November 17, 1994         HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS           Vol. XLII  No. 63


House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

On behalf of hon. members, I would like to welcome to the galleries twenty-nine Level I and Level II students from Fatima Academy, St. Bride's, accompanied by their teachers, Patricia Dohey and Reggie Green.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

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

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

I have a question for the Premier, following up on the line of questioning by the member for Bonavista South yesterday dealing with the Minister of Social Services. Now, on November 8, 1994 the Minister of Social Services issued a public statement, a written press release, where she referred to the dismissal of one Mr. Mallenby at the Newfoundland and Labrador Youth Center at Whitbourne. In that she talked about the reasons for dismissal, job performance and work history.

I want to ask the Premer, in light of the minister's public statement that is clearly a violation of the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act, but particularly the Freedom Informaiton Act, section 10 (1) (b): Does the Premier consider this conduct and behavior of the Minister of Social Services to be acceptable?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I have to say to you that I haven't seen the release or statement by the minister. I haven't examined it in the context of the Freedom of Information Act or the Privacy Act. I have had only a brief conversation with my colleague, the Minister of Justice, and he tells me he has examined the matter and he sees nothing inappropriate or illegal about it. I see no reason to puruse a further examination of it. If I hear of any good reason to pursue it, other than the expression of opinion of the hon. member, I will have no hesitation in taking a look at it, but I see no reason to do so today.

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

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

Let me enlighten the Premier a bit. Is the Premier aware that in her written press release, the minister really made a deliberate, premeditated false statement, when she said -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Hon. members are not allowed to use the word false or falsehood in the House. The member should phrase it otherwise.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: - and in that written, deliberate statement pertaining to the situation, she said: Mr. Mallenby was dismissed for work related problems, job performance. Now the record of employment belonging to Mr. Mallenby states that he was dismissed for breach of trust and loss of confidence, so in essence, the minister in her statement, issued a false statement. The reason was inaccurate and incorrect, so I want to ask the Premier: does he feel that the conduct of the Minister of Social Services, in issuing a false, public statement is behaviour and conduct acceptable for a minister of his Administration or, is he going to allow the standards and behaviour and conduct of the ministers to sink to an all time low in this Province, where, individual privacy will no longer be protected?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I am hesitant to express an opinion because I have not looked at this in detail. I will undertake to look at it in detail but I suggest to the hon. member that his own comments demonstrate very clearly that he is totally wrong in his approach. It seems to me that he says that the statement - and I have a copy of the statement here - I don't see any reason given for it here; I would sooner get the detail and examine it before I express an opinion but it seems to me that the member's comments contradict the member, that the statement indicates that the dismissal was for reasons related to job performance. Well, I thought then, he went on to say that the employment record indicates it was for breach of trust and inadequate performance?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: Well loss of confidence and breach of trust. Well it seems to me that that is related to performance but I will take a look at the full file and then I will express a view on it.

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

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

The Premier should also be aware - I mean, the minister's statement says reasons related to job performance. Now this employee received very high ranking on job performance just prior, just days before dismissal, I say to the Premier, so he should be aware of that and that is why I say to the Premier that the minister's statement is false. A false public statement by a minister of the Crown that cannot be tolerated.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I mention to the Opposition House Leader that the word false is clearly unparliamentary and I prefer it if you would chose another way of stating that, otherwise I would have to call you to order.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Inaccurate, fabricated statement.

MR. SPEAKER: I think fabricated is not permitted either. I think inaccurate is acceptable.

AN HON. MEMBER: The Premier uses it all the time.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker -

MR. SPEAKER: Well I called the Premier to order on it the other day and I think we should try to keep the tone a little better in the House if we can.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I have no problem with that, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, in recent weeks two other Premiers, Premier Savage and Premier Rae, have demanded the resignation of Cabinet ministers for similar conduct by ministers in other provinces where really there was a breach of confidentially, breach of privacy, freedom of information. I want to ask the Premier: Is he going to tolerate this conduct and behaviour by his Minister of Social Services and by other members of his Cabinet or is he going to deal with this? If he is willing to tolerate this kind of behaviour, may I ask the Premier, what does this really say about your standards and your ethics as Premier and leader of the government?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I am prepared to submit my ethics and my standards to the judgement of the people of this Province and have no fear of the consequences.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I think the record of performance of this government to date, and me in that regard, is quite acceptable to the people of this Province. They endorsed it eighteen months ago quite soundly so I have no concern about that. Mr. Speaker, what I am not prepared to do is make precipitate judgements on the basis of allegations by members of the Opposition which, based on my experience with them in the past, have indicated they have been all to willing to make such allegations without having any real foundation for it. So I am not about to express an opinion about anybody with respect to or on the basis of simple allegations made by the members opposite. I have told the House I will take a look at the allegations and if there is anything inappropriate I will take action but I will not jump to take action now merely because the member raises it.

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

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I just want to be clear, make sure I understand the Premier. Are you saying you are going to take action, that you are going to inquire and look at this situation or are you just going to lightly dismiss it, I want to ask the Premier?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I have already said that I would wait until I have had an opportunity to review the letters, the press release and the documents relating to it, and if there is any basis for taking action, I will, but if there is no basis for taking action I am not about to jump because of the allegations of the member.

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

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question today is for the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. Last year the minister issued regulations that tightened up the mandatory inspection of motor vehicles. At that time he said that tougher inspections by fully qualified mechanics and certified garages was essential to keep unsafe vehicles off the highways. Now, all of a sudden, a year later, the minister says we don't need inspections. Can the minister explain his 180 degree turnabout?

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

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It seems like `as the world turns', is the best reference to put to it. Last year we tightened up the regulations. We deregulated the trucking industry, deregulated the large vehicle industry, and we brought down safety first. The inspection of all commercial vehicles, including taxis, is still in place, make no mistake about it. The inspection requirement that is dropped is on light vehicles only. There will be no change in my position from last year with respect to commercial vehicles, school buses, trucks, and taxis. The only inspection requirement we have changed this year is the one on light vehicles.

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

MR. CAREEN: Does the auto industry and the insurance industry agree with the minister? Can he assure the people of the Province that there will be no increase in automobile insurance rates now that mandatory inspection has been dropped for older vehicles?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the minister.

MR. EFFORD: I fail to see what insurance rates would have to do with annual inspections. It has absolutely nothing to do with inspections. We have not dropped the requirement for vehicles to be kept in safe condition. There is no change in the standard for vehicles on the highway. Whether they are one, ten, or twenty years old there is no drop in the standard. The only drop we made was the requirement for an individual to go to a service station and pay a fee to have an inspection done. Everything else stands in place. Regular inspections will be done by the highway enforcement officers, by the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, by the RCMP. The onus is on the people themselves to keep their vehicles in good, safe driving condition. If they are found not to be in good condition, they will then be charged or fined, and they will have to go to a garage and then get a vehicle inspection and report back to the proper authorities.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A final supplementary, the hon. the Member for Placentia.

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The minister claims that dropping mandatory inspection will save car owners about $3 million in this Province. How long will that money stay in the pockets of car owners? Does the minister plan to increase fees for vehicles or drivers' licences to vacuum that money back into the coffers of the Province, and particularly his government?

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

MR. EFFORD: How long will the people keep the money in their pocket? If I can use myself as an analogy, not very long. I don't keep money in my pocket very long. Money is made round to go 'round, and that is what keeps the old economy act in full activity.

Mr. Speaker, the $3.5 million that the hon. member is referring to - it is a fact that many people used to go to a service station of their choice, pass them $15, $20 or $25, get a certificate and have it ticked off, without the vehicle ever going into the garage. Everybody in this hon. House knows that.

As far as highway safety is concerned, we have done nothing to take away the responsible drivers in this Province. I have confidence enough in all the drivers of this Province, including myself, that when I go on the highway I want to make sure that my car is in good shape. Fifteen dollars is not going to judge that one way or another.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

Over the past several years, government has announced, around this time, an emergency employment program to assist thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in finding much needed work. Is it government's intention this year to announce such a program?

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I could elaborate at great length, but let me say that presently the Minister of Education, the Minister of Social Services and myself, are looking through the Green Paper from Ottawa, the Axworthy paper, which is very important to residents of Newfoundland and Labrador. This government, at this particular point in time, is not prepared to have a stand-alone emergency response program.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Shame, shame!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr, Speaker, let me remind the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations that he is the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations for this Province, not for the nation of Canada -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. E. BYRNE: - and that there are thousands of Newfoundlanders right now who are in desperate need of help. Mr. Speaker, let me ask the minister this: Has he prepared a Cabinet paper on this issue? If he has, did he present it to Cabinet, when did he present this Cabinet paper regarding an emergency employment program, and what did Cabinet say at that time?

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Let me say to the hon. member, whether he knows it or not, I realize that I am not the minister in the federal Cabinet, but let me say to him, and let me say to all hon. members, that a horrendous amount of money, 44.7 per cent of all the dollars that come into this Province, come in directly and indirectly from the Federal Government. So, I'm not going to take any approach, I say to the member, that is going to impact upon, and/or affect negatively, the Federal Government's negotiations with this Province in addressing the whole social program. If the hon. member wants to assume that this government is doing nothing, then let him assume that. This government is doing lots, and the people will see very soon just exactly what we are doing.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, the minister dances around the issue. The fact of the matter is this. In 1990 there were 246,000 people employed in the workforce. At that time, government announced a $12 million emergency employment program. This year, right now, there are 230,000 people employed in the workforce, 16,000 people less than in 1990, and they say they are about to do something? This is an example of a `do nothing' government. Let me ask the minister this: Will he stand today with Newfoundlanders who need two and three and four weeks work. Will he stand and convince his Cabinet colleagues that an employment program is necessary? And will he admit that the real issue that there is an employment program this year is because government was not foresightful enough to provide an allocation of money in its Budget for this upcoming year?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I appreciate the statistics from the hon. member, but let me say to the hon. member that we are working hard, working diligently, to bring permanent employment to the people of this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. MURPHY: I say to the hon. Member for Burin - Placentia West, there are 900 people working in his district because of this government.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MURPHY: The hon. member should know, and should realize, that these jobs are connected with contracts that are able to be obtained by both yards.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. MURPHY: The employment goes up and down, and I say to the hon. member, this government is working hard. We are closing in on 1,000 jobs through our generation program, and we will continue to work hard until we bring full-time jobs to the people of this Province.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Recently the Premier was quoted as making certain statements relating to the financial performance of the Province, indicating that the economy has improved somewhat and that our deficit situation may not be as predicted by the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

Let me ask the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board: Where does he see it now? Can he give the House an update as to what the projected deficit will be at the end of the year if, in fact, there will be a deficit? The Premier seemed to indicate there may even be a surplus. Would the minister like to tell us where we are now? Has the RST and other revenues outperformed the expectations, and have we met our budget expenditure targets?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the hon. member for the question. As usual, he is on top of the matters.

Just this morning we were trying to put together a summary. I hope to be able to make a statement in the House on Monday as to the exact financial position of the Province, but things have improved and the extent to which they have improved will be obvious on Monday.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, the minister, in his Budget last spring, predicted approximately a $25 million deficit, which was a significant improvement from the $70 million of the year before. I think he also predicted that next year we will, in fact, have a surplus - a small surplus - or at least break even, which is a good target. The $25 million figure was a reasonable level for this year.

If the Premier's statements are true, and the minister will confirm on Monday, but if those statements are true, that we have eliminated that deficit - I will assume that much for now - the minister can correct me if I am wrong, but if we have eliminated that deficit, and if the $25 million figure was a good figure, will the minister now take that $25 million windfall that he has now realized; will he put back some of the cuts that he announced in his Budget, such as student aid, closing of hospital beds, and $50 million cuts in government programs? Will he attack some of those painful problems?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. That is a very good question.

We had projected in the Budget a deficit of about $195 million, $170 million of that on capital and about $25 million - give or take a few hundred thousand - on current, so $195 million overspent. I would, by the end of the year, like to see that get down as much as possible so that we don't continue to overspend. I would really like to see for instance, us reach the point a couple years from now or as quickly as possible where we have a complete balance towards our spending, in other words, we spend only what we take in. There is no windfall because, regardless of the improvement this year, we will still end up spending maybe 150, 160, 140 depending on what the numbers are, million dollars more than we actually take in. I would suggest to the hon. member that it would be totally counterproductive to, as the revenues improve, take the improved revenues to simply go out and do more spending. That way you never ever get control of your deficit, that is the sure way to disaster.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, the minister can play with words. He knows as well as I do, that current account and capital account are two different things, and I realize it is the objective of this government to try to carry all capital account expenditures out of current revenues. That is a little bit unrealistic and I would suggest to this government that it is hardly practical too, to be building highways today that we are going to use for twenty or thirty years and pay for them today instead of over the next twenty or thirty years. You do not do that with your own personal finances, neither can you afford to do it with provincial finances. It is nice if we could, that is Utopia but there is a level of borrowing that is acceptable as long as we can service that debt, and I agree with the minister that over the last number of years, our debt service costs have been higher than what we have actually been taking in and we should indeed attack that problem and we support him on that.

