November 29, 1994          HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS          Vol. XLII  No. 71


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I wish to pay tribute to the late Pat Griffin, former Mayor of Corner Brook, who died on Sunday night.

MR. SPEAKER: I think the member needs leave of the House. Does the hon. member have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave, yes.

MR. SPEAKER: Leave given the hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Most hon. members are familiar with Mr. Griffin's distinguished career of municipal service. His municipal service spanned four decades. As a Curling civic leader in the early 1950s, Pat Griffin supported the formation of the City of Corner Brook by amalgamating Curling with Corner Brook West townsite and Corner Brook East. He was then elected to the first Corner Brook City Council in 1955 and he was elected to several subsequent councils. He served one term as mayor in the 1970s.

I ask that Your Honour, on behalf of all hon. members, send a message to Mr. Griffin's wife and family, expressing our appreciation for his distinguished service and condolences on his death. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Statements by Ministers

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

MR. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I want to take the time of the House of Assembly today to congratulate the participants and organizers of the Environmental Youth Forum held at the Freshwater Resource Centre Fluvarium over this past weekend in the capital city.

Fifty youth from eight schools and five youth organizations in the St. John's greater metro area expressed their concerns about issues ranging from water pollution to solid waste management. I had the opportunity to discuss these concerns with the participants on Sunday evening and felt compelled to mention to this hon. House the contribution that these young people have made and will be making.

As Minister of Environment I realize the importance of these issues to this generation and future generations to come. We all have a special responsibility to look for alternative practices to improve our environmental record. I have been greatly encouraged by forums such as this and the many environmental programs that exist at primary, elementary and secondary schools throughout this Province. It is especially gratifying to see our youth taking such a strong role in proposing environmental policy and I look forward to attending more forums across the Province.

Once again, my congratulations to the Newfoundland Freshwater Resource Center, the City of Mount Pearl Parks and Recreation Department, Youth for a Greener Future, Junior Forest Wardens, representatives of Girl Guides, Boy Scouts and army cadets who participated in the forum.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

I would like to first thank the minister for a copy of his Statement that he sent to me today before the House sat. Also, on behalf of the Opposition, I would like to congratulate the participants and organizers of the Environmental Youth Forum held this past weekend. It is very good to see our youth concerned about environmental issues and we should always encourage our youth to get involved and be informed on environmental issues. After all, Mr. Speaker, our youth will probably be responsible for cleaning up the mess that has been created in the past and hopefully, our future generations and the youth of today will create a greener future.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No leave.

MR. SPEAKER: No leave.

Oral Questions

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, yesterday in this House, the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir, raised a point of privilege, as Your Honour recalls, related to the questions that I asked of the Premier, in the House, on Friday.

Now, in the member's statement, after reading Hansard of yesterday, the member said that the Cabinet paper which recommended that Trans City Holdings get the contracts for three health care centres was quote: not a Dave Gilbert stand-alone paper. This paper was made up in consultation with a committee of Cabinet. He said also, and I quote: They were informed and advised every step of the way on this issue until the final meeting when the committee approved the paper before it was sent to Cabinet.

Now, I want to ask the Premier this question: Is it also the Premier's understanding that this committee was set up to deal with all matters relating to building and financing these health care centres, and that the then Minister of Works, Services and Transportation acted on the direction of this Cabinet committee? I am asking if it is the Premier's understanding.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. BAKER: I would like to point out to the hon. member that certainly, a Cabinet decision was made and it is a Cabinet decision and a Cabinet responsibility, that there was a committee of Cabinet that was responsible for this, as well as other projects, and the development of other projects and, Mr. Speaker, certainly the committee was aware every step of the way, so this is something that we have previously said in the House. I believe at one point in time I even outlined the members of the committee and indicated who they were. Mr. Speaker, yes, we stand by what we've previously said. That is absolutely correct.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I understand what the minister previously said - I asked the Premier was it his understanding. That was the question. Anyway, we will see that the Premier is going to continue to try to stay away from this one, I suppose, but I will try again to the Premier.

We have learned quite a bit in fact, publicly, through the House and everything else about this Cabinet paper known as WST 64-92, that the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir referred to yesterday in the House. We know for example that the paper went through several drafts and we know that each draft was written to incorporate changes ordered by the minister. What I wanted to ask the Premier is this: Was the former minister acting at the direction of this Cabinet committee as he told us he was doing yesterday when he told his deputy minister on September 26 1991, quote: To stress the positives of the Trans City proposals. Was he acting on the direction of Cabinet then or on his own?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I will excuse the hon. gentleman for a slight error he made in his question. It was WST 91-91, I believe, that the member referred to. Anyway, it is the Cabinet paper that recommended - yes, (inaudible) -

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible) 64-92.

MR. BAKER: That is a different Cabinet paper so I don't know about that one. Or that is a different paper. I haven't seen that one.

Certainly the committee was part of that process. I would like to point out to hon. members who have not been in Cabinet before that it is common practice for Cabinet ministers to change parts of papers in the process of drafting them. The Cabinet papers belong to the minister and are a result of not just blind acceptance of everything that comes through the system, but are constantly changed and redrafted to suit the priorities that the minister puts on the particular issue. There is nothing unusual about changing Cabinet papers in the process of preparing them, Mr. Speaker. I do it all the time. Hon. members opposite, while they were in Cabinet, if they did not have a hand in drafting Cabinet papers, then I would say they were derelict in their duties.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I would sure be anxious to see that paper that the minister referred to, 91-91. Perhaps he could table that one in the House. He might be kind enough to do that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: You said something about 91-91. Anyway, Mr. Speaker, I want to get back to asking the Premier, because the question I asked the minister was very specific. Was it at the direction of the - I didn't ask him, I asked the Premier - Cabinet, via the Cabinet committee, to stress the positives of the Trans City proposals? That was the question.

AN HON. MEMBER: He forgot about it.

MR. SIMMS: He forgot about it. Of course he forgot about it. That was the question. Would he like to answer it?

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

MR. BAKER: Yes, Mr. Speaker, most certainly I would like to answer. There was never any attempt by the minister or committee to stress the positives of the Trans City proposal. There were a variety of changes made perhaps to ensure that a proper analysis was done, but as far as I know there was never any direction to favour any one bid over the other. There was always the concern that a fair analysis be done.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I wish the Premier would get involved in this and get interested, because he is trying to give the impression that he knows nothing about this, but it is not going to work. We are going to flush him out if it's the last thing we do. He is going to be held accountable.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Let me ask the Premier another one.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I am having trouble hearing the question.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, let me ask the Premier this question, since I could not get a straight answer on the other one. Was the former minister carrying out the instructions of this Cabinet committee, or the Cabinet, when he ordered his deputy minister to delete all references to cost analysis prepared by the Department of Finance which showed that the financing cost proposed by every bidder was above the government's borrowing rate at that time? Was he carrying out his own instructions, his own directions, or was it at the direction of the Cabinet?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, first of all I do not accept the premise in the hon. member's question. The direction from Cabinet was specific and that direction was to the committee that made the recommendation to Cabinet, that the borrowing rate be at or below the borrowing rate for the Province, which varied, as I have explained before, from ninety-five basis points above the long-term Canada rate to about 135 basis points above the long-term rate of thirty year bonds.

Now, Mr. Speaker, that was the direction of Cabinet, and that was the direction that was followed consistently.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, the minister can try all he wishes, he may confuse the press, he may confuse the public, but the argument he just used is an argument that developed several months after the fact. The question is, what happened on November 1991? We all know what happened on November 1991, and we all know, by the way, what the directive from Cabinet was. He need not tell us what the directive from Cabinet was because everybody in this Province knows.

Let me ask the Premier this question, the head of the Planning and Priorities Committee of Cabinet, for whom most of these ministers sat, by the way, so to think he doesn't know what is going on, don't kid yourselves.

Was the former minister, I ask the Premier, the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir, taking instructions from his colleagues on this Cabinet committee when he ordered the deputy minister, on October 14, 1991, to destroy the old drafts of the Cabinet papers because people may get the wrong idea from reading them? Can the Premier answer that question?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I can't hear the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I can't vouch for the veracity of the statement; however, I would like to point out to the Leader of the Opposition that certainly in the formation of Cabinet papers, and the formation of putting it together, eventually there results a Cabinet paper, which goes to Cabinet, a decision is made on, and that particular paper is then kept and is part of the record.

In the process there are many, many reams of paper that may or may not eventually get shred. Every single department has shredders that shred paper. You can't expect that every bit of preliminary writing and everything else is going to be filed somewhere. There wouldn't be enough filing cabinets in the building to hold the volume of paper, so certainly there are documents that are shredded - most certainly - but never, ever Cabinet papers that go to Cabinet for a decision. That never happens.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition, a supplementary.

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

On a supplementary, it is interesting to note that the minister avoids answering most of the questions that I ask. I asked if it was a directive from the Cabinet committee or the minister to destroy these particular papers.

MR. BAKER: No.

MR. SIMMS: No, what?

MR. BAKER: Sir.

MR. SIMMS: No, Sir?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SIMMS: That isn't necessary, I say to the minister.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Maybe it was a directive from the Premier, then.

Let me ask the Premier this question, Mr. Speaker: Was it the Member for Burgeo - Bay d' Espoir, or was it the Cabinet committee representing Cabinet - or himself, for that matter - that changed the original specifications to that of requiring a steel and brick structure like Trans City had proposed, but only after tenders had been called, had been opened, and had been evaluated by the experts, and after Health Care Developers had been chosen as the preferred bidders? Was it the Cabinet committee, i.e., the Cabinet, or was it the former Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir?

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

We started a process, an open process, of simply going to the public, going to the contractors in the Province, and saying, `Here is generally what we need - there is a functional plan in place, you can look at it - here is what we need, come to us with your proposals.' It is the message that we have been getting time after time after time, that government is simply too restrictive and the government process results in much too high costs to things that are being done, so give the private sector a chance. That is the message that is being repeated time and time again and even today, is being repeated and was repeated in the Private-Public Partner in Conference that was held in town recently.

So, Mr. Speaker, we started - and we did this three years ago - we started to open the process. Mr. Speaker, we received a lot of proposals. When the proposals were looked at and evaluated, it was a decision of Cabinet to go with the brick-steel structure rather than the wooden structure, the tin structure or whatever. It was a decision of Cabinet, after looking at the proposals certainly, to then go with the brick-steel.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, the minister has now confirmed that it was the Premier and the full Cabinet that made the decision, in fact, after the tenders had been called, after they had been opened and after they had been evaluated by the experts, to change the specifications - the entire Cabinet.

Now, Mr. Speaker, let me ask the Premier, as the leader of that Cabinet, who made the decision not to re-tender the project even after your own officials recommended that you do, even after an independent consultant, Hanscombe, recommended that you do? Was it the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir, was it the Cabinet, was it you or was it the Cabinet committee - who made the decision not to re-tender?

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

MR. BAKER: First of all, Mr. Speaker, Hanscombe did not recommend that. As I recall, Hanscombe indicated that this process gave excellent results for government, that there were many, many suggestions that could be used in the years ahead to cut costs in terms of the building of health care facilities. This was the conclusion of Hanscombe. One other conclusion was that the most expensive way to do it, was to use the government method of doing it. Now, these were the conclusions from Hanscombe and that is all.

Mr. Speaker, the decision was made, not on the basis of changing specs that were already public, it was made on the basis of proposals we had received from a general proposal call; then, the decision was made that the best structure, the best value for money was brick-steel. Then there was a detailed analysis of the brick-steel proposals to see which one offered the best value to the people of this Province, and we eventually chose one, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, this one is to the Premier and I feel confident that he will have to answer it. He is the head of the Cabinet.

Now, Mr. Speaker, either the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir didn't give correct information in his statement here yesterday or, in fact, he is being hung out to dry; one thing or the other is occurring in this particular situation.

I want to ask the Premier this question: How many of the other three members on the Cabinet committee that we are talking about, asked for, have been offered or have been given legal advice in relation to their involvement with these health care centre projects, either from private lawyers or from solicitors with the Crown? Now, the Minister of Finance, with all due respect, is not in a position to answer that question, the Premier is, Mr. Speaker. He is on the committee, it is an absolute conflict.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Finance.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The reason I am answering questions on this is because I was involved on the committee from day one and I happen to know the detailed answers. The answer to his final question, Mr. Speaker, is that there has been no other legal support given to any of the other people on the committee simply because it has not been requested. If a request had come and it had been viewed that there was a reason for it, then I guess it would have been provided, but no requests have come. Mr. Gilbert requested it because he had some complications. We understand the reasons why he asked for the private legal advice and, Mr. Speaker, the government was pleased to provide it.

MR. SIMMS: A final, final supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I wouldn't have asked this except for what the minister has just entered into this discussion. The Premier told me last Friday, the reason why the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir received the private lawyer was because of his other case that is ongoing, and the Department of Justice didn't feel it was appropriate.

The Member for Burgeo Bay - d'Espoir told us yesterday, the reason why he got a private lawyer is because he wasn't getting the same advice being offered to officials of the department. Can the Premier tell us which story is correct?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, my answer to the House yesterday was totally correct, or Friday, whenever it was. What the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir said is that he was not getting the same treatment by a lawyer as were the officials; as far as I know, that is what he said.

Now, the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir asked for an outside lawyer, somebody outside the Department of Justice, for the reasons that I gave yesterday. There is no change in the answer.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, on a supplementary.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I want the Premier to stand in his place here today and give us an honest response to the question, because there is some trickery here or deception; one or the other. Either the answer is -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SIMMS: - because the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir did not want to be represented -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Now, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition -

MR. SIMMS: - by our Department of Justice or the Crown solicitors -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member cannot use the words `trickery' or `deception' in reference to another member's statements in the House.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SIMMS: Anyway, Mr. Speaker, I won't get into that debate here now, I withdraw whatever -

MR. SPEAKER: Check page 148 of Beauchesne, if the hon. Member for Mount Pearl has any doubts.

