March 31, 1995              HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS             Vol. XLII  No. 10


The House met at 9:00 a.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

Statements by Ministers

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In response to an issue raised yesterday in the House regarding the Workers' Compensation Appeal process, we are currently investigating the matter. If we discover overpayments have been made they will be recovered, and if we discover breaches of the Act, they will be dealt with in the appropriate manner.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. We are pleased to see that government is looking into this matter so quickly. To me it highlights that there is a great deal of concern on government's behalf about this matter, and I commend my colleague the Member for Kilbride for raising it.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Natural Resources.

DR. GIBBONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to inform my colleagues that the wildlife division of my department, working with the Newfoundland and Labrador Trapping Association, has developed a trapper education program for the Province. We are the last province in Canada to implement such a program.

This program includes a Province-wide delivery of a course which covers a variety of topics including: trapping techniques and sets; humane trapping and pelt preparation; wildlife management principles and regulations.

The first phase of this program will require all prospective first-time trappers and those who have not held a trapper's licence in the last three years to successfully complete the trapper education course. This course will now be a mandatory prerequisite for licencing by my department. This education program will also be phased in for existing active trappers in Newfoundland and Labrador who will eventually be required to complete a one-time trapper education program within the next very few years.

This initiative that I am announcing today is part of the commitment made by the Canadian wildlife ministers in an attempt to improve the way that trapping is carried out in all of Canada.

This program will fulfil the Newfoundland and Labrador commitment to humane trapping which is an important goal of all trapping organizations, including the Fur Institute of Canada.

I would like to express my department's appreciation to the Newfoundland and Labrador Trappers Association for their commitment to the development and advancement of trapper education in this Province. Their input will ensure the validity of trapping as a commercially viable industry in our Province.

Prospective first-time trappers, and those who have not held a trappers licence in the last three years will be required to complete the trapper education course in the next few months if they wish to apply for a trappers licence this fall, 1995. Additional information and details will be forthcoming from the wildlife division of my department and the trappers association.

The course is available now and people who are interested may contact my department or the trapper's association. The course itself will be presented through the trappers association.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, this course will greatly enhance the fur industry in this Province and provide individuals who are applying for a licence with a basic knowledge of humane fur bearer harvesting practices and regulations.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. TOBIN: It is not trapper Tobin I say to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology. By the accounts of the first Ministerial Statement here this morning it is trapper Byrne.

What the Minister has announced here this morning has the approval, the blessing, and the endorsement of the Newfoundland & Labrador Trapping Association who are going to be involved in the educational program, the same program, I am sure, that the government has developed in conjunction with other associations throughout the Province. This seems to be a very positive announcement by the minister and again I commend the Newfoundland and Labrador trapping Association for working with his department in bringing this about.

Oral Questions

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations indicated to the media outside, that because of the questions I raised in the House yesterday it was the first time he was aware that this was an issue. I ask the minister can he confirm that indeed yesterday, when I asked these questions, was the first time that he became aware that there may be a problem at the Workers' Compensation Review Division?

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

MR. MURPHY: The second supplementary, I think, that the member asked yesterday indicated that I was aware of his accusation that there was an overpayment and/or a case was paid for twice.

Now, let me ensure the hon. member, the House, and all hon. members that at no time did I have a meeting and/or discuss with the Chief Commissioner or any other commissioners the invoicing and anything subject to the invoicing, so I want to make that clear to the hon. member and his innuendo is totally incorrect and he should be more responsible.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, I need no lessons from the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations on what moral responsibility is. Let me ask the minister this, directly, and let me refresh his memory. The minister said yesterday to the media that: until yesterday, he had no knowledge, no knowledge, that no one brought it to his attention that these questions about double payments or overpayment had been brought to his attention.

Let me ask the minister: Isn't it a fact that on March 7, at 2:30 in the afternoon, representatives from the Newfoundland and Labrador Injured Workers Association, some of whom are present in the gallery this morning, met with the minister and in his office at that time also was the Chief Executive Officer of Workers' Compensation, Barbara Taichman, and a question was directly asked to the minister then: Do commissioners get paid for postponing a case and then get paid again for hearing that case, and the minister, at that meeting, my source tells me, said: Well, it is the first I have heard of it but I will check into it. Let me ask the minister: Can he confirm that and if he did meet with them and that question was asked, why didn't he check into it and why is he only checking into it today?

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The member is correct. I did meet with the injured workers with Mrs. Taichman and we dealt with a tremendous number of subjects, not specifically with -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible). ask you (inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: Not to my knowledge, I say to the member, not to my knowledge. I -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. MURPHY: Just a minute now, just relax please. I can only respond to what the hon. member said. We discussed many issues and I don't specifically remember that issue coming up and I say that in all honesty to the member, and you know, I have no records of it, we didn't have a tape recorder, I have no records of what was said but I can say to the member: no, no.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Well, Mr. Speaker, representatives from the Newfoundland and Labrador Injured Workers Association, who took minutes of that meeting certainly remember asking the minister a question and I would like to give the minister one more chance and ask him simply this: Did he meet or discuss at any time over the past several months with any of the commissioners, the issue about billing for postponements and then again billing for when the case was heard? Did he at any time meet or discuss with the commissioners that issue?

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I met with the Chief Commissioner, Mr. Gullage, on two occasions, I met with Commissioner Brace and Commissioner O'Brien, and at no time did the billing subject ever come up. The only issue that was ever dealt with was the caseload and how it was disbursed. I can honestly say that to the member and add nothing else to it.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, a question to the Minister of Education today. I will give the Minister of Finance a break this morning.

To the Minister of Education, Mr. Speaker: The Auditor General reports in her annual report this year that the University Act, as the minister knows, requires the University to submit an annual report to the Lieutenant-Governor in Council. The Auditor General points out that this, in fact, was not done in 1992-'93 and in 1993-'94 - that is two years that the University has failed to provide an annual report to Cabinet. In addition, Mr. Speaker, under the University Pension Act, the chairperson of the Board of Regents is required to report to the minister on the pension fund and the minister is required to table those reports in the House of Assembly. This was not done in 1993 and, to my knowledge, had not been done in 1994, although I understand a report has been provided. Would the minister like to tell us, since the Department of Education Act requires the minister to oversee all matters relating to the University and to report to the House of Assembly thereon, why were these annual reports not submitted to Cabinet as required? Why were the reports of the pension fund not tabled in the House? What action has the minister taken to correct this situation?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the University Act states that the University must prepare an annual report which it makes to government on an annual basis. I should tell the hon. member that the University has an audited statement done, an audited financial statement, which is a report, and that report is dealt with in the appropriate manner every year. As for the tabling in the House of Assembly, the pension report, Mr. Speaker, if that has not been done it has probably been just an error. We will rectify that as soon as possible and make that presentation to the House.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, let me advise the minister that an audited financial statement is totally different from an annual report which is an important part of the whole accountability process, Mr. Speaker. I remind the minister that the University gets $138 million in funding from the Province and is not accounting to this House of Assembly.

Mr. Speaker, let me ask the minister this: The Auditor General has been requesting additional information and, in trying to do her job, her responsibility to the House of Assembly as an officer of this House, has been asking the University for additional information in order to carry out an audit on the University. This has been going on since 1992 and the Auditor General, in fact, went to the Supreme Court and received a ruling there that she had not been provided with the information that - and she says in the report this year, `Since I have been denied access to documents necessary to carry out my duties as Auditor General, I am unable to commence my additional examination and investigation of the Memorial University of Newfoundland,' as is required by her Act.

Will the minister now direct the University to provide the information requested by the Auditor General, in accordance with the Memorial University Act and the Auditor General Act?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I don't know how the hon. member can ever conclude that the University is not accountable. We have in place a Board of Regents which is appointed by the Government of this Province. We have delegated to that Board of Regents, responsibility for the accountability of the $112 million that we put into the University, plus the money that we put into the health centre over there, so to say that there is no accountability is absolute, total nonsense. The hon. member knows that.

When we are not satisfied with the accountability that the Board of Regents is providing, then we will remove members, or the total Board of Regents, and replace them with other people. We have delegated our authority. It is all tied in with the concept of the institutional freedom, the academic freedom, that we want to see over there.

As for the matter about the Auditor General, there are three types of auditing. There is the auditing where the auditor will attest that an institution has done something. There is the type of auditing where the auditor will prove that the institution is in compliance with the act; do they tender properly, and so on and so forth. The other kind of auditing is comprehensive auditing, value for money, where the auditor gets involved in policy. Now, this might indeed be a very desirable type of auditing; however, it is not the kind of auditing that this Province requires of our Auditor General. It is not the kind of auditing that any other province in the country requires of their Auditors General. When we decide to give that kind of authority to the Auditor General, we will change the act accordingly.

The University is arguing, and I agree with that, that the kinds of questions the Auditor General is asking are questions which belong to a comprehensive audit - a totally different audit. Now, when it is proven to me that what the Auditor General is looking for is not the kinds of answers that will be provided in a comprehensive audit, then I will intervene. As of now, I am not satisfied that she is trying to do her audit as by her terms of reference.

The hon. member talks about the court case. The court case - it was assumed that the University was being treated as an agency of government. When we put the Auditor General's Act in place, we did inadvertently say that the University was an agency of government. It was not the intent of this government to have the University be an agency of government; consequently, we changed the Act. The University operates arm's length from government. That is our intent.

When we want to change that, which I suspect we never will, we will deal with it. Hon. members might want to have a University that they control: they control what is taught, they control who is admitted, they control. So the University becomes a farce in the world, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DECKER: The University of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and that is not what the University is going to be in this Province.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Supplementary, the hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I thought for a moment I was in church. The minister knows full well that it is not whether or not the Opposition wants the government to be accountable, it is whether or not the people, the taxpayers who provide $138 million a year to Memorial University, want the University to be accountable. I say to the minister that the Board of Regents is not accountable to the minister or to this House of Assembly, and therefore to the people. That is the whole problem here. It is the only agency or government-funded body in this Province that is not properly accounting to the House of Assembly, and through the House of Assembly to the people who are paying the bill. I say that is absolutely and totally unacceptable. It has nothing to do with academic freedom, as the president of the University likes to try to say: Oh, you are getting involved in academic freedom. Absolute nonsense.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. WINDSOR: That has absolutely nothing to do with it. We are talking about financial accountability.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I would like the member to ask a question at this point. Question?

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, it is not whether or not I have decided that the University has not provided enough information. The Auditor General as an officer of this House has reported -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. WINDSOR: - that the University is not providing the information.

MR. SPEAKER: Question.

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, will the minister -

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you.

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, Mr. Speaker, obviously I will get to the question. Will the minister direct the University now to comply with the request of the Auditor General? Will he direct that annual reports be submitted to Cabinet so that at least Cabinet, even though we disagree with the reports only going to Cabinet - they should be coming here - but the Cabinet doesn't even know. That minister is responsible to answer to this House for the University and he doesn't even have the annual reports. Will he now direct them to bring forth those reports, and will he bring forth an amendment to the legislation to require the University to be accountable to the House of Assembly and the people of this Province who are paying the tab?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. DECKER: The hon. member thought he was in church. I thought he was on the road to Damascus, Mr. Speaker. Talk about a change. Talk about accountability, when he slapped out $25 million on Sprung and would not even open the House of Assembly so we could ask questions about it. That is the road to Damascus, it is not church.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, nobody believes in accountability any more than this government. We practically invented the word. Every cent that is spent, we make sure that someone is accountable for it. We have put in place a process. We have respected a process which has been in place in this Province for many years, where we have delegated to the Board of Regents the responsibility to make sure that every dollar is accounted for. The Board of Regents submits to me its minutes after every single meeting which takes place on a monthly and in some places on a bi-monthly basis. I know more about what is going on in the Board of Regents than I know about what is going on in my own house. I know exactly what is going on there.

The independent audit. The University has an independent audit done every single year. Not by someone who the University goes out and says: Come in and tell us what we want to hear. The books are open. Every cent is accounted for. When that report is made to the University, that independent audit is made, the Auditor General has the right to take that audit and examine it. If she is not satisfied with some part of that audit then she can go back and ask for it and have it examined, explained why she has done it.

What the Auditor General has done, according to what the University is telling me, and I have no reason to disbelieve what the University is saying, the University is saying the questions that she is asking are questions that are concerned with policy. Whether or not they should have a certain policy, whether or not they should teach a certain course, whether or not the Senate should confer a certain degree. This is outside of her mandate. One of two things will happen. Either we will change her mandate, or she will comply with the law that the Auditor General has to abide by as everyone else does in this Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: The University is breaking the law.

MR. SPEAKER: I remind members there is only fifteen minutes left in Question Period. I am sure we will get another question answered.