Let me ask the minister this, along the same lines, if that deficit is in fact decreased greatly, will he take some of that money and will he now loosen the purse strings in negotiations with the public sector and more specifically, was that part of the minister's reaching a settlement with the nurses union in the last few days and will he now be a little more generous with other public sectors that have suffered greatly over the past number of years and in fact were cut back by $30 million this year?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, this year we are going to spend a lot more than we are taking in; in other words we are going further and further in the hole. Money does not know, does not understand whether that is to pay current operating costs or to pay for highways. The actual fact is that the hon. member's analogy is correct if he assumes that we are starting out with a clean slate and what he is saying is absolutely correct; unfortunately, we have been subjected to decades of overspending. We are not starting with a clean slate; we are not starting off with zero balance and at that point we can then satisfy all of the needs in the Province where we can borrow money and go into debt. We have gone so far into debt, Mr. Speaker, we cannot go any further.

The equivalent analogy is of the private individual he referred to, you don't do this with your private finances; the analogy that we are in now, is, comparable to a private individual who has his credit cards and he has reached the limit on every one of those credit cards. It is not sensible for him to assume he can go out and borrow more money so, Mr. Speaker, that is the analogy. We first of all have to get to the point where we are taking in more than we are paying out, so we can lower our obligations each year and at that point in time, perhaps we can then consider some of the measures the hon. member is suggesting.

I would like to point out to the hon. member, he mentioned the collective bargaining and again, he knows essentially what is going on. In the Budget we had projected that we would obtain $50 million reduction in compensation costs. During the collective bargaining process in May-June, it became obvious to us that our situation is improving, so part of the deal with all the unions was, that instead of taking back in compensation $50 million that we lowered our objective to $25 million, so they have already had the benefit of the improved revenues, and the unions were obviously given a choice. We wanted a 2.5 per cent I believe it was or a little more than 2.5 per cent reduction in total compensation, and they had a choice between that and a readjustment later on or taking only a 1.5 per cent reduction in total compensation and then living with it for a year and they chose the second option; so the unions already have the benefit of $25 million of that improvement and I guess we will have to wait for the spring to see what happens with the rest.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have a question for the Minister of Health about a very grave matter, indeed a matter of life and death for a growing number of people in this Province, especially, unfortunately, young people. It concerns the problem of AIDS infection and HIV that was broadcast the other night on CBC in what would have to be considered a most shocking story about the concerns over the extent of AIDS infection in this Province and the growing predictions about how bad it might get.

I want to ask the minister - in that his department has had since last December a comprehensive HIV-AIDS strategy in hand from a working group with twenty-three recommendations, how many of those recommendations has the minister seen fit to implement, and how much money is his department devoting to the fight against AIDS and HIV infection?

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

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Thank you for the question. Some of the information contained in the question is factual. There was a significant piece of work done and a strategy developed with respect to trying to address as best we can as a department, and as a province I guess, a very serious situation in that part of the population that is infected with that very unfortunate disease. I can tell him that as a result of the strategy that was developed a number - I'm not exactly sure how many of the twenty-three recommendations have been fully implemented, but I can tell the hon. member that several of them have been implemented.

I've reviewed them, I've discussed where we are with them, and the people from the department out in the system who are working at the community health level are making extra efforts, if you like, and doing yeoman's service, in terms of addressing what is needed to be done in terms of education and in terms of prevention, and in terms of support services for those who have been unfortunately afflicted with AIDS, and in terms of generally trying to let people know what it is we have on our hands out there. What the various remedies are for trying to avoid a further preponderance of it, and certainly trying to deal with the fall-out which involves medical treatment, which involves support for families, and that sort of thing as a result of that epidemic.

Our new regional health boards which are now coming on stream will primarily continue to have the mandate to deliver services in the health care sector at the community level that will address the whole broad spectrum of unfortunate issues that have related and come forward from the epidemic that the hon. member just mentioned in his question.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, one of the most important sets of recommendations has to do with the issue of education which the minister seems to think has been addressed. Recommendations two and four suggest that all professional schools in the Province have training for participants in AIDS prevention and understanding AIDS, and that AIDS education be a mandatory part of the curriculum in the school system, in the K to XII system. I want to know whether the minister can assure the House that all schools in this Province will have mandatory HIV-AIDS prevention and educational programs. Is that a part of the minister's mandate, and has that been worked out with the Minister of Education and Training and the schools?

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

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. To the question of education vis--vis this matter in the system, I can tell the hon. member that the steps that are being taken from Health's perspective with respect to education is part of a broader and a fuller package of health education that is currently being delivered in the system and it will continue to be delivered in the system. To the extent that we can influence and help, it will be expanded in terms of what we will be doing in the future throughout the educational system. It is part of the educational program.

Education vis--vis health and that sort of thing is delivered as a subject in the schools. The extent to which emphasis is put on that as a particular subject varies of course from school to school, depending on the size of the school, the level of education that institution is delivering, and of course the emphasis I guess that is put on it by a particular school board even that has responsibility for the school that he might or might not be thinking of. Health education is a part of the education curriculum and will continue to play a very important role as far as I am concerned.

MR. SPEAKER: Question period has expired.

On behalf of hon. members I would like to welcome to the galleries sixteen career orientation students and their instructors, Joanne Dalton and Tina Lidstone from Career Plus, Trepassey.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Notices of Motion

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

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act to Amend the Pippy Park Commission Act."

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, two days ago the Member for Burin - Placentia West asked the Premier a number of questions. There were three questions dealing with the mechanical outfitting contract, the Kvaerner role in the drilling modules contract and the changes with respect to engineering design. I mentioned it to the member before the House opened, if there is further elaboration required I will be happy to do so, Mr. Speaker, and I will table these answers then.

Petitions

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am pleased to rise today to present a petition from constituents from my district, specifically from the community of Middle Arm. I will read the prayer of the petition and make a few comments.

`We, the undersigned residents of the district of Baie Verte - White Bay, do hereby petition the House of Assembly to direct the Department of Employment and Labour Relations to immediately implement an emergency employment program. With the economic conditions which exist currently, we find ourselves in a desperate situation. We ask the minister and his government to show compassion and understanding in this urgent matter.'

Now, Mr. Speaker, this petition is timely, with the questions that were asked today by my colleague, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. Listening to his answers, Mr. Speaker, I am sure that people in this Province right now do not take any comfort from that. Now, I am sure I speak for a lot of members on both sides of the House, in all sincerity, in view of the calls that you get as members and we get as members, especially in the last month or last few weeks, actually. At this time of year we find out that a lot of people in this Province are in a desperate, desperate state.

I have a list here from a development association in my area, for example, 250 people and a list of how many insurable weeks they need to qualify for unemployment insurance for this winter. I was told, of these 250 names - they did a little statistics of their own - of those 250, which is only a small portion that comes from my district, by the way, over 80 per cent of these people have never been to welfare before and never used social assistance. I have a list here, I will just go through numbers as in - they need three insurable weeks, five, seven, six, nine, two and it goes on and on. Mr. Speaker, this is the reality of what is happening here today. Of all the issues we bring up in this House, of all the issues that have come up in these last few days, all the issues that we will be raising, I don't think there is any member in this hon. House who will say there is a more important issue right now, today, as we speak in this Province, than the issue of emergency employment projects.

Mr. Speaker, calls have come into my office and I am sure that if we talked together, with our own hon. colleagues here on both sides of the House, they can tell you of calls they received. I will just relate one call and I am sure you can relate to him. Last week a man called me and he broke down in tears on the phone talking to me about a situation that he finds himself in today. He was actually forced by his wife to call me because he did not want to do it. For the first time in his life, at forty-two years of age, with four children, he has had no income whatsoever for four weeks and he had to call me because there was no food in his house and he was too proud to go to Social Services and ask for assistance. Now, Mr. Speaker, that is no fabrication. That is the reality that we face, all of us here as elected members of this House of Assembly. And I say to the minister, to this government and to this Premier, don't put it off for a week or another ten days. We have people in this Province right now who do not have food on their tables. I know this is not the long-term solution, we all say that every day, but I am talking about right now.

One constituent said to me and I quote, `I realize that this is not the solution for the Year 2000 for this Province but it is the solution for my dinner table tonight.'

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SHELLEY: It is the only thing that will get them through these tough times right now. Mr. Speaker, I call on every member in this House of Assembly today, the Premier and the minister, in particular - all parties aside, this is the grim reality that we face here, right now, today. On this very date there are people in desperate situations who can't wait for a week or ten days. I ask every member to support this petition and to support these people in this Province, and not wait for the Federal Government, but for this government to act so that we can put people in this Province in a situation where they will at least have the dignity to feed their own families.

We are facing a crisis in this Province this very day, very week, right now. As another constituent said to me, if there was ever a need in this Province for employment and make-work projects, whatever you want to call it, the key word is emergency. Mr. Speaker, the word is `emergency' and the word is `immediate'. Those are the two words. Let us put everything else aside. I ask the members, and the Cabinet ministers, in particular, to support the minister if he requests in Cabinet, funding for emergency response projects. It is needed. There is not one member who can stand in his place today and tell me it is not needed and to tell me that I am exaggerating the situation. I am not exaggerating the situation. I have talked to members on both sides of the House and I know you get the calls that I get, too, and it really bothers you in the pit of your stomach when you hear a man say he doesn't have food in the House tonight. You would like to go down and give him $20 so that he can go and get some groceries.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. SHELLEY: If I could just clue up, Mr. Speaker?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave.

MR. SHELLEY: So, in all sincerity, I ask every member in this hon. House and every minister to act immediately and support your minister and the Premier to put funding - I don't care where it comes from -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Leave has been withdrawn.

MR. SHELLEY: - put it into this department.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. TOBIN: Did someone withdraw leave?

MR. SHELLEY: Was leave withdrawn?

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, it was withdrawn.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

How can I speak when members opposite are hooting and hollering? I say to the Member for St. John's East that as long as people over there are screaming and shouting I am not going to respond. You might as well understand that now. If you are going to hoot and holler, and the Member for Humber East is going scream, shout, rant and rave, then I will just stop.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: A little bit, probably, I say to the member, a little bit out, but that's alright.

I understand exactly what the hon. member has just said, but let me try to give the hon. member some understanding. First of all, let me say, I understand the problems out there, that you are getting from your district and I am getting from all over the Province. I understand what the hon. member is saying and I know the need, but let me say this to the hon. member.

AN HON. MEMBER: And to the people.

MR. MURPHY: Yes, and to the people. When I say it to the hon. member, obviously - and I don't know if he is aware of it or not - I do say it to the people.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: Well, don't be questioning, listen. Give your ears a chance. If this government had to provide the funding that people are looking for to fulfil 100 per cent response to an emergency program, let me tell you, the Minister of Finance could not find that money, there is no way. Now, what makes it even more critical, I say to the member, is come January 1, we are going to have, probably, somewhere in the vicinity of 3,000 Newfoundlanders, 3,000 to 4,000, who are coming off the TAGS program.

Now, just to run up some quick figures, I say to the member, in order to look after those who would need emergency response, it would take in excess of $45 million or $46 million.

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: Just a minute, now, just a minute! The member can make comments but I have done up the numbers. Now, if you want to do up the Ferryland calculus again you can do it, that is entirely up to you. This government has to approach the Federal Government to put our position forward so we -

MR. HEWLETT: It's late.

MR. MURPHY: Well, it may be late, I say to the Member for Green Bay. It may very well be late. It is awfully late, but I say you can't spend money you don't have.

Now, we have a paper coming out of Ottawa that is emphatic about UI, about reducing the number of weeks that will be payable for more weeks that you need to get, so the ten or twelve weeks is only going to go on for a short time longer unless we approach the Federal Government with a proposal that is specific to the needs of the people in this Province.

Now, I don't mind saying to hon. members that if you review the Axworthy paper - and I look forward to hon. members' presentation to the Standing Committee. I really want to hear the constructive end of the Opposition when they appear before the Standing Committee coming down on the Axworthy paper. I want to hear from the Member for Kilbride. As a matter of fact, I would love to see all hon. members support the people in this Province, and this government, because it is going to be an exceptionally difficult problem to pass on to the Members of the House of Commons that Newfoundland and Labrador is unique in this problem because of our natural resource-based Province. We depend so much on the fishery; this is not new. As the fishery collapsed, so did all segments of our society - financial society and other parts of our society - collapse with it.

The Member for Humber Valley well knows what is happening to the forest industry, what is happening to the trees in the Province. So, we are going to have to make a very concerted effort on behalf of all the people in this Province to convince the Federal Government that we are unique, we do have a different problem.

I sense that that paper may be a little Central Canada directed, but we are not going to solve our problems - I know what the hon. member is saying, that there are people tonight, if they were going to work tomorrow morning, would be just elated beyond - to what? To garner up the twelve weeks and draw UI for another thirty or thirty-six weeks, whatever.

