May 17, 1994                HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS              Vol. XLII  No. 43


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

On behalf of hon. members, I would like to welcome to the public galleries the Mayor of Grand Falls - Windsor, Mr. Walwin Blackmore. I would also like to welcome twenty Improving Your Odds students from Ferryland, accompanied by their teachers, Corey D'Entremont and Tina Blinston.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Statements by Ministers

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

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, earlier today it was my pleasure to announce, along with the hon. Brian Tobin, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, the first phase of the Canada/Newfoundland Municipal Infrastructure Agreement. Some twenty-two projects were announced at a total cost of $25.6 million. It is expected they will create 290 jobs.

Since the Canada/Newfoundland Infrastructure Works Agreement was signed on February 9, more than 600 proposals have been submitted by municipalities and the private sector. The twenty-two projects announced this morning are the first in a series to be announced for start-up this spring. Including the projects announced today, over $50 million is expected to be spent this year, with a further $96 million to be allocated for spending throughout the life of the agreement. Although we are saying $50 million this year, it is quite possible that the total expenditure for 1994 will come closer to $80 million.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. REID: As it is known, the Canada/Newfoundland Infrastructure Program represents a substantial capital works program. Although funding under the program generally is on the basis of one-third federal, one-third provincial, and one-third municipal, it is important here to point out that the Provincial Government's share under the program is in excess of 48 per cent as opposed to being one-third.

This afternoon, I am happy to announce that the Province, on its own, will spend an additional $2,715,000 on municipal capital works projects during the 1994-1995 year.

As indicated, this funding is supplementary to the Canada/Newfoundland Municipal Infrastructure Agreement and will be spent on water and sewer and road construction and paving projects.

These funds are being distributed fairly and equitably throughout the Province and they will address the most pressing problems as they relate to cost-shared municipal services.

All of the financing for these projects is through the Newfoundland Municipal Finance Corporation. Road work is financed on a 60 per cent province - 40 per cent municipal basis. The municipal contribution for water and sewer is based on the cost per household or a percentage of fixed revenue.

Mr. Speaker, this is a significant announcement in view of the fact that it is separate and apart from the Canada/Newfoundland Infrastructure Works Agreement and I know it will be well received by as many as twenty-nine communities sharing this program.

For the information of the House and the media, I will be tabling a list of projects approved by government under the 1994/95 program. They are listed alphabetically and the list contains information relating to the cost and project description. I will note, Mr. Speaker, before I finish, that the largest portion of this amount is going to the community of Steady Brook, $819,000.

I am pleased also to announce today that, in due course, Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation (NLHC) will be proceeding with the extension of Old Placentia Road in the City of Mount Pearl from Commonwealth Avenue to Murley Drive. This project is valued in excess of $1 million. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Humber Valley.

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to thank the minister for giving me a copy of his statement prior to coming into the House.

Mr. Speaker, if I were a mayor or a councillor in this Province today, I wouldn't want to be caught in all the press conferences that were held this morning and will be held over the next couple of weeks, and statements by the minister such as this. There is no question, the projects that were announced were good projects, based on environmental and health problems in the Province. I say to the minister and the federal minister as well, that part is excellent but let's look at the historical facts, Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

Last year, Mr. Speaker, there was a capital program of some $59.5 million out of which - the minister can confirm later - less than $40 million was spent. Now, to say we are going to spend $50 million this year, cost-shared, one-third municipal, one-third federal and one-third provincial - Mr. Speaker, just look at those figures and look around the Province and see what's happening. This is supposed to be new monies - new monies from the Province, new monies from the feds and so on. To me, Mr. Speaker, from where I stand and looking at the announcements this morning and the announcement by the minister this evening, that there's no new monies, two questions I ask: Where is the new money from the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs over and above what was spent last year? Secondly, a very important question and maybe the Premier can answer it later: Where is the federal money coming from? Is it coming from the ACOA program?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave.

MR. SPEAKER: No leave.

Oral Questions

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. I think it was a couple of months ago I asked the minister if there were any municipalities in the Province which would be eligible, any municipalities that is that were back on payments on debt on their capital program, and he said that they would be eligible for any monies on the infrastructure program. He told me at that time: no, any municipalities would not be eligible. Just as recently as last week, Mr. Speaker, on May 11, I received a letter from the minister and his officials telling me about a community in my district that would not be eligible for monies under the capital - no additional capital funding can be made available to these municipalities.

In an answer to a question by a councillor I take it at a press conference this morning, the minister said that this would not be the case, that there would be municipalities in the Province getting money under the infrastructure program even though they were in arrears to his department. Could the minister tell me today, tell me now, what municipalities on the list this morning, if any, owe money in arrears to his department, and what municipalities contained in his list this evening that he just tabled now, would be in arrears to his department?

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

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, early in March, a letter went out to 114 communities from one end of this Province to the other, expressing concern about arrears to the Newfoundland Municipal Financial Corporation as it relates to capital debt, which of course is debt incurred for water and sewerage and roads and paving and so on. That letter was followed up at the end of March by a second letter; in April there was a third letter and just last week I signed a fourth letter to the municipalities in the Province basically asking them, almost begging, Mr. Speaker, for those communities who were in financial difficulty as it relates to Municipal Financial Corporation, to come into my department and make a proposal whereby these communities could overcome that financial difficulty by spreading that payment or that debt over four years.

I am very pleased today to announce that on March 1, some $13 million was owed to the financial corporation by municipalities around this Province, as of today, Mr. Speaker, there is an outstanding balance of approximately $2 million that have not been either paid off or agreements haven't been made. There are still thirty-two communities in this Province who have refused to come to my department and make some sort of accommodation in regards to their debt to NMFC; those communities, Mr. Speaker, will not only not receive infrastructure money, they will receive absolutely no consideration from my department or this government's department, and I can assure you from the government in general. Not only under infrastructure but any types of funding.

My approach to it has been this, that if those communities haven't got the foresight and responsibility to come to the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, after me offering on four separate occasions an open hand to these people, then I think we have no other choice as a government, because there were eighty-odd that did comply, that those twenty-five or thirty communities must be told that they have to get their house in order the same way as we as the government of this Province have to get our house in order. Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, supplementary to the minister. The minister still didn't answer my question. I asked him how many communities on this morning's list and on this evening's list would be in that category. Maybe when he gets up again he can answer that.

The minister has stated - he stated this morning - he never said the percentages, but he did this evening in his statement, that 48 per cent, that is what the provincial government's share would be under this particular program. Could the minister tell me and confirm to the House - the total figure for this year is $50 million - would this be 48 per cent of the $50 million for this year, or 48 per cent of the balance after the feds put in their one-third?

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

MR. REID: The answer, Mr. Speaker, is 48 per cent of the balance after the federal amount comes off. I have to explain this to the House, Mr. Speaker, if you will allow me. I won't take very long.

I told the House some two months ago that the Government of Newfoundland had decided rather than go on a one-third, one-third, one-third basis with communities around this Province that we felt there would be a lot of communities out there, especially in rural Newfoundland, that couldn't afford to come up with their one-third. In fact, after a survey that was done by my department - and the hon. member knows what I'm talking about here because I've discussed it a number of times with him and he agreed at the time that I should do it - after a survey was done there was something like thirty-two communities in the Province that would be able to qualify for infrastructure money under a one-third, one-third basis.

This government agreed, because of that fact, that this wouldn't be fair to rural communities and a number of communities around the Province. Basically we went back to the same system we use under the capital works program, whereby a municipality for road work and paving would pay 40 per cent of the cost of the project, the Province would pay 60 per cent. If you take the one-third off the top from the federal government then it is basically two-thirds divided by 60 per cent for the Province and 40 per cent for the municipality.

There are other communities out there, as the member knows, that have reached a level of taxation and are paying towards their debt on a regular basis, $328.00 a household, which basically means, Mr. Speaker, that when a community rises to the $328, after that point, we don't take any more money from them, because we feel that we would be putting an unnecessary strain on them. By rising to the $328, Mr. Speaker, then the Province has to pick up for water and sewer the total cost of the project, the total cost under the infrastructure less the one-third.

Now, Mr. Speaker, to get back to what the hon. member asked me before, the answer to your earlier question is, no, there are no communities on either the infrastructure list, or on this list, that owe back monies to NMFC. I am sure, from the hon. member's comments to me earlier, and the comments that were made in this House sometime ago, that the approach that we took with regard to the infrastructure of the government paying the portion we are paying was the right one.

Mr. Speaker, 48 per cent, I will address that question. In 1984 the previous government spent $28 million on capital works, and in 1985 they spent $32 million. It wasn't until 1990, just after this government got elected, that we put $63 million into capital works programs, $63 million, the highest amount by any government since 1949. I say this quite honestly, to you, Mr. Speaker, and to this House, before this year is over we will possibly reach that amount or maybe even more. So that is where our capital works money has gone this year and, in comparison to previous years, we have done fairly well as far as I am concerned, and as far as the people on this side of the House are concerned.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

A final supplementary to the minister. I don't know if he is treading water now or not, but I am going to tell you, Mr. Minister, you have a lot of going to do to reach the 48 per cent of the $50 million. There is approximately 24 into 48 per cent of the balance, and after the feds put their money in there is approximately $16 million, unless there is a new math since I left my office a few minutes ago.

Mr. Speaker, could the minister answer this question? I have asked it before in the House and didn't really get a straight answer. Where is the federal money coming from? There seems to be an awful lot of ACOA involvement. Everywhere you go there are ACOA officials. At the press conference this morning you talked about the infrastructure program and ACOA was there and involved. Where is the federal money coming from? Is it coming from the ACOA program, because if it is, that's not new money. Would the minister confirm that for the House?

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

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, I don't know where the money is coming from. All I know is that somebody - and I think it was Mr. Tobin - no, I think it was the Prime Minister, to be honest about it; the Prime Minister came out some time ago and said he was going to spend $3 billion in Canada and our share of it was going to be approximately $150 million, which would mean that the Federal Government in the next two years will have to contribute upwards of $50 million to Newfoundland infrastructure.

I'm surprised the hon. member, who is a past mayor, a past representative of the Federation of Municipalities, a long-time person involved in municipal politics, would care where the money came from. As long as I, as Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, can deliver $150 million - $150 million, Mr. Speaker! If I can deliver $150 million to the municipalities so that I can provide decent drinking water -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. REID: - so I can stop sewerage from running in drains -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. REID: - who cares where the $150 million came from?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Menihek.

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the President of Treasury Board. I want to ask him if talks are continuing at any level with the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers' Association in an attempt to bring an end to the teachers' strike here in this Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, normal collective bargaining has not yet begun. However, channels of communication are open. There was a meeting last Thursday night which lasted four or five hours, at which some proposals were discussed. The NLTA needed some time to consider what was discussed and got back to me on Sunday night with a discussion paper in response, and, Mr. Speaker, after getting some clarification yesterday, we are now pretty well in a position to get back with our response to the discussion paper.

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

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, the government withdrew its position on severance pay, which was one of the principle obstacles in reaching an agreement with the union. By the end of this week you will have almost saved the cost of the 2 per cent cost because of the teachers' strike. Since you will get the money you will want over the next seven or eight days, will you then be more flexible than you have been on the other issues, such as that 2 per cent clause?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, last year with all of our public sector workers we agreed to use an option that was a one-year quick fix solution, an interim solution to give us time. That solution gave us that time and that was referred to as the pension option. Now what we have to do has to be in terms of long-range planning. The one-year quick fix solutions are no longer acceptable. We no longer can do these. This is tied in with long-range planning and what must be done over the next number of years to keep our financial house in order. We have received a very serious warning in the last couple of weeks, and we no longer have an A credit rating. We have been told that we must continue on the same track and our resolve must be even stronger than ever. Mr. Speaker, we are talking here about long-range planning and not playing some kind of game or not trying to come up with some quick fix solution.

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

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, most people would call it contract stripping, not long-range planning. Public examinations begin in June - June 10 to be exact. If teachers aren't back to work before then it will be because the government is out to punish teachers rather than negotiate a fair contract.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. A. SNOW: The President of Treasury Board knows he will have the money that he wants by the end of this week or early next week. Will you now assure the students who are worried about their final marks that the strike will end as soon as you extract the savings that you want from the teachers' pay cheques?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, what's happening now is exacting a terrible price from the students of this Province, I'd like to remind hon. members. Mr. Speaker, my answer still stands, that this is about long-term planning, this is about being able to do what we must do as a government if we are to survive in the financial world, that's what this is about. This is not simply a game of trying to get a handful of money here and a handful of money there. This approach is based on reason, common sense, fairness and equity for every single person in this Province.

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

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

There is a direct relationship between the restructuring policies of his department and the government's fiscal policy. For example, the 2 per cent savings clause. What is the involvement of the minister in the current collective bargaining process? Is he an active participant at the table or is he a messenger for the President of Treasury Board?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should understand how government works. There are fourteen departments plus the Premier's office in this government and all of us are responsible for various parts of the operation. The President of Treasury Board is doing an admirable job in negotiations with the employees of government. I'm not involved in the day to day negotiations however, at the end of the day, Mr. Speaker, I will proudly stand in my place and support whatever agreement this government reaches with its employees.

Now the hon. member makes a connection between the fiscal problems and the 2 per cent rule, by any stretch of the imagination I don't know how the hon. member can make that connection. The reality is, Mr. Speaker, as a result of the 2 per cent savings clause, there are fourteen or fifteen boards in this Province which have more teachers then they are entitled to under the normal student/teacher relationship. The other boards do not have any teachers on holdback. As a result, one board in this Province has forty-six additional teachers on holdback, Mr. Speaker. They literally have teachers coming out through their ears.

There are schools in this Province, right in the city where the hon. member taught himself, which are bursting at the seams, large classes and they don't have enough teachers. This is not about fiscal realities, this is about the right of the government to manage the educational system. If there were no 2 per cent clause, it does not mean that there would be significantly less teachers. We would still have to deal with the problems but we would have the ability, Mr. Speaker, to assign these teachers where they're needed, not where there just happens to be teachers on holdback. This has nothing to do with fiscal realities. This has to do with the ability of government to administer and government to manage the educational system.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Waterford - Kenmount.

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, the minister in his comments made my point, there is a direct connection between restructuring of his department and fiscal policy. I say to the minister that he has been asked by this side of the House for some months to prepare and to table or to communicate with the NLTA a comprehensive small schools policy. One of the real impediments to getting a collective agreement now is the 2 per cent savings clause and assurance that small schools are going to be protected and programs protected in this Province.

I say to the minister, surely he has such a policy. Can't he confirm that the government does have a comprehensive small schools policy ready?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, there has been a small schools policy in this Province for years and years. The hon. member should know that. What we are talking about working on is a small isolated schools policy which is different. In Roddickton, where my family lives and where I live, there are two small schools within 1,000 feet of each other and both of them take advantage of extra teachers under the small schools policy. That, Mr. Speaker, is a total waste of government money. They are being kept alive by the small schools policy which is irrelevant. However, the school in Harbour Deep - as long as there is a Harbour Deep it is highly unlikely there will be any more then thirty-five or forty students in Great Harbour Deep. We have to have an isolated schools policy to deal with the Harbour Deep's but not a small schools policy that keeps small schools alive for no reason other then it happens to be there. So we're trying to work on the small isolated schools, Mr. Speaker, and I think that's where the hon. member is mixed up, where he's confusing an isolated school with a small school.

MR. SPEAKER: A final supplementary, the hon. the Member for Waterford - Kenmount.

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, the small schools policy is so isolated that nobody knows about it. Mr. Speaker, I say to the minister that small schools policy is needed to protect the smaller schools in all parts of - particularly in rural Newfoundland. We've had petitions presented, I think it was yesterday, by his colleague across the way. I say to the minister, how many more millions, at $450,000 an hour, five hours a day, that's $2.25 million every day, how many more millions must the Newfoundland and Labrador teachers give up at the bargaining table before his government presents to the NLTA, a policy on small schools, thereby facilitates a resolution to the current collective bargaining impediments we have in the Province?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is mixing apples and oranges. My friend, the President of Treasury Board just addressed the issue of the strike which is saving the Province close to $2 million a day. It is a totally different issue and I think the hon. the President of Treasury Board addressed it quite well.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is for the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, concerning the infrastructure program. Can the minister tell us whether or not the 48 per cent of provincial contribution to the municipal infrastructure program applies with respect to the City of St. John's in particular, with respect to the work in the Goulds which had to be done to bring it up to the standard of the city, after the Goulds was imposed and standards to amalgamation imposed upon the city and taxpayers of St. John's, the same 48 per cent apply there?

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

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, yes. One of the projects that I really felt good about today and even separated out of the amount of money that we had allotted for St. John's was the Goulds project; and the reason, I explained it earlier this morning, and the hon. member from the Goulds area was there, and I explained this morning that the reason I separated it was because the Goulds area is an unique situation.

As most people in the St. John's area realize, the Goulds situation is a bad one at the present time. We have certain times in the year when there is an excess amount of water running into the ditches and drains; we have raw sewerage running in the streets in the Goulds and I must say, to be quite honest about it, I commend the City of St. John's for making it one of their top priorities. $2 million went to the Goulds project this morning.

Now to answer the first question, Mr. Speaker, St. John's is a little different. Any community in the Province who has the tax base like St. John's, Corner Brook, Gander, Grand Falls, Labrador City, Goose Bay; there are a number of communities that have a higher tax base and when I say tax base I mean a number of businesses and industries in the town from whom they can collect sizeable amounts of taxes, are not treated in the same way smaller communities with less of a tax base are.

The City of St. John's for example, contributes to their debt charges somewhere in the range of sixty or seventy dollars per year, which means that they are a fairly well-to-do city. In the case of water and sewerage in the City of St. John's, the City of St. John's - for the Goulds one in particular, to make the answer simple as I possibly can - the City of St. John's would get the one-third off the federal contribution, which would lower that to $1.4 million and that $1.4 million is left to the two then, the City of St. John's will finance themselves over a period of ten or fifteen years or whatever the case; but, to balance that, we also announced this morning some $5 million in road construction and I guess in the next couple of weeks maybe, notice I am saying maybe, a fair amount of money in road construction.

Now in road construction they are going to do quite well, because under the 100 per cent formula –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. REID: - under the 100 per cent formula they would have to pay-

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I would ask the minister to draw his answer to a close.

MR. REID: The problem with it, Mr. Speaker, in giving an answer, is that some hon. members on the other side understand that formula and some others and I have continually, for the last year, tried to explain that formula in this House -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I didn't ask the minister to (inaudible).

MR. REID: - based on questions from the Opposition to -

Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I didn't ask the minister for a justification, I asked him to complete his answer.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

They always take longer to answer when they are not answering the question.

The question that I asked, Mr. Speaker, I asked the minister directly: is the City of St. John's being required to pay more than one-third of the cost of the projects that are being undertaken in the Goulds in particular, and under this infrastructure program are they being required to pay more than one-third the cost, are they being able to access these funds on a one-third, one-third, one-third basis in accordance with the federal government plan, or are the taxpayers of St. John's, and I am not talking about the city, I am talking about the taxpayers, who may not be well-to-do, Mr. Speaker, are they being asked to share an unequal burden in this program more than the one-third that was required under the federal government program?

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

MR. REID: The short answer, Mr. Speaker, is yes and no, and so are some twenty other communities in the Province being charged, I suppose, the same as the City of St. John's.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask a question of the Premier. About eleven days ago in Corner Brook the Premier was reported as saying that the report by the three doctors on the task force on the Grenfell Regional Health Service would not be released, will not be made public. I ask the Premier if that is what he stated?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker, that is not what I said. What I said was: I do not know. I have not spoken to the Minister of Health as to whether this will be made public or not. I had not spoken to him about it and the Minister of Health had not reported to the Cabinet on it. I understand it was just recently received.

What I did say was that reports on the operations of hospitals are frequently internal reports, and internal reports are not made public. This may, or may not be, that kind of report. I did not have personal knowledge of it. It may or may not be made public, and it will depend on the Minister of Health. He is the one who should answer that question. I cannot give the member the answer now, but perhaps the Minister of Health can.

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

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, I have questions for the Premier about the disgrace at the Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal. The Premier may be interested to know that in his most recent absence from the Province his Minister of Employment and Labour Relations has been vigorously defending the exorbitant billing by patronage appointees, Gordon Seabright, Jeff Brace, and Derrick Watton, and has said the government is keeping on Mr. Seabright until the end of 1994. Does the Premier agree with his minister?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: The minister is sitting in his chair. He is still the minister. I agree with the minister.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to ask the Premier if he agrees that there is a flagrant abuse when you look at Gordon Seabright's $2200 average billing per decision, and compare that to Christine Fagan's $650 average billing per decision, and Catherine Allan Westby's $790 average? Is there not an unacceptable problem when you look at the bloating of Mr. Seabright's annual billing from $57,000 in 1992 when the former Executive Director, Weldon Brake, began warning the minister, up to $98,000 last year, $98,000 for part-time work? I ask the Premier is not the solution immediate removal of Messrs Seabright, Brace and Watton?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I do not know what the minister said in the House yesterday so I will leave it to the minister to answer the questions, but in the discussions that I have had with the minister, and these discussions have been ongoing for some time, we do need to review completely this whole concept of the Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal. The mess was created by the former government when they created this position. Now that does not excuse financial abuse by anybody who is there now, and if there is financial abuse I have no doubt that the minister will ferret out any financial abuse, and deal with it. I do not do that on a detailed basis. I have great confidence that the minister will do whatever is necessary to deal with it. The real problem is only going to be solved when we correct the mess that the former government created.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Humber East on a final supplementary.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I ask the Premier if the real problem is not excessive billing, exorbitant billing, by the Premier's patronage appointees, and not the system itself? Is not that problem obvious when you look at the average billing per decision by the three big Liberal patronage appointees, compared to the other appointees? Is the Premier going to leave Mr. Seabright in place for another seven and a half months, as the minister indicated, so that he can boost his billing beyond $98,000 a year? Is that what the Premier is going to do? Why was it last week that he feigned surprise at the revelation of these gross numbers and this excessive billing?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Because of the very gross misrepresentation of the information I tabled last week by hon. members opposite I have given an undertaking in Question Period yesterday to give more detailed information for all of the financial billings of the members of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Tribunal since it was established in 1987.

Because again, Mr. Speaker, the numbers referenced by the hon. Member for Humber East, because of the fact that they last year took calendar year numbers, which are presented in the annual report, and divided them by fiscal year numbers, which were what I tabled in the House, and came up with what they think are these exaggerations, I am now having the staff put together comparisons of fiscal years with fiscal years. I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, and tell the hon. members, that the comparisons to date I will have it compiled, I expect, completely by tomorrow so that there is no misrepresentation by members opposite.

In the initial instance, beginning in 1987, the average cost per hearing by the people who were placed there by members opposite was $1,413 per hearing, and last year the average cost per hearing was $1,420 per hearing. What this great exaggeration is I don't know. Interesting to note that in the great cries about patronage and so on, it has already been explained of their error with Mr. Watton in Corner Brook. He has taken great personal exception to that. The hon. members opposite might like to be reminded that when they were in position the vice-chair at that point in time was the president of the PC association for the District of Grand Falls that represents the hon. Leader of the Opposition. I don't know what all the crying is about. The numbers are the same and we will see what happens.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Question period has expired.

Petitions

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to present a petition on behalf of residents of Witless Bay, Tors Cove and the St. John's area. It reads:

`We, the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador who wish to avail themselves of their right thus to present a grievance common to the House of Assembly in the certain assurance that the House will therefore provide a remedy' - and I will get to the immediate prayer:

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

Mr. Speaker, this government has set out to privatize Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro at an exorbitant cost to the ratepayers and the taxpayers of this Province, and they are trying to hide the increases twofold. They are trying to hide it from the ratepayers of the Province, partially, and partially from the taxpayers of this Province.

The bill that we are debating today, on which they have invoked a gag order, three separate closure motions on the one bill, Bill 2, is trying to facilitate the process for the privatization of Hydro. They are addressing five specific points in Bill 2 that is opening the door for the privatization of Hydro. The Premier says repeatedly it is to deal with the regulation and control of electricity in this Province, and for power emergencies.

Now, our party has agreed with the need to regulate and to deal with power for power emergencies in the Province; we haven't disputed the fact. What we do disagree with are five points that are being addressed to facilitate the passing of Bill 1; in other words, in giving to the Public Utilities Board the powers to give a return on profits to shareholders. All we need in that bill is an opportunity for a company to maintain creditworthiness on the market and to recover costs, not a healthy return in profit of almost 14 per cent to the shareholders in the new company that will be 80-some per cent from outside this Province. Shareholders on Bay Street and eastern townships are the people who are going to be the real beneficiaries of this specific piece of legislation.

The Premier has told the people of this Province, in a `householder' that went out: Your electricity rate will increase $1.50 per month. He fails to tell us that he is basing it upon 700 kilowatt hours of consumption, when Newfoundland Power today has 173,000 customers, households with electricity, of which 99,000 have electric heat and 74,000 do not have electric heat but have electricity. The average consumption by those households is over 1,300 kilowatt hours. It is almost double the figures the Premier uses, and that is not looking at other hidden costs that he fails to show.

Industrial consumers are going to face a considerable increase after 1999. Yes, and the Member for Eagle River might add, in Labrador it is going to be over a 30 per cent increase in electricity. The Premier's own admission is 20 per cent. The Premier admits to 20 per cent; you can be safe in adding on another 50 per cent and you would be very close to target.

Also, they are proposing that essential employees be moved from the Labour Relations Board on to the Public Utilities Board, another step in Bill 2 that is going to facilitate the privatization of Hydro. Also, they are giving the Public Utilities Board the power to determine if a shareholder can own even 100 per cent of the new company - anything over 20 per cent. The Public Utilities Board will now have the power to determine whether somebody in Montreal or Toronto can own, lock, stock and barrel, the new privatized Hydro - that is there is Bill 2. And the Premier went out and stated last fall: `When we privatize Hydro,' - `a maximum of 15 per cent by any one individual or corporation.'

When the bill was tabled here in the House in late February, it had 20 per cent maximum. Now, Bill 2 has indicated the Public Utilities Board is going to have the opportunity to raise it to 30, 40, 50, 80, or 90 per cent. That is stated in the bill, and it gives the Minister of Finance exorbitant powers, that he doesn't even have to come back to this House of Assembly in giving away the rights to water here in this Province. It gives one individual that sole power. That is wrong; it is improper. The people of this Province understand it. It has been demonstrated clearly in public opinion polls -

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

MR. SULLIVAN: By leave, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No leave.

MR. SPEAKER: No leave.

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

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am pleased today to stand and support the petition put forward by my hon. colleague, the Member for Ferryland.

Once again, Mr. Speaker, the people of the Province are attempting to speak out against the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro through a petition here in the House. Once again, they are asking the government to slow down; once again, they are asking the government to take a second look.

Mr. Speaker, the people of this Province spoke out in a poll a few weeks ago, some 80 per cent against the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro. The Premier promised on a CBC TV debate that if the majority of the people of the Province were against the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro, they would not proceed. That was not the case, Mr. Speaker, when he came back to the House a few days later. Mr. Speaker, the people of the Province are asking to have an opportunity to speak on this very important piece of legislation.

The Government House Leader, himself, said it is one of the most important pieces of legislation brought before the House of Assembly since Confederation, and still, the people of the Province are not having an opportunity to have their say.

The changes that are before this House now with regard to educational reforms or health care reforms or whatever, Mr. Speaker, if they, for some reason or other, don't suit us in a couple of years time, we can go back to the drawing board and start over again. The thing with Newfoundland Hydro is that once it's privatized it's a done deal. We will never have enough money to buy it back, and therefore, when it's sold it is gone forever - and forever is a long, long time.

Mr. Speaker, Hydro is not a burden on this Province. Hydro doesn't cost this Province one cent. As a matter of fact, we were making money from Hydro somewhere up to $10-$12 million a year on the 1 per cent tax that this government brought in in 1989. The Premier is trying to correct the mistakes of the Upper Churchill contract and I applaud him in one regard, he is trying to do something about the mess that was created in the 1960s. Then why shouldn't he use part of the deal that sees $800 million a year go off to Quebec while Newfoundland receives an insulting $8 million from that deal that was done?

Mr. Speaker, the government of the day has no mandate to proceed with the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro, no mandate whatsoever. When the Premier was asked during the election campaign last year about the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro, he told the people of the Province that it was a nasty rumour put out by the Leader of the Opposition, that it was untrue, that they weren't planning on privatizing Newfoundland Hydro. During the election campaign, Mr. Speaker, he said it was a nasty rumour, but a few months after the people of this Province gave him the government, he proceeded with the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro.

Mr. Speaker, we ask ourselves concerning the shares that will be put on the market - and the Premier stands up and is pleased to announce that Newfoundlanders will have the first opportunity to purchase the shares in the new Hydro. At first it sounds good, Mr. Speaker, but then you ask yourself: Who are going to buy the shares in Newfoundland Hydro? Who are the people who are going to line up to buy the shares? Are they the thousands of people in this Province now, and especially in my district, who are on compensation through the fishery close-down? Are they going to be lining up to buy shares, Mr. Speaker? I say not. Are they the thousands of people in this Province who have been forced on social assistance by the economic policies of this government? Are they going to be lining up to buy shares, Mr. Speaker? I say not. Are they the thousands of teachers who have been put on the streets by this government over the past few weeks? Are they going to be up buying shares in Newfoundland Hydro? I say not, Mr. Speaker.

People are concerned about tomorrow; they're concerned about next year and the year after. The money that will come from the sale of Newfoundland Hydro will help our current account for a year, possibly a year-and-a-half, Mr. Speaker. It has been announced here in the House several times that we could get a year or a year-and-a-half from the sale of the shares of Newfoundland Hydro. What about the years after that, Mr. Speaker? I plan to stay around a lot longer then two years; maybe some of the members on the other side of the House are not planning on staying around for long after that, but I intend to. So I worry about after two years, not just two years down the road.

Another concern that I have, a concern in my district, Mr. Speaker, is the elimination of the rural deficit. Under the privatization act, government will pay New Hydro some $15 million to reduce the impact on the customers of Newfoundland Light and Power caused by shifting the amount of the rural deficit paid by industrial users to domestic users. The $15 million rate reduction fund will allow for the gradual increase in domestic rates. After a few years, domestic customers will pay the total cost of the rural deficit. So I ask: Are the electricity rates in rural Newfoundland going to double over the next couple of years? Are they going to triple? Who can tell us? Nobody seems to know the answer to that.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, if I may say just a word with respect to the petition which my friend, the Member for Ferryland brought in. I'm not going to get into the tedious repetition of the arguments we have heard before and presumably will continue to hear again, but I want to make one point to him, and have it on the record.

He objected, as I heard him, to the provisions of the first part of clause 3 of the Electrical Power Control Act: "It is declared to be the policy of the province" - and then it goes on, 3(a)(i), (b) and (c) and so on down. I understood he objected to 3(a) and in particular 3(a)(iii). What I would point out to him is, I just took the trouble to check the present Electrical Power Control Act, which has been on the books certainly for about twenty years, maybe a little shorter, maybe a little longer, but of that order, placed there, as I recollect, by a PC administration, if that is of any relevance.

I say to him that the wording found in section 3(a)(1)(i)(ii)(iii) of the Electrical Power Control Act is precisely the same as the wording found in section 3(a)(b) and (c) of the present Electrical Power Control Act, with only one difference: we have dropped the reference to Hydro, which is not necessary any longer once Hydro is privatized.

Other than that, the policy set out and declared in 3(a) of the Electrical Power Control Act is word for word the same, Mr. Speaker, as that found in the Electrical Power Control Act that has been on the books of this Province for ten, fifteen, twenty years and which will be replaced by this new act which has now, of course, been moved forward a long way in the House of Assembly.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Does the hon. member have a petition to present?

The hon. the Member for Green Bay.

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have a petition signed by some 484 residents from the south shore of Green Bay. It is a petition to the house of Assembly and it reads as follows:

`We, the undersigned, do hereby express our dissatisfaction with the government's proposed model for reforming our education system. Specifically, we object to any means whereby our rights as citizens of the Province and this country regarding denominational education may be jeopardized. Furthermore, we are calling upon the government to allow a free vote in the House of Assembly on any legislation to restructure the Province's education system and request our politicians to vote against any legislation that is in violation of our constitutional rights and would result in the demise of our Pentecostal schools.'

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated, this petition is signed by 484 residents. I guess, most or all of them would be Pentecostal citizens of Green Bay. They come from the communities of Pilley's Island, Triton, Robert's Arm, Miles Cove, Port Anson and Brighton. All of the parents here would be involved in the system that sees either feeder schools feed into R.W. Parson's Collegiate in Robert's Arm, or actually have people going or bused to that particular school.

This is not the first time I've presented a petition on behalf of Pentecostal citizens of Green Bay, who are concerned that under the government's current restructuring program, their right as guaranteed under the Constitution of Canada would be taken away with regard to the governance of schools. It has been the position of the Official Opposition for some time that many needed reforms in education can be achieved without taking away denominational rights enjoyed by various classes of people in this Province.

These are, as we all know, very difficult times in the education system. We are going through a very difficult labour relations period right now and I don't think the government has done much of late to improve that situation. Indeed, there are arguments to be made that they've done their best to make it worse. With certain budgetary restraints being imposed on the education system, we are seeing a large number of teachers being laid off and small schools being closed. This particular structural change, as well, will have a very negative effect on the number of teachers in our system in that reducing vastly the number of school boards and their associated personnel will mean additional layoffs of dozens if not hundreds of teachers throughout this Province.

Mr. Speaker, we believe that needed reforms can be brought about to the educational system under the existing jurisdiction of the Minister of Education and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. We do not need to get into a totally confrontational system where one church or the other, be it Pentecostal or Roman Catholic, is in a position where they feel obliged to take the government to court to protect their constitutional rights.

Over the last few weeks, Mr. Speaker, there has been some talk in the media of some give and take between the government and churches and I commend government for this, although I must say, I was somewhat taken aback when there was a positive expression from the Pentecostal officials some days ago, that did not seem to be shared by the Premier and his ministers. One would hope that this particular situation, like the outstanding labour problem with which we are dealing now, can be resolved at the bargaining table without further confrontation, Mr. Speaker, without people resorting to extremes, without people having to go to court.

One hopes that this government will see fit to respect people's rights, people's constitutional rights, bring a proper attitude to the table, and with regard to Pentecostal citizens of my district and the Province generally, and others who have a vested interest in denominational education, see their rights protected and dealt with properly and appropriately at the bargaining table.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, I am happy to rise and support the petition presented by my colleague and to say to the hon. House that the prayer of the petition is that people are wanting to be heard. People are asking for tolerance, they are asking for understanding, they are urging the government to continue the dialogue, to seek the avenues that lead to consensus-building and to try to find a compromise between the various opinions that are held by different religious groups in the Province under restructuring of the educational system.

Mr. Speaker, the consequences of our not finding a consensus, an agreeable consensus acceptable, in other words, to all parties, is going to be of great detriment to all the children of this Province. If we don't find an agreement between the churches and the government, we are going to be looking at years of political wrangling and years of legal wrangling and the only people who are going to make any kind of progress in the meantime will be the lawyers. So, Mr. Speaker, I say to the government, an agreement is possible. You only have to listen to the tones of the church representatives, in the past few weeks, led by the former Minister of Education, Dr. Phil Warren, who is doing his best to try to bring together the various groups and to try to find a way in which we can make progress, so that we can get on with the reforms.

Our party supports reforms in education; however, we have said repeatedly that we do not support a non-consensual arrangement that will take away the rights of people as they enjoy them under Term 17 of the Terms of Confederation. So, Mr. Speaker, I say to the government and to the ministry, that they should be looking with more positive commentary on the initiatives that were put forward by Pastor Batstone on behalf of the Pentecostal Assemblies, Newfoundland and Labrador, and also the comments made recently by Mr. Fallon of the Roman Catholic Educational Committee and try to find a way to be accommodating, to get the reforms we need, to make education in this Province one of the leading institutions in Atlantic Canada and, for that matter, in the whole of the country. Because we owe it to the children not to tie up these reforms in years and years of dialogue that will lead to nothing more than a confrontation that will be long-lasting and will keep on going for the next generations.

Thank you very much.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Pursuant to Standing Order 21, I move that 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, I move that the House not adjourn at five o'clock this evening.

Motion carried.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, in the interest of certainty, and in the expectation that hon. gentlemen opposite will be as good as their word and will continue to filibuster, I move that the House not adjourn at 10:00 o'clock tonight.

MR. SPEAKER: It is further moved and seconded that the House do not adjourn at 10:00 p.m.

All those in favour of the motion.

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

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

MR. SIMMS: Since the Government House Leader used the term, `good as our word', can I ask the Government House Leader, will he be good as his word when he told us yesterday we will be debating, first of all, the Social Estimates Committee Report, Concurrence Report, and then doing the closure motion?

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I will most certainly stand by the program of business that I outlined here in the House yesterday. My recollection is quite different from the hon. gentleman's, so I have asked that Hansard be typed.

MR. SIMMS: What did you say?

MR. ROBERTS: I said that we would deal with the concurrence motions starting with the Social Services one. We shall start first with the Social Services one, but the commitments I made will, of course -

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible) will be doing tomorrow.

MR. ROBERTS: We will get the Hansard - that is why we have Hansard.

MR. SIMMS: You were trying to trick us yesterday.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. ROBERTS: The hon. gentleman, if I may to the point of order, is the one who stood up last night and with great glee announced that he had tricked everybody. I am simply honouring the commitments I made here in the House openly and on the record, and we will deal with them.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is a motion before the House that we not adjourn at 10:00 p.m.

Motion, carried.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I will ask you to call Order 3(a) which is the concurrence motion on the Social Services Committee and, in so doing, perhaps we could place on the record an arrangement -

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, there is such a thing as the Government House Leader coming in here two or three times in the last week and bringing in closure, cutting off all rules relative to democracy in this House of Assembly; but for the Government House Leader to get up this evening and deny the commitment that he made yesterday to all members of the House, which affects your privilege - probably I should be rising on that - to withdraw that commitment he made, and to stand and make three motions basically, the first motion was to cut off presentation of petitions in this House. He stopped that, Mr. Speaker, by motion this afternoon.

Next he got up and announced that the House not close at 5:00, which is not normal - the House always closes at 5:00. Then, he put another motion that the House not close at 10:00. Mr. Speaker, what we are seeing, I believe, is the Minister of Justice, under instructions from the Premier of this Province, bringing to a standstill what this House is all about, bringing democracy totally to a standstill.

Your Honour, I submit, that should not be allowed to continue. Rules may be rules, but democracy must be allowed to work in an institution that is built for that purpose, and the Government House Leader should not be a bully. I submit to Your Honour, what is happening is that the Premier wants to bring in closure to pass the Hydro sale in this Province and to lock the doors of this Legislature as soon as he possibly can, particularly while the teachers' strike is on the go, so that no one can ask any questions.

Mr. Speaker, I don't think he should be allowed to get away with it.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

On the point of order, I will hear the hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: To that point of order, I will be very brief, Mr. Speaker. Democracy, as with any proper system of government - and democracy is the one we have and that we all support - democracy depends upon the rule of law, not the mob rule that my friend, the Member for Grand Bank - I am sorry, for Burin - Placentia West advocates. I apologize to my friend, the Member for Grand Bank, both for misrepresenting his name, but I also I keep confusing him, and that is a disservice to my friend, the Member for Grand Bank.

Mr. Speaker, what I say is that the motions I have made are, in my submission, perfectly in accordance with the rules of this House. My friend, the Member for Burin - Placentia West made no reference to any precedent, rule, Standing Order or practice that has been abridged in any way.

I will say again, the commitments I made in the House last night at the close of business at 10:30 p.m., or whenever the filibuster ground to an inglorious halt, those commitments will be honoured.

The point of order has to be disposed of first.

MR. SPEAKER: On the point of order -

MR. SIMMS: You still didn't tell us what your commitment was.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

We have Standing Orders. It is not the Government House Leader, it is the House which decides whether or not to vary from those, and it is in the form of motions to the House; and if the House chooses to do so, as it has under several of these, then, of course, although we are varying from practice, it is quite acceptable and proper.

As to whether or not the Government House Leader made any commitments last night, Hansard would reveal that, but whether or not they are enforceable in the House is another question.

In any event, there is no point of order, and I believe I was in the middle of putting the motion that we not adjourn at 10:00 p.m.

Motion carried.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I would ask if you would call Order 3.(a) and, in so doing, I would ask if we could place on the record an agreement reached just recently between my friend, the Member for Grand Bank and myself, I believe, in respect of our respective parties. I certainly speak for our crowd, and I believe, he, for his. I didn't have an opportunity to speak to my friend, the Member for St. John's East. He will be able, obviously, to speak.

Normally, Concurrence debates are in the - not normally - they are in the whole House with the Speaker in the Chair, and the normal rule would allow each person thirty minutes with no right to speak again. The suggestion which we would put, and if there is unanimous consent, would govern it, would be ten and ten, with a member allowed to speak more than once if he or she can -

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible) for years.