The hon. the Member for Green Bay.

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I guess further to the notion of accountability, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, over the last number of months, has been quite prominent on the world stage. Indeed, while waiting my turn to speak on the Open Line on a matter pertaining to my district a little while ago, I was somewhat pleased to hear the minister call in from Tokyo to give a report on his latest travels with regard to the Province's EDGE legislation, but I would ask the minister specifically, with regard to the EDGE program, how many real jobs - because jobs are a very important subject to Newfoundlanders out there suffering under a 20-odd per cent unemployment rate, an official rate of 20-odd per cent - how many real jobs have so far been created through this much touted EDGE legislation?

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I guess the hon. member means real jobs as opposed to unreal jobs, the kind that were fabricated with Sprung.

Mr. Speaker, Canada Vodka Corporation propose to create twenty-one jobs. Lotek Industry, the second corporation under EDGE, proposes, over the next three years, to create thirty-two jobs. In the initial phase, I think, there are twenty-six jobs to be created. I noticed in The Evening Telegram just last week, they have advertised for four senior positions. The average salaries will be roughly around $30,000 to $40,000. That is pretty good performance, and they are real jobs.

We have also just approved two EDGE corporations, one who is joint ventured with a British group to bring in investment from Great Britain. The second is a group from the United States, which currently operates in the Province, and I will hopefully be in a position to announce those shortly.

The board also just met, on Tuesday past, on eight other applications. They have approved three of those. I hope to announce those in the near future as well. There are seven other applications which are pending, and there are twenty companies in discussion with the government currently. Real jobs, Mr. Speaker? Yes, they are real jobs, forty-one of them to date.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Green Bay.

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yes we have, I guess, in the Smallwood parlance, not one but several - we have tens of jobs coming out of the EDGE.

Mr. Speaker, while the minister, I guess, has been travelling the globe, and while other ministers and the Premier have been travelling the globe, in pursuit of this EDGE legislation initiative, we have lost a number of jobs in this Province in the aviation industry, well-paying jobs, I might add, as well, Air Canada telemarketing, Canadian Airline sales, Air Atlantic head office, the bottling facilities for Coca-Cola, and so on, well in excess of 100 jobs gone while the minister was travelling the globe.

I would ask the minister: What representation did he or his officials make to try and prevent these sorts of things from happening while he was away?

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

MR. FUREY: The hon. member continues to refer to travel. I don't know where he is coming from. I heard him thirty days ago on the radio saying the EDGE legislation is terrific stuff, but the minister has to now get out and aggressively promote it. Now either I get out and aggressively promote it, or I don't. I assume the hon. member was speaking honestly - I believe it was on KIXX Country Radio - where he said the minister is not out there enough; he is not travelling enough; he is not promoting enough.

Mr. Speaker, let me tell you about some of our companies in this Province. Little EDM Consultants, from the hon. Member for Humber Valley's District, let me tell you about them. They dared to step out on the international stage, and they captured a contract in the Caribbean, in Jamaica, to develop the airport there in Kingston for $12 million. We should commend them for that. They just signed a $3.5 million agreement with a joint venture out of Singapore, to do a waste water treatment plant in the Philippines. We should commend them for that.

Ultimateast Data Communications is doing a joint venture with Hong Kong Telecom, creating new jobs, exporting technology from Newfoundland.

Provincial Airlines, who have become the world's experts on coastal surveillance, is exporting their technology to Ireland. This is all new money coming into the economy, putting Newfoundlanders to work, and we should be very proud of it.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Green Bay, a final supplementary.

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yes, I do commend local companies for being very successful, but the people under questioning here are not local companies; it is this provincial government. Is the minister telling me that basically there is no system in place with regard to this government, that when the cat is away - in Tokyo or wherever - our mice are free to play on the mainland, is that what the minister is saying?

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member referred to the aviation industry. It wasn't this government, Mr. Speaker, that sent EPA out of the Province and the high tech jobs and the maintenance jobs that went across the pond, but I will say this to him, that Inter Provincial Airlines, yesterday announced ten new crew flights because they are creating and building their industry; that's expanding the economy, it's having confidence in ourselves and its building new jobs, Mr. Speaker, that's the record of this Government.

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

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This morning my question is to the Minister of Health.

With the formation of health boards, particularly the Avalon Health Care Institutional Board that was formed, that included Carbonear, Harbour Grace area, Lower Trinity, Whitbourne and Placentia, there was fair representation taken from those people and they made a joint board.

Minister, can you tell this House this morning, why there is no equal representation made on the Eastern Newfoundland Community Health Board?

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

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

I am not sure what the hon. member is trying to get at in that type of question.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible) you are playing politics with the Board, that's what he is talking about.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I am having trouble hearing the hon. minister.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: When the hon. member becomes the Minister of Health then he can answer the question otherwise I would appreciate it that he let me answer it.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible) play politics with health care (inaudible).

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: (Inaudible).

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

The boards that have been put in place and the restructuring of health care in the Province, have been put in place to cover off fairly large, regional, geographic areas and the hon. Member for Placentia just described a particular geographic configuration that is being taken care of by the new Eastern Health Care Board.

What was done in putting these boards in place, was an attempt to put a board together that gave regional representation on a geographic basis, gave some consideration to gender representation, gave some consideration to a community of interest that the individuals might have and the expertise that they might be able to bring to that type of board, and so, these are the types of considerations that were given to putting together the institutional health care boards and the community boards.

Now, when the member talks about equal representation, if he thinks that on a board of fifteen people that covers 150 communities every community can be represented, then he just doesn't acknowledge living in the real world. Every area of the Province on a geographic basis has some type of representation on all of the new boards, and if there happens to be a circumstance in the configuration of the eight or ten or twelve new boards we have put in place, an area that might have a perception that they do not have adequate representation, I am inviting them to just let me know that and at an appropriate time in the future, if and when a vacancy occurs we will see that the appropriate adjustments are made so that everybody has a level of comfort with the composition of the boards, that they will have the assurance that the board will be able to represent their interests and deliver health care in their region on a proper basis.

If the hon. Member for Placentia -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I must make a supplementary at this point.

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

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

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The minister should have known. I described easily in the former board which was taking care of the institutional, that is well represented, but it is the non-institutional, it is the community health boards which will take in health promotion, health protection, community care, mental health, drug dependency et cetera and God knows what else they will be doing in the future. The eastern side of Placentia Bay, Long Harbour, the Placentia area, the Cape Shore is not represented, while six people from the Lower Trinity, Conception Bay area are on the board out of fifteen. You told the board in Placentia and other representatives that when there is a vacancy - when there is a vacancy, they will consider putting someone on. That is not good enough, sir. That is not fairness and balance! That is not fairness and balance!

Mr. Speaker, there are 9,500 people to 10,000 people who are not going to be represented.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Get to the question.

MR. CAREEN: Mr. Speaker, I ask the minister, when is he going to do the right thing?

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

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

I want to tell the member that that is one of the marvellous pieces of board construction that was completed by my predecessor -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. L. MATTHEWS: - and it is an absolute work of art in terms of the people that he drew together to make up that board and I can tell you this, that there is no imbalance in that board that should cause the minister to have any concerns. If there are any vacancies coming up in the future that we can more equitably address a regional situation, we will be the first to do it. I would have to also inform this hon. House that members on the other side who talk about not being asked to give names for hospital boards, people who are saying I was not asked are simply admitting to their lack of diligence as members of the House in not having names in front of the minister so that he has a list to choose from when those vacancies come forward. Members on this side of the House write me on a regular basis and say: These are good people to be considered. People on this side of the House do not even take the initiative to put forward a name for the most part and when the board is appointed they are crying like babies and children. It is just an indication and the confirmation of your lack of diligence in doing your duty on behalf of your members.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is to the Minister for Health as well, Mr. Speaker. I would like to ask the minister what rationale was used when it was decided to take the home support services from the Department of Social Services and transfer it to the Department of Health and if there was any consultation done with the people involved?

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

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

The delivery of home support services and services to the mentally and physically disabled, as of April 1, are being transferred to the Department of Health and that is not something that happened quickly. Over the past year, with the evolution of the new community health care boards and after consultation between health and social services, it seemed to be the fit, proper and appropriate thing to have community based services become more and more the responsibility of the new community health care boards. In line and consistent with that approach to delivering these programs, the programs have been moved. The responsibility, the budget for the programs have been moved over to health as of April 1. So the moving of the programs is just a continuing evolution of trying to provide the appropriate service at the appropriate level by the appropriate people with the tools and resources to do so.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Social Services also transferred the sum of $20 million, I understand, over to the Department of Health with the transfer of that service. A service that cost the Department of Social Services last year, I think, in excess of $27 million. I ask the minister if this represents a $7 million shortfall or will this program be watered down and the level of services not be continued as it has been in the past?

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

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

The Department of Social Services did not transfer anything as such. Government made the decision that commencing April 1, 1995, the responsibility for the delivery of those programs would fall under the Department of Health. So, consistent with that, there had to be a budget put in place that seemed to be appropriate to cover the reasonable and fair cost of those programs and as a consequence, the figure of $20 million has been identified in our budget to deliver these variety of programs. Now in the $27 million that the member refers to, some of those dollars remain over in social services to cover some of the generic aspects of services that are delivered to those people that they were previously serving in a more holistic area. So it is incorrect and inaccurate to say that there has been a total reduction of $7 million or $8 million. Some of that money is still over in Social Services to do the generic side of the things that they do but for the more hands-on services that go into the homes and that sort of thing, the responsibility has come to health and that is the basis on which the programs will go forward in the future.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The time for Oral Questions has elapsed.

On behalf of hon. members I would like to welcome to the House of Assembly six pathfinder students from the Newfoundland Career Academy, and also fifteen ABE students from the Seal Cove campus of Cabot College in Harbour Main district, accompanied by their instructor, Genevieve Murphy.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Orders of the Day

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, there are one or two procedural matters. The government earlier made it known that if the House does not grant Interim Supply today, this being the last day of the fiscal year -

MR. W. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible)

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. friend for Grand Bank is correct, as I advised the House, we are in the position where we cannot release the pay checks, and, of course, we shall not release them. Now, I do not expect we will need to sit beyond noon, but if in the event we might decide as a House we want to, let me first of all move that the House not adjourn at noon today.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that the House do not adjourn today at noon, carried.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, yesterday I gave notice of a motion which stands as number two on the Order Paper today. It is a motion with respect to a Private Members' Day standing order. Now, it is my understanding that this represents an agreement among, if not every member of the House, almost every member of the House, and I shall call it for debate with that thought in mind. I do want to advise the House that if it becomes obvious that members wish to debate it, as we have every right to do, then I shall arrange to have the debate adjourned so that we can return to the Interim Supply Bill.

With that said I would ask if Your Honour would be good enough to call Motion 2, please?

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 2 (a) is a lengthy motion and I am sure the House does not want me to read it. It is on the Order Paper.

The hon. the Member for Twillingate.

MR. CARTER: Would you mind repeating, Mr. Speaker, what is the intent of this resolution this morning? I did not hear it and I am sure my colleagues here did not hear it either. There is too much noise.

MR. SPEAKER: I do not think the hon. Government House Leader spoke about the intent of it. He said he wanted to bring it up for discussion and if it did not pass in short order he might adjourn the debate to get on with Interim Supply. I ask the hon. Government House Leader if he wishes to clarify it

MR. ROBERTS: That in fact is what I did say. I say to my friend for Twillingate, or others who might not have been able to hear me, my understanding is that this motion represents an agreement to which almost all, or perhaps all members of the House, subscribe, but I do not know that to be the case. If it is not the case I shall introduce the motion and then we will hear a speaker, or two or three, and if there are other members who wish to speak I shall then arrange to have the debate adjourned and we will come back to it another time.

The important business of the day is to get the Interim Supply motion through, but it was, perhaps is, my understanding that this is a consensus among members on both sides, but if members want more time to discuss it then, of course, I am in the hands of the House.

I now proceed to introduce it, if I may, Sir.

MR. SPEAKER: Yes.

The hon. Government House Leader speaking to the motion.

MR. ROBERTS: The motion would amend Standing Orders in two respects. The first respect was set out in Part (b) of the motion as it stands on the Order Paper and that is simply to implement formally the change with respect to sitting hours that have been in effect for, I guess, six or seven years now, and in my understanding represent a consensus among all members of the House. We have not done it before simply because we have not had occasion to do it before. I do not think it is controversial so I will say no more about it.

The change, if adopted, would implement formally the arrangements which have been in effect informally by consensus. I should add that any member at any time can withdraw a consensus and that could cause difficulties because members make their plans on the basis of the House meeting at 2:00 o'clock, adjourning in the usual course at 5:00 o'clock, and meeting at 9:00 o'clock on Friday morning and adjourning in the usual course at noon. I do not think it is necessarily a very desirable thing to have a situation where any one member, for whatever reason at any time, could exercise his or her right and simply disrupt the other fifty-one of us.