I am saying to the hon. member: Remember, for every single dollar that goes out of this Province in UI, $3.58 comes back.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: The member makes a point, but I don't want to get into a debate or dialogue about yesterdays, because we could throw that stuff back and forth, I say to the hon. member.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. MURPHY: Just a couple of more minutes, Mr. Speaker, by leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave.

MR. SPEAKER: No leave. Thank you.

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

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

There is no argument against the larger issue that the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations has presented here today. They are large issues that have faced this Province year after year, decade after decade, and they are more serious today than they ever were.

Now, the minister points out that you cannot spend money that you don't have. Government found $8 million to $9 million to spend on the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, that the people didn't want -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. E. BYRNE: - and the people still don't want. And they can't find at least $6 million, as they did last year, to help people live, survive, pay rent, pay mortgages, on a program that people need today? That is the immediate issue.

The minister says you can't spend money you don't have. My colleague, the Member for Green Bay pointed out correctly, you can't eat supper if you don't have it either, Minister, and that is what the people of the Province are asking for today.

I have over 325 people who have talked to my office, to me directly, from my district, who are in need of short-term work to get them qualifying weeks for UI. Now let's address this issue, and the former Minister of Employment and Labour Relations knows it well. He should know it well. What will the cost to the Province be in actual dollars if we do not - and I repeat - if we do not proceed with such a program? Has the minister done his own homework in terms of the cost to the Social Services budget and the increase in social services over the next six or seven months from the people in this Province? What will those figures represent? Mr. Speaker, I submit to you that they would be far more costly than an emergency employment program response that this government should have brought in months ago!

The reality is this: even if government decided today to bring in this program, how long would it take for such a program to get up and running? It would be well into January. The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, from a district where many people have qualified for such a program, can he stand today and say that he has not received a call from his constituents? Can the Premier of this Province stand today and say that the people in Bay of Islands have not phoned him regarding an emergency response program? What about the Member for Windsor - Buchans? Can he stand in his place today and say that the people in his district have not phoned him about such a program?

The reality is that all members have received calls from their constituents relating to this immediate emergency that exists today. The minister knows. He and I talked five weeks ago in his office about the problem and he said to me: I am attempting to get some emergency response money from Cabinet to put bread and molasses on the tables of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. He did say it to me in -

MR. WOODFORD: In his office?

MR. E. BYRNE: Indeed he did. We talked about the problem.

MR. WOODFORD: What!

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MR. MURPHY: The hon. member was in my office and we discussed the need for emergency response, but the hon. member shouldn't say that I had a Cabinet paper. Now, that is not -

MR. E. BYRNE: I didn't say that.

MR. MURPHY: Oh, that is what I thought you said.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. MURPHY: Alright, I'm sorry.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, I did not say that the minister said he had a Cabinet paper, but I cannot say that the issue may or may not have arisen. The reality is this. What the minister and I spoke about -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: No. Mr. Speaker, what the minister and I spoke about was the need for such a program. He didn't tell me whether he had a Cabinet paper or not, that wasn't the issue, that wasn't a topic of discussion. He is right. But we spoke about the need, and the minister told me then that he was attempting, he understood it, and he would like to get some money to put bread and molasses on the tables of Newfoundlanders. He knows what I'm saying is right.

Mr. Speaker, let me clue up by asking this: Have we, as a Legislative Assembly, come to the point, as members, where we stand by and idly watch an emergency situation get worse, an emergency situation become more drastic as time goes on?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. E. BYRNE: If we have, Mr. Speaker, it is not an Assembly that I wish to be part of, I can assure you of that. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Orders of the Day

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, we got along to such a good start -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) your tie.

MR. ROBERTS: I recommend this tie, Mr. Speaker, to my friend, the Member for Burin - Placentia West. He would no doubt share, the same reason I do. I say he should wear it because it doesn't show the gravy spots, so I recommend it to him. Actually, it was given to me by my daughter, whose taste is obviously better than mine, so I cherish it.

Your Honour, my friend, the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation made such a good start on the amendments to the Highway Traffic Act on Tuesday that we should carry on. It is Order No. 13, Bill No. 30, at second reading, if we could, Sir.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. When I adjourned the debate on Tuesday afternoon, I was summing up my remarks about amendments to the Highway Traffic Act set out in Bill 30. I expressed support for some of the provisions of the bill which will probably improve highway safety and result in fewer drunk drivers being in circulation, but I expressed concerns about the provision that essentially creates a new provincial, impaired driving offense, the provisions which will result in drivers with a blood alcohol content below the federal criminal code .08, being hauled off the road and having their licenses suspended for twenty-four hours and then, being obligated to pay a $100 reinstatement fee.

Mr. Speaker, I expressed concerns about those provisions, first of all, because I have not been shown that there will be any beneficial results. The minister, I would suggest, if he has done research has not shared it with members of this Assembly or the public. The minister's opening statement was pathetic, was empty of any content. Mr. Speaker, I said up front, that I have not done any amount of research about the appropriate blood alcohol content level; I've always accepted the point .08 in the Criminal Code of Canada as being the appropriate standard. I have never had any reason to doubt that or question it.

Now that the question has been raised, I have indicated that I have an open mind on the subject. So far, in the few days since we have been debating this, I have seen the submission of the Provincial Hospitality Association quoting research findings indicating that there is no appreciable risk to public safety through having on the roads, drivers with a blood alcohol content below .08. Mr. Speaker, I would say to the minister that if he has contrary research findings, do not hide them any longer.

I would say to the Member for Gander, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, who is not in his seat now but who indicated an interest in this topic when we were debating it on Tuesday, that if he has any research findings showing that drivers with a blood alcohol content below .08 are a danger to public safety, bring them forward, let us look at them, but my main point, Mr. Speaker, is that, if there is good reason to lower the permitted blood alcohol content below what is now in the Criminal Code of Canada, then instead of creating a new provincial standard which will be a second standard for our citizens, let us unite and call on the federal Parliament to amend the Criminal Code of Canada, by reducing the level in the impaired driving offenses below .08 and, Mr. Speaker, the federal government is now a Liberal administration made up of political brothers and sisters of the members opposite.

Now I would like to ask the minister, who is so boisterous and who takes every opportunity to heckle, I would like to ask the minister if he has made any submission to the federal Minister of Justice, Mr. Rock, suggesting that .08 is no longer the appropriate standard for impaired driving offenses in the Criminal Code of Canada. Has the provincial minister called on the federal government to amend the Criminal Code of Canada? Mr. Speaker, why should we impose on our citizens two standards, why should we make the law more complicated? After all, we live in Canada, why can't we have one standard?

Mr. Speaker, apart from the undesirability of having two standards, I ask the Minister of Justice about possible constitutional and legal difficulties associated with these provincial provisions. Is it within the constitutional authority or the legislative competence of this Assembly to create a provincial impaired driving offense? Is it within the constitutional power of this House of Assembly to suspend the drivers' licenses of motorists with a blood alcohol content of above .05? Mr. Speaker, I would seriously doubt that it is legal to enact this amendment and I would suggest that it would likely fall with a constitutional challenge.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I understand that seven or eight other provinces have provisions in their provincial legislation authorizing their provincial officials to haul motorists, with a blood alcohol content below .08, off the roads. Those provisions may or may not have been tested in court, I don't know. I would like the Minister of Justice to comment on that but, Mr. Speaker, to the best of my knowledge no other province imposes a fine by that name or any other name, whereas the minister's proposal involves a $100 fine or what he will call reinstatement fee but a rose is a rose is rose and a $100 reinstatement fee is a fine.

Now, Mr. Speaker, when my colleague from Mount Pearl asked the minister on Tuesday where he would get the authority for the $100 fine he could not answer. Now perhaps the minister has consulted Mr. Beckett in his department in the interim and perhaps the minister can now tell us where he would find that authority. Is it in regulations that are made in secret by the Cabinet? Mr. Speaker, we are told that within the last year in this Province the police had something like 8,000 readings on their compact alert machines in their cruisers of between .05 and .08 blood alcohol content. Now if that is true, Mr. Speaker, and I would assume the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation can give us the accurate figure, then should his proposal be implemented, then he and his government will be collecting $100 from each such motorist. A money grab of $800,000.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the minister is being totally inconsistent in his performance as minister. After having launched this initiative of cracking down, suspending licenses and collecting $100 fines from motorists who have had one glass of wine or two glasses of wine or a couple of beers, the minister announces that he is going to do away with the requirement for annual motor vehicle inspections on ordinary regular vehicles that are more than four years old. He says that he's confident that motorists who own older vehicles are responsible. Now, Mr. Speaker, he cannot have it both ways. His proposals are extremely controversial and, Mr. Speaker, several people have asked me in the last day how I can explain the ministers' conflicting announcements. Where is the consistency? Well the only commonality I can see is that the minister is getting publicity. Now we all know that this is a minister who loves the limelight. The minister is going to have the limelight and he is going to have some heat applied to him too, I would say.

Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that the Premier left because the Premier is going to have to rein in this minister. This is a minister who is a loose cannon, a minister who is out of control and who needs to be reined in. Mr. Speaker, I suppose the ministers option for making announcements and getting himself some publicity are pretty limited. The government doesn't have much money to spend, so he seems to be going to extraordinary lengths to make controversial announcements to attract some publicity to himself. Well, he is succeeding in doing that, but it may not be the kind of publicity that the Premier and the government as a whole desires.

Mr. Speaker, there are serious concerns about the legality of these provisions of the bill, the constitutional validity of them, as I have mentioned, and also the infringement on ordinary citizens rights.

I ask the minister: What is the recourse for a citizen who has had a couple of glasses of wine, who is stopped by the police, and who registers yellow on the alert machine, who is accused by the police of having a blood alcohol content of between .05 and .08, and who is ordered to hand over his or her driver's licence and do without his or her vehicle, and then who is told that he or she will have to pay $100 to get the driver's licence back? What is the recourse for that citizen if a citizen believes that the police officer is incorrect, and that the alert machine is defective? What is the recourse for that citizen? Because this is an offence by another name. There is a little bit of an attempt here to pretend that it is not really an offence, to dress it up in another guise, but I would suggest that if these provisions are ever implemented and subjected to a legal challenge, that they will fall.

Mr. Speaker, the minister, in announcing cancellation of the requirement for motor vehicle annual inspections, talked about the amount of money consumers would save. He didn't say anything about the effect on highway safety. Is the minister going to get that money back from consumers in the form of additional revenue for his government by these .05 provisions?

Mr. Speaker, the minister hasn't even attempted to demonstrate that there is a need for reducing the blood alcohol content standard. He hasn't indicated that he has ever made any representation to the federal government, now his political brothers and sisters, to have the Criminal Code amended, to have the .08 standard in the Criminal Code lowered.

Neither the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation nor the Minister of Justice have addressed the constitutional question, or the legal question: Is this really an infringement on the federal criminal law power? Neither has either of the ministers answered the accusation that this is really a money grab. So I have all those concerns about the impaired driving provisions of this bill.

Apart from that, Mr. Speaker, I raise the constructive suggestion - and I did it with the Minister of Justice last spring - that in addition to empowering the Registry of Motor Vehicles to share registry information with other government agencies and research agencies, that the Highway Traffic Act and the Justice Support Enforcement Agency legislation be amended to empower the Justice Support Enforcement Agencies to suspend or cancel the drivers licences of people who default under their court ordered obligations to pay child support or maintenance. This is an enforcement tool which has been given to some state maintenance enforcement agencies in the United States and it is being proposed for the new Nova Scotia collection agency due to start in 1996.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Is the hon. Opposition House Leader rising to speak?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh, yes.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Carried.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, I say to the Government House Leader that I do not know what he wants carried.

MR. ROBERTS: Anything the hon. gentleman wants carried I will carry.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Okay. Well, I cannot say the same to the hon. gentleman because he would want the Order Paper carried, Mr. Speaker, and the way the bills are coming out today I say this is the year we are going to carve the turkey on the clerk's table.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I want to have a few words on Bill 30, the bill introduced by the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation on Tuesday, I believe, not know what he was introducing. The minister did not have a clue as to what he was introducing. It was the weakest introduction of a bill that I have seen in this House in about ten years. It was not prepared. He did not have anything to substantiate the legislation, no statistics. He had not consulted with interest groups that should have been consulted on the issue. He misinformed his colleagues and is still misinforming them.

I hope the Minister of Social Services is not taking advice from the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation because by the end of the week, that's tomorrow, she surely will be gone.

MR. TOBIN: What happened to him in Social Services?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: That is what he is telling her, how to get kicked out of Social Services. That is what the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation is telling her, how to get removed from the ministry of Social Services, by one John Efford. That is the advice he is giving the minister, how to get removed from the Department of Social Services by one John Efford.

