to the hon. member's petition, and a number of the petitions presented this afternoon, I would ask the Chair's indulgence to check and see if, in fact, these are separate petitions or if, in fact, they have been dissected into a number of different petitions. In fact, I would submit that the prayer of the petitions that have been presented are the same petitions, and therefore the actual cover sheet, or the page on which the prayer of the petition is just a replication time and time again, so I would submit that it is but one petition, Mr. Speaker, and that we should certainly see that they are all presented together if the prayer of the petition is the same.

I would ask Your Honour's indulgence to have that checked out and to see if in fact that is the case. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Any comment by any of the House Leaders on the issue or the member himself of course?

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: I would like to say to the point of order, Mr. Speaker, just to say that we've gone through one wrangle about that here this afternoon. The member has presented a number of petitions, which I understood at least, that the Clerk had seen. Am I correct on that?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Just hold on a second now. We have had a procedure in place here -

MR. GRIMES: (Inaudible).

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, when did the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations suddenly become an expert I wonder - it's time he became an expert in something I suppose.

MS. VERGE: They are trying to stifle petitions.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Well, precisely. The Clerk has seen it, the Clerk has okayed it, Mr. Speaker, and I don't know really - I mean we went through a process where if the Clerk okayed it, it was alright. He's done that and now it's not alright. Why don't members just leave well enough alone. We'll be presenting petitions, I would suggest to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, if they keep up with this, we'll be presenting petitions here on Labour Day. We'll be putting them forward on Labour Day if he keeps it up.

MR. GRIMES: I'll be here.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: No, you won't want to be here.

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

MR. ROBERTS: If my hon. friend is finished. I just took from the Clerk at the table - not took, he gave them to me - two petitions both tabled by the Member for Humber East on March 8. They are the same petition. One is signed by Heather Sheppard, the other is signed by Heather Sheppard in the same hand. Another is signed by - they are signed by Y. Tucker and E. Kendell. The other is signed by - it looks like a W. Maidment - the writing is nearly as bad as mine, I confess - and an E. Kendell. Both are signed by the hon. lady. It would appear to me, Mr. Speaker, that these are the same petition. The second page is not in proper form, I say to the hon. lady. In fact, it ought not to have been received.

Now I don't want to be overly technical on this but since we're seeing a filibuster it's obvious to me, Mr. Speaker, that the hon. lady - I forget, the hon. woman - I keep thinking of her as a lady but she insists on being called the hon. woman - and the hon. gentleman from Green Bay has returned from wherever he was and is now going to (inaudible). He is neither fish, nor foul, nor good red meat.

Now, Your Honour, I would submit that these are the same petition. Two of the three signatures are precisely the same. That's a matter which I insist Your Honour has to take under advisement. Obviously it's an abuse of the privilege of the House for a person to sign the same petition more than once and then use it as an opportunity to bring the matter before the House. I don't mind hon. members opposite, gentlemen or woman as they may be, from bringing forth all the petitions they want. In fact, they are playing exactly into the hands of the strategy that we hope they'll follow, that's fine. I have no trouble with that at all, Mr. Speaker, but I do suggest they've got to act within the rules. I suggest of the three people who signed the petition, two of them are precisely the same, and the petition is word for word the same, that is an abuse of the privilege of the House, Sir.

MR. SPEAKER: Any further submissions on the point?

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, let me just add that each of the two petitions I just presented, in my view, is in the proper technical form even though that involves archaic language. Each of the petitions contains two pages. The headings are somewhat different but in each case there is a petition substantively the same. In each case the citizens are petitioning the government and the House of Assembly to retain Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro as a Crown owned corporation. In each case the recitals leading up to the prayer are identical. There is a listing of negative consequences resulting from privatization of Hydro. In each case the form with the formal archaic language that meets the technical requirements of the Minister of Social Services is signed by four citizens and I am one of them, and in each case the page with the same petition stated in modern language is signed by citizens of Humber East and Humber West, who gave me the petition and asked me to present it to the House of Assembly.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair will take a few minutes and rule on it and will recess.

Recess

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Member for La Poile raised some formal objections relating to Standing Orders 90 and 91, to the two petitions that have been tabled by the hon. Member for Humber East. The requirements set out by Standing Order 90, are three-fold: Firstly, a petition must be to the House; secondly, it must be signed by the member and thirdly, it must not contain impertinent or improper matter.

Standing Order 91, sets forth several other requirements. The first is that it must be printed or written - we haven't yet arrived at the point at which we accept video tapes - and it must be in English or translated, that's according to subsection 91 (b).

There are two further requirements that perhaps can be called into question. Those relate to the number of signatures that appear. Standing Order 91 (a) reads as follows: A petition may be either printed or written and if more than three petitioners sign it, at least three signatures must appear on the page containing the prayer of the petition.

Now, I don't make a ruling on this but I point out to members that there appears to have been an understanding of the House as to what was required for petitions, which may not necessarily be consistent with the rule or with the general understanding of parliamentary practise. Of course, when I refer to precedence, I mean either rulings of previous Speakers; we are not aware of any precedence of the House as such, and secondly, any clear practise of the House, but I will just point this out to hon. members and I think the rules are unclear on it.

The first is most of us have laboured under the conception that the petition needs to have at least three signatures. That is not in the rules. The rules do not say that a petition must have at least three signatures; what it does say is that if more than three petitioners sign it, at least three petitioners must sign on the page containing the prayer of the petition. That is not a requirement that three petitioners must sign the petition and in fact, Erskine May has said that a single person may petition Parliament and that of course makes sense; but it may be that the practise of the House has been that we require three signatures, I am not ruling on the point, I will leave that for another day, but I point that out to hon. members.

The second point I think should be examined a little further, is that the prayer must appear on each page of the petition. Now I think it might be a good requirement in the sense that it would prevent fraud, and members going around soliciting signatures for one purpose and attaching it to a petition which speaks to another, but again that's not the way the rule reads. It says that: if more than three petitioners sign it, at least three signatures must appear on the page containing the prayer of the petition. You could only say that if it contemplated, there might be other pages without a prayer on it, because otherwise you would have no need to have three signatures on the page containing the prayer.

In any event, although we are not sufficiently clear on those two rules, I suspect that the hon. Member for La Poile is really seeking to force the hon. Member for Humber East to consolidate whatever petitions she has concerning the same issue; I presume they are on the same issue. It is my view that we could not force any individual member of the House to consolidate several petitions on the same matter, any more than I could force several members of the House who have similar petitions to put all their petitions together so, to that extent, I can't accept his objection as a point of order.

With respect to the individual petitions themselves, I find the petitions are in order. It does appear that on the first page of the petition there are four signatures, three of which appear to me to be the same. Those are Hedda Sheppard, there is H.E Kendell, and E. Kendell, but they appear frankly to me to be in the same writing, and of course the hon. member herself. There are other signatures, Tucker and Maidment, which are different on each page. But it certainly satisfies the requirement that there be three signatures on the page. Our rules do not require that individual petitions have three different signatures and certainly the second pages of the petition, which of themselves would not satisfy our requirements, since it is directed not to the House but to the government and the Premier, contain fifteen or sixteen signatures which are different. For those reasons I rule that the petitions are in order.

I point out to the hon. member her time has expired.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Any further petitions?

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a number of different petitions -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I can't hear the hon. member.

MR. HARRIS: A number of different petitions signed by, altogether, some 5,000 or more people. Before I begin presenting them to the House individually - since the prayer has similarities, I wonder if the Speaker will make a ruling on the petitions.

The petition is said to be to the Newfoundland House of Assembly and reads as follows: We, the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, who wish to avail themselves of their right thus to present a grievance common to the House of Assembly in the certain assurance that the House would therefore provide a remedy, we submit - and then it goes on to say: humbly showeth;

WHEREAS we citizens of Newfoundland seek to stop the proposed sale of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, and

WHEREAS the sale of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro has not been proven to be in the best interests of the citizens of the Province, and

WHEREAS the production of electricity is an essential service for the people of the Province and should be controlled by the people;

WHEREFORE the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon parliament to demand the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador not privatize and sell Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, and ensure that Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro remains a Crown corporation, and as in duty bound your petitioners will ever pray.

The petition, Mr. Speaker, contains the same prayer, the bottom part, on both sides of the petition and is printed and signed by me. I think that it conforms to the ruling Your Honour just gave and on that assumption I will proceed, unless I'm challenged by the members opposite.

This particular petition which I'm now tabling, two petitions here are signed by some twenty-four or twenty-five residents of St. John's. There is a reason for presenting them individually. This is not, as some members opposite may think, for the purposes of delay and stretching things out. But for a particular reason. Number one, they are individual petitions, Number two, they are from a number of different districts. In fact, perhaps every single district in this Province is represented by these petitioners. Number three, it is important that those of us on this side of the House try to convince each individual member opposite that they ought to join with their colleague from Pleasantville and question the legitimacy of this decision.

I know some members opposite are kept in the dark. Even the Minister of Mines and Energy seems to be kept in the dark. The Minister of Mines and Energy's light seems to be under a bushel in this respect, Mr. Speaker.

MR. RAMSAY: Point of order.

MR. SPEAKER (L. Snow): Order, please!

The hon. the Member for LaPoile on a point of order.

MR. RAMSAY: Point of order, Mr. Speaker. Just on the issue of petitions in general - and I will be very quick to bring the issue to a close - "Every member offering a petition to the House shall confine himself to the statement of the parties from whom it comes, the number of signatures attached to it and the material allegations it contains."

Mr. Speaker, with respect to that I ask that the hon. member, and other hon. members, in this petitioning, certainly take that into account in bringing their points to the House.

MR. HARRIS: To the point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for St. John's East, to the point of order.

MR. HARRIS: I only wish to remind the Member for LaPoile that the prayer of the petition, or the material allegations of the petition, for example, say: We, the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador seek to stop the proposed sale of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.

Mr. Speaker, I was only explaining to hon. members what needs to be done in order to stop the proposed sale of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. This is confined directly to the material allegations in the petition.

I could go on, but I think I have made the point that the allegations here are directly related to my remarks. I think the point is made just to try to use up my time, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member is quite correct that in speaking to a petition, the remarks by the member must be kept relevant to the petition, to the material allegations, and to the number of petitioners. The hon. member is doing that, and there is really no point of order.

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

The hon. the Member for Menihek.

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have an opportunity to rise and speak to the petition that my colleague has so ably and capably presented on behalf of the residents of St. John's who are speaking loudly, speaking often on the Open Line programs. Bas has been inundated with calls, and if you don't believe me they are loud, wait until tomorrow night.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, quite often in this Chamber you wonder which side your friends are on. Quite often you have to wonder that.

AN HON. MEMBER: You have no friends on either side.

MR. A. SNOW: One would question whether I may have any friends at some times, Mr. Speaker.

To the prayer of the petition about the people's concerns about what is happening with the privatization of Hydro, the people in St. John's are speaking loudly by signing that petition and by attending public meetings such as they are going to be attending tomorrow night. And our member, our friend, our colleague, the rebel, the man from Pleasantville, the hon. the Member for Pleasantville, has been told hundreds of times. He has petitions, I am sure, with a similar prayer as this, presented to him by his constituents.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: No, Mr. Speaker, he doesn't have to borrow from anybody. This man has been presented with hundreds of names of people opposed to the privatization of Hydro, and they are opposed for several reasons. The people who have signed these petitions are opposed to the privatization of Hydro for several reasons, and I am sure the hon. members opposite have been told by their own constituents.

Mr. Speaker, we all know that sometimes we will turn a deaf ear -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: It gets more difficult with every headline, and all the hon. minister has to do is wait until tomorrow's headline.

Mr. Speaker, it is very important that we, as a House, that we, as representatives of the people, listen to the people we represent. I believe that part of the reason why the cynicism has developed about parliamentarians in this country - and it has - is because after we are elected we are accused of not listening to the electorate. We come with our own agenda, we do not listen. That is why governments are thrown out of office.

More importantly, we must consider that I'm not asking you to change an opinion, Mr. Speaker, because you may get thrown out of office. But, Mr. Speaker -

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

MR. A. SNOW: - the people who signed the petition

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I just want to remind the hon. member -

MR. A. SNOW: By leave, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I just want to remind the hon. member that he is speaking to the petition, as I understand it, raised by the hon. the Member for St. John's East, and that he must keep his comments relevant to that petition.

MR. FUREY: Bring me back some caribou.

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, the hon. the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology is requesting that I bring him back some caribou. I just want to inform the hon. minister that the particular caribou that I raised as an issue here in the House of Assembly, I've been told since the issue has been made public that it has been on sale in St. Augustine, in Quebec, and down in Havre-St-Pierre. I've been told this. I've reported it to Wildlife. I don't know if they are the same animals or not that I reported initially to the minister.

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

The hon. member must keep his remarks relevant to the petition.

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, I will get to the meat of this particular petition. The meat of this petition is that the people who signed the petition are opposed to the privatization of Hydro. That is what they are opposed to - they are opposed to the privatization of Hydro.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

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

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from residents from Bloomfield, Musgravetown, Lethbridge, Shoal Harbour, Port Blandford, Clarenville, all in the district of Trinity North. These petitioners -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. HARRIS: Have they changed it? Clarenville and Shoal Harbour, Mr. Speaker -

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It appears that these residents, some of them, are in the district of Trinity North and some are in the district of Terra Nova, so I guess I am speaking to both members here.

These petitioners are opposed to the sale of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. They say that it has not been proven in the best interests of the citizens of the Province. As I was saying, hon. members opposite don't even know whether it is or it isn't. Even the Minister of Mines and Energy has told the media just today that he is not going to tell us how much it is going to cost. That will all be told later, not in the House of Assembly, he says, but when the audits are done and when all of that happens - after it is all over, he said. The Minister of Mines and Energy said, after it is all over, all will be told about the cost of privatization and the amount paid on legal fees. It is going to be kept secret from the public, and not only that, from this House, he said. He will not reveal this in the House until all of this is audited, probably in two years time.

That is the kind of approach that has been taken by this government. I would say the Minister of Mines and Energy doesn't know because he hasn't been told yet. Hon. members opposite really should start, for their own personal self-interest, if not for the interest of their constituents who are making petitions to this House, having to bring them to the Opposition, because they know that members opposite are reluctant to bring them. They don't all have the courage yet of the Member for Pleasantville who is going to have a public meeting, who is stating his views and making known his concerns. That, Mr. Speaker, is what I encourage the Member for Trinity North and the Member for Terra Nova to do, to have the courage to do what the Member for Pleasantville is doing - have a public meeting, invite public reaction and listen to what the people have to say.

What they're saying in this petition, Mr. Speaker, is that they believe the production of electricity is an essential service for the people of the Province and should be controlled by the people. That's what the petitioners want to do, Mr. Speaker, keep this asset, this producing asset which is producing essential electricity for the people of this Province. They want to ensure that Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro not be privatized, they want to ensure that it remains a Crown corporation and they seek to stop the proposed sale of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, and I intend to help them, Mr. Speaker. I intend to help them to seek to stop the sale of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. One way is to come here and present these petitions, to make sure that each and every member opposite is given full opportunity to listen to these petitioners and full opportunity to hear the debate and to realize that while they may think this is filibustering and delaying tactics or whatever, the people out in the Province are saying, yes. Yes, they're saying, `Keep it up. Stop the privatization of Hydro and if that means telling them time after time, day after day, hour after hour that they shouldn't do it, well, tell them. Tell them every day, tell them ten times a day, tell them a hundred times a day, tell them, Mr. Speaker, that we oppose the privatization of Hydro.'

These citizens, Mr. Speaker, produced this petition. They wanted it presented in the House of Assembly because they knew it would take a lot of persuasion, a lot of effort, to convince people that they should change their minds, to convince the government to change their minds and to convince hon. members opposite in the back benches to listen to what the people have to say - to demand, themselves, to know the answers that are not being given, answers to the kinds of questions that arise in the people's minds, and that are arising in this House, questions raised by -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, just a few words.

What is actually happening is the Member for St. John's East is - I know he is not intentionally leading the House astray but some of his words this evening in presenting this tremendous petition he has over there, are not correct and they need to be corrected. Now, let me say to the member, he is entitled - or if he feels that he wants to have a public meeting to get the concerns from the people of St. John's East, that's fine. If the Member for Pleasantville wants to hold a public meeting, that's fine. I would suggest to the member that there must be some kind of an indicator coming from any district for a member to be concerned enough to go and rent space, get all the material that's needed and photocopied and all that kind of thing that needs to be done, Mr. Speaker, if that member gets that indicator.