Now, Your Honour, that brings me on to the first part of the motion which stands in number (a) and that would replace the present Standing Order and substitute for the present Standing Order, 53.1 a new 53.1. I will not run through it in any detail, Your Honour. It was drafted by the table clerks in the usual way and it implements with one exception, which I shall refer to, it implements what I understand to have been the arrangement that was in effect in the House from the post 1989 election session, the first session of whatever general assembly that was, the 40th or 41st, whatever it was, and was in effect until last June when a member exercising his right withdrew the consent. That is fine.

The effect of withdrawing the consent was to put us back under the old rules. I believe there is a consensus among the members that that is not where we want to be, that that is not a procedure we wish to follow. So the only way to change that is either to change the rules formally, as I now propose, or to be in a situation where every week we need unanimous consent. That again puts the entire House in the gift of any one of us. I don't think that is proper, Your Honour, with respect. I don't think any one of us has the right to have that kind of arbitrary power. So I suggested a rule change.

It will take two-thirds of us to make a change in the rules. Not two-thirds of those present and voting; but two-thirds of the members of the House, as I understand the House of Assembly act, must vote in favour of a rule change before we can effect that change. So it will take, if there is a division, thirty-five members unless my arithmetic has failed me completely.

The new 53.1 represents the arrangement which has been in effect. First of all, I will just refer to each subclause. Subclause (1) makes it clear that the motions are to be called alternately between the members sitting to Your Honour's left and the members sitting to Your Honour's right. Secondly, we are formalizing a custom that I believe has grown up over the years, and which I believe to be a correct one, that the first motion in any new session will go to a member who sits to Your Honour's right, sitting in the Opposition side of the House.

The third subclause is the procedural thing, that somebody has to indicate to the House which motion is to be called, if there is more than one standing on the Order Paper of which notice has been given, and that is vested in the two House Leaders: the one sitting here speaking for the government, the one sitting opposite to me speaking for the loyal, the Official Opposition.

Subclause (4) provides again the arrangement that we only debate a motion for one day. The House could extend that if we wish or we could have a similar motion for another day, but the normal practice has been one day only, and then the debate comes to a close and it is put to a vote. That is what subclause (4) does.

Subclause (5) implements the change that has been agreed to twice since this session began, and that is that the normal rule that a person may speak for twenty minutes on a private member's motion is varied, and instead a member may speak for only fifteen minutes. The mover has fifteen minutes to open and fifteen minutes to close. Everybody else gets fifteen minutes. I believe the feeling is (a) fifteen minutes is long enough to make one's points, and (b) it allows more members to get into the debate.

Subclause (6) simply crystallizes or incorporates the right of the mover to close the debate, makes that clear. Subclause (7) is addressed to the situation that grew up during the years when Mr. Moores was premier, if I recollect, when Private Members' Day could be frustrated either by government or by Opposition by a combination of ministerial statements and petitions.

MR. FUREY: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: My hon. friend for St. Barbe reminds me, said about the pension years. I guess that was before 649 so you had to have a pension in those days, I would say to him. Try again, Chuck.

That brings me to -

MR. FUREY: (Inaudible) last time you will come out to dinner (inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: That is my last dinner invitation from my friend the minister, I understand. Fortunately his spouse will I hope be kind enough, and that is the reason I go for dinner with you anyway.

Your Honour, that brings me to subclause (8). Subclause (8) is an attempt to incorporate into the rules a degree of fairness, and to recognize that there may from time to time be situations such as the one that we now have. Where we have an Official Opposition that is made up I believe of sixteen members, and we have one member who happens to be a leader of a party, but in the parliamentary sense sits solely as an independent. We have no rule as to where a party is recognized, though I believe there is some precedence that two or three members taken together in the name of our Lord will be called a party for certain parliamentary purposes. But the Standing Orders are I understand silent on the point.

They are clear, or the practice is clear, that one member sitting by himself or herself does not constitute a party. I think most of us - even my friend for St. John's East, I venture to suggest - would concur that one person should not be a party. When he can return -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: He wouldn't agree with that.

MR. HARRIS: I don't agree with that.

MR. ROBERTS: My hon. friend wouldn't agree with that. I am disappointed then, because he is letting his partisan feelings get in the way of logic, reason and good sense, but sobeit.

What we suggest to Your Honour in subsection (8) is that Your Honour, who has an obligation to decide which motions are to be called, will take due heed of the proportionality of the members sitting on the other side. The effect of the rule is written, if for example there are twenty members - to take an easy number - sitting to Your Honour's right, and two of them were sitting as independents, that one out of every ten motions to be called during the Opposition's regular bi-weekly turn would be a motion moved by hon. members opposite. Now, there are other ways to do that but, in my view, this is an appropriate way and accordingly we put it forward.

MR. FITZGERALD: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, the threats of the ilk from the gentleman from Bonavista South neither move me nor unmove me. I would say we will get Interim Supply when the House chooses to give it to us, and unlike the party of which he is part, we believe that the House should vote Supply. The party of which he is part spent $24 million on the Sprung thing and never once brought it to the House of Assembly, in fact, refused to open the House. So I simply say to him, he should hang his head in shame and the gentleman from Baie Verte should hang his head in shame with him.

AN HON. MEMBER: What about Churchill?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: He wasn't in this House when Sprung was done.

MR. ROBERTS: Now, Your Honour, the hon. gentleman may not have been in the House when Sprung was done but he will be long gone before Sprung is paid for. We will all be long gone before Sprung is paid for; $24 million forever is one devil of a lot of money.

MR. TOBIN: You were in the House when Churchill Falls was given away.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I don't understand why a perfectly innocuous speech prompts hon. gentlemen opposite to this display of vitriol.

Now, Your Honour, let me just make one other comment. This arrangement represents what I understand to be the consensus of the group who sit to Your Honour's left, of which I am part, and what I am told is the consensus of the view of those who sit to Your Honour right, of whom I am not a part. I believe and I accept the assurances given to me by their spokespersons but I cannot speak with any knowledge beyond that, of course.

There are other ways to achieve this, one could, for example, do as my friend, the Member for St. John's East suggested in a motion he brought yesterday, one could draw by lots. Some Parliaments, I believe, I say to my friends, the members for Terra Nova and for Bonavista North, do draw lots as to which motion comes up. Others have a practice not unlike the one that we have had in this House, which is simply precedence on the Order Paper, and that led to the spectacle we used to see on opening day, whether it would be twenty or thirty motions down.

I believe, the present practice, which acknowledges the duality of the House, acknowledges the fact that there is one group who sit to Your Honour's left and support the ministry and one group who sit to Your Honour's right and who oppose the ministry, but that is an appropriate parliamentary practice. We have taken what I believe to be adequate, proper and sufficient measures to ensure that the lone Member for St. John's East, as is now the case, or any other lone member who sits, not as part of the Opposition, but as an independent - that he/she has an adequate and fair opportunity proportionally to have a motion brought forward and to determine the subject for debate.

With that said, Sir, I move that the motion be adopted.

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

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

I just want to make just a few brief comments on the motion. I basically have no difficulty with what the Government House Leader is proposing here. We have discussed it. It really incorporates what we have done for the last five or six years except, as the Government House Leader said, when the thing fell apart a little while ago when, I guess, some private members felt that they were not getting a fair chance to participate in Private Members' Day, to have their private members' resolution debated and that was a fair concern, because it is Private Members' Day. We cannot forget what the day is on Wednesday, it is Private Members' Day.

So this basically incorporates it and changes the Standing Orders to accommodate that, which I have no difficulty with. The only thing, I say to the Government House Leader, the only point that probably will cause some concern, I guess, is subsection (8). We don't have any problem with that because, with all due respect to the Member for St. John's East, he shouldn't get any more than his fair share of opportunities to present private members' motions, which this will enable him to do. Of course, I guess in the final analysis the responsibility rests with the Speaker, with Your Honour, which is fair enough. I have no difficulty with that.

What I sense happening on the floor of this House this morning, just looking around, I say to the Government House Leader, I think that the biggest concern may be with the government's private members, and I don't know why it is. All I can say for our situation, what we do as a caucus, is that we decide amongst the full caucus what Private Members' resolution we will give notice of on the Monday that we will debate on the Wednesday which is ours; so we operate as a caucus. So the one that is announced on Monday -

AN HON. MEMBER: We are a team.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, it is a team approach. That is the way we operate.

I don't know; perhaps I am wrong, but I sense that there may be some concern on the other side. I don't know if the government operates the same way, and I guess they are a little bit -

AN HON. MEMBER: We do.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You do? Well, then, there should not be a problem. The only one I can see having any concerns at all, if that is the case, might be the Member for St. John's East, but I can't even see him having one really, if he is going to get his fair share of the seventeen of us who are now on this side. If he is going to get his chance like the rest of us, I can't see why there would be a problem with this, and I think it's time that we cleared it up, changed the Standing Orders, and not get back to what we were years ago, and what we were back a few months ago when the whole thing fell apart. We were here for two days debating a Private Members' resolution, which I think is utter nonsense, absolutely no need of it.

DR. KITCHEN: It was a good resolution.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, perhaps it was, I am not denying that. It was a good resolution, but it could have been dealt with in one day, I say to the Member for St. John's Centre; so I support the motion, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I, as the House knows, placed the Private Members' resolution on the Order Paper by giving notice yesterday, and later on in the afternoon the Government House Leader, by the unanimous consent of those present at the time, introduced this Notice of Motion for this to be debated today, and done today before, I think, hon. members have really had a chance to consider the motion that I presented, although I did provide copies to all hon. members yesterday afternoon by having them distributed to their desks in the House.

I would like to speak to this, because I think my motion intends to change the orders, which I think everybody agrees have to be changed, because the orders, as they stand, are unworkable and are inconsistent with the practice of the House, but my motion was designed to have a Private Members' Day that was truly a Private Members' Day, not a caucus day for the Opposition, or a government motion's day for the government, where motions would be chosen on the basis of government policy, or an Opposition agenda. And I have no difficulty with both the government side and the Official Opposition side having their political agendas that they could use any tactics for, but that can be taken care of by an Opposition day, and by having specific Opposition days for Opposition motions.

The government, as can be seen by today's motion, can bring a motion any time they like. All the Government House Leader has to do is get up in the House and say: I am going to put a motion for the House for tomorrow, or for the next day, sometimes by unanimous consent, or otherwise by just giving a regular Notice of Motion, and the government can debate any motion it wants - any motion it wants.

AN HON. MEMBER: Like they did with the Premier's motion.

MR. HARRIS: Like they did with the Premier's motion, or at any time, even without unanimous consent. So I don't see why Private Member's Day should be hijacked by the government, or by the government caucus for that matter, or by the Opposition caucus.

With all due respect, I understand what the Opposition House Leader has said. I understand that there are co-operative efforts in caucus with tactics for Opposition and that sort of thing. I have been in larger caucuses than this, I say to hon. members, and I do know how caucuses work when you have to have consensus amongst members. I don't have any difficulty with consensus.

So my motion that I put before the House was an attempt to incorporate the practices of this House with the notion of truly having a Private Members' resolution, because a private member on the Opposition, whether it be Official Opposition or otherwise, may have a resolution that the other members of that caucus don't agree with, don't support, and yet, that Opposition member has the right, on behalf of his or her constituents, to put a resolution to the House and seek the word of the House on that resolution, and then similarly on the other side. There may be a government back-bencher, or even a Cabinet minister - although they don't normally participate in private members' business, because they have Cabinet solidarity and the Cabinet process to help them - but there may be an Opposition back-bencher who has a resolution that his or her caucus members don't agree with. Is that person disentitled as a private member to present a resolution to the House? With this rule, they are disentitled. They can put them on the Order Paper but they can't have them debated and they can't have a vote on them. So I think that is fundamentally unfair.

There may well be a consensus between the Opposition House Leader and the Government House Leader as to the changes in the rule incorporating the status quo essentially, with one exception. But I don't know if -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: I will get to that exception in a moment. But incorporating the status quo ante, we will say, the status quo before people realized that you could use unanimous consent to foil the efforts of Government House Leaders or Opposition House Leaders. I think, to incorporate it into a rule deprives individual members of an opportunity of playing a more significant role in the House of Assembly.

Each Parliament, Mr. Speaker, has Private Members' days or Private Members' opportunities. This would essentially deprive this House of a real Private Members' Day and make it - every Wednesday would be either an Opposition day or a government motion day. I think that would be unnecessary to meet the needs of Parliament and unnecessarily deprive the private members of the right to play a role.

