April 3, 1995                HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS               Vol. XLII  No. 11


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

Statements by Ministers

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

MR. BAKER: I am pleased to inform the House that the Department of Finance will, today begin distributing retail sales tax rebates to former policyholders of Hiland Insurance Limited. The rebates will be for that amount of tax which was paid in advance, and for which no coverage was provided owing to the insolvency of Hiland Insurance.

Rebate payments totalling $608,000.00 are being issued today. They cover some $17,067 policyholders who are owed a rebate, with the exception of those owed less than $2.00, who will not be paid.

Thank you, MR. Speaker.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, we are pleased to see that this is finally being done, and I guess we have to question why it took so long to do this. This is no big deal really. You are giving back money that the government has not earned because the policies were not sold, so the government really is not entitled to it. Maybe the minister should re-examine the policy of tax rebates for all business people. I understand that a business that has a bad debt that is not collectable, and has already paid tax on it has no recourse to have the tax rebated, so the minister might look at that.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

Further statements.

The hon. the Minister of Finance.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, very nice of you.

I wish to report to the House on what has transpired to date since a complaint was made in the House last Thursday concerning Workers' Compensation appeals. In the absence of the Premier, I undertook to investigate the matter, and have since reviewed information from the Review Division and from the Chief Review Commissioner.

The specific complaint laid in the House of Assembly by the Member for Kilbride was that there has been double billing. He maintains that cases are being postponed, and being billed for on each occasion that a case is heard.

The impression being given, of course, for whatever reason, cases were postponed, and when they came up again the Commissioners were receiving double payment.

Determination of the matter rests with the use of the words "postponement" and "case".

When a case is not heard due to non appearance for some legitimate reason, or the hearing is not completed in one sitting and has to be "postponed" to another date without decision, it should not be billed twice. These cases are simply "adjourned", and billing is done only when the cases are completed. It is the clear understanding of the Review Division that these circumstances constitute single cases and only one billing should occur.

However, single individuals may initiate more than one "case" for the Review Division. A single individual may appeal his rehabilitation benefits, and later may appeal his Permanent Functional Impairment rating. This would obviously constitute two separate cases for the Review Commissioners, even though the same individual is involved and would properly result in two separate billings. Review Commissioners, even though the same individuals is involved, and would properly result in two separate billings.

Where the confusion exists is in what constitutes the fifty-nine postponements. I am told that many are instances where an appellant appeals the Workers' Compensation original ruling, and produces new evidence. The Review Commission hears the case, determines what is and what is not new evidence (the distinction sometimes is not clear) and make the determination that the case should be sent back to the WCC for re-examination. (This, apparently, Mr. Speaker, is the only way an individual can get reconsideration by the Workers' Compensation Commission). A decision is rendered, and the case goes back to the Workers' Compensation Commission. This "case", in the view of the Review Division, is then completed, and is billed as a completed "case".

If, a few months later, after further consideration by the Workers' Compensation Commission, another appeal is launched based on a further decision by the Workers' Compensation Commission, a new case number is assigned, and this next consideration constitutes a new "case". I believe this interpretation to be reasonable in light of the processes currently practised at the Workers' Compensation Commission.

However, Mr. Speaker, a detailed review of the fifty-nine cases will now be undertaken to determine: (a) if the process can be streamlined in any way, and (b) if there are any individual cases where our interpretation may differ from the interpretation of the Review Division.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

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

Let there be no doubt to the people of this House or the people of this Province, the questions that I asked last week deal with the same case, the same individual, the same case number and before this week is over I will prove that in this House.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. E. BYRNE: I must apologize, Mr. Speaker, for last week of saying to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations about double-billing at the Workers' Compensation Review Division. In fact, I have evidence here today that will show clearly that there was not double-billing but triple billing in some cases.

Mr. Speaker, the minister has indicated that the case centres around what is a postponement and what is a case. Let me say this to the minister who initiated the investigation, Compensation Review Division Commissioners have gotten paid $500 for showing up for ten to fifteen minutes and saying, `Based upon your request, your grounds are reasonable, appeal has been granted.' They have done that - nothing else -

AN HON. MEMBER: At about $100 a minute.

MR. E. BYRNE: About $100 a minute exactly. Now I thank the minister for saying that he is going to provide a detailed review of the fifty-nine cases but I can say to him clearly, that a detailed review will be done by this side of the House as well because all of this is public information.

The second issue, Mr. Speaker, there are two issues here - is when the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations became aware of this action and we will see before the end of this week, when he became aware. Was it last Thursday or was it in October.

Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

Oral Questions

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

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

We now know, Mr. Speaker, that a postponement in the Workers' Compensation Review Division is also a payment. Last week the minister did not know, he said. Now, I want to ask the minister a question dealing with this: If Mr. Gullage views a postponement on the same case and gets paid a fee for postponing the case and then gets paid a fee of $500.00 for hearing the case, did he do so upon his own accord, did he interpret the rules and regulations as set out by the former Minister of Employment and Labour Relations last June, or did he act with the full knowledge and acceptance of you, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations for this action?

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

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

Let me say to the hon. member, number one: the Minister of Finance rose today and gave a statement on the allegations raised last week by the Member for Mount Pearl. I am satisfied that the minister said that the full fifty-nine cases would be looked into that the member addressed.

The second question I say to the member is - and I think he said: Did I know? No, no. Let me say to the hon. member, not at any time did I ever discuss the remuneration process with the Review Commissioner from the time of the legislation up until last Thursday.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, it is not the fifty-nine cases so much that we are concerned about but the principle involved. It could be 159, it could be fifteen, the issue is that there is double billing and triple billing going on at the review division, that is the issue here, and a detailed review of the fifty-nine cases, Mr. Speaker, will reveal whatever it reveals. The issue is, Mr. Gullage either acted on his own, breaking the rules and regulations which, if he did, he should be fired today, or, he did so in the full knowledge that he had the support of the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. Did he or did he not, Mr. Minister, that is the question I ask you today.

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Last Thursday, the member rose in his place, accused the Review Commissioner of receiving $29,000 in extra amount, he said again, on Friday morning, Mr. Speaker, that it wasn't $29,000 that the Review Commissioner had overbilled, but $15,000. The real reality is that Mr. Gullage's name is associated with eighteen cases, which would be $9,000; so nobody on this side gets excited when the member opposite makes those kind of statements - none whatsoever - we don't get excited. No, I have never discussed, as I said I did not have any instructions, and I did not tell the Review Commissioner at any time, or make any interpretation of postponements or anything else.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, last week the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations said in the House, in answering a question that I posed to him, that his understanding of the review division was: A case is a case is a case, and that it gets paid $500 for one case.

Now let me give him an example, and ask him a question about this example. In 1994 a claimant, the same claimant, requested a postponement. He got it. The Commissioner wrote one paragraph, $500 right there. Two weeks later, the same claimant requested another postponement. The Commissioner stated that the matter had been postponed on two occasions; nonetheless, sufficient grounds cited as reasonable and granted for postponement, another $500.

The decision was rendered in December, the same commissioner, the same claimant, the same case, $1,500. Honestly, Minister, this should be stopped and has to stop. Will you stand today and say you will, as Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, stop this grotesque overpayment from going on, and fire the Chief Review Commissioner, as you should have done two weeks ago?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I think, without the member getting excited, he heard what the minister had to say today. We are going to look at the fifty-nine cases. We are going to review the situation and, when the time comes, we will respond. There is no sense of the member getting on. He doesn't know the circumstances; I don't know the circumstances. He thinks he knows the circumstances.

AN HON. MEMBER: You should know.

MR. MURPHY: Well, I would like to say, yes, maybe I should know, but after 227 meetings in seven months, dealing with all kinds of subjects, I really don't have the time to take out the 350-odd cases, the appeal cases. I don't have the time to do that, I say to the hon. member, and when the times comes, as the Minister of Finance has said, we will disclose exactly what our finding are.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Kilbride.

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

Last week the minister rose in this House, on Thursday, and in rebuttal to my question said: I will check into it. I will have to take it under advisement; it is the first I have become aware of it.

I have Minutes here from the Newfoundland and Labrador Injured Workers' Association meeting of March 13 where the same question was raised to the minister, to which he responded in the very same fashion. He said: That is the first I heard of it. I will have to take it under advisement and get back to you. He was fully aware, Mr. Speaker, that this double billing was going on before last Thursday. I ask him, why didn't he act then? Why did he have to wait for the minister, his knight in shining armour, to come to his attention? Why did he not act then and check into it and have a forthright answer to the questions I asked of him in the House last Thursday?

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

MR. MURPHY: Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. As I've told the member and told the media, I have absolutely no recollection. I am not saying to the member or to this House or to anybody else that the group didn't bring that particular issue up. I said I have no recollection. I say that honestly and I say it sincerely. If I had I would have addressed it.

The member again has some problems. Last week it was the March 7 meeting, now it is the March 13 meeting. The member again is wrong with his dates, wrong with his times. I don't mind saying to the member I have absolutely no recollection of the injured workers group being that specific. I didn't take minutes. They didn't supply me with minutes. If I remembered, I can assure the hon. member, and all members of this House, that I would address that particular situation to the Review Commissioner. The only thing that I addressed with the Review Commissioner since I've been Minister of Employment and Labour Relations is the caseload and its distribution. I say that in all honesty for all members to hear.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, there were five people at that meeting that day. Three people from the Injured Workers Association, the CEO of Workers' Compensation Commission, and the minister. In a letter sent to the Newfoundland and Labrador Injured Workers Association from Barbara Taichman, the CEO, she refers to the issues that were brought up at that meeting that day. She refers to the fifty-nine postponement decisions that they talked about. Four people remembered, the minister doesn't. Not remembering, no recollection, has become a hallmark of this government.

Let me ask the minister another question dealing with this very serious issue. Again the issue is on double payments. Are you sure, Minister, that you had no prior knowledge? Are you convinced that you can tell the people of this Province today that a Commissioner or Commissioners did not meet or discuss with you at any time this situation, and that you did not give them your approval to go ahead and bill for postponements? Are you convinced and are you sure?

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

MR. MURPHY: Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. Let me say to the hon. member as I said before. I have never discussed billing, double billing, postponements, with any Commission. The only thing that I discussed with the Chief Commissioner and other Commissioners was the distribution of the caseload. I say that emphatically, and I stand by that statement.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, let me ask the minister one more question before I sit down.

If information comes out, Minister, to contradict what you have said, will you resign as Minister of Employment and Labour Relations? I ask you that right now.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. MURPHY: The member continues to get on with his hypothetical whatever. From the $29,000 that was changed on Friday to $15,000 to $9,000 - I am not going to answer a hypothetical question. I am, as the member fully knows, extremely busy - an extremely busy minister - doing what needs to be done to address the situations concerning employment and labour. I am not going to play the member's silly games.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My questions are for the Premier, and follows along the line of my colleague from Kilbride's questions dealing with this particular issue that was raised in the House last week. The Premier, unfortunately, wasn't here, but presumably has been briefed on the matter by now - perhaps he hasn't - but he would also be aware, no doubt, by now, that the Deputy Premier announced in this House that an investigation into the questions that had been raised by my colleague from Kilbride would take place.

I would like to ask the Premier: Can he tell the House whether or not he intends to have this investigation conducted independently and separately from government, let alone from the Workers' Compensation Commission, which it appears this morning is simply a report from Workers' Compensation.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure when the minister announced the investigation that the member is taking about.

AN HON. MEMBER: Friday.

PREMIER WELLS: Friday; well, here is what the minister said on Friday: "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."

I can only commend the minister for eminently sensible action. I think the minister also indicated in the House today that he is causing a full assessment of all fifty-nine cases to be done, and when the minister has fuller information he will no doubt advise the House.

I should tell the House, the Leader of the Opposition inquired as to whether I had been briefed on it. I had; the minister briefed me fully this morning on it. My advice to him was: Look, you are on top of this thing; you report to the House on what you have done so far. That will give me more time to become familiar with it before I address any questions in relation to it, and I have left it entirely in the minister's hands, and I can assure members of the House that I have total, unrestrained confidence in the minister dealing effectively with it.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, for once publicly I don't mind saying that I can understand why the Premier would have some confidence in the Minister of Finance, because, in my opinion, he is probably the most competent minister that he has in his whole Cabinet - no question about that - however, I regret to say today that I can't say the same now in this instance, for the reasons I will state, and I would like to ask the Premier how he would respond to it:

The Deputy Premier said, as the Premier just announced - he repeated the statement made by the Deputy Premier in the House - that we would cause an investigation to be undertaken, okay. "We are currently investigating the matter..." - I have the statement right here - "...and if we discover breaches..." blah, blah, blah.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Yes, blah, blah, blah. Well, I will read it if the Premier would like me to. It is two sentences. It is not that difficult. Even the Premier couldn't complicate it, I am sure. "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." `We', okay.

My question to the Premier was, and still is: Would the Premier, as leader of the government, because I can assure him this is not some issue that is just going to be sloughed off; there is a lot of evidence that is going to be incriminating, in my view, but, nevertheless, it is important enough for the Premier, I think, to take a first-hand involvement in this and perhaps order or at least find some other method of investigating this issue and looking into it a little more closely, because clearly, with the statement given by the Deputy Premier this morning, he didn't conduct any investigation, he asked Mr. Gullage what was going on or somebody down at the Commission -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I would ask the member -

MR. SIMMS: - the very words used by Mr. Gullage this morning on CBC Radio, Mr. Speaker, so would the Premier -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I just want the member to get to the question.

MR. SIMMS: So would the Premier consider some independent approach to investigating this whole matter?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I am totally satisfied with the process the minister has put in place. He has told me what the process is. It is not the minister himself personally doing it. I am totally satisfied with the process that he has in place and when the minister feels it appropriate to make a public statement as to what that process is, I have no doubt that he will do so. I have complete and total confidence in the competence and judgement of the minister in this regard and I can say to the Leader of the Opposition, I see no reason why he limited his comments about the minister's capability to the present Cabinet. The past Cabinets (inaudible) that -

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

MR. SIMMS: Whatever that means.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Certainly more competent that the crowd who gave away Churchill Falls.

MR. SIMMS: I certainly understand why all the members of the Cabinet would -

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible) to give away Churchill Falls with you.

AN HON. MEMBER: I wasn't there either.

