May 30, 1994              HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS                Vol. XLII  No. 51


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

Oral Questions

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

MR. SIMMS: Today I received a letter from the medical staff of the Central Newfoundland Regional Health Care Centre confirming what I was talking about last week, and now expressing their concerns as doctors, in writing. Their concerns are about the impact of budget cuts on health care in that region which stretches all the way from Baie Verte to Lewisporte, down to Bay d'Espoir and so on. In that letter the doctors say that the Central Newfoundland Regional Health Centre has had $730,000 cut from its $33 million budget - and this is for the Minister of Health, obviously, by comparison they say the Health Sciences Centre in St. John's has been asked to save only $700,000 from a $110 million budget, and St. Clare's asked to find $350,000 from a $48 million budget. They asked the question, and now I would like to ask the minister: why has the Central Newfoundland Regional Health Care Centre been levied such a disproportionate share of cuts in the health care Budget?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

There are a couple of points I would like to make. The first one is that the normal procedure for these budgetary reviews is for the board in consultation with their staff to respond to the Department of Health's request for this money, and to either propose alternatives, at least to discuss it. The response from the Central Newfoundland Regional Hospital Board came to our staff on Friday so I suggest that this discussion is very premature.

The second point I would like to make is that many of the other hospitals in the Province, including the ones he mentioned in St. John's, have taken considerable cuts in the past with respect to beds, and we do not necessarily go across the board and say, take 2 per cent off everybody. We look at the effects of what we are proposing to do.

What we want Grand Falls to do, what our proposal was, and I have not seen the response yet, except this morning I had a quick look at what you had there, but I have not had the official response from the board in my hands. What we are trying to do in Grand Falls is to encourage more same day surgery and that type of thing, and other parts of the Province are considerably ahead of that area in that respect.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I don't know if the Minister of Health has seen a copy of this letter or not. I understand it has gone to the Central Newfoundland news media but I will send him over a copy because there is a section in the letter in particular that talks about the closure of beds when he talks about other hospitals having to take their share of closing beds, I don't think any have had to take as big a share as the Central Newfoundland Regional Health Care Centre.

Now this centre as he knows is responsible for primary health care to about 70,000 people and it provides specialty services to about 120,000 people in that entire region. Services have already been pared to the bone, whole hospital wards have been closed; there are shortages of medical internists, ear, nose and throat surgeons, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology and radiology; this is their own explanation.

Now they say publicly, the doctors, the medical staff at the Regional Health Care Centre: 'Efforts to recruit new physicians already quite difficult will be made even more so by the reductions imposed by our budget'. Now, Mr. Speaker, I say to the minister: This is not me, this is not the Opposition crying wolf, this is a statement from the medical staff themselves at that health care centre and a very serious matter.

I would like to ask the minister: Does he or does his officials have a plan in mind about how money can be saved and how services maintained at an acceptable level, and in their letter again, they say the professionals don't know how to cope with the problem in Central Newfoundland. Could the minister enlighten them?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, again, as I say, the people who sent that letter jumped the gun. The procedure is in place. What they should do is communicate their request or whatever their comments, to their own board. Their own board then corresponds to the Department of Health and evaluates the thing on a professional basis and that is how it is done.

That letter did not reach anyone in the Department of Health until this morning or I think on Friday, and the overall reply to our request for these cuts or whatever you like to call it, these budget adjustments or whatever, arrived in the Department of Health on Friday past, so it is premature for the doctors to go public; but they did, and I suppose we will have to cope with it but we won't cope with it on the basis of that. We will examine their requests and the requests of the board, as this may be part of a whole series of things, and respond to it in due process. The process is in place. Everyone else follows the process and I suggest that the physicians in Grand Falls also should follow the process.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A supplementary, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I wish for once the minister would pay attention to what is happening around the Province with respect to the delivery of health care services. I think that is the difficulty that we face in the Province, and the medical staff at Central Newfoundland are only trying tell the minister what their reaction is to budget cuts. We know there is going to be $750,000 cut from their budget, regardless, so I wish he would take it more seriously.

Now in the past the minister has referred to the shift to same day admission surgery as a possible solution, and there may well be something to that, and the doctors even suggest that, but they do insist that you take the time to get the facilities and the services in place and then assess the effectiveness in such a far flung rural area that is served by the Central Newfoundland hospital. To me, that is very reasonable.

I would like to ask the minister: Does he think that is an unreasonable suggestion? And will he be working out a funding arrangement then? Does he think he will be able to work out a funding arrangement with the board that will maintain services while alternative, maybe less costly, procedures are being implemented or put in place?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, that is what the process is. That is exactly what the process is. The people in the district, in the area of the hospital, come back to the department and say: Look, what you are proposing here is possible; what you are proposing there is a bit awkward; we should like this. That is the process, and it is a process that is time-honoured; it has been there for a number of years, and it is what we follow.

What I find strange is that people thought that, even before we had our response from the board, that the physicians decided to go public. There is no purpose in going public. It doesn't add to the thing. Hopefully it won't get backs up. It hasn't got my back up, but it is just a very poor - it is not the usual procedure; let me leave it like that, and it is non-professional.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A supplementary, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, the reason they have gone public is because this minister continuously stands in this House and ignores the problems facing the people of the Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: And comes back with smart comments like: The House is burning down, and cry wolf, and Opposition fearmongering. That is the kind of response.

The reason they have gone public is to try to wake the minister up.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: That is the reason.

Mr. Speaker, the medical staff are talking about concerns they have about health care delivery, not just about the budget cut now, $730,000, but over the past number of years.

In this letter they say - they apologize -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The question, please.

MR. SIMMS: If I may ask the minister if he has seen the letter, and is he aware of this quote:

`We offer our apologies to the people of this area for our reduced capacity to meet their expectations for medical care,' that's what the doctors say in writing. They are now saying the waiting lists will grow. The minister always dismisses that kind of argument. Mr. Speaker, finally, they say, when your doctor explains that there are no hospital beds available for admission, please understand that, indeed, there are no beds available. Now, can the minister assure the people of Central Newfoundland that there is no reason for concern?

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

DR. KITCHEN: I can assure the hon. member and the people from Central Newfoundland that decisions, with respect to health care in that area, will be made in a reasonable way. The points that the doctors have made and any additional points made by the other members of the team in Grand Falls, including the administrator and the board, will be taken into account in what we do and what they do, but as of this moment we have not been able to analyze that because we haven't received it in time.

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

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

Mr. Speaker, my question is to the President of Treasury Board. It concerns the ongoing negotiations between the NLTA and the Government of this Province. Mr. Speaker, I understand that negotiators for the government and the NLTA have been into a marathon negotiating session since yesterday about two o'clock and it has lasted throughout the night. I wonder if he could give us an update and tell us exactly what the status of these negotiations are?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I'm afraid I can't comment on the details as to what's happening but I would like to ask the hon. gentleman if he sees me dozing off a little later to please wake me up.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a question for the Minister of Health. Last Thursday, the Minister of Health tabled a report of a review on third party billings by the Grenfell Regional Health Service. Now, on page 1 of this report, the authors of the report say they interviewed the appropriate personnel of the Grenfell Regional Health Services Board. I ask the minister: Did they interview the salaried physicians whose third party billings were being retained by Grenfell? In particular, were the doctors interviewed who have stated publicly that payments for these services were retained by Grenfell without their consent or knowledge?

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

DR. KITCHEN: It is my understanding, after asking that question of the three physicians, that this was done and that they had extensive, by phone conversations, and others with people who are living in remote areas - that is, areas that are remote from Newfoundland.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It was mentioned in the previous report - not the one on third-party billings - that they had conversations. This report does not mention interviewing people in remote areas whose cheques and so on - mail - were opened without their knowledge.

I spoke with a physician who was never contacted, so if the minister is now on record as stating that they were contacted, I will accept that, but I will ask him: It is stated in this report that third-party billing process is -

DR. KITCHEN: What report is that?

MR. SULLIVAN: The report I asked the question on, the third-party billing report.

DR. KITCHEN: Well, we have two.

MR. SULLIVAN: The third-party billing report.

DR. KITCHEN: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: The minister doesn't know what report we are talking about.

DR. KITCHEN: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Well, I tell the minister, in your statement last Wednesday, when you tabled the first report, you said: `Third-party billings will be dealt with by the special committee,' and this is the committee that is dealing with third-party billings, the one you released last Thursday. So this is the one on third-party billings, I tell the minister. He doesn't know what report we are talking about.

Now the report states that the billing processes at Grenfell are generally accepted by salaried physicians as a condition of employment. Now, I ask the minister: What is the basis for that statement if salaried physicians were not interviewed? He stated they were, and the one I spoke with wasn't. Did the report's author simply accept, I ask the minister, the word of hospital administrators there, or does he still stand by his statement that they were called and interviewed?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, both reports dealt with third-party billings. The doctors went into it in very great detail, and carried on these extensive consultations that I talked about.

The other report, which dealt with the process, the audit process, the paper trail, and the authority for doing it, that is the one that he seems to be referring to. I don't believe that they did consult with all these other people because there was no need to; that was not their mandate.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The authors of the report say, on page 5, that they did a random survey of the personnel files of salaried doctors at Grenfell, and they found no indication in any of these files of a specific assignment of third-party billings to the hospital, and the third-party billings were not referenced in the letter of appointment.

Now, I ask the minister: Will the minister agree that the evidence of this report confirms the charges of doctors formerly employed at Grenfell, and that the third-party billings were made and retained by Grenfell without their knowledge and consent? That is what this is stating. Will he confirm that?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, if he read further, he would see, that according to the by-laws of Curtis Memorial Hospital, that arrangement is in place. That arrangement of third-party billings goes directly to the hospital board, and the physicians, I think, that he is talking about, were employed at Curtis Memorial, so this is largely a tempest in a teapot. I don't know what the motivation is, but that is what it basically is, and it should be put to rest and forgotten about.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Premier some questions relating to Hydro. This debate has gone on for some time now and people of this Province have become very knowledgable of the issues, in spite of the amounts of money being spent every day now in The Evening Telegram to buy people's opinions with their own money.

Let me ask the Premier: What is the real reason - this is what people are asking today - what is the real rationale for the Premier being so hell-bent and determined to get this legislation through the House of Assembly and privatize Hydro? Why is he so insistent on moving forward, in spite of many statements by economists and others - in fact, by our own fiscal agents - saying that the Hydro debt is totally self-sufficient? And in view of the 1993 Hydro Annual Report, which shows Newfoundland Hydro as a very financially sound corporation, why is he in such a hurry?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: It is a simple matter, Mr. Speaker, of restoring the economy of this Province, and restoring the finances of this Province.

It is important if we are to rebuild the economy, that we rebuild our private sector that was devastated over the last fifteen to twenty years. It has to be rebuilt. Adding a privatized Hydro to it will only add to it. It is not going to solve all of our problems in terms of the private -

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible) higher light bills.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the members ask a question. I'm prepared to answer it, but I have to tell the House, I'm not prepared any longer to stand and shout, trying to be heard over the gaggling noise that comes from the group opposite whenever I try to speak.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: If they want the answers, I'm quite prepared to answer the questions, but I'm not prepared to tear up my throat any more, shouting to try to be heard.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

PREMIER WELLS: Now, Mr. Speaker, to get to the question that was asked by the Member for Mount Pearl, it is essential if we are to rebuild the economy of this Province and restore the integrity of our finances and prevent this Province from getting into the mess that we were headed into as a result of the policies that the hon. member who asked the question and others are responsible for.

Pretty soon I'm going to provide some detailed information of just what kind of financial harm they've done to this Province by those policies, and the extent to which we've moved to correct them. It is crucial for the economic and financial future of this Province that we continue to implement the economic and financial policies that we've identified in the Strategic Economic Plan and we intend to continue to do so. We also intend, Mr. Speaker, to develop and maintain an acceptable level of public support for those policies.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, now that today's sermon is over perhaps the Premier would like to tell us, as well, about the untold damage that his government has done by placing payroll taxes and gross other taxes on the private sector of this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINDSOR: While he is doing that, Mr. Speaker, would the Premier like to tell us how he justifies his statements he just made, in view of the fact that several of these economists have basically said that Hydro's debt has no impact on our credit rating or our ability to borrow. In fact, Dr. Mark Mullins was here a week or so ago, a noted economist internationally, with Midland Walwyn, and he basically said that we are heading in the right direction and that this has no impact on us.

Would the Premier like to tell us - people are wondering - why he is so determined? Who is really calling the shots here, Mr. Speaker, who is calling the shots? Is it some of the power brokers on the mainland, the potential investors in this? Is the Premier being controlled here by the private sector? That is the question people are wondering.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Let me deal with that last question first. This is another sleazy attempt, Mr. Speaker, to try to colour people's judgement. Nobody is calling the shots except the people you see sitting in Cabinet and sitting on this side of the House. Those are the people who decide.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

PREMIER WELLS: Hon. members opposite can laugh if they like but that kind of laughter and derision, Mr. Speaker, has never been acceptable for intelligent debate. It just demonstrates lack of judgement in the issue, and demonstrates a lack of confidence in their own judgement on the issue.

Let me deal with the other questions that the hon. member raised. Why did we impose the payroll tax? Very simple - because the hon. member's colleagues in Ottawa at the time were seeking to reduce the transfers to the provinces, and we, like several other provinces - Ontario included - moved to correct that reduction in transfers to the Province in the way that caused the Federal Government and national companies to make the greatest possible contribution.

We then, Mr. Speaker, eliminated the school tax. Remember the school tax? Remember the commitment we made? Remember? We eliminated the school tax.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, we eliminated the school tax, and the payroll tax was the substitute that was applied to business. Many businesses are paying less in payroll tax then they would have paid in school tax, some businesses are paying more. We don't create a perfect situation. Mr. Speaker, in terms of tax and benefits, I'll answer the hon. members question specifically. The reduction in corporate income tax, that we've put in place in the last two years, has caused an increase already in business activity in this Province and will cause a greater increase, Mr. Speaker. We're moving slowly to overcome the effect of what the former government did.

The final question that the hon. member raised that I need to address is the suggestion that it will have no effect on our borrowing. Well either he doesn't read or he's misleading people, specifically misleading, because as I read the reports from the rating agencies they made it very clear what the effect on our borrowing is. One of them even went so far as to say, Mr. Speaker, that if the government does not achieve privatization of Hydro it would cause them to review our credit rating. Now I don't know what else the hon. member wants unless he wants us to go back to the days of the destruction of our economy which the policies that they put in place have caused.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A final supplementary, the hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: First of all let me say to the Premier that his final diatribe there is absolutely false. The credit agency said they may reconsider, possibly reconsider, they didn't say they would downgrade. Once again the Premier is being misleading, just as misleading as this whole page in The Evening Telegram is. Now, Mr. Speaker, let me say one other comment to the Premier, the members of Cabinet have about as much impact on this decision now as the backbenchers over there.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINDSOR: What I'm concerned about and what people are wondering is why the backbenchers continue to sit there now that the Premier has misled them into saying he wouldn't ask them to support this legislation in the House unless the people of the Province wanted to see it go through, Mr. Speaker? Now let me ask the Premier this, Mr. Speaker, if what we're saying is accurate, who indeed is pulling the Premier's strings? He didn't address that question at all, he gave us another sermon. Perhaps, Mr. Speaker, it's the people that paid his $50,000 salary. Maybe we're being asked now to spend $50 million a year to pay up for the $50,000 the Premier put in his pocket.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, that kind of statement is beneath contempt. It is difficult to imagine that members opposite would pretend to be conscientious members of the House of Assembly and take that kind of approach.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: Preaching? You're so desperately in need of preaching that somebody should have been preaching to you for a long time.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Now, Mr. Speaker, if you want to ask the members on this side of the House what they think of privatization ask them, they'll tell you what they think of privatization! Ask them, ask them!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: You have no doubt -

AN HON. MEMBER: Have a secret vote on it and you'll find out.

MS. VERGE: Free vote.

PREMIER WELLS: Why not have a free vote. You have a free vote and see what would happen. Have a free vote and see what would happen. You'd darn soon see what would happen. Now, Mr. Speaker -

MS. VERGE: Would you have a free vote?

PREMIER WELLS: - those kinds of offensive insulting comments are beneath the dignity of any reasonable person, even the hon. Member for Mount Pearl. Probably the same people, the people that paid Premier Peckford's additional salary. I do not know. Those people who contribute to the political process, many of them frequently contribute to both parties, it is not unusual. I never know who they are and I do not know whether Mr. Peckford knew. Maybe he did, I do not know, but I can assure you that I did not.

Mr, Speaker, that kind of approach just clearly demonstrates their awareness that the people of this Province are coming to recognize the extent to which they have been misled by the members opposite about Hydro and the Hydro privatization, that they now have to resort to these kind of sleazy tactics to try and bolster their argument that is being destroyed. Mr. Speaker, they should know that it will not work.

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

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question today is to the minister responsible for wildlife, the acting Minister of Tourism and Culture, as it relates to conservation officers within the provincial wildlife division. These officers are hired to enforce the law of the land similar to the RCMP and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary. Could the minister tell the House what measures are being taken to ensure the officers safety by the department?

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

MR. FUREY: I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, I did not hear the last part of the question.

MR. MANNING: Could the minister tell the House what measures are taken by the department to ensure officers safety?

MR. FUREY: I guess there are rules and regulations in place. We equip our officers as best we can with vehicles and various communications equipment. We try our best to ensure safety for officers. I guess that is what the hon. member asked.

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

MR. MANNING: The second question concerns the vehicles which these conservation officers have to use. Thirty-one per cent of these vehicles being used at present are inoperable or in poor condition, while 50 per cent have mileage in excess of 150,000 kilometres, and 25 per cent have mileage in excess of 200,000 kilometres. I would like to ask the minister if his department has any plans in the near future to replace these worn out vehicles with new modern machinery so that these officers can perform their duties in a safe and professional manner?

MR. FUREY: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the minister, when, and what type of vehicles are they planning on transporting, because these conservation officers carry out patrols in very remote areas and on several times have had to exercise their powers of arrest. In transporting the prisoners the wildlife officers have very little security because there is just one seat in their little pickups so they have to sit alongside their prisoners. Does the minister not feel this is an unsafe situation for the officer? I am asking a question, and when is he planning on giving them new vehicles?

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

MR. FUREY: I thank the hon. member for the question, longwinded as it was. As I recall we started replacement of the vehicles last year. In last year's budget we set aside - I just forget the exact amount of money, but we starting replacing them. In fact we should have perhaps started a little while before that, because I can remember meeting with one of the wildlife officers in my own district, Mr. Pilgrim, on the Great Northern Peninsula, and he was telling us about the problems they were having with snow machines, so we appropriated a portion of that particular Budget to put new snow machines in place, so that process has started.

I would like to replace all of them overnight but we are restricted by the amounts of money we can spend.

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

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

I have a question as well for the Minister of Tourism and Culture. He was absent on Friday, I think, when I asked a question to the acting, acting, minister, about salmon fee increases for senior citizens this year. The minister just a couple of weeks ago announced an increase in fees. They were not paying anything and now they have to pay $20.00 for their salmon license. I am wondering if the minister would consider phasing in the increase over a two or three year period so that they will not have to pay $20.00 this year, maybe $5.00 dollars next year, for the next three or four year, or even $10.00 and $20.00?

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I have to tell you I have not had a chance to review the acting, acting, minister's answer, but if the answer that was in The Evening Telegram reflects what he said I can only concur with what he said. I should tell members that those fees have not been increased for fourteen years. Fourteen years is where the base rate has been and we decided to increase it. As the acting, acting, minister said, if somebody can afford to go out and buy - those of you who fish, pay for a rod and all of the equipment that is required, and cannot afford $20.00? I think there is something wrong with that. I think, as he rightly said, it is a leisure activity. The other thing I should point out is that all of the revenues derived from this will not cost or contribute to the Treasury one penny. It won't cost a penny in debt, we won't have the deficit finance, new officers - and there will be at least forty or fifty new officers - who will be put on the rivers, which will come directly from this revenue which will come from these increased fees, something like $250,000 or $260,000, I forget the amount right now, but I mean - I think it is around $260,000 to $300,000 from the increased revenues.

Mr. Speaker, I will take a look back at how many seniors have actually purchased these licences. I see them as a luxury. I think hon. members ought to as well.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Question Period has expired.

AN HON. MEMBER: We are talking about the seniors (inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

On behalf of hon. members I would like to welcome two visitors to the Speaker's gallery from the Federal Republic of Germany -

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

- Dr. Wolfgang Von Gelden, Chairman of the Environment Committee of the German Bundestag and Mr. Dietmar Schutz, his German Opposition critic.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: I would also like to welcome to the Speaker's gallery, Mr. Edgar Crann, the Mayor of Chance Cove in Bellevue district.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Petitions

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to present a petition on behalf of 105 citizens of Newfoundland from Seal Cove in White Bay; from Topsail, Trepassey and St. John's.

These petitioners, Mr. Speaker, are amongst the hundreds of thousands of people in this Province who are opposed to the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. They regard the production of electricity as an essential service for the people of the Province and should be controlled by the people; and these petitioners humbly pray and call upon the House to demand that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador not privatize and sell Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, and ensure that Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro remains a Crown Corporation.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we have heard some comments in the House today by the Premier, referring to distortion of the facts by what he says, the people on this side of the House, and I have had occasion to review advertising in the newspaper, Mr. Speaker, that is being paid for at public expense which is called: THE FACTS ABOUT PRIVATIZATION, but really should be called, a DISTORTION OF THE FACTS ABOUT PRIVATIZATION.

Now this advertising, Mr. Speaker, appears on the back page of The Evening Telegram, I think it is a special arrangement with the publishers of The Evening Telegram to obtain the back page, because it is more visible than anywhere else; it has appeared on Friday's paper, Saturday's paper, Sunday's paper and today's paper. I don't know how much money of the people's money the government intends to spend to try and propagandize them about this issue, but let me review some of the distortions of the facts.

For example, I am just taking them at random: Fact No. 4. There will be no layoffs: There will be no layoffs, that's fact No. 4 and this is apparently based on the situation in Nova Scotia, when the Nova Scotia Power Corporation was privatized and 400 jobs were lost; 400 jobs were lost, they weren't laid off though, so there is going to be no layoffs, there is just going to be 400 less people working. This is distortion of the facts about Hydro privatization, Mr. Speaker. We are not talking about layoffs, they won't be officially laid off, they will just lose their jobs and those jobs will be gone and not replaced with anybody else.

Fact No. 8. Financial benefits will continue; and then it goes on to say how the Province is going to save $25 million per year in interest in perpetuity. It doesn't say that the people of Newfoundland are going to have to pay $50 million or $60 million a year more for electricity. It doesn't say that, Mr. Speaker. Distortion of the facts on privatization. What's the financial benefit to a taxpayer in having savings in revenue or expenses of $25 million on the one hand and having to pay out $50 million or $60 million on the other hand?

Fact No. 5. Hydro remains a Newfoundland company; Well, what does that mean? Does that mean it belongs to Newfoundlanders like it does now? No! What it means is, its head office is going to be in Newfoundland, it is going to be owned by somebody else, it is going to be owned by non-Newfoundlanders, it is going to be controlled outside the Province. The fact that some of the directors or even a majority of them reside in Newfoundland and Labrador does not mean that it is a Newfoundland company, and that comes from a Premier who blames the opposition for distorting the facts?

Fact No. 3. All rates will be regulated; Well of course they will be regulated; they will be regulated by the Public Utilities Board who will ensure that the equity owners obtain a rate of return on investment of in the order of 13 per cent or 14 per cent, when the present equity owners, the people, receive 5 per cent or 6 per cent, so there is a guaranteed return on investment, guaranteed to raise the cost of Hydro power and electricity in this Province. That is fact number three.

Fact number two, Labrador power developments are not affected; Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth. The whole tie-in of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, the expertise, the ability, the financial capacity to provide the revenues to ensure that CF(L)Co has the financial ability to continue with the expenditures that are going to be required for Lobstick and other improvements in the near term, and to ensure that Newfoundlanders -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

MR. HARRIS: Need I say more, Mr. Speaker?

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

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, this is a new petition, so I don't know if anybody else wanted an opportunity to speak.

AN HON. MEMBER: He is going to speak to the other one.

MR. SPEAKER: Does the hon. Member for Baie Verte - White Bay wish to speak on the petition?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Yes. Then I will recognize the hon. the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am glad to rise to support the member on his petition, and I would just like to correct a couple of ministers over there who don't really pay attention very much, but it is not usual for them to pay attention anyway.

The petition comes from all over the Province. This member accepted petitions, like so many of us have over on this side of the House, and who are not afraid to stand up and talk for anybody in the Province who wants to speak against this privatization of Hydro, I say to the hon. members. It is so shameful to look over across the House and see so many of them - I don't know if it is revengeful or what - the way the look at us as we present petitions.

Mr. Speaker, I can tell you, after seeing more advertisements in the paper again this week, and after speaking to the people in my district, the same question comes back time after time. When is this Premier going to take the message from the people of this Province? He is like a man who is in a poker game, who has put in so much money, and he is trying to call a bluff; but the problem is that people have already got all the information. Remember one part of the poll, the most important part of the poll that came out just recently. Sixty-four per cent of the people of this Province say they are informed.

The Premier keeps getting up day after day and saying we misled; the Opposition misled; you misinformed. The Greg Malones of the world have misinformed you, the Cy Aberys of the world, don't listen to those people. They are all telling you falsehoods about the privatization of Hydro.

When is this Premier and this government, as he turned to his backbenchers today, going to stand up and say what they really believe? The privatization of Hydro is not what the people of this Province want. They are informed, I say to all hon. members.

Mr. Speaker, time after time the Premier has downgraded every influence as far as the open lines go, the petitions that we get up and present day after day in this House. We have said it before, all hon. members on this side, we will continue to do that until the cows come home, until somebody on the hon. side of the House stands up and finally says: You are right; we did inform everybody. The $2,500, is it, for -

MR. SIMMS: Each ad.

MR. SHELLEY: Each ad, $2,500. Open up your Evening Telegram.

MR. SIMMS: Seven grand just over the weekend.

MR. SHELLEY: Seven thousand dollars this weekend.

The taxpayers of this Province, telling them: Now listen; I know you think you made an informed decision, but we are going to tell you that you haven't; we are going to straighten you out. You are all too stupid to understand it. The Opposition is too stupid. So they are going to put it back time after time.

Mr. Speaker, I am just wondering, and I would like to ask the Premier, if he would stay in the House long enough - he is gone again now, probably in Toronto by this afternoon, if he would stay in the House long enough - how long, that is the question, are you going to keep going, keep presenting and wasting taxpayers dollars on something they already told the Premier that they are informed about? That is the question.

When the Premier mentioned earlier today about a free vote, I just wonder, as the time goes, and the polls, I don't think it should be a free vote. I think they all should stand up in their place and say why they support the privatization, and then have to answer to your constituents in the next election.

MR. SIMMS: Sure he said five times, no to a free vote.

MR. SHELLEY: No, no, no; that is the word continuously from the Premier. So I am wondering now, and the question is on everybody's tongue, like the Member for Mount Pearl mentioned earlier today: What is the real reason? Who is really pulling the strings on this? Who is behind it all?

The trust is not there, I say to the hon. members. People don't believe the Premier. They certainly don't believe you when you stand in your place and say you support it and it is the best thing that could happen to this Province.

I think the bill will be brought forward soon again, I really think it will be. When Hydro will be privatized is another matter, but you will get your chance to stand in your place. There is still time, I say to the hon. members, to stand up and say - even say it to your Premier as the pressure is put on you in your caucus room - to stand up and say: We've listened long enough. Time and time again it has been consistent, the polls have been consistent. The open lines that you don't give any credit to remain consistent. The petitions that we raise in this House are real people, whether you believe it or not. They are people who signed their names. Yes, I agree with some hon. members, somebody might have signed the same petition twice. Big deal.

No matter how much you discredit the open lines, the petitions, the demonstrations, the Greg Malones, the Cy Aberys -

MR. SIMMS: The letters to the editor.

MR. SHELLEY: The letters to the editor. Who is writing all these? Do you think we orchestrate this? We don't orchestrate it. It is plain and simple, Mr. Speaker. I don't know what it takes. They are so bold-headed in their way, in their.... There are so many times when we stand up here one day and we presented a petition and somebody said: How many names do you have? One of the hon. members said: Twenty-seven. He said: What, only twenty-seven? We presented hundreds of them. No matter how many petitions - if I presented one with eleven - the poll is consistent. Sixty-eight to 70 per cent, over two-thirds of this Province, are saying no to this Premier.

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise to again make a few comments with respect to the petition presented by the Member for St. John's East and supported by the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay with respect to privatization of Hydro.

I just want again, since the members opposite don't seem to have any hesitation getting up day after day, talking about the same bit of nonsense in my view that they (inaudible) -

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible) support the teachers!

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just want to again point out for the record, because again people sometimes, for whatever reason, actually get a written record of the proceedings here in the House in Hansard and look at what is said, and because of the fact that members in the Chamber are basically pledged I guess to say what they feel and know to be true, then people reading those things would assume that what they are reading is the truth.

To point out again that sometimes certain aspects of the debate don't get a lot of public play. Today again to remind that in the questions in Question Period the hon. Member for Mount Pearl talked about - here is the kind of thing that the Opposition gets on with as to why they are against Hydro - maybe we are selling Hydro because the Premier has to pay back the people who paid his salary when he was the Leader of the Opposition and the members opposite wouldn't call an election so he could sit in the Legislature so he could draw his salary. They wouldn't call an election so he had no job, so there were some people in Newfoundland who put money into a fund so he could get paid. They are saying -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. GRIMES: - well, he knows who they are so he is paying them back, that is why we have to sell Hydro. That is about as much sense as what they say makes.

The other thing, Mr. Speaker, to point out again the great foundation to which their opposition is based - the hon. Member for Humber East is my favourite, because she gave them some very suspect legal advice in the beginning on which they started to say: We are giving away our water rights. Because she read a certain section as a lawyer and advised the caucus that: This means you are giving away the water rights. Tried to make Newfoundlanders believe that you weren't allowed to go up and fish up back of the dam, you weren't allowed to do anything, something different was going to happen, Mr. Speaker.

It was all shown to be completely false. They know the difference but neither one of them, not one, will stand in this House and acknowledge that they've since checked. They know the difference but they still put out the great lie hoping that some people will be in fact scared into thinking there is something wrong, because we are giving away something to do with the water rights.

Here is the story I want to put out again with respect to why it is members opposite are opposed to this group supporting the privatization of Hydro. It is because the hon. Member for Humber East put forward in this Legislature - you can read it in Hansard - the proposition that Premier Wells scuttled a deal on the Lower Churchill so he could give away all of Hydro on the Island, knowing full well that there is absolutely no relationship between anything in Labrador and this privatization. No relationship whatsoever.

Here is the story we are supposed to believe. The Premier went to Mr. Chrétien when Mr. Chrétien was Leader of the Opposition - he was not yet Prime Minister - and because Mr. Chrétien happens to have a sister who is married to Mr. Desmarais, who happens to be one of the great financiers in the country - and last week, Mr. Speaker, I rose because they were asking the question: Did Mr. Wells, as Premier, meet in the United States on his last trip, with Mr. Desmarais and Mr. Chrétien? of course, the insinuation was, to finalize this little deal they cooked up. So here was the Premier, and the rest of us supposed to support the Premier, turning around and scuttling what's in the best interest of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, having nothing to do with Churchill Falls at all, so that he, in fact, could do a favour - so we could sell Hydro to Mr. Desmarais at a bargain basement sale price. Mr. Desmarais could make a fortune, Mr. Speaker, this is the proposition - and they're agreeing, this is their proposition -Mr. Desmarais is going to make a fortune, and because Mr. Desmarais is married to Prime Minister Chrétien's sister, Prime Minister Chrétien is going to be so enamoured by the Premier he's going to appoint him to the Supreme Court. Now, that's the proposition.

That speech was made here by the hon. the Member for Humber East on at least five or six different occasions, and that was the great expose for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. I believe she also gave the full story on Open Line with Bill Rowe. And I believe she ran in the Legislature one night around 10:30 p.m. and phoned Bas with the same story and said: We finally found out why it is that this crowd is selling Hydro. It's because the Premier cooked up a deal with Mr. Chrétien, whose sister is married to Mr. Desmarais, who's going to buy Hydro, and it's all bad. Now, never mind what's in the bill, never mind what's in Bill 1, never mind the fact that Bill 1 has nothing to do with the Lower Churchill, never mind the fact that it has nothing to do with giving away water rights, never mind all of that. That, Mr. Speaker, is what we've been told in this Legislature, why members on this side are supposed to agree with members on that side that this is a bad deal, it's bad for Newfoundland and Labrador and we should be against it.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. GRIMES: Absolute nonsense, Mr. Speaker, the whole lot of it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WOODFORD: I take this opportunity, Mr. Speaker, to present a petition on behalf of some seventy-five parents and Level III students in the Deer Lake area, primarily from Elwood, Mr. Speaker, the Elwood High School in Deer Lake. There are approximately 110 Level III graduates in Elwood High in Deer Lake, Mr. Speaker, and last night I met with them on very short notice - a couple of hours from 7:30 - 9:30 or 10:00 p.m. - concerning the present strike in the Province and the situation that the students find themselves in.