So, first of all, I think we are going too quickly into this as a result of the Government House Leader getting unanimous consent around 4:00 p.m. yesterday to introduce this resolution. To have it debated and over with this morning, is what he wants.

MR. TOBIN: Why did you give it?

MR. HARRIS: I didn't give it, I say to the Member for Burin - Placentia West. I wasn't here at the time, and perhaps the hon. the Government House Leader brought it in when he knew I wasn't here. He probably wouldn't have brought it in if he had known I was here.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, that was unworthy of the hon. gentleman, it isn't even true. If the hon. gentleman doesn't attend the House (inaudible) when things happen without him (inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Don't get me wrong, I say, Mr. Speaker, I'm not whining at all, I'm just stating the facts. The unanimous consent was sought when I wasn't at my seat in the House and the Member for Burin - Placentia West was wondering why I gave unanimous consent. I said that I wasn't participating in that particular unanimous consent. But I say this is a very speedy dispatch of a major change in the rules of the House. I think hon. members on both sides of the House perhaps might want to take another few days to consider whether or not it is a good time to change the rule and have a true Private Members' Day.

As to the exception that is included in this, I don't think it adequately addresses the private member's role. If I may explain my own motion for a moment to hon. members who haven't had a chance to read it yet, it would provide for a lottery system where any motions on the floor on the Monday prior to Wednesday would have an opportunity to have their particular resolution chosen for debate on Wednesday. That would go equally on both sides of the House. Every third Wednesday I think or every fourth Wednesday would be an Opposition day - that could be every third Wednesday, it doesn't matter to me - to give the Official Opposition a chance to have Opposition motions. There is no need for government motions on the Wednesday. Every member on both sides of the House would have an equal opportunity, as private members, to have their motions heard.

Therein is the flaw with subclause (8). The flaw with subclause (8) is that, first of all, it is a contradiction. There is a contradiction between subclause (3) and subclause (8). Because subclause (3) gives the right to either the Government House Leader or the Opposition House Leader to announce to the House the private member's motion to be debated. Now, how can that stand along with subclause (8) which says that the Speaker, in recognizing motions, shall ensure that motions made by Opposition members who do not sit with the official Opposition are called for debate in proportion to the number of members of all Opposition members in the House? How can the Speaker do that if Rule 3 requires the Opposition House Leader to designate the motion?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, I don't.

MR. HARRIS: I don't see how both of those can stand together. If what the Opposition House Leader says is true with this rule here, and let us take the current circumstances, that I would have an equal opportunity, along with other members in the Opposition, to have a motion debated, that sounds great in theory, but let's look at the practice of seventeen people on this side of the House, Mr. Speaker. When was the last time this House sat for thirty-four weeks in a particular session? The person who has been here the longest may be able to answer that. I don't know if the Member for Bonavista North, the Government House Leader, or perhaps the Member for Twillingate, who has been here and there, and here again, could tell us? How many times has this House sat for thirty-four weeks in a session?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Never. Let's do it this time.

MR. HARRIS: Never, and if we do it this time perhaps the Member for St. John's East might get his motion heard after everybody in the Opposition who wants to have their motion heard.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You don't have to be last.

MR. HARRIS: No, you don't have to be last, you don't have to be first, you don't have to be there at all, I say to the hon. member, if the session doesn't last for thirty-four weeks, because there won't be seventeen Opposition days. I say to hon. members that the Government House Leader has obtained a cleverly worded Clause 8 from the Clerk, whom I don't blame for this. I don't blame the Clerk for the wording. The Clerk was only performing his duty. The policy and the intent was set by the Government House Leader. In reality, this doesn't provide any guarantee at all for individual members of the Opposition who don't happen to sit with the Official Opposition. Whether they are a party or not, I say to the Government House Leader, is irrelevant in this context - whether they are a party or not.

There could be twelve members of the New Democratic Party sitting in the House and thirteen in the Official Opposition - the Official Opposition Liberal or Official Opposition Tories - and there would be no right of the third party with ten or twelve members to have a particular motion called on a particular day. That wouldn't be the right at all. So I don't think Clause 8 is really a workable rule. It looks good on paper but when you think about how it actually operates there is a conflict there between what the Speaker's rights are and those of the Opposition House Leader.

There may be other hon. members on either side of the House who want to comment on these relative differences in the motion, the motion here to incorporate the status quo which, in my view, makes it no longer a true Private Members' Day, and an opportunity for the individual members, or caucuses, to consider the possibility at this time of changing the rules to permit a Private Members' Day to actually exist. I would rather take my chances on a lottery, I say to hon. members.

MR. SHELLEY: There is nothing wrong with that.

MR. HARRIS: `There is nothing wrong with that,' says the hon. the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay, and I imagine the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology would agree with him. I would rather put my chances on a lottery to get my Private Member's motion heard because that means if there are five, six, or ten Private Member's motions on the Order Paper, I would have one chance in six, and if all back-benchers and all Opposition members all had motions on the Order Paper at any one time they would have an equal chance, too. So it is a lottery amongst those who wish to have motions debated. That would be far more preferable, in my view, than one that is controlled in the manner suggested here.

I ask hon. members to consider that and consider a request to postpone this matter for a week so that caucuses could have an opportunity to consider this motion.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, it is not my intention to delay proceedings here this morning. I realize that we are operating under certain time constraints with respect to Supply, and I must apologize; up until the time the hon. House Leader rose in his place to propose the motion, quite frankly, I had no idea what was going on. I wasn't here yesterday afternoon when notice was given and I had not received a copy of the routine proceedings up until that time, so the hon. gentleman's comments came as a complete surprise.

I am not against making changes, Mr. Speaker, to the procedure with respect to Private Members' resolutions. We all realize that the practice followed prior to 1989 was totally impractical. In fact, it was somewhat embarrassing on opening day when we had the center part of the Chamber here filled with dignitaries of state and church, and eighteen or twenty or fifteen members bobbing up and down like yo-yos, trying to get their Private Members' resolutions on the Order Paper.

I have more than a passing interest, Mr. Speaker, in Private Members' resolutions and the procedure that's followed in selecting the resolution to be debated. I am the - I suppose, you could call me the culprit, who last Fall, foiled the system that prevailed in the House after 1989, and I did that for a very good reason; I make no apology for doing that. I had on the Order Paper what I considered to be a very important Private Members' resolution and subsequent events proved, Mr. Speaker, that the resolution itself was a good one, in that the government, in fact, pretty well adopted what my resolution was intended to do. So that proves, I think, beyond doubt, that the Private Members' resolution I was anxious to have debated was not a frivolous resolution it was a very important one, and if I hadn't taken the action I did, I don't think my resolution would have been debated, and who knows, it might well be that today we would be seeing garbage being trucked in to Baie Verte or to Long Harbour. That's very much a possibility, so I have more than a passing interest in this whole procedure.

What worries me, and it caused me a lot of concern last Fall. In fact, my actions last Fall came close to having me expelled from caucus, and I think that's a matter of public knowledge. In fact, the newspapers of the day carried the story.

So I think it is very important and I think the procedure followed in selecting the Private Members' resolution is equally important, because I view the role of a Private Member in this House, now that I am one - in fact, I started off as a Private Member back in the early 1960s - I view the role of a Private Member as being a very important one and I am probably as guilty as the others who, as a minister maybe, didn't pay enough attention to the role of a Private Member and maybe was a little bit too insensitive to their roles and to their problems. I plead guilty to that and I am sure other ministers here, former ministers will probably have to say the same thing. But I view the role of a Private Member as being a very important function and I will not subscribe to any action in this House that will jeopardize the role of a true Private Member.

Now, what bothers me, and I suppose this is a matter that must be debated within caucus, is how the resolutions are selected. A Private Member in this House - and it is happening all over; I have read copies of the MCGrath report, for example, it was commissioned in the House of Commons back in, I think, 1983 or 1985 - the Member for St. John East is nodding - I think it was 1985, when it was found necessary - no, December 5, 1984, when the government of the day in Ottawa recognized the need for change and they commissioned a study into the whole proceedings of the House of Commons. Our Newfoundlander, the hon. Jim McGrath, was noted for being probably one of the best parliamentarians in the House of Commons, certainly in those days, and I think the Member for St. John's East will have to agree to that. Jim McGrath was looked upon as being one of the top orators in the House of Commons in that period, and certainly a very effective orator and a man who knew the rules, I would say maybe not as well as Stanley Knowles, but certainly he came close to it. Jim McGrath was selected by his government at the time, by the then-Prime Minister, to undertake a thorough study into all matters pertaining to the procedures in the House of Commons.

Mr. McGrath and his committee submitted their report in 1985, and it was adopted by the House of Commons. The McGrath report was adopted.

Mr. Speaker, it made some very interesting observations as to the role of a private member. Private members' resolutions, contrary to what some people might think, do not threaten the government. They do not threaten a government's existence or a right to govern. It is purely, as the title implies, a private member's resolution that is presented by a private member on behalf of his or her constituents on a matter or on matters of extreme importance. For that reason, I think it is awfully important that everything possible be done to ensure that the rights of private members are protected, and that they are not impeded in any way, shape or form by house leaders on either side or anybody else.

I realize that is an issue that must be debated and decided on within caucus. I have no quarrel with most of the recommendations contained in the resolution presented here this morning with respect to the duration of speeches and the custom of alternating back and forth. Again I repeat, Mr. Speaker, we have to be sure that the rights of private members are protected and that nothing is done to impede their rights as private members, and to continue to give them the opportunity to speak out on issues that affect their constituencies and their constituents.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I want to say a few words on this, as well. I've certainly listened with great interest to what everyone has said, starting with the Government House Leader, our own Opposition Leader, the Member for St. John's East, the Member for Twillingate. There is a lot of merit in what everyone has said here this morning. There is a lot to be said about this.

I know from being within Opposition that it is not the same as being in government when it comes to a private member's bill. Because in our caucus we don't have any great difficulty in determining which bill it should be. We go in and we discuss it. We say: Probably we should bring in a private member's resolution, ask what it should be, and we will debate it and see. There has never been a problem in our caucus in terms of what resolution should be brought in, for obvious reasons, because you are part of the Opposition.

As it relates to the Member for St. John's East, he raised some very legitimate issues, as well. But the bottom line is that as one member in this Legislature, he should be equal to the same opportunities that I have as one member.

MR. HARRIS: So, have a lottery.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I'm not much of a winner. He should be equal to one opportunity, the same as the rest of us.

MR. HARRIS: You have admitted you're a loser.

MR. TOBIN: That's right. I'm not going to lose on this one, though, I say to the Member for St. John's East.

What happens in government caucus, I say, having been there, is one of the reasons why we are debating this issue here today. Because the Member for Twillingate tried to bring in a very important resolution to this Legislature last Fall, and the Member for Fogo had given notice that he was going to bring in a very important resolution. And we all know what happened. As a matter of fact, I've been told by sources that they were told by the Premier that they would be kicked out of caucus if they continued to proceed with the resolutions. That type of bullying must not be allowed.

And I say to members on this side of the House that someday we may be back in government, and they may find themselves in the same situation.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: You should take a lesson in the truth.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Not in my lifetime. You tried hard enough to run for this party on a couple of occasions, and spent money enough trying to win nominations - spent money enough down in Pleasantville trying to win the nomination, too, I say to the Member for St. John's North. There's another example of why Private Members have to be careful, because can you imagine if someone wanted to bring in a Private Members' resolution condemning the Department of Health for the callous actions of the minister, someone over there who is shafting the health care system in this Province, who is crucifying the sick and suffering? Can you imagine if someone over there wanted to bring in that resolution?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TOBIN: Through the bulldog tactic, through a lack of judgement, how respect for the truth would be thrown out the window by that minister, as he would attack the Private Member who would try to bring forth a resolution; can you see that happening? That's what I am talking about, being bullied by members opposite, by ministers opposite, and that is exactly what would happen. That is why I say, a lack of respect for judgement and the truth is what we have to be careful about.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I said in my seat about what? About you? I said you would bully the Private Members not to come at the Department of Health, because anyone who would attack the sick and suffering in this Province the way you do would do anything with Private Members who are healthy and strong. That is what I say to the member opposite.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TOBIN: That is why we, as Private Members, have to be careful.

AN HON. MEMBER: You're a wimp.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, is that parliamentary?

That is why - and I say it to all members - we, as Private Members, have to be careful of people who are liars, who don't tell the truth. That is why we have to be careful of people who have no respect for the ordinary Newfoundlanders, why we have to be careful of people who are being sent - we were all sent by a constituency here, to represent them, and we cannot allow ourselves to be dictated to, as Private Members, by government bulldogs in the front benches, if you want to refer to it, which happens at times, and we saw that last fall. We saw members being threatened to be kicked out of caucus because of their beliefs and what they wanted to propose.

