March 11, 1994              HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS             Vol. XLII  No. 10


The House met at 9:00 a.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

Oral Questions

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I want to refer the Premier to an article that was in Wednesday's Evening Telegram, two days ago, March 9. Headlined, "Hydro chairman denies law firm worked for utility." I'm sure he has seen the article by now.

In that article Mr. Jim Chalker, the present chairman of Hydro, describes his involvement with the $50,000 annual salary supplement that the Premier received from the time he was elected leader of the Liberal Party in June of 1987 until the time he became Premier.

The Premier has said on many occasions in this House and outside that the fund from which his salary was paid was set up by the Liberal Party. But in a startling revelation in this article Mr. Chalker tells a totally different story. Mr. Chalker tells us that the Premier approached him when he was preparing to seek the Liberal leadership and asked him to perform some legal work and act as a trustee.

Mr. Speaker, in an effort to get to the truth of this matter I want to ask, will the Premier now confess that he personally - not the Liberal Party - made the arrangements to set up a fund to pay himself that $50,000 annual wage even before he became a candidate for the Liberal Party leadership?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker, that is utter tripe. I haven't seen what was in The Evening Telegram but I will take a look at it. I reaffirm for the House exactly what I've said before is precisely the case. I asked Mr. Chalker and two other people to make sure that anything that was done was done in a proper way. I left it entirely to them to ensure that it was done. The basis on which it was done was paid generally out of the Liberal Party general funds, and no special services or anything were necessary for anybody else. So it is utter tripe, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, on a supplementary. That certainly isn't what Mr. Chalker has said publicly, because he said the Premier asked him to do the legal work and to act as a trustee for the fund before. Now I say to the Premier, neither him nor anybody else would ask a lawyer to set up a fund and act as the trustee unless you've already got the money to put into that fund. We now know from Mr. Chalker that the Liberal Party wasn't involved at that point. So I ask the Premier, where did the money come from, who raised it, and did you yourself ask anybody to contribute or donate in the same way as you made the other arrangements according to Mr. Chalker to look after that fund?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I've no idea what was in The Evening Telegram. I don't know what Mr. Chalker said but I will certainly check and find out. I will only tell the House what I've told the House is absolutely accurate and there is no variation from that.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I repeat, Mr. Chalker has publicly said - I urge the Premier to read this article - that the Liberal Party was not involved at the time the fund was set up, he says the party took it over after you were elected the Leader but by then of course the fund was already fat with contributions, so I say to the Premier, if you didn't raise the money personally you certainly would know who did it according to what Mr. Chalker says and those persons or person did it at your request, so I want to ask you: How is that any different from what you have accused the former Minister of Tourism and Culture of doing? We were told by you that he asked somebody to raise $5,000 for his campaign and now, according to Mr. Chalker, you obviously must have asked a person or persons to contribute $50,000 to your campaign or for your personal benefit and it was paid into a trust account, set up by you, so what's the difference between that situation and the other situation I referred to?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I don't know whether the Leader of the Opposition is deaf, dumb or deliberately trying to confuse; it has to be one or the other or all of them combined and it may well be all of them.

Mr. Speaker, let me say again, there never was a fund, none was set up, none was asked to be set up, none ever existed, any supplement that was paid - because he and his then leader conspired to make sure that I had no income, that they would thwart democracy while his leader sat there and was paid a supplementary salary by his party, even as Premier, he sat and approved it and now he has the gall to fabricate this guff and nonsense, Mr. Speaker, give me a break.

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

MR. SIMMS: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

I won't be diverted. I can tell the Premier I will not be diverted by those other little comments that he is trying to make, that has nothing to do with the issue I am raising.

It's an issue raised by Mr. Chalker himself, you are now calling Mr. Chalker a liar, that is what is occurring here. You have consistently refused to name the people who contributed that $100,000 to you and there are people asking questions out loud - have they been rewarded for their generous contributions?...and now, Mr. Speaker, there is more than just a suspicion of wrong doing, there is, at the very least, strong circumstantial evidence, so I want to ask the Minister of Justice: will the Minister of Justice turn this matter over to the Director of Public Prosecutions for a full police investigation, the same way he did for the Minister of Tourism?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, that suggestion is contemptible and I will treat it with the contempt it deserves, but I will say that if the hon. Leader of the Opposition or anybody else in this Province has the least evidence of any wrong doing against any individual, a newspaper publication is not evidence, I am not saying if Mr. Chalker is right or wrong, I have no knowledge at all, what I do say is a newspaper evidence is no more evidence of wrongdoing than an open line show, idle chatter, or slanted questions by members opposite. What I do say, Mr. Speaker, as Attorney General of this Province is that if any individual, if any person has any evidence of wrongdoing by any other person in this Province, including any member of the government, the Premier, the Minister of Justice, or what have you, if they will take that forward to the Director of Public Prosecutions, or to any police officer in the Province, that evidence will be investigated fully and dealt with on its merits, and whatever should be done will be done. I am not going to get into this contemptible character assassination by innuendo, rumour, and slanted leading questions. It is absolutely contemptible, Mr. Speaker.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have a question for the Premier.

Two years ago, in March 1992, an executive of Hydro Quebec told the Quebec news media that talks with Newfoundland on the development of the Lower Churchill had broken off. The Hydro Quebec executive said an agreement had been close at hand and left the clear impression that the negotiations had foundered because of a change in Newfoundland's position. I want to ask the Premier this morning, two years later, about the agreement he left on the table when he broke off the negotiations? As everyone knows we are getting three mils per kilowatt hour going down to two mils for the Upper Churchill. My question for the Premier is, did the Premier, two years ago, walk away from a thirty year deal that would have paid an average rate of about 75 mils per kilowatt hour for electricity from the Lower Churchill and generate billions of dollars in revenues and profits for the Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker, that, too, is a complete fabrication. The Minister of Mines and Energy, and I, have both on several occasions stated fully for this House exactly what occurred, exactly where those negotiations were, why they ceased, and it had nothing whatsoever to do with the inability of the two parties to come to an agreement, but rather it had everything in the world to do with the fact that the hydro electric situation in the whole of Northeast North America had changed in the meantime.

The power authority of the State of New York were cancelling its options to buy 5000 megawatts. Just last week they were talking about reducing their obligations under another contract to purchase power from Quebec. Ontario Hydro had suddenly found itself with power running out of its ears and it did not know what to do with all the excess capacity that it had. Ontario Hydro is in substantial difficulty because of all that. That was primarily the problem. No, we did not change our position. Our position at the end of it was exactly the same as it was when we went into it, except to the extent that it had been adjusted all along to accept moderations or changes suggested by the other side.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I say to the Premier that I have solid evidence to the contrary. I ask the Premier, didn't you walk away from a construction project worth $14.4 billion that included a transmission line to bring 800 megawatts of power to the Island and would have provided 24,000 work years of employment, a project bigger than Hibernia? Didn't the Premier walk away from side arrangements to the Upper Churchill contract that would have paid the Province at least $4 billion in royalties and rentals over the remaining life of the Upper Churchill contract?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I can only guess that this is more of Mr. Abery's asininity. He was at Hydro at the time. If she has solid evidence, put it on the table and let's examine it, otherwise, what we have is solid bunk.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I say to the Premier, you are the one with the facts and figures and you've hid them from the people of the Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, why did the Premier scuttle those deals that were on the table in late 1991 and early 1992? Didn't the Premier scuttle the deals because he wants the billions of dollars in revenues and profits from the Lower Churchill and the $4 billion in royalties and rentals from the Upper Churchill to go to his corporate buddies, the people he's served all his life, to the private owners of new Hydro and the owners of Newfoundland Light and Power? Isn't that why the Premier is privatizing Hydro?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, when the member has something of substance, make it public, lay it on the table of the House and we'll deal with it - otherwise, I'm not even going to bother dealing with the junk that she is raising.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to direct a question to the Premier. Now, the Premier has sweetened the Hydro deal with $100 million in tax breaks and subsidies to new Hydro and to Newfoundland Power. Will the more than $100 million in tax breaks and subsidies from the taxpayers of this Province reduce the rate that consumers now pay for electricity?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Every single dollar of federal tax rebated under PUITTA goes back directly to reducing costs of electricity. Every single dollar of tax rebated goes back precisely to achieve that.

The only additional is the $15 million additional fund. That, too, would have the effect of reducing the rate increase that would otherwise occur. So yes, it goes back directly to the rate payers.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

That is not what I asked the Premier, and I would like to ask again. Let me ask the Premier this, and make sure he understands what I ask. I will ask it in another way. Will privatizing Hydro force consumers to pay more for electricity, even after new Hydro and Newfoundland Power are going to pocket more than $100 million in taxes and subsidies?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, when I introduced this bill -

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, the Hansard.

PREMIER WELLS: Yes, the Hansard.

AN HON. MEMBER: You will just read the same thing you read before.

PREMIER WELLS: Exactly.

Here is the answer to it, Mr. Speaker. It can be found on page 148 of Hansard: Honourable members will find three or four sheets of tables, and I emphasize again two things: these are estimates only and they are estimates that took into account an assumption that there would be no improvement in productivity.

So, in other words, we assumed the worst possible. The worst possible scenario was what was assumed. Now, frankly, I also said to the House, I don't believe that is what the result will be. I think it will be better than that. I think there will be improvement in productivity, and it may well be that there will be little, if any, additional increase because of privatization. But assuming no improvement in productivity whatsoever, the statement goes on to say that you will see from the tables that any potential increase because of privatization would be in the neighbourhood of seven-tenths of 1 per cent on average over five years.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

In my initial question, he wouldn't confirm that consumers are going to get a reduction in rate. In my second question, he didn't confirm initially that consumers would pay more.

Now, the Premier admits - he admitted on Friday - he did indicate seven-tenths of 1 per cent, he said, 'I think'. The Premier admits that electrical consumers in this Province will pay more for electricity as a result of privatization.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: In fact, he gave the figures to a closed meeting of the media last Friday that they are going to pay more. Now, those figures are about as truthful and as reliable as the Premier's statement that privatizing Hydro would be positive for this this Province's credit rating.

Now, regardless of the amount, the Premier admits it will cost more. I ask the Premier, why should anyone in Newfoundland and Labrador have to pay more for electricity simply to feather the pockets of investors on Bay Street in Toronto or the eastern townships of Montreal?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I will go over again some of the key reasons why citizens of this Province should pay more if it does in fact occur. Here is why.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!

PREMIER WELLS: It will eliminate - if it occurs. Hear it all. If it occurs. Here is why. We reduce immediately over $1 billion worth of the debt for which this Province is ultimately responsible. We get a very substantial return on our investment that will reduce the need for us to borrow and save us tens of millions of dollars every year, year after year, as long as that hon. member or anybody else in this House is alive. It will save us tens of millions of dollars year after year after year, as long as any member of this House is alive.

It will significantly strengthen our private sector, which the hon. members opposite when they sat here dragged down to its lowest depths in fifty years. We need some strengthening of our private sector. They dragged it down to its lowest depth of strength in fifty years. We need some policy changes that give us some strength in the private sector.

Hon. members should have been with me in Ontario and listened to the President of the Canadian Manufacturers Association, who happens to be the Chairman of Canadian Kodak, talk about what is happening in this Province, and why his company is developing a business proposal that will bring jobs to this Province, because of the changes we are bringing about, because of what we are doing with privatization. Because we are giving private enterprise an opportunity to prosper. You should hear Margaret Witte, the President of Hope Brook, of Royal Oak Mines, say: Newfoundland and Labrador is the place to be in Canada for business.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: It is about time! When those so-called conservatives who people thought were the supporters of strong economy activity, of private enterprise, so I don't know how they could have allowed the economy to deteriorate to the extent that they did. It is utterly unbelievable, Mr. Speaker.

Look also at a variety of other benefits. They are all listed - many of them, or most of them, at least - are listed in this sheet. I could take the time of Question Period and read it all in answer to the member's question, but I won't abuse Question Period in that way.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Premier. Since I raised the issue of gambling casinos in the Province on Wednesday I've encountered numerous concerns about the existing video gambling machines operated in bars on behalf of the government. The stories are of financial disaster, family hardships, ruined lives, lost homes. Isn't the Premier concerned that the $46 million that the government receives in revenue from gambling is a kind of blood money, Mr. Speaker, gained at the expense of people who can ill afford to lose it?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Yes, Mr. Speaker, and I've voiced those concerns many times. If I had my personal way - and here I hope I'm not breaching Cabinet solidarity. I hope I'm not breaching Cabinet solidarity too, too seriously. If I had my personal way I would outlaw the gambling altogether. I would not permit it. Because I disagree with it as a matter of principle.

MS. VERGE: Why did you bring them in? We didn't have any until you brought them in!

PREMIER WELLS: If the noise would just stop maybe she would hear something that might be a bit intelligent for a change. I know she would have difficulty recognizing it, but she would hear it.

Mr. Speaker, I've expressed my personal views. The views of the government - and the government was persuaded that this is so on the basis of the advice that it got from everybody, the public servants and everybody else, and on the basis of the advice, of the information we got from New Brunswick, primarily, other provinces as well - the government was persuaded that if we didn't allow video lotteries on a controlled and restrained basis - and they're confined to bars, are they not?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes.