The petition of the undersigned, Mr. Speaker, the Concerned Parents and Student Committee, Deer Lake, is that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador make every effort to settle the dispute between government and the NLTA immediately. Now, Mr. Speaker, there were quite a few concerns expressed there last night, especially by the students and backed up, I suppose, and echoed by the parents involved. As I said, there are some 75 parents and the students numbering 110 graduates.

Some of the concerns expressed there, especially if there's no deal in the next couple of days, as far as the parents are concerned, some of them agreed last night they would go as far as not letting their Level III students write their exams. They would entertain thought of that because, as far as they're concerned, they don't have - they'll lose two weeks now if something does happen in the next couple days - it would be approximately three weeks of schooling and review work and so on, and on June 10, then write exams. So they even entertained that thought.

They've had some real concerns from universities, especially outside the Province and government should know the difference of it. Acadia apparently wrote back to a number of the students and said that they would probably accept applications from Newfoundland students - probably entertain and accept them. Dalhousie categorically said to two students, that they would not based on the present circumstances. So this is the kind of thing that students are facing, Mr. Speaker, very -

AN HON. MEMBER: Memorial?

MR. WOODFORD: Memorial has already said, I think publicly, that they would have to take another look at it, and the minister said in the House that he would possibly ask the university to keep the - I think it's 70 per cent this year - keep the standards for admission at 65 per cent. I say to the minister, they also made the suggestion, if there is a settlement, even this week, that the students be given an extra week or ten days in school, rather than write on the 10th, they entertained and talked about dates such as the 19th and 20th and so on, but that is a bridge that will have to be crossed when they come to it.

They have a demonstration planned for Deer Lake tomorrow night, and I am sure that there will be plenty of support for the parents and students there in that particular area, calling on government to try, as they said in the prayer of the petition, to try to settle this dispute immediately.

The students are caught in the middle. Government knows this. I don't know what happened in the last few days. I am not privy to what goes on around the negotiating table, between NLTA and government, but I am privy to the information in my particular area, and it is incumbent upon me to come here and express the opinions from the parents and students in my area.

I say to both ministers, the Minister responsible for Treasury Board, and the Minister of Education, and the Premier who is somewhere in the building and, I am sure, has the proceedings of the House of Assembly turned on, to try to do everything possible within the next twenty-four hours to have a deal struck between the government and NLTA, because the students of this Province, and moreso, the parents of this Province now, are crying out, saying to government: Be a little bit flexible, and come to an agreement with NLTA so they can get back to school and salvage a full year's work that could go down the drain for the sake of a couple of weeks.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HODDER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am pleased to rise and support the petition presented by my colleague. This petition is bringing into focus in this House the concerns that parents have for their children's education.

We know the concerns that teachers have for the education of the children and the students in Newfoundland and Labrador. We wonder if the government really shares those concerns, because the time has come to reach an agreement. The time has come now for the tough bargaining to continue. The time has come to get on with the job, to let teachers do what teachers do best, that for which they are trained; that is, to teach the children of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Teachers want to get back into their classrooms. They want the opportunity to finish up this school year. They want the opportunity to give the children of Newfoundland and Labrador the very best chance they can have to finish up their graduating year, their senior year, or to get ready for the next year if they happen to be primary, elementary, or junior high school students.

Mr. Speaker, we ask the government to be flexible, to understand the viewpoint of the teachers, to be understanding of the viewpoint of the parents, and in the last few days the number of calls that all members of this House have been getting from parents shows the great concern that parents have. This very day in Rocky Harbour and in Norris Point there is a demonstration going on, because they couldn't arrange a meeting with their member.

Parents are ready to say to the government: It's time now to finish up the bargaining process, do what has to be done, dot the i's, cross the t's, be flexible, be understanding, be considerate, stand up for the children of the Province, do the right thing, and do it today, so that within the next twenty-four to forty-eight hours we can have an agreement in place where the teachers of this Province can do the job that they want to do, which is finish up this school year, get the children ready for next September, get our graduating students examined, get the evaluations done, so that we can not have questions from Acadia, questions from Dalhousie, questions from Memorial, questions from any other institute of higher learning, saying: We wonder if these students are ready.

Let's make sure the process works. Let's get a collective agreement in place, and let's make sure it happens with the utmost haste so that there is no more time lost. The time that has been lost will no longer be able to be made up in the next few weeks. We have to salvage what we can on behalf of the students of Newfoundland and Labrador, and do it now. Don't wait until next September to get this job done.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. DUMARESQUE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I just want to rise and say to the hon member that we, on this side of the House, don't think any differently about the education system in this Province. We, on this side of the House, understand that there are pressing demands for children to be given their final exams, and there are pressing demands to be able to meet the standards for university this September. We, on this side of the House, are not above being sensitive to the needs of education any more than anybody else.

Members opposite would have the people believe, from time to time, that we are over here in total ignorance of what is going on in our Province, in our communities, and in our families. We would have to be absolutely isolated from everybody, in confinement, and be isolated from our families. It is not realistic. Be real. If you are going to say that we are not doing something, then be fair. We have a Minister of Treasury Board who has been in a marathon session in the last twenty-four hours, and over the last couple of weeks he has been at the beck and call of the NLTA, has met with the NLTA, has been conciliatory with the NLTA, has put very sound propositions on the board for the NLTA, and we have no apologies to make for that.

We have a responsibility to govern. We can't allow a situation where we can't manage the school system of this Province. We have to look out for the small isolated schools of this Province and be able to see that they have some teachers to put into them, and we are doing that. The Minister of Education is now proposing a small isolated schools program that will see the rural areas of this Province protected, and the people in the small schools enhanced, but we can't do that until we get some degree of control over the system, which we do not have there right now.

Yes, there are pressing needs for education in this Province, but I want to assure all people of the Province that we are not ignorant of the demands, and ignorant of the timetable that is before us. The President of Treasury Board is an example, an exemplary minister in doing what he is doing in the last twenty-four hours, in particular, to do his absolute utmost to get an agreement. If there was any minister in the collective bargaining process who has gone beyond the call of duty to get an agreement, because he considered it a top priority of his, then he is the minister who is doing it, for the people of this Province, for the children of this Province, and for the parents of this Province. I know that he has as his first priority his job as Minister of Finance and his being responsible for the negotiations at this point in time.

I think it is important for all people of this Province to know that we are doing our part. It takes two, and sometimes more, to make sure that things get worked out to the proper solutions that everyone wants. We can't come in here and take away the collective bargaining right. We can't come in here and take away the right to strike. That is something that people out there fought for and want, and they have every right to execute. Right now, we know the pressures that are on us but we are doing our utmost. All members on this side are doing their utmost to try to assist the government in getting a quick solution to a very pressing problem. I am sure and confident that will be done, providing we get the control over the education system that everybody out there wants us get, Mr. Speaker.

Thank you very much.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I present a petition calling upon the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador not to privatize Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and for it to remain a Crown corporation.

Mr. Speaker, the Premier sat around a Cabinet table back in the 1960s when the Upper Churchill was sold, the biggest sellout in Canadian history that sees $800 million going out over transmission line, out of this Province and into the coffers of Hydro Quebec.

Just recently, and I've said in this House on numerous occasions, that in the last several years, Hydro Quebec has been the most profitable corporation in Canada the majority of these years. A recent edition of Financial Post shows that Hydro Quebec had the highest net income by far of any corporation in this country, $761 million net income - the closest to them being Seagrams, at $490 million - an enormous $271 million more net income than any other corporation in this country.

The Premier sat around that Cabinet table and thought he was making a good deal for the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

MR. GRIMES: So did every member in the House. The PCs over there voted for it too - everybody in the House. Don't be so silly, boy! Everybody who was in the Legislature voted for it.

MR. SULLIVAN: The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations -

MR. GRIMES: The whole lot of them said it was the best deal you could get at the time.

MR. SIMMS: What does that have to do with anything?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

MR. SIMMS: It was the Liberal initiative, boy, don't be so (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations -

MR. GRIMES: (Inaudible) voted for it (inaudible)!

MR. SULLIVAN: - gets a little bit irked.

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

MR. GRIMES: It was a good deal, they said.

MR. SULLIVAN: He gets a little bit hot under the collar - when the Premier was a Cabinet minister who sat around that table and gave away the Upper Churchill. I ask: Are the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations and the Premier as confident about this tremendous deal today as the Premier was back when he sold the Upper Churchill? I say we have a lot to pay for that price.

MR. GRIMES: (Inaudible) foolishness you get on with talking (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: We are paying in households in this Province -

MR. GRIMES: (Inaudible) whatsoever, not one thing.

MR. SULLIVAN: I ask for protection.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Households in this Province are paying 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity consumed, while Hydro Quebec receives it for three-tenths of a cent, and it is going down to two-tenths or one fifth of a cent in 2015, sold at twenty-some times the value to people in the States, turning hundreds of millions of dollars into the coffers of Hydro Quebec, and making them a profitable corporation at the expense of taxpayers in Newfoundland and Labrador.

That was a disaster and a sell-out and the Premier is trying to undo - under the Electrical Power Control Act, he thinks he is going to try to undo the wrong that he did. The Supreme Court of Canada told him and everybody else on two separate occasions in a seven-to-nothing ruling that it is not right. You can't break the contract. It is not proper. The Premier is so naive to think that he could hoodwink the people of this Province.

Peter Boswell in Saturday's Evening Telegram very appropriately tells the story. I won't talk about the Meech Lake and the integrity and the high esteem in which the Premier was held across this country, but it says: "Even those who support the privatization of Hydro" - the supporters; there is only 26 per cent of which I think only 16 per cent are only somewhat in favour, I think it is only 10 per cent strongly in favour - even these people "must have had their faith in the Premier's integrity shaken a bit..." When on the CBC Radio Morning Show on Wednesday, they asked him "...in the face of continued public opposition and in light of his televised promise, should he not withdraw the privatization legislation..."

Do you know what the Premier said? He responded, that rather, he should rather withdraw his comments. That is what he said. Can you imagine? Three times he stated it on public television on March 24. Dr. Peter Boswell said: "For a man whose political stock... was his integrity, his honesty" - Peter Boswell, three weeks ago or a month ago, was speaking out in favour of the Premier! Peter Boswell has seen the light, like 64 per cent of the people in this Province. That is right, he has seen the light. He said -

AN HON. MEMBER: When are you going to see the light?

MR. SULLIVAN: Nineteen ninety-seven. He said: "For me, this is the Rubicon..."

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SULLIVAN: You haven't seen the light. You ran for the PCs the last time and then for the Liberals. Maybe you will never see the light again. When the Church issue on restructuring comes forward you might never, never see the light again!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: You will try to disassociate yourself from the party when it is convenient for your own political reputation, I say to the member. Like the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations before the last election in Central Newfoundland, he tried to distance himself from the Cabinet and the government decision. But he got his knuckles rapped and stood in this House and apologized to this House, I say to the minister. Yes, and you betrayed teachers. When you stood on the steps of this building -

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

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. SULLIVAN: With leave, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No leave!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am happy to stand and support the petition so ably put forward by my hon. colleague from Ferryland district. I have to say, the shouts and the hollers from across the floor - there is an old saying: `The truth is bitter', and I guess that everybody is fully aware of why this Hydro Privatization Act is before the House. As the member put forward a few minutes ago, it is because of the wrong that happened in Newfoundland and Labrador back in the 1960s and the fact that the Premier is trying to right the wrongs and maybe, if I were sitting at the Cabinet table and took part in the decision of the 1960s by which $800 million a year goes to Hydro Quebec, while an insulting $8 million flows into the coffers of Newfoundland and Labrador's Treasury, I would be on a guilt trip, too, if I were the Premier.

The hon. the Member for Ferryland just put forward the profits of Hydro Quebec last year, just short of $800 million profit, and it is a known fact as I just stated, that $800 million a year flows into Hydro Quebec, so where are the profits coming from? They are coming on the backs of the taxpayers of Newfoundland and Labrador; they are coming on the people of this Province who are out of work; they are coming on the people who are presently in labour disputes with this government, the teachers of this Province, the ordinary people who go out and work every day in this Province are the people who are paying the taxes, and that is where the profits from our resources flow into Hydro Quebec.

I have watched over the past week, and as a couple of members have stated already about the advertising that has been going on by the government in The Evening Telegram and other media across the Province during the weekend, and the hundreds of thousands of dollars that this government is spending so the Premier can get through his message. I say that there are two sides to every story, and ask how come the government only intends pushing forward one side, and why spend hundreds of thousands of dollars?

They state so-called facts; well, Mr. Speaker, we can come back and touch on a couple of these facts that they have stated, and say why I believe these are not facts, but first of all I would like to talk about the Premier's promise that was made to this Province on March 24 on Province-wide TV, when the Premier said, if the people of this Province showed that they were against the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro, he would not use the power that his party has in this Legislature to push it forth, but still, a few days later he comes back into this House and says without a doubt, that he is proceeding with the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro. So you have to ask yourself, Mr. Speaker, what is the motive of the Premier, when he promised the people of this Province - and it has been brought forward in polls.

It has been brought forward in two or three polls, as a matter of fact, over the past couple of months, some upwards of 68 per cent to 70 per cent of the people in this Province are against the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro, and you cannot hide that, Mr. Speaker, because it is done by independent pollsters, it is done by mainland pollsters and it has been done with just a straightforward question: Are you for or against the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro, yes or no? and the people had said `no' and have said no loud and clear. And still, Mr. Speaker, the government intends proceeding with it.

Also, part of that poll, Mr. Speaker, the people were asked: did they understand the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro? The people once again, upwards 80 per cent, I believe, said that they understand the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro. But the Premier believes they don't understand it and that's why they are against it, but the reason, I believe, that people are against it, is because, they know too much about what the Premier is trying to do here in the House. They know too much about what this government is trying to push forward in this legislation and that is why the people are speaking out against it.

As well, in that poll, Mr. Speaker, the people were asked: How many would like to have a Province-wide vote on this piece of legislation that is before the House now with regard to privatization of Newfoundland Hydro, and 82.5 per cent, I believe, said that they would like to have a Province-wide vote because of comments, I guess, that have been passed in this House by no less than the Government House Leader, who has said time and time again, that this is one of the most important pieces of legislation ever brought before the House of Assembly since Confederation, and here we have the Government House Leader, who speaks on behalf of the government, who says that this is the most important piece of legislation before this House since Confederation, and still the people opposite refuse to go out and hold a referendum or plebescite or whatever in this Province, so that people can have their say.

Mr. Speaker, I find that very insulting to the ordinary people of Newfoundland and Labrador. My hon. colleague spoke about Peter Boswell's column in The Evening Telegram on Saturday. I won't say any more on that -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. MANNING: - it speaks for itself, and let the people -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Just again, a few comments with respect to the position presented by the hon. the Member for Ferryland, and supported by the hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes. It is obvious they want to talk about this issue again instead of the education issue on which I would have thought they would have presented petitions today, because it is certainly a more burning issue today than the Hydro issue will ever be.

Mr. Speaker, let me point out again -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. GRIMES: Get up and ask a question about it. Why don't you ask a question about it some day in Question Period and you will find out what is going on.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

With respect to the petition, again to show the basis for the opposition and the members opposite as to why they stand up and say this is such an awful thing. The Member for Ferryland at least today got off onto a different bent. He went off talking about Churchill Falls. Again, as I pointed out in the last little interjection here, this has absolutely nothing to do with Churchill Falls. It has absolutely nothing to do with anything in Labrador -absolutely nothing.

He claims to have read Bill 1, which is the bill, the act for the privatization of Hydro. There is absolutely nothing in the bill that has anything to do with anything across the Strait of Belle Isle. For energy purposes, there is no link between it and anything in Labrador. Now, members opposite ran for and supported a party that blew up a lot of dynamite on both sides, made out they were going to build a tunnel and put it across. They all supported that, but that didn't happen. It cost millions of dollars and didn't happen. There is no link between Labrador power and the power being talked about in the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro - none.

That is a change for the hon. the Member for Ferryland, because he usually goes on about the taxation, and mumbles out and blabs out a whole bunch of numbers about what an awful deal this is from a taxation side. It has been explained to him that the arrangement outlined in this bill to privatize Hydro is exactly tax neutral from the point of view of what the Province will get after privatization to what it will get now - tax neutral. It has been explained a dozen times. It has been explained to everybody in the Legislature, but oh, no, he is a better mathematician than all of the experts and all of the economists who are working for the Provincial Government and for Hydro. His numbers are right; everybody else in Newfoundland and Labrador is wrong. It has been explained a dozen times - refuses to accept it.

The hon. the Member for Humber East again, before she found out she was wrong, before she got onto this Chrétien/Desmarais going to the Supreme Court deal, the big deal was the water rights, that for some reason up behind the dam in Bay d'Espoir, the people who are up there fishing now, and using the water, they weren't going to be allowed near the water; we were giving away the water rights, because she read something in the bill and she concluded, as a lawyer, that we were giving away the water rights - convinced all the members opposite. They all jumped up and made the speech, and found out they were wrong. They found out they were wrong. They haven't made that speech in about four months because they found out they were wrong, but they will not stand up in the Legislature and admit it, neither one of them. They won't stand up and say: Oh, we are sorry, we were wrong about the water rights one; but they were wrong. It was completely explained, and they refused to accept it.

Then, the great birthright issue, giving away this fabulous birthright. It was only thirty years ago this thing was established. There is no birthright to this. Before that, all the power in Newfoundland was developed privately, distributed privately, and sold privately. Hydro was put in place for a specific purpose thirty years ago. The jobs is done. There is no need for it to exist anymore; it should disappear.

Then, the great one I talked about before, the Member for Humber East suggesting we should be against Hydro, and the whole Province should be against the privatization of Hydro, because the Premier scuttled some deal that was going to put $14 billion worth of work, 24,000 jobs, and return $4 billion to the Treasury, and that the Premier, with the support of thirty-five members over here, would scuttle that deal because he wanted to sell Hydro to Desmarais, who is Chrétien's brother-in-law, so he could become a judge. Now that is the basis of the opposition.

Mr. Speaker, it makes as much sense as that, and here is the member up again presenting a petition, talking about what an awful deal Churchill Falls was. Every member on both sides of the House voted for the Churchill Falls deal when it was done, Progressive Conservative and Liberal alike. It was the best deal at the time. It was the best deal of the day. Nobody foresaw inflation. Everybody in the Legislature now would love to have it back, we all know that. Everybody everybody here knows that, everybody in Newfoundland knows that, but to stand up and say you got to be against the privatization of Hydro because the Premier of the day happened to be a politician back in that day should talk to the father-in-law for the Member for Kilbride who is a politician - stood up and praised the deal, said it was a wonderful thing for Newfoundland and Labrador, voted for it and said the whole thing - everybody in the Legislature, Mr. Speaker, the record is there, the vote was taken, they supported that deal.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

On a point of order, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I suspect the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations is doing what he normally does, making all kinds of outlandish comments without any facts to back him up. I think if he were to read the transcripts of Hansard from the day that the Upper Churchill Contract was debated in the House of Assembly he will see that the Conservative Party of the day supported the legislation with a lot of reservations, not wholeheartedly, but with a lot of reservations pointing out very clearly that they had no choice but to speak in the way they were speaking because of the fact that the government didn't provide them with any information -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

No point of order.

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

MR. FUREY: To that point of order, Mr. Speaker. The record will show the hon. -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There was no point of order. The Chair has already ruled on it.

MR. FUREY: On a new point of order, Mr. Speaker. The record will show that the Conservatives, while they had a choice to vote against it, clearly unanimously voted for it.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There's no point of order raised by the hon. member.

On a point of order, the hon. the Member for Ferryland.

MR. SULLIVAN: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations made an incorrect statement in the House. He stated that I said - or a point of privilege I'll call it, Mr. Speaker, because he made a statement attributed to me that wasn't correct and I want to clarify that for the record on a point of privilege.

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, there's no point of order.

MR. SULLIVAN: No, a point of privilege.

MR. SPEAKER: Point of privilege on what -

MR. SULLIVAN: Point of privilege on the grounds that he stated that I said in the House that the Hydro was not neutral from a taxation perspective. I stated in the House clearly - I stated in the House that from a revenue perspective - it wasn't a tax perspective and that's an incorrect statement attributed to me, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There appears to be a difference of opinion between two hon. members and that certainly doesn't constitute a point of privilege nor a point of order.

Orders of the Day

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do not adjourn at 5:00 p.m. today.

MR. SPEAKER: It has been moved that the House do not adjourn at 5:00 p.m.

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: Those against, 'nay'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Nay.

MR. SPEAKER: Carried.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, Order 2(a).

MR. SPEAKER: Order 2(a).

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

MR. CHAIRMAN (L. Snow): The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, I want to carry on. It seems like the last three days I tried to enter some questions and commentary to the President of Treasury Board, the Minister of Finance, in discussing his estimates, it seems like right at the beginning he is always called out at the last minute. I hope -

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Well it could be that. I doubt very much but it could possibly be. The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation would know better than I if that were true or not but I suspect and I hope he's working like the dickens to try to get a contract settlement with the NLTA. I hope that's why he rushed out and was called out. I hope there's no major problems in existence. I hope he's gone out to try to settle this thing. We wish him a lot of luck in that regard and we all hope that the matter is resolved in the not too distant future, certainly within the next twenty-four hours.

Anyway, Mr. Chairman, that's what's been happening. This is the fourth day now in debating the minister's estimates, the estimates of the President of Treasury Board, the Premier's office and the Intergovernmental Affairs office. I've always had a difficulty having the minister here to be able to respond to the first item I raise, so I raise something that perhaps the acting, acting Government House Leader, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology might be able to address. It is an area, I think, worthy of debate and discussion, and I would like to ask him specifically, on Page 28 of the estimates, and I am sure he has the estimates in front of him there, as the acting, acting, President of Treasury Board, or acting, acting Government House Leader.

On Page 28 of the estimates one of the line items there is the Advisory Council on the Economy. You are very familiar with it, I am sure. I believe that is the body that is chaired by Mr. Manuel, I presume that is the same body. The minister can nod if it is. I believe it is the body. Yes, it is the body chaired by John Manuel. I would like to ask the minister a few questions.

First of all, last year's expenditure of the Advisory Council on the Economy was $403,800. I would like to ask him if he can tell us what the details of that expenditure were for last year? Could he also tell us the details of this year's $373,400 budget for the Advisory Council on the Economy? You will find it under the grants and subsidies line item, I think, in the Budget.

Also, Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask him if he can give us an update on the Strategic Economic Plan which was made public in June 1992. We remember from somewhere else in the Budget, I believe, an amount of money that was spent in the Budget previous to implement the Strategic Economic Plan. I just forget the amount. I do not have it here right in front of me now, but I think it is $1.3 or $1.4 million or something. We ask for some breakdown of what that amount of money was for and if he can tell us how much of the money has been spent?

The Strategic Economic Plan was implemented in 1992, or made public, but since then we have been told by the Premier on a couple of occasions that government now intends to develop a Strategic Social Plan. I believe it was announced, if I am not mistaken, in government's Throne Speech. What I would like to ask the minister is, if he could give us the details of the process that will be involved in developing the Strategic Social Plan, and also can he tell us where the funding for the development of the Strategic Social Plan is located in the Budget? Could he tell us where it is and how much it is? Those are two specific questions on the Strategic Economic Plan or Social Plan.

I say to the minister, if he can tear himself away from his colleague there, the item I referred to earlier about the Strategic Economic Plan is under 2209, Page 17 of the estimates, opposite the Executive Council under the Strategic Economic Initiatives. In 1993-94 last year the budgeted amount was $4.7 million and the revised expenditure was only $20,000. There has to be an explanation for that, some reason. I am sure a perfectly logical explanation exists. I do not know.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. SIMMS: No, no. Purchase Services, 2209.06, Purchase Services, $4.7 million, the revised number is $20,000. I know the minister does not know off the top of his head but obviously it is an interesting question and I would like to know the answer. While he is at it we see that in the estimates for this year, 1994-95 there is only $1.325 million allocated. So, if they budgeted $4.7 million last year and only spent $20,000 and this year they budgeted $1.3 million, maybe they are only planning to spend $5000 or something. We would like to have an explanation of it, and I am sure the minister would like to have an explanation of it, and I ask him to provide us with that, or the answer to that question.

So that is the Advisory Council on the Economy; what are the details of the expenditures of $403,000? And really, while he is addressing the question of the Advisory Council on the Economy, there are many, myself included, who have reservations about spending that kind of money - $400,000 - for an advisory group on the economy, when the government is spending millions of dollars over the last three or four years on the Economic Recovery Commission, a body that is established to do, among other things, provide economic advice to the government. So really, if you are looking for a way to save half-a-million dollars, or nearly half-a-million dollars, I say to the minister, that $400,000 expenditure for the Advisory Council on the Economy is probably one of the areas that should be looked at in terms of priorities.

I would say the Minister of Social Services would sure like to have an extra $400,000 in his budget. He could sure use that. So the whole question of the use and the advisability of keeping that Advisory Council on the Economy in tact at $403,000 a year, when you have a group like the Economic Recovery Commission providing some economic advice, presumably, the question of the Strategic Economic Plan, and the difference in that budgeted figure and what was spent, $4.7 million et cetera.

The third question I asked him was: Where are the planned expenditures to develop what the government announced in their Throne Speech, the Strategic Social Plan? Where is that? What stage is that at? What progress has been made, and where are the expenditures identified for that process?

I will leave it with those three items, and give the minister a chance to maybe respond to those three items before we get on to a few other things that I want to raise.

AN HON. MEMBER: The good stuff, eh?

MR. SIMMS: Yes, the good stuff.

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Chairman, I apologize that the Chairman of the Social Policy Committee just left. As soon as he comes back I will ask him to address the issue.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who is that?

MR. FUREY: Mr. Decker. I will ask him to address the issue of the Strategic Social Plan.

The hon. member asked about the $4.7 million with respect to -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: I don't know why it is I attract all this attention.

Anyway, the hon. member asked about the 2.2.09 on page 17 in the Purchased Services. I can't answer that. $4.7 million was there. It shows a $20,000 expenditure. I will get the answer, and I will provide it to you within the next half hour or so.

MR. SIMMS: Could I just interrupt the minister for a second?

MR. FUREY: You always interrupt me.

MR. SIMMS: It's ten and ten.

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

MR. SIMMS: I don't know if his assistant has gone to get the information; I guess he has - the Member for Stephenville is gone out to get it - but one thing I left out, just for his own information, which is rather bizarre as well, is under that same area, under that same vote, Purchased Services line item, that is 2.2.09.06, the same item he was just talking about, he was going to check it out, I forgot to mention to him that the year before last - you won't find it in this document, but the year before last - $3,030,000 was budgeted, and only $65,000 was spent, okay? So $3 million was budgeted two years ago, only $65,000 spent. Now we see $4.7 million last year and only $20,000 spent. Now we have $1.3-odd million budgeted for this coming year, so it is all out of whack. Something is wrong with it.

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

MR. FUREY: There is no question, and I will find the answer to that question, but I should tell the hon. member that the Strategic Economic Plan, the 134 action items, basically there is a senior executive committee in place, led by Mr. Hal Stanley, who is the clerk of the Cabinet, the previous Cabinet and our Cabinet, and they sit and take propositions that come forward to give life and give effect to these action items.

I know in my own case we have established a ministerial prospecting initiative. We are looking at a number of industrial development officers. We made a case before that to prospect and help draw new investment and business into the Province, so that had to appear there.

Some of the money, while approved, didn't flow in last year's fiscal year; it will flow this year. You are quite right, there is an extraordinary discrepancy between what sits there as an amount budgeted and what is spent. I will find out the answer to that.

Also, you asked for the details on ACE. A lot of that is used for the board -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

AN HON. MEMBER: I can't hear as thing.

MR. FUREY: I can't hear myself either. I'm trying to concentrate on some of your questions. A lot of the money is used to pay for the various meetings that are held around the Province by the board members. There is a section of that money set aside for Purchased Services so if they need expert advice or consultation they can do that as well. I would be happy to provide the exact - you would like the exact details?

MR. SIMMS: Yes, I would. (Inaudible) to address the broader question?

MR. FUREY: I did, actually. You would have liked the answer, in fact, if you had come to my estimates. Those who were here applauded my - the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay thought it was a pretty good answer. I simply said that like the previous government - the previous government had what was called the Economic Council, I think, or the Newfoundland and Labrador Economic Advisory Council, that is very similar to ACE. It looked at the global issues -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: That is right. It looked at the global issue and gave advice on the bigger picture, the macro-economic situation in the country. The Economic Recovery Commission is assigned a specific task to deal with specific things. One of their first major tasks was to set up Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador. So while one is dealing with the larger advisory capacity in the global macro sense, the other one is dealing with specific projects and specific concerns, whether it is income security, setting up Enterprise Newfoundland, getting decision making out into the regions, helping businesses develop. Which they have. I have a list. I would be happy to talk about many of them.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Right, but we thought we needed someone to be there to stimulate, prod departments, prod agencies, and stimulate activity. There has been quite a lot happening in that regard.

You asked about the Strategic Economic Plan update. I think the Premier released something about two months ago that laid out all the action items and where the plan is right now, but if you need more detail I would be happy to get it for you.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I look forward to him, or his colleague, the Minister of Education as chairman of the Social Policy Committee of Cabinet, I believe he said, to give us an idea of specifically what has happened with the Strategic Social Plan which was announced some time ago in their Throne Speech. How much money is budgeted for it? What are the details of the process and so on?

AN HON. MEMBER: Were you talking (inaudible)?

MR. SIMMS: Yes, I was trying to get the minister's attention. I also asked - there was a tentative schedule of project funding in that $4.7 million. Last year some time we were given a tentative breakdown of the funding under $4.7 million in strategic economic initiatives. The question is: What has happened to those projects, where are they now? Is there any shifting them on departments and so on? I will wait to hear back from the Minister of Education on the strategic social plan, a further breakdown and details on the Strategic Economic Plan.

I really want to say to the minister I think it is time to come to the conclusion that the in excess of $400,000 spent on the Advisory Council on the Economy is really, I think, now, money that is - I'm sure they do some work, and so on and so forth, but in terms of priorities I would have to say it is a waste of money. My view is that it now at this stage should be seen as a waste of $400,000, a waste of expenditure. At a time when you are preaching restraint and closing hospital beds and you can't find $100,000 for the working group on child sexual abuse, all of these kinds of issues, and when you have put in place - the difference, I say to the minister, from what he tried to describe when we were the government when we put that group in place or a similar group under Mr. Harold Lundrigan, the reality then is that we didn't have this other group known as the Economic Recovery Commission. That is the big difference.

Today you have the Economic Recovery Commission costing $2 million, $2.5 million, $2.1 million this year and for the last four or five years or whatever, we spent $8 million or $10 million now on the Economic Recovery Commission. And believe me, the minister knows my views on the Economic Recovery Commission, for sure, because I have made those views known publicly many times. He has that body, costing a couple of million dollars a year or more, but he has also hung on to this Advisory Council on the Economy at an expenditure of $400,000, and I know this argument about macro-economics and global economics and they are looking at it from that perspective, but I suspect members of the Economic Recovery Commission are doing some similar work as well, and I really think it is time for the minister and the government to have a look at that expenditure because it is a way to save, I think, $400,000; I really believe that and that is a hefty slice, a hefty amount of money that could be well-used I believe, in some other direction.

Making those comments by the way, has nothing to do with the individuals who sit on the Advisory Council; I don't even know who they are anymore. I know John Manuel does, because I heard him debating the Hydro issue somewhere on Cable TV, I believe it was, and he mentioned he was speaking not as the manager of the mill in Corner Brook, but as Chairman of the Advisory Council on the Economy, and that's fair enough. I don't know who they are, but I really believe it is a waste of money; $400,000 - I say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, he would love to have that extra $400,000, I am sure he could put it to good use, out in his own district, even, where there is a lot of serious problems with roads and all the rest of those kinds of things that occur, and when you have the Economic Recovery Commission costing you in excess of a couple of million, then I really think it is time for the government to explore this expenditure of $403,000.

I see the minister is anxious to address that particular point, even though I have seven or eight minutes left, but I will let him respond to that.

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Chairman, I have just been advised that I will have the details in the next half-hour or so on those particular items on ACE and on what they spent their money, and on that confusion under 2.20.9.

You are quite right. You didn't have an Economic Recovery Commission, I should say to the hon. member.

MS. VERGE: The economy was in much better shape then, too.

MR. FUREY: Well, if the hon. lady really believes that, she ought to take a look at -

MR. ROBERTS: And it is a result of that government's actions if she believes it.

MR. FUREY: I should say to my hon. friend, the Leader of the Opposition that, while they didn't have an Economic Recovery Commission, they had eight other departments. We have reduced government from twenty-two separate ministries down to fourteen. I think the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, who would have the best knowledge of that, tells me they have saved roughly $6 million to $8 million on that, so it is in that saving of $6 million, if you want to be fair about that.

There was another question -

MR. ROBERTS: Not to mention four parliamentary secretaries, who together, cost at least as much as ACE.

MR. FUREY: Did everybody hear that?

The Leader of the Opposition, I guess he is a little bit busy as I am from time to time talking to his colleagues, too; but I was just simply making the point that while the Economic Recovery Commission did cost $2 million, we reduced Cabinet and the departments down to fourteen by eight, which saved anywhere from $6 million to $8 million.

MR. SIMMS: That's (inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Twenty-one or twenty? Twenty?

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Nineteen? Eighteen?

MR. SIMMS: If you would give leave for a second, I would just -

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

For the sake of accuracy, I know the Premier has often flicked this out and tried this, but Premier Rideout, you will recall, in his administration, when he swore in his administration, there were eighteen including the Premier so, actually this one was reduced by three. The one before that was twenty-two or something.