I would say the biggest concern that we, as Private Members, have, is not on this side of the House with that piece of legislation, it is on that side of the House. Personally, I don't have a problem with the motion that the minister brought forth this morning. I don't have a problem with it, none whatsoever. I have been a member of this side of the House, and I can say that we don't have a problem, but I would say that as a member of government - and the Member for Twillingate said it best, and I happen to have served in Cabinet, as well. And when you get in Cabinet, for some reason, not intentional, but for some reason, you tend to lose the perspective of serving as a Private Member, and I think it happens to all of us. I think it happens to all of us, and most of us, those of us who are honest, have no difficulty in saying that what the member said is true, but I will say that Private Members on the government side will be much more intimated by what can happen as a result of this piece of legislation. From our side, I have no problem with it, no difficulty in supporting it, but this all happened because of what happened last Fall. I believe the Government House Leader gave notice first when this House opened, that he was going to change this, and we allowed it to happen for one reason, and the notice

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Right, we allowed it to happen. So, for the Member for St. John's East or anyone else to say that this happened too quickly is not necessarily right. There was ample notice given by the Government House Leader that this was going to be dealt with forthwith and it happened, Mr. Speaker. We said that for one Wednesday, for one week only, we would deal with it under the other system. The rules would have been brought in last week and not this week, as I understand I was given. So, Mr. Speaker, I would say that from the position of a private member in the Opposition I don't have difficulty with it, but from the position of a private member in government I would be very careful.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am in a bit of a quandary, because I know that there are a number of people who wish to speak to this motion and I also realize that the hon. minister has requested that we get into Supply. He indicated in his opening remarks that if the debate dragged on in this, he would like to have it deferred to another time. So I think what I would like to do is to move that this debate be adjourned now and taken up at some other time, if that is in order, Mr. Speaker.

On motion, debate adjourned, carried.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. gentleman opposite assuring us we will get Supply.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible) more sensible than what we are going to hear.

MR. ROBERTS: Well, I accept what my hon. friend, the Member for Grand Bank says, that what we have been saying is more sensible then what we are going to hear, because what we are going to hear is primarily from the Opposition, I suspect. With that said,I wonder if Your Honour would be good enough to call Order 2(a) which is the Committee on Interim Supply, Sir?

On motion, that the House resolve itself into Committee of Supply to grant Interim Supply to Her Majesty, Mr. Speaker left the Chair.

Committee of the Whole

On Supply

MR. CHAIRMAN (Snow): Order, please!

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

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

It is a little too late now, Mr. Chairman, for the Government House Leader to try to get nice and want - why don't we just pass Supply and revert to the Member from St. John's? It is a little bit too late now, I say to him - he knocked it off the rails earlier this morning and we got it back on, and now, with his sarcasm, his insults again now, he is off the rails again.

AN HON. MEMBER: His usual self.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, imagine!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I hope that no one has tickets brought now for whatever.

MR. ROBERTS: This is a great weekend for Kentucky fried chicken.

AN HON. MEMBER: I got tickets for the game tonight (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You got tickets for the game? Get rid of them. Get rid of the tickets for the game. I hope no one has any big plans. Seriously though, the Government House Leader, what nerve! You know he gets up, insults people and then expects them to give him Supply today.

AN HON. MEMBER: And insults the House Leader.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, and insulted me. I don't care about him insulting anyone else on this side, but to insult me.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible). I didn't think it was possible to insult my friend, the Member for Grand Bank.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, my point was that I was hoping that the Member for St. John's Centre would continue on with our debate on the private members' resolution because -

MR. ROBERTS: No I am serious, if you want to do it, do it.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh no, no, you can't have it all, I say to the Government House Leader. He went up to the Member for St. John's Centre and talked him into adjourning the debate. The Member for St. John's Centre wanted to speak -

AN HON. MEMBER: The independent Member for St. John's Centre.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The Member for St. John's Centre wanted to speak, and I think the Member for Pleasantville wanted to speak, I believe. You know why the Government House Leader wants to adjourn this today, because he knows he cannot get the support for his motion. He cannot get the support for his motion so he wants to adjourn it now. They will have a caucus meeting sometime tomorrow after we grant supply. I would say tomorrow afternoon when we grant supply there will be a caucus meeting then he will see if he really has support for his motion, the Private Members' resolution.

My point was that we were having a very reasonable, sensible debate here this morning, I must say, and I commend all members who have expressed their opinions on this. It is a big concern for a lot of Private Members, a big concern. We saw what happened a few months ago as a result of this. We may as well have stayed on the Government House Leader's motion because those of us who are going to speak now are going to speak on that anyway because it is a finance bill and you can speak about anything.

I had the consent of my colleagues that we were going to grant supply by 12:00 o'clock today but I am not so sure now that the crowd are in the mood after the performance by the Member for Burin - Placentia West who the Minister of Health stirred up this morning. The Minister of Health stirred him up, got his back up. I am not so sure now that he is going to want to grant supply by 12 o'clock. I am not so sure if the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes want to now be cooperative with the government. Even the Member for Bonavista South back there, even though he is not recognized he has been speaking more than I have, so I kind of think he is not too happy to let supply go either.

AN HON. MEMBER: By 12 p.m. tonight.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: By 12 p.m. Well, maybe 12 p.m. I see the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island nodding his head. It looks like he wants to stay as well. We just might stay here and celebrate the Government House Leader's birthday which I understand is April Fool's Day.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Chairman, we recognize the importance of supply. We realize what it means to the government, a little over $1 billion they are requesting in Interim Supply to keep the Province moving and to pay the bills until they get the Budget approved. We understand the importance of that. We went through it when we were in government. We knew the importance of it.

Almost every year the Opposition would threaten not to grant supply. There were times when we were here at night, going until the eleventh hour not knowing if you were going to get supply. The Minister of Finance should know as he was the big orchestrator for many years of that.

AN HON. MEMBER: I believe it was Beaton Tulk.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, he was part of it, too, the Member for Fogo, and Mr. Neary. They used to keep us here wondering if we were going to get supply, and some people were so naive that they actually worried about it, I say to members opposite. They would actually worry as to whether or not we would get supply.

I know that this government is mature enough about that, they do not worry whether or not they are going to get supply to pay the bills, because no Opposition in their right mind would even consider that. Every now and then we get a little bit hot under the collar and perhaps go a little longer than we really wanted to, by actions such as we saw by the Government House Leader who gets people upset, gets their backs up.

MR. TOBIN: Bill, keep her going like (Inaudible)

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I do not know, I say to my friend for Burin - Placentia West. It depends on what he is going for. It could be quite awhile. He did not tell me why he is leaving.

AN HON. MEMBER: He is gone for the weekend.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: He told me earlier he was leaving right after Question Period and I said thank God, but then the Minister of Health got him upset and since then he wants to get up.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, I am being very boring this morning as you could tell, and I am trying to see how many of my colleagues will leave and then I will have full control and then we will see what happens.

AN HON. MEMBER: The hon.gentleman (inaudible) was bored.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh yes, yes, boring but it is Friday morning, it has been a long week and I have a bit of a flu and stuff and I really wasn't scheduled to speak this morning but the Government House Leader -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: - but you could tell by my lack of notes -

AN HON. MEMBER: I think he should go home for a hot toddy.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, well maybe but I should get something but maybe there will be hot toddies when I do get home, I say to the Member for Bellevue. Hot toddies, yes, that goes on down my way I say to him and as he knows; speaking of supply, there are different kinds of supplies I say to the Member for Bellevue but it is not Interim Supply -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) supply.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: It's what?

AN HON. MEMBER: Regular.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: It's regular supply, the Member for Bonavista South says, regular supply at a reduced price and maybe, if -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) supply.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Sorry?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) supply.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: But speaking of supply, I wonder if the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board has really considered reducing the cost of alcohol in our liquor stores, has he really considered to knock some of the taxes off?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, it has gone up but I don't think the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board is responsible for that, I think that's to do with -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, (inaudible) exchange rates at some of the distillers or whatever I think, also go up by thirty-five or forty cents but I wonder if the minister, did he ever consider it, with all this ongoing debate -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) appreciate (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I am not allowed out there, I say to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology because he knows I wouldn't go within -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) sail boat.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The closest I go to St. Pierre now, is Point May.

AN HON. MEMBER: You are (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, Point May and that's the place in my district that is closest to St. Pierre so that's why I go that far. If it wasn't in my district I wouldn't even go that close.

MR. FUREY: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Sorry?

MR. FUREY: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: What's that?

MR. FUREY: When were you banned?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, not banned but I just don't feel comfortable going there. No, it's to do with the scallop dispute, I say to the minister. It's a strange kind of thing that happened there in this scallop dispute, the demonstrations that took place a year or so ago on the Fortune wharf where the Mayor of Grand Bank at the time, who led these demonstrations, last name was Matthews.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, they got (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, it is the only thing I could put it to because, I mean, the only other thing that I had ever said that I suppose could be half-inflammatory was when the French officials took this trawler out, do you remember, it was the governor or the prefect and all that crowd went out and intentionally got arrested? Well, I did make a public statement saying that I didn't think that was you know, very good and that I thought that they should come to their senses, there wasn't any fish to give them, you know, that sort of thing, we all knew there wasn't any fish; we didn't have any fish to catch and how could France and the people of St. Pierre et Miquelon really expect us to have any fish to give them, so I said: You know, they should get their act together sort of thing.

I know there were some of them who took great exception to that but I think what really caused it all, was the confusion over the Matthews, and God, it wasn't long after, I had reports back that, never, never show your face in St. Pierre again, which -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) any cigarette lighters.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, but it was kind of strange because for 20-odd years I had gone there every year you know and some years, several times, five or six times. I have a lot of friends out there, a lot of friends and -

AN HON. MEMBER: Whenever the supply was limited?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, I really enjoyed going there, I started out in my soccer days going over there once a year playing but then -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Sorry?

AN HON. MEMBER: You lost every game.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, no. At first, when we went out we did but after that, we were superior, I say to the minister; we used to beat them rather badly at the end of it but at the beginning they were far superior, we couldn't touch them at all, they were professional, I say to the minister as he knows, but it is kind of sad what happened there because, as I said, I used to look forward to going there but they are the only losers there, because now I don't spend my $1,000 a trip every time I go over there you know, but having said that, there is a lot of friends I had there and I don't feel good about that because it is confusion, it is over nothing that I did but they have a bad taste in their mouths about it, they really do and I am not going to go over there very quickly.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Sorry?

AN HON. MEMBER: What was the bad taste about?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I think it was something to do with scallops. It was over scallops, you know, the scallop dispute.

So, Mr. Chairman, I am not going to say too much more and I don't think any of my colleagues are going to have a few words but I am talked out for now.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I would like just a few brief words in this bill to grant Supply to Her Majesty.

I am sure my constituents in Green Bay do not begrudge Her Majesty's Supply but in return for so granting, I think they would wish me to have a few words on a matter that's the cause of some consternation and debate in my district, and that is regarding a matter that was raised in the Throne Speech, and that is with regard to the electoral boundaries issue.

The Government House Leader tabled a mandate for a commissioner in this House a few days ago, a mandate to redraw the electoral boundaries in the Province. As far as I understand, the mandate will have to do with drawing the boundaries for a forty-eight seat Assembly.

Prior to Christmas, I do believe, we had a briefing from a government official as to at least the rough outlines of what a forty-eight seat Assembly would be like, and there was a major change in the outlines of a forty-eight seat Assembly as opposed to a previous proposal by the Electoral Boundaries Commission regarding a forty-four seat Assembly - at least as far as Green Bay is concerned.

Speaking as the current Member for Green Bay, I had no particular problems with a change in the forty-four seat configuration which would see Badger and Buchans added to my district, and the district being renamed Green Bay - Buchans. It would involve, obviously, some considerably greater travel, and my having to get to know, I suppose, the people in Badger and Buchans in terms of going door-to-door, I guess, to introduce myself and to meet these people if I wish to represent them when the next Assembly is called; but the forty-eight seat Assembly involves a change which a number of my constituents have a problem with, and a change, I should say also, that I have a problem with, and that is the deletion of a number of communities in the existing Green Bay District from the newly proposed Green Bay - Buchans District.

The areas around King's Points, Harry's Harbour, Jackson's Cove, Little Bay, Beachside, St. Patricks, would all be removed from Green Bay under the forty-eight seat proposal, and they would be put in with Baie Verte District. That changes a long-standing historical trend. These communities have always been in Green Bay, and, from what I can gather, the public sentiment in the area is to the effect that these communities do not wish to be removed from Green Bay and placed in another district.