AN HON. MEMBER: He is giving her the questions.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I want to say to the minister that the top number one piece of legislation, the government's priority on the legislative agenda for this fall, that the minister was not even prepared to introduce and now we are here debating because we know more about the bill than the minister, and he is over there now not even listening to what we have to say to him.

I say to the minister that by the time you speak again you will have about three weeks to read some notes. He will not speak again for another two weeks for sure so he will have time to be briefed and do his research and hopefully when he stands the next time he will know something about the bill that stands in his name, Bill 30, An Act To Amend The Highway Traffic Act.

I want to say to the minister that I was totally amazed to hear his statement about doing away with the inspections. There were two things he talked about when he introduced the bill. One was drinking and driving on highways, which no one supports, no one in their right mind supports, and public safety. He talked so much about public safety, but what does he do now? He goes out and makes our highways less safe for people in this Province by the action he is taking.

This minister will do anything. I do not know who is advising him. It is time for a shake-up amongst his top officials in the Department of Works, Services and Transportation. The minister is getting some bad advice. He is out targeting the wrong group of people when it comes to drinking and driving.

AN HON. MEMBER: He is not demolishing the wrong building is he?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: He knocked down the wrong building. The brakes were not working on his car and he ran into a moose, and now he is over there advocating doing away with inspections. He has the security system ruined since he became Minister of Works, Services and Transportation - the security is gone in the buildings.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, I suppose. Well, Buddy Wasisname said he would wing it with his car and I guess the minister took him for his word and he went out and did it. Winged it with his car.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The minister is used to being out in the dark, I say to the Minister of Natural Resources. We know about the minister being out in the dark but it is usually with a flashlight. Usually with a flashlight groping down around Pleasantville and the youth correctional centres, in the basements and tunnels.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, he usually does. Here he is targeting the wrong group of people, I say to the Minister of Health. This group of people that the minister is going to bother and annoy here are those that are responsible, really responsible people. The minister wants to annoy them now by having the police pull them over, whack a sticker on their licence plates and leave their car for twenty-four hours. Then of course, most importantly for the minister and the government, they will charge you $100 for reinstating your licence. That is what it is all about, the $100.

What we are doing to the enforcement agency - the police just won't be able to keep up with it. They are going to be able to pull over the driver now, suspend their licence, convict them on the spot, say you are guilty, check cars for mechanical problems, determine whether they should go to the garage or not. Seriously, I say to the minister, what are you doing to the police forces in this Province? You will have the police pull them over, say they are guilty right on the spot -

MR. EFFORD: Are you talking about this bill or another one?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I'm talking about this one. I'm talking about public safety, I say to the minister.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Sorry? I'm talking about drinking and driving. Well, really what I'm talking about is people who really don't drink and drive, I would say to the minister. Those people who are responsible people that you are now going to bother and annoy and torture the life out of.

MR. EFFORD: If they don't drink and drive they haven't got a problem!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: That is not the group of people you should be putting your emphasis on, I say to him. The sooner you read some statistics and get informed on this the better you will be. You won't make such a fool of yourself as you did on Tuesday. Such a fool you made of yourself, and again this morning you made another fool of yourself. The minister tries to justify doing away with the inspections because he says: What are we worried about? It is only - what was it he said? - 1 per cent or something problems, what was it he said?

MR. SULLIVAN: One per cent.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: One per cent, what was that?

MR. SULLIVAN: There is only 1 per cent of cars with defects which have accidents.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: With car defects.

MR. EFFORD: That is not correct. Less than 1 per cent.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You should be proud of that! You should not be doing something -

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You should not be doing something that is going to increase the percentage of defective automobiles on the road which you are doing. You stand up here and say you are sincere about public safety.

MR. SULLIVAN: A defective minister we have.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, the minister is very defective. He should be inspected immediately. Someone said he was a loose cannon. It is not the loose cannon, I'm worried about the loose cannonball, I say to the minister. The cannonball and where it is going to go, what damage he is going to cause before the Premier decides to take him out again and give him another rest.

MR. TOBIN: He almost took him out in the shuffle.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: He was just about out. Not as close as the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, not quite as far out as him, but he came close. He hung on. No minister -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I tell you, I say to the minister, if you don't be a little more careful of what you are doing - this ping-pong legislation is what I would call it. I said the minister is like a small ping-pong ball, he is bouncing all over the place. You don't know what he is going to come up with next. I suppose the next thing we will have a bill allowing motorists to only have three lugs on their wheels, I say the next thing we see.

MR. MANNING: Bill, he's like an oopee ball. You throw him up, you don't know where he is going to land.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I'm telling you, he is a dangerous minister, especially in the portfolio he is in. Very dangerous.

MR. EFFORD: You be careful or you won't get any pavement.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Another threat now. There is a threat to the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes. Now you know why you are not getting any pavement.

MR. MANNING: You needn't threaten me. (Inaudible) out our way (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You better pave it, I say to the minister, you had better pave every road in the Province if you keep diminishing safety on the highways as you are doing. Now there are some very good things in this bill that we support, Mr. Speaker, we are not totally against this piece of legislation, we raise concerns about - I know the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board was quite interested on Tuesday by the facts and statistics given by the Member for Mount Pearl. The Minister of Finance and Treasury Board became quite enthused and interested and I believe he had a copy and I bet he read it - well, I don't know if he read it or not but I am sure he will.

MR. BAKER: I read it.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: He read it, so a lot of things we are saying to the minister, he should listen to them. The Minister of Finance and Treasury Board has already listened to and read it, but the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation has not; the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board has looked at the statistics, he understands the situation and I am telling you, he is a bit taken back by what you are doing.

MR. SULLIVAN: Talk to him Wins, tell him he is wrong.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Tell him he is wrong, tell him he is targeting the wrong group of people; it is those who are up at .15 who are the real problems on our highways and those are whom the minister should be trying to get off the roads, and should be putting money into programs of education and rehabilitation for those people if he is sincere about making our highways a safer place, that is what he should do. I am sure the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation must have some concerns about what the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation is doing. The Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation is reading very seriously over there; I hope it is a note from some of the Hospitality Newfoundland people.

MR. SULLIVAN: No, it is the sheriff's office.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Sheriff's office. It is a note of delegates to the leadership convention. He is going through every district, but certainly, I say to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, he must have some concerns about that great industry which employs about 15,000 people, I say to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, if he would listen to me. I wish he would stop trying to ignore me. There are about 15,000 people involved in the hospitality industry and they are saying that - not that they are against trying to get drivers who drink off the highway, nobody is against that, but what they are saying is, it is going to have a detrimental effect on their industry; as I said there are about 15,000 people employed and this is going to make a difference to them, this piece of legislation.

They say that people will go in to have a drink of wine, a beer, but they are going to drop off, they will not do it and they are not a problem on the roads. I do not know if the minister has looked at their statistics or not, that they have accumulated - it is a very good package by the way, it is a very good package, a very, very good package and they point out some very interesting things in it, Mr. Speaker, about all of this, really, what the danger level is of blood alcohol, the BAC, and it is not at .05. It is after it gets to .1 that there is a dramatic increase in the impairment level once it gets to .10, not at .03 or 4 or 5 or 6.

As a matter of fact it was a very interesting thing that they informed us of yesterday, that even today, when you are pulled in the breathalyser machine is set, I think at .11 or .10, you are not charged unless it is -

MR. EFFORD: You should be charged.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I am not saying that, I say to the minister. The minister should be charged too.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You don't get charged at .9?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Okay. Well, at .10 you are charged, which I did not know before but you know, that was interesting; so what are we really trying to accomplish by lowering it to .05, is the question? What are we going to accomplish? According to statistics, it is not going to make any difference to highway safety because these are not the people who are the problems, and the people who fall in that level up to .08 are responsible drivers, they are not the problem. The problem is with those drivers who are at .1 and above, .15 and so on, are extremely dangerous on the highways and the minister, won't listen, but he is targeting -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: He is a hard man, yes. I know he is a hard man but he is targeting the wrong group of people is our point, not that we support drinking and driving, because we don't. Most of us, I would think, are very responsible that way. We watch what we drink, and if we drink a bit more, we get somebody to drive us; and by far the majority of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians do the same.

I say to the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, I don't really think he is behind this but perhaps he is. It looks like there could be about $1 million in revenue here. I don't know if that is what is behind this or not, for those people who get pulled over, have to leave their cars, and pay the $100 to get reinstated. Maybe that is what is behind it all - maybe. Maybe the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board will tell us if he is the one who has plotted and schemed this, if this is another way to get a few bucks. I don't know. Maybe it is, but certainly there has to be a better way to do it. You might get your million dollars that way, I say to the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, and the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, but you are going to lose it in another way. You are going to lose $1 million plus in revenues from your hospitality industry.

AN HON. MEMBER: People are going to stop drinking?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: They are not going to stop totally, but it will make a difference. The same as .08 made a difference, .05 is going to make another difference. That is my belief.

AN HON. MEMBER: .08 made a really big difference.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I am sorry?

AN HON. MEMBER: .08 made a really big difference.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, sure it did, and I think most people today are very conscious about drinking and driving - seriously. There are those, we know, who abuse it. We all know people who abuse it but, like it has been pointed out, it is people who have alcohol related problems - alcoholics, for the most part. That is the problem area, and I think now most people will not take a chance on having a drink and driving - at all - and that is going to have an impact on the hospitality industry and on the economy of the Province. It is going to mean that people are going to be laid off. There are 15,000 employed. There are going to be less than that employed in the hospitality industry, so if the government is looking at this from a revenue generation point of view, they may be surprised. It may reduce government revenues by more than that, because people won't spend the same money, having a drink on their way home, or having a glass of wine with lunch. It just might not. People might not take the chance any more, I say to the Member for Fortune - Hermitage.

The government might lose more than $1 million revenue because people now will not have that glass of wine or that beer before they drive. They are not the problem, if they have the glass of wine or the beer. So the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board might have to tell us next year that he has lost revenue in that area that government depends on so heavily. He might have picked up $800,000 to $1 million from licence reinstatement for those whose cars have been parked for twenty-four hours, but he might lose it the other way.

Our concern is greater than that. Our concern is addressing the issue of real public safety, and that is those who drink in excess of .08 and .15, where most of our fatal accidents are caused by drivers who have an alcohol blood level of more than .15, or 1.5 and up, I think the Member for Ferryland will tell us in a little while. I believe he has some statistics there that he will delve into, as the Member for Mount Pearl did.

I suggest to all members that they should look at the statistics. They should look at the brief done by Hospitality Newfoundland. I think most members have been provided with a copy. It makes for some interesting reading. Of course, Hospitality Newfoundland does not condone drinking and driving either, but they have some very serious concerns about what the minister is doing, and why he is doing it. They think he has been ill-advised on the issue, poorly advised.

Of course, listening to and watching the minister introduce the legislation on Tuesday certainly confirmed that. Honestly, if I had not had a copy of the bill, and knew what legislation was being called, I would have had to question: What is the minister introducing? What piece of legislation is he introducing? What is it about? You could never tell from what the minister said on Tuesday - a very poor job.

Now, I hope he gets briefed before he speaks again, and he answers some of the questions that have been legitimately raised by members on this side, and there will be more questions that will be raised over the next while.

The other contradiction in it all is to hear what the minister has done, as of yesterday, with the vehicle inspection process. You cannot be so concerned about public safety on our highways to do what the minister did yesterday. It is a total contradiction. One piece of legislation, and the other to be dealt with in regulation, totally contradictory, when you look at the aspect of public safety.

There he comes in now, the walking contradiction himself. Two notes, two different pieces of advice from the same department, I would suspect, the minister is getting. He needs a big shake-up down there, I say to him, big shake-up.

MR. TOBIN: No, no, all he has to do is listen.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Really, whoever is advising the minister on this, I mean I don't know how long they have been at it or how long they have been trying to get this to come about - I don't know but they have given the minister poor advice.

MR. TOBIN: Bad advice.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Bad advice and the minister swallowed it hook, line and sinker. Sometimes, minister, you have to question the advice that officials give you.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, well I know the minister can be very convincing. I know he can be very convincing. He convinced Newfoundlanders and Labradorians he was concerned about the fishery when he was out of Cabinet and when he got back in he forgot about it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Completely forgot about it, he has not opened his mouth about it since, very convincing. He had the Icelanders over there with the big scissors, going to cut the nets off everything on the Grand Banks. Yes, very convincing. He had the Icelandic people over here with the big scissors, going to cut up the Grand Banks, every net out there he was going to have them cut off. John the defender - knocking Richard Cashin.

MR. SULLIVAN: Like your Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture said, there are more boats out there now then there has ever been. He said that in the paper yesterday.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, the minister is giving a good speech now, I must say. He is giving a good speech now, the minister, at least we woke him up. At least we woke the minister up, Mr. Speaker. He dozed off and we woke him up. We will see, as we have seen the last - how long is it now that he has been put back in the Cabinet? A very quiet minister. He is making a bit of noise the last couple of days but bad noise. It does not make any sense, contradictory what the minister is doing.