MR. SIMMS: I think the reference is, if you are calling an individual, but I won't get into that - I withdraw, Mr. Speaker.

Let me ask the Premier - the Premier told us last Friday, it was because the Department of Justice felt it was inappropriate to give the former minister counsel because of his other cases outside personal case. That is what the Premier told us in the House on Friday.

Yesterday, the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir told us it was not because of that, it was because he was not getting effective advice from the Crown solicitors and from the Department of Justice which was being given to the officials. Now, which story is correct, I ask the Premier one more time, because, if the Premier says what he said on Friday is correct, then the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir is being hung out to dry.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I am going to read from Hansard of yesterday where the hon. member spoke; here is what is written in Hansard - it is time the hon. member started acting properly - `A day or so later, the Minister of Justice phoned and offered me a lawyer from the department. By this time, from what had happened so far, I didn't feel comfortable having a lawyer from the Department of Justice brief me at this time and as the Premier referred to in his statement, it was maybe because I was facing criminal charges, but I assume that facing them doesn't mean that I am guilty.'

The answer is precisely the same as it was before, no change, despite the effort of the hon. member opposite to try to create a different impression.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Inconsistency after inconsistency. I have questions for the Premier, too.

In the Province of Quebec, Premier Parizeau just required the resignation of his Minister of Culture because she voted illegally in federal and provincial elections.

This Premier told the House of Assembly yesterday, that he accepts the declaration of his Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, that his primary residence is Tors Cove, entitling the minister to about $30,000 of public funds for commuting.

Now, if, indeed, the minister's primary residence is Tors Cove, then the minister has been improperly registered as a resident of St. John's East on the federal and municipal voters list. Has the Premier determined if the minister has voted illegally?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I take it, by that response, the Premier is playing ostrich and ignoring the evidence that is before the people of the Province, that his minister, his former parliamentary assistant who worked in his office, made a false declaration to the House of Assembly or voted illegally.

The second question, Mr. Speaker: It is now public information, as well, that on the minister's driver's license, his address is Arnold Loop, St. John's. Has the Premier determined if the minister gave a false statement when he signed the declaration that the information on his driver's license is true?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I can only restate to the House that my understanding is that the hon. member lives in Tors Cove. Now, I didn't know until all of this became a foofaraw that he even had an apartment here. I just assumed he lived in Tors Cove and he went there every night.

Now, if he gives an address in St. John's to have his mail sent, or says, `that is where you can send it to me,' then I don't get too exercised about that. I could take a look at what was done by former members of government in this House, and by comparison, the member should be wearing angel wings.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A final supplementary, the hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the Premier: One way or the other, Premier, don't you have an intolerable situation on your hands? If you accept the minister's declaration that his primary residence is Tors Cove, if you don't believe that the minister made a false statement under oath to the Speaker when he swore that his primary residence is Tors Cove so he could get an extra $30,000, then you must deal with the reality that the minister gave a false address for his driver's licence and was improperly registered, federally and municipally, and very likely voted illegally?

Now either of these is enough to require the minister's outright dismissal from the Cabinet. No other First Minister in Canada would put up with such outrageous behaviour. Why is the Premier continuing to embrace the Member for St. John's South? What does he have on you, Premier, that makes you afraid of him?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS. VERGE: Will you show some courage and some ethics and fire him?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Placentia.

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question today is for the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

Minister, will you please tell this hon. House why Mr. Sam Alexander, a vehicle inspector in Stephenville, was suspended from his job for two weeks?

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

MR. EFFORD: Very simply, Mr. Speaker, as minister, I made the decision that he acted improperly as a staff member and we suspended him for a two-week period, pending further decisions.

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

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

So much for fairness and balance. Really, what we are into is fear and intimidation.

Mr. Alexander, according to an editorial in The Evening Telegram, spoke out on safety, an opinion mirrored by the majority of the people of this Province who are concerned about safety on our highways. He was only saying what he should as a responsible citizen. He didn't tear apart the government, but you are trying to tear apart this man.

If the minister is so concerned, as he touts himself to be lots of times, will he do the honourable thing and reinstate Mr. Alexander immediately?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. EFFORD: In answer to the last part of the question first, no. The answer to the first part of the question, as to the statement that the majority of the people of this Province agree with Mr. Alexander, that is absolutely untrue. The majority of the people of this Province are in full agreement with the cancellation of the regulation for mandatory inspections.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Ferryland.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Health.

Your department had a consultant company, Agnew Peckham Health Care Consultants, out of Toronto, complete a comprehensive report on nursing home beds and adult care in the St. John's region. Now, this report indicates that almost two-thirds of all beds, or 740 out of 1,184 beds, and five out of eight long-term care facilities here in St. John's and metro area require upgrading or outright replacement. When is the minister going to address this urgent problem requiring the replacement of 740 beds, or almost two-thirds of all beds?

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

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

The report that the hon. member refers to does not indicate that there has to be a replacement of 700-odd beds as the member has alluded to. The report simply reviews the situation that is evolving in terms of long-term care in the Province. That is, as we move into a situation where people are living longer, thank goodness, we are requiring more level two and level three care beds in the system. The institutions, the long-term care facilities in this region of the Province, in the St. John's area, are delivering health care on a long-term basis to the people in those institutions in a very satisfactory manner.

That is not to say that some upgrading and some changes are not required in terms of them being able to deliver the more appropriate level of programming to look after those residents. It is not a case of having to replace all of those beds, but rather we are in a situation where a lot of the homes in this area, the long-term care institutions, do need some redevelopment. The redevelopment of these homes will be done in a timely fashion, it will be done on a prioritized basis, and it will be done in concert with and in consultation with the institutions, and also in the context of what budgetary requirements, of course, will permit us to accomplish in that regard.

MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary, the hon. the Member for Ferryland.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. That is utter nonsense. Page seventy-nine of the report says systematic upgrading or even outright replacement. It identifies every facility and the number of beds that must be replaced in every facility. I have that here if the minister would like a copy.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: In fact it does say, Mr. Minister, that the worst ones are ones that are run by this government! They are the worst ones in the report, and I will get to that later.

With an aging population it is estimated that the St. John's area will need an additional 425 more long-term care beds in the next seven years at an estimated cost of $35 million, in addition to the current operating costs of those facilities. I ask the minister: In light of this information, and in light that your department has that report over one year, has the minister developed a seven-year plan to address this chronic problem?

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

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. If and when and as and when long-term care beds are required to be added to the system in St. John's because of a demonstrated need, they will be done consistent with this government's policy to ensure that there is provision made for health care for those who require it on a long-term basis. We will do what is necessary, we will do what is appropriate, and we will do what is right to ensure that no senior citizen in this Province who needs access to long-term care will be unduly denied or have difficulty in obtaining same. The hon. member can be assured that this government will continue to do what is right and what is proper and what is fiscally, medically and ethically responsible for the people of this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. If that is the case, I say to the minister, why does this report state that there are 1,500 people on the waiting list to enter homes here in St. John's?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: People who are in acute care facilities occupying beds when they are waiting to get to nursing homes, and that only includes people who have applied for admission, not necessarily people who need that service. I ask the minister, what is he doing to alleviate this crisis problem on those exorbitant and a very high waiting list in this Province for the long-term care?

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

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate that question from the hon. the Member for Ferryland because it gives me an opportunity to answer it specifically in terms of something that we are doing with respect to the alleged long, laborious waiting list that he refers to of 1,500-odd names.

One of the initiatives that this government has taken is to bring into existence -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. L. MATTHEWS: I gather they don't want the answer. They just want to hear the question.

MR. SIMMS: There doesn't have to be silence in Question Period.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: In deference to what they might want, they are going to get the answer.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. L. MATTHEWS: The answer is this. One of the things we have done to address the 1,500 people is to identify actually how many people are out there. We are now in the process, through the new community health care boards, specifically the one in the St. John's region, putting into place what is known as the single entry system. That system will enable us to identify accurately the number of people who are actually waiting for admission to some of these institutions. The hon. member knows, I am sure, and it is a fact that is not denied but acknowledged by all of these institutions, that in some cases we have people on three, four, five, and six waiting lists, and when the new single entry system comes into place we will know exactly what the waiting lines are. I have had discussions with some of the long-term institutions in the last short while that indicate quite clearly that the waiting lists are not of the nature and of the extent that the member alludes to.

Where there are waiting lists they are being handled on a prioritized basis, not on a political basis, but on a basis of fairness and balance, where there is demonstrated need, and where people will feel sure they have the care they need.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Question Period has expired.

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir.

MR. GILBERT: Mr. Speaker, again I rise on a point of privilege.

Yesterday I rose in this House and said that I was rising on a point of privilege because the Premier had answered a question raised by the Leader of the Opposition on Friday which although technically correct was not exactly the true reason. I would like to have the opportunity to explain why I rose in the House yesterday on a point of privilege.

On October 16 I phoned the Premier. I will not go into the preamble about how we got to October 16 with my appearing before the discovery on the health care clinics, but I suppose I should. The Department of Justice did not offer me any advice before I went there. They did not counsel me and they did not give me any information about it. I appeared cold at that discovery.

When I got there, and I was concerned because I found that documents I had signed as a member of Cabinet, Cabinet papers, drafts one, which I had signed, and I only found out yesterday evening that one I had signed, and they did not even tell me about that one at the discovery, that that one had gone to the Executive Council and had not got on the Cabinet agenda the day I was there. I only found that out yesterday afternoon, so that is draft one.

I have gone through the actual Cabinet document that was sent up under my signature on October 17 which was never completed while I was in Cabinet, and that was released, too, but the Department of Justice in their wisdom chose not to give me this information before I went there. Then I got concerned because of the coverage I was getting on TV, it looked like they were zeroing in on David Gilbert as the culprit in this one.

I phoned the Premier on Sunday afternoon of the 16th explaining my concerns and he said we should get the Minister of Justice to phone you. The Minister of Justice was out of town and he would not be back until later on, so the Premier said we would have a meeting in his office the next morning. On Monday morning that meeting was held in the Premier's office, at which time I explained my concerns. My concern then mainly was that I did not have counsel before I appeared at the discovery.

The Minister of Justice said that was not a problem because I was called by the plaintiffs and hence he was not concerned with anyone that was called by the plaintiffs because he could get any information he wanted in the cross examination, as I understood, so I accepted the explanation that was given me by the Minister of Justice and the Premier who was there at that time.

I then left the office and went on my way. Over the next few days I started to find out that what I had been told in the Premier's office must only have applied to me, it did not apply to the other officials from that department that were called to that discovery. I found out that Miss Marshall and Mr. Greenland had indeed been given advice and counselled by the officials in the Department of Justice.

At that time I became concerned and I tried to phone the Premier. The Premier was home sick, or out of the Province, but I did contact his secretary and explained my situation and my concerns. I then received a phone call from the Minister of Justice who told me that he would now give me counsel from a lawyer within the Department of Justice. I said, with what has happened, coupled with the fact that I am involved with a case outside of this I feel there is a bias towards me in the Department of Justice, now that you did not give me this counsel at first. It had nothing to do with a case I had outside. If I had been treated the same as the officials in the Department of Justice I was quite prepared to accept legal counsel from the Department of Justice but it did not happen until afterwards.

Now, I did not mention to the Minister of Justice at the time that the other people had been counselled. I knew they were but I did not have it confirmed. It was only at a meeting that my lawyer and I had with Mr. Pillar, the lawyer from the Department of Justice, on Tuesday of last week that he indeed did confirm that he had counselled Miss Marshall and Mr. Greenland. I asked him why. He said it was a judgement call. I say, like Winston Churchill, some judgement, some call.

It was wrong that he did it, and this is why I stand here on a point of privilege. It had nothing to with a case outside. If I had been treated the same as everybody else, the other officials in that department, I was prepared to accept the lawyer from the Department of Justice.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Notices of Motion

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I give notice I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Financial Administration Act," Bill No. 53.

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, yesterday one of the members opposite asked me some questions about Mr. David Joyce's application and the role played by my executive assistant in Corner Brook, Eddie Joyce, and the explanation that Mr. Eddie Joyce has given, namely, that he had general authority from Mr. Joyce to use whatever information he needed. I indicated that there was another person present in the room at the time. The members asked me to name that person and I said I would have to get the permission first. The other person whose permission I had to get to use her name is named Sheila McCarthy.

Petitions

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

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today to present a petition on behalf of the constituents of my district. I will read the prayer and then I will 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 we find ourselves in a desperate situation. We ask the minister and his government to show compassion and understanding in this urgent matter.

Mr. Speaker, I rise on another petition today for the simple fact that the latest which came from the minister's department, his press release from yesterday, I quote the last paragraph of the minister's statement: The minister is hopeful that through further discussions with Mr. Tobin and Mr. Axworthy, the Minister of Human Resources and Development, that both levels of government will soon be able to make a commitment to providing employment support in the coming months.

In the coming months. Since this statement the calls have started again. I know that since last Wednesday when I left to go back to my district for Thursday and Friday that I received a number of calls. I will tell you in this House today, that they were calls not from just the District of Baie Verte - White Bay. This is an issue that is covering this whole Province and it is an emergency, I say to the minister. I wonder when he, his department and the government are going to wake up to realize that it is a silent cry, it is not an organized - like the Power Of the People, or some other group. It is the people who are spotted all over this Province who are in a desperate state.

I say that in all honesty here today because I know there are members on the opposite side of this House who have gotten the calls, the same calls I have. They are not fabricated stories or exaggerated stories, they are the real thing. It really appals me that this minster makes a press statement that said in the coming months. Do you realize how far away that seems to people in this Province who are in this situation? In all sincerity, I say to this minister here today that that does not give any comfort to the people who are living this situation today. It really sickens me to hear a response coming from our provincial minister that says in the coming months he is going to continue to talk to the federal government. It is sickening.