MR. SIMMS: Yes, you were. Oh yes you were, old boy.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SIMMS: Anyway, Mr. Speaker, let me say to the Premier in a supplementary, let me say to the Premier again: Before he is too quick to dismiss this whole thing and just leave it in the hands of the Deputy Premier, let me suggest to the Premier, take some advice for a change, this is a matter that I can tell him involves a lot more than has been seen on the surface thus far, so my suggestion to him is that he take some involvement himself, directly, and perhaps have an independent investigation because what has to be shown here is the truth and it must be shown in an objective way and that's the big concern.

It could turn out to be another whitewash like the Trans City issue, the coverups that have been involved in that as he well knows, have burned him a lot and burned his government, so I want to ask the Premier: Will he ensure that an investigation or the investigation announced by the Deputy Premier on Friday will in fact be an independent investigation, not by the minister, not by the Workers' Compensations Review Division or anybody else associated with that, but an investigation into the legal ramifications of breaking the government's own rules and regulations surrounding the act?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the one thing I won't do is prejudge, which is what the member wants me to do. I have told the House that the minister has advised me of the process that he has put in place. I am completely confident that the minister has the thing satisfactorily under control, that the process whatever it is, will be disclosed. Now hon. members opposite may not like what's disclosed or they may, but we will wait and see and whatever it is, and when that's completed whatever steps need to be taken to deal with whatever comes out of it, will be done I can assure the House.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Green Bay.

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Last week, I questioned the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology with regard to a number of job losses, companies moving their headquarters et cetera from the Province while the minister was away on his travels overseas on the EDGE Legislation. Today, on the news coming out of Goose Bay, there is considerable talk as to what might be happening with regard to private contracting of various services that are currently performed by federal civil servants under the Defence Department. I am wondering, is the Premier aware of any moves underway with regard to contracting out at Goose Bay and is the provincial government up to speed on this matter, please?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I do know, Mr. Speaker, that the federal government is considering privatizing to a significant degree a number of its operations. I am aware that some groups in Goose Bay, some entrepreneurs are interested in proposing that they take over responsibility for certain activities carried on, I am aware of that. There is a committee that works within government, there is a committee involving officials but there is also a committee of ministers dealing with economic issues as it relates to Labrador and that committee is fully aware of it and keeps government fully apprised of developments as they occur.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Today I was faxed down a document from a person who does not wish to have his name released - six or seven pages - basically an assessment by a consulting firm of various economic activities that go on at the Goose Bay base, many of which are performed by civilian defence employees. A good three-quarters, by the looks of this document, are slated or could be slated to be contracted out and that would affect the jobs of several hundred, maybe 600 or 700 employees. Is the Premier concerned that this may lead to considerable disruption in the lives of individual families and a possible down-turn in the economy of Goose Bay?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I say two things with respect to the matters the member raises; I give no credibility whatsoever to statements made or documents prepared by people who are not prepared to have their names released. If they are prepared to stand behind it, I am prepared to deal with it but I am not prepared to deal with shadows.

Secondly, I can tell the House that the Member for Naskaupi, I know as the Chairman of the Cabinet Committee responsible for economic matters in Labrador, that I know he has been dealing with this on a constant basis. I know he has met, as late as this past weekend, with officials and with representatives of the union, I believe, in Goose Bay in relation to this whole matter. So yes, the government is fully aware of it, the government is watching what is happening but I am certainly not going to comment on suggestions made by some person who has prepared a document but is not prepared to have his name released.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Well the document that was faxed to me is obviously an assessment of interest/ability of third parties to support CFB Goose Bay, is prepared by a consulting firm, I presume, for the federal government. Maybe the Premier or the minister - I heard something on the radio this morning I think to the effect that the mayor of Portage, La Prairie on mainland Canada, went through a similar situation where military services, a lot of them, were contracted out and it had a devastating effect for the ordinary people at least in the community. I was wondering if the Premier or the minister responsible for Labrador could have a few comments as to what would be the effect in the economy, in the daily lives of individuals being well paid federal civil servants on one hand and having all of these activities carried out by private contactors, maybe at considerably less hourly rates for the individuals involved?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, we are quite prepared to deal with reality as it arises or as it may arise and we become aware that it may arise but I have no intention whatsoever of commenting on anything that is said to be contained in a document written by somebody who is not prepared to have his or her name released.

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

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My questions today are for the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, they concern the accountability of the Cabot 500 Anniversary Corporation. Can the minister confirm for the House that the Cabot Committee has held a dozen or so dinner meetings at Hotel Newfoundland that have cost thousands of dollars and would the minister please explain who is paying for those dinner meetings?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I certainly appreciate the question. We have had the details of the expenditures by the Cabot 500 Corporation on behalf of the people of the Province as they plan for a great celebration in 1997. I have not seen the details of an expenditure as described by the hon. member in his question but his description of it may very well be the fact that when the Board of Directors is here, my understanding is that from time to time they do eat dinner together and if they are staying at the Hotel Newfoundland that might be where they have dinner.

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

MR. MANNING: I say to the minister, it may be worth checking out for the simple reason that my sources have informed me that it has cost in excess of $30,000, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, travelling seems to be a major pastime for the members of the Cabot 500 Committee. Can the minister confirm that several members of the committee have travelled to England and Italy on numerous so-called fact finding missions and that travel costs for the committee are totalling tens of thousands of dollars and indeed utilizing the majority portion of the committee's budget?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, again, Mr. Speaker.

No, that is not so. There have been visits by representatives of the Cabot 500 Corporation quite necessarily, to Gaeta in Italy where there is a Cabot 500 Corporation in place there, because we fully expect that because of the connection with John Cabot and his Italian roots that we would have quite a number of Italian visitors, particularly those from in and around John Cabot's hometown of Gaeta who are planning on coming here as part of 1997.

There have also been, to my recollection in reviewing the records, Mr. Speaker, two visits to Bristol mainly in connection with trying to finalize the legal contract that will allow the Cabot 500 Corporation to put in place the details of our leasing of the Matthew for its voyage across the North Atlantic and its spending of some three months of time in the different ports of call in Newfoundland and Labrador so that it can add a great dimension to our celebration in 1997.

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

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, I say once again that the travels have cost tens of thousands of dollars and the meals have cost thousands of dollars. I would like to ask the minister today if he would agree to investigate this matter and report back to the House on the expenses of the committee, including a detailed account of all travel and meal expenses incurred to date by the members of the Committee?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation.

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, we have the information available in a detailed accounting in terms of the travel that has been done by members of the board and the staff of the Cabot 500 Corporation, and we will provide the information, I expect. Another opportunity for the member would be ask details of the same questions at some length in the Estimates tonight, and we will certainly provide the information in detail to the extent that we have it.

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

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. According to the most recent reports our forests will experience another infestation again this summer. I wonder if the minister could update the House on the status and magnitude of that particular infestation and let us know what parts of the Province will be affected?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, I would be pleased to.

In the egg count surveys that were done last fall, and we had a very extensive egg count survey done, the completed results were made public about two and a half weeks ago, I believe, by the Canadian Forest Service. We have a significant increase, particular in the hemlock looper. We have almost nothing left of the spruce budworm. It has gone down to being negligible in our forests right now, this year, but the hemlock looper is a problem for us. Our people are reviewing our options for a spray program for this year and we hope that over the next few weeks we will make a decision on what we need to do.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Baie Verte -White Bay.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The minister knows that the Canadian Forest Service here in Newfoundland played a major role in identifying this problem of infestation, and the minister also knows that this particular problem needs to be identified quickly, and, of course, acted on immediately so that there is no devastating effect. Is the minister concerned at all that the terminating of the CFS centre here in Newfoundland could jeopardize our ability to identify these kind of problems in the future?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, we will ensure, in co-operation with the federal government, that there is adequate capability available to do the survey that is required every year.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay.

MR. SHELLEY: In light of that, Mr. Speaker, the minister confirmed last week that there will be seventeen jobs left in the Canadian Forest Services here in this Province to deal with such things as infestations, as we just mentioned, seedling purchasing, silviculture, all the things we need in this Province more than ever to make sure that the forests do not end up the same way as the fishery, and at the eleventh hour, wait until the last minute until we do something again. That is the whole problem.

I would like to ask the minister this, are we going to see experts from other provinces come into this Province to handle problems we have here now that we have terminated our own centre here in Newfoundland?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, we have not terminated anything yet. The job that was done this year was done very well in 1994 and very well this past winter when doing the evaluation, and I expect it will continue to be done very well, and we will ensure that it is.

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

MR. J. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Environment. The minister had a meeting last week with an individual from Torbay, Mr. Mike Manning, concerning pollution on the ice in Withrod Pond on Bauline Line. There is wire from burned tires, there are steel rims, ashes, soot, garbage and the like. Can the minister tell us what has happened since his meeting last week with the individual from Torbay?

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

MR. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm glad the member raised it with me. I raised it with him last week. I had a call from a resident out there who is very concerned about some activity that was occurring by some people during the winter. Apparently this has been going on for five or six years. Our officials went out last week, in the last few weeks actually, but again last week, and have done a report. We are reviewing the report as of Friday past. They are also communicating with the town council today to see what action can be taken immediately to deal with it, but there is also I think a problem there that we are going to have to review. Probably a game plan to deal with the problem that has occurred over the last few years.

It is a bit of a problem that has occurred for some time. Over the winter there was some activity which also included, I believe, the RNC going out there to check on that. I believe a couple of snow machines were confiscated, as a matter of fact. This activity is definitely environmentally not what we want to see happen. Some actions have been taken but more are going to be taken, Sir.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Question period has expired.

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture.

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am pleased to submit the annual report of the Newfoundland Farm Products Corporation, together with the financial statements of the Corporation, for the fiscal year ended April 2 1994.

Notices of Motion

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

MR. MANNING: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I give notice today that on tomorrow I will ask leave to introduce the following private member's resolution.

Whereas the fishing industry has been and will continue to be the cornerstone of the culture and economy of Newfoundland and Labrador;

And whereas the fishery moratorium has placed this Province in a very critical situation;

And whereas the present situation demands a new sense of direction and strengthening;

And whereas the amalgamation of the Department of Fisheries into the new Department of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture weakens rather than strengthens efforts to revive the fishing industry in this Province;

Be it therefore resolved that this House of Assembly strongly urge the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and its Premier to reinstate a Department of Fisheries concerned solely with fisheries and fishery-related matters, strengthened and revitalized, and separate from the Department of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture announced by the Premier on August 26 1994.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Orders of the Day

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, would you first please call Motion No. 2? The debate was adjourned on Friday by my friend for St. John's Centre. Then whenever this debate concludes we will carry on with the Budget debate. My friend for Mount Pearl I believe adjourned that debate.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion No. 2.

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to have a few words with respect to the motion that the hon. House Leader made with respect to changing the Standing Orders of the House of Assembly.

I note that what he has proposed is basically what we have been doing for the past six years, with certain improvements. First of all, we are to speak for fifteen minutes instead of twenty. That would enable more people to speak than before. Secondly, we will speak for one day and put the vote, rather than have it carried over for two days as was. It seems to me that this is a great improvement over the procedure that used to be in place years ago. Basically what we are doing is formalizing what has been in effect, except for last fall.

When I look at private members' resolutions, some things come in mind. I notice that usually the Opposition members, private members, are resolutions to embarrass the government. That is fair enough. Then on the government side, when the government members bring in private members' resolutions, it is very often either for or against some federal policy. Depending on the party in power in Ottawa, as opposed to the party in power here. That is basically it - and very often they are on timely issues. I don't want to put down either side. Very often they are on timely issues. I do have a concern about a couple of matters that are in this proposal, and I would like for you to bear with me while I run through this concern.

Members generally are, in this House, and historically have been, elected to support one or other of the parties - occasionally an independent comes along - but all members on this side represent one party, and all members on that side, except one, represent another party, and another represents a third so, in effect, we basically toe the party line. Members on this side usually toe the party line, and members on that side toe the party line; that's the usual way. I suppose the party line is not really correct, because it is not the party line as much as the caucus line, and there is a difference between the party and the caucus, in some cases, not usually, not over a long period of time, of course, but in any particular period of time.

Now the question that I raise is: How does a member on the Opposition side, or on the government side, who happens to have an issue that is not particularly shared by other members of caucus - and that is the point that the hon. Member for Burin - Placentia West raised Friday, and I think it was a straightforward and good point - how do you do it? I have had an issue personally that I have tried to raise here for the past several months. It has been on the Order Paper, and never got called, and it may or may not get called, but it is of extreme importance to the people in my district. How do I get that debated?

Well, I could bring in a petition from the people in the district, and speak for five minutes on it. I could bring in, like the hon. Member for Green Bay, the same petition seventeen times, and get five times seventeen minutes. I could do it that way. I could get up and speak in the Budget debate, or in the Throne Speech, and make a small issue of it, but you can't get the proper interaction back and forth on that particular issue in the House. So I can see that a Private Members' resolution that is unfettered by party discipline has some merit, but the problem is, how do you handle it in the House?

I thought that I might possibly introduce an amendment to what the hon. House Leader did. I don't think I will, but I thought about it, and I will tell you why I won't be doing it now. I thought that perhaps the Private Members' motion should be called not so much by the Leader of the House on the government side or the Opposition side, but perhaps by the Speaker - called by the Speaker, for each side - and that he would do it from a lottery that he conducts from either side. So he would announce on Monday: We will now debate the resolution so-and-so that he had previously drawn from a hat, or we could draw it in the House if he wanted to, from all the motions that had been submitted from members on this side, if it were our turn, and by your side another turn. Then he would announce that this is the motion.

That is a way of doing it; however, I haven't got it worked out very well, and we want to debate this thing today. To work it out properly would require discussion with the Speaker, and it would require discussion with the members opposite. So what I am proposing to do is not to do anything except to support what the government has provided and hope that it will work. I have faith in the caucus here, that if I have a resolution that I consider important, and no one else does, that they may eventually allow me to put that resolution forward, and I am sure that the members opposite there have similar faith in their fellow members of caucus that they, too, will bring forward.

Now if it doesn't happen - supposing that this doesn't happen - supposing that one of the members opposite, or a member on this side, cannot get a resolution that is important, then that becomes a very serious matter. Then, I suppose, we are going to have to depend on the side opposite to bring in a resolution to change the Orders.

I suppose you can't change the Orders now unless the government wants it, unless the Opposition wants it. A Private Member couldn't bring in a motion to change the orders, except through a Private Members' resolution, and if you can't bring in a Private Members' resolution how can you do it? It would depend then, on the member for the NDP to bring in that Private Members' resolution eventually to do it.

