April 4, 1995              HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS                 Vol. XLII  No. 12


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

Statements by Ministers

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, honourable members will recall that early in January, I announced the formation of the Provincial Information and Library Resources Board to oversee the development of a network of Community Information Resource Centres. This new direction is intended to move provincial libraries into the new age of technology currently evolving throughout the world.

Today, it was my pleasure to take part in the official launch of the St. John's INFONET at the Provincial Resource Library at the Arts and Culture Centre, another significant step forward towards the new technology. With this launch today, the Provincial Information and Library Resources Board has begun the process of co-ordinating a whole new effort for the delivery of information to the general public.

Mr. Speaker, the Board has formed a new partnership with the St. John's INFONET Association, a group of dedicated volunteers, interested in providing free access to community-based information; plans have been made to share equipment and resources for the benefit of the whole community. Working together, the Board and the Association will use computers, modems, and phone lines to provide that free public access.

The INFONET will be for everyone, and members of the general public can now begin registering for individual accounts. These accounts will be established free of charge and will provide access to the full range of the INFONET's services.

Mr. Speaker, the exciting range of services include: local library catalogue, social and health service groups, arts information, recreation and sports schedules, news, science and environment information, and hobby groups and clubs. Access to government information includes: statistics, Federal Government information, Provincial Government information, and Municipal Government information and the Budget Speech, Mr. Speaker, which was presented in this House by the Minister of Finance just a few weeks ago.

Other services available are virtually unlimited. They include: Electronic Mail, all registered users will be able to send and receive messages on the INTERNET (an international computer network that connects over 20 million users in over 60 countries), and expert advice will be available through an "Ask the Expert: service." These could include: Ask the Veterinarian, Ask the Lawyer, and Ask the Gardener.

When I announced this initiative back in January, I thought it would take three to five years to implement it Province-wide. I have been advised today, Mr. Speaker, that this could be up and running throughout the Province in a little more than two years.

Mr. Speaker, this launch today is an exciting and interesting move forward as we continue to prepare and convert to the new age of technology.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise and congratulate the ministry on a positive innovation by his government. The electronic age and the computer age is part of the new reality in this Province and new economy world-wide. I am very pleased to say that a few years ago I was principal of a junior high school which had the credit of being the first junior high school in the Province to have its learning resource centre fully computerized. The school, itself, raised $45,000 to make that happen.

Mr. Speaker, the minister is asked to assure that information on INTERNET be available to all schools throughout the Province. Now, that is going to be somewhat difficult in the short term but it is in the long-term goals that we have to try to make sure that all schools are connected and that all children have equal access.

Mr. Speaker, I also ask the minister if he can try to assure that it is available to all areas of the Province between different schools, between community information resource centres, to adult education centres and I note that some towns and cities are connected now to INTERNET and they will be continue to be part of the system. I was pleased - we had a meeting the other day when the mayor of Mount Pearl announced that the City of Mount Pearl is already coming on stream.

Mr. Speaker, I have one suggestion for the minister and that is to say to him that we should also make sure that all MHAs have their offices connected to INFONET and INTERNET. If we are going to be a part of the functioning of our communities, we have to make it possible for all MHAs to have access to it and maybe -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

By leave.

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, if I could just conclude by saying, we should bring the House of Assembly itself and Hansard and other parts of the Legislative Library on to the same system.

MR. HARRIS: By leave, Mr. Speaker?

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

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave.

MR. HARRIS: No leave?

MR. SPEAKER: No leave.

Oral Questions

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

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

My question is for the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

Yesterday, after Question Period, out of earshot and eyeshot of the media, the minister verbally accosted, made wild accusations and subtle threats to the spokesperson for the Injured Workers Association of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Let me ask the minister: What compelled him to do it, why did he do it and would he stand today and apologize to Mr. Austin Haynes, spokesperson for the Newfoundland and Labrador Injured Workers' Association, who is sitting in the gallery today?

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Let me say to the hon. member it is a pity that everything comes secondhand to him.

I passed Mr. Haynes yesterday and all I said to Mr. Haynes was: Mr. Haynes, it is too bad you didn't send me a copy of your minutes then I would have had - that's all, that's all that was verbalized to Mr. Haynes, there were no extraordinary comments made to the man, I say to the hon. member.

Now, again, Mr. Speaker, he is up today making accusations thirdhand. The member was up again yesterday talking about his `source' and I think it is time that the hon. member took some responsibility, cut out the shenanigans, put his `sources' on the table, put his information on the table or as he asked me to do yesterday, I will ask the hon. member: will he resign if he can't?