MR. ROBERTS: Yes, I know we have been doing it for years, but the rules are the rules. If we have no rules, we have the kind of chaos that presided when my friend was in the Chair, my friend, the Member for Grand Falls, probably the worst Speaker we have ever seen.

What I ask is if this agreement represents -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, what I am asking is if there is consent from the House to implement this arrangement this year. If there is, fine; if there isn't, we will carry on.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I will recognize one of the other hon. members afterwards, if you wish.

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

It is kind of hard to know when you have been recognized here, with the gibberish coming from the Member for Eagle River. I say to him, it doesn't take long before you see an about turn. You can't get the doors of the House locked soon enough, I say to the Member for Eagle River. That is what today is all about in this House, locking the door so that people can't come into the galleries and witness what this government is trying to do - that's what you are doing, that's the problem.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: And you know that every day there are going to be more and more come into the House - that's the problem, I say to the Member for Eagle River. Stifle debate, cut off debate, close the House, that's what this is about.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The Premier came back last night and gave the marching orders to the Government House Leader, that's what happened - get her shut down and get out of here; we are smarting too badly. We are hurting too badly, with the labour situation and the privatization of Hydro, which you have lost so badly on. That is what this is about, Mr. Speaker - shut her down and get out.

It is not going to work, because one of those days that door is going to come open in a manner that is not going to be too pleasant, I say to the Government House Leader - if he doesn't change his tactics, I say to him and to the Premier. If you don't change your tactics, that is what we are going to see here in this Province, and you are inciting it. You are a dictator, and the Premier is a dictator.

MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: That's what he is, then! That's what he is!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Back to the point, Mr. Speaker, we will concur and agree with the arrangement we made, ten minutes with an intervening speaker, you can speak again, as we have done the last three, four, five years. It is nothing new, so we will agree with that. I don't know if the Member for St. John's East will agree, who needs, I guess, to give his blessing to this. We will agree to that, and we hope the Government House Leader keeps his word and that once the Social Services Estimates Concurrence Debate is finished, we will go to the closure motion which he undertook to do last night.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I will hear the Member for St. John's East and then put the motion, in form, to the House.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, regarding the suggestion, it is very difficult to agree sometimes when someone gets up and can't resist taking stabs at people across the House, casting aspersions on former Speakers and all this kind of thing. It seems as if, sometimes, you are being asked to agree with all of that when you are asked to agree to a simple procedure that has been followed by this House year after year since I've been in here. I have no difficulty with that, but I certainly have a lot of difficulty with the way the Government House Leader introduces this kind of suggestion.

As far as the point, itself, goes: Will we agree to have a ten and ten back and forth as we've done last year and the year before and the year before that? yes, Mr. Speaker, we will agree.

MR. SPEAKER: I will put it in the form of a motion to the House.

Is it the wish of the House that the Debate in Concurrence be limited to ten minutes per member and not thirty?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye!

MR. SPEAKER: Contra-minded `nay'.

Motion unanimously carried.

Order 3(a): Concurrence Motion on Social Services Committee.

The Chairman of the Committee was the hon. the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir. I will recognize him first.

MR. GILBERT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is a pleasure to stand and introduce the Concurrence Motion on the Social Services Committee. As you know, the Social Services Committee is comprised of members of all groups of this House. The lady, the Member for Humber East, is the Vice-Chair of it and my friend, the Member for St. John's East is a member, as well as my colleagues here, the Members for Port au Port, Fortune - Hermitage and Terra Nova, and that is the Committee. So we can say that everybody has a chance to have input into this Committee.

We passed the Estimates of five departments: Social Services, Justice, Health, Education, Environment and Lands. When we start this Concurrence Debate, and I understand we have three hours now, that we will be for the next three hours discussing it, I would like to point out to the members of the House that we've already had in excess of nineteen hours passing the Estimates of those five departments. I don't intend to take a long time at this but I would just like to make a couple of points about them.

The Department of Social Services: There is 13.6 per cent of the total Budget spent on Social Services in this Province. Health: There is 24.5 per cent of the total expenditures of the Budget spent on Health, and 23.2 per cent of the total Budget spent on Education. So our total Budget expenditure in dollars is in excess of $3.1 billion. On those three departments - Education, Health, and Social Services - we spend 61 per cent of our total Budget; or in other words, $1.9 billion out of the total government spending goes on those three departments.

The nineteen hours that we spent in debating them, I feel, were well-deserved hours, because we are spending in excess of 60 per cent of our Budget on those departments for which this Committee examines the Estimates. I feel that certainly the time was not wasted. The members asked good questions and the ministers were able to justify the expenditures and gave good answers, as far as I'm concerned. I know, my friends on the other side of the House will have something to say, that they didn't get all the answers they want, but I guess that is democracy. The Opposition never gets all the answers. We, in the government, feel that the ministers did an admirable job defending the estimates of their departments.

So, I think we have done a good job, so far, on the estimates. When you take into consideration, as I said, that two-thirds of the Budget, possibly, is discussed and passed by this Committee, without amendment, it says that it was well examined. We had in excess of three hours. We usually set three hours for each of those departments. We ran a little over on most of them. On Environment and Lands, the members were so interested in questioning the minister that we had six hours. All in all, we've had - the questions have been asked. So when you talk about democracy being stifled here this afternoon, I don't think that is the case.

We have had over nineteen hours discussing the estimates of those departments right now and I've just started off on the Concurrence Debate, so we have another three hours now. Maybe if the members felt that they didn't have all the questions answered that they asked in committees now would be the time. So I would like to thank the committee who helped me to get those estimates through the House. We worked normally very well together without too many problems, too much fighting and all that sort of thing, it went rather smoothly.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I think I'll conclude and let the members get on with asking those burning questions that they have.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

As Vice-Chair of the committee I'd like to agree with the remarks of the Chair, the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir and commend him on a fine job of chairing the committee. The committee members, as the Chair indicated, representing all parties in the House and a good cross section of members, cooperated well. There was harmony on the committee.

The only disappointment in the process this year that I noticed was an almost total neglect by the news media. In former years participants in Estimates Committee meetings complained that some of the news media were not covering the committee but in my memory, always before, at least The Evening Telegram faithfully covered Estimates Committee meetings. This year however, in the case of the Social Services Estimate Committee with one possible exception, I'm not even sure of that, the news media simply didn't send reporters to the committee hearings and that's a shame because the Estimates Committee meetings are the best chance that members have to engage in detailed and lengthy discussion about departmental policies and programs as well as spending details.

The Social Services Estimates Committee had wide ranging discussions about public policy and about a whole range of very important issues, current problems as well as challenges and opportunities that are anticipated for the future. As the Chair indicated, the five departments that fall within the purview of the Social Services Committee spend over 60 per cent of the government budget, over $2 billion, and have responsibility for the important government services of Health, Education, Social Services and Justice. Curiously, Environment and Lands is included in the departments for which the Social Services Committee is responsible. I suppose there is a social dimension but Environment and Lands could just as logically or maybe more sensibly be included with resource policy. The Department of Municipal Affairs and the Housing Corporation, which in my mind, are more obviously social, are the responsibility of a different committee.

In examination of the Social Services Estimates as well as the Education Estimates, I question the ministers about an apparent lack of integration and cooperation. Obviously, the issues for which the Departments of Health, Education and Social Services are responsible are interrelated. If Education and Social Services programs are effective then there'll be less of a demand on the health system and vice-versa. There are close correlations but the departments appear to be working in some degree of isolation. There doesn't seem to be the kind of cohesion that there should be.

In examining Social Services it was startling to realize that in the five years of the Wells' `real change' administration, the welfare roles have grown enormously. In May of 1989 when the Wells administration came to office and the current Minister of Works, Services and Transportation was Minister of Social Services, the social assistance caseload - and when I say caseload I'm using a technical term meaning the number of family units, and a family unit may be one single individual or it may be a group of five, it may be a married couple with three children - the caseload in May of 1989 was under 20,000. It was 19,600. The Minister of Social Services of the day said that 4100 of the caseload were considered to be healthy and able to work, able-bodied is the jargon.

The percentage of the 1989 welfare caseload considered able to work was 20 per cent and the spending on social assistance then was just over $100 million. Now, in the spring of 1994, five short years later, we see a social assistance caseload of 35,000. It was under 20,000 when the Wells administration came into office and now it is over 35,000, an astronomical, shocking, rise.

The current minister told the committee that of the 35,000 welfare cases, of the 35,000 family units in this Province who have been reduced to living on social assistance, 11,000 are healthy and able to work. That is one third, thirty-three and a third per cent. Spending on welfare five years ago was $100 million and it is projected to be over $200 million this year.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the projections for the year ahead are quite unrealistic. They do not take into account the people who are going to come off UI because of the federal cutbacks in UI, and neither do they take into account the people who come off TAGS, DFO, or HRD compensation. The social assistance projections for the year ahead were made up before TAGS was even announced, and the projections really -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS. VERGE: TAGS I say to the minister. In the case of UI I was just coming to that. While the minister claims that the UI changes were factored into the estimate for the year ahead the calculations are really quite unrealistic. The calculations assume that a large percentage of people who will lose out on UI because of the cutbacks will not have to go on social assistance.

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible).

MS. VERGE: The Minister of Treasury Board is saying that the big effect is the year after. Well, we will see. This time last year I was on my feet in the House saying that the estimate for social assistance spending was unrealistically low, just as it had been for the two years previous, and I predicted that we would be back here in the fall with the government looking for a special warrant, and that happened. Last fall the government came and got a special warrant for $20 million, and I think they got another special warrant for a few million after that.

Five years ago we had under 20,000 on the welfare caseload and right now it is 35,000, 35,000 before the negative fallout from the UI changes and the fisheries package, 35,000 cases, 35,000 family units which must translate into 80,000 individuals, children, women, men. Now, 11,000 of the cases, presumably family heads, or adults on social assistance, are considered by the minister to be able to work. Well, what effort is the department making, what numbers are provided in the Budget for spending on employment opportunities for these healthy people on social assistance, for these welfare recipients who are able to work?

Well five years ago, spending on employment opportunities was $18,700,000; $18.7 million. That was close to 18 per cent - 17 or 18 per cent - of the spending on social assistance. What is projected for the new budget year is a surprising reduction, down to under $15 million; in percentage terms, probably 7 per cent of the welfare estimate.

Now there is no logic for this; there is no logic at all. Why would the government be budgeting spending more, in percentage terms as well as absolute terms, on straight social assistance and less on employment opportunities when there are so many people on social assistance healthy, able to work, wanting to work, and there is so much that needs to be done in the Province. It just doesn't make any sense.

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

MR. LUSH: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just wanted to address a couple of the items mentioned by the hon. Member for Humber East.

The Member for Humber East seems shocked, surprised, astonished, over the fact that the caseload has increased so emphatically over the past few years, I say to the hon. member, trying to give the impression, somehow, that this is the only place in Canada that this is happening, somehow trying to give the impression that we are isolated from the rest of Canada, that we, in this Province, are unaffected by the economic malaise which has gripped Canada.

Mr. Speaker, looking at it realistically, the effort by this Province, the effort by this government, outstrips, outperforms, any other government in Canada.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LUSH: It is only because of the fiscal policies of this government that they aren't any worse. It is because of the policies of this government that we find our caseload being where it is as opposed to being triple or double what they are.

Mr. Speaker, there has been no time in our history when we have been hit with such an economic calamity as we have today. Now I am not proud of it, but to hear hon. members berate, to hear hon. members get over there and in political rhetoric to suggest that there is something scandalous about this, that it relates to the economic performance of the government, that is the thing that I want to address.

Mr. Speaker, we ought not to be proud of the fact that our caseload is right now at 35,000. We ought not to be proud of that.

MR. TOBIN: 35,000?

MR. LUSH: The caseload right now is in the area of 35,000.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. LUSH: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: How much is able-bodied?

MR. LUSH: How much is able-bodied? About 11,000.

Mr. Speaker, that has been brought about by the economic downturn, first of all, in the economy, generally in Canada. Canada is gripped with one of the worst economic problems ever to hit the country. On top of that, and that always affects us, we were hit with the cod moratorium. So, Mr. Speaker, it is not difficult to understand why the caseload is where it is today.

The hon. member talks about the effort of the governments of the past, the government of which she was a part, in terms of employment strategy, spending $18 million and today, with an increase in the caseload, that we are spending $15 million. Somehow the hon. member tries to draw a conclusion, because of the discrepancy in the amount that that government spent on employment initiatives as opposed to what this government is spending, somehow that that government was more effective. That was the generalization, that was the conclusion the hon. member was trying to make.

Now, Mr. Speaker, everybody knows all that was happening there was that we had people on a wheel. They were on a wheel; they were on social assistance and then they were given a job and they worked their ten weeks, then they went to UI, then they exhausted their UI, back to social assistance, then, Mr. Speaker, they were on working again for ten weeks and so it went. People weren't doing anything, we weren't creating any jobs and the reason why, Mr. Speaker, the reason why there is -

MR. TOBIN: What are they on now?

MR. LUSH: What are they on now? They are now on a program to train; they are now on a two-prong program. One for training and one for work. Hopefully, through these two programs training, academic training, on the job training, hopefully, that through the Strategic Economic Plan hopefully, there are going to be some jobs out there.

Now I am not a pessimist like hon. members crying out all the time: where are the jobs, where are the jobs? I mean, if that is the kind of mentality that we were in, goodness, we wouldn't be doing anything! No, Mr. Speaker, this government has a Strategic Economic Plan that believes that private enterprise is the engine that is going to get the economy going, not the government spending $18 million or $20 million, year after year, with people on the wheel just going round and round. We believe that the way we are going to break that cycle is to provide training, provide training, provide education and meaningful work, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: What?

MR. LUSH: Yes, we are going to have some of the jobs that were around in the past little while, but to train people. I see the hon. Member for Kilbride shaking his head; he doesn't believe in training, does he? He doesn't believe that we should be training our people, we should just send them on this wheel all the time. Social assistance, make work programs, UI, social assistance -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Kilbride, on a point of order.

MR. LUSH: - going no where and getting nothing done.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

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

To the point of order, if the Minister of Social Services wishes to make some irresponsible comment about what I believe or what I do not believe in, maybe, he should ask me the question first. If his government is talking about the types of training opportunities that they are providing to the people in this Province, we don't have to look very far. Let us look at the recent decisions on student aid; let's look at why people on social services -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. E. BYRNE: - let's look at why people on social services are not eligible -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order. The hon. member is just taking an opportunity to take part in the debate and the rules say that we have ten minutes back and forth across the House so the hon. member will have an opportunity to speak in the debate.

The hon. the Minister of Social Services.

MR. LUSH: Mr. Speaker, the reason for the lower amount of money on employment is because the government doesn't believe in the philosophy, the philosophical approach of the previous government. It believes that the government is not the agency, is not the people for creating jobs, it believes that this is done by private enterprise and we have moved away from these futile make-work programs that did nothing to enhance the permanent employment of a person, did nothing to enhance or improve on their skills and that's the emphasis today and that simply, is the explanation.

The hon. member might differ, he might not agree but I am explaining to the hon. member the reason for the difference, it's a philosophical reason, it's a difference in a philosophical approach, and one hopes that it is going to work. Whether it will, Mr. Speaker, I have no idea. I am hoping that it will because I happen to believe that people trained are better than untrained people. I believe it is better to train a person to make them more qualified to enter the labour force, the marketplace than to send them out there the way they are now, unskilled, and to compensate for that simply just to give them these futile make-work programs.

Again I say to the hon. member, there were some good work programs. That is why we are not scrapping them in their entirety. Because there were some good make-work programs done in several rural areas throughout the Province that without these programs they would not have been done. The questions is, is that the right thing for the people doing them? Is this the kind of thing that is going to make these people productive citizens in the future? That is simply the reason for why there is less money there. It is a philosophical approach. With emphasis on training, with emphasis on the fact that the government is not the agency to create jobs, that this should be done by private enterprise.

The member suggests that the projections for Social Services, the amount of monies budgeted for this year, are maybe not enough to get us through the year. I think she used some rather stronger terms saying that they were probably way off the mark. That may be so, Mr. Speaker. When a budget is done the people doing the budget factor in the global factors that they know about at the time and make certain projections and that is what is done. These things were done.

As for the UI changes, yes, they were factored in. TAGS (inaudible) -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. LUSH: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to rise and make a few comments on some of the topics that were discussed in the Committee deliberations. First of all I would like to talk a little bit about the section 3.4.03 of the Education Estimates. That deals with Tuition and Allowances.

We've had a lot of discussion in this House in recent months about the student aid program. We know that on Budget Day the students of this Province representing the colleges in this area and the University came to the Ministry seeking answers to questions that they had about the future of the student aid program. At that time these students were sent over to the Department of Education. They missed the whole Budget presentation. After that the minister and his officials met with the student aid committee that the minister at long last found out really existed. They've begun to work out some details. However, in my most recent discussions with the representative of student aid, the Council of Students Union at MUN, and representatives of the colleges, tells me that there has been no real finalization of the student aid program.

We want to point out to the minister today that it is this time of the year when the great majority of the students of this Province start submitting their applications for student aid. In fact the history of the student aid program will show that the great majority of the student aid applications get presented between the middle of May and the last of June, and that decisions are necessary to be rendered by the first week in August so that students will know what aid they are going to get and how they are going to finance next year's college or next year's University program.

When we look at the estimates we see that they have been dropped from $20 million down to $9 million. We have an $11 million drop. We have to question the commitment that the government has to students who need that help. Particularly those students who come from families that cannot really support them they way that they would like. We have students today who are calling into the student aid division asking: What is going to be the game plan for the financing of my education in September? The people in student aid have to tell them that they don't quite know yet.

That is not good enough. If we have a commitment to the students of this Province it is necessary for us at this stage, the middle of May, to be able to tell all of the students what the rules are going to be. While the Ministry has put out the idea that there is going to be more money available for loans, we have to say to the ministry that we have great concerns about the way it is going to be done. There are some talks that the real decision makers are going to be the banks. That is it going to be an example of privatization again? We know that in Nova Scotia, for example, 700 students were turned down when they went to the banks looking for loans through the student loan application where, in Nova Scotia, the program is already privatized. We have some concerns with that.

I say to the minister today that he should be trying to finalize a program, make it so that it is ably communicated to all the students, to their parents, so that every family in this Province who has a son or a daughter who wants to go to college next year, they will know what the ground rules are and what financing is available and through what means, and to whom they should apply.

Mr. Speaker, as well I want to comment on section 2.401 of the Department of Education estimates. This deals with student support services. This is money allocated for the development, the implementation and evaluation of programs for special needs children.

Over the past several years we have heard people say over and over again that one of the greatest impediments to education in this Province is the fact that we have so many students who need special help, students who have behavioural problems, students who have learning disabilities of various types, but the government decreases the funding from $617,000 down to, I think it is $589,000.

We have to have a greater commitment, not a lessening of the commitment, particularly if we are saying in rural Newfoundland, where we are going to be having the problem of the 2 per cent savings clause being eliminated, what that means to special programs. So we are saying to the government: Look at your commitment to special needs children. These are the children who are most at risk in your school system. Do the right thing; don't decrease the funding available to special needs children. Instead, would the government look at making more programs available so that education in the Province becomes available to everybody in an equal fashion.

Mr. Speaker, as well I want to comment on, in a positive way, the funding for distance education. I forget the exact section here, but there is an allocation for distance education, 2.204. I say to the minister, this is one of the very positive things in his program. I understand that there are sixty-four centres which are now working with distance education. That is a very positive thing. We encourage it. We know that there can be some improvements in that program; the minister is aware of it. This is an initiative of the minister and his government that is in the right direction. It is getting quality education out to schools in the more rural parts of the Province, and more isolated sections, and the minister is to be encouraged to continue that.

Mr. Speaker, we say to the minister as well that in terms of distance education we have to look at trying to put our library resources by computer available to all the schools in the Province. I did note, in my notes, as a consequence of our meetings, the fact that the library boards are going to be restructured in such a way that schools are going to be an integrated part of the public library system. This is an excellent approach. I remember many, many years ago saying to the Public Libraries Board that we should be integrating the public libraries with the school libraries. Today with technology available, I say to the minister that that's the route to go. That's a positive thing because I remember when I made the comments and I was a member of the Public Libraries Board in the City of Mount Pearl saying to the board: we have to put the resources in the public library to supplement the school curriculum. They didn't want to do it but this is changing. The minister is to be complimented for that direction. I would like to look forward to the day when every public library in this Province is on a technology network whereby every child in his/her own community, regardless of how small it is, can have access to the kind of resources that we would have available in the bigger communities. So, Mr. Speaker, that's a positive direction. It's to be encouraged and I say to the minister, as much as I disagree with his indecision on student aid and his dropping of funding for special needs education, I encourage him for his distance education policy and -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HODDER: - his initiatives on the distance education and other initiatives, I'll speak on in my next commentary.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you.

Mr. Speaker, I'd like to say just a few words in this debate if I may, with reference to the order of business for the day and if members would allow me to, I can make it relevant to the Social Services Concurrence Debate if we wish.

I've checked the Hansard from last night at 10:30 p.m., whenever it was the House adjourned, and the fact of the record is the record has no facts with respect to the business for today. I was not asked nor did I say anything that Hansard recorded. All that Hansard records is that I gave notice of a closure motion and that the House then adjourn.

Now, I have a recollection of being asked by one or more of the members opposite, after the Speaker left the Chair, what would the government be proposing today and of responding to that by saying concurrence motions, plural, and then being asked in what order? I said, we'll take them in the order that are on the Order Paper starting with social services.

Now hon. gentlemen opposite, one gathers, have a different recollection and I accept that. I believe the hon. gentleman from Burin - Placentia West, I believe him. He has a different recollection. Now only one of us, at most, is correct and the problem is, there is no record. One of the reasons why I put things on the record in the House is so all of us know where we are and can deal accordingly.

Now, we had originally planned to invite the House to do all three concurrence debates today but because there is no record and because we're all reasonable people, my friend from Grand Bank and I have met - I was going to say behind the Chair - but instead he came over and just tried out the Premier's chair here, I would say to my friend from Grand Falls, which is one my friend from Grand Falls has done - but the gentleman from Grand Bank and I have put our heads together and my suggestion will be, if my colleagues so authorize me, that we will do -

MR. SIMMS: Ed, I've been as close to that Chair as you have.

MR. ROBERTS: I agree, the difference is I don't intend to get any closer and the hon. gentleman won't get any closer.

Now, Mr. Speaker, if I could carry on.

AN HON. MEMBER: You're on the record now.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, let there no doubt that this member will not be a candidate again for the leadership of this party or any other party. Let there be no doubt about it - I've been down that road a number of times.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I don't know why it is that when I get up, even in my modest, reasonable, humble way they're at me like dogs. Like dogs with a fillet mignon, they just can't resist.

Now, let me come back - we were doing very well until my friend from Grand Falls came back into the Chamber. Mr. Speaker, let me come back to the point. We will ask the House today, assuming my colleagues on this side concur, to deal with Concurrence Motion 3(a), on the social services committee which we are now debating, Concurrence Motion 3(b) which is the resource committee. We will then call Order No. 4, which is the third reading of the electrical power - the filibuster third reading by my friend from Grand Falls - and when that's dealt with we'll deal with it.

In addition to that, so that members can arrange their private arrangements as it were, what one of my colleagues once called spousal affairs. We will suggest that the House adjourn at 6:00 p.m. for an hour so that members can either go out to take their meal or come back and dine in the palatial splendours of the Opposition Common Room or the Government Common Room, as may be the case.

That is the arrangement my friend for Grand Bank and I have worked out. If it is not suitable to all members we won't follow it. That is what I suggest is the way to resolve this. Perhaps he and I in the future will both be more precise. If I forget to say what we are doing in the morrow he will ask, and if he doesn't ask, I shall say. That is my understanding, Mr. Speaker.

With that said I commend the Estimates to the House of the departments of... not to the departments. In fact, estimates stand in the name of the ministers. I commend to the House the modest requests made by my friends and colleagues whose departmental estimates are gathered severally in the Social Services Committee heading. Obviously the requests are modest. We wish we could do more. We believe we are doing well with the money that we are asking the House to provide us. Our one regret is that we can't do more, but given the legacy given to us and given the economic realities, it is really the very best that we can do. Thank you, Sir.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, just to further this discussion. I don't want there to be an impression left that the Opposition House Leader agreed to hear debate on the two estimate committees. I don't think that is quite the correct -

MR. ROBERTS: He certainly did. Now if he didn't, let the hon. gentleman say it.

MR. SIMMS: I don't think that is quite the correct interpretation. That might be his interpretation.

MR. ROBERTS: Let the hon. gentleman -

MR. SIMMS: Just let me finish now. I say to the Government House Leader, just relax. He spends a lot of time lecturing us. Maybe he would be wise to listen for a change himself.

Mr. Speaker, I think what the Opposition House Leader said was in response to what the Government House Leader said, which was: I will only do two of the estimate committees and we will take an hour break. He said: Perfect, great. Referring to the hour break for dinner. But it is your decision how many estimate committees you put through the House.

Anyway, that is irrelevant. He can do what he wants. The question I would like him to answer for the House if he can answer it - I can understand why the government would want to push closure through and use closure on the Electrical Power Control Act and so on and so forth. We all understand that controversy and that issue. What I don't understand is why the Government House Leader is trying to ram through and rush through the normal concurrence debates on the Estimates committee. What is the rationale for rushing all of that through? Why couldn't he do those on normal days, Thursday, Friday, or whatever? It just escapes me. Unless there is some agenda that you want to get out of the House as quickly as you possibly can, or something like that. I don't know why you would be doing it. I think it is a fair question.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, let me first of all say that if I misunderstood what my friend for Grand Bank said I apologize to him. I understood him to say that he had agreed to the proposal I put forward. His Leader says he didn't, therefore I assume he didn't. I don't quarrel with that.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!

MR. ROBERTS: Yes, of course.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Just a very brief -

MR. SPEAKER: I assume we are on points of order now, are we?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I can say point of order, Mr. Speaker, if you want. What in essence transpired is that the Government House Leader called me down to sit next to him and he said he had reviewed the tapes. There was no recording of what transpired last night.

MR. SIMMS: I just reviewed them as well.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I think there is no doubt -

MR. SIMMS: It happened after the adjournment.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: - that the Government House Leader is right about that. It did happen after the Speaker left the Chair when there was an exchange across the House of what we were going to do today.

Then the Government House Leader went on to say that he proposed to do two committees tonight, not three. I was of the understanding, by the way, to the Government House Leader, that we were going to do the three concurrence debates tonight. Maybe that was not a proper understanding, but I certainly had that impression from the Government House Leader from earlier today, that we were doing the three concurrence estimates debates tonight, and then depending on what time was left the Government House Leader would call the closure motion. Whatever time was left we would be finished by perhaps 1:00 a.m.

When the Government House Leader told me he was going to do the two committees and I asked him which two, and he said: Whatever order they are on the Order Paper, which I looked at and found that Resource was after the Social Services Committee. He then proposed to have an hour for supper which I thought was excellent, and am grateful for that. Because I think all members like to get out of here for an hour. That was it. I said: Perfect. Not an agreement that I agreed we would do two committees tonight. No, that wasn't - the Government House Leader offered and said: I will do two committees tonight. I said very good. I thought he was going to do three, I say to him, and I think he knows that too.

It is not worth getting into a spat over. The Government House Leader is going to do two and we are going to have an hour for supper and I think that is what it is. The Leader of the Opposition's question as to why the Government House Leader is doing what he is doing, I guess that is up to the Government House Leader to decide or explain, but it is kind of strange. I felt, from where I was, that doing two concurrence debates tonight was a lot better than doing three, and having an hour for supper was a big improvement over not having an hour. I said I can live with that.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank my hon. friend. I think it probably would be fair and proper to say that the difference between us is I had taken his silence as being assent. My recollection of our conversation is the same as his; my interpretation obviously is a little different.

He is correct. It was our plan on this side to deal with all three concurrence motions today. If I had been asked last night that is what I would have said. That is why I am so strong in my own recollection that when asked I said: We are going to do the concurrence motions, we will take them in order. But there is nothing on the record. I've looked at the Hansard and there it is.

So because I'm a reasonable person most of the time -

MS. COWAN: (Inaudible) very reasonable.

MR. ROBERTS: I thank my friend and colleague, the Member for Conception Bay South. "Very reasonable," she says, and she is a woman of perception and talent as well as wit, beauty and learning.

Mr. Speaker, let me address the point made by my friend from Grand Falls. The reason why we on this side are going to deal with two of the concurrence debates, and had intended to deal with three, is quite simple. The closure motion, once notice is given, once it comes into operation, requires a vote to be taken at the earlier of two occasions, either one o'clock or when nobody else wishes to speak. Now he knows that as well as I do; that is fine. Many people think it has to go until one o'clock. It doesn't. It ends when there is nobody else who wishes to speak who has not spoken.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman told us last night in his intervention on the third reading of the bill that he intended to filibuster by every means he could, and my colleagues and I said, we see no need simply to sit and listen to the same dreary, tedious speeches all over again. That is why we cut off these petitions. With a new petition we are quite happy to... Nobody cut off my friend from Green Bay today when he got up with a petition from some of his constituents on the -

AN HON. MEMBER: There were others.

MR. ROBERTS: There were others, no doubt, but hon. gentlemen, then, should put them on first, rather than this nonsensical repetition of the same speeches on the same tired petition about Hydro.

Mr. Speaker, let me come back. What we on this side have decided, and will do it again, is that we are not going to sit here and simply listen to the same speeches. If we have to be here until one o'clock, because of the way the rule works, we are going to use the time productively to debate, in this case, the Resource Committee estimates, and the Social Services Committee estimates, and originally we had planned all three - nothing more than that.

We are not in any hurry to get out of the House. We have oceans of work to do. The Budget Speech has yet to get under way. We have had a speech from my friend, the Minister of Finance, a speech from the gentleman from Mount Pearl on behalf of the Opposition. We have not gone beyond that in the Budget Speech.

We have a lot of very substantial legislation to deal with, some of which we will want to deal with before the House adjourns. We have spent endless time on the Hydro bill and on the Electrical Power Control Act. Now, we are not in any hurry. In fact, some of my colleagues are planning to be here for the summer. I am not, but they are, so I say to my friend from Grand Falls, there is no hidden agenda. He is believing his own paranoid propaganda.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I am sorry?

AN HON. MEMBER: Why don't you do only one?

MR. ROBERTS: My friend from Grand Bank asks why we don't do only one. That is like asking him why he doesn't make a sensible speech. Res ipsa loquitur; the matter speaks for itself. If we have to be here late at night, we have decided, we are going to use the time productively.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: No, I am sorry. I apologize to my friend from Grand Bank because -

AN HON. MEMBER: We don't have to be here (inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: We don't have to be here late at night. My friend from Grand Falls thinks he will say what he will say, call the notice at three o'clock and the vote will be taken at four, right?

MR. SIMMS: Taken at nine?

MR. ROBERTS: That's what I mean, at nine o'clock. I am sorry; at nine o'clock. In other words, he simply hijacks the agenda of the House. We are not prepared to let him and his paltry band of sixteen-and-a-half carry on and hijack the business of the House. We have government business to do as well. We want to debate the estimates of the Social Services Department, and then the estimates of resources, so it is no more than that.

MR. SIMMS: You didn't debate the electrical power bill.

MR. ROBERTS: We debated the electrical power bill... We said everything that need be said. The difference between us and my hon. friend opposite is that we don't need to say something twelve times, or 126 times, to get it across. We say it once. It will stand on its own or fall on its own.

My hon. friend opposite has never learned the truth of the old adage that one can either say little and have people wonder if one is stunned, or say a lot and have people know that one is stunned. That's the only difference between us. Delay is not debate. Simply repeating the same tired, tedious, tendentious arguments time and time again is not debate. An argument doesn't become any sounder by being put 156 times by sixteen separate members. If there are new points, let's make them.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I am getting somewhat away from Social Services, but my friend, the Member for Grand Falls put a question which I took seriously, as he meant it, and I tried to respond to it. There is no hidden agenda, we have no desire to get out of here but, we do want to use time productively and we intend to use it productively. With that said, Sir, I will sit down and let the debate carry on from here.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

If that wasn't a lecture, what was? Listen, the people in Newfoundland and Labrador are crying out time after time, and it is the government who are not listening. Who are the `stunned' people you are talking about? I would stand in this House and present a petition, 1,500 times if I have to, if the people give it to me to present, whether it is on Hydro or whatever it's on and that's a right we have to do, whether it is 15,000 times; and the Minister of Social Services stands up and gives us a lecture on departmental efficiency.

Last spring they presented a Budget of $157.9 million in Social Services, and people cried out saying, `You are underestimating it, it is wrong, you can't possibly do it on that,' and you think they were right? They spent over $180 million - $23 million over on Social Services. He budgeted $157.9 million, and he stood up in the House this year, just a couple of months ago, and presented a budget on the Social Services Department for $183 million. How are they possibly going to factor in on $183 million when the budget brought down federally alone, is going to have a devastating impact? The minister is assuming there are going to be fewer people, not counting those extra U.I. changes, there are going to be far fewer numbers on social assistance than there were this past year.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) is going to be more.

MR. SULLIVAN: No, without this change in U.I., I am stating, because the U.I. changes in this Province provided by the federal Department of Human Resource Development and the Department of Labour estimates that there are 16,350 people more in this Province who are going to be affected by the increase in U.I. requirements, of which, 10 per cent will end up on social assistance. They are estimating HRD department federally and the Department of Labour -we discussed it in this House.

MR. EFFORD: And they are right?

MR. SULLIVAN: I'm not saying they are right, but I haven't seen any statistics put forth by this government. In fact, other provinces scampered around; Nova Scotia, PEI, and New Brunswick judged the impact it is going to have on their budgets.

MR. EFFORD: Stop shouting.

MR. SULLIVAN: Maybe if you listened a little more I wouldn't shout as much. Other departments took the responsibility and studied the impact; this department sat back and did nothing. We asked questions, they did no analysis, no study until we introduced those questions - the Opposition asked numerous questions. That is just the impact of the increase in the length of U.I. Now, on top of that, there are another 13,700 people in this Province who are going to have shorter U.I. claims because the period in which they can draw is reduced to a maximum of thirty-two weeks in almost 100 per cent of the cases.

We are estimating that 10 per cent will end up on social assistance and that's the figure I am sure the minister could confirm. That is usually the estimate that was used in past experience, and that means there will be another 1,370 people on social assistance; we have longer social assistance -

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Wait until I am finished; don't be interfering. If you listen you will hear. That's right, 1,370 people extra will be on social assistance because there is a shortening of the U.I. claim near the end. An extra 1,635 people will have to go on it earlier and probably stay on it because they don't qualify to get the required number of weeks. There will be longer social assistance cases due to the shortening of U.I. claim length and so on; 2,575 people will go on social assistance, and there are 25,700 people in the Province affected by that aspect of the U.I. changes.

Now, when you look at these figures, you will see, this Province has borne 11.1 per cent of the cuts to the U.I. program when we have 2 per cent of the population. The minister has been told before that it is unrealistic what they are doing in their budgeting. We said it all along last year and they laughed and said it wasn't possible. We stated last fall the Budget was out, then they had to get up and admit they overspent. Their adjustments were even off by $16 million, after they made some allowance for the desperate situation economically in this Province.

Now, the economic picture in this Province hasn't improved by the recent projections under the TAGS program. It means that there is a reduction in revenue coming into the Province, and if a member of the family does not obtain work some of these people could be shifted onto the social assistance line because they are getting lower benefits.

AN HON. MEMBER: Maybe.

MR. SULLIVAN: Maybe, that's right. We have to go on projections and that is more than the department has provided. Now, you were the former minister. Maybe that's why you are not there now - you did such a desperate job of controlling it, we had to turn to somebody else.

I don't want to waste all my time talking about Social Services. The Minister of Health is back now and there are a lot of things I would like to talk about that are happening under the Health department of this Province.

DR. KITCHEN: Why didn't you come to the Estimates hearings?

MR. SULLIVAN: I was there for one hour. I had two previous appointments. I got notice the day before and I had previous commitments because you did not circulate a schedule telling us when it would go ahead. I got to ask a few questions to which I got very hollow answers.

Maybe the minister will stand up and answer some questions I will ask him now. He stands in the House and talks about -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I was there and you were not. I was there last year and we ran out of time.

The minister stands in this House and in public and talks about the restructuring of boards in this Province, and he uses the Dobbin Report as the basis to move forward.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask hon. members to please restrain themselves, please.

MR. SULLIVAN: I read the Dobbin Report on three occasions. The Dobbin Report does not address the two main reasons for restructuring hospital boards and community health boards in this Province. Number one, improved service to people and cost efficiency, it doesn't talk about these at all, and the minister uses that as a basis for restructuring.

There is only one area in this Province in which the government undertook to do a cost analysis in reorganizing boards, and that is in Labrador and Northern Newfoundland, and I compliment them for that aspect, for doing analysis in that area. It is fairly detailed, except that they did miss one point, which I asked the minister about before, they did not look at the impact in scenario number two. In the second situation out of five, they did not go into detail. The Nycum Report, I think, did an analysis. They did not look at the effect that the Northern region of the Province will have on the Western Memorial Hospital where there is an increase in beds, an increased service. The Minister stands up and says, it will have a minimal effect.

Now, that is the type of analysis they have done. But the rest of the report, granted, put forth five reasonable scenarios that need to be discussed and looked at in a public forum.

DR. KITCHEN: Watch your blood pressure, my son.

MR. SULLIVAN: Everybody has blood pressure. Some have it high and some have it low. Some get excited about it. Well, Dr. Hans Selye, at the University of Montreal, stated that those people who are confronted with stress on more occasions, and have been able to adjust the high blood pressure are better survivors, and they can survive among people who don't get their blood pressure up too often. So I say to the minister, maybe he should try to get his blood pressure up a little more often and talk a little bit of sense. According to that the Premier must be hitting 300 on the blood pressure scale by now.

Another point - I would like to say to the minister that the 911 system, not the protocol now, but the 911 system, the structure itself, is the most outdated, inefficient 911 system in use, I would say, in this country. There is no computerized system - people are taking calls on pieces of paper and making notes - no computerization, no control and identification of the site from which a call originates, and how to identify that and respond in the fastest possible time. There is no system in place of any significance. Not only that, they are afraid - they don't want to designate qualified people in rural areas who do not have ambulance service; they will not permit volunteer fire-fighters, highly trained, some with EMA Level II, to go out to a scene, some more highly qualified than the people who arrive on ambulances, they won't permit them to go out and give emergency assistance in life-threatening situations, and you wait an ambulance - and the person waited for forty minutes for it to arrive when somebody could have been there in three minutes.

I think there is something wrong with the system. He said it is policy. If that's what policy is doing it is time to change policy. If we can't change policy, if we can't do something about it, it is time to change to the minister.

Now, we have hospital beds in this Province closing - and I don't disagree with efficiently spending health care dollars in the Province.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No leave!

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I want to say a few words about the estimates for the Department of Education. I believe I can honestly say that this was the best time that I have attended any estimates to discuss - I was a Minister of Health for a few years, and this is my second time going to estimates for Education. I believe this is the best time that I've attended the Estimates Committee.

I want to compliment the Chairman, the hon. the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir, who did such an outstanding job of chairing that meeting. He was a credit to everyone on this side of the House. Also, I want to compliment the hon. the Member for Humber East who was extremely well restrained. It was the first I've seen her in these committee meetings act as responsibly as she did. She was a great credit to members opposite. I'm quite confident that with the ability she has shown and the way she has acted that she is going to be over there a long, long time. She is going to be over there for a good many years.

The actual approval of the budget took about 8.5 seconds. The budget for the Department of Education is about $830 million, so somewhere around $100 million per second we approved when we finally got around to the budget. I invited the Associate Deputy Minister of Education, Dr. Crocker, who is responsible for the implementation of the Royal Commission. I asked him along because I thought hon. members would want to talk about the Royal Commission as, in fact, they did. Dr. Crocker was totally amazed when he saw $100 million per second being approved. He didn't understand the process.

That is not to say anything too negative about the process because we did have a long-ranging discussion about all the things that are happening in education in this Province today. We spent a considerable amount of time talking about student loans. As hon. members know, we are now going with a provincial student loans program for the first time in the history of this Province. There are many reasons for that. I suppose you could put forward an argument that government should pay the total cost of education. There are people in the country, there are people in the world, who believe that is a very valid argument. As a matter of fact, one of the former premiers, Premier Smallwood, I believe, subscribed to that philosophy, that education should be free, totally free.

I don't buy that philosophy totally. In my philosophy education is a clear benefit to society but it is also a clear benefit to the individual. In this Province, in the post-secondary institutions, the people of the Province, in general, are paying for about 85 per cent of the cost of a university education. That, I believe, is a recognition that an educated populace is an asset to society and society is ready to pay for that educated asset. Thus, the Province pays in the vicinity of somewhere between 82-85 per cent of the cost of a post-secondary education.