PREMIER WELLS: They're confined to bars in this Province. If we didn't allow it on some kind of a controlled and restrained basis it would be there by the criminal element that want to do it anyway much like the same argument that applies with respect to cigarette taxes, the same kind of argument. Now we haven't conceded on the cigarette taxes yet, I don't know that we're going to. I hope we don't have to but we have to watch what happens. It's a similar kind of argument and nothing that has happened since I've been in office has caused me as much concern as having to do that. So I don't disagree with the comments that the hon. member has made. If I knew what was absolutely the right answer I'd do it. I find it utterly disgusting that we get more revenue from lotteries then we do from private sector corporate income tax in this Province. I think that that is a shocking condemnation of our system. What we're doing, Mr. Speaker, through privatization amongst other things, is struggling to reverse that and turn up the revenue that this Province will earn from its business activity.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, perhaps the Premier might concede that the advice that he received was wrong. A lot of people in this Province are calling for the elimination of these machines. I want to suggest to the government that perhaps the government should strike a select committee of the House to hear from the people of this Province as to the effects of this gambling on their lives and hear from the advice. The Premier is saying that we have to have government sponsored gambling in order to eliminate this from other sources. Perhaps, Mr. Speaker, the Premier should take action on that and not succumb to suggestions that the corporate greed or the illegal gambling will take over our country. That's not been established, Mr. Speaker, and I think that we should go back at that and have another look and see if we can get rid of this scourge.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I wouldn't dismiss it out of hand. The government will give it consideration.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is to the Minister responsible for Municipal and Provincial Affairs. Last fall in the federal election, Mr. Speaker, the federal government at that time promised that there would be an infrastructure program to create jobs in Canada and especially in this Province, they're much needed. At that time it said, and since then, it said there would be a cost shared agreement between the Province, municipalities and the federal government. Could the minister now tell the House and confirm to the House whether Newfoundland Hydro as it stands today - about to be called new Hydro I would say, and privatized - has submitted an application to his department for approximately a $13 million application to improve the power grid on the Great Northern Peninsula?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. REID: Yes, Mr. Speaker, Newfoundland Hydro has proposed to extend the island service in the areas of the Northern Peninsula that are presently under diesel generated power. The proposal was made to the infrastructure committee some three weeks ago, its being actively considered and when we get all the other applications in from around the Province from both the private sector, municipalities and all others, then I'm certainly sure that will be considered like all other projects.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker. Can the minister tell the House, the applications that are going to be sent out to municipalities around the Province, will the private sector in the Province receive applications and could the minister confirm to the House that the intent of this infrastructure program is to create jobs in the Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. REID: Applications, Mr. Speaker, will not be sent to the private sector. It would be almost impossible for us to send out applications to every company in the Province but if the private sector wishes to get involved in this and they ask for applications - I think the agreement to be quite honest about it, and I'll say to the member and as the member knows, the criteria is basically that we'll look at almost anything in the Province, any applications but when I say we'll look at it it doesn't necessarily mean we are going to approve it but we'll certainly look at any proposal that comes in from almost anyone, I suppose, in the Province.

The question of employment, yes, as the hon. member knows, initially during the construction stages of water and sewerage projects, for example, that is basically the only employment that will be created - the construction phases of water and sewerage - but when you start to think about some of the other things that will hopefully go on in the Province, I am hoping that there will be some municipal infrastructure in regards to buildings and recreational facilities that will employ people over a longer period of time.

I can't tell the hon. member right now how much will actually be generated, but I think that maybe when we look at the program, when the applications are made and approved, maybe in six months time I might be able to give him a better estimate of what long-term jobs will actually be created.

I am certainly sure the hon. member knows the impact that $75 million will have on the construction industry this summer in this Province, and we certainly need every job that we can get, regardless what industry it's in.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WOODFORD: My supplementary, Mr. Speaker, is to the Minister of Mines and Energy.

Would the minister confirm that if this application is approved for Newfoundland Hydro to do this expansion on the Northern Peninsula, that between sixty and seventy permanent jobs will be lost immediately on the Northern Peninsula, especially supplies to the two plants of Newfoundland Hydro? Could the minister confirm that?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, I am not going to confirm any such thing, that sixty or seventy jobs would be lost immediately, but if this project does go forward I think it will be a great benefit to the Northern Peninsula, an immense benefit. There are twenty-three towns up there now that are in the diesel area with high cost electricity, and if these twenty-three towns get connected to the grid, and get interconnected rates, there is going to be a great boost in economic development in that area.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Figure it out, Mr. Speaker. A great boost, lose another sixty jobs.

My question is to the Minister of Fisheries. Yesterday's news items, particularly in The Evening Telegram, has caused a fair bit of concern around the Province, and a fair bit of concern amongst members of the House on both sides.

I want to ask the Minister of Fisheries: Could he tell us how many fishermen will be driven from the fishery as a result of the proposed licence buy-out by the Minister of Fisheries, Mr. Tobin? Has his department done an estimate on the number of fishermen that will be driven from the industry as a result of the new program being implemented by the federal minister?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, that number has not been arrived at yet. As the hon. member knows, the whole business of the post-NCARP program is now under negotiation in Ottawa, and there has been no decision made yet on precisely how many fishermen will be affected by the moratorium. We all know there would be less fishermen in the Province, but precisely just how many less I don't think anybody knows at this point in time.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

There is also reference here that the program is going to reduce early retirement, I guess, from fifty-five to fifty, and that was a bone of contention before, as we all know, with the Province, I believe, refusing to participate in the fifty to fifty-five age category.

Could the minister inform the House whether or not the Province will be participating in the early retirement program, and will they be supporting that component of the program dealing with people between fifty and fifty-five?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, the Province's position, of course, has been consistently that we should not go below the age of fifty-five, and I don't think there is going to be any change in that. There are groups that are pushing for the age limit to be reduced, but certainly to date there is no decision on the part of the government to go along with that.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

Can the minister inform the House - because the federal minister indicates that both the minister and the Premier have been very much involved in the new program, consulted extensively and so on -can he inform the House what we can anticipate by way of reduction in benefits to individual receivers of compensation, and how many less people will receive benefits under the program? Those who are left in, how much less will they receive, and how many less will there be left in the program altogether?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, at this point in time, no, we cannot inform the House of that.

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

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

Will the Province be participating in a program to restructure the processing sector? If these reports are accurate, as the federal minister is saying, that there must be a significant infusion of funds from the provinces and, of course, they are not just talking about Newfoundland; they are talking the other provinces as well. Has there been any discussion with the Province about the amount of money that they should put into this program regarding processing, restructuring and plant reduction and so on, has there been any commitment from the Province to put in money and if so, how much?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, the Province's position with respect to restructuring the procession sector has been stated publicly on many occasions and I can repeat it here now. The Province does not have any plan to provide funding or to bail out the processing sector, none at all.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, I ask leave of the House to revert to Statements by Ministers?

MR. SPEAKER: Does the minister have leave to revert to Statements by Ministers?

Yes, leave is given.

MR. REID: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am pleased to inform Members of the House of Assembly that applications have gone out in the mail today, for parties interested in participating in the Canada/Newfoundland Municipal Infrastructure Program.

As well, we have forwarded detailed information to all municipalities with respect to the criteria for these programs.

As hon. members know, this is a federal, provincial, and municipal initiative designed to revitalize and stimulate the economy while, at the same time, providing badly needed employment. Additionally, it will provide our municipal infrastructure and create new assets that will be of value to the Province and our country in years to come.

Approximately $75 million will be spent this year under the program and over a two-year period it will mean an total expenditure of approximately $150 million - a significant amount of money.

Already, there is widespread interest in this program and we have asked all interested parties to respond by March 31, because we are most anxious to get this program moving and get people employed and doing meaningful work.

The initiative is especially important to Newfoundland and Labrador due to the collapse of our fishery.

On its own, Mr. Speaker, the infrastructure program will not solve all our economic problems. It will, however, have a significant impact with respect to revitalizing and renewing economic activity.

As the minister responsible for the implementation of the Infrastructure Program in Newfoundland, I am excited and optimistic about this initiative. In these recessionary times, we cannot over-emphasize the importance of every new job that can be created in the various communities throughout this Province.

As we know, this program does not preclude investment in other local facilities - education, health and social infrastructure, and we are optimistic that the private sector will get involved and take advantage of the funds that are available under the program.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, the government is very pleased to be associated with our federal counterparts - the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) in such an exceptional positive job creation program.

Thank you very much.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I certainly agree, Mr. Speaker, with the minister when he says that he hopes this program will - and it certainly will I would say - create much needed employment for this Province. However, Mr. Speaker, I would like to qualify that by saying if there are no new monies in the program, if the government is going to use the regular capital funding that they use every year for capital programs in this program, well, then, there are no new jobs; they would have been created anyway. I hope the minister can get his Cabinet colleagues to go along with putting more money into that particular program so they can approve the applications that are going to be submitted under the program.

Mr. Speaker, I also reiterate again some of my concerns, especially in the last sentence, that Atlantic Canada's ACOA is going to be involved in the program. I am still concerned, and a bit suspect, Mr. Speaker, of where the Federal Government's contribution is going to come from. I suspect, Mr. Speaker, that the contribution from the Federal Government is going to come out of the allocation of funds for the Province of Newfoundland contained under the ACOA program. That, again, will not be new money, Mr. Speaker, so I hope that members opposite, and Cabinet ministers especially, are cognizant of what is happening with regard to the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. I submit, Mr. Speaker -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. WOODFORD: Just one second, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. WOODFORD: The $13 million application in from Newfoundland Hydro, I think, that courtesy should be afforded every business person in the Province if they want to participate in the program and get applications in. If not, Mr. Speaker, this is another $13 million subsidy to Newfoundland Hydro, or after next week, new Hydro, Mr. Speaker.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Agreed.

MR. SPEAKER: Leave given.

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

MR. HARRIS: We welcome the start of this program and hope, as well, that this will result in more new money being spent to create more jobs than would otherwise have been created. The minister didn't release the criteria, but from what I have been seeing in the papers during the last few days it may be there are different rules for different people, particularly St. John's, which has greater increased needs as a result of the forced amalgamation, having to suffer and having the additional burden. I hope the minister is not going to do that and punish St. John's for being economically sound.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, by leave, if I might?

An officer of this House, Mr. Mark Noseworthy, is the skip of the rink that is representing Newfoundland in the Canadian Brier and they are doing extremely well. They are now in fourth place with a record of seven to three. Mark Noseworthy is the Research Officer of the Public Accounts Committee, and with the agreement of my friend, the Member for Eagle River, I will be sending this morning, on behalf of the Public Accounts Committee, a message of encouragement to him and his rink in the play-offs they are heading into. Perhaps the House might like to send or, ask Your Honour to send a message on behalf of the whole House of Assembly to a Newfoundlander and his colleagues who are representing us well, but also an officer of this House who is bringing some credit to us.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, we are quite happy to give leave to the hon. gentleman as a courtesy which he has not shown the members on this side, I would remind him. We would like to be associated with this and we would ask that either Your Honour, send a letter, or the Clerk, as Your Honour describes, and we wish Mr. Noseworthy and his three rink mates the very best of success in the competition.

AN HON. MEMBER: Mr. Speaker, a point of privilege.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of privilege, I guess it is probably the only way that I can get to say what I want to say or get some point of clarification.

On Tuesday night here, I was presenting a petition on behalf of thirty-seven residents of the district of St. George's, and when I rose in my place to present the petition and identify the number on the petition as I had to do, the Member for St. George's shouted across the House: It must have cost you thirty-seven dollars, and at that time, I was bewildered, I didn't know really what the member was talking about; he said it the second time and I asked: Where are you coming from, what are you talking about - thirty-seven dollars? And, of course, those of us who were here know the events that followed later that night, where the member rose in his place, and accused a political party of paying people to sign petitions.

Of course, it didn't just stay here in the House, the media picked it up and the next morning continuously, throughout that morning, the news media played it, clips of the hon. member saying that there was a political party paying to have petitions signed, and they carried me as saying that the hon. member should be careful if making accusations, allegations and all this stuff.

It is my understanding that we have had calls at our office about it, Mr. Speaker, and also my understanding that the member has had a call or two as well, telling him that people were quite willingly signing petitions without anyone paying for them. It is my understanding that the member informed a caller that it was a mistake, that what he had said was not correct. You know, there are three political parties here and I don't think the member was inferring that the Liberal party was paying to have the petitions signed opposing Hydro, so it kind of left either the Progressive Conservative Party or the NDP or one of the federal parties, Reform or Rhinoceros or one of the others. So I felt that what the member did was unfair. I think it is a reflection on all of us and I can only say, that this party certainly hasn't paid anyone to sign petitions and we don't need to; people are signing the petitions very readily. And I would just like to bring it to the attention of the House because I thought it was unfair and I would like to give the member a chance to correct what he did and hope that the media would carry his retraction or correction or apology, whatever he offers.

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

DR. HULAN: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to get up and respond to the hon. member's comments. I reported to this House what I had heard in the district of St. George's, that some political party was paying for signatures on petitions. That stands.

AN HON. MEMBER: But you accused him.

DR. HULAN: That stands.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

DR. HULAN: Maybe - I said it was some political party, that stands. Furthermore, I have not had any calls and the hon. member is -

AN HON. MEMBER: Indeed you have!

DR. HULAN: I have not had any calls.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

DR. HULAN: I have had, Mr. Speaker, some other calls saying what I reported in this House, so, don't you tell me to apologize; I have no apology to make, and I said, Mr. Speaker, you will recall, and Hansard will recall: if the shoe fits, wear it.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member for -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible) no apology - I know what you said.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible) and he told the woman he made a mistake.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair wishes to recognize the Member for St. John's East, but I can't hear him, so it is going to be difficult -

Order, please!

I want to hear the Member for St. John's East.

MR. HARRIS: What the Opposition House Leader said, was that the member said: It must have cost you thirty-seven dollars. That is a direct accusation that the member was bribing people to sign petitions. Now, that strikes me more as a question of privilege than a point of order. The member hasn't responded to that. He hasn't responded to this question of privilege and if he doesn't take it back, I suspect that the Opposition House Leader will have a question of privilege before this House.