Now, I only speak on behalf of my constituents in the district of St. John's South and I can honestly tell this House I have had two enquiries about the sale of Hydro. One was on the phone and that was in support of the Hydro sale; and the other one was a letter asking for clarification. It was written in a negative tone and I sat down and took out what I felt was the correct information and supplied it to my constituent. Now, that is two people in over a year. I say to you, Mr. Speaker, here is a brochure that I handed out last May, as a matter of fact last April, to every house in the District of St. John's South. I will read from it. It says: On your behalf - and Tom Murphy went on with all the wonderful things he did, but one of them was I pushed for the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro and two other Crown corporations to raise funds for the provincial treasury.

MR. GRIMES: Did you get elected?

MR. MURPHY: I say to the hon. minister I think so. So, if the hon. Member for St. John's East wants to get up and talk about public meetings he should talk about the last one he had. He was going to have three twos, a game of auction after the public meeting, but he never had enough people for three twos. Everybody knows what a game of auction is in Newfoundland. The Member for St. John's East stands on his feet, wastes thousands and thousands of taxpayer's dollars with these silly petitions that he and the Member for Humber East are continuing to bring forward. If he had a good substantiated, honest to goodness, heavy duty petition then I would sit here and listen attentively, but what we have seen in the last two days is utterly disgraceful and it is a misrepresentation of the people's funds in this Province.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, if we have ever seen a display of cowardice we have just witnessed it by the Member for St. John's South. The Member for St. John's South stands in this House day in and day out talking about the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, but have we ever heard the Member for St. John's South make reference to the privatization of the St. John's dockyard? No, Mr. Speaker. When Marine Atlantic floated the idea of privatizing the St. John's dockyard the people at the dockyard did not want it privatized. Where has the member been? They cannot even find out his position. The employees of the St. John's dockyard, his constituents, cannot find out his position. He refuses to state his position on the privatization of the dockyard in St. John's.

Mr. Speaker, I say the Member for St. John's South boasts somewhat about the fact that he had it on his brochure during the election campaign. Well, I say to the Member for St. John's South that is probably why over half the people in your district voted against you. Does not the member realize that more than half the people of St. John's South voted against him in the last election? Well, probably that is why. I also say to the member that he should not be so quick to attack the Leader of the NDP because if they had had a candidate the last time you would now be history.

MR. MURPHY: - what did you do?

MR. TOBIN: I came back here four times, I say to the Member for St. John's South. In every election I ran I got more than 50 per cent of the votes. Now, the Member for St. John's South would not be here today but for the NDP because over 50 per cent of his constituents rejected him, and probably the reason why they rejected him was because of his stand on the privatization of Hydro. He should take a message from that.

When he speaks he also makes reference to the fact that the Member for Humber East and the Member for St. John's East are presenting these petitions. Well, I can say to the Member for St. John's South that there will be more than the Member for Humber East and St. John's East presenting petition because we now have enough petitions to last for at least two to three weeks, eight hours a day, I say to the member. We will present them, and we will continue to present them, so if he is bored after one night and one day, well then, Mr. Speaker, he will be pretty bored by the time they are all presented I say to him, because Easter will probably have come and gone -

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

I just want to remind the hon. member of Standing Order 92, which says that: the member offering a petition to the House shall confine himself to the statement of the parties from whom it comes, the number of signatures attached to it and the material allegations it contains.

MR. TOBIN: I thank you, Mr. Speaker. There is no excuse for my reacting to the Member for St. John's South, I realize that. To get back to the petition and the issue, is that people who advocated the sale of Newfoundland Hydro in the last election were rejected by more than 50 per cent of their constituents; doesn't that tell you something, Mr. Speaker? I don't know of any member of the House of Assembly who went out in the election campaign and said that I am for privatizing Hydro, except the Member for St. John's South. He is probably the only member, Mr. Speaker, and he is one member who is in this House today who has been rejected by more than 50 per cent of his constituents, and I believe the reason why he has been rejected is because of his position; and I also believe that because of the rejection -

MR. MURPHY: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the member didn't have the privatization of Hydro on his agenda, you are the only one and you have been rejected by the majority of your constituents and it is incumbent upon you to go out now and hold public meetings to see if the reason why more than 50 per cent rejected you was because of your stand on Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro privatization, I say to the member.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to present a petition signed by thirteen residents of the Province, many of them from the great historic district of Mount Pearl; a few of them from the neighbouring city of St. John's and other communities in the area.

Mr. Speaker, I won't read the whole prayer of the petition, simply the final aspect which says: We demand the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador not privatize and sell Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and ensure that Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro remains a Crown corporation. Very clear and concise, Mr. Speaker, and what we are seeing here is, numbers of these petitions, the words may not be the same but the meaning is the same, the meaning is similar.

People are telling the House of Assembly that they do not wish to see Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro privatized and, Mr. Speaker, there has to be a reason for that. There has to be a message that this government should be catching by now; they should be hearing what the people of the Province are saying. This is not the Opposition saying that, Mr. Speaker. These petitions are signed by people from all over this Province, from every walk of life and contrary to what hon. gentlemen opposite may like to believe, people do not put their names on petitions lightly. Sometimes people will come and knock on your door and say: will you sign this for me and some people may, but not the thousands and thousands of people who have signed petitions from all around this Province with the single purpose, that purpose being to convince their government that the action they are proposing by the legislation now before this hon. House, is not an action that the people of this Province wish, nor do they believe that it is in their best interest or the best interest of the Province or of future generations.

Now how long is it going to take, Mr. Speaker, before this government gets the message? There are thousands and thousands, tens of thousands of names coming in, in petitions; we have only just begun, we will be here long after Easter presenting petitions if we have to. There are thousands and thousands of names coming in, and people want their voices to be heard.

Not only do we have the right to do that, we have a responsibility as elected members of this House to speak on behalf of our constituents and, more importantly, to present their petitions in this House. It is not something that we can choose to do or not to do. We are duty bound to present petitions on behalf of the people that we represent.

Mr. Speaker, this government has to sit up and take notice, when so many people in this Province are of the one voice, so many people are so seriously concerned about this issue. As the Government House Leader, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General said yesterday, the two pieces of legislation before the House are probably the two most important pieces brought before this House since Confederation, and I agree with him entirely. I agree. They are certainly very, very important pieces of legislation, but the people of the Province know that as well. They can see how important it is. They can also see how wrong these pieces of legislation are, and they are expressing their opinions very clearly, very loudly, very succinctly, and these petitions are coming in here daily by the dozens. We have no reason to think that is going to change for the near future.

People are very, very concerned, because they see a very valuable provincial resource, a natural resource, a birthright of generations of Newfoundlanders yet unborn, being given away for who knows what, a paltry few dollars.

If one wanted to look at the financial benefits versus the cost, there would be no comparison. That's why they can't understand how this government could even consider bringing before this hon. House a piece of legislation that proposes such a giveaway of our natural resources, and of the energy resources of this Province, giving it away to private enterprise.

When we see some of the other things that are taking place, the individuals who have been involved, and how some individuals are benefitting, it makes them even more wary of exactly what the purpose is, because people quite honestly cannot understand why government would even contemplate it. These are just average men and women - not people who are learned in the law, or financial experts, or professional engineers - average men and women who are concerned about their Province and who are speaking out very, very loudly to their government trying, through the members of this hon. House, to get a message to this government that they are about to make a most serious, serious mistake - a mistake that does not have the support of the people of the Province.

This government speaks for the people of the Province. We realize they are the government; they have a tremendous amount of authority. They have the control of the House of Assembly and they can do what they will, but they must always remember that tomorrow they must answer to the people of the Province who elected them and put them here, and it is only the authority given to them by the people that they have, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you very much.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member has a new petition.

MR. SPEAKER: Does the hon. member have a new petition?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to speak in support of the petition presented so ably and capably by my colleague, the Member for Mount Pearl. The prayer of the petition is consistent with the prayer of the other petitions presented earlier tonight, and I don't need to read it because in essence it says they want - the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador, particularly those who have signed that petition - and the thousands of others I guess that we have to present - want the government to stop their foolishness. They want the government to wake up, they want the government to listen to the people of the Province for once, because they aren't listening to them on any other issue it appears, and they want them to halt this idea of privatizing Hydro.

Mr. Speaker, one point I want to make on this issue. A lot of people, especially the members on the government side, will say to me, or other members probably: Give us your arguments for being opposed to the sale or the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro. That is what the Government House Leader will flick across here from time to time: Give us your arguments, we want to hear the debate.

What I would like to point out is this. Many people in Newfoundland and Labrador oppose the idea of privatization of Newfoundland Hydro on principle. Never mind the arguments, never mind the debates, never mind the kinds of details that we've been arguing about for months now, the last several weeks. Many people in this Province oppose the idea of privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro on principle. Do you know what? They have every right in the world to oppose the privatization of Hydro on principle. They don't have to give reasons or arguments. They are opposed to it on principle. I've heard that by the way from many people around this Province.

Quite frankly, the issues in the debate are very complex. I don't think anybody could deny that. Very complex. But as the Member for Pleasantville has quite recently said - I understand from news reports this morning and on the news tonight the Member for Pleasantville has done a reasonable assessment of this. In his view, from what he knows now, from what he has been able to see, which includes the legislation and a fair bit of debate over the last four or five months, from talking to his constituents, he doesn't think this is in the best interest of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. I don't know if those are precisely his words but I presume he is not in favour of it and I commend the Member for Pleasantville for taking the stand that he has taken.

Because I will tell you, people out there are wondering what has happened to the back benchers in particular on the government side. The Cabinet ministers I guess have a little bit of an excuse unless they want to resign from the Cabinet, and there are those who could do that on a matter of this importance in terms of principle. There are members in the Cabinet who could do that. I'm not sure any of them over there will or would. Certainly the back benchers who are free - they are not members of the government - they are free to express their own view. Surely if they had their ear to the ground they must have heard by now that the people of this Province are not interested in pursuing the idea of privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.

I do hope more of the private members over the next coming days will follow the lead of their colleague, the Member for Pleasantville, who has seen fit to stand on his own two feet and speak out on behalf of his constituents more so because he represents the people of Pleasantville and speaks for them, he doesn't speak for Clyde Wells, and that is the message that he has given the people today, and I commend him for the stand he has taken. I hope others will follow through. I support the petition, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, I stand today to present a petition on behalf of people of the District of Terra Nova. It seems that there are several people in the District of Terra Nova who are against the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro and I am proud to present their petition today.

The privatization of Newfoundland Hydro was part of this government's hidden agenda. I repeat myself from earlier today. It is part of this hidden agenda. The privatization of Newfoundland Hydro was not mentioned during the election campaign. When members opposite were asked about it they shunned it, Mr. Speaker, they hid from the truth. They sought no mandate, they were given no mandate, and they have no mandate to proceed with the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro.

Right across this Province people are asking for public hearings on this issue. From one end of this Province to the other people are looking for public hearings. This caucus has gone out to three or four different communities so far with more planned in the next week or so and sought the input of the public, and gave the people an opportunity to have their say.

What does the government do? It shuns its responsibility once again. It does not go out to the people and give them the opportunity to have their say. I challenge all members opposite to follow the lead of the Member for Pleasantville and to go out and to talk to your constituents, and you will learn and you will hear what we are hearing on this side of the House. You will hear it loud and clear. That the people are against the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro. The Member for Pleasantville is not afraid to face his constituents but I say many members opposite are.

Electricity rates will increase substantially in new Hydro's new costs and rural Newfoundland especially will pay a very high price for the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro. I say we cannot afford that in rural Newfoundland. We are in a very hard situation in many parts of this Island now in rural Newfoundland just trying to survive. To increase our electricity rates will only cause more burden and more hardship on the people who are struggling to survive right now.

Our water rights can be given away. Members opposite keep saying in private conversations and in public that our water rights cannot be given away. But according to this legislation the Minister of Finance can give away our water rights, and he will. If the bucks are right the Minister of Finance will give away our water rights. Maybe not the minister who is sitting here now, but who knows who comes later. The Minister of Finance would have the right to give away our water rights.

I would say that years ago when the Upper Churchill was negotiated - and I have all the respect for a former premier of this Province, Mr. Joseph R. Smallwood, I have all respect. I believe Premier Smallwood's heart was in the right place but he received bad advice. Maybe some of that advice came from members opposite, I'm not sure. I wasn't around right then back in 1965 and 1966, I say. Members opposite were. Maybe some of the bad advice that our former premier, Mr. Smallwood, received was from members opposite in regards to the Upper Churchill deal. I can guarantee you that no, history will not be able to write that our present Premier received bad advice, because he listens to nobody else. Not even on his own side of the House, or the people in this Province. Therefore history will not be able to say that the present Premier or this government received bad advice, I guarantee you.

I repeat once again that Nova Scotia's experience - the Premier has commented several times on what happened in Nova Scotia. It proves that taxes will increase, jobs will be lost, and our credit rating will diminish. It was proven in Nova Scotia and it will come to pass in Newfoundland. This government has no mandate to proceed with the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro. I call on this government to have a plebiscite across this Province so that people can have a say. I call on this government to go out to the people and listen to them, loud and clear, to what they have to say. I will go back to a few comments passed a few days back from the Member for St. John's North as he talked about - what was it? - a University student who came in to him wondering how he could buy shares.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. MANNING: I will keep that for the next time, Mr. Speaker. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Terra Nova.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. YOUNG: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for recognizing me. I don't know. It is almost an embarrassment to get up here and play these silly little games with the Opposition. Because it is a game, that is exactly it. I only wish that the taxpayers out in my district could come in here and just see the despicable behaviour that we have in this hon. House. As a matter of fact, I myself am appalled that you people over there could delay a discussion and debate on a very, very important piece of legislation. And as for the people in the district of Terra Nova, they know exactly where to find me. Now the union might have had to go out and gather up the names of these people under the hon. member's auspices, but I'm sure the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes is looking for a district to run in and he's probably looking at Terra Nova because he won't have anywhere to run.

It's interesting that I've had three calls regarding Hydro. One wanted more information, one said, `Tell the Premier, get rid of it, privatize it, the quicker the better.'

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS. YOUNG: No, he's just an ordinary citizen who probably couldn't afford to buy shares. Then, there was another constituent who also told me, `Give me the information.' I gave that person the information and he said, `Now it's clear.' But the nonsense that we've been hearing on the Open Line Show is terrible, it's disgusting, but we know the political affiliations. We know their political affiliations. They are just doing that to help the Opposition along. But let me tell you that the moment it comes to a vote for the privatization of Hydro, I will vote `yes'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. YOUNG: I will vote `yes' and I will let the people of Terra Nova know that. And if they don't like it, at the end of this term they can let me know.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: They will.

MS. YOUNG: I will take that chance. I like my district and I like the people out there but I am sure that what I am going to present to these people, they will like it.

AN HON. MEMBER: Have a public meeting.

MS. YOUNG: A public meeting - sure, they can read factual information. The people of my district are not stupid. They aren't stupid - they can read for themselves. Give them the information instead of the fearmongering that you people are getting on with and the silliness in this hon. House. Get down to business, discuss it, debate it, because at the end of the day Newfoundland will have a privatized New Hydro.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS. YOUNG: Go on, don't be so silly. I'll go on if I want to. I also want you to know that when the people find out how you've been just playing around with them and playing jokes on them, not one of you will be left.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. YOUNG: Not one of you will be left. You'll be all gone.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

MS. YOUNG: Yes, by leave, alright. Do you want some more?

Let me tell you something else. I spoke on behalf of the residents of Terra Nova and now on behalf of a number of residents in Bonavista South; they have also said to me, `Kay, make sure they privatize Hydro. We don't want all that debt on our hands. We don't want that. We want a Province that's rid of debt. We want a Province that we can be proud of, that we're not depending on outside money to keep us going.'

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS. YOUNG: No, we won't send money out. I tell you what they will be sending out - they'll be sending out all of you out of your districts when they get the truth, because you people have not been giving them the truth. You've been filling them with a pack of lies.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear! By leave.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I would like to recognize the hon. the Member for Kilbride, who has risen in his place. There seems to be other members who would like to be recognized, but I recognize the hon. the Member for Kilbride.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: I have recognized the hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. E. BYRNE: I will say that if there are other members on that side of the House who wish to rise to speak to the petition, I certainly don't mind yielding to them.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

I apologize to the hon. the Member for Kilbride.