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

MR. FUREY: I concur, and let the record show that I concur with that. That's quite right. While Premier Rideout was there for ten days he had eighteen ministers. Prior to that though, for Mr. Peckford's ten years -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Premier Rideout would have been twenty days?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Eighteen days?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Forty days.

MR. FUREY: For that forty days, Mr. Chairman, indeed, there were eighteen ministers and were there any parliamentary secretaries? My memory just fails me there now.

AN HON. MEMBER: I don't think so.

MR. FUREY: Okay, can you really count forty days? I don't think you can. I think Premier Simms would have been much more responsible.

MR. SIMMS: Oh, I think he (inaudible) pretty good.

MR. FUREY: I think Premier Simms would have been much more responsible, would have had a leaner, tougher, finer Cabinet and would have made a terrific Premier, by the way, and I really, sincerely mean that. He sincerely would have. Who is clapping back there? The Minister of Mines and Energy is even clapping, but in fairness though, if you revert before the forty-one days, you will see that there were twenty-two ministries that we really had to cope with. While the restructuring was taking place for that forty-odd days it really didn't give effect to any savings.

However, let me say this, my hon. friend makes a good comment on ACE, whether it's valid, whether it makes sense, does it still have a raison d'être and that kind of thing? I know he means that sincerely and I know it's not casting any aspersions on any of the people because, in fact, many of them - they appointed themselves, who currently still sit there - were appointed by the previous government.

I can get the list. I've asked for it, actually. But they're very good and competent people. I think they have the best interest of Newfoundland at heart, and I know you share that view. But on the bigger issue -

MS. VERGE: What did they achieve?

MR. FUREY: Well, they achieved what the Economic Council achieved, and how much did that cost us every single year? I can only tell you that I, as an Opposition member, supported that, because I think you need, from time to time, advice from the private sector. That was the whole reason of having the Economic Council,which my hon. lady friend from Humber East supported and probably appointed some people to. Never did? Never had any say in it?

MR. SIMMS: One of the most significant ones we have is Alex Snow.

MR. FUREY: That's right, and he was a good NDPer at the time, as I recall.

AN HON. MEMBER: He is.

MR. FUREY: There's an oxymoron, if ever I heard one. Yes, a good businessman who's an NDP. Only socialists can afford to be NDP.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Who?

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible) forty days.

MR. FUREY: Forty days and forty nights, and all it did was rain.

MR. ROBERTS: That's unusual `Chuck', normally it's forty days in the wilderness and then you come in. With them it's forty days in and then in the wilderness.

MR. FUREY: Anyway, to those specifics, we will take a look at ACE and I said so in the Estimates. You raised some valid points and I think they're fair and meant sincerely. As soon as the other details come in I'll be happy to address them. I don't know if the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation wanted to respond to a question that my friend, the Leader of the Opposition had asked about highways or something?

AN HON. MEMBER: No, no.

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

MR. SIMMS: Certainly the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, I'd be happy to give leave if he wants to make a few comments, but I didn't actually ask him a question. I was saying, if we could save the $400,000 from ACE the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation would love to have that money and the Minister of Social Services would love to have that money and so on, that was my point.

There are some other strange goings on, I say to the minister, under the strategic economic initiatives. Two years ago, nothing was budgeted for salaries, this year the minister will see that - I'm sorry, last year now - that nothing was budgeted again for salaries but $200,000 was spent. Do you follow me? Two years ago nothing was budgeted - I say, not in this document because it isn't here - two years ago nothing was budgeted for salaries but $235,000 was spent, salaries. Now, I don't know what that was for. Last year, once again, nothing was budgeted for salaries again, but $200,000 was spent. Now, this year almost $380,000 is budgeted, just about double what was spent last year.

So one of the problems is, you have a sizeable amount of expenditure - I say to the minister, one of the concerns we would have, as a responsible Opposition, is you have sizeable expenditures not provided for in the Budget. Therefore, not given the proper scrutiny through the Estimates Committee process because it wasn't in the Budget. There wasn't any amount budgeted for salaries but ends up $200,000 being spent. No scrutiny in the Estimates Committee because it wasn't even there, no questions asked or anything of that nature. So I think we would have a concern, as a responsible Opposition, about large amounts of money like this being spent and not being properly and thoroughly debated in the Estimates Committee. So I would like to ask the minister if he would give us a full explanation and a full accounting for this situation? Now, he wouldn't have the expenditure from two years ago unless he goes back to get to the documents but we have them because we've done -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Yes, there was nothing budgeted. Yes, sure.

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

MR. FUREY: Basically, I should tell my hon. friend, that what's done under the SEP action items or under that particular strategic economic initiatives, there's a block fund. The implementation committee, chaired by the Clerk of the Privy Council, hears proposals put forward by various departments, those proposals are then judged on whether in fact they have merit. If they are carried - i.e. on the operational or current side, in this case, salaries - if they are carried they are to be put in next year into the base budget of the department that's carrying them. For example, the Department of Environment and Lands needed some special pollution officers. They made the case under the strategic plan that they should get these. They made it to this implementation committee, who approved it, who lifted the money out of the block of $4.7 million, placed it there for salaries, and it will drop off next year and go into the base budget. I just mentioned a couple of industrial development officers that I need with the ministerial prospecting initiative. Those will be advertised. They will be carried out of the block, carried in salaries this year, and will fall into the base budget of Industry, Trade and Technology. We didn't want to restrict it for Purchased Services, for Salaries, for Communications, or for Transportation, but keep it in the block so as to make it fit the action items in the plan. That is the purpose of it, and that is why it is set out that way.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Relax, I say to the minister, the Member for Humber East will get to him before 10:00 o'clock tonight. He will get his comeuppance.

MR. ROBERTS: We are both waiting anxiously.

MR. SIMMS: We are all waiting anxiously, I say to the Government House Leader.

I thank the minister again for the explanation but I am not sure that it satisfies us as a responsible Opposition because it doesn't give us the opportunity through the Estimates to properly debate such expenditures, because we are not aware of them, I guess, is the point I am trying to make to the minister.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology.

MR. FUREY: I would have thought that is the purpose of debating the Estimates as we are doing now, so that we can debate it properly. That $4.7 million b, we can tell you what we hope the money will be spent for. We can tell you what the b was spent for last year. I am waiting for the details and I will be happy to give them all to you. It is hard for us to predict or look into a crystal ball and say, action items, 60, 80, 92, and 113 should take priority and they are going to have salary consequences. We don't know that until they come up.

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

MR. SIMMS: I say to the minister that I do not think that is good enough. The minister has his estimates here, and the President of the Executive Council, of course, has them. He should have covering explanatory notes from his officials - he should have. I know he is tired, he has been up all night, but he should have the notes and he should have passed them on to the acting, acting, Government House Leader, because when you look at the Estimates booklet you will see there was nothing budgeted for salaries last year, but there was $200,000 spent. Now, I want to ask the minister, since he gave that explanation, to tell the House what was the $200,000 for, who was it for, and where was it spent? That is why we are debating the Estimates.

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Chairman, I will be happy to. I have just asked for the details, but I can only explain again that it was a block fund.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Well, they are on their way. I'll give them - we have seven-and-a-half hours. Relax, no problem.

MR. SULLIVAN: We should have had them last week and we don't have them yet.

MR. ROBERTS: We can't anticipate every question.

MR. FUREY: I apologize. I don't have the exact details at my hand - I'll have them. You want me to resign then?

MR. ROBERTS: That's a good idea, `Chuck'.

MR. FUREY: I will resign myself to waiting for the answers. How is that?

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

MR. SIMMS: I just have a couple of more issues I want to touch on before my colleagues here start attacking and tearing apart, and get down to the really good stuff, the good questions, the elevator questions for the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, that we still haven't got an answer to.

I say to the minister, there are members on this side who want to pursue that line of questioning. I know, my friend, the Member for Bonavista South has a number of penetrating questions to ask the Minister of Social Services about some of the activities of his department. I know the forestry critic, the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay, wants to have a few more words on Hydro, and he wants to have a few more words on forestry and agriculture. I know the Member for Placentia who is the only man in this House elected twice in the last eight or ten months, or whatever, with a huge, huge majority, wants to ask some questions of the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. The energy critic here is just bursting at the seams ready to ask questions of the Minister of Mines and Energy, whoever that is, the Member for St. John's West, and let me assure members opposite, let me be certain and let all of you be certain of this, that the Member for Ferryland, if he dare stand to ask questions requiring detail, and giving detail background, there is no better in the House to do it than the Member for Ferryland, I say to you, Mr. Chairman.

We are looking forward to that, and to hearing the Member for Waterford - Kenmount, who has been a diligent critic, very diligent in his work as the education critic and has kept the government on its toes, particularly the Minister of Education, who hasn't shown his face in the House since the Estimates started, no doubt afraid of what the Member for Waterford - Kenmount will put to him in terms of education in these debates.

The Member for St. John's East Extern has a lot of environmental issues to raise but, of course, the minister is not here. That is probably just as well, because we will probably get better answers. Let me say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, when the Member for Humber East gets on to him about what he is doing in Pasadena, what he is doing in Works, Services and Transportation on the West Coast in general, he will be sorry that he even asked the Member for Humber East to say a few words.

When my colleague, the Member for Grand Bank, one of the most eminent gentleman to ever grace this House with his presence, Mr. Chairman, the Member for Grand Bank - when he gets up to put forth his concerns on the fishery, I say, there is not a member on that side of the House who will be able to carry his suitcase, I would say, in the future. Nobody could carry his suitcase.

AN HON. MEMBER: His $700 suitcase.

MR. SIMMS: Couldn't hold - what?

AN HON. MEMBER: Nobody can carry his $700 suitcase.

MR. SIMMS: Couldn't hold a torch to the Member for Grand Bank when he starts talking about fisheries issues.

Having covered all of that -

AN HON. MEMBER: Burin - Placentia West (inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: I mentioned the energy critic. He is chomping at the bit waiting to get on with it. We have seven or eight hours to go tonight. I can't speak for the Member for St. john's East but I know he wants to get up, too, from time to time and say a few words. We are hoping that the Minister of Mines and Energy, whom we haven't heard from in several months, might get up some time in this debate. I would like to see him get up. You can talk about anything. Hydro. Whatever.

I want to get back to the President of Treasury Board. Oh - I was going to disturb him but perhaps I will -

MR. ROBERTS: He just turns his hearing aid on (inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: You are lucky. He turned it on on your side. Mr. Chairman, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations - let me get to him while I'm waiting for the President of Treasury Board, before I get him up in the House to ask about negotiations. I want to ask him about negotiations. I know they are sensitive. I know the present set of negotiations with the NLTA are sensitive. I understand all of that.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Are you staying for supper?

MR. SIMMS: Yes, I guess so.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The boys suggest that you keep going until (inaudible) so then they can all go out for supper and you will still be going when they come back.

MR. SIMMS: I could do that. My colleagues would like me to keep it going until 7:00 p.m. so that you can all leave and go out and have supper.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes.

MR. SIMMS: Sure, I would be happy to do that, no problem.

The President of Treasury Board - I wanted to ask him about negotiations. I'm not expecting him to -

AN HON. MEMBER: Answer them.

MR. SIMMS: Well, no, I expect him to answer, but it may not be a satisfactory answer. I don't want him - if it is - I'm not just talking about the NLTA negotiations, because I know and understand they are sensitive. Having been a President of Treasury Board, I understand the necessity to say as little as you possible can when you are on the verge of getting a settlement or possibly getting a -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)?

MR. SIMMS: I beg your pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)?

MR. SIMMS: No, I wasn't President of Treasury Board then, I came in after that.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, you came (inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: I settled it all up and straightened it all out, yes. As a matter of fact - the minister may not be aware - when I was President of Treasury Board, the NLTA signed a collective agreement with the government for the first time in its history before its previous contract had run out, the only time it has ever happened. As a matter of fact, I dealt with the Minister of Environment and Lands then when she was -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: So, if the minister, without touching on too sensitive an area, can give us a little bit of an update on what is going on with the NLTA negotiations, we would appreciate it, but if it is extremely sensitive, then we will understand it. I do want to ask him. I don't think we could leave it from the public agenda without asking him what is going on and if it is still moving or whatever.

MR. ROBERTS: A responsible question.

MR. SIMMS: Yes. Secondly, I can ask him this question, which he won't be able to slough off by saying that they are at a sensitive stage or delicate stage or anything, and that is the negotiations with the other public servants, the other groups of public servants: NAPE, CUPE, the nurses, the Allied Health Professionals.

If perhaps the President of Treasury Board could stand at his place and give us a little bit of a run down on where all of those are, have they for example, now been narrowed down to one or two items as is the case we understand with the NLTA or one item? Is that the same with NAPE and CUPE, are they narrowed down to one or two items? I heard the nurses union president the other day, Joan Marie Aylward, say just a day or two ago, that in fact, they hadn't even gotten down, the nurses hadn't even gotten down to the monetary items I believe it was, she was quoted as saying.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Joan Marie Aylward, quoted as saying they hadn't even gotten down to the monetary items yet, so I would like to ask the minister and President of Treasury Board, if he could give us a little bit of an update on all of those negotiations, NAPE, CUPE, the nurses union, the Allied Health Professionals, the RNC, that's five. I would like him to begin by giving us -

MR. ROBERTS: Allied Health Professionals?

MR. SIMMS: That would still be five because I already mentioned it, and the NLTA is the first one that I hope he would like to respond to. Now, the reason I am doing this is because, in Question Period when we asked him a question, he said: if I dozed off, please wake me up, so in due deference to the minister and with the greatest of respect, I would like to ask him those questions now, early in the debate on the Estimates as opposed to nine or ten o'clock tonight when he likely would be dozing off; and there are those in the unions who say the minister is not only dozing off on occasion but he is dozy dozed, dozy dozed -

MR. BAKER: You are wrong.

MR. SIMMS: I didn't say that. Oh yes, I have heard some of them say it and worse -

MR. BAKER: No, they all appreciate me.

MR. SIMMS: No. I would say to the President of Treasury Board, they appreciate the President of Treasury Board a great deal more than they appreciate the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations; that much I can tell him for certain. With a great degree of certainty I can say that, and they appreciate the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, if you can believe this, even more than they appreciate the Minister of Education, and they do. Now, mind you, it is not much more, just slightly more and the only one group or one individual who is madder at the Minister of Education and the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations than the teachers and the nurses and NAPE and CUPE and the firemen and the Constabulary and the Allied Health Professionals, is the President of Treasury Board.

The President of Treasury Board himself is madder than a hatter at the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations for his stupid interference from time to time, at the Minister of Education for his outrageous comments from time to time in this whole dispute. If the President of Treasury Board had his hands around the throats of the Minister of Education and the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, I tell you - Now I don't expect the President of Treasury Board to admit to that or to confess, but maybe he will touch on how mad he was at the Minister of Education; how upset he is at the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, for the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations is supposed to be playing a neutral role in all of this.

AN HON. MEMBER: You want me (inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Yes. Oh, the minister is anxious; sure. I can get up at any time. Sit down.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

First of all, I would like to say that a couple of days ago, I made the case about the hon. the Leader of the Opposition, I thought that he was perhaps the greatest dictator ever to sit in this House of Assembly, and it is too bad he wasn't there to hear it and maybe what I should do is copy Hansard and send it over to him but anyway that is just an aside. He walked out and I was explaining it, so I should simply ask him to read Hansard, it should be interesting.

In terms of the negotiations, Mr. Chairman, I could very briefly run down through what's happening in a number of areas. First of all, the Allied Health Professionals, he asked about the AHP; there have been meetings, as a matter of fact I met with them myself this morning at nine and we had a short meeting, about three-quarters of an hour I guess, where we dealt with a couple of their concerns and things are progressing there, and I will be getting back to them in a few days, but the negotiations are proceeding satisfactorily with that group.

Also, this morning, I very briefly ran into the head of the policemen's union, the RNC, who dropped in the office for a moment, and we had a brief chat. These negotiations have been ongoing, and I believe that they intend to trigger the arbitration process that is in their collective agreement, that they always trigger when they get to a certain point in negotiations. So I think there may still be some discussions on non-monetary items, but I think in terms of the monetary items they would probably trigger that process.

In terms of the nurses, I will have a better idea - it just so happens that this is the day that everything is happening. I have a meeting later on today with the nurses union, and I will have a little better idea from their perspective as to how things are going. I can only go by what the negotiators have told me, and by what I read in the press in terms of their reaction. Things have progressed, and there is still room for movement, and we are in the process of negotiating with the nurses union.

He mentioned the firemen, but we no longer negotiate with the firemen because that is the responsibility of the City of St. John's.

The two largest groups, NAPE/CUPE first of all, we have had extensive negotiations, going back to January, with the NAPE/CUPE coalition. We have exchanged many proposals, and the last meeting was a few days ago - it was on Friday, I think it was - where we gave them our counter, counter, counter-proposal to their counter, counter, counter-proposal. In other words, we put another position to them dealing with a lot of their concerns. The meeting was sort of a lengthy meeting where we explained in detail all of the items, and they are going to get back to us as soon as they have done the analysis. They are taking some time to go over it with their full unit, and get back to us, but again things have been progressing. Every single exchange of proposals has met progress. There has been progress with every single exchange of proposals, and if this progress continues there should not be a problem there.

I left the NLTA until last simply because that has been the most difficult of negotiations. We were not successful in getting them started, so an awful lot of time went by, and everybody in this hon. House, and I guess most of the people in the Province, know what has happened in the last three or four weeks; we are in the middle of a strike.

In the last few days there have been some meaningful negotiations finally, and positions have been exchanged. Some of them have been accepted, others have been rejected and so on, and we have been into that process. Because of the delicate nature of what is happening right now, I chose to not comment on what happened over the weekend. I chose not to comment on the details of what is being discussed. I choose not to comment on how close or far apart we may be.

My Cabinet colleagues would be very pleased to find out what is going on. Just like the member opposite, I am sure they would also like to know what is transpiring now, but it is the sort of thing where you have to give it every opportunity to work, and now that something meaningful is going on we must give it every opportunity to work as quickly as possible. That is what everybody involved is now trying to do, and I am encouraged by that.

So that is a brief summary of what has happened in negotiations. We would like to conclude our negotiations some time in the next month or two without any further disturbance. We would like to get back to normal for some time, and I believe that is distinctly possible, that over the next few months we will get back to a more normal situation.

We have not chosen the route of some of the other provinces this year. We went through a number of years ago a process where we were in the situation where we had to legislate collective agreements. Then we got over that hump and we then decided to repeal the legislation that existed. So that legislation was no longer on the books and we could get back to bargaining. For two years now we've been trying our best to do the bargaining in the normal way.

We've succeeded more often than not but it has not been easy. It is not normal for representatives of workers to come to the bargaining table and negotiate concessions. It has not been normal. We've gotten so used to everything increasing and revenues always increasing, and the argument becomes whether you get 5 per cent or 6 per cent, or whether you get two 3s or a 3 and a 4. You know? These have been the normal types of collective bargaining and the situation has changed, and it is very difficult. Not only for government, but it is extremely difficult for the unions. I think that everybody has to appreciate how difficult it has been for the union leadership to take part in a process where there is not a lot of gain. A recognition has to be there that the Province is experiencing difficult times. There are tremendous problems that have built up over the years that now must be solved and we must have the cooperation of everybody.

That kind of attitude, in spite of what it may seem on the surface, I think does exist within our public service. Even though the negotiations are difficult I think that realization exists. That is why I think that eventually we will come to a successful conclusion to our round of collective bargaining and end up with signed agreements with all our unions.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I wonder - the minister has had a chance - I know he is tired. I know he is tired. He keeps yawning over there. It is not very encouraging for those of us who have to keep asking questions and so on to look over at the minister and he is yawning. I hope it is not personal.

MR. BAKER: Don't take it personally.

MR. SIMMS: I hope it is not personal. I asked him some questions last week when his estimates started. I think it was Tuesday, or Thursday. Tuesday, I guess it was, of last week, or whenever we started. Remember I asked him some questions, details of the public relations people, the names and their salaries, and all that kind of thing. I was looking for that kind of information. The minister said he would get it. I hope it didn't slip his mind but just in case it did. Right? The Estimates will be over tonight. Because of the -

MR. BAKER: I can still provide the information.

MR. SIMMS: Pardon?

MR. BAKER: I can still provide the information. Under Answers to Questions.

MR. SIMMS: I hope he will. My only fear is that things might be rushed through the House in such a way that he might not get the answers. We would like to have the information. It should be at his fingertips. It shouldn't be hard to get, the names of all the people.

I also asked him if he could give us a bit of a breakdown, in addition to those people down in that office there or whatever it is on that main floor, I asked him how many other information officers are in the various government departments and what their salaries were. Because our suspicion is hundreds of thousands of dollars are being spent on public relations. Notwithstanding the fact that he can get up and attack us and say what we had there when we were ministers - that is beside the point. No, he wouldn't do that. That is beside the point.

I don't know if the Minister of Education while he is back now can tell me if his colleague asked him to get up and respond to a question I asked earlier about the Strategic Social Plan. If he didn't perhaps the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology could brief him on it, make sure, because I would like to get the answer to the question that I asked earlier from the chairman of the Social Policy Committee of Cabinet.

Back to the estimates under the various heads. I would like to ask the Minister of Justice a couple of questions that he would be familiar with, I guess, no doubt. Can he tell us, for example, why the government expects to spend $123,400 on Constitutional Affairs this year. The Minister of Justice perhaps could tell us the answer to that question. We would appreciate getting the information. I know that the federal government and the Prime Minister has to -

MR. ROBERTS: I can answer that now.

MR. SIMMS: No, I've got a couple more so maybe he can take a note of it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Yes, yes. I know that the federal government and the Prime Minister has said that constitutional affairs must take a back seat to everything else, and the economy in particular, so -

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Well yes, except not for a small province like ours, $123,000. As a matter of fact you didn't spend anything last year, as I recollect. You budgeted last year, if I remember, $167,900. You didn't spend anything. Those are the notes I have here. So I presume whoever was there and salary and all that kind of stuff must be gone.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: No, okay. Why have you budgeted $123,000 again this year, that is what I want to know. Because of the fact that most people have put the Constitution behind them and hope that it stays behind them.

Could I ask him on the constitutional angle once more could he give us some promise, some commitment, the promise and some commitment, that for the sake of national unity, for the sake of Canadian unity, would the Minister of Justice ensure that the Premier keeps his nose out of the Quebec debate? That would be very helpful, I think, to the people of the country and the people of the Province. Because any day now I'm expecting the Premier to jump into that one.

On the issue of Encouragement of Military Training in Labrador, that subhead, there is an additional $120,000 being spent there, over and above what was spent last year. Can he perhaps tell us what that is for? Recognizing in 1992, just a couple of years ago, $50,000 was budgeted but only $7,000 spent. What has been happening, and what is about to happen, and what does he hope will happen over the next little while?

Finally, on some Native Policy questions. That is Intergovernmental Affairs, I realize, I'm not quite sure if that would be - I guess it is the Premier.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Okay. Last year Native Policy Transportation and Communications expenditures were $48,100. Transportation and Communications. This year those expenditures are expected to rise to $190,000. Quadruple. Or not quite, but almost quadruple.

Secondly, Native Policy Professional Services this year. Last year only $20,000 was spent; nearly three times that amount this year will be spent, $57,500. What is that for, that money? Finally, regarding Native Policy overall, I think it would be helpful if the House had some kind of a report from the minister or whoever can speak on behalf of the government on this issue. What exactly is the status of negotiations with the Labrador Inuit Association and the Innu Nation? Does the government project any other major expenditures in that particular area, say for the rest of this fiscal year, that may not be provided for in the estimates?

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman, I will address the questions that the Leader of the Opposition addressed to me, and then my friend the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology can deal with some others.

Let me take them, if I may, I say to my friend the Leader of the Opposition, in reverse order. I don't carry ministerial responsibility for Native Policy issues - it rests with the Premier as the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs - but I do have a fairly close involvement in these matters and I may be able to help the Committee with the information the hon. gentleman seeks.

Let me first of all very briefly try to do a tour d'horizon of the overall situation. We have recognized in this Province two aboriginal land claims, one from the Innu and from the LIA, the Inuit Association. When I say "we" have recognized I am using the word "we" to mean governments in the very broadest sense, because essentially this is the responsibility of the Government of Canada.

There is also an aboriginal land claim being brought forward by the CAM, and I wouldn't attempt to give that in French, but it is the umbrella organization that represents the Montagnis who live in northeastern Quebec which borders on Western Labrador; if you wish, the Innu who live in Sept-Iles and that part of Quebec. They have exerted claims, put forward claims, to areas that fall within the territorial boundaries of Western Labrador.

With the LIA claim, we are well under way in a negotiation process. The LIA have presented their substantive land claim issue as opposed to a self-government issue. We have made our substantive response, and we are now awaiting a further substantive response from the LIA.

With the respect to the Innu, there was a hold-up of a year, or a year and a bit - I don't recall the exact time - while we worked out certain difficulties inherent in the refusal of certain people to pay for electricity being consumed in Sheshatshiu. Well, that is dissolved. That electricity is being paid for now, so we are back at the table with the Innu, and when I say `we' in this context, there are negotiating teams being led by public servants.

In each case, and this is the really significant development, the Government of Canada have returned to the table. They had earlier withdrawn, unilaterally and arbitrarily. When I say the previous administration, this may go back to the days of the Trudeau administration. I am not saying it doesn't but there was a Government of Canada policy that unless we in Newfoundland and Labrador agreed in advance to a specific proportion of the value of any land claim settlement, they would not take part in tripartite negotiations.

We took the dual position that: number one, the primary responsibility for these under the Constitution rests with the Government of Canada, the Parliament of Canada, the government to which it answers; and secondly, we would contribute our proper share, but that it was a matter for bilateral discussion between us and the Government of Canada, and the aboriginal groups, the LIA or the Innu nation, in either case, need be involved, and certainly didn't need to suffer.

Well, Tom Siddon refused to accept that point of view when he was the Indian Affairs Minister in Ottawa, the DIAND minister. When Mr. Siddon, or his administration, were turfed out of office, Ron Irwin became the minister, with Mr. Chrétien the Prime Minister, and they very quickly reviewed and revised that policy, so they are now back at the table.

In essence, I say to my friend, the Opposition Leader, that is what accounts for the increases. I don't know why we are estimating $451,700 in salaries. Maybe we have hired another person or two, but in any event the point is we are now back with two negotiating tables under way, one involving the LIA, and one involving the Innu. In addition, of course, there are numerous meetings with Ottawa, and -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I am sorry?

MR. SIMMS: Can the minister get the specific answer.

MR. ROBERTS: I will get the answer. I don't have the salary appendix. The salary appendix would say whether we have hired any additional people. I am not aware that we have, but I am not certain. I will find out.

Under transportation and communications, the explanation is straightforward. We expect to do a great deal more travel this year. Again, this would be officials primarily. The committee will note that we budgeted $190,000 last year. We only spent $48,000. That was because in essence there were no negotiations until very late in the fiscal year, so we simply didn't need the money, and because we didn't need it, we didn't spend it.

The same is true of professional services, where that covers - we sometimes have to go outside for legal advice, or for advice on some of the more technical matters.

Now that brings me back to the Labrador area, where I have a little more knowledge, the vote in support of the Encouragement of Military Training in Labrador, 2.4.09. There, the matter has moved forward, as the House is aware, because the environmental impact statement has finally been brought forward. So what was essentially a holding operation last year has now moved into full gear, and the operation, of course, the committee will be aware, is the government's commitment to support the low-level flight training activity, and to do what we can to make it a continuing reality.

I can say to my friend that we have hired two people, we have it into a contract for some work for the third. Now I will see if I can remember the names. All three were hired as a result of competition - no, one, and one contract.

A young man named Shawn Dutton from Labrador has been hired to work as an analyst, to work on this file. That was a PSC competition. Mr. Dutton is a young man in his twenties. A well-known family in Labrador, his father was superintendent of the school system there for a number of years, Mr. Dutton was taken on last year. The committee may have heard of Mr. Dutton in another connection. His family were the victims in that terrible tragedy of the young woman who was struck and killed in a motor vehicle accident a number of years ago. He has become very involved in the - originally the Friends Against Drunk Driving and now the Mothers Against Drunk Driving movement - not that that's part of his official duties, but he spends a fair amount of his spare time on that. We've also retained - and my friend, the Member for Windsor - Buchans might be able to help me. The name of that company, Mercer is it? Eugene Mercer? - We retained a company, I'm not sure I remember the name of it, but it's owned by Eugene Mercer, I understand, and they're to advice on the biological aspects of the EIS. We do not have sufficient in-house capability to deal with this in the turnaround time needed so we have retained that. That's essentially the action to date - we estimate this will be a very active file this year. The committee will note, we requested $175,000 last year; we request the same amount this year, notwithstanding we only spent $58,000 last year. The difference is that last year, because the EIS was delayed and did not become public, we were in a much less active situation.

Now, there were two other points. Let me deal first with the one of substance, the constitutional affairs vote. There is nobody working full time in that office now and there's nobody holding the position of what is called Director of Constitutional Affairs. The constitutional advice, as it may be needed, is provided either by my lawyers, by the civil division of solicitors, or we go outside for it. I don't think we retained anybody for months and months and months on any aspect of the constitution because, as my friend, the Opposition Leader notes, the constitution - the `C' word, as the Prime Minister calls it - is very much on the back burner. I don't anticipate we'll need to spend any money there this year but we're asking for authority to do it. If the need arises we shall spend money and it will go - I'm trying to find - yes, here we are - it will go, in large measure, I would think, for outside professional fees, for transportation and communications. We do not anticipate hiring anybody to work in that vacant position there this year but if the need arises we will proceed to deal on it.

Finally, just a brief remark, because I have only a moment or two left. My friend, the Opposition Leader couldn't resist getting in the crack about the Premier in Quebec. All I will say to him, if he wants - I'll make two points, if he wants to have a debate on this, I would welcome it. I think the committee could have a very useful and entertaining three or four hours discussing the point. I'd be quite happy to put the administration's record against that of its predecessor or any other administration in Canada.

Let me make a second point and simply say that the fact that the Premier has such a deep knowledge and a deep concern with constitutional matters, in my judgement - I may be biased, but in my judgement -

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Yes I am, but from knowledge, I say to my friend, the Opposition Leader, as opposed to those who are not necessarily knowledgeable in these matters, but that doesn't make their view any less worthwhile or any less sincerely held. What I want to say is that in my judgement - that's all I can bring to the matter - this Province has been extraordinarily well served because we have a Premier who happens to have a very deep knowledge of the legal principles but also a very deep commitment to the idea of Canada as a strong federal state with a strong central government. I can tell you I cannot conceive, Mr. Chairman, of a government in Newfoundland and Labrador that does not adopt that position - one of my basic fundamental differences with Brian Peckford during all the time he was Premier of this Province. I had political differences with him, of course, but I had a fundamental policy difference that Brian Peckford was one of those who believed, as he once told the federal/provincial conference in an open meeting, that Ottawa is simply agency of the provinces, and I cannot conceive how any administration and any Premier in this Province could ever endorse that view. If there's - I'm sorry?

MR. HEWLETT: How can you have a federation without provinces?

MR. ROBERTS: The hon. the Member for Green Bay, erupting again, asks, How can we have a federation without provinces? He's quite right, but the Premier whom he so slavishly followed would have had a federation without a central nation, and that's where we take issue and that's where we disagree.

In any event, what I would say is, if we're going to have a debate, let's. I would - we have deux nations and rightly so, but it is essential, in my judgement, that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador look to a strong central government. Brian Peckford and those who supported him, as did many members opposite, would have destroyed that and, in my view, have done irreparable harm to the cause of this Province. The present Premier will never subscribe to such a policy and I say that, in my view, is the right policy for the Government of this Province.

Now, with that said, Mr. Chairman, I think I've dealt with all the points raised by my friend. The Minister of the Department of Industry, Trade and Technology has left us for a moment but he's gone out getting even more information, so we'll let somebody else speak in the Committee. We're here until the earlier of about 10:30, or when the debate comes to its natural conclusion, so there is lots of time.

My friend, the Minister of Education looks like he wants to release his seat belt, leap to his feet and make a speech. Mr. Chairman, it is time for somebody else to have a go.

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Chairman, while I was out, there were some very hard-hitting questions put forward by the Leader of the Opposition. He wanted some information on the Strategic Social Plan. Now, to address that, I first say that in the Throne Speech, government announced our commitment to continue with the Strategic Social Plan, and to explain that process, to explain how we are going to spend the money, it is probably best for me to give an illustration as to the way it was done with the Strategic Economic Plan.

Members know that some of the top public servants in the Province were involved in formulating that Strategic Economic Plan, but before it was accepted as total government policy, hearings were held all around the Province. As a matter of fact, ACE was involved in the hearing. We went all over Newfoundland and Labrador and explained to the people exactly what we intended to do with our Strategic Economic Plan, and then the ACE people came back and made recommendation to government, government put the Strategic Economic Plan in place, and accepted it as government policy.

We are in the process of doing exactly the same thing with our Strategic Social Plan. We are sending some top civil servants, we will probably pick a group, to take our proposal and go to various parts of the Province, different organizations, and different societies. We will talk to them and we will consult. Most of the money which is included in this year's Budget, Mr. Chairman, is there so we can conduct public hearings. It ties in with our approach as a government where we don't do things without consulting as fully as possible with the people of the Province.