I think he was very generous in giving the member an opportunity to retract that personal attack of bribery on another member in his job, and he hasn't retracted it. Perhaps he didn't hear exactly what the accusation was. If he hadn't heard it, perhaps he will now take back the accusation that the Member for Grand Bank actually bribed people to sign a petition.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. If I may say a word to the point of privilege raised by my friend, the Member for Grand Bank. My friend, I think, acknowledged in opening that he wasn't certain he had a point of privilege. I think he said it may even be a point of clarification. I can certainly understand the reason why he wanted to raise the issue. It is my submission, having heard what the hon. gentleman said, and having heard the hon. gentleman, the Member for St. George's, and the hon. gentleman, the Member for St. John's East, that there is no point of privilege here, either personal privilege or privilege of the House.

I can understand why my friend, the Member for Grand Bank wanted to make a statement on the record. I can understand why my friend, the Member for St. George's wanted to make a statement on the record, and I have no difficulty in understanding why my friend, the Member for St. John's East wanted to make some more mischief.

The real message out of all of this, Mr. Speaker, is a lesson for all of us. Some of the charges and language used by members, particularly opposite, during this debate, they have been very ready, Mr. Speaker - we saw it today in Question Period - very ready to impute motives, to make slanderous charges, to make allegations without any substance, without any reason to make them at all. They have been very ready to make them. That, as I have said before, not only demeans the member, it demeans the House and it demeans the Province, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I should ask the Opposition House Leader whether or not he wishes me to make a formal ruling on it, in the sense that number one, I wasn't present in the House when the comment was made. We don't have a transcript of Hansard. As you know, the evenings are not typed and won't be available till Easter, so I would have to review the record. I understood the Opposition House Leader to indicate, to some extent, he was taking the opportunity to make his point and put it on the record. So, for those reasons, I might not be able to render a formal decision on it for some time. I don't know if you feel that the point has been sufficiently made. Because the other problem, of course, is that it has to be brought to the attention of the House as soon as possible for these reasons that are systemic, moreso than anything else, and I just don't have the Hansards available.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I said what I wanted to do when I rose. I mean, it caught me off guard on Tuesday night when the member said what he said to me - that, you know, really implied that it probably cost me $37 to get thirty-seven names. What disturbed me more was on Wednesday morning when I listened to it a number of times. I think the member knows that there is no political party in this Province, out-and-about, paying people to sign petitions. There may be somebody else out paying people to sign petitions, but I don't think there is a political party doing it. I say that sincerely to him.

I think it was rather unfair, I say to the member, and that is why I rose here this morning -

AN HON. MEMBER: A cheap shot.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: - a cheap shot.

- to raise the issue and clear the air on it. Because people out and about this Province, you know, believe that there is a political party out paying people to put their names on petitions. It is like if you are I are in a group of people today and I say to you: Bud, why did you rob that bank last week? There would be those who would leave there saying: Bud Hulan robbed a bank. And, regardless of what you say afterwards, you can get on the media, you can get in the papers and on television, and say: I didn't rob a bank. But there would be those amongst them who will believe that you robbed a bank.

That is my point, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SIMMS: A good point.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I don't want to put Your Honour through any undue process. I know it is difficult getting Hansard in the night and all this stuff. I will leave it there. I don't want any more. I just wanted to do this morning, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you.

DR. HULAN: Mr. Speaker, I am not prepared to (inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair has probably heard enough on it unless there is something different that the hon. member wishes to add to it.

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

DR. HULAN: Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member is asking me to say in this hon. House that I did not hear the rumour, I cannot do that. That's all I have to say.

Petitions

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

DR. HULAN: The comments that he has made so many times, I would not lower myself, as a professional, to respond to his comment.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I understand Your Honour called petitions?

MR. SPEAKER: Yes.

MR. SULLIVAN: I would like to present a petition on behalf of people in Labrador, in Goose Bay, and from Lab City, mostly in Goose Bay, in the district of the Government House Leader.

I will just read the appropriate parts to condense it, the prayer of the petition: To the Newfoundland House of Assembly, we the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador 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 the remedy, we submit; and

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 duty bound your petitioners will every pray.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I indicated that most of these are from Goose Bay.

I would like to first address a point that was made in this House yesterday by the Premier in which he made a misleading statement regarding Hydro.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: What the Premier said relates to the petition.

The Premier said, in the House last night, and he read from a transcript of a statement by Stephen Defoe of Standard and Poor's. Now I listened to that program. We saved a tape. I played it over again last night, and the Premier misled the House in giving just one part of that statement. Here is what the Premier said last night in the House, and I will deal with the question that Jeff Gilhooly asked Mr. Defoe, and I will also deal with the other side of the issue that was asked prior to that, that the Premier did not relate to.

MR. TOBIN: Jeff Gilhooly.

MR. SULLIVAN: No, that's Jeff Gilooly. This is Jeff Gilhooly. There's quite a difference.

Jeff Gilhooly asked this question, and then I will give the Premier's response. He said: Let me ask you this, and I hope I'm not getting too far along here in analogy, but I guess what I am trying to think of is, if we look down the road, four or five years down the road, and whatever cash the Province got from selling Hydro was, say, used in other ways, stopped us from borrowing for a year or two, whatever the bottom line is, four or five years from now that cash that they got is gone and Hydro's debt, contingent as it is, is off the books, what effect would that have on how you see our credit rating?

Here is what Stephen Defoe said: Well again it depends on how much cash is received and, of course, the benefits of that are immediate in the sense that it would reduce the Province's borrowing requirements -

Could I have some order, Mr. Speaker? I can't hear what I am saying myself.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Members are talking back across the House, and it's difficult to hear the hon. member.

MR. SULLIVAN: Stephen Defoe said: It depends on how much cash is received and, of course, the benefits of that are immediate -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SULLIVAN: - in the sense that it would reduce the Province's borrowing requirements. Now this is the part the Premier stated, and the Premier went on to say: But because that would reduce the Province's direct debt level, it would reduce to some degree the debt service cost of the Province going forward. That would have marginally a beneficial effect, yes, but is really a question of degree, and is hard to assess before hard numbers are brought into play how big an effect that would be. I don't think people should expect an immediate upgrade in the Province's credit rating as a result of this.

In other words, he is stating that he didn't expect an upgrading in the Province's rating now because of this, that's what the Premier read. Now Jeff Gilhooly also asked Stephen Defoe -

AN HON. MEMBER: What's that got to do with the petition.

MR. SULLIVAN: The petition asked not to privatize Hydro. The Premier has given the reasons for privatizing, one of the reasons, to reduce the debt burden of this Province and I'm giving the reasons that he gave and that's appropriate too.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Social Services.

MR. LUSH: Point of Order, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, over the -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I can't hear the hon. minister.

MR. LUSH: Over the past number of days we've seen the Opposition using this petition time to carry on debates in the House. All hon. members know that petition time is not a time for debates. I have no objection to members presenting the petitions and doing it properly, speaking to the material allegations in the petition but what we've had here, Mr. Speaker, is full fledged debate. I would suggest to this hon. House that either we're going to have to change it - we have the most obsolete and the most archaic system of presenting petitions in the British parliament. We're the only House that carries on in this particular manner and I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, that the Opposition has made a scam and a sham of presentation of petitions. There is an onus on all hon. members to see that the rules of this House are adhered to, that the parliamentary procedure is adhered to, it doesn't do this House any good to have going on what is now going on. There is no difference of opinion, when our Standing Orders say that there's to be no debate, I rest my case with the House.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: On the point of order, Mr. Speaker.

The past Speaker didn't practice what he now preaches when he was in the Chair.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: And, the reason against privatizing Newfoundland Hydro, as in this petition, one of the reasons against it is attacking the reason that the Premier gave for privatizing and that is within the scope of this petition. He indicated it will improve our Province's credit rating, that's directly the reason we raised this petition we're discussing -

AN HON. MEMBER: Are you speaking to the point of order?

MR. SULLIVAN: I'm speaking to the point of order, it's related to the petition which I'm stating, it is the whole crux of what the petition is all about, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I think the point of order really refers to Standing Order 92.

Order, please!

The objection refers to Standing Order 92 which requires a member to confine himself or herself - although it doesn't say that - to the material allegations contained in the petition. It's been my observation that that is a rule that's not strictly enforced. Members are generally allotted five minutes to speak in the general area of the petition. You may be stretching it somewhat to refer to what may or may not have been said on a radio show, since the petition doesn't refer to it but I don't think the hon. member has done anything substantially different then members on both sides of the House have done. If the House wishes I'll certainly strictly enforce the Standing Orders but I'll do it against both sides of the House and I think it would work to the advantage or disadvantage of both parties. So unless I get a specific objection at any time, I think members should be allowed the five minutes to speak as he sees fit, in the general area of the petition. I point out that the hon. members time expired when the point of order was raised, there was about four minutes and thirty seconds elapsed so -

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

MR. SPEAKER: No, leave.

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. SULLIVAN: They don't want to hear what Stephen Defoe said.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak to the petition.

I would like to speak to the petition, Mr. Speaker, presented by the Member for Ferryland from the District of Naskaupi. It gives me a great pleasure, Mr. Speaker, to stand up with my colleague from Ferryland to represent the wishes of Naskaupi who have sent to this House, Mr. Speaker, their concerns, their disappointments and their utter disgust with the process of the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. The people of Naskaupi, Mr. Speaker, who signed this petition signed it because they're concerned that Hydro is being sold. I don't know why their member never presented it, Mr. Speaker, but I guess he'll have to answer for that to his constituents.

The fact of the matter is, that the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro is not being done with the blessing and support of the people of this Province. There is no doubt, Mr. Speaker, it is done with the blessing and support of the people of this House. Some, I would suspect, know why they are doing it, and others, Mr. Speaker, don't have a clue why they are doing it. I am sure the Minister of Health, Mr. Speaker, doesn't know why he is doing it, and I am certain the Member for St. George's doesn't know why he is doing it. Any man who admits in this House that he visited his district three times in a year - three times in a year he was out in his district. And he is expected to come into this House and know what the people of St. George's are saying.

MR. LUSH: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I say to the Minister of Social Services that we don't need any advice from him.

MR. LUSH: I suggest you do.

MR. TOBIN: I suggest we don't, Mr. Speaker. He was advising this House for the past three years in Your Honour's seat, and look where it got us. Look where it got him.

Mr. Speaker, his advice, I say to him, I don't need. I tell him one thing, though: if I wanted it I would certainly request it, but I ask him to keep it to himself until I ask. I say to the minister that I will be governed in this House by the Speaker and I will listen to the Speaker and abide by his ruling. I can tell you that in the thirteen or fourteen years that I am here -

MR. ROBERTS: It seems like forever.

MR. TOBIN: Yes, it does, `Ed', but I will be here longer I say to the member. I want to say this, Mr. Speaker, that I have always respected the position of the Chair and never more have I respected anyone who occupied that position than the present Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TOBIN: I say that sincerely, not in a political sense, because I have been here with Speakers when we were in government. I say that, and I commend the Premier for making that choice. I don't want to embarrass His Honour by throwing accolades in his direction but that is how I feel and I have no difficulty in saying so.

I want to get back to the petition now, Mr. Speaker.

The people of Naskaupi have asked this House not to privatize Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. I guess, second reading of the bill is done and it will be in Committee, but I say to members opposite that you do not have the support of your constituents to ram this through the House. The Members for Fortune - Hermitage, Trinity North, Eagle River, St. George's, Port au Port, and St. John's North do not have the support of their constituents on this issue. The Member for St. John's North the other night was on television, Mr. Speaker -

MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Nor, I say to the Member for Eagle River, does the Minister of Fisheries, provincially and federally, have the right to wipe out the fisheries in this Province and in particular on the Coast of Labrador which will happen if what was reported in The Evening Telegram is correct.

Mr. Speaker, I say to the Member for Eagle River, he should never be quiet because Crosbie is gone and Tobin is in there. The issues haven't changed, they have only gotten worse, and when you read that, when they are prepared to sell out your constituency and you haven't opened your mouth, I have lost some respect for you, I say to the Member for Eagle River.

To get back to the real issue of the petition, you do not have the support of your constituents. The constituents of the Member for St. John's North told him the other night on the public airwaves: Don't vote for this, but he said, yes. They said: Tell us why, and he said: It is my decision. Mr. Speaker, it is not your decision. There is nobody here to make a decision unless it is the wish of your constituents.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. TOBIN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, if I may say a word or two with respect to the petition which is signed by a number of people who give their address as being Goose Bay and a number who give their address as being elsewhere in Labrador. Let me first of all say to my friend - I think it was my friend, the Member for Burin - Placentia West who asked, in his accusatorial tone, why I did not present it - the reason is very simple: it wasn't sent to me. That is the reason why I didn't present it. I suspect it was sent to those who solicited it, because this is no more a spontaneous petition than the Queen of England is the King of France. This is just another of these manufactured petitions we are seeing.

That doesn't make any less valid the views of the people who signed it. But nobody on this side of the House, or elsewhere in this Province, is the least bit fooled by this rhetoric by hon. members opposite that this is a spontaneous uprising. We saw the spontaneous uprising last night in Grand Falls. According to the C.B.C., forty people came out. I would have thought the hon. the Leader of the Opposition had more relatives than that in Grand Falls - in fact, he probably does.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Forty - 4-0; not thirty-eight, not thirty-nine, not forty-one, not forty-two, but forty - F-O-R-T-Y.