MR. EFFORD: I wish your constituents could hear what you say about drinking and driving.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: My constituents? I don't know why you are bringing up my constituents about drinking and driving. Perhaps that is another plot by the minister, perhaps he wants to do away with the only Burin Peninsula industry - they got the shipyard killed altogether. They got the shipyard wiped out.

AN HON. MEMBER: Grand Bank is the home of temperance.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I was in a Temperance Organization, proud to be to.

AN HON. MEMBER: You should have stayed with it.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well I probably should have.

MR. TOBIN: He is going back.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: That is what I am going to do after politics, start up a Temperance Society on the Burin Peninsula.

AN HON. MEMBER: Time is up.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No I say to the minister my time is not up. The minister's time will soon be up if he keeps doing what he has been doing in the last three or four days, not targeting the right area - going out to torment and torture responsible citizens of this Province.

MR. EFFORD: There is no such thing as responsible drinking and driving.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: There is, I say to the minister, there is.

MR. EFFORD: There is not.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Okay, well if the minister wants to say that, why doesn't he say it and tell the 95 or 96 per cent of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians they are not responsible. I think they are responsible.

MR. EFFORD: Don't go drinking and driving.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You have to set a level, I say to the minister, there is a level of impairment over which no one should drive -

MR. EFFORD: And that's the level I am bringing in.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: - and that level - get serious minister, whether you know it or not the real impairment takes place from .1 upward and the increase is so dramatic after .1 that it is frightening, I say to the minister, but the minister does not know that. From 0 to .05 it has no affect, no affect whatsoever on ones driving ability. Statistics back it up, I say to the minister.

MR. EFFORD: You must be listening to the (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No I am not, I say to the minister, but the minister is not listening to any statistics only his own obsession because he made a promise to a group of people who have a very legitimate concern and so they should have an emotional concern because some of them have had loss of life in their families and nobody can knock that.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Pardon?

MR. EFFORD: When you are finished I will prove to you all the statistics saying that .05 is an impairment to driving, backed up by research (inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: Connected with the felonies (inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I say to the minister, you did such a lousy job introducing the piece of legislation - if you had done a thorough job, if you had known your topic, if you had been armed with proper information -

AN HON. MEMBER: He was afraid to put his cards on the table.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) drinking and driving (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I say to the minister that maybe I wouldn't be here today -

MR. TOBIN: If you (inaudible) support it there would be no tolerance. If what you are saying is the case, then there would be no tolerance, it wouldn't be .05, it would be nothing.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) drinking and driving.

MR. TOBIN: So you must support it, too, you are going to .05. If you don't support it (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, exactly. Why not set it at .0? say there is zero tolerance on the highways. If you are sincere about what you are saying now, then let's have zero tolerance on the highways. You cannot have any drink at all and drive your car. Why don't you go all the way, Minister? Why didn't you go all the way, Minister, if you sincerely believe what you just said?

MR. EFFORD: Another day, another day.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Another day what? See. That is the problem with the minister, you can't take him seriously. You can't take the minister seriously. Because if he believed what he just said, he wouldn't allow - it would be zero tolerance.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Time is up.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, I say to the Minister of Health, you wish my time was up. I'm sure the minister will give me leave, because I'm finally getting the minister to see the light.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: I (inaudible) leave.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I say to the other Matthews over there now, he had best be quiet, should not get too frisky. I might sic my colleague, the Member for Ferryland on him. I might sic my colleague, the Member for Ferryland on some controversial health issues to tear him to shreds, chew him up and spit him out. I've been keeping him back the last while, he wants to go. I said: No, let the minister get his seat warm, don't cause any problems.

MR. SULLIVAN: I was up yesterday.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You don't know when I'm protecting you, I say to the minister.

MS. YOUNG: (Inaudible).

MR. L. MATTHEWS: I don't blame you. With one of them on each side (inaudible), very accommodating.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes I am. The Minister of Social Services knows how accommodating I am. Just look how hard I could have been on her today with the Premier. I was very calm and collected, didn't want to be too hard on the minister. I know she didn't know what she was doing.

MR. FITZGERALD: The minister didn't have many answers yesterday. There is no point in going to the minister with questions.

MR. SULLIVAN: I am not (inaudible), she said, I am not (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, totally ineffective. I would like to see some other members opposite stand up and tell us what they think about this piece of legislation that the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation has before us. I would like to hear the true feelings of the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. I would like to hear the true feelings of the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board outside of the financial concerns that he thinks he is going to get $1 million in his right pocket, and lose $3 million out of his left, which he hasn't thought about.

AN HON. MEMBER: Isn't your time up?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, time is almost up, I say to the minister. I've enjoyed this so much, I think the minister will give me leave.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Are you (inaudible) `Bill', or what?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh, you know I am, I say to the Minister of Health. I always advocate that. Don't you know?

MR. L. MATTHEWS: That's an expense on the health care system.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: It is, I agree. But if you can get everyone in the Province at .05 or below .08 it won't be too detrimental to your health care budget. That's not where the problem is, it is those people who are above .08, .1 and .15, I say to the minister, that is putting the drain on his health care budget - the same as those who smoke. That's the problem.

What we are doing here in this bill is we are getting after a group of people who are responsible, who would only have the beer or two before they drive home, or the glass of wine. Those are the people we are nailing in this bill, not the .15s, the guys who go out on the highway recklessly drunk and kill people, or if they don't it is only because of sheer luck.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: You have to start somewhere.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, I say to the minister, we should be starting with the chronic drinker who drives.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: They are covered.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, they are covered. What do you mean, they are covered?

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Point zero five will take care of everybody.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: But it is not taking care of it at .08, Minister, don't you understand? It is not going to take care of the .05 if it is not taking care of the big problem at .08. You have to beef up your enforcement, you have to get education and rehabilitation programs for those people who have alcohol-related problems, alcoholics who are driving continuously - that is the problem.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: I can't see what you are advocating.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, I am advocating just that. If the Minister of Health has problems with that I feel sorry for him. He should go to church every Sunday and sing in the choir. So, you don't take communion, but as the Member for Burin - Placentia West said, you won't be able to have wine at communion and drive home now. That's how ridiculous we're making it, you know.

AN HON. MEMBER: I never could -

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, I know you couldn't.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: How many drinks have you taken?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I have never had a drink at communion, I say to the minister.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: By leave.

MR. SPEAKER: Before I recognize the hon. member I want to rule on a point raised earlier this week, specifically on Tuesday, November 15. The hon. the Opposition House Leader raised a point of order concerning the priority of the Deputy Chairman of Committees occupying that position in light of his recent appointment as the Legislative Assistant to the Minister of Education and Training. In addition, of course, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition raised a point of privilege concerning the same and I want to deal with both of these now.

On the point of order raised, I guess a question of order is one that concerns departure from the Standing Orders, or departure from the customary modes of proceeding in the debate, or in the customary mode of dealing with legislative or parliamentary business. A point of order, of course, is raised when departure of this nature results in a disorder in the House. Clearly, of course, the matter raised by the hon. the Opposition House Leader doesn't fall into that category.

On the matter raised by the Leader of the Opposition on the point of privilege, well, a point of privilege may be raised when members are impeded by the action of another in carrying out their legislative duties. The point of privilege raised by the hon. the Leader of the Opposition alleges no specific incidents of partisanship on the part of the Deputy Chairman of Committees, therefore, at this moment it would be a hypothetical question.

In any event, the action of the Speaker, or his or her delegates cannot be called into question by any form of proceeding except by a substantive motion, and I refer hon. members to Erskine May, 21st Edition, Page 325 and, as well, Beauchesne 6th Edition, paragraph 168. In a ruling on a question of privilege raised in the House of Commons in Ottawa concerning the constraints which applied to the Deputy Speaker, this is what the Speaker said: `Whenever the question that is being raised is the conduct of a member of the House in his capacity as a member, or in any other capacity as a presiding officer, our traditions have been that privilege is not the route by which the motion can be put. If the hon. member wants to pursue the matter, either in the subject of impartiality of the Chair or that of the conduct of another member, either of those matters have to be pursued by a substantive motion. Let me add that the presiding officers of the House were appointed by the House. Matters relating to the conduct of the occupants of the Chair are therefore properly within the jurisdiction of the House and not the Speaker or his or her delegates.'

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I want to speak to this piece of legislation that the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation has brought before the House because I think the minister is making a grave mistake in putting forth this legislation. We heard no argument from the minister upon his introduction of the legislation, merely to suggest that six or seven other provinces have this legislation and, in his view, statistics showed that people with .05 per cent alcohol in their blood may have some degree of impairment.

Now, Mr. Speaker, what he did not say was that the other provinces, the seven provinces that have this lower alcohol level restriction for driving, have no statistics to prove that it has made any difference whatsoever to the number of driver accident fatalities. The minister, in his press release, and in his comments to the public, has said that in twenty accident fatalities in the Province of Newfoundland last year, alcohol was involved.

I don't have any doubt about the truth of that, but of the total accidents in Newfoundland and Labrador last year, some 8,000 accidents, only 3 per cent of those accidents involved the use of alcohol. Only 3 per cent of those accidents in Newfoundland involved fatalities.

MR. EFFORD: How many fatalities?

MR. HARRIS: There were sixteen fatal accidents.

MR. EFFORD: Caused by what?

MR. HARRIS: Sixteen fatal accidents involving alcohol, out of a total of forty fatal accidents.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) caused by alcohol.

MR. HARRIS: Caused by alcohol of in excess of 1.5 per cent, not alcohol between .05 per cent and .08 per cent - of alcohol in excess -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: There were sixteen fatal accidents. There were twenty fatalities, but they involved the use of alcohol to the extent of over 1.5 per cent.

MR. EFFORD: And there is nothing wrong with that, is there?

MR. HARRIS: That is a criminal act, a travesty, and there is very much wrong with it. So what is the minister doing? He says: Well, there are fatalities in cases where people are very drunk, so we will make a rule that says between .05 and .08.

Right now, as the last speaker said, the Mounties and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary don't even charge people who blow .09 - they don't even charge them - yet the alcohol limit is .08 per cent.

MR. EFFORD: They will now.

MR. HARRIS: And they don't charge them because the statistics and the evidence show that the real impairment goes up with the amount of alcohol consumed, and it becomes a serious problem at a higher level.

Now, the minister has introduced this legislation without any support for it. The minister says he is going to come up with all these statistics at the end. He is going to give us all these statistics at the end. I want to ask him: In the provinces that have this, how many accidents have been prevented by this legislation? How many? I think the minister cannot come up with any statistics, because they don't exist. The provinces that have this legislation cannot say that they have reduced accidents.

In fact, one of the few groups that he mentioned when he got up to introduce this legislation was Mothers Against Drunk Driving. He said that it was in response to groups like this that this legislation was brought in. Yes, I agree that Mothers Against Drunk Driving have a very important cause to fight; but, you know, the Mothers Against Drunk Driving group don't agree that this legislation is the right response to the problem.

MR. EFFORD: Where do you get your information, `Jack'?

MR. HARRIS: They recognize that the targeted group have to be the people who are causing the accidents, not the people who happen to be drinking and driving.

Now, if the minister were truly against all drinking and driving, what he would be doing is bringing in a rule for zero tolerance - no drinking and driving whatsoever. What we have seen in this Province over the last ten or fifteen years is a great reduction in the amount of drinking and driving. The systems that have been in place, the criminal law, the increasing of the fines, increasing public awareness, some of the advertising of his own predecessors in terms of promoting safe driving habits, have all had a considerable effect, and the number of drinking and driving offenses has decreased substantially over the years because people are taking the issue far, far more seriously than they ever did.

At one time, Mr. Speaker, it was very acceptable for people to be drinking and driving, and drink all night and drive home half drunk, not remembering where they were going. That was considered socially acceptable at one time. People did it, and told jokes about it, but now that does not happen. That does not happen because it is not socially acceptable. The designated driver program which has been promoted by the minister's department before he was minister, has had an effect. Every time you go to a liquor store and buy a bottle of liquor or a bottle of wine you will get a bag, and on the bag is a picture of a set of car keys and an X through it, saying no drinking and driving. These programs, Mr. Speaker, are having their effect and the number of drinking and driving offenses have gone way, way down.

This legislation is a little bit of grandstanding on the part of the minister. If the minister wants to have some effect on the number of accidents being caused, he would be doing something very different from what he is doing here today and very different from what he did yesterday, Mr. Speaker. This minister has the wrong end of every stick he picks up. He decides he wants to do something about alcohol and driving, and instead of dealing with the problem, he causes more problems for the police. He gives the police more work to do, we are going to dilute the efforts of the police. The police are now going to have to look after the drivers who are drunk, they will have to look after drivers who might be drinking between .05 and .08, and they are going to have to be inspecting automobiles to see whether the brakes work or not, because the minister has changed all the policies in the matter of a couple of days. So I think the minister should really examine what he is doing from a commonsense, practical, rational point of view, and he hasn't done that.