That is the answer to that, Mr. Chairman. The Strategic Social Plan is totally on track and it will be just as successful as the Strategic Economic Plan. And, in due course, it will be accepted as government's policy, as a blueprint for this government or any future governments of the day to follow, and to deal with that very important aspect of society.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Chairman, if I could get the Minister of Education to rise again. The other question I asked was where in the Budget are the expenditures provided for the process, whatever process there is in place that he just bragged about a moment ago, for the Strategic Social Plan? Where is the line vote for that amount of money and how much is it?

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

MR. DECKER: It is in the Executive Council. I am just trying to find out where it is. We will find it and get the appropriate heading for you.

MR. SIMMS: I dare say if it is in the Executive Council, it is probably buried under a lump of something or other, Purchased Services, and if that is the case, if he looks under the vote and finds out which vote it might be buried under, perhaps he can give us a breakdown of the total vote and not just - like if he comes across a vote that says $300,000 Purchased Services and $150,000 of that is for Strategic Social Plan, or whatever, maybe he can tell us what the rest of it is for, too. Seeing he is going to look for the information, I would like to know what amount of money is allocated?

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Chairman, one of the issues raised, I think, was the Premier's Office salaries. It was raised earlier. The Minister of Finance mentioned to me that you had asked some questions about the Premier's Chief of Staff,and he promised to get those answers. I would just like to put it in a little context if I could. If I could just give you 1988-1989, the Premier's Office.

MR. SIMMS: What about 1987-1988?

MR. FUREY: Well, I can give you that, too, if you want.

MR. SIMMS: I think if you could get that you will find a difference, because 1988-1989 was the year the government changed so there was a lot paid out for severance.

MR. FUREY: I noticed $100,000, about $100,000 was it?

Anyway 1988-1989, the principal secretary was paid $75,269, the Chief of Staff, $54,297, for a total of $129,566; Press Secretary responsible directly to the Premier was $58,404 for a total of $187,970.

The Premier's Office, this was 1988-1989. The Premier's Office in 1994-1995, five years later, Chief of Staff, Senior Policy Adviser and Principal Secretary were combined under one position and that was $102,422.

AN HON. MEMBER: Are you sure?

MR. FUREY: Yes, and the Public Relations Director was $83,617, so if you count all those positions from 1988-1989, you will see it was $187,970 five years ago and it's about $1,000 less this year than it was five years ago.

MR. SIMMS: If you put it in that context but if you put it in the context that I asked you, how much (inaudible) -

MR. FUREY: Just for the record, $186,039, that was the total, so -

MR. SIMMS: - Chief of Staff (inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Well no. We are looking at expenditures. Five years ago it was $187,970 - I just forget what they gave us in Opposition, do you remember?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: The Opposition Leader's office this year 1994-1995, he has a Chief of Staff who is paid $65,381, a Senior Policy Adviser who is paid $46,396 for a total of $111,777 and a media co-ordinator for $40,754 for a total of $152,531. I tell you, we were pretty good; we are pretty good to the hon. the Leader of the Opposition compared to what -

Now, just to put it in historic context, to take in the years that we have -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. FUREY: The Premier's Office expenditures for 1987, you asked for 1987 - 1987 to 1988, the estimate was $1,101,000 and it came in pretty good, $1,144,000 - $1,144,000 in 1987.

AN HON. MEMBER: The Premier's Office?

MR. FUREY: The Premier's Office, 1987-1988. 1988-1989 which again was your government, the estimate was $1,471,600; that is what you estimated; you actually spent, $2,045,000. Now, we took over in 1989 and we estimated, $1,449,700; we actually spent $1,264,000, there was a decrease. In 1990, we estimated $1,169,800 and we came in at $1,122,000, so two years in a row, we are below the actual estimates. In 1991-1992, we estimated $1,145,000 and we came in again at $1,117,000, three years in a row below the estimates. In 1992-1993, we estimated $1,137,000 and for a fourth year in a row, we came in at $1,060,000, four years in a row below the estimate. In 1993-1994, we estimated $1,089,000 and came in $1,020,000, five years in a row this Premier came in well under estimate, and this year, we are estimating $1,048,000 and the Premier has laid off a special assistant, and I predict he will come in probably around the million-dollar mark, so six years in a row, this Premier will have come in well under estimate; but here is the fascinating part.

Seven years ago, in 1987, the actual expenditure was $1,144,000. This year in real dollars, this Premier will spend just over $1,000,000. I mean, that's performance; that is pretty good performance.

AN HON. MEMBER: How about cigars?

MR. FUREY: Now my hon. friend - I don't want to get into cigars and all that kind of stuff.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. FUREY: My hon. friend, the Leader of the Opposition asked about Section 2.2.09 of the Estimates. The $200,000 that was spent on salaries that I mentioned, you recall in the Estimates there was a -

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Yes. There was a block fund of $4.7 million and yet there were salary expenditures of $200,000?

MR. SIMMS: Yes.

MR. FUREY: I thought that that was for the base salaries that would flow into the departments as they come up, but that was not what that particular expenditure was. That $200,000 was to hire co-op students from the University out into the private sector and I think we hired something like fifty or something under the Strategic Economic Plan.

Under there there was $10,000 for Professional Services. That was the preparation and printing of the status report. Meeting the Challenge, it was.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who hired the students?

MR. FUREY: I'm not sure if it was - I think the University. We just gave them a block of money and they (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible) Strategic Economic Plan.

MR. FUREY: Yes. I tell you why. That was the only area where there was actually a block of unencumbered funds. Every dollar in every department was encumbered at that time. We said: These co-op students, we want to help them out. They made a case before the senior civil service, chaired by the Clerk of the Privy Council. They agreed at their session - and I think it is the Clerk, the Deputy, a number of deputies - my deputy sits on it, Employment and Labour Relations, and a number of people.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. FUREY: Clerk of the...?

AN HON. MEMBER: Executive.

MR. FUREY: Executive. I'm sorry, Executive Council, you are quite right. Either way it is privy.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: That is right.

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible) is it?

MR. FUREY: I just forget the exact mechanism but I can find that out for you. Maybe I can ask Kevin to check that out. But it was $200,000, it was dedicated to the co-op students, and that is what it was for.

MR. SIMMS: You are going to find that out for us (inaudible)?

MR. FUREY: No problem. We will find that out right away for you. The next Minister of Finance will find that out right away.

The Purchased Services of $20,000. You were asking a question about the Purchased Services. That was for the printing of the status reports and the original SEP document, that is what that was for.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Absolutely.

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible) the minister table that stuff or what?

MR. FUREY: Yes, well, it is in the record. No problem. I read it into the record.

MR. SIMMS: I would like to have a copy (inaudible).

MR. FUREY: They are my own handwritten notes, if you don't....

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Okay, no problem. Let me finish off, because there are other notes here too.

In 1993-1994 the hon. member asked about some expenditures under the SEP block fund. I can account for $4.11 million and I will account for them this way. Under Environment and Lands, for their particular action items, we issued $150,000 there. Do you want me to go through the details of what the $150,000 and all the rest of them...?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, yes. Read it all.

MR. FUREY: No problem. Twenty thousand dollars was spent for the environmental audit which we required at Argentia. We needed to get our act in order to see exactly what the lay of the land was out there in terms of dealing with the U.S. government in our bilateral negotiations. In fact, Mr. Tobin just had a series of meetings in Washington with the Under-Secretary of Defence, I believe it was, talking about the environmental problems.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. FUREY: By leave.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave!

MR. FUREY: There was $12,000 in an environmental assessment, a consultation process, and for an EA process review. There was an information system expenditure of $12,000. There were some co-op students hired right in the department for an expenditure of $10,400.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Environment and Lands.

In terms of Employment and Labour Relations, there was $355,000 spent there; a joint labour/management consultation committee spent $10,000; a select committee of employers and employees, in consultation, spent $15,000; labour relations education resource centre, $30,000; professional development of preventive mediation program, $100,000; an employee advisor for outside agencies, I would have to check that one out - there is an asterisk by it; I don't know exactly what it means; I could find out, I guess - for a total of $355,000.

Industry, Trade and Technology - there was a good minister there - $480,000 came out of the pot for Industry, Trade and Technology.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: That is right. Yes, marketing and investment there was $160,000 set aside for the ministerial prospecting initiative.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: The hon. members are really interested in this information; I can tell.

AN HON. MEMBER: But you said, ministerial prospecting.

MR. FUREY: Yes, led by the minister, to prospect for investment and induce people to come in and set up businesses here, and we have had some modicum of success.

AN HON. MEMBER: Money well spent (inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Yes.

Information industries, we spent $60,000; policy and planning, thirty. We held a reverse trade show. Does the hon. member know what that is?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: That is right.

Well, when I attended the reverse trade show, the first of its kind in Moncton, New Brunswick, Premier McKenna was there, and Premier Cameron, Premier Ghiz, and myself - I represented Premier Wells. At the time, when I made my few remarks, I said: Maybe we ought to, as partners in this, host the next conference in Newfoundland. Well, in order to do that there are certain costs attached to it, but we brought in most of the Crown agencies from Atlantic Canada, all of the line departments, the electrical utilities, all of those people set up booths, and what happens is that companies who have products to sell go to these booths to see what it is that they require.

Normally at business trade shows you are there to hustle your products. What these people were there to do was to explain, here is how many booths, and here is how many tacks, and here are how many pins, and here are how many wires, all of that, and give them all a list. There has been some success because of that, by the way.

The MAPD program, which hon. members all get copies of letters I send to business people when we approve 50, 60, and 75 per cent of their costs to go out to the marketplace, such as GLAMOX Lights, and SEA Enterprises, and people like that, who are doing terrific work out there.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: So we added $100,000 to that program which allowed businesses - and I can go through the list, I have them here actually in my binder, of companies that travelled the world and took advantage of this and that are leveraging out contracts.

The Y enterprise centre needed some help so we gave them $100,000. The Public Service Commission, so that's my department, $480,000, I'm talking about 1993-94 now. I'll tell you about the Budget in 1994-95 and what our projections are for this year. I didn't hear the hon. member, what did he say?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Can we get that on the record? Straight answers, I got them.

The Public Service Commission is doing a major quality service program, TQM, where we're trying to put the client first. To change the whole psyche of the bureaucracy that we're not just civil servants but we're actually out there to help people, not create obstacles, not put rules in their place, not fumble and bumble industry or become obstacles to progress. So we want to make sure that we start that project. We had $75,000 earmarked last year and I think there's a further expenditure this year. It's to reeducate people, get them thinking positive and that we're servants to help the people.

The Economic Recovery Commission, under that block fund, had $290,000. A $60,000 was for the further development of the income security program and to have consultations on that. Well some people would argue and laugh that it's not a good thing but the documents out there is a draft proposal for further debate and discussion.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Yes, yes. Well I would think - yes, but I think my hon. friend would agree that the debate in this country has to begin and what we can afford, not only what we can afford - no but bear in mind what it was, it was a draft document and he's a fair player. It's out there for discussion. Yes, there's some problems with it. Yes, there has to be some changes, there's no question about that but in concept there's only a limited pool of money. How we divide it up -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Okay but that's what the debate has engendered and that's -

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible) the federal minister, Mr. Martin, indicated that there needs to be changes (inaudible).

MR. FUREY: I'm happy to hear my hon. friend say that there's no question the debate has to begin and that we have to arrive at some kind of sane, rational conclusion to the limited pots of money we have for division in terms of the social programs that we now supply.

My hon. friend would agree with the Newfoundland Conservation Core. They have been in many districts around the Province with the Green Teams, young people, re-energized, out there working in the woods, in the rivers and lakes, cleaning up the environment and educating communities about -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. FUREY: Why? Are you sure about that? There was $150,000 last year on that. There is one in your district, two, maybe.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. FUREY: Okay, so that basically covers that off.

Then over in fisheries there was $881,625 spent in fisheries under this block fund of $4.3 million, I think it was. I think it was $4.3 in 1993-94. No, $4.7, I am sorry. Under fisheries there was a fish health monitoring program for $55,000, a scollop hatchery enhancement for $40,000. That may have been the Port au Port Peninsula, I guess, where they are doing a lot of the work. Is it? Are they doing any aquaculture in your area besides the cod farming?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. FUREY: Oh, I know there are. But there is no scollop enhancement or scollop aquaculture. Shrimp fishery, $20,000, skate exploration, $30,000. Skate exploration? That is where you skate around all the answers to the questions you get, I guess. Crab fishery for the South Coast, $40,000. The urchin fishery - I guess that is the opposition school, urchin, $55,000. The dried caplin project, $60,000. I think that dried caplin project was the male caplin. I will have to ask the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture for a little help here. That dried caplin project -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)

MR. FUREY: I think he was involved with the Pentecostal Assemblies who dealt with the male caplin, the drying of it, and shipping it to Africa. I believe you were. Is that what it is. Was it a successful program.

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes.

MR. FUREY: I think what they use it for was for protein in the stews. In order for them to market this caplin, the dried caplin, the federal government under the export program would only give them so much money and to make up the balance, and the Pentecostal Assemblies had put money in themselves as far as I recall.

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible) aid?

MR. FUREY: But it was. But they had a shortfall, that was the problem.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Yes, yes, but there was a shortfall under their requirements for shipping purposes.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: But I mean, this money was spent in Newfoundland. It was spent purchasing the male caplin, paying people to dry it, packaging it, shipping it. All of those have enormous costs. What the Pentecostal Assemblies to their everlasting credit were doing was trying to establish that this is good protein, it is acceptable to the palates of Africa in this particular case, and if they could continue maybe we could expand. Because right now as you know we are discarding, what, millions of pounds of...?

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible) 50 per cent of what is caught.

MR. FUREY: Fifty per cent of what is caught. What was caught last year?

MR. SULLIVAN: In some years 30,000, 40,000 tons.

MR. FUREY: That is a lot of fish to be throwing away in a world that is starving, I think, and that is the whole (inaudible).

There was a seal meat protein project, similar, $40,000, similar project. The foreign overfishing campaign, there was a small amount spent last year, $16,000. Experimental fishing was a half a million. I think off the coast of Labrador a lot of that was spent.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) turbot, yes.

MR. FUREY: In the turbot, testing gear?

MR. DUMARESQUE: Gear and also bringing it in and processing it in (inaudible) plant (inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Yes, so it is not all spent in the experimental fishery in turbot but a good deal of it was off the coast of Labrador.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) experimental (inaudible) fishery out (inaudible).

MR. FUREY: They were testing for -

MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible), deep waters.

MR. FUREY: They were testing new gear types in deep water. Can I just turn to something else?

The fisheries crisis alliance, $10,000. Icelandic scallop fishing was $15,000. That was $881,000 out of that block of $4.7 million under the strategic economic initiatives.

Mines and Energy. There was an amount appropriated of $500,000 for the mineral exploration assistance program. I don't know if the Minister of Mines and Energy wants to speak on that but I think what it was about was speculators or prospectors.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: The mineral exploration assistance program.

DR. GIBBONS: Cost-sharing drilling up to $80,000 per project and we spent something over (inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Can I just have leave to defer just for one second, the hon. acting, acting, acting House Leader? Go ahead.

DR. GIBBONS: Yes, Mr. Chairman. Last year under that particular program we had half a million dollars committed. We didn't spend all of it. We spent something over $400,000 in a number of mostly drilling projects where we cost-shared up to 50 per cent, up to a maximum of $80,000 for particular projects. The money that we spent, the little over $400,000 that we spent, stimulated about $1.8 million in drilling altogether. It's a very successful program and we are doing the same thing again this year with another half million dollar project. Most of it - we have applications in already that will take most of what we are talking about. Thank you.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Chairman, while we are still dealing with this one series of questions which dealt with the strategic economic initiatives, I should tell you that under Forestry and Agriculture we spent $575,000. $175,000 was for the provincial meat inspection program. Developing local feed sources took $200,000; and the vegetable storage program took $200,000.

If I could defer to my colleague for a second, he might explain some of that, the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture.


 

May 30, 1994               HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS            Vol. XLII  No. 51A


[Continuation of Hansard No. 51]

MR. CHAIRMAN (L. Snow): The hon. the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture.

MR. FLIGHT: Mr. Chairman, I'm delighted to have the opportunity to advise the House what we've accomplished in agriculture as a result of the references the minister just made.

We have just implemented, I'm proud to say, through government policy, and introduced a red meat inspection program. Everybody knows that there is great potential in the sheep industry in Newfoundland, great potential for the growth in the sheep industry, lamb, sheep. One of the reasons it hasn't reached its potential is that there has not been a meat inspection program available in the Province. So the people today in Newfoundland who are in sheep production find themselves having to market their lamb door to door, so to speak. The supermarkets, the major chains, won't accept them without that stamp of approval.

I'm very proud to tell the House that as of a few days ago - the work has been going on for a year - this became government policy and within a very short time, within the next week or two or three, we will have in place - we have something like a hundred abattoirs situated around this Province. Some privately owned, some cooperatives. We will be using these abattoirs and supplying to those abattoirs the inspectors who will inspect from a Department of Health point of view and quality point of view and then will stamp. A stamp will go on, and that fellow from Bonavista South can then -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FLIGHT: Same thing for beef, same thing for turkey. He will be able to take his product into Sobey's and market it the same as the imports from mainland Canada.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FLIGHT: No, we don't go around blowing our horn that much. I'm not interested in the politics of it. I'm interested in making sure that the industry is well served. Mr. Chairman, I could go on. The hon. Member for Humber Valley will know how valuable this program I'm announcing is.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FLIGHT: Where are they? We've trained I think six inspectors. I think it is six. They will travel the Province as they are required inspecting the facility itself and the product. This program is well received by the industry. They've been lobbying for it as the hon. member knows for a couple of years.

With regard to the production of forage, we have tripled practically, or doubled for sure, our production of forage in the past few years in Newfoundland as a result of our encouragement of the farming community to produce their own feed stocks.

Mr. Chairman, with those few words I'm very pleased to announce that program, pleased to announce it on behalf of the farming community.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FLIGHT: Pardon me? A red meat inspection program. Where we will stamp our red meats from now on.

The vegetable storage, Mr. Chairman, again, one of the drawbacks the farming community, particularly root crops, that vegetable producers in Newfoundland have had, is the inability to store their crops over long periods of time. What happens is the Newfoundland product hits the market in September or October, everybody is competing with each other, and they are competing with incoming. Now we are encouraging a program that will see built around the Province storage facilities so that the farmers will be able to store their carrots, turnips or potatoes and market them in orderly fashion when they can get the best prices and compete that much easier with the incoming vegetables.

So, Mr. Chairman -

AN HON. MEMBER: Local feed sources.

MR. FLIGHT: I just pointed out, local feed sources. Great things happening in the Department of Forestry and Agriculture, Mr. Chairman. I thank the hon. minister for giving me an opportunity to tell the House of just the good things we are doing.

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Chairman, with respect to Tourism and Culture I don't know if my hon. colleague, the former minister, wants to talk about any of these issues in terms of the (inaudible).

The season extension. There was a hundred and eighty-one - the total on this one is $809,999. Season extension was on parks and museums right around the Province. Rather than close them on the said date their numbers were showing that tourism was up. Incidentally, in Newfoundland last year I think we were one of the few jurisdictions that our numbers were up. Six point eight per cent, is that correct? I think the dollar value of that was a climb of about $30 million.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: No, but he's saying opening later.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) later opening this year (inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Days or something, but -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Oh, it could be. I'll check it out for you. Some of our sites are a little bit dangerous; we're doing some work in some of them, I know that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Was it? I was just about to say to you that we extended what they refer to in tourism jargon as the `shoulder season', and it seems like there was a lot of use.

Now I should tell you, I've just received the task force report on parks. I haven't had a chance to review it, but I'm going to review it over the next few weeks and then take it forward to Cabinet.

Twenty-four thousand dollars was spent on recreational activities, winter particularly, some of it in Labrador, some of it on the Great Northern Peninsula, and we are trying to expand that season, too.

Convention and trade meetings, $240,000; development of an Adventure Tourism strategy $120,000. We should be releasing that in the next little while, actually. Provincial Museum staff, we hired out more staff members, $71,000; co-op students, $4,700; signage, $60,000; information systems, inside quality systems, $68,000 and $28,000 respectively.

In Executive Council it was $220,000-odd dollars. Co-op students - remember I mentioned earlier there was $200,000 for co-op students; they sat there in budgeted figures of $100,000 and 100.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Do you remember how many co-op students we hired last year?

MR. ROBERTS: Fifteen, I think.

MR. FUREY: Fifty (inaudible), $200,000.

MR. ROBERTS: Oh, well it's certainly not fifteen.

MR. FUREY: I'm just trying to remember if it went through a line department or we gave it to the university and they used it to hire - to make sure (inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Did we find out if it was a line department and the co-op students (inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Business and engineering students is administered by Executive Council. Students were hired within departments of government. That's what it was; it was right throughout government that the students were hired.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Yes.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: But I remember turning some money over to the business school for co-op students, too. It must have been under a different program. This was actually to hire students in line departments.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Yes, maybe.

Geographic information system, $1,800. That takes us right through 1993-'94, and that answers specifically, in detail, all of the questions the Leader of the Opposition asked on the Premier's Office, on the students, and on the 1993-'94 Estimates. Now do you want me to get into 1994-'95, or (inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I've got some other information.

MR. FUREY: Okay, you can carry on and I'll come back.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman, just to spell my friend, the Minister of Industry and Trade, I have the information here to answer some questions raised by the Leader of the Opposition, assuming the Leader of the Opposition wants the answers to the questions. Alright, he is listening.

He asked some questions about native policy and I didn't have the detail. I now have the detail. This is subhead 2.4.02, which is page 23 of the Executive Council head. On salaries we are asking for $451,700 this year, which is marginally less than was requested last year, the committee will note, but it is $85,000 more than was actually spent last year. The reason for that is we anticipate, because of the land claims negotiations coming back on stream, as I told the committee earlier, we anticipate that we will be hiring two people during this year.

There is now a competition under way at the Public Service Commission for a research analyst. That, I understand, will be a permanent position, and for a land claims analyst that will be a temporary position, because of the theory that eventually land claims will be resolved and then we won't need these people, but it's a temporary position in any event.

These positions are not new it's just that they haven't been filled for some time but with the renewed tempo of land claims we have to gear ourselves up -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I'm not sure I know how long since they've been filled.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: No, but how long since they've been filled?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. ROBERTS: Well I'll find out. I mean I'm not allowed to have my - I don't know the detail. Nobody would possibly know that detail. I will ask my friend the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs to ask the gentleman in the gallery if he would just tell us how long it's been since those two positions were filled.

Now I'll go on to deal with the transportation/communications vote. The reason it's up this year is simply and solely that we anticipate a great deal more travel then was done last year and that's because of the land claims negotiations. These will be held either in Ottawa or within the Province. Some people wanted to hold them in Halifax or in Amherst, Nova Scotia but that got scotched very clearly. The same explanation applies essentially to supplies and to the professional services. Again, we're asking amounts similar to those which we requested last year, the Committee will note, but far more than we actually spent last year. The reason we didn't spend the money last year is because we didn't need to spend it and if we don't need to spend it this year we won't spend it but we do anticipate that we will need to spend it.

The Committee will note that the total requested on native policy this year is $15,000 more which is about 2 per cent more then was requested last year. That's a very modest increase given the complexity and the nature of the results. The division is a small one, it's headed by an assistant secretary of the Cabinet, Ray Hawco, who's greatly experienced in these matters and they all put in very significant hours and give us very good advice.

Now I got to say to my friend from Carbonear that he still didn't get me the answer I wanted. What I need to know is how long since they've been filled but I'll get that while my friend the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology takes over for a moment. Thank you, Sir.

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Chairman, I didn't want to take all the time of the Committee, so if you want me to carry on with the answers to the questions that the Leader of the Opposition posed, I can carry on. You're getting good answers and straight -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Now, Mr. Speaker, that was 1993-94 and what that Budget was all about. Let's shift gears now to 1994-95 and the projections that we're looking at for the costs and the expenditures and how they're laid out. I think it's on page 17 and the total amount is -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Yes, there's something wrong with that figure, I think.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Yes, no question. No the total in fact - and maybe it's not all there under that particular - maybe it's not all there. A portion of it may be there. I don't know the fancy way they do bookkeeping and set these things out in estimates but it's roughly $5 million that's allocated under the Strategic Economic Plan. Well let me tell you where it is and then you can find it under the heads but I'll give you the specific details, there's no problem with that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Oh yes, some of it - that's quite right, the minister is right. Some of it was actually carved out and placed in the departments under the budgetary exercise pre-approved commitments to the departments, that's exactly right. That's what it was.

MR. ROBERTS: No, last year we were only starting it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: The one place last year - not last year?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Yes, oh yes, I see what you're saying, yes.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: The best thing for me to do is just show you exactly how it's done this year. I'll give you the list of it and then you can see if the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Yes, I'm going to tell you exactly what it says. Let's start with Executive Council, which as you know would be the Premier's Deputy Minister equivalent in his department which looks after the senior branch of government.

Under there the Deputy Clerk of the Executive Council, Mr. Faour, chairs a regulatory review committee. We've set aside $230,000 for that. That basically means that we are setting out and moving towards zero-based regulation. In other words, all the regulations and programs and policies of government will be reviewed over the next year or so to eliminate all of those regulations which have become redundant. There are lots of regulations that have become redundant. Phons Faour, who is the Deputy Clerk of the Executive Council, is chairing that committee for government and doing a fabulous job.

Co-op students. Last year it was $200,000, this year we've appropriated $230,000 for the same program.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Two hundred and thirty thousand dollars.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Yes, I'm going to tell you now. I will just go through this and then we will summarize at the end of it.

The cooperative placement assistance program, $300,000. That must be what I was thinking of earlier in terms of the University students getting bridged out to the private sector. The cooperative assistance placement program. That is where the University helps us place students and we bridge them out and pay a portion of their salaries and wages, as far as I can recall.

The co-op student, $230,000, which is increased by $30,000 over last year, is the line Departments and Crown Agencies. Is my hon. friend following? There is also an unallocated amount of money this year in a block fund, $1,025,000. We purposely left that unallocated for departments over the year. As their priorities change or as events unfold they can make a case before the Strategic Economic Plan committee chaired by the Clerk of the Executive Council. There is an unappropriated block of money left there for which all departments can apply, provided they meet the requirements of the Strategic Plan and give life and effect to any action item of the 134 items. The total in Executive Council is $1,817,600.

You remember I talked about last year the total quality management for public service and we had appropriated $75,000? This year it is $200,000. I gave the explanation for that, I don't think I need to do that any more.

Under Environment and Lands there is a waste reduction study. You recall that there are some problems around the Province with our outfall systems, and we are most concerned particularly about the perception where any of our aquaculture projects are under way. We want to do an intensive study. That is $150,000. We are going to try to pinpoint where if in fact any clean-ups are required or any waste treatment facilities are needed, particularly as it relates to aquaculture.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) 2.01.05.

MR. FUREY: One hundred and fifty thousand dollars?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes.

MR. FUREY: I presume you are-

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Yes, that is it. Environmental assessment, three temporary positions, because we are getting backlogged with some of our projects that are coming in. We are trying to give a speedy service to businesses, so I think that has to be speeded up. One hundred and seven thousand dollars. The total in Environment and Lands is $257,000.

Under Fisheries this year the dried caplin project is $60,000. I gave an explanation for that, you don't want me to repeat that. The foreign overfishing campaign was $75,000. Seal fishery development was $40,000. The fisheries conservation research chair at Memorial University, $300,000. I think hon. members heard about that or read about it in the media, where we've set up a chair I guess -

MR. ROBERTS: Yes, in fishery research.

MR. FUREY: Yes.

MR. ROBERTS: That is now carried in the Fisheries department.

MR. FUREY: The total Fisheries then is $475,000.

In Forestry and Agriculture, under the (inaudible) economic initiative there is another $175,000 this year and that is for the red meat inspection program, or the provincial meat inspection program, it is called, not red meat. It would be meat generally. Does that cover pork and stuff too? I guess it does, yes.

Industry, Trade and Technology, $392,000 this year. We are hiring a new person for policy and strategic planning, $38,000.

Marketing and investment, there are two new positions. These people will help us prospect for new businesses and new investment, $76,000. The whole investment prospecting initiative, which I lead, there will be $100,000 and that is to say, using our ambassador's program and our intelligence network around the country and across the continent and around the world. Wherever, for example, an ex-patriot Newfoundlander tells us there's a decent prospect, we'll have an industrial officer in there immediately to check it out and do preliminary research and see if there is anything to it. We think that's worthwhile.

Industrial technology is coming on stream. You know that the feds and us announced a $240,000 information technology study which is under way and should be released later on this fall. There are two new positions in information industry, $76,000.

Enterprise Newfoundland, regional economic development co-ordination committee, $6,000; provincial co-ordinator of the regional economical development, $60,000, for a total of $66,000.

I will tell hon. members, that deals with the task force that I put in place, which the federal and provincial government are looking at economic development agencies across the seventeen zones, to look at those, particularly rural development associations, the Women's Enterprise Bureau, Community Futures, and business development centres, and it's a very good team that's been established and I will have more to say about that in the next little while.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Do you have a question? Does my hon. friend have a question?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: In this case it's just support staff of $66,000, but let me tell you that as the work unfolds under this Strategic Regional Diversification Program, which is an agreement we signed two months ago, I guess, in Corner Brook, there is $38 million there. If they require monies for travel, and for the task force members to hold public hearings, and to draft their report and come back and tell us what the seventeen zones should look like, they will find it under that agreement, so there is no shortage of money for that task force.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Oh, sorry; that comes under Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador, that one.

MR. SULLIVAN: So that's all just one figure here?

MR. FUREY: Right, but I wanted to point out that in addition to what was there previous we've added $66,000 for that support staff who will do typing, and phoning, and arranging, and co-ordinating, and that kind of stuff.

Under Mines and Energy this year, the minister explained the Mineral Exploration Assistance Program. He has another $500,000 to spend this year. The Integrated Energy Resource Plan, he has $150,000. I don't know if he wants to say a word on that. Maybe I'll just defer to him, if the acting House Leader doesn't mind, I will defer just for a second so you can get that $150,000 -

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

DR. GIBBONS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, under the strategic plan this year we've got funding for an integrated energy resource plan for the Province covering all sectors, the electricity sector, other sectors, and we're looking at doing a long-term plan, a ten to twenty year long-term plan, and we've started the process. We've put in place a committee with representatives from all sectors, producing sectors, user sectors, and the consumers association, to try to put together what would be the best possible plan for energy consumption in the Province over the next couple of decades.

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

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

DR. GIBBONS: I don't have it right off the top of my head. The integrated energy resource plan, in the energy section, $150,000 is it? I don't remember the subhead number.

MR. FUREY: So that would take Mines and Energy to $650,000.

If the hon. acting Opposition House Leader doesn't mind, I will do Tourism and Culture. Then the Minister of Justice would like leave of my leave just to respond to that question that was asked about the position.

Under Tourism, then, there is $413,800 which is coming from the

strategic economic initiatives out of the block fund of $5 million portions out to the department, the balance is left there as a block fund which I mentioned to the hon. member earlier; so there will be $95,000 for winter recreation attractions and outdoor development offices; we are going to expand the conventions and meetings trade sector by $150,000. Adventure Tourism, there is a report that I am going to release very soon and which has specific things in it that we should do and we have earmarked $95,000; the museum staff whom we talked about, we carried last year there is $73,000 to carry them again this year, extra staff so that's $413,800.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: That is exactly what it is. May I just ask the Minister of Justice to respond -

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

MR. ROBERTS: I guess the Opposition Leader asked the length of time that the two positions in the Native Policy Branch has been vacant. I am told by the official in charge of that, that it is two years since those have been filled; one of them is the temporary position, that is the Land Claims analyst, there is also another analyst who works on Inuit related matters and that will be the permanent position and one of these was filled a week ago, that's the permanent position, the temporary one, the recruitment process is underway, so I think that answers that, but if members want more, let us know.

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Chairman, under Employment and Labour Relations, there was $300,000 set aside; $150,000 for the conservation corps, the young people, the green teams around the Province, $150,000; joint labour management committee was continuing its work, in fact winding it up for $10,000. The committee on employers and employees, the same thing $15,000; Labour Relations education research centre $30,000, I guess that was a grant, and preventive mediation program which is a carry over from last year, $95,000 for a total of $300,000 even.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Yes, but these are the arguments that were made for that money and that's how it is to be spent.

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible) I was wondering why would they have budgeted it last year under Executive Council, and then proportion it out to each department and included it in each department's final amount and this year, they will go back and put it into each department separately?

MR. FUREY: Because we were just starting up, we just had put a budget in place, we decided that the proper way to do this was, rather than have the block fund there and have every department chasing it trying to get their particular action items fulfilled, let's deal with it in a logical, methodical way, these people would make their case before the strategic economic initiatives or the implementation committee; once the committee approved it there would sit in each department a portion with the apportioned amounts, so this year, the $5 million sets it in the departments but leaves behind 1. - what is it I told you?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: - $1,025,000 -

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Yes, - is left behind to be apportioned as events unfold or as items take off. Now the Justice Department had an amount of $121,000 to review regulations. I would ask the minister to speak to that for a second.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Very briefly, Mr. Chairman, that has been used to pay the salaries of the three solicitors we have hired to work on this, there were two women and a man I guess from memory; they are now hard at work. The regulatory reform initiatives; we would be delighted to go in there because we think it is one of the better initiatives we have under way but that's what it is for. While I am at it, perhaps I can inform the Committee there is some question whether the House would adjourn for supper.