Because the answer has to come now, it has to come within days and weeks. The people who I've talked to, and I've talked to - I had calls last Thursday from the Member for Harbour Grace's constituents. His constituents have called me to say: I can't wait two weeks, I can't wait three weeks. The situation is right now and it is about time that this government acted on it and not say: We are going to travel back and forth on Air Canada to Ottawa and argue with the federal government for another couple of months. That is not good enough. The point has to be made that I am not just talking about the people who are going to come off TAGS on December 31. There is a combination here. The other side of the coin is that there are a lot of people, the loggers, the miners, the construction workers -

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) MHA, boy.

MR. SHELLEY: You ask the people in the district. The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, I will stand in my place any day, toe to toe with him, and say I have represented the people in my district; I can tell him that.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SHELLEY: Because the situation is real, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: He got calls from your district.

MR. SHELLEY: I got calls from all over this Province, not just my district, saying that it is about time some of our own members stood up and spoke for the people in their own district.

Mr. Speaker, the latest story I will relate - of course, I can't use names - these are people who try to work. We know there are abuses in the system. These are people who try to get work, I am talking about. I had one person in my district who went to Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia for eight months, going from job to job. He finally came back because he had three children home.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: I say I am serious, Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. It is nothing to laugh at. The man who is sitting home with ten insurable weeks and two weeks short is not laughing at it; I will tell you that. He had two weeks short after being eight months in Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, beating around to try to find a job. Then he comes back here and he needs two weeks insurable work, and he knows - and he said it to me, and I say it to the government and minister again - I know it is not the long-term solution. I don't want it to be the solution. It is not the answer to the long-term problem. It is an answer for right now this week, next week.

I had another twenty to thirty calls again this morning from people in my district and outside my district again. I know that hon. members are getting the same calls, so let's not overshadow it with all the other issues that are up, and the corruption and scandals and everything else that is going on here. While all that is going on it is overshadowing a very important issue in this Province, and that is that people don't have the insurable weeks to feed their families with a bit of dignity. The people have usually gone around to get work.

Mr. Speaker, when I read this statement from this minister here today, it doesn't console or comfort anybody in this Province who is faced with this situation. They are not an organized group who can come in and protest on the steps.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

MR. SHELLEY: I would like to say that the minister has to act immediately, and not wait for coming months as he announced.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I can understand where the member is coming from, and I think he voices the sentiments of people in his district. The reason I say that is because I hear from the same people in his district and all other districts, so I believe what the hon. member is saying to be correct; however, let me straighten something out for the hon. member so he knows, and all other hon. members - and I won't speak to it any more until I have finished my negotiations, if you want to use that word, or my discussions with the appropriate federal ministers before the end of this week, and hopefully I can tell the hon. member, and all members of the House, and all the people of this Province, that we have a situation that we can address, or we have a situation that we can't address.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: I didn't say that, I say to the Leader of the Opposition. I said, as soon as possible.

MR. SIMMS: When? When do you expect it?

MR. MURPHY: Good question. Within a couple of weeks, I would say to the Leader of the Opposition.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: Perhaps the hon. Member for Bonavista South doesn't listen too often. I told him last week, on three occasions, that this government was not going to be involved in an emergency response program on a stand-alone basis. I don't need to say that again, do I?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: I say to the hon. Member for Baie Verte that as soon as I finish doing what I can, and involving the federal people, we will make an announcement.

I understand his circumstance. I don't need to be preached to by anybody opposite. I understand it. I have been listening to it now, constantly. I have been listening to it over the weekend at my home in Tors Cove. I had twenty-one calls, to be honest with you, at my home in Tors Cove - twenty-one calls - that is what I had.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: I say to the hon. Member for St. John's East Extern, it's in the book if he can read it, so give me a call. No trouble; Tom Murphy, Tors Cove. As a matter of fact -

AN HON. MEMBER: Can even call collect.

MR. MURPHY: That is right. Call me collect, I say to the hon. Member for St. John's East Extern. Twenty-one calls I had from all over the Island this weekend, and I understand the quandary and the sincerity in which people speak to the issue but I ask on -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: Now listen to the full-time member - the full-time Member for St. John's East got to get his mouth into it but what the Member for St. John's East should learn is that his two predecessors, his honour, who is now on the bench and the ex-mayor of the city took a proportionate share of what they were entitled to but this hon. member takes it all. Still and all he works a law firm downtown. It is time for the hon. member to stay quiet and do not pass judgement on other people and make snide remarks. We will address -

MR. SHELLEY: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: I understand that and I say to the hon. Member for Baie Verte -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. MURPHY: - that as soon as I get an answer, within two weeks, I will stand in my place.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I point out to the hon. Member for St. John's East it is unparliamentary to tell another member to shut up. I think that is relatively clear to all of us.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: No, I do not think that is a particularly colloquial Newfoundland expression. I think it is more widespread, I've heard it elsewhere.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: No, the hon. the minister has more than a minute left.

MR. MURPHY: The Leader of the Opposition must remember, as he sometimes needs to be reminded, he is still not in the Chair. He was in the Chair but he will never get in the Chair again and he knows that. Anyway, let me say to the hon. member sincerely, I say to you and all other hon. members, as soon as I get this over and done with I will tell the hon. member as soon as possible.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to have a few words in support of the petition presented by my colleague from Baie Verte -White Bay.

Now, Mr. Speaker, it was only a few short months ago in this House when members opposite were tearing the guts out of the federal government of the day at the time and especially out of the federal minister for the Province, Mr. Crosbie, because in September month there was no emergency response program for fisherpersons, plant workers and whatever you have and all other individuals in this Province. Here we are, Mr. Speaker, some eighteen months later with the political cousins in Ottawa now, the political cousins in Ottawa of the same colour, the same political stripe and everything is hunky-dory, everything is nice, no problems anywhere. Now they are waiting to bring in a program in conjunction with the federal government. All of a sudden everything should be done in conjunction with the federal government. Their federal cousins in Ottawa.

Mr. Speaker, the people in this Province are not worried about who is in Ottawa. They elected a government in this Province to govern this Province -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WOODFORD: - and to help out the people in this Province. They had another election last October for the people in Ottawa. They will deal with them when the time comes. This crowd here, Mr. Speaker, has done nothing to help the unemployed in this Province. They are callous, they have no social conscience and it is about time, Mr. Speaker, that this minister, in conjunction with his other ministers, do something for the people in this Province. We have people calling us every day of the week. This is almost December month - everybody else is worried about doing Christmas shopping, for what? Those people are waiting, Mr. Speaker, and wondering if they are going to have something to put on the table for Christmas dinner let alone something for the rest of this winter. It is time to act.

Mr. Speaker, I will say something else, who brought in and who suggested the Income Supplementation Program last year? Who made the changes from ten to twelve weeks that is making it worst on Newfoundlanders and Labradorians now than ever it did in the past? Who did that? Was that the federal cousins in Ottawa, was that the lads and the ladies in Ottawa? In conjunction with who and in cahoots with who, Mr. Speaker? I have people in my district who always managed to get ten weeks. Now they cannot even get that, a lot of them cannot even get that but to get twelve? They cannot get ten. Now all of a sudden the same people who were crowing, moaning and complaining a few short months ago, everything is alright, how come?

Now, Mr. Speaker, it is about time that this government brought in a program and brought in a plan to help each and every individual in this Province, not only plant workers, not only fishermen, not only people - we have people who need help in the forestry, we have people who need help in the construction industry, people in every industry in this Province, Mr. Speaker, are hurting and they should be helped. The time to act is now, Mr. Speaker, not when we get five or six feet of snow on the ground, not when we cannot get people out on the roads and out into the ditches and out everywhere to do the projects. Now is the time. We should have acted before, and now is almost - really, we are getting into the winter months. What is going to be done?

The same government, the minister, the former Minister of Employment and Labour Relations made a suggestion last year to people around this Province, development associations and church groups and so on, to come up with some meaningful long-term projects. They sent them in. They are over there now on the minister's desk, on file, hundreds of them if not thousands of them, Mr. Speaker. No excuse at all. The only excuse and the only reason is one word called inaction. They did not act. If they don't act in the next few days - not weeks, not months - there are an awful lot of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in this Province who are not only hungry today but will remain hungry for the rest of this winter.

I submit to the minister to make sure and take the arms of his colleagues and buckle them up behind their backs and make sure that they get a program out in the next few days for the people of this Province. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. NOEL: I wish to present a petition on behalf of more than 100 residents of Rutledge Crescent in my district.

The petition reads: Whereas the residents of Rutledge Crescent of St. John's have complained for nearly two years to the Department of Environment and Lands about the presence of toxic and radioactive gases in their homes and on the street, and whereas the residents fear long-term health effects of these cancer causing gases which are still present in their neighbourhood, and whereas the Department of Environment and Lands has not resolved this problem, wherefore the residents are asking that the following actions be taken: One, hire an expert to identify the gas and the source of the gas - remediate all the areas effected; two, continuously monitor the gas in all the houses affected and in the street to ensure the health and safety of the residents; three, establish an action limit of .025 parts per million for benzene gas above which families must be evacuated from their homes; four, conduct quarterly detailed environmental audits of gas stations and businesses in surrounding areas; five, collect and monitor health status of all residents affected for the next twenty years; and number six, determine the level and extent of radioactive radon gas on the street.

Mr. Speaker, I first became aware of this problem during the election campaign a year and a half ago, and the residents have been dealing with it since the previous fall, which is about two years as they say in their petition. This is a very serious problem as the petition indicates. It has to do with concerns about gases which are evident in the streets and in people's homes. The Department of Environment and other officials of government and the City of St. John's have been very cooperative with residents over the past year and half that I've been involved with it. We've had numerous meetings and the residents have been very patient and understanding. They realize it is a difficult problem and they've been prepared to give all levels of government an adequate opportunity to deal with it.

They've committed a lot of time themselves and developed a fair expertise and have a great knowledge of what is involved, the problems involved, and the potential hazards of the gases. They are concerned for their health, their family's health, they are concerned for the lack of satisfaction that they are having living in their homes and living in their neighbourhoods, and they are concerned for the negative property implications this may have for their large investments in valuable houses along the streets.

The present minister has given this a great deal of attention since he has assumed office, as did the previous minister. They've met with the residents and they've visited the areas and they've spent a lot of time talking with their officials and with me. They've included me in all their efforts, and these are continuing. As I understand it the present minister is dealing with some new consultants at this time and is discussing with the City of St. John's the possibilities of further action.

All that has been done so far though is traps have been installed in individuals' homes. That has ensured that the odours are not apparent in these homes. But individuals are concerned that the gases may still be in the homes and may be causing damage to the people who reside there.

I do not blame them for losing patience with this matter. It seems that we have not made any real progress insofar as identifying the source of the problem and eliminating it. Over the year and a half a lot of money has been spent and a lot of time and effort. Obviously it is a very difficult source to identify and we have not used the right expertise or sophisticated enough equipment so far in order to do a proper job.

Citizens now want government to commit more resources and more effort to solving the problem. They think we have to find more authoritative consultants for advice on how to deal with the matter, and they think there has to be a definite commitment of additional expenditures in order to excavate parts of the grounds and try to locate what may be the source and have it eliminated.

Mr. Speaker, I call on the minister to continue doing all he can and to exert all pressures that he can within his department, and with the city council, in order to solve this matter in a satisfactory manner.

Thank you, very much, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

I rise today to support the petition presented by the Member for Pleasantville. I am quite familiar with the situation at Ruthledge Crescent and I have been for the past year or so. The residents of Ruthledge Crescent have a very serious problem in that area. I brought this up in the House before on a number of occasions, but I do not really know if the previous minister realized the seriousness of the situation, but I do believe that the present minister does realize the seriousness of the situation. The problem has been ongoing for at least two years now and families have had to leave their homes on occasion because of their children getting sick on the fumes that were coming through the pipes into their homes.

On November 9 the present minister received a letter from the residents of Ruthledge Crescent with six requests which have been read out here today by the Member for Pleasantville. I believe that those requests are quite reasonable. I had a meeting with the minister shortly after he received that letter and we did review the requests. Some action is being taken, Mr. Speaker, but I do not know if there is enough action being taken to solve the problem.

The source of the problem, Mr. Speaker, that seems to be the major concern here is, where are the fumes coming from and what is causing the fumes to come into the homes of these people living on Ruthledge Crescent? Officials of the department seem to believe that the problem is localized to Ruthledge Crescent in that the tests they have done show that the fumes are coming from within a small area of the pipes involved.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I have some concerns, or some problems with that theory, and I could quite easily argue that, but hopefully they are right. I sincerely hope they are right and that if they do excavate the immediate area they will find the problem and solve it for the people of Ruthledge Crescent. Indeed if they are right and the fumes on Ruthledge Crescent are localized in that immediate area then we have two problems in the Logy Bay Road area. We have major pollution of the area between, from my perspective, Logy Bay Road, Robin Hood Bay Road, and Harding Road.

Over the past while I have had occasion to visit the area and I have seen films of the area showing the pollution, and I think the present minister has seen them also. There is a brook flowing from the marsh area between the roads I just mentioned, and it is now culverted and flowing along Logy Bay Road into Virginia River. The old riverbed, where this river used to flow, flows along Ruthledge Crescent, so I think there may be some connection there, but that remains to be seen, Mr. Speaker.

The White Hills depot on Harding Road last fall had a couple of tanks excavated. They were leaking very badly, and that's in the immediate area of Ruthledge Crescent. There was soil taken up and transported away from that area, so that in itself may be causing some of the problems, although officials of the Department of Environment do not believe that to be the case.