In any event, I am prepared to give this a try, what the House Leader has proposed here, and if it doesn't work out then I think we are going to have to change it. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I hadn't intended to speak at any great length in the debate on this particular motion moved by the Government House Leader because in essence we support it. We would like to see it revert basically to where it was, and that is what this would do. Finally we would have it written into our Standing Orders so that a Government House Leader, now or in the future, wouldn't be able to manipulate it as was done last - when was it - last fall, or...?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) withdrew unanimous consent.

MR. SIMMS: Withdrew unanimous consent or something. So I really support the idea of correcting our rules and lets get them in place so we know where we are going.

On the other hand, and having missed the debate that occurred on Friday, I can only assume that some of the comments that were made, or discussion that took place on Friday, centred on similar views as expressed by the Member for St. John's Centre. I'm not sure. I haven't read Hansard and I don't know. I did see a copy of a private member's resolution that the Member for St. John's East was going to propose with respect to this same issue. He endorses the idea of a draw of some sort, with some other changes. I think what he talked about was every fourth Wednesday would be considered an Opposition day for an Opposition motion. That has some merit to it as well. I doubt very much if we are going to be successful in changing it or amending it. We don't intend to hold the debate on this motion up to the extent that we would on some other issues to try to get a change made in it, so it is not going to happen unless the Government House Leader suddenly decides, in consultation with his government caucus colleagues, he might wish to further amend it.

I think I can safely say we would be open to any further proposals that might come forth from the government side to further enhance this Standing Order, as it will now be. If you want to try to improve upon it and change it, or whatever, we would certainly be open for further discussion. It isn't going to happen here today, I say to the Member for St. John's Centre. He knows that.

I support the concept as outlined by the Member for St. John's Centre, and in essence as outlined by the Member for St. John's East, the Leader of the NDP, the concept of fairness and balance, the concept of it being a private member's motion as opposed to a Cabinet minister's. Because a private member's motion would be all of us. Anybody who is not in the Cabinet would be entitled to put forth a motion. As the Member for St. John's Centre rightly points out, if you have an issue that is of extreme importance to your district, one way of ensuring that it gets brought to the floor of the House and gets brought to the attention of all members of the House, is if you have a chance to put a motion forward emanating from that issue that you then can advise your constituents about, and the results of, if such a debate and vote ever takes place.

The problem is of course, quite often in that kind of a situation the issues aren't of a great deal of interest to other members. Let's be frank about it. The difficulty would be I think in getting a debate going. That is one of the problems with it. Nevertheless, recognizing private members have the right to put forth a motion for discussion, it should be wide open and should be on any issue, no matter how controversial, no matter how sensitive. If a private member wishes to do that then he should be able to put that motion forward.

Whether he does it in the way that we presently know is one thing. I can't speak to the internal operations of this government caucus. I can speak with some experience from the operations of a government caucus in the past of which I was a part, but I frankly don't think we had the same kind of difficulties. I'm not sure, but I don't think we did. Not quite the same. Unless we go back to the days now when the Member for St. John's Centre was in that caucus, but then it wasn't the government caucus.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: No, it wasn't the government caucus, and he wasn't in the caucus, correct. So there is some difficulty there. As he knows no doubt this side - or, I can't say this side -

MR. HARRIS: My caucus (inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Ninety-nine percent -

MR. HARRIS: No dissension whatsoever. No dissension in my caucus.

MR. SIMMS: - of this side deal with this in a very straightforward manner.

Every Monday or whenever we discuss it in the mornings, when it is our turn to give notice of a resolution or whatever, what is a good idea, what ideas do you have or whatever and we decide within the Caucus through consensus, the same as a Cabinet would work, through consensus, and ultimately the Chair or the Caucus makes a decision: okay, that's the one we will go with, let's draft it up. The House Leader - only because the rules say the House Leader - gives a notice of it. There is no need for him to even do that. The person, whoevers motion it was can get up and give the notice on Monday. So I support the concept of having it done in a more fair and equitable way. It would not bother me. I don't think it would bother any of us, our members on this side. If a private member wants to put in a resolution to the Speaker, then you give your name to the Speaker or to the Clerk or whatever and on a given day the Speaker would draw or the Clerk would draw and advise the Speaker, or whatever mechanism you want to use, that this Wednesday it is the Opposition's turn. The person whose motion will be debated will be the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay and the next day it is the government one, let the Speaker draw it out.

Now I see what the Member for St. John's Centre is getting at because I gather, in the past, there has been some difficulty over on the government side, in particular - let's call a spade a spade - in trying to get agreement with the Government House Leader in particular - who right now has the responsibility for deciding which resolution is carried - in trying to get agreement with the Government House Leader, as to what resolution will get on. Can Walter Carter or the Member for Twillingate get his resolution on about the garbage disposal issue? Can the Member for Fogo get his resolution on about the Department of Fisheries? He obviously has not been able to do it so, in fact we helped him along today. That is why the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes put forth that resolution. It is basically the same resolution, as the Members for Twillingate.

AN HON. MEMBER: The Member for Fogo.

MR. SIMMS: Sorry, the Member for Fogo. So we will give the Member for Fogo a change to now support the resolution if that is what he wants to do but we can understand why the members opposite would have had some difficulty in getting this present Government House Leader to agree to allow these resolutions that some of you members wanted to put forward last fall because they were controversial and they were sensitive. Some of them would have been an embarrassment to the government, there is no question about that, but so what? So what? Who cares? It is not going to breach Cabinet solidarity. It is a private members' debating day, a private members resolution. It is not binding on the government. Even if it was carried by the House of Assembly it is not binding. It could be embarrassing, depending on what the issue is but so what? I mean we are all living in a day of wanting to see private members have more to do, more involvement.

I remember the Member for Port de Grave was always a great advocate of that approach. He wanted to see members more involved, free to speak, free to open, free again, Mr. Speaker. I can hear him now when he left the Cabinet there a couple of years ago. He wanted to get in on the fishery issue. He was free again, Mr. Speaker, he could now speak out and have more involvement. He supports that concept, I know he still supports it and I would say - my guess is that of members opposite all but two, possibly three, support the concept of having more freedom for the private members and letting them proceed along this way. My guess is all but two or three would support that concept.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Well I did not even say who the second one was yet but I guess he knows.

So even members of the Cabinet might not want to admit it because somehow they might think that that would be contrary to what the government feels, right on this issue. Certainly it is contrary to what the Government House Leader feels, we all know that. So I would support the idea.

So if the Member for St. John's Centre could successfully get agreement in his Caucus for the Government House Leader to agree with this approach and bring back a further amendment to this motion that we will pass today or the House will pass today no doubt, then I can tell him - I mean I won't be here in a few weeks time but I suspect there would be a considerable amount of interest on this side in being able to cooperate. I don't see any big reason for us to want to oppose that except for those - and this is the only downside to it and the only problem I have with it - the downside to it is that there are occasions, from time to time there are occasions when a major issue may develop which would not be raised by the government for reasons of sensitivity or whatever, and it would be up to the Opposition to do it, and one of the avenues that we would have to do it is that we know every second Wednesday we have an Opposition turn at a Private Members' resolution and at least we would be able to raise it in that context.

If we went along with this, that would not be able to occur unless there was a provision something along the lines that the Member for St. John's East mentioned; maybe not every fourth Wednesday, maybe every third Wednesday, so that at least you have one Opposition side, one government side and then granted, the third one would be an Opposition one but it would be a motion put forth by the Opposition not drawn for by the Speaker.

MR. HARRIS: Or someone could defer it if it was really important.

MR. SIMMS: Or somebody could defer, so you would have to have some agreement written into the rules, which we could then agree upon. So, if the Member for St. John's Centre would argue that in his caucus, and get the Government House Leader - it is too bad, I say to the Member for St. John's Centre, he wasn't dealing with the former Government House Leader. I say to the Member for St. John's Centre, if he were dealing with the Member for Gander, the former Government House Leader, I bet you we would not be even debating it here today to begin with, we wouldn't even be discussing it, it would be all done with the support and co-operation of members on both sides of the House. That would be my guess, because I know the Member for Gander could care less about having had the privilege of having to stand every second Monday and decide and announce on the government members Private Members motion. Sure, he is not even a Private Member. The Government House Leader who announced and presumably made the decisions on the government side, the Private Members resolution was not even a Private Member!

AN HON. MEMBER: Quasi- (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: No, he is not even - well, he is a quasi-Cabinet Minister but that's as far as I will go on it at this stage. He is not a Private Member, he is in the Cabinet. The Opposition House Leader, of course, is a Private Member he is not in the Cabinet so it is quite different and quite a different circumstance.

I say to the Member for St. John's Centre, we are going to have to leave it to you people on that side to work out the problems that you have over on that side in dealing with the Government House Leader and probably with the Premier I suspect, and there is a third one, I am not going to say it, the Member for St. John's Centre wants to know who this other character is who is a close confidante of the Premier's and the Government House Leader's. Everybody on that side wants to know who is -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: No, that's for sure. As a matter of fact, there is none over there who could admit to it because there are none over there who is a close confidante of the Premier and the Government House Leader, with one, other, possible exception, and regrettably, it isn't the man who should be there providing advice. It isn't the Member for Twillingate, I know that, I am positive of that, absolutely certain. It isn't the Member for Windsor - Buchans, of that I am absolutely certain; it is not the Member up in the back, for Pleasantville; it is not the Member for St. John's Centre. The Member for LaPoile has the possibility of being in that category, let me say; he loves to cosy up to the Premier and things of that nature but he is not the third one.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Yes. He is not the third one. I will say this to you, Mr. Speaker, the third one, to the Member for St. John's Centre, the third person sits in the front benches on the government's side. Now the front benches in this kind of a way, you have to include the bench behind the Government House Leader, that's the front bench as well, from a technical perspective, but the real answer is staring the Member for St. John's Centre right squarely in the eyes, if he looks straight ahead.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Yes, he is getting very close now, so if the Member for St. John's Centre, the Member for Twillingate, the Member for Fogo and all these other members over there who last fall had so much difficulty getting agreement from the Government House Leader to put their Private Members resolutions through, were dealing with the Member for Gander, the Deputy Premier, the former Government House Leader, the matter would be resolved.

All I can say to him is that the concept he advocates I support in principle, with a few slight variations along the lines of that which I mentioned. I will not be here in a few weeks time but I have talked to our House Leader, who unlike the Government House Leader, is somebody you can talk to, I say to the Member for St. John's Centre, and I get an indication from him and a few of my other colleagues that those kind of changes he advocates, if he can get them through his own caucus, and the Government House Leader talks to our House Leader, there is every reason to feel comfortable about getting an open hearing on it because we are quite supportive of that kind of approach. We do not really have a big problem with it.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, with those few brief remarks I will sit down.

Thank you, very much.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am not going to delay this debate very long. There are just a couple of other points I would like to bring to the attention of the Government House Leader, if I could get his attention for just a moment. I note that the final clause of the amending legislation deals with changing the hours of sitting in accordance with our practice over the past number of years, and reviewing it. That makes all kinds of sense. If the minister would look at our own Standing Orders, Page 2 and 3, the bottom of those pages, Section 7 and 8, which deal with the hours of sitting, the minister will see that Section 7 deals adequately with Fridays, which says: if the business of the House is not concluded at 12:00 o'clock, with the change, then the Speaker shall leave the Chair until 2:00, which is fine.

In other words if we are not finished at noon and the motion is that the House not adjourn, then we carry on until 2:00 o'clock. I do not have any problem with that. But Section 8 which deals with other days says that -

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible)

MR. WINDSOR: Unless the closure rule is in operation. These are days other than that - deals with days when we come back 5:00 to 7:00, and now we go from 7:00 to 10:00.

AN HON. MEMBER: So Friday we are here until 10:00.

MR. WINDSOR: On Friday we will be here all weekend. There is a sentence left out here. There is one that needs to be added to provide that on Friday we adjourn at 5:00 o'clock. We sit from 2:00 to 5:00 on Friday and from 7:00 until 10:00 on other days, just so we do not lose a couple of our weekends somewhere along the way, Mr. Speaker. I ask that maybe that correction be made.

My only other comment would be, in dealing with the question that the Leader of the Opposition just referred to, which was dealing with the methodology, I guess, and the Member for St. John's Centre, the methodology of deciding Private Members' motions and how they would come forward. I wonder why government has not referred back to the fairly detailed study that was done in 1990 and the report of a Standing Orders Committee tabled in the House on December 6, 1990 which gave a tremendous number of areas of review, some of which are adopted in whole, or in part?

On the issue of Private Members' Day, it provides for a random draw. Perhaps I will just go through it quickly. It says, each motion will be debated for one day only, which is in accordance with the change we are making now. It says the mover of the motion would have twenty minutes debating time in opening the debate and fifteen minutes in closing, and other speakers would have twenty minutes debating time. We are now changing that to fifteen minutes for all speakers, and I do not have any objection to that, Mr. Speaker.

It also says, under this proposal a list of names of members wishing to introduce motions for debate would be established through a random draw alternating from one side of the House to the other, conducted by the Clerk of the House. In order for the motion to be debated it would not have to be given until Monday before the day of the debate. In other words all members of the House, be they government backbenchers, opposition backbenchers, or independent members, could submit motions that they wish to have debated and the order would be chosen by a random draw, so that neither government nor the Opposition has control over that.

That is fairer to the individual member but it is probably not as favourable to either government or the Opposition in trying to bring forward motions that are important, and particularly issues that come up such as perhaps issues relating to the fishery, or something that is really topical of that particular day. On the other hand one could argue that there is always room for emergency debate. A motion could always be made under some Standing Order, I forget the number now, to adjourn the Orders of the Day. Standing Order 32, or something of that nature, which provides for an emergency debate on any issue, and that can be brought forward by any member, either government or Opposition.

There is provision there in the case of an emergency. I just bring that to the House's attention that this is a recommendation that has come from a standing committee of the House of Assembly. I also say to government that there are a lot of good suggestions in here, not all of which I agree with personally, but nevertheless this is a report of a standing committee of the House of Assembly on our Standing Orders. Government should consider adopting this in whole or in part, or otherwise maybe appointing another committee to review this report, update it to today, and see if we can't change many of the Standing Orders. Which are really archaic in many cases, which are inadequate in most cases, so that we find ourselves continuously referring to Beauchesne and practice either in Ottawa or in the British parliament.