Surely there is no need to do that because all it does is add an hour on the other end of the evening; what I would say to the Committee is that, whenever members on both sides wish to carry the Estimates we will do so, and I am not sure if my colleague who was acting while I had to go out for a medical appointment at the time we came into the Orders of the Day, but my colleague may not have mentioned it but let me make it clear that when we finish dealing with this item, the Estimates referred to the Committee, the government will ask the House to adjourn for the day, so it is all the same to us whether we finish at about 10:30, which is when the seventy-five hours run out, more or less, or whether we adjourn earlier.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: My friend for Burin - Placentia West - I got it right that time, I would say to him - says call it 10:30 p.m. now. I would be prepared to do that if he and his colleagues agree, but I don't hear support from - I hear - all those in favour say `aye.'

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Those against, `nay.'

AN HON. MEMBER: Nay!

MR. ROBERTS: See, the one who counts, the Opposition House Leader, says nay, so the fact -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: If the hon. Member for Bonavista South wants to take the Opposition House Leader outside and reason with him in a language that strangers do not understand - namely pound the living blank-blank out of him - we could get on with this. At any event we will just work right on through if such - an exchange of information is here.

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible) where does that come from?

MR. ROBERTS: It would be in Civil division salaries if it is allocated this year. What we do with the SDP is we have an amount and as amounts are transferred out they are put into departments. If the process at the time the printed Estimates are done hasn't approved it then it would show up in the Executive Council vote as opposed to departmental vote.

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible) under Civil Law $280,000 expended and $415,000 budgeted this year, so it is probably in there.

MR. ROBERTS: No, hold on. Salaries and civil law are far more than - we are running the largest law firm in the Province.

MR. SULLIVAN: No, not salaries, Professional Services I'm talking about.

MR. ROBERTS: Oh no. I said these are people we've hired on contracts.

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, but that would be Professional Services (inaudible)?

MR. ROBERTS: No, no, no, no. The Professional Services in that -

MR. SULLIVAN: Or Purchased Services.

MR. ROBERTS: Professional Services is where we go outside and we retain outside lawyers. We don't do it often but on occasion we do, when the need is there and that is the most effective way to provide the service. The positions to which I referred, the three new solicitors who have come on to work on regulatory reform matters, they are contractual, one-year contracts, and they are paid out of the salary votes.

MR. SULLIVAN: So they are in the salary vote.

MR. ROBERTS: They are paid out of the salary votes. The $415,000 for the 2.1.01 Civil Law, Professional Services vote, that is basically Crown agents around the Province where we have to go outside for a lawyer, either because there is a conflict problem or because there is some particular area of expertise that we don't have within the department. There are some areas of law where we don't have a great familiarity among our lawyers.

MR. SULLIVAN: The only point I was asking, the $20,000 under the Strategic Economic Plan, I was just asking where exactly in that heading is that located?

MR. ROBERTS: No, it is $120,000, it is $121,000 in fact.

MR. FUREY: One hundred and twenty-one thousand dollars.

MR. ROBERTS: One hundred and twenty-one thousand dollars.

MR. SULLIVAN: Oh, $121,000.

MR. ROBERTS: That would have shown up in the Salaries vote, I think, where we've added several new lawyers in the Civil division this year, including these three. The $121,000 divided by three is about - well, $40,000 and change each. It depends. There is an established salary pay plan for solicitors, and when we hire a solicitor he or she takes a position on the plan - or gets a salary according to his or her position on the plan. That is where that money would come. Okay?

MR. SULLIVAN: So that ties in to the Strategic Economic Plan?

MR. ROBERTS: Yes. There is no Strategic Economic Plan subhead.

MR. SULLIVAN: No, but the point I'm making, if it is a part of the Strategic Economic Plan and it is earmarked, in which one of the items in the Plan would it tie into to justify that expenditure from the Strategic Economic Plan?

MR. ROBERTS: I don't have the SEP but there is an action right in there which says we are going to clean up the regulatory process. My friend for Industry, Trade and Technology might remember the item. That is the item. The Strategic Economic Plan is a plan that covers the entire gamut of government operations.

MR. SULLIVAN: I know, but any expenditure under that heading should be tied to one of the recommendations or actions that are listed there.

MR. ROBERTS: Oh, there are one hundred and - no, Mr. Chairman, -

MR. SULLIVAN: Thirty-four.

MR. ROBERTS: - my hon. friend is missing the point. There are 134 action items in the Strategic Economic Plan. Some of them are a one-shot thing to be done, others are continuing matters. Some are fairly minor amounts of money, others are fairly large commitments.

MR. SULLIVAN: I'm just asking which one does this tie into? That is all.

MR. ROBERTS: I don't have the number here but there is an action item in the Strategic Economic Plan that says we are going to clean up the regulations. We are going to make them as simple as possible and as workable as possible and restrict them to the ones that are necessary.

I can tell my friend that as we get into the process - it's being done mainly at the official level - as we get into the process it's amazing how much is on our books that nobody has looked at in forty, fifty or sixty years and all hands, officials, politicians and ministers alike, are coming forward and saying let us clean this up. With the SEP what we do is when we implement an action item the money appears eventually in the departmental sub-head to which it properly belongs but if we have not moved to implement a particular action by the time the estimates are cast or if we have added something during the year then it's taken out of the reserve or the residue which is carried in Executive Council. We in fact this year will spend about $5 million, isn't it Chuck, on the SEP implementation? That figure will be in the Budget Speech.

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, I was just trying to find out where it was that's all.

MR. ROBERTS: Most of the expenditures had already been allocated to individual action items. My understanding of the list my friend the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology just read is that he has given the committee -or is giving the committee if he's not finished - a list that amounts to as much as we spent out of the $5 million. We haven't spent the $5 million yet but we're getting fairly close to it.

My friend points me to action item 30 which says that the Province will recommend courses of action to coordinate federal and provincial actions relating to economic development and to reduce duplication of government services and programs. That's one of the action items but the regulatory reform procedure is one that eventually will require legislation in the House, which we hope the House will adopt. It is turning into a very significant piece of work, one that appears to have the potential of producing very, very great benefits.

Something as simple on the land side - now we haven't completed the analysis but there's something like fifteen separate sets of regulations that bear upon somebody who wants to acquire or to use a piece of land. I saw an analysis the other day, everyone has a set of forms - it's amazing how much information is recorded, how many times one has to fill in the same information. So the thrust is to develop one form. We don't need fifteen forms each which have the name, address, phone number and what else, one form would do. We go on and on through the system. Then we have the regulations that are outdated or haven't been looked at for many, many years and it's astonishing how much there is.

Then we get the question of regulations in legislation. We have some acts that are incredibly detailed. We have other acts that in effect say the minister of the day may do whatever he/she wishes, sometimes requiring Cabinet approval, sometimes not, but I hope I've told my friend from Ferryland how we're handling this, it's an ongoing process. The $5 million is in round numbers that we spent last year on the SEP appears in so far as continuing expenditure, in the ongoing estimates.

Now my department, Justice, is not terribly involved in any of the other - I think the only initiative in which we're involved is the regulatory reform process because Justice is sort of a service department. We're not out there doing very much. If somebody says, what are you doing in Justice these days? Well we're putting people in jail and we're keeping them in jail. That's really what we're doing in addition to advising the government legally.

Now if my friend has further questions I'd be delighted to try to answer them.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

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

MR. FUREY: Are you ready for the vote?

Now I just want to summarize a few things, the Leader of the Opposition asked about the $200,000 salary, we responded to that. He asked about professional services, I responded to that; purchase services, I've responded to that. He's asked about the Strategic Economic Plan for 1993-94, I've given all the detail on that. He asked about where the students were hired, I answered that question. It's through the Executive Council across line departments and agencies. He then asked for the breakdown of the $5 million, and I've just given that. There was another question he asked, he asked about ACE, the Advisory Council on the Economy, and how its money was spent, and that kind of thing.

The total budget last year, 1993-'94 was $403,000. This year we reduced it to $373,000 spent as follows: Salaries and employee benefits, $231,200; council members honorarium, zero; travel accommodation and related costs, the full board, $40,000; board committees, $10,000; staff, $10,000; research projects and seminars, $15,000; professional services, $10,000; staff training, zero; rent, $22,000; communications, telephone, teleconferencing, fax, postage, courier, $14,000; office supplies, $6,000; computer programs, models and supplies, $1,000; equipment leasing and rentals, $8,000; equipment maintenance and repairs, $500; books, periodicals, $2,500; capital expenditure at a revenue, $1,000; recruitment, zero; miscellaneous, $2,000; $373,334 - a reduction of roughly $30,000 over last year.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: I think there's a small staff of around four or five.

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible) not salaries, is it?

MR. FUREY: I would have to get the breakout of that for you; there's no problem to do that.

MR. SULLIVAN: So there are people in the Executive Council just employed solely to deal with this committee?

MR. FUREY: No, this is a block fund that we give to the advisory council. The board then hires its separate staff, secretary, advisor. For example, my assistant deputy minister of industry, Paul Bugden, used to be the executive director over there.

MR. SULLIVAN: That's what I thought, but (inaudible) were saying something different.

MR. FUREY: No, no, that's a block that we pass out to the Advisory Council on the Economy.

The next question was -

MR. SULLIVAN: Where do they operate from?

MR. FUREY: Where do they operate from? I think it's the Beothuck building, is it, here across from ENL, I think, on Freshwater Road; I believe.

He wanted to know the status of every action item to date. Now, I'm not going to read all of these into the record.

MR. SULLIVAN: Who was that, our leader was it?

MR. FUREY: Yes. The report was released, and it's a comprehensive seventy-eight page report released in January of 1994. I can make additional copies available to members.

MR. SULLIVAN: On the status (inaudible).

MR. FUREY: On the status of every department, every action item, where we are to date.

MR. SULLIVAN: Could we have a copy?

MR. FUREY: It was tabled. It was released in the media, I think.

MR. SULLIVAN: Oh, yes.

MR. FUREY: 1,000 copies of it were released in January of 1994, but I can get you another copy.

MR. SULLIVAN: I have a copy.

MR. FUREY: A final question that he asked in that great litany of questions which I promised to give specifics to was the $175,000 under IGA's estimates for Labrador military training in Labrador.

Now I don't know if my colleague, the Chairman, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, who also chairs the Cabinet committee in Labrador has dealt with that?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes.

MR. FUREY: You dealt with all of that?

MR. ROBERTS: I dealt with it brilliantly, but I didn't want -

MR. FUREY: He asked you a whole bunch (inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Okay, well that takes me to the end of all the questions that I was asked this afternoon, and I would be happy to receive more questions.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Earlier this afternoon the Leader of the Opposition was raising some questions in an area that I have an interest in as well. I did hear the Minister of Tourism, Agriculture, Industry, Trade and Technology, Deputy Government House Leader, on his feet making a few remarks in response, but I am not sure Tourism, Agriculture, ITT and - Tourism, Industry, Trade and Technology is one department now, is it? It's called TITT.

I was concerned about the Executive Council estimates here. I know the minister was indicating that the Advisory Committee on the Economy was looking at the big picture, that the big picture was covered by the ACE, the Advisory Committee on the Economy, but I'm looking at government expenditure under several heads here, which seem to me that they are advising the government on all sorts of things, whether it be a part of the Minister of Finance's staff on budgeting.

We have a number of separate heads here, and they show, starting at page 15 of the Estimates, starting off with executive support to Cabinet. I don't know if the minister is paying attention here, but starting at page 15 - talking about the government's perceived need for advice on the big picture - the appropriations for executive support to Cabinet, senior planning and direction, establishment and evaluation of policies and objectives, I would hope for $678,000 the people who are advising the Cabinet on matters of policy, establishing, evaluating policies and objectives, are looking at the big picture. I would hope, for $687,000, that they are doing that.

On the next page, Cabinet Secretariat, continued, Economic Research and Analysis, appropriations for the development and maintenance of econometric models for the provincial economy, and advice and consultative services to the government in economic matters, another $626,000. Are they looking at the big picture? What picture, pray tell, are they looking at for an additional $626,000 advising the government on economic matters?

Then we have, in vote 2.2.05, Resource Policy Analysis and Planning, providing for the support of the resource policy committee, analysis and advice on perspective future directions in resource and economic policy matters that are brought before it, another $227,000.

I will leave out Social Policy Analysis, because that's another issue, another $50,000 for social policy analysis. Are they looking at the big picture, or are they looking at some small picture?

Then we have the Newfoundland Statistics Agency, for another $420,000. Are they helping with the big picture, or are they doing something else? So I see the government, under Executive Council, spending a fortune - a fortune of public money - on research and analysis, economic models, economic policy analysis, another $1.78 million for Strategic Economic Initiatives, including purchased services of $1.325 million, and perhaps you could explain that one. That may be subbed out to the ERC, I assume, unless it's -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: 2.2.09, Strategic Economic Initiatives, $1.325 million. Is that subbed out to the ERC?

AN HON. MEMBER: No.

MR. HARRIS: No. So my point is, what is the Advisory Committee for the Economy doing if, as the minister says, they're supposed to look at the big picture? And what are all these other people doing for $600,000; $600,000; $626,000; $227,000; $420,000; and another $1.785 million? What are they doing if they are not looking at the big picture and telling government what is going on?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: This is not a point of order, but I will yield to the minister if he will come back to me in response.

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Chairman, it is easy to take numbers like that and just flick them around and say: This group is supposed to do this and that group is supposed to do that. This structure of government has been around a long time. They look at the internal workings of government and they look at everything from the law to the regulations to the policies of government to ensure that papers that are coming through the system are analyzed properly.

The Advisory Council on the Economy is a selection of business men and women from across the Province. It is quite one thing to get advice from academics, it is quite another thing to get advice from bureaucrats, but at some point in time people who are in the real world, who operate in the real world, business men and women who are out there risking their real capital, the real dollars, to create opportunities and to create businesses - don't you think we should seek their advice as well? I think we should.

In that regard we've limited the budget. It used to be $500,000 under the old Economic Advisory Council. It was $400,000 last year. It is down to $370,000 this year. Maybe at some point in time we will reduce it further and further. We are simply saying we receive advice from the academic community, from the University, from the colleges, from various institutes around the Province; we receive advice from the bureaucracy, they too have a point of view, and some would say it is shaded because they are not operating in the real world. So we reach into the real world of the private business men and women who invest real capital and we ask too for their advice. Into that mix then you have three opinions. We hope what rises to the top is the best for the people of the Province.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The minister talked about me flicking around figures of this and figures of that. I'm not flicking around figures. What I'm suggesting is that the government is flicking around money that is the people's money. We are talking here about the appropriation for Executive Council of $20 million, and the minister's defence seems to be: Government has been organized this way for a long time. I'm asking the minister: Do we need all of these various economic advisors coming at us from all different directions being paid for by the government, and on a major issue, such as the privatization of Hydro, the government hasn't produced one single economic report, one single piece of information prepared that says that this has an economic pro or con in its favour. Not one thing has been put on the Table of this House from all of these millions of dollars of economic advice, economic initiatives. No study of any kind whatsoever has been produced on a major public issue such as the privatization of Hydro.

What I don't understand is how he can justify the continuation of these estimates for advice from, and dozens of salaried positions here, for advice on economic issues, senior planning and direction, evaluations of policies' objectives, advice and consultation services in economic matters, from the economic research analysis branch, for $600,000, and resource policy analysis with economic policy matters as part of their mandate as well, for another $227,000. This is all going on with a government that claims to have some kind of magical solutions for the economy. They say: We understand what is going on, we are making progress over time, we think things are going in the right direction but we must do more, et cetera.

But then on a major issue, other than come up with $3,000 or $4,000 a crack for ads on the back page of The Evening Telegram, and distorted facts about privatization, they have not come up with one single economic analysis. The only one I have seen, and I have to say that because I don't think either side has produced an economic analysis, I would say those opposed to the government's position don't have the resources. The government, using the people's resources do have the resources to produce and provide an economic analysis but they haven't done so.

The only one that I have seen is one that comes from an independent academic by the way, by the name of Wade Locke, who has used the government's own figures and own assumptions and came up with a disastrous economic consequence for this Province if the government goes ahead with privatization of Hydro. So what I am asking the minister is: do all of these Economic Research and Analysis, Branches 2.2.04, Resource Policy Analysis Planning 2.2.05, Executive Support 2.2.03, Resources and Social Policy Committee Support, do any of these groups have the capacity or ability or, is the government using them properly in advising government as to what is going on, or are they just doing what happens to be the political agenda of the Premier for his own reasons?

That is my question. Do you need all these people, if in the end or even in the beginning, the policy and direction are going to be dictated by the Premier's own agenda, despite his earlier comments today about the tail wagging the dog and that it is really the Cabinet that gives him direction, but despite that comment, isn't really what's going on here that the major decisions of government are dictated by the Premier's political agenda and that all of these economic research and analysis, resource policy analysis planning, all of this money is actually being wasted because either the government doesn't ask them to produce reports or, they don't like the reports that they get therefore they don't make them public, and go ahead and do what they plan to do anyway. Isn't that what's really happening?

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

MR. FUREY: I can't believe that coming from a logical, well-educated, legal mind. What utter trash coming from the other side.

Mr. Chairman, I would ask the hon. member to tell me which people he would lay off, tell me exactly which jobs he would cut.

MR. HARRIS: My question is this: If all of these people are being paid to do economic research and analysis, if all of them are being paid, isn't that money being wasted if you don't listen to them, if you don't have any reports coming from them? Get rid of them all if they are not necessary, if the government is saying in effect that they are useless because they don't produce economic analysis and reports, or they don't understand the big picture so we have to get an Advisory Council on the Economy, and on the major political issue of the day, where the government sees it being a compulsory item for the future to privatize Hydro, they haven't produced one, single, economic analysis, one single report of anybody and so the question is: are they necessary, are you making use of them or are you not?

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

MR. FUREY: I don't know if my hon. friend has been asleep all afternoon but I went through every single department in terms of strategic economic initiatives and I can tell you because I chair the resource policy committee. There are two people who work behind the scenes and they work brilliantly - I think they are scrapped for resources in many cases, but I would ask the hon. member - he is saying that the government isn't listening, because he said so, doesn't make it so.

The government listens quite a lot to the analyses, every single Cabinet paper that is generated that has anything to do with any resource in this policy, has a full analysis; we accept the advice of senior people but I would ask the hon. member again: did I hear him right?

Did he say lay off all the people in the economic research and analysis? Lay off the people in resource analysis? Lay off the Newfoundland Statistics Agency, and wipe out the Advisory Council on the Economy? Did he say to knock out all those jobs, lay them all off? Is that what I heard him say?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, he did. (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: I thought that's what I heard him say. Let him clarify it for me.

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

MR. HARRIS: My question was to ask the minister whether or not he's making use of these people, and whether he accepts their advice, and if he isn't, then why is he wasting government money employing people whose advice he doesn't listen to? And I asked the minister to tell us where are the economic reports and analysis that all of these people, since they are advising the government on economic matters, where are these reports? Are they prepared to table some of them in the House? Or are we led to believe that there are no such reports, or that they don't suit the government's political purpose to lay them on the table?

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Chairman, those of us who have served in Cabinet know that whenever an analysis is done on a Cabinet paper, that analysis is brought into Cabinet and it's kept secret, because what it is -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Well, there's a good reason for that. He goes, ha, ha, ha -

MR. ROBERTS: Just like the Saskatchewan government does. Come on Jack, don't be stunned.

MR. FUREY: Are you telling me - that's right - that the Ontario government, in all of its industrial analysis, makes public their papers? Of course they don't.

But I want hon. members to hear clearly what our NDP friend has said. He has basically said - and I hope everybody is listening - lay off the entire economic research and analysis, lay off the resource policy analysis, shut down the statistics agency, lay off anybody who is doing analysis, because what he said is that we're not listening, and if we're not listening, shut it down. It's just utter nonsense.

MR. SIMMS: How about shutting down the Economic Recovery Commission?

MR. FUREY: Well, we shut down eight departments of government, saved $8 million, and applied two of it against the Economic Recovery Commission. If the hon. member is fair about the Economic Recovery Commission, he knows that when he - when he - appointed Dr. House to do the Royal Commission on the Economy, and they came with their two-year report after $3 million or $4 million, he had a lot of faith in Dr. House and the same team that's assembled now to give life and effect to the Economic Recovery Commission's report on the Royal Commission.

I want everybody to understand what my friend and colleague, the Member for St. John's East, has said today. He said: Wherever you can't provide a piece of paper where bureaucrats have shown their work, fire them all, lay them all off. That's pretty good for a socialist.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman, the Member for St. John's East may be the better for his supper. I assume somebody will take him in off the street and feed him. I would ask my colleagues to do that. We do no less in the spirit of christian charity for anybody.

Mr. Chairman, there has been an agreement reached that Your Honour might wish to take a recess for about an hour, until say 7:00 p.m., with the understanding that the clock continue to run over that period so that we are not here later than 10:31 tonight, which is the expiry, I am told, of the seventy-fifth hour.

If that's acceptable to the committee, and all hands agree, we will carry on. The understanding is that should my friend from St. John's East really want to carry on this tedious debate when the committee returns, we, for our side, would gladly hear him out. If that's agreed, Sir, let's...

MR. CHAIRMAN: It's an agreement of the House that we recess. I trust that we have an agreement and hon. members will join me when they have a full stomach.

Recess

MR. CHAIRMAN (Snow): Order, please!

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Before the break we were talking about the lack of use that the government was making of it's economic advice. The fact that there was no evidence that they received any advice that they are prepared to make public, certainly concerning the policy decisions that the government has been making on the privatization of Hydro. With all of their economic research and analysis, resource policy analysis, Strategic Economic Initiatives funds, they haven't produced one single report that they are prepared to make public that supports the government's desire to privatize Hydro.

Over the course of the supper hour I've reconsidered some of my earlier remarks. I think the more appropriate move that the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology can take is instead of looking around in the Cabinet Secretariat and the research and analysis branch to find people to get rid of, which he seems to be interested in doing, perhaps he could offer his own resignation and that of his fellow Cabinet ministers and have these individuals tell us what they have to say about the economics of the Province.

While the minister is in the mood to answers questions though, once he finishes the paper, perhaps he can tell us whether he is prepared to consider -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. HARRIS: - the reopening of the Provincial Archives in the evenings. Whether the minister is prepared to - particularly during the upcoming tourist season when a lot of people come to Newfoundland looking for their ancestors and interested in genealogy and this sort of thing, I'm wondered if the minister is prepared to look at the night openings of the Provincial Archives and revisit that issue which -

MR. FUREY: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Chairman, the hon. gentleman is addressing a question to me and I really can't hear it. I apologize. I know you are trying to ask me something about the archives but I couldn't hear the question.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. That is not something I have control over, but if the hon. Chairman can keep the noise level down then I would be quite happy to repeat the issue.

I said, as the minister seems to be in the mood to answer any questions I wonder if he would address a couple of points concerning the economic initiatives in the area of tourism, and first of all the Provincial Archives. Concern has been expressed about cutting back on hours at the archives, particularly in the evening. Maybe the former minister would like to answer. The hours have been cut back, particularly in the evenings, and as I was saying, during the summer months, in particular the tourist season, a lot of people who come to this Province come here for the purpose of looking at their ancestors and relatives and genealogical records and -

MR. FUREY: I agree.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. FUREY: The former minister was just telling me - Mr. Chairman?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

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

MR. FUREY: The former minister was just telling me that it was the intention of the department, but I will check on this for you, that the hours were in fact to be extended during the summer. I know we just hired a bunch of summer students down there to help with the load. You make a good point. A lot of people do come home and they are looking for records and stuff and looking for the family trees.

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

MR. HARRIS: One of the many groups or bodies covered under Executive Council is this so-called Strategic Economic Initiatives. Perhaps the minister did address some of the aspects of this earlier. I am not aware of what questions were asked on it. I do see that an expenditure requested of $1.3 million unallocated for Purchased Services, which the indication in the estimates is that that is supposed to go to departments to assist in particular initiatives that might be undertaken. Is that all we are to be told at this point? Can the government tell us what items are potential matters to be spent under this? Or are we just to leave it at that, just this open-ended $1.3 million to spend as the government sees fit?

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Chairman, the block fund was there for action items that are spelled out in the Strategic Economic Plan, all 134 items. At various points in time ministers will bring forward these items in priority. You have to leave a certain pool of capital there that they can draw upon because if you start fixing that money, as we've done with a portion of the $5 million, if you fix it all it leaves absolutely no room whatsoever for unexpected events.

Whether it's the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, Work Services of course and Agriculture, you have to leave that pool there but each minister in turn has to make a case to the implementation committee before it's ever appropriated to the department. I don't know if the hon. member was here earlier but I took about an hour, maybe two hours, to go through all of the items in the Strategic Economic Plan for 1993-94 and 1994-95.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Yes, but anyway we went through it all and I'll refer the hon. member to Hansard.

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

MR. HARRIS: On that point, Mr. Chairman, I -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: The minister doesn't have enough lawyers, I'd say.

I noticed in the newspaper today, Mr. Chairman, and this is important and does involve the other minister but I would ask the Minister of Tourism and Culture and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology to address it. It has to do with an important cultural initiative that's being undertaken for the 1997 celebrations and that's the development of a new museum and art complex. The paper discusses today and talks about some untendered decision made - I'd like the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology to talk about this because this is - I don't want to talk about it from the point of view of a public works tender. I want to talk about it from the point of view of tourism and culture, an economic initiative and that's in the ministers department.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Well the minister can answer why he didn't put public tenders then. I'll let him answer that afterwards but I want to talk about the issue of the substance of it first and the plan that the government has to build a facility or assist in the building of a facility in time for the 1997 anniversary of the landing of Cabot. My question first of all has to do with the recognition - and I think the minister may have heard this before but this is going to happen in St. John's. This building is going to be built in St. John's. St. John's itself is recognized by people in the tourism industry to be itself a travel generator. The city, the street-scape of the city, the architecture of the city, the buildings of the city, the whole -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: It's in our t.v. ads. Yes, I recognize that and in recognition of that I notice that the paper talks about hiring some consultants to look at sites, proposed sites for a new building and it mentions behind the Colonial Building and various other places as possible sites in the city for this building. What I want to ask the minister is; why isn't it being considered that instead of building a new building, why isn't it being considered to develop a proposal that might integrate existing buildings? We're always having difficulties in this city when someone wants to tear down a building that they can't find an economic use for, why can't the government be considering, as part of this proposal, the development of a new museum complex, an arts complex integrating with existing buildings, whether it be just the front facade, building a building behind it or whether it be integrating a number of buildings together as part of a complex and try to give some extra life to the architectural history of downtown St. John's? That seems to be - if the minister will give me a minute to -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HARRIS: By leave I'll continue for a minute.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No leave!

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

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

MR. ROBERTS: Hear, hear!

MR. FUREY: The hon. member doesn't have leave but I would like to hear his last point.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I thank the minister for allowing me an opportunity to continue. We are always having difficulty in St. John's in preserving buildings that represent part of our architectural heritage.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: The most recent one was the Marshall Building on the corner of Prescott Street and Water Street. It is a building that was bought about ten or fifteen years ago by the Sobey interests, through Harold Duffett or whatever, and whatever incarnation that they bought it. That building was the last building built by a certain architectural firm in the last century and it was being torn down because the current owner said that they had no economic use for it. Of course, they hadn't maintained it for the last ten or so years anyway. The difficulty is in finding economic uses for some of these buildings.

When government is going out and building a building to represent part of the 500 year history of Newfoundland, the fishing industry - and this building is probably going to be gone by then so I'm not talking about this particular building, the Marshall Building. If you were going to build, for example, a building representing -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Chairman, can I have protection from the members over here?

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

I ask the hon. members to let the hon. member be heard in silence, please.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This is just an example. By way of example, if you had a building that was a downtown fish merchant building, a part of the 500 year heritage, perhaps you could build a complex around that involving the fishing industry and other aspects of Newfoundland's culture. That is just one idea. It may be a cockeyed idea but -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

The Chair is once again asking hon. members for their cooperation, please.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The idea being that there are a lot of architectural heritage buildings in this city. They are very difficult to preserve. Perhaps while government is looking at alternatives a very strong direction might be given to anybody looking into this matter to look at ways of integrating some existing architectural heritage structures into a proposed site. You can modernize it and have a big modern building, but maybe incorporate a facade or do something like that.

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Chairman, if you don't mind I would like to ask the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation to address the process with respect to tendering in a minute.

The member raises some valid points and I would just like -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: No, I didn't say in a minute that he could do it for a minute. I said, in a minute when I'm finished. In other words, if I can get through this in a minute.

The hon. member should know that the contract that we will be letting will be let to Pratt Henley Blackwood. I think they are a superb Newfoundland company. Philip Pratt. Perhaps you know some of these people. You know of their awards in terms of historic - they are absolutely superb. We will be asking them for their advice on conceptual design and -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: I have no idea what they are. I wouldn't know.

MR. TOBIN: The minister said (inaudible), that is why I asked.

MR. FUREY: I honestly wouldn't know. To me it doesn't matter. To some people perhaps it does.

To answer the Member for St. John's East, we are not saying: Give us conceptual designs right out of the air. If they have some suggestions to come back for restoration of some buildings and incorporate it in that sense along the line of what the hon. member is saying, we don't have a problem with that, we are prepared to look at all of them.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: As I said, the minister will speak about that process with respect to tender and let me tell you about Pratt Henley and Blackwood. Some of their work was the theatre, the Labrador West theatre, they built that; they designed it did all the engineering and built it. The tourism visitor chalet at Placentia, $600,000 - in the hon. members district - a beautiful job as far as I can tell, a superb piece of work. The Terrace in the Square, all that redesigning was done by them; Government House interior renovations, the Newman Building, The Stone House Restaurant, Mary March Museum, Provincial Interpretation Centre at Port aux Basques, and these people have won significant awards; the Housing Design competition in 1991, the Newfoundland Historic Trust, they have won the Southcott award 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1990; The Canadian Housing Design council project award, Newfoundland Public Library competition, this is a company that has a sterling reputation, make no mistake about it.

The hon. member asked me what their politics are, I have no idea but, they will come back to Cabinet, through the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation and say: here is a number of designs, here is a number of locations, here are the plusses and minuses for each one.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: If you will give it a minute the minister will deal with that, it is a very simple solution. Now it is going to be built in St. John's because the provincial museum is here -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: I will explain it to you. The provincial museum is here, the provincial art Gallery is here, the Provincial Archives are here and there is a 200,000 people catchment area, that's why it is St. John's.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Well, no. I disagree, I disagree with the hon. member. The other thing it has to do with, it has to generate revenue much like other new facilities that are being built around the world, so I will ask the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation to address the process of tendering it. Was there another question? Can we just have him do that and then we will let you -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

AN HON. MEMBER: Carried.

MR. EFFORD: Carried?

Mr. Chairman, my hon. colleague, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology wants me to deal with the question of public tendering. Now I think most members in the House of Assembly know the full course of the Public Tendering Act and I think members opposite, especially members on the Opposition, not the lone soldier in the back room, he might not know about it but members of the opposition know full well the course of the Public Tendering Act and, there are certain things exempt under the public tendering system.

I don't mind dealing with the question from the Opposition point but when I hear the hon. member opposite dealing and promoting and trying to sell a building on behalf of one of his clients, it disturbs me greatly to be able to stand there -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

MR. HARRIS: On a point of privilege, Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

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

MR. HARRIS: On a point of privilege, Mr. Chairman -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

A point of privilege cannot be raised in Committee.

MR. HARRIS: On a point of order. I raise to be able to get back at the hon. -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: The hon. minister is making an allegation of a breach of a statute, the House of Assembly Act, passed in this Legislature last year, in alleging that I am promoting in the House of Assembly the sale of a building on behalf of a client.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: He did so (inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Yes, he did and I -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: - and I say he better retract that statement.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

Is the hon. minister speaking to the point of order?

MR. EFFORD: No, Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: There is no point of order.

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

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I don't know what's making the hon. Member for St. John's East testy, I didn't name, didn't point, didn't direct -

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

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: The records will clearly show, Mr. Chairman, that the hon. minister got up and he said: I don't mind addressing the question for the official opposition -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

Is this the same point of order, because the Chair has already ruled on that point of order, right? It would be a difference of opinion between hon. members but there was no point of order.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, I'm rising on another point of order. That is for imputing motives. The Speaker in the past few days has made rulings here as it relates to imputing motives. The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation just very clearly made the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes, I can read it. When he got up and he accused the member of being in this House trying to sell a building on behalf of his client. If that is not imputing motives, Mr. Chairman, I don't know what imputing motives is. What it says here in Beauchesne, the sixth edition: Is to impute by motives or (inaudible) different from those acknowledged by a member. That is clearly a point of order, it is clearly a breach of the privileges of the member, and the minister should have to retract that. Because he did clearly impute motives by accusing him of being in this House trying to act on behalf of a client.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

MR. FUREY: A difference of opinion clearly between two hon. members.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

To the point of order, the Chair will check Hansard and will reserve ruling on it for later.

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

MR. EFFORD: With the greatest respect I have for this hon. House of Assembly, if any member opposite feels that I made any comment derogative to the normal procedure of the House, I withdraw.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Chairman, to sit here in this House of Assembly since 2:00 this afternoon and to continue on until whatever time, whether it is 10:00 or 10:30 this evening, and talk about this -

MR. LUSH: His diatribe.