Mr. Speaker, I believe this problem has been ongoing for too long. If it takes money to be thrown at this to solve the problem, that is what is going to have to be done. The people in that area cannot be expected to live under these conditions very much longer. Some of the problems have been solved by putting traps in the Houses, granted, but if you drive up this crescent you can actually smell the fumes coming in through the ventilation system in your car. That has to be a very serious situation. Even if it is not hazardous to your health it certainly is not a comfortable situation to be living in, Mr. Speaker, especially if you have children in the area. I would ask the minister that the least requirement would be, that there will be a complete investigation done on the whole area, nothing less is warranted and I support the petition presented by the Member for Pleasantville. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Environment.

MR. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, thanks very much. I appreciate the opportunity and welcome the petition from the Member for Pleasantville and welcome the comments from the Member for St. John's East Extern.

This is a troubling problem, it is a serious problem and it is a troubling one, Mr. Speaker, because it has been ongoing for approximately two years. A tremendous amount of resources has been put forward, both by the City Council of St. John's, the public works department and the Department of Environment. We have had the federal Department of Environment Canada with their officials involved and we have had experts in from Ontario. A hydrological study has been carried out on the water table in the area to check and try to really get down to narrowing down what the problem can be. That has been really the process for the last twenty-four months.

Most of these problems, I am told, are normally resolved within the first few months once certain tests are done or carried out. Normally you can localize the source or find out what direction it is coming from and then you can put some resources towards trying to resolve the problem. This one has been a mystery unfortunately, for some time. Since September we have had a meeting with the Ruthledge Crescent people, we have met - they have done a tremendous amount of homework, they have a great deal of concern about this problem and we have the same concern with the department and with city council.

Tomorrow I will be meeting with city council officials to discuss the next plan of action that we may be able to take. It may include the possibility of digging up that part of the street, Mr. Speaker, if that is the way to go. We are discussing seriously with them that possibility. We think it is a localized source or our officials, the experts that we have in our department believe it is. We are talking with another consulting group, we are asking them for some other advice. We are also asking the previous consultants, who did an evaluation, for some updated advice and we are going to continue until we can at least come to a solution to this problem to try to alleviate the concerns of residents there.

The question of the gases; our officials advise that they have tested the houses and that the levels are very low but there is still the question of the potential of it to get further into the houses and the best way to do this and resolve it is to try to find a solution. Every potential resource that can be brought to bear will be brought to bear. I have told my officials that we have to keep at this. We have one person working full time and a second person looking at potential other ways to look at dealing with it but it has been a mystery, it has been a troubling mystery and it has been troubling for the people down there.

I hope that before very, very long and very shortly that we will have some sort of solution that they do not have to bear with this problem much longer. We are going to keep at it and anybody who would like to get any updated information on this matter is welcome to let me know at my office. We are working continuously on it and I respect the concerns of the residents of the Ruthledge Crescent area and I hope that maybe very shortly, between city council and ourselves, that we may hopefully find a solution to this problem and get to the bottom of it. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to present a petition. The prayer of which I will read:

The people of Placentia District ask the House of Assembly to accept the following prayer; We the undersigned do hereby request the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations to immediately provide emergency funding to generate desperately needed employment in our communities.

This petition comes from one small store in Jerseyside, names from different parts of the Placentia area, people desperately looking for work, whatever they can get; they are desperate and they are hurting.

Our area, where I live, the Placentia area, I have told members here before, unemployment figures are running at 70 per cent, 70 per cent, would you believe? Nobody has disputed the figures because hon. members on both sides of this House know the turmoil that is going through the Placentia area but it also holds true that other parts of the district are not faring much better either. People are looking for work and are looking for the leadership of our own provincial government to take the initial step to help them. Why will we wait for Ottawa when Newfoundland, over the years, has had a reputation of standing up for its own? Why will we always wait for Ottawa?

Bobby Kennedy one time, and I think it was during the Cuban crisis made a statement, that Canada, was a great country in time of crisis, it would do anything but help you. Now, if that is true, if that is the case, I have the correct statement for the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology but it is something to those words I mentioned. Now what we will get from Ottawa pending negotiations, talk, or whatever you want to mention, from our minister, with federal counterparts would be gravy, but we want the initiative to be set by our own government, the one closest to us, and not take a colonial attitude toward the people for whom they are supposed to be responsible.

The people in our districts do not have hope. You must have hope, you must have something to cling to, and as other members have said before, why should they have to wait for weeks and weeks? Christmas is coming, we want Santa Claus now; people have to plan, people have to feel good about themselves. Work is not only good for the pocketbook, it is also good for the minds and it is more important. Mr. Axworthy, the Lord High Executioner, who is being aided and abetted by the federal government to cut the safety net from under the people of this country is being let alone.

Last fall, with the stunning victory of the Liberal Government in Canada, they were zapped, they were in turn stunned by their victory - that is stunned - now, our own provincial government is stunned - stunned - or in some kind of a stupor. Wandering around in the dark and cannot seem to be able to help the people who need the most help.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CAREEN: Stunned, stunned, I say to the hon. member. The Premier, I have asked him a number of times about help for the Argentia area when it was going through the phaseout, and he said they could never do any more, their government, than they did for Labrador City, Baie Verte or Long Harbour.

Well, I must say to hon. members that indeed the Premier was consistent because he has not done anything for them either, but to our minister, waiting for Ottawa is not good enough I say again. Our minister, we have a prayer we have heard so often, people in trouble say: Lord, have mercy. Well, I am telling you, the people of this Province will not or should not have to be saying: Lord, please don't have Murphy; it is Lord, have mercy.

I say again and I repeat, people in this Province are hurting and hon. members opposite, same as over here know what they are going through. In the past we have had monies directed to help people, but this year what we are seeing is $7 million spent to help Hydro -

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

MR. CAREEN: - to sell it off, not to help the people of this Province.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise to support the petition of the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes and once again we are faced with -

MR. CAREEN: Placentia, Placentia.

MR. HARRIS: Placentia, I am sorry, his seatmate is from St. Mary's - The Capes. I didn't want to confuse him with one and the other.

I think the Member for Placentia expresses himself well on these subjects which are near to the heart of the people, not only in his district, but all over rural Newfoundland, and indeed in St. John's and urban centres as well, and that is the issue of employment.

We have come to the point where residents of this Province are required to petition this House to try to get some action out of the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. We have a situation where the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations seems to be spending all of his time trying to defend himself about where he lives and how he spends his time running back and forth to Tors Cove. He seems to be more interested in that issue than he is in solving the employment problems of the people that he is supposed to be representing.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) getting worse and worse every day.

MR. HARRIS: Not only that, I say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, he tries to turn an attack on me, and he speaks to a petition. He turns an attack on me, talking about whether or not people are full-time MHAs.

Well, I have a good question for the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. I want to ask him: Does he get to spend any time running his department? Does he spend any time running the department that is supposed to be helping the people of this Province find employment? Does he spend any of his time, or is he a full-time MHA for St. John's South or Tors Cove, or wherever it is he lives? That is what I have to ask the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. Does he do any work as Minister of Labour Relations? Minister of Employment? Does he run the department? And if he doesn't, why is he getting paid $40,000 a year for being Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, if he doesn't do any work and doesn't spend any time at it?

Mr. Speaker, that goes for every minister of the Crown over there, but if the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations was doing his job, which he gets paid $40,000 a year to do, to be minister, on top of his salary as an MHA, if he was doing his job, he would be in here telling this House that there is going to be an employment scheme for people in this Province who need desperately at this time of year to know that they will be able to support their families throughout the winter.

Mr. Speaker, it is time for this Minister of Employment and Labour Relations to start talking seriously about the serious problems in this Province, not running around trying to defend himself about where he lives. Every time he makes a speech on employment he starts to talk about the number of telephone calls he receives in Tors Cove. Well, if he receives all these calls, why isn't he acting on them, and why don't we have a program in this House for the people who desperately need employment? That is what I would like to see the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations do, because that is his job. That is the job he took on when he became that minister, in addition to his duties as Member for St. John's South.

When I hear the minister get up in this House and say that he has a program that is going to help solve the unemployment problem in this Province, then I will say that maybe he is doing his job and maybe he deserves to get pay in addition to his MHA salary.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Windsor - Buchans.

MR. FLIGHT: Mr. Speaker, let me point out from the outset that I have been listening to these debates and these petitions being presented since the House opened, I would presume, but certainly there has been a lot of petitions, and I have to say to you that I support the principle of those petitions. I don't necessarily support the rhetoric that I have heard. It is just as difficult to have no job at Easter as it is at Christmas, maybe. If you are out of work, you are out of work.

I want to commend the minister. I know that this minister has tried his best to get an emergency response program. I know that he has worked with Ottawa, I know he is still trying, I believe he is putting every effort into it, and I support his effort in trying to do it. But there is a fact of life; there are a few undeniable facts here. These past four years we have had, in this Province, employment generation programs. It is an undeniable fact also that the level of employment in those four years was not as bad as it is today and, unless someone can prove me wrong, the fiscal situation in this Province was better than it is today.

Mr. Speaker, I commend the government for wanting to reduce the deficit, wanting to cut the debt, but there are extremes. I find it very difficult to understand how in one hand we balance the Budget - well, let me tell anybody who wants to hear this, Mr. Speaker.

The funding for Emergency Response came from current account and the government, every year, in August or around there, looked at the employment situation and decided there was going to be an Employment Generation Program; it went from $12 million to $6 million depending on the ability and the need, but it was always done. It was never budgeted because you never knew if there would be one. It was done by Special Warrant.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I commend the Premier and I support the Premier and the Cabinet in announcing that we are going to have a balanced budget or no deficit or surplus on current account, so I say this: it is just as important to the fiscal situation in this Province, Mr. Speaker, to reduce the borrowing on capital account. While I don't particularly want to go to Windsor - Buchans next year, Mr. Speaker, or this Fall, and announce that there is no capital works, I will guarantee you, if I were put in a position today to have to tell them that there is no pavement next year on the Buchans-Badger Road, as opposed to announcing a thirty-or-forty-job program, I would be prepared to give up capital works, so let's reduce the deficit further.

Let's reduce the deficit further, Mr. Speaker, let's reduce capital works by $10 million, and I don't care what capital works - whether it is roads, schools, it doesn't matter.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. FLIGHT: Mr. Speaker, I supported -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. FLIGHT: Mr. Speaker, I supported capital works; I fought for the capital works program, whether it was in schools, in roads, in hospitals; I always supported and tried to get every cent out of capital account and always had to come out borrowing, but what I am telling you, Mr. Speaker, is that in a crisis situation - and we are in a crisis situation. There are people in this Province today, Mr. Speaker - and never mind the rhetoric - there are people in this Province today who are never going back, who are going on welfare, Mr. Speaker, for the first time in their lives; and there is no guarantee when they go they won't stay and, Mr. Speaker, people talk about welfare as fifty-cent dollars. Well, Mr. Speaker, if they are fifty-cent dollars for a number of years, they may soon become 100 cent dollars.

Mr. Speaker, I believe and I know the government is considering an emergency response program, I know the minister is working on it, and he has my support and I believe the support of, certainly, everybody on this side of the House to do what can be done, to create an emergency response program, to take care of the people who, for the first time in their lives will, indeed, go on welfare.

There is a philosophy here also, Mr. Speaker, and I guess the philosophy at the end, governments of the past had to consider it, governments of the future will have to consider it and the philosophy is, whether or not it is better to have people working or to have them on welfare. Because that is what it has come down to in this Province, Mr. Speaker, make no doubt about that. It has come down to that, and, Mr. Speaker, I believe that there has been no time, certainly, in my district - hundreds of people in the Central Newfoundland area were employed by these Emergency Response Programs, and I see no evidence, Mr. Speaker, that jobs will be created in Central Newfoundland over the next two or three years that would give them permanent jobs to the extent that they won't need short-term, seasonal employment. When someone can - they don't have to convince me -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. FLIGHT: Just to wind up, Mr. Speaker?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. FLIGHT: I think it is a fact of life, Mr. Speaker, that the government of this Province now and in the next ten years will have to cope with, the government in Ottawa should cope with, that a lot of the people in this Province in the next five or six or seven or eight years, if they are going to work, they are going to work seasonally, because there is not enough time to create permanent, full-time jobs. So, Mr. Speaker, I will admit by the very nature of employment, seasonal employment, Mr. Speaker, is a fact of life in this Province, whether it is funded by Ottawa, by the Province, or by the private sector.

Again, Mr. Speaker, I support the government in their efforts to create an employment generation program in the Province, this Fall, now, Mr. Speaker, because it is getting late and people are going to welfare for the first time in their lives. They should be spared the embarrassment of having to go to seek welfare for the first time in their lives and, Mr. Speaker, up until this year, hundreds and hundreds, I could probably go as high as thousands of people avoided having to go to welfare, Mr. Speaker, because there was always an employment - something that they could have turned to. There is nothing now, Mr. Speaker, and the time has come.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Orders of the Day

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I'm glad that members opposite acknowledge that my friend, the Member for Windsor - Buchans has made a far better speech than people on the other side made, and he deserves the thump.

My understanding is that before we rise today we shall deal with Bills No.

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I'm just waiting for the Leader of the Opposition to control himself for a moment, if he can.

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible).

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

The Chair can't hear the hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: I call for order, please!

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, my understanding is, before we rise today we will deal with Order 10, which is Bill 5 - that is the Newfoundland Pharmaceutical Association act. We will begin first with the adjourned debate on Order 14, which is Bill 18. I believe the hon. the Member for Menihek adjourned the debate yesterday.

May I add that on Thursday - and perhaps members opposite could cogitate - we will ask, and I'm open to which of these they prefer to debate -

MR. TOBIN: Sit down so that (inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I ask my sensible friends opposite, which leaves out the gentleman, the Member for Burin - Placentia West, I fear, to consider whether they wish to deal on Thursday with Order 22, which is the Advance Health Care Directives bill, or whether they wish to deal with the Kruger legislation, which is Order 23, Bill 42. On this side we are prepared to debate either, but at some point during the afternoon I will have a word behind the Chair with my friend, the Member for Grand Bank, and we will get an indication.