The individual who attends the institution becomes a valuable asset to society but at the same time he/she certainly enhances his own lifestyle. He enhances his own chances at having a much better life and of course receives an education and we cannot ever underestimate the value of an education for its own sake, Mr. Speaker. The very essence of education as portrayed by Aristotle, education for its own sake, surely that must be worth something to the individual. So it breaks out that somewhere in the vicinity of 85 per cent is paid for by the Province and the other 15 per cent is paid for by the individual.

Now even though the Province pays for 85 per cent of the education, there are many people in society who cannot afford to find the other 15 per cent. Hence, Mr. Speaker, the Province again attempts to put in place a program so the individual, who cannot find the 15 per cent, will not be penalized because he/she cannot come up with that kind of money. Traditionally, in this Province that 15 per cent was found by a combination of the Canada Student Loans and a grant made available by the Province.

The Canada Student Loans, Mr. Speaker, had not been adjusted since 1984 and as a result of that, there was a shortfall. There were unmet needs on the part of students who attended university. Let me give you an example, last year in the first semester there were a total of 2,979 students who availed of a Canada Student Loan, got the provincial grant and still were left with needs that were unmet. That's only in the first semester. In the second semester where there were 3,317 students who had the student loan, had the grant and there was still an unmet need. In the third semester there were 1,011 students who had the full student loan, the full grant and there was still a need unmet.

Now what could the Province do about it? Remember now, we're paying 85 per cent of the shot. The fisherman, the logger, the teacher, the doctor, the nurse, people in general are paying 85 per cent of the cost of a post-secondary education. How much more can we expect the taxpayer to pay when we consider that there is a clear benefit to the individual who seeks it? The people of this Province were paying somewhere in the vicinity of $20 million, year in and year out. Twenty million dollars, in addition to the 85 per cent of the cost of education, we're putting $20 million in the grants and there were still in excess of 5,000 students in Memorial alone, with unmet needs. Then the Canada Student Loans Program was changed. We were rid of that when the budget was brought forward.

A key clause in the Canada Student Loan says: that no matter what the cost of an education, no matter how many provincial grants, loans or what have you are put in, the federal government will not put forward, in their student loans, any more than 60 per cent of the cost of a semester. So that left a 40 per cent gap. There were already unmet fees. I could not see, in this fiscal reality that we live in, where the Province could find any more than $20 million to put into student aid, bearing in mind we're spending 85 per cent.

So we were left with several options. One option would have been to continue on with a grant system but instead of making the grant available say to, 20,000 students or 15,000 students, we would make the grant available to less students. A bigger grant to less students, that was one option but, Mr. Speaker, we didn't consider that to be fair. Another option would have been to increase the money in student grants. Instead of $20 million, put in $40 million. Now, Mr. Speaker, how many hospital beds would we have to close to do that? How many nurses will we have to lay off to do that? How many teachers will we have to lay off to do that? How much will we have to lower the social services safety net, Mr. Speaker? It was just not a - they're rhetorical questions, I tell the hon. Member from Fogo - it was just not reasonable to do that so government, like the Government of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and every other Province across this great nation of ours decided that we would come up with a student loan program.

So today students in this Province, like students across the country, have two options, they have two ways to deal with the 15 per cent which they have to pay for themselves. There is always of course - some students are fortunate enough to have parents who can afford to pay the shot. Some students are fortunate enough to get work where they pay for much of their cost but other students have to go and borrow. So now students have available to them the Canada Student Loans which will only loan 60 per cent and they have available provincial student loans which I believe is a very good program. Let me just give you some examples here, Mr. Speaker.

One of the problems we found under the old student loans program, the grant system, was family income. For example, take a family income of $40,000 per year. Under the old system the parents were expected to make a contribution to the cost of education. The provincial contribution would have been, used to be, $2208.00 per year. That is what the parents had to pay under the old system.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, it is almost amusing to listen to the Minister of Education. I say to the Minister of Education that for the past number of years we have been going ten and ten, and you can speak as often as you wish, you can get up again. But I also say to him that it is almost amusing to listen to the minister when he talks about student aid after the damage that minister had done to the student aid program in this Province.

DR. KITCHEN: It's an improvement.

MR. TOBIN: Yes, Mr. Speaker, the elimination of grants to students is an improvement I say to the Minister of Health. That is what he is saying, is it? The Minister of Health may not have had a student loan, I do not know, or student grants, but I can tell you that for those in this Province who receive student grants they went a long way in enabling them to obtain their university degrees.

I can tell him that I did not have any grants, that all I had were loans. I did not quality for grants. I say to the Minister of Health that a lot of students in this Province, and my colleague right here for Kilbride, knows more about student loans than the Minister of Health will ever know. As a former President of the CSU -

AN HON. MEMBER: Bull, b-u-l-l.

MR. TOBIN: You knew nothing about it since the books fell on your head. You did not know where the university was ever since.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: You were not here when he told the story, were you?

I say to the Member for Fogo that it was a great laugh the evening the Minister of Health told us about his days in university when the books fell on his head.

AN HON. MEMBER: Tell us now.

MR. TOBIN: No, I will let the Minister of Health tell you because he can tell it much better than I can.

Mr. Speaker, I say to the Member for Fogo who himself went to university, and I do not know if he had student loans, student grants or not, but I am sure he is aware of people who had grants at university, and the fact that he is supporting a government that now has eliminated them does not do much for the students in his district.

The Minister of Education, Mr. Speaker, should not get up and be boastful about what he has done for education because he is the minister who said that he wanted his grandchildren to remember their grandfather as the person who basically killed the education system in this Province. That is the contribution that Minister of Education has made.

Mr. Speaker, there is another area I want to touch on briefly because I only have ten minutes, and that is social services, and to say that I find it somewhat amusing, since my friend for Fogo has left as an ADM, that minister and his staff have cut this Budget for the child welfare division, and I am sure the Member for Fogo has great problems with that as well.

AN HON. MEMBER: They have not.

MR. TOBIN: They have so. Since you left, Sir, they have reduced it. Most certainly child welfare has been reduced.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is the result of (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Well, I do not know what it is a result of. It probably is a result of your absence. It could be, but I can say to him that in the last budget -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: In the budget that you were there, yes, they spent $6,137,000 on child welfare, and this year they are spending less than $6 million, $5.9 million. I say to the Minister of Social Services that I believe very strongly that that is one area that you should not be cutting in.

Mr. Speaker, there is another interesting statistic in social services. Since 1989, the last Budget of the Conservative administration in this Province, there has been one increase in the amount of funding given per month to the social assistance recipients. Over the six year period that they have been in office, they have gotten one increase.

Do you know that back in 1989 the budget for social services was somewhere in the area of $50 million, and today it's over $100 million. So while there has only been one slight increase, I believe probably 2 per cent, to social assistance recipients, in the six years that they have been in government the budget has doubled, and the question has to be, why?

I would assume that the answer is because the numbers of people receiving social assistance has doubled. That is what I would assume the answer is. Why has the caseload of social service recipients doubled? Very clearly because of the lack of any economic stimulus by this government. They have forgotten the economy. The economy is not important to this government.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: No, boy.

AN HON. MEMBER: You were the worst minister they ever had.

MR. TOBIN: I was the worst minister she ever had.

MR. HARRIS: She never said that. She wouldn't say that. I don't believe that. I don't believe that the Auditor General would say that. She would say that, (inaudible) on the record? I wonder about that.

MR. TOBIN: For the record, Mr. Speaker, we will put it into the record, the Member for Fogo said that Beth Marshall said I was the worst deputy minister she ever had.

AN HON. MEMBER: The Auditor General said you were the worst minister.

AN HON. MEMBER: You weren't the deputy minister.

MR. TOBIN: The worst minister she ever had. Well, now, she only had two. As deputy minister, she only had two.

AN HON. MEMBER: You can't call (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: No, I have no intention of doing that, and I will tell you, I am not one bit upset, because if the senior executive have a problem with you, and you are a minister, you are doing a good job.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: If the senior executive have a problem with you, when you are a minister, you are doing a good job, because what is important is that when you have been given the authority to be minister of the department, you are the minister and not the bureaucrats, and any minister worth his salt will ensure that the bureaucrats, the deputy ministers and assistant deputy ministers, and all the rest of them, are kept in line. That is the responsibility of the minister.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I must say to the minister, I don't believe what he is saying, and I don't think she would make that comment about any individual. To be honest, I don't think she would make a comment about any individual.

AN HON. MEMBER: Did you say anything about me?

MR. TOBIN: No, I didn't, I say to the Minister of Social Services. I would say that when you were there you tried your best, the same as I did.

AN HON. MEMBER: Former minister.

MR. TOBIN: Former minister. That is what I would say to the Minister of Social Services.

What I did say is that your colleague from Fogo said that the senior bureaucrats had a problem with me in the department, and I said that is good because any minister worth his salt tells the senior bureaucrats what to do, and I would think that the Member for Port de Grave does the same thing.

MR. EFFORD: Right on.

MR. TOBIN: Right on.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I think he whipped you in line a couple of times.

Mr. Speaker, I want to turn, for the couple of minutes that I have left, but I will get back at this later on; there's lots of time left, with the Minister of Health.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes, the Minister of Health.

MS COWAN: Back to the Minister of Health.

MR. TOBIN: Yes, and I am going to come back to deal with the Minister of Environment and Lands.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes, indeed I am, about those crazy regulations that you brought in without public hearings.

MR. SULLIVAN: Rammed them through.

MR. TOBIN: Rammed them through.

MR. SULLIVAN: No public consultation.

MR. TOBIN: Didn't consult with anyone.

Mr. Speaker, there is nothing I would like to do more than to get the Minister of Environment and Lands on the back of a bike and bring her so far in the woods that -

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh, be careful!

MR. TOBIN: - bring her so far back in the country the day the regulations were implemented and say we can't drive the bike back, you have to walk back.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Well you know, I suppose she has to walk back, then she would appreciate, Mr. Speaker, how we, in rural Newfoundland appreciate, for those of us who enjoy the woods -

MS. COWAN: Are you going to walk with me.

MR. TOBIN: No, Mr. Speaker -

MS. COWAN: (Inaudible) stay in there.

MR. TOBIN: You wouldn't be able to keep up I say to the Minister of Environment and Lands. As a matter of fact, my friend from Port de Grave and I meet every morning.

MS COWAN: (Inaudible) what?

MR. TOBIN: My friend from Port de Grave and I meet every morning somewhere between 6:30 and a quarter to seven.

AN HON. MEMBER: On an all terrain vehicle?

MR. TOBIN: No. I am not in any vehicle but he is.

AN HON. MEMBER: Walking in the (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: No, I am walking but I always run into him about 6:30, I don't know if he is going to work or going home.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Minister of Education.

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, as I was saying when I spoke first to this bill that the committee was a very amicable one -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DECKER: It is obvious, Mr. Speaker, that had the Member for Burin - Placentia West been a part of that committee, it would not have been amicable, because you just heard him when he got up and took ten minutes and had vicious attacks, personal attacks on both myself and the Minister of Health. I can assure this House that that was not the tone at the committee where we did the education estimates; it was a very moderate tone and we discussed some wide-ranging issues in education and it was beneficial to everyone who attended, and I think the hon. Member for Burin - Placentia West should talk with his friend and colleague from Humber East and she should explain to him just how a member should act when we are discussing these heavy issues, Mr. Speaker.

Now, I went over the student loans which was a big concern at that meeting.

MR. TOBIN: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

MR. TOBIN: The minister said that I issued a personal attack on him and the Minister of Health; this should not be allowed to stand on the record, because, Mr. Speaker, that was not the case. What I was basically doing, I had such strong feelings about both these ministers, Mr. Speaker, that it would be unparliamentary to reveal them. What I was really doing was paying you a compliment in what I had to say.

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

The hon. the Minister of Education.

MR. DECKER: I am glad it was a compliment, Mr. Speaker.

The other issue which we discussed at the committee meeting, Mr. Speaker, was the 2 per cent clause, the letter which is attached to the teachers contract; this is one of the issues which we discussed. Now I should explain what the 2 per cent clause is because an awful lot of people talk about the 2 per cent clause and they don't know what we are talking about.

We are getting phone calls, there is obviously an orchestrated lobby now for people to phone in to the Department of Education and make different points and we have this - it sounded like a grand older lady who phoned in and criticized the department severely because we are tampering with the 2 per cent clause, so one of the officials said: madam, do you know what the 2 per cent clause is? Yes, she said, you are going to take away 2 per cent of the teachers' salary. Well now, she said, that's not the 2 per cent clause.

She understood that the 2 per cent clause meant that government was going to take away 2 per cent of the teachers' salary. Nothing could be further from the truth. Now I will explain for the benefit of hon. members in this House and I will explain for the benefit of the people throughout the Province and for the people all over the free world, all over the known world who are listening through the means of radio - this is broadcast live around the world as hon. members know and for their benefit I will explain what the 2 per cent clause is.

Attached to the teachers' contract, there is a letter which says: that no matter how much enrolment declines by, in a given year, school boards cannot lay off more than 2 per cent of the teachers. Now push that to its logical conclusion. Take for example the hon. member's district, the District of Ferryland. Suppose for example, that every single family in Ferryland decided tomorrow morning that they, like the ancient Hebrews, were going to emigrate, going to leave Ferryland and move up to the Strait of Belle Isle District, suppose that ever happened, every man, woman, child and their dogs, cows, cats, horses, walk up the Great Northern Peninsula, Ferryland would be left with not a child except, Mr. Speaker, about 400 or 500 teachers. All the children could disappear and only 2 per cent of the teachers could be laid off. Now that is what the 2 per cent rule means.

As a result of that, Mr. Speaker, we have declining enrollment. We have 3,000 students less this year in school than we had last year. Next September there will be 3500 students less than there is this year. If the present trend continues, Mr. Speaker, by the year 2005, there will be about 80,000 students enrolled in K to 12. Do you realize that back in the 1970s there were 165,000 students enrolled, and that was only K to 11. Remember now K to 12 has come in since then. In K to 11 back in the '70s, 165,000, by the year 2005 we're going to go down to about 85,000 students. So if we were to keep the 2 per cent clause in place, somewhere in the future - I don't know where I haven't calculated it - somewhere in the future there will be more teachers in the system then there will be students. That is the logical conclusion if you keep pushing this on and on, Mr. Speaker. So I explained to hon. members in the committee that the 2 per cent clause hamstrings the Department of Education in it's desire to distribute teachers throughout the Province where they are most needed. Fifteen or sixteen boards have teachers on holdback. The other boards don't have any teachers on holdback.

The Pentecostal School Board, Mr. Speaker, which has schools throughout the Province, don't have a solitary, single teacher on holdback. The Avalon Consolidated School Board don't have any teachers on holdback and you hear the teachers complaining. You hear the teachers and the parents complaining about the large classes. I'd like to be able to do something with that. If I could access those excess teachers throughout the Province, take them out of places where they're teaching in classes as small as five or six students, I could address some of the problems we've got.

AN HON. MEMBER: Five or six?

MR. DECKER: Five or six. There are classes in this province with five or six students in place. Now, that is the problem we have with the 2 per cent rule. I'm not trying to justify it - even if the policy said that we could not lay off more then 2 per cent on a provincial basis it would interfere with management rights, yes, but it would not be as bad. The reality is, that it is confined to each individual board. Now, there are many weaknesses in that.

There will always be the need, Mr. Speaker, for us to put extra teachers in place but we cannot deal with the specific examples because our right to manage the system has been hamstrung. Now if there were no 2 per cent rule that does not mean that there would not be extra teachers. There will be extra teachers, Mr. Speaker. We've been accused of doing away with the 2 per cent rule this year. We did not do away with the 2 per cent rule this year. We didn't do away with the 2 per cent. We gave an interim allocation and we looked at every nook and cranny of this Province, every school, every class and we said how many teachers do we need? Not the 2 per cent rule but how many teachers do we need and we allocated the teachers.

In excess of 7,000 teachers, in our estimation, are needed to carry out the duties that are required to deliver the education program to Newfoundland and Labrador. Now we may have to fine tune that a little later on. We might find that we might need an extra half unit in Harbour Deep or we might be able to take another two teachers out of somewhere. We'll fine tune the system, Mr. Speaker, but we're confident that the 7,000 odd teachers that we have allocated are sufficient. Now that is more then would be there if we took the student/teacher ratio that we're using. We acknowledge the fact that there are places, small schools and so on, where extra teachers are needed.

How much time have I got left on this shot because I don't want to start a new topic unless I have to?

MR. SPEAKER: A minute.

MR. DECKER: The next item we discussed and I will return to - I understand I only have a minute left - is the public libraries board. Hon. members will recall that there was a report done and that report referred back to an earlier report that was done by the libraries board which recommended that we close some libraries. It was recommended that the library in Spaniard's Bay close, that the library in Upper Island Cove would close, that the library in Victoria, which is five kilometres from Carbonear would close, Arnold's Cove five miles from Southern Harbour would close, Fortune, two kilometres from Grand Bank would close, Windsor, and Fortune.

AN HON. MEMBER: What?

MR. DECKER: This is a recommendation, that the library in Fortune would be closed. It is two kilometres from Grand Bank. This was the recommendation. It was recommended, Mr. Speaker, that the library in Windsor would be closed. Well, Windsor and Grand Falls are one community. Badger's Quay, which is four kilometres away from Wesleyville, Hare Bay which is two kilometres from Dover.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

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

I would like to return to some of the comments the Minister of Social Services was making.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. E. BYRNE: I intend to use my ten minutes to debate and not to try to reduce it to political squabble or political rhetoric. I am going to ask some questions of the minister. He and I do not disagree on the philosophy that people in this Province should be trained and highly skilled, and for him to infer that I was saying that, certainly in my opinion was very irresponsible. My own professional background before getting into politics was in the field of education and training with adults, and I say to him now that while he was very eloquent, while his department in many areas deserved some credit in terms of recent employment initiatives, let me ask him this: why today, are there single mothers on social assistance who wish to attend a post-secondary institution and who once doing so are becoming registered, and all of a sudden they are denied social assistance benefits? Would it not be far better to extend benefits to single mothers for a three or four year period until degrees or programs are finished, so that they can become contributors to society?

MR. MANNING: Can you muzzle the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, Mr. Speaker?

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if you could give me some indulgence for a minute?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation continuously interrupts me in this debate.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. E. BYRNE: I have not stood in this House since being elected, Mr. Speaker, without being able to provide or back up whatever I talked about in this House, and I can back up exactly what I just said, and I will. As a matter of fact, there was a lady in to see me yesterday, and I have written the minister about it. It is not about research. It is about people who have problems, I say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

Again, those are things, I say to the minister, that we should look at, that you, as minister, should look at, in providing more of those sorts of opportunities.

I wish to return also to the Minister of Education's comments on student aid. It is absolutely incredible. The minister stands and offers the reasons why the government made certain decisions on student aid - and government has every right to make those decisions, I can't question that. I can question the decision itself, but not their right to govern. Let me ask the minister these questions now.

There are many students in the Province. While government has made the decision to switch from a grant portion to a total loan portion, they haven't gone on the other end. They haven't defined what the role of the banks will be. They haven't defined what the assessment criteria will be for student loans in this Province. There are students right now who are applying for student aid. They do not know what the remission ceiling will be.

For example, under the program that was announced by the government in their budget, the Minister of Education, or the Minister of Finance, said that there would be a remission system possibly looked at when $22,000 was reached in a loan. Automatically, anybody who was in a three-year program or less, on student loan programs, would not reach that limit. It was impossible to reach that limit.

One of the questions asked of the Minister of Education, one of the questions put to the Student Aid Advisory Committee, was: Would that ceiling be lowered? Would it be lowered to, say, $15,000 or $16,000 so that those students in this Province who are doing two- year or three-year programs, would be eligible for remission grants as well? That question has not been defined by the minister or his department as of yet.

What role will the banks play in determining eligibility of student aid? That question was asked recently in the House at Question Period, but yet there was no definitive answer coming forward because there is no definitive answer as of yet. A decision has not been made. The minister knows that. He knows that no decision has been made in determining what role the banks will play in the student loan program. If it has, it certainly hasn't been made public. His officials certainly will not release it.

Now, when we talk about the assessment criteria for the student loan program, there are limits in terms of what parents make and what their contribution should be to their sons' and daughters' education, so that the Minister of Social Services or the Minister of Education, who are at a certain income bracket, or myself, as an MHA, make a certain level, then we are expected, if we are at a higher end, to contribute more to our sons' and daughters' education, but the assessment criteria is not complete. It doesn't provide the whole story. A family making $50,000 has to contribute a certain amount but there is no criteria for that family, if they have three children attending post-secondary institutions they still have to contribute the same amount for each of those children. Another family - with one child going to that institution - making the same amount, $50,000, they have to contribute the same amount. That is unfair and inequitable.

That is what I speak about when I talk about the assessment criteria for students who wish to avail of a provincial student loan to supplement their costs and to ensure that they do in fact receive a post-secondary education. There has been no response by the minister or his department dealing with that, Mr. Speaker, none whatsoever.

The minister said last week that no student will not receive an education or be ineligible for a provincial student loan - be declared ineligible, I believe he said, because of bad credit. The minister hasn't made any decisions. Other than making a great motherhood statement that nobody in this House and that nobody in this Province can or should disagree with, where is the proof, I ask you, Mr. Speaker? The proof has not been forthcoming. Has the Student Aid Advisory Committee met yet? No, it has not met yet. Why have not these decisions been made about the new government program to inform students, to inform the bureaucracy, to give those who are applying for a provincial loan the opportunity to know well in advance that yes, they do have one, or no, they do not, so that they can make informed decisions about what their next step will be in trying to further their own education and their own career paths.

The Minister of Health -

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!

MR. E. BYRNE: My colleague says I know more about the student aid program than the Minister of Health. I'm not going to get into that debate at all. I can assure you of this before I sit down, Mr. Speaker, that the Minister of Health certainly knows more about crossword puzzles than I do. He practices them often enough. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, as I was saying before I was interrupted, this recommendation that we would close some libraries - the last one I got to was St. Lunaire - Griquet in the great district of the Strait of Belle Isle. That one is twenty-four kilometres from St. Anthony. It was recommended that one be closed. The one in Cormack in the district of my friend, the Member for Humber Valley, was recommended to be closed. The one in Norris Point - that is in the district of my colleague, the Member for St. Barbe - was recommended to be closed. Stephenville Crossing was recommended to be closed, Port au Port East was recommended to be closed, in the district of my friend, the Member for Port au Port, and the one in Freshwater, Mr. Speaker, which is 3.3 kilometres from Placentia.

Now, this was a very hot topic when we had our Committee and the hon. members on the Committee wanted to know what I was going to do about it.

AN HON. MEMBER: What are you going to do about it?

MR. DECKER: So I told them what I was going to do about it. I'm going to close every single library in the Province, Mr. Speaker. It's costing $7 million, let's close them all. But, in their place, we're going to bring forward a new generation, a new concept. We are talking about information centres, Mr. Speaker, we're no longer going to talk about libraries. We are coming into the 21st Century and we're going to have information centres. We no longer go into a library to simply pick a book off the shelf. What about the guy or the gal who's trying to start a business up in Croque. You go into the library, Mr. Speaker - wouldn't it be nice, in addition to picking up an armload of books, if he or she could sit down to a computer terminal and hook into the Stemnets, the network of computers which is right across this Province, which hooks into the network right across Canada, which hooks into the network all down through North America and which hooks into an international network, Mr. Speaker. In Croque, little old Croque, you can go into your information centre, plug into your computer terminal, Mr. Speaker, that's what we're looking at. We're not back in the old days thinking about the past. We're not reactionaries over here, we're visionaries, Mr. Speaker, we're visionaries.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DECKER: So if you live in Croque, St. Juliens, Grand Falls or Conche don't be afraid that you're going to lose a library. Wish, hope and pray that you're going to lose a library and hope and pray that you're going to get an information centre, the technology is there, Mr. Speaker. I spoke about Stemnet which is a network of computers in the school system. What about the ENL, Mr. Speaker, another network of computers? What about the community colleges, Mr. Speaker, which are now going to - What about Internet my colleague talks about? You see the problem with hon. members opposite, their minds are so far back in the dark ages that they don't even know what a computer is. I would recommend to hon. members that they would do what I did and go up to Memorial University, shell out your sixty bucks and take a course in computer programming, Mr. Speaker. Do it, and get off the Nintendo stuff. The Nintendo stuff is gone. Get off that old nonsense and come into the 21st Century with me. Have some vision, Mr. Speaker, have some vision.

Now, in this list of libraries that you would close down, St. Lunaire-Griquet is recommended to close, twenty-four kilometres from St. Anthony. Now if you were thinking the old style, if your mind was back in the old days, you will say, yes, well it is only twenty-four kilometres, ten or twelve, fourteen miles, let's close it, but I am not back there, Mr. Speaker. Twenty-four kilometres from St. Anthony there is a library, 150 miles from St. Anthony in Roddickton, there is no library; 185 miles from St. Anthony there is no library in Englee, 165 miles in Conche there is no library, Mr. Speaker.

Now we are spending, as a people, $7 million for a network of libraries which is only serving about less than half of our population, so the logical thing to do is scrap it all, come forward with the information centres, tie it to Internet and Stemnet and all those computer networks in the Province, Mr. Speaker, we have all the infrastructures there; it won't cost an additional five cents to put the computer networks in place, the odd terminal here and there where the terminal might be outdated, that is all we need to do. So now if you live out in Windsor which is amalgamated with Grand Falls, don't stay up and lose any sleep because we might close a particular place over here which is half-a-kilometre away from there; don't lose any sleep but live and hope with the vision that before long you are going to be part of a network. You are going to be part, Mr. Speaker, of information centres, we are part of the future, Mr. Speaker, this is what is going to come, so hon. members got the shock of their lives.

The Member for Humber East who screamed and shouted for months for that Libraries Report, remember that? Where is the Libraries Report she used to shout at every (inaudible). She knew about the recommendations about closing all those libraries, so she thought she would get the poor old Minister of Education on the defensive, because we are going to close the libraries, a great political debate was going to ensue, second only to the Hydro debate in her mind. She was going to be on a roll, she was going to bring down the administration because we were going to close those libraries.

Imagine the shock she got when I said to her: Ms. Verge, I am going to close all the libraries. Well she almost jumped out of her seat and ran to the door to grab the first media representative she saw to say they were closing all the libraries. What a shock she got but before she got half-way across this Chamber, I said: hold on now, hold on now; come into the 21st Century, take a walk with me into the 21st Century -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DECKER: She marled back, her (inaudible) was cut, Mr. Speaker, because she realized that in her excitement to make political points, she loss the vision; she didn't see the vision for the future.

So if you are out in Croque, or Conche, or St. Julien's, or if you are out in Mount Pearl, or wherever the case might be, you can live, you can be optimistic. You can know that wherever you are in this Province, you are going to be part of the 21st. Century. You are going to walk into that (inaudible).

Now, Mr. Speaker, there are a whole lot of other topics I am going to come back to. We also discussed the Royal Commission. We talked about the governance in education, the professional development centre for teachers. We talked about the ten school boards, how they are going to be elected. We talked about denominational schools, uni-denominational schools, provincial construction boards for schools. We talked about bible schools; that's a half-an-hour speech I am going to come back to later on tonight. We talked about bussing and so on and so forth, so all of these issues were discussed, and I will return to that later on after a couple of more speakers get in, because I notice the Member for Eagle River there is going to spend the next half-an-hour or so congratulating the department for the great work we are doing. He is just rearing to get off his seat, but I will return to all of these issues, so I say to hon. members: Don't go away; keep your places; I shall return.


 

May 17, 1994                HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS           Vol. XLII  No. 43A


[Continuation of sitting]

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have a number of things to say about the Estimates in general for Social Services department. I don't see the Minister of Social Services here but I do want to say a few words about what the Minister of Education had to say and I say that he doesn't want to hear about this.

AN HON. MEMBER: I will be listening.

MR. HARRIS: Well, I hope the member listens very well because I want to talk a little bit about some of his remarks about closing libraries and all of that sort of stuff and his vision about closing libraries, his vision about the future and his vision about computers, because what we are here to talk about today is, government's use of its resources and the Estimates that are being spent by the government to follow up on government programs, and it is very interesting to hear him say to the House and exhort members on this side of the House to do what he did and spend sixty dollars presumably of his own money to go up to Memorial University and do a course in computers.

That is not a bad idea, perhaps everybody could do that; we could buy a book for less than sixty dollars, you can spend ten dollars or fifteen dollars and go and buy an actual hard-cover, low-tech paper between two covers book, to tell you how to use a computer and how to program a computer and how to use PC and Internet and all of those wonderful things that are available, and that is all there is to it; it is one of a stock, it is one of a stock; but, try to do it any other way, try to learn about computers any other way than buying a hard-cover book and what will it cost you?

I hope the minister is listening because I want him to come back into this House and tell us how he uses the computer and whose computer does he use? Is he one of the people in his department who, in the last month-and-a-half, was one of the recipients of a $5,000 laptop computer at the expense of the public, brought in, at least ten or twelve $5,000 laptop computers for senior executives in his department, ones who have already access to computers in their own offices and in addition now, they have a laptop, $5,000 a piece, and where did that come from, Mr. Speaker, and this is a question that all ministers over there had better be ready to answer.

What time of the year did they spend that money, and why is it, in the last week of March there are all kinds of people rushing around with boxes of computers and hardware and software and every other kind of ware the last ten days, March 31? The Minister of Health knows because he sees the trucks backed up to the door over on the west block or whatever it is called, bringing in the computers, bringing in the hardware and bringing in the laser printers and software and all that stuff, at the last minute - get that Budget spent, Mr. Speaker, get rid of the money, shovel out the people's money at the last minute and we will get the $5,000 laptop computers, the wave of the future, and at whose expense, Mr. Speaker, at whose expense, because I want to compare and contrast that attitude, Mr. Speaker, that exists?

I have no problem with high tech, I am glad to see the Minister of Education interested in high technology, but I ask the minister, is the person in Englee whom he is talking about, who has no library, does he have a $5,000 laptop computer, given to him by the government from the people of Newfoundland? Does he, Mr. Speaker, and how many computers are in the school in Englee? How many and why is it that the people who have computers in the schools have to go out and sell chocolate bars to raise money to do it?

Those are the kinds of questions that I would like to hear the Minister of Education address, never mind lecturing this side of the House and talking about what a wonderful visionary he is for the future, but let us talk about some practical things and practical choices that this minister is making in his own department, when he allows and provides for and signs the purchase order for this. When he comes back we will ask him how many - because we have all night here - laptop computers were purchased by his department in the last two months before the end of the fiscal year, how much did they cost and who got them?

Mr. Speaker, this is a series of questions but they should put them on the Order Paper. They should write them down and put them on the Order Paper because I don't seriously expect the minister to come back in this House and address that question but here are the questions, Mr. Speaker: How many laptop computers were purchased by the Department of Education in the last sixty days prior to the end of the fiscal year? What budget did they come from? Who got them? And how many of those people who got them had -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Well, that's a good question; that's another question. How many knew how to use them before they got them? And the last question is: How many of them who got them already had access to a computer in the Department of Education?

Those are the kinds of questions I would like to hear answered before I hear the minister come in here and talk about rejoicing about closing down libraries in Cormack, and rejoicing about closing down libraries in his own district, when the people in his district, not only do they not have access to computers in the schools, they certainly don't have access to the public purse, like the minister does, to line his departmental office with private laptop computers for people to take home to use.

Mr. Speaker, those are the kinds of questions that I want to hear the Minister of Education talk about. Those are the kinds of questions -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: I don't mind the minister having the best. He's got a big salary. He can buy his own laptop, I say to the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, and if the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture wants to have his laptop, let him go buy one, too. You're getting paid a handsome salary by the people of this Province to act on their behalf in government, and if you think, along with the Minister of Education, that high tech is the way to go, and we've got to have the wave of the future, information technology, and you want to set an example in that, and program your computer, and play with it and do what you want with it in your own time at your own expense, then more power to you, but I would ask the Minister of Education to tell me how many people in his district have the disposable income to be able to purchase a $5,000 laptop computer to be able to get on this information highway if it was there? How many people have access to that, I say to the minister? Even if they did, is he saying that we are not going to have a need for books?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: I think that's quite an interesting reflection on the information highway. The Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs would know about this. I suppose they probably think he's going to let the tenders, too.

They said that the President of NewTel Enterprises has had a number of phone calls wondering when tenders were going to be let to pave the information highway. Well, I suppose the information highway is like a lot of things. It's like the road to hell. The information highway is one of those roads that is paved with a lot of good intentions right now, and the Minister of Education gets up and talks about the information highway, the 21 Century, and all of that kind of stuff, but I want to know who is going to have access to that information, who is going to have access to that highway, and how much is it going to cost, and who is going to make money on it.

Those are interesting questions that all have to be sorted out before we start parading around about how wonderful the information highway is, and how we can go ahead and close down all of our libraries because we are all going to be high tech, and we are all going to be able to travel the information highway, presumably at no expense, when this government hasn't been able to look after the Newfoundland pony.

This government hasn't yet been able to look after the Newfoundland pony, and here we are, talking about closing down libraries because the information highway is going to have everybody talking in WordPerfect 5.1 or something, when most people don't even know what it's all about. When this government shows that it can look after the things that they have on their plate right now -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Show that they can save the Newfoundland pony. We can't even look after the pony express, let alone the information highway, so let's be realistic. It's all right to have a few visionaries around, but let's look after the basics, Mr. Speaker. It's time for this government to pony up. Stop making a horse's arse of government business and -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: I'm sorry that the Minister of Education is not here in person. I know he is listening on the hi-tech machine. He will come back and tell us how many -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

The hon. the Member for LaPoile.

MR. RAMSAY: Mr. Speaker, there's not -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Point of order?

MR. RAMSAY: There are as many ponies on the southwest coast as there are in Labrador.

MR. SPEAKER: Does the Member for Eagle River wish to be heard on a point of order?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. member.

MR. RAMSAY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm very pleased to rise and offer my capabilities and opinion on just what is happening here with respect mainly to the Opposition.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RAMSAY: I was going to say that but I didn't want to demean the Legislature by offering it in such small, token amounts.

Mr. Speaker, the motion before us today is to concur with the Committee that did the deliberations on the social services departments. I suppose we get into a bit of a heated debate over these things. I think the Opposition really should be proud of the way in which they really rout the government on matters with the galleries full of people today. They did such an admirable job. I think they proved to the people of the Province the undying admiration of people for them as the alternative to the government, and I think really that the people of this Province can bode well in understanding that they are there to take the ship of state should we not be able to continue.

Really, as the viable alternative to the government -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RAMSAY: There is no opportunity over there, no. But we hear from members opposite of how they would do things. They would spend. They certainly would never take away anything from anybody. They would do it all, Mr. Speaker. I think they've turned into the NDP. I think the hon. member in the corner has probably infiltrated them and they don't even know it yet. They have been hijacked. The course of their doctrine, of the PC doctrine of days of old, has been hijacked by the lone member for the pony party, or the NDP, and certainly the hon. member in the corner is really rising in the polls. He is rising to the occasion, and he has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the socialist element is alive and well and it lives wholeheartedly in the party of the hon. members opposite.

One often wondered, I guess, over the course of the last few days, with such difficult times ongoing, with the teachers being disgruntled with the government to the tune of having to go on strike as they have determined to do so, and to -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) having to go on strike.

MR. RAMSAY: Well, that is their decision. They have said: We have no choice. That is the way that they put it. I discussed the matter with teachers in my district this weekend and they felt that they had no choice. Really, that is their decision that they had no choice in the way that that organization functions. Many members opposite are former members of the NLTA. I know even members on this side who are directly involved, have family members who are directly involved, with the NLTA. So it is not something that does not take some concern and reckoning from this side of the House as well. It is a matter that we deal with and a matter that we - in the area of education, which does come under the said motion we are discussing here today, that allows us to discuss it in detail, I suppose.

The hon. members opposite, I might note - we are in a desperate, in some cases some might say, circumstance financially. I think it is something we can plan and work our way through, but our purpose in cutting back on the financial expenditures that we have to make, are such that we have to cut the garment according to the cloth and the fact of the matter is, that, when you look at the case with the teachers strike fund as an example, a fund which they will now have to use, that teachers strike fund itself is unable to invest in Newfoundland government bonds, so you can see the desperate circumstance that our credit rating has placed us in when the employees of this Province, who have a strike fund are unable to even invest in Newfoundland government treasury issues that are on the market; they have to dump them if they have them so really, the realization should be stark and the reality to these people of just the desperate circumstance that our financiers are now in.

Now, can we work our way through it? As I have said many times in this Legislature, I feel that through business initiatives and keeping a firm hold on the tiller of the ship of state, we can certainly navigate our way through these rough waters, we can, Mr. Speaker, be a leader again in the country in getting our fiscal house in order; one only has to look at the radical surgery that has been performed in Alberta in comparison to what we have done here. We have taken a planned approach basis, therefore, when we reach a point within the next year or two when we are able to avoid having a current account deficit, we will have achieved what Alberta is trying to do, we will have achieved what Ontario is trying to do, we will have achieved what Quebec is attempting to do and we will have achieved what Ottawa itself is trying to do, in managing current account expenditures within the limits and within the amount of revenues that it has available to it without borrowing.

This government started this course back when it was very, very unpopular to do so three and four years ago. I remember standing in this Legislature when there was an outcry, we were taking the tough medicine and we decided at that time, that as rough as it was, to lay off somewhere in the order of - it was announced at the time 2,000 employees and I think the final numbers, the final tally worked out to about 1,260 actual units after they took account of early retirements and attrition in the system, that there were less than 1,300 people actually laid off at that time. Now that was a long-term measure that was taken; it was not a short-term matter of dealing with things as some people are suggesting we now do.

To look at the long-term needs of the education system and to understand that the education matters have to be dealt with so that we can plan our approach to educational finance in a manner where we can look at the long-term expenditure as opposed to the short-term fix me up. Now the short-term fix up is the kind of thing that was undertaken last year with the pension option but it wasn't something that we did lightly. It wasn't that we undertook the pension option as a suggestion to try to win an election although we were victorious in the election, it wasn't because of offering up a short-term option such as the pension option, it was a matter of the situation at the time that the problem with the solutions as proposed by the hon. members opposite and also that were being proposed publicly is quick fixes.

I mean, to think that we are going to go out and allow the amount of money saved by virtue of a strike to be a way that we are going to save money in this Province is really not in the cards of a short-term fix; it does not resolve the overall, long-term fiscal problem that has been created by the lack of management capability of the government because of this 2 per cent savings clause.

We have a situation in my own district where the 2 per cent clause, were it implemented now, would mean drastic cuts to the number of teachers available in the system currently. For some considerations the school board there has decided that certain programs would be affected by virtue of the current cuts that are being proposed. So we have problems as well that will be borne out - hopefully we'll be able to work those problems out with the school board in the area.

We have a single school board out there, one of the areas in the Province, where the restructuring of the denominational education system doesn't mean anything because we fully consolidated all of the school boards back in the late sixties in our area and it really has created a certain harmony between religious groups. It has created a situation where there are no wasted expenditures on having two different schools for the same age group of students and really, Mr. Speaker, under the social -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

MR. RAMSAY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The more I look at and listen to what the government opposite is doing, Mr. Speaker, it reminds me of a story one time when a little fellow went to school, a young fellow went to school for the first time, the first time of the year, September, and he came home the first day of school and his mother said to him: What was your teacher like? Do you like the teacher? He answered: Yes, the teacher's alright but she's mean. Yes, she's mean but she's fair. She's mean to everybody. Mr. Speaker, nothing is more certain then that analogy with regard to this particular administration.

The Member for Eagle River, I'm sure, Mr. Speaker, if there's any way of the member getting down those three rows of seats and getting at the Minister of Justice, the Government House Leader, I'll guarantee you if there's any way he could get at him sometimes - I never saw a member put on such an honest - try to put on a straight face and yet at the same time like to just - well I won't say it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Oh yes, he would without hesitation I would say. I know there's a lot of other backbenchers there and a lot of other government members there that feel the same way about the member. I'll keep an eye on him all the time because I don't know what member is going to go down there and I'm -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, I'd say he got to put rear-view mirrors on his shoulders, that's right. I'll guarantee you, if he hasn't got them there he had better get them there soon.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, just like that.

Mr. Speaker, we're now debating the Social Services Estimates and one of the areas of concern that I would have to address is the concerns raised by the Minister of Education as it pertains to library boards around the Province, in my view. Now the minister named and outlined some of the libraries around the Province that will possibly close within the next year or so but I say to the minister here this evening, Mr. Speaker, that there's nothing more detrimental to a community. If a community in this Province, whether it's a small community or a large community, has a library and is lucky enough and fortunate enough to have one then the minister should not touch it. He should not touch it. The amount of funding that's going into library boards in this Province today is minuscule compared to the repercussions on what's going to happen, Mr. Speaker, if those libraries close down in small communities. We've got an illiteracy rate around the Province today of something between 45 and 48 per cent. Now, Mr. Speaker, one of the reasons we have that is because of the fact that people in rural Newfoundland today have no access to any library boards, no access to any books and no access with anything to do with education other then the school system.