MR. EFFORD: Diatribe? That is the right word to use. From members opposite, especially the Member for St. John's East. Make no wonder that the majority of the people in this Province question you and wonder why they would pay their tax dollars to keep the salaries of people in this House of Assembly.

I mean, the gall of an individual to stand up here and go on with trying to make a determination or prejudge or make accusations on what this government is trying to do in the best interests of the people of this city. We should take lessons from his superior up in Ontario on the best way to spend the taxpayers money. Ten billion dollars of a deficit the first year of government. That is the type of government that this Province really needs now, the type of policies that this hon. member is going on. I will say this, and this I will not withdraw, if the member spent more time at his job as an MHA and less time at his other preoccupation we would be a lot better off in St. John's East.

The public tendering act. I realize members opposite, including the member leaning on his arm, that when they operated for seventeen years they knew very little and carried on very little about the public tendering act. There was more favouritism, more (inaudible). It is very clear what the public tendering act says. Services that do not include legal, engineering, architectural, accounting, land surveying, banking or insurance services or other services that provide the opinion of a profession. That is the number of things that are exempt. Not drawn up by this government. That has been in this public tendering act for years since the day it was first implemented. Very clearly.

If the hon. member opposite who is supposed to be so great an expert in the legal profession, he knows very well that his profession wished it not to be in the public tendering act because they say that their services should not be judged on a dollar by dollar, an hourly rate. That if you want to get the qualifications you will have to pay the top rate. That was one of the explanations put forth by the legal profession. The hon. member opposite knows full well, when he goes to charge his legal fees in his profession he knows full well what his capabilities are charging. When it comes to getting government work he knows full well. All he would have to do is ask the people at Mount Cashel what he charges. We all know about the contingency fees, the 30 per cent. We all know about the $275 an hour, we all know about the extreme costs, so the Public Tendering Act, upon the advice of justice, under the advice of the Law Society, the legal professional knows full well.

AN HON. MEMBER: That's not true, is it Jack? $275 an hour, Jack?

MR. HARRIS: I won't answer the misinformation of this information given by this minister who comes in every month with a whole bunch of exemptions to the Public Tendering Act and tables them. He avoids the Public Tendering Act so much that every month he comes in with a book to table in the House of Assembly.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: I won't deal with his other comments because they're not worthy of response, but I did see the Premier and the Minister of Justice come in the House last year, tender legal services, so that's not much of an answer, that the Minister of Justice can tender legal services. I don't see why they couldn't call for proposals, at least, on this.

I want to say to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology that I have no quarrel with the qualifications of the firm of Pratt Henley Blackwood. They are eminently qualified architects. There are others, and perhaps a call for proposals might have been in order because it might have been interesting to see what people would have come forth with as proposals to provide the government with services on that, and the government, through Cabinet, could have considered the proposals and decided on one or the other.

The minister indicated that perhaps the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation would advise us what the process was. We didn't hear anything about that from the minister. All we heard was a diatribe against the Opposition, and me in particular. He didn't tell the committee what process the government went through, how the government selected this particular group. He didn't tell us anything about that. All he told us was that he didn't really want to follow the Public Tendering Act, and that was that. He didn't tell us at all about how or why this particular group is chosen over others who might have done an equally good job.

I think the point still has to be answered, and the question is, I suppose, what direction is going to be given to whatever group is chosen in terms of looking at existing buildings. Is that going to be a strong element of what's being asked from them?

For example, it's been suggested that the Colonial Building, potentially the archives are going to be part of this new building, so the Colonial Building down there, that now houses the archives, presumably that's all going to be taken out of there. The Colonial Building will be another building that the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation will be required to maintain. It's a historic building. It's an important piece of our legislative and political history. It has to be maintained and has to be used. It doesn't seem to me to make sense to go and build another building somewhere else, take the offices and other things out of this building and now, all of a sudden, you've got an empty building that has to be maintained at public expense.

We saw what happened to the King George V Building when the government decided they didn't like the cost of maintaining it. Everybody was taken out of it, and it was going to be demolished. The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation was about to see the thing demolished when finally someone came in and was able to buy it.

So I would want to see, when government has an opportunity to spend money for a building like that, that they use that money for the dual purpose of providing the service and the facility that's needed; as well, at the same time, preserving the existing architectural and cultural heritage of the city, particularly when we're talking about a cultural project. We're not talking about a building to house computers or office staff or whatever. We're talking about a building that's going to represent our archives, our museum and cultural historic artifacts. Surely, of any building, of any project, this should be also looking after some particular existing historic building at the same time, and I don't know if the Colonial Building is one of them.

The question that I would like answered, is there going to be direction given to Pratt Henley Blackwood if they are the firm chosen? Is direction going to be given them as a priority to find a way of using this input of dollars to preserve existing cultural heritage?

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

MR. FUREY: I just want to say to the hon. member, we've got to move really quickly on this project, there's no question about it. In order to get the thing rolling and get it done properly, we really ought to have awarded this some time back.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Well because there were discussions. As late as just three weeks ago I had a dinner session with the current curator of the archives, the director who runs the museums and the director of the provincial art gallery and we had a three hour discussion on the functional aspect of this building. There are some differences of opinion. Can the archives function in a building of this nature? Should it just be the museum and the art gallery? Should it be one building? Should it be three together in a cluster? There are a whole range of possibilities including, as the hon. member points out, looking at historic properties that could in fact be redeveloped.

So I don't want to bind the hands of this consultant. I want them to come back and tell us what their best advice is with respect to location, here are the options, here are the pluses, here are the minuses. Should it be three of them altogether and can it work? Is it user friendly? Can people walk off the street? There are a whole range of problems. Parking is a problem. The Marshall Building you mentioned, can that be redesigned to be functional and user friendly? Should we leave the archives in the Colonial Building where it functions very well and where there is some limited parking where people are used to it and that kind of thing? So there's a whole range of issues.

We're asking these experts: look at design, look at location, look at the functional mechanics of the building, in light of what these three groups who run them say about them. Come back and give us your best advice because we need this conceptual design to take to Ottawa to present our case for the $30 or $40 million as a legacy gift which will be located here in Newfoundland to celebrate the 500 years of our history. So that's why we needed to move fast. There's nothing certain about this legacy, it's still very preliminary. The discussions are underway but we need some hard evidence and some real tangible material to take to Ottawa to lay out the case in a more defined way. Does that answer the hon. member's -

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Perhaps we're stealing the minister's press conference for tomorrow or whatever but if -

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible) the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. HARRIS: I'll get to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation now once we finish talking about the substance.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HARRIS: Once we finish talking about the substance we'll get to the minister but I'm interested in - what is the turn around time? When would we expect this committee to report and what's the cost of this consultative process going to be?

MR. FUREY: Mr. Chairman, I'm not sure. I guess the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation would be in a better position to understand what kind of time turn around this would take. My own initial reaction would be that it would be somewhere around three months to do all the necessary research, bring back the selection of properties, to talk about functional design of the building, to come with some kind of a concept and to present us with the pluses and minuses. I think the order of cost is somewhere - $300,000 is what's in my estimates but you don't like to tie down - this is a very expensive project we're talking about but I don't want to tie down that figure because who knows what the cost will ultimately be. As you go about this perhaps it will be less, perhaps it will be a little bit more but that's in the order of magnitude of cost.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I want to see, Mr. Chairman, whether the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation is willing to answer the question that has been referred to him by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology. I know he may want to use the opportunity to talk about other things but perhaps he could tell us the process that the government went about in choosing this particular firm and how the figure of $300,000 cost came about because we are talking about the avoidance of the public tendering process. They didn't have any proposal calls. I don't know what the process was and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology indicated that the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation would be happy to advise us of what process government went through in the expenditure of $300,000 of public funds. So the minister is inviting me to sit down so he can explain all this. I hope he confines himself to the explanation instead of attacking me and attacking the Opposition, and attacking anybody who dares to question anything that he does.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Chairman, it is amazing. How many years did it take to go to law school?

MR. LUSH: Four and three. They have a degree (inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: It is amazing, Mr, Chairman, that an individual would spend about seven years at university - I would assume about three years of that would be attending law school and practising law for a number of years, an MP in Ottawa, a member of the provincial House of Assembly, and doesn't know the clauses in the public tendering act. It is amazing. This is the type of individual who we have representing people, clients, in a court. Doesn't know the public tendering act.

What I will do, I will send him something over, but I had better send somebody to read it to him. Because it is quite obvious the hon. member can't read. The public tendering act states very clearly, and I will say it slowly: Professional service such as legal, accounting, banking, engineering services, architectural services, and those requested of a professional opinion, are exempt from the public tendering act. Very clearly. It is up to the government as a whole, the Cabinet, to make a decision.

When we make a decision -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: - for services we don't look at and see - somebody better take care of the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay. I believe he is going to hang himself back there. He is moving back and forth. I know they are starting to get queer over there, they are testy over there. Seriously -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Tories.

MR. EFFORD: No, I can guarantee you they are not Tories. I can guarantee you that.

What we do, Mr. Chairman, we have to realize the expertise that is required to do this and that is one of the key things, the expertise. What some of the people in the bureaucratic system wanted to do was they wanted to go outside and get a mainland firm, because they seemed to think that we didn't have the expertise here in the Province. If that is what the hon. member opposite would like to see, more work go outside of the Province of Newfoundland.... So we look at, number one, the expertise, the capability of a firm. Secondly, unlike members opposite, we look at fairness. We don't have a whole lot of capital money to spend in projects in this Province so we try to be fair. You distribute the work among those people who are qualified on a fair basis. You don't give all to one firm. There are certain groups and certain firms who would like to have everything. We try to distribute the work around and be fair to the people.

So, number one, it is based on qualifications, the ability to do the job. Secondly, it is based on fairness, to look at all of those firms out there, those that are qualified. Look at the ones who were deserving of the work and do the work and those who do not have work to do and try to be fair to the people.

MR. FUREY: We have a list of the companies.

MR. EFFORD: We have a list of companies and we know how much work each company gets on an annual basis. If you look at a firm and they didn't get anything last year or the last year or so, any amount of time, we say: They have the qualifications, they meet the criteria, let's be fair. They have employees. We don't want to give the work to firms outside. We are concerned about Newfoundlanders. Unlike members opposite we are very concerned about Newfoundlanders.

Mr. Chairman, we are a responsible government, we are a fair government, and we do not abuse the public tendering act. I would have to send somebody, one of my officials, to the hon. Member for St. John's East, sit down for some tutoring lessons on all the public tendering so he clearly understands and knows what is exempt. I guess we will have an opportunity in the next week or two to publicly debate here because we intend to introduce legislation in this sitting of the House for amendments to the public tendering act.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I don't know if anybody else over here wants to speak. Perhaps I will have the next three hours to myself which is -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Okay. It has been suggested that it is a good thing the Member for Eagle River is not in charge of awarding this project as it would probably go to the Province of Quebec, as part of the member's interprovincial largesse that he would like to spread around to help the economy of the Labrador Peninsula including the Quebec side of the border, but the minister has attempted to answer the question and I appreciate that.

I don't appreciate the minister's remarks one bit, Mr. Chairman, I say, I don't appreciate the minister's remarks and I don't propose to take him seriously you know, to suggest that the Public Tendering Act is the only way to do things properly and to ask a reasonable and responsible question as to how the government went about its spending $300,000 of public funds without, in the first instance, answering the questions that were put to him, and as far as I am concerned, it is irresponsible, but he wants to get on his high horse in the House and try and belittle people who ask questions, well then, let him do it and let the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture be bored, and if he is bored perhaps he wants to go home and we will tell his constituents how interested he is in the public process in the spending of public money.

He hasn't really given a very good analysis though of the alternative ways of doing this, the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation hasn't, but at least we got some explanation. Can the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology indicate where that $300,000 is coming from, would that be coming from this subhead 2.2.09, the Strategic Economic Initiatives or is this coming from the Minister of Tourism and Culture's own Budget?

Mr. Chairman, those are all my questions concerning this issue at this time, perhaps I will have some questions later on, after other members raise some questions.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Shall 1.2.01 carry?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

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

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Are you standing to speak?

MR. MANNING: Yes I am, Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay.

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

MR. MANNING: I would rather be bowling but I am glad to speak again on the Estimates. A few of the questions I had have been answered by the minister, a bit, but I have a few more right now and I will pass a few comments on some of the things that have been talked about here today.

The Minister of Finance is heading off again, I had a couple of questions for him but I know he is a busy man so I will keep his until later.

I would like to ask a couple of questions if I could on the Economic Recovery Commission. To the minister: in the Estimates last year there was budgeted $1.84 million and that was revised to $2,142,200; this year the estimate is $2,191,300. I would like to know if the minister could tell me, of this amount, how much goes to salaries?

Also, to touch on the task force for community economic development - you spoke on it earlier today - I am wondering about the exact cost of what the provincial government is putting into the task force. For the record, I would like to - the task force has been in place now for a what, a month?

AN HON. MEMBER: A little better than that.

MR. MANNING: A little better than a month or so.

I would like to know how much funding the provincial government is putting into the community economic development task force, where we travel throughout the Province during the summer making recommendations on the structure, I guess, for the community development agencies throughout the Province over the next few years.

I would also ask the minister: Is there any anticipated change in the seventeen economic zones from seventeen to nineteen? I was at a meeting last week and somebody told me that there was a plan to change the economic zones from seventeen to nineteen due to the fact that there were a couple of larger zones, and one of them takes in my district. Are there any plans to change from seventeen up to nineteen?

Those are just a few lead-off questions that I had, and if the minister gets a chance he can answer them for me. I would like to talk about the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro for a few moments.

The cost of advertising to put the Premier's message across about how good the Hydro Privatization Act is, I would like to have some idea of what's been spent on advertising by the government thus far on the Hydro privatization, and how much has been spent on advertising up to today. I am not sure who will be able to answer that; I suppose no one, by the looks of things.

There seems to be a fair amount of dollars being spent on getting the concerns, and I guess one side of this whole debate, out to the people of the Province, and I am just wondering how much that's costing the taxpayers of this Province, because some of the facts that are being put forward, as we all know, are just facts. I guess they're opinions of members opposite in regard to being fact, because I will just touch on a couple of the facts, if I could, or supposedly so-called facts.

I touched on the fact that the Province is not losing a resource. No, the Province is not losing a resource; they are losing control of a resource. Somebody once said: If you don't control it, you don't own it; therefore, we won't control the resource any more after the Hydro Privatization Act goes through, and therefore somebody else will control it. Who will control it will be somebody on the mainland who can afford to buy the shares, I say, Mr. Chairman, not the people of this Province.

Supposedly all rates will be regulated. I say that the rates will be regulated by the Public Utilities Board, but really how much impact would the Public Utilities Board have on a private company that is bringing forth the concerns they have, and more or less the issues that they bring forward in order to increase our rates? How much impact would the Public Utilities Board have on this private company when there's no other place that we can purchase our power from only Newfoundland Hydro? We have no choice but to purchase it because of a monopoly situation that Newfoundland Hydro will be in, so it really concerns me what will happen to electricity rates, especially in rural Newfoundland, because rural subsidy will be phased out between now and 1999, and the people in rural Newfoundland will have to pay more for their electricity.

There will be no layoffs, according to Fact 4 in the advertising campaign. Now whether people lose their jobs through early retirement, or if they lose their jobs through attrition, or whatever the case may be, people will be laid off, there will be jobs lost, and that is a big concern that people have. In Nova Scotia I believe there was around 400 jobs lost when the government said that there would be no lay offs. With the privatization of hydro there were 400 jobs lost.

Hydro remains a Newfoundland company, says fact number five. That is to be debated, I'm sure. Because who will own the Newfoundland company will be the shareholders. That is who will own the new Hydro, Mr. Chairman, and I say that the majority of shareholders will come from outside this Province because of the economic situation that we find ourselves in in Newfoundland and Labrador today. There are not going to be many people from inside this Province purchasing shares. I'm sure that the thousands of people who are on the compensation package won't be buying the shares, or the thousands of people who are on social assistance in this Province won't be buying the shares. Therefore you will end up with people on the mainland buying the shares or in other parts of this continent buying shares. Therefore Newfoundland Hydro won't remain a Newfoundland company.

Privatization benefits I say are few and far between. We have to be concerned about the fact of the government even thinking about proceeding with the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro when the people have spoken loudly and clearly that they don't want the government to proceed. The latest poll is up around 68 per cent of people in the Province, up from 63 per cent from a poll that was done a few weeks before that. The people spoke loudly and clearly that they don't want Hydro privatized and still the government intends on coming forward and privatizing Hydro. This concerns not only me but many members on this side of the House, and throughout the Province, that the government, especially after the Premier promising on Province-wide t.v. that he wasn't going to follow through with the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro if the people were against it, but he continues on.

I'm wondering exactly how much all this advertising is costing the Province and how much it is costing the taxpayers. In the weekend paper alone someone said today it is around $7,000 worth of advertising. How much does the Premier plan on spending to try to get his message across when the people have sent a message back to him that they don't want Hydro privatized? But he still continues to spend taxpayers money trying to get his story across when people have spoken loudly and clearly saying that they don't want it privatized.

The question I ask is: How much is being spent on advertising for the Premier to get across his message on the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro? The people have spoken loud and clear that they don't want Hydro privatized. Why is this government spending taxpayers money putting across their message and their so-called facts to the people when the people have come back - and I would say that -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: What? I can't hear you, sir.

MR. EFFORD: Do you want your bridge (inaudible)?

AN HON. MEMBER: He will cross that bridge when he gets to it.

MR. MANNING: It is only the road to Mall Bay now not paved. What about that?

MR. SHELLEY: He will cross that bridge when he comes to it.

MR. MANNING: I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

I would say, Mr. Chairman, that a fair amount of taxpayers dollars is being spent on advertising for the Premier to get his message across to the people of the Province why he thinks it should be privatized, when the people have spoken loudly and clearly in a recent poll that they don't want Hydro privatized, that they understand the facts about privatization loudly and clearly, upwards around 70-odd per cent. Eighty per cent I say understand the facts of the Hydro privatization as they've been put forward. We have over 80 per cent saying that they would like to have a free vote or some kind of plebiscite or referendum in the Province put forward.

I would like to move on if I could to the problems in education in the Province and how much some ads are costing. I see some ads in the paper - I don't know if I have one right here now in front of me. I've seen some ads in the media over the weekend about the government trying to put through their -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) by leave.

MR. MANNING: Yes, and I'm really glad to hear the Minister of Education - I'm making a good speech (inaudible).

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

MR. MANNING: I must be really good, he is awake. He slept through everybody else's here today. I must be really interesting. I would like to touch on the fact that - and I've talked to a fair number of parents and students over the weekend more so than teachers.

I talked to a lot of teachers during last week but I've talked to a lot of parents and children over the weekend and they're very concerned about the present situation between NLTA and government and exactly what's happening now that we've entered our third week of the strike. The parents are becoming more concerned about the Level III students especially and what will happen in September if they don't have their marks and if they don't get to finish their publics. It's a concern now - and they're not putting blame on anybody they're just saying, plain and simple, that something has to be done and something has to be dealt with.

I think that the present Minister of Finance is doing the best he can under the circumstances that he has to work under. Now he has to come back and get an okay from the boss before he can say yes or no and I think, from what I can gather, that kind of messes things up a bit. If he had his own free hand I think the thing would have been dealt with two weeks ago.

MR. REID: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: No, no. I say to the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, we have a free wheel over here. We can say what we feel. We're not tied in really.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: Yes, we don't have to - yes, you should have known better. There's no gag order on this side of the House. No, no we can say what - and we're free to pass remarks on it but I'm just going on basically what the people I talked to on the weekend over in the district concerning the ongoing dispute and the concerns that parents and students have in regards to the public examinations that are coming.

Some of the concerns that were put forward to me was, even if the strike was over right now, will the students have a fair advantage on completing their exams this year, the fact that they've been out of school now for almost three weeks even though the minister told them to study, study, study? You know the way it is when school children get out of school for a couple of weeks and other things become priorities in some cases. So I'm just wondering about the condition that these students will have to write their publics under and this is a concern if this strike drags on for any longer then another couple of days. I think that parents are going to become very concerned about the fact that the students are trying to write exams. I'm sure everybody has their best interest in mind, even the government, I'll give them credit where credit is due. I think that the minister is dealing with this in the best interest of the children of the Province but it's just that it's a concern the parents and students have. I believe we all hope that there will be a settlement reached within the next few days so that our schools can be reopened and our children back to work but basically the message that's coming from parents is that they're concerned now about the future and what will happen to the school year if the strike doesn't end.

I'd like to get back, if I could, to a few other concerns that I brought up the other day which had to do with the Lieutenant Governor's operation.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: The Minister of Finance is not here, no.

I would like to ask the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation a question if he'd come back to his -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: Yes I have, yes. I'm working around it. Yes you can write this one down, maybe even answer it off the top of your head. In district one of your department - I think there's four districts in the Province - in district one has there been any amount of new vehicle purchases over the past three months? If so, how much money has been spent on the purchase of these new vehicles and what type of vehicles were they? Would you be able to answer it? I'll give you leave if you want to answer it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: No, no, on a serious note now. Do you want to answer now or you don't know the answer off the top of your head, I guess do you, Mr. Minister?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: I would like to know, in the Budget, I believe the highways operation section in the department is re-organized resulting in the savings of $1.2 million. In what areas are those savings being made? I don't mean the area geographically, I mean -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: Yes. I mean in what areas within the department are these savings made?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: I am not sure but this question may have been asked of you before, Planning funds of $300,000 are provided for proposed archives, museums, art galleries; do you recognize the 500th anniversary of John Cabot's landing, are the plans finalized as to where that is going to be built?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: Are the plans finalized as to where that is going to be constructed?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: Maybe that question was asked before. I would like to ask a question also on the transfer of local roads which are maintained right now by the department. You were asked earlier in the House, how far along are those plans, how many communities have been contacted so far, and how many have come back saying that they are willing to - have you some kind of percentage on how many are coming back saying: we are willing to do this as long as the government follows through on what they are saying? So will you try these now and I will see how you make out with them?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: No, no. On the advice of the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, I won't fog you brain with too much, I will try that on you first to see. You want to answer that now? Okay, go ahead.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I was waiting for the question.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: First of all, the hon. member asked me: were there any new vehicles bought in region one? A quick answer: yes, there were new vehicles bought in region one. How many new vehicles? I haven't got the slightest clue.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: But at least I have a click. You haven't reached the first click yet. Now it is impossible for me to know how many vehicles were bought in region one, but what I will do if the hon. member is serious about that question of getting the number of vehicles, I will get the number of vehicles purchased this year in region one; in fact I will get it region by region by region. We are responsible for the purchase of vehicles and I will find out the answer.

How did we save $1.2 million in the re-organization? That was on the layoffs. The layoff alone was $1.2 million.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: The Archives, where is it going to be built? That's the reason we are appointing a firm to take a look at design, location, all of the information that is required to make a decision, that is the firm, Pratt Henley and Blackwood, whom we appointed this week to make all of the recommendations, and when they have completed their job in the program planning and the architectural design, in who knows, three months, that's what we estimate and at that time they will bring all the recommendations to the government and at that time government will make a decision on the recommendations put forward.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: The transfer of local roads to municipalities, I think that's the question the member asked. You are not talking any transfer of roads to unincorporated areas or to local service districts, but to the municipalities?... that has been an ongoing thing with the Department of Works, Services and Transportation, by mutual agreement, where we can get an agreement with the local municipality, we bring the road up to an acceptable standard, then we turn those roads over to the municipality for a continuation. It's their road; they will maintain snow clearing and whatever maintenance is required of the municipality.

How many roads have we turned over to date? Again, to know how many roads we've turned over since I've went with the department, I would have to get the numbers from the department.

The one thing I can tell the hon. member, all of the municipalities that we have had discussions with to date are in full agreement. They are very excited about it because, you have to remember, once those roads are brought up to an acceptable standard they're good for at least a minimum of fifteen years, and a lot of the roads now are in deplorable state for municipalities; therefore, they are getting the roads done up.

You've got to remember the other reason why they're agreeing. Most of the larger municipalities have their own snow clearing equipment, the slower ploughs, because we have the speed trucks, and going through the local small communities with the speed trucks is not the best way to maintain the roads in the wintertime. They have the means of doing it. Even if they contract it out, it only means adding on another few kilometres, so it's worth what they're getting, so most of the people are in full agreement. In fact, we had one municipality that refused it last year and came back within the last couple of weeks and said: Look, we want to get our road done under this agreement, and they have agreed to.

I don't have the total number of roads at my disposal. That would be impossible to remember. In fact, I never asked the question, `How many are done to date?' All I can tell you is that it is coming over very well. Most municipalities are saying: Yes, we understand why you are doing it, and we accept the fact because we are getting our roads done.

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

MR. MANNING: I thank the minister for those answers. I realize that some of the answers you don't have off the top of your head, but you're able to skate around them pretty good, but I must say there were some answers there.

Another one I forgot to ask is in relation to the transfer of local roads. For communities that don't have community councils or local service districts, the department now maintains those roads automatically. That will continue on, I say to the minister? Yes.

In regard to upgrading, there's not much hope in getting some of these upgraded, I wouldn't say, right now.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: I should have known.

When you said about the $1.2 million savings - $1.2 million, total layoffs of people - I would like to know how many people lost their jobs. I use the word loosely when I say `lost'. I guess some went through early retirement, etc., did they?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes.

MR. MANNING: Yes. What number?

MR. EFFORD: How many people altogether?

MR. MANNING: Yes, altogether, whether it was early retirement, or whatever other way they decided to go, how many people got laid off?

There was one superintendent in district one before the reorganization. Are there two superintendents now? Is there one in White Hills and one in Bay Roberts?

MR. EFFORD: We have a district manager in White Hills. The superintendent is based in Bay Roberts.

MR. MANNING: So it's all district one?

MR. EFFORD: It covers all of district one.

MR. MANNING: Before the changes, what was the situation in there? There were two superintendents? Okay.

I had another question for the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation if I could find it here now.

The provincial roads program that was funded this year, $20 million, $30 million is under the trunk roads agreement, is it? So you had a total of $50 million to spend on roads in the Province this year?

MR. EFFORD: $89 million total.

MR. MANNING: $89 million total?

MR. EFFORD: Oh, I am sorry, $79.5 million.

MR. MANNING: Okay, so that was $20 million under the provincial roads program, $30 million under the trunk roads program, and $29 million under the Trans-Canada.

MR. EFFORD: Trans-Canada, yes.

MR. MANNING: I would like to ask the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology a few questions if I could. I have a few questions for the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology but he is kind of tied up, isn't he? Can you hear me now? Okay.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: Yes, Mr. Minister. I asked the questions earlier but I am not sure if you could hear me at the time with regards to the seventeen economic zones. Are they going to remain as seventeen economic zones as proposed or are there any plans to change it to nineteen, I say to the minister? The seventeen economic zones that are planned for the Province now, are there any plans to change that to nineteen due to the fact that with a couple of these zones, there seem to be some concerns coming from them about the size of the zones, especially in the district I represent, almost 80 per cent of the Avalon Peninsula is in one economic zone; are there any changes or any talks being carried out with regard to changing those?

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman, before my friend speaks, I wonder if the Committee might give leave to do something which we overlooked at five o'clock in the urge to get on with our dinner now; I don't even see my friend from St. John's North.

We have a notice of motion which we will give, when my friend from St. John's North comes back, it is the motion to be debated on Wednesday. Thank you.

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Chairman, I was hoping later this week or early next week to make a statement about the task force work and to release the terms of reference. Perhaps I will get a chance to do it Thursday or Friday of this week if not, certainly early next week.

The planning group met in Stephenville this past weekend, they are dividing themselves into two groups to go around the Province and hold hearings. Initially, as I said earlier, we want to look at the World Development Movement, the proliferation of the Community Futures Groups and Business Development Centres and Women's Enterprise Bureaux. They are not restricted. This particular map that carves up the Province into seventeen zones is not cast in stone; they are not going to be restricted by that.

If a credible case can be made that a certain portion of the Province ought to be taken out from underneath another area so as not to be swamped by that area, naturally they are going to be opened to - it's not cast in stone, we are not sticking firmly to seventeen zones; we think that's the right way to carve it up but we are not going to close our minds to it nor are we going to prejudge the task force if they come back and say fifteen zones and it's a credible fifteen zones and a justifiable basis upon which to divide it into fifteen zones, certainly we will accept it; if it is twenty, well so be it, it will be twenty but we are not restricting ourselves to that.

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

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Minister. Funding for the development associations across the Province; at the end of March 31, of this year under the old agreement - well the old agreement is finished as of the 31 of March and government took whatever money that was left in the five components - well there was only some money left in some of the components at the time, but they took what money that was left in those components and put it into administration to help the development associations for six months. The task force says, and I think the report was in September, is that right, the report was in September?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: October, is it? Okay, the report of October 1? Okay. The task force was reporting October 1 and then the government will have to take their report and study it and go on, you know - would that be correct, that the government would take their study and (inaudible)? I am just wondering about what will happen to development associations as such after six months of funding is over?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

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

MR. FUREY: I should tell the hon. member that we spent some time on this in the estimates. In fact his colleague, the Member for Humber Valley, asked that very question.

What we did was, we took project funding and rolled it into administrative funding so that all of the development associations could have operational dollars equal to 50 per cent of their current operating grant, so $18,000 - whatever the dollars are.

I said that if the report isn't in and it requires an extension we will draw the balance from the SRDA agreement, the new Strategic Regional Diversification Agreement, to carry us forward so that you will get a completed extra year. So in a sense what we would be doing is extending the agreement by one year, using creative financing from the former agreement and new monies out of the current agreement.

I want to tell you something else, too. When the task force reports, it is for both orders of government to move very rapidly. It's not something to be studies, it's not something to be put on a shelf. We're quite serious about this. We think there has to be discipline, focus, new energy, a revitalized system put in place in these seventeen zones, and it has to be from the grass roots up. So it's not something we're going to play with or toy with or put on a shelf. We're going to move on it very rapidly.

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

MR. MANNING: I thank the minister, and I'm very pleased to hear that they are going to move on it rapidly because, as I'm sure he's aware, many parts of rural Newfoundland are concerned about the future of rural development associations and the role that they play in the development of rural Newfoundland.

Maybe this question was asked already, but I will ask it for my own purpose in throwing out some questions in regard to the task force. The funding for the task force to travel throughout the Province, is there any limit on how many meetings they are going to hold, public hearings they are going to hold, or any limit on the amount of funding? I guess the funding is coming from both levels of government. I wonder about the amount of funding. Are they limited to a certain amount? Because I am concerned that some of the public hearings won't be held in parts of rural Newfoundland - there may be parts of rural Newfoundland they may not be able to get to due to lack of funding. I am wondering about the funding the task force has.

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Chairman, we haven't tied down a particular budget. They have their terms of reference. They have a budget from the SRDA agreement that's agreed to by both orders of government, through Dr. House and Mr. Slade, and it's cost-shared 70/30. They're not going to be holding hearings all over the Province either. This is directly out of the Strategic Economic Plan released in June of 1992. Everybody knows we were going in this direction. In fact, some people have taken the time to write to Dr. House and Mr. Slade already, so they don't have to visit those areas; they know what's happening in those areas.

The meetings will be limited, I think, to the seventeen zones, to the captured centres in the seventeen zones, and if people want to come and make a brief, or make a presentation or talk to the group, that's no problem. I think they will be divided into two committees, A and B; they will divide the Province in half and go to those seventeen areas.

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

MR. MANNING: In the zones there are going to be more or less growth centres, we will call them, identified in each zone. Is the department leaving that for the task force, or have they started any identification of growth centres themselves yet?

MR. FUREY: No, we're leaving that -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

I need to recognize the hon. the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology for Hansard.

MR. FUREY: We're going to leave that to the task force. If you look at these zones, it is pretty sensible where most of the growth centres are going to be. If you take area seven in my own district, which goes north of Rocky Harbour and stops up at Plum Point, the obvious growth centre is Port au Choix, Port Saunders and Hawkes Bay, that cluster of communities in the heart and centre of that zone.

We're not going to prejudge that. We'll see what they have to say, but it obviously has to be areas that have infrastructure and that have development possibilities.

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

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you to the minister.

I would like to touch, if I could, on a couple of items in the budget highlights in regard to the Department of Tourism and Culture. One especially is funding of $150,000 which has been budgeted to expand conventions and the meeting trade in the Province. I agree 100 per cent with funding being allotted, I say to the minister, in regards to trying to bring more conventions to the Province. The amount of dollars that they bring into our treasury I'm sure is of great benefit. I'm just wondering: Is the minister aware of any major conventions that have been really brought forward to the Province in relation to this $150,000 that has been spent? Has this been spent yet or is that in the works for the next few months? I'm just wondering, have we benefitted from that?

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

MR. FUREY: No, that hasn't been spent yet. What we are hoping to do is hire some full-time personnel to go to specific niche marketplaces, whether it is the large convention - see, what happens is a lot of businesses attend these so-called conventions to see where they are going to hold conventions, if you can believe that. We never ever seem to send anybody to these to try to tell them about Newfoundland, or to sell Newfoundland and what Newfoundland has.