I think it is long overdue. We have enough experience of those areas where we are having problems that we should deal with them ourselves. Lets put them in the Standing Orders so we know what we are dealing with. There are several things that I've really forgotten the details now, but over the last year or two, that I personally was frustrated with the manipulation - I say manipulation, not unkindly - but manipulation of the rules of the House so the government accomplished what they wanted to do. That is the name of the game, and that is their right, and our right to also manipulate and stop the government from doing what they want to do. But there were a couple of areas here where by motion government has overruled basically our Standing Orders or precedent and referred to precedents where we probably did the same thing when we were on that side of the House. That is fair ball. Nevertheless, obviously it defeats the intent of the Standing Orders, and it defeats what we are trying to do here, to be fair and to conduct the business of the House properly.

So I say, while I don't have a problem with these amendments that are being proposed, with the one extra amendment I've suggested to the Government House Leader to deal with Friday, I would recommend that we should really have a good look at the report that was done and updated and bring in a complete new set of revisions to make our Standing Orders more applicable to today's world, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I understand no other member wishes to speak. My understanding is if I speak that concludes the debate.

MR. SPEAKER: (Inaudible) you will close debate.

MR. ROBERTS: Let me thank the members who've spoken in the debate and added to the sum of the wisdom and experience brought to bear on this issue, because it is an important one.

There were a number of matters I would like to respond to. I will be quite brief. Let me deal first with the points made by my friend for Mount Pearl. I think he made some excellent points. I've had a look at the 1990 committee report, a committee chaired by my friend for Mount Scio - Bell Island, if memory serves me correctly, with members from both side.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Yes, I say to my friend for Mount Scio - Bell Island, it was a good report. There are a number of areas which in my judgement we should move on.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: My friend for St. Mary's - The Capes thinks it is good for nothing. I would simply say to him that there are some matters at least at which he should defer to those who've been here before him. He might talk to his colleagues on his own side. There are some quite good suggestions in that report which would improve the functioning of the House and the ability of members to speak, and the ability of the House to decide. We must remember the House has always these two functions.

I say to my friend for Mount Pearl and to others, Mr. Speaker, that this is a matter that we are giving attention to. It is sometimes difficult. There is a rule in administration an old friend of mine tells me, that the immediate displaces the important, and that is very often true in the business of running the House as in so many other things.

I guess what I would say to my friend the Leader of the Opposition with respect to his remarks are two points. I've been in the House for a bit, as people are fond of reminding me. In the thirty years or more that I've been following public life in this Province from different points of view - sometimes up, sometimes down, and sometimes in between - I have learned a few things, I hope. Usually the hard way, but I've learned one or two things. One of them is summed up in a very old adage: to beware of Greeks bearing gifts. That I think comes from the story of the Trojan Horse. The Trojans accepted the gifts brought by the Greek, namely the Horse, and when they got the Horse inside Troy the soldiers poured out and destroyed Troy. I wouldn't call my hon. friend the Leader of the Opposition a horse, or even part of a horse, but I would say to him that when he makes these suggestions such as he made here, he is in the position of a Greek bearing gifts. I say to my friends here, we are Trojans. We work like Trojans, and we also should show the wisdom of Trojans in not paying any attention to the Greeks bearing gifts. So with all due deference to my friend from Grand Falls, the Leader of the Opposition, I thank him for his remarks and tell him that we shall give them the consideration which they merit.

Mr. Speaker, let me go on to say one other thing to my friend from Grand Falls. I would refer him to a well-known poem - I think it was written by John Greenleaf Whittier, but I confess I may be wrong on that -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I have never been inside a Trojan, I say to my friend from Burin - Placentia West; he may have. I will let him speak to that point. I will let him get his head around that issue, and then speak to what is on the point.

Your Honour, what I wanted to say is that I would remind members of that well-known American - it happens to be an American poem, but a good one all the same - that comes to my mind when members opposite are cutting up on me, and I guess that is one of the burdens that comes with being the Government House Leader. My friend from Gander consoles me on occasion by pointing out the names he was called when he was Government House Leader, and when I start the cry of `Bring back Baker', he says: Hold on, now, remember what they used to say about me.

I would say to my friend from Grand Falls, the Opposition Leader, in the words of the old poem, Barbara Frietchie: Shoot if you wish this old grey head, but spare your country's flag, she said.

So shoot if you wish this old grey head, but spare your country's flag, I say to gentlemen and members opposite.

Mr. Speaker, just a couple of other points.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. ROBERTS: I say to my friend from Exploits that if he is not careful we will cut him off the Cabinet committee, and that is the end of his travel.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I will take my hon. friend's word for that.

Your Honour, Opposition days are a matter that I believe we should consider carefully. I suggested this many years ago when I sat to Your Honour's right, as I did for many years in this House. My recollection is that the government of the day, led by such luminaries as the gentleman from Grand Falls, rejected the idea out of hand. It is amazing how circumstances change when the people move just a few short feet from the seats that occupy the benches to Your Honour's left to those that sit directly across the House to the right, but I could go back through Hansard, and I could find the gentleman from Grand Falls, and the gentleman probably from Mount Pearl, if he was there in those days. In fact, the gentleman from Mount Pearl predates the gentleman from Grand Falls, and will be here after the gentleman from Grand Falls has gone into some form of eternal reward, whatever form it may take. It will certainly be eternal; whether it's rewarding or not remains to be seen, but speaking eloquently and rejecting the very notion of Opposition days, what I say, as one who has served in the House for a bit, served on each side, that there is considerable merit to the idea, and I think we should look at it.

Your Honour, that brings me to just one or two other points I want to make.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Well, I have to say to my friends, my friends thing this is bad; the gentleman from Mount Pearl follows me, so there you go.

I would make a point, I have heard a lot about Private Members and the role they play, and I agree with almost everything that has been said. I certainly agree with the thrust and the gist and the heft of what has been said, but let me just remind members on both sides, there are any number of ways in which members who do not sit in the government can make their points in debates in one form or another.

Petitions: now petitions in this House tend to get abused, tend to become the sort of argy-bargy that we see from time to time, but they are nonetheless a way in which a member of the House may raise a point, have it brought forward in the House and discussed, and the House address it.

Questions: my friend from St. John's Centre showed the other day what a well-phrased, thought out question can do. I would suggest to hon. gentleman opposite that they may try to emulate him.

Of course, we have the debates on supply - Interim Supply, Supplementary Supply, Main Supply - as well as the Throne Speech, and these are wide open debates to give members every opportunity.

Your Honour, I must make two other points before I sit down. The first is that I want to draw to members' attention, there is a misprint in the resolution as it appears on the Order Paper. I say to my friend from Grand Bank, if one looks at clause 53.1 (8), in the fifth line, the word `other' appears. It should not appear. It should read: ...to the number of the Members who sit in the Opposition.

Now the effect of leaving the word `other', which was in an earlier draft and was taken out, effective leaving in the word `other', is to increase the number of motions that go to the independent group and decrease the number that go to the Official Opposition group, that's not the intention, the intention is to be numerically fair, proportionately fair and that would be achieved by having it read: "are called for debate in proportion to the number of those members to the number of all the members who sit in the Opposition." I gave an example in the House the other day.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: The word `other' should be dropped and, I don't need to move an amendment. The Clerk tells me, Your Honour, that it is simply a misprint, the resolution of which I gave notice in the House has it correct.

Secondly, I would say to my friend from Mount Pearl, that his point is a valid one about the Friday; if the House concurs, I suggest we simply ask the Clerk to deal with that, assuming the motion is carried, when he deals with it. The understanding is clear that the House sits Friday afternoon, it adjourns automatically at five, unless the House by its procedure decides to carry on, and my friend from Mount Pearl is nodding acquiesence.

The only other point I would make, Your Honour, is, I have taken advice from the Table officers. The advice I get with which I concur is that we should have a recorded Division, it is necessary for thirty-five members to vote in favour of a rule change before it is made -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Well if there are not thirty-five members who are prepared to stand and vote and that includes - if my colleagues are not here they can't stand and vote but what I would ask, Your Honour, is that we take a standing vote, if Your Honour counts thirty-five there will be no need for a recorded Division, if on the other hand, we need a recorded Division, I shall ask the bells be rung and I can assure, Your Honour, that the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: My friend from Grand Falls, if he thinks for about a moment. The House of Assembly Act says that the rules must require two-thirds, not of those present and voting, of two-thirds of the members of the House, thirty-five.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: No, sir, it says present. No, I am sorry, it says members, members of the House, so there must be thirty-five affirmative votes. The only way to note that is either for the Speaker to be able to certify that thirty-five members have stood in their places or to have a recorded vote.

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: It doesn't mean there are thirty-five here.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: If there are only twenty-nine in the House, then there are not enough present to adopt the rule change. I haven't done a count.

MR. SIMMS: If you ask for a vote on it -

MR. ROBERTS: Yes.

MR. SIMMS: - and there are no dissenting votes.

MR. ROBERTS: Yes.

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: No, no. With respect, Mr. Speaker, I don't think that's the case. That is not the case. If we are going to adopt the rule change, we must do it properly. The advice I have and certainly the advice I give to the House is there must be thirty-five members present who vote Aye. There must be at least thirty-five members present and if there are only thirty-five, all must vote Aye. Now, I could do it, Your Honour, within the rules by simply asking you to divide the House formally and that would be the correct way to do it. If that's in order, I have said what I have to say in this debate, I would -

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible) standing vote.

MR. ROBERTS: Yes, if there are thirty-five members present. I haven't done a count in the House; if there are not -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: No, then I shall call Your Honour, within the rules, three of my colleagues standing with me, as I hope will be the case even as I speak -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Then we get on with it so, Your Honour, I would ask that you put the vote, please.

MR. TOBIN: Division.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I don't know if putting in a voice vote -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Ring the bell. That is the first thing you have to do.

MR. SPEAKER: Yes. The only think I would say is that, you know, I have done a quick count; there were less than thirty-five members in the House. I think for the Chair to say how many are in the House without a recorded Division, I don't think there is any official certification as to how many members are present -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, but I just say I don't think there is authority in our rules for me to make certification of how many members are present and voting, I would have to know the numbers.

I say to the Government House Leader, is it the intent then, to -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I point out for hon. members that what the Government House Leader said is that the Motion that is on the Order Paper does not represent the notice that he gave and there is just one word that is taken out, so the Motion we are voting on, in accordance, does not have the word `other' in sub-paragraph 53.1, sub-paragraph (8) and I take it there is no other amendment to take care of the question raised by the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. SIMMS: Are we going to amend that now?

MR. SPEAKER: All in favour of the motion, `aye'

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: Contra-minded, `nay'.

AN HON. MEMBER: Nay

MR. SPEAKER: Motion, carried.

I think the question is whether or not -

MR. ROBERTS: Could I ask, Your Honour, to ring the Division bells?

MR. SIMMS: No need to ring the bells.

MR. SPEAKER: Bells?

MR. ROBERTS: Yes, but we are just getting our exercise, for maybe a minute or two.

Division

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Your Honour, may I first of all - and I think this will require a consent but the Clerk has drafted an amendment to Standing Order 8, to take care of the point raised by my friend from Mount Pearl. The wording I have been given is that we add, at the start of Standing Order 8, these words: or at 5:00 o'clock on a Friday afternoon. Is that correct, I say to the Clerk? If that is agreed I would ask that we amend the motion by adding that as subsection (c) of the motion. That would have the effect of dealing with the point raised by my friend from Mount Pearl. If that is agreed Your Honour, perhaps you could call the question on the amendment if you prefer that or on the motion, as amended, as the House may wish?

MR. SPEAKER: I am sorry, if the Government House Leader could repeat that, he said Standing Order -

MR. ROBERTS: The wording I have, Mr. Speaker, subject to the Clerk, is to add at the start of Standing Order 8, now this is the problem with doing things - (inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: So that is the one that speaks to the closure rule?

MR. WINDSOR: (Inaudible) at 10:00 of the clock p.m. or at 5:00 p.m. on Friday.

MR. ROBERTS: Or at 5:00 o'clock on Friday afternoon. Add the words: or at 5:00 o'clock. Standing Order 8 would then read, `At 11 of the clock p.m., or at 5 o'clock p.m. on Friday afternoon, unless the closure order be then in operation,' and then it would carry on. So if that is acceptable -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: That is good advise, for once. Perhaps then Your Honour could call the vote?

MR. SPEAKER: All those in favour of the amendment please signify by standing.

CLERK: The hon. the Government House Leader, the hon. Minister of Education and Training, the hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, the hon. the Minister of Environment, Mr. Flight, Mr. Carter, the hon. the Minister of Finance, the hon. the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, Mr. Lush, Mr. L. Snow, Dr. Kitchen, the hon. the Minister of Natural Resources, the hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, the hon. the Minister of Social Services, the hon. the Minister of Health, the hon. the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture, Mr. Walsh, Mr. Ramsay, Mr. Penney, Mr. Crane, Mr. Langdon, Mr. Oldford, Mr. Gilbert, Mr. Andersen, Mr. Smith, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. W. Matthews, Mr. Tobin, Mr. A. Snow, Mr. Windsor, Mr. Hewlett, Mr. J. Byrne, Mr. Fitzgerald, Mr. Shelley, Mr. Manning, Mr. Careen, Mr. Harris.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The amendment is passed, thirty-seven in favour, none against.

All those in favour of the resolution please stand.

CLERK: The hon. the Government House Leader, the hon. the Minister of Education and Training, the hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, the hon. the Minister of Environment, Mr. Flight, Mr. Carter, the hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, the hon. the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, Mr. Lush, Mr. L. Snow, Dr. Kitchen, the hon. the Minister of Natural Resources, the hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, the hon. the Minister of Social Services, the hon. the Minister of Health, the hon. the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture, Mr. Walsh, Mr. Ramsay, Mr. Penney, Mr. Careen, Mr. Langdon, Mr. Oldford, Mr. Gilbert, Mr. Andersen, Mr. Smith, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. W. Matthews, Mr. Tobin, Mr. A. Snow, Mr. Windsor, Mr. Hewlett, Mr. J. Byrne, Mr. Fitzgerald, Mr. Shelley, Mr. Manning, Mr. Harris.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

When the vote was being counted I noticed that the Deputy Clerk counted Mr. Tobin, but I didn't think he was standing at the time. Perhaps I could ask the member to clarify, because we do need to know the exact numbers. I believe a member is obligated if he is in the House to either vote for or against.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Okay, the member is against the motion then. The member's vote will be counted as against the motion then. So I will ask the Clerk for an appropriate number, to do a count for us.