With that said, Your Honour, if you would be kind enough, Sir, to call Order 14, please.

MR. SPEAKER: Order No. 14, Bill No. 18, An Act To Amend The Assessment Act.

The hon. the Member for Menihek.

MR. A. SNOW: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I just want to continue the few very brief remarks that I started with yesterday. I just want to speak a little about the effect that this particular bill is going to have on the revenues of municipalities, which is very important.

Having been involved with municipal government for some eighteen years, I can identify with some of the problems that municipalities have with regard to the changing in funds that occurs from time to time because of changing regulations or changing methods of funding to municipalities, whether it is on the government's behalf or from people paying grants and grants-in-lieu, such as a municipality which I happen to be involved with in Western Labrador, the Town of Labrador City.

At times, we have found ourselves in the municipal government with getting extra revenues from the Province because of a change in grant. What would happen was that the mining company would discount the amount of extra funds that we would get from the Province in matching grants, and then the company would discount that increase from their grant-in-lieu. You would be attempting - you would feel you would get so much from the government and so much from the Province, and then all of sudden you would get this coming back from the - when you get your quarterly cheque from the company, the town would find itself short a couple of hundred thousand dollars. And you would go back and talk to the company and they would tell you why they were doing it. They felt that the government was paying more, so they should have to pay less.

This started the Town of Labrador City to go ahead and get a long-term financial agreement from the Iron Ore Company of Canada and stop that kind of disruption, if you will, to the budgetary process that occurred in that particular municipality. Of course, the same thing occurs on the Provincial Government side when they change an act or the grant formula with regard to - in particular, this Bill 18. They are going to change it and it is going to have an effect on different municipalities. All municipalities, I believe, or the vast majority of municipalities, are going to be negatively impacted on their taxes or on their revenue in this Province, Mr. Speaker. I would say every municipality that is affected, it is going to be a negative impact.

You are going to expect other people to be paying other than the utilities or the cable companies, and especially - the three utility companies are the big ones, Newfoundland Hydro, Newfoundland Light and Power and Newfoundland Telephone. These are the ones - it will negatively impact on their amount of taxes that are going to be accruing to different municipalities effected.

In my district I see a tremendous negative effect on the town of Wabush. I've addressed this with the former Minister of Justice and the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs and explained to them how it is going to impact. They have said to me that this is going to be corrected. They have said in the House that it is going to be corrected. I believe the minister suggested that it is going to be corrected within the next week or so. The correction with the problem with regard to Wabush, you -

MR. REID: No, I didn't say that.

MR. A. SNOW: My understanding was what he did say was that - the minister seems to be backing off a bit here. It seems to be that he is backing off a bit now from the suggestion that I thought I heard him say yesterday. He and the Minister of Justice said that they would attempt to correct it. Because there is a $300,000 shortfall on what they had anticipated receiving - the town of Wabush is going to have a $300,000 shortfall on what they had anticipated receiving or what they would have received if this change hadn't been pushed through the House of Assembly, Mr. Speaker.

That is a tremendous shortfall. Three hundred thousand dollars on the budget of Wabush is almost 10 per cent of the revenues of Wabush. That is a tremendous shortfall to have on your budget. I want to quote. The Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs said yesterday, and I will quote from Hansard, page 2590: "So I am hoping that a committee of Cabinet, which has been appointed to look at that particular one, will be able to deal with that in the next couple of days so that we can have something rectified before this bill actually is approved, say tomorrow."

MR. TOBIN: The next couple of days, before the bill is approved!

MR. REID: What did I say?

MR. A. SNOW: It is going to be rectified.

MR. REID: And I would hope?

MR. A. SNOW: Rectified. Mr. Speaker, I believe the minister when he says he is going to rectify this problem. The people, the councillors and the mayor of Wabush believe that the minister can correct this problem. I would hope that they will rectify this problem, because that is a tremendous shortfall, especially in light of what is occurring with the town of Wabush at the present time. The town of Wabush is attempting to negotiate a long-term financial agreement with the mining company to have a grant in lieu because they aren't taxable, because this government refuses to change the act which excludes them from taxes. They cannot tax the mining company and get the additional revenue, so they have to sit down and negotiate a deal with the mining company for a grant in lieu.

I would suspect that they are at a negotiating table attempting to get a certain amount of money from the mining company, only to find that maybe the mining company is going to be - or maybe that the government is going to, because of this act, is going to negatively impact or change in the act, is going to negatively impact the town of Wabush of some $300,000, which is a tremendous amount of money.

It bothers me that this government since they've been elected in 1989 have made several changes with regard to the operation of municipalities and the operating grants and with the MOG. I can remember being involved with the municipal government in Labrador City when the previous administration changed their method of matching grants to the collections. Back in I believe - the municipal grants act was 1981? Anyway, we found ourselves in a position in Labrador City at that particular time of one year going from a $300,000 revenue from the Province at the time and the following year getting $1.3 million, which was a tremendous so-called windfall for us, as a municipal government.

What it was, the government of the day decided that they should change the municipal act to have a grant to encourage municipalities to have more taxation, more municipal taxes, to collect more, because there was a certain abhorrence, a definite abhorrence, to municipalities imposing a property tax.

Now, I don't know why we end up paying less in this Province, but we all recognize that we have to pay taxes. There is no such thing as a free lunch, or a free ride. We all have to pay our way, but we in Labrador City found a million dollars more because we paid our taxes. We always paid our taxes in Labrador City.

Mr. Speaker, the same thing occurred, I forget the exact figures, but a similar type of approach in Wabush, they had a similar type of impact on their property tax, or their revenues, from the Province under the previous municipal grants act.

Since this government has taken over we have seen nothing but strip, strip, strip. That is all we have seen. We have seen cut after cut. That is all they do, cut. Change the act so that the municipality will get less from the government in grants, and they get less from the large corporations in taxes, such as the Newfoundland Telephone Company, or Newfoundland Hydro.

Mr. Speaker, that bothers me quite a bit. It really bothers me, because I feel that what we should be doing - we have to appreciate - we just can't download responsibilities on the government, on the municipal government - we can't do it - and then expect we remove so called tax room for them. If we are going to give them the responsibility, we have to give them the right of taxes, because along with those responsibilities comes certain rights, and it should be, Mr. Speaker.

I am sure that if this government wants to - I can understand where they are coming from; I just don't agree with what they are doing, and neither will most people who have any involvement with municipal government agree with what they are doing.

MR. WOODFORD: This government is finished.

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, the Member for Humber Valley suggests that this government is finished. I would suspect that a lot of people out and about the Province are saying this government is finished. They are doing things in here. They just don't understand what is happening out and about the streets of this Province, but I am hoping that the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs and his Cabinet colleagues, the Cabinet committee that he talked about - I don't know who is on it - but I would hope that he is paying attention and that he will rectify the problem in Wabush, because $300,000 - almost 10 per cent of their operating budget for this municipality - is being stripped because of a change in an act here that we are asking to pass here today, 10 per cent of their operating budget, $300,000. That is a tremendous amount of money for a small municipality like Wabush to get from somewhere else, because that is what they have to do. They have to get $300,000 out of somebody else's pockets. Are they expected to go back and tax the small businesses?

I don't believe that the businesses in Wabush can support a tremendous tax increase that that cut would necessitate. So what do they do? They are going to come to the government and ask the government to help them out, because this is extraordinary. It is extraordinary that a small municipality like Wabush would lose 10 per cent of its budget by a simple little change to giving more money to these large corporations basically is what it comes down to, more money to Newfoundland Hydro or the Newfoundland Telephone Company. Those are the two big boys that this helps save money for. So I am hoping, and so are the people of Wabush and the council of Wabush hoping, they are going to correct it.

With regard to the Town of Labrador City, it doesn't have the same amount of impact. I would suspect that Labrador City probably has about the same negative impact as most of the other municipalities of its size throughout the Province. I don't know; I haven't checked. Maybe the minister could respond when he concludes debate on this bill, because I am sure he knows.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: I know Labrador City has a negative impact. All the municipalities are going to be negatively impacted, I would say. Ninety-nine per cent of the municipalities of this Province are going to have a negative impact because of this change, I would suspect. I don't know what the impact is going to be in other districts, in other municipalities. By looking at the change we know that it is going to be a negative impact for 99 per cent of the municipalities in this Province. Is that correct? The minister nods in an affirmative manner.

MR. REID: No, no, I'm not nodding, (inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: I can't believe that the minister is suggesting that he doesn't know what the impact is going to be on this bill.

MR. REID: (Inaudible). I can't tell you.

MR. A. SNOW: It is going to be more than 50 per cent, more than 70 per cent, but it is all negative. It can't be positive. I can't see how any - would the minister explain how any municipality would have a positive cash flow - there is no way. Now he says: No, that is impossible to occur. It is impossible with the change in this act for a municipality to have an increase in revenue. Having said that we all know now then that it is going to be a negative impact. All of them are going to have a negative impact.

I'm amazed that the minister doesn't know how much of a negative impact it is going to have in the municipalities. I don't have the research capabilities that the minister has. I would have thought that the minister would have all of the figures to back up exactly how much it is going to negatively impact the municipalities. If it is $300,000 on a small community like Wabush - I know Labrador City is a lot larger community, or three, four times as large, but they only have an impact of about $10,000 to $12,000, is my understanding. I would suspect that Grand Falls and Gander are going to have negative impacts of similar amounts. My understanding is that municipalities here on the Avalon Peninsula - other people speaking may want to address that - but I know they are going to be negatively impacted.

I'm amazed that the minister does not know how much. I don't know if he is just being fast and loose or he just doesn't know what is going on. Mr. Speaker, I do know that the negative impact on the municipality of Wabush is $300,000, around 10 per cent of their total operating budget. That is going to have a tremendous impact if the town of Wabush has to increase taxes, either in the business community or the residential community. Because we know how it works. You just can't go out and say: We are going to charge so-and-so so much. You can't tax them to death, you can't put them under. They have to be cognizant of the effect that higher taxes are going to have on the smaller businesses that are operating in Wabush.

I'm hoping that the minister will correct or rectify the problem. I offered him a solution, that what has to happen - the reason why it is so negatively impacted in Wabush is the fact that they are not going to be able to tax the equipment in property owned by CF(L)Co. There is no other municipality that has that method and that piece of equipment owned by that particular company. CF(L)Co. doesn't own property in any other municipality. All we have to do is exclude CF(L)Co. from this particular bill, that is all. That will correct the problem for Wabush. They will still have the same negative impacts on the equipment that is in the garages, or their bakeries, or those types of processes that this bill effects. They will still have that negative impact, but they won't have the almost $300,000 impact that CF(L)Co. causes them.

I'm hoping that the minister will rectify this problem. I've offered a solution to it. I'm not here just complaining. I'm not just saying this is wrong what they are doing. I know it is wrong what they are doing, yes, but I'm also offering a solution to the problem. The solution would be to exclude CF(L)Co. from this particular act. That could solve the problem, in my opinion. That could solve the problem for this particular municipality. There is no other municipality that would be effected because CF(L)Co. doesn't operate in any other municipality. They can do it if they wish. If there is a will in the government to do it they can do it, and they would be able to help the people of Wabush and the town council of Wabush.

So, Mr. Speaker, I am hoping that the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs will rectify the problem that he has created with this particular bill and, Mr. Speaker, this will greatly enhance the financial position of the community of Wabush and thus help the people of Wabush. Thank you very much.

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

MR. HODDER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise to make a few comments on Bill No. 18. Mr. Speaker, my colleague just mentioned the fact that municipalities are finding it very difficult to balance their budgets. There seems to be a pattern that has been established over the last number of years of downloading on municipal levels. Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to draw some references to the bill and the effects it will have on the City of Mount Pearl. I do not have data for the City of St. John's but I would like to deal with the impacts that it will have on the City of Mount Pearl.

Mr. Speaker, there are nineteen businesses that are affected in Mount Pearl and they have a total of, in machinery and equipment, a total assessed value of $1,558,900.00. Now the department has advised the municipality that of that amount about 80 per cent of it would be exempt from taxes, that is just the value of the equipment and machinery. That would mean, Mr. Speaker, that about $1.3 million would then be exempt from taxation and it would mean that about $35,000 would be lost to the City of Mount Pearl. Now, Mr. Speaker, while that is not a small amount it certainly will not have a dramatic increase to cause the City of Mount Pearl to have to increase its taxation rate to its citizens.

What I would like to ask the minister, when he gets a chance to speak, is to clarify some of the things that are included as equipment and machinery. For example, I think he mentioned yesterday that freezing plants, they will still be counted as machinery and equipment, the car wash equipment will be still counted, parts of the original structure of a building is mentioned in the act itself and that will still be included. Conveyors, escalators and elevators will all be still included as machinery and equipment. I think there were some comments yesterday that machinery and equipment would include the gas pumps of a service station but would not include the oil storage tanks around a service station. So therefore the oil storage tanks would still be eligible for inclusion in the assessed value but that the pumps themselves would not.

Mr. Speaker, in Mount Pearl the effect would save taxation dollars for nineteen businesses, ten service stations, five banks, I believe, two laundromats but that the details of how the laundromats will be included or excluded has not been quite made clear yet by the assessment division. Very interesting is that the businesses that are affected, to get the most savings of this in Mount Pearl, happens to be banks. So therefore we have five banks and I am led to understand that the vaults in the banks will now not be eligible as part of the assessed value, which means of course that the city will lose about $18,000 from revenue that would ordinarily be paid by the banks.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we know that banks in this Province, in this country, are among the most lucrative businesses. What we are doing is, in essence we are making the businesses that are already doing quite well, even more well off. The overall effect of course is $35,000 a year added to the $5,000 which the city has already lost when we made the changes to Newfoundland Tel, Newfoundland Light and Power and to Cable Atlantic by excluding their equipment and machinery.