I can get you a list of upcoming events that are happening throughout the Province this summer. The one that leaps to mind right off the bat is not a convention per se, but it has to deal with sports, and that is the Ladies World Fastball Championships which will be here in St. John's. I guess the hon. member is familiar with that. Twenty-eighty countries will be here. While they are here we are going to take the senior business personnel who run the teams and have a Newfoundland night for them where we show them all about Newfoundland and Labrador. Many of them don't know that that is even happening.

MR. ROBERTS: No screech in.

MR. FUREY: No screech in. Well, I don't know about that, but no planned screech in.

MR. MANNING: Nothing wrong with that.

MR. FUREY: Nothing wrong with that, if it is done tastefully.

MR. ROBERTS: Everything wrong (inaudible).

MR. FUREY: That depends upon your point of view, I guess. Anyway, if the hon. member would like I will get him a list of them. I don't have them right here. But a lot of these questions he is asking me were all asked at the specific estimates on Tourism and Culture and I tabled all the answers at that time.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. MANNING: No, I'm finished.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

I would like to request that hon. members on both sides of the House, if they could keep their private conversations down. Because I'm having difficulty hearing the hon. Member for St. Mary's - The Capes and I guess I may not have the same difficulty with the hon. Member for Ferryland.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman?

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

MR. ROBERTS: With leave of the hon. gentleman I wonder if the Committee would let my friend for St. John's North give the notice of motion that he will be moving on Wednesday to be the private member's motion to be debated. Then the gentleman for Ferryland would have his ten minutes or whatever.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Member for St. John's North, by leave.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce the following resolution.

WHEREAS this Province has experienced significant economic difficulties during the past few years due to a general economic recession;

AND WHEREAS the economic difficulties have been further complicated by the collapse of the groundfish industry and some other sections of the Province's economy have also been negatively affected by general economic conditions;

AND WHEREAS the government acknowledges that the private sector must be the primary engine of economic growth and stimulus in the Province in order to create new jobs for our people;

AND WHEREAS many unemployed and underemployed Newfoundlanders do not, at present, have their educational and employment needs met by specific government programs;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that this House reaffirms its support for the commitment of the government to pursue the development and funding of programs which will ultimately result in the best chance for long-term employment opportunities;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this House is committed to the principle that all of our people have fair and equitable access to meaningful programs and support mechanisms that will assist them in accessing educational opportunities, training and jobs on a fair and equitable basis with all other Newfoundlanders.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology mentioned earlier that in the Premier's Office the Chief of Staff, $102,000. That is an increase since 1989 from $54,000, I believe was the figure he mentioned, almost double the salary in that position alone.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: No, I am talking about just one person, the Chief of Staff.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: So he has less staff to look after he should get less money, not twice as much, wouldn't that make sense?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: What? Why would you pay him more if you only have half the staff?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: What?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: So the Chief of Staff has less staff so he gets twice the money; that's good economics, that's the type of economics we have been practising.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Now we know what's wrong with it all.

MR. SULLIVAN: Now we know what's wrong, they have everything backwards.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) years of Tory rule.

MR. SULLIVAN: Now the Advisory Committee on the economy.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) about that.

MR. SULLIVAN: No, I didn't. I didn't run it the way this government has been running it, guaranteed right I didn't, and I probably got more for it when I sold it than you get if you -

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Well, I ran it like I felt like running it in the best, economically viable way to survive in a struggling industry.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Well, he didn't help me.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SULLIVAN: He didn't help me. If you go back to the history in the fishing industry, what helped build up an industry was working for three years without income, that's how we start building up an industry, that's right, and hundreds of thousands and millions alone through the bank and paying them off out of generating profits and having a positive balance sheet and building up on it on your successes; not borrowing on hopefully future successes; that's the way to build an industry.

Now, I was going to comment on the Advisory Council on the Economy that's spending $373,400 when we have an Economic Recovery Commission and Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador, I will say we have too much duplication of service in government, too much duplication in services.

Now with all due respect to the people who sit on the committee, I think it is about time we looked at the way we are spending our dollars today and as I said, maybe it is the Economic Recovery Commission should be scrapped because I haven't seen an economic recovery; we have seen four consecutive years of negative growth in this Province. If he calls that economic recovery we should scrap it; we should scrap that Economic Recovery Commission and get a commission that is not going to promote economic recovery and we might get some positive growth in the Province if that's the way you are working.

AN HON. MEMBER: Keep your voice down.

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes. My voice goes up as the interruptions go up. Newfoundland Information Services - I understand Newfoundland Information Services are up $60,000, I think it has tripled what it was in '89 I believe, would that be correct? It tripled what it was just five years ago in 1989, so we have seen continuous increase in cost. Now, under Executive Council, we have an increase in Transportation and Communication within the total Executive Council from $1,043,100 total to $1,299,000 an increase of $256,000 in a budget a little over $1 million, a 25 per cent increase in Transportation and Communication from last year to this year in the office of the Executive Council, and I would like to know where some of these expenses are coming from. For example, Government House has increased in this area alone from 14.6 to 17, maybe they can tell us why. We have an increase in the Premier's Office under Transportation and Communication of an extra $5,000 -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I am asking the President of Treasury Board, the acting President of Treasury Board, the acting, acting. I am going to ask the questions and maybe the people there might be able to get answers for these.

The Cabinet Secretariat for example, has $106,500 expended last year, they are expending on Transportation and Communication, one hundred and sixty-two seven - an increase of almost 60 per cent in Transportation and Communication in the Cabinet Secretariat.

Somebody asked the question here one day when I was (inaudible) for about a month ago but that is what I was doing here. I was trying to compile the waste in government and a lot of the monies that are not being expended properly.

We have Intergovernmental Affairs Secretariat. I would like to know why in Intergovernmental Affairs we've increased from $224,100 up to $489,500. More than double in Intergovernmental Affairs from last year to this year, and that is just Transportation and Communications.

We have an increase in Newfoundland Information Services, a 12 per cent increase in Transportation and Communications. We have an increase, in Hibernia Project, of 50 per cent in Transportation and Communication. They must have moved the project farther away, out to sea a little further. An extra 50 per cent increase.

I would like also to ask the Acting President of Treasury Board, under Purchased Services, why have we seen an exorbitant increase of $798,200 up to $2.25 million? We've had a 300 per cent increase in Purchased Services under Executive Council from last year to this year. Why the 300 per cent increase? We've had under Government House - I ask why is there an increase of 33 per cent in Purchased Services? Why is there an increase of $24,000 in Purchased Services in the Treasury Board Secretariat? Cabinet Secretariat, an increase of about 1,400 per cent in Purchased Services in the Cabinet Secretariat. We have Intergovernmental Affairs Secretariat on Purchased Services, we've got a 300 per cent increase. We have exorbitant increases in each specific area under Purchased Services.

Under Professional Services, Executive Council, under Treasury Board Secretariat in Professional Services, we have an increase from $1,876,000 to $2,109,000, an increase of $130,000 in Professional Services. I ask the minister: Why is there an increase in Intergovernmental Affairs Secretariat from $72,000 to $441,000, a 600 per cent increase in Professional Services for Intergovernmental Affairs Secretariat? There is an increase in the Hibernia Project of Professional Services from $30,000 up to $80,000.

The government is continually, year after year, spending more and more money - they are trying to promote and tell what a great job they are doing. Hundreds of thousands of dollars going into advertising. We had this past weekend about $7,000 or $8,000 went just in newspaper advertising alone on Hydro, not counting the thousands of other dollars that they are wasting without any planning. Just sporadic spending day by day.

At the same time this is happening, at the same time they are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars... this past year the government spent, or they are proposing to spend, $1.5 million extra dollars in Purchased Services in Executive Council. At the same time they have increased tuition fees by 85 per cent since 1989. An 85 per cent increase. The increase this year will mean an extra $1 million out of the pockets of students in this Province when at the same time they spend $1.5 million on professional services, outside promoting, and government propaganda, mostly.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SULLIVAN: And $80,000 spent on sods at Memorial brought in from Alberta. I mean, you won't buy sods in Newfoundland, we are not good enough! It is not green enough! We have to bring them in. They are bringing bricks in from outside the Province to do a school on the Northern Peninsula, and we have a brick plant just open here in this Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, and I would tell the Member for Eagle River that the turbot quota last year, there was 1,917 ton caught out of 11,000 ton, less than 20 per cent, 18 per cent caught, because the Canadian boats couldn't catch it. That is what I will tell the Member for Eagle River. Eighteen per cent.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SULLIVAN: No.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. SULLIVAN: I know all the quotas in this Province. I keep a record of the total allowable catch that was landed and I keep it in my office. Any time you want to look at it let me know. I try to do one on each area to be informed as much as possible so I can give my constituents reliable, straightforward information. not inaccurate information. That is why it is important.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)!

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. SULLIVAN: I guess you would know all about the turkey quota over there. We wouldn't know anything about that. We do have some accurate information too about what is happening. Maybe why the members feel so very bad about this is that their own Premier, the guy who has whipped them into line on Hydro, all you have to do is open up The Financial Post and it shows that Hydro Quebec has a net income of $761 million. The closest to them was Seagram's with $490 million net income. By far and away the most profitable corporation in this country with the big majority of their profits garnered by getting 20 per cent what they are paying for power out of Labrador and reselling it again to put money into the coffers of Hydro Quebec at the expense of people here in this Province.

That is what I tell hon. members over there. No wonder you are ashamed, no wonder the Premier wants to whip you into line to vote for Hydro. He wants to try to redeem himself.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: He wants to give away the rest under Newfoundland Hydro.

AN HON. MEMBER: What about Fortis?

MR. SULLIVAN: What about Fortis? Yes, Fortis is a very profitable company too. It was 266th I believe on the list.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) with that?

MR. SULLIVAN: No, I'm delighted to see profitable companies in this Province, I'm delighted to see it. In fact, Fortis last year was 283rd. They had a net income of $30.633 million. When you factor in Newfoundland Power all of that net income was applied to Newfoundland Power except $1 million.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

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

MR. SIMMS: It doesn't bother me as nearly as much as it bothers Clyde Wells, I can tell you that.

Mr. Chairman, I've got a few questions for the Minister of Education. I'm hoping he might take advantage of this debating opportunity to respond to some of the questions, serious questions, questions that are sort of left hanging and dangling as a result of what has transpired over the last couple of weeks with the teachers' strike. The questions have been asked before but I'm not sure any answers have been given or any responses.

I believe the minister said in the House, when it was asked by somebody over here, or suggested by somebody over here, that maybe Memorial University might look at lowering its entrance requirement from 70 per cent down to 65 per cent, and I believe the minister thought it was a good idea. In fact, I think it came from a petition or something, didn't it?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Yes, I think it actually came from a petition from students.

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, students from Harbour Main, I think, had a petition come in.

MR. SIMMS: Yes, that's right, Harbour Main students.

AN HON. MEMBER: Roncalli School.

MR. SIMMS: Roncalli School, the minister might remember it, and in it was the suggestion that maybe Memorial might reduce its admission requirement from 70 per cent, which it was going to go up to this year, back down to 65 per cent, in lieu of what has transpired and the uncertainty.

The minister himself, in responding to that petition, as I recollect, said that he thought it was a good suggestion and, in fact, he was going to speak to the president of the university. I believe those were his words, so I would like him to tell the House, if he wouldn't mind, if he had that conversation, and is the university agreeable to undertaking that as suggested by the students themselves?

The second question I would like him to try to respond to, if he could, is this whole question again of what was raised today in a petition presented by my colleague, the Member for Humber Valley, from parents of Level III students for the most part, I guess it was, at a public meeting over in the Humber Valley - Deer Lake area, where they asked -

AN HON. MEMBER: A very important petition.

MR. SIMMS: Yes, it was a very important petition, but essentially they want to know what's going to happen to the students at Level III in terms of acceptance into universities, which he touched on and which I have just touched on in terms of Memorial specifically, but I think their concerns went beyond that. Their concerns went to whether or not whatever happens to them would be acceptable to the universities on the mainland, particularly in Atlantic Canada, I guess.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Acadia said they might accept them. Then there was another one; was it St. Mary's, Dalhousie?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Dalhousie said they would not, or at least they told a couple of students they would not.

What I would like to know is if the minister, who I am sure would be concerned about this, as we all are on behalf of parents, would he have made any enquiries along those lines himself? Does he know, for example, if the Atlantic Canadian Provinces universities, others outside of Newfoundland for example, would accept whatever ends up being the final mark for students here in this Province, whatever that mark might be based on whatever the course might end up being in terms of how far it's gone?

A lot of people are saying Level III, as a result of the strike initiation of over two weeks ago - going on the third week - that a lot of students in Level III didn't have their courses completed, that there was still a couple of weeks work left. I am not sure if the minister has denied that or not. I believe he may have denied it, but we keep hearing students and parents saying that is indeed the case, that the work was not concluded, so I would like him to address that, if he wouldn't mind.

Finally, I would like him to address the other issue that was raised about two weeks ago at the beginning of the strike. For example, how are the students going to be marked? Even if the strike ends in the next twenty-four hours, which we all hope it will, but if it does, the fact of the matter is, as we understand from parents and students, the Level III students in particular have not fully covered their courses. The exams are planned on being, I think, June 10, which is next Thursday, a week from Thursday coming. How would the minister plan to deal with that kind of a difficulty and that kind of a problem? Would he still have to make some allowances for the marking? How could he do that?

The other issue, as I recollect from news stories this morning, was this issue of -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Oh, I can ask five if I want to, I say to the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture. I wouldn't ask him five, because he wouldn't be able to deal with five, but I will ask others.

One of the problems, as I recollect, is that the examinations are already printed so that being the case, the exams also cover the two weeks or whatever it is they haven't done, therefore the only way to ensure that that gets covered is if the additional time is added on to the school year and the exams are postponed, presumably.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Anyway, that's one of the issues that was raised by parents and students, I say to the ministers, last night at a public meeting on the West Coast, so I think it is a legitimate concern that they have, I don't think we can laugh it off; it is a serious matter, a serious problem and we all recognize it. So those three or four questions, maybe the Minister of Education, it would be timely if he could take advantage of this opportunity and maybe give us some responses to those few questions.

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

MR. DECKER: The hon. member asked some excellent questions which I would really like to have the time to deal with some time, however, the problem right now is we are discussing the Estimates of the Executive Council and I don't want to get waylaid in all this. I think there are some very important questions there which should be dealt with and I don't want to cloud the issues here tonight by getting off on an educational tangent. I understand full well the hon. member wants me to answer all the questions that I have already answered before, many times, in depth, but I don't think this is the right time to do that.

I think we should try to stay relevant to these discussions, and if the hon. member wants to bring it tomorrow in Question Period, I will be most delighted to deal with it, but I am not going to get off on a tangent because there are too many important issues tonight on the Executive Council. When we go out at 10:30 and there is a lot of questions over there that hon. members want to ask, how are we going to spend certain money in the Executive Council, penetrating questions, and I think we should have an opportunity to deal with them, and I am not going to be accused of getting up and going off on an educational tangent, using up the member's time; the members will be complaining at half-past ten tonight that we never dealt with all the issues in the Executive Council and then who will get the blame for it? They will be over there blaming me; they will say: the Minister of Education was up ranting and raving about educational matters, about all these questions here and didn't give them time to deal with the Executive Council.

Now, Mr. Chairman, I am not going to allow that to happen, I will tell the hon. member now that if he has problems with these questions, I will be quite pleased to go behind the curtain and discuss it with him; tomorrow morning, during Question Period I will deal with it at the appropriate day or night, whatever, Mr. Chairman, but there is no way that I am going to stand up here and use up the valuable time of hon. members because at 10:30 I believe, at 10:30 tonight, it's all over and we won't be able to talk about it any more.

The educational issues are important ones, very important issues, and the Member for Waterford - Kenmount over there, every opportunity he gets he brings up these same questions to me, you see him coming over here kneeling at my desk; we have talked about it, we have explained all these questions before and answered them about twenty-five times, but there is no way I am going to use up the valuable time tonight, I am not going to use up another second tonight talking about educational matters, as much as I would like to do it. I would love to do it, Mr. Chairman, but we are talking about the Executive Council here.

We are talking about the way the money is being spent, and I want to make sure that members opposite and on this side of the House, that everybody has all the time that they want to get up and ask these penetrating questions, and I look forward, at the appropriate time, to dealing will all the questions that the hon. the Leader of the Opposition, who had some good questions, which I want to hear, but I want them at the appropriate time and the appropriate place and if the hon. member can't wait until Question Period tomorrow, after I sit down, I suggest we go behind the Speaker's Chair and I will go over these questions with him and explain to him exactly what he wants to know about the 65 per cent.

I will explain and I will talk to him about his questions, about my thoughts on whether or not the exams will be written and whether or not the Level IIIs have covered all the work, all of these issues, important issues, Mr. Chairman, but I am not going to waste time here tonight discussing that because the time here tonight should be devoted to the Estimates of the Executive Council. This is what it's all about, and if I got up here tonight and took ten minutes of his time, I'm sure the hon. member would be criticizing me tomorrow. Maybe right across the front page of The Evening Telegram would be a big headline: Decker wastes government time.

AN HON. MEMBER: Decker scuttles talks.

MR. DECKER: Decker scuttles talks, so there's no way, I'm going to leave it. I'm not going to get into that trap. The hon. member - what's his district, the fellow who gave the good speech?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DECKER: St. Mary's - The Capes. The hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes got up in this House and took ten minutes. It was one of the best speeches I have heard from that hon. member since I've been in this House, and possibly one of the best speeches I've ever heard from Opposition since I've been in this House, even when we were in this House. So I know there's a depth of penetrating questions over there just waiting to be asked, and I could get up and spiel off answering questions that the Leader of the Opposition asked, use up the time of this House. I am not going to do it. I am going to sit down, and when the appropriate time comes I will answer the questions about education.

Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Chairman, what a disgraceful performance by the Minister of Education. He doesn't even want to give the people of this Province, the parents and the children who had serious concerns expressed last night, through a petition today presented by the Member for Humber Valley, students who presented a petition a couple of weeks ago to the Member for Waterford - Kenmount, students who presented a petition to the Member for Fogo, which was on CBC Television tonight, and this minister is not even prepared to give any time to answering questions. What a disgraceful performance, I say to the Minister of Education. He doesn't want to waste the time of the House dealing with education questions. Mr. Chairman, if that doesn't take the cake then I don't know what does, and it's unfortunate -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) householder.

MR. SIMMS: Oh, it will be a great householder.

It's unfortunate, Mr. Chairman, that the Minister of Education decided to take that tack, because in the debates on the Executive Council estimates he knows full well that it covers any department of the Cabinet. The Executive Council is the Cabinet; it's the government.

Other ministers, his colleague, the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, was up a few moments ago responding to questions. The Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology has been up answering questions all afternoon and all evening, so that's a silly response that he gave.

I asked him some serious questions - questions that are on the minds of students and parents - and if that's the attitude of the Minister of Education, is there any doubt in anybody's mind as to why we're in the difficulty we're in with respect to education in this Province today? I can't and couldn't believe my ears, that the minister would get up and act frivolously, he would make fun of and make a joke of this process which allows him the chance to get up and answer some questions. He only needed ten minutes, and he took ten minutes to get up and talk about foolishness.

Now I plead with the minister to reconsider his approach. Answer the questions. They are very important and very serious to the people who are listening, and the people who will be listening, because this is taped and carried, as he knows, by the press gallery upstairs, and I am sure he wouldn't want to have his frivolous response played over the provincial airwaves and on the morning newscast. I think they would prefer to hear him give an answer, or straightforward answers, to the very serious questions that we asked him, that I asked here just in the last ten minutes.

I know the questions were questions that were asked two weeks ago, but I prefaced them by saying that two weeks have now gone by and we want to know what the situation is today. We know what he said two weeks ago, but we want to know what the situation is today, and I don't think there was any reason in the world for the minister to get up and treat those questions in such a frivolous manner, and I hope that he sees fit to stand and apologize for being so frivolous with it, and answer the question seriously.

I say to him as well, and to the Government House Leader, we may very well have put the question. It might have been the last set of questions that we had. Maybe we were going to end it off with a set of questions on education which we think is the current issue today. Had the minister perhaps given us some serious and sensible answers we may have finished this off and called the vote in ten minutes' time. Since he has decided to take that approach then we will be here for another couple of hours, I guess.

Maybe the minister might like to reconsider. I would like to see him reconsider. I'm sure he meant to be funny. He was trying to be funny and humorous. I would really like him to give answers to the questions.

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

MR. DECKER: I was not making a joke of the questions, I was making a joke of the Leader of the Opposition, because it is obvious what he is doing. They have totally run out of questions on the estimates of the Executive Council. They are over there wasting the time of this House. They don't have a question left in their jaws over there, Mr. Chairman, not a question do they have left. They are roaming all over God's creation trying to punch in two hours. The hon. member said it himself: We might have put the question if they had to take our mud cakes or whatever.

This is where their foolishness is coming in. This is supposed to be a serious place where we conduct the business of the Province, not where we play silly games. The questions that the hon. member put forward were asked in this House at least a dozen times. We went through question period this morning and they would not even allow the education critic to get off his seat and ask a question. In the last two weeks in this House the Opposition education critic hasn't had an opportunity ten times to get on his feet and make a peep. Not a peep out of him over there. He is like a pigeon with his jaws tied. His jaws are wired together.

The hon. member gets up then and talks about us refusing to answer his questions? He is playing silly foolish games. Do you know what it costs to keep this House going an hour? We have to keep the staff on here to run Hansard. Every media in the Province has to send people in up there in the galleries to sit down and try to record what is going on. Networks around the world are crying: What is going on here? (Inaudible) cost of that, Mr. Chairman.

I think it is absolute preposterous utter dog wash and bosh, and nonsense. The hon. member, if he had reasonable questions on the Executive Council, now is the time to ask them. We are prepared to answer reasonable questions. But when he gets up and says: Oh, if the Minister of Education hadn't gotten up we might have put the question. That says it all about the silly games they are playing. If the hon. member has some serious concerns let him put them forward. Their duty as the Opposition is to show the people of this Province how we are spending the money in the Executive Council, not get off on old stuff that we've dealt with over and over and we are prepared to deal with in the appropriate time. The hon. Leader of the Opposition is playing games and he knows it, and now he feels guilty because we've called his bluff and we are telling the people of the Province exactly what he is doing over there.

MR. SIMMS: What a disgrace, boy, an absolute disgrace. Is it any wonder nobody in education (inaudible)?

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, mr. Chairman.

MR. SIMMS: Any wonder they call him a fool?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Chairman, I was going to say I'm pleased to be back in the House after just a few minutes away, but I'm not as sure after just watching the display of the Minister of Education.

What a situation. Is there any wonder that the education system is in the state that it is in? Is there any wonder that the church leaders don't trust the minister, teachers don't trust the minister, parents don't trust the minister, students don't trust the minister. To listen to the minister tonight you wouldn't know but we were the reason that we are back here after 5:00 p.m., I would say to the minister.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: We are not the reason we are back here after 5:00 p.m. It was the Government House Leader who got up and said he wouldn't close at 5:00 p.m. It wasn't us. We would gladly have finished at 5:00 p.m., I say to the minister, so don't go telling us about the cost of running the House for an hour while we are after 5:00 p.m. You are the reason that we are here tonight, I say to the minister, and costing the taxpayers however many dollars an hour it costs, not us.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No. I would say to the Government House Leader, that is not the point.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) the Bill Marshall (inaudible).

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Chairman, I thought - maybe I was mistaken -

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: - Mr. Chairman, but I didn't hear you recognize anyone else. I didn't hear you recognize anyone else, Mr. Chairman, not since you recognized me. I don't think you did now, unless....

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture missed the point. He missed the call, he missed the point. I don't know what else there is for the minister to miss, I say to him. There is not much else for him to miss. You almost missed the last four hours. We've been four hours after 5:00 p.m.. You've almost missed all of that, in addition to the call and the point.

MR. FLIGHT: Why ask (inaudible) questions?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Because you can only ask so many.... Let me just say to the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture that there has not been as much damage inflicted on any one government in the history of North America in two months as this Opposition has inflicted on this government.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I tell you right now. Don't preach to us. I hear over there almost on a daily basis, those who thought they were the champions of Question Period, the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, the Member for Fogo. The Member for Fogo leans over and says: John, go over and give them a seminar, you will have to give them a seminar. Some seminar. I would say to the Member for Fogo and the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, start doing some seminars for your own caucus. You are in such a hole now you should do a seminar on stepladders to try and get up out of it. You are that far down you are going to have to use stepladders to get up, I say to the minister.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: When you dip from the mid-seventies and 80 per cent in the approval ratings to now below 30 per cent into the mid-twenties, I say to the Member for Fogo, she is going and still sliding away.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Slipping away.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, that should be their motto, I would say to the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture. `Let-her-slide Clyde.'

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I know all about that, I say to the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture. Keep it up. Keep sitting the House in the evening times. Keep it up. Keep telling us how to ask questions and when to ask them, I say to the ministers. You will keep answering the way you've been answering for the last two months. You are doing quite well. The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, every time he answers a question, down another five points in the polls, I say to him. Down she goes, down again, another slide.

The Minister of Education. They only have to mention his name on television, down another five or ten points. Every time they show the Premier with his famous quote, down she goes another ten points, down they go again. I mean, it is quite a fall from 73 per cent or 74 per cent to down to mid-twenties. Fifty points in what, three months? The last quarter. Yes, since the New Year. A fifty point drop? Unheard of, I say.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes he was, and of course Peter Boswell said it in his article again. What did he say? Rubicon. What was the other thing? The point that Peter made most, that I liked most, and I tell you, I think it summed it up better than anyone else could sum it up, but it is something we've been saying for the last two or three years -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No. But when he said there is an ongoing pattern of calculated deceit.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: An ongoing pattern of calculated deceit. He went right through the whole history of this Premier and this Administration, all through what has happened and what hasn't happened. The pattern of calculated deceit has finally caught up with members opposite, I say to them. They have followed in the footsteps of the gentlemen who set the pattern of calculated deceit, who have established it and now they are all ready to go over with him, ready to slide off the pole with him, unbelievable; there is only one person over there, only one member, only one who has taken exception but I don't really believe that what members show here in the House, I don't really believe it is their true feelings.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Ah, they are packing them, they are packing their bags I say to them.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh no, that's true. Oh, I say to the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, I remember it well, I remember last spring very well but I will tell you one thing, he will remember this spring more and this government will remember this spring more.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, there are three more unhappy springs, maybe for the minister, three more unhappy springs if the minister is lucky. Three more very unhappy years and three unhappy springs, but for the Minister of Education to stand up lecturing us saying that the reason we are here tonight spending taxpayers money when we could have gladly adjourned, we would have voted in favour of the motion to adjourn at five and I thought we were. I really wanted to, I have a compassion for the Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board who has been up all night trying to get an end to the dispute.

MR. SIMMS: He wouldn't answer educational questions.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: He wouldn't answer an education question in this day of crisis in this Province in Education, getting up making a sham, mocking it, mocking everything.

AN HON. MEMBER: Bring back Phil Warren.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, draft Phil, bring him right back into Cabinet (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Did you see him with Rex last night?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The next thing after the Premier now, is that they are going to be showing the Minister of Education with Rex Murphy asking the question. When Rex Murphy asks him the question. You are saying that you have to proceed with educational reform because the majority of Newfoundlanders are in favour and want you to proceed with it and when Rex says: Well, why then don't you withdraw the Hydro privatization bill because it is perfectly clear that by far the majority of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are opposed to it? His eyes got like two saucers, his eyes became the size of the television screen and he didn't know what to do.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) lunar eclipse.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, like a lunar eclipse; he was eclipsed.

AN HON. MEMBER: What did he say?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I don;t know he is still stammering, the Minister of Education, he hasn't finished the statement. Don't ask me those difficult questions Rex, he said, and they are going to start showing that now, and that will be another 10 per cent drop in the polls, and the people in St. Anthony calling for him will be wondering where he is.

You talk about clips? Talk about clips for the next general election; talking about budgets, we won't have to spend a cent. The government is already doing the advertising for us.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I say to the Minister of Education, what clips for an election, and the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations trying to justify a waste of money -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: By leave?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Chairman, you are going to have to restrain the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, he is not even in his own seat.

MR. SIMMS: He used to be the Minister of Environment and Lands and used to fly around like (inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: But, you know, they have something in common -

MR. SIMMS: What's that?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations and the Minister of Environment and Lands, they want to try out every seat on the other side and sometimes sit in the corridors.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I'm not surprised that the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations is mad. No, I'm not surprised he is mean and nasty. He is down in the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation's seat - he has moved into his section now trying to steal support from him. Right in his own section where the minister sits, with his own seat. Right in his own seat. Down working on the Ministers of Social Services and Forestry and Agriculture.

MR. SIMMS: You will get Graham, you will never get Lush.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Sorry? Who is there for another ten years? Where?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, he won't be Minister of Works, Services and Transportation for another ten years. No, he won't be there another ten months. He might not be there another ten days.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) portfolio.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I say to the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, you may not be - oh, portfolio. There is a big shake-up coming through, the minister should know that. Perhaps the minister doesn't know that. That is one call I would say the minister will wish that he would miss. When the Premier rings the phone. Because when he gets summoned to the eighth floor the next time it is not going to be good news, I would say to the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture.

MR. SIMMS: He already told the Premier he is prepared to resign.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh, did he? That is fair enough then. They will go up for tea and crackers and have a mutual understanding that the minister will leave.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: The Premier run in Windsor - Grand Falls? Well, well, well. I don't think there will be any - there is no hope in it.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, there is no doubt the Premier will be running, I would say to the minister, that the Premier will be running in Windsor - Grand Falls. There is no doubt about that!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The Premier will be running there. No doubt about that. The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, he has no worries. He will have a Cabinet post, but he is not going to have the one he has now. He is looking around. He is always looking up to the seat past the Minister of Finance, pointing and looking.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I don't know!

MR. SIMMS: Who is this?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, he is always pointing at the seat up past the Minister of Finance, the President of Treasury Board.

MR. SIMMS: Oh, Fisheries, yes.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, and the same for the Member for Eagle River who is back there all the time like this, jigging. I don't know. But you see, that is another sign. Any time you see a government caucus behave that way... cannibals. Eating up their own, turning on their own. Putting their own down day after day.

MR. SIMMS: Believe us, we know from experience.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: It is another sign.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SIMMS: If the Minister of Education would give us answers we wouldn't be (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I think if the Minister of Education would have been sensible and got up in a responsible manner and took part in the debate we probably would have called the question, but when the minister makes a mockery of such a serious issue -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh yes, he did. Now he is over there dozed off, having a nap, $125,000 or $130,000 a year for sleeping in the public Chamber. It is unbelievable.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: What is wrong? What is going on here, Mr. Chairman? I don't know. There is an awful feud here to my right between hon. members. I don't know what is happening.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You shouldn't be speaking from someone else's seat. The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations knows that. He hasn't stopped since I've been up.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh, there are no worries about my colleague. He has a lot of self-control, my colleague, the Member for Ferryland. He is poised, he is not going to get into that, the Member for Ferryland. He is not like I am, short-fused, he is alright.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, he is not sporty like me, vindictive, nasty, not like that. He is a patient, quiet man.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: There are some things, I would say to the Member for Fogo.

MR. SIMMS: Including the Member for Fogo.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, I can tolerate the Member for Fogo.

AN HON. MEMBER: What?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I say I can tolerate the Member for Fogo.

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, but there's one thing we have to be careful of here, you know. We can get hot under the collar and barb back and forth, but we have to be careful when we bring people up who don't sit here or can't defend themselves, who are related, and stuff like that. That's the thing that irks people most, when you bring up relatives who are not here to defend themselves, and you cast slurs on them.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, exactly. I'm saying it sincerely.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who started it?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh, I don't know; I have no idea. I wasn't here when it started tonight. I'm saying it because I'm serious.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: That's what irks us all, I think. That's what gets to us, when those kinds of things happen. That's what gets to us. Not all of us, but a good many of us have had that kind of thing happen to us. It doesn't help the matter, though. It doesn't help the matter when you get on with that stuff here in the House, you know.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh, I think so. I was outside, and when I came back in I couldn't believe the change in the place.

AN HON. MEMBER: The Minister of Education changed it.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, the Minister of Education started this. Like I said, as he inflames the teachers and the parents and the students and the church leaders, and the people up in St. Anthony and Roddickton, the Minister of Education, what an inflamer he is.

Anyway, Mr. Chairman, I thank you for your patience. This was hard. I usually don't have any problem, but this was difficult.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Chairman, I want to bring up a couple of points relating to the Public Tender Act and provincial preference policy. The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation might like to go back into his own place. There are a couple of points I wanted to have clarified.

First of all, if I am not mistaken, that division responsible for provincial preference was taken from the Department of Industry, Trade and Technology and transferred to Works, Services and Transportation about a year or so ago. The minister might like to give me the rationale for that, because it sounds strange to me that the department that does all of the public tendering for government, which is the Department of Works, Services and Transportation, through the Central Purchasing Agency, that agency or division of it is now responsible also for the provincial preference policy, so it almost appears as if that division is policing itself from a provincial preference point of view.

Now I accept the fact that it also polices all other government agencies and departments that may, for whatever reason, be calling tenders directly, but the Department of Works, Services and Transportation, I suspect, invites 95 per cent or better of the tenders that are invited by government. Therefore, it is self-regulating itself from a provincial preference point of view. Now that's a moot point, because I am not sure that it makes any difference which department it's in - it's still government regulating government - but it would seem to me a little bit more at arm's length if it was a separate agency back in the Department of Industry, Trade and Technology with a different mandate than the Department of Works, Services and Transportation, which is to try to get the work done as expeditiously as possible. The provincial preference policy doesn't always provide for the quickest route to a solution. It doesn't provide for the fastest service, but it does provide preference and protection for local companies.