I say to the minister that he should take another look at the possibility of closing down those libraries and, as far as I am concerned, if there is anything that his department should do in the next year or so, that is one of the things that should be addressed. They've hurt the library system enough already by the changes made to the Provincial Libraries Board in the past year.

The tendering process for books in the Province today now has gone back forty years. Library boards around the Province have done the tendering process almost a year ago and haven't got books yet, and that is a disservice to the people around this Province who are trying to make those particular libraries work.

The people in a lot of those small communities put a lot into it, a lot of time and effort, and a lot of their own fund-raising efforts and so on, to try to make that work, and that is an area of concern that, as far as I am concerned, especially coming from the Department of Education more so than any other department in government is terrible.

The minister mentioned the fact about the new information highway. Well, Mr. Speaker, the information highway is something that most people in Newfoundland and Labrador will only dream about. They can only dream of it. Who is going to pay for all the computers that are going to be required for people in rural Newfoundland today? I can see it working in the school system. I can see it with regard to distance education and so on.

If this government is going to set up information centres in every municipality around this Province, when the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs has to go begging for money every day of the week to try to keep his department going, to his Cabinet colleagues, then I ask the question: Where is he going to get it?

Granted, and I will be the first, as my colleague from St. John's East has already said, yes, that is one of the areas that I would agree with the minister, that the more computers that are put into small communities around this Province, the better it will be, no question.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Well, I'm lucky enough, I suppose, I say to the Member for Fogo, to be living in a district that is part of the federal member's, the minister for the Province, Mr. Tobin, and I think I know how the system works - a little bit about how the system works.

When the minister has to go looking every day of the week for monies to try to run his department and to try to tell municipalities around the Province that he has to cut them here or cut them there, and the Minister of Education is up, on the other hand, saying he is going to put computers in every information centre around the Province, then I say to the minister, I would like to know where he is going to come up with the funding. That's the first thing. They're not cheap.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Well, maybe the next time around things may not be so rosy on the West Coast of the Province. It's like they are going to be in a lot of areas of the Province over the next few years, not so rosy.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Now, the Member for Eagle River should stay quiet. The Premier, for the last three weeks or a month, ever since there was talk of a Cabinet shuffle, the Premier can't sit down. That's why the Premier can't stay in the House; he can't sit down.

AN HON. MEMBER: Why?

MR. WOODFORD: You know why? Because of so many members opposite trying to get in the Cabinet, you know why he can't sit down.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: No, no. They can't sit down, and the Premier, I venture to bet, over the next few weeks until the House closes, the Premier is not going to spend much time in the House because of that very reason.

The Member for Eagle River was up in Ottawa all weekend. Now, he's trying it with the two of them. He's trying it with the Premier here now, and with Mr. Chrétien on the other end. He's going to stagger his weekends from here on in.

Mr. Speaker, the health department is another area that I have some concerns about. Because as far as I'm concerned -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: I never turned on the federal member. I said one of the reasons why I got the money this morning was because the federal minister was over. One of the reasons.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, you know. Well, who wouldn't be? Mr. Speaker, the health care system in the Province today, as far as I'm concerned, I suppose I could compare it to McDonald's drive-through or Mary Brown's or something like that. Because you go in this morning now to get an operation at 8:00 or 9:00. You are sedated, you are given an anaesthetic, you are put in, you are operated on, you come out and you are one hour or half an hour in recovery, and what happens then? Out the door. As long as you can just come to and get a crutch and start walking out of the hospital, that is what happens.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

MR. WOODFORD: Oh, ten minutes, ten minutes (inaudible) -

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

MR. DUMARESQUE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I'm forced to rise here today I guess for a couple of reasons. First reason obviously is to pay tribute to my colleague, the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir, on the hon. job that he did as chair of the Social Services Committee. He and the members on this side did us all justice in being here. Obviously their task was made that much easier when they had the ministers of the respective departments coming forward with such great policy and tremendous vision and tremendous resources. Obviously their job was that much better.

One of the reasons I had to get up today - I would not have ordinarily got up - was because of the Member for Grand Bank and the hon. Opposition House Leader. I today as one member of this House was quite shocked and I must say, yes, it was unusual behaviour for the Member for Grand Bank, but today he has been really nasty. Today he actually came very close to trying to incite violence in this Province. I think that is very unbecoming of any hon. member, let alone a member who is held in such esteem by certainly at least people in his own riding, anyway - I don't know about anywhere else - but obviously he is held in high esteem down there. I think that the people down there today will be shocked when they find out that the Member for Grand Bank has been in the House of Assembly standing up trying to incite violence in this Province. It is not right. He should apologize to the House for it.

The next thing he will be on to Bas or on to Bill talking about the same thing. I know other members are calling in, going off, talking about the republican army. He will be a lieutenant in the republican army if he doesn't be careful, the way he is going on here those days. I think that, you know, I mean obviously the other day we saw the crocodile tears coming when he got the flick there out of the House. What a show by the hon. Opposition House Leader. He would go to any length to get a bit of publicity, I would say, I would submit. I've never seen a member who would go to such lengths to get a bit of publicity. Never saw a member go through such exercises to get a little bit of publicity. That is not becoming of the Member for Grand Bank. That was one of the reasons why I was forced to rise here today.

Obviously, Mr. Speaker, when you do have a gallery full of people like we had here today - and we had hon. members opposite talking about how democracy was taken away from this hon. House by the actions of the hon. Government House Leader, who is the greatest democrat who has been in this House since this last election. Greatest democrat who we ever had lead this House, through the Government House Leader's job. That would be my submission on the Member for Naskaupi. Of course, if there was ever any time that the Deputy House Leader, the Member for St. Barbe, was needed, he would be there equally as democratic and equally as fast in restoring order to this hon. House. The deputy deputy, obviously, the Minister of Education, is the third foremost democrat in this House who would bring all kinds of democracy to this House. No doubt.

People could get up here in this House today and look down from the gallery and see the Members for Grand Bank, Burin - Placentia West, Grand Falls, talking about how we are subverting democracy. It cannot be lost on the people of this Province today or yesterday or tomorrow that this is the crowd, this is the member, the Member for Grand Bank who sat in the Cabinet, the Member for Grand Falls who sat in the Cabinet, the Member for Burin - Placentia West who sat in the Cabinet, the esteemed Member for Humber East who sat in the Cabinet as Minister of Justice, and refused to open the doors of the people's House! That was the record for eighteen solid months! That was the rate. That was it.

They come here today and try to chastise the Ministers of Education and Forestry and Agriculture for spending a dollar out of order.

MR. FLIGHT: Built Sprung (inaudible).

MR. DUMARESQUE: Here they are, Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture rightly points out. They built Sprung, they popped cucumbers out of every part of this Province, on orders from the Cabinet table. They never had the audacity to be able to come to the House and meet the people and meet the people's representatives and account for that scandal that they put through this hon. House.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. DUMARESQUE: Yes, Mr. Speaker. Hopped them through the House. That is the way they did it.

Then we had representatives of the people - the Member for Fogo - who were coming to this hon. House, pounding on the door to say: Please bring democracy to Newfoundland and Labrador. The Member for Terra Nova at the time, caucus chairman, trying to get caucus meetings arranged so that they could try and bring some semblance of democracy. I know committees of the caucus were going around this Province trying to bring at least a semblance of democracy to the people. But when they called A. Brian Peckford, when they called the Member for Grand Falls, now the Leader of the Opposition, when they called the Member for Grand Bank, they said: No way, we do not believe in democracy, we do not believe in having people given an adequate say over one ounce of policy or one dollar of public spending. That is the clear and unequivocal record.

What did we do when we campaigned in 1989 when we finally restored democracy to this Province? We said that we were going to have two sessions of the House every year, a fall session and a spring session. Fall of 1989 we had one. As a matter of fact, spring of 1989, summer of 1989, fall of 1989, spring of 1990, fall of 1990, spring of 1991, fall of 1991, spring of 1992, fall of 1992, spring of 1993, fall of 1993 -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DUMARESQUE: In 1993 we had a brief intermission. Sent back. We went out and asked: Do you like what we did for the last four years, people? Do you want democracy back in your House again? Do you want legislative committees that will give the people a hearing on the legislation that we are going to put? The people gave us a resounding: Yes, come on back, right back. Yes, Mr. Speaker, in unqualified fashion.

The Member for Baie Verte - White Bay said the other day: I know you are going to be back for a third time. He hasn't been permitted to get up since because he got ripped so bad the other day because he made that faux pas.

AN HON. MEMBER: Did he say I think we (inaudible).

MR. DUMARESQUE: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: Didn't he say that (inaudible).

MR. DUMARESQUE: Yes, he said: we might get there after the third time, and I said, Mr. Speaker, he won't get us after a third time because this time is his last time, I submit to the people of Baie Verte and the people of the Province that, that is what is going to happen.

Now I heard the great Hydro demonstrator over there, from St. Mary's - The Capes; last night, Mr. Speaker, shouldn't be lost on the world, that not since the Beatles came to America, not since Trudeaumania swept the country, not since Paul Henderson's goal and the nation roared, was there such a gathering of people as there was last night down in Ferryland district, where there were seventeen people, Mr. Speaker, out to the great Hydro protest. It should not be lost -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. MANNING: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

I would just like to correct the member. No 1, I was not in the District of Ferryland, I represent the District of St. Mary's - The Capes, and there were more than seventeen people there, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. DUMARESQUE: Okay. I know that he has ten brothers and sisters, Mr. Speaker, in St. Mary's - The Capes so I have to discount them I guess, but last night, Mr. Speaker, the process came to a halt. In the Guinness book of world records, the process came to a halt. Over in Bonn they had to close everything down; they said: last night, down in the District of St. Mary's - The Capes, there was such a demonstration -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

MR. DUMARESQUE: No. leave, no leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, I think the member already has leave; he has taken leave of his senses for sure, not that it matters, he has taken leave of his senses.

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for making me alert, I was reading some essays from students at John Burke High in Grand Bank on a whole range of topics that they sent in to me, they thought I might be interested in them and was going to continue and finish them, until the member started his tirade and started, really, to make vicious, personal attacks on me.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, I suppose we can justify anything, I say, but I really like the member's comment. I must congratulate him on the one about me, that I would do anything for press; I must say that's very, very good coming from the Member for Eagle River who would do no such thing, who has not made any false accusations over the past five or six years about foreign overfishing, about the number of boats inside the 200-mile, about the Canadian Saltfish Corporation. The hon. member, hasn't at all exaggerated one bit in the last six years, he doesn't do it; not about the seals. No, he hasn't exaggerated one bit. He has had more press, Mr. Speaker, from erroneous statements than anyone else since Confederation, that member there; erroneous statements and that is provincially.

Now when you look at the provincial with federal, then I would say he is getting close now to George Baker, but George doesn't make any statements anymore. George has gotten very quiet lately; even though there are more Spaniards and Portuguese on the Nose and Tail on the Flemish Caps, you don't hear a whimper now from the MP for -where is he from? It has been that long I don't even know where he is from, Gander, Twillingate?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I can't remember his riding. Now, with more foreigners fishing today than there ever was before on the Nose and Tail, not a whimper from the Member for Eagle River, not a whimper from the MP for Gander - Twillingate, not a whimper, so I must say, I have to apologize to the Member for Eagle River for being the first member of the House who would do anything to get press. I really feel bad about that, I really feel bad. The member then chastised me for my remarks of what I said earlier today, really chastised me -

MR. TULK: What?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, he chastised me.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, I'm capable of doing anything, I say to the Member for Fogo. Yes, especially today now when I've got a real bad flu, I'm capable of anything. Yes, I'm capable of anything. I'm capable of going out on the steps out there and doing one of two things; weeping openly in front of the teachers, weeping openly with my box of Kleenex and tell them; I'm sorry, I can only get you 5 or 6 per cent, I'm sorry, or I could say come on behind me and we'll go in on the floor of the Legislature. I could do one or two things today. One or two things I'm capable of doing today.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, Billy the Kid. Yes, I could ride this I could be like Billy the Kid.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, I've really settled - mellowed in my old age.

MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes I am, I say to the member because if I hadn't mellowed, I say to the Member for Eagle River, that I would have had this place turned upside down in the last two years, turned right upside down, clerks tables, the Speaker's chair, everything because there's been reason to do it. This government has been so irresponsible and so dishonest with the people of this Province - that's why I felt day after day of doing it, you're not to be trusted; you're dishonest with the people.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well they do now I say to the member. No, they didn't last May. Ask the people today and the government knows it. That's why you want to shut this place down, that's why you're bringing in closure, that's why you're doing two and three concurrence debates in the one day. You can't get out of the House fast enough. It's a sign of a government on the run. I know, I experienced it. I experienced it that's why I can identify with it. You can't get out fast enough. You're taking a pounding like no other government has taken for a relatively new government, this government is taking today out and about this Province. A beating is what the government is taking. The Premier is the most unpopular person in North America, I am telling you and I want to say to the Member for Eagle River that never have I heard so many people use such strong language against the Premier of this Province as I'm hearing around this Province today. Out in my own district, out in the malls, getting on the elevator out here, I tell you something and I say it seriously, I say to the Member for Fogo, it bothers me and I've said quietly to a couple of minister's opposite, I'm concerned about it.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I was then too but nothing like today, I say to the Member for Fogo, nothing like today. I'm very worried about what's happening out and about our Province. It's very serious what's happening out there and the Premier is taking the brunt of all the attacks and members opposite know it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, no I'm not but I'm not the one who has to have the bodyguards up in the gallery. I'm not the one who has to have the bodyguards up in the gallery, Mr. Speaker, and I don't know what they're doing up in the gallery I just want to say because the Premier is never here. They don't have to be worried about him and I don't know of anybody else here that's been threatened, nobody else here has been threatened. I don't know why the public purse is paying for security people to be in this gallery for the Premier because he's never here, they should be somewhere else. Well perhaps they think I'm a security risk. Oh, that could be. Perhaps that's what it is but I tell you if they're here to protect the Premier they're in the wrong place because he's never here and for good reason.

I can understand why he's out of the Province all the time. If I was as unpopular in this Province today as the Premier I'd be the hell out of the Province every day too.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I don't feel good that people use violent language against the Premier or any other person, I say to the Member for Fogo, and I will tell you something, I hear it on a daily basis.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I'm not. I'm just telling members. The members know it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I'm telling you what's going on out there. If you don't want to know what's going on out in the Province, that's up to you. That's completely up to you, and I think we have living proof, I say to the Member for Fogo. I think we have living proof when you have two, three or four people now attached in a security unit.

AN HON. MEMBER: That's happened before, hasn't it?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No more than one, and I say to the Member for Fogo that for the last four or five years, every time the Premier has left this Province there has been an officer with him. Every time the Premier has left this Province in the last four or five years there has been an officer with him, but never have they had to put one, two, or three on him to watch this Chamber, I say to the Member for Fogo. It has never happened. So that should tell you what is happening in this Province, and I am worried about it, and I have said it quietly to some of the ministers.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, and I will tell you something. If this government doesn't soon come to its senses and try to create some economic -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I say to the Member for Fogo, you can stand in your place and say what you want.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, you shut up while I'm speaking, then, and stop being an ignorant arse, because that's what you're being, an ignoramus. Stop being an ignoramus.

AN HON. MEMBER: You know you're wrong.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, I'm not wrong.

Mr. Speaker, what I am saying is that if this government doesn't come to its senses and do something to try to create some employment in this Province, and do something to resolve the labour relations problems in this Province, and tear up the Hydro Privatization Bill -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You're not doing anything, I say to the minister. That's the problem, I say to the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture. You're not doing anything only causing harm to the people in the Province. That's what you're doing. You're doing nothing. You're sitting there, being paid $130,000 a year and doing nothing, I say to the minister. You haven't even got the intestinal fortitude to tell the Premier that what he's doing is wrong, and the only thing he's doing is privatizing Hydro, besides travelling. He likes to travel.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The last time I spoke in this debate I was posing some questions to the Minister of Education concerning the very -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Come back at 7:00 p.m.? We will call it 6:00 p.m. and come back at 7:00 p.m.?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Okay, alright.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The House is now recessed until 7:00 p.m.

Recess

The House resumed at 7:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

I believe the hon. the Member for St. John's East was on his feet.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As I started to say before the break, my last intervention in this debate on the estimates on the concurrence motion was to discuss some of the ramblings or ruminations of the Minister of Education concerning the information highway.

I put forth a few questions to the minister. Perhaps he will rise and answer them now. If he doesn't these questions will find their way on to the Order Paper, because they are serious questions and they require serious answers. With all due respect to his interest in hi-technology and the information highway, and his bragging about spending $60 - I presume of his own money - to take a course at MUN to learn a little bit about computers -

AN HON. MEMBER: Who?

MR. HARRIS: The Minister of Education. The question that I wanted answered was how many $5,000 lap top computers did his department officials buy in the last sixty days before the end of the fiscal year? Because the reality is, Mr. Speaker, that we can talk all we like about the information highway and hi-tech and computers and things like that, but it might cost $5 or $10 or $15 to buy a book on computer programming or something like that, but if you want to actually do anything you've got to have the hardware. I would say that the people of Englee or the people of Roddickton, the people who he was talking about, not very many of them are going to be provided with a $5,000 lap top computer at the people's expense in order to be able to roam around that information highway.

It is an important question. It is all very well to talk about these things. Some of them are interesting and some of them are in fact visionary. Some of them will never reach the people of Newfoundland who are about to be deprived of library services and books and learning in our society which is struggling with the problem of illiteracy, as the minister well knows.

I want those questions answered as to how many people have been supplied with lap tops in his senior executive and his own staff in the last month or so before the end of the fiscal year. In fact, I'm told that over around the third floor of the West Block around March 31 we see lots of truckloads of things coming in and roaming around, unloading, bringing computers, software and hardware and all kinds of stuff. I don't know why that is. Perhaps the Minister of Finance, who was here a moment ago, ought to have a little investigation and find out exactly how much money is spent in the last two weeks of the fiscal year.

Perhaps if we shut down spending on March 15 instead of March 31 we would probably save a bundle of money. I would say that deserves a bit of a study. I would say if there was a study done on how much money is spent from the capital budget -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: You don't need a study, said the minister. Okay. All you need to do is ask the minister. The minister is going to get up in a few minutes and tell us how much money is spent in the last two weeks.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) asking for another study. This Province has been studied to death.

MR. HARRIS: Well, we don't need to study this. Perhaps we will have a little confession. Instead of having a study we will have a little confessional hour. Ten minutes each, an hour and a half, each minister will get up and confess. Never mind the studies then, just a confession. Just one at a time. We will have the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation get up, have a ten minute confession, as to how much money he spent in the last two weeks of the fiscal year, how much of the budgets got thrown out just to make sure that the money is spent and off the books so they will get some more money next year. If the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation is prepared to get up on his feet and confess to that, Mr. Speaker, I would be very pleased to hear his confession. I wouldn't be too sure there would be much absolution at the end. I would hear his confession but I'm not sure I would be ready to be involved in absolution.

I think that is an important issue. We can make light rhetorically of it, but in reality what we see happening is that there is, towards the last -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Well, the $10 million deficit - I would say, Mr. Speaker, on a $2 billion or $3 billion budget we would find a couple of million dollars gone in the last day. Perhaps $10 million or $15 million, perhaps $20 million, perhaps $30 million, perhaps $40 million gone in the last two or three weeks of the fiscal year.

At the same time - I'm glad the Minister of Social Services is here. Because I want to contrast that attitude of spending money on certain aspects of items with a situation that I've come across in the last few days. The minister I'm sure, he does pay attention, he does listen to what people have to say, and he does respond. I'm looking forward to his response on this issue. What I would like to know is while the Minister of Education is lashing out money for $5,000 personal computers, lap tops for his senior executives, why is it that the Minister of Social Services' department at the same time is dunning people for payments for social assistance that were made five, six, seven and eight years ago?

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible) twenty-five and thirty years ago.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I got a call the other day from a sixty-four year old gentleman whose only call on social assistance was some time back in 1987 or 1988 when he was waiting for his unemployment cheque. He went and he got some help from the department, $168.30. A few weeks ago - nobody said anything for six or seven or eight years - and now he is getting demand letters from the Department of Social Services for $168.30. A man who now has very little resources, who is in very hard times and very hard-pressed. It is a hardship situation. So we have the Social Services Department for the first time - they came right out of the blue, I don't know even where they discovered this. They decided that six or seven or eight years later they are going to come looking for $168.30.

The Member for Burin - Placentia West says they go back twenty-five and thirty years, and the Member for Humber Valley, who raised the same matter in the House. What is the department's policy on this? How much money are they spending to collect $168? How much money has the department spent so far to try and get this $168 out of the poor unfortunate man who doesn't have the money to be able to pay it back? What is the Department of Social Services' policy with respect to over-payments that go back a number of years? Under the civil law you can't collect a debt after six years. If the Member for Humber Valley were to loan me some money and I didn't pay him for six years and he came to try and sue me he wouldn't be able to do it. He has to act within a certain period of time or else it is all over.

Where is the Department of Social Services on this? Do they think people who by virtue of their unfortunate circumstance some long time ago - three, five, ten, twenty, thirty years ago - had to resort to social assistance to be able to meet their obligations for rent or to feed their families or to feed themselves, that twenty years later or ten years later or eight years later, for the sake of $163 the department is going to come after them? I'm prepared to place the individual case before the minister and all of that. I'm prepared to do that and I will let the individual know who the individual is, and I will tell him that.

But I would like to know what the minister's policy is. Is there any compassion in his department? Is there going to be some rule which says that after five years or six years or ten years or some years that you are not going to go and collect money from people, and spend inordinate amounts of public funds to collect money from an individual who can't afford to pay that money.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

The hon. the Minister of Health.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, this -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, I want to interject an important dimension into this debate - at least a dimension that I think is important - and that is the fact that our credit rating went down the other day from one A to no A, and I don't believe the impact of that has hit the hon. members opposite who keep screaming at us to ever spend more money. How can you spend what you haven't got?

AN HON. MEMBER: And tax less.

DR. KITCHEN: And tax less? This is the problem we're faced with here.

It has been announced that we are hoping to bring in a budget that is balanced both on current and capital account in the next several years. That means that our current spending procedures by which we go as a whole about $250 million a year on total must be recovered. Now then, how are we going - and it is not only that, because every year we have to spend more on things like step increases, inflation and supplies going up. So it is more than $250 million that we have to somehow recover.

We can only do it in two ways. Either by an increased take from our present taxes, our raising taxes - and that may happen if the economy improves - or by somehow spending more prudently. That is a very serious situation which we are in. The Department of Health currently spends almost 25 per cent of the provincial Budget. That means that as far as the Department of Health is concerned, if we bear our fair share of 25 per cent of this cut that may come, if it comes to a cut, we are looking at trying to handle $60 million. How can we take $60 million out of, say, the health care system? We may not have to do it if our tax revenues increase or our transfers from Ottawa increase. That is how far it could be.

I believe that there are ways in which we - and not only that, we must improve our health system as well. Because some of the things that are not being done must be done. For example, I've mentioned here time and time again the need for an appropriate pharmacare system in this country, particularly in this Province, where everyone who needs medicine can afford to buy it. We don't have that at the moment. There are other changes that we must introduce in the health care system which will cost money.

Many of the people who have skills to offer in the health care system we do not have in place. Chiropractors have a role to play, midwives have a role to play, many other people have a role to play, and we have to somehow bring them into the system. The basic question is: Bring in these reforms, how can we live with certainly frozen budgets in the next few years, and perhaps reduced ones - it is because of the reduced credit rating which we must try to live within - how can we do it?

I suggest that one of the things we are going to have to do is to increase our prevention activities. I look forward to a world which is tobacco free, a tobacco free world.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. KITCHEN: In due time we will join with the World Health Organization in bringing about this tobacco free world. We are making some - June 17 is going to be an interesting day in this Province because that is when our tobacco reforms take effect. I don't want to get into that too much, but there is another prevention measure that we have to move into, and that has to do with alcohol. Alcohol reform is a much more difficult thing in this Province because somehow it has been accepted as the thing to do. Smoking is not accepted generally - people have the habit - but generally speaking, it is not so much the smart thing to do as it used to be. Alcohol is still the smart thing to do a bit of, and it is really costing us devastation. Devastation with respect to - not only driving, but devastation with respect to the social problems we have, the women who are beaten up and the children who are neglected. Most crime in this Province is related to alcohol. Almost all crime is. If you are looking at the social consequences of alcohol we are looking at a very big thing, and also a very serious component of the health care system. We are looking at nutrition; we are looking at the whole area of prevention.

The first little reform that we've been embarked on is the restructuring of the health care system in the Province, the setting up of the boards and so on. This is not a major reform. It is taking us a lot of time, there is a lot of work to it, but it is just the beginning of reform in this Province. There are a whole lot of other things that we have to do once we get past this little restructuring that we are doing. Let me indicate some of the things we have to look at.

I believe we have to look at the unnecessary procedures, the unnecessary things that are going on in the health care system. Some people are saying, and quite properly so, that a fair percentage of the procedures we put people through to get better are inappropriate or unnecessary, and many people are focusing on these unnecessary procedures. If we can eliminate those, and the costs associated with them, we will be able to perhaps deliver a health care system which is compatible with the money we have.

There are many other things. We know that very many people are taking more drugs than are necessary, that the price of medical drugs is more expensive than it should be, and this has to be looked at.

We are hoping that we can introduce more home care, which is cheaper than institutional care. What I am trying to say is that in health care the reforms are just begun. We should look forward, in the next five to ten years, to a total overhaul of the health care system not only in this Province but throughout Canada, and indeed the world, so that the health care system which we presently have will be much better in a few years than it is right now.

With these few words, Mr. Speaker, I conclude my remarks.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I think we have several minutes left. I will just check with the Table. I think there are about three or four minutes left, possibly, but is the House ready for the question on concurrence?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Does the House wish to accept the report of the Committee?

Motion carried.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, could we now go on to the Resource Committee, which is Order 3(b). My friend from Lewisporte is prepared to move the motion, Sir.

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, Motion 3(b), the Concurrence Motion for Resource Committee.

The hon. the Member for Lewisporte.

MR. PENNEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is a pleasure to lead off the debate and move the motion on behalf of the Resource Committee.

I would first like to thank the hon. members who made up the committee. The Member for Humber Valley was the Vice-Chairman of the committee for all but one of the meetings they had, and at the other meeting the Member for Humber East filled in for him. The other members of the committee were: the Member for Fogo, the Member for St. George's, the Member for Harbour Main, the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay, and the Member for Kilbride.

Also, Mr. Speaker, the following members filled in on various occasions for members who were unavoidably absent: the Member for Bellevue, the Member for Eagle River, the Member for Terra Nova, the Member for St. John's North, the Member for Port au Port and, as I mentioned, the Member for Humber East.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the members for the manner in which they conducted themselves during those hearings. For the most part the proceedings were done in a manner that was with the utmost decorum, and professionally, a great order, and we studied and debated the estimates of the Departments of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture, Mines and Energy, Industry, Trade and Technology, and Tourism and Culture.

Mr. Speaker, the first department of government that we did was the Department of Industry, Trade and Technology. I would like to report to the House that that went rather smoothly, and it was practically uneventful. It was recognized by members of the committee, and acknowledged by the minister, that is probably one of the most important departments in the entire Cabinet.

The minister gave us a detailed account of the accomplishments of the Economic Recovery Commission, the accomplishments of Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador, the numbers of businesses across this Province that have been assisted by those people, the number of jobs that have been created in the Province - created or saved - and the number of absolutely astounding success stories across this Province, success stories that come out of the innovation for which Newfoundlanders have been known.

Mr. Speaker, I said that it was practically uneventful but I must tell you that the minister did come in for some criticism. The minister came in for some criticism from one of the members who sits on this side of the House, I believe it was the Member for Fogo. He was criticised for not telling us more often what a fine job that his department is doing. He was criticised for not getting the information out more often in the form of ministerial statements. He was criticised for not boasting a bit more about what his department is doing. Mr. Speaker, all members of the committee agree, the minister was chastised, he was scolded for not doing a better job of boasting about the fine job that the department is doing and all members of the committee agreed that this was what we would officially recommend to the minister, that from now on, on a regular basis, he will stand here in the House of Assembly and tell us what a fine, commendable job his department is doing, the Economic Recovery Commission is doing, Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador is doing and tell us about those fine success stories in business across the Province.

Mr. Speaker, the next department estimates we studied was tourism; the same minister again, Mr. Speaker, the acting Minister of Tourism and Culture. It was acknowledged that this is the fastest growing sector of the Newfoundland economy, tourism. By the Year 2000 it is anticipated that tourism will be the biggest single industry on this entire planet. Now what does Newfoundland have to offer? Mr. Speaker, we have taken for granted for years and years as Newfoundlanders, we have taken for granted what other people in other parts of the world would give their left arm to enjoy. We can step out of our back door, get on our snowmobiles and go into the beautiful countryside. We have probably some of the finest scenery anywhere in the world. We have still a pristine environment for the most part unspoiled by man and thanks to the intervention by our hon. Minister of Environment and Lands we're going to see that it remains in that pristine type condition. We have a diverse and colourful history that will rival that of any other history in the world and the wilderness experience that we have to offer, Mr. Speaker, can put Newfoundland on the tourist map and this is the kind of thing that we are promoting.

In 1994 there were estimated approximately $500 million tourist dollars will come into this Province. The goal of the department is to take in $1 billion a year by the turn of the century. That is the mandate that the department has given itself and that is what they are striving to accomplish. Mr. Speaker, the industry and the department has finally come to recognize that we don't have to compete with Florida, we don't need a Disney World here in our Province and we don't have to be apologizing for our weather either. We don't have to apologize for our weather and for our fog. We simply have to recognize what we have and market what we have and that is more than sufficient, Mr. Speaker, to attract tourists from all over the world. That is the new recognition that has made tourism the growing industry that it is but with an absolute unlimited potential.

I take particular pleasure in having attended that particular departments estimates, Mr. Speaker, because I come from a part of the Province that I recognize and a lot of my colleagues recognize, having been out there, as having the potential to become the tourist capital of Newfoundland and Labrador. In my district we have the absolutely beautiful Bay of Exploits that some have called the Caribbean of the north. When you consider that we are now in the planning stages of putting in a world class marina in Lewisporte itself, combine the world class marina in Lewisporte that will service literally hundreds of yachts from outside the Lewisporte area, hundreds of yachts on a regular basis from outside Newfoundland altogether.

When you recognize that we will have literally 300 and 400 yachts on every single weekend coming into that area, coming into the Bay of Exploits, right from Twillingate, Lewisporte, Botwood, to enjoy the Mussel Bed Soiree -

AN HON. MEMBER: Grand Falls.

MR. PENNEY: You will have a job to get to Grand Falls by boat though, I would suggest to the hon. member.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. PENNEY: There is a wharf there, yes. When you recognize and tie that in with the Beothuck interpretation centre in Boyd's Cove that we've just announced the funding for, and the potential of the provincial park in Dildo Run, it is easy to recognize that will in a very short few years become what I've said, the tourist capital of the Province.

I've tried to refer, in the few minutes that I have, to the departments in the order that we studied the estimates. Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Fisheries gave us a presentation about the importance of the fishery to Newfoundlanders over the last 400 years. It has been the mainstay of our economy for generations and I don't need to explain to members in this House of Assembly what has happened when the moratorium was announced just a few years ago. It displaced 30,000 people from the fishery, not to mention the people who were displaced from spin-off industries - truck drivers, and people who were involved in the retail trade selling equipment and gear to the fishermen. I would suggest that figure would be closer to 45,000 or 50,000 people.

As a result the immediate future is uncertain, but the long-term future is not uncertain. The long-term future of the fishery in this Province is bright. For the time being we no longer have the quantity of cod. We've recognized that and we've done what had to be done. If we don't have the quantity then we must start concentrating on quality. We must concentrate as well on value-added processing. We must stop selling our raw resource and sending it out of the country so that somebody else can process it and sell it back to us. It is about time that stopped.

We must recognize the importance of -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave!

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. PENNEY: I will finish on the fishery. I will have another shot at the next couple after somebody else has spoken. I would think that the Member for Humber Valley would want to probably speak next, but I will finish up on fisheries.

We must also recognize the importance of aquaculture in the fishery of the future. Mr. Speaker, right now when we think of aquaculture we would normally think about shellfish, mussels and scallops. I believe that Newfoundland research probably led the way in developing the mussel and scallop aquaculture industry. We also recognize the tremendous quality salmon and trout that are coming from our fish farms in the Province, but it can't stop there. It can't stop with mussels, scallops, salmon and trout. We have got to find the technology to be able to farm all of our fish. We have got to find the technology where we are going to be able to keep our lumpfish in some kind of an enclosed container. I believe it is absolutely obscene that we are killing the female fish while it is laden with spawn, throwing the carcass overboard to feed the gulls. I believe that is comparable to a Florida farmer chopping down his orange trees to pick his oranges and wondering why he has no crop next year. The time will come when we will wonder what happened to the lumpfish.

AN HON. MEMBER: It is happening now.

MR. PENNEY: Yes, it is happening now, I would suggest, that is correct. This is the future of the fishery: More concentration on quality, more concentration on value-added processing, concentration on aquaculture, and whatever we have to do to increase the expenditure into aquaculture. Whatever we have to do to get more research into it, to develop it, to make it the mainstay of the fishery, then that is what we must do. That is the message that we had delivered to us by the Minister of Fisheries the night we did his estimates.

I would like to speak as well on Forestry and Agriculture and Mines and Energy for just a minute but I will get another chance to do that later on tonight. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, I don't know what other members said but as far as I am concerned, if the member wants to finish up the other couple of headings, he can.

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

MR. PENNEY: Basically, the same philosophy was brought to our committee by the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture. The minister and his department have recognized the importance of proper management and, Mr. Speaker, I get calls and letters on a regular basis and I am sure practically all other members of this House of Assembly do, increased demand for firewood. Practically every week there is a letter or a phone call which comes from somebody in my district who wants access to a greater area so they can cut more firewood, or a letter or a phone call from somebody with a sawmill who wants access to a greater area so he can cut more saw logs. I am sure it is not unique to the Lewisporte district, that applies everywhere. That's a sign of the times, but the department has recognized that there must be a sustainable harvest, and this is why concentration and efforts are being put into reforestation and the silviculture industry. That is the strategy that has been implemented and the management plan that has been endorsed by the minister and his staff.

I can't resist, I must state that the minister also said to us when we were studying his estimates, when he was asked: what the plans were for insect control with his department. Mr. Speaker, I am absolutely delighted to report to this hon. House, that since this minister has been in charge of forestry control, there has been no Fenitrothion used. What we are using to control the insect problems in our forest is a bacterial agent called Bt; we are not using the dangerous chemical substance Fenitrothion, that was used by the previous administration when the now Leader of the Opposition was the Minister of Forestry. Fortunately, we elected a new government in 1989 with a new mandate and a totally different approach to management.

AN HON. MEMBER: What a minister!

MR. PENNEY: What a minister! There is one little area that I must also single out. The operating grants to regional pastures, Mr. Speaker, in 1993-1994, $228,000. This year the minister has reduced -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) talking about?

MR. PENNEY: I was talking about the Fenitrothion being discontinued since our government took over.

Mr. Speaker, the operating grants to regional pastures have been dropped from $228,000 to $115,000, and the minister explained that for this year what it would mean is that every existing pasture would have to accept approximately one-half the grant that was received in previous years, but he also went on to explain that the existing thirty-two pastures would then be reduced to fifteen pastures so each of the new fifteen more viable operations would then be able to receive the same amount of funding that they had received in the past, and I am delighted to report that to the House here tonight.

Mines and Energy: Mr. Speaker, I would draw to the attention of all members in the House, that the Department of Mines and Energy operates under four main programs. Geological Survey, Mineral Resource Management, Petroleum and Energy Resources and Petroleum and Energy Economics. The total estimates of that department, approximately, $13 million. Mr. Speaker, not one nickel in those estimates pertains to any expenditure related to Hydro; not one cent of all of the minister's estimate pertains to Hydro, yet one of the criticisms that was levelled is that when you were surrounded by his officials there was nobody there representing Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.

The minister promptly reminded members of the committee that there was nobody there representing Hydro last year either; there was nobody there representing Hydro the year before that either, and the Member for Humber East insisted on asking question after question after question about Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, even though there wasn't one cent represented in the estimates.

MS. VERGE: What about the minister's salary?

AN HON. MEMBER: Is this by leave?

MR. PENNEY: Yes. If leave is withdrawn I will sit and stand again. Mr. Speaker two-thirds of the questions asked by members from the opposite side of the House, pertained to Hydro and I commend the minister, he answered all of the questions that were asked of them -

MS. VERGE: He didn't answer any of the questions (inaudible).

MR. PENNEY: He answered all of the questions that were asked of him and he actually came back on the second occasion -

MS. VERGE: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am up on a point of order simply to say that I am withdrawing leave for the Member for Lewisporte. He wasn't being factually accurate.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I also attended all the meetings except for the last hour-and-a-half or so, of the extended session we had on Mines and Energy. I acted as vice-chairman of that committee and I always found the estimates to be an avenue and I suppose a form for obtaining information and to be able to have the opportunity to really ask questions of a minister face to face, one on one and without the hassles of the House of Assembly as such, and, personally, I always found the estimates to be fairly forthcoming, the minister is forthcoming, the officials and of the questions asked, answers were given and if they couldn't be given then, the information was obtained and sent to members after. I found that back in '85 and '89 and I find it the same today from '89 until now, I must say.

The first minister we had was the minister responsible for Industry, Trade and Commerce; some of the topics that came up were the fortunes of Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Economic Recovery Commission and so on. Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador as all the members know, is really the only part of the provincial government where you can get funds today as it pertains to small business and to help small business in the Province, and I think that the three lending areas of Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador now, I think are small business loans, term loans and conventional loans, I think are the three that are still in place, although the interest rates on small business loans have changed somewhat, still the avenue is there for small businesses in the Province to pursue and to try to obtain loans as it was meant to be, without the hassle and the obstructions given by some of the banks in the Province, not some, all, because as far as I am concerned the banks are not doing anything for small business in this Province and in the country as a whole.

They might come out to try to protect their own ends and say that they are helping small businesses, they are doing this and they are doing that and come out with some nice, big statistics in their favour, but they do up the stats, Mr. Speaker, they take from their own records what they give a small business and they operate the same as anybody in any other business operates; they make sure that they make a darn good profit from people to whom they lend and whom they look after. They are doing nobody any favours whether it is a residential or commercial loan; but I can only speak for my area, because I find that the banks are not doing small businesses any favours in this Province; I guarantee that.

Now I can't understand people going in looking for loans, for whatever business idea they have, and just pulling one out of a hat without a proper application and so on. But when people put a lot of work in it and draw up five-year plans and do proper projections and do up proper estimates, fairly, good, sensible plans, they get a fair amount of backing. To get a lousy $40,000 or $50,000 to start with, they want $100,000 to $150,000 in collateral. Who can start?

I know that with Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador, the lending restrictions are a little more flexible, but still they run into problems with some of the people who come in and don't pay back their loans and so on, but that's understandable; you get that in any enterprise, but if you say no to everybody, we will have nothing. It is by mistakes, I suppose, we learn. Some try to take the system for a ride, and some try to meet their commitments and requirements, and try to run their business and make a go of it, but the fact is that the government centralized Enterprise Newfoundland, and more or less moved some of the approval power.

I think, it is up to $100,000 now in the regions, that's something. I didn't get the opportunity to mention that to him, I don't think, when we were at the estimates, but I think it is something the minister will have to take a look at, the approvals of $100,000 or more, because it's something like the minister responsible for forestry and agriculture today, to have a $75,000 limit to the Farm Loan Board today is ludicrous in this Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Oh, no, I'm not suggesting that at all to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. The minister knows full well, despite what the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation might say, the minister responsible for Industry, Trade and Technology, I would say, agrees with every word I say with regard to small business loans.

The minister responsible for forestry and agriculture, to tell him that a $75,000 limit is good for agriculture today in this Province, he would have to stand in his place and say: No, it's not. It is not.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, that's about it, but it is up to you people to give him some support when he's looking for limits, and the Member for St. George's and other people should ask him to raise the limit.

The Farm Loan Board in this Province has, I think, about one of the best records - I would say probably the best record - of repayment in the whole Province of any lending agency, including the Fisheries Loan Board, including Enterprise Newfoundland.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Well, maybe so. Based on that record, then, his colleagues should give him the go-ahead to raise the limits, because other Provinces - you wonder why we can't compete, when we've got others, even provinces in Atlantic Canada, with no limits, and we have some other provinces with limits of $250,000 up.

So I say to members opposite to give their minister some support when he goes to Cabinet with his paper to try to get those limits raised. It is an expansion; it is a place where you can expand. He's got the records to show it. There will be payment records of every individual in the Province to show. He's got an industry that's growing, and an industry that can expand, and if you're not going to help an industry, a minister in a department that could create jobs and expand, then what are members going to do?