The city would like to have it noted that they felt that there should have been a higher level of consultation. For example, even at this late stage, there is still some concern about what is included in machinery and equipment and what is excluded. The minister, a few seconds ago, admitted that he did not know all the details of what was included in these two categories. The Mayor of Mount Pearl has written the minister asking for clarification, asking for details and asking for the list of the types of equipment that will be included and those which will be excluded, and asking the minister if he would try to get as much information out to municipalities as he can, before the preparation of the budgetary or the completion of the budgetary process in the next few weeks.

Mr. Speaker, with these few comments I thank you and thank the minister.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The same as my colleague from Waterford - Kenmount, I am going to be very brief.

I share the concerns expressed by the Member for Waterford - Kenmount and the Member for Menihek about the squeeze play the government is putting on municipalities, on the one hand the government has been driving up municipal costs by downloading responsibilities such as snow clearing, and on the other the government has been decreasing municipal revenues by cutting provincial grants and by lessening municipal taxation power.

Having said that, I want to express support for the principle of this bill, the principle embodied in deleting from the definition of property, machinery and equipment. For quite some time I have maintained that equipment intensive businesses have had to bear an unfair portion of municipal taxes in municipalities such as the City of Corner Brook, which chose to include the value of machinery and equipment in the appraised value to which municipal taxes were applied.

Equipment and machinery do not indicate the profitability of the business, so why should a business in Corner Brook such as the cement plant or a photography firm or a printing plant pay proportionately more taxes than a business such as a law firm or an accounting office which is not equipment intensive, so I think it is fair to make the change embodied in this bill, and municipalities can recoup the loss from taking equipment and machinery out of the definition of property by shifting the burden among all businesses, taking some of the burden off equipment intensive businesses and passing it on to other businesses; businesses which, might all along have been more profitable.

There is some hardship involved in this adjustment, the same as all the other changes the provincial government has inflicted on municipalities, and perhaps there should have been more notice but I do agree with the principle set out in this bill, and having made this point privately on a number of occasions in the past, I wanted to take advantage of this second reading debate on the amendment to express my support.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, if he speaks now, will close the debate.

MR. REID: Very quickly, Mr. Speaker, thank you very much to the number of colleagues who expressed an interest in this particular bill. I will endeavour to assure the Member for Menihek that the question on the amount of money and the problem that Wabush has in particular will be hopefully addressed in the next little while. I cannot make any promises as to what we are going to do with it but I do have some other communities in the Province that would be directly affected.

Mr. Speaker, I will now move second reading.

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Amendment The Assessment Act," read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House on tomorrow. (Bill No. 18)

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, moving right along as we are could we go to Order 10, Bill No. 5, "An Act To Continue The Newfoundland Pharmaceutical Association". My friend the Minister of Health will stun us with his eloquence at this stage.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act To Continue The Newfoundland Pharmaceutical Association." (Bill No. 5)

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

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

Bill 5 is an act to continue the Newfoundland Pharmaceutical Act and what I will do is review the items in the bill that are new and that are different from existing legislation. The Newfoundland Pharmaceutical Act dates back to 1950. It was brought forward in the House in 1970 and again in 1990 to have it updated somewhat. The purpose of the revisions to it, the amendments and additions, that are contained in this exercise I will mention as we go through it.

Basically, part of the exercise of bringing this bill in is to update and modernize the language in the act to bring it more in sync with what is happening in the industry today, and to couch it in wording and in terms that are more reflective of today's activities in the pharmaceutical industry.

One of the major changes in the act, Mr. Speaker, is to change or enhance the educational requirements in the act. Once upon a time the process to becoming a pharmacist was as simple as going through an apprenticeship program. It moved from there to requiring some formal training at the Cabot Institute, and it has now moved to a circumstance where in order to be licensed as a pharmacist in the Province there is a requirement to obtain a degree in pharmacy from a recognized university.

The bill is reflective of this new educational structure that is a prerequisite and a requirement for the licensing of pharmacists in the Province. It also provides for the continuing of the council that is a part of the Pharmaceutical Association. The council is really, I guess, the managing body within the association and they have regulatory making powers to the extent that they can make proposals. They are not effective, of course, until they come forward and are signed off by the Minister of Health or the Lieutenant-Governor in Council.

This new and improved bill seeks to have that continued in that manner. One of the other aspects of the bill is an improvement in the area of the disciplinary section. That section is that part of the bill which allows for people who have a complaint, I guess, or want to bring forward an objection or complaint under the act, with a view to disciplining those who practice pharmacy, can do so.

One of the improvements in this section of the bill has to do with a provision that not only allows for an appeal process by the pharmacist or the member constituent who was being disciplined, or sought to be disciplined, but there is also a provision for an appeal by one who lodges the complaint itself. That is a new provision in the act as well.

Another change or clarification that is being put forward in the act is to clarify the role and the ability of nurses to be able to dispense drugs, in certain situations, in the Province. Under the old act, the nurses are recognized as being an employee of government and, in certain rural situations, they were, and I guess still are, in a situation where they have to not prescribe drugs, but dispense drugs. Under the amendments that are being provided for here, nurses are being recognized as not an employee of government any longer but an employee of the various health care boards who are now the legal and legitimate employers of nurses. The act is being amended and changed to take care of that situation.

Another aspect of the amendments that are before us in this one is to add to the act, Part V, which really brings in under the pharmaceutical act the - it seeks to join under, to put under this act, the act that is known as the Generic Dispensing Of Drugs Act. Under the amendments or the changes being provided for here, the Generic Dispensing Of Drugs Act will be joined into and become part of An Act To Continue The Newfoundland Pharmaceutical Association, and it will be known as Part V of the act.

The act with respect to the dispensing of pharmaceutical drugs, of course, or the act with respect to how, and the responsibilities of pharmacists in terms of dispensing drugs, really requires pharmacists now to ensure that people who are -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. L. MATTHEWS: That is a drug.

- it requires pharmacists to take certain actions with respect to ensuring that people who are having prescriptions filled are understanding of the fact that where there are generic drugs on the market that can meet the need at a cheaper price, pharmacists are required to indicate that to people who are having their prescriptions taken care of. They are then, of course, able to go ahead and fill the prescription with a higher-priced drug providing they have given that information to the patient, if you like. As long as they know that they are paying more for a drug that is not a generic drug. It puts the onus of the requirement of responsibility to ensure that this happens, on the pharmacist who is dispensing the drugs.

To summarize, I guess, Mr. Speaker, the changes to the act that we have here really do four or five things. They really modernize the language; they change the educational requirement to a degree situation for somebody who wants to become licensed as a pharmacist; they enhance the disciplinary sections of the act to ensure that not only the person who is sought to be disciplined has a right to appeal, but the complainant also has a right to appeal if they are not happy with the decision; and it joins to the act the Generic Dispensing Of Drugs act as a new section, as a new part, to An Act To Continue The Newfoundland Pharmaceutical Association.

These are basically the main changes, the main provisions of the act. I would suggest that these are basically housekeeping items, non-controversial items, and items that the Legislature, the members of the House, should not have any difficulty with in terms of understanding why they are being brought in here, and the reasons for them.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Bill 5, "An Act To Continue The Newfoundland Pharmaceutical Association" - I think the aspects of the bill are very positive. In fact, I have no problem with continuing a Newfoundland Pharmaceutical Association. I have a problem with continuing the minister. Maybe we should discontinue the minister.

Over all, I don't think there is anything of concern. In fact, the question I ask is: Why wasn't it done previously? I think it was intended to be brought in in the spring session. I am sure the Pharmaceutical Association is eager to have this process through so they can get on and deal with things they need to address that would stem from this new revised act. I think it is positive, too, to get it under this act with the Generic Dispensing Of Drugs Act, to be able to repeal that and get it incorporated now into the Act To Continue The Newfoundland Pharmaceutical Act.

I don't see anything that would unduly prolong the passage of this bill here in the House, and with that I conclude my remarks on the bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Health. If he speaks now, he will close the debate.

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

The comments of the Member for Ferryland, my hon. critic over there, are most welcome. The brevity of them is noted and acknowledged, and the support that he lends to the amendments and the additions to the bill is also appreciated.

To answer the only question that he raised, why this was not done earlier, I can only say that it didn't get done earlier because -

DR. HULAN: You weren't the minister.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: My colleague tells me it didn't get done earlier because I wasn't the minister.

However, the circumstance is in front of us now where second reading is upon us, and I appreciate the support that the Opposition, the members on the other side, have expressed for the amendments as put forward by the hon. the Member for Ferryland.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Continue The Newfoundland Pharmaceutical Association," read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House on tomorrow. (Bill No. 5)

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, perhaps since we have run out of the two bills that we said we would do today, thanks to the most excellent co-operation by members on both sides, we might -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I shall remember it, I say to my friend.

- we might go into Committee rather than begin second reading debate on - I could offer my friends a choice.

AN HON. MEMBER: Second reading on 41.

MR. ROBERTS: Alright, second reading on Bill 41 then, the bill that stands in my name, Order 22, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order No. 22.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act Respecting Advance Health Care Directives And The Appointment Of Substitute Health Care Decision Makers". (Bill No. 41)

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

MR. ROBERTS: It stands in my name in a former life, Mr. Speaker, but I think, as a member of the Ministry, I am entitled to move a government order, and I will.

Mr. Speaker, I shall not -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I am sorry?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I shall not speak for long in opening the debate on this bill, but I do want to make two or three points which I believe will commend the bill to the House.

First of all, let me say that this bill is the product of a long and very thorough consultative and consultation process. It came originally from a paper developed by the Law Reform Commission, written in large part by Christopher Curran, who was then the executive director of the commission and is now a senior solicitor in the civil division of the Justice Department.

The Law Reform Commission's paper was made public several years ago, and there was a certain amount of discussion about it at the time. Subsequently, a committee was struck comprising representatives, among others, of the Newfoundland Hospital and Nursing Home Association - NHNHA - the Newfoundland Medical Association, the Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland -which is not the nursing union but is the nurses' certification body - and a number of private citizens with a deep interest in this field.

Among the people who took a very leading role in the work of that committee were two individuals who would be well known to members of the House: Dr. Harry Watts, who is the executive director of the Western Memorial Hospital in Corner Brook, and Sister Elizabeth Davis, who was, and I guess, still is, to be precise, the executive director or the chief executive officer of St. Clare's Mercy Hospital here in St. John's, and is the CEO-designate, I guess, of the new -

MR. L. MATTHEWS: She is the new CEO.

MR. ROBERTS: The new CEO, my friend, the Minister of Health reminds me, of the St. John's hospital, or whatever official name we are putting on the corporation which will operate and run all of the hospitals in St. John's.

Sister Elizabeth and Dr. Watts were very active in the work of developing this bill. They produced a discussion paper. They had a number of - I was going to say there were teleconferences. They were teleconferences by telephone as opposed to the teleconference by television, and there was a certain amount of input from people across the Province, as a result of which this bill was developed. That is the first point I would make.

The second point I would make, Mr. Speaker, is that this bill is a companion piece to legislation that was adopted in 1990, if memory serves me. I wasn't here in the House. I was downtown, moiling and toiling as a humble lawyer, if members on either side choose to believe that.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. ROBERTS: I realize, Mr. Speaker, there are those who say that a humble lawyer is an oxymoron in itself, such as Loyal Opposition, or what have you. In any event, when the companion legislation was adopted, I was not a member of this House, I was moiling and toiling at the Bar. For the benefit of my friends who may think there is more than one bar, I agree it is not the bar that some of them may know, it is the Bar at which we moil and toil downtown, the impecunious lawyers of Duckworth Street and Water Street.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. ROBERTS: Now, my friends are interrupting me.

MR. SULLIVAN: You said `Moxie moron', didn't you?

MR. ROBERTS: I have to say, Mr. Speaker, that example of wit from my friend, the Member for Ferryland is a big improvement over his usual style of wit. The trouble with my friend is, when he speaks he says what he thinks, and that is his problem. Your Honour, I must say, `Moxie moron' is not bad at all, but I did say `oxymoron', as in intelligent opposition - that is an oxymoron, too.

Now, Mr. Speaker, let me come back to the -

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible) compliment (inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I have to say to my friend, the Member for Ferryland, from me to him, that is a compliment.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I'm sorry?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: What I need to know is whether the hon. gentleman, the Member for Humber Valley grows his shirts on his farm or not. We have been watching on this side. His shirts are unique.

AN HON. MEMBER: They are.

MR. ROBERTS: They are unique. I asked one of my colleagues today where the hon. gentleman found his shirts. Because there are those who would like to have shirts like my friend, the Member for Humber Valley has. One of my colleagues said he thought perhaps they came from the Goodwill Centre. I felt that was a good thing, because it is a very good operation at that centre indeed. But another of my colleagues said: No, my friend, the Member for Humber Valley grows those up on his farm. When my friend rises to speak in this debate on advance health care directives, he could tell us.

MR. WINDSOR: Relevance, Mr. Speaker.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I say to my friend, the Member for Mount Pearl, relevance is a very valuable thing in debate. My friend, the Member for Humber Valley wanted to say something.

MR. WOODFORD: (Inaudible).

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. ROBERTS: I didn't hear him. It is hard to respond.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: He said there is something else they produce on their farm, and you are shooting it now.

MR. WOODFORD: There is something else we produce down on the farm and you are shooting it now.

MR. ROBERTS: My hon. friend, the Member for Humber Valley certainly knows that when he sees it. He is surrounded by it and produces it regularly.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Now, Your Honour, let me come back - my friend from Mount Pearl is pontificating - I did not hear him, I am sorry?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, any member who mixes it up in a debate in this House, as I have been known to on occasion, is bound to win some and lose some. My friend from Mount Pearl, after all these years, his turn to win will come soon but the mere fact that it has not for the last few years is neither here nor there.