CLERK: Mr. Speaker, thirty-five `ayes' and two `nays.'

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The resolution as amended was passed thirty-five for and two against.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, now that we've dealt with that issue, before we go into the Budget debate, I wonder if the House would give leave to revert to Answers to Questions for which Notice has been Given. I understand my friend the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board proposed to table some information that my friend for Mount Pearl would like to have before the House, so I ask leave for that, please.

MR. SPEAKER: Does the House give its consent for the hon. Minister of Finance and Treasury Board to revert to Answers to Questions?

The hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I apologize for this. The information was ready but I didn't have time to check it. The Member for Mount Pearl indicated that he would like to have it during his speech. This is the information concerning the health care centres that has been put together. I think it is most of what the member has asked for. Appendix I gives the construction cost for each centre. The total is about $26.5 million. Appendix II gives a summary of the lease and sinking fund payments. The total thirty-year pay out is just shy of $96 million. That includes everything, including the sinking funds. That is the total, all of the payments. Appendix III shows the details of these payments. In Appendix IV I added - and I know the member will appreciate this as a comparison - the cost of the Newfoundland Enviroponics over the same thirty-year period, and the total at the end of that.

Appendix V, which is the one that he was most interested in I think, which gives more details of the other proposals, compares the cost of the two brick-steel structures with the health care developers wood-vinyl structure, which was determined by the Court in the initial decision to be the preferred bidder. The only fair comparison, because of the differences in financing methods, would be to take the total thirty-year pay out of all three proposals and discount the total pay out by the Province's (inaudible) borrowing costs to determine the present value of each proposal. That is the method that was chosen. It shows obviously that between the brick-steel structures the Trans-City proposal is by far the better proposal. It also shows, in comparing the lowest brick-steel structure to the wood-vinyl, that it would have been cheaper to go with the wood-vinyl by about $500,000. For this 2 per cent difference, Mr. Speaker, we obtained more durable and long-lasting buildings that more than compensate for the small difference in cost.

I would like to table this information.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Could we please call the Budget motion, which is Motion No. 1 on today's Order Paper.

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

AN HON. MEMBER: What is going on here?

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, I thought we were chasing Mr. Speaker out but we are not. This is not the Committee of the Whole, this is the Budget Debate. So the Speaker is deemed to have left the Chair but Your Honour stays there and has the pleasure of dealing with the issue.

Mr. Speaker, I thank the Minister of Finance for this information which, through no fault of his own, was just given to me a few moments ago. I appreciate the information so that I can have some comment on it but obviously I am going to want to deal with it in far greater detail and have an opportunity to analysis it, Mr. Speaker.

One point that the minister does make, he says: In comparing the two brick/steel structures, the Trans City proposal is by far the better proposal. I don't know if anybody ever questioned the fact that brick/steel is a better construction material. I think we all know that. The question here was why government did not ask for brick/steel in the first place. It is a matter of record that tenders were called without specifying any material.

The real injustice here to the contractors, Mr. Speaker, who were interested or involved in this whole contract, was that they were not told up front that wood and similar structures were not acceptable and that the government wanted brick and steel. The real injustice is that these people spent hundreds of thousands of dollars probably, in preparing bids. As members know, it is not just a matter of doing design, because they all had to do preliminary design in this case, so the contractors were not just taking quantities and lists of materials, bills of materials provided by the architects for the project and the Department of Works, Services and Transportation, filling in their numbers and bidding quotes on supply of materials and equipment and making up their bid - which in itself is a costly process - but in this case they indeed had to engage architects to do a design for them; then they had to engage financial analysts to do a whole financial plan to come up with the least payments in the amortization costs on borrowing; then they had to find the borrowing because you can't put a bid in unless you have the financing in place. So in order to get the necessary financial documents, the bid bonds that were necessary, you actually had to raise the capital in order to bid and that is not done here, that is done in Toronto. That kind of money is not available. You are talking a total of $26 million.

So these developers in this case - building contractors normally but now forced to be developers - were forced to go to Toronto or other money capitals of the world and arrange financing, tentatively. And to do that through the big capital investment companies, who raise that money for you, there is a finders fee on that, 1 or 2 per cent that you have to pay out in order to get that money in place. Even if it was 1 per cent, you are talking $250,000 and I think it is 2 per cent in fact. I may be wrong but even if it is 1 per cent that is $250,000 that each one of those bidders had to pay out to somebody in Toronto, win, lose or draw. That is not money they will get back. It is money they were forced to invest because government failed to specify what they wanted. If indeed - I think we should throw this question out - if indeed government knew what they wanted.

I think it is a valid question that maybe they did not decide what they wanted until they saw who had bid on what and who was the low bidder on what. In other words, what they wanted was tailored to meet the bids after the bids were received, Mr. Speaker, and that is where the Public Tender Act is being violated. They called tenders and the specification of the tenders did not say that wood with vinyl siding or anything else was not acceptable and since it did not specify it was not acceptable then automatically you would presume that any structure that meets the national building code is acceptable. What we had were bids that were placed on this contract, bids that met the national building code, met modern standards of design, and therefore were good and valid bids, and they were not rejected because they weren't the lowest bid. They were rejected because somewhere down the road somebody in government decided: We don't want that type of building. We will accept brick and steel only.

Now I am surprised that the rest of these contractors who bid on wood only haven't taken government to court to recover their costs because, in my humble opinion - and I am not a lawyer; I am an engineer by trade - I am not a lawyer, but in my view those people had a very legitimate claim against government, far more clear, in my mind, than the claim that Health Care Developers had, even though the Supreme Court has ruled that Health Care Developers had the lowest bid and had every right to expect to be awarded that tender; and, in so ruling, Judge Orsborn ruled that government violated the Public Tender Act.

Now the minister today, with this information that he is giving us - and again I say I am grateful for it but I am going to need some time, obviously, to do an analysis of it - but it doesn't change the fact that on the analysis that we have shown, using the minister's own figures, government paid $36 million more for this building than they would have paid for the wood building, or the proposal under Health Care Developers.

Any way you shake it, $36 million has been paid out that did not have to be paid out, and I am comparing thirty-year leases versus thirty-year leases. A present day value is the same thing. Thirty-year leases on Health Care Developers' proposal adds up to $36 million than the thirty-year leases on Trans City's proposal which was finally accepted. Any way the minister tries to manipulate numbers, the answer has to come out to $36 million.

The minister confirms here that the actual cost is $96 million, and that gives a summary of the lease and the sinking fund payments. Now, there is a new one, that the minister indicated the other day that the sinking fund payments are, indeed, included in that $96 million. That being the case, then we are back to only $20 million, which is the actual difference in cost between the final construction cost of one versus the other.

He is saying that under Health Care Centre's proposal it was $26 million, and I think the numbers show Trans City's original cost with estimates comes to $26 million. Well, I am going to have to look at this in more detail, Mr. Speaker. These numbers don't in any way jive with the numbers that were provided to us previously, so we will have to... Well, we will have to look at the information in more detail before we can get into it.

The fact of the matter is that the Public Tender Act has been violated. Also, now, we are finding out that these payments are made to Confederation Life. Now, there is one piece of information that the minister, I don't think, has given us, the interest rate being paid by Confederation Life. Now, we are taking monies and putting it up front into Confederation Life, in addition to the stream of lease payments which he has already told us, I think, is at 9.25 per cent, the final figure that the minister had for lease payments, and he tried to tell us that was the most favourable rate, and lower than government's borrowing rate, because we have a Cabinet Minute that says: Government may enter into a lease/purchase arrangement if the borrowing rate, if the interest rate, applied to that financing is equal to or better than government's own borrowing rate.

Now I documented here in the House of Assembly several months ago that at the time the government was entering into this contract with Trans City, at a rate of 9.25 per cent - or with Confederation Life - that at the same time we were in the money market and borrowed, I think it was $100 million, and the records will show, I had the accurate numbers then but I do not have them in my head now. I have them in my files but I will not bother to dig them out unless members want me to, but I think it was 8 per cent. We did a borrowing on the money markets at 8 per cent, a full percentage point lower than that which has been applied to this borrowing through the lease payments to Trans City, so that again is a violation of a clear direction from Cabinet, a policy set by Cabinet and documented in a Cabinet Minute. That has been tabled here in the House so we have that in evidence. Not only, Mr. Speaker, are we violating the Public Tender Act, but in my view we have also violated clear direction given by Cabinet not to enter into a lease payment situation unless the rate was at least as favourable, or more favourable, than government's own borrowing rate. We will get into that in a little more detail in further days.

We did a review here, and again I will comment on this at some time, on Enviroponics Limited, Newfoundland Enviroponics, total government assistance $24 million.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: What do they have that in there for?

MR. WINDSOR: Oh, the minister thought he should compare this because his defence is, he is trying to say: this is not so bad as compared to Sprung. Mr. Speaker, at least Sprung created some 400 jobs for two or three years, created millions of dollars of economic activity in this Province, but unfortunately it failed.

AN HON. MEMBER: You are not going to defend Sprung, are you?

MR. WINDSOR: I can certainly defend Sprung. I thank the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island but I do not need any protection from the Member for Eagle River, but I do appreciate his help. As a resident of Mount Pearl he knows full well the economic benefits that Sprung brought into this Province, particularly in this particular region. Let me add that the majority of employees at Sprung, by far the majority, were from well outside Mount Pearl. In fact Sprung itself was not in Mount Pearl. It was actually in the historic District of Kilbride. Sprung was actually located in the great District of Kilbride.

The bottom line is that $24 million was paid out, by way of a guarantee, to an industry that failed. It was not an overpayment by accepting a bid that was against the Public Tender Act and was $24 million in excess of that which could have been paid to build similar buildings by the lowest bidder, Mr. Speaker. There is a big difference in putting up a risk. There are all kinds of government loans and guarantees out that take the risk.

If there was not any risk involved private enterprise would not have to come to government for financing. The banks and other financial institutions would be happy to lend it to you. If there is no risk you can get all the money in the world, Mr. Speaker, but if you go to a bank to borrow money and you do not have that much money in your saving's account you can forget borrowing it today. It is very difficult to borrow money.

So, the banks, Mr. Speaker, and I have said this in the House many times, over the past couple of years, have very deliberately in my view, transferred the risk to government, and every time companies, even those that have existing loan guarantees, when they come to have those renewed, when that comes up - not loan guarantees by the Province, but have existing loans through the banks, when those loans come due and those companies want them extended, the banks have come to say, yes, we are happy to extend it but you must get a government guarantee, particularly in the fishing industry.

So over the past number of years dozens and dozens, perhaps hundreds of loans that were in private placement before are still in private placement but now government has guaranteed them and taken the risk. I have called on government before, and to my knowledge no action has yet been taken, to see what impact this makes. If a fish company has a loan from a bank and is paying 10 per cent on that loan, and then all of a sudden comes in with a government guarantee so that there is absolutely no risk to that bank or financial institution, why should that company still be paying 10 per cent? Why is there not a premium here? Why is government not getting, say a 2 per cent premium, if there needs to be paid out? Why is the bank not paying the government a 2 per cent premium for guaranteeing that loan? Government is taking the risk? If a company wanted $1 million and I had $1 million and government was going to guarantee the loan I would be happy to loan that company $1 million. Solid, guaranteed money, you can't lose. The banks are taking absolutely no risk and they are still getting the same rate of return as if they had accepted the entire risk.

Mr. Speaker, I think it is time that the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board - and I understood he was having some discussion with some of the banks on this issue - but it is time we looked at that. To see if we can't either get a more favourable rate, which would be a good incentive to business and a good assistance to them, get a more favourable rate from the banks, in view of government financing, or let government itself get some return on it. Since every time we guarantee something it is a contingent liability on the Province.

It reflects not in the overall public sector debt, but in the prospectus of government there is an impact. When the money markets and the credit rating agencies are looking at the Province, when they see that we have huge contingent liabilities built up by way of loan guarantees for private enterprise, that has a measure of impact on how they view the Province. That is an issue that needs to be looked at.

What we are saying here is that the minister is trying to tell us that Sprung cost $24 million. The loan guarantee pay outs in fact were only $11 million: $3.5 million to NIDC, a demand note of $6 million, and then a loan to purchase assets of $3 million. Total of $12 million more. So total government assistance was $24 million. There was some $3.8 million written off. The rate was 10.5 per cent for borrowing. The minister says: We would have paid more for that had we been paying that thirty years and then we still owed it. You are not comparing apples with apples. You are saying that is the interest we are going to pay, and we still owe it. Let's put in place something that pays it off over thirty years so that it is comparable to the present lease on the hospitals.

Obviously if you are not paying any principle then your interest payment accrues. The interest you pay on that is higher because you are not reducing your principle at all. They are not comparing apples with apples here, but we will indeed do that in due course so that we can - we will respond tomorrow or the next day, when we've had an opportunity to go through the minister's submission in some detail.

There is an issue that I wanted to just touch on briefly that came up somewhat in the Estimates committees this morning. I forgot in fact to get into it in detail before the committee rose and before I left the committee.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: You are glad. Again, I want to thank the committee, which was very courteous in allowing me as finance critic to participate in the debate. In fact, to lead off and gave me all the time that I needed. I think that is appropriate, by the way, that Opposition critics have the opportunity to go first. The committee members obviously have priority, but the committee was most courteous to me today and I certainly appreciate it. It certainly -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: That is the second time today (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Second time you've debated me today. You are getting worried now. Somebody said beware of Greeks. I did appreciate that, and I thought the committee hearings this morning went well, and the minister was able to give us some information.

On one issue, rebate of taxes. I'm aware that there have been a couple of cases where taxes have been rebated. The minister announced in his ministerial statement today dealing with the Hiland Insurance fiasco that taxes that had been paid on home and auto insurance policies that were not honoured - in other words, if there was a twelve month policy and only six months had expired by the time the insurance became null and void, obviously if that insurance wasn't put in place then in fairness neither should taxes apply. Unfortunately the policy holder may well have lost their portion of the premium that was applicable to that final six months that wasn't honoured. Some of it may be honoured through the insurance corporation but a lot of people, Mr. Speaker, lost a fair bit of money on that. It is only fair, I say, that government would rebate taxes that had been due and collected on that.