This is a success story, and there should be no question when the minister goes to Cabinet to try to find help to raise the limits.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: I didn't, but I did try. At that time, to be honest with the member, agriculture was growing, but to try to beat it into people's heads, the attitude was what you had to try to change.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Attitude. That's one of the things you had to get changed from the outset. I would say the Member for St. George's, the Member for Port au Port, the Member for Harbour Main, the Member for Terra Nova, even the Member for Bonavista North, and there are other members here who would probably give him support, and maybe even out in his area there are success stories with regard to -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: That's right, exactly. It's a prime example of an industry that could work. Mr. Speaker, when we talk about agriculture - forestry and agriculture in this particular case - there's no limits in any areas in the Province. There's not an area in this Province, including the St. John's area, where it's pretty well barren, there's no snow cover in the wintertime, got no protection, a lot of winter kill when it comes to forage and soilage - forage, growth and grasses, an awful lot of winter kill because there's no coverage but even out here on this barren so called rock you can grow and you can produce and so on. Now you take that, Mr. Speaker, and you spread it west across the island and you could - every 50 or 60 kilometres you go across this island you can see the difference. You can see a difference in climate for one thing because that's one thing that members haven't got here and that's the -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave, give him a few minutes. By leave.

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

No leave.

The hon. the Member for Eagle River.

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

I wanted to rise in this debate and -

MR. TOBIN: Point of order, Mr. Speaker, point of order.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. TOBIN: I guess while we're advocating the rules to some extent and we're speaking for ten minutes at a time rather then twenty minutes, when the Chairperson, the Chairman of this committee introduces him - we gave him an additional ten minutes, Mr. Speaker, so he could clue up his remarks. When the Vice-Chairman gets up to do what he should as Vice-Chairperson, he gets his ten minutes, most of the people opposite offered him leave and now the minister, Mr. Speaker, will not extend the same courtesy that was extended to the Chairperson. I'd ask him to reconsider.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

To that point of order, we are debating under an agreement that we would have ten minutes and anybody who speaks beyond ten minutes needs the leave of the House and the hon. member certainly didn't have it.

The hon. the Member for Eagle River.

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

I want to speak particularly in relation to the fisheries aspect to this debate, Mr. Speaker. I had the privilege of sitting in on the estimates of the Minister of Fisheries and indeed certainly thought that what the Minister of Fisheries had to say was nothing but hope, Mr. Speaker, for the future of the fishery in this Province. Mr. Speaker, I want to inform the members of the House that I recently, just this weekend, had the privilege of going to Ottawa and being a part of the national convention of the great Liberal Party of Canada and taking in the debates that occurred up there. It was certainly a proud day indeed to be a Newfoundlander and Labradorian in Ottawa this past weekend to see the Prime Minister of Canada get up and say that we are going to take the foreigners off the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks by legislation, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: Here I have an article of just March 13, 1992, just a couple of short years ago when we had another Newfoundlander, Mr. Speaker, who was in the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans shoes, the hon. John Carnell Crosbie. He was asked about whether we would be able to extend the 200 mile limit and I quote, Mr. Speaker, he said, `are we supposed to be just damn fools? Am I supposed to be some kind of a bloody idiot that I'm not prepared to go to 350 miles when obviously you can't go out to 350 miles?' Now, Mr. Speaker, I guess it's all come home to roost. The idiot is now out of office and a true Newfoundlander is in the office of Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: Just a couple of short days ago, after one day of hearings in the House of Commons, we had the unprecedented legislation brought forward by our own Brian Tobin, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans from this Province and indeed, Mr. Speaker, after one day of debate it was passed unanimously by the House of Commons. It went right up the corridor ninety metres or so to the hon. Senate, and even though there were some Senators, some of them from Newfoundland, who weren't prepared right away to endorse this legislation, one hon. Senator from this Province who stood up, Mr. Petten, and gave the speech of a lifetime in the second Chamber and at the end of the day there was not one Senator who had the audacity to rise and vote against this piece of legislation.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: An unbelievable record. Within forty-eight hours, Mr. Speaker, this piece of legislation was taken from the House of Commons, unanimous consent, over to the red Chamber, unanimous consent, and back for royal assent. That is a record that is one we should be proud of. Indeed it was a great privilege to be in Ottawa to have the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans introduced and be able to say that indeed we have made history. It was a red-letter day indeed to see this kind of legislation brought forward.

There are some naysayers on the other side. They are trying to pick it apart. They are saying it is not going to be able to take the other vessels off the Nose and Tail; it is only going after the flags of convenience. Here I have section 5(2). It says: Any measure for the conservation and management of any straddling stock to be complied with by persons aboard a foreign fishing vessel of a prescribed class in order to ensure that the foreign fishing vessel does not engage in any activity. Then it says in 7(a): For the purpose of ensuring compliance with this act and the regulations, board and inspect any fishing vessel found within Canadian waters or in the NAFO regulated area outside of 200 miles.

Mr. Speaker, that is the legislation, that is the law of the land, that is the staff of Newfoundland in Ottawa, once again brought back to the floor of the House of Commons.

This same minister went to Brussels not too long ago, back in February, I guess, and he said that he was going to bring in a moratorium on 3NO cod. The Member for Grand Bank, the Opposition fisheries critic, got up the next day and said: We will have to wait and see. The EEC is going to object, everybody is going to object, everybody is going to do everything. Now the day has come, the time has passed. Nobody, not a solitary nation in this world, had the audacity to object, and there is a moratorium for the first time in history on 3NO cod inside and outside the 200-mile limit. That is success, those are results.

Indeed, it was a great privilege to be in Ottawa over the weekend to take the seal fishery, the issue of the seal, to the national agenda. People opposite, and I know there are some on this side, who would say that we would never have gotten the kind of support at a national convention that we would have gotten, that we would never have gotten ten years ago, even five years ago. I have to admit, I went to Ottawa with some trepidation. I thought that there would have been a greater degree of opposition to the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DUMARESQUE: I was almost trembling, as a matter of fact. I went there feeling that maybe there would be a fair amount of opposition, especially from British Columbia, from Toronto, from some places where the media has really misled them. That is understandable, how something like that could happen. It was absolutely really refreshing to have speaker after speaker line up, delegate after delegate, from sea to sea to sea, stand up and say: Yes, we want a seal fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador. We want to expand that industry; we want to be able to get the long-term, meaningful, substantial jobs there, utilizing the whole animal, the adult seal. In the leather, in the meat, and in the tremendous products that are being developed here in Newfoundland and Labrador with my colleague Dr. Hulan, who is working with others in the academic field in his particular area of expertise to develop the products that are going to shake up this industry and are going to give us good solid meaningful jobs all around this great Province, Mr. Speaker.

Anyway, it was certainly absolutely refreshing to see the kind of support that there was, to get it out of the policy session as the number one fisheries resolution. I thank my colleague, the Member for Fogo, who did a great job in presenting that. He also spoke at that particular time, the Member for Fogo, Mr. Tulk. Of course, if they had taken any other speakers - we had the Members for Harbour Main, Fortune - Hermitage, Lewisporte, and Terra Nova. We had all kinds of members there lining up who would have bowled over any opposition that was there. There were one or two members who did get to the mike but obviously at the end of the day they didn't get anywhere.

Then the Sunday morning after obviously this resolution was then taken to the national plenary and here we had the resolution come to the floor. Then the hon. Premier of this Province went to the mike and did he ever make the case for the revitalization of the sealing industry in this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: If there was ever any doubt of the (inaudible) like 2,000 delegates that were up there - I think the Member for Fogo says about four people. The Premier of this Province laid out the case like it hasn't been laid out before and convinced people that indeed this is the kind of resolution that it was necessary to support.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. We would have gladly given the hon. member leave if the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation had been a little more charitable before to my colleague for Humber Valley.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No. I say to the minister I think he must have had another bad batch of insulin today. He was here from 4:30 p.m. yesterday till 10:30 p.m. continuously interrupting and interjecting. He has continued the same way again today, Mr. Speaker, so I think you are going to have to discipline the minister as he continuously interrupts and interjects. He doesn't say very much but makes a lot of noise.

There are just a few things I want to say in response to the Member for Eagle River. In response to the....

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: In response to the report given by the chairman of the Committee when he talked about the fishery and aquaculture and a few other things.

There is only one thing I wanted to say about the Chairman's report, and there is one thing that he touched on. It was the lumproe fishery and the technology. It is a point that I've made in this House on many occasions. It is hard to believe that we are going through such a crisis in our fishery today with our fish stocks, our cod stocks, and our flounder and everything else, wondering if it is going to regenerate and rebuild, and here we have a lumproe fishery where we go out, catch the fish, cut it open, take out the lumproe, and throw the fish overboard. Dead fish.

Can you believe that today in 1994 we are doing that all around this Province? When we are talking about the fishery of the future, we are talking about regeneration, rebuilding. Yet here we are going out ripping open a lumpfish full of spawn, taking the spawn and throwing the dead fish overboard, and letting it sink. That is what we are doing. I know in my own area of the Province this year the lumproe fishery is not very good, and I'm certainly not surprised. I'm not surprised that the lumproe fishery is not very good in my area of the Province this year, I say to the minister.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: How can it be? We've talked about the draggers and the deep-sea trawlers down in January to March going through the spawning grounds dipping up the spawning fish. We know what that has caused, the problems that has created for us. Here we are today allowing fishermen to catch the lump in lump nets, take the spawn, and throw the fish overboard. How do we ever expect to keep that fishery alive, how do we expect the lumproe to keep coming back when we are taking all the spawn and throwing the dead fish overboard?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, the minister makes a half valid point but –

MR. SIMMS: That's a major concession.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, it is a major concession for the minister and I -

MR. SIMMS: That is a major concession on their part.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: - and I understand by the way, but I am not sure if it is true or not, but I heard there is a technology in other parts of the world where they can extract the lump roe -

AN HON. MEMBER: I brought that here.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You brought what here?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No. You brought the people here with the scissors who are going to cut the nets on the Grand Banks.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, well, I say to the minister now, if there is anyone who sat back over the last couple of years and has been very quiet on the fishery, it has been the minister.

Now, Mr. Speaker, again, the minister is speaking more than I who has been recognized. There are a few other things I wanted to comment on.

Mr. Speaker, I wanted to react to a few comments made by the Member for Eagle River -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, I don't know what's the problem here; I really don't know what's the problem here.

The Member for Eagle River talked about the new legislation brought in by the federal minister, which is a step in the right direction, but the true test of the legislation remains to be seen, I say to the Member for Eagle River. Even the federal minister himself is on record as not being so sure that the legislation has the teeth that he hopes it has; he talks about flags of convenience, he talks about stateless vessels, pirate ships, but the big test is: will he be able to deal with the 80 per cent of the vessels that have flagrantly overfished all those years and are out there today?

I went out over the Flemish Cap last Wednesday morning, all kinds –

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, that's your Premier, I say to the minister, who walked out to the Flemish Cap. Did you hear the story about your Premier, that he was run down by a boat, did you hear the story?

When I was out over the Flemish Cap -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I say to the minister, I was out last Wednesday morning and will be going back again in four months time.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, I am going back in four months time and I am going to see what difference there is. Several Spanish and Portuguese vessels, privately overfishing out there, Okay? This was the –

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, but I saw for myself I say to the minister. I didn't have to go on someone else telling me; I wanted to see the surveillance technology, I wanted -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, could we get the Sergeant to come up and take him out or something? It is unbearable. I wanted to see how the surveillance technology worked, Mr. Speaker; I wanted to see how it worked and how effective it was.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I am still waiting to see the minister work. I know your mouth works but does anything else on you work? Now, Mr. Speaker, I will tell you something. It tells me just how serious you take this whole matter. To me it is the future of the Province and if we don't get the foreigners off the Nose and Tail of the banks of the Flemish Cap, it is over, and I don't think the legislation is going to accomplish what the minister hopes it will. I hope it does but the true test will be in four, five or six month's time. If we see there's a reduction, if we see they're off the Nose and Tail off the Flemish Cap. I hope they are because we don't have a chance if they're not with our fishery rebuilding. So I support the legislation but I have my reservations, I say to the member, the same way as I had reservations about the TAGS announcement. I was the only one in the Province to raise any concerns about the TAGS announcement, for three or four days after they announced it but there's a lot of concerns around the Province now about TAGS. I met with 100 people on Friday, Mr. Speaker, 100 people who will not qualify for the new TAGS program, 100 people in my own district I say to the member and all the fishermen that are there, in addition to the plant workers, are not sure if any of them are going to qualify. I didn't sing the praises of TAGS, I was cautious and I'm cautious about the overfishing legislation.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, we all know what the fishery means to the Province. Without us doing something different the initiatives taken by the provincial Department of Fisheries and Industry, Trade and Technology to further utilize what fish we do harvest today and there's still a fair bit being harvested and brought into our plants for processing. We have to further utilize that, value added. We have to take measures in our lumproe fishery to see that we do have a lumproe fishery in the future. I hope that this will be the last year in that particular fishery that we harvest the fish the way we do and extract the spawn the way we do. I think it's absolutely criminal even though it's a very lucrative fishery and people do very well with it. When the prices are up it's pure gold. It's pure gold when the prices are up.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well how can it be? It's no different then going down, as I said, in the middle of the spawning grounds, the cod spawning grounds and dipping up the cod while they're spawning. It's the same effect in the end and that's what we're still doing yet we talk about a fishery - how serious are we about a fishery of the future? Seriously, how serious are we about it?

The member mentioned the seal resolution at their national convention, it's positive, it's good. I hope there is an enhanced seal harvest next year. We all hope that because that again is another factor, if we don't deal with it our fish stocks are not going to rebuild and regenerate.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It's interesting to hear the members opposite now all of a sudden talking about the overfishing on the Grand Banks. All of a sudden they wake up and they realize that there's overfishing on the Grand Banks by the foreign fleets. After all of the years that it's been talked about, preached about and the stocks declining and declining and declining, now after being in government for seventeen years, now all of a sudden they say that the foreigners should be driven off the Grand Banks. Now that's utter nonsense.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: You raised it in the House of Commons? Yes, the Spanish were really torn up about that. The Spanish really got upset, that's the reason they left and went home when you raised it in the House of Commons.

Back in 1990-91 when I spent two years going around this Province talking about foreign fleets on the Grand Banks, the then Minister of Fisheries, the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans made fun and every time I opened my mouth he made fun. No way could the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks be extended, the jurisdiction; no way could the foreigners be driven off the Grand Banks; no way could we have a seal fishery. There were absolutely silly names like Demigods, Jack the Ripper, John the Baptist and all of those silly names, that's the best thing that could come out of his mouth.

In the meantime what was taking place in Newfoundland in those days - in 1994 we had 2600 employees with FPI, in 1988 we had 8600 employees. That was during the reign of the federal Tory government. During the reign of the federal Tory government we started off with 8600 employees in 1988 and steadily declined down to the day where there's 2600 employees and I suspect if the truth were known, the most thing that they are now curing is Russian cod caught from the Barents Sea.

That is about what is being processed here in this Province, and listening to members opposite, the best thing they would like to see is the federal Minister of Fisheries not do anything about the fishery on the Grand Banks. That is what would give them great pleasure, not the fact that he has introduced legislation, and that there are going to be ships taken off the Grand Banks.

If there are eleven ships taken off this year, that will be eleven less fishing out there next year, and every ship will be a step toward (inaudible) the cod of the future, and that's exactly what we are talking about, legislation introduced in Ottawa that is his government - that he supported day after day, week after week, year after year, would not do anything, nothing to protect the people of this Province, nothing to protect the economy, the jobs in this Province, even though evidence was given to the minister at the time about the devastating effect that the foreigners were having on the Grand Banks.

Let me quote you some numbers. In 1990 they reported taking 800 million pounds of cod off the Grand Banks, the foreign ships, and yet the then Minister of Fisheries said there was nothing could be done about it; they have a right to fish out there. That is exactly what he said; they have a right - 800 million pounds. That same year, FPI landed 200 million pounds and created 20,000 jobs. In other words, they took from this Province 80,000 (inaudible) from the Province of Newfoundland, and the then federal Minister of Fisheries, John Crosbie, said it's their right; they have a right to be out there, and there's nothing we can do about it.

Now the federal Minister of Fisheries has made a tremendous step forward, introduced new legislation which gives them full authority to take every ship off the Grand Banks.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: What did the Opposition House Leader say? It is what?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: You've read the legislation. You know full well what the legislation says. The regulation starts by doing away with the flags of convenience. That is 10,000 per cent what his former government couldn't even attempt to admit that they should do.

When did you ever see the then federal Prime Minister make a move like was made in Ottawa last Saturday, to get an all policy party vote on a government policy that is going to introduce legislation - I guess in this sitting of the House of Commons - that will do away with the foreign fleets on the Grand Banks? And if it takes one year to do it, it is worth waiting for.

AN HON. MEMBER: Passed in two days.

MR. EFFORD: In two days, passed the legislation in the House of Commons.

Now, let's talk about the seals which that former government wouldn't even touch. You couldn't open your mouth about it. If you opened your mouth about it in any one instance you were just put in the back room, laughed at and shunned, and they say seals -they spent how many years? How many years did they have scientists out there researching to see if seals eat fish? That was the full accomplishment, nine years of the former government researching to see if seals eat fish.

You can laugh all you like, but that is a fact. That is not political rhetoric; that is not nonsense; that is a true fact.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) to see if they ate any fish.

MR. EFFORD: To see if they ate any fish.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Not on one occasion in nine years did the information come out to convince themselves that seals were eating fish. Now, just imagine the type of government that we had ruling this country - not ruling, but ruining - ruining this country, to study nine years to see if a seal that swims in the ocean eats fish.

AN HON. MEMBER: They're gone now.

MR. EFFORD: You've got that right, they're gone, and they'll never be back.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: You've got that right, they're gone and they'll never be back. They are totally wiped out. The only thing I wish is that the seal population could be wiped out like the Tories. That's the only thing that I wish. If I could get that prayer answered, I would lie down and go to sleep happy, that the Tories could be wiped out the same way.

Eight million seals in the water - eight million, an estimation - four to five million harp seals, and two to three million grey seals and all other species. If they only ate one pound of fish, it's eight million pounds a day.

The odd thing about all this, the hard thing to understand, is that when the people opposite talk about fish they only talk about cod. They don't talk about caplin, shrimp and flounder -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: I am not talking about members opposite I am talking about the former government, the way in which they operated. The seals could only affect a certain species of fish, if they ate any fish at all. The valuable resource -

AN HON. MEMBER: Caplin.

MR. EFFORD: That's the one. Caplin was the only specie of fish that they ever talked about. I can't believe that this Province, which is so devastated by the economy, nobody is doing anything about it, and now, today, there is some movement. There is a movement in the right direction that will at least give the fishing stock a chance to be renewed to a commercial resource that can benefit every Newfoundlander and Labradorian; and every Newfoundlander and Labradorian should be supporting, should be lobbying and encouraging the federal government to go even further immediately, and if that needs to be said, let's say it.

There is no shame in saying move immediately and take every ship on the Grand Bank off today, if for no other reason but to protect the growth and the future of this Province, because without it we cannot survive. I have said it 100 times and I am going to say it 100 times more, Mr. Speaker, it is the same if you wiped out the whole Prairie Provinces; the farming ability in the Prairie Provinces is the same as wiping out the fishery in this Province, or if you wipe the forestry out of British Columbia, it would have the same effect on British Columbia as wiping the fishery out of this Province, it is no different; or you close all the manufacturing plants in Ontario, it will have the same effect and wipe out the economy, and it is time that every Newfoundlander and Labradorian got together with the same voice and went forward instead of what members opposite are saying: that the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, there is no substance to his legislation, there is nothing that they can do about it, maybe it won't work.

That is the wrong approach to take because (inaudible) people in your district, the people all over this Province, survive on the very ability to be able to get up in the morning and to be able to go to work in a fish plant or in a fishing boat, or secondary processing or by whatever means to be able to secure a future, not only for themselves but their children and their grandchildren and the future of this Province, and there is no doubt about it, we all should say: thank you to the federal minister and the Prime Minister of this country and to the members, the young Liberals and the MHAs from this side who went to Ottawa and successfully had that resolution on the seal fishery passed with full support, not partial but full support of the people from all over this country. If you had tried that five years ago or ten years ago, you would not have gotten to first base when you would have been driven back -

AN HON. MEMBER: Three years ago.

MR. EFFORD: Three years ago - but we had a successful weekend in bringing in a resolution that will surely see a major seal fishery in this Province.

With those few remarks, Mr. Speaker, I will sit down and wait, to listen to the members opposite congratulate this great Liberal government in Ottawa for doing the job which they are doing.

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

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

If it wasn't so serious it would be almost laughable, to listen to the Member for Port de Grave, Mr. Speaker.

MR. EFFORD: What!

MR. TOBIN: If it wasn't so serious it would be almost laughable, to listen to the way you are getting on here tonight. That is what I said.

MR. EFFORD: What's laughable?

MR. TOBIN: The way you are getting on is what is laughable.

MR. EFFORD: What did I say that is laughable?

MR. TOBIN: What did you say that was laughable? Talking about the great Liberal Government in Ottawa, Mr. Speaker. Let's face it, he talked about the concentration, the fish - my colleague from Grand Bank mentioned it before that, about how the trawlers went down North on the spawning grounds and so on.

Has the member read the Kirby Report, I ask him, that he was commissioned to do when I believe it was De Bané was the Minister of Fisheries? What did he say to Fishery Products and to all the other companies in the world? Build your trawlers and go down and catch the fish before the rest of the world gets them. That is what the Federal Liberal Government did to the fishery in this Province, Mr. Speaker. That is what they did to the fishery in this Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: Exactly. He recommended 466,000 tons; Michael Kirby.

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, I think I should stand on my feet on a point of order to try to get clarification. Is the hon. member opposite saying he is against the legislation that is being brought through the House of Commons by the present Federal Liberal Government?

MR. SPEAKER: No point of order.

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: That is what Michael Kirby did for the fishery in this Province, the infamous Liberal Senator, Mr. Speaker. That is what De Bané did for the government in this Province.

The minister talks, Mr. Speaker, about when he was going around the Province two years ago and John Crosbie was poking fun at him.

MR. EFFORD: He did.

MR. TOBIN: Do you know something? When there was a resolution before this House two weeks ago, now that you are back in Cabinet what did you do to take on some of the actions the federal government are taking to crucify the men and women who are involved in this fishery? What did you do? You stood up and voted with the government.

AN HON. MEMBER: Exactly. Exactly. That's true.

MR. EFFORD: What did you have for supper?

MR. TOBIN: I had Mary Brown's chicken.

You stood in this House two weeks ago and read out a private member's resolution.

MR. EFFORD: That's right.

MR. TOBIN: A private member's resolution that was going to take on the federal government because of the men and women they were going to throw to the wolves under this TAGS program, the men and women who were getting funding under the NCARP.

MR. EFFORD: That's right. That was my resolution, that is right.

MR. TOBIN: My colleague's resolution, and it is recorded.

AN HON. MEMBER: You don't know what you are talking about.

MR. TOBIN: The member for Eagle River did the same thing. He said he was in Ottawa. I wonder, in the name of good relationships, did he go to Hull to rent his car while he was in Ottawa? I wonder, Mr. Speaker, did he do that.

The minister talks about the legislation that Mr. Tobin has introduced into the House.

AN HON. MEMBER: Are you going to deal with it?

MR. TOBIN: I will say what I want to say, boy. You say what you want to say.

AN HON. MEMBER: Say it if you don't agree with it.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I agree with anything that is going to do something to take the boats off the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks; anything.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TOBIN: I tell you something else: I am not convinced about the commitment that Mr. Chrétien and Mr. Tobin made to this Province, that within ninety days there would be no more fishing on the Grand Banks - that was not proven yet, when they made that commitment, and I am not convinced that they will take the boats off the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks.

What may happen, as they've said, 10 per cent of the flags of convenience on other ships -

AN HON. MEMBER: Every boat will be banned.

AN HON. MEMBER: Seven months later there are more there than ever before, John.

MR. TOBIN: Let me say to the hon. minister, that I am not convinced that Spain and Portugal, who are now using the flags of convenience for Panama or some other place, will not go back once they are taken off the Grand Banks and come out flying their own nation's flag. I am not convinced they will not do it, because you and I know and everyone else knows that Spain and Portugal have shown no regard for the quotas that have been set as they relate to the NAFO countries.

MR. TULK: You're whistling past the graveyard.

MR. TOBIN: No I am not whistling past the graveyard. I would say to the Member for Fogo, that my family have a greater attachment to the Grand Banks, Mr. Speaker, than most. As a matter of fact, part of the Grand Banks are named - the Member for Port de Grave is familiar with what I am saying - Tobin's Point.

AN HON. MEMBER: Tobin's Point.

MR. TOBIN: Right on. That is right. Mr. Speaker, it is named after my uncle, and I only wish he were alive today to see what is happening. He died too young.

MR. EFFORD: His nephew didn't spend much time out there.

MR. TOBIN: No, his nephew didn't spend much time out there, but I can tell the Member for Port de Grave that I was out there. I can tell him something else: one of the problems with the fishing industry in this Province and this country is that there are too many people who sit in plush chairs talking about the fishery who know nothing about it, but think they are experts. That is one of the problems, Mr. Speaker, with the fishery.

Last weekend, Mr. Speaker, I spent some time with a couple of trawler captains who are now retired.

MR. EFFORD: Are those the ones who got the video on seals and wouldn't give it to me two years ago?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: There you are, now. There is always something wrong with everybody.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I never thought the Member for Port de Grave would have to go to the trawlermen from the South Coast to get a video on seals. I never thought the Member for Port de Grave had to go up there to get a video on seals, from the fishermen from the South Coast.

I can tell you that I talked to a couple of trawlermen the other day. The Minister of Fisheries, Mr. Speaker, has spent a lot of time out around and has met a lot of people as it relates to the fishery, and I am sure he has an understanding of what the deep sea fishery and all the fisheries have meant to Newfoundland over the past number of years, particularly since he became involved. There are too many people sitting in plush chairs talking about the fishery who know nothing about it, Mr. Speaker; and most of them are in Ottawa.

How often have the federal bureaucrats who make all these decisions, and the provincial bureaucrats, consulted with the real people in this Province?

MR. EFFORD: They are not making the decisions on (inaudible). The minister and the Prime Minister will make the decisions, not the federal bureaucrats.

MR. TOBIN: Well, Mr. Speaker, if we have to rely on - the member said a few minutes ago I was right, that there are too many talking about the fishery who don't know anything about it - if we have to rely on what the Prime Minister or the Minister of Fisheries knows about the fisheries - I am not talking about the present two any more than I am talking about the past two. I am talking about all of them, Mr. Speaker, because I don't think there are too many Prime Ministers who have had to beat ice in the month of January, February and March to save a crew coming in from the Grand Banks.

Talk to my colleague from Grand Bank, Mr. Speaker, about fishing. What about the crews of the Blue Mist and the Blue Wave and others, the widows and the orphans that were left back in those communities. Then people attack the hard-working, dedicated, untiring, relentless fishermen of this Province, Mr. Speaker.

Look at Grand Bank if you want to look at an example of what the fishermen and their families went through in this Province.

MR. EFFORD: They don't have a fishery in Grand Bank today because we, the people of this Province, let them down.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: They weren't afraid to go out of sight of the clothesline, the women putting the clothes on the lines, as we have now around the Province. If they go offshore, (inaudible) hanging out the clothes, they come back in out of it.

AN HON. MEMBER: What?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I'll tell you when I get up.

MR. TOBIN: The fishermen of the South Coast of this Province have fished twelve months of the year in sunshine and in storms, and they couldn't see, I say to the member for Port de Grave and the member for Eagle River, who like to constantly attack the deep sea fishermen of this Province - Mr. Speaker, if you had to put on a pair of earmuffs and take an old ice mallet on the deck of an old side trawler for twenty or twenty-five years of your life, you wouldn't come in and attack them in this Legislature, in the cosy, plush chairs of this Legislature, I say to the member for Eagle River. They are the crowd, Mr. Speaker, who have given their guts to raise families in this Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: Sure, we all know that.

MR. TOBIN: We all know that! Well, why are you, day in and day out, attacking the deep sea fishermen from the South Coast of this Province. I, for one, am fed up with your tactics, the whole bloody lot of you, as it relates to them.

Mr. Speaker, the member for Port de Grave talked about the fish that were caught on the Grand Banks when Crosbie was Minister of Fisheries. Let me ask you: How much fish has been caught since October?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. member's time is up.

MR. TOBIN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

DR. HULAN: Mr. Speaker, I want to have a few words about the resource committee, the departments that have been examined in recent weeks.

I had the opportunity to sit on the Resource Estimates Committee and indeed I always enjoy the work because it gives us a further insight into what government is planning to do in the coming year. The first department that I would like to make reference to is the Department of Industry, Trade and Technology. I must concur with the Chairman of our committee, the Member for Lewisporte, when he said that this department is probably one of the most important departments in the whole of government, and it is certainly a very progressive department and it has to be commended for its work, Industry, Trade and Technology.

The one thing about this particular department, Mr. Speaker, it is on the cutting edge of technology in many, many areas, but, probably the one area that gets ignored by many in this Province that is under the wing of the Department of Industry, Trade and Technology and that is the manufacturing industries. The manufacturing industries are somewhat akin to the Agri-Foods industry in this Province. There is a sort of a mind-set that we can't do it and the manufacturing industries have proven as the Agri-Foods industries has over the years, proven that nothing could be further from the truth.

For instance, the support and encouragement of the department to the manufacturing industries is commendable indeed. I don't know if the hon. members of this Chamber realize that there are 400 manufacturing companies in the Province right now, and 30 per cent of those 400 companies export 70 per cent of all the produce they produce.

AN HON. MEMBER: How many (inaudible)?

DR. HULAN: For industry, trade and technology?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

DR. HULAN: I'll deal with that in due course, Sir.

The other area of the Department of Industry, Trade and Technology that has to be noted is it's support and encouragement for the area of high technology and in the area of biotechnology.

For instance, in this Province right now we have some of the leading companies in the area of biotechnology that have been developed right here by scientists, for instance the group at Memorial University that has developed the monoclonal antibody that is now being exported worldwide.

Then we can go from that to the remote control device for forest fire fighting. We have also many areas, and companies that are involved in hi-tech computer manufacturing.

Now I want to get closer to home and talk about marine biotechnology. There is a group in Newfoundland, at the university again, that has isolated the antifreeze gene from the ocean pout. There is also the group that has identified -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

DR. HULAN: Honourable colleague, if you're not interested, please leave the Chamber.

There is also the group at Memorial University that has -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

DR. HULAN: This is a little complicated for their small minds; that's the problem. They may be able to add as an accountant 1+1 and get 3, but when we talk of science and technology it's beyond their mentality, beyond their peanut-sized brain.

Also, we have in this Province a group of people who made a very, very significant discovery that most Newfoundlanders know about concerning the care of organs when they are removed from donors, and before they're put into recipients, and I am going to sit down now and ask the hon. Member for Kilbride to tell you the story.

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

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

DR. HULAN: I haven't finished yet. I thought the hon. member... Oh, I'm sorry.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Yes, you're finished, Sir.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I think you hit the nail on the head -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Saying the Member for St. George's was finished. There's no doubt about that.

I didn't really mean, by the way, to take away the hon. member's time, but I thought he was finished.

MR. SPEAKER: So did I, Sir.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: But the hon. member can get back up again. I was interested in -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: It's off now. I was interested, by the way, in what the member was saying -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, and I usually find the member's speeches interesting, particularly in a couple of debates that he's participated in, nutrition and all the other aspects of it. There's no doubt that he does have a great grasp on the areas that he speaks in and I think that more of us should pay more attention to him really, I really do. I think there's a lot of value in what he says but I want to go back to, I guess my favourite topic for the evening and it's my favourite topic I guess most days of the year, and that's back to the fishery.

My colleague from Burin - Placentia West made a couple of interesting observations about how those in the plush chairs know very little about it. It seems to be those who mouth off most, there's no doubt about that. Whether members opposite want to realize it or not but the same bureaucrats that advised Pierre de Bané and Michael Kirby to set the total allowable catch of 466,000 metric tons of cod are still up there today. They advised Pierre de Bané, they advised Romeo LeBlanc, a lot of them advised John Crosbie, they advised Ross Reid and now they're advising Brian Tobin. The very same people and they haven't changed one bit. The government has changed, the ministers have changed but a lot of those bureaucrats and top officials are still there.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well I respect the hon. members point on that but it's like everything else I guess, time will tell. Time will tell whether Brian Tobin will be a more effective federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans than John Crosbie.

MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, I'm saying to the Member for Eagle River, don't jump to conclusions too quickly. Don't jump to conclusions too quickly. There's one thing we have seen since the October 25 election, Mr. Speaker, is that they didn't have the foreigners off the banks in ninety days, the -

MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: It's amazing how the Member for Eagle River has selective memory and selective hearing. They did say it. It was a big issue in the federal election. Brian Tobin came to St. John's on two occasions in the federal election and went on Bill Rowe's Open Line Show. Bill Rowe has been ever since then trying to get him back and thank god he got him back today because he refused to come before today. He refused to come before today. He had to come, he was embarrassed into coming. He didn't want to take it on the chin from the people that he's cutting off the TAGS program. So don't jump to conclusions about the effectiveness.

Now there's one thing I will say, there is one thing that has happened since the October 25 federal election, there's more foreign boats on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks today then there have been in the last five years, more boats. Those boats are catching more fish then they have caught in the last five years, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: That's not true.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: That is true. Mr. Speaker, whether or not the hon. gentlemen want to believe me, that's fair enough, that's their choice but I am telling you they are catching more fish this time this year then they caught this time last year and there's all kinds of theory's why that's happening.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh, interesting point isn't it? Isn't it an interesting point though? I say to the minister, there were those that went to sea, really went to sea, out far enough that when they looked back they couldn't see their wives hanging out their clothes, who had theory's about that.

AN HON. MEMBER: Real fishermen.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes real fishermen, I say to my colleague, real fishermen who worked twelve months a year and brought in fish where their plants processed twelve months a year and if we're going to get back to a fishery of the future and this government is sincere about creating longer term jobs, the technology might have to change somewhat. I will say it has to change somewhat but people are going to have to go just as far offshore as someone who went offshore from my home town and didn't come back. If we're going to have fish that's going to keep our processing plants processing for longer periods of time and therefore keeping our people employed for longer periods of time, you're not going to be able to go out, Mr. Speaker, when you feel a little breeze in your face, turn her around and go back in out of it. They're doing it and if you're all honest you'd say they were doing it. That's the problem with all this.

It's like the foreigners have played a big part in the devastation of our cod stocks, but what do we all do, person to person, day after day? What do we all do? Attack the foreigners. We have not got the guts to stand up and tell our own people where we've gone wrong, and I can tell you that we've caused a big part of the problem that we're experiencing today, I say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, or he doesn't know as much about the fishery as he pretends to know; and they're at it today.

Only last week or two weeks ago I stood in this place and asked the Minister of Fisheries a question on the Fisheries Observers Program, for good reason. Now can you believe this? I have already said one thing that has happened since the government changed (inaudible), more foreigners than ever before catching more fish than ever before.

You know what else has happened since October 25? The Fisheries Observers Programs are being cut. There is less money to put observers on the fishing vessels inside the 200-mile limit, I say to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, who was away when this thing happened and we had the debate here and the questions here. There are vessels that have sailed within the last two weeks, Newfoundland vessels, trawlers, without an observer on board. That's what's happening.

I had reports here, and I still have reports here, from one of our Newfoundland vessels, documented, where Nova Scotia vessels were fishing in the same area as the - the two Newfoundland boats had observers and the Nova Scotian boats didn't. The Newfoundland boat had to stop fishing because its by-catch of cod exceeded 5 per cent, or up to 11 per cent. The Nova Scotian vessels continued to fish because there were no observers on. They were obviously catching the same by-catch of fish as the Newfoundland boats. The most alarming thing about it was that there were two vessels communicating with one another. One of them needed 10,000 pounds of redfish to complete the trip. When they took back the 40,000 or 50,000 pounds, can you believe, in late March or early April of this year, they had 40,000 to 50,000 tons more than they needed, and that Newfoundland vessel, a short time after, sailed through about a mile of redfish floating on the surface. Now that's another thing that's happened.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, I'm not saying it's the first time. What I am saying, Mr. Minister, is put it all in perspective. Put it all in perspective, and if you're a federal Minister of Fisheries, our Federal Minister of Fisheries, your cousin, is so committed to regeneration and rebuilding of the fish stocks, then why would he be cutting the budget for the Fisheries Observers Program?

That's what's happening, like it or lump it. We're all in this together. That's another thing that has happened since October 25, and you know what else they wanted to do? They wanted to centralize the observers program in Ottawa, take it out of Newfoundland altogether. You know what happened a few days after I raised it in this House? The program that was not going to get a cent in Newfoundland got $1 million within three days after. I hope they've got more since then.

We have seen the observer coverage levels go from about 100 per cent to 50 per cent, to today much less than 30 per cent, and we're saying we're concerned about conservation, and the fishery of the future rebuilding? That's inside of 200; that's not out in international waters.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: It's the only conservation measure that we have inside of 200, and we're cutting back on the budget? We're some concerned about it.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I had not intended to rise so quickly, but I do want to make a couple of comments about what the two members, the Member for Burin - Placentia West and the Member for Grand Bank, made in reference to the Newfoundland people and the offshore fishery. There is nobody in this Province who doesn't hold the greatest of respect for the people in your area who fished offshore - nobody - but don't say that they're the only people in this Province who travelled out to the Grand Banks, or fished in the waters too far to watch their wives hanging out clothes on the clotheslines, because that is so far from the truth it is not even worth talking about.

Let me give members opposite an example of what's taking place in the community of Port de Grave today.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: When did they start in sixty-five foot long-liners? When the cod fishery failed inshore, they went offshore. They didn't sit down on their laurels and draw U.I., or look for hand-outs.

Now, let me tell you what they have done in the last three years out in Port de Grave, and not for ten weeks. I will only go back three years, and in 65-foot boats.

Last summer, I went 350 miles on the Grand Banks fishing swordfish; 250 miles fishing tuna fish and the remainder, turbot and all other species of fish on the Labrador Coast, out as far as the 200-mile limit where the foreign ships took all their nets, so no one said, anyone has any right to claim that there is nobody else fishing; only the people from the Grand Bank or the Marystown area, that is kind of silly to talk about. That's exactly what you are saying. You said it and you said it very clearly, and there are very few people in the Port de Grave district -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: I can assure the hon. members opposite too there are very few fishermen from the District of Port de Grave drawing the package. They are not worried about the TAG. They don't care about the TAG, the TAG can go wherever it wants to go, that's not their concern, they are very proud people and they want to fish, they want to work and earn a living.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: No. They want to work, they want to fish; they have a right to exist.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: The Member for Port de Grave should not leave that on the record, that either the Member for Grand Bank or I said anything about the fishermen from Port de Grave because I will tell you something right now and that is, I respect the Port de Grave fishermen; they are some of the finest fishermen in this Province, I say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. EFFORD: Let's get back to the Member for Grand Bank.

The Member for Grand Bank made some point about what happens to the fishery in this Province and that Newfoundlanders caused a lot of the problems. I am not going to deny that; I am not going to deny that Newfoundlanders did not cause some of the problems. One of the groups of Newfoundlanders who caused the problem was the hon. members opposite in 1986, when he then sat in a government, the government of the day who brought in the factory-freezer trawlers.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) factory-freezer trawlers.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. EFFORD: If I remember correctly, I was in the Opposition the day in 1986 when the federal government in Ottawa, the Tory Federal Government under Mulroney, brought in the factory-freezer trawlers to fish on the Grand Banks. That is exactly right. They have the same members opposite now, who are condemning the present federal government and the present federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, for trying, sensibly, legally to do away with the foreign factory-freezer trawlers on the Grand Banks, and that is what I have been hearing here all evening that maybe it won't work, it hasn't enough teeth in the legislation and it is not going in the right direction; but, the legislation very clearly spells out and gives the right to do away with all fishery on the Grand Banks should circumstances cause that to happen.

At least, Mr. Speaker, we can have some glimmer of hope for the future of this Province and that is the key factor. There is a glimmer of hope that there is something positive happening here now, and I believe and there is no doubt about it that when the fishery comes back, and it will come back, that it will be positive. It will come back and steps are being taken to enforce and to ensure that is going to happen, that Newfoundlanders will have the first access to the stocks on the Grand Banks and around the coast of Newfoundland. That is what we all have to fight for; the fishermen of this Province, whatever numbers of people are fishing will have the rights to first access to those fish stocks.