The hon. the Member for Kilbride rose in place to speak. The level of decorum in the House left a lot to be desired, and I was waiting to restore order before I recognized the hon. member. I indicated that there were other members speaking from their seats, but I wanted to recognize the hon. the Member for Kilbride because he was following the rules of the House and rose in his place to speak.

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

I stand to support the petition presented by my colleague, the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes, and to say that the Member for Terra Nova has indicated that it's too bad that the public cannot see the sham and the charade that we are getting on with.

Now, let me explain to the Member for Terra Nova, and some of the more experienced members on the other side of the House, who know quite well that the fate of this debate is in the hands of the Government House Leader. He can move a motion now to limit this debate, if he so wishes. I am saying it's in the hands of the Government House Leader.

Now, I say to the Member for Terra Nova, and all hon. members opposite, that it is not the Opposition who are in need of help on this issue of the privatization of Hydro, I can assure you, and it is not the Opposition who are staging the support that is obviously coming from the people of this Province against the privatization of Hydro. It is not we, the Opposition, who are in need of support or help, it is the government in their activity in pursuing the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, which does not make any sense, financial or otherwise. Now, that is the issue here.

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible) the legislation.

MR. E. BYRNE: If the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture sits in his seat believing that the people of the Province bringing forward petitions to members of the House to be presented on their behalf is foolish, it is beyond belief.

The issue at hand in the petition is the sale of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, and the people that my hon. colleague has presented are against that sale. He has spoken to it, the Member for Terra Nova has spoken to it, and I am sure that there are people in the Province who are in favour of the government initiative - I believe that - but there are more people in the Province, and I submit to you now that there are many more people in the Province, who are against the government's initiative.

Now, I ask the government, and governing members, what is the difficulty they have? If they believe so strongly in the case that they have put forward, if they believe so strongly in the initiative outlined in the legislation, then let's go to the public head to head and debate this issue. Let's go to the public and debate it head. Why not hold a referendum on this issue?

I say to the Member for Terra Nova, if she called a public meeting in her district I will go out and challenge the government's initiative on privatization and put forward an opposition point of view, and if she wants to put forward the government's point of view, well, then, I am at her beck and call to go out there, that's what I say to the member and we will see what the people of Terra Nova will say about that then. Mr. Speaker, the Member for Terra Nova has no more understand of what's in that legislation than a cat out in the street - no more understanding of it!

Now, Mr. Speaker, I say to the Member for St. John's South, there are far more than two people in St. John's South who are against the privatization of Hydro and before this week is out, `if' we get the opportunity to present a petition, I will prove that to the hon. member. I guarantee it.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: (Inaudible). Don't talk so silly, boy!

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible) enforce the rules - he is not even in his own seat.

MR. SIMMS: That's okay. The Member for St. John's South is -

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, Mr. Speaker is going to enforce the rules.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, what prompted to rise and present this particular petition at this time is, during the discussion on the last petition, I happened to hear the Member for Windsor - Buchans say he presents his petitions all the time I think, or words to that effect. Well, I rise now, Mr. Speaker, to present a petition on behalf of fifty-four residents in the town of Buchans, in the district of Windsor - Buchans.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SMITH: And the prayer of their petition, Mr. Speaker, in case the hon. the Minister is not aware of it, is as follows:

We, the undersigned, who wish to avail themselves of the right thus to present a grievance common to the House of Assembly in the certain assurance the House will therefore provide a remedy, we submit, humbly showeth, whereas we seek to stop - I am sorry, I want the member to get that on the record, what did he say? What was it he said?

AN HON. MEMBER: Haven't got the guts -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SIMMS: I kind of thought you didn't want to get it on the record. You are probably afraid I would put it in The Advertiser, aren't you? You won't repeat it. Here is what they say, Mr. Speaker, these people from Buchans: We, seek to stop the proposed sale of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: We seek to stop the proposed sale - sorry? Members opposite are great at interjecting, but when you stop so they can get it on the record, they sure back off, don't they?

I see one person whom I am sure is a Tory - the rest I don't know, but there are fifty-four of his constituents, that's the point; whether they are Tory, Liberal or NDP, who oppose the sale of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, Mr. Speaker, and they join thousands of others in this Province. And it is too bad that the Member for Windsor - Buchans - I expect he will stand now to speak in the debate to show the backbone that he has. He mentioned earlier that he always presents his petitions, so I hope he will speak in the petition now and say whether he supports his constituents in Windsor - Buchans or whether or not he supports Clyde Wells or whatever his position is.

Whereas the sale of Newfoundland Hydro has not been proven to be in the best interests of the citizens of the Province; that's the reason, Mr. Speaker. It is not in the best interests of the people, according to their minds, and that's fine, they have every right to feel that way about privatization. But the way the government members opposite pooh-pooh the opposition to this, will, I think, actually lead to their downfall in the long run. They can joke, they can laugh about comments on Open Line, like the Member for Terra Nova; I couldn't believe what she said, ridiculing the people who call in to Open Line programs; silly people she said or silly comments. I mean, I can't believe that. The people who call in to Open Line programs, Mr. Speaker, are citizens of this Province.

MR. FLIGHT: Why didn't you listen to the people on Sprung?

MR. SIMMS: Why didn't you listen to the people on the Upper Churchill when you sold a thousand Sprungs, why didn't you do that? You were around then for sure.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible) Sam Snead.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, people of the Province who called in to Open Line programs tonight were ridiculed by the Member for Terra Nova - that is what happened here tonight when she got up and ridiculed people who called in to Open Line programs. She referred to the comments as silly. She challenged her own people out in Terra Nova, which is an interesting challenge. We will make sure that message gets out there. We have ways of doing that. We will make sure they get a copy of Hansard to see what she said in Hansard. We have ways of making sure what she says in Hansard gets out around the district of Terra Nova.

Mr. Speaker, we don't know if she will be the member in the next district, because according to the boundary redistribution she is going to have to take on the heavyweight, out in that area, from Bonavista North, because the two districts are going to combine. And if it isn't the heavyweight it will be the heavyweight's brother, more than likely, who will take on the hon. the Member for Terra Nova. So I think she should be a little more reserved in her comments, a little more restrained.

However, I say this. At least she had the guts and the gumption to stand in the House and say that she is going to support privatization. She is one of the few on the back benches. The Member for St. John's South, I believe, has said it. The Member for Pleasantville has said he is opposed to it. I guess we will hear very soon over in Stephenville, because the Members for Port au Port, Stephenville and St. George's, I gather, are supposed to be going over to Stephenville for some kind of a public meeting or something, I'm not - I just hear rumblings of it. I would assume they will have a chance to express their position on this publicly. I expect to hear very soon.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SIMMS: I haven't heard - yes, because the Cabinet vacancy is still there. I can understand why you would want to do that, of course. We will have to wait and see, Mr. Speaker, what other members of the back bench say about privatization. If they are all saying they support privatization then stand up and say so. There are lots of opportunities to say it in petitions, even if we are not into the debate yet - lots of opportunities. So we will have to wait and see how the other members opposite -

On behalf of the fifty-four residents of Buchans, who the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture said across the floor of the House a few moments ago, are all Tories, I say to him I doubt very much if they are all Tories. Buchans is not exactly known as a hotbed of Toryism. At least, it hasn't been up to this point in time. Who knows what will occur in the next election? Because the Member for Windsor - Buchans won't even be there and it will be part of the new district of Green Bay - Buchans, I think it is called, or Buchans - Green Bay, and the other part of his riding will go in with me, Grand Falls- Windsor. I look forward to that as well.

By the way, I have other petitions here from Windsor, in the other part of the member's riding, and I will be standing to present those petitions. And I hope the Member for Windsor - Buchans has the gumption to get up and speak to this petition. I challenge the Member for Windsor - Buchans now to stand and speak to this petition in support of his fifty-four petitioners from the town of Buchans. I doubt very much if he has the gumption, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise and speak in support of the petition from the fifty-four residents of Buchans.

AN HON. MEMBER: Have you ever been there?

MR. HODDER: Yes, I've been there many times, Sir, and have family members in Central Newfoundland, so I'm quite familiar with the area.

Mr. Speaker, what we've seen happen here is a clear demonstration of a need to practice some fundamental rules of democracy. Because what we've seen is that we have petition after petition, and what the people are saying is: Talk to us, let us have some say, let us have some voice. When you have petitions that are coming not just from the districts represented by the members on this side of the House but from districts on the opposite side of the House as well, and when you have such numbers, you have a demonstration that is automatically obvious to all members who are willing to see.

What we have here is a genuine expression of concern, of unhappiness, a genuine expression that says: Please consult with us. We are the people. We did not understand this to be in the cards last May 3 and now we would like to have an opportunity to have a participatory democracy occur. Mr. Speaker, when we were talking about Meech Lake and when we were talking about the Constitution the Premier of this Province got up and he espoused participatory democracy. He said what we should be doing is referring issues of this magnitude directly to the people. Now, Mr. Speaker, you cannot say that when you are talking about Meech Lake and the Constitution, and then turn around when the House Leader says, and the Finance Minister says, this is the most important piece of legislation since Confederation, more important than the Upper Churchill legislation, more important than the (inaudible) reforms of the 50s and 60s, the 70s and the 80s.

This has been identified by the government as the most significant piece of legislation since Confederation, and now we are saying that participatory democracy is an idea when we want it to be an idea, but when people are saying let us have a referendum, let us have a voice, what we hear from the government side is, all you are doing is stifling the debate and you will not get on to the issues. We are saying put the issues to the people. Let the people of this Province have a say, and then, certainly, when they have their say they will be the people who will make the final decision, and if the people of this Province in the referendum say they want to privatize Hydro put the facts out there.

Obviously the members opposite feel that the media is not carrying their message. Let me tell you there is a reason why the media is not carrying your message. You are not communicating, you are not doing what you should be doing, you are not getting the message out, because the people of this Province are convinced that this whole premise is false. They are saying that the whole structure you have is not based on good government, not based on good economics, will not create jobs, will not provide a future for their children, so therefore they are saying, no.

Mr. Speaker, it is quite obvious that members opposite should be listening to what their constituents are saying. Let the people have a voice. Go for a referendum. That is what we do in difficult decisions. Let the Premier's vision of a participatory democracy have meaning in Newfoundland and Labrador on this issue.

Thank you, very much.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I have a couple of petitions here from the town of Burgeo, the District of Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir. There are twenty-six names on these petitions. The Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir is not present in the chamber to hear the petitioner's voice here but I think it is important that we put on the record the fact that petitioners from each and every district want to be heard in this House, Mr. Speaker, on the issue of the privatization of Hydro. I wanted to speak but I deferred to the Member for Waterford - Kenmount in response to the petition from the people of Buchans petitioning this House. It is important to recognize that these petitions are coming from all over the Province. The Member for Windsor - Buchans did not get up to respond to the petition. I think it is symbolic, Mr. Speaker, of the lack of participation from the other side of the House in this issue. The only one doing the talking is the Premier.

The minister responsible for Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro can't even answer questions on it, Mr. Speaker, because he doesn't know the answers. He's being told from the front bench on a day to day basis what happened that day, not what's going to happen tomorrow but only what's happened that day. He finds out from the media what's going on and he's not able to answer the questions. So I'm not surprised that the Member for Windsor - Buchans, the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, is not up speaking. I'm disappointed because the people of Windsor - Buchans and particularly the people of Buchans who sent this petition deserve to hear -

MR. SPEAKER: I remind the hon. member that he's speaking to a petition.

MR. HARRIS: - deserve to hear answers to the questions. Why, for example, has the sale of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro not been proven to be in the best interest of the citizens of this of Province.

I want to ask the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture has he asked his Cabinet colleagues, has he asked the Premier how much money will be going annually out of the Province to pay the dividends to support the Ontario teachers pension, to pay off the investors in the eastern townships of Quebec? How many millions of dollars annually will now flow out of this Province to pay the bondholders or to pay the shareholders who are going to be guaranteed this rate of return by the Public Utilities Board - money that now stays in the Province?

Has the Member for Windsor - Buchans asked that and told the people of Buchans how much new money is going to be leaving the Province every year in perpetuity as the result of this privatization scheme? These citizens from Burgeo, Mr. Speaker, like the citizens from Buchans, like the citizens from the District of Terra Nova and other districts who had petitions presented here in this House today, they believe that the production of electricity is an essential service for the people of the Province and ought to be controlled by the people through their Crown corporation.

So, Mr. Speaker, when members opposite do rise I'd like them to tell the people of their own districts what the answer to the questions they've asked is or are they just mouthing the rhetoric coming from the Premier and coming from the minister responsible for Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.

I say to the Member for Terra Nova that she might not want to be so anxious to get into a Cabinet that she's going to blindly follow the lead of the Premier because when the time comes the people of her district are going to want to know where she stood when this issue came to pass. It's going to become clear to the people of this Province - who aren't already convinced and many already are, perhaps most - that this is a bad deal. It's going to become obvious to the people of this Province that this is a political disaster for this government and the Member for Terra Nova is going to find out to her cost -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to stand and support the petition put forward, ably put forward, by my colleague and friend from St. John's East. It's important that we bring forward all the names of the people who have spoken out and signed petitions against the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro. I say once again, Mr. Speaker, that this government has no mandate, no mandate whatsoever to proceed with the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro. It was not mentioned during the election, it was not mentioned during the campaign and therefore the people of Newfoundland and Labrador did not know at the time the government's plans, it was part of their hidden agenda. It was part of their hidden agenda and I say to the Member for Terra Nova who so ably stood in her place and portrayed her feelings on this, that you should go out and listen to the people of Terra Nova. But also I believe that the Cabinet ministers should pass on to the hon. Premier and express to him the feisty speech that the Member for Terra Nova gave, because we have a Cabinet shuffle coming.

Mr. Speaker, when I last stood I touched for a few moments on the water rights and the importance of maintaining the rights to our water that we have had for so many years. I say again that under this legislation the Minister of Finance will have within his authority the opportunity to give away our water rights somewhere down the road. One person, without coming back to this Legislature for discussion, will have the opportunity and the right to give away the water rights. The Minister of Finance, whoever that person may be years down the road, will have within his power a tremendous task. If he sees any way that he can give away our rights to our water it will fall into his lap. I feel that is wrong.

We touched on the problems in Nova Scotia, and our Premier has touched several times and mentioned about the actions of Nova Scotia power, saying that privatization is great for Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia's experience wasn't very great considering some things that have come to light over the past couple of months. For example, Nova Scotia said that no jobs would be lost. By the time the privatization was complete over 400 jobs had been lost in Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia's credit rating deteriorated, being dropped by two rating agencies, despite promises that the opposite would happen. Nova Scotia was forced to raise taxes, breaking their election promise. They raised taxes because of the privatization of Nova Scotia power.

I say to the members opposite, have the guts to go out to your districts and hold public meetings. You can stand up and say that you received two phone calls, and you talk about the people who phoned the open line shows. This is the only way that people in your districts can have a say. We are going out listening to the people in our districts but you refuse to do that because you know the answer you will get if you go out there. I call on this government to have a referendum - I spoke on it before, several members have spoken on it - in this Province so that people can have a say.

The Premier said no to public hearings in the House a few days ago. Why? Because the Premier knows that over 90 per cent of the people in this Province are against the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro. That is why the Premier doesn't want public meetings. Because he will get a loud and clear message, the same message that was sent to the Premier just a few days ago on February 21 in Placentia District. The same message. The Premier would get that message if he went out to the people today that they don't want to be dictated to, and they don't want our water rights interfered with, they don't want the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro to proceed. This is why the Premier refuses to go out among the public and hold public meetings.

I say that we look back on what happened to Upper Churchill and to BRINCO in the 1960s. We had to pay $30 million to get the rights back when we nationalized BRINCO a decade later. Did we learn nothing from what happened back then, I say? Did this government and members opposite who were part of that government learn nothing after what happened to the Upper Churchill? How much it cost this Province, how much it cost the taxpayers of this Province. How much it cost the children and the grandchildren that are coming behind us when the time comes. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

AN HON. MEMBER: Good-night, John boy.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Sorry? Good-night, John boy? I think the Minister of Education said good-night, John boy, about 5:00 p.m., Mr. Speaker. He has been dozing off there again today.

I want to present a petition on behalf of thirty-seven residents of the District of St. George's.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Where?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The District of St. George's - thirty-seven residents of the District of St. George's. Now this is just the first of many petitions I have from that district.