There are many other circumstances where private enterprise gets involved in transactions on which taxes are due and payable. We all know that the provincial sales tax is due and payable within thirty days. There is a proposal that the minister has been tossing around of making it payable immediately. In other words, you would have to put a trust fund in place to pay the taxes up front, which in my view it is a crazy scheme and I won't get into it in detail because I hope and I suspect that the minister is not going to pursue that, because it is the most ludicrous thing that I have ever heard in my life and I won't waste any time on it today, Mr. Speaker, I have spoken on it before and if it should ever arise, then I will deal with it again, but there are many cases where, private enterprise do business transactions on which taxes are due and payable.

They have to be paid in thirty days and as we all know, in private business today, everybody tries to get their money in thirty days or less, but it is quite often sixty days or ninety days, and in fact, many government accounts are not paid for ninety days, so here on one hand the government is saying: if taxes are due, you must pay them in thirty days or there are penalties and interest charged and on the other hand, government will take thirty days to pay that amount, so if you are selling something that is being applied to a government contract, you are not getting paid for the service you provide but you must pay the tax on it. Now, that's hardly fair. If government is going to insist taxes are paid in thirty days, they should insure that their payments are made within thirty days. What's good for the goose is good for the gander, Mr. Speaker.

But what is even worse, if you sell a piece of equipment to another private enterprise, you have to pay the tax on that immediately as if it were collected, even though it is simply invoiced out where you have to pay that tax within thirty days, but if then, that private enterprise goes into receivership, goes into bankruptcy and you never get paid for that, or if, for whatever reason, it becomes a bad debt, there is to my knowledge no provision to reclaim the taxes that you have already had to pay, so it might have been a year ago - this could go on for a year, obviously, but it could have been a year ago that you sold a piece of equipment and you paid the taxes on it within thirty days after, and here, a year has gone by, you have paid for that equipment, you have paid the taxes on it, you have not been paid for the equipment. Had you been paid for the equipment obviously you would have received your taxes back too, but now you find, I have to write off the piece of equipment as a bad debt and I can't even get back the taxes.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I say that is totally unfair because if that piece of equipment were sold but never paid for, it could hardly deem to have been sold and so what you are saying is that the private enterprise is taking all of the risks for government. Not only are you financing it up front for any period of time after thirty days that you are not paid for it, so you are financing the taxes for that period after thirty days but you are also accepting the risk that it might never be paid, so in other words, government accepts no risks, except to you I suppose, you could argue that. Well the risk is that you might never pay it, you collected it for us but never paid it; but it can't be transferred down the line, to the person who is ultimately responsible and so we have people who are innocent, who made a sale, who are penalized and who suffer because they don't get paid for it - the minister should be listening to this because it is his department that is ultimately responsible - that they don't get paid for the product, the service that you provided but you still have to pay the taxes and you can't get a rebate on that.

Well the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board should really take a look at that, Mr. Speaker, because that is really unfair and there are many cases where that has very, very seriously impacted on small companies trying to do business here in this Province. I understand, even if the equipment say, is recovered through receivership, even if you are able to get your piece of equipment back, taxes are still paid on it and there is no mechanism in place to get those taxes refunded. You got the product back, it is not there. It will be interesting to get some more detail on that.

Mr. Speaker, I just want to ask a couple of questions of the minister, as he is coming back, on the consolidated fund. Just in looking through the Estimates on the consolidated funds, a couple of things came to mind.

On Temporary Borrowings, Mr. Speaker, it is interesting. We budgeted $100,000 last year and we actually borrowed in Temporary Borrowings $160,000. Thousands, or is that millions? Thousands, I would think. We budgeted Temporary Borrowings of $100,000 and we actually had Temporary Borrowings of $160,000. We are estimating $175,000 this year. These are the debt expenses, sorry, these are not the amounts borrowed. These are the debt expenses associated with Temporary Borrowings. So our debt expenses went up by 60 per cent and we are projecting to go 75 per cent over and above last year's Budget this year.

At the same time on Treasury Bills the debt expenses went from $14 million to $18 million and we are projecting $29 million. Maybe the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board would like to listen to this, to what I'm saying here. Section 1.1.01 on page 5 of the Estimates, I say to the minister. Perhaps he would just have a look at this. He can respond in due course, or I will give him leave to respond if he has the answers now.

Under Temporary Borrowings the debt expenses, budgeted at $100,000, we actually spent $160,000, and project $175,000 for this year. For debt expenses dealing with Temporary Borrowings. At the same time Treasury Bills, we budgeted $14 million and actually spent $18 million, in round figures, and we are projecting $29 million this year.

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible) we've increased our treasury bill (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: But why have we increased Treasury Bills, I ask the minister. Alright?

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I could accept the minister's explanation somewhat if I didn't look down the page and see that in Temporary Investments we actually increased the amount that we earned on Temporary Investments. That tells me that there is poor management here. We've increased Temporary Borrowings and we've also increased Temporary Investments. So while we've earned more on investments we've paid more on borrowings. That tells me that we could have, by better management, reduced both the interest that we earn on investments and the amount we paid on borrowing. Because we are going to pay a higher rate on borrowings than on investments.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I will yield for a moment if the minister wants to answer. If we can get - there's Jack, Jack is coming running back to his booth. If he could turn on the minister's microphone so we can get this on the record. Mr. Speaker, I will yield to the minister.

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, there is a balance between the various methods of borrowing money. We don't want to have our foreign currency exposure go too high. We are probably at 40 per cent now and that is reaching a limit. We would like to have more floating rate debt rather than fixed rate debt anyway at this point in time, so we increased our treasury bill borrowings. Which meant we are borrowing less in terms of foreign, the United States, or elsewhere in Canada.

The Temporary Investments, we have to - one other point before I go on to that. Also during the year the interest rates rose fairly considerably. Okay? That accounts for some of the increases in the expenditures here, which are in essence interest expenses.

However, the Temporary Investments also profited from rising interest rates. The real interest rates are fairly high right now. Also, we have to keep a certain float on hand, if you want to call it that. You don't want your account dipping down too much below zero. When it does it should be only temporary, for a day or so, or part of a day, or whatever, because of cash flow. You always keep so much in short-term investments. It is usually prudent to keep it above $100 million. Sometimes it drops down pretty low, but it is usually prudent to keep it over $100 million in case of emergency needs and in case you have difficulty going to the market.

That is not going to be as much of a problem this year because we only had to borrow $100 million to turnover, and therefore we can perhaps lower our float a bit, our Temporary Investments a bit. The increase there is I believe quite normal and does not indicate bad management. It indicates that at this point in time we didn't want to go into any more foreign debt. The kind of debt we wanted, Canadian debt, was the floating rate debt at this point in time. We thought it was prudent to have a little bit more of that. That I believe explains that.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I thank the minister for his attempt to explain it, but I have to say to him that it doesn't explain it at all. I think he only confirmed what I was saying. I am just curious, to the minister, why we would want so much floating debt at this point in time. Interest rates are probably as low as they are going to be for the next number of years, in my view. Maybe the minister and his officials predict something other than that, but conventional wisdom is that interest rates are not going to go down unless there is something drastic happens to strengthen the economy of the United States.

Most people today are locking in their borrowings at today's rate. Now they have gone up a little bit in the last two or three months, but over the past year rates were down fairly favourably.

The minister just made the next point I was about to bring forward. He just confirmed that our borrowing program for next year is going to be down tremendously, so we don't have the same exposure to fluctuations in the market. You don't need as big a cushion because you are not going to borrow so much. Yet, your temporary investments are going to go up to $8.2 million in cost, a 30 per cent increase over your budget for this year, and, as the minister just pointed out himself, quite accurately -

MR. BAKER: That is revenue (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: That is revenues, which means that you have more money invested, which means that you have more money invested but you are still borrowing more on temporary borrowings, and paying the debt costs on that. So what I am saying to the minister is that if we accept what he said, that $100 million is probably a fair cushion to have invested at most times, to try to stay at or slightly above $100 million, but with the decreased borrowing program for this year, obviously we don't need to have the same amount there at any one time.

The minister wants to respond. I will yield again.

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

MR. BAKER: The hon. gentleman is right in his analysis. As a matter of fact, I am hoping - I am just keeping my fingers crossed - that perhaps we may not, indeed, have to go to the market this year. Perhaps we could even forego borrowing that $100 million. Now, I know that is a big hope. I don't know if we will reach that point, but perhaps because of the float that we have, and because of what we had at the end of the year in terms of temporary investments, we might, in fact, as the year goes on, if we have a little bit of luck through the year, we may be able to forego borrowing. That would be a momentous occasion where for one year you wouldn't even have to do any turnover. That is absolutely amazing, but that might, in fact, be...

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, the minister must be hoping the tooth fairy is going to come back the second time, two years in a row. We saw how fortunate he was so far this year in the one-shot deals that are coming out; or maybe he is putting all of his apples into the one barrel and hoping that he can convince the federal government to change their position on transfers. Unless the minister knows something that he hasn't told us, he did say in the Budget that he hoped to convince the Government of Canada to relent on some of the cutbacks in transfer payments, to change the policy on transfer payments to be more favourable to the have-not provinces, and while that is a commendable objective, I suspect the odds of success are about the same as Lotto 649. I don't think you are going to see it, not in today's economic climate, not with all the negotiations on with Quebec, unless, I suppose, Quebec could be in the same class as Newfoundland.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: Quebec is a have-not province.

MR. WINDSOR: They are a have-not province, that is right, so we might do that to keep Quebec happy a little bit. Anything that parallels you with Quebec this year is a good position to be in. That is another issue that I could speak on, but I would probably only get myself and the whole Province in trouble if I were to speak honestly and openly on my feelings on the whole Quebec situation, so I will resist that temptation, at least for now.

Mr. Speaker, is the minister really putting a lot of his hopes for a balanced Budget - now he is even saying they are not going to borrow the $100 million. That is almost too good to be true. It would be wonderful, I say to the minister, if that could indeed happen, but it would indicate one of two things: either we have some windfall again, a one-shot deal, maybe we are going to sell Confederation Building, something of that nature, but there is not a lot left to sell of great value.

We are not going to sell Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, I think that is pretty clear. That one is off the books. I think we can breathe a sigh of relief to some degree there at least. Thanks to the Government of Canada for cancelling the PUITTA clause which made it somewhat attractive to private enterprise.

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible) Alberta that he was going to review that decision or something.

MR. WINDSOR: That is one of the good decisions. So it is not attractive there, Mr. Speaker. I don't know where this great windfall is going to come from unless the transfer payments change, unless we are expecting Terra Nova to go full steam ahead and we are going to have another 3,000, 4,000 or 5,000 people employed all of a sudden at some huge, huge industrial venture like that and we would all love to see that, Mr. Speaker. That would be the kind of injection of stimulation in the economy that we would all love to see.

Hibernia, by the way, is going full steam ahead and it is a tremendous benefit to this Province. If we had not had the kick in the teeth that the fishery has given us this Province would be doing very nicely and the minister may well, this year, have the first year that we have not had any borrowing on either current or capital but unfortunately the economy has downturned in other areas so much that it has neutralized. A very, very positive impact.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: If we had not had Hibernia, the minister and I would not be here talking. I don't say there would be too many left in Newfoundland. The economy would have collapsed like a deck of cards, Mr. Speaker. It would have simply collapsed and it is not far from that now. This is one of the whole problems I guess we are facing here, that we are into so much a point of diminishing returns.

The minister said in his Budget that there will be no tax increases, yet today, liquor prices are going up quite significantly and the minister is going to try to tell me that this is because of increases from the supplier. I say to the minister, I don't buy it. I say to the minister, go check it out because I am aware that there are new products that were listed not two or three weeks ago and the prices are going up today. Now you can't tell me, Mr. Minister, that products that were only listed two weeks ago, already that supplier has come back for a price increase. I don't buy it, Mr. Speaker. I ask the minister now, will he provide a list of the changes in the wholesale prices and the changes in the retail prices that are being applied today? I ask him to do that. I will ask him again in Question Period to do that or I can ask him under the freedom of information. He knows that I will eventually get at it but I ask him to be cooperative, as he always is - I will yield to the minister, by all means.

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

MR. BAKER: I wonder if the Member for Mount Pearl could also ask me to table a list of the prices that went down at the same time. There were some that went down, some went up. More went up than went down granted, but there was a movement downward in about 100 brands, I believe. The prices actually went down. I could get details on that but there was a shift in prices. I am told all of it was the result of certain supply changes and so on.

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

MR. WINDSOR: I certainly will ask the minister for that and I will switch my brand for those that have gone down. I would be delighted to have that list and I am sure -

AN HON. MEMBER: That's the better list to have.

MR. WINDSOR: That's a better list to have, the ones that the prices dropped. Those are always nice to have. Every now and then they have a special out in the Liquor Corporation. There might be two or three dollars on a bottle. Two or three bucks is better in my pocket than in the ministers, I say. It would be interesting to see but I ask the minister for that information, in all honesty and sincerity, to give us that information. Show us clearly that those prices were increased by the wholesaler, what the wholesale increase was and how much has been passed along. It is one thing to say that wholesale prices increased by ten cents but the retail price went up by 20 per cent or twenty cents, perhaps that happened too. I have seen that in the past where it has been used as an excuse but as I recall and I could look in the estimates, I don't think the estimates show any increase in revenue from the Liquor Corporation this year. Normally, if there was to be a price increase, you would see that. Unless sales are going down and the corporation is increasing their prices because of decreased sales but I would have thought sales would level off this year, maybe even start to increase because of the increased surveillance on the borders.