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, I say to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, I already put some evidence to the Deputy Premier yesterday and he better be very careful on this issue; and let me tell you, that it wasn't thirdhand information. It was not thirdhand information that came to me yesterday, there were six or several witnesses who saw you do that to the spokesperson for the Injured Workers' Association.

Mr. Speaker, let me ask the minister this: You are the minister responsible for the administration of the Workers' Compensation Act, the Workers' Compensation Review Division, why did you accost Mr. Haynes in such a manner yesterday? Explain yourself, Minister, stand up and explain yourself, please.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MR. MURPHY: I don't know that that kind of a silly comment - I made a comment to Mr. Haynes yesterday and it was simply: Mr. Haynes, if you had forwarded your minutes to me, than I would have known; we discussed it and he said: No, I didn't want to do that and I said: It is too bad, we would have had a better understanding of the situation and I carried on. I didn't threaten anybody, I say to the member. That is incorrect, that is totally incorrect. It is time for the Member for Mount Pearl to take some responsibility and to cut out his foolishness -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Kilbride.

MR. MURPHY: Or Kilbride, wherever he is from. Cut out his foolishness and stop this.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: I'm not threatening anybody, I say to the Member for Grand Bank. I say it is time for the member to put his information up on the table or put his source of information on the table, or cut out this silly foolishness.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: All in time, Mr. Speaker. Let me ask the Premier this. Mr. Premier, will you meet with the spokesperson for the Injured Workers Association to get a clarification on what actually happened yesterday? It was a cowardly bully act by the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. He pointed his finger and said to him directly that what is going on here, we will see what will become the end of it. That is exactly what was said to Injured Workers and to the spokesperson by the minister yesterday. Mr. Premier, will you meet sometime this week with Mr. Austin Haynes and his group to find out exactly what happened yesterday afternoon in the lobby of the Confederation Building?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I will assume the member has addressed his question through the Chair, and I will say to Your Honour that anybody who wants a cause to meet with me or wants to arrange a meeting with me has no difficulty. People have a meeting and they can't get a matter that is of concern to them addressed through the minister involved. I've never had any difficulty meeting with anybody who wishes it, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I have some questions for the Premier regarding a different topic and it is dealing with the $5 million job creation program that the government eventually....

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Don't threaten me, Tom Murphy. Don't try to threaten me. Don't threaten me.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: What is he saying now?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: What is this? Threats across the House?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition has the floor. I would like members to give him the courtesy of listening to the question.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. -

MR. E. BYRNE: Point of order, Mr. Speaker. If the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations has something to -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I haven't recognized the hon. member.

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. E. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. If the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations has something to say to me he should say it in this House and not throw verbal barbs and idle threats to me across the floor of the House of Assembly.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. E. BYRNE: Stand up! Stand up, boy!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman for Kilbride hasn't made a point of order so I don't need to respond to it. What I would say to him is as he sows so shall he reap.

AN HON. MEMBER: Exactly.

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I was distracted by the minister over there. I didn't know what he was doing. His arms were flailing.

Anyway, I have some questions for the Premier regarding the $5 million job creation program. Not the deputy Premier - I notice he is nodding attentively - the Premier. The $5 million job creation program that closed, as the Premier would know, March 31. That was the deadline. Now, many communities, and we have heard all kinds of stories, have had to return part or all of the funding they had originally received. Can the Premier tell the House exactly how much money has been returned from these communities, and can he tell us how many communities have returned funding?

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

As the program closed out on Friday when we done the Estimates this morning the indicator was that there is some $4,720,000 spent in the program. I am sure the member understands that in most of these programs there are some slippages and we have not fully concluded the program yet, and as soon as we do, I say to the Leader of the Opposition, we will be bringing a report to the House and showing all members exactly what the total is and what was spent in the respective districts.

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

MR. SIMMS: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

My supplementary is to the Premier, and this is precisely the reason I am asking the Premier the questions, because the minister has been stonewalling on these types of questions for the last several weeks. It is not a difficult task to try to find out how much as been returned. Just as an example, I say to the Premier for his own information, we did a quick investigation over the last day or so of just seven out of fifty-two constituencies and we found approximately $225,000 has had to be returned from just seven districts.

Now, Mr. Speaker, that is money that the Premier and his government allocated to create jobs for people who were desperately in need. We understand from fairly good sources, and these indications are that there will be at least $1 million that will be returned to the government. That is a significant amount of money, so I want to ask the Premier if he will check into this a little more closely and if he finds that the information I am giving him today is reasonably accurate, will he consider creating a new emergency job creation program with those returned funds, especially if it is in that area of $1 million or so, and make the effort worthwhile by relaxing the criteria of a new program?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I have no doubt the minister will do a complete assessment and will in due course advise the government as to exactly where matters stand. If there is any justification for the government taking a different course of action we will advise the House at that time.