PREMIER WELLS: Now, now, remember who you are. You are not who you are sounding like.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. ROBERTS: My friend, the Premier was the only one here who got the message. I can go on and say to him, cat, C-A-T, not a dog, not a rat, not a bat, not a hat, not a mat, but a cat!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. ROBERTS: I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, that these petitions don't fool anybody - they don't fool the people who signed them, they don't fool the people who received them, and they don't fool the people of the Province.

I want to make two other remarks. First, I would like to say to my friend, the Member for Burin - Placentia West that I was amazed that even with his thespian gifts - and he is a great thespian - that even he was unable to keep a straight face when he said that he had the utmost respect for the Chair of the House. If there is a member in this House who believes in snide sniping of the Chair it is the gentleman, the Member for Burin - Placentia West. Your Honour, I know, does not hear it, because my friend, the Member for Burin - Placentia West doesn't have the courage to stand in this House manfully -

MR. TOBIN: A point of order, Mr. Speaker!

AN HON. MEMBER: Can't take it, can't take it.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. TOBIN: I want to say to the minister who made that charge, Mr. Speaker, that there is not one word of truth in what he said. I have the utmost respect for this Speaker when he occupies this Chair, I say to the member opposite.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, if the hon. gentleman's conduct shows respect, then not only is the Queen of England really the King of France, she is also the Emperor of China and the Tsar of Russia.

Let me come back to the substance of the petition. With respect, I must disagree with the people who have signed this. Let me make a point that hon. members opposite seem somehow to overlook in this whole debate. We are sent here by the people who elect us to speak for them and to exercise the powers vested in the House of Assembly and to answer for them. I'm not sent here simply to reflect everything my constituents want, even if I knew what they wanted on every issue. On most issues there are wide diversions of opinion. On most issues there are. In fact, on the issue of whether I should be here there is a wide diversion of opinion. I won the election handily, but not everybody voted for me in Naskaupi district. Even in the old days of White Bay North only 85 per cent voted for me - which meant I had only met 15 per cent, before somebody else says it.

Mr. Speaker, we are here to bring our best judgement to the affairs of the Province. We are not here to reflect the whims and wills and willies of every petition that is taken around by those with a vested interest who are mistaken, who are wrong, in my judgement, who are either seduced by false information or guilty of false analysis. I speak not of those who signed the petition, but those who have led them down the garden path, for whatever motive.

Mr. Speaker, I, with respect, disagree with the people who signed this petition. I shall be in touch with each of them as soon as I can to let them know of my view, to let them know why I feel this way, and to say that I would be happy to meet with them to discuss the issue, and see where we go from there. But I am not here, Mr. Speaker, simply to reflect every whim of any person in this - I am here to bring my best judgement as a member of this House -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. ROBERTS: So soon? By leave?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No leave.

MR. FUREY: No leave? We gave you guys leave.

MR. SPEAKER: No leave.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, if there is no leave, sobeit.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise to present a petition representing people from the districts of Port de Grave, Harbour Grace, and Carbonear.

AN HON. MEMBER: You must have done some scavenging to get that.

MR. SULLIVAN: I didn't do any scavenging. Petitions came to us, I mean, the members themselves are not willing to partake and present petitions so somebody has to present them and see that they get to this hon. House.

I would like briefly to get back to the real things that Stephen Defoe said, that they wouldn't give me leave to say, and now, Mr. Speaker, they are trying to stall it points of order, they don't want to hear the truth.

MR. SPEAKER: A point of order, the hon. the member for St. John's South.

MR. MURPHY: I want to ask Your Honour, is it not appropriate that the hon. member read the prayer of the petition and tell how many names are attached to the petition?

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will do that.

There are fifteen names on the petition, and the prayer of the petition -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I can't hear the hon. member.

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, if it is necessary that I read the prayer of the petition, it is the same as the previous one and I could dispense with reading the prayer of the petition -

AN HON. MEMBER: No, you read the prayer.

MR. SULLIVAN: Okay, I will read the prayer.

MR. SPEAKER: There is no requirement in our rules that the prayer be read each time.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, Stephen Defoe answered a question relating to the credit rating of this Province on privatizing Hydro, and the Premier read the answer to the second question, he did not read the answer to the first question and I am just going to make reference to that.

First of all, here is what Stephen Defoe said, and I will read one statement he made initially before we get into a question that was asked. He indicated that Hydro has not, in recent years, presented a burden to this Province. It is able to meet its own debt servicing costs and, for that reason, we don't include it in our measure of tax-supported debt. And he went on to say, Jeff Gilhooly asked him this question - and that is a question the Premier did not mention to this House; he asked: What, if any, effect would there be, then, on the Province's credit rating system, that you said, if Hydro were privatized? In other words, it wasn't there for consideration - would it have any effect?

Now, Stephen Defoe is a member of the team of Standard and Poor's who rates the credit rating of this Province - he is a member of that team, and here is what he said: That question is very difficult to answer and it really depends on how the Province went about privatizing Newfoundland Hydro. And he said: It would depend on the price received initially, it would depend on expectations of whether and how much of the corporate income tax Hydro would pay -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: - that is what he said - or, whether there were other levies assessed on Hydro that would continue to generate income for this Province, and potentially, a number of other factors that would have to be addressed, but are very hard to address at least from our perspective before the fact. What he has said in that statement is that the tax concessions that those companies get could be a determining factor in our future credit rating. If we give considerable concessions, what we are doing is, we are returning $9.2 million to Newfoundland Power that we have always kept, we are foregoing $25 million in corporate income tax that would come to this Province - $35 million to $40 million, we are foregoing.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: If they would, you would probably be a lot better off today.

That, I advocate, is going to have the potential only of a negative effect on our credit rating - that statement he made would have a neutral or negative effect. I am not advocating negative, it would be neutral or negative. The other statement he made, was that reducing the debt burden in our Province would have a neutral or a marginally positive effect by lifting the burden of Hydro's debt on our Province. It is not a tax factored in when they established the debt of our Province, they have never done it in recent years, and it is wrong for this government to try to get up here and say, in this hon. House -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The hon. gentleman, the Member for Ferryland has made it obvious he is no more debating petitions than he is curing fish. Accordingly, I move, Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 21, that the Orders of the Day now be read.

Motion, carried.

Orders of the Day

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, could we do Motions 1 through 4. I will then ask if we can go into Committee, and if my friend, the Member for Ferryland wants to carry on with his nonsense he can do so.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Regional Service Boards Act," carried. (Bill No. 6).

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Health to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Continue The Newfoundland Pharmaceutical Association," carried. (Bill No. 5).

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Fisheries to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Fisheries Loan Act," carried. (Bill No. 3).

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Workers' Compensation Act," carried. (Bill No. 4).

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

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, in asking that you put the House into Committee, we will deal with the privatization bill. Let me advise members that in accordance with our understanding, we will not ask the House to sit beyond noon today - we will ask the House to meet on Monday at 2:00 p.m., and we will carry on from there.

If Your Honour would leave the Chair, please, we would put the House into Committee.

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

Committee of the Whole

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

Bill 1: The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Chairman, I want to take a few short minutes, and I believe it's ten and ten?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Yes.

MR. EFFORD: Ten and ten. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I want to talk for a few minutes on the privatization of Hydro, and to correct for the people of this Province the misleading information that is going out from this hon. House of Assembly.

Early this morning, in my office, just before coming to the House, I talked with my executive assistant who had been out last night to meet with my executive, my association, in my own district. And I learned, the one question he was asked on behalf of the people who had talked about the privatization of Hydro in my own particular area was simply about the information that they couldn't understand, that the news media was carrying out from the House of Assembly, the information coming from the Opposition.

They asked: Could you explain to us why this is the most devastating thing, as being put forth by the Opposition, that has hit the Province in history, or in a number of years? I don't know exactly what words were used: They put all the economy and the way the economy has collapsed and has been going down, turning down in the last number of years, that privatization of a company that is going to stay in Newfoundland and going to be operating - no doubt more efficiently - and improving the quality of service in the Province, how could that be the most devastating thing that has hit this Province in the last twenty-five, thirty years or whatever?

The other thing I wanted to address is the numbers of people that are supposedly upset and really angry at the government in the privatization of Hydro. Now we have had a lot of issues facing the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in its history. I can tell you from where I'm standing and the people I'm talking to, it is not the most critical thing that's at our doorstep. I'll give you an idea - I probably misled the House yesterday when I said there were only two people in the District of Port de Grave that I was aware of, I said that I was aware of, who had called me and who were concerned about Hydro. One of those people was an employee of Hydro who called me, I have known him for years, and said - now this was months ago when he first heard about it - it's the right thing, go do it. The second person was a Mrs. Eddy who is a person in my district who wanted an explanation and I gave it to her but I didn't know there was a couple of other people.

This petition presented by the hon. Member for Ferryland just a few moments ago - from three districts, the District of Carbonear, my colleague the hon. Mr. Reid, Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, my good friend John Crane from the District of Harbour Grace and myself from the District of Port de Grave, we have a total of fifteen names from three districts. In the three districts - voters alone in the three districts, you're talking about 24,700 people. Voters 24,700 that's approximately what?

MR. REID: That's about 50,000 people.

MR. EFFORD: Now I remember having a little rally out there a couple of years ago when I wanted to get some people to support me, we had 4,000 in the Bay Arena.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: 4,000 in the Bay Arena and we got fifteen - and one of them by the name I recognize here, is a law partner of a well known Tory supporter out in the district, that's number one. The other two names - and I know just about every person in my district - I won't comment on the other two people, it would not be fair but I recognize the first name but three of these fifteen are from the great District of Port de Grave. I know now I will not have any fear - I haven't been home since last weekend in my district, so I will not be afraid to travel to Port de Grave District tonight.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: I don't think at Roaches Line overpass there will be a string of cars waiting to turn me back.

Mr. Speaker, I want to take a couple of minutes to talk about government involvement in business in this Province. The reason why I personally - seriously because I'm an individual and I like to speak on what I believe is to be right and wrong and I don't mind shouting out about it but I believe in the privatization of businesses for the simple fact that government should not be involved in private industry. Should never have been and should never be in the future.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: Now, I'm going to ask a couple of questions and I'll try to qualify it with a little bit of an answer as to what I believe is right. Let me ask you, how many chocolate factories do we have operating in the country of Canada today - never mind the United States - that's operating successfully? Ten of thousands I suspect. We had a chocolate factory in Bay Roberts operated by a government, never mind the political stripe, by a government. Where is that chocolate factory today? Imagine, a government couldn't operate a chocolate factory to sell chocolate bars and candy to make a profit and we say government should be involved in business.

Let's talk about the rubber factory in Holyrood. There are no rubber factories operating in the country of Canada that is making money. A pure example of government involvement in private industry. Let's talk about Newfoundland Farm Products, how many ten of millions of dollars over the history of Newfoundland Farm Products have gone into this organization from the taxpayers of this Province? I hope we will privatize Newfoundland Farm Products and when private industry gets hold of it, we'll see how Newfoundland Farm Products can make money. That is where the proof will be.

How much money has this government and the taxpayers of the Province and the previous government put in Marystown Shipyards? How many multi-millions of dollars? Are you telling me that if a private industry had had Marystown Shipyards for the last twenty-odd, thirty years, that it would not have made money? I will argue with you till the cows come home that they would have made money, if it had been in private hands.

How many fish plants operated by a government in this Province have lost money? I can take you out to my own district where there are nine plants in my district -

AN HON. MEMBER: Gone.

MR. EFFORD: Gone, but let me explain first, just to understand what I'm going to say. Several of those fish plants were private entrepreneurs a hundred years old. The only reason they are slowed down now - not closed permanently - is because of the crisis in the fishery. Compare that to the fish plants that were operated directly by government and see about the history of operating and the loan guarantees and the money that had to be out up there.

Let me talk about the middle-distance fleet. The middle-distance fleet who that group over there, a lot of those people over there were involved in a government, how many multi-millions of dollars of the taxpayers money went into the operation of a middle-distance fleet which Scandinavian countries and governments did away with and we paid more multi-millions of dollars to bring over here to turn around a whole new fishery in the Province. Where are they now, and how much have they cost the taxpayers of this Province? Would you tell me that any private entrepreneur would have bought all of those vessels and paid the multi-millions of dollars that was out there?

What I'm trying to do here is point out -

MR. TOBIN: What does this have to do with it?

MR. EFFORD: It is privatization of a company. Government should not be involved in operating a company, a business. Leave that to the private sector. The basic principle of profit and loss should be left to the private business. Government should be setting policy and direction.

Let me talk about the Salt Fish Corporation. That is another prime example of government involved in private business, and how many multi-millions of dollars was lost by the taxpayers. All of those businesses - and I could go on and on.

I spoke about the chocolate factory in Bay Roberts. Not to make fun or to ridicule any particular government or any particular individual. The chocolate factory in Bay Roberts was just a complete failure. Purity Factories in St. John's, private business, how many years has Purity Factories in St. John's been in operation? Make jams, but we can't make chocolate bars. We can make jams and sell them. Private business. Right? Newfoundland Hardwood, another prime example. Brookfield Ice Cream, one of the most prosperous companies in all of Canada for its size.