The prayer of the petition: We, the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador wish to avail themselves of the right to present a grievance common to the House of Assembly... and goes on to read:

WHEREAS we, the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador, seek to stop the proposed sale of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro;

WHEREAS the sale of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro has not been proven to be in the best interest of the citizens of the Province, they are demanding the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador not privatize and sell Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, and assure that Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro remains a Crown corporation owned by the people of the Province.

Mr. Speaker, in case members opposite are not convinced, I don't know what kind of a dream world they are in over there, but petitions are coming from every community in this Province, every district in this Province. My colleagues from the West Coast say they have had phone calls from the District of St. George's. They know that people are very concerned over there about this proposed sale of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, that they are so opposed to. They are wondering why their member is not voicing their concerns on the floor of the House of Assembly.

MR. BAKER: That is not true.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, I don't know if it's parliamentary for the Minister of Finance to be saying something is not true - something that he doesn't know if it is true or not - but I wanted to say, before I was so rudely interrupted, that people want to know where their members are. Why aren't they voicing their opinions on this very important matter?

The Government House Leader has said time and time again that this is one of the most, if not the most, important pieces of legislation that the House of Assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador has ever had to deal with.

MR. BAKER: That's not true either.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Now for the man who is going to have all this responsibility on his shoulders, I would suggest that he, tonight, begin to be briefed. Start taking the legislation home and read it, take it to bed with him. Get briefed, because it is amazing that that Minister of Finance is going to have all of this on his shoulders -

MR. BAKER: Let's talk about it.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, let's talk about it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, I say to the Minister of Finance, we have been able to talk about it for weeks, where the government members haven't even seen the legislation or read it, and that is the same case with most of the government members. That's the case with most of the government members. They are not familiar with the legislation and with the implications and ramifications for the people of this Province, I say to members opposite. Now they had better get at it fast because they don't have a lot of time. They don't have a lot of time. Soon the members opposite are going to have to stand in their places and vote, before too much longer, on a very critical piece of legislation that is opposed overwhelmingly by the majority of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: When are we going to have to vote?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Very soon we are going to have to vote - very soon, I say to the Member for Fogo. The Member for Fogo has been here long enough to know that we will vote on this tomorrow. We will vote on this piece of legislation tomorrow, in parliamentary terms.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Tomorrow. We will vote on it tomorrow. In parliamentary terms it will be tomorrow.

AN HON. MEMBER: And tomorrow, and tomorrow.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: And again tomorrow, and after that tomorrow.

Mr. Speaker, these are just thirty-seven very concerned residents of the District of St. George's who want their member to stand in his place -

AN HON. MEMBER: It will cost you $37 now.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Cost you $37?

AN HON. MEMBER: It will cost you $37.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: It will cost me $37 for you to stand in your place - $37? I don't understand that. I can't make the connection. It's going to cost you more than $37, I say to the Member for St. George's. It's going to cost him his salary if he doesn't soon get in his place and speak up for his people. You shouldn't hang your hat on trying to get a bigger salary, I say to the member. Hoping to get a bigger salary when you could lose the one you are getting now, I say to the member, so don't hang your hat on that.

This is a situation that is very serious. I'm sure the member now, once he gets out in his district for the weekend and rubs shoulders with some of his constituents, that it won't be long when he comes back next week that he will stand in his place and he will raise their concerns to the members of the Legislature, particularly to the Premier and the Cabinet ministers. I will be very surprised if he does not ask them to change their minds and withdraw this - that is what I'm expecting, by the way, from that member and others opposite. That they are going to put so much pressure on the Premier and the ministers that this piece of legislation will be withdrawn.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Member for St. George's.

DR. HULAN: Mr. Speaker, I'm normally a very quiet individual and I stand up in this hon. Chamber only when I have something to offer, as I think the record will show. However, they are asking me to go and meet with my constituents. Let me tell you that in the last three weekends I have been in the District of St. George's and I have been meeting with groups. On Saturday afternoon I met with a group in the Legion Hall at Jeffrey's as well as the Lion's Club at McKay's. I picked up a very disturbing story, that some party has been offering to pay for people to sign petitions in my District.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

DR. HULAN: I tell you -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

DR. HULAN: Some party. I'm not sure what party it is. But money is being offered to get people's names on petitions. Some people have signed more than one petition.

MR. DECKER: Double-dipping.

DR. HULAN: Double-dipping.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.

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

The hon. the Opposition House Leader on a point of order.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Point of order, Mr. Speaker. The hon. member knows, Mr. Speaker, that he is not allowed to stand in his place and make accusations which are unfounded.

AN HON. MEMBER: Unfounded.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Unfounded, which are unfounded. I should say that the hon. member should know that he is not surprised, Mr. Speaker, with petitions about this Province that some people, signed for and against the same thing. The hon. member I'm sure has been around long enough to know that. He says some people have signed two petitions. Some people sign for and against the same thing, I say to the hon. member, but he shouldn't stand here and accuse some political parties of paying for signatures if he doesn't know what he is talking about, because that can get him in a lot of trouble, I would say to him.

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

DR. HULAN: Mr. Speaker, all I can say to the hon. member, I said some political party. There is such a thing as the Communist Party in this country. There is the Rhinoceros Party. Now, if the shoe fits, wear it!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

DR. HULAN: Okay. I believe we know where the shoe is going. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I want to - are you finished? If he is finished I want to speak to the petition presented by my colleague for Grand Bank on behalf of the residents of St. George's District.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I don't know how some people can do it, Mr. Speaker. The hon. member got up and said: I spent three weekends in my district. Mr. Speaker, I have to spend every weekend in my district - every week. Three weekends he went out. No wonder the people of St. George's can't get representation, when the member readily admits in this House, that in the last year he spent three weekends! Mr. Speaker, that is shocking!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. George's, on a point of order.

DR. HULAN: The hon. gentleman (inaudible) over here. He interpreted that I said three weekends in the last year. No, Sir! My hon. friend, I am in my district pretty well every weekend, but the last three weekends we were primarily concentrating on Hydro, and let me tell you, at the meetings that I have attended I have given the government's side of the Hydro issue and then they ask: Well, why aren't you hurrying up and getting on with the deal? That's what I am being asked. In fact, this morning I had a telephone call from St. Andrew's and again the caller asked: `What is the position on Hydro?' and I gave him the good government side, and he asked: `Why are you holding back? Get on with the deal!'

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I haven't recognized the hon. member.

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, what did the member do when he got up? He admitted, that he has been out there three times in the last year and then he said that each time he talked about Hydro. The fact of the matter is, the only time they see him in his district is when he goes for a ride on his bike. That's the truth, Mr. Speaker.

MR. WOODFORD: Do they charge mileage?

MR. TOBIN: Well, Mr. Speaker, I don't know if he charges mileage on his bike but the word is that when he is on the bike, he burns up a lot of gas.

Now, the fact of the matter is, Mr. Speaker - and this is why this issue is so serious and why we are calling for public meetings, when you have a member stand in the House and say he was in his district three times in a year, (inaudible) a time to have public meetings. And now you have the Member for Grand Bank being asked to present petitions on behalf of his constituents. Now, Mr. Speaker, I think there is one option for that member and that is, either go out and meet the constituents or resign.

MR. SULLIVAN: That was during the election, wasn't it? Three times he was out and it was during the election, I heard.

MR. TOBIN: Yes, Mr. Speaker, three times in the past year and I believe it was during the election campaign but I'm not sure.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: Three weekends in one week, 3-1.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, there is oil called 3-1; you can buy oil called three-in-one, I suggest to the member. He should do up his chains.

Now, Mr. Speaker, that demonstrates clearly our call for public meetings; and it is not just the Member for St. George's, Mr. Speaker, I mean, I am here with petitions from LaPoile, Bonavista North, Terra Nova, Stephenville, St. Barbe, Fogo, Menihek, St. John's South, Gander, Harbour Main, Port au Port; Mr. Speaker, they are there from everywhere.

AN HON. MEMBER: Nothing there from the north, nothing there from the north.

MR. TOBIN: No, Mr. Speaker, and there's nothing here from the north either, I would say.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

On a point of order, the Member for St. John's North.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You're getting him up!

MR. L. MATTHEWS: It is not so much a point of order as a point of (inaudible) that I resemble that remark.

MR. SULLIVAN: That you resemble it or resent it?

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I am not speaking to the point of order, but I didn't mean for the hon. member to resemble the point of order - I think that's what he said, he resembled the point of order?

AN HON. MEMBER: The remark.

MR. TOBIN: The remark. Mr. Speaker, if he resembles the remark then that is not my problem. I thought he was going to say he resented the remark but he said he resembled the remark. If he resented it I was going to apologize, but the hon. member sort of asked for it, he has to admit that.

I say, Mr. Speaker, that the Member for St. John's North should go into his district and hold public hearings on this issue as well.

AN HON. MEMBER: And on educational reform.

MR. TOBIN: We will leave that, that is another issue. Because the member, Mr. Speaker, is probably for this. Anyone with a condo in Florida and a member of the 500 Club can probably support privatization. I would suspect that Mulroney would support it as well.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, probably that has something to do with energy as well. In any case, Mr. Speaker -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, they have never taken my seat away from me yet, I say to the Member for Fogo. They might take something away here but they haven't taken my seat.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!

MR. TOBIN: No they won't.

Mr. Speaker, the Member for Fogo should stand up and tell us -

AN HON. MEMBER: Get on with the debate!

MR. TOBIN: We are getting on with the debate, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) call order!

MR. TOBIN: Call what?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member needs - the fact of the matter is that the Member for Fogo is over there on his hands and knees every day trying to get into Cabinet. That's the situation with him.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, anyway, gag the member for -

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

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. TOBIN: By leave, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Does the hon. member have leave to continue?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. member has leave to continue.

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, thank you.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, can the hon. the Member for Fogo, be gagged, or do we have to once again put on a strong campaign in Fogo and give him about forty-five jobs? That's about what he had last time - from buying fish down to (inaudible) the co-op. to selling insurance, to being over in Social Services for a couple of weeks answering and asking questions, and doing a lot of other things. I ask the hon. member to be quiet, and if has the courage of his convictions, stand up, and instead of -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: This, Mr. Speaker, is a petition asking that government not sell Hydro. That gives lots of opportunities for people - the Member for St. George's and the Member for Terra Nova stood up. I got the Member for St. John's North up, and I think I will get the Member for Harbour Main up before the night is over.

MR. WHELAN: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I can get you up, I know how to get you up, I say to the Member for Harbour Main. You are well known in Placentia Bay -I know how to get you up.

AN HON. MEMBER: Mr. Speaker, (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I don't know about getting him up but I got him blushing.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Leave has been withdrawn by one of the hon. members.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, who did that? Anyway, if it is withdrawn, Mr. Speaker -

MR. SPEAKER: I ask the member to conclude his remarks.

MR. TOBIN: - I will take my seat.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No leave!

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to present a petition, in that case.

MR. SPEAKER: I recognize the hon. member on a second petition.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to present a petition on behalf of a group of people from the district of Terra Nova.

MR. RAMSAY: A point of order, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. RAMSAY: The hon. member is (inaudible) and he has so many petitions there of the same form that he, that time in particular, failed to put the petition to the Table, I think. He is moving them all around. I don't know if, in fact, the hon. member is just continuously recycling the same ones. Really, we would like to be able to understand just what he is up to.

MR. TOBIN: To that point of order, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I would just like to say, for the benefit of the House, and certainly for the benefit of the Member for LaPoile, that when you stand to support a petition, you don't have a petition to present to the House, and I was speaking in support of a petition. Now, I am presenting a new one. I spoke in support of the petition from my colleague, the Member for Grand Bank.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The provision of rule 93 says: "If required a petition may be sent to the Table and read by the Clerk." It is not necessary to present it before.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Yes. I think the hon. member's objection, or point of order, was that you had not presented the petition before you spoke on it. I don't think the rule strictly requires you to do it unless somebody requires the hon. member.

AN HON. MEMBER: He didn't present it, Your Honour.

MR. RAMSAY: Mr. Speaker, my mistake. I thought it was with reference to a petition that the hon. -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I understand that, but I understood the hon. member was now presenting a petition; is that correct? I understood the hon. member's point of order was with respect to the petition he was presenting?

MR. RAMSAY: No, Mr. Speaker. My apologies to the hon. member. He was speaking in support of a previous petition. I thought that he had originally done a petition and now he was doing another. That was my allegation.

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order. Thank you.

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Thank you very much.

Mr. Speaker, when I stood to present the petition - and I want to apologize to the House, too - I said the district of Terra Nova. In actual fact, I meant the district of LaPoile.

Mr. Speaker, I want to present this petition on behalf of twenty-three people from the district of LaPoile, the town of Port aux Basques.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: He wants to know the names in the prayer.

MR. TOBIN: The prayer of the petition? Sure, Mr. Speaker.

The petition is to the Newfoundland House of Assembly: `We, the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, who wish to avail themselves of the right thus to present a grievance common to the House of Assembly in the certain assurance that the House will provide a remedy, we submit;

WHEREAS we, citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador, seek to stop the proposed sale of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro; and

WHEREAS the sale of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro has not been proven to be in the best interest of the citizens of the Province; and

WHEREAS the production of electricity is essential services for the people of the Province and should be controlled by the people;

WHEREFORE the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon Parliament to demand the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador not privatize and sell Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, and ensure that Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro remains a Crown corporation, and as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.'

As I said, Mr. Speaker, most of these are from the Town of Port aux Basques. I think there are four from the Codroy Valley, and the rest are from the Town of Port aux Basques, so the people of Port aux Basques have asked us again to come in and present their views to the House of Assembly.

Now, you cannot stand up in this Legislature and say that your constituents are not concerned, when there are members on this side of the House standing up and presenting petitions on their behalf. You cannot say there is no concern, I say to the Member for LaPoile. How can the people of Port aux Basques send in a petition to this House, ask us to present it, and the Member for Port aux Basques say there is no concern? That possibility does not exist. As the Member for St. George's said, he was out there three times last year and had public hearings.

I would just like to point out a few things to the people opposite, and I speak in particular to the backbenchers, as to why I think they should stand up and be counted on this issue, why I think they should vote against the bill. We know that we're not going to get the Premier to change his mind. The Premier never changes his mind on anything, but we hope, Mr. Speaker, that some of the members opposite will change their minds. We hope that if we take the time, and we will take the time to present the 5,000 pages of petitions that arrived this evening. We have 5,000 petitions to present, so we'll take our time and we'll present them. And we hope, in our doing so, the members opposite will realize - like right now I hope the Member for LaPoile will realize that I'm presenting a petition on behalf of his constituents and that his constituents do not want to see Hydro privatized. I hope the member realizes that, that his constituents have signed the petition asking that Hydro not be privatized.

Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of serious implications in this. For example, let me say that the New Hydro - I don't know if the Member for Terra Nova realizes that the New Hydro company will get all the land, water and water rights developed and used by Old Hydro as well as those owned by the Province and used in the connection of Old Hydro. New Hydro's legal title to those properties and rights, free and clear of all encumbrances, includes everything in, to, over, under and affecting land and water, water rights, water power and water privileges. Do members opposite realize that? Do they realize, Mr. Speaker, that the Minister of Finance will determine which undeveloped water rights, if any, will be excluded from the deal? In other words, the Minister of Finance may give New Hydro any or all of the undeveloped water rights in the Province including underdeveloped water rights in Labrador without further references to the Legislature.

Now does the Member for St. John's North believe the Minister of Finance should have that type of power, that he can give away Labrador power without coming to the Legislature? He won't have to come to the Legislature, I say to members opposite. The act leaves it to the Minister of Finance to determine which, if any, water rights are excluded. He can make a decision at any time. If it so happens that underdeveloped water rights are not included in the deal now, they can be included at any future date without further references to the Legislature, and that's serious stuff. I say to members opposite, that's serious stuff. There has never been, Mr. Speaker, I'll point this out - there has never been legislation in this Province before, that empowers a minister or even the whole Cabinet to give away any water rights.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. TOBIN: Each new grant of water rights had to go to the Legislature for debate and approval of the elected Assembly of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. So, Mr. Speaker, I present this petition on behalf of the people of LaPoile.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. TOBIN: Wait now, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Go ahead. The hon. the Member for Ferryland was recognized first.

MR. SULLIVAN: Okay, if the Member for LaPoile wants to go first I'll give way. The Member for LaPoile - I'd certainly give way to him.