Never mind what's happening today or what happened fifteen, twenty or twenty-five years ago; now it is time to stop blaming and look to the future of this Province to ensure that it is all going to happen for the benefit of all Newfoundlanders, because the one thing that most people in this Province forgot, or didn't understand and wouldn't admit, is that when the fishery closed down, those people who are so far removed from it would feel the effects of it. The impact would affect every man, woman and child in this Province. The resource that would fail, the jobs that would be lost, and the revenues that were coming into this Province through the value-added product, through the sale of the product, plus the seasonal benefits coming from the social program, the U.I., once that stops, and once that has stopped, that every individual person in this Province would find the financial effects of it.

There is no doubt about it, nobody believed it, nobody listened to it, but I can assure you now that everybody in this Province clearly understands; but even though the fishery is in the state it is in today, there are still not enough people in this Province speaking out and lobbying and pressuring for more things to be done to ensure that the right decisions are made and the best effect so that they will have a future in this Province.

Unless it affects an individual himself, unless somebody gets into that individual's pocket, or personally takes something away, it's only then, and that's what has happened. They took the fact that everybody had to be affected financially, the loss of jobs, the loss of any security in jobs, not only in the fishing industry but in all industries, all sectors of the employment, it is only then that people realized that this fishery is so important to this Province.

I still think, and I still say, that unless the fishery comes back there will be no future for the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, that all you will see three or four decades down the road, the greater portion of the population will be seniors because there will be no future here for any young people, and once you lose the youth of this Province you lose the greatest resource, because no province and no country can survive without the youth. We need them to be in this Province to secure and to be a place in this Province that will ensure that we do have a future.

AN HON. MEMBER: Sounding good, boy, sounding good.

MR. EFFORD: Sounding good? It's a fact. It's not sounding good or sounding nice, it's a reality.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: I can assure you of one thing, from the point I was going to make, that was proven last weekend in Ottawa, when the young Liberals, the youth of this Province, led by the young Member for Eagle River, led up there and got this resolution passed right across this country.

AN HON. MEMBER: Young (inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Yes, thirty-four years old, he is only a young man. He has a bright future ahead of him.

AN HON. MEMBER: You're not much older than that.

MR. EFFORD: No, just a year or two, that's all. I don't feel any older, but that's not the point. The point is, it's the young people -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, how good would it be to see those tens of thousands of people who worked in the fishing industry in coastal Newfoundland back into the boats, back into the cod traps, and back into the hook and line, and back into a way of life that we've known in this Province for 550 years.

Now it's happening, and I feel that the federal Minister of Fisheries, as long as we stand together in support, and at least give him some credit, that the federal government - you've got a hard fight - he's got a hard fight. He's got other ministers who have other personal reasons, like I've said many times, trade relations. It's not an easy task to sit around a Cabinet table the size they have in the House of Commons and convince all other ministers and his government that he needs this for his Province of 550,000 people, compared to the six or eight million Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, or the Prairie Provinces, where they depend on a lot of those countries for the trade of their products. So it is something that we as a Province here, we as a people, are going to keep lobbying for, and lobbying hard and lobbying strong, and keep supporting the minister so that he can have the support and get the message through to his colleagues that we cannot stop one second, that we must go forward, that we must continue. We don't have time, we don't have years on our side, and if it's not done within this year or the next year, then there's no way the stocks can stand the devastation that they have had over the last two or three decades. Time is not on our side any more. The support of individuals -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

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

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I was glad to be able to sit on the Resource Estimates Committee and go through the different estimates of the five different departments, Forestry and Agriculture, Industry, Trade and Technology, Tourism and Culture, Mines and Energy, and Fisheries.

Of course, I planned to start off by talking on the forestry sector, forestry department, because, of course, that's the portfolio that I pay most attention to these days, but I would just like to make a couple of comments before I go into the forestry department, on the debate that we are just finishing now on the fisheries.

I will say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation that I was glad to see him change his tone a little bit the last time he got up as compared to the first time, and compared to the last three or four hours that I've heard him going back and forth with the political rhetoric that has been going on for the last couple of days, as a matter of fact, just the last few hours. I say in all honesty to the minister that my hon. colleague here for Grand Bank and the hon. Member for Burin - Placentia West, I can tell you now that they have the same feelings in a lot of ways in common with the same thing that you do. I can say this to the Member for Eagle River also, when you were asking about whether we support the minister and what he is doing. Let's be straight about this. We should be all in the same boat together on this issue and I think we are. I don't think the minister should be telling the Member for Grand Bank over here that he is just finding out about the overfishing on the Grand Banks now in 1994 and using that kind of nonsense. Instead we should be all together on this issue.

I can tell you this, if you are asking me what I think of what the federal minister said, the minister for my riding, it is that I support him. When I heard the news - and didn't read the legislation at that point, but heard it in the news clips and the legislation put forward - all I could do was I said I hope it works. I said I can hope it works, that is all I can say., I hope that in two or three years' time, the minister and the Member for Eagle River, if somebody down here condemns that legislation now, that you can make them eat their words in three or four years' time. I hope you can, for the sake of all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) won't be around.

MR. SHELLEY: The political rhetoric again, the foolishness again. I just want to stay away from that, Mr. Speaker.

The point I'm making is that we all support that. Everybody in this House I'm sure supports that. I hope that I can say to the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans in two or three years' time that: The move you made was right and it was substantial. It wasn't 20 per cent on the Grand Banks but a substantial amount so that overfishing outside that 200-mile limit can be brought under control. That is the whole point we should remember in this House, and that is the point I want to make on the fishery before I move on. Let's stay in the boat together, let's support it, but also have some concerns.

I also say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation before he leaves, I know he wasn't the one who stood and applauded when the Premier brought in and announced the legislation here by the federal minister. Let's just see, as the Member for Grand Bank said earlier, let's just wait and see. It is not that we are sceptics or pessimists, it is just that we have to wait and see how it turns out. I say to our provincial Minister of Fisheries here, I'm sure he has some concerns and I'm hoping that in two or three years' from now we can stand and say: Yes, it has worked. Because if not we have to take some other measures. Whatever we have to do, I agree with the hon. members that we have to do something to curtail what is happening outside that 200-mile limit if we are ever going to have a fishery of the future in this Province.

What I really want to start with is a few words on the Department of Forestry and Agriculture. It is going to take a few minutes to get down to the agriculture but I'm sure the Member for St. George's will have a chance later on to continue on with what he was saying, because I was very interested in hearing some of the points that you were bringing up. I hope that you will get another chance tonight, if there is enough time left, to continue with the agricultural part.

As far as the forestry goes I want to start specifically first with a story that relates and ties the forestry and fishery together. It just so happens that it all happens in the one very small isolated community. I wanted to tell this story quite a ways back when it was all unfolding, but I will just explain how I tie it altogether, and that is the community of Harbour Deep. We have a community up there that has been isolated. It is still isolated basically with no road links right now. Sometime back as most hon. members know it came in the media that the word of resettlement, the "r" word, came up out there. I don't know where it started. All I know is I started to get calls. I called different departments in the government to try to get some information on it. I did go over to the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs and talked to some people there before I went to Harbour Deep. Basically it all came with rumours and hearsay on radios and in the newspapers about what the people were talking about in Harbour Deep.

As quick as I could I got as much information together as possible and I went to meet with the people in Harbour Deep. I just use it for an example because maybe it is an example for the rest of the Province. We're talking about a community which was solely dependent on the fishery. We can almost say 100 per cent, maybe 95 per cent dependent on the fishery. It's another example for the whole Province. Now that community at that point was ready to talk about resettlement, it's a hard thing to talk about moving your home. They don't want to leave there, they love it there. The community of Harbour Deep, I know some hon. members have been there and visited. It's a beautiful community. The people there for years and years made good living's and supported their families. They're proud to live there and if any of the hon. members in the House had been there with me that night at that meeting to see every single member of that community in a packed hall on a summer night, very warm night, and to hear the stories from both sides, from a daughter talking to a father, from a brother talking to a brother about what was tearing a little community apart. What we saw there was a community that was in transition. A community that said we relied on the fishery for this long, where are we going to go from here? We need some help. We need some direction. That's what that community was saying.

Now, Mr. Speaker, since then that community has seen some things unfold. I've been talking to the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture and also the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation about the situation that's unfolding there right now. We started to look for some solutions. Instead of a community getting up and saying we have to leave and resettle the community said, Mr. Speaker, that we have to look for some solutions. So that's why I say it's an example for the rest of the Province because a lot of communities in this Province are going through a transition phase. A phase where they have to decide if they're going to make a living where they are or move. Now it just so happens, Mr. Speaker, that in Harbour Deep people did start to sit down and take into account the reality of the fishery, the situation they are in there and how they relied on the fishery solely in that community.

Now since then, I can tell all hon. members, that the community of Harbour Deep has formed a new council. They have put some good ideas forward and I've talked to the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture about some of those ideas. Right now basically what's being done, instead of looking to the sea for their living they've decided to look inland to see what possibilities there are there and right now that community has considered the timber stand that's there in Harbour Deep. So after years and years of looking to the water for their living they've turned around and looked inland and now they have potential for a forestry development there.

They also have minimal possibilities there but the whole point, Mr. Speaker, is that it's just one example of a community that's in transition in this Province because of the fishery crisis - that community, a small community that's isolated and didn't get a lot of people to go there and listen to them, in Harbour Deep. Harbour Deep is a small community of just 200 people but it's an example of a community in this Province that relied on the fishery, who finally had to say; okay, we've got to face reality and we've got to start looking for alternatives. Now we have a brand new council elected there in the last few days, they've looked at other alternatives and right now Abitibi is considering reverting that land back to the Crown so those people can avail of the resource that's there which is the forest sector.

The whole point of the story of Harbour Deep, Mr. Speaker, is that people are coming to realize the reality that this Province has to look to diversify. It's going through a transition phase right now of so many people that's coming out of the industry that was the heart and soul of this Province. The people in Harbour Deep should be commended for standing up as young people on that council now between the ages of, somewhere between twenty-five and thirty-five. I'm in continuous contact with them every day and they're looking for possibilities, they're not always looking for hand-outs. They're proud people, like the minister mentioned earlier and the Member for Grand Bank mentioned, they're proud people who want to work. They just don't want the hand-outs. So as a government and as members of the House of Assembly we've got to try to support those communities, encourage them as much as we can. Although Harbour Deep is just a small community it can be an example for the rest of this Province. They were the first ones in a while anyway, Mr. Speaker, to bring up the `r' word as we keep saying but they did turn around and now they're looking at some of those possibilities.

As far as the forestry goes, Mr. Speaker, and I've talked to the minister on this many times and I'd like to keep seeing it, I used the analogy one time, several months ago, the analogy of the forestry in this Province as compared to the fishery.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

DR. HULAN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to continue now beyond the point where I was so rudely interrupted by the pseudo speaker before. The point that I was making is that we have to zero in on the tremendous resource we have out there in the ocean; the tremendous resource we have out there in the ocean as far as biomedical compounds and biotechnology are concerned.

MS. VERGE: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am not sure if I heard the Member for St. George's correctly; he sits so far away it is hard for me to hear every word he is saying but I thought I heard him refer to one of Your Honour's colleagues, the Member for Harbour Grace as the `pseudo' speaker, and I am thinking, that if that's actually what he said, he might want to reconsider his description of his colleagues and use a more appropriate description.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, to that point of order, I think I heard the hon. gentleman correctly, I am a little closer to him than the woman from Humber East, in a number of ways I hasten to say, all of them appropriate and proper -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: If the Jack in the box would please keep quiet (inaudible) - but what he did say in referring to the pseudo speaker, was members opposite who kept interrupting in an attempt to belittle. He certainly didn't, Mr. Speaker, as I heard him, he certainly didn't call into question either the impartiality or authority of the Chair. What he did call into question was the habit of hon. members opposite of interrupting and of trying to distract him but I would say, Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman will not be distracted from his chosen course. Those of us who had the privilege of serving with him in the caucus in the last year know full well, that once he fixes his eye on a goal nothing will deter him. Nothing will deter him at all, he will go straight on, straight on, straight on, excelsior, I say, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: On the point of order, I was engaged in conversation with the Member for Burin - Placentia West, but had I heard him, I am sure he would have been saying soothing rather than pseudo, so we will allow the member to continue without interruption, I am sure.

DR. HULAN: Mr. Speaker, the point, as I said earlier, that I was making was to impress upon this hon. House the tremendous resource we have in our marine environment from the ocean pout blood that is being shown by scientists in this city actually, to have a tremendous value in extending the time an organ is taken out of a donor to the time that it is placed in a recipient, the extension of time is something like tenfold to fifteenfold in some places, and that must be expanded on.

I can also relate the massive industry that we can have with regard to biomedical compounds form seal blubber, seal organs as we already discussed in this House, therefore the work that the Department of Industry, Trade and Technology is encouraging along those lines has to be commended by each and every member of this House of Assembly.

AN HON. MEMBER: We are fortunate.

DR. HULAN: We are indeed fortunate to have such a department and such a forward-thinking minister in the department I must say.

I also want to speak, continuing on with fisheries, and that is to speak about the encouragement that is being offered and the programs that are being put in place by the provincial Department of Fisheries in the area of aquaculture. Now, I firmly believe, Mr. Speaker, that if the fish stocks are going to return to our shores we have to engage the use of science to help nature return those stocks and why I say that, Mr. Speaker, is that in the wild, codfish that are fertilized, the egg that is fertilized, roughly 95 per cent of those eggs never develop into an adult codfish; only 5 per cent of those eggs survive.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)?

DR. HULAN: Yes we can. The 95 per cent of those eggs that are fertilized are lost, are destroyed. But it interesting, Mr. Speaker. Through aquaculture - and Norway has proven this beyond any shadow of a doubt - once you involve aquaculture in the production of the fertilized egg (inaudible) a fish to a certain size that they will then release out into the wild, the survival rate is just reversed: 95 per cent survival and 5 per cent lost.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

DR. HULAN: That is right. Norway has a tremendous fishery in the Bering Sea right now and some of it is because of the work that they have been doing there for the last ten to fifteen years in the area of aquaculture and biotechnology. I can also tell you, as far as the fishery is concerned and the marine environment is concerned, Norway has a multi-billion industry in the area of marine biotechnology. We can have the same. We just have to develop it.

Moving on at this stage to the Department of Forestry and Agriculture I'm very pleased with the initiative that the Department of Forestry and Agriculture and the forestry component is making towards silviculture and forest management in this Province. This government initiated a few years ago a program on private woodlot management. That was ignored all through the years. Private woodlot management goes very well with a developing agricultural industry.

AN HON. MEMBER: They wouldn't listen over there, Bud.

DR. HULAN: That is right. If this continues as the government now has set out we are looking forward to a much healthier forest industry in this Province, an industry that was raped over the years, that was ignored by governments in the 1970s and 1980s, was mismanaged by governments in the 1970s and 1980s. We as a government now will try, as the minister is doing, to bring back a healthy forest industry to this Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

DR. HULAN: Our hon. colleague for Windsor - Buchans, sir.

Looking at agriculture my hon. friend for Humber Valley referenced earlier the very big success stories that are there in agriculture in this Province. We also heard referenced the comments with regard to what the department has done now with regard to regional pastures. Reducing the number of regional pastures to a more management level, to a level where the dollars will be put to better and greater use for a more efficient and viable pasture in areas where they can be most valuable and useful to the agricultural industry. These are good plans, good moves for wise spending of the few dollars that we have.

I'm also very pleased, Mr. Speaker, with the initiative that this present minister has taken on farm business management. This is probably the most important area, along with marketing, that there is in food and agri-food production in this Province. Good farm business management is the key to successful and productive farms. The minister, his department and his officials have to be commended highly for their initiative in taking the bull by the horns - pardon the pun - by establishing the initiative on the farm business management scene.

The marketing initiative also. One of the great deficits in agriculture in this Province and the agri-food industry has been the lack of organized marketing. It is probably more of the reason why the agri-food industry has been so arrested since 1949 as it has. It is due to the fact of the lack of good organized marketing of agriculture products. Again the present Ministry and the officials of that Ministry have to be commended for the tremendous job that they are doing in encouraging the area of marketing and marketing initiatives.

The monies that have been made available in the area of cool storage and the marketing of vegetables are tremendous. Sure, we would love to see a hundredfold or thousandfold more dollars going in there, but we are very pleased to see, of the limited resources we have, the type of money and the encouragement that is coming from the Department of Forestry and Agriculture for the development of our food industry in this Province.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: The most soothing speaker as compared to the previous speaker, who I understood you to call sumo speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I'd like to engage in the discussion of the resource sector estimates. I haven't yet had the opportunity to serve on a committee considering these estimates as they go through the House, and go through the estimates committees.

Having served on the Social Services Committee for the last several years of my representing St. John's East, I have had the chance to go over in detail the estimates of some of the departments involved, particularly the Department of Tourism and Culture, which I have a great interest in. I would be a lot more interested if we had a minister.

I understand that the current Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology is doing his best to be a tourist himself. He spends a fair bit of time travelling, so he knows a lot about the travel part of tourism, at least. I don't know what he knows about the promotion of the Province side of tourism.

AN HON. MEMBER: He practices what he preaches.

MR. HARRIS: He practices what he preaches? He preaches travel and tourism, and he practices travel and tourism.

I am a little concerned about whether he spends his time in Newfoundland or outside. I imagine when he comes back he might bring back some ideas, and perhaps he will get up and tell us about some of his recent travels, and what kinds of entertainments he might have participated in that he could perhaps set up a few projects here in this Province that would assist in the tourism industry.

I see, Mr. Speaker, the Province's commitment in the budget to $5 million for what they call travel generators in the Province, all of which is being spent, I understand, at Marble Mountain. I don't have any major objection to the development of Marble Mountain. In fact, it's quite a valuable, not only tourism, because that's important, but also a recreational facility, a facility in this Province that is not only bringing people to this Province from outside, which is always good for industrial development, economic development, but is also providing recreational opportunities for people in this Province, people who might travel, otherwise, to other places to spend money, people who are lucky enough to have disposable incomes to be able to spend on travel, people would travel now to Corner Brook to ski, would learn to ski. People who have not participated in that recreational activity would learn to ski, would travel to Corner Brook, spend some of their recreational and travel dollars here in the Province, than heading down to Florida, heading to the United States, or heading to Montreal or some other place to ski, if they are into that.

People are getting into recreational skiing, and they are going to Corner Brook and spending their money there, and I am sure Mr. Speaker himself is quite pleased to see that kind of activity in his district, because although he is the Speaker and doesn't speak out on behalf of his district matters, I am sure he is gravely concerned about the interests of the people of his district, and certainly the people of his district have a great interest in Marble Mountain, as do the constituents of the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: I'm the member for Marble Mountain.

MR. HARRIS: The member for Marble Mountain she called herself. I don't know if she has appealed to the Electoral Boundaries Commission to have them change the name of her district to Marble Mountain. I doubt it because I'm sure she wouldn't want to leave out all of the other constituencies that are contained within the District of Humber East but, Mr. Speaker, the same government who is prepared to spend $5 million or see the spending of $5 million on Marble Mountain were also prepared to see the Stephenville Festival go down the tubes. They were quite prepared, Mr. Speaker, to see the Stephenville Festival go down the tubes and I know the Minister of Tourism and Culture or the acting minister was away pretending that nothing was going on.

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: He allowed the problem to accumulate and then he went away, that's what the Member for Humber East suggests. Perhaps the Minister of Tourism and Culture will get up and explain to us why he is actively promoting Marble Mountain with $5 million grants but is prepared to see another travel generator go down the tubes.

So, Mr. Speaker, a travel generator - I don't know if all hon. members are aware of what a travel generator is. I know the Minister of Tourism and Culture himself is a travel generator, he travels quite a bit but a travel generator in the tourism industry is something that brings travellers to a place and they spend money while they're there. They spend money on many other things but the travel generator is what attracts them and Marble Mountain is regarded as a travel generator bringing people to Newfoundland. While they're there of course, they will spend some money and enjoy all the other attractions that are there but Marble Mountain is what gets them on the plane and gets them to Corner Brook.

The Stephenville Festival is another one of those travel generators. It's mentioned in an American atlas I believe, travel atlas, as one of the ten attractions in Canada for American travellers to go to, to come to Stephenville, to come to Western Newfoundland to enjoy. Therefore it's considered a travel generator, something to bring people across the gulf, to bring people up the coast to spend their money and yet the tourism department is quite prepared to see that threatened. They haven't reinstated the tourism grant and they haven't done anything to look after it.

Now another travel generator, and I have to say this on behalf of the people of St. John's, Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the City of St. John's, the City of St. John's itself is a travel generator. The mayor - and I want to ask hon. members what they do when they go to other cities. What do you do when you go to Boston, for example?

AN HON. MEMBER: Boston?

MR. HARRIS: To Boston, were you ever in Boston? I know members opposite have a great fondness for the City of Boston. Some of the Cabinet members are very pleased with travelling to Boston as activity and some of them are very glad that some of the other members have travelled to Boston but what do you do? You go around, Mr. Speaker, and you look at the buildings, you travel around, visit the sights and you look around. St. John's is like that, Mr. Speaker, and people come to St. John's to be able to see the cityscape, the streetscape, the houses, the buildings. It's a travel generator, I say to the minister, it's a travel generator.

Now if you had ponies, Newfoundland ponies - if you want to hear about Newfoundland ponies, that's another aspect of tourism that's very important that the Province could pay some attention to without spending very much money. Now I know a number of hon. members opposite are very interested in this project that I've put forward of three or four simple ideas that would help save, help survive, help the Newfoundland pony to survive and make sure that that is an important and continuing part of our living cultural heritage. I look forward to the initiatives that are going to be brought forward soon by the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture and the Minister of Tourism and Culture to ensure, not only that the Newfoundland ponies survive but that it becomes recognized as a separate and distinct breed. I look forward to 1997 when we have hundreds of thousands, hopefully, of visitors to be able to say that the Newfoundland pony is officially recognized by this government as a heritage animal.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: You know, members make fun. I suggest to the Member for St. John's North that he look into this issue a little bit more deeply before he is dismissive about this. I will tell you that anyone who watched the Olympics knew that there was a Norwegian pony, didn't they? There is an Icelandic pony as well. These are separate breeds of animals that - in this Province has more importance because it is part, Mr. Speaker, of the working heritage of this Province. Adapted to the outport way of life, and not merely the outport way of life. Because when I was a young fellow they were still delivering coal in St. John's in a cart and pony. It shows -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. DUMARESQUE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I'm forced to rise again in this debate. Of all the legacies that a member could leave to the hon. House of Assembly as a leader of a party, is to go out of here having tried to get back the pony.

Here we have 70,000 people on social services, 30,000 people out there now in the fishery receiving the compensation program. The main plank of the New Democratic Party is to bring back the Newfoundland pony. However important he may think this is I think it is time that the NDP and the Member for St. John's East got their priorities straight and start working with this government and the people of this Province to get people back to work, to try to get something exciting happening in our economy and our fishery. Here we have a situation today where we have to do something very substantial and significant on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks, and I thought that it was important for me to get up here on the heels of what the Member for Grand Bank has been saying, whether this legislation has any teeth or whether it is all encompassing.

I would like to take some excerpts from the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans for Canada, Mr. Tobin, who, just a few, short days ago, May 11 actually, when he got up in the House of Commons and I quote, he said: We do not want to confront a single vessel on the high seas. We do not want to make an arrest of a single vessel on the high seas. We do not want to interfere with a single crew wherever it comes from, whatever flag of convenience it flies on the high seas, but we will confront and we will arrest and we will seize and we will prosecute each and everyone, if they do not pull up their nets and leave the zone. Now, how is that for clarification?

Further on in the debate, he was asked by another member of Parliament, Mr. McGuire from Prince Edward Island, whether this could impact upon the other nations of the world and the member for PEI said: Could the minister explain why the legislation stops short of the Flemish Cap and whether he has confidence in NAFO with the agreements he secured a month ago, is in a position to police the high seas, and Mr. Tobin response was this: This legislation gives the Parliament of Canada the authority to designate any class of vessel for enforcement of conservation measure. The legislation does not categorize whom we would enforce against. The legislation makes clear that any vessel fishing in a manner inconsistent with good, widely acknowledged conservation rules could be subject to action by Canada. We cite as an example the NAFO conservation rule, any vessel from any nation fishing at variance with good conservation rules could come under the authority granted in the legislation and be subject to action by Canada. There are no exceptions.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I think that that is very, very clear on exactly what length and breath this particular legislation has and I would think that members in this House would be up saying that we should have unanimous resolution in this House; saying bravo to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans of Canada, an unanimous resolution, probably being put forward by the Member for Grand Bank proclaiming the full support of the House of Assembly to this particular minister on this particular piece of legislation. He should do that if he were a real supporter, if he were going to put anything before his political stripes, then he would be up there saying that this is the best thing that we have ever seen in this Province and he would be sending a telegram up to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

MR. TULK: He should be demanding that we unanimously congratulate him.

MR. DUMARESQUE: He should be up demanding that we unanimously congratulate the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans in Ottawa, but all he is interested in is, obviously, some kind of political point that he can make. Maybe he will throw another tantrum now and get kicked out of the House again, tomorrow, so he can get on the media again; maybe he will call somebody something unparliamentary, so he can get a bit of media attention tomorrow, that's the kind of action we have seen from the member opposite.

I think it is obviously something very, very tormenting to the Member for Grand Bank. Obviously, it must be all the good news coming from Ottawa these days, all the great steps that are being taken to secure our seal fishery, the steps that are being taken on the Saltfish Corporation. How many years were we complaining, how many times did I get up and say that the Saltfish Corporation was not working, it did not give the people of Labrador what they deserved, it did not meet the objectives that were in its legislation and then the member for the great district of Humber - St. Barbe Bay got up and he did what was justified, he did the right thing, and he closed the Saltfish Corporation. We are going to be looking forward to the next few years to work out a mechanism that will still protect -

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. DUMARESQUE: Well, that is a very good question the Member for Fogo asked. Since this minister has got into his office in Ottawa he has had a first-time ever moratorium on 3NO cod, he has taken an unprecedented historic step in the fight against foreign overfishing, Mr. Speaker, he has closed down the Canadian Saltfish Corporation and given hope where there was never hope before. He has brought forward a five year comprehensive, substantial, significant, unbelievable compensation program for 30,000 people in Newfoundland and Labrador and all throughout Atlantic Canada. Given a program that will enhance the other species that are out there, that will give them training.

Now they've turned to the seals and they've said: We are going to take action on the seal. We are going to see, I suspect, and I would renew my call here tonight for this particular aspect of the seal fishery - some members opposite might be interested - but I would renew my call here tonight for a license, a permit, to be issued to every Newfoundlander and Labradorian who wants one to take a seal for food and personal consumption. I think that is a good thing to do and I believe that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans up there is listening. Obviously if the actions of the last six months are any kind of indication of what he is going to be doing, I think that he is fast on his way to working himself out of a job. I guess that is the ultimate compliment that can be paid to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans in Ottawa today.

I would like to also at this time say to the members opposite that we are here now in the resource policy debates. We have on the one hand the Minister of Mines and Energy and the Minister of Fisheries. I think that it is absolutely telling and it must be said, that while this Hydro privatization is very important, while the hydro and the electrical energy redistribution in this Province - whatever the exact name of that bill is - obviously they are very important. But let's get it right, let's tell the people the truth. That there is no future to this Province if we do not have control of the fishery, if we do not have our communities given the kinds of security that they need.

Hydro is important but we will not have a Mary's Harbour, we will not have a Cartwright, we will not have a Nain, we will not have a L'Anse-au-Loup or a L'Anse-au-Clair or a Ramea or a Fogo or a Musgrave Harbour, or we will never have the kind of lifestyle that we cherish in this Province if we do not put the fishery first and foremost of all of our energies. Every Newfoundlander and Labradorian should be doing that. I would challenge those who have shown so much enthusiasm and given so much energy to the fight against Hydro, that for God's sake, get on to the real issue. Give us your energy to revitalizing the fishery, give us your energy to securing a future for our communities and our children, and give us your place in history. Because what you are doing in the fight against the privatization of Hydro I would submit is the greatest disservice that has ever been done to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. That is what it is.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: The Minister of Health got up here today and said it. He said: It seems to be lost on all members opposite, and unfortunately it seems to be lost on a great number of people throughout this Province, that just a few sort days ago we had our credit rating reduced where we do not now have an A credit rating with any agency. That is a very serious thing. We cannot reiterate it enough. It is very serious, and it cannot be reiterated enough. We have an opportunity through the privatization of Hydro to take a significant part of our debt off our books, to get some necessary cash into our budget, to give the Minister of Finance the flexibility to be able to do what is right with the finances of this Province, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No leave!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: Give him leave, Bill.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, Mr. Speaker, it has nothing to do with not giving the hon. member leave. If he was making some sense I would gladly give him leave.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, that is being truthful. You know me. I'm not easily diverted from the truth I say, regardless of what the consequences might be, Mr. Speaker. I've never stepped back from the truth.

Just a couple of remarks to my good friend for Eagle River. Isn't it ironic, I say to him. Why doesn't he stop and reflect for a moment? How does he explain Standard and Poor's downgrading the Province's credit rating when the government has told the whole world that they are going to privatize Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and they are going to get $350 million, $400 million for the sale of it, and they are going to apply it against the debt so they won't have to borrow, which really I suppose is almost the same. Yet Standard and Poor's, even though we are going to sell Hydro, downgrades the Province's credit rating. I can't follow the member's logic and other members' logic over there. Because if selling Hydro is going to have a positive effect upon the credit rating why did Standard and Poor's downgrade us knowing that we were going to sell it?

AN HON. MEMBER: Mismanagement, (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: It is about mismanagement. We are seeing more of it every passing day, Mr. Speaker, mismanagement.

That is all I want to say about Hydro. It is obvious that members opposite have always been convinced that the majority of people are opposed to it, but I think they might have some inside information on some numbers, I have a funny feeling. I think they know now that the die is cast on the Hydro issue. I think they know that the battle has been lost.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh God, I could explain that. I can explain 2,500 to a meeting down in Salt Pond, I would say to the minister. I was at a meeting the other day - when word just got around town I was going to show up and a hundred people came out. I just got to the meeting in Lawn and a hundred showed up, and I was no sooner in the door then calls came from St. Lawrence and all over the place. No trouble to drum up 400 or 500 people. I can get that many to a barbecue.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: We will see now, I say to the minister, in a few days, when the Corporate Research numbers are done. We will see. All these hundreds of thousands of dollars of government advertising and the Premier's Province-wide addresses and the newspaper ads, and all of this comes down - we will see. We will see what the people of the Province are still saying on this very important issue.

There is no point in the Member for Eagle River standing up here and protesting because the people are against it. The people are against it, and for the right reason. It is a bad deal. They want to keep their asset. All the government is going to do by selling it is be more harmful and do more damage to our credit situation. That is what we are going to do. Because we are not going to have that asset. That $350 million is going to be gone. You don't become better off by selling off your best assets. You become worse off. You might have to declare bankruptcy. That is right. When you sell off your main assets you are in big trouble. You are in big trouble when you sell off your best assets and your main assets.

I'm telling you, that is what this government is toying with here. Whether they realize it or not I don't know, but there has been a debate on it - my God, how long has it been, Mr. Speaker? It seems like eternity. Still, members opposite won't accept the fact that it is a bad deal and people are deadly opposed and don't want it done. They are going to proceed with it. I hope I'm wrong.

AN HON. MEMBER: What?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: About what is going to happen as a result of us selling Hydro and what will happen to our credit rating. Standard and Poor's has already downgraded our credit rating knowing full well we are going to sell it, I say to the Member for Fogo. So if it was going to be a positive, why would they downgrade it?

What's going to happen next year or the year after when our money is gone and we don't have our $3 billion asset? What's going to happen then? Now again, like I said about the fishing, the foreign overfishing, the proof of the pudding will be in the eating. It will be in the eating. It will be but I'm pretty convinced - I feel comfortable within myself, the stand I've taken on the issue, very comfortable.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, I say to the Government House Leader, he's one of the ones who will have to bear the brunt of it. He's one of the orchestrators, the main movers and shakers behind all this.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Pudding, proof of the pudding, I say to the minister of, whatever his name is, whatever he's minister of I don't know.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No boy, no. It's not a small parade. I say to the Government House Leader, if 80 per cent of the people of this Province is a small parade I wouldn't want to see a big one. I don't know what the Government House Leader would need. If I had 80 per cent in favour of something I'd think it was pretty good, that's not too bad. It's a fair majority, 80 per cent. It's not pretty shaky, not very shaky, 80 per cent.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No it's not shocking? I want to get back to the fishery for a bit and I want to, just in case there's any misunderstanding, I hope the legislation the federal minister - it's now passed the House -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, I've read the legislation, I say to the member. But there's still one gnawing concern I have about it, is how do we really get at the foreigners that are overfishing in international waters? How do we really get at them? Anymore today then - found a small scallop boat fisherman from Grand Bank: I can't go inside of the french zone and do what I want. I can't do it. I'm not allowed in there. I can't do it. The french boats are in there fishing but we can't go in and do what we want. So that's the complexity that I have problems with, and maybe I'm naive, perhaps I don't understand, perhaps I'm stunned, perhaps I'm all of that.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: It doesn't matter what you've got written in the legislation, I say to the Member for Fogo, it's international waters that we do not have control of.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I'm not saying that but don't pin all your hopes on the legislation. It's going to take a lot more then that. As of today there's no resource -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Let me say to the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, well what do you anticipate is coming after? What do you anticipate is coming after now if the legislation is past the House? That's the question, what is going to happen next?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh, yes, yes, yes. That's about the Norma and Gladys, she sank. Norma and Gladys sank, she's gone.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, I'm being realistic, I say to the Member for Fogo, I'm being realistic about this. I mean god, I'm being realistic. I have to be convinced, I say to the member.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I hope it is. I hope they're all out of there by the end of next week. I hope by the time Hydro is privatized there won't be a foreign boat on the Nose and Tail of the Banks. I hope that by the time Hydro is privatized there will not be a Spaniard or a Portuguese vessel on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks, I hope.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, I'm being realistic but no one can answer the question. No one can answer the question, what is going to trigger and is going to get the Spaniards and Portuguese out of those international waters? No one has answered the question.

MR. SULLIVAN: One thing, every fish out there disappears.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh, of course and if the fish stocks out there are as bad as they say they are, I'm surprised that it's now economic - he said when there's no fish out there to catch. I said I'm surprised, if things are so bad as they are now, how it's economically viable for those people to come from so far away to just off our shores, and fish.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Let me just say, to the flags of convenience, those flying flags of convenience, the test is going to be, what is going to happen to, as I said before -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Already?

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

MS. YOUNG: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I was one of the fortunate people, too, who went to Ottawa to the national convention, and I am very proud that I am a Liberal. It was a great time to be a Liberal up there.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. YOUNG: While we were there we dealt with quite a number of resolutions, and I was pleased that I was there to support the resolution on the seal fishery, along with all of my fellow Newfoundlanders, and all the support being received from the rest of Canada.

As well, I want you to know that there were quite a number of resolutions there that dealt with agriculture, and my fellow Liberals from Newfoundland supported me when we went through the resolutions on agriculture, and we chose the resolution that would have the most benefits for this Province and what we felt was for the whole nation with regard to agriculture, and I would like to read that resolution:

BE IT RESOLVED that the Liberal Party of Canada commits itself to policies that will provide long-term security for Canada's agriculture producers and the food processing industry through the following means;

(a) By establishing information, education and communications programs to ensure that Canadians understand the true importance of agriculture to Canada;

(b) By introducing legislation ensuring fair competition and market response policies;

(c) By establishing policies to reduce farm input (inaudible) closer to the level of international competitors, and make a renewed commitment to research, development and application so as to improve Canada's agricultural technology; and

(d) By encouraging the growth and expansion of diversification in industries which will create economic activity and development; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that due to environmental pressures and greater urbanization, increased food supply will have to be met from existing farmland, and legislation be introduced to protect agriculture and increased food production.

That resolution, ladies and gentlemen, is prioritized. It was prioritized as the number one resolution for agriculture, and I support that. I also believe in the viability of rural Canada.

There are a number of natural resources that we, as rural Canadians, must ensure are protected and enhanced so that our rural communities will continue to exist - not just exist, but to be a vital part of the whole economy of this country.

I see, when I go to conventions like that, that there are other people who have concerns such as mine, not only just for Newfoundland, but for the rest of Canada.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS. YOUNG: Yes, we certainly do have a great nation, but if we continue with the trend that the former government set in Ottawa, of moving everything to our urban centres, we will have nothing left in rural Canada - nothing - removal of the post office, number one. That was something that our present government dealt with, and they're not going to see our rural Canadians treated with such disrespect.

Now, one of the participants at that convention approached me. I had known her through my involvement with the farm women's organizations, and we got talking about a coalition of Canadians from rural Canada who are involved with the resource-based industries, and we talked about it. How can we protect rural Canada by just taking in agriculture? We have to look at the fishery; we have to look at the mining industry; we have to look at the forestry industry, and maybe the gas and oil industry, because these are resources that rural Canadians are involved in.

We started talking to other people, and there seemed to be a will there, a will to get together and to make sure that rural Canada continues to exist viably, and I keep saying `viably' because we don't want to exist out there; we don't want to just exist. We want to contribute, and we want to thrive, and there are all sorts of opportunities to do that.

We don't want to be moved in and form the urban ghettos of Canada. There are opportunities out there, and I am sure that the policy committee at the federal level will certainly refer this resolution to government, and I have great hope that this resolution will be taken care of in a manner that we want it dealt with.

We have to make sure that urban Canadians are aware of what's happening in rural Canada. Far too many of them have no idea of life in rural Canada. Some of them see it as being this beautiful, picturesque country where we live and we make our home-made bread, and we hang our clothes on the line.

AN HON. MEMBER: Quaint.

MS. YOUNG: Yes, quaint is the word, and we go into the little fishing villages and they look so peaceful, with the calm waters. They have no idea of how bad it is out there in rural Canada.

We have our problems, be it in the fishery, be it in the agricultural industry, be it in the forestry industry, mining. Even gas and oil will have its problems, if they don't already have them now, but if we have a government that turns it's back on rural Canada, as we saw for years at the federal level, we won't have these beautiful little communities. The coastlines will be there; the devastated forests will be there; the fishery will -

AN HON. MEMBER: Definitely be there.

MS. YOUNG: - definitely be there, but we have to have caring government, and we need the support of urbanites. We don't want to isolate them from the process of continuing the work that we have to do in rural Canada.

I am sure that if we are viable out there, the spin-offs will be good for the urban centres as well, because not only will we shop in our rural centres, but there are things we will have to buy in the urban centres that we cannot buy out there, so I say what's good for us out in Newfoundland is good for this side of the overpass as well, and I have no problems with that. I think we have to stop this urban mentality versus rural mentality, and think of ourselves as Newfoundlanders and Canadians, and by doing that I think we can be very productive, and we should learn about the problems of other industries.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS. YOUNG: Of course.

There is a process, I guess, of education, and it has to take place in our schools. I don't think we can go out and bombard people and ask them to understand what we're going through. I think there has to be a process that's developed, and developed properly, and we have to look, too, from the rural perspective about the problems that urbanites face. I see that there is poverty there, and we have to look at ways that we can help them. We have to stop this `us versus them' because I think that's what's killing us as Canadians. I think that's what's killing us as Newfoundlanders. We always put ourselves, it's us against them, and as long as that continues we will not develop to our true potential.

Out in rural Canada, we can develop with the age of technology and with all the great I guess, technology that we have, we do not have to feel that we are in isolation. I think of St. Brendan's Island in my district where they are receiving distance education thanks to our minister here because that had never happened before. I went down there for a graduation and I was so impressed of the courses -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS. YOUNG: They are much more aware of what is going on, and these are things that the Department of Industry, Trade and Technology can develop. Then we have our Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, who is ensuring that these industries continue so as to support our rural way of life; our Minister of Fishery, he is doing great things for our fishery to ensure again that rural Canada is viable and, I want to say that it is again, a great time to be a Liberal. It's a great time to be a Liberal in Newfoundland, it is a great time to be a Liberal in Canada, and when Mr. Chrétien came to our meeting -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave?

MS. YOUNG: By leave?

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

AN HON. MEMBER: No.

MR. SPEAKER: No leave.

The hon. the Member for Humber Valley.

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, I couldn't resist the temptation to get up and have a few words after the hon. Member for Terra Nova got up and talked about the great Liberal legacy of rural caretakers in Canada, and especially when you hear Liberals from the Province of Newfoundland talking about liberalism and the great past and record that liberalism has in looking after rural municipalities in this Province.

Well, Mr. Speaker, I am here now for nine years going on ten and I never heard the like of such hypocrisy in all my live, never heard the like of it. I mean, who started it, the gutting and the ripping apart and the dismantling of rural Newfoundland in this Province? It was a Liberal regime in years gone by, Mr. Speaker, who floated all the houses and the communities in Newfoundland and Labrador, sent them in to the urban centres of this Province. Some of the people are still around today for God's sake, Mr. Speaker, and to get up and talk about what they are doing and what the federal government is doing out in rural Newfoundland.