Let's take it one step further. We are talking about Purity Factories, we are talking about Brookfield Ice Cream, and we are talking about the small, independent farmers around this Province who've made multi-millions of dollars over the years. Let's take it to the most recent thing, the cucumber farm and the pickle factory.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: Let's take it to the most recent thing. Cucumbers and pickles. Imagine. Government couldn't even make a bottle of pickles and sell them for a profit.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: Just imagine. Couldn't even make a bottle of pickles. You talk about entrepreneurs and making of profits and government should be involved in private business, when a simple bottle of pickles couldn't be cooked, jarred, and put on a shelf and sold for a profit. If I were sitting over there today I would hold my head in complete shame. I would never rush out and brag about that we should be involved in operating companies and private business, and we should be encouraging the people of this Province to waste their taxpayers money with a history like I've just read off here.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: Well, I don't want to take away - I only have ten minutes. I will probably bring up Bev's dip when I get up the next time, Mr. Chairman, because I intend to get up again.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: My hon. friend for Harbour Grace asked me this morning would I go put to accompany him to a meeting in Harbour Grace this evening. I thought about it first and I said yes, I would. I tell you to my hon. friend for Harbour Grace, I will be there before he will be there this evening. He better get there quick because I'm going to be there, and I'm going to be there with this list of historic businesses that government has been involved in with all the money that they've generated in the economy and why we should keep on being in private business. Because the whole economy of the Province of Newfoundland is going to turn around with a history of pickles and chocolates and rubber boots and everything else.

Mr. Chairman, I rest my case.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Chairman, many of the things the minister stated, in fact, I agree with very much. I believe very strongly in private business, and privatizing many Crown corporations that do not serve the public interests. It is very easy to get up and sensationalize and discuss many, many issues.

MR. EFFORD: I didn't sensationalize those were facts.

MR. SULLIVAN: I didn't interrupt, please.

I believe that private business can be competitive and can survive in a marketplace where governments cannot. I believe strongly in that. I believe that businesses are in business for profit, and that's what businesses are about.

Government is not in business for profit. Government is only in business where there is a perceived public interest at stake, and do not kid yourselves that delivering of utilities in this Province is not like any normal business. You are not competing against a store down the street, or against a company in Nova Scotia, or the rest of Canada, or the world. You are delivering a service to the people of this Province with a guaranteed rate of profit and controls under the Public Utilities Board.

The companies the minister talked about are not regulated by the Public Utilities Board. The chocolate factories, or hockey stick factories, or whatever type of factories you have, are not regulated by public utilities. They have to survive in business out there, and I have been a part of business - small business if you want to call it. I have been there for the past nineteen years, and we never had a government guaranteed loan in nineteen years, I can tell you that, in a company I've been involved in.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: You should have been listening to the earlier part of my statement, and I believe strongly in it. We didn't have to come cap in hand to government to guarantee loans because we had to make the necessary steps to be able to cut costs where necessary if the price, the market, wasn't there. We had to be able to expand within our means when the profit was there, and we have here in this Province a public utility company that regulates electricity in this Province, and the rates that Hydro and Newfoundland Power can charge to their consumers. It is unlike any other business here in this Province.

There are two ways you can cut this. One is from a taxpayer perspective, and one is from a rate user perspective. Just compare before and after privatization. Before privatization, Hydro has been operating efficiently. It has state-of-the-art equipment. It is a corporation the envy of utility companies across this country. It is, I believe, the fourth largest utility company in this country. It is working, and any monies that it is making are going back to invest, to bear the burden of cost either on taxes or rates, to subsidize to the householders of this Province.

When you get a private owned utilities company, that company will be expected to get a return on their investment like any other private company that operates and does business in this country, and certainly in this Province, and the utilities board will ensure it. They have done it with Newfoundland Power. They have given them an average of 13.74 per cent over the last five years. Hydro has only taken from 5 per cent up to 8 per cent. This extra level of profit - and do not kid yourselves - is going to go to the shareholders of this company. Any extra profits or reductions to rate payers, or savings on tax on this Province, are now shared - whatever form you want to share it - in rates, by the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The return on investments to shareholders in a corporation, wherever they may be, go back to the shareholders of that corporation, whether they live in Japan or the United States, or other provinces of Canada. There is no hope that this Province can buy a controlling interest in a new privatized Hydro.

In fact, if you look at Fortis Company, that is a much smaller company, we only have 10 - 12 per cent or so ownership, if we have that, and we're going to have even less of an ownership, only a few percent. Ninety some percent of the profits, revenues and investments in this company are going outside the Province. Right now they are staying inside the Province to be shared to reduce the burden to taxpayers and rate users in this Province. The company is operating efficiently, it's a good corporation. What's going to happen now is we are going to have an increase in rates so the utilities board can give the investors a return.

The Premier said how happy they were up in Toronto. If I was living in Toronto and had money to invest I'd be dancing on Bay Street and dancing in the eastern townships in Montreal, I'd be welcoming with open arms what Newfoundland is doing. It is an investment opportunity of a lifetime. It's a great opportunity and I've been out in private business - I would jump if I was from Ontario or anywhere else at the chance to buy shares in this company that is going to give them a guaranteed profit and take dollars and so on out of the pocket of Newfoundlanders and put them into the pockets of investors across Canada, I'd be delighted. No wonder the people up in Toronto are saying what a fantastic job they're doing. The business community are delighted with it, they're delighted. They welcome the Premier with open arms because it's going to put dollars in the pockets and the coffers of investors and don't think for a moment that this corporation is going to, in any way, have any control and ownership by Newfoundlanders.

This corporation is going to be owned by people like Paul Desmarais, the power corporation, Hydro Quebec or subsidiaries, Caisse Popūlaire of Quebec. The Teachers Federation of Ontario are owners and other major multi-billion dollar funds and their affiliated investments, that's who's going to own the new privatized Hydro, members of this House and do not kid yourself, every dollar that goes out of this Province is a dollar out of the taxpayers pocket, a dollar on your electricity rate in this Province, that's the real facts. You can hide this under any screen you wish, you could talk about private business. This is not a private fish plant business or a Brookfield Ice Cream, it's not a chocolate factory, it's not a Sprung, it's not any of these types of businesses.

Let's be realistic and talk some common sense here in this House. That is a pile of hogwash and anybody who tries to tell you that a company owned over 90 per cent outside this Province is putting tax dollars and profits back in this Province, don't kid yourself. I was in business for almost twenty years, businesses are to make profit. We're in business to make profit, that's what private companies are in business for. The more profit, the better for their investors and the more money for the company. To do otherwise would be an insult to the investors who invested in the corporation. They are the masters, the people who invest and buy shares in that company.

Now we have seen fallacies put forth here by this government on why you should privatize Hydro. The Premier used all last year the great deal in Nova Scotia. The deal in Nova Scotia stinks and everybody knows it and the facts are there to prove it, it's history, it's done and we know the fallout in Nova Scotia. We know of 400 job losses in Nova Scotia, increases in electrical rates in Nova Scotia and increases in taxes to the people in Nova Scotia. They wanted to get rid of their Premier, their own party almost, after what happened in Nova Scotia and 90 per cent of power in Nova Scotia is generated by a non-renewable resource. That's a lot different situation and the people in Nova Scotia are still reeling from those effects.

Mr. Chairman, we are losing the ownership of a right and a resource that has been ours from the beginning of time. The rights and the ownership of water rights in this Province, as it's built into Bill 1 and you can read it there, will remain with this private company owned by people outside this Province for as long as that is used to generate power and make profits anywhere else. Where do you think they are going to stop generating power? That is their's free of all encumbrances that's what it states, free of all encumbrances. The Premier even made an admission on the section dealing with excluded assets as determined by the Minister of Finance. He even indicated maybe an amendment could be entertained on that issue. He even feels the wording there leaves a lot to the imagination. There are many dangerous things here and as the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes said last night, we don't want to look back in thirty, forty or fifty years and realize the devastating effect that's happened.

Look at the Upper Churchill. Do you realize that within the next few years our losses on Upper Churchill are going to be mounting progressively? Hydro Quebec has the right to subsidize those loses by buying up shares in CF(L)Co from 34 per cent. We do not have that right so with the loses that are occurring it is estimated to run up to $200 million a year. Hydro Quebec can keep buying shares to cover those loses and in fifteen years time, or at least twenty years, Hydro Quebec has the option to own 100 per cent on projected losses occurring in CF(L)Co. That is in the contract. They can cover the shortfalls.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman, if the hon. Member for Ferryland would observe Your Honour's ruling perhaps I could make a short contribution to this. We are on Clause 1 of the bill, a more general discussion, and I suspect we may be here for a little while. I want to say, having listened to the hon. Member for Ferryland, as I just did, and there is no other way to put it, I must say I seldom heard such a - with all due respect to him, a mishmash of confused thinking. Now there are many reasons why one can use the economic power of the state to achieve certain ends, and one can believe if one is a socialist that public ownership is a good in itself. There are those who believe, I suppose this is the orthodox Tory line, that public ownership is bad in itself, that we should privatize the hospitals, the prisons, and everything, but those of us in the middle, the Liberals, believe that public ownership is neither good nor bad in itself.

MR. HEWLETT: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: If the hon. gentleman for Green Bay would possess his soul in patience, as I have no doubt his mother told him for many years, he would be further ahead than he has ever been before. Mr. Chairman, the hon. gentleman for Green Bay can either remain silent and have us suspect the true state of his mental knowledge and his mental ability, or he can open his mouth and have us know it. I would invite him to remain silent. I have not interrupted him. In fact he was not even here last night to speak. That is how much he cared about the debate.

Mr. Chairman, let me come back. Those of us who are Liberals believe that public ownership is neither good nor bad in itself, neither is private ownership. We rather look at the resources we have as a society, expressed through this government, the government of the Province, and what we can do with them. The most powerful argument in favour of privatizing Hydro is contained in the answer to the question: Why should we as a people be investing in Hydro? Why should the very scarce fiscal capacity of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, very scarce, be used to invest in Hydro? Why? What is magic about Hydro? Using a natural resource - the Premier exploded that last night for the myth it is. We should equally logically (a) take over Fortis at once because they are using a natural resource, (b) take over the Iron Ore Company and Wabush Mines, Kruger, Abitibi, and we should also nationalize whatever is left of the fishery, when it comes back. We should take back Fishery Products which was owned by the public and then went back to the private sector in a privatization deal.

PREMIER WELLS: And all farms.

MR. ROBERTS: And all farms, simply because it is a natural resource. Now, that is the logic in that argument. That does not hold any water. Now, maybe we should look at return on investment. Maybe we should use our scarce fiscal resources and put them into Hydro because we would make a lot of money on it, but the truth of that is it is just not true. We have been making nothing on Hydro, a guarantee fee of 1 per cent, a little under $10 million a year, if memory serves me correctly at current rates.

PREMIER WELLS: And we had to give for that.

MR. ROBERTS: Agreed, and we get no dividend. We have once only taken a dividend out of Hydro, in fact we have had to assign to Hydro the income flow, the dividend and royalty flow from the CF(L)Co shares which the Tories under Frank Moores purchased in the 1970s. They spent so much for that, that it has never paid its way and we have had to assign back the royalty and rental flow that came to the Province under the original deal, good or bad as the deal may have been.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman, the hon. gentleman says because we gave it away. That has nothing to do with anything. Mr. Chairman, the hon. gentleman obviously doesn't know what he is talking about. I made a statement which is factually correct. Now, there is no merit in being in an investment if we want to take $1 billion of the public credit and $250 million or whatever the book value of the equity now is and go and invest it, we can get a far better rate of return than we get by putting it in Hydro, so there is no natural resources issue, that is a false one, the idea that this is somehow an economic issue is a bad one.

Now, why was Hydro there? There was a public policy reason why the Liberal administration in the 60s put Hydro in place. There were two very good ones, both of which the Premier spoke on. One, private industry could not have built Bay d'Espoir or the grid across the Province. It didn't exist in the mid-60s, Corner Brook and the West Coast had fifty cycle power generated by the old Bowater Power Company, now Kruger or Deer Lake Power whatever it is called. Here on the eastern half we had sixty cycle and they were the little systems down in Port Union and elsewhere. There were four to five small electric systems which could not have put in place the Bay d'Espoir generating capacity or the grid to carry the energy generated there throughout the Island. That was one reason.

The second, was to put in place the rural electrification programs that could not have been done by any private sector because they weren't economic, so if it hadn't been for Hydro we would not have had Bay d'Espoir, we would not have a grid, we would not have had the lights in the rural communities in the more remote parts of the Island and on the Coast of Labrador. That's why Hydro was built and it served that public purpose magnificently, but it doesn't any more. It doesn't any more because the needs been met, the needs have been met, any more than the railway that was built across Canada by the Tories, by John A. and the national dream in the 1870s, no longer serves that purpose. It served it magnificently but we don't need to keep a Canadian Railway now to keep Canada together, so that reason no longer exists.

Mr. Chairman, these are the reasons that have led us, the, government, to take this bold step forward. Here is an opportunity to take an investment, to cash it in to get a return, and in a Province that is strapped for cash, no secret about that, no shame about it, it is a fact of life. We have very scarce fiscal resources; we need capital for schools, for hospitals and what have you. Do we instead, put our money into Hydroelectric? No solid reasons have been advanced from those opposite.

Now let me just make two other points because I have only ten minutes. The first is, this talk of job losses. If Hydro is operating efficiently, as we are assured is the case, and I have no reason to question it, then there will be no job losses. The private sector can only operate it efficiently. If Hydro is not operating efficiently, and I do not suggest that it is, but if that be the case, then, Mr. Chairman, there probably will be job losses, and I say, if there aren't, we all pay for them because whatever wages Hydro pays out whether it is publicly or privately owned, those come right back on our light bills, so if they say keep jobs simply to keep people working then that's a great theory, we can put the whole Province to work, our 20 per cent unemployment rate or whatever it may be this month, can disappear tomorrow. We will hire everybody for about six weeks until the Province goes bankrupt. We can put everybody to work. This nonsensical theory that hon. members opposite seem to advance in their urge to try to attack a deal that they cannot attack on the merits, is simply put people to work whether there is a job to be done or not. If Hydro is run efficiently there will be no job losses, if it is not, not only will there be, there should be because we are all paying for it in our electric bills.