MR. SPEAKER: Well, the hon. member has the floor. I can recognize the hon. the Member for LaPoile afterwards if you wish.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I support the petition by the people from LaPoile. In fact, there are several points the Member for Burin - Placentia West mentioned there that I'd like to just expand on a little more. One particular point he made regarding the bill is that the Minister of Finance now will have the authority to decide what rights are excluded. The Minister of Finance has exclusive authority to decide which water rights can be given away without ever coming back here to this Legislature. I think that's something that should not be permitted, something so vital as our water rights that control and are a means or an avenue by which we can control development in the Province in the future.

Now, legal right to water rights, free of all encumbrances, is ownership. That is ownership. You can call it whatever you like, but legal rights free of all encumbrances is ownership in its true sense.

AN HON. MEMBER: Which clause is that?

MR. SULLIVAN: It is in Bill 1 - I don't have the specific clause at the moment.

AN HON. MEMBER: Where does it say that we have to (inaudible) all water rights in the Province?

MR. SULLIVAN: It indicates that it is free of all encumbrances and they have the legal right to it.

MR. FUREY: Current (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Not only the assets transferred from old to New Hydro, but all the water rights associated with the transfer to Hydro.

MR. FUREY: Where did you get that?

MR. SULLIVAN: I read it there and I followed the day the Premier went through it, each step - it is there. Not only that, I inform the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, but also, all of the rights that are there with Hydro now that the Province may hold in dealing with the business of New Hydro are also transferred.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I said what it has to do with the future is because what is excluded from this deal is up to the Minister of Finance, without ever coming back to the Legislature. The Minister of Finance will have the powers to decide what is excluded. That is a fact. That is correct.

MR. FUREY: Where does it say that?

MR. SULLIVAN: Where does it say that? Okay, we will find it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SULLIVAN: I will get back in further speaking and give you the clause that is there. It states that the Minister of Finance shall have the powers to determine what shall be excluded, the excluded rights, at any point in the future, without ever having to come back to this House of Assembly - and that is there in the act. The Minister of Finance didn't know yesterday, but he certainly knows today, and you can ask the Minister of Finance.

AN HON. MEMBER: It is in clause 4.

MR. SULLIVAN: In clause 4(1)(d), `excluded assets', it says: "the transfer to and assumption by New Hydro of certain of the liabilities and obligations of the Crown, whether arising under contract, tort, trust or otherwise, except as provided under excluded liabilities, in each case as determined by the minister" - and that is the Minister of Finance who is referred to as "minister," it is in clause 2, if you read back - and it says "... those terms and conditions that are imposed by the minister."

Then it goes on to explain in 4(2)(a): "`excluded assets' means...," and it mentions the four excluded assets that are there. The minister, down in clause 4(4), it goes on to describe the powers the minister has in those regards. It is there. I've read it before. I've read through every single part of that at least three times and it is there. The Minister of Finance will admit it. He didn't know yesterday in Question Period but he knew after Question Period when he went back and read it, that it's there.

Also, a few other things I would like to point out. Hydro's debt is a guaranteed debt. It is not a part of the direct debt of this Province, and it doesn't affect the bottom line of our Province in our ability to borrow. If we go back to - a while back, Dominion Bond Rating Service indicated that it is not factored in and they doesn't foresee any change to our credit rating by a divestiture of Newfoundland Hydro.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave!

MR. SULLIVAN: By leave?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Agreed.

MR. SULLIVAN: Okay. It has indicated -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) contingent by (inaudible) -

MR. SULLIVAN: It has indicated that it will not in any way affect - they don't see any problems with reference to the credit rating. In fact, Standard and Poor's also was quoted as saying, and here is their quote: `As of this time, we don't foresee ourselves changing the rating as a result of divestiture.' Standard and Poor's stated that. That is the quote. Do you want me to read it again?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, that is correct. They have indicated it wouldn't affect Nova Scotia's either. In fact, Nova Scotia went down after the divestiture of Nova Scotia Power.

MR. FUREY: How do you (inaudible) that for cross-border?

MR. SULLIVAN: Well, basically, what happens is that there is a transference which specifies what's transferred. The water rights pertaining to the generation of power are transferred from old to New Hydro, and any other rights that they need to carry out the business of New Hydro and any other water rights within this Province that may be excluded from this transfer, would be determined by the Minister of Finance as the future power to determine what shall be excluded from this transfer. In other words, any other rights in the future that the Minister of Finance sees that he decides or she in the future, whomever the future minister may be, has the power, without coming to this Legislature, to transfer any rights and ownership of water rights in this Province; that is there, the Minister of Finance has that power. And in clause 2(1)(d): "minister" means the Minister of Finance or the other minister of the Crown that the Lieutenant-Governor in Council may designate'. They specifically reference the Minister of Finance having those powers.

Now, if we want to go on and just point out a few other things, with the defeasance agreement whereby they are going to give the New Hydro five years in which they can float their bonds or Treasury Bills or come up with securities generally, however they plan on achieving those securities, there will be a five-year period in which they will have to reduce the debt that is currently guaranteed by this Province and shift it over, under the defeasance agreement, on to New Hydro; there is a cost incurred with that, too, that is estimated and the figures would show in the vicinity of - roughly $50 million, I think, is that figure; I don't have an exact figure on that. Also, they are going to amortize now this new debt, and that is going to be paid by the users of electricity of the New Hydro.

Now I addressed earlier today the costs that are directed to taxpayers of this Province. I addressed them when I spoke earlier -

AN HON. MEMBER: That was tabled (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, that's correct.

- an earlier petition relating to Hydro and the negative effects it is going to have on the people of this Province. That's the direct cost to the taxpayers out of the Provincial Treasury. These costs I am relating now are costs pertaining to the consumer of electricity that are going to be adjusted into the tax base and the rate base that is going to be established by the Public Utilities Board. These are ones that are going to affect the rate base in the future and also, overall, it is estimated the amortization could take anywhere from twenty-some up to forty years. If you took the average of that period it would cost the consumers an extra $15 million to $16 million a year - $15 million to $16 million, the cost of amortizing this debt over that period of time.

Now, I would like to just touch for a few minutes on another point, seeing the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology is so interested, and the Minister of Finance will confirm his powers there - he went back and probably read the bill, I don't know. I was trying to inform the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology that as Minister of Finance, you would have powers -

AN HON. MEMBER: No more leave.

MR. SPEAKER: Leave, is withdrawn?

MR. SULLIVAN: to determine what is excluded -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! Leave is withdrawn.

MR. SULLIVAN: Leave is withdrawn?

MR. SPEAKER: Yes.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John's East was on his feet first.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have another petition from, in this case, thirty-three residents of the district of St. George's, and the Member for St. George's seems to be quite surprised that people from his district signed petitions to oppose Hydro, but the people who signed this petition may be very surprised to hear how little the Member for St. George's knows about the views of his constituents. He even stands up in this House and accuses the people who signed this petition of being bought off, that they are not really serious. He doesn't take seriously the constituents of his who signed the petition. He suggests that the people who signed this petition have been paid to sign it.

DR. HULAN: I didn't say that!

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I think they would be very surprised to hear how little the Member for St. George's thinks of people who sign petitions.

He may say: Well, I didn't really say that. I said: Some parties might be doing this. Well, Mr. Speaker, this is a bit paper-thin for an argument. What he did was belittle his own constituents who have signed this petition, and this is the third or fourth one now that has been presented from his district. These people live in St. Andrew's, Upper Ferry, Doyles, in the Great Codroy, O'Regan's, - all these people, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: The member is going to get up in a minute and tell us who it is who signed this petition, who called him and changed his mind.

AN HON. MEMBER: Why am I going to do that?

MR. HARRIS: No, because the Member for St. George's is attempting to deflect the fact that his constituents have signed the petition in great numbers. We've only seen three or four of them so far. The member laughs, the member thinks it is a big joke that his constituents have signed petitions opposing the privatization of Hydro. I've presented one, the Member for Grand Bank presented one, there are three or four petitions that other members have, all from St. George's, and there are two or three more here.

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the hon. member should go back to his district more than two or three times, or three times, and learn what his constituents have to say and how they feel. They appear to feel very strongly about this issue.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. HARRIS: The member wants to reduce this to partisan politics. I say to the Member for St. George's, if he doesn't listen to what the people say about these issues - it is not about partisan politics, we are talking about issues here, and the issue at stake right here is the future of this Province and the future of this great resource that we now control, that we now own, the returns that we now own.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

AN HON. MEMBER: You are misleading the people!

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, the member says: No, no, we don't own Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. I think the President of Treasury Board said: No, the bondholders own it. That is like the old joke: No, I don't own the car, the bank owns it, right? Or I don't own my house, I have a mortgage on it. That's all very well, Mr. Speaker. Why do Newfoundlanders brag about having the highest rate of home ownership in all of Canada, in this Province? The minister wants to say: You don't own your homes, the bank owns them.

That is a nice little saw for people chatting back and forth to one another, but the reality is, there is a pride of home ownership in this Province, even if you do have a mortgage on it, even if you do have to pay for it over a period of time. There is a pride of ownership in a homeowner whether there is a mortgage on it or whether there is not. It is not right, it is misleading this House to say that we don't own Newfoundland and Newfoundland Hydro. If we don't own it why do they want to sell it off? If we don't own it how can we get any money for it if we sell it?

Here we have the President of Treasury Board saying: We don't own it. Yet on the other side of his mouth he says: We had better sell it off so we can $300 million. If we don't own it, Mr. Speaker, how can we can get $300 million for selling it? How can the government claim that there is some value in selling something we don't own, and what kind of fools do they think the investors are, to pay $300 million for something the government doesn't even own?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

DR. HULAN: Mr. Speaker, I have to say a few words. I am just appalled at the Member for St. John's East making the erroneous statement, saying there are three or four or five petitions from St. George's - there have been two petitions so far with a total of somewhere around fifty individuals having signed it, maybe, some of them have signed the same petition twice -

AN HON. MEMBER: Check it out.

DR. HULAN: Don't worry, I'll check it out. The other thing is, I have to admit to something tonight that is not very good, you know. I live in St. John's East. Lord, oh Lord, no wonder, no wonder, and most of my neighbours say: Well, we are going to vote for the NDP candidate because he can't make his way as a lawyer so we have to try to - so that he's not on the welfare roll, but anyhow that's fine. I didn't vote for him, of course. And the other thing I should remind him is, I said I picked up a rumour in the district; I am not the origin of that rumour, I heard it at two locations in fairly large crowds of people. It is rumoured that some political party was paying for signatures on petitions. And, terrible as it is, I have to report it to this hon. House. Thank you.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise to present a petition on behalf of a number of constituents from the great historic district of Lewisporte, and when I signed my name to it, Mr. Speaker, I signed it as a constituent. There is an important message in this, Mr. Speaker. I was just having a chat with my member and asked him why he is not on his feet speaking on my behalf, and these other constituents of the great district of Lewisporte are also wondering: Where is the hon. member? When is he going to stand in the House and represent his constituents as they want to be represented?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: On what?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) education.

MR. WINDSOR: No, no, he is very vocal on education. We were just discussing his position on education. If the truth were known, Mr. Speaker, I am the member for a number of hon. members of the House of Assembly; the Member of Mount Scio is one of them; the Member for Fortune - Hermitage is in my district - yes, he lives in the great historic district of Mount Pearl. The Member for Waterford - Kenmount, of course, is in my district; I have lost a few, the hon. the Member for Terra Nova was, the Member for Bellevue is in my district.

MS. VERGE: The Leader of the Opposition.

MR. WINDSOR: The Leader of the Opposition, of course, is in my district, So I speak for a number of members of the House of Assembly. But, in this case, my concern is that my MHA is not speaking for me; in fact, he is not speaking for anybody; he hasn't said where he stands here yet; I am trying to smoke him out and find out what his position is. Is he listening to our friends and neighbours in Lewisporte and is he not going to speak for them? The answer, very clearly, Mr. Speaker, is that he is not speaking on behalf of the people of Lewisporte. The names here are people, and who is on this list, Mr. Speaker? None other than the Mayor of Lewisporte, who has the good intelligence to know that this is not a good deal and is not afraid to sign her name to the paper, and who else? the Mayor's good husband, who happened to be the hon. member's campaign manager in 1989. Now, who is he listening to? He's not listening to the mayor and he's not listening to his campaign manager. Who is he representing by sitting there and not speaking at all on behalf of the people of Lewisporte district?

AN HON. MEMBER: He's listening to the Premier.

MR. WINDSOR: Listening to the Premier - exactly. It won't do him any good, he's already cut out his turf. He had the courage to speak out on the educational issue only because the hon. member represents what's known as the Bible belt. Most of his - not most but a large percentage of his constituents are of the Pentecostal faith and others who disagree with this and he, on that issue, is speaking on behalf of his constituents but he's not doing that here. Now, we'll find out. He tells me privately -

AN HON. MEMBER: Did he sign it?

MR. WINDSOR: No, he won't sign it. He refused to sign it. No, that's not fair, I didn't ask him to sign the petition. I can't say he refused to sign it, but no, he has not signed it. If he'd like to sign it I'll have the Page bring it to him so he can sign it.

AN HON. MEMBER: Read the petition.

MR. WINDSOR: Read the petition? Well, it's the same, we've read many of them. I'll just read the closing paragraph:

`WHEREAS; the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon Parliament to demand the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador not privatize and sell Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and ensure that Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro remains a Crown corporation.'

The hon. gentleman has just told me privately he agrees with the government position - that's why he's not on his feet; that's why he is not speaking against the privatization of Hydro; that's why he is not representing these people and others we have in petitions that we will present in good time to this hon. House from the district of Lewisporte. I beg your pardon?

MR. PENNEY: (Inaudible) tell the truth (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Now, is the hon. gentleman, Mr. Speaker, insinuating that I'm not telling the truth? If so he should clarify or withdraw.

MS. VERGE: Maybe he's against the sale of Hydro is what he's saying.

MR. PENNEY: Did you just say a minute ago that I told you privately that I supported the petition?

MR. WINDSOR: No.

MR. PENNEY: Oh, I'm sorry.

MR. WINDSOR: No, I said you told me privately you support the sale of Hydro, you support the government's position - my english is not clear, position, petition - you won't sign this. He's snuggling up to the Premier, but it's not going to help him because he's already distanced himself from the Premier on the education issue. But, Mr. Speaker, this brings into question many members opposite who are not representing the wishes of their constituents here. Now, we're not totally bound to speak only as our constituents, may by majority, want us to speak. We are each here as elected representatives and we have the right to speak as we see fit.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. WINDSOR: By leave, Mr. Speaker, for a moment.

MR. SPEAKER: Does the hon. member have leave to address the House?

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave.

MR. WINDSOR: We have the right, Mr. Speaker, to speak as we feel -

MR. SPEAKER: No leave? The hon. member has no leave.

MR. WINDSOR: - is in the best interest of our constituents and/or in accordance with the wishes as expressed to us by our constituents.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member has no leave.

MR. WINDSOR: I have no leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Very well, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is a pleasure to rise and support this petition against the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro. I'll get back to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology - he wanted a direct section on how it applies. Well, under Reorganization, Part I, it states, "the transfer to New Hydro of all the undertaking," - that's 4.1 (a) - "business, land, property, assets, interests, benefits and rights of, or the title to which is vested in, Old Hydro or which are used in connection with the business of Old Hydro, except as provided under excluded assets."

When we get down in subsection 2, it defines specifically, "excluded assets" as specifically stated in this bill are; (i) securities of Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corporation Limited, (ii) securities of Gull Island Power Company Limited, (iii) securities of Lower Churchill Development Corporation Limited, and it excludes (iv) Twin Falls Power Corporation Limited. They are the ones that are specifically excluded in this bill - excluded assets. It goes on to say in subsection (v): "undeveloped water rights as determined by the minister" - the Minister of Finance is the one who will determine what undeveloped water rights may be excluded from this agreement; he can determine that. So all the undeveloped water rights in this Province and Labrador right now, the Minister of Finance next year, or in five years time, can determine what can be excluded. In other words, we are selling lock, stock and barrel, our rights to New Hydro. The minister has the right, without coming back to this House of Assembly, in deciding what shall be excluded, and I think that's shameful, that one person should be able to determine what rights in this Province shall be given away for future generations, indefinitely, without ever coming back to a Cabinet, ever coming back to the Legislature of this House, and that is wrong.

I would also like to mention a couple of statements the Premier made some while ago.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I sold them when I got into politics. I don't think you can serve two masters.

AN HON. MEMBER: You don't?