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I would think sales might go up. Sales might go down on beer and wine. I half expected the minister to do something on that this year, on home brewing of beers and wines. I don't know how the minister can do it or even if it is fair.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Really, it's not for retail, it is a different thing. I hope he doesn't do that because an awful lot of people are producing some very fine product by the way. I have been the benefactor, some of my friends are into it, I wish I had time to be into it but I have not yet found the time to get into doing that but I have some friends who have produced some excellent quality wines, not distinguishable at all from the commercial product really, and in some cases every bit as good and even better than some of the wines that are available commercially, all that is a matter of taste of course, one talks about -

AN HON. MEMBER: Any Chardonnay (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Oh, Chardonnay is one of the finest ones, yes. Chateauneuf Du Pape is one of my favourites and there is -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Oh yes. Now I have some friends who are really into this; they have really taken it up as a hobby and have in the basement of one of my friend's home, set up a little kitchen, a laboratory with sinks and the works there and are producing some absolutely, fabulous quality of wines, so I am glad to see the minister hasn't touched it, because you know it is not everybody who can afford to pay $8, $9, $10, and of course much more than that in some cases for a bottle of wine whereas you can produce it for two or three dollars a bottle, $2.50 a bottle on average.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is a good question, should they pay the tax (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Should they pay the tax? Well, they are paying tax on the value of the product that they are buying, okay? They are not buying an alcoholic beverage which is a controlled substance, okay? They are buying water, they are producing it themselves so it is not -

AN HON. MEMBER: Neil?

MR. WINDSOR: Yes.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) pay taxes on their own labour.

MR. WINDSOR: - and it is there on their own labour as well, yes; so they are paying the 12 per cent retail sales tax no doubt and GST on it, but it would be unfortunate if the minister chose to tax that to a degree that it brought the cost of a bottle of home-brewed wine or beer to the same level as the commercial price. If he were to do that, obviously it eliminates another business here and a great hobby for many people, but no doubt the minister -

MR. BAKER: I had a request from the breweries (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: You had a request from breweries. I can see where the breweries would be concerned quite honestly, but you will never stop it now because I suspect those kits are a lot easier to bring in than contraband alcohols. I suspect those kits could be brought in to the Province far more easily I guess than contraband liquors, beers and wines and cigarettes so it would be interesting to see what would happen. But I say to the minister, I hope he doesn't consider that as a revenue source in future years because it would be unfortunate. Perhaps there might be some surtax that could be applied to level it off but it would be an unpopular move. I say politically, it would certainly be unpopular. You know, those people who can afford not to have to make their own home brew are not making their own home brew and they are paying the price already.

MR. BAKER: The argument is that it costs jobs in the breweries.

MR. WINDSOR: It is costing jobs in breweries?

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible) start making their own.

MR. WINDSOR: Yes and no. I suspect that in the case of breweries and beer, I suspect yes, there is an argument to be made. In the case of wines, I think we are consuming far more wine today than we were. I think a lot of people are drinking wines who were not into drinking wine or at least not nearly as much wine. I know that some of my friends who are making their own wines, pretty well every dinner or meal if they have a cooked meal they will open a bottle of wine because it is $2.50, but you wouldn't do that if you are paying $7, $8, $9 or $10, even for the cheaper ones.

There are some very palatable wines at that price or you can pay several hundred dollars for a bottle of wine in the specialty shop if you want to but even at a 9-dollar wine, you are not going to open that every night of the week; a $2.50 bottle of wine, you might if you are having a well-prepared meal and sitting down and taking your time, as unfortunately most of us do too infrequently, you usually catch something on the run, but if you are sitting down to a prepared meal, you will have a bottle and maybe the second one, you know, at that price, you can afford to consume it more so. I don't know if there is a difference in the cost if you are paying seven or eight bucks for a bottle of wine and you are going to drink one at dinner or if you are bottling your own you are going to drink two or three at dinner because they are cheaper, there is probably just as much money -

AN HON. MEMBER: More fun.

MR. WINDSOR: More fun, it is more fun, probably just as much money actually flowing through the economy, and the minister is still getting his tax on retail sales tax rather than on the liquor tax, Mr. Speaker.

Anyway, where was I before I so rudely interrupted myself by talking about wines? We were talking about the consolidated fund and those temporary investments, and I say to the minister that I am not totally clear yet. Again we come to the government's sinking fund surplus. The minister has indicated in his Budget that this year we will be taking $70.6 million from the sinking fund surplus. As I said earlier that is money that was set aside. I also indicated that the minister took $20 million last year and he argued with me at the time. I now refer him to Page 6 and you will see that there was $20 million by way of revenues that came from the sinking fund.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker.

MR. WINDSOR: I will yield to the minister, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. BAKER: The hon. member is quite right except there are two different sources. The $20 million, the $19 something, the change that we took this past year, was from issues that had reached maturity and there were surpluses left. The surpluses that we are taking are other than ones that are maturing now. They may mature five years down the road but already have a surplus built up in them. Normally this year we would have taken about $26 million, I believe, but we ended up taking $70 million which increased it by about $43 million, and that is the $43 I talked about as being the windfall part of it.

It was something that the Auditor General has been asking us to do and we did it this year. It was very useful in helping us reach our target, but you are right, we have to be very careful. That is not there next year. That is an amount of money we will not have next year.

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

MR. WINDSOR: That is right, I say to the minister, you should be very, very careful because that is a one shot deal. You might have your $20 million again next year from other sources, other funds, as you indicated, that are coming up and perhaps that are basically retired. The question still remains that while that $70 million is money that was either paid into a sinking fund or earned on that sinking fund to retire debt, but I have to question the wisdom of taking that money back into current account.

We want to get rid of our debt as quickly as possible. We are all concerned about the level of debt but it would have seemed more prudent to take that $43 million windfall and actually retire some of those old debts, certainly repay it on some of the more expensive ones, whatever we can retire to eliminate them. Now, I realize at the other end on the bottom line you have a $43 million deficit and you have to borrow on it, but let us be a little clear on what are you are doing, because by not paying down some of that debt you are maintaining that level of debt. Of course if you replace it with other debt you have not accomplished a heck of a lot.

At least, I think, it would have been a more honest document, to say that this money is actually being borrowed and that there is not really a balanced Budget, or in fact a surplus as the minister would have us believe. In fact there is a deficit here because that money is being borrowed. It is being borrowed from the sinking fund or you are using the sinking fund to pay off debt and borrowing new funds. Either way you draw it, Mr. Speaker, you are borrowing that $43 million or that $70 million. Anyway you look at it it is being borrowed from the sinking fund. It is still being borrowed from debt, so there is a $70 million surplus inherent in these particular documents.

Mr. Speaker, under Servicing Public Guarantee Fees, maybe the minister would like to address this one for me as well? Guarantee Fees - Non - statutory. We saw last year a fee of $50,000 which was there for that, and $50,000 is here again this year for Professional Services. Then we see revenues of $11 million. Perhaps the minister can explain all that to me? Are these guarantee fees the Hydro guarantee fee of $10 million, plus some fees for others? We are seeing $11,178,000 in revenue. I believe Hydro is paying a guarantee fee of $10 million. Is that where that appears, or would that be -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: On page 7. Alright? Guarantee Fees - Non-Statutory, $11.1 million, $11.2 million just about. Would $10 million of that be the guarantee fee on the Hydro debt?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Nine and a half million. The balance of it would be on all the other -

MR. BAKER: All the other guarantees that we do.

MR. WINDSOR: Okay.

MR. BAKER: Like every time we do a guarantee we charge a 1 per cent fee. Yes.

MR. WINDSOR: There is. I asked earlier while the minister was out. In my opening remarks I got into these guarantees for banks and everything. Is there a 1 per cent guarantee now charged on every loan that is outstanding, and who pays that? The company?

MR. BAKER: The companies.

MR. WINDSOR: In addition to the interest rate. Has the interest

MR. BAKER: They pay a 1 per cent guarantee fee and then it is treated as - if they get $1 million, or let's say $10 million, then they have to pay us $100,000 as a guarantee fee, and they still owe $10 million plus interest, yes.

MR. WINDSOR: The question I was asking earlier: Why would the minister not approach the banks and say: If we are going to issue the guarantee, we are taking the risk. Your bank is not taking any risk. We want a 1 per cent guarantee fee, it should come from the bank, from that interest rate. In other words, why are the banks still earning if they are charging, say, 10 per cent without a guarantee, and we provide that guarantee, we charge the industry 1 per cent, which means he is actually paying 11 per cent now. I would submit that the bank should pay that 1 per cent, or more, because now they've got a loan out for which they have absolutely no risk whatsoever. Has the minister had any conversations with the banks along those lines and is he making any progress? We've discussed it before but I would be curious to hear if we've made any progress.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I think the Member for Mount Pearl when he was Minister of Finance probably had the same discussions with the banks. I know that his predecessor, the Member for St. John's South I believe, also had discussions with the banks. I think this is a long-standing problem.

When government guarantees a loan, then why shouldn't the banks give them the money at prime? Why should they charge their normal rate to these companies? I can see no reason in this world except that it is an easy few bucks that they make. I certainly have had discussions with the bankers on that issue. I've got reams of correspondence on the issue. I've made absolutely no headway whatsoever. They come back with a bunch of - you want to see a bureaucracy. You think government is bad? You get a letter back from the banks and see their bureaucratic language and everything. They always list the costs that they have in terms of doing this loan and so on, therefore they have to make a profit. No headway whatsoever. I've had a number of discussions and there have been a lot of letters back and forth on the issue.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I suggest to the minister I appreciate his frustration. I went through it. We were just getting into it, unfortunately, when I was invited to move to the opposite side of the House, so I didn't get the opportunity to pursue it at length. It might be a topic -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) all you need is one bank that is willing.

MR. WINDSOR: All you need is one bank that is willing. I say to the minister, maybe you might get some movement if it were brought up at a finance ministers conference. If we had all provinces in Canada and the Government of Canada universally saying to the banks - and the Government of Canada can always say to the Royal Bank, of course: Have a look at this policy. I suppose we could legislate it. I suppose if all governments were to legislate that issues under government guarantee would have a 1 per cent or 2 per cent premium, or it would be at prime, or whatever formula the minister suggests, are certainly sensible.

I think it is worth looking at, Mr. Speaker. I was going to suggest that perhaps if we said to the banks that we won't guarantee any more unless the bank pays the fee, that they would simply jack up the rate to the company. So it is going to be - it is a hard ball argument, but certainly a valid one that needs to be pursued. Perhaps the minister would like to raise it at a federal-provincial conference so that all ministers, all provinces and the Government of Canada could deal with it.

The Minister of Justice is not here, or the acting Minister of Justice. I guess the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board can deal with it. There was an investigation ongoing, I'm told, or there was some news media reports of some unfairness in the hiring practices of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary several months ago, and I understood that perhaps there might be some investigation into that through the Public Service Commission, so it comes under the minister, because I think the RNC now are hired through the Public Service Commission. Are the Public Service Commission involved in the screening there now for the RNC, I understand.

AN HON. MEMBER: They are.

MR. WINDSOR: They are. So the minister is ultimately responsible for that.

Could the minister tell us now: What stage has this investigation reached? Is the investigation, indeed, still ongoing? Or have we had a report and, if so, what was the conclusion? Nothing has been disclosed yet publicly to my knowledge.

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

MR. BAKER: I have not heard anything about that recently. I will certainly ask what happened to it and try to get a report, and I will inform the hon. gentleman. He is quite right; I think there were some complaints, and I am assuming that it was looked into, but I don't know. I will check and see.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the minister for that undertaking, because I understand from one of the individuals involved, at least, that formal complaints have been lodged, and the indication was that an investigation would be undertaken, but that no result of the investigation has come forward. No information will be given out because it is under investigation, and he has really been stonewalled. Nothing has changed.

In the case of the individuals who had applied for positions with the RNC, they still haven't got positions, and the only answer they can get is: We can't deal with it because it is under investigation. Yet, we are having difficulty finding out who is indeed carrying out this investigation and what is the projected timetable of it. That appears to be totally unfair. If there is an investigation, then give us a status report. When do we expect it might be completed, and who is carrying it out? If there is not, then let's deal with the issue; tell us what the final resolution of it might be. To our knowledge, at this point in time, nothing much is happening.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Maybe not. There is only twenty-five minutes left.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) today?

MR. WINDSOR: No, I will come back tomorrow.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I am not going to go on much longer anyway, so you need not be concerned. I am not here to fill time. I have some points that I want to raise. I am having a very worthwhile exchange with the minister this afternoon, I would say. The minister is being cooperative, so we will carry on as long as it is worthwhile.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: As I often say when I start a speech, having been invited to speak, it is my responsibility to speak and yours to listen, but if you finish before I do, let me know.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: That's true. In this case, I say to the minister, the mouth can only put forward what the feet can stand. One can't stand forever. Actually, with the heat in this Chamber, when you are on your feet for awhile, that doesn't become such a problem.

We talked about university cuts. Now I am the last one who spoke at some length at trying to get access to university documents, and the Auditor General getting in there, and I totally disagree with the actions government has taken. I had some questions for the Minister of Education and Training a couple of days ago on that issue in Question Period. We have a situation where the university is totally unaccountable to the people of this Province. The minister says: We have a Board of Regents to whom we have entrusted that responsibility.

Indeed we do have a Board of Regents, but we have boards of directors and boards of governors of every other corporation in this Province who are entrusted with the responsibility of operating those corporations; yet, they answer through the minister to this House of Assembly, and they are accountable to, for example the Public Accounts Committee. The only person in this Province, or the only agency, that cannot be called before the Public Accounts Committee is Memorial University. Every minister here is accountable to the Public Accounts Committee and can be summoned to appear before the Public Accounts Committee.

Yet we have given this preferred status to the university who can say to the Public Accounts Committee: No, we are not going to give you that. What is even more frightening now, Mr. Speaker, is that the university is saying to the Auditor General: We will give you this much information but we won't give you the rest because the Board of Regents has not authorized us to release it. Even though the University Act and the Auditor General Act clearly says - even now, even with the amendments that government brought in last year - and I am surprised that government is apparently not more concerned about this.

There were concerns from the university of getting into academic freedom and all of those faults or concerns that they put forward. Government dealt with legislation that protected them from the Public Accounts Committee but still holds them accountable. They are not fulfilling the responsibilities under the University Act even though the government amended it last year to make it more palatable, presumably, to the university - still they are not complying with that act. I say, Mr. Speaker, through this House, to the president of the university that he does not have any right any more than any member of this House or any person in this Province to choose which laws he or she, as the case may be, will comply with and which ones they will not. He does not have that - nobody has the privilege of choosing which laws he or she will comply with and in this case the president of the university has said: We will give you this much information but we won't give you the rest. He said: Well the Board of Regents has not authorized it. Well I say to the Board of Regents, they do not have the authority to decide which laws of this Province will be complied with, which sections of the University Act will be complied with, which sections of the Auditor General's Act or the Financial Administration Act will be complied with or the University Pensions Act which is the third act that applies to the university and the department before that, the Department of Education Act. Under these acts certain obligations are placed on the university.