Now, Mr. Chairman, let me go on to one other point. We talk about control. The hon. gentlemen opposite have yet to realize that ownership does not equal control. This cost us ten years development on Hibernia, this same shibboleth, one does not have to own something to control it. The city council doesn't own very much of the land in St. John's, it controls what is done with it. The Public Utilities Board, under authority of this act, and the Electrical Power Control Act, and the Public Utilities Act, will control what a privatized Hydro does. The company will stay in Newfoundland by legislation. It cannot move away. The very simple but very strong language in the privatization act will prevent it moving away.

Dividends will go where the ownership goes, yes. Because if one wants to attract capital one must pay for it. One will have to pay a competitive rate. That doesn't bother this government. We happen to believe in profit. We would like nothing more than to see endless profit made by people in this Province because that would create endless jobs. That is the way to make jobs, we believe. Let the private sector do it.

MR. FUREY: It's a Conservative view.

MR. ROBERTS: It happens to be a view that sometimes the Conservatives share when they're not simply trying to oppose for the sake of opposing. Look, all that has happened, Mr. Chairman, is the hon. member for Ferryland has made up his mind he doesn't like the deal. I don't know why, because he hasn't told us so in any articulate or reasoned way. Once he made up his mind he then went looking for his reasons. He comes up with this mishmash. I've already dealt with most of them.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. ROBERTS: No, it is quite true. He makes up his mind and he looks for his reasons. it is not a matter of -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. ROBERTS: So soon. Well, another time.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: I have never heard such a bunch, to use the hon. Government House Leader's quote, mishmash, fact and fiction, in all of my life. The hon. Minister of Works, Services and Transportation stands up and compares the Crown corporation of Hydro to chocolate factories, rubber factories, Sprung factories, and says that the privatization of Hydro is like any other business within the private sector. That is simply not true. The reason that the private sector works on behalf of society and works for society is based on a simple philosophy. It is called competition. By where people who are involved in the same business compete. In a nutshell, it lowers prices, it gives the consumer the best rate of return or the best services provided.

What will Hydro provide? Where is the competitive marketplace for Hydro? There is none. There is no competition. The government right now is proposing to turn over a profitable Crown corporation that works for the people of this Province, that does not cost the government a penny out of its treasury every year, not a penny, and turn it over to the private sector and say: You can have it.

What will the privatization of Hydro bring? It will not bring new investment to the Province, not one penny. Not one extra cent of new investment will it bring to this Province. As a matter of fact, the outflow of dollars from this Province is what we will see. Will it bring any new technology? No, it will not. No new technology, or no new technology transfer as a result of the privatization of Hydro. Will it bring any new jobs to this Province? I submit to the House that it will not bring any new jobs to this Province.

It is my understanding that we - meaning the people of the Province - will receive somewhere in the order of $250 million to $400 million or $500 million for the sale of Newfoundland Hydro. That is basically the book value of the equity built up in Hydro, plus perhaps a small bit more. I have never ever heard of a profitable corporation being sold without making a significant profit on its shares, never. The hon. Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, a businessman himself, has never heard of it, and would not even consider being involved or selling any of his private businesses without making a significant profit or a fair profit above and beyond the share value. We are not going to see this with the privatization of Hydro.

The privatization initiative itself, generally has been discussed at length, I agree with the members opposite. There has been a general discussion at length about the privatization initiative of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro in Newfoundland and Labrador for the past six to seven months, but what has not happened is that there has not been a significant amount of discussion on this particular deal. There has been very limited discussion.

Now, let me tell you why I believe the government is operating this way. It was clear when the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, was interviewed by a paper in his own region, and he being questioned on public hearings, the paper reported: `As for public hearings, Mr. Grimes said Wednesday that he believes a structured debate on the bill is required in the House of Assembly, rather than public hearings, on a complex business deal.' But, more importantly, he said that this privatization bill is not the kind of thing that you send out to every householder, not the kind of thing for every home to have a look at. Most people, the minister said, unless they had a business background, or someone there to explain everything, don't understand the complex arrangements. My god, Mr. Chairman!

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, on a point of order.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Just for clarification on that issue, because I know that the hon. the Member for Kilbride used the exact words that I used with the reporter. It was reported precisely and accurately, and there are members of the Opposition, and I believe the Member for Kilbride is one, who said that he doesn't understand what is in this bill. And I said it, as did the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay, the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes, and several others. The point that I made to the reporter, which was reported accurately and just stated accurately by the member, is that it would not serve a purpose to send this bill out to the people of Newfoundland and say: Look at that and see what you think of it. A discussion about the principles of privatization will be sent out, and we will discuss it.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. E. BYRNE: To the point of order, let me explain to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations -

MR. CHAIRMAN: The Chair has already ruled on the point of order. There is no point of order.

MR. E. BYRNE: Well, let me explain to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations that this is one member who clearly understands the implications of that bill, and the negative impacts it would have on this Province, and this is one member who has never stood in this Legislature and said I don't understand it, because I clearly do.

Now, I say to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations that the attitude reflected here is that the majority of Newfoundlanders are ignorant.

MR. GRIMES: Are you going to send this piece of paper out to every householder in Kilbride?

MR. E. BYRNE: The minister's statements here say that the majority of people in this Province don't know for themselves what this is about, and I say to the minister, he is right. The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations is absolutely correct, and by that very logic that he expressed here -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

I remind hon. members that I identified the hon. the Member for Kilbride. He rose in his place to speak in this House, and I remind hon. members that he has the right to speak. If other members want to be recognized when the hon. the Member for Kilbride is finished, I will recognize them, but I would suggest that they stop shouting across this House.

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

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

I say to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, and all government members, that this is the type of attitude, the type of logic that is going to lead us down a path and we won't know where we are going.

The Member for St. John's South stood here earlier this week and said, haste makes waste, and I agree with him, but why are we in a furious hundred yard dash, a mad dash, to privatize Hydro?

The discussion of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, has been ongoing in the public mind and in public debate for some six or seven months, but the discussion on this particular piece of legislation, and the details contained therein, have not been ongoing for the last several months. It hasn't even had a chance to get going.

Mr. Chairman, if we, as a people, have any hope whatsoever to develop economically, to be a prosperous people, then privatization generally is an initiative that we should pursue but when it comes to a resource such as hydroelectricity, a resource that is now owned solely by the people of this Province, operated by the people of this Province, does not cost the provincial treasury one penny each year, then I think that we should sit back and take a long, long hard look at the economic policy that is being pursued here in the privatization of Hydro.

Now, my friend, Alex Snow, the Member for Menihek, talked last night about the public policy purpose and the public -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Your time has elapsed.

MR. E. BYRNE: Thank you.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. YOUNG: When I decided to throw my hat in the political ring, I promised the people of the district of Terra Nova that I would serve them to the best of my ability. So again, I rise here in the House of Assembly to state that I support the privatization of Hydro. I feel it is in the best interest of the people of my district and, indeed, of the people of the Province. I am a resident of this Province, so why would I be in favour of something that is going to jeopardize the well-being of myself and, I guess, my descendants? The people of this Province will not be led down the garden path by the Opposition. The people gave us a mandate last May, knowing full well that privatization was recommended by the people of this Province when they had had input into the Strategic Economic Plan. So, today, we are here discussing the privatization of Hydro.

I stated on Tuesday night and I state again, that if my decision is wrong, the residents will send me a message in the next provincial election. Now, my statement was carried on the Open Line show that evening. Unfortunately, I was in bed asleep and didn't hear about it until my constituents called me the next morning and told me about it, and they also supported my stand, but apparently, the moderator had asked me, and, I guess, the residents of the district of Terra Nova, to call in. How many people from the district of Terra Nova called in? How many? None. The next morning I did receive a call from a resident of another district, telling me that she opposed it. I asked her why, and she said, `Because it's turning money into Newfoundland.' I asked, `How much money?' She said, `I don't know.' `Well, I said, `I'll send you out the package,' which I did.

As I said, I've had many calls of support from the district of Terra Nova and also from the district of Bonavista South. These people have told me that they want this deal to go through, and they thanked me for supporting it. They believe in me, that's why they support it, and I believe in the Wells Government.

I also said on Tuesday night that the Opposition is using the Open Line show to fearmonger, and I said something about hearing rumours or hearing nonsense on the Open Line show. Actually, on Monday morning, I did hear the Member for St. John's South talking intelligently about the privatization of Hydro, but then, on Monday night, I turned on the radio as I was driving away from here and I heard such nonsense about what he had said - it was ridiculing the member, and that's the kind of nonsense I was referring to. I certainly didn't say that the people calling are silly, because there have been some great debates on that show by some very, very knowledgeable people.

AN HON. MEMBER: Mostly Liberals.

MS. YOUNG: My friend says it must have been Liberals.

AN HON. MEMBER: Mostly Liberals.

MS. YOUNG: Therefore, I did not say they were silly. As a matter of fact, I've phoned in, myself, a couple of times.

With regard to holding meetings in my district on Hydro, I've had meetings in my district on other important concerns. The people have summoned me to come to these meetings, and I have gone. I have listened to their concerns and have told them that I would react to their concerns.

Now, I had a good offer from the Member for Kilbride. He wanted to come out to my district and he wanted to explain Hydro. Well, I say to the Member for Kilbride, maybe you should be looking at your own district. Just last week, one of his constituents came to me and asked: `Where is the Member for Kilbride? He promised me last September that he would have a meeting with me in October and I haven't heard from him.' I said: `Well, it has taken him a year to prepare for that meeting.' So I say to him, look after your own affairs. Also, maybe he is spending a lot of time down around Trinity and he just couldn't get back.

The Member for Bonavista South criticized me because I wasn't at a meeting last Sunday. I will tell you why I wasn't there last Sunday - I had a previous commitment. But where was he a couple of Saturday nights ago when a resident of his district asked him to meet with him? He was up in my district, and that is why he couldn't attend a meeting with his own people. And that is probably why I am getting so many calls from Bonavista South asking me to work on issues for them. Either they don't trust him or they can't reach him. Maybe that is why they are calling me. They are also telling me that they support Hydro.

Now, the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes wants to hold meetings on Hydro everywhere. I was informed that the residents out there are more concerned about the collapse of the fishery than about the privatization of Hydro.

I keep hearing more and more from the Opposition that Newfoundlanders can't afford to buy shares in Hydro. Do you have access to all of the bank accounts of the residents of this Province to know what they can afford and what they can't afford? Surely, they must realize the danger of portraying all this doom and gloom. There are Newfoundlanders out there who are asking to buy shares and they are not just the wealthy. These people want to help this Province lower the debt and, at the same time, they are showing that they have pride in this Province and they have faith in the future of this Province.

So, I say to you in the Opposition, don't destroy that pride and faith by your fearmongering. The people will have an opportunity to buy these shares, and buy them they will. They are insulted by the people who say that Newfoundlanders can't afford to buy shares. This Province is currently getting $10 million a year to guarantee a $1.2-billion debt. When government privatises that asset we will not need to borrow money for the next fiscal year, and it will probably lead to a reduction in the following year. This would save the people $25 million every year on the money we would have to borrow if Hydro is not privatized. To me, that is a good business decision.

I come from a small business, a farm. You talked about over there - one of the members talked about competition. Well, when we were regulated we couldn't compete. We were told what we had to do. I say, too, that there is a fish plant out in my district that takes no money from government. It operates successfully and I am pleased that when I went to their Christmas party I was able to talk about the importance of private enterprise.

Now, I have listened to what I consider fact and much more that I am sure is not based on fact.

MR. TOBIN: I hope you are not reading a speech.

MS. YOUNG: Well, at least I can read.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. YOUNG: I do know that the people of this Province are fed a lot of information and unfortunately, like I said, much of it is not factual.

AN HON. MEMBER: Copious notes.

MS. YOUNG: You are spreading fear to accomplish an objective and that objective is to try to make this government look bad. But the Government of this Province will not look bad, I can assure you, because when Hydro is privatized and people know what a good thing it was for this Province, they will look at you people and say, `You led us astray,' and when the next election comes we will remind them who it was that tried to sabotage the privatization of Hydro.

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

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Chairperson.

I think I heard the Member for Terra Nova use the word `Clydro' and that is probably an apt name for what is going on here now. The Member for Terra Nova, as well as others opposite, are first-term members. They are part of a team, or a caucus, and there are powerful forces at work on them which lead them to surrender their own independent thought, to subordinate their own intellect to that of their leader.

Now, one of the main arguments put forward by members opposite, in defence of privatizing Hydro, is, `Trust us, trust "Clyde", trust the Premier, he knows what he is doing.' Mr. Chairman, this Province has had a sorry history of major mistakes in resource development - major mistakes - and there haven't been very many instances when politicians have broken with their groups, or their leaders, over the mistakes. There was one example in the 1960s over Come By Chance, when the present Premier and John Crosbie broke ranks with Joey Smallwood. We saw an example of it here last night when the Member for Pleasantville had the courage to stand up for his convictions and stand up for his constituents. Now, apart from saying, `Trust us,' members opposite are saying, private is better than public. The government has no role in business. Mr. Chairman, Hydro is not a business in the usual sense, it is a publicly-regulated monopoly. It is not competing. It is guaranteed a good rate of return. As a private utility, it will get the same as Newfoundland Light and Power, over 13 per cent. Mr. Chairman, privatizing Hydro is not the same kind of a proposition as privatizing Newfoundland Farm Products or the Marystown Shipyard.

MR. EFFORD: Why?

MS. VERGE: Why? I thought the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation had some experience in the private sector.

MR. EFFORD: You need not think it, I have.

MS. VERGE: Well, in that case, the minister should go home and do some thinking and reflecting.