MR. SULLIVAN: No. I sold it lock, stock and barrel.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Well, I go into business to make money, and I got out of business after having made money. Just read my conflict of interest reports and you will see what I own.

AN HON. MEMBER: Did you privatize it?

MR. SULLIVAN: Oh, it was private all along. I wouldn't dare risk that to the public, especially if it's going to be governed by people on that side of the House. I couldn't take a chance. He projected a $51 million deficit and it's going to be $75 million or $80 million. He projected 28.9, I think, last year; it would have been $155 million, and he put on the brakes and ended up at $70-some million. Would I dare trust my fortunes to the government here in this Province?

MR. A. SNOW: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: No, I'm not going to say that. I might be thrown out of the House if I say that. The Member for Menihek wants me to make statements that I just can't make.

A couple of points the Premier made, and misled the people of this Province: the Premier stated that New Hydro would not get ownership rights to the land and waters used by Old Hydro, but rather, rights to use the water for only as long as the water is used to produce electricity. Now, any legal right, free of incumbrance, is ownership. Who in this Province thinks that what is used to generate electricity now is not going to be used in the future? It is a foregone conclusion. It is legal. Without incumbrances it is ownership, and never will they remove water that is now providing electricity and use it for some other source.

We are not dealing with a source of electricity that is non-renewable. It is a renewable resource. It is a continuous supply of a resource. It's not like generated electricity that only has a certain lifespan.

Another point the Premier made -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I will try not to get interrupted by the Member for Fogo. He refuses to stand, and keeps shouting. He has the right of any other member to stand and be heard, and I am talking facts.

Now, the next item, he said undeveloped water rights on the Island in Labrador were excluded in the bill. They mentioned four specific assets that are excluded, and all the rest, lies with the Minister of Finance, who has become -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, if the hon. gentleman would -

MR. A. SNOW: Aren't you going to let the Member for Lewisporte speak to the petition?

MR. ROBERTS: I have been recognized by the Speaker. If my friend, the Member for Lewisporte wants to speak, I will yield. The hon. member wants to speak?

MR. WINDSOR: He wants to speak to the petition from Lewisporte, yes.

MR. ROBERTS: I'm sorry. I was recognized, but I don't mind yielding to my friend, the Member for Lewisporte. I have no problem. I only want to (inaudible) the ignorance of the hon. gentleman, the Member for Ferryland. He doesn't know what he is talking about.

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

MR. PENNEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to take a few minutes to speak to this petition, and I would like to welcome the Member for Mount Pearl to the historic district of Lewisporte as one of my constituents. I am hoping he is paying attention while he is out there, seeing how a district is supposed to be represented, as opposed to the district of Mount Pearl that don't see their member at all because he is out in Central Newfoundland all the time.

MR. WINDSOR: If I had half the complaints from my district that I get from yours I wouldn't be there.

MR. PENNEY: If you would stay in your own district maybe you would get some of them.

Mr. Speaker, I did have an occasion to look at the petition when I was over there speaking with my hon. friend. Yes, I recognized the signatures on there. I recognized that one of them was the Mayor, one of them was the husband of the Mayor. I also remember quite clearly, despite what he reminds me, that Mr. Clark was my campaign manager in 1989. I can assure him, he wasn't campaigning for our party a few months ago.

MR. WINDSOR: He has seen the light.

MR. PENNEY: So it comes as no surprise to me when I see his signature on that petition, but I've received no letters or phone calls from any of those people explaining to me what their concerns are. And I get accused of not listening. I can assure the hon. member that I listen to every constituent who wants to voice his opinion to me. Every single one of them who comes to me and says: We have a concern with Hydro, I say to them: Fine, you have a concern with the privatization of Hydro. Explain it to me.

Because I am listening. I would like to understand what the problems are with this privatization. I don't have a concrete mind-set here. If you can convince me that this is wrong then I will support your contention. We've been here for two nights and I've been sitting here waiting for you to explain to me why this bill is wrong. I can't find anybody over there willing to speak on it.

Mr. Speaker, last night when I went back to my home, my son, a university student, was there. He asked: What are you doing tonight, Dad? I said: I've got to explain to you. I really feel quite privileged to have gone through what we've just done tonight, I feel quite proud to be a member of the House of Assembly that accomplished this great deed tonight. He asked: What did you do? I said: We debated until 10:00 p.m. a motion to adjourn at 7:00 p.m. Aren't we impressed? I can assure you that he was impressed. The constituents I've spoken to this morning on the phone, when I tell them what they were doing all last night, they are impressed.

AN HON. MEMBER: Then you defeated it.

MR. PENNEY: Then we defeated it, that's right. I came in here in 1989, a neophyte, I really did not know what to expect - and I've been surprised. I thought I had seen it all.

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

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I don't want to take up the hon. member's time, but the hon. member should know that when he speaks to a petition he has to indicate whether or not he is supporting it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Lewisporte.

MR. PENNEY: Mr. Speaker, as I said, I came in here in 1989 as a neophyte not really knowing what to expect. I thought I had seen it all. I saw the Member for Grand Bank, the first year I was in here, speak for six hours and say nothing. I thought that was something really unique. Last night the Member for Humber East stood on a point of order and asked that she not be referred to as a lady. I couldn't believe this. But then, when I saw a motion to adjourn at 7:00 p.m. debated until 10:00 p.m., that has got to be the ultimate indignity.

As I said, I want to listen to my constituents, and if there is anything wrong with this, I want them to explain to me what their concerns are. As I've seen it right now, based on the information I have, and based on the understanding that I have, I would not support that petition, no. I fully support the privatization of Hydro as I now understand it, but if there is something that you would like to explain to me I will gladly sit here and listen.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) explain something (inaudible) listen (inaudible)?

MR. PENNEY: If I could have somebody stand over there and speak logically and explain to me what their concerns are, then I will listen.

MR. WINDSOR: You want to listen? Why don't you have a referendum and let the people speak?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. PENNEY: We had a referendum a few months ago, I remind the hon. member - that's the reason I'm here, that's the reason we are on this side of the House and that's the reason they are still over there, because we had a referendum.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. PENNEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Ferryland.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: A billion bucks - a billion bucks you are going to cost the taxpayers! One billion dollars you are going to cost them! One billion! Besides giving it away, you are going to cost another billion!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

The hon. the Member for Ferryland has the floor, and I think it is courtesy to listen to him, not that we haven't had the pleasure already.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to present a petition on behalf of residents of St. Barbe, Norris Point, Rocky Harbour -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) St. Barbe, you have any (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Well, Norris Point and Rocky Harbour - I assume that's St. Barbe? I know about communities in Newfoundland. You can name a community and I can tell you what district it's in.

The prayer of the petition is very much the same as some of the others.

AN HON. MEMBER: Where is Muddy Hole?

MR. SULLIVAN: Muddy hole is in my backyard.

AN HON. MEMBER: Muddy Hole bounds in (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Burin - Placentia West, yes. It is a pleasure to present a petition on behalf of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology and the Member for St. Barbe.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, on your behalf, with your indulgence.

I would like to get back to a few points that touched on an area today - it seems like it was today. You know, the direct cost to taxpayers in this Province; no, not just a cost that is going to be built into the rate increases or increase the rate base in the Province, I addressed that on a few other occasions. I addressed it a little before, when the Minister of Finance was there, and he agreed with me on every single point; he will have the opportunity again. I indicated, and he agreed, that the Province is putting $15 million into the rate adjustment fund. And maybe the Member for Lewisporte might want to stay around for this. The $15 million is going to ease the burden for rate increases to residential customers -

MS. VERGE: Just for a few years.

MR. SULLIVAN: - and is going to phased out after three years. After three years it is then going to hit the roof, with extremely high rates to rural consumers of electricity, where the burden moves from industry on to residential consumers.

The next area we looked at - we have indicated that this Province has been receiving from Hydro, $10 million because we guarantee the long-term debt of Hydro. This Province now receives $10 million, we are paying out $15 million, that's $25 million directly out of the revenues of this Province in the next fiscal year; we mentioned earlier, that under the Public Utilities Income Tax Transfer Act, right now, this Province receives this year -

AN HON. MEMBER: He is not listening to you.

MR. SULLIVAN: He is not listening, he doesn't want to hear facts. We are slated to receive, the Member for Lewisporte, this year, $9.2 million rebate on the Income Tax Transfer Act, and when the same courtesy has to be extended to Newfoundland Power, Newfoundland Power will get a rebate of 85 per cent of the Corporate Income Tax that it pays, that we are going to lose in potential revenues for the Province; we are also, with the shifting of the burden on the unfunded liability on the pension fund, that's another $30 million to $40 million. When you add all that up, it adds up to about $100 million going to be expended out of the Province in the next fiscal year.

Now, out of that $100 million approximately, the lower end of estimates says 85 to 90, the higher end is up over 105. Out of that $100 million, two of these areas are going to be ongoing costs continuous to this Province or lost revenues which means the same thing. You lose $100 million in revenue or you incur $100 million in expenses, it means the same thing; that one-time cost.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Does the hon. member have leave?

No leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: No.

MR. SULLIVAN: No leave?

MR. SPEAKER: No leave.

The hon. the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to rise and support the hon. member on such a good job he did; I thought he should have continued a little bit further, he has made some good points with information, especially with the Member for Lewisporte asking for some good facts that we brought out here. However, in five minutes speaking on petitions you don't have a lot of time for that. But you do have some time, and I say to the hon. the Member for Fogo, any time you want a chance to stand up and speak now in your five minutes on petitions, you can do so, too. The bill doesn't have to be called. If you have the gall and the backbone to stand up, you are welcome to do it; we would welcome hearing from you and there will be points brought up. There will be lots of time during the debate to get out the points, too, on this particular bill. It can't be done in five minutes on a petition, but one can point out a few principles that maybe you should reconsider and think about.

I am so glad the Member for St. John's South is back - we are really glad when he comes back into the House. I want to thank him, first of all, for responding last night, for bringing his brochure forward to show us exactly, I say to him, what you said in the brochure. I appreciate that, and I must say, you came, true to your word. We should make on that, maybe, a couple of points. Maybe we will get another brochure in the House tomorrow. But I would say you are the only one who mentioned that in your literature during your election campaign, or if not the only one, then one of the few, because I can certainly tell you that your party, the `hon. crowd', as the minister told me to refer to them, the hon. crowd over there. The Minister of Social Services gave me a few hints today. He said: Remember now, the `hon. crowd', so that is how I will refer to them. But I can tell you that the hon. crowd over there, certainly didn't before May 3, with exception to the Member for St. John's South, certainly didn't let people know that Hydro privatization was on the agenda and he certainly didn't know about income supplement or the other things that came out but that's another story and we will get into that later.

I say to the Member for St. John's South, I thank you for bringing that forward. He did come clean on it. It is not very often we see that but he did come clean and show us the brochure and it was in black and white that he did talk about the privatization of Hydro in his election campaign, and I thank him for that.

Now, a little while ago, a couple of members mentioned - the Member for Terra Nova is not here now, the hon. lady and I think a couple more mentioned earlier tonight, you know, we talk about how sometimes you are wasting time here doing this type of thing and the tactics that we are using and, of course, the famous charade thing that was mentioned last night, but I don't think it's a waste of time at all. To me, and I am very serious about this, I say to all hon. members, very serious, that such an important issue as this is right now before us in this House tonight, we shouldn't be, not even twinging, not in the least that we are here tonight to spend three or four hours tonight, maybe three or four hours tomorrow night to talk about such an important issue, I don't think it is a waste of time at all and any time I get a chance to stand in my place on Baie Verte - White Bay district and have a say on such an issue as this, I will stay here till the cows come home. I don't care how long it is and I don't think any of you should take that attitude.

If we have a chance to stay, and I say to the hon. Member for Fogo, if you have a chance to stand now or if it's twelve o'clock tonight or two o'clock tomorrow morning, stand up and have your say; that is why we were elected and nobody is telling me what to say, I am saying what I feel and what I believe, and as far as privatization is concerned, I said it last night and I say it again - I said to the hon. the Member for St. George's earlier today - for example: the privatization of Newfoundland Farm Products which is coming up, I have been studying the documents the last few days, I have been talking to all the resource people possible, I have even talked to the Member for St. George's about it, and I can tell you, I have an open mind on that; and I had an open mind on the Computer Services situation. So don't say that we are against anything the government is going to do in privatization. I believe there is room for privatization, I really do; and it's going to help our Finance Minister balance his books, because he has been doing a poor job so far, but it might help him out a little bit, as we see. So as far as privatization is concerned, or saying we are against everything the government says, that's not true, and I can stand up on this side at any time and say that we are not wasting time here.

Another comment I would like to make - I wish the Member for Terra Nova were here, because it was something she said to me earlier tonight that really struck me. I don't know if it struck anybody else the way it did me, but the hon. lady talked about people calling to Open Line. `People call in to Open Line,' she said - `silly!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

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

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. MURPHY: Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that the hon. the Member for Kilbride must speak from his seat.

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, the hon. member has to be in his seat to speak to the House.

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. E. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you to the Member for St. John's South.

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to stand again and speak to the petition that has been presented. There is so much mismatch and half-truths and fiction about what is happening with the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro that I think it's important to get back to basics.

Now, Hydro was created in the 1950s for a couple of reasons. First, it was created to harness the underdeveloped water resources of the Province, secondly, to provide a provincial power grid; and thirdly, to bring electricity to all communities in the Province.

MR. MURPHY: By whom?

MR. E. BYRNE: By the government of the day.

It was established as a Crown corporation in order - and very important - to keep public ownership of our remaining water resources, and to keep electrical costs to consumers as low as possible.

Now, it has achieved all of these objectives. It has built major power plants in various parts of the Province. It has brought electricity, literally, to every community in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and it has kept electricity rates reasonable because of three factors: It has been able to borrow money more cheaply than the private sector because of the government guarantee on its debt; it does not have to pay corporate income taxes; and it does not need to make a large profit - only 5 to 8 per cent - because it only has to satisfy bondholders and not both bond and equity investors like a privately-owned company. Now, I would like to elaborate somewhat on that in terms of the sale of Hydro.

It is my understanding that all we are likely to receive, or I should say, the amount that is being tossed around by the government is $250 million to $400 million. It amazes me that the government can blandly tell Newfoundlanders that they have the right to buy back something that they now own.

It is also my understanding that all we are likely to receive is basically the book value of the equity built into Hydro, plus perhaps a little bit more. I have never heard, in my life, of a profitable corporation being sold without making significant profit on its shares - never, ever, ever.

The question remains, then, what makes this situation so unique? Nothing, I put forward - nothing makes Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro so unique. We should be able to make more than the book value.

If the situation were reversed, if we were into the private sector, and we were buying out Newfoundland Light and Power, I submit to the Minister, do you think they would sell us all their shares at current market value? I don't think so, I say to the Member for Fogo. I do not think that Newfoundland Light and Power, if the situation were reversed, would sell the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador its shares at current market value, and if anybody would believe that, then I'd say you would believe anything. We would have to pay Newfoundland Light and Power a big bonus just for such a privilege to buy the shares at market value. Let's look at the purchase of BRINCO or the purchase of Terra Nova Tel, or a thousand other examples, Mr. Speaker. You have to pay for goodwill and you have to pay for the inconvenience that is caused.

What about the water rights to Bay d'Espoir, Cat Arm and Hinds Lake? These are now held by Hydro in trust for the people and for the benefit of the people of Newfoundland, Mr. Speaker. They are not valued on the balance sheet of Hydro now.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, a point of order.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Fogo on a point of order.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, while I might enjoy listening to the hon. gentleman go on and on and debate the bill that is on the Order Paper, I would suggest to him, and to the House, that it is more appropriate that he speak to the prayer of this petition, which is what the Standing Orders call for.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

No point of order.

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, I am speaking to the prayer of the petition. I am speaking on behalf of the people who presented the petition and why they are against Hydro and why they want privatization stopped, and I'm speaking for it and outlining the reasons why they want it stopped. Shall I continue?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. member has twelve seconds.

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, I say to the hon. the Member for Fogo that I will have a chance in a few moments to continue on this current train of thought. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A few comments about the hon. the Member for Kilbride's statement. I just want to take him back and remind him. I know his intent is pure but his information, obviously, is very deceiving.

When the Bay d'Espoir hydro project was first conceived it was conceived by, obviously, a Liberal government, there is no question about that.

AN HON. MEMBER: Immaculate Conception.