I will give you an example of the minister's logic, Mr. Speaker: yesterday when he decided he was going to get rid of all the mandatory inspection of vehicles, he said, `well, only 1 per cent of the accidents are caused by defective vehicles.' That is what he said, he said, only 1 per cent of the accidents, so therefore it is not a really big deal, never mind the inspections, it is only 1 per cent. Now, there is the logic of this minister, Mr. Speaker. I mean, to me, if only 1 per cent of the accidents are caused by defective vehicles, I would say the system is working. I would say that is pretty good. What does the minister want to do, have 4 per cent, 5 per cent, 6 per cent? Is that what he wants to do, by having more defective vehicles on the road? because that is what's going to happen.

Now, Mr. Speaker, three percent of all accidents are alcohol-related, and these are accidents that are like 1.5 per cent or more. Now, he is using that as excuse to introduce a new piece of legislation that is going to go after drivers who have between .05 and .08 alcohol in their blood. Now, that is the logic of this minister. On the one hand, when he has a program that is working, he destroys it by taking away the mandatory testing of older vehicles, so he wants to increase the number of accidents on the one hand, or what he is doing will increase the number of accidents. In this case here he is doing something that has not been shown to decrease the number of accidents at all. And this is not an experiment, Mr. Speaker, this has been tried in seven provinces, and not one of these provinces can tell you that they have decreased the number of accidents by virtue of this policy.

Now, Mr. Speaker, if the minister really wanted to decrease the number of accidents there are some things that could work. Some other provinces have done it and they have the statistics to prove that it does work. We do know, Mr. Speaker - we are going to ask for the minister's statistics now in a minute. I would be very interested in seeing the minister's statistics because the Insurance Bureau of Canada has said, the statistics show that new drivers of any age, whatever age they are, are five times more likely to be involved in road accidents simply due to lack of experience. We also know, Mr. Speaker, that death and injury from traffic accidents are the largest risk facing young people between sixteen and twenty-four - car accidents, the largest risk. Those accidents can be reduced, Mr. Speaker, by 30 per cent. You can reduce the risk of accidents by 30 per cent by introducing a program which would be a good thing and that would be a graduated licensing program for new drivers. As part of that program, Mr. Speaker, there would be a zero tolerance from alcohol as part of such a program for a new driver; there would be a zero tolerance of alcohol drinking and driving for the first two years of a person holding a license. There would be restrictions on the kind of driving that the person could do -

MR. EFFORD: Do you know of any graduated licensing program?

MR. HARRIS: A graduated licensing program -

MR. EFFORD: What has that to do with this piece of legislation?

MR. HARRIS: That is something that the minster could be doing if he wanted to reduce road accidents instead of bringing in this legislation which is merely grandstanding. I am going to ask the minister to tell us where it has been shown that this will reduce-

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) graduated licensing.

MR. HARRIS: Where will the minister show us that this program that he is introducing in this legislation is going to reduce road accidents? He has no statistics to back that up and if he wanted to do something he could be doing something useful by introducing a system of graduated licensing that would reduce the number of accidents, reduce insurance costs particularly for young people trying to get a license, where a young person, the most responsible young person, the most responsible new driver and young person pays the exact, same, insurance premium is paid by the most responsible new driver as it is by the person who is out driving around all hours of the day and night, drinking and driving and doing it all and that needs to be fixed.

I agree with some of the earlier statements. We have a dangerous minister over there; he is running roughshod over policy. He changes things on a whim, his department is knocking down buildings that should be left standing, and he has to try and make up for loss time by introducing legislation in such a haphazard way as he did the other day.

MR. EFFORD: Did you say we are knocking down buildings?

MR. HARRIS: The minister is out there knocking down the wrong buildings, he has his bulldozers out tearing down buildings, burying years and years of research into the ground. The minister was out knocking down buildings, destroying the work of the Minister of Natural Resources.

Now, Mr. Speaker, this legislation is very poorly thought out. I think if the minister is reasonable about this, he will say: Look maybe I have made a mistake here, maybe I have gone too far, let us send it out to a committee, see what the people of the Province think of this, see whether or not his so-called statistics will stand the light of day, see whether public debate will accept what the minister has to say or whether the public will reject it. Let us not do like what he did yesterday morning, make an announcement, as of today no more mandatory licenses, let us not do that, let us have a public discussion about it, Mr. Speaker, and see whether or not the minister can convince the people of this Province that this should be done. Let us see if he can convince them of that.

There are some other bad things in this legislation and we have to sort of overlook them in the big issue about the major changes that are being brought in and the $100 fine or fee grab.

MR. EFFORD: It is not a fine.

MR. HARRIS: Well, it may not be a fine to the minister, it is money to the minister but it is a fine for an individual, it is money to the minister. He calls it a relicensing or reapplication fee or something like that.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) reinstatement.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I just wonder if the hon. member will take his seat for one moment so I can give the questions to the House for the Late Show:

Question I: I am not satisfied with the answer given by the hon. Premier regarding moving work from Marystown to St. John, New Brunswick and that is from the hon. Member for Burin - Placentia West.

Question 2: I am not satisfied with the answer provided by the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation regarding vehicle inspection, and that is from the hon. Member for Placentia.

Question 3: I am dissatisfied with the answer provided by the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations regarding the emergency employment program and that is the hon. Member for Kilbride.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On this act to amend the highway traffic act there are a number of amendments to section 6 of this act which I find a little bit disturbing, and that has to do with the making available information to individuals, companies, research groups, study groups, et cetera.

It says here in Clause 1: "... where the information is not to be used for solicitation purposes." I would have some doubts as to whether or not the minister has any means of controlling the information that might be made available to various groups. I'm sure there are an awful lot of people who would pay money to get access to a list of this nature so that they can solicit a particular target and market groups, owners of certain vehicles. People who want to target certain income sectors would pay a lot of money for information contained in the driver's licence.

Why doesn't the minister say that information with the exception of information as to the names and addresses of these individuals? If they want statistical information on people's driving records, or research on individuals, the information that is contained there about driving habits or whatever, I don't see any problem with that. Why does the minister have to give names and addresses to research groups and market analysis companies and other groups? Why does he have to give them names and addresses? If it is a market analysis group, what are they going to do? If they want a name and address aren't they going to use them to make random solicitations of information? Isn't that the purpose?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible), Jack?

MR. HARRIS: I say to the minister, I'm looking at the proposed amendment to section 6 on page 7, clause 1 of the bill.

MR. EFFORD: Yes.

MR. HARRIS: It says that the information contained in a driver or vehicle record or an entry in these records, where it is requested a copy may be released to: "(b) research groups, market analysis companies, study groups and similar organizations, where the information is not to be used for solicitation purposes," and: "(d) another individual, group or agency where in the opinion of the minister the release of the information is not contrary to the public interest."

MR. EFFORD: That is right. What is wrong with that?

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, who does the minister propose to give this information to? If a research group wants to conduct research on the motor vehicle statistics I have no problem with that, but if what they want are the names and addresses of all the people who have registered motor vehicles in Newfoundland so they can conduct a market study - which is what is written here, market analysis companies. It says: "... where the information is not to be used for solicitation purposes." Surely they are going to be using it for solicitation purposes. They are going to be soliciting people's opinions, they are going to be phoning them up at home, they are going to be sending them survey information. The minister is stumbling into another sinkhole.

AN HON. MEMBER: He's run amok.

MR. HARRIS: It has been suggested that he has run amok. What he hits in the sinkhole I don't know, but he is certainly stumbling around in policy areas that he hasn't really thought through. I think, Mr. Speaker, that this legislation has a number of things in it, a serious number of problems that require it to be subjected to the scrutiny of a legislative committee. I think that the public interest requires that this legislation not be passed speedily as the minister - every time somebody sits down the minister stands up wanting to end debate. He is awfully anxious to get this legislation through without any public discussion. So it seems.

Unless the minister is saying that he is directing this matter to be going to a special committee of the House or going to the legislative review committee for widespread public discussion, then I have to assume that the minister doesn't want any, and what he wants to do is rush this through the House. He tried to rush it through the House last June. He wanted to rush it through in the last day of the House.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: He tried, that is right. That is what he is essentially saying. In fact, the legislation itself says that it is going to be implemented, come into effect, on August 15, 1994. This act shall come into force on August 15, 1994. So the minister was so anxious to get this done he wanted no public discussion on it. The flagship bill of this session of the House is this piece of legislation. It has not been thought out properly. There has not been any public discussion on it. The master of illusion over there, trying to create an illusion of activity, trying to suggest that he is doing something, trying to make it look like he is actually doing something by changing regulations, passing this stuff. I suppose he will get up now and try and tell us this is part of the Strategic Economic Plan as well, like yesterday's plan to increase the number of unsafe vehicles on the roads, part of the Strategic Economic Plan.

What we will do, if you keep your vehicle, as long as you don't sell it to someone else, you can drive around with that as long as you are prepared to, as long as you can get away with it. That is what the minister is saying, and he should know that thousands and thousands and thousands of people rely on these annual inspections to find out what is wrong with their car. If you had a brake light not working, or a tail-light not working, or a front tie-rod end was loose, all of that -

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) annual inspection?

MR. HARRIS: I would say to the minister: Ask the garage owners how much business they do at the time of the inspections, because that is the time when people discover that their vehicles are not safe, and they have work done.

Mr. Speaker, this minister is running amok. He is making some wild changes in legislation without proper public discussion and consideration, and I suggest to the minister that this legislation be put on hold until there is a proper public discussion about it, whether the discussion comes from the lounge owners or not.

If the lounge owners have facts that deserve to be considered, then they should be considered. If lounge owners have evidence that deserves consideration, then it should be listened to, and if the minister has something worth considering then that should be considered, too, but we haven't heard anything yet except some sort of appeal to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving group by displaying the fact that yes, we do have fatalities due to drunk drivers, but this bill has nothing to do with drunk drivers. This bill has to do with people who are driving with between .05 and .08 blood alcohol. It has nothing to do with drunk drivers, nothing to do with protecting people from serious drinking and driving.

I say to the minister that the existing programs are working, and they are working well, and this is nothing more than a grandstanding act by the minister, and I think it is being seen as that by the public. If the minister had the courage to put this legislation to the public then he would have a chance to back up what he is saying instead of just rushing this through the House, using the majority that they have here, in the absence of proper public debate on it.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Those are my remarks at second reading.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would ask the minister not to be in too much haste. He will get an opportunity next week to conclude debate on second reading.

Mr. Speaker, I think it is only prudent, when legislation is presented to this House, that it be presented with the proper research and documentation to show how it is working in other jurisdictions. Now, the purpose of having a control on the age which you can drink - I have no relatives with lounges. I owned one myself until 1987, which I closed, I tell the minister. I closed up in 1987 a lounge I owned since 1980.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)?

MR. SULLIVAN: No, I sold it in 1987.

AN HON. MEMBER: Bankrupt?

MR. SULLIVAN: No, check my financial records, you will find out if it was bankrupt, I tell the minister, I can assure you. I will give you permission to talk to my bank.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: No you can, if you so wish. My money was hard earned money.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, sure you can, delighted. I will be delighted and I would stand and compare the record of anyone else around.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Table what? Yes, it is up to you. I have no problems whatsoever.

Now I would like to make special reference to clause 6, of this bill and Section II, it is lacking upon basic scientific information to support the ministers assumption that a person at .05 is suffering a level of impairment where he cannot operate a motor vehicle.

Now I will also ask the minister, if an individual who has a visual impairment from some medical dysfunction or visual impairment and had no alcohol in their system that equated with .05, would that person be permitted to drive a motor vehicle in this Province or .06 and .07? I say yes they would. Had a person with a physical disability that impairs their motor functioning to a level that does not exceed .08, a person with a motor impairment, a .05, .06 or .07 without having any alcohol in their system, they technically might be no more impaired than a person with an alcohol level at that same level. So these are some questions that need to be researched and an opportunity into a forum to be able to look at the aspects.

I am going to take some time today and hopefully, if I don't conclude today, tomorrow - first of all I will just give a little overview of some points, in a little more detail as I go on in the discussion here -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: No, the lounge owner one is right here. If you want to read it I will give you a copy. I also got some information - I informed the minister too and he should have provided information to this House on presentation of that bill, that supported his claim that this is a problem. I will refer to some information in other countries and make references to other provinces that have reduced the alcohol at various levels, from .12 to .10, down to .08, .05 and .02 in certain jurisdictions and the effect that it has on fatalities because the purpose of the bill is to protect the public interest and safety on the roads in our Province. There is a level at which this government should go or any government that would be prudent and fair to a certain extent where there is a cutoff point.

Now the federal government has seen .08 as a level in which a person could be reasonably impaired that it may jeopardize their ability to operate a motor vehicle within Canada and they give a tolerance level in that. They give a tolerance level because different individuals have different abilities and different motor functions so therefore they give a little leeway of a couple of points where the person would be deemed to be impaired enough to take their license, regardless of each individual difference that people have and that level is .10 - it goes beyond that, they give a tolerance level.