Mr. Chairman, an electrical generating utility that has a monopoly and gets a guaranteed rate of return from the Public Utilities Board is not a business in the sense of the businesses the minister has been involved in. It is not a business the same as Farm Products or Computer Services. So the argument advanced by members opposite, that the government shouldn't be operating Hydro, just doesn't wash. There are good, sound public policy reasons for the government continuing to own Hydro, one of which is keeping down electricity prices, another of which is using electricity as a lever for future economic development, a third of which is getting the best possible deal for the citizens of this Province, all of the people of the Province on the Upper Churchill and the Lower Churchill and, Mr. Chairman, we made a tragic mistake in the 1960s in entering into the Upper Churchill contract. We are getting 3 mils per kilowatt hour and it is going to go down to 2 mils. Mr. Chairman, we are getting a pittance for the Upper Churchill, Quebec is getting the lion's share of the benefits.

Now, we should learn from history. The other argument put up by members opposite `an other argument', is that we will save $25 million a year on current account in debt servicing costs, if they get $300 million from the sale, if they net $300 million from the sale, that will probably be true. $300 million is far less than what our equity in Hydro is worth and $25 million a year savings on debt servicing costs is just part of the current account story. If we project all expenditures and all revenues, I say to the President of Treasury Board, we will be down more than twice that much. It will be worse in the early years when the government will pad to try to keep electricity prices from going through the roof altogether, but if you project over ten years the financial position of the Province's current account will be twice as bad.

We will be gaining $25 million in debt servicing costs by lowering that outlay, but we will be spending more and losing more revenue, doubling the $25 million to get a $25 million favourable variance on current account, averaging over ten years, will be incurring a $50 million a year negative variance; but, Mr. Chairman -

DR. KITCHEN: How do you get that?

MS. VERGE: How do I get that, the Minister of Health asks? I get that through the calculations laid out by members on this side. For a start, the government will be giving up the $10 million a year loan guarantee fee revenue. The government will be giving up the PUITTA paid by Newfoundland Light and Power, that's $20 million. The government will be paying about $30 million to top up the Hydro workers pension plan.

MR. GRIMES: Is that the same speech you made in Corner Brook when only ten people showed up to sign your (inaudible) there?

MS. VERGE: Now, Mr. Chairman, is this the $100,000-a-year minister paid for interjecting and apologizing?

MR. GRIMES: Oh my, what a brilliant (inaudible).

MS. VERGE: Now if the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations has a contribution to make to the Hydro privatization debate, I suggest that he get on his feet. The minister has showed his -

MR. GRIMES: (Inaudible) listening to you, that is more than anybody else is doing. Maybe I am showing you too much of a courtesy by listening to you. Nobody else is.

MS. VERGE: Chairperson, I would suggest that the minister leave the House and go out and have a coffee if that is his attitude.

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Chairman, I just want to know, I only asked the question, is that the same speech you made in Corner Brook when you got the ten people to sign up for your committee?

MS. VERGE: Chairperson, I had a public meeting in Corner Brook last Saturday. It was attended by eighty-five people and at the meeting -

AN HON. MEMBER: Eighty-five?

MS. VERGE: Eighty-five people last Saturday morning. At the meeting all but one person, and these were people from three electoral districts; people affiliated with all three political parties, many to my knowledge with no party affiliation and ten of the people volunteered to serve on a citizens committee. They call themselves: Save Our Hydro. They have been going door to door ever since getting signatures on petitions and they have had a 95 per cent indication of support of the people they have approached at the doors and in shopping centres, and now it is getting up over 4,000. 95 per cent have signed to indicate their opposition to the government's proposal to sell Hydro. Mr. Chairman, these are people from the three electoral districts in the Corner Brook area. The district represented by the Premier, the district by the Speaker, and the district I serve.

Members opposite know that there is overwhelming opposition to this deal. The Premier and the government do regular public opinion surveys. They did detailed polling on views on the education system and with great fanfare published the results last fall. They've done public opinion polling on Hydro as well -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. DUMARESQUE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm pleased to rise in this debate this morning. I noticed in the presentations that have been made to this point so far this morning that I don't hear any great cry this morning for public hearings. I don't hear any great cry for giving the people an opportunity to have their say on this very important issue. I don't know. There may be some reason for it.

I know I heard this morning, and I think that it has to be said, that not since the Beatles came to North America, not since Woodstock, not since Trudeaumania swept Canada, not since Paul Henderson's goal when the nation roared, was there such a conglomeration of people, such a mass of people going into Grand Falls last night to hear the Leader of the Opposition.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: Mr. Chairman, the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation last night came to a rude awakening at 2:00 a.m. The telephone rang and rang and he had to come right to his feet. They said: Mr, Minister, we have to report to you that the traffic from Grand Falls - Windsor right back to Glenwood, and there is even some now out there towards Gander, is backed right up. Mr. Minister, you are going to have to do something about it.

Where were they going, the minister had to ask? The Harbour Breton Road was blocked. They were coming from the southern coast, they were up from Fogo Island. They had to put another trip on the ferry. They came across on the ice. Airlines coming in, Aeroflot came in over Gander, Aeroflot, Mr. Chairman. All kinds of airline charters, and everything else came in to hear the illustrious Leader of the Opposition in his own riding down the street from his own house. Obviously the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation had to act. He had to clear the way so that the Leader of the Opposition could talk to the forty people who came out to the meeting!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: He did. Yes, he did. Not for five minutes, Mr. Chairman, not for twenty minutes, not for forty minutes, but one whole hour of talking to those forty people. They mesmerized the whole crew.

We have obviously now seen what is happening over on the other side. I'm sure that the Leader of the Opposition was struck last night. When he went out there to that tremendous rally I would say it all of a sudden hit him. Who has set me up? Now then, who has set him up? Because surely it must have hit him - what is happening here? I've been told by Lynn, I've been told by Neil, I've been told by Loyola, I've been told by Glenn, that the masses were revolting. That surely, my Lord, in my own riding, next to my own house, down the street from all of my relatives, that I would get at least 500, 1,000 people. Surely it must have hit him.

Obviously what hit him last night is that the leadership race is on and they are up to their Machiavellian tactics. They are certainly doing the things that have to be done, I suppose, if you want to get rid of your liability.

AN HON. MEMBER: They are privatizing Len.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Oh, they are well on their way to the only privatization effort they know over there, private citizen Len Simms is coming, Mr. Chairman. Private citizen Len Simms is on the way. The Leader of the Opposition is going to be privatized. The other day they said they did a poll and 82 per cent supported privatization but what they did not say was that it was done in the Tory caucus and it was to privatize the Leader of the Opposition. That was the poll, Mr. Chairman.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. DUMARESQUE: Well, you can never have it said that the former Leader of the NDP never tripled his vote for his party when he was there, Mr. Chairman. He did do that. You have to give him credit. He tripled the vote, 4 per cent up to 12 per cent, in the election. That is fair game. I would think that there is probably a draft Peter Fenwick on now for the Leader of the Opposition.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: There is an unbelievable gust over there now with petitions coming fast and furious, probably two names from Port au Port, three names from Port de Grave, another couple of names from down in Menihek somewhere, to draft the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Fenwick. I think another thing that has happened here is that people have wisened up to the economic policies of the people opposite. It cannot be lost on them. The Member for Port de Grave, the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, touched on it, that these are the economic czars of yesterday, but obviously the people out there have now come to the full realization again, who am I being fooled by? Who am I being fooled by? These are the great economic czars, the great cucumber kings of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is not lost on them that the greatest economic strategy was when the Premier came to the press conference one day, hauled cucumbers out from everywhere and said: (inaudible) six days. That is it, Mr. Chairman. That was the greatest economic policy. He said it is going to blow your mind.

AN HON. MEMBER: How long?

AN HON. MEMBER: Six days.

MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible) six days. This is going to blow your mind, he said. This is the greatest economic strategy that ever hit the people of this Province, Mr. Chairman. The people now are not fooled. The see the former President of Treasury Board, the Member for Grand Falls, who is now coming forward as Leader of the Opposition saying: oh, give me back the authority to govern this Province. Give me back an opportunity to impose my economic policies that I am so proud of.

The former Minister of Finance, the Member for Mount Pearl, last night was all flustered, was belligerent, and could not get along with anybody here last night because he wanted to say: give me back the power to get some more of those projects on the go, to really get those people out there working, to get those plants growing in Mount Pearl with the lighting we can provide for the kind of stimulation they need. They want to bring back the orange glow in Mount Pearl, but obviously the people are not listening. The people know the difference. The people have seen the alternative in action and they are again endorsing this government as they never have in the last number of years to any government.

It is very clear to us on this side of the House that they are trusting this government, they are trusting these members over here who have gotten their confidence twice now, and I know we will do it again. That is what is obviously happening out there. People are saying, as the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation has said, that we cannot have a government involved in raising chicken, in putting together hardwood, in real estate, Mr. Chairman, Elizabeth Towers, and things like that. That should be back in private hands.

They are now saying, when it comes to our electrical services, except for the need for some development in Labrador, which is excluded from this deal, that we are now to the point where we do not need the tremendous amount of equity and dollars and cash so desperately needed to keep our standard of social services, to keep our standard of education, and our standard of health. We cannot afford to miss this opportunity to turn that equity into cash and allow the private sector to do the job that needs to be done in the electrical industry, and they are saying to us to go right ahead with your plans; we support you. We are encouraging you to do more of the same. That is why they elected us on a privatization agenda, and obviously we have had tremendous approval for that. So I think that it's time now for the Opposition to recognize that what is happening out there is the people are sending a very clear message, a clarion call has been made to the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Stop and desist. Get on with the business of government, and do it for the best interest of the people, Mr. Chairman.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I welcome the opportunity to once again stand and speak on this very important issue that is before this Legislature at this time. Many people have said that it's one of the most important pieces of legislation that has come forward in this House of Assembly since Confederation.

I don't want to get involved in this ballyragging back and forth across the House, because if it is as important as what we say it is, I think we should start taking it a bit more seriously than what we are.

I would just like to make a couple of comments on some of the things that have been said by members across the House. I first want to make a comment on the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation's earlier remarks. As I said last night, I mentioned many times as I watched him speak out on the fishery, and I wonder, would this man be as vocal as he was back then if he wasn't in Cabinet today. That's something I wonder about.

MR. EFFORD: On the fishery I would be.

MR. MANNING: On this issue also, I ask.

I talk to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations as he jumps up every now and again and shouts out about who understands the bill and who doesn't.

I said last night in the remarks I had, and you can check Hansard, or check your hearing, whatever may come first, but I said last night in my remarks that I didn't fully, fully, understand everything about it because I didn't have time to understand it, and I also expressed the concerns of people who have passed them on to me that they didn't have time to understand it, because it has been pushed on us so fast. They are the remarks I made. I didn't say I didn't understand the bill. I said that I didn't understand all the bill fully, so I just want to clarify that for the sake of clarification.

To the Member for Eagle River, I say in regard to public meetings - this is my first time to speak this morning - the reason, maybe, that the numbers may have been small in Grand Falls - Windsor last night, and may be small in the few meetings we were having, is the simple reason that people may be under the impression that I was under when I stood here last night, that this is being rammed down the throats of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. It is a mandate by two people opposite to push this down the throats of Newfoundlanders. Therefore, people are saying: What can we do?

The only thing they can do, because the people opposite are not willing to go out and talk to them, is they are going to have to sit and wait for three or four years to do something about it, in the next provincial election, but the problem is, that may be too late.

To the Member for Terra Nova, who mentioned the District of St. Mary's - The Capes, and the concerns that are out there in regard to the fishery, and the concerns that are out there in regard to the economic situation, yes, they are out there, and I am fully aware of them, because right in my own community alone over half the community is receiving the fisheries compensation package, so it is a major issue. It is a major concern; but one thing I can say to the Member for Terra Nova is that nobody - and I repeat, nobody - in the District of St. Mary's - The Capes has to wonder where Fabian Manning is when you need him, and I relay that to the Member for Terra Nova, at no time.

My concern is, and to touch on the issue at hand, in regard to some comments that have been passed about the 20 per cent that people can own, or parties can own, in regard to the new Hydro. The Premier himself made this clear in leading off the debate on March 3, and I quote from Hansard, `instead of putting an absolute prohibition on how many shares one party could own, it is conceivable that maybe ten, fifteen or twenty years from now it may be well in the public interest to allow some investor or group of investors acting together to own more than 20 per cent, if it is in the public interest'. That's a concern that many people have, that this could become a monopoly situation.

The Premier himself admits that it can become in five, ten, fifteen or twenty years time down the road, that it could become a monopoly situation. That is the big concern that people have. Why, because you're in a monopoly situation with private enterprise where there is no competition, they can charge what electricity rates they want, they can put on what taxes they want, it doesn't matter because there is no one to stop them. That's one of the big concerns of the people who are out there, Mr. Chairman.

Another concern is what it will do to the job situation here in the Province. The Premier has touched on the fact of what happened in the Nova Scotia experience several times. The fact remains, Mr. Chairman, they said that there would be no jobs lost in Nova Scotia. They repeated and repeated that during the debate on the Nova Scotia deal and in the end there were 400 jobs lost in Nova Scotia. They talked about the credit rating, Mr. Chairman, several times. Premier Wells suggested that eliminating Hydro's debt would boost the Province's credit rating and make it cheaper to borrow but the credit rating agencies don't seem to agree. A Dominion Bond rating service official told the media: we have always considered Newfoundland Hydro to be self sustaining so we've excluded that debt from our debt calculation.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: Don't talk about that - the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, has a problem, he stood right in front of the Member for Terra Nova, she read word for word and he had no problem with it but he has a problem with me reading. I'm just using some of the quotes - I just want to make sure that we get the facts straight. Instead of the ballyrag that you're at -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MANNING: - I want to get the facts out. You're always talking about the facts.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: Don't be like that now. Go back to the news release that we talked about last night and I'm going to keep this, I'm going to put this in my scrapbook because this is really: `I wish I could do something about the complacency and apathy that's within this Province. I want to be part of something positive happening in this Province.' This is a quote from the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. Well I say Mr. Minister that history will show as it showed with Upper Churchill, history will show that you are not part of something positive in this Province with the vote that you took here last night, I say that to you.