MR. MURPHY: Yes, like the Immaculate Conception, the member says. It was the brainchild of the hon. J. R. Smallwood and the reason was, number one, that the then-premier of the day knew that the demand on hydro was going to intensify at a domestic level; but the real reason was that a company called Electric Reduction Company of Canada was moving an industry into Long Harbour. He knew that there was no possible way that Newfoundland Light and Power at the time - and the hon. the Member for Ferryland district, where most of the generated power at that particular time was in his district, the district of Ferryland - from that inception, because Newfoundland Light and Power did not or could not float the money to develop the Bay d'Espoir project, the Liberal government of the day went on that particular piece of paper. That was the inception of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, and its purpose.

AN HON. MEMBER: You worked there?

MR. MURPHY: Yes, I say to the hon. member, I did work for a short time in the Bay d'Espoir hydro project. I worked for two years in Long Harbour on the phosphorus chemical plant.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. MURPHY: It was Liberal foresight, I say to the Member for Ferryland. Let me remind the member that in his district, which I'm very much aware of - and the reason I'm aware of it is because my father worked with the Newfoundland Light and Power Company for fifty-two years. Now, the water rights on the Southern Shore belong to the people of this Province. They belong to the people of this Province. That water flows through - on the very piece of property that I have my house in Tors Cove Pond - that water flows through and generates -

MR. HARRIS: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: Well, the hon. the Member for St. John's East can get on with his silly sarcasm, but who really cares? Let's face it, who really cares?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. MURPHY: I will tell the Member for St. John's East again and again, that this hon. member is a full-time member who spends all his time working on behalf of his constituents. I am not out representing god knows who and god knows what, so the member can read his paper and keep his big mouth shut. That's what he can do. He has contributed nothing. He was out the last two days trying to find a few pieces of paper. At least the Opposition got them sent in to him. Why don't you be quiet, boy, you contribute nothing. That's what you contribute, nothing. Let me get back to the hon. member.

MR. HARRIS: Light and Power (inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: No, Light and Power didn't build my house. I say to the hon. member, he sits in wait for this bill, because he will be lined up with the stockbrokers the first thing when it hits the street - Mr. Poor's over there.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: You're his buddy. Anyway, let me get back to the water rights.

The water that flows to the ocean, I remind the Member for Ferryland -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: You can fish in it; you can use your boat on it. You are making much to-do about nothing, and I am telling the Member for Kilbride not to get captured in this bunch of stuff that's going on around you.

Water rights are nothing. Water rights will come back to us. The same water that flows through Tors Cove may very well flow through it two years from now. It is much to-do about nothing, I say to the member.

Now, in the sixty years of Newfoundland Light and Power having the water rights on the Southern Shore, not one person on the Southern Shore suffered. As a matter of fact, the people on the Southern Shore, as the member knows, made a livelihood off Newfoundland Light and Power, a private company, as did the people with Port Union in Port Union, as the people did with United Towns Electric, all private companies who brought success, who brought lots of good, high-paying jobs to this Province, who created industry in the Province - and that is what this bill is about to do. And you can stay over there until Gabriel blows the horn of resurrection, and put your silly pieces of paper out and table what you like.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. MURPHY: All you are doing is stifling the people in this Province. The truth goes down hard.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I thought I should get up so the hon. member could have a chance to cool off. Maybe he will come back and say another few sensible things in a little while.

I can't help but comment - we talked about the Open Line. That is where I finished off the last few minutes. I am glad the Member for Terra Nova is back, because I want to make a point. She missed it when I was up a few minutes ago, but we talked about those silly pieces of paper like the hon. member just mentioned. They are not silly pieces of paper. You should never refer to it as that. People's names - and I don't know what petitions you are talking about, but the one I have here are from my constituents. By the way, I have one here from forty-five people in my district, and I just went through the names, out of curiosity, as most of you wanted to see the petitions that were presented from your district. Of course, I can honestly say that 90 per cent of them were Tory that were on mine, but that is because most of them out there, are, anyway.

I want to tell you that I take these very seriously. When I see a petition come to me, and I get a chance to stand up here, I take it seriously. When you speak about talking to Open Line, or writing letters to the editor, we haven't put out any money or PR campaigns to promote this or do anything else. We have just been doing the same things you have been saying. You have has as much to-do with the media as we have, so we didn't go out and push people and say: Now, you go against Hydro.

Let's be honest and fair about it. We didn't spend thousands of dollars to say: Guys, you go against Hydro, or fearmonger like you people say. I don't think people are stupid because they are coming out and signing petitions, or because they go to Open Line, I say to the hon. Member for Terra Nova.

I listened to Open Line last night for a few minutes when I went home. I don't do it every night, but I did last night, and I have to say that what I heard coming there - I don't know if any of you hon. crowd over there heard some of it - but I have to say, the hon. Member for St. John's South got a little dragging over the coals, from what I heard.

Somebody said he didn't know any more about the Hydro than a kindergarten student. Now, I didn't say that, I say to the hon. member. I am just quoting from what I heard from the Open Line, and you can get a recording. I don't know what you are going to do about it. He said he didn't understand it any more than a child in kindergarten - but, there is a little bit of resolve in that though, that is before the full-day kindergarten came out so you still have a little way to go yet, you get that and you will be okay; but I have to say to all hon. members and the hon. crowd over there, let's not think that it is silly or a waste of time to debate, I say to them again, and if the hon. crowd wants to get up and have their say for five minutes -

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

I remind the hon. member -

MR. SHELLEY: - they can do so. I welcome that.

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

I remind the hon. member of Standing Order 92 which says that the member presenting the petition shall confine his remarks to the material allegations in the petition.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will try to do that; sometimes I get a little carried away but I will try to get back to the topic here again; sorry about that.

Any time we stand in this House to talk about petitions like this one, you have to search your heart and soul, I say to the hon. crowd, and remember, the tactics that we are using here - you say we are using tactics, charade and everything else, we are only doing it for one reason. You can say what you like about the Opposition and the other party, there is only one reason we are going this route and that's because we are forced to. There was no consultation whether you say it or not; you consulted on the smoking regulation, you consulted the people on ATV regulations but the biggest issue, which the hon. House Leader admitted to last night, the biggest issue to hit this Province, let's be honest with everybody here, let's be honest, the hon. House Leader said it in his own words last night: this is the most important piece of legislation to go through this House of Assembly. And I am here as an elected member, and I tell you, every opportunity I have to stand and speak on it, I am going to, and nobody will tell me to sit in my place and not talk about it.

So I invite all hon. members to come clean, speak up, don't worry about the whiplash you are going to get if you speak your own mind, just say to the hon. Premier: I went out, I listened to the people who elected me, and you shouldn't fear anything; you should have nothing to fear. Stand up and speak, don't be afraid, consult with the people out there. I heard a comment earlier tonight that some of you had one call or two calls or you are not hearing much. Well, if that is so, it is for one of two reasons: either you are not in your district or you never bring up the subject when you are around your constituents, one or the other.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, I am proud to stand here today and present a petition on behalf of residents in the district of Kilbride:

`WHEREFORE the undersigned humbly pray and demand that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, not privatize and sell Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and ensure that Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro remains a Crown corporation.'

Now, Mr. Speaker, on their behalf, and I want to pursue the train of thought we were on earlier -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. RAMSAY: Just quickly, Mr. Speaker, the prayer of that petition as read by the hon. member doesn't meet the requirement discussed here earlier; it calls upon the government, not the House, so the prayer is out of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair assumed that the hon. member had presented this petition to the Clerk for clarification.

MR. E. BYRNE: May I read all of the petition, please, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: Okay.

MR. E. BYRNE: It says: Petition to the Newfoundland House of Assembly. `We the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador' - should I continue?

MR. SPEAKER: Yes.

MR. E. BYRNE: `We the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador who wish to avail themselves of their right thus to present a grievance common to the House of Assembly in the certain assurance that the House will therefore provide a remedy, we submit;

WHEREAS we citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador seek to stop the proposed sale of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro; and

WHEREAS the sale of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro has not been proven to be in the best interests of the citizens of the Province; and

WHEREAS the production of electricity is an essential service for the people of the Province and should be controlled by the people;

WHEREFORE the undersigned, your petitioners humbly pray and call upon the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador not to privatize and sell Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and ensure that Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro remains a Crown corporation.'

MR. SPEAKER: The petition appears to be in order.

MR. E. BYRNE: I may continue? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I want to continue in the train of thought that I presented earlier and that is that the Bay d'Espoir project, Cat Arm and Hinds Lake, aren't on the balance sheet of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. They are not valued on the balance sheet of Hydro at all. Are we going to get another $50 million, $100 million or $150 million for those projects?

Again, I say to the Member for St. John's South, if the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador were nationalizing or taking over a private company, do you think they would just give us the water rights for nothing? Sure they would, and pigs might fly, I say to the member.

When we took over the 57 per cent that BRINCO owned in the Churchill Falls Corporation, the government of the day had to pay $30 million for the water rights to the Lower Churchill, that they had been given for nothing a few short years before.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: They sure knew that they - the government of the day was the Progressive Conservative government, the Premier was Frank Moores. I can tell you, those people sure knew that water rights were worth something.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. E. BYRNE: I say to the Member for St. John's South that BRINCO sure knew they were worth something, when the people of this Province had to pay $30 million to get 57 per cent of it back. We paid for them. They alienated the Upper Churchill for sixty-five years in the infamous Churchill Falls contract and when we tried to get the remainder back, we paid just to get that privilege. Now we are about to do the same thing with this privatization act.

Mr. Speaker, I submit to you that the prospect of selling Newfoundland Hydro and privatizing Hydro, it would make sense to me and I would fully support it if the following would result from it: if there would be increased employment, but there will be none; if there would be lower energy costs as a result of privatization, but there will not be lower energy costs; if there would be new investment in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, but there will be no new investment; if there were to be new technology brought to the Province, I would support the privatization, but there will be no new technology brought to the Province; if Newfoundlanders were going to remain owners of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, I could support it; if there were going to be really significant profit on the sale of assets over and above the book value, then I might support it; if compensation was going to be received for water rights, which are a common resources of the people of this Province, I would support it; if there were an up front cost benefit study done that was publicly reviewed and circulated so all people could have a look at it, I would certainly support it; if there were a more open process that the government could let people have some say and input into it, I might support it.

But, Mr. Speaker, none, and I emphasize, none of these factors will result, not one. I submit to this House and to every member, I beg every member, think about what I have said. The Member for St. John's South indicated earlier that water rights weren't worth anything. They were worth something when we had to buy back water rights, and what are they going to be worth now? We will get a measly $400 million for a Crown corporation that is worth much more. If this Crown corporation were privately owned now, with its present assets, it would get in the vicinity of $800 million to $1.2 billion for what it has, but we are not getting that.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to say to the member -because I think the Member for Kilbride is a sincere member, I think he tries to do his homework and he tries to gather as much information as he can to be subjective about his position.

MR. TULK: Well, he's bad at sums.

MR. MURPHY: I refer the hon. member to BRINCO, the Story of Churchill Falls, a book written by Phil Smith.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: That's right. Well, he's an author, the same as Shakespeare and the Member for Grand Bank if he wrote anything. I don't know if the Member for Grand Bank has anything in the book stores, I doubt it, but he may, and some day he may have all kinds of articles. I say to the Member for Kilbride, he would do well, if he really wants to understand the Churchill Falls story to its total concept, is to find this book. It's in at Coles, I say to the member, sit down and read it. Some of the facts that he raised just now, he may have a very different story. Now that's what I say to the member and when the bill hits the floor, when motion one comes to the floor, we have the responsibility - as the member knows - to debate that particular bill and we will debate that bill, for how long I don't know. That's when the real action will start on the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. So what I say to the member is, it's all well and good to get up and use petitions to say things and relate things that really belong in the debate, because I know he's biting at the bit. I know the member's integrity - and it's unquestionable. The member is a good young member who represents his district extremely well, and I say to the member, never mind supporting this caucus move. I think it's below the member's integrity. I think the member should demand in caucus, tomorrow morning, that we get on with the bill so the member can stand in his place and do what he does best and that's debate the issues.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: What are we doing now?

MR. MURPHY: Well, I say to the Opposition House Leader and I say sincerely, he may very well ask: What are we doing now? I think there's nobody on the opposite side who knows what we're doing now.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, yes, we do.

MR. MURPHY: Yes, the member knows what we're doing now, as all hon. members over there know what we're doing now. But that's fine. If that's their political mandate, if that's the political menu of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, well that's fine. At the end of the day, I say to the Member for Grand Bank, he, as we, will answer to the people for this filibuster. He will answer to the people on this filibuster, and I suggest to him that tomorrow the very thing he has had on his side for a long time, namely the media, will start now to turn.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: I don't know, but I will predict to the hon. member that the media tomorrow will start to turn and they will tell the people of the Province exactly what Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition are doing.

Now, let me say to the Member for Kilbride that the Godfather, the hon. John C. Crosbie of yesterday, was the Minister of Finance at that time and he will find out -

MR. W. MATTHEWS: What are you bringing him up for? Leave the man alone.

MR. MURPHY: Well, I'm only referencing him, the same as the Member for Grand Bank references people and decisions from time to time. If he doesn't like it then don't do it anymore but I'll do it because it brings home the point that the very Minister of Finance of the then government, the Moores Government, was the one who was so vendetta - the vindictiveness of the minister at that time to go into the BRINCO regime, as he felt - there was really no need. Let me say to the hon. member that the very money used to buy that - what BRINCO put on the table is still a yoke around the taxpayers' necks to this very day, and we're still only paying interest on the capital money that was borrowed during that time. The member should remember that. I don't know what the total is, I don't remember off the top of my head, but I will tell the member that it is exceeding -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. MURPHY: Today, when the minister gets up to give his Budget, you will hear exactly what the BRINCO buy-back cost the people over the years - millions and millions of dollars.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise in support of the petition put forward by my hon. colleague. I am sitting here struck with amazement at the Member for St. John's South as he stands up and defends his government's position on the privatization of Hydro when there are so many holes in this act. But then, last night, as my hon. colleague, the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay touched on, there were some comments on an Open Line show that the hon. the Member for St. John's South was reading fairy tales. He got his information from fairy tales concerning the Hydro privatization. It must be Hansel and Gretel, I say, because after this act goes through there will only be crumbs left for Newfoundland to pick up.

Over the past couple of days we have heard the propaganda that has been put forward by the government as they try to convince people on the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro. I look at what was put out that our hon. Premier at the time knew nothing about, but that came forward afterwards, and it touches on some of the - one of the points made was that privatization does not mean a loss of jobs. Meanwhile, in Nova Scotia over 400 jobs were lost, and our government tries to tell us that privatization here in Newfoundland does not mean a loss of jobs.

`Government will continue to control water rights,' this propaganda statement says. `New Hydro could gain effective management control of the Upper Churchill.' "Could" is the word, Mr. Speaker, that can be used, and will be used, I say, in years ahead. Water rights, our birthright, can be given away, down the road, by one person, the Minister of Finance.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. MANNING: I say to the hon. the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, you should speak up, Sir. You don't have the backbone to speak up for your constituents, you don't have the backbone to hold a public meeting in your district - not one public meeting.

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: No Sir, you don't.

Mr. Speaker, in the propaganda that is put forward, it says it will strengthen our economy. `The Province's credit rating will not improve, and could well decline in the future with the loss of some of our major assets, as Nova Scotia's experience proves.' Our Premier keeps talking about the deal in Nova Scotia. We keep finding the holes in Nova Scotia deal, what happened in Nova Scotia with regard to the credit rating, the loss of jobs, and the tax increases that the government had to bring in in Nova Scotia. `Nova Scotia's experience proves that future tax increases may be needed despite this sale.' They `may be' needed. It is `may be', and `could be', and all these `ifs' that have people concerned across this Province.

`The stand-alone privatization of Newfoundland Hydro is not an option that was preferred by the government's financial advisors.' Still, the Premier of this Province continues to try to push through the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro even though the government's financial advisors didn't agree with it. Hydro's debt is not a burden on this Province, Mr. Speaker. The Province doesn't pay a single penny of interest on Hydro's debt, not a single penny, it is covered off by the price of electricity; still, this government maintains that they have to push through the legislation, trying to hide this under a cloak of secrecy, Mr. Speaker, I say a cloak of secrecy.