I guess from the point of view of the current Member for Baie Verte - White Bay having to service these communities in Green Bay would involve, for him, considerably greater travel in that his district is currently situated on the Baie Verte Peninsula, and in order to service these current Green Bay communities he would have to come out to the Trans-Canada, drive along the Trans-Canada to the Springdale turn-off, and thereby be able to service these communities, but after considerable travel.

The travel for myself, if I become the Member for Green Bay - Buchans, would be much the same under a forty-four or a forty-eight seat Assembly in that I would have to do extensive travels in Central Newfoundland, but the major concern is that the King's Point, Harry's Harbour, Jackson's Cove area, Little Bay, Beachside area, have always been in Green Bay. They are members of a political unit called Green Bay; they are members of an economic unit called Green Bay, and the change would involve having the members of the current economic Green Bay unit being split politically, and when one is faced with the realities of no guarantee that electoral districts even side by side being with the same political party, being able to avail of government funding with the same ease, that sort of thing, there are distinct concerns that a community of interest that has existed for many, many years, since Confederation, would be split under the forty-eight seat proposal. So I think I am duty bound to raise these concerns and ask the Assembly not to exclude these communities from Green Bay District.

I, as a sitting member, would have no problem with having to deal with an enlarged Green Bay District, the new district of Green Bay - Buchans. I do not object to having to travel greater distances or meet new people but many of my constituents would not want to be removed from the district that they have been a part of since Confederation. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

It gives me pleasure to speak to the bill to grant Supply. I would like to make a couple of references on what was in the Throne Speech to the economic zones that originated out of the Strategic Economic Plan. These nineteen zones, that will take in this Province of ours, is a method designed for control. It is a method that is designed federally and provincially. Amalgamation of these regional committees is designed to take most of the fifty-nine rural development associations, that exist today, right out of the system.

In the Southern Avalon there are six regional development associations. They hope to get three representatives on such a board. Three representatives out of six would leave this board seeing only part or, at the most, half of the regional development associations funded. These development associations came into existence many years ago because of plights within their areas because of economic situations, because of one person rule or two person rule. These associations started to spring up - I think the first one originated in Green Bay in the late '60s. I know the one in Placentia sprang up sometime - it was due to the resettlement program and due to the massive lay-offs at Argentia Naval Base that occurred in the late '60s.

The past president of the rural development association, some weeks ago in a newspaper headline, was talking about associations that would get funding from now on are those that do something. Well it was a poor statement, a very poor statement from a person who was involved in rural development associations for a number of years. The development associations have done a lot of great work. The associations have become victims too of doing work for government. When there was a quick job to be done, they were there. They were affiliated and marked with make-work which in itself is no disgrace but it has come to, by many government members over the years, putting it down to second class status, and development associations were never second class, always first class, no matter what part of this Province. Their interest was to the people that they served and they served well. What we will see now in these nineteen zones is that many, many of these people - many of these dedicated volunteers will be gone for the sake of control and for the sake of government not telling them which ones they won't fund. They will let the people on the board - the board members eventually will say who gets funded. A cowardly way but also a way to control.

We have seen many changes in our lifetime. We have seen Canada supporting rural developments. We see them now, with the Province, getting ready to at least cut half of them out. Community Futures will be gone. Community Futures will be amalgamated with BDCs, the Business Development Centres but a good many of these great volunteers will be gone because boards will only have so many members. These zone boards will only have so many members and a lot of these dedicated volunteers as well will have no work.

What should they do? Will they form their own committees? Will they keep on slugging? What will they do without money, what will they do without support? The way these economic zones are being structured, I'm saying to the minister - I'm glad to see him back - I think that some people in these economic zones, Mr. Minister, when only so many people can be on these regional boards, there is going to be a lot of good people not going to be able to sit on these zone boards.

Obvious. There is only going to be certain numbers of business, volunteer, municipal people, gender equity, what else I don't know. What is going to happen to all these dedicated people who put in so many years? When they see things that are happening that they cannot get in on will they form their own committees? Will there be other committees knocking at gates making their cases known? Will they be supported? Can they be supported? I doubt it. Because if the federal and provincial governments are only going to be recognizing these zone boards what is going to be the end?

I can see trouble looming. We all know that the money is not there like it used to be. If it was I wouldn't be here today talking about zone boards. They would never have been put in place in the first place if the money was there. There would be no need of zone boards today if we could continue the funding of the fifty-nine rural development associations. What we are going to be seeing is probably half of them cut out. The numbers are not going to be there, Minister, they can't be.

The minister was away the other day, but today is the eve of an anniversary, of Confederation. Confederation has brought a lot of changes to this Province. Some of them have been good, I must say. I showed a few members here over these past few days a telegram from March 31, 1949, and I would just like to have it into the record here. It was sent from St. John's to Point Lance, St. Mary's Bay, to a certain John F. Careen, my father, who was a devout anti-Confederate, and still is at eighty years old. He thought that Newfoundland never got a fair shake. He thought Newfoundland's was an orphan's fight, and it still is an orphan's fight. We are 2 per cent of the population.

I'm glad in the last few days parts of this country have come out to support the eastern side of this country with Minister Tobin. Because I always wondered and worried and wasn't pleased with the manufacturers out of Ontario or the Saskatchewan wheat farmers when our fish was being pawned off in favour of those.

Into this record today, sent by one -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CAREEN: Oh, yes, amazing. Anyway, sent by one Fred Marshall. I don't know if the Member for St. John's Centre might be familiar with him, but he was one of the leaders of the anti-Confederation fight with Major Cashin and Mr. Higgins. The message read: Many thanks your message. Our thoughts will be in close association as the end of our independence hastens. Good luck.

We have become dependent, and far too dependent. I wish this House here was much better off than it is financially. I wish that we could be in control. With offshore looming we won't be in control. That is sad. We used to see Lougheed, regardless of his political stripes, when the oil companies interfered, he interfered. Largely they did their own business, but the people of his Province came first. We don't have the money to control, we are not in the driver's seat. We are subject to the dictates of these others.

I conclude my remarks by -

AN HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear!

MR. CAREEN: You have a good heart, Minister. I've seen it on occasion. You should use it more often. Thank you kindly.

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

MR. HODDER: I yield.

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to begin my remarks by complimenting the Minister of Finance on bringing in a balanced budget.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. KITCHEN: It is something that we should have done years before. If we had been doing it years before, as some of us really wanted to do, we wouldn't be in the sad pickle we are today.

It is very hard for a province like Newfoundland to be forever sliding into debt and to pay ever more money to the bankers in the form of interest. We've seen more and more money going to interest and less and less available for other good things. So I'm glad that the minister was able to bring in a balanced budget. I hope next year that the economy improves this current year to the point where he can bring in a balanced budget next year, and the year after. I would go so far as to say this, although other members may not agree, that I would sell Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro in order to balance the budget for the next couple of years. Hopefully that will not be necessary. But it is more important to balance that budget so that we will have money to spend and not to spend on interest, than to keep that facility.

However, I'm extremely concerned about a particular matter, a complex of matters, that are contained in the Budget, and that is the difficulty Newfoundlanders are having to keep warm. Many Newfoundlanders are finding it very difficult to keep warm. One of the measures in the Budget was we took I think it was $19.6 million in dividends from Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. That is great - I suppose it is - but I suspect that down the road the prices of electricity may very well go up as a result of that, particularly if we continue to take dividends from Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. Because in order to produce the surplus that is required to take the dividend the rates are going to have to be increased.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not true.

DR. KITCHEN: Well, you can't take surpluses unless someone puts the surplus in there, and the surplus comes from the pockets of Newfoundlanders. It is not produced in some magic way by Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. They don't wave the wand and the money appears. Their income is almost totally from the people of this Province. Not entirely but almost all, because some of it comes from CF(L)Co. But a lot of it does come from the people, and that bothers me very much.

I found out that in the Department of Social Services this year it is going to discontinue a very important practice that it used to carry on for many years. If a person was going to be cut off by Newfoundland Light and Power because they couldn't pay their electrical bills, very often the Department of Social Services would pay the bill and set it up as an overpayment, and collect 5 per cent of the regular social assistance each month. I understand that is now going to be discontinued. That will mean, for many people, that they will be cold, they will freeze. I shudder to think in my district, where there are so many people who cannot pay these tremendously high electric bills, which they use not only to cook but to heat, that they are going to be cold. It bothers me very much.

At the same time, I can see the point. Because what we were really doing before in doing this was writing off the bad debts of Newfoundland Light and Power. There is no darn wonder it is such a profitable company and can go out and buy up half of Canada. They own half of Halifax now.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

DR. KITCHEN: Paying the bill, yes, so that Newfoundland Light and Power had very few bad debts. The problem remains, on the human side, on the other side, what is the poor son-of-a-gun going to do who cannot pay? You can't predict, like this winter, and save for what your light bill will be.

I went into a house yesterday and he showed me his light bill, $400 last month. I cannot believe it. Now, it is all electric heat, whatever heat is there is electric heat. There is no oil. Now, in the winter our Department of Social Services has been able to add $51.00 a month as the amount that people get for heat, but I tell you $51.00 does not meet the difference in the light bill from summer to winter for many people. It is inadequate. In fact all our levels of social assistance are inadequate. They are inadequate to support life in any meaningful way and I believe we have to address that. I am very disappointed in that but I can see we do have a problem.

Now, I do not know what we can do with Newfoundland Light and Power. Can we tell them, keep the lights on even thought they do not pay their bills? It is pretty hard to do. I can see the problem, but I do not believe the levels of social assistance are high enough so that the person can manage their money in a better way so that they will have money to take into account for a bad winter.

The other thing that bothers me very much about heat, keeping warm, are these outages that we experience. Every time there is a bit of glitter down go the wires. A man came to me the other day and said, the pole in front of my house went down the other day so I asked the linesman who was repairing it, how come the line is down? He says, well, woodpeckers were at it. I said, you mean the woodpeckers were there picking at that steel in the pole? No, he said it was not a steel pole. Well, I said you mean you have woodpeckers now who like creosote? No, he said. I said you mean they were at that worm-eaten pole, that insect-ridden pole? That was within the city here. Oh, yes, he said.

Now, why do Light and Power not use their surplus which they use to buy real estate in Corner Brook, or real estate in Halifax, why do they not use that to fix the darn poles in St. John's, or anywhere else? Why do we have to have these outages? I believe Mr. Minister of Mines, Energy, Natural Resources, that you should sit down and have a good chat with Angus Bruneau and say, Angus, my son, we cannot tolerate the way Newfoundland Light and Power is sucking the blood of Newfoundlanders to invest elsewhere. We have to do that because it is not fair to the people of the Province. We cannot have these outages.

I am also wondering about Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro where many poles fall down, too, every time there is a bit of a glitter storm. There has been no change in that in the past forty or fifty years. Every time there is a bit of a storm down go the poles. I do not know if it is totally unnecessary or not, but I do know that some of it is unnecessary and there should be more money taken from surplus and spent on capital improvements.

Another thing happened this year as far as heat is concerned and it bothers me very much. The number of cords of wood that a person can cut on the Avalon Peninsula was reduced from six to five. Now, that means there is less wood available to substitute for oil or electricity. The forest policy of this Province for many, many years has been to protect the limits of the paper companies, and the second policy has been to protect the sawmills, and at the bottom, I believe, is the needs of households and residents of the Province. I believe it is topsy-turvy.

At one time it was very important to protect the paper companies because they provided many jobs for people. Where I grew up in the town of Millertown we had twenty camps, twenty work camps with fifty men in a camp, and 1000 people in that little town came to that place to cut wood and now there are very few people in the logging operation. What has happened is that it has become mechanized and the people who reap the money from the mechanization are the bankers and not the people of the Province.

The workers of this Province benefit very little compared to what they used to from paper companies, but the people who really need that wood are the people who need it for household fuel because there is no other source of income. What I believe we should do is that silviculture program should be to some extent redirected so that it is planted near settlements, so we get wood planted near settlements, and over time we can develop forests near settlements. Because that is where the forests have been gutted and where people can no longer get wood. That is why on the Avalon Peninsula we had to chop her down from six cords to five. I suppose eventually we will go to four, to three, to two to zero. That will be the end of that.

I was also disappointed too that we didn't raise the minimum wage. I can't see how anyone can survive on $4.75 an hour. I was hoping, when the Throne Speech was brought in and that was eliminated, that it would be brought in in the Budget. We didn't raise the minimum wage. I don't know why we didn't raise the minimum wage. The minimum wage is so low now, because most people on minimum wage are not working full-time, that it is better to stay on social assistance.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

DR. KITCHEN: In government the minimum wage is something like $9 an hour. What we are talking about is all the exploitation that occurs in this Province -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I will continue some other time.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave!

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. member has leave.