We get back to who can buy the shares, who's going to buy the shares? Sure, the Member for Terra Nova and some other speakers on the other side talked about who can buy the shares and I know there are Newfoundlanders who can buy the shares. I say there is a possibility that 20 per cent of the shares may be bought by the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. Who knows? Who can tell, but I'm sure he will be well up there. But who can buy 20 per cent? They are limited so therefore, who's going to buy the shares? Very few people are going to buy shares in Newfoundland. Some of the people who have lots of money that have spare change in their back pockets to spend on the shares, Mr. Chairman, but like I said before, the thousands of people in this Province now and the hundreds of people that are in the District of St. Mary's - The Capes who are surviving on the fisheries compensation package that may be due to run out or will be changed on May 15, will not be buying shares, Mr. Chairman.

The hundreds of people who are depending on the fisheries compensation in St. Mary's - The Capes won't be buying shares I'd say. The people, that 75,000 plus, who are living on social assistance in this Province now, Mr. Chairman, are having a job to get food to put on their tables for supper, won't be buying shares in this new Hydro that we are talking about. The people who are on low incomes in this Province and everybody knows the economic situation that's in this Province now. There's a handful or more that may be able to buy enough shares to turn around dollars on the new Hydro deal, Mr. Chairman, but the part that concerns me the most - and like I said there are many parts that have been looked at - but the part that concerns me the most is what can happen to our water rights down the road.

We talked and everybody can get up and say what they believe or what they interrupt from the legislation as they see it there. The thing is that the new Hydro will get outright ownership of all the lands and developed water systems that are vested in old Hydro and that the Minister of Finance, somewhere down the road, without going back to the Legislature of this Province, can give away those water rights. Now you can cut it, wash it, shape it, form it any way you want to but that is the fact. It is written right there in the act, it is your interpretation versus mine. That's my interpretation of it, that the Minister of Finance, whenever he or she sees fit down the road, can give away the water rights without going back to the public. The deal will be done and it will be too late, and we go back then to what happened with the Lower Churchill, and we are not going to hash over and be concerned with that again, Mr. Chairman.

Another part that concerns me, Mr. Chairman, is that, back during the election campaign this was never mentioned; Hydro was a vicious rumour, developed by the Opposition, a vicious rumour. The Premier went around this Province and campaigned and when he was asked about the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro, he never answered the questions; the only answer he gave was: it is a vicious rumour by the Opposition, thought up by the Opposition. Now I say to the Member for St. John's South, back off, take it easy, I know that you never studied to be a lawyer but you spent a lot of time at the bar but that's okay, now just take it easy; but this was never, never an election issue brought up during the April campaign and I say that that is wrong because the people of the Province were fooled, the people of the Province had the wool pulled over their eyes.

Last night the galleries were almost full and they saw what this government planned to do, you have a majority -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: The people of this Province were here last night standing up, and saw this government ram the second reading of this bill down the throats of not only the Opposition, but of all the people of this Province, so they may be fed up and what they can do about it right now is limited. What they can do about what happened here last night - so really it is hard to say why the galleries are not full this morning because the word went out last night I presume, the word went out last night after our session that there is not much really that people can do at this point, but the thing is, they will be able to do something in three years time.

Now I heard one of the members opposite out in the lobby last night saying that this will be a non-issue in three years time. One of the member said it will be a non-issue.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: Yes. A non-issue, but I am sure that people who were here years ago thought that Sprung would be a non-issue but it wasn't and the privatization of Hydro won't be a non-issue I say in three years time either, because electricity rates will be up and they will see it every month on their bills and will be reminded every month of it whether it is two, three or four years time when there is an election call that they will see that privatization of Hydro was a bad deal for this Province, was a bad deal for the people of this Province and a bad deal for the future of this Province.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: I went through several options why -

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: You were up yesterday for twenty minutes. I say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, you were up for twenty minutes yesterday to explain why it should be privatized -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. MANNING: - you talked eighteen minutes on the fishery and two minutes on the new Hydro.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. MANNING: You didn't explain why. You talked about what you did when you were not a member of Cabinet, and what you can't do now because you are a member of Cabinet.

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Chairman, I want to say a few words in this debate. Last night I was very pleased to vote for this bill, and I will be voting for it in Committee stage and also in third reading. I've taken that decision after reading the bill, after being involved in its formulation, and I have exercised my judgement. In my judgement that is the right and proper thing to do for the constituents of the Strait of Belle Isle District and for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

When I say I'm using my judgement I'm actually reflecting the way I see my role as a member of the House of Assembly. I take my guidance from Edmund Burke.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who?

MR. DECKER: "Who," he says. Who, they say. That sums it all up, Mr. Chairman. In a speech to the electors of Bristol on November 3, 1774, Sir Edmund Burke said: "Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgement; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion."

When I was elected to this House I was not elected to do what always might be the popular thing to do. When Pontius Pilate made his decision a couple of thousand years ago to the echoes of crucify him, crucify him! he did the popular thing. An interest group had a decision, had their minds made up. He did the popular thing, only, of course, history has a different opinion.

If I were to see my role as anything but a role where I have to exercise my judgement for my constituents there would be no need of me being here. There would be no need of any of us being here. We could elect fifty-two trained monkeys, and we could equip them with baskets and they could make weekly or monthly trips through the district. What is your opinion today, good constituents, on the privatization of Hydro? Drop your little note into my basket. What is your opinion on whether or not we should come with an income support program? Drop your little note into the basket, good constituents, and we will go back and throw them in a computer and have them counted.

 

The role of a member of the House of Assembly, the role of a member of parliament, the role of the representative, is to get all the facts and then exercise his or her judgement.

MS. VERGE: Point of order, Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Humber East on a point of order.

MS. VERGE: I would like to ask the Minister of Education if the government is going to have a referendum on the education system.

MR. CHAIRMAN: No point of order.

The hon. the Minister of Education.

MR. DECKER: No, Mr. Chairman, you are absolutely right, that is not a point of order. That is another example of the kind of nonsense we get from that hon. member when she can't bear to listen to a good speech.

One of the weaknesses in this Province which has developed over the past number of years is that we have created a dependency among our people where we encourage them to look to government to do everything that is necessary, fulfil all their needs. This dependency has flowed over into the private sector as well to the extent that people no longer believe that the private sector is capable of actually being the engine of growth for our society. The private sector has been suffocated.

I can understand when my friend for St. John's East gets up and argues that we should not privatize Hydro. That kind of thinking is perfectly in keeping with the NDP philosophy. I don't accept it, but I certainly respect the right of the hon. member to hold that opinion. I would have to explain to him that the greatest experiment we ever had in socialism turned out to be an abysmal failure. The whole Soviet Union was based on this kind of a philosophy and it collapsed, it fell apart.

What I cannot understand is how my Tory friends, who have been known throughout history to be the believers in free enterprise, how they can sacrifice their judgement to what is perceived to be public opinion defies all logic. My hon. friends on the Tory benches have been fooled by a noisy interest group, and they have sacrificed their judgement, they have betrayed their constituents. Because they are not looking - they are hearing the cries of crucify him, crucify him!.. and they are doing the popular thing. Because they believe that to do the thing of the minute is the way you govern.

On reflection, Mr. Chairman, that is exactly what has got us into the mess we are in today in this Province. How easy it was to do what was perceived to be the popular thing.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. DECKER: You see, they have created this myth that somehow Hydro is a company which is out there performing, and turning all of this money into the government.

Mr. Chairman, up in Roddickton there is a chip plant which burns wood chips.

AN HON. MEMBER: A what, Chris?

MR. DECKER: A chip plant. It burns wood biomass, by-products.

Now, Mr. Chairman, that plant, the idea was conceived by a fellow who worked with the forestry up there, and it was an excellent idea. The idea was that he would attach to the diesel generating plant a small, biomass plant - a little steam plant - that would probably consume 5,000 or 6,000 tons of wood chips - biomass, by-products - so it was passed over to this efficient Crown corporation known as Hydro.

My understanding is that in fairness to the board they decided it was not a viable project; however, this was in the days when Sprung was on the market. This was in the days when we were going to have this big industrialization of the Province. Word came from the owner of Hydro, the government of the day, and directed them to go ahead with this plan.

Now, Mr. Chairman, it ended up costing the taxpayers of this Province, either through their light bills or however, $55 million for a plant which is ten times too big. It has devastated a forest up there to keep it going. Private business would never have made that decision - would never have put that kind of burden on the taxpayers of this Province. It was totally unviable, totally unreasonable. The concept of a small plant costing about a million bucks, attached to the diesel operating, with sufficient biomass to keep it going, was a good one, but when government interfered, they unloaded this abysmal waste on the taxpayers of this Province, and if that was the only example we had of government waste, then maybe we could live with it.

What did Cat Arm cost to put into production? We had to have Cat Arm; we needed the energy, but I can tell you the private sector could have done it for probably 40 per cent less than it was done with the Crown corporation.

I owe my judgement to the people of this Province. The cost of giving a wrong judgement, Mr. Chairman, is very expensive. People who give wrong judgements will pay for them just as our colleagues across the way paid for some terrible judgements they made. We are all paying for them financially, and they are paying for them in that they got turfed out, Mr. Chairman. I can say, full well, that I know what is in this bill. I know this bill will benefit the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, and I am not standing here, like other members of this House, who simply want to govern by the whim of public opinion, by the whim of a few interest groups who are screaming, Mr. Chairman. I will refer all my members to Edmund Burke when he says, `We owe our constituents our judgement.'

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HEWLETT: Mr. Chairman, there are only a few minutes left. I have sat here for quite some time and heard a lecture from some Liberals about the private sector and so on. One of the first things I suggest they do is change the name of their party, because whatever the hon. people opposite may be, Mr. Chairman, they are not liberals. That is certain.

AN HON. MEMBER: What are you?

MR. HEWLETT: I am fifty times the liberal than any of you people over there will ever be, believe me - a small `l'.

The hon. minister over there mentioned cucumbers and what a terrible waste, but they always forget; what about their record with something like Jean Payne? They never brought that up when they were bringing their statements before this House. They are very selective in their memory. Yes, Mr. Chairman, they believe in a private sector, and I will tell you what private sector it is. It is the big corporations, the ones that are going to gain from the sale of Hydro, the ones that are going to gain from the development of the remaining water resources in this Province, both here on the Island and in Labrador. That's who are going to win. Yes, they will be private sector but they will not be your ordinary `joe' who can't afford to buy shares. It will be the same sorts of people who already own shares in many large corporations and are licking their chops at the prospect of buying shares in a newly privatized Hydro.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. LUSH: Mr. Chairman, I thought I would rise at this point in time and say a few words. It is the first time I have engaged in debate in this Legislature. I have been a member for a number of years. I may be a little rusty, because, having sat in the Chair for four years, I lost some of the few oratorical skills that I possessed. I thought today I would engage in the debate and tell hon. members that I'm almost persuaded, I think I know the way I'm going to vote, after listening to the hon. the Minister of Education. He has almost persuaded me which way I'm going to vote in the Committee of the Whole.

Mr. Chairman, I was informed this morning that the Leader of the Opposition was rather upset with the small number of people that he got last night in his public meeting. I understand he was quite irate and he was quite upset with his organizers, whoever they were. He asked them: Didn't you people spread the word that I was coming? Didn't you tell the people that I was coming? The organizers said: No, but we think it must have leaked out.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LUSH: Mr. Chairman, I just wanted, for a moment, to comment on the comments being made by the hon. members opposite with respect to closure that was applied yesterday on this bill, and calling it the gag order.

Now, I can appreciate that coming from new members, but they ought to understand that this is a perfectly legitimate measure used by governments so that they can get on with their business. This is not a gag order. As a matter of fact, in most Legislatures across the country, you don't have to use it. It is in every Legislature, but you don't have to use it because the Legislature is geared in such a way that the business of government can be carried on. They have time limits and this kind of thing.

In this particular House we don't have that, so the government has this mechanism, a perfectly democratic mechanism, a perfectly legitimate mechanism that is used right throughout the British Commonwealth, so that governments can carry out their business. There is nothing sinister about it, nothing undemocratic about, it is very democratic. I laud the Government House Leader for having taken that initiative yesterday so that we can get on and debate this very important issue.

Mr. Chairman, I notice that it is getting up for noon and I will adjourn the debate.

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

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

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

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

MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole have considered the matters to them referred, wish to report some progress and ask leave to sit again.

On motion, report received and adopted, Committee ordered to sit again on tomorrow.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I will move the adjournment and, in so doing, would remind members that we look forward to seeing them on Monday. It is good of them to volunteer their holiday, along with thousands of other Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

Mr. Speaker, I advise members so that in arranging their schedules they will be aware of our plans. We do not plan to ask the House to sit late Monday evening but - but, that will depend entirely on whether the House comes to grips at the Committee stage on this bill or whether we see more of the shilly-shallying that we have seen on this petition nonsense in the last week or so.

Mr. Speaker, the Committee stage allows a wide latitude of debate on a bill; if members want to get into the debate on the bill, we will make it possible by calling the bill for Committee.

With that said, Mr. Speaker, I move that the House at its rising adjourn until Monday at two o'clock and that the House do now adjourn.

On motion, the House at its rising adjourned until Monday, at 2.00 p.m.