Now there is two hundred to 600 hundred times greater chance of a person at .15 of getting involved in a motor accident than a person who is sober. Two hundred up to - some sources up to 600 times the chance as a sober individual. Now I am not in favour of drunk driving, I did not take a drink until I was up into my thirties. I don't support drunk driving.

AN HON. MEMBER: A couple of years ago.

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, probably last week.

I don't support it at all. I think we have to protect the public interest in that regard.

Now in 1993, in St. John's - and there are statistics that are readily available - 27 per cent of drivers involved in single vehicle crashes had been drinking, 27 per cent. Of these, 100 per cent of those tested had alcohol levels above .15, 100 per cent of those tested. That tells us that the people who are abusing the system today and are creating hazards, problems and traffic accidents on the highroads today are those with alcohol levels above .15. That is what statistics are showing.

There is nothing to indicate that an alcohol level, a lower level than .05, or .08, there is no conclusive evidence to indicate that it places that driver in danger of having a fatal traffic accident in this Province, in Canada, or in other countries that have legislation and that have dealt with this, and I will get into those in a little more detail.

Now, the founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, back in 1980 when a thirteen year old was killed in an accident, has indicated that it is not those people you should be after, the prudent drivers. You should use government's scarce resources today to focus on the people that are abusing the system today.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I do not care whether or not I look silly, it is if I do not feel silly that is fine with me, and I do not feel silly, and if you can make me feel silly with your statistics I will stand up and I will support them if I see documented evidence to support them.

The minister has failed in his responsibility as minister to inform this House of the background substantiating information here. You have an obligation as a minister of this Province to point out the pros in this legislation but you have failed miserably. You stood up for five minutes and gave a feeble introduction to a bill, the worst I have seen since I was here. The Member for Mount Pearl said it was the worst he has seen in twenty years. Well, I can assure it was the worst I have seen.

He sits down and holds up a bundle of sheets. I ask him to give me a copy. I will read it by tomorrow and if it is positive and it is documented I will get up and support it in my concluding comments tomorrow. I ask you to do that, but until I see something that refutes information that is documented I will stand on what information I have seen.

Now, the minister said in the media, I think, that there were sixteen fatal accidents in this Province. That is what the minister stated and out of every one of those where there were fatalities it was over .15. There are no statistics in this Province to substantiate lowering the alcohol level to .05 to reduce fatalities. The minister must have an ulterior motive to reduce it, and here is the ulterior motive.

Now, in this Province there were 8000 people who tested within that range. Now, if you lower the alcohol level to .05 we are not going to have 8000 we are going to have 15,000, 20,000 or 25,000 people, and multiply that by 100. It is not your 8000 anymore, it is your $2 million tax grab from people. Also, a downside of that, if I registered .12 on the breathalyser and I want to appeal my case to the court I can show up in person and put forth a defence. This legislation here now has made a police officer a judge and a jury. There is no avenue for me, if I am in that warning category, to take my appeal to court.

MR. EFFORD: There is an avenue for you.

MR. SULLIVAN: What is it? Where is it?

MR. EFFORD: Do not drink and drive.

MR. SULLIVAN: The minister has no defence. Every person who is duly charged in this country and this Province should have a right to have an appeal of the charge brought against him. You are automatically guilty and you could wait forever if you do not pay $100 to get your license back. That is improper, it is wrong, and I doubt and challenge its constitutionality. In fact I do not think you can carry it without the proper constitutional framework to do it.

The minister is going to get up next week when he gets the opportunity and try to show that at .05 you are at a level of impairment that is unsafe to operate a motor vehicle. Now, that is a pile of hogwash. The minister should give the right reasons. A person at .01 is less impaired than .02, but when does the level of impairment get to a certain point where it can significantly effect a persons's ability to operate a vehicle and reduce the possibility of fatalities in this Province. That is the debatable question here.

MR. EFFORD: You define risk now?

MR. SULLIVAN: I will get to risk in a second now. You give me a few minutes and I will get the risk. The problem today is that the people who are chronic abusers the minister is ignoring, and not putting the proper emphasis where he should. He is trying to make criminals out of people who are honest, law abiding people, responsible individuals.

Forty per cent of people who are drunk drivers have alcohol levels above .20. Sixty-four per cent above .15. We have 80 per cent who are above .10. In statistics here in the Province - and Dr. Avis, who is the deputy chief pathologist and assistant professor of forensic pathology at Memorial University made reference to a total of eighty deaths from single motor vehicle accidents. A reference there. He said: There were five individuals killed as a result of driver impairment. Three of these happened to be the driver. In all three cases where driver fatality occurred the blood alcohol levels were well above the current legal limit of .08. In fact, it was above .15.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible)!

MR. SULLIVAN: Now I will talk about relative risk, if the minister will stay, if he doesn't run away and hide. It has been shown that the relative risk of driving and having a fatal crash as a function of your blood alcohol level, the blood alcohol content, does not begin to increase with any significance until it passes the .10 level. That is recognized by the Government of Canada. It is in the Criminal Code, they recognize that. They don't charge you at .08 and .09. The level of risk is minimal, very low, insignificant, below .10. After .10 the level of risk increases.

I will look at the state of Maine, for example. In 1988 it was one of several jurisdictions in the United States to lower the blood alcohol content. They lowered the alcohol content from .10 to .08, the state of Maine. Between 1988 and the end of 1990 they found that there was a 17 per cent increase in the percentage of people who were arrested for impaired driving. In the same period they noticed that the alcohol-related fatality rate had risen by over 7 per cent. They lowered the level -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Seven per cent. The fatality rate had risen by 7 per cent after they dropped the level of alcohol from .10 down to .08. They arrested 17 per cent more people -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes. There was 7 per cent more fatal accidents as a result of reducing the level. Seven per cent more. You would expect there would be less fatalities when you lowered the rate. There was 7 per cent more in the state of Maine.

In Sweden in 1970 they lowered the level from .08 to .05. Recently it has further restricted it down to .02. The equivalent of less than one drink for a person, and the average person was pointed out, according to the charts - and these have to be taken with a certain degree of caution, because they vary with individuals, of course, and your basal metabolic rate in the individual and so on, itself, it varies - but a female who is forty-five kilograms, one drink will put her at .05. The average male would be a little under .05, a 100-pound person. So there are variations there and we are getting down to a matter of individual differences and down to .05 is a very low level.

In Sweden the authorities found that while the rate of drinking and then driving went down, the number of accidents and fatalities attributed to alcohol had not changed. There has been no change in it. They convicted more people and made them criminals, and no more accidents and no more fatalities! Why would you want to convict somebody if they are not going to cause a problem? You sit in your own house and get drunk, you don't get convicted because you are not a threat. If you are in a vehicle at a level that is down to a very low level and it didn't have to happen in Sweden - the minister was gone then - and other jurisdictions - and I talked about risk - I'm not going to get back to it today. You ran out, you can read it in Hansard if you want to.

We are finding that there is information that we have access to - and if the minister has I would love to read it - is not supporting that particular basis. We've seen an increase in fatalities when it was lowered in one jurisdiction.

MR. EFFORD: I just (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: In the state of Minnesota one judge stated that tough sanctions work best on responsible drivers, those who self-correct are easily deterred and restrict their behaviour with good common sense, people who are the least problems to society. The minister should be concerned with people who are the greatest problems to society not those who are the least concern, and according to the founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the one whose daughter was killed when she was thirteen years of age, attempts to lower allowable blood alcohol levels do not discourage the segment of the population who are the real problem, individuals, and I quote: who, despite new laws and change in attitude continue to drink and drive. You are not going to solve the problems that are happening with high alcohol levels; 100 per cent in this Province had it over .15 and you are trying to nail people down to .05 and .06 and .07.

In fact, it is going to make a class of criminals out of people who are not dangerous and are not creating fatalities.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. SULLIVAN: According to the statement and I quote: Make a class of criminals out of people who are not dangerous and are not creating fatalities and the communications executive and former president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving indicated and he also feels it is not effective in saving lives. Yes, good point, maybe a Rum and Butter bar and can you drink and drive, that is quite possible and the minister has double standards. He said: if you have a drink you should not drive. He does not believe in it. If he believed in that he would bring in a zero tolerance level and treat everybody who has alcohol in their system the same so he is setting a double standard below the legal defined impairment level now. He is using a double standard.

What we need and what I agree with, immediate suspension upon refusing a breathalyser, tougher penalties for people who are habitual abusers of the system, even confiscating their vehicles or whatever needs to be done but, not attack those where it is not going to be effective. I mean, you do not repair the part of the roof of your house that is not leaking, you go to the part of the house that is leaking and repair it, not the other section of the house and that is what the minister is trying to do.

MR. EFFORD: How in the name of God do you get from drinking to the roofs of houses?

MR. SULLIVAN: I went over the Overpass and landed on a House underneath, that is one way to do it, but if the minister would just use some common sense, and seriously, if the minister has people advising him which I doubt on this, I don't think he is taking advice, if he has, I think when he has an opportunity in this House, and he had all the time he wanted and he took five minutes to cast off and shout at opposition basically, that we are supporting drunk driving here in the Province. That is what the minister is trying to state.

The minister is not going to fool anybody with his nonsense and innuendos, it is a pile of bull. When the minister stands up and talks facts here in this House to support his case and support this bill, and has information that he can tell us or give us copies to support it, I will stand up and strongly support every single piece of that legislation there. Until he decides to do it, I cannot support certain sections here as they are improper, even though I agree with the general intent of focusing and trying to deal with the problem.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Maybe you should. Mr. Speaker, it being 4:30, I will adjourn the debate.

MR. SPEAKER: It being 4:30, we now move to the Late Show, and the first question is by the hon. Member for Burin - Placentia West.

Debate on the Adjournment

[Late Show]

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

MR. TOBIN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Earlier this week, on Monday and Tuesday, I put questions to the Premier regarding the Premier's caving in and shirking his responsibilities, and denying the people of the Burin Peninsula just representation as it relates to his giving away, in cahoots with Ken Hull from HMDC, the jobs of 300 people on the Burin Peninsula.

Mr. Speaker, I raise that issue because I am very concerned about what is going on. We have the Minister of -

AN HON. MEMBER: ITT.

MR. TOBIN: No. We have the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations who, at the Federation of Labour, told Mr. Butler he didn't realize that it was a labour issue.

AN HON. MEMBER: What?

MR. TOBIN: But the Premier wants to tear up their contract, I say to the member. Now the minister is going to have to get involved in this directly, because the Premier of this Province did absolutely nothing to get HMDC on side, absolutely nothing. The Premier of this Province caved in, gave up his job, every time he dealt with Ken Hull on this issue.

What is happening here is that he says the saver will be to do a whole lot of things, but one thing is, he said, we can no longer be handcuffed - if I remember his words - we can no longer be handcuffed with the present collective agreement that exists.

I will ask the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations to listen to what I am saying. They went out and negotiated a collective agreement, and now the Premier wants to tear it up. He can no longer be handcuffed.

Every opportunity the Premier has gotten - every opportunity - he has attacked the union at the Marystown Shipyard and tried to lay the blame on their shoulders. That is what has happened - every opportunity.

MR. GRIMES: That is not true. Tell the truth now, for a change.

MR. TOBIN: You wouldn't know, because you were over in Japan.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TOBIN: The geisha boy.

Mr. Speaker, this is a very serious issue, and I don't want the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation to be distracting me, but let me say to members opposite, the Premier came here the other day and talked about the union. The union refused everything. When he tried to bring in welders, the union refused the opportunity to bring in welders.

What the Premier didn't say is that he asked the union to go back to the Marystown Shipyard and work out an agreement with management on the welders. They went back, and on August 4, 1994, the Marystown Shipyard Limited and the Marine Workers Local 20 reached a Memorandum of Understanding to enter in between both parties dealing with welders from the Marystown Shipyard. Now the Premier was not telling the truth.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, a point of order.

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, a point of order, the Minister of Justice.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman, if he doesn't know, ought to know, that the statement he made is unparliamentary. He is like a child throwing a little tantrum to get some attention, but I would ask if Your Honour would be good enough to ask -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, the ferret from Ferryland is not going to tell me to sit down. Let him stalk the halls with a stiletto in hand.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I would ask Your Honour to direct the gentleman unconditionally to withdraw that statement.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

To the point of order raised by the Minister of Justice, that is correct. When members speak in this House, it is assumed that they are telling the truth, and the obligation is on members to tell the truth. Any question of a member who speaks in this House, and any question about the truth and validity of any statement that the member makes is certainly unparliamentary, and I ask the hon. member to withdraw that remark.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, it is not worth getting kicked out of the House over this late in the evening. If it was earlier, probably I would, but -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TOBIN: With all respect to you, Mr. Speaker, I withdraw the comment.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, in conclusion let me say I have a copy of this and I wondered -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

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

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the Government House Leader, every opportunity he gets, when there is someone speaking on this side, tries to waste their time by getting up on points of order such as he got up on this evening. He is talking about us throwing tantrums. I don't know if that is in order. I wondered why they had all the cushions on one of the elevators that the hon. gentleman uses. Now I know. Afraid he would hit his head.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

No point of order raised by the hon. member.