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Now my friend from Humber East is getting into this. Mr. Speaker, they are interrupting my speaking notes. Mr. Speaker, the difference between my friend from Burin - Placentia West and myself is that I have to be on my feet to do that, he can do it sitting in his seat and does frequently.

Now, Your Honour, let me come back to the bill because it is a good piece of legislation and it is, in my view, worthy of support and I hope it will get support from all sides of the House.

In 1990 the House adopted a piece of legislation called the Enduring Power of Attorney Act and that act allows a person of age to make a declaration to appoint another person, also of age -

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: - let me finish here and I will deal with the hon. gentleman. It won't take me long to deal with him, it never does.

It allows a person to appoint another person to be an attorney and that changed the common law. The common law was that any one of us could appoint another as his or her attorney but if the appointing person lost the power of reason - supporting the Opposition for example, as my friend from Burin - Placentia West - then the fact that the appointing person had lost the power of reason voided the power of attorney.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Yes, my friend from Grand Bank - I mean there is a common misconception. People would come in - I did not do this kind of law downtown but others in the firm did - people would say: look, I want to make a power of attorney, I am getting old. I want to give my son or my daughter a power of attorney so that when I come to the point where I cannot make decisions about my property, depositing my old age pension cheque or whatever, my attorney can do it for me. A lawyer would have to say to his or her client in that case: I am sorry, if you make a power of attorney it is void at common law when you lose the power - actually it is the power to cancel. I mean if you lose the mental and the intellectual ability to cancel - well people say but that is why I need a power of attorney. My friend from Grand Bank and my friend from Ferryland acknowledge that, that is a common situation.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Well I agree, the noise - but the cheering from behind me on occasion overwhelms me.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. ROBERTS: Now, Mr. Speaker, the Enduring Power of Attorney Act changed the common law and it seems to have worked very well in the three or four years it has been there. One can now appoint someone to be an attorney and that survives incapacity, survives intellectual incapacity and that is a situation that many people wish to address.

This bill imports the same concept into the area of personal care directives, health care directives. It gives any person of age the right to do one of two things; either to make an advanced health care directive or to appoint someone else to be a substitute decision maker. Now that may sound like a stunning insight into the obvious but it is not. Let me speak on the substitute decision maker to show the kind of - there was a case decided in the Supreme Court a year or two past, I think it was Mr. Justice Derrick Green, of a lady - and I do not mind saying the name - it was a lady named Stung or Strung from Grand Bank or from somewhere on the Burin Peninsula who was a patient in a home. The lady - this is all in the law reports. One can read it, it is quite a public document - the lady developed a non-malignant cancerous problem that required medical treatment. She - as will happen to many of us - had come to the point in her life where she was no longer capable of taking decisions herself with respect to her care and that is not an uncommon situation. It is becoming, it would appear, more and more common that people often live to a time when they are not able to take these decisions - so this lady was in this position.

Now for a doctor, nurse or health care professional to give treatment without consent raises problems for that doctor or that health care professional. So quite properly they are most reluctant to do it except in an emergency situation where a different legal regime applies.

There was nobody who could give consent in this lady's behalf. Her only living kin as I recollect it was a brother or a half-brother who had himself come to the point in his life where he was no longer capable of giving these decisions, so the solution that was followed was an application was made to the trial division of the Supreme Court, having recourse to what is called the inherent jurisdiction of the court, and after hearing counsel representing all interests, the judge, and if memory serves me, it was Mr. Justice Green who was then stationed at the judicial centre in Grand Bank, now here in St. John's, he made an order allowing the treatment to be given and I understand, I enquired recently that the treatment was given, it was successful and the lady is alive and well and enjoying such quality of life as has been given to her, but it points up the difficulty.

Now this act will address that one of two ways. If one chooses to make a declaration then that will carry. The declaration can be one of two things; it can either be a declaration as to what one wants done or does not want done or it could be a declaration that another individual has the right to do it. I could appoint my friend from Burin - Placentia West; it is not likely but I could. I tell him I shall think about it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Yes. My friend from Ferryland is dead on, that should one not exercise the option, then the law will lay down an order of precedence to be followed. In that sense, it is not unlike the Intestate Succession Act. People would come in and say: do I have to make a will?.. and the answer is no; one does not have to make a will in this country, but your choice is not whether you make a will or not, your choice is whether you make your own will or whether you use the one the Legislature has provided in the form of the Intestate Succession Act.

People will say, very well, what does it say? You can tell them and they would say, well I prefer to make my own will. That analogy applies here. The bill in section 10, if memory serves me correctly, lays out in detail who has the power; one's spouse, then children, then parents, then siblings and so on down through and it also addresses the situation of more than one and how one addresses those practical elements.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the bill also contains provisions that address those who deal with this in good faith. If a doctor or a health care giver - and members will notice that health care professional is defined very broadly. It is intended to be and it is. A health care professional who acts in good faith pursuant to this legislation will not be held to account should it turn out that he or she has acted incorrectly, that is not only a right principle, it is a principle that we put into the law. Advanced health care directive has been defined very explicitly and let me make a point at this.

An individual will not have the right under this act to make an advance health care directive that is contrary to law. Now that is important. Many people are troubled by that concept. It is against the law in Canada today, to ask somebody to help you to commit suicide; it is against the law to ask somebody to help you to commit suicide. It is not against the law to kill yourself but it is against the law to ask somebody to help you to do it and there have been cases where that is common. I mean, the lady in Victoria, Rodrigues, whose case went to the Supreme Court of Canada, Sue Rodrigues, she asked, she was in perfect possession of her faculties but suffering from a physical condition which was causing her body to deteriorate, she made it quite clear she wanted help to commit suicide and the Supreme Court, in a most interesting 5/4 decision, a very difficult concept and the judgements are very good reading, the two judges who wrote, really did a superb job in my opinion; the Supreme Court by five to four held that she could not do that.

Now this bill would not authorize one to say to your spouse: when I get to the point where the cancer has overcome me or what have you, leave the cup of tea and the pill with it and I will take care of it, this bill will not allow that, nothing at all to do with it, this is not a moral judgement.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: It is not a Kevorkian, no; it imposes no moral judgements, it does not change the law of Canada. What it does say is that I can make a directive that there are to be no heroic measures taken to try to resuscitate me, or that if I come to the point where I am 89 in a year or two, and pneumonia is overcoming me, don't try all the fancy drugs or don't - I mean, since I have been dealing in this field I have heard from people who work in the field telling me about problems of elderly people who are ill, terribly ill, and you get to the point where, well, we will hook him up to a heart and lung machine and keep him going.

I have been told this by half a dozen separate people in separate conversations, Mr Speaker, a most astonishing phenomenon. Mother or dad is getting near the end and the family gather, and as with many families in this Province some live here and some live away. The people who are here, who have seen mother, have lived with her, and in many cases have been responsible for working and helping her, inevitably say, let her go decently and with dignity, but the ones from away, for whatever reason, say, hold on, if you can hook up the heart/lung machine - I see members nodding. They may have run into a similar situation or heard about it. This apparently is quite common with people who have not lived with their parents day by day.

I had an elderly aunt who died. She was seventy-eight when she died. She died of leukaemia, there is no secret about that, and in the last three or four months of her life she would tell me she was ready to die. She was in no pain, she was in no discomfort, she was fading, her mind was as bright as ever but she was ready to die. One could admire her courage and her faith and she died quietly and peacefully and with dignity.

Now, it would have been a travesty if somebody had said, well, we can pump this lady full of some kind of drug and keep her going for an extra two or three weeks, yet those things do happen. What this bill will do is allow a person in that position to make a declaration with all the proper safeguards that would prevent that happening.

I think it is a very fine piece of legislation, Mr. Speaker. I commend it to the House. I will not go on at greater length now but if there are questions I will try to respond to them, either at the conclusion of second reading or in committee, but I commend the bill to the House.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Well, Mr. Speaker, let me say there are a number on this side who are willing to take over being my decision maker, and then there are those on the other side who wish to do it, but I promise my friend for Burin - Placentia West that I will give his petition the consideration it deserves. I will give his petition the consideration it deserves, I will deal with it on its merits, and he will be high on the list of those whose application will be considered.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. ROBERTS: Just praying themselves. Pray or prey?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. ROBERTS: Lord have Murphy on me. That is not bad actually. I say to my friend for Burin - Placentia West he should have his friend for Placentia write more of his lines for him. It would be an improvement.

Your Honour, I commend the bill to the House and I move that it be read a second time.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I wish to express support for the principle of this bill, "An Act Respecting Advanced Health Care Directives." I think it is a progressive measure for the reasons outlined by the Government House Leader.

This bill, together with the earlier related legislation, The Enduring Powers Of Attorney Act, is largely a product of the work of the Law Reform Commission. While I am speaking in support of this bill I would like to, once again, express my disappointment that the government disbanded the Law Reform Commission. Perhaps the Premier, who is now responsible for justice, will take a look at reviving the commission which operated with a low budget, with just one full-time solicitor and had a board made up of judges and lawyers serving on a voluntary basis.

Mr. Speaker, this bill was just referred to the Social Services Legislation Review Committee and the Committee decided, in the usual way, to publish ads to let people know that their input is welcome. Depending on response from the public the Committee may have hearings and I would hope that government will allow that process, the committee process, to run its course before attempting to finalize debate on the bill.

At this second reading stage I would like to say that in my view this bill is a good measure. It is progressive. One of the features, I understand, distinguishes it from comparable legislation in other provinces, and that is the provision allowing somebody, when they are competent, in contemplating their future, to name a decision maker.

With those remarks, Mr. Speaker, I will take my seat and allow my colleague from Ferryland to -

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, he is not here. You have to keep going.

MS. VERGE: Oh, I have to keep going?

My colleague from Ferryland, our health critic, has taken a great deal of interest in this legislation, and I know that he wants to speak in the second reading debate.

Now I am getting signals that my friend from Mount Pearl is going to have a few words.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr Speaker.

I had not proposed to speak in this debate, although I fully support the bill, as does my colleague from Humber East. I think I have seen too many or heard of too many examples of people whose lives have been prolonged, in the knowledge of the family that if that person was able to make the right decision for himself or herself that he or she would not have wanted to have their life prolonged. I was moved by the comments made by the minister who introduced the bill.

To tell the story of any involvement that I have at this point in time, as a matter of fact, of a close friend of mine whose father is in that condition at this point in time, and it is a very difficult decision for the family - a very difficult decision for this friend of mine - made more difficult because some years ago my friend, in fact, had serious kidney problems and, in fact, had two kidney transplants, I believe, one from the father and one from a sister, that has enabled him to lead a normal life with continuous drugs, anti-rejection drugs, and things of that nature, but he received -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: Should have the right to decline treatment.

MR. WINDSOR: He should have the right.

The decision in this case was much more difficult because of that, very, very close to his father. In fact, his comment to me was: He is not like a son. In fact, he was a buddy. He was more a buddy of his father, and within the last month the father has become ill to the point where he is suffering greatly, has been suffering almost continually. He is not able to look after himself. He is losing his dignity. He is being looked after almost like a child, I am told - I have not seen him in this condition - and the family is having great difficulty in making a decision. In this case, the father now, one of the greater problems he has again is kidney problem, because he donated one of his kidneys to this son many years ago, so he is almost continually on dialysis.

Now, legally that decision, in this case, could be made, I say to the minister, because dialysis is not considered a life saving measure, or treatment, in the same sense as some other things are, like the removal of oxygen, or a heart machine or lung machine. Apparently dialysis is not considered -

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: It is.

MR. ROBERTS: Dialysis could go on for years and years.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I don't know if Hansard picks this up. If you want the minister to respond, I will certainly recognize him.

MR. WINDSOR: What the minister is saying to me is that dialysis can go on for years and years, and that is right.

I am told by my friend, and I think he is right; I am sure he is right, he has been advised by the doctors that they can stop the dialysis treatment and, within a matter of a week or two, perhaps, maybe less or maybe longer, nobody really knows, then the inevitable may well happen. In addition to that, he is receiving nutrition and other things that really are keeping him alive.

The son in this case, and I may be wrong but I believe the mother as well, has come to the difficult decision that it is time to let the gentleman die with some dignity, but I am told that some of the other members of the family, the sisters, have not been able to come to that decision.

I tell this story only because it emphasizes the plight of a family and the pressures that come on a family, the pressures, and in this case it is not a matter of any controversy between the family, but it is the pressure in trying to make that decision, when some of the members of the family have come to the point in time where they are content, that this is the right thing to do. In their own minds, they are at peace with that decision, they have made their choice. But, of course, as I suspect, hopefully most families would act - until all of the family are comfortable with that decision, it is not likely that the family would proceed with it. I suppose you could take the majority consensus but, certainly, if it were my family, I would want to know that all of my family were of one mind on the matter and that the decision was one that was unanimous, that everybody was comfortable with it.

Now, obviously, this piece of legislation takes that incredible pressure off the family, and I am sure there are cases - I don't think, in this particular case, it will be a problem but I am sure there are cases where family members have had such arguments over that decision that it has divided that family probably for many years, probably forever thereafter, and that is unfortunate. The real advantage of this particular piece of legislation, is that it allows the person most directly affected to make the decision.

I have said to my spouse many, many times, if at any point in time I become so incompetent that I am not able to think for myself, that I am of no value to myself or society generally, that I am now only a burden on society, that somebody has to care for me day and night - Mr. Speaker is smiling. There are some who will argue that I am to that stage at this point in time. You may or may not be correct, but at least I am able to stand here and defend myself against such unwarranted attacks from the Speaker.