The Premier says he hopes thousands of people will take advantage of the opportunity to buy shares in a privatized company. The thousands of unemployed in this Province, Mr. Speaker, who are receiving fisheries compensation, the thousands of people who are on social assistance in this Province, the thousands who are on fixed and low incomes won't be able to buy shares in Newfoundland Hydro, because their belts are tight. Those people for whom it is difficult just to survive in the economy we're living in today will not be able to buy shares. The shares will be sold outside this Province, Mr. Speaker. They will be sold to mainland firms and therefore, someone else outside Newfoundland will control it. We will lose the ownership and control that we have now on Newfoundland Hydro.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, let me say a word or two with respect to this petition. I want to thank the hon. gentleman, the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes, he read his lines well, almost as if he'd written them and I want to compliment him on that.

Now, Mr. Speaker, let me just say a word about section 4, because there seems to be - I won't call it confusion - there seems to be a degree of misunderstanding. The difficulty with this kind of procedure, where we're not being allowed to debate the bill, where the Opposition are deliberately trying to use - and with some success - using the rules of the House to prevent debate on this bill. Section 4.1(a), and for that matter, 4.1(c), obliges the minister, my friend, the Minister of Finance, to transfer to Old or New Hydro - and these, of course, are one-shot provisions, this is a one-shot bill - obliges the minister to transfer, and I'm reading now from section 4.1(a), but the same as in 4.1(c), `all of the undertaking, business, ... benefits and rights of Old Hydro or which are used in connection with the business of Old Hydro, except as provided under excluded assets;' that obliges them to transfer certain assets and these would include between 4.1(a) and 4.1(c), obviously, the water rights used by Old Hydro, except for the excluded assets.

We go to "excluded assets" and we find in section 4.2(a)(vi), permission being granted the minister to withhold from the assets to be transferred whenever he/she deems should not be transferred. Now, the clause is no more complicated than that. The minister is obliged to transfer except the things that he wants to hold back. The whole problem, Mr. Speaker, the minister - the most the minister can transfer are the assets used by Old Hydro. The most he can transfer - and I realize hon. gentlemen opposite have no interest in understanding the bill. When it comes to law, the hon. the Member for Ferryland should stick to fishing, farming or whatever, not the law. The bill is quite clear, it says that the minster shall transfer all of the undertaking used in connection with the business of Old Hydro, except as provided under excluded assets. So the most the minister could transfer are the assets used in connection with the business of Old Hydro. In the context of water rights, they will be water rights that are actually being used, not potential water rights, not undeveloped water rights, not unused water rights, but water rights which are used in connection with the business of Old Hydro, and then, the minister has the power to hold back. So, far from being a request to the House to grant the minister the right to New Hydro to have assets of Old Hydro that are not being used, it is a grant to the minister of the right to hold back from New Hydro, assets of Old Hydro which are actually being used by Old Hydro in its business, but in the minister's opinion, ought not to be paid over or made over or transferred over.

Mr. Speaker, it is no more complicated than that. I realize that the drafters have to use legal language. I realize that legal language sometimes isn't very clear. But nothing could be more clear -

MR. SHELLEY: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I say to my friend, the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay, on this matter I'm a great deal superior to him, with all deference. There may well be many things he knows more about than do I, but I will say, Mr. Speaker, to my friend, that when it comes to matters of law I will not take any direction from him. When it comes to matters of politics I will not take directions from him.

Mr. Speaker, if I may be permitted to continue without the harassment of hon. members opposite -

AN HON. MEMBER: A point of order (inaudible).

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: (Inaudible) the hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes and the hon. Justice minister, so what is going on?

MR. SULLIVAN: A point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Ferryland is on a point of order?

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes. Mr. Speaker, the minister referred to a section and it is incorrect and it is out of order. Clause 4(2)(vi). That is not the section I referred to. I referred to (v) that states: "undeveloped water rights as determined by the minister...." Any rights not specified in the first four, which include Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corporation, Gull Island Power Company, Lower Churchill and Twin Falls, and any rights not identified - those four excluded rights as determined by the minister. I didn't refer to (vi).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order, just a disagreement between two hon. members.

The hon. the Minister of Justice.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, let us go to (v). That gives the right to the minister to add to the excluded assets -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. ROBERTS: The hon. the minister may -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, the same -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

I've recognized the hon. the Minister of Justice.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, one tries to make a helpful intervention and they are not interested in the facts. The same analysis applies. The minister is obliged by 4(1)(a) and 4(1)(c) to transfer assets used in the business except for excluded assets. The excluded assets include undeveloped water rights. The minister may hold on to all undeveloped water rights even if they arguably are being used. What's wrong with that, Mr. Speaker?

MR. MANNING: A point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes on a point of order.

MR. MANNING: What a charade! Mr. Speaker, I stand on a point of order. That, to my knowledge, is how one misleads the House. As far as I'm concerned, the hon. the Minister of Justice is misleading the House. It is "undeveloped water rights as determined by the minister". What I said in the statement I made earlier was that the undeveloped water rights, the Minister of Finance will have the opportunity to sell these, give them away like they are doing with the rest of it, or do whatever they like with it. The Minister of Finance would have that opportunity to do so in the days ahead - the Minister of Finance, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

I think the hon. member's time is - I have to check with the Clerk.

MR. ROBERTS: So soon! By leave to carry on?

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave!

MR. ROBERTS: Oh well, alright, they want to muzzle us.

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: Mr. Speaker.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Who will you recognize, Sir?

MR. SPEAKER: Both members got up at the same time. I will recognize the hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes.

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to stand and present a petition to the House on behalf of the people of the district of LaPoile. I would like to read the prayer of the petition.

`To the Newfoundland House of Assembly: We, the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador who wish to avail themselves of their right thus to present a grievance common to the House of Assembly in the certain assurance that the House will therefore provide a remedy, we submit;

WHEREAS we citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador seek to stop the proposed sale of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro; and

WHEREAS the sale of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro has not been proven to be in the best interest of the citizens of the Province; and

WHEREAS the production of electricity is an essential service for the people of the Province, it should be controlled by the people; and

WHEREAS the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon Parliament to demand the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador not privatize and sell Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, and ensure that Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro remains a Crown corporation, and as in duty bound your petitioners will ever pray.'

Mr. Speaker, I am glad today to stand and present this petition on behalf of the people of LaPoile district. Since the hon. the Member for LaPoile refuses to hold a public meeting in LaPoile, I guess this is the only way that these citizens of LaPoile district can get the opportunity to have their voices heard.

I say to the member, he stood here last night quoting verse after verse. He should remember a saying about looking yourself in the mirror, because I believe the Member for LaPoile should look himself in the mirror and think about what he is doing to the people of his district.

This government refused, during the provincial election campaign in April and the first couple of days in May of 1993, to discuss the Hydro issue with the people who asked questions. Government hid it from the people. As I said before and I will say again, they had a hidden agenda during that election campaign. They hid the fact that they planned to privatize or sell Newfoundland Hydro. They hid the fact of the educational issue. They hid the fact on the ATV regulations, and so on and so forth. They mentioned none of this. They hid the facts on the ISP program. It was a hidden agenda, and therefore I believe this government does not have the mandate to proceed with the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro.

I believe a referendum should be held in this Province so that people would have the opportunity to speak. Over 90 per cent of the public of this Province disagree with the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro, and this government still proceeds. Why, I ask myself. Why? Why?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: Ninety-two per cent, I say to the Minister of Finance, disagree with it. The Premier, himself, wants to privatize Hydro. Why? Some of us may never know. Some of us may never live long enough to find out why the Premier wants to privatize Newfoundland Hydro. I may, as the youngest member here in the House of Assembly, live long enough to find out, but the Minister of Finance may not live long enough to find out why the Premier wants to privatize Newfoundland Hydro.

The Minister of Finance, whether the present minister or some minister down the road, will have very much authority. I guess maybe that is what he is waiting for, so he can divest this Province of our water rights. Because the Minister of Finance, under this legislation, will have that right, to give away our water rights. I say to the Member for St. John's South - oh, he's not here now. I will wait on that one. He will be back. I will keep that one for afterwards, for the Member for St. John's South.

We talk about job losses, Mr. Speaker. The Premier stands up and says `no jobs will be lost', while over in Nova Scotia over 400 jobs are lost; `the credit rating will be reduced. Electricity rates will increase.' Still, the members opposite refuse to go out into their districts and hold public meetings. I wonder why. Because they will get a message loud and clear. The members opposite if they went out and held public meetings in their districts, would get a message loud and clear that the people don't want to sell or privatize Newfoundland Hydro.

The hidden agenda is coming out. Within ten months of being elected, this government has laid on the table eight or nine pieces of legislation important to this Province that were not mentioned during the election campaign. And I'm sure if they had mentioned them during the campaign, they wouldn't be sitting on the side of the House they are sitting on now.

I say to members opposite that the debt of Newfoundland Hydro is not a debt on this Province, it is not a burden on this Province. The Province doesn't pay a single penny of interest. I repeated that before and the Minister of Justice had some problem with it, but they don't pay a single penny of interest on the debt. It is covered off in the price of electricity. I say to members opposite that the electricity rates will increase drastically, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

The hon. the Minister of Justice.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, interrupted as rudely as I was before, let me carry on with what section 4 of the act will allow and will oblige. Before I do that -

AN HON. MEMBER: We know what's in it.

MR. ROBERTS: No, hon. gentlemen have established time and again that they don't know what's in it. Even the hon. gentleman, the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes, who reads so well - and I encourage him to keep his speech writer on, but he ought to get a speech writer with the facts. Before I talk about section 4 for a minute -

MR. SHELLEY: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Would the cracky from Baie Verte - White Bay - it is kind of late. Mr. Speaker, would the hon. gentleman, the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay just shut up for a moment?

MR. SHELLEY: What is wrong (inaudible)?

MR. ROBERTS: There is nothing wrong with all these people. What is wrong -

MR. WINDSOR: A point of order, Mr. Speaker. Surely the hon. gentleman -

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

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Your Honour.

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. the Minister of Justice is around here and is such a great parliamentarian and has such great knowledge of rules, he must know that it is certainly not proper to tell a member of the House of Assembly to shut up. He should withdraw immediately and apologize.

MR. ROBERTS: To that point of order, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) Lewisporte and Mount Pearl knows that a member shall not speak otherwise than from his seat. The hon. gentleman, the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay was in a seat not only that is not his, but he will never get to by any other means - the Leader of the Opposition's seat - was rudely and persistently interrupting.

MR. SHELLEY: You are interrupting.

MR. ROBERTS: I am speaking to the point of order, Mr. Speaker. I will ask the hon. gentleman, the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay to be quiet. I will say to him that if he doesn't know the rules of the House, he should be quiet and observe the rules of the House. If Your Honour would like to rule on the point of order I would be delighted, of course.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: To the point of order, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: To the point of order, I say to the Minister of Education. He won't listen to the church leaders, but try to listen here.

Mr. Speaker, to the point of order raised by the Member for Mount Pearl. The Government House Leader cannot tell another member of this Legislature to shut up. If a member is out of order, if a member speaks from a seat other than his or her own, it is up to Your Honour to bring him to order and to attention.

My point is that the Government House Leader should apologize to the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay, he should withdraw the remark, "shut up." Even though the Government House Leader can tell his own members when to shut up he is not going to tell members on this side, I say to Your Honour. He is not going to get away with it. The bully, the big bully!

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

The hon. the Minister of Justice.

MR. TOBIN: No point of order, Mr. Speaker?

MR. ROBERTS: His Honour has made a ruling.

MR. TOBIN: His Honour made a ruling -

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

MR. TOBIN: Your Honour made a ruling, Mr. Speaker, and I'm not about to question Your Honour, but now I just want clarification. Is Your Honour telling me now, as a member of this Legislature - I've been here for thirteen years now and didn't know - is he now telling me that it's okay to tell another member to shut up?

MR. SPEAKER: I find nothing to indicate any different. If there is something, I'll rule differently.

The hon. the Minister of Justice.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I have (inaudible) left in my five minutes on this petition.

Now that hon. members have decided to be sufficiently quiet - not only do they not want to debate themselves, they want to stop others from debating. Mr. Speaker, not only do they not want - they want others -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I say to my friends opposite, I've been howled down by better than them. I try my modest best to make a minor contribution to section 4 of the bill - Mr. Speaker, have I any time left?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I remind hon. members that it is unparliamentary to not only speak from somebody else's seat, it is also unparliamentary to interrupt another member, except to raise a point of order or a point of privilege. So I ask hon. members to refrain from shouting across the House.

The hon. the Minister of Justice.

MR. ROBERTS: I don't know if I've any time left, Your Honour, in my five - but perhaps I'll be given leave to carry on for fifteen or twenty minutes.

Now, the point I want to make about section 4 is that in addition to authorizing and obliging the Minister of Finance to transfer certain assets of Old Hydro to New Hydro, it also authorizes and obliges the Minister of Finance to transfer certain of the liabilities of Old Hydro to New Hydro. So this minister has an obligation, then, of duty not only to transfer assets but to transfer liabilities.

AN HON. MEMBER: It's not the bill they (inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: No, they're just being silly. The hon. lady, the Member for Terra Nova told us exactly what they are.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. ROBERTS: So soon? By leave?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No leave.

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

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Speaker, I would like to stand and support the petition of the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes, and comment on the good job he did in presenting the petition. I must say, he was a little bit sensible about it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: I must say, the ignorance and the arrogance of the other side, the rest of the hon. crowd - no, I can't say all of you, because I did notice a few of you being a little bit sensible and mature about it; but that is the lowest I have seen in this House yet. You will notice I didn't respond to him until I did come back to my seat, but I can tell you that is ignorance and arrogance for a House Leader, and for any of you going on with your snickers, I think you were just as low as he was. I think he was an ignorant pig, and you will ask me to refrain from that.

It is sickening to hear the likes of that from a House Leader, to call a man a cracky and a fisherman, or whatever. What's wrong with a cracky and a fisherman?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Wait until he brings me to order, now. It's alright.

It's as low as you can go, and any of you who went along with the heckles and the joking - some of you didn't, and I respect that, too, and I looked around to see who it was. You will notice I was very quiet while the rest of the heckling was going on. It just shows the lowness of this man, this hon. member, the hon. House Leader, to stand up there and say such a thing, and talk about crackies and fishermen. I don't think there is anything wrong with crackies and fishermen. As a matter of fact, some of my best friends, and my relatives and everybody else are fishermen, and there is nothing wrong with it. Now, a cracky - if you want to refer to it as that, as the hon. Minister of Forestry goes

But to try to get back to the bill after some kind of - being sensible about it anyway; it is more than I can say for members on the opposite side. When you get that low, it's very hard to get back up, and to hear a snicker when your House Leader stands up to report on something like that, it only makes you as low as he was.

This bill, and it has really come out on top of it now, this petition that I am speaking to right now, you have lost all control, as far as I am concerned, as for answering to this petition.

Time after time tonight, members have gotten up on the opposite side and said they haven't heard from people, and they got two or three calls. Where have you been? What province are you in, if you haven't heard that? None of you are listening to your constituents. One or two calls? What district are you in? You are not in your district and you're not in your Province.

The whole reason for this tactic and this charade, as the illustrious House Leader has said, the whole reason for this charade, is for the simple reason that this hon. crowd opposite haven't had the guts or the gall to go out and listen to the people, to finally get the truth of it, and that is the only reason, I would say, the hon. members mentioned it tonight.

They asked: Why are you getting on with this silliness and everything? This is time well spent, and I will tell you again and again, I'll stay here 'til the cows come home, any hour of the night, and I don't think it is one bit of a waste of time, because I know for a fact that the constituents in my district are very glad I am here tonight. They know I am here tonight, and they know the tactics we are using tonight, and I can tell you this, that we never stoop as low as your hon. House Leader on that side; and before all is said and done, you people, especially the ones who haven't got the guts or the backbone to stand up and talk about it, you will be the people who will answer to this bill. It may be three years down the road, or it may be sooner for a lot more of you, but you will sooner or later have to come face to face with the people who elected you, and not listen to the likes of the hon. House Leader as he sits around and heckles and talks to crackies and fishermen as if they were nothing, and sits down.

I can tell the hon. House Leader: You will never need to speak down to me, Sir, because I consider myself as high as, or as on an even keel with everybody in this House. I don't care if you are a lawyer. I don't care if you are this illustrious lawyer that you think you are. Remember, it is all in your own mind to start with, and nobody else's.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: Mr. Speaker -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I believe the hon. the Government House Leader was on his feet first.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, it being 9:57 p.m., it will be to the immense disappointment of my friend, the Member for Grand Bank, but perhaps he would permit me to move the adjournment of the House?

AN HON. MEMBER: Motion to adjourn the House.

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