AN HON. MEMBER: Harvey's there.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Chairman, I just wanted to have a couple of comments on a couple of issues.

First of all, I want to talk about the electoral boundaries report that we had tabled last year. We are now into the third stage of this particular process. We spent over $350,000 of the public's money. I happen to represent the district, I do believe, which has the highest number of people in it. Waterford - Kenmount I do believe has the highest number.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. HODDER: Yes.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman, the new voters list, which of course is public, shows that Waterford - Kenmount does have the largest number of qualified electors of any district in the Province, of the present districts. It is about two and a half times as many as are in St. Mary's - The Capes. It is an extreme disparity.

MR. HODDER: Yes, Mr. Chairman. I was making the point that in Waterford - Kenmount, the hon. House Leader has said, that we do have the largest number of residents, and certainly we all recognize that something must be done to make the system of representation by population more realistic. That particular principle is the fundamental principle of the democratic system. We would recognize that.

However, when the House appointed the Commission several years ago it gave it a mandate to go out and look at the Province, to examine the ways in which we could have reasonable representation by population. The Commission came back and recommended of course a House of forty members. There was a general - or forty -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HODDER: A preliminary report recommending forty members. There was some comment on that, and I think that was expected to happen. We don't fault the government entirely for asking the Commission to re-examine that. However, when the Commission came back with its second report and indicated a House with forty-four with some special provisions for Torngat Mountains, it was our considered opinion that that might be the way in which the government should go. However, we are surprised to find that the government has now appointed another study done by a retired judge of the Court and to -

MR. ROBERTS: He is not retired, he is still active.

MR. HODDER: Well, yes. A supernumerary judge, I'm sorry, and he is still an active member of the Court, but doesn't carry a regular workload, you might say. We have no difficulty with the appointment. We do have difficulty with what we perceive to be the mandate. That is, that the judge would look at the whole system, and the intent, I do believe, is that he would probably come back with a House of forty-eight. We believe that a House of forty-four with some special provisions for Labrador is a reasonable proposal. Having spent $350,000 on the commission report we felt that it should have been accepted without further amendment.

We object to the gerrymandering that is obviously going on by members on the other side, and when we look at the increasing number from forty-five members to forty-eight members we question the rationale for doing it. There only can be one rationale and that is that members on the government side perceive that they would be at a decided disadvantage if they were to accept the second report of the Electoral Boundaries Commission.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I just want to comment on a couple of other issues as well. I want to go to the Auditor General's Report, and on the assumption, of course, that some of the matters which are dealt with in Interim Supply would include allocations to the University, I wanted to draw to the attention of the House the comments made by the Auditor General relative to the University and its accountability.

Mr. Speaker, we find on Page No. 5 of the overview that the Auditor General is not too happy with the way in which Memorial University accounts for its funds. There is an extensive write-up in the detailed section, but I just want to draw to the attention of the House the fact that the Auditor General is very, very concerned that the University, which of course, gets $117 or $120 million a year of public funds, is not publicly accountable for the expenditure of those funds.

For example, under Section 38 of the act, and quoting from the Auditor General's Report it says: the University is required to provide me with access to all books, accounts, financial records, reports, electronic data, processing records, explanations, files, and all other papers necessary for the performance of my duties as Auditor General. However, when the Auditor General wrote the President on May 5, 1994 asking the President to forward the documents required for the audit, she was informed that the President had forwarded all of the documentation which was approved by the Board of Regents for release to the Auditor General's office.

However, Mr. Chairman, the difficulty with that is that the Auditor General is not getting the information required from the University. What is happening here is that the University is operating as a totally autonomous body. The minister two days ago in the House said that he was operating with an arm's length approach to the University, yet yesterday he said he could not answer any questions about tuition fee increases because it was somehow jeopardizing their independent intellectual activity, and I have difficulty finding out how the minister can hide behind that kind of logic.

There is no rationale for the government expending $120 million a year at the University out of public funds, and then the University not being accountable directly to the House. When the Auditor General sends for information the University simply sends back and says, no, thank you, we are not going to give you access to all the information as required under Section 38 of the Memorial University Act, so therefore the University is in essence a law onto itself.

Section 38 requires them to provide information to the Auditor General but the University President says, no, no, we do not do that. We are not going to do that. You have all the information you want and we are not going to comply. In the Auditor General's Report it says, and I am quoting again: "the University still has not provided me with access to its accounts and records. The Memorial University Act entitles me to have access to all documents which I requested. This access is not conditional on the approval of the Board of Regents."

What's happening is that the Board of Regents at the University is determining what information will be forwarded to the Auditor General and which information will not be forwarded, and in the concluding statement in the Overview, the Auditor General writes: Since I have been denied access to documents necessary to carry out my duties as Auditor General, I am unable to commence my additional examination and investigation of the Memorial University of Newfoundland. Therefore, I am unable to report as required by the Auditor General Act and the Memorial University Act relating to Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Mr. Chairman, this is a very serious situation. This has to deal with fundamental accountability for public funds. The minister stands in his place and says that he has an arm's length approach to all aspects dealing with funding at the University, he does not answer questions in the House therefore he is not being held accountable by the people of the Province and he merely condones this process. Mr. Chairman, this is a very serious problem and I am sure that the people of the Province have some difficulty in accepting the way in which things are now structured.

I know that the University is very happy with it. Why would they not be happy when they can take $117 million out of the public Treasury, spend it as they will and not have to be publicly accountable for it? There is no threat here to the University's intellectual freedom at all, this is merely public funds. I would be the first to object, having been a former member of the Board of Regents for some years and Chairman of the -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member' time is up.

MR. HODDER: - and, Mr. Chairman, having some experience and knowledge of how the University operates, I would be one of the first to say that we wouldn't want to do anything that would jeopardise academic freedom.

Academic freedom is a fundamental principle under which universities must operate, but making them publicly accountable for the expenditure of public funds, that is a different thing altogether, and when the Auditor General of this Province makes pointed references to the fact that she is unable to do a complete audit of the University's books because the University fails to comply with Section 38 of the University Act, we have to be concerned, because this House is all about accountability. One of the roles of the Opposition is to hold the government accountable and one of the roles of the Public Accounts Committee of this House is to examine all documentations relative to the expenditure of public funds. When you have $118 million being spent and nobody is being held publicly accountable for it, we have to be concerned.

We are not talking about the integrity of programs and courses, we are talking about spending public dollars, therefore, we say to the minister that it is time that the minister review this whole process, it is a sleight on his department, a sleight on his role as the minister to be publicly accountable to the people of the Province when he can stand in his place and say that he is going to continue this arm's length approach, we are going to have $120 million spent and nobody is going to say one thing about it; when you ask a question in the House, the first response is: I can't say anything because it jeopardises academic freedom.

That's absolute nonsense and the public of this Province knows it's absolute nonsense, the Auditor General says it is unacceptable behaviour on the part of the University, unacceptable behaviour on the part of the minister, so I say to the Government House Leader and to the Minister of Education and Training, it is incumbent upon the government to come to this House with explanations and with a commitment to be co-operative with the Auditor General, so we won't have this kind of situation continuing with regard to the expenditure of public funds.

Mr. Chairman, I thank you for the opportunity, and I will be commenting again in the Budget debate on the same matter.

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

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

Mr. Chairman, I would like to say another few words today on Bill 6, the Interim Supply Bill. I said a few words on it yesterday, and I would like to pick up where I ended yesterday. I just started to get into the Emergency Employment Program that was brought in by the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations just after Christmas, after being hounded all fall, and part of January, by the Opposition and the general public. I notice this year that there is no funding in the Budget for the Emergency Employment Program. It is just another part, I suppose, of the government's policy of cutting back and cutting back.

With respect to the Emergency Employment Program that was brought in this past January, there was $5 million put in the pot, supposedly to be spent by the people of the Province to create jobs, or the municipalities and the different organizations. Of course, the plan at the time was that hopefully they wouldn't have to spend that kind of money, although it was only a measly $5 million. When people are out there pretty hungry for jobs, hungry for food, the Emergency Employment Program created very few jobs, regardless of what the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations says.

I know in my own district that I believe one town in particular had eight positions and they could only fill five, and I think that was prevalent throughout the Province; probably only 60 or 70 per cent of the money has been spent.

Now I notice that the Member for LaPoile has been on his feet a number of times lately, and every time he gets on his feet he talks about the SEP, the Strategic Economic Plan, brought in by this government. I think the letters SEP would be better applied to strip employment program, Mr. Chairman.

The Premier, this past couple of weeks, stood in the House and talked about the percentage of full-time jobs that have been created by this government since they have been elected. Now, again the Premier is playing with numbers in his usual fashion. If you take the percentage of jobs created with respect to the part-time jobs, if they have been cut by 50 or 60 or 70 per cent over the past number of years, of course the percentage for full-time jobs would increase and you wouldn't be creating any jobs whatsoever - none at all - which is the policy of this government.

Again this year in the Budget they are looking for money from any source they can get. Last year, of course, we know the Newfoundland Hydro debate, or the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro, was going to bankrupt the Province, and this year, what are they doing now? They are taking $20 million from Newfoundland Hydro and putting it into their Budget to help balance the Budget. Now, from my estimation of what is going on here, I think the privatization of Hydro is not ended, or the plans to privatize Hydro are not ended. They are basically now trying to make the books of Newfoundland Hydro show a deficit, and trying to show that it is costing the Province money; then they will continue on with their privatization plans of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.

Mr. Chairman, in the Budget for '94 there was one paragraph, or one sentence, basically, saying that the government would accelerate their policy of the municipalities taking over roads within the municipalities themselves - now, I refer to them as connector roads - and this year I notice there is nothing there referring to the municipalities taking over the roads within the towns that the provincial government, or that Works, Services and Transportation are now responsible for, but I think they are coming at it from a different angle now. If the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation would like to sit down and pay attention, he might learn something here.

The government is coming at it from a different perspective now. They are coming at it through regional councils. They are talking about bringing in regional councils all over the Province which, in fact, would then become responsible for different services such as waste disposal maybe, water and sewer and roads. Then, to my mind, that is just basically another tactic in downloading.

Now, regional councils, Mr. Chairman, may be a good idea. It depends on the approach. When this government, back in 1989, 1990 or early 1991, were talking about amalgamation, it was the idea of let's tell them what they have to do, let's force it down their throats and, of course, it backfired in a number of areas. This government made a statement that amalgamation wouldn't be forced on any group but that only applied to the Premier's own district. When I was mayor down in Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove, we tried to cost-share different services, one would be the animal control officer, which worked out quite well.

Now, I was speaking to the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs the other night at the Government Services Estimates Committee meetings, on regional councils, and I think the government may be taking a different approach this time. At least they say they are going to take a different approach, and they may indeed save money, not only for the Provincial Government but for the municipalities themselves. If five or six towns come together and decide to cost-share, say, ice control materials - salt and sand or even contracting out snow clearing services, it may indeed save money for the municipalities involved. In the town that I was involved with, we did contract out snow clearing services and we were getting, what appeared to me at the time, quite a good deal on it. We always came in under budget or around the budget estimate. Other towns in the area have been hiring their own staff, buying their own equipment and having their own garages to maintain their equipment and to me it seems quite costly. Maybe in due course, if the towns do come together and cost-share certain services, it may make complete sense. Again, I say, it will completely depend upon the approach, Mr. Chairman.

The federal Budget this year, which certainly would impact upon the provincial Budget as it always does, is a major impact. It is quite a large amount of money that the Provincial Government receives from the Federal Government, but this year the federal Budget has, from what I can gather, no social housing program in place for next year. I discussed this with the minister the other night at the meetings and he tells me that quite possibly the RRAP program - which is quite useful to rural Newfoundland in this Province for people repairing their homes and upgrading their homes - may disappear altogether next year. I think that would be a real disaster for the people of the Province. I hope that the Provincial Government and the Minister of Finance will make every effort to change the Federal Government's mind on this issue.

Also, the other night, we had some discussion on Newfoundland and Labrador Housing with respect to the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Housing. We asked the question, `Would Newfoundland and Labrador Housing be privatized?' I don't think there are any plans, as such, to privatize all of Newfoundland and Labrador Housing, but there are certain areas within Newfoundland and Labrador Housing that are being privatized. I was told the other night that 800 to 900 units this past year have been sold. Now, that is a nice bit of revenue, I suppose, for the Provincial Government to put into their coffers. They are planning to sell off all their residential units, all their industrial lands, and again, as I said earlier, Mr. Chairman, there are definitely certain sections of Newfoundland and Labrador Housing being privatized. That, of course, goes right in hand with the policies and plans of this government, Mr. Chairman.