The Board of Regents has tremendous freedom and leeway. Certainly all academic freedom. There is no provision anywhere to interfere with academic freedom. In fact, I think it is the Board of Governors that actually deal with the financial part or do I have it backwards? I don't know if the minister can correct me. The Board of Governors deals with financing or the Senate I think it is. The Board of Regents deals with the finances and the Senate deals with academic freedom. So they are two separate distinct bodies with two separate distinct mandates, not overlapping at all. So any cries of academic freedom or interference with academic freedom are totally imaginary and non-valid,in my view, but the Board of Regents do not have the right to decide which sections of these acts they will comply with. I say to the minister and to government, Mr. Speaker, that the university should be brought to task on this and told to comply or otherwise. I say that the president should be dismissed and the Board of Regents should be dismissed forthwith. They are breaking a law.

The Minister of Finance cannot decide that he does not agree with the 90 kilometre speed limit or the 100 kilometre speed limit on the Trans Canada Highway between here and Gander and decide well I don't like that one so I will break that law and I will go 120 km. If he does he will pay the price, Mr. Speaker, as we all will. That is no different than the president of the university deciding that he or she will choose the laws that they are going to obey and the ones that they are not.

While we are on the university, does the minister have any feedback yet or the Minister of Education have any feedback yet from the university on the impact of the $2.5 million cut that the university is absorbing this year? It is interesting that the president of the university has not yet come forward with his normal statement every time there is an increase: Well we will have to review fees, tuition fees. He has not yet come forward and said: Well we have to recover that $2.5 million somewhere. Obviously there was plenty of flexibility within his budget to absorb that. Maybe we won't see it for this year, maybe we will see it in September. I suspect we may well which means that that will be passed along to the consumer, in this case the university students, Mr. Speaker. In any case that would be certainly a tax increase, although indirect. That is something we are concerned about, but the fact that that increase has not yet been announced by the President of the University, that tells me that indeed there was enough flexibility build in there, but where is it coming from? We are we getting this, and if we had that kind of flexibility built in there, then how come we have not found it before? We have not found it because the university is not accountable, and for two years the university did not even provide an annual report to Cabinet.

Now, you can give the Board of Regents and the Senate all the flexibility and freedom you want, but the Cabinet, the Government of the Province, are ultimately responsible through this House to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador who pay the price. I believe it is $138 million that is being transferred by way of grant this year to Memorial University. That is a lot of money, Mr. Speaker. I think the Auditor General points out that it is something like 4 per cent of the gross Budget of this Province that is transferred to the university by way of a direct grant, yet they are not truly accountable.

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible)

MR. WINDSOR: But they are accountable. Now, I say to the Government House Leader, there is a clear distinction here, a very clear distinction. We do get full accounting from hospital boards. They are called to task and they do come before the Public Accounts Committee. We have reviewed several of them in fact, and very worthwhile reviews, I say.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. WINDSOR: That is right, prior to that there were no Crown corps answering and in my view the university was fully accountable, and should have been, until the government chose to change it last year, and I think they will regret that change. I think it was very unwise and I see no justification whatsoever for giving the university special status that no other Crown corporation enjoys. It has nothing to do with academic freedom or anything of that of that nature, regardless of what it says in the university act, where the university act is changed, obviously, to provide that.

It is very worthwhile, Mr. Speaker, in fact it is imperative. How do the people know whether or not that $138 million is being spent wisely? The truth of the matter is we do not know, and to say that we have intrusted that to the Board of Regents is on our part shirking our responsibilities as members of the House. We as members, all of us, are responsible for answering to the taxpayers of this Province for that $138 million and they look to us to insure as their elected representatives that $138 million is necessary, and that it is being spent wisely and well, but we are not doing that, Mr. Speaker, we are unable to do it and they also look to the Auditor General as an Officer of this House, to study the books of the university and ensure that the university is being accountable in accordance with good accounting practices and that is not taking place.

Again, this is the only agencies that the Auditor General is not allowed, not receiving co-operation, where, the act is not being complied with, so the university, Mr. Speaker, is breaking the law. The university is breaking the law any way you cut it, and that, Mr. Speaker, is totally unacceptable, totally unacceptable.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I have lots of time if the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation wants to go on making his silly comments, I am quite prepared to sit back because I have no intention of getting involved in any kind of an interchange with anybody of that level of intelligence. He has never yet, Mr. Speaker, since he has been in this House, made a speech of any consequence, of any substance that had any relevance to anything of any importance in this Province, absolutely nothing. His main contribution to this House, Mr. Speaker, is to sit there and make these kinds of foolish comments to interrupt somebody who is trying to make a speech. He has even done it, Mr. Speaker, when members from his own side of the House of Assembly, when his own colleagues and caucus over there in Cabinet are trying to make speeches, then the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation gets in one of his silly moods, starts taking one of his silly pills and decides to come forward with some of these asinine comments. All he is, Mr. Speaker, is totally disruptive. He is a disgrace to the House of Assembly, he is a disgrace to the good people of Port de Grave who elected him.

MR. EFFORD: I noticed that in the last election.

MR. WINDSOR: Yes. Absolute disgrace, Mr. Speaker, and I say to him: keep his eyes open for the next election, the good people of Port de Grave -

AN HON. MEMBER: Kicked out of Cabinet and disgraced the Cabinet.

MR. WINDSOR: He got kicked out of Cabinet, was flicked out of Cabinet and that was the best news the people of Port de Grave had for a long, long time.

MR. TOBIN: He got rapped on the knuckles.

MR. WINDSOR: The hon. gentleman was flicked out of Cabinet, rapped on the knuckles last week, he did. He got rapped on his knuckles by the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture last night. He told him to keep his nose out of his portfolio, but he has never made any contribution to this House. He is only going on with his silly asinine comments that do nothing for the protocol.

MR. TOBIN: The smurf and turf got him.

MR. WINDSOR: What is it? The smurf and turf got him, yes. He put him in his place. Mr. Speaker, there is what we see from the Member for Port de Grave, absolutely no contribution to the House. The biggest contribution he makes is when he leaves, when he leaves the House. He is the only member who, when he leaves the House, he does not leave any vacancy. The level of intelligence in the House is exactly the same when he leaves as when he was here. It is very difficult for somebody to carry on with an intelligent discussion of the important matters before this House as long as that member is around making those silly comments.

Anyway, I am going to totally ignore him. As long as he interrupts me I am going to sit here. I am not in any hurry. If he wants to keep interrupting me then I will continue on.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Well, tell us about stoves that were sold. I wish I had the interest the hon. member earned on the money he made on stoves. I wish I had the interest he has made on selling stoves. Maybe one of these days we will go back and have a look at some of those stoves that were sold, where they were sold, when they were delivered, and all that sort of thing. It may be interesting. I do not know anything about the stoves that anybody might have sold, but I have heard some strange things said about stoves in this Province. People who sold woodstoves when we were into this great energy conservation, where we were trying to conserve electricity and we were providing incentives for people to insulate their homes and convert from electric heat to wood heat, and this sort of thing. There were all sorts of incentives put in place then. There were subsidies paid on stoves, all kind of stove subsidies.

MR. TOBIN: John, what was the subsidy on the stoves?

MR. EFFORD: It used to be 35 per cent.

MR. WINDSOR: The subsidy on stoves was 35 per cent. I wish we had it in place now because I could use a new stove. I would not mind putting a wood stove in.

MR. EFFORD: It would take some stove to keep you warm.

MR. WINDSOR: Well, it would only take him a couple of paragraphs to get the minister warm, I say to my friend.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINDSOR: We certainly got his attention, didn't we? We certainly got him heated up here, now. We are finally getting to the crunch of it. The minister used to get cold crawling around outside the medical facilities when he was in Opposition, the homes and everything he used to be sneaking around outside, we were told.

AN HON. MEMBER: The night crawler.

MR. WINDSOR: The night crawler, yes.

AN HON. MEMBER: The man with a flashlight.

MR. WINDSOR: With a flashlight, yes; he ran out of flashlights. We will have to put a subsidy on flashlight batteries, I suppose, so he can get back to work.

MR. TOBIN: Eveready Efford.

MR. WINDSOR: Eveready... yes, he is getting warm now. We've got him going. We must be getting closer to it. He has gone hobbling back to his own seat now, too. He went hobbling back to his own seat when we got talking about stoves. He is looking for a bit of comfort. He figured he can hide down in his own seat. He was too close to me up here. I could give him a flick too easily. Now he has finally gone back to his own seat.

AN HON. MEMBER: He was afraid to stay too close.

MR. WINDSOR: He was afraid to stay too close, yes, with good cause, too.

It's only a matter of time before he gets another flick now. The Government House Leader is going to give him a flick. The Government House Leader is anxious for me to sit down. I know he wants to get this debate wrapped up as early as possible.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I am certainly relaxed. I had a very relaxing weekend this weekend. I am in fine form and ready to go on as long as I need to, and as long as I keep getting interrupted -

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Oh, yes, I am in great form, I have to say. I haven't been better in years.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I am in great form. At least I am in great shape. I may not be in great form, but I am in great shape, I have to say, as strong as ten lions, right now, ready to take on any number of Members from Port de Grave.

MR. TOBIN: Skidooing the weekend?

MR. WINDSOR: No, not skidooing the weekend. I was here on the weekend.

MR. EFFORD: Say that again.

MR. TOBIN: He said he can't wait to take you out in Port de Grave.

MR. WINDSOR: No, I didn't say I would take him out of Port de Grave, but we do have a potential candidate who is biting at the bit to take on that member out in Port de Grave. Oh, do we have a candidate for Port de Grave the next time around - a dandy.

MR. TOBIN: How many people were out to the nomination meeting in Port de Grave, 500?

MR. WINDSOR: Nine hundred people to a nomination meeting in Port de Grave - 900 Tories out there, and not even an election on.

MR. EFFORD: I should apply for my pension now; you're making me nervous.

MR. WINDSOR: So the member should be nervous. If he could only see the sights that are set on him.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: If he could only see the sights that are set on him, Mr. Speaker, those that are aiming at the Member for Port de Grave in the next election. Are we ever going to have a candidate? And 900 people biting at the bit saying: Come on, let's get the campaign started. We got to clean this out. He is a disgrace to the House of Assembly, the way he acts. We've got to get him out of there. Let's get the election on now. The election could be sooner rather than later. It depends on how many Caucus's are actually over there.

MR. TOBIN: Three over there now.

MR. WINDSOR: Three Caucus's over there. The question is, can the government govern any more? What we have over there is a coalition government now. A very, very shaky government, Mr. Speaker. We will come surging out of our leadership convention now with a great new leader, totally unified behind our leader, whichever one of our candidates will be successful. We are going to come out totally unified and ready, willing and waiting to take on the next election!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TOBIN: And Dr. Paul will be passing out the prescriptions in Port de Grave.

MR. WINDSOR: That's right. We have a prescription written for Port de Grace, haven't we? Yes, it won't be long now. We can't wait for that opportunity to get to the polls, in Port de Grave particularly. I just might do some campaigning in Port de Grave in the next election.

MR. EFFORD: I would not advise you to go to Port de Grave after what you said here in the House of Assembly, I can assure you that.

MR. WINDSOR: I am not going to run out there.

MR. EFFORD: You have not got that nerve.

MR. WINDSOR: Indeed I do, indeed I do. The member now is calling a good bluff, he has challenged me to come out there. I just might do it.

MR. TOBIN: That is the sign of a coward.

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, he thinks he can frighten me out of it, Mr. Speaker, but he can't because I will go out to Port de Grave in the next election if our candidate wants me. I would be delighted and proud to go out there and knock on doors and do whatever I can do to help our candidate out there, Mr. Speaker. I got a lot of friends in the District of Port de Grave. Indeed I do, far more then the minister would like me to have. The minister would be surprised. I have lots of friends out in Port de Grave, indeed I do. Yes, and I would be delighted to go out there and knock on doors with them and our candidate -

AN HON. MEMBER: Upper Island Cove.

MR. WINDSOR: Upper Island Cove? I have relatives, ancestors from Upper Island Cove, my grandmother I believe.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: He is going to run in Harbour Grace?

MR. TOBIN: Basically that's the district under the (inaudible) forty-eight.

MR. WINDSOR: Oh, it's going to change, isn't it? No, that will never go through. The second caucus will never let that go through, or the third caucus, whichever one, you will never get it through.

Actually, I have relatives out in Port de Grave who I haven't seen for a long period of time, but they are good and supportive.

We are running out of time. Is it time yet for me to adjourn the debate, Mr. Speaker? Mr. Speaker, I will adjourn the debate. It's time to move on.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: And I believe that to be true.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I take it the motion to adjourn carried, and that we will clue up the business of the House for today.

I shall be in touch with my friend, the House Leader opposite, at some point tomorrow morning to let him know what we propose to do. We shall do one of two items of business tomorrow. We will either carry on with the Budget Speech - I understand my friend from Mount Pearl is getting somewhere close to the meat of the reply to my friend from Gander, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board - or we may ask the House to begin to deal with the... There are three heads of Supply that are dealt with here in the Committee of the Whole in the full House, Executive Council, Legislative, and Consolidated Fund Services, I think, each of which allows, of course, for a wide ranging debate. So I shall be in touch with my friend from Grand Bank at some point before midday tomorrow to let him know which of those two orders we will be calling, and we will deal with them tomorrow.

Wednesday we will -

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: What happens at ten o'clock?

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I say to my friend from Burin - Placentia West, does that make any difference - I am not trying to be saucy - in the sense that -

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: The same speeches will be made, with one difference. If the Budget is called, my friend from Mount Pearl has to make the speech. If the Supply is called, other hon. members will get a chance to get in and mix it up. Maybe we should do Supply. Let's do Supply tomorrow, then, on whichever is the first of the heads so that everybody can get into this, and we will give my friend from Mount Pearl another day to get his second wind, or his third wind, or whatever he may need.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Yes, well Wednesday, of course, will be Private Members' Day and we will deal with the gentleman from St. Mary's - The Capes, I guess, who put down the Motion today.

Mr. Speaker, that is where we will be, tomorrow -

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: It is not quite 5:00 p.m., as I look at it.

I move, Mr. Speaker, that the House adjourn until tomorrow -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Well, we know my friend from St. John's East can't count; he thinks he is a party.

Your Honour, I move that the House adjourn until tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.

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