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, all I heard was a diatribe. I didn't hear a question. In that regard I guess the hon. member should organize his mind, and I suppose I could refer him to a good proctologist.

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

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This afternoon I asked him -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CAREEN: You will hear it, and you will hear it from a lot more than me! This afternoon I put questions to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation and they were not answered.

AN HON. MEMBER: You were too easy on him.

MR. CAREEN: Oh yes, too easy on him. The next day won't be easy. The minister last year, Mr. Speaker, on October 22, stated publicly that: New regulations are intended to ensure that all vehicles used on the Province's highways are in a sound operating condition. The inspection system we have had is now outdated, if you can consider the number of vehicles on the road and the tremendous amount of new technology that is in their design. We want to make sure every vehicle is fit for its intended use. It is a matter of public safety. So said the minister on October 22 1993. He also said at the same time that: they would be putting in a comprehensive inspection manual that will be available to all authorized inspection stations.

Yesterday he announced all regulations are going out the window. Safety no longer counts. The manual hasn't been done in a year. The minister is very inconsistent. Instead of him dropping these regulations probably the minister should be dropped. Probably he was dropped and fell on his head.

Last fall these changes were made and they were supported. The minister caused small garage owners particularly to buy new materials, new tools, some of them to add on to their buildings, to have certified mechanics and certified garages. Sales went up, and particularly in the brake materials to be utilized. These past two days after his announcement yesterday morning people are calling garage owners to cancel appointments they had made to get work done on their cars, particularly brakes. His 1 per cent or less than 1 per cent by Transport Canada doesn't matter.

These original regulations did have an effect and it made it safer for people to use the highways. He has opened up another element because of our extreme weather conditions in this part of North America where we live, and our road conditions. It is another opportunity probably for insurance companies to raise the rates. The minister with his regulations yesterday, throwing it out the window, probably has a way to get more money back into the provincial coffers by increasing fees for vehicles or driver's licences.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CAREEN: The Premier must have condoned it. Indeed, the Cabinet must have condoned it, the whole caucus must have condoned it. Because I don't think the minister would do this, change the regulations on his own. He is not responsible.

He is jeopardizing people in this Province. There are people out there who will look after their vehicles, but I'm asking the minister, and I'm telling him at the same time, over the next number of months, sir, check and see how much polybond is being sold in this Province to get cars that are not fit to get on the roads.

MR. EFFORD: What?

MR. CAREEN: You heard me.

MR. MANNING: He doesn't know what Polybond is because he is always buying a new one.

MR. CAREEN: You buy new ones. Most people can't afford them.

MR. MANNING: He doesn't know what Polybond is, he is always buying a new car.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. CAREEN: On these changes, sir, you did not consult anybody in the automotive industry. You never consulted anybody. I would just like to know who you consulted. Did you go to an oracle? Did you throw bones at some kind of an oracle and the way it landed on the ground gave you a message of what you should do, in a little over a year to make some substantial changes when last year they were so important and this year they don't matter? Is that right, minister?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. CAREEN: You're flipping and flopping. I tell you what, mister, when the mop flops it picks up stuff and the people of this Province are no longer in a safe condition to drive on the highways that they were the day before yesterday.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

MR. CAREEN: I don't want any leave. I give no quarter and I ask none.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, after listening to the hon. member I had thought about not getting up and responding to it because it was not worth responding -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: - but just to clarify the misinformation that the hon. member put forth to this House this afternoon will only take a minute or so. First of all he said last year I brought in new regulations, a new manual and that this year we are doing away with the new regulations and the new manual.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. EFFORD: There was a new manual brought in last year for commercial -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. CAREEN: I said on his announcement on October 22, 1993, he promised that he would bring in, in a short period of time, a new manual, a comprehensive manual and he never did - another broken promise.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

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

MR. EFFORD: In 1994, we brought in new regulations and a new manual for commercialized vehicles; for buses, trucks and large vehicles. There is a new manual being put together now for a small vehicle fleet, and it has to do with the new technology and all the new computerized systems that are on the vehicles today. It has absolutely nothing to do with the cancellation of vehicle inspections.

I don't know how they can possibly confuse a new manual and new regulations with the fact that a person now doesn't have to go to a garage and pay $15, $20 or $25 for an inspection slip. They are two totally different issues. The fact that you don't have to pay for a slip does not mean that you don't have to keep your car, truck, motorcycle or any other vehicle in a safe driving condition. Nothing is changed in the regulations and the requirement to keep the vehicle in a safe driving condition. The only thing that has changed is that it is not mandatory to pay a garage owner a fee for ticking off a number of items on a slip of paper.

Any responsible driver, in using his or her own vehicle, will ensure that their vehicle is kept in safe driving condition. It is for their own interest as well as the interest of others on a highway. Who is going to drive a truck with no windshield wipers, with no lights working, with no muffler on it, with no tires on it, with no brakes on it, with no handbrake on it? I mean, how silly can you get? All we are saying to the people is: you do not have to pay $15 or $25 dollars to someone to tick off a slip. You still have to keep your vehicle in a safe driving condition.

All commercial vehicles are required to be inspected. All used vehicles at the point of sale are required to be inspected. All taxis and passenger vehicles have the requirement to be inspected. Only those personal vehicles used for personal use, in the small range, under 4500 kilograms. The hon. members did not read the regulation, don't understand the regulation and are listening to, very clearly, the garage owners.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, it is quite clear the members opposite do not understand the regulation. Simply put, we have now taken away the responsibility of an individual going at a certain time of year and paying a fee, no more and no less. I have confidence in the people of this Province. I don't question the integrity of the people of this Province. No more and no greater a percentage of people would drive an unsafe vehicle than they did last year. Mr. Speaker, no greater percentage of people drive unsafe vehicles this year than they did last year when they went up to a garage, took a slip of paper, got it filled out, paid their $25 and the car never went inside the garage. There was a percentage of people who did that and I am sure there still will be a small percentage of people trying to do a similar thing this year. Nobody will be mandatory (inaudible) this year.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

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

Earlier today I asked questions of the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations dealing specifically with an emergency employment program asking the minister would the Province be bringing forward such a program this year. The answer was categorically, no, that they would be working with the Federal Government. The answer was, no, that the Province would not be responding to the job crisis and the crisis that many thousands of Newfoundlanders face in the upcoming winter.

Mr. Speaker, just for the record,let me state this: In January 1990 the unemployment rate in this Province was 16.7 per cent and government responded then with an emergency employment program. In 1991 the unemployment rate was 17 per cent around this time of year and government responded with an emergency employment program then. In 1992, at this time of the year, the unemployment rate was 21.6 per cent and government responded with an emergency employment program. In 1993, this time last year, the unemployment rate in this Province was 20.2 per cent and government responded with a $6 million emergency employment program. This year, Mr. Speaker, at this time, the unemployment rate in this Province is close to 21 per cent and government has refused to respond.

Mr. Speaker, there are many questions that beg answers and I hope the minister can provide them. Let me ask him now: Why has government not responded this year? Has there been a decision to consciously move away from employment programs like the emergency employment program offered traditionally by this government over the past four years, and if that decision has been made, upon what basis has it been made?

Apparently, we are expecting on Friday, or Monday, from the Minister of Finance that we could be looking at a surplus budget on current account for this year. How much? I don't know. I guess members opposite may have some indication, but on what basis and at what cost, Mr. Speaker, will the surplus be?

The minister suggested earlier as well that we have no more money, the time is up. Those arguments were the same last year. While I agree that there is a larger issue that governments must pursue, it is of little comfort, it is of cold comfort to the thousands of people who are finding themselves in a situation today where they will be on welfare for the first time in their lives.

That interjects and begs another issue. Has the minister looked at this in such detail as to identify what the costs will be when thousands of Newfoundlanders add their names to the Department of Social Services for social assistance in this Province? What will that cost be, I ask the minister? Has he determined what that amount will be? If 3,000, 4,000 or 5,000 people who would not traditionally be on welfare, who have never been on welfare before, find themselves in that situation - which they will - by the end of this week, the end of next week, and the coming weeks over this winter, they will find themselves at the door of their social worker asking to be put on social assistance. What would the cost to this Province be over the year comparatively if they were to bring in an emergency employment response program?

With those questions, I will sit down and give the minister any time he needs to explain this issue. If I can ask him one more question: He commented earlier today that he, as the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, and the government that he represents, were looking at the Green Paper on social security reform proposed by the Federal Government, and the impacts that will have, undoubtedly, as he has read it and I have read it, on the seasonably employed workers in this Province. How does he bring that discussion in line with the emergency response discussion now? I guess, how do you say, we are not offering an emergency response program this year because we are looking at the discussion paper by the Federal Government? How do you categorically say that everything is on hold until you and your government have looked at, in detail, that reform?

The other question I would like to ask, Mr. Speaker, is this.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: No, but I'm throwing them out. I know the minister can't answer all of them but I'm trying to throw out enough questions that he can understand the spirit of where I come from and the intent of my questions.

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

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave!

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

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) never asked for leave.

MR. SPEAKER: Fine.

The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I understand where the member is coming from, and I want to let him know that for as many names as he has received, I have received at least thirty times more, so I understand what is going on within the whole Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, but let me say to the hon. member that when we go back to the initiation of the Emergency Response Program, it was brought into place by this government to respond to the needs of some - some - of the people.

Now the member brings it out, highlights it, that at that time we could impact more with the amount of money we had on setting up the type of work that would qualify the people of this Province for UI. That was its intent. Let us not be fooled by anybody. Now, I am not saying that we didn't get anything for the money. We got a lot of community work done, et cetera, but the intent of that emergency response was to qualify people for unemployment insurance.

Now I am not going to spend any great deal of time explaining to the hon. member what the UI system was originally intended to do. I am sure he understands it. It wasn't to be, it was never intended to be -

AN HON. MEMBER: That is not the issue.

MR. MURPHY: I say to the hon. member: What is the issue? What is not the issue? The hon. member doesn't have to deal with the federal government, okay? The people of Canada dealt with the people you dealt with, okay? You had Mr. Charest down here a few weeks ago, I say to the hon. member, who just said to Mr. Axworthy to cut back on the $4.7 billion of job creation. You were all patting Mr. Axworthy on the back. Why didn't you bring the woman from Moncton? You would have made history. You would have had the whole Tory caucus in Newfoundland for the first time since 1949.

Now you cannot have it both ways.

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

MR. SPEAKER: A point of order, the hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: I am sure the member wouldn't want it said that he gave false information to the House. She is not from Moncton; she is from St. John, where the shipyard is where this Premier has decided to send the work for Marystown. She happens to be the member. She happens to be the federal member who is working for her constituents, not like the seven that we have down here.

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I apologize to the Member for Burin - Placentia West for not knowing the federal riding that individual represents. I understand she was almost coaxed over to the Reform Party, but that is another issue, so let me get back to the member's question.

If the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay will be quiet maybe we can bring some logic to this. Now, Mr. Speaker, if the hon. members want me to answer the question that the Member for Kilbride asked, I will try to do my best and answer it. As the Government House Leader says, if they are going to get on like a bunch of buffoons, then I will sit down.

Now, as I was saying to the Member for Kilbride, he knows that we are facing a new structure in social reform in this country, not by design but by necessity.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!

MR. MURPHY: I say to the hon. member he can ahhhh all he likes, it was not this federal government. I want to remind the member now that in 1981, each Canadian citizen had a federal debt of $4,600, in 1994, thirteen short years later, the Mulroney years, it is $26,000.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: Well, you cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, I say to the member, it is very difficult; but I say this government today cannot carry on a program that is directed towards topping up when we cannot supply it to all the people. Is it fair to supply it to 1,500 people or 1,200 people or 900 people?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave.

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. MURPHY: Is that right or do, as the member said, we have 20,000 people out of work, do we supply it to all of the 20,000?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: I am asking the hon. member, do you expect this government to supply it to 20,000? No, we cannot do it, we do not have the funding, but let me leave you with this, that we are still going to talk to the federal government next week and I am hopeful that possibly we will have some kind of programming before the year is out.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, the words that everybody has been waiting for: we will meet tomorrow at nine and carry on with the most excellent debate produced by the most excellent speech by my friend the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, and I want to assure the House that given the Opposition filibuster on this, the government will still be prepared to allow members to have a half-day Christmas to have their dinner, but other than that, I expect we will be here for the rest of the time.

Mr. Speaker, with that said I will move the House -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I am sorry? Byrne's secundus, sorry try it again?

MR. E. BYRNE: You will be here alone.

MR. ROBERTS: The hon. gentleman should know about being here alone. His best features are made that way.

Your Honour, I move that the House do now adjourn.

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