The other night, at another meeting, we had some discussion with the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation with respect to the roads and the cuts that this government has applied to the amount of money that will be spent on road construction or road maintenance this year for the municipalities. Now, down in my district, Mr. Chairman, I picked up on the budget last year where the government was talking about cutting or turning over responsibility of the connector roads to the municipalities. So I approached the towns in my district and asked them to have some discussion with Works, Services and Transportation and probably get a little jump on some of the other municipalities, and apply to have the roads taken over if they were brought up to standard.

Now, one of the towns in particular, the Town of Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove, had a meeting with Works, Services and Transportation, and they worked out an agreement pretty well, with respect to certain roads within the town which seem to be a real problem for Works, Services and Transportation each year, that they want to unload, in that the Town was prepared to take them over if certain upgrading was done, but it seems to me now, with the budget allotted for that this year cut from $20 million down to $15 million, which is a $5 million cut, that may not happen this year, and it is going to cost Transportation money in the long run, and it is going to cost the municipality money in the long run, also.

Aside from the fact that the roads themselves, the Marine Drive, from Logy Bay Road down through Logy Bay, Middle Cove, Outer Cove, down through Torbay, Flatrock and Pouch Cove is in pathetic shape, it is getting to the point now where it is dangerous to drive over. The WindGap road in Flatrock is an absolute mess, with ruts and bumps and potholes. We often hear people talk about the scenic Marine Drive. Tourists come into the Province from all over the country, and various other countries, come into St. John's, and the road is not fit to drive over. The municipalities in the area are prepared to do something about this, to take over these roads, if Works, Services and Transportation would upgrade them, but the $5 million cut again this year may have a major impact upon that.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: I tell the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation to do his work over there and keep quiet and I will leave him alone for today. We gave him a little bit of a time the other night and he got quite upset at the meeting, so I think he should be quiet and sit in his place.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Yes, I was speaking about the roads, and the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation brought in regulations or legislation to get rid of motor vehicle inspections. Now, I know of vehicles on the road that were parked - that were parked - and they could not be licenced, before this was brought in, but now the state of the roads are causing wrecks to be out on the roads. Now, we have the `minister of car wrecks' over there in his seat getting quite upset, because he is pretty touchy on this situation with the motor vehicle inspections, let me tell you. Every time you bring it up, be goes right out of his mind trying to defend it, trying to defend something that cannot be defended.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. J. BYRNE: I was asking the minister the other night at the committee meetings on -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

MR. EFFORD: No leave! No leave, Mr. Chairman!

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. member doesn't have leave, I guess.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: If the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation would send us over a copy of those letters he is signing over there now, giving all the boys their roadwork -

AN HON. MEMBER: Liberals.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, that is what I said, Liberals. Yes, I know who he is giving it to, I say to him. The way he rants and roars about Tories over there, every second word coming out of him, Tories, Tories, Tories. Why don't you send over the letters and see where the roadwork is going this year?

If you want money - you are asking for $1 billion Interim Supply - at least we should know where you are spending it, I say to the minister.

MR. EFFORD: They are all Liberals.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, even if it is all Liberals, let us know what Liberals are getting it.

MR. EFFORD: Port de Grave district (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: That's a big surprise, I say to the minister, Port de Grave district is getting the most. They have all the snowplow equipment in the Province out there. Drive the Burin Peninsula week-in and week-out and you can't find a piece.

AN HON. MEMBER: I don't have that problem.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Of course, and the minister thinks it's fine. The minister thinks it's alright to be so partisan about things.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, we didn't teach you anything, I say to the minister.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, he just left Government House. I just got him on my shoe phone, I say to the Government House Leader. The limousine just left Government House. He is not here yet.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, yes, I do now, I say to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, but the time he thought I had a phone I didn't have one. It was false reporting. There happens to be another Bill Matthews around town, and the minister was telling me that I should be careful using my telephone because someone was picking up this Bill Matthews talking to this other person.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Was it ever! I say to the Government House Leader, and I had a job convincing the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations that I didn't have a telephone in my car. He wouldn't believe me. He came and said, `Boy, you are going to have to stop using that phone,' and I said, `I don't have a phone.' After awhile he came back and said, `It wasn't you at all, it was the fellow who owns the car dealership, actually.' I said, `Well, thank God, you got that cleared up for me.' I was quite relieved, I say to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: What else was I going to say to the Minister of Works, Service and Transportation? the most partisan minister over there. He is asking us now for $1 billion today and won't even let us know where he is going to spend the money that we are going to give his Department of Works, Services and Transportation. How much is the minister looking for? The Department of Works, Services and Transportation - $162,495,000 is what the minister's department is looking for.

AN HON. MEMBER: That isn't what he is looking for, that's what they are giving him.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, the same thing. I know he looks for a lot more, but, seriously, it is a lot of money. It is a lot of money, I say to the Minister, for you not to know what you are going to be doing with it. He is over there, and all he tells you is he is going to spend it on Liberal districts. Perhaps we shouldn't give him Supply. Perhaps we shouldn't give this minister Supply. The Member for Harbour Grace agrees. He is out there living amongst it, he knows how his district is discriminated against by the minister. He can see the changes in snow clearing from where it hits the minister's district to other districts that are close to it. The Member for Harbour Grace agrees.

He said it is terrible what you are doing out there, even with your own friends. You are still partisan with them.

AN HON. MEMBER: What happens if they don't get that today?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: If they don't get it today there will be no cheques going out next week, and that is the decision we have to make.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who will take the (inaudible) for that?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, I don't know. I guess the government because they should have been here early.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Now, there is the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. He should be here today in the spirit of co-operation asking the Opposition to co-operate with the government and grant them supply of $1,054,000,000. The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation now is trying to infuriate the Member for Green Bay so he will be on his feet and we will be here all day, tonight, and tomorrow, trying to decide whether or not we will give this government Supply so they can pay the bills.

MR. EFFORD: I want to try to get my boat out.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You want to try to get your boat out. Well, I can understand that. It is a nice day, but this time come back before dark when you go out in your boat. Don't stay out too long. Let's not have Search and Rescue spending more taxpayers' money looking for the minister because he didn't know how to get back in out of it.

The minister is terrible, you know. He goes a little too far, this Minister of Works, Service and Transportation. He did that for a couple of years before and he got himself in real trouble. You know something, he is back in Cabinet again now, he has been there long enough, he is comfortable there now, and getting a bit cocky. I say to the Minister of Finance that I think he should call the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation down to his office and have a little chat with him, because you know what is going to happen again.

The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, by his behaviour, is going to become a target of the Opposition, and once he becomes a target of the Opposition we know what is going to happen to him again. It doesn't take much for the Premier to give the minister a flick, this one particularly.

MR. BAKER: I thought you fellows loved him.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Who said that?

MR. BAKER: That is the impression I get.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh, no, we try to ignore him.

MR. BAKER: The Member for Humber East loves him.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh, no, reverse that. It is not the Member for Humber East loves the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, it is just the reverse, the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation loves the Member for Humber East. I would say there will be a significant amount of the minister's budget this year spent in Humber East, I say to the Minister of Finance. He was out there two or three times with the member, out in the district, and I say there will be a fair expenditure in Humber East this year.

MR. FUREY: He loves her.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I know, but you know - what can I say? He does, doesn't he? The Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology realizes that.

Mr. Chairman, as I said earlier this morning, we do not intend to delay the granting of Supply, which should bring a smile to the face of the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board; we realize you have to keep operating the Province and paying the bills. Does the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations want to get up? Do you want to get up, Minister? I will give way to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations if he is going to apologize to the House for his behaviour the last couple of days for, you know -

MR. MURPHY: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh, I am not. Just stand up and I will give way. If the minister thought deep down in his soul that he feels so badly about the way he has performed the last couple days, I will let him get up and apologize to the House, if that's what he is going to do. But now, if he is not, then I won't allow him to get up. If he is going to admit that he knew all about this issue, speaking of Supply, where some of this Supply went and where more of the Supply will go, unless the government nips it in the bud, these payouts to - Where is our `Bud', by the way, that's the other question.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I'm sorry?

AN HON. MEMBER: Gone to get his Flemish Cap.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) a lecture (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh yes, I saw something on that. The minister was invited to lecture somewhere in Ontario. I don't know whose papers he borrowed to prepare his lecture.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The Governor is here. Well, if the Governor is here, Mr. Chairman, I will conclude by saying that we did not intend to delay the granting of Supply; we realize the government must have money to pay the bills and get the cheques out to all the people who need them. And I just hope that the Government House Leader and the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board remember me one of those days for being so co-operative and granting Supply to Her Majesty. With that, I adjourn the debate.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman, we don't need to adjourn the debate. I hope we will carry it. But I thank my hon. friend and I can assure him that my friend, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board and I will remember and he will get his just reward.

Your Honour, perhaps if the Committee are so-minded, you could put the resolution, please.

Resolution

That it is expedient to introduce a measure to provide for the granting to Her Majesty for defraying certain expenses of the public service for the financial year ending March 31, 1996, the sum of $1,054,155,600.

On motion, resolution carried.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Trinity - Bay de Verde.

MR. L. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole on Supply have considered the matters to them referred and have directed me to report that they have adopted a certain resolution and ask that a bill be introduced to give effect to the same.

Motion, that the Committee report having passed a resolution and a bill consequent thereto, carried.

On motion, resolution read first and second time.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Finance to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act For Granting To Her Majesty Certain Sums Of Money For Defraying Certain Expenses Of The Public Service For The Financial Year Ending March 31, 1996 And For Other Purposes Relating To The Public Service."

MR. SPEAKER: I think it has been our practice in the House to deem that one reading of the bill would suffice for all three reading. However, I am prepared to do all three readings should the House so direct. Shall we put a motion then that this shall be deemed to be the three readings of the bill?

On motion, Bill No. 6 read a first, second and third time, ordered passed and the title be as on the Order Paper.

MR. ROBERTS: Your Honour I understand His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor is within the building and perhaps we could just stand at ease for a second or two because I understand His Honour will attend upon us to consider giving assent to this bill. Members may not want to go too far because I suspect His Honour won't be long.

MR. SPEAKER: His Honour is in the Chamber and he will be here momentarily.

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: Mr. Speaker, His Honour, the Lieutenant-Governor has arrived.

MR. SPEAKER: Admit His Honour, the Lieutenant-Governor.

Mr. Speaker leaves the Chair.

His Honour, the Lieutenant-Governor takes the Chair.

MR. SPEAKER: Your Honour, It is my agreeable duty on behalf of Her Majesty's dutiful and loyal subjects, Her Faithful Commons in Newfoundland and Labrador, to present to Your Honour a bill for the appropriation of Interim Supply granted in the present session.

CLERK: A bill, "An Act For Granting To Her Majesty Certain Sums Of Money For Defraying Certain Expenses Of The Public Service For The Financial Year Ending March 31, 1996 And For Other Purposes Relating To The Public Service", Bill No. 6.

HIS HONOUR, THE LIEUTENANT-GOVERNOR (Frederick W. Russell, C.M.,LL.D.):

In Her Majesty's Name, I thank Her Loyal Subjects, I accept their benevolence, and I assent to this Bill.

Mr. Speaker returns to the Chair.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, notwithstanding what I am sure is the desire of members to stay here all day debating the proposal to change the rules or whatever else, I don't think we will ask the House to do that. We will adjourn in a moment until Monday. We will on Monday do one of two orders of business, or perhaps both, as may be expedient for the House. One would be to return to the Budget Debate and allow my friend, the Member for Mount Pearl to carry on with his remarks, maybe even to finish.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I thank my friend, the Member for Grand Bank. I wasn't being too optimistic. It is hard to be optimistic when my friend, the Member for Mount Pearl speaks, I say to my friend. We will also at some point ask the House to deal with the proposed rule change with respect to private members, because if not, we are in the stage where the old rules apply, unless there is unanimous consent to vary them.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: So you are saying that when (inaudible) finishes, we will be going from that (inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Let me say, Mr. Speaker, there will be consultations. I will speak to my hon. friend on Monday morning. We may deal with it first, depending on how much - he may want to canvas his colleagues to see how many more of them wish to speak, if any, and I will have a word with mine. It depends on how long we may need to address it. There may be several of my colleagues on this side who wish to speak to it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Fine, we will deal with it, but I will speak with him before the House meets on Monday, or at least before we call business on Monday. He should speak to his friend, the Member for Mount Pearl so that the Member for Mount Pearl is not caught unawares. We will be going back to the Budget Speech on Monday. My friend, the Member for Mount Pearl adjourned that on last Friday or last Monday, was it? whenever we were last at it.

With that said, Your Honour, I will move the House adjourn until Monday at 2:00 p.m.

On motion, the House at its rising adjourned until tomorrow, Monday, at 2:00 p.m.