Now I also understand, and I think I am correct, that the policy applies only to those purchases costing $5,000 or more. I think I am correct in that. So here is the problem we have, because under the Public Tender Act if it doesn't cost $5,000 a department can invite proposals, can invite three bids, as a general policy. That's the policy, and that's there for good and logical reason. I have no argument with that. What bothers me, though, is that it gives an opportunity to get around provincial preference in that proposals can now be invited in smaller amounts. Obviously this is happening every day, too - we've seen that many, many times - where departments and agencies are soliciting proposals for smaller amounts. Rather than going for a $25,000 tender, they're inviting six $4,000 tenders. We've seen that problem. My colleagues on the Public Accounts Committee will tell you that we've seen prime examples of it where it was clear and blatant abuse of the Public Tender Act - clear and blatant abuse of the Public Tender Act - but it's happening even more subtle than that.

We've had cases where five purchase orders for $4,500 each, successive purchase orders, issued by the same agency for the same project the same day, and that's about as blatant as you can possibly get, but there are many other cases where departments or agencies will purposely keep their purchases in small amounts so they can get around the Public Tender Act.

What it also allows them to do is get around the provincial preference policy, and I say to the minister that I have documents here - these are quotation forms from his department - where a proposal call was invited for bids on some work, printing of stationery, for the department. There were only two companies that could provide this particular type of service, apparently, in the Province. The bid went to what I would consider a non-Newfoundland company, and I confess to the minister, I don't know what provincial preference ranking that company had, but it is down around five or six. It is basically a local representative that has all of the work done out-of-Province, all of the printing, as compared with this other company which is a total, 100 per cent Newfoundland company. It has to bring its paper in from outside, but all of the work, 100 per cent of the ownership is here, and it is ranked as a ten. So on this particular call, it was only a $2,000 purchase, the successful bidder bid $1,988.64; that was the out-of-Province company. The local company bid $1,972.08 - a difference of $16.56.

I suspect that strictly under the interpretation of the Public Tender Act and the local preference policy that that was quite correct. I am not suggesting that the department has done anything wrong. I am suggesting that it's a practice that's taking place every day, and it defeats both the Public Tender Act and the provincial preference policy.

On the other hand, last week the minister tabled his exceptions to the public tenders in the House, as he's required to do. I see one here from the Newfoundland Medical Care Commission for physician claim forms. It says, `Tender invitation not advisable. Only two vendors able to produce form.' And it was given to one contractor -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: There wasn't.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: The point is that there wasn't. There should have been a tender on that one, and they invited only from the two, I assume.

It says: Contract awarded to the only bidder. Now perhaps the other bidder didn't bid. Maybe the Newfoundland company, for some reason, didn't submit a bid. I will check that one out.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: If there are only two potential, I don't have -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: The problem is, I am told that every day there are invitations out for less than $5,000. The bulk of the work is going to the out-of-Province company simply because the provincial preference is not applying -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Oh, I will give the minister copies of this documentation. If one of the Pages would take it and get copies, I will send it over.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, there are many companies in this Province doing it. Members on the Public Accounts Committee will tell you, over the last couple of years we brought through many, many cases where companies and agencies - not only the departments of government, in fact more so agencies then departments of government - are doing that to get around the nuisance of having to call public tenders.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Many school boards and hospital boards, all of the Crown corporations. One of the things that the Public Accounts Committee has done in the past three years, since we've been dealing with agencies of government, not just government departments, is that we are beginning to make inroads in educating these Crown agencies, Crown corporations that they are responsible under the Financial Administration Act, the Public Tender Act and the provincial preference policy.

Every day we sit in public accounts and we talk to groups who say; well we weren't really aware of it or we didn't think it quite applied like that. Well it does apply like that and it's high time that they were all made to apply to it. So I'd ask the minister if he would address that. I'm not pointing any fingers at the minister himself, I'm saying it's a problem that exists. What, if anything, can be done about it? Why would an out-of-Province company be given $2,000 worth of work for a difference of sixteen dollars when there's work can be done here? I'm told that the percentage of business that this local company is getting now has fallen considerably in the past several years. It's a company that is having some difficulty as all companies are and can use every dollar of work they can get. Certainly we should be keeping it in the Province, Mr. Speaker, and not sending it outside. So if the Page would come and take this and get copies of both of these for the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. Thank you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, there is a full understanding by everybody on both sides of the House that there are problems, not with the Public Tendering Act as much as trying to control the way in which all of the Crown corporations and all of the municipalities across the Province carry out their purchasing. One of the things I recognized first coming into the department was that the government bodies, the government departments within the bureaucratic system here in the central system, understand most of the departments, not most, all of the departments understand the public tendering system very, very well. When you go outside, when you go across the Province into the local municipalities, into the school boards, into the hospital system, into the medical system, medicare across the Province there is definitely a problem with the awareness of the public tendering system. It's quite true that under the present system there is a limit of $5,000 before you have to call public tender. Under legislation which we'll be introducing in the House in the very near future, hopefully in a few days, we're increasing that to $7500 but that's still not going to solve the fact of -

AN HON. MEMBER: It'll make it worst.

MR. EFFORD: It'll make it worst, that's right. The hon. member is quite correct.

What I have done in the short time I've been minister of the department - first of all I had to become fully aware of the public tendering system myself and I had to find out where it was being used or not used. Now probably the hon. Member for Mount Pearl is quite correct, probably abused is a better word to use because there is no doubt about it the system is definitely being abused across the Province, I would say intentionally as much as people not being aware of the act and not knowing the act. What the department has been doing over the past several months is going across the Province and holding training seminars, information seminars in order to educate all of the different agencies - and bringing in, probably reining in the individual bodies, the purchasing agencies for all the different Crown corporations across the Province and making sure first of all that they understand the act and secondly, that they do follow the act according to the legislation of this Province.

The couple of incidents that the hon. member talked about - first of all let me touch on the local preference, why is the Department of Works, Services and Transportation doing its own policing in carrying out the administration of the public tendering as well as the local preference? Well, I don't see where it makes any difference, we are a department of government, we are responsible for a public tendering system and we are responsible for local preference.

One, it works hand in hand with the other. I don't think anybody is suggesting that the staff and the bureaucrats of the department, in carrying out that would abuse that system; I mean, if anybody abuses or do not conform with the act, do not conform with the local preference act, then they would certainly have to be brought to task by the public accounts, by the auditor general, by the department, by government, so I have the confidence that these people doing it would be no different than people in Industry, Trade and Technology would be in carrying out the responsibility of ensuring the local preference policy of 5 per cent. The one thing I will say that will no longer be a problem this year, because, as of this year there will be no more local preference. Everybody with Atlantic procurement will be on an equal balance right across and there will be no local preference.

I know there are a lot of people in this Province -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: The downside? The downside is, from where I sit and from where I looked, companies in this Province are going to be at a disadvantage; there is no question about that. If there is a manufacturing agent in the Province of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick or the Atlantic Provinces they will have a greater chance because they are closer to the central trade than we are in Newfoundland, so I say it's possible but then the advantage of companies in Newfoundland picking up business in the Atlantic region would probably be the positive side of it, and I think over time we would certainly have to take a look at that and see if the Newfoundland companies will be encouraged and make sure that we do get an advantage there; probably in the long term it will be. Certainly I have had expressed to me that there are people now who do have concerns about it, but then if they go up to the Atlantic provinces they have an equal opportunity in bidding on local products there.

We are going to introduce legislation amendments to the Public Tendering Act this year, but in line with that, it gives an opportunity when we introduce the new amendments and get it passed in the House of Assembly, to make sure that we, number one, educate, because I think that is the key word, information, making sure that everybody is aware of the public tendering system and with what they have to conform. As far as saying individuals abuse the system or are doing something wrong or not according to the public tendering by purchasing products less than $5,000, there are some good cases and arguments made that I would question myself. Why would somebody buy two or three or four lots of items with a value of $2,000 or $3,000?

Arguments will be made and it was made very clearly by the public accounts system that people did it intentionally to abuse the system because of trying to stay below the $5,000 purchase where they could just call three prices rather than go to the public tendering system. I agree with the hon. member. There is no doubt about it, that is happening around the Province, it's definite, we have proven it, the public accounts have certainly proven it and that's another reason why we have to tighten the reins and try to get control right across the Province, it's a large area to control but first of all we have to educate the system and make sure that people are not doing it intentionally, the way that we know, and once we get around with the information, I would say to the public accounts committee if they know of any, I would love to have the information which the member just delivered.

I would certainly check this particular one out here and find that if there is a reason other than the fact of what they have already given, that the reason why people are abusing the system or taking advantage for reasons unknown to us, we would certainly have it checked out and if I do find any information I am sure my hon. colleague, the Minister of Justice, will take the same interest as we have, but the main reason that I found out today, that I have seen in the short term that I have been minister, is that in a lot of areas across the Province, they are using the excuse saying that they don't have the information of the public tendering system in their purchasing department and that is our responsibility to make sure and that is what we intend to do.

The one that you talked about, the $1,972 versus $1,988, it's the first time I have noted it, but I will certainly check it out and get back to the hon. member, but I agree with him. I certainly agree with what you're saying, that there is certainly a problem out there in the public tendering system, the way in which it is carried out in the Crown corporations and agencies right across the Province, and it's a responsibility of this department and of government as a whole to educate the people and ensure it's being followed. If there is any abuse or illegal activities, then my colleague, the Minister of Justice, will certainly handle it in his way.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Chairman, I thank the minister for that.

Let me say that the very simple answer to it is that simply because the Public Tender Act doesn't require tenders to be called under $5,000 there is no reason the provincial preference shouldn't still apply. For $16 or $2,000 it's small stuff, but you take a lot of small contracts. So you can eliminate this particular problem simply by saying that provincial preference applies even when quotes are invited, in this case, from the two only suppliers. It's similar to a tender process. It's still brought in in confidence, and it could be applied.

Now I would like to just go through some of the - the minister has tabled these every month, and every month you look at some of these that you really do have to question. I have never bothered to stand up in Question Period and take on one or two, but this is an ideal opportunity here, during the debates of the estimates, to look at some of these.

I am looking now at January of 1994, Works, Services and Transportation, building supplies, Corner Brook, pressing emergency; building supplies required immediately to prevent the delay in completion of renovations to seventh and eighth floors of the Sir Richard Squires Building. If I am not mistaken, that's up where the Premier's office is, on the seventh and eighth floor. Now what's such a pressing emergency about that?

AN HON. MEMBER: The tenth floor.

MR. WINDSOR: The tenth floor the Premier is on in Corner Brook, is it? Anyway, regardless of where it is, I'm not getting at that point. It is hardly a pressing emergency, I say to the minister. It's an example of poor planning on somebody's part in the department. That work didn't begin on Saturday and have to be finished by Monday. This is $8,255 of building supplies. It certainly could have been tendered, and certainly if not there are numerous companies in Corner Brook to which invitations could have gone out.

Mr. Chairman, I will quickly go through them. One was an accident; I'll let that one go. Space for judge's parking, that is questionable, I suppose. There is one from West Viking College in Stephenville for computer software, pressing emergency; computer software urgently required for classes scheduled to begin December 6. You mean West Viking College didn't know beforehand that they were going to be offering computer courses, and that they were going to be needing that software? That's an abuse; that's $5,882. In my view, that's an abuse by West Viking College.

Now there are several here from - and I checked this one out - for Newfoundland Hydro, of not inviting tenders for foods for their various camps. There was one in Milltown of $6,500, Strickland's store, Bay d'Espoir Foods, $6,500 - I checked on that - Alex Brushett, $6,5000, and what I found out is that they need fresh supplies on a regular basis and they have given an equal amount of each of the three down there. I say, that's one that I can accept. Strictly it's probably not in accordance with the Public Tender Act, but I can live with that because it's being fair to everybody down there, giving each of them a piece of the pie. It is bending it a little bit.

Now we come on to another one of Newfoundland Hydro. I have mentioned this one before. Commcorp Financial Services, lease of a cross-cut shredder, all of a sudden. Tender invitation not advisable, shredder urgently required due to security needs. Now that's abuse, a shredder for Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. This was in January of 1994. I don't know exactly when it took place, but it was somewhere around the time that the deal to sell Hydro to Fortis was squashed, and about that time we had to lease, Mr. Chairman, a shredder for $14,600 and you want half the power of Bay d'Espoir to run the shredder that is costing $14,600 I suspect. What a tower, what a mountain of documents have to be shredded all of a sudden, and this is a pressing need, you mean there are documents up there that are so secret that we have to get rid off right away, that we can't call tenders for at least a $14,600 shredder. You mean to tell me there is not a dozen shredders up at Hydro now or before this was called? That is about as blatant an abuse of a public tender system as you ever would see, Mr. Chairman.

Here is one from Englee. Balance for cribwork of new wharf, only available source, rock backfill to extend perimeter of new wharf, a total of almost $60,000 -

AN HON. MEMBER: What?

MR. WINDSOR: Almost $60,000 that went to the Englee Town Council in association with a local contractor. It seems pretty cushy to me, Mr. Chairman. You want to tell me that there is no smaller local contractors who wouldn't beat it up overnight tonight to Englee for $60,000 worth of work? Indeed, there is and all kinds of them, who are out there looking for a little bit of work, Mr. Chairman; all kinds of them.

Now, how about the Department of Works, Services and Transportation, an order to Come by Chance Petroleum for $6,000 in gasoline? A pressing emergency; gasoline urgently required for daily operation of diesels for snow and ice control, you mean we didn't know we were going to have snow and ice, that the department didn't know they were going to need gasoline? Mr. Chairman, the minister should look into that one; somebody in his department is negligent in not predicting the amount of gasoline or having that gasoline in place at the beginning of that season or whenever that was, some time in January; how come we are all of a sudden out of gasoline? I think these are some interesting points.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: There are all kinds in here for parts for snow-clearing equipment; that's a dandy one. If you get a breakdown call with something that is used for snow-clearing equipment, that's an emergency. You can't have parts on hand or anything else. All kinds of it, Mr. Chairman, let me find another one. Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, here is a good one. Newfoundland Hydro, $6,600 for winter tires; a pressing emergency. Tires required to ensure safety of employees. We did not know what tires are wearing out? They are good for 60,000 kilometres, they have all of that time at least to decide that they might have to replace them. That's gross incompetence, Mr. Chairman, that is what that is, gross incompetence on behalf of somebody who is in charge of the fleet management of Newfoundland Hydro.

Let's see what else we have here. Here is a good one, Ashley Holdings. Ashley Holdings, this is a funny name.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who?

MR. WINDSOR: Ashley Holdings, lease renewal, extension renewal for a further three years. Market survey indicated there was no other space available. What hogwash, Mr. Chairman, there is all kinds of space available in St. John's. Space in St. John's has never been so available or at such a low price; 35,000 square feet, $35,000 per year for three years.

AN HON. MEMBER: How much?

MR. WINDSOR: $35,000 a year for three years, a $100,000 extension of a lease given Ashley Holdings.

MR. SULLIVAN: Ashley, Ashley, Liberals.

MR. WINDSOR: Yes. $35,000.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Again it's not who it is. $100,000 (inaudible). Let's try another book. Let's have a look at December 1993.

Here's one from Memorial University, this great university that doesn't have to answer to the Public Accounts Committee. The only body in Newfoundland that doesn't answer to the Public Accounts Committee, high and mighty. The president of the university is now enjoying the status that even the Ministers of the Crown don't enjoy. They all answer to the Public Accounts Committee, everybody in this Province except the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court I suspect and the president of the university. So they go off and rent backhoes for $6,000, the only available service.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who was it?

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Chairman, there were backhoes parked all around this city, dozens of them. Memorial University -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Who got it? Triple A excavating of Torbay. I don't know who it is. I don't care who it is.

AN HON. MEMBER: Turn it around.

MR. WINDSOR: Pressing emergency. The only firm that would agree to the rental of a backhoe supplied without an operator he tries to tell me, what nonsense. The president was out I suppose in his spare time operating them.

Here's one, McCurdy Enterprises in Gander, office renovations, $5300, the only available source. The landlord would not allow any other contractor to perform renovations. The minister really has to start looking at this. I say to the minister, all of these things have to be - and I could go on and on, Mr. Chairman, but I won't keep the House all night going on with that. I say to the minister that it's not enough that he complies with the act by tabling these exceptions in the House of Assembly. The minister has to take responsibility for them and if there are blatant errors there, which there are, blatant, I'm not saying the minister is responsible but he's responsible for dealing with them.

You know these Crown corporations, agencies and departments in this Province, figure out how we can do that, all we got to do is let the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation know, he will take the heat in the House of Assembly, sometime ten o'clock at night when there's not a soul around, somebody will get up, scream and bawl and say isn't this terrible? Then it will be all over, we'll do it again tomorrow. I say to the minister, he has a responsibility to look at every one of these, every single one of them and say to these agencies, thank you for reporting it to me but now explain yourself to me because the minister has to take the heat here. If I were him I would be giving heat back to those agencies every day that this kind of nonsense comes in.

MR. EFFORD: What did you do for seventeen years (inaudible)?

MR. WINDSOR: We did it, we brought in the Public Tender Act, I say to the hon. minister. We don't have any more projects. Here's another one coming to me now it's got to be a dilly.

Marine Institute; $9,630 for the purchase of a used trailer, the only available source.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINDSOR: I got a used trailer hitched on the back of my pickup out there now I would sure have given for less than $9600.

AN HON. MEMBER: That's what you lived in (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: No I hope not, it's only a skidoo trailer.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: But, Mr. Speaker, how do you know he's the only one available? Did you advertise for a used trailer? Yes, you went to Clydeway Trucking of Corner Brook.

AN HON. MEMBER: Clyde?

MR. WINDSOR: He's got the right first name and the right address anyway.

AN HON. MEMBER: Clyde's way.

MR. WINDSOR: I don't know the gentleman and I don't care but the point is that we have an act for a good and valid reason, and it does two things. It protects the public purse, and I am the first to say that there are many times when the Public Tender Act costs us money, and it certainly costs us time. There are times when you could go out and negotiate something (inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

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

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Chairman, the cheek of the hon. Member for Mount Pearl, to stand up here in this House of Assembly and take a book - and he could take any one of twelve, fifteen, or twenty for the last couple of years - and start looking at them individually. It is easy to say, oh, now, how come they bought gasoline, because they had to haul salt and sand and they didn't know if the climate was going to change; they didn't (inaudible) salt? How come they bought tires, because they didn't know they needed tires, or whatever reason?

It's easy enough to get up there and go on with all kinds of silly nonsense without explanation of the Public Tendering Act.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: I can say to the hon. member, I could ask the same questions. Why did they go out and not call tenders for Bev's dip? That's how silly you can get on there if you want to really talk about the public tendering system. How come they didn't call tenders for the cucumber cooler? How come they didn't call tenders for salmon and cucumber salad?

If you want to get silly, now, about the hon. Member for Mount Pearl, he's a good one to talk about a couple of hundred thousand dollars of the taxpayers money going out to build a pickle factory.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not a good contact.

MR. EFFORD: That's not a good contact. No, you want to get silly in this House of Assembly.

We talk about the $27 million and growing -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: I know. There is something I want to touch on, the backhoe out in Torbay. There was a reason for the backhoe in Torbay, a very good reason. That's when we had to bring all the cucumbers out there and dump them for cattle feed. That's what happened out there; we needed a backhoe. So there's a good reason for having a good backhoe out in Torbay. If we needed a backhoe in Torbay to dump the cucumbers into the cattle feed into the dump, we weren't going to go out in some other areas and hire on a... We need (inaudible).

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, Oh!

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. EFFORD: It's amazing, Mr. Chairman, when you start throwing back the truth at them, instead of some silly accusations like the hon. Member for Mount Pearl who stood up and started talking about, why would you buy tires on an emergency basis? Why would you buy gasoline on an emergency basis?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: About whom?

AN HON. MEMBER: Ashley, yes.

MR. EFFORD: Ashley?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: I would go back to about 1989 when we won government. I wonder, was the same tender called with the same exception time to all of that extra stock we found in the private dining room?

AN HON. MEMBER: The liquor.

MR. EFFORD: The liquor, the cigarettes, the cigars, the fish foods, all of that, was all that tendered out there in the system? When we get down to the real Public Tendering Act, we know what the hon. members - I think they wrote it but when they wrote it they put it on the shelf and forgot about it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Chairman, let me say this. I have been minister of the Department of Works, Services and Transportation now for thirteen months. Of all the information that the hon. member on the Public Accounts Committee has said that he has uncovered, the abuse, the misuse of the public tendering system, of all that he has repeated here this evening, not on one occasion have I received a letter of his concerns about the misrepresentations, the wrong doings of the municipalities, the Crown corporations, the agencies across this Province in not following the Public Tendering Act; on not one occasion has he written me a letter and complained or gave me information and identified.

I understand he is Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee and here he stands up in the House of Assembly, 9:45 of an evening, bringing out a book, January 1994, and starts to identify, but he knows full well with his experience, according to those exceptions, I won't say they are all 100 per cent legitimate, there may be some reason for doubt but that's the responsibility of the Public Accounts Committee to identify, and he has not yet identified or made any representation to me, as minister of the department.

Yes, I question, but you can draw any interpretation you want to this evening, the only thing that I can honestly say and clearly say with a clear conscience, that the public tendering system has been followed 2,000 per cent in improvement in this government than with the government of the past. Let me give you one example.

They talk about the Ashley Building - Let me tell you about the Ashley Building. Let me tell you about a good friend of mine, the Ashley family, good friends of mine, there is no doubt about it, but that was an extension for a short period of time for a social services office, unlike, unlike the former Minister of Health, the hon. Mr. Collins, I believe his name was -

AN HON. MEMBER: The finance minister.

MR. EFFORD: The finance minister, $500,000 a year in rental agencies when he was a Minister of Crown; $500,000 a year when he was a Minister of the Crown, so there is abuse of the system; there is a real abuse of the system, when you want to talk about the Public Tendering Act and how it was followed year after year after year, there is an -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: You want to total up the exceptions in that book and the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Hold on now. Let's total up all the exceptions in that book and several books like it, it won't come close, to the one minister of the former government had his rental agency for the four years he was in Cabinet of any one term of office, $500,000 a year, you are talking -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: There is nothing in that book that is wrong. If any member opposite, including the chairman - and I will say this very clearly, if any member opposite including the chairman of public accounts can identify one exception in that tendering, that he has any concerns about any legalities of that exception to the public tendering, that he informs the Minister of Justice and myself, and I can assure all hon. members opposite that they will be taken care of; no one who will abuse that system while I am the minister of this department; no one will abuse that system and if anybody is abused - those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Remember your Premier when he used to shout across the House (inaudible)?

AN HON. MEMBER: Guilty, guilty.

MR. EFFORD: Yes, guilty, $500,000 guilty each and every year they were in office, there's no doubt about it - $500,000 - and that was one minister. Do he want to talk about a few more ministers in the government opposite?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

I think the level of decorum in this House right now leaves a lot to be desired, and the Chair is going to start enforcing the rules of the House. It's just ridiculous the behaviour of hon. members in this House tonight. It leaves a lot to be desired, and I am talking about hon. members on both sides of the House. It is just ridiculous, and from now on the Chair is going to enforce the rules, and if it takes naming members, I will name members in the future, but I am going to start enforcing the rules, because -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. CHAIRMAN: - as a member of this House of Assembly, I don't want my reputation put with the way the behaviour is going in this House; it's just... I would like for hon. members to sit in this Chair sometimes and listen to what is happening here. It's just deplorable.

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

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Let me say to members opposite about the public tendering system, and in conclusion I will ask a question. I will name some names, read in the book, and this book was presented by Mrs. Beverly Sprung.

Many thanks to my friends here in Newfoundland and Calgary who have kindly shared with me their recipes. Angela James, Carol Olsen, Blanche Luedee, Muriel Reid, Carol Peckford, Frances Butt, Sue Ottenheimer, Irene Collins and Roger Mercer.

Now there's the tendering system that was called in this book. How much did that cost the taxpayers of this Province? That was not in the exceptions. That was not put in the public exceptions, cucumber recipe for Newfoundland enviroponics.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: No guilt at all, this is fact.

I will say, in final word, if there is any member who can take any one exception in that book, or any of the other books that I have tabled since I became minister of this department, identify to me that exception, the abuse carried out, and I will assure you that my colleague, the Attorney General, the Minister of Justice, it will be within his hands in minutes after it's given to me, but I know of no rules broken in that. The Public Tender Act exceptions called, and it is easy enough for the hon. Member for Mount Pearl, the Chairman of the Public Accounts, to get up in the House of Assembly and do what he has done this evening. Yet, not on one occasion has he written a letter to me or any or my executives of my department outlining his concerns of the public tendering exemptions.

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

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Chairman, I say to the minister, it's not my responsibility to point out the errors in the document that he tabled in the House of Assembly. It's his responsibility as minister - his responsibility. I am fulfilling my responsibility tonight by now bringing them to the minister's attention, and to the House's attention, and I did so in the spirit of trying to point out to government the inherent weaknesses that are in the Public Tender Act.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation on a point of order.

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Chairman, it is very clear that the hon. Member for Mount Pearl is not understanding the point that I made. I said, as a responsibility, as the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, that he is -

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Chairman, if he wants to make another speech, let him (inaudible). That is not a point of order.

MR. EFFORD: You can't control this House of Assembly. Let the Chairman decide that.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

It's hard for the Chair to determine whether it's a point of order until hearing the hon. member. I ask the hon. member to get to his point of order.

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Chairman -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation rose in his place on a point of order. Would the hon. minister get to his point of order?

MR. EFFORD: Yes, Mr. Chairman. I was waiting because the hon. Member for Mount Pearl was still standing on his feet.

Mr. Chairman, the point is very clear, that the hon. Member for Mount Pearl has a responsibility, as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee - is misleading this House in saying here this evening that it is not his responsibility to point out to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation irregularities in the public tendering exceptions. It is his responsibility, and he is misleading the House when he is making that kind of statement.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Clearly there is no point of order, obviously the minister is under great pressure here tonight he is starting to feel the heat.

My original point I raised here was the difficulty with the minister, and the Minister of Justice was good enough to take the information and agreed to get back to me and I will tell you now about some more very important things, Mr. Chairman, when we talk about the leases. Leases he said; how come you didn't extend the lease on the social services office in Bay Roberts, the same way you did the one at the Ashley Building? Would you like to answer that? You won't answer that one, no, give us a good reason and tell us who got the tender, Mr. Chairman.

Now let us have a look at a couple more of these, Mr. Chairman.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Chairman, the Member for Carbonear, has he gone silly over there or what? Nobody is speaking to him; get back in your cage until somebody rattles your chain some more.

Now, Mr. Chairman, obviously the Minister of Social Services is without words, and I am not surprised. Would the minister like to tell us now how Newfoundland Tractor and Equipment - heavy equipment parts - pressing emergency? Again, that is incompetence on behalf of somebody in Works, Services and Transportation not keeping proper parts on hand. On a rare occasion, Mr. Chairman, one can see it. Department of Fisheries, liquid air, a pressing emergency, dust extractor and related accessory, a needy requirement to provide adequate ventilation and maintain health and safety standards. This happened all of a sudden, did it? There is no emergency, Mr. Chairman.

Hickman Equipment, Works, Services and Transportation, repairs to a loader, pressing emergency. How about this one: moving of household and personal effects.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: We have two of these. One for $11,600 and one for $7,444, a pressing emergency?

AN HON. MEMBER: For what?

MR. WINDSOR: Department of Social Services and the Department of Justice, moving of household effects. Obviously staff being transferred somewhere. I don't want to get into who or where or why; we are not here to attack those individuals but, why are we not inviting proposals or tenders on those and the explanation given here, are they fair? Explanation says we are spreading it around, but what happens to the competitors advantage here? We are going to spread it all around and find out how many companies can sell an automobile and we will buy an equal number for all of them. We will find out how many are selling lumber and we will buy lumber from all of them on an equal basis and we will eliminate the Public Tendering Act. You can't have it both ways.

Parking spaces for Crown Attorneys officers, that is an emergency too, Mr. Chairman, great emergency, it must have been raining that day, was it? Rental of welding equipment; West Viking College again, they seem to be doing things on a regular basis. Equipment required on short notice to teach welding courses -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: How long does it take, Mr. Chairman, to gear up to teach a welding course? Pressing emergency, they had to rent equipment without going to tender. Hobb's Construction, Dildo, Trinity Bay, road repairs at Butterpot Park; this is a good one, pressing emergency, repairs required immediately for park opening. A pressing emergency, repairs required immediately for park opening on the roads to Butterpot Park and he only had since September some time when the park closed until 24 May to do it and to plan it and now it is a pressing emergency, $5.600, without going to tender.

You can look through these books, Mr. Chairman, and there are numerous things here relating to computers and computer equipment and it all has to be compatible. There is a limit, there are some cases where, if you have a particular computer system, a sophisticated system, and you're adding some more hardware to it, but everything is pretty well IBM compatible, or it's Apple compatible, one or the other, but in every single book there are twenty or thirty examples of `had to be compatible'. I say that's a lot of hogwash.

In fact, government recently changed all the computers in the Opposition office. All of our staff have brand new computer systems. We are very pleased with them, but maybe the ones we threw out were almost brand new, nothing wrong with them. Why do they all have to be the same computer equipment?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: That's great to say, oh, well now you've only got one service person coming in here to service them, but within government there are thousands of computer systems. Are you going to have only one computer system now in government? There's one I would like the minister to look into and tell us on what basis that was done, and was it a tender call for all of these new computers and computer software? Computer software works in any compatible computer. There are many cases here where it's specialized software developed by some company that writes software, writes programs, and one can accept the fact that those are only available from that source.

How about Tom Woodford Limited, $17,600 for a used passenger van? Only available source? The only used passenger van available, is it? Mr. Chairman, give me a break.

West Viking College is back again, pressing emergency, leasing of a fishing boat - a pressing emergency, boat required immediately to begin a contract. Marine Institute previously leased the boat for similar contract. There was nothing wrong with the boat, I am sure. Probably it was an appropriate boat, but why could we not invite tenders to see how many more boats...? Do you know how many fishing boats are tied up around the coast of this Province today? Thousands of them. You can probably buy a fishing boat like that for $8,000 today, and here was a lease of $8,000.

Irving Oil Limited, for Newfoundland Hardwoods, $18,000 approximately, tender invitation not advisable. Acquisition of fuel made in conjunction with supply of liquid asphalt - a cosy little deal with Irving Oil, a contract, a tender for the asphalt. What's wrong with tendering with the furnace oil separately? What's the difference?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: That's what you call a barter. Unfortunately, we don't enjoy the barter system, and that's the whole problem; the minister's attitude pervades throughout the public service.

I just said a moment ago that I can give you dozens of examples where you probably could get a better price by bartering, but you give up that public competition, you give up that impartiality, you give up the possibility of trying to eliminate the politics of it. You give everybody an equal opportunity to get all those that are equal, that are qualified to provide the service and the product quality. That's what the Public Tender Act is for, and the provincial preference policy is also designed to protect local companies, but it's being circumvented.

Clearly the minister, by his reaction tonight, doesn't have a lot of concerns. He gets up with this foolishness he goes on with about, oh, the member didn't bring it to my attention. The minister brought it to my attention. These are his documents that he tabled. Does he just sign them and table them without reading them? Or does he not sit down and say to these agencies: As the minister responsible to answer to the House of Assembly, why are you doing this? Do you realize that I have to answer for this in the House of Assembly? Give me a full and thorough explanation, because I don't intend to take the heat for things that you are doing against the Public Tender Act and the provincial preference policy.

That's the minister's responsibility, and my responsibility is very clear and I have exercised it tonight in full measure in bringing these matters to the minister's attention, and I will do it on a regular basis from now on every time the minister brings out these exemptions to the Public Tender Act.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Are you ready for the question?

Order, please!

On motion, Department of Consolidated Fund Services, total heads, carried.

On motion, Department of Executive Council, total heads, carried.

On motion, Department of Legislature, total heads, carried.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

Until we have some order here we shall not proceed.

Order, please!

While the Chair is putting the questions I would like to have order in the House.

On motion, Estimates, carried.

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

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Trinity North.

MR. L. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of Supply have considered the matters to them referred, have directed me to report that it has passed the following heads of expenditures without amendments; Consolidated Fund Services, Legislature, Executive Council and ask leave to sit again.

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

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, that concludes the consideration by the House in its committees of the estimates. We still have to address the rest of the financial legislation and when we meet tomorrow the government, when we move towards the day, we'll suggest that we move into Committee of the Whole to consider the motion to stand as Nos. 2 through 5 which are related to the money bills and all of it will stand in the name of my friend the Minister of Finance, who will be with us but I hope he's had a nights sleep because he's been performing over and above the call of duty this last -

MR. SULLIVAN: He's not performing now.

MR. ROBERTS: My friend from Ferryland often reveals his lack of knowledge in what's going on but I assure him that remark makes it more pathetically obvious then most of my hon. friends.

Mr. Speaker, that's what we'll be doing tomorrow and we'll carry on from there. With that said I want to thank hon. members for their enthusiastic participation in the debate tonight and I'll move the House adjourn - when we adjourn we'll adjourn until tomorrow - I move the House do now adjourn.

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