Well let me just talk about what this government has done to rural Newfoundland in the last five years. Let me go from the 1989 Budget, Mr. Speaker, when those people took office. Let me talk about one department that resulted and will result in the gutting of municipalities in this Province, namely rural Newfoundland, and that is every council and local service district in this Province today cannot survive and won't survive, never mind getting up here and talking about going to a Liberal convention in Ottawa and singing the praises of people down here and trying to coerce and get other people to come on side with regards to a great resolution on agriculture; b. s. Mr. Speaker.

Who signed the GATT deal just a few months ago? Eight months ago, Mr. Speaker, when the people in Ottawa were talking about GATT, who lined up on the steps in Ottawa and said: if you sign that deal you will be no more? Who lined up? Some of the very ministers who are there today, Mr. Speaker, now singing the praises of GATT. I say to the minister responsible for Forestry and Agriculture, that the time is running out because of some of the things signed with GATT, the broiler industry is on its last legs, the brewery industry, the minister responsible knows full well that only for his intervention by the way, it would be gone now, the last two weeks it was ready to go and there is a lot more ready to go in the next five or six years, Mr. Speaker, talking about liberalism and rural Newfoundland.

There is not a council, the basic, fundamental reason for a municipality to survive in rural Newfoundland today, and the thing that holds it together are some of the councils and local services which they have in their areas combined with a way of life, whether it is coming from the fishery, whether it is coming from forestry or whether it is coming from agriculture, and who is saying to do otherwise? Look at the Strategic Economic Plan about the seventeen regions in this Province, growth centres, look at what's happened in the fishery today with the new deal about giving subsidies to fishermen, fish plant workers and fisher people to move elsewhere and go to work. What is it telling and what message is it telling, Mr. Speaker? Everywhere you look, every time you pick up a paper, every document you see, every ministerial statement you see, Mr. Speaker, you see something in it that makes you think about that `r' word and that word is resettlement. It's a dirty word, Mr. Speaker, but I'll tell you something, I'll tell the member opposite about rural Newfoundland -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, the people in rural Newfoundland today will not, Mr. Speaker, bow down and kneel down anymore. They are not going to take it, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Now I know what's happening, I can understand what's happening, there's a possibility of a shuffle later on. The Minister of Forestry and Agriculture is getting tired and we have two members, the Member for Terra Nova and the Member for St. George's, possibly vying for a post and I can understand that, more power to them, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: No, I didn't serve very long at all, no I didn't but I'll tell you one thing, Mr. Speaker, that if the hon. member could get five or six months in there - you wait until you serve five or six months and then start bragging but you'd better watch the member behind you, I would say. Never mind worrying about the people in Ottawa, watch the member behind you because he's starting to get ahead of you. He might be sitting behind you but he's ahead of you in the game to (inaudible) out the seat.

So I say, Mr. Speaker, the thing that this member should watch and the other Member from St. George's should watch - is make sure that they support their Cabinet colleague, the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, when he goes looking for money to try to make municipalities in rural Newfoundland survive because, Mr. Speaker, every day they're drawing their last breath, they can't survive. The only reason a community or a town in an urban centre anywhere in this Province today will survive, Mr. Speaker, is if they have a good commercial backing and a good commercial industry. There's no way a municipality can survive mainly on poll tax. They can't charge a property tax and so on and the only way they can survive in rural - I can understand the member if she doesn't - you know there might be a problem there, I mean let's face it, we're talking about the municipal operating grants system in the Province, very complicated. We are talking about the repayment on capital debt; we're talking about the demise and the devastation of rural Newfoundland, the very basics. The very fundamental reasons why a lot of the towns exist is because of that in conjunction with a little bit of commercial activity they have, whether it be fishery, forestry or anything else. So I say, Mr. Speaker, I sat in on the five departments with regards to the resource estimates of this administration.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Never mind the cucumbers. We never grew one big enough to fit the hon. member's mouth, I'll tell you that.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WOODFORD: They might have been good, Mr. Speaker, but we didn't do one like that, I'll tell you that. I say to the hon. member, if she gets in agriculture and she can just do that, grow one big enough for that, I'd say she has succeeded in this House.

There's one thing else I'd say, if you'll give me a minute, that if that so called cucumber factory was anywhere else in this Province, I'd put every cent that I am worth today and will earn over the next twenty years up against one individual who could come and say that I would lose one buck on it, one dollar because of where it was, how it was run and it was under the microscope. Everywhere else in the world they're making money; here we are sitting again all because of politics. Here we are bringing in over 2,000 tons a week from Holland, selling it in Toronto, all centred in Toronto and we can't do it. Again, we are our own worst enemy, Mr. Speaker. No matter what we bring up and try to do, we tear it apart. We feed on ourselves. We are like piranha; we feed on ourselves and everything else around us, and when we're down and out that seems to be the best time for us; we feed on each other.

If we don't change our attitudes in this Province today, we're going nowhere; we're going to do nothing, because whatever we touch is going to fall apart.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WOODFORD: So I say to members opposite -

MR. TOBIN: I'd say the Premier would agree with that.

MR. WOODFORD: I don't know if the Premier agrees with it or not, but there is only so long you can sit and listen to something, especially talking about going on a national stage and talking about giving this support and that support. If you're going to start, start in your own backyard, clean up your own act, and then go on a national stage and ask for support.

We'll get support. Sure we'll get support for rural Newfoundland, when we start looking at ourselves, when we start looking in the mirror every morning instead of blaming it on someone else. That's when we'll get support. We won't have to go to a national government in Ottawa, no matter what the political stripe is, if we only start ourselves here and support ourselves, and never mind putting each other down.

Once again, Mr. Speaker, just with those few short comments, I got it off my chest anyway.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS. YOUNG: Well, I'm just glad that my mouth is big enough to stimulate you to get up and say something, because you weren't saying very much before, and if my mouth is big enough to hold a cucumber, I hope I can spew some things out of it that make sense.

I can't remember you coming out and wanting to put the cucumber factory out in rural Newfoundland, and I can remember writing to the Federation of Agriculture, wanting to know why they weren't coming out against that horrendous move made by the Tory government. We got a letter back, our Farm Women's Group, and had our knuckles rapped for asking such a nasty question. I remember that. Then when you inherited the mess you didn't do much better either, so I guess I got it off my chest, too.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

I think we only have a few minutes left. I haven't kept track of time, I say to the Government House Leader. I'm not really interested in belabouring the point, or going on, but someone on this side had to be recognized.

I am glad the Member for Terra Nova got it off her chest, Mr. Speaker.

MR. TOBIN: What? Say that again.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: She said she is relieved she got it off her chest, and the Member for Humber Valley is relieved he got it off his chest. Perhaps if more and more of us get up here and get whatever we want to get off our chest, perhaps we'll be a little -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I would; I certainly would.

All I want to say, Mr. Speaker, is that tonight has been somewhat refreshing and different because we've had some interesting debates on the various resource departments, and topics related thereto, for the most part. We have varied a bit, but we're here -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, that's what was refreshing. My colleague is jumping ahead of me. It was refreshing that so many members opposite were permitted to stand in their places tonight and speak, and that is a big change from the last two or three months. The numbers that have stood in their places and spoken have been very limited. It has been orchestrated. It was orchestrated, those who were allowed to speak, but tonight has been different, and it is good to see. I think if we did this more often, and members opposite could stand in their place and speak the way they felt, we would be a healthier Legislature. We would have a healthier environment.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, we would have it all off our chest, I say to the minister. What a relief it would be to some members to have it all off their chest, Mr. Speaker. What a relief it would be. How light they would feel, how much better they would sleep. We could reduce the health care budget, I would say to the Minister of Health, if we all feel better about ourselves. Feeling well.

It was quite interesting to hear the exchange between the Members for Humber Valley and Terra Nova. A little one-sided. No doubt who the winner was, no doubt about that, but both talking about something that they feel very strongly about. Basically the same topic.

AN HON. MEMBER: Cucumbers.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, not the cucumbers. Agriculture mostly. As much as I've enjoyed tonight talking about the fishery and the problems we are experiencing in the fishery, what we hope will become of our fishery, what we hope will become of our Province, and the things that we feel are necessary for our fishery to rebuild and regenerate, and consequently our provincial economy to improve. That is what we are talking about tonight, and that is what I have been talking about. I hope all the things we've discussed and debated tonight and shared views on, from the seals to the foreign overfishing to taking our own share of the blame through technologies, I hope we learn from it.

I hope at the end of the day that we do have a regenerated fishery. I hope we listen to the Member for St. George's with some of the ideas that he has espoused, some interesting topics that he has. But someone said about the great resolution, I think it was the Member for Terra Nova, that she was proud to participate in the resolution at the national convention. I said across the House to my friend the Minister of Finance that we've debated and passed and defeated some excellent resolutions in this House of Assembly, but there is never ever anything done with them. Nothing ever done with them.

The same might be said about that very important and worthwhile, worthy resolution pertaining to the seal harvest. I just hope it materializes. I've attended many good meetings -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, I'm a realist, I say to the Member for Fogo. I hope the federal legislation takes care of the foreigners and gets them off the banks.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) positive?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, I'm still positive, I'm still hopeful, but I have to be realistic. I can't hang my hat on a resolution, I say to the Member for Fogo, I can't hang the future of this Province on a resolution passed in Ottawa when I don't even know if it is truly adopted by the Liberal Party yet.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, absolutely.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I'm not so sure if it is really going to become policy.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Exactly, and how far it is really going to go, I say for members who went up there and fought the good fight, including the Premier, which we give you credit for. We hope it works, we hope something is done about it. But as I said about the legislation, time will tell, time will be the true test. We will see if the foreigners are off the banks in twelve months' time or if there are more of them out there catching more fish as there is today. We will see if there is an escalated seal harvest, responsible utilization of the full animal.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, but I say to the Member for Fogo, don't go coming back from your national convention and - you know, I mean, it is like we've almost got a big improvement already.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No I'm not, but I'm realistic I say to the member. You can't hang your hat on resolutions passed in Ottawa, or on legislation that will not get the foreigners off the banks. You can't hang your hat and the future of this Province on that. It is going to take action.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I've always been a realist. You have to be practical about this. We all want to see the foreigners out; we want to see an orderly seal harvest.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: It does not matter to me who does it, I say to the Member for Fogo. I wish he would stop being so narrow in his remarks. You have to realize the complexities of it all. Stopping foreign overfishing is a very complex issue. If it wasn't so complex it would have been stopped years ago. It would have never gotten to the stage that it has gotten today, Mr. Speaker. You just can't stop it because you want to or we would have it stopped years ago.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: One of my ministers. Not my ministers, God, they are not my ministers. You might call Brian Tobin your minister but I never called John Crosbie my minister.

AN HON. MEMBER: You should.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I never. When they did something wrong I gave them a dart. When Brian Tobin does something good I will commend him.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: When the foreigners leave the banks, I said, I will go to any corner of this Province and commend the minister. But until that day I'm going to be cautious, I'm going to reserve judgement, I say to the Member for Fogo. I'm not going to hang my hat and the future of Grand Bank, St. Lawrence, Lawn, and Fortune on a piece of legislation in Ottawa that as of today has not reduced the number of foreigners on the Banks by one. I am not going to do that because that won't feed me. That won't feed the people in those communities. Legislation won't feed them, Mr. Speaker. It is getting them out of there to give our fish stocks a chance to regenerate, that will feed them.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I don't want to be into that. I don't want to know who is in Ottawa. All I know is that from the announcement today, the infrastructure announcement today, that it makes us wonder about our federal riding, if we have anybody up there, I would say to the Member for Burin - Placentia West. I don't know where our MP was. I don't believe there was one nickel, was there?

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh, so he did. Sorry, I apologize. Yes, he did. That is fair enough.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, that is alright, we will take care of that. In three years time he won't be able to announce anything for the Burin Peninsula.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Like I told Jean Charest in Gander, I just might have to get rid of that Simmons. I just might have to be called to do it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I just might have to do it. Twenty-two million dollars or $23 million, get $100,000 or $200,000 out of it, I just might have to get rid of it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, I just might get rid of it. What a service I would do the Province. Talking about resource development, it is an opportunity.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: What an opportunity it would be.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: What a plus for the Province to get rid of it.

On motion, Report of Resource Estimates Committee, carried.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, would you be good enough please to put Motion No. 5, following which I will ask you to call Order No. 4?

To Move pursuant to Standing Order 50 that the debate or further consideration of Third Reading of Bill No. 2 entitled, "An Act To Regulate The Electrical Power Resources Of Newfoundland And Labrador" standing in the name of the hon. the Premier and any amendments to that motion for Third Reading of Bill No. 2 shall not be further adjourned and that further consideration of any amendments relating to Third Reading of Bill No. 2 shall not be further postponed.

Motion carried.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion number -

MR. ROBERTS: Order No. 4, Sir, the third reading of the EPCA bill.

MR. SPEAKER: Order No. 4, Bill No. 2.

I believe the hon. Government House Leader adjourned the debate.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I said what I have to say. We are now in the closure mode, the closure motion, so I commend the bill to the House and say it is time we get on with this.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible) just want a point of clarification if I could for the Government House Leader without (inaudible).

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes. We had a brief chat about the duration of debate of members. I don't know if the wish is that we speak for ten minutes or we go the twenty minute route. I don't know. The Government House Leader proposed that and I (inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, but people would only speak once though is your point.

MR. ROBERTS: Yes. My suggestion would be if hon. gentlemen and ladies wish we could make it ten minute speeches because then more members would be able to speak. The debate will have to end not later than 1:00 a.m.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Members on this side are anxious to speak so if that's agreeable, ten-minute speeches and we will conclude at one o'clock or before, I am easy.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) it is all over.

MR. ROBERTS: No. My understanding is that members on this side are anxious to speak.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I am not hung up on it either way (inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Well, is it agreed then, Mr. Speaker, that we do ten-minute speeches?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Ten minutes, fine; I am just trying to find some accommodation, if members want to speak fair enough, if they don't want to speak, let's be honest about it as that suits me even better, if they don't want to.

MR. ROBERTS: No? The gentleman from St. John's East insists on twenty minutes, so carry on.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, it seems like this would be the last opportunity for members to have something to say on this particular piece of legislation. It is third reading and once we speak now, it is under closure motion, Bill 2 - yes, closure motion, third reading - the minister just called closure on that particular piece of legislation so we are speaking on the closure motion; if we were speaking on the bill we would have half-an-hour.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: That's right, closure rules, or whichever way you want to cut it, that's it, closure rules, but if we were speaking on the bill, one of the rules is that we would be able to speak for half-an-hour, but in any case, Mr. Speaker, I would like to make my comments pertaining to this particular piece of legislation, it will be all over tonight and I suppose this will set the wheels in motion, or the turbines in motion I suppose, which would lead to the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. Not necessarily so, as the Premier said before, this particular piece of legislation can stand on its own and there is no question, that parts of this particular piece of legislation are long overdue, I have no arguments with that, but there are parts of this particular bill that have absolutely nothing to do with the intent of the bill that was introduced in the first place except for the five reasons that are in part one for privatizing Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I have stated before that some of the areas of concern that I have with regard to this particular piece of legislation namely are five reasons, and if those particular reasons and clauses were taken out of the legislation, then I, as one member, have absolutely no problems with the rest of it. If we, as members sitting here in the House, have problems looking at particular clauses in this piece of legislation, just imagine, Mr. Speaker, how the people of the Province must feel; people who are working every day and coming home every night and are not privy to this particular piece of legislation, can't read it, can only read what is sent out by government or sent out by Opposition members and so on, and they compare the government's explanation with, for instance my explanation, and have nobody to ask questions, nobody to answer their questions and concerns, so you could imagine how some people must feel; people who have real concerns about this particular piece of legislation.

Now, I suppose with Bill 2 there's no real reason to be as concerned as they would with Bill 1. Where the real concern comes in is with Bill 1, once that is brought to the House again. If it's not, then fine and dandy for everybody in the Province, as far as I am concerned.

I say that for one reason, and one reason only, and that is that I think that government should pull in its horns on the privatization one, if this particular - well, it will; this particular bill will be passed, as of tonight. It won't be proclaimed, I would say, for probably another couple of months, maybe three months. I have seen some proclamations not come through for four and five months after the bill has been passed in the House, after the bill has been signed. It hasn't been proclaimed, some of it I have seen, for eight and ten months, so it's going to be interesting what is going to happen to this particular piece of legislation once it's passed in this Legislature tonight; however, the government should go back to the people, should send the committee around the Province, the Resource Committee, and let them have public hearings. If people are so against it, 79 and 80 per cent and so on, if they went around the Province with public hearings, I have seen the piece of legislation -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: I never had a meeting, and if I did have a meeting, although I did a poll in my district, I would say if I did have a meeting I would probably get no more than that, to be honest with you. I would be surprised if I did, because people have a tendency - I don't know what it is; maybe it's what I just talked about earlier - they just don't bother to come to public meetings for some reason, unless it's something that's really -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Well, the poll in my area was 78 per cent. Now, I consider it a fairly big poll for a small district. I polled around 140 or 150 people. I consider it a fairly substantial poll, and I didn't do it; I had it done by other people.

Not only that, but it's their own poll. Every member knows when they are going around their own district they can feel the pulse, they can feel what's going on and so on.

What I was going to say is that the minister at that time, that was under your department, I believe, at that time, that forestry act, wasn't it? Yes, under your department - the present Minister of Forestry and Agriculture at that time - and we went around the Province. The Member for Mount Scio was the first one to bring up some concerns about it, and there was a big hullabaloo and fuss about it, but we went around the Province and had some real good public meetings on the amendment to the forestry act, the Crown Lands Act.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: A few years ago. I think that was before the member came in.

AN HON. MEMBER: What bill was it?

MR. WOODFORD: It was Bill 53.

AN HON. MEMBER: The Crown Lands Act.

MR. WOODFORD: The Crown Lands Act.

It was even brought up by a government member some of the concerns, but we had some real good meetings. We came back here to the Legislature, and there were even some amendments except for that one. There was one that wasn't changed. Yes, there was, that was changed. That was changed somewhat. There were other clauses added; that is how it was changed.

AN HON. MEMBER: More protection.

MR. WOODFORD: There was more protection put in it, and that came from public hearings.

Once the people understood, because when the first meeting was held down here at Holiday Inn there was an outrage around the Province, but when we went around and had the public hearings, everything calmed down. We came back here to the Legislature, made some amendments, and it went through, and it's working. So far it's working, and I was one of the ones who was critical of it at that particular time, and the Member for Mount Scio was one of the ones who brought up concerns, but it's an example of what can happen once you give the information to the people, and give them an opportunity to have some input.

Mr. Speaker, I don't think that we can pass this particular piece of legislation - every member here, I suppose - without having something to say about what the repercussions would be if this particular piece of legislation led into the privatization of Hydro.

The big concern, Mr. Speaker, is the increase in hydro rates. That is the big concern. Despite what the government says about the rate increases and the estimates, based over a five year compound average of something like 4.5 per cent - well, 12 per cent in total in 1995 - there is no way in the world that this could be true. There is only one way those figures could be right, and that is if the PUB is going to change the criteria for setting electrical rates to utilities in the Province. There is only one way. Because based on historical data and based on historical facts and what has happened in the past with regards to requests for rate increases, then all we have to do and look at is what happened in 1989.

Members opposite should know what happened in 1989 when government dropped the $30 million subsidy to the PDD and charged the 1 per cent fee for Hydro to float their bonds. I had the exact figures with me, I haven't got them here now. There was an increase at that time, a request for 4.5 per cent. I think there was 2.6 per cent or 2.8 per cent granted at that time, and Newfoundland Hydro had to go back to Newfoundland Power and that is what they had to charge them. I think it was 2.8 per cent. That resulted in $4.20 charge per month on every light bill in this Province.

Unless there is a change in the regulations and the way that the PUB sets its rates - and there is not, because that stems from the request by a utility, whether it be Newfoundland Light or Newfoundland Hydro, on what they present to the Board. They have their facts and figures done pretty good, I will guarantee you. They have their lawyers there, they have their accountants and so on. They've got bands of lawyers and accountants there to make sure whoever is going to oppose them has their homework done. Even if you have got your homework done, or you think you have, every time - I haven't seen it yet. I think I saw it in one case one year where Newfoundland Tel never got their rate increase. Then after that that was changed and they had to go to the CRTC in order to get an increase. There are only the utilities in the Province - Newfoundland Light and Newfoundland Hydro - that can go to the Public Utilities Board for rate increases. Unless there is something to do with fees under certain parts of the highway traffic act they go to the Public Utilities Board I think to get some regulations changed there.

There is where the fear lies. That is not something hypothetical, that is not something that you are grasping at straws or anything like that. That is a fact. The figures that I was talking about just now, we can go back and look at the rate increases that stem from the 1989 Budget, and we can see and tell categorically what happened with the request for one increase. That is what will happen to rate increases in the Province. What was documented and given to the public by the government is not right, it is not factual, unless the PUB has changed the way it operates, and it hasn't.

I think that after speaking probably for, I don't know, probably six, seven, seven or eight times on this particular piece of legislation, there is not much more to be said about it. Except you can sit here for forty-eight hours, you can sit here till Saturday or Sunday. The funny thing about it is that you can say what you like, how you like. If members opposite have their minds made up then I ask the question: Why? But you have to do it, because that is one thing about the House of Assembly. At least everything you say is taped. You can go back some time in the future and pick up what was said by hon. members and you can say sometime I suppose: I told you so.

I suppose there are members opposite today who would like to forget what happened when the vote was called on the Churchill Falls agreement. How often has that come up in the Legislature? I venture you to bet, Mr. Speaker, when we are sitting back in our rocking chairs fifteen or twenty years down the road, we're going to be sitting in the gallery, the Speaker will get a note recognizing certain members, former members of the House of Assembly and we will probably be sitting in the gallery and hear the new members, one blasting the other about the day we sold Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, about the day we privatized it. Then again, having said that, Mr. Speaker, I don't know about sitting here as a member. I often wonder how people can come back and sit in the gallery after sitting here so long as a member and finding it, sometimes, pretty hard to take. Cases like this, Mr. Speaker, is what makes you sit up and think and wonder, make you look at and think about why you were elected and what you were asked to do when elected.

Now, Mr. Speaker, there's not much more - I for one, like I said at the outset, this is the last opportunity we have to speak on this particular piece of legislation. If the Premier calls the privatization bill, well then we'll have a lot to say on Bill 1 and the only concerns that I have in this is the five clauses that are in part one of the bill that's got to do, as far as I'm concerned, with the privatization of Hydro. So I'd say, Mr. Speaker, it's a dark day for Newfoundland and Labrador if this particular piece of legislation leads to the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

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

I want to have a few words on this closure bill as well. Mr. Speaker, I don't really share the views of my colleague from Humber Valley.

MR. WOODFORD: No?

MR. TOBIN: No because I don't believe, I really don't think the Premier is going to proceed with the privatization of Hydro.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: He's not.

MR. TOBIN: I really don't think he is.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, Sir, he's not doing it. He told me he wasn't.

MR. TOBIN: Well he didn't tell me he wasn't but it's my judgement, Mr. Speaker, that the Premier will stick to his words that he made on television. That is if the majority of the people of the Province are opposed to the privatization of Hydro then no government has the right to proceed and he will not ask the members of the House of Assembly to proceed with this and I believe, Mr. Speaker, the Premier will stick to that commitment. I believe that he will recognize that the majority of people are opposed to it and that we will never see Bill 1 being called in this Legislature again. Mr. Speaker, probably I'll be wrong, I've been wrong before and -

AN HON. MEMBER: Only once before.

MR. TOBIN: No twice, Mr. Speaker - but I believe the Premier, Mr. Speaker, will stick to that commitment but it remains to be seen. There's another issue, Mr. Speaker, it's interesting to know what the Government House Leader has done today by bringing in two concurrence debates, is not giving every member in this Legislature the opportunity to speak on this gag order. It denied members the right to speak on this gag order. If the Premier doesn't like it being called a gag order, probably I will read to him what one of his members had to say when closure was brought in once by the Peckford administration. Probably the Premier doesn't like the gag order, Mr. Speaker. Maybe he likes what his former House Leader had to say. Well not his former House Leader but -

AN HON. MEMBER: He might have been with him too.

MR. TOBIN: No I don't think - yes he was his former House Leader. Yes, what the Premier's former House Leader had to say about closure. He said in the last couple of days we have seen this government invoke principles of parliamentary procedure which is usually provoked only by a government that is tyrannical, running scared, that is afraid to face the music, afraid to debate what is happening in this Province. Mr. Speaker, that's what one of the Premier's House Leaders had to say about closure and now the Premier doesn't like it called a gag order.

What else did he have to say, the member of the Premier's caucus, about closure back in 1985? He said: Government has invoked what is one of the most distasteful parliamentary procedures that has ever been invoked in this House by any parliament, and that is closure. Is that worse than the gag order? He said: I submit to you that what is happening here is that government is playing a little bit like God.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who was it?

MR. TOBIN: One of your colleagues.

AN HON. MEMBER: Which one?

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I'm not sure I should name him.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: It is not the Minister of Finance.

MR. TOBIN: No, it is not the Minister of Finance, Mr. Speaker. How true, that I would submit that what is happening here is government playing a little bit like God. Because have we ever seen any government or any government leader really playing like God like this Premier?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: The Minister of Health wants to know right badly who I'm talking about. All I will say to you is that it is one of your colleagues who presently sits on that side of the House, and he is a former House Leader.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: What is that? You don't know what he said?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: No, I didn't say it, one of your colleagues said it. You sat in the House with him before; you are sitting in the House with him now. Regarding the closure motion, the Member for Port de Grave asked me to read it again, he said: What they've invoked is one of the most distasteful parliamentary procedures that has ever been invoked in the House in any parliament, and that is closure. That is what he said.

What else did he say? He said: In the last couple of days we have seen this government invoke a principle of parliamentary procedure which is usually invoked only by a government that is tyrannical, running scared, that is afraid to face the music, afraid to debate what is happening in this Province, in this House.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Who said that?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, who said that? The Minister of Social Services shouldn't hope that I (inaudible) made some of those comments. Do you know something? I tend to agree with one of your colleagues opposite.

There is another issue regarding this piece of legislation, and that is the Member for St. John's North. He is probably sitting on a petition that was presented to him in the last forty-eight hours or so, or in the last few days, and that is a petition signed by seventy-seven people from his district, all taken up one night last week. Seventy-seven names gathered on one street in St. John's North in one night. Out of that seventy-seven two were in favour of privatizing Hydro, two were undecided, and seventy-three signed the petition opposed to the privatization. They've asked the member to present the petition in this Legislature and he has not done it. He has betrayed his constituents.

The Government House Leader cut off Petitions, denying us the right to present the petitions on behalf of the residents of St. John's North. That is what has happened. How can the Member for St. John's North sit on that petition and not present it in this Legislature?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: What is that?

MR. L. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: You didn't get this petition?

MR. L. MATTHEWS: I didn't say that.

MR. TOBIN: No, you didn't say it. You are trying to be smart. Why did you deny your constituents the right that they elected you to represent them and that was to present the petition in the Legislature? Why, Mr. Speaker, did they have to come to us? Because the Member for St. John's North has not presented the petition. We planned to present it but the Government House Leader has cut it off, he has put a gag order on Petitions too.

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

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

MR. L. MATTHEWS: I'm not sure if it is a point of order technically but I want to make it clear to the members of the House, Sir, that I don't need to take any lessons from the hon. Member for Burin - Placentia West as to how I should respond to representations from my constituents vis-ŕ-vis Hydro or any other issue. If any member in this Chamber has made every effort and taken every pain to communicate with their constituents I think I'm probably foremost in that direction in terms of newsletters, in terms of public meetings, in terms of being forthright with the media, in terms of speaking out as to where I am with Hydro, the benefits and the reasons why it is a good thing to do.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member has no point of order.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: I want again to say to the hon. member -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member has to resume his seat.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: - that I will respond in due course.

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

MR. TOBIN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm not trying to tell the hon. member what to do. I'm only saying to the hon. member that I have a copy of a petition that was sent to him by his constituents, and petitions are usually given to members to present in the Legislature. If the Member for St. John's North doesn't know that that is what you do with petitions then someone over there should educate him.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: He framed them, put them up in his bedroom. Framed them, put them on his wall.

MR. TOBIN: I don't know what he does with them, but I can tell you what he doesn't do with him, and that is present them in this Legislature.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: It is all to do with it, because that is what the petition is about, I would say to the.... We the undersigned are opposed to the sale of Hydro.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Glenn, what's John allowed to speak now? You see now quiet he has gone since Clyde came back. The boss is back, John, you are gone quiet again.

MR. SULLIVAN: Quietest time he has been all night.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Too bad he wasn't here yesterday and today.

MR. TOBIN: It is the quietest time you have been since the Premier wasn't in the House.

MR. EFFORD: Don't be silly, boy, (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: That is true, that is fact.

MR. TOBIN: You know that is the truth.

MR. SULLIVAN: Listen to the tapes of Hansard and find out. You will find out.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Get up now in a few minutes and speak, John. You will be allowed.

Mr. Speaker, we are now coming to a close on this piece of legislation, on this Bill No. 2.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Sure, I don't care. I don't know. She is on Open Line, is she?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, if the Member for Humber East wants to go on Open Line I guess she has that right. They cannot control who we speak to, they cannot control what we say to open line hosts, they cannot control that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: What is that? No, Mr. Speaker, it is not about the gag order. It is about what a former House Leader of the Opposition had to say. Mr. Tulk. That is what it is. Back in 1985.

AN HON. MEMBER: Read it again!

MR. TOBIN: He said: The government is running scared, afraid to face the music, afraid to debate what is happening. That is what he said about the gag order, Mr. Speaker, and we only brought it in once.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: No, Mr. Speaker. The House was open when you had the teachers on strike. I remember it well, back in 1982-'83, when you brought the teachers on strike and since you came in you have rolled back their wages by 2.5 per cent; the House was open that day too I would say to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: 6 per cent was not enough, he broke down and cried, 6 per cent was not enough. Yes, I am going to tell you something, you are going to be locked out again too, you are.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the Premier is over there and he looks as if he is irritated again. The Premier has to get used to the House of Assembly again, I would say, he has to get used to it; it is his government that brought in the gag order but we are going to say what we can say about it because we have a responsibility to expose the government for cutting off debate, for killing democracy. We have a responsibility to do that and if the Premier does not like it, there is not much we can do about it, I mean, who cares a whole lot about it, and to be honest with you, the fact of the matter is, the government has brought in this gag order and stifled the debate, has smothered democracy and we feel that we have a right to expose it.

Mr. Speaker, I don't intend to say too much more about this because the Premier -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: - is back again, yelling across the House.

Mr. Speaker, all I can say in conclusion is that this piece of legislation, if it wasn't for the part that is dealing with the privatization of Hydro, we wouldn't have any problem with it, I would say to the Member for Fogo. If that wasn't there, we would be supporting it and there would be no need for this debate but it is what deals with the privatization of Hydro that we oppose. Obviously, if you are opposed to the sale of Hydro you are opposed to the legislation that permits Hydro to be sold; so we are opposed to that portion.

The rest of the bill, Mr. Speaker, we don't have a problem with it, we support it, but you cannot support part of the bill you have to support all of the bill or oppose it and that leaves us with no alternative to support it so, Mr. Speaker, my colleagues will continue to debate. I would say it is a bad piece of legislation, but I don't think the Premier will call Bill 1 and I don't think there will be a need (inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Eagle River.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Mr. Speaker, I think it is appropriate at this point in the debate and at this point in this particular part of our political process, to start off this debate, and I want to put forward a quote that was written some 500 years ago by one Niccolo Machiavelli, probably the foremost analyst of political power, born 1469 in Florence, who said: `It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle than to initiate a new order of things, thus it arises that on every opportunity for attacking the reformer, his opponents do so with the zeal of partisan'.

That 500 years ago, Mr. Speaker, could be no more fitting than it is today because, Mr. Speaker, what we have seen over the last number of weeks is that the reformers on this side of the House have approached this issue with the zeal of a responsible government. There are three reasons, Mr. Speaker, why I support this piece of legislation, three reasons that I want to talk about; there are others of course, but I want to talk about three reasons in particular.

The first reason is that there is no public policy to be served today by government running the electrical generation and distribution in this Province. There is no public policy reason. The last community in this Province, Pinsent Arm, nine years ago received electrical services, and now every household of a permanent nature in this Province has a good electrical service that provides for their electrical needs.

In 1961, or 1960, thirty-four years ago, there was a need. At that point in time there was not one light pole on the Coast of Labrador. At that point in time there was not one refrigerator on the Coast of Labrador. Nobody could get access to t.v. on the Coast of Labrador, because they did not have power. There was a solid public policy to be served by having government invest and enable the investment to be there to get the generation of electricity in this Province and to have it distributed to all corners of this Province, but there is now, today, every reason to have the private sector involved in the generation and distribution of electricity, and it should not be lost on the people of this Province that for 100 years we had a private company, we still have a private company today.

AN HON. MEMBER: Newfoundland Light and Power.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Newfoundland Light and Power, for 90 per cent of the distribution of power that is there today. That has been there for 100 years. That is something that we can look to, we can compare, and we can say: Yes, this was there as a private sector company in this business, and now today we are ready to turn to the private sector again and say that we can generate and we can distribute 100 per cent of the electrical needs of this Province, and indeed the people of this Province want us to go ahead with that.

Another very significant reason why we should proceed and must proceed with this initiative is the financial situation that confronts this Province today. The Minister of Finance has talked about it, the Premier brought in a Ministerial Statement on it, but it has been lost on the partisans opposite. They do not accept, they will not accept, they continue to try and harass this government for more money on everything, to borrow more money to suit their partisan political purposes. They will not go out and tell the people, tell their children, that we have to do something to get our financial house in order.

Do they want us to go back to the Commission of Government? Do they want the banks of the world, the foreign countries of the world, to come into this Confederation Building and say to our administrator: Move aside, because you have now officially gone into receivership, and yes, you officially have to turn it over.

It won't be a matter of a few beds for the Minister of Health to close. It will be, we are going to have 50 per cent of the hospitals closed. That will be the kind of thing that the financial people will say. They will not come to the Minister of Education and say: You have to have a small, isolated schools program. They will tell you that you can no longer have 50 per cent of the schools in this Province, and do it now, because there is no such thing as a democratic process. This is an administrator who's coming in here, a bank manager, that if you don't pay you will have to mortgage, hand over that mortgage to us and we will get what we can from that. That is serious business, and it should not be lost on the members opposite, but unfortunately it is.

We have a debt today of some $6 billion. We are in a position with this particular initiative to take $1.2 billion off our debt, to save $20-some million a year in interest on that debt. To be able to go to the financial markets and say that we have taken this initiative because we care about the debt. It is time that members opposite caught up with the general public, because the general public out there today does care about the debt position of this Province. They do care about where we are as far as our money that we owe the foreign banks of the world, and the money that we owe to all the other lending agencies of the world.

When the Minister of Finance has to go to his colleagues in the public service and he has to ask them in the public service: Will you understand? I do believe that right now today we do have a number of people in the public service, many more than hon. members opposite would think, that do understand the seriousness of our financial situation, and they do understand that we have to take the action that we are asking the House to adopt here today.

Probably one of the most important reasons, the third most important reason I guess why we should proceed, is the dire need for economic development, the dire need to revitalize the private sector in this Province. We must take control of the electrical industry in this Province so that we can give the Public Utilities Board the right to be able to say to a private company that you must be able to access -

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible)!

MR. DUMARESQUE: If the hon. lady doesn't want - go and talk to Bas. If you don't want to stay in here and listen, go talk to Bas!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: Because we are here dealing with serious business and if you don't like what we have to say, then please do us all a service. Because we have a job to do here, we have a responsibility to reinvigorate our private sector. We have a responsibility to try after seventeen years of total mismanagement, of putting a tax system in place, of putting a public policy in place that has driven the private sector right through the ground in this Province. We have a responsibility to get back a private sector because that is the only way that we are going to be able to get the revenues to meet our needs in social services, health care and education, and to be able to pay back our debt.

What a glorious day it will be - I submit that we will be the government that will do it - but what a glorious day it will be for us to stand here in this House and make the first payment on the principal of our debt. That is what this is all about. Sending the message to the world, to the international community, that we have taken our responsibilities and our mandates quite seriously.

We want to be able to say to a company that might want to create 500 jobs in the Lake Melville area, in the area of my hon. colleague from Naskaupi, we want to be able to say that if there are 500 jobs to be created and if there is a competitive advantage to be given by allowing that company to access low-cost energy from the great rivers of Labrador, that they should be allowed to access it because it is our power. That is the kind of empowerment we have to be able to give to our private sector, and that is the kind of leadership that is incumbent upon a government to give to our people.

We also know that the electrical rates, Mr. Speaker - it should not be lost on members of this hon. House that you don't have members standing opposite up now every day saying: Look what happened in Nova Scotia with the electrical rates, look what happened with job losses. You don't have them over there saying that today because another myth, another mistruth, another misinformation, has been exposed. Because the person came down here from Nova Scotia and told the truth to the people but it was very hard to take. Not only, Mr. Speaker, were the rates not increased by 3 or 4 or 5 per cent, but last year they were not increased at all and this year they are not forecasted to increase at all. It even exceeded the best expectation for rate increases in Nova Scotia so why should we doubt the forecast that we have here, why should we say to our experts and our analysts that we are going to be wrong? Why should we go out and try to mislead the people and give them misinformation about the electrical rates? We are not doing that and we are not going to do that.

Also, in terms of layoffs, it was quite a big show before the truth was out. There were 400 laid off in Nova Scotia because of the privatization of Hydro, 400 laid off, the Leader of the Opposition was getting up every day saying this, because that was the mistruth, that was the thing that was going to excite the people; that was going to be the thing that would give them some kind of a parade, but we know, now that the truth is out, there was not one job lost as a result of the privatization of hydro.

There were jobs that were taken through the early retirement option, they were taken through attrition, but as a direct lay off through the privatization of hydro which the Leader of the Opposition, the Leader of the NDP, the Leader of the POP, the Leader of the Take Back The Power or whatever leader of whatever kind of group out there would get on with, that's the kind of mistruths that were coming from these people and that has not been lost on the people of this Province and I know.

I was in my riding during the Easter break; I had five public meetings in my riding along the Coast of Labrador, and yes, we did talk about Hydro in about 10 per cent of the time of each meeting, we did talk about Hydro, but once we had a chance to challenge the information that was out there to these people, the people on the Coast of Labrador said: well, it's another issue again, where we have not been given the right information; and there is another issue again where they have intentionally and purposely gone out and misled the people in no uncertain fashion, Mr. Speaker, so there are many reasons why we should proceed with this particular initiative. These are all documented, Mr. Speaker, it should not be lost on the people of this Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DUMARESQUE: Yes. the Member for Grand Bank probably will be the second fellow to call Bas tonight; he has to go out and follow up with the Member for Humber East but you can go on, do the same thing because the people on the Coast of Labrador and the people throughout Newfoundland are catching up with the information and with what the hon. members opposite have done. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that their is a significant shift in public opinion in this Province on this issue; there is no doubt about that, Mr. Speaker, and I can only say -

AN HON. MEMBER: What's the mechanism, what's the mechanism to inform the people of the Province?

MR. DUMARESQUE: I will give you the mechanism now. This is the mechanism. We have had calls for public demonstrations in this Province in the last number of weeks; public demonstrations, we had a tremendous call just a number of weeks ago out at Confederation Building, just after we came back from Easter, a great call went through the land, a clarion call I guess, is how Mr. Clinton would refer to it, and they said there would be a mass of people on the steps of Confederation Building to meet us after we came back from Easter break.

Well, I know there was a little drizzle that day, there was a little rain but it was only synonymous to the crowd I would submit, Mr. Speaker, because the crowd did not show up, the people did not show up and last night, in the District of St. Mary's - The Capes, there were not enough people to fill the NDP caucus room. There were not enough, Mr. Speaker, to be able to have a reasonable tea party last night in St. Mary's - The Capes and that is the fact of the matter. People have heard the information, they have listened to the debate -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DUMARESQUE: 19 or 20 or something like that, yes, counting all the relatives of the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes and six leaders of the various POP, Take Back the Power and all the other groups.

Mr. Speaker, it's very clear now, it's very clear that the people of the Province have listened. They know there is no public policy purpose to be served by the continuation of this government initiative in this particular area of government. They know that the financial situation is very, very serious. They are way ahead of the politicians on this issue, particularly the politicians on that side of the House. They are well ahead of the people in that quarter of the Province who are saying to them that we should not hear - we don't have to worry.

I know the day that the Premier came in here with his statement on the credit rating the Leader of the NDP says it's really not that serious. The former Leader of the NDP was on the political panel that day; I mean it's really not to serious. It's something that happens and we just have to adjust to it, but ladies and gentlemen, this is very serious stuff. This is quite serious when you have banks in the world that will say no to you. When you have places in the world that you cannot go without paying a significantly higher dollar for the money that you are asking them to give you to be able to meet your essential needs that the people of this Province have taken so seriously and obviously want to protect. I'd say to the members opposite that they should be going out there to the people of the Province and saying that this is where we have to all come together on all sides of this House.