Seriously, Mr. Speaker, to continue what I was saying, I have often said, and I feel very strongly, that if there is a point in time that I am no longer competent, then I would like to be allowed to die in dignity. I can say, Mr. Speaker, that my own father, when he died - he had a massive heart attack on Christmas Eve, in fact, no prior warning, very sudden, very tragic -

MR. ROBERTS: A nice way to go, though.

MR. WINDSOR: A very nice way to go; but this was on Christmas Eve and a very sad and stressful time for our family. When I received the call at my home in Mount Pearl that he had this attack and that he had been taken to hospital - when my mother described him to me on the way down as I was driving to get there, I said to myself - because of the description - I said if he lives he has brain damage. And my brother, too, there are only the two of us, we both agreed in the hospital that if that is the condition, we hope he is allowed to go now.

MR. ROBERTS: If he had the choice, that would have been the one.

MR. WINDSOR: If he had a choice - that is right - we both said he would not want to live like that. We would not want him to live like that, neither of us would want to live like that, and fortunately, in one way, he had already gone, in fact. It was so quick and so rapid, the advice we had from the medical people was that he was dead when he - a massive heart attack. He was getting into his car on Christmas Eve, loading Christmas presents to come to my house with them, and collapsed in the driveway. My friend from Mount Pearl had a very tragic happening with his own son, in fact, and that happened just as quickly, almost identically, and I am sure, at that time, he would have agreed that if the son were to -

MR. HODDER: (Inaudible) driving to the hospital.

MR. WINDSOR: That is right, yes. You made the decision, in your own mind, as you drove to the hospital, that if it is that bad then let it be done - better it be done quickly.

So I agree with this legislation wholeheartedly. I commend the minister for bringing it forward. It is long overdue and I am sure there are many, many families and many, many individuals out there who would like to have the legal right to choose. I for one, Mr. Speaker, will in due course, as quickly as possible, be putting in place a legal - a living will that gives directions as to what actions should be taken should I ever be as unfortunate as to be in that position. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. RAMSAY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

On the legislation before the House, Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to have a few words. It was a matter, I suppose - we all bring to the political fabric of the Province our own experience, and with respect to this issue, albeit, it was a situation that arose because of a young individual who had attempted suicide in my own electoral district, a situation where a friend was involved, and therefore, I ended up being involved.

Just to explain the story a little bit first, and then see how it would fit within the confines of this legislation - the individual was transferred from the Port aux Basques hospital with very little likelihood of recovery. This was a number of years ago now. And I was called by the family of the person some week or so later. Their daughter was on life support and they were interested in the possibility of having the life support disconnected. It was something that was difficult for me, and I made sure - I checked with the Department of Justice at the time to determine if, in fact, that could be done and, with the family's permission, spoke to the hospital administrators in order to determine if, in fact, this was the right thing.

The situation at the time was such that they could not, without reasonable prospect that the lady would not recover, that their daughter would not recover, justify here in our Province disconnecting her from life support because of the situation where she, being young, had no idea that she might have to face this situation, and therefore, they had no power of attorney to act on her behalf. Since we could not facilitate their request, they had many meetings with the medical staff of the hospital over the course of about a two-to-three-week period, and then it was determined that if, in fact, they had their daughter transferred to Ontario, they might then be able, because of the differences in legislation, to see to it that their daughter was disconnected from life support.

I managed to arrange, at the time, for transportation to Ontario. The Government of Ontario were willing to provide the medical transport for the individual. The girl's situation worsened. She appeared to worsen as far as her prospect for recovery in the hospital seemed, and then they made a decision here that they would remove her from life support. It was very difficult to know at the time, that this was going to happen, but surprisingly enough, as they prepared for doing this the next day, she then started to recover.

She recovered from the injuries, the self-inflicted injuries which were ones of expiration where she, what they call `ventilated' because of an overdose and, of course, the lungs were damaged and this sort of thing. And later on, she recovered and regained consciousness the next day. So you talk about the inherent possibility of danger in a piece of legislation that would have allowed me, as a politician, or doctors, to play, I suppose, `God' in a situation like that. It is possibly a rare case but it is a case that exemplifies it. There is always a potential problem with euthanasia, and I was very pleased that the situation had happened the way it had, that the system of protecting that individual's right to life by virtue of not allowing her to be disconnected from life support, eventually saved her life and allowed her to live, and once the plan had been initiated that she was then to be disconnected, that she recovered.

It is a heady experience to be involved in thinking that possibly as an elected official, and even the doctor, as medical personnel at the time, who may have been involved in disconnecting her earlier, maybe she would not have recovered at that time, and it makes you feel that the restrictive nature of the kind of legislation that is currently in existence, may in fact, have a sound basis for being in place.

Now, this one, of course, is advance health care directives, the appointment of substitute health care decision makers and is normally set out, I suppose, to allow others to make the decision for you should you develop what one would call a living will, one that would allow them to act on your behalf.

I think the right checks and balances have been inserted into this piece of legislation to ensure that others acting on your behalf take into account all of the necessary aspects to make sure that there is a possibility for recovery, and then the action will not be taken, but given the situation as described in the first part under the definitions describing the directive as a means - it means a document in which the maker sets out that the maker's instructions, or the maker's general principles, regarding his or her health care treatment, or in which a maker appoints a substitute decision maker, or both, someone who will substitute their decision making capability for yours in the event that you are incapacitated.

The careful nature of the different restrictions which I find in this legislation are such that we would have to be cognizant of the possibility, always the possibility of recovery, be it by strict physiological means, or potentially as some would have that the prayers of relatives and friends would be answered in a given case. In the case I mentioned and that I am familiar with, having experienced it, it is genuinely a case where had the situation evolved as the request of the parents had requested, basing it on their request for the life support system to be disconnected, there is a strong possibility that that life would be no longer.

I had the occasion actually while I was here in the House of Assembly two years ago to call home and find that my wife was sitting down chatting with this lady who had been in the hospital hooked up to life support. She had stored her furniture in part of our house, a garage area, and was there to pick it up. It was interesting, of course, because all medical personnel up to that point in time thought she would not recover and yet she had, so I just wanted to point out to the House that the nature of this kind of legislation allows others to make decisions for you if you have filled out a health care directive to that effect, but there is always the caution that there is a potential for recovery, and the legislation itself certainly puts in the right checks and balances to make sure that these efforts are undertaken, and to make sure that kind of thing does not happen.

Mr. Speaker, that is all I have to say on the legislation. Thank you, and I thank the House for the time.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

With reference to Bill 41, I think there are some very positive points indicated here in this bill. One positive point is that it gives the opportunity to take a decision out of the hands of the immediate family, in a sense, where no will is established, living will or whatever we want to call it. It is difficult on an immediate family, a spouse or a close family, to make a final decision on an immediate member, so it sort of takes that decision out there and puts it in the hands of the person, or has that prerogative to make a decision that would serve two purposes, to achieve their wishes, too, and be able to prevent the passing of that responsibility on to close members of the family. I think those are very positive aspects.

There are certain areas, things that might get a little difficult in carrying out, I think. It is not like a normal will, when a person dies. It is written, and the will is entrusted with somebody, an executor, who has certain responsibilities. In this instance, and maybe the minister, when he speaks on it later can mention, it is kind of difficult when somebody arrives at a hospital, whether in an emergency or whether it is due to a deteriorating illness, and a decision has to be made on who is going to be in possession, or the person who is appointed in possession of that directive, may not get that direction carried out in a short period, or an ensuing period. There may have to be a decision made within minutes, within an hour, within a few hours, and the person who has been appointed to make that decision, the availability, of course, it will go back through the regular system then, I guess, back to the next of kin or the professional person who is there, has to make that decision in the absence of any directive.

Maybe the minister could point out, when that directive is signed by the person who chooses to make the decision on his own, rather than appoint a substitute person to make that decision, it would be entrusted, I would assume, with somebody, that written directive similar to a will, and how that is going to get conveyed in an emergency situation or thereabouts. I don't see anything in the bill to deal with that, and I am sure the bill is probably not required to probably include that necessarily in that. Because that is incumbent I guess upon the person who is giving the directive to a particular person to see that it gets conveyed to the proper authority or to medical people there.

I know situations where it has happened, with people who have been terminally ill, and doctors have asked them in the case of an emergency situation or cardiac arrest: Would you want me to be able to do a 999 call to be able to revive that person? It did come in cases that I'm aware of - in two particular cases, in fact - as a kind of a shock to that patient who lay there wondering what the doctor meant by that. Had the person been informed, been aware, that they could produce a written directive or designate a substitute person to do that, it takes some of that out of that for them and it takes away some of the emotion and makes a decision on the best interest really of the person.

With resources in our system today - there are limited resources in our system. A person so chooses not to initiate certain directions there, and it is their wish. The system shouldn't be able to force it upon that individual. That individual should have that right to be able to make the decision. That is in the best interest not just of the person's wishes, but the best interest of the other person who may need that care, or somebody farther down the line. Because you can only move through our system so many people. Nobody would ever want a financial consideration to come in to the decision making, and it doesn't, but some people donate organs and donate numerous parts of the body to other people. Their intent, when they know they can no longer make a contribution, they may wish to be able to assist somebody else in the process. That has been duly done under organ donor programs and so on.

I think the intentions here are well intended. I think it is positive to take away that thought and that emotion from the final process in the family, and I think it would really help that individual to achieve their purpose and really assist the family too in being alleviated or removed from having to make that crucial decision when the time comes.

I think there are some positive things here in this. I don't see anything at all that infringes here, and the minister stated, upon whether it is assisted suicide, euthanasia, whatever. There is nothing that is in this bill at all that I've seen that makes any reference to that. It is completely not related in any way whatsoever. Just to exercise someone's right that they should have a right to be able to make that decision. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: If the hon. the Minister speaks now he will close the debate.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, if nobody else wishes to speak I -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: If my friend for St. John's East wishes to speak -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: Come on now, come on (inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: No. If my friend for St. John's East wants to speak I'm prepared to yield and we will come back another day. Thank you, Your Honour.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair has recognized the hon. the Member for St. John's East.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I know we only have a few minutes here this afternoon but I do want to speak on second reading of this bill.

I will not be in the House on Thursday due to other commitments so I want to say that I do support the introduction of this legislation. I think it is a timely legislation, it is a thoughtful piece of legislation but I do hope - and I do not know what the intentions of government are on this - that sufficient time will be given for the committee to whom this bill has been referred to have this matter discussed by people around the Province because I think it is a significant change. It involves a number of moral issues and I think we should get it right. I think the people of this Province would welcome this kind of legislation. There are plenty of individuals, religious groups who will want to have a careful look at it to make sure that we are doing it in the right way and providing the right safeguards there.

I know that, from my own personal experience, there are people who have very clear wishes about how they would like their medical care to be handled in the event of necessity. I believe that it is necessary to give an opportunity for those individuals and groups throughout this Province who want to have their say. I say that knowing that it causes considerable problems, Mr. Speaker. I will give you one example but I will not name the individuals involved

MR. SPEAKER: I think there has been agreement that we will stop the clock at 5:00 p.m.

MR. HARRIS: Just let me finish this example, Mr. Speaker, I will not keep the House unduly but you take for example an individual perhaps in a senior citizens home or nursing home who has very clear desires about not wanting to be - in the case of extreme circumstances, if they are going to die, wanting to die there in the home where they feel comfortable, where that person has their friends around them, whether it be the staff or other residents. If they know they are going to die they do not want to be taken out off to a hospital where they would feel removed from the circumstances where they feel comfortable and yet, Mr. Speaker, if the time comes, when a person in that circumstance either goes unconscious or goes into a coma or has difficulties, the home itself might feel compelled to take action to remove that person to a hospital for fear, Mr. Speaker, that by not doing that they may be accused of not properly looking after an individual.

That is the circumstance that we have right now, Mr. Speaker, and it puts the nursing homes in very extreme situations. It puts families in extreme situations. Even if that individual were to make his or her wishes known, Mr. Speaker, the staff would not really be able to act on that because somebody else could contradict it later and it may be that in these circumstances the family may have certain wishes but there may be a dispute in the family and there may be disagreement as to what those wishes are, therefore I think it is important that we put into place legislation of this nature but I think we have to get it right and if we are going to get it right we should use the committee system and do the kind of consultation - I know there is a lot that has been done so far by officials in the department, and I think a lot of effort has gone into it from that point of view, but I think before we commit ourselves to this kind of legislation, there ought to be adequate public discussion and opportunity for public input. I know the committee of which I am a member has already determined that they will ask for submissions from the public and I hope that the government will be allowing sufficient time for those responses to come in before committing ourselves to this bill.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: If the hon. minister speaks now, he closes the debate.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I am in the hands of the House, I will need possibly three or four minutes to respond to some points made, I will either adjourn the debate or conclude it as hon. members wish.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: You want to adjourn? I could wind it up and be done with it then.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Well, Mr. Speaker, in that case I will simply adjourn the debate and we will deal with it on Thursday or whatever, but let me make just one point to my friends from Humber East and St. John's East.

I understand from the Chair that the committee - my friend from Trinity North - that the committee has put a notice in the newspaper asking people to come forward. Let us see what comes, we will deal with it but the matter does not have to be called at Committee stage assuming it gets second reading for a week or two yet and that should allow opportunity for people to be heard.

I will say that I announced this, together with my friend the Minster of Health, two or three, no, maybe a month ago now, and made it clear that we would like people to come forward. I have not heard from anybody and as far as I know neither has my friend the Minister of Health, so I assume there is a measure of acceptance among those who put their mind to it, but there is still time. With that said, Sir, I will adjourn the debate and we will deal with it on Thursday and I thank hon. members for their assistance.

Mr. Speaker, the debate having been adjourned as I understand it is, Mr. Speaker, tomorrow we will be dealing with the motion that stands in the name of my friend from Twillingate, and that will be the first of two days in the debate on that motion.

With that said, Sir, I move the House do now adjourn.

On motion, the House at its rising adjourned until tomorrow, Wednesday at two o'clock in the afternoon.