As a great political philosopher said in 1490 or so, Mr. Speaker, we have to rise above the zeal of partisans. We have to rise above the zeal of partisans and we have to exercise the responsibility given us by a democratic election with a tremendous resounding victory just a year or so ago, Mr. Speaker. We have to exercise that because to do any less would have us over there the next time which is why they're over there today. So, Mr. Speaker, for the fiscal management of this Province, for the debt management of this Province, for our children and generations to come, for the accessing of cheap power, for the economic development and the revitalization of our private sector that's so essential, Mr. Speaker. For the first time in some twenty years we are going to bring public policy in line with Liberalism and in line with what is good for the economy, and what is indeed good for the long-term interests of the people of this Province.

I don't want to belabour this any more. I know there are other members on this side of the House who also have very important points to contribute to this particular debate. I know that there are members on this side of the House who want to get up and tell the people of their districts and indeed the people of the Province that they are proud to be a part of the reform government, the progressive government, the government that is going to build the economy of this Province and redeem our proud traditions of taking our problems and dealing with them like we would be expected to do as responsible men and women of this Province. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: The Member for Eagle River described 400 - no, it wasn't job losses, he said. But any kind of company (inaudible) employees (inaudible) jobs in the Province, I consider that a job loss. If every single employee in the public service eventually retired and wasn't replaced there would be nobody else working in the public service. That is job loss. Job losses are (inaudible).

Now, this gag order that is into effect, it is unprecedented, certainly in the history of Newfoundland, or maybe even Canadian history, maybe in the whole British history. (Inaudible) probably unprecedented that three gag orders (inaudible) one bill. That is what we are facing here. Three closure motions on the one bill. Not even an opportunity for each person here to stand and debate the third reading of the bill.

They talk about credit ratings. If a non-privatized Hydro is going to drive our last A credit rating down to BBB+, if (inaudible) privatized Hydro it is going to put it back up again, if you follow logic. If the reason it went down was because it is not privatized, privatized should put it back up. I don't think there is anybody out there who studies the economy so naive as to think that the failure to privatize Hydro is going to have any significant effect on the credit rating of this Province. In fact, there are many factors that affect the credit rating of this Province, the least of which is the Province's ability to be able to generate income and equate it into our gross domestic product.

Our ability to create jobs and stimulate the economy is a very important factor. The ratio of our debt to our GDP is very important in rating by credit agencies as to where we should stand in terms of our credit worthiness on the market. We can reduce our debt and improve our debt to GDP ratio or we can stimulate the economy and increase our GDP. That would also improve that. There are two ways to do it. Or a combination of both, which is better again. Regardless whether you privatize Hydro or whether you do not, we are not going to increase our GDP and we are not going to reduce the supportive debt in this Province. It is self-supporting debt. If anyone thinks that is going to do wonders to enhance economic conditions here in this Province they are silly. It is malarkey; it is just not going to happen. Don't be so naive as to think it. I don't think it. I'm quite sure hon. members on the other side of the House don't really think that at all.

It is very clear what is in this bill. It is an opportunity for the Premier to redeem himself on the biggest sell-out in the history of Canada. That is the Upper Churchill. Whether it was done knowingly or because they lacked the foresight on that deal, regardless of what the reason was, we all have to live with it and not condemn the past. If they didn't have the foresight, we are paying the price dearly now, but at least have the gumption and the intestinal fortitude to admit that we cannot right that wrong, but we cannot put everything at stake in this bill to be able to correct a very serious blunder in the past that is seeing some $800 million a year flow out of this Province, over transmission lines and on into the United States, at an exorbitant rate of return to Hydro Quebec. It's not realistic to be able to turn the clock on a deal that's etched in law, and the Supreme Court has upheld the arguments on two occasions, and it's not reasonable to think so.

Then, to deal with a bill, there is nothing wrong with proposing a bill that's going to make some changes in the planning, allocation and the relocation and the reallocation of power and facilities. That, in itself, has nothing wrong with it, or to deal with power emergencies. There are certain things wrong with this bill, and the things that are wrong with it are the things that are opening the door to privatize Hydro. If this bill can stand on its own merit, present it on its own merit without the dependency on a privatized Hydro, and then it would be debated and discussed here and I am quite confident it would pass in this House, but that's not what happened. That's not what happened at all.

Dealing with closure just for a minute, before I get into some of those points, closure has been introduced numerous times since I've been a member, and that's less than two year - numerous times in the House. I think we've only seen it probably on two or three occasions in the previous seventeen years. In fact, the Member for Fogo felt so strongly about closure that he stood in the House back ten years ago and said: In the last couple of days we have seen this government invoke a principle of parliamentary procedure which is usually invoked only by a government that is tyrannical, running scared, that is afraid to face the music, afraid to debate what is happening in this Province and in this House. That is what the Member for Fogo said.

Talk about trying to play cute, he said, the Premier, you know, is a very peculiar fellow. He knows closure is wrong, that he should not invoke it in this House, that it should not be done. So what did he do this evening? First of all, he put us into a Committee of the Whole, with the hope that the Opposition would collapse and he wouldn't have to proceed with closure, and he goes on and on. There are umpteen interesting highlighted points here. Three closure motions on the one bill, that's unheard of, when they raised the roof on one closure motion in an entire session, and only the third closure motion in about seventeen years, and we had it three times on the one bill.

The reason they have it here is quite simple. It is all tied in to the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro, and the aspects that deal with it, and I will just touch on it again. There are just a few points here, and I've had an opportunity to mention some of these here before. Under a privatized Hydro, it is the intent of government to cushion the increases and have them borne equally, or in a reasonable proportion, on the backs of the taxpayers of the Province and on the rate payers of the Province. That's why PUITTA, that's why there's a refund provided in this bill of federal tax that now stays in the coffers of this Province to the tune of an average of $10 million a year coming from Newfoundland Power. They pay federal corporate tax, 85 per cent comes back to this Province. That's there, and available to other provinces too.

With a privatized Hydro, in order to cushion the increase to consumers, we are going to pass that 85 per cent back to the Province, on to Hydro, so we won't have to increase rates by that amount, whatever it may be, probably $20 million possibly, with Hydro for that portion, because it's going to generate twice the revenues and profits of Newfoundland Power. That's what they're planning on doing but, I say to government members, what happens if the federal government decides that we're not going to have that provision in the future? We've lost the revenue, and we have to pass it on to the rate payers of this Province. That's not etched in stone, that's only passing with time. As corporations become privatized, if something becomes privatized in this country the federal government no longer carries that provision and gives that break and now we have been hit with a double whammy.

We passed on that to rate payers of the Province and we have lost it as a source of revenue in this Province and I think that's a very serious thing, we are banking everything on what the federal government does, we have lost control of this $20 million and the ten that Newfoundland Power, $30 million now we are passing on and I think that's very significant here, and this bill here by standing up and voting for that, you are putting the fate of rate payers and taxpayers in this Province out on a limb, which can be cut off at any single day at all and as the federal government strives to reduce its deficit, continuous pressure on the federal government, they are going to cut off any limbs on the trees that are not productive and giving a return back to the federal treasury. That's going to happen.

We have an opportunity provided here in this bill that the new Hydro can be owned 100 per cent by somebody from Ontario or Quebec. That power is put in the hands of the Public Utilities Board; they are going to own 80 per cent.

AN HON. MEMBER: No.

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes. I say yes, to the Minister of Mines and Energy. It permits the utilities board to determine if more than 20 per cent of shares can exist in a specific hand, a corporation, an individual or whatever. I stand to be corrected and if I am wrong I would certainly like to know but, that is paving the way for a possible merger - the utilities in this Province. This is the last option, the one that was looked at in terms of economics, that's paving the way for that or on the other hand, it's paving the way for a company that's owned almost exclusively outside this Province. It is going to be owned about 80 per cent anyway; it does not say about hundreds and millions of dollars in this economy to be able to take ownership of a new Hydro, it's not fair. It is realistic, 20 per cent is realistic that people in this Province can own initially, and there would be a flip on their shares to make a reasonable profit and that will probably drop to 17 per cent or 16 per cent.

We were told in the beginning in fact, we were told last fall - oh, 15 per cent maximum, that crept up to 20 and now we are told again it could be over 20, it could be 30 or 40 or 100 per cent, so we haven't been told the complete truth on this, we have been told falsehoods from the beginning and that's another point. Another point we have looked at is in the rural subsidies. They are shifting the industrial rates on to the people in rural areas, either the smaller businesses in this Province are now going to have to bear that extra tens and tens of millions of dollars, or the rate payers in rural Newfoundland or rate payers generally in this Province, other than the large industrial users of electricity are going to have to pay for that entire shift that is taken off the backs of industrial consumers in the Province. That is going to happen but it is not going to happen in 1995 or 1996, it is going to be dropped after 1999 and we are going to see a big increase in rates.

The Premier stated in what he sent out to householders in this Province saying: here is an example, $1.25, $1.50 a month. I mean, that's hogwash. (Inaudible) 100 kilowatt hours, that's what it is going to be based on; on 700 kilowatt hours at 6.541 cents per kilowatt hours, that's what we pay for electricity in households in the Province, that's $45.00 for electricity, and how many people are really foolish and silly enough or naive enough to think that $45.00 worth of electricity is the average consumption in this Province. In fact, almost $90.00 worth of electricity is the average consumption for people who do not have electric heat, and electric heat, averaged out, based on 173,000 households that now depend upon Newfoundland Power as their direct source of retail power in this Province. That's what is happening.

We have a shifting of essential employees from the Labour Relations Board on the Public Utilities Board and that's an avenue to facilitate the privatization of power and is not solely intended to regulate and control, allocate and re-allocate the power in the Province, that's not there at all.

In fact there's all sorts of reasons. Right now there's a provision for utility companies, for Hydro, under the Public Utilities Board to be able to get a return to pay for the cost of delivering power. Once you give a reasonable return of profit to the company so it can be attained as creditworthiness in the marketplace, that's there and now we want a new one that's really going to give a profit to shareholders. If that's not for a privatized Hydro what is it for? It's not just a regulation. There are points in this bill that are opening a door for privatization of Hydro. It's the five points I just made, referred to and discussed. I won't reiterate them again. I've had an opportunity to make some of these points before - that's what he's doing.

Overall, we're looking at a bill that's going to try to partial access some of the power on the Upper Churchill. If we were successful in the courts, if we were successful and had the right of recall, well they'd need 800 megawatts to make it profitable. At what rate would Quebec have to be reimbursed? We would have a contract then technically that would take away Quebec's rights. In other words it would break the Upper Churchill contract. If it breaks the Upper Churchill contract what they have violated is an agreement that was signed by this Province - yes, and the Premier can shake his head because he sat there and gave it away in the Cabinet at the time, in the 1960s -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Don't be interrupting, you'll have an opportunity to speak.

You sat in the Cabinet and gave away the Upper Churchill. I said before when you weren't there and I'll say it again, it was probably the biggest blunder in the history of the country -

MR. LUSH: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: It has an awful lot to do with this bill. I say to the Minister of Social Services, it has a lot to do with this bill. It has very much to do with this bill. In fact the Premier led us to believe it had everything to do with the bill and then he led us to believe that it didn't. Now he's trying to tell us - we don't know what he's trying to tell us because he's tried to make us believe it had and it hadn't. He told the people of the Province the same thing. So I don't know what to believe from the Premier anymore because - so I read into it what I feel I can read into it because we haven't got any consistent, reliable information coming from that side, that's the problem. When you try to hide so much people get suspicious and he feels suspicious about it. They feel they haven't been told the full truth. So if you do tell them the truth it's like the boy who cried wolf, they're not going to believe you anyway. So you're only wasting your time.

The public have answered loudly and clearly in polls in this Province and you can spend from now until doomsday, you're not going to change the minds of people who have been - feel gypped and cheated. The real truth hasn't been told and this has a lot to do with the Upper Churchill. It has a lot to do with the opportunity for this Province to be able to recall power if it's needed within this Province. That's a part of the bill; the minister must not have read it. I've read it several times. I might not know the full implications of it but I've read it several times and I've attempted to find out as much information as I can about it. I followed pretty closely and read every article I've seen on it, from government and from everyone else. I've saved every single clipping and things I read from so called experts or whatever they are, I have all of them and I've read them all many times. I strongly feel that it is to undo something that was done on the Upper Churchill, something that is an unattainable goal. It's a dream that's what it is and people of this Province are being asked to stand up and pay the price for the dream of an individual - not all that government side there. Most of them are just being swept along with the tide, with the current and haven't even read it.

The Minister of Justice, surely he's lacking knowledge of the bill by his comments. I sure hope that most of the people over there who are voting on this bill are going to have read it thoroughly and have passed sound judgement, not on what you were told is right but on what you really believe is right in this bill. History has shown, the learned judges in Supreme Court have ruled - and if you think the partial access strategy game is going to work we're going to have a breaking of the Upper Churchill contract, that's what's going to happen if we can recall power that's outside the amount that we can recall under this contract.

It is going to be a breaking of that contract, a contract doesn't exist, Quebec will sue and they will recover - of course they will. They have a right if they signed an agreement in good faith to pay an agreed amount, 3 mils, up to 2015, or a decreasing amount to 2 mils until 2041. An agreed amount of electricity at an agreed price. In the Upper Churchill there is 5,225 megawatts of which almost all goes to Quebec, Hydro Quebec.

They entered into that in good faith expecting to be able to have that supply during the life of the contract. That is not unreasonable. If anyone signed a legal agreement they would expect it to be honoured. If you are going to try to camouflage it in Bill No. 2 that this Province by reallocating its power for its needs, you are going to hide it underneath Bill No. 2 here, it will not fly. The presentations are going to be put to the courts and they are going to reveal the follies and the silliness of trying to hide the real intent of this legislation.

Where else in the Province do we have power that we can recall? Where is it that we can recall? We know it is intended for the Upper Churchill. The intent is there and everybody knows that. Two attempts were made before to deal with it under a total, under the water reversal act -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

MR. SULLIVAN: - and under a partial amount.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: By leave!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, (inaudible) of the Hydro privatization debate told me the other day that the Premier's actions in this process remind her of the old fable of a dog with the bone. A dog with a big fat juicy bone walks up to a pool of water and sees in the pool of water another dog with a bone. The dog, not being content with the bone he has, goes after the other dog's bone, of course only to lose both because the dog is going after an unattainable illusion.

Our Premier is setting about giving away Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro with its valuable assets on the Island of Newfoundland, giving away that well-run, profitable corporation, subjecting citizens of the Province forevermore to higher electricity rates, costing the economy of this Province, according to the informed estimate of the Memorial economics professor Wade Locke some $70 million a year every year, having the bulk of the extra outlay for electricity going out of the Province to non-resident shareholders, sacrificing two years ago a golden opportunity to develop the Lower Churchill and get redress on the Upper Churchill, and putting at risk our interest in the Upper Churchill.

This is a lose-lose-lose proposition. The Premier is pursuing the unobtainable illusion of breaking the Upper Churchill contract in yet another court case. That is what this is all about. The crux of his set of legislation is Part II of this Bill No. 2, the provisions that purport to set up the Public Utilities Board to reallocate power. Everyone knows that the only unallocated power in the Province is the Upper Churchill. The Premier has had this in mind for many years. He wrote about it in a legal opinion for Newfoundland Light and Power in 1986 when he served as the director of that company. He drafted the Electrical Power Control Act, an earlier version of what we have before us now, back in 1986.

At that time he was advocating that Light and Power go to the Public Utilities Board. Curiously he is arguing today that the chances to beat the inevitable constitutional challenge that will be mounted by Quebec will be better if the government unloads Hydro and then can claim to be at arm's length from the electrical industry.

Make no mistake, privatizing Hydro is not being done for the sake of the economy. How could it be, when it is going to result in a cost to the economy of $70 million a year? When it is going to result in significantly higher electricity rates, higher electricity prices for householders and businesses. A cost that will have a ripple effect through the economy adding to the cost of doing business in Newfoundland and Labrador, making it less attractive for business to expand here or new business to set up here.

Mr. Speaker, people in the Province are massively against these legislative measures because they understand at a gut level that it is a bad mistake to give up a well-run, profitable corporation based on water, based on a common property resource. They realize that privatizing Hydro will lead to higher electricity rates, and people are very uneasy about the ramifications for our Labrador hydro resources. The citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador are haunted by the mistake of the Upper Churchill and they are fearful that these legislative measures are going to result in another massive loss for the Province. I believe that fear is very well founded. We have Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro now. The people have built it up by paying their light bills over the past thirty years. Just two years ago Hydro paid off the bonds that financed the Bay d'Espoir project, the first big hydro project.

The few members opposite who've spoken have parroted the Premier's propaganda, the Premier's Machiavellian propaganda. The Member for Eagle River was apt in praising Machiavelli as one of his philosophical heroes. They've repeated the Premier's line about privatization strengthening the economy and leading to a more efficient corporation while all the evidence contradicts that. How can you have a more efficient corporation if the price is going to go up, if there will be no improvement in service, if subsidies and tax breaks are required, if there is no new construction and no new jobs?

The Premier suggests that privatization will lead to a reduction in jobs, although he says he hopes it will come about through attrition. In the Estimates Committee when I asked the Minister of Mines and Energy about the staffing level at Hydro, he said that he is satisfied that the staffing level is appropriate, that objective analysts have examined Hydro and found it to be well-managed, well-run. These authorities have concluded that the number of employees is necessary and appropriate.

Privatization of Hydro will not provide any benefit to the Province; instead it will lead to massive losses and ongoing perpetual losses. Mr. Speaker, if these measures could be undone when the government changes in two or three years' time or whenever the next election is called, then people wouldn't have nearly as much reason to be upset. But realistically once Hydro is privatized there will be no getting it back, because no private interest will be foolish enough to part with Hydro for the $250 million or $300 million that this Administration is jettisoning it for.

The reason doesn't have anything to do with economics or improving the economy or strengthening the private sector, or impressing outside investors because we will have an even bigger private corporation. The reason has to do with the Premier's vanity, with his pet legal theory about breaking the Upper Churchill contract. He confessed to his motives in his Province-wide NTV address at the end of March. Since then he has retreated. He obviously realizes that his own weak constitutional position would be further jeopardized by the videotape that is now available to anyone who may take part in future litigation.

This is all very tragic. The process the government has used of course is all wrong. Perhaps Machiavellian. For something this major and with such permanent consequences the government should have got an informed analysis by unbiased, objective sources. The government should have published that analysis as a discussion paper, and then the government should have held public hearings. We haven't seen anything of the sort. The only people the Premier has been able to trot out to bolster his position are a handful with vested interests, a handful who stand to gain personally.

He managed to get a few residents of the Province to speak out in favour of Hydro privatization and each of them commanded a price, ranging from $15 million, in the case of John Manuel in Corner Brook, to Jeff Brace who came at a lower price. What was that, $82,000 from the Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal last year? Then there were a few investment dealers he persuaded to write letters to the editor and come and speak to the Board of Trade. Of course their gain in all this will be much more substantial. RBC Dominion Securities made, what was it, $30-odd million off Nova Scotia power privatization.

AN HON. MEMBER: Thirty-(inaudible).

MS. VERGE: Thirty-eight million dollars.

Mr. Speaker, the Premier hasn't been able to produce any supporters within the Province who are rank-and-file average citizens with no vested interests. The people of the Province are massively against this. The Premier on Province-wide television promised people, before God and all the citizens, he promised repeatedly, clearly, unequivocally, that if in the end a majority of citizens oppose Hydro privatization he would not ask the House of Assembly to proceed with it. So what are we doing here tonight at 11:45? Subjected to closure on the final stage of the Electrical Power Control Act which facilitates Hydro privatization. Hardly consistent with the Premier's promise.

We have to ask why is the Premier willing to sacrifice his own popularity and the popularity of the whole Liberal caucus, by breaking his promise and brutally pushing through the House of Assembly this measure - this measure which is going to have such negative consequences for the economy of the Province? This measure which is going to lead to giving away a valuable, profitable, water-based utility, sacrificing our chance for beneficial development of the Lower Churchill, and even putting at risk our remaining interest in the Upper Churchill?

It's a lose, lose, lose proposition, just like the dog with the bone who vainly and foolishly went after the other bone reflected in the pool.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. RAMSAY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, the hon. members opposite would have the people of the Province believe that we are here and about to inflict upon the people of this Province something that even we don't believe would be in the best interest of the people of the Province. They would have all the people of the Province believe -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. RAMSAY: They would have us believe that we are here in the fourteenth day of debate on this particular bill, that we who are here in the thirtieth hour of debate on this particular bill, that we who are now into what would be a normal, one would say, three weeks of normal business of the House, that we are here to inflict some terrible agony on the people of the Province by passing a piece of legislation which establishes a regime for control of the electrical power resources of the Province, and we are just such a terrible group who the people have put their faith and trust in to run the affairs of this Province, that they would have everyone think that we've left our senses entirely.

The Opposition would have people think that because of the polls done at the height of the Opposition's heyday, and I guess they want to hang onto this issue because really it's been the only bright light in the last five years for the PC Party in Newfoundland, that they have managed to establish a certain amount of public opinion that is like their own, and really one has to think that now as it wanes, that the dying gasps of the Tory view of the pieces of legislation such as the EPCA, that tie into the Hydro privatization, are such that they will do anything and everything, as the hon. Leader of the Opposition said last night, he said that they will filibuster, they will prevent the House from having a decision on this. To me, a decision on any issue that is brought forward to this Legislature for debate is as important as the issue itself. To make a decision is what governments are elected to do, and that is what we will do here tonight.

Now they would have us believe that this sinister piece of legislation is such because it was drafted to accommodate some pet theory of our Premier. Now nothing could be further from the truth. The Constitution of Canada states very clearly that each and every government can have control over its power resources to the effect that the Constitution will give that particular province this right and control. It's written right into the Constitution, and by virtue of that our legislation had not been updated to take that into account.

It was argued by the Premier in the court cases previously where they, the hon. members opposite, would say that the issue was one where he were arguing against Newfoundland and arguing for Canada. Mr. Speaker, that is not correct. The fact of the matter is that if it had been done this way in the first place by the Opposition when they held the reigns of power, the possibility is that they may have had a much better case to take to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Now, notwithstanding that, that's not the reason and rationale for us putting the EPCA down for discussion here in the Chamber. The Electrical Power Control Act is such that it will provide control by the government, for all electrical power resources in the Province regardless of what it is that these power resources are going to be used for. If it is going to be used for private business, we still have to be in charge and in control of those resources through the Public Utilities Board and the intent, and reason and the rationale are mainly to provide for two things for the end user, and those two things are: low-cost power and a reliability of the source of the power; so that in effect is what the Electrical Power Control Act is doing.

To suggest that we are going to give away the water resources of the Province, the water is not going anywhere. It is something like the argument that is sometimes used by people who want to take their region of a given area or a Province of a country or whatever, and say that it is going to separate or it's going to be taken and gone, the way the Opposition would have people think that as soon as it becomes privatized, if it does in the future in this Legislature as we intend to do, as soon as that would happen, these waters are going to be drained off and carried off to some foreign land and nothing could be further from the truth, Mr. Speaker. To think that someone could take such a ludicrous assumption and take it to the people of the Province, one would certainly thing that they have been trying to put forth something to the people of the Province that is certainly not becoming for them.

Now let us look at certain other things that we have done with respect to this. We have increased the strength and the overall operation of the Public Utilities Board to be the group and the legislative authority to deal with future electrical power needs and requirements of the Province regardless of whether it is power for private use; if it is power for any use, the low cost and the reliability of supply are the key factors that this piece of legislation brings forward for decision here tonight.

Now, they would have the public believe those people who, when the Opposition was in government, would have us believe that they are the only people in this Province who are truthful and knowledgeable and very concerned about this situation. Well we have concern when the people of the Province are inundated with a deluge of misinformation from the hon. members opposite and really, at times they manage to get the hearts and minds of people, but one only has to look at the shift that is occurring in public opinion, is really such that there is a lot of people out there who don't understand it; granted, no matter how much you explain it some people will not read the information that is provided and some people, because of anger at the government for a variety of reasons, this became a lightning rod.

Well the fact of the matter is, that is not the kind of thing that we can allow to scare us away from doing what is good public policy, Mr. Speaker, and I would commit to the House that this is the kind of thing that in future years when the next election rolls around, we will stand and be counted by virtue of our supporting this legislation, but don't kid yourself, the hon. members opposite had us out of office about two dozen times I think in the last four years for things that we did in this Legislature. The fact that we had to have some layoffs, the fact that we had to reorganize this; we didn't fund that group, this was going to be our death knell. Over and over and over again, we hear them opposite and everything was of such importance that it was going to cause the government to fall.

Well this, Mr. Speaker, is not one of those items. This, Mr. Speaker, is another piece of good public policy which, by the time that we get around to the next general election, within about three years or so, the people in the Province will realize that what we were saying was correct, that it is just a matter of providing for the regime wherein a privatized Hydro can be effective, and also to look at the fact that then the financing of Hydro is going to be handed over to shareholders as opposed to bond holders. We are going to pay off some of these bonds with the share issue when that goes to market, and it may not even go to market in the next while, it depends on market conditions - that's been offered up here for public dispensation, and as well to understand that the marketing of an initial public offering on an entity such as Hydro is very market sensitive. Maybe we'll have to wait awhile and see how interest rates fluctuate. It seems that in some cases utilities vary very much. In the reading that I've been doing lately the marketing of utilities is a very volatile thing with bond rates and the current share and stock market issues that confront us today with rising interest rates.

So, Mr. Speaker, it doesn't necessarily mean that it'll be sold immediately but it does mean that the legislation will be implemented through the House, both through the Electrical Power Control Act and the privatization act. Mr. Speaker, I do think that this is the right thing to do, that we should make sure that we uphold what it is we have said in the past. Honourable members opposite would have people think that we have not been able to live up to what we have said. The hon. Premier has said that we will not continue should we not be able to sustain public support. Well I've maintained that we will be able to sustain public support, Mr. Speaker, now and over the next three years in order to make sure that the people of the Province realize that this is the right thing for us to do, that the Electrical Power Control Act should be changed to accommodate the existence of the new situation with respect to hydro utility in this Province.

Also, we're not going to give it away, not on your life that this government would see the giving away of the hydro resources of this Province. The government on this side of the House has always tried to do things fairly, accurately and with a lot of background and understanding put forward to the people. To make sure that we continue in that vein, Mr. Speaker, we will certainly continue on this course of privatization because it is the right thing to do when we can realize the best possible net gain for the people of the Province and using that money, that is raised through the privatization of various elements throughout the Province, in providing public services as government intends to do. Government is there to provide public services for the people. It is not there to compete with private industry in parts of the business world in the Province where it shouldn't be participating in competition with other business. Now this is a little bit different but there are other elements where government operates business that it shouldn't really be in and we're addressing that as well.

I spoke the other day to a senior official of a large public company in the Province who said to me; the real danger of some of the comments coming from the Opposition and a lot of those who oppose the issue, the gentleman hasn't allowed me to use his name but he did say that it's the fact that these people, in some cases, believe what they're saying and that's very, very damaging. In some cases he said, the fact of the matter though with respect to the hon. members of the Opposition - he did say that those in politics of course though can twist it to suit whatever it is that will come up that they would want people to think they believe.

So the fact of the matter is that some people out there truly believe. The hon. members opposite have a lot of people convinced that it's the right thing that they are saying but really the fact of the matter is, we can see the crocodile tears, we can see the patriotism as the last scourge of those who want to drape themselves in the flag of the issue as being the only ones who are going to stand up for the people of the Province. They in the Opposition, those seventeen, are going to continue to tell the people of the Province that they are the ones who are right on this issue and we are not. Well we will maintain, Mr. Speaker, that what we have put forward for the people of the Province is a very forward thinking approach to electrical power in the Province. Also, Mr. Speaker, it is a very forward looking and forward thinking view of how we will run the public affairs of this Province, seeking to alleviate the debt of this Province to a reasonable level, within a reasonable period of time. I might add, Mr. Speaker, the only government in the country that has in successive years of its mandate, borrowed less and less and less up to this point in time and hopefully, to have a balanced budget within two to three years, something that would be unachievable by almost any other province in the nation.

Mr. Speaker, I think that has to be taken into account. The Hydro privatization and the Electrical Power Control Act hopefully will assist us in stimulating new private investment in the Province through private power developers. I note the inclusion of thirty-eight megawatts of power in there which is very important for private power producers to stimulate the private sector by spending money and generating some good tax revenue for the people of the Province through their operations.

Mr. Speaker, with that I will allow someone from the Opposition to have their comments.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It's twelve midnight on third reading closure of this bill. This legislation, which is the Electrical Power Control Act. This is the set-up act, aside from some of its provisions, for the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. There are other aspects to it but the main emphasis is on setting up a regime based on private utility power, the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, and the provision for the eventual merger between Newfoundland Light and Fortis without coming back to this House. Because that power to make that decision is given to the Public Utilities Board under section 23 of this legislation.

The Premier and his government are prepared through this legislation to put us in a situation where there would be a loss. Where we could lose 400 jobs as happened in Nova Scotia power. I don't care whether those jobs are lost by attrition, by early retirement, by some other way or subterfuge. In the end there are 400 fewer people working. The people who go by early retirement or by attrition are not replaced. In this Province, can we afford to take a measure that is going to employ 400 less people, 400 fewer of our people gainfully employed?

MR. ROBERTS: Are they properly employed, Jack?

MR. HARRIS: There is a war on jobs, Mr. Speaker, and that comment by the Minister of Justice is a good one. Are they properly employed? They are there; they are doing jobs, full-time, in a profitable corporation. This government is prepared to say: Let it go to the big corporate enterprises who are participating in the war on jobs. Get rid of whatever jobs you can. They call them shedding in the U.K., shedding employees. To get rid of them. We don't need employees. There is a very interesting article I've been reading in The Canadian Forum talking about the war on jobs. There is that interest in large corporations to get rid of employees because they don't want the employees around. We are going downhill.

AN HON. MEMBER: Why (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Because jobs cost profits to these corporations. They want to get rid of workers. There are now only 58 per cent of Canadians all across the country who have full-time jobs. The number is falling all the time, Mr. Speaker. These large corporations are getting rid of full-time workers, laying people off, getting rid of them through attrition, replacing them wherever they can with part-time workers or seasonal workers, getting rid of the responsibility of employees, and we are ending up on the other end, trying to find people to buy goods and services, hoping that people are going to go out and be able to replace their income some other way, and the jobs to replace them are not there. We've got to protect those jobs. We've got to protect opportunities for our people to work in institutions and organizations controlled by the people.

This legislation would put us into a situation with no hope to go forward with the Lower Churchill, no hope, under this new legislation, to go forward with the Lower Churchill project because there's an essential element that will not be available if this legislation goes through, and that is the Province of Quebec.

Without power contracts going through and to the Province of Quebec there will be no development of the Lower Churchill, because no government of Quebec would discuss any such project with a government of Newfoundland if this legislation is in place. It would put us in a situation where we would have no more expertise loyal to the people of Newfoundland as officials of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro with the experience, the knowledge, the concern, and the best interests of Newfoundland at heart. They would be gone.

We would be put in a situation where even initially up to 20 per cent of any power corporation could be controlled by one individual or corporate enterprise, 20 per cent immediately, without any question, allowing these public utilities to be controlled by the large corporations of this country who have their own agenda.

Now the Premier might like that agenda, he might agree with that agenda. He stood in the House here one day when he was talking about privatization of Hydro, and looked forward to the day when there would be another huge corporation from Newfoundland on the Toronto Stock Exchange in the top 300 corporations, looked forward to the day when we would have another Newfoundland corporation up on that list. These are the corporations who are benefitting from the corporate agenda, the Liberal and Conservative governments in Ottawa, part of these corporations who -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: I would like to tell the Member for Fogo what goes on in this country, and if he wanted to pay any attention to the kind of action that goes on, particularly in the tax system, he would understand a few realities about how government operates in Canada.

The corporate giants have a tax system that favours them to the point that in 1992 over 93,000 profitable corporations paid no income taxes at all on $27 billion in profit - $27 billion in profits for 93,000 profitable corporations who paid no income tax whatsoever.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: In 1992, the Royal Bank for one, made a profit of over $63 million and paid zero in income tax. A bank teller, working for the Royal Bank in British Columbia making $25,000 a year paid $5,000 in income tax, and a bank teller in Newfoundland would have paid more than that because our tax rates are higher. The bank itself, after making $63 million in profit, paid zero in income tax. That is the kind of corporate structure that we have.

I will give you another one. Maybe the Premier can chew this over. In 1990 the CSL group - this is Paul Martin's, this is the federal finance minister, the man who sets the tax polices now in Canada - made a pre-tax profit of $19.7 million in 1990 and paid zero - not one cent - in income tax.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: The Minister of Health wants to know what that has to do with the price of fish. I will tell the minister what it has to do with the price of fish. It has to do with the ability of the people of this country to be able to finance public enterprise, Mr. Speaker, when rip-off companies are making millions of dollars in profits and paying no income tax. That is what it has to do with the price of fish. It has to do with the ability of governments to sustain public services. It has to do with the ability of the people through their governments to control the economy. What we have is a government that is committed to taking this public enterprise and throwing it to the wolves of the corporate world who are quite happy to suck it up as part of their corporate enterprises and continue to rip off the people of this country by making enormous profits without paying any income tax because they control the kind of governments that we have.

The people of this Province are wondering what is going on here. Why is the Premier giving away this resource? Is this part of the great war on jobs? Get rid of all these employees. The war on the jobless that is going on in Ottawa by reducing unemployment insurance and attacking the seasonal workers in Newfoundland. Is that what is going on? Is this the great private sector that the Member for Eagle River is talking about we have to encourage and stimulate? What is wrong here?

We are getting to the point - and we were at a low point in politics in Newfoundland some twenty years ago. There was an exchange in the House of Assembly then. We heard something similar the other day. Here is what happened in the House of Assembly June 1 1970. I'm reading from Hansard, the conversation between Mr. Smallwood and Mr. Crosbie. The conversation took place in the House in 1970. It was started off by the Minister of Justice, who is now Minister of Justice - and the Premier was there too - he started off a conversation in June of 1970 in the House -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: You may remember it now. It starts off with Mr. Roberts saying: The hon. gentleman - speaking of Mr. Crosbie - did not keep his word. That is all. Mr. Smallwood says: He lied, he lied. A certain hon. gentleman lied like a liar. Crosbie says: You lied through your teeth. The hon. the Premier lies through his teeth when he makes that statement.

MR. ROBERTS: Was that me or Crosbie?

MR. HARRIS: That was Crosbie. This hon. gentleman agreed to nothing, nothing whatsoever. He was never approached and agreed to nothing. Mr. Smallwood said: That is a lie, liar. Mr. Crosbie says: A foul liar and a complete liar. Mr. Smallwood said: That is a contemptible lie, this is a downright lie. Mr. Crosbie says: A contemptuous liar. Mr. Smallwood says: Do you want the names? Will I give the hon. gentleman the names? Mr. Crosbie says: Yes. Mr. Smallwood: I'll give him the name, if I'm allowed. Number one, Mr. Derek Lewis, you lied to him. Number two, Andrew Crosbie, you lied to him. That's two you lied to, you filthy liar. Mr. Crosbie says: Dirty scoundrel. Mr. Smallwood says: You filthy liar. Mr. Crosbie says: The hon. the Premier is a contemptible liar.

That is the kind of conversation that went on in the House in 1970, Mr. Speaker. What did the Speaker do at that time? Nothing. He said nothing. That is what the House had sunk to on June 1, 1970, and why was that? Because we had at that time a government in June of 1970 led by Mr. Smallwood that had utmost power and contempt for the views of the people of this Province. Utmost contempt, and looked down on the people. At that time Mr. Smallwood was on the way out. He had lost the support of the people of this Province, and lost the election that was held very shortly after that.

We are getting to the point now where the Premier made a commitment to the public of Newfoundland on provincial t.v., a commitment not to do the privatization of Hydro without the support of the people. That support has not been demonstrated. Seventy-nine per cent of the people in two scientific polls, two polls which are part of the mechanisms of public decision making and public opinion making. The Premier hasn't come up with any other mechanism yet, although he promised to. We can't rely on the feelings or what is in the head of the Member for Eagle River. That is not a mechanism to determine the public will. No change in the public will except to harden against the government.

The kind of conversation that went on in the House in 1970 that did not result in anybody being kicked out, similar language took place in this House last week. If the government persists down the road that it is going, the same kind of fate will meet this Premier as met Premier Smallwood after 1970 when he was forced to go to the polls. This Premier and this Minister of Justice have been around long enough to know that the public will have its day. This government's position on this bill will not be forgotten. As the magazine that the Member for Placentia brought up the other day: Remember these men. It had a picture of 1969. Remember these men, and two pictures. These men sitting in the Cabinet will be remembered when the time comes. These men sitting in the front bench next to the Minister for ITT will be remembered. They were around in 1970 when they saw what went on with Mr. Smallwood.

Mr. Smallwood, after portraying the arrogance of power, after defying the public will, after twisting and turning around the statements of others, trying to twist and turn around his own statements to get out of commitments that he made to the people of Newfoundland, he was seen through. Just as this Premier is not able to convince the people of Newfoundland that he did not make a commitment to public consultation, this Premier is not able to convince the people of Newfoundland that he did not commit himself to abiding by the public will on this issue. This Premier is not able to convince the people of Newfoundland that he can rely on the scare tactics coming from the bond rating agencies and from Standard and Poor's. This Premier is not able to convince the public and he won't be able to convince the public of anything, if he doesn't withdraw his plans for privatizing Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and follow the will of the people. That's what this government should do, Mr. Speaker; if this government doesn't, it will fail in its attempts to make anything of their plans for the people of Newfoundland and will go down to resounding defeat in the next election.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Is the House ready for the question?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: We are voting on the amendment first, put forward by the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

All those in favour of the amendment, `aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: Those against, `nay'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Nay.

MR. SPEAKER: I declare the amendment defeated.

MR. ROBERTS: My understanding is the Opposition would like to have a formal division and of course, that's entirely appropriate. Perhaps we could simply go to a division; I understand the whips on each side are ready, the NDP whip is ready. If Your Honour wishes, perhaps we could have the Bar put across the House and then Your Honour could put the question of third reading.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: The NDP whip is not ready?

MR. HARRIS: No.

MR. ROBERTS: So we will need the Bar put across the House, Your Honour, and when you are ready we can proceed.

Division

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair is not quite clear; are we voting on the third reading of the bill?

MR. ROBERTS: Motion, Mr. Speaker, that the bill be now read a third time.

MR. SPEAKER: Okay.

All those in favour of the motion that the bill be now read a third time, `aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: Okay. We are having division on the third reading.

All those in favour, please rise.

CLERK (Noel): The hon. the Premier; the hon. the Minister of Justice; the hon. the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology; the hon. the Minister of Education; the hon. the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture; the hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation; the hon. the Minister of Social Services; the hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs; the hon. the Minister of Finance; the hon. the Minister of Fisheries; the hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations; Mr. Crane; Mr. Walsh; the hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy; the hon. the Minister of Health; the hon. the Minister of Environment and Lands; Mr. Noel; Mr. Tulk; Ms. Young; Mr. Ramsay; Mr. Penney; Mr. Aylward; Mr. Langdon; Mr. Oldford; Mr. Dumaresque; Mr. Whelan; Mr. Smith, Mr. L. Matthews, Dr. Hulan.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against the motion please rise.

CLERK: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. W. Matthews, Mr. Sullivan, Mr. Tobin, Mr. A. Snow, Mr. Woodford, Ms. Verge, Mr. Hewlett, Mr. E. Byrne, Mr. Shelley, Mr. Manning, Mr. Careen, Mr. Harris.

Mr. Speaker, twenty-nine ayes, thirteen nays.

Motion carried.

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Regulate The Electrical Power Resources Of Newfoundland And Labrador," read a third time, ordered passed and its title be as on the Order Paper. (Bill No. 2)

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, it has been a fairly long day. Notwithstanding the entreaties of my colleagues that we should go on I don't think we will.

Tomorrow is Private Members' Day and the motion standing in the name of my friend for Trinity North will be called for debate.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) call it now.

MR. ROBERTS: Call it now? There was some suggestion we should perhaps go on to the Committee stage on the Hydro bill, but not tonight. On Thursday, Mr. Speaker, the government will call the Government Services Committee concurrence motion. I hesitate to say there is an agreement between my friend for Grand Bank and myself, but at the very least let there be an understanding that we shall ask the House to sit -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: - a little later than normal, simply to accommodate that -

AN HON. MEMBER: Three hours.

MR. ROBERTS: - three hour - when that debate finishes on Thursday we shall adjourn. Friday we will get into the Budget debate. Friday morning we will adjourn at noon, and then on Monday it will be a holiday. It is the Queen's birthday, and - what is it - if we don't get a holiday we will all run away.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: We said this when I was at school a hundred years ago.

Mr. Speaker, I thank the members for their cooperation and their avid attention to the speeches. With that said I will move that the House do now adjourn.

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