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

MR. SIMMS: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

I am disappointed that the Premier isn't taking this a little more seriously.

PREMIER WELLS: (Inaudible)

MR. SIMMS: You are not. That is my point.

You have an example here. In Bonavista South there was approval for $143,000 in projects to create seventy-three jobs. In essence what happened was $82,000 was returned and only eighteen jobs.

MR. EFFORD: Everything was completed in my district.

MR. SIMMS: Well, I can say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, everything wasn't completed in every member's district over on your side of the House, nor on this side.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SIMMS: Yes, silly.

Mr. Speaker, the only successful job creation program that this government has created in the last year was the one for Eric Gullage.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, speaking of patronage, that brings me to my next supplementary question. I see the Premier shaking his head. That's too bad. He doesn't like it, but that's too bad. It brings me to my next question. Is the Premier aware that there were three or four staff people hired to administer this job creation program over in the Department of Employment and Labour Relations? Is he aware of that? Can he tell us who they were? Is he aware that Mona Morrow, the defeated Liberal candidate in last year's Placentia by-election, was one of the chief people put in that particular program to administer the job creation funds?

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yes, when the program was announced, of course, the Department of Employment and Labour Relations, like any other department, has applications on file, and I was very happy to learn that we had satisfied our people, that there were competent applicants out there. I really find it difficult to understand why the member would rise and pick on... Is Mona Morrow, because she took a temporary job, less competent than somebody else? What is it the member is trying to say? I don't know Ms. Morrow that well, but I was happy that she got the job - very happy.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I don't know what is wrong with the minister. I asked him if he would - I asked the Premier; he couldn't, so he asked his minister, to tell the House - who now can't - who were the people that you hired to administer the program? I understand Mona Morrow was one of them; that is what I said. Was I wrong?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: You confirmed that? Who were the other two or three?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. MURPHY: I will find out for the hon. House Leader.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I would just like the hon. minister to have the floor.

The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MR. MURPHY: Let me say that -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: Perhaps it's not advisable for the Leader of the Opposition to retire at this time, until he gets his blood pressure under control. Perhaps he should stay on a little while.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will find out who the individuals are. I don't know outside of Ms. Morrow, and the only reason I know that was because I met her one day, well into the program, in the hall. I didn't know what she was doing there.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I can tell him one thing, at least this is the right face you are looking at, not the one on the back of your head.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, let me ask the Premier, if I may - it seems to be a testy day, or something is wrong today; I don't know. I don't know what the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation had for breakfast, but he should have more. He is much more pleasant every day when he eats this stuff.

To the Premier, Mr. Speaker, a final supplementary on the questions that I have been raising about the job creation program, which turns out has not worked out very well. The people have not been served well, because hundreds of people have not been able to get the work that they need, and the government acknowledged that by having the program in the first place. The minister has been stonewalling by joking and answering his questions in an offhanded way. I want to ask the Premier this question: will he assure us that he will personally check into the matter that I have raised? Will he assure the House, the members of the House, that the report that the minister refers to will be tabled in this House before the House closes for the Easter break?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I have answered most of the question but I will answer the second part. The first part of it is that I have complete confidence in what the minister will do and has done and -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: - I have no doubt whatsoever that in due course the minister will provide the Cabinet with full information and the Cabinet will take its decision as to what it does, if anything, with the circumstances that are reported to Cabinet as a result of the application of this program. As to whether or not we will table a report in the House, that will depend on whether or not it is a public report. If it is than a public report will be tabled but if it's a report for Cabinet, the answer is no, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, my questions are to the Minister responsible for Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

Over the past couple of years there has been much discussion and concern about the financial status of municipalities in the Province, Mr. Speaker. I understand that the department has done a review of the municipalities around the Province concerning their financial state. Could the minister tell the House today how many municipalities were involved in that review and what were the results?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. REID: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yes, we did approximately sixty communities. I am not sure if it was fifty-eight or sixty-one but around sixty communities that we identified, the staff in my department identified, as being either in rough financial shape or about to be there. We found the sixty that we picked were basically in the position that most of the departments people had thought they were, which basically meant that in relationship to NMFC debt and current account debt - and the hon. member knows what I mean when I say current account debt. That is something that is not the responsibility of the government, it is the responsibility of the community - that most of these sixty communities have found themselves, early in 1995, in a very serious economic financial situation.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Can the minister tell the House what he plans to do about those approximately sixty communities and municipalities around the Province, Mr. Speaker? What is he going to do? In order for a municipality around the Province to borrow any amount of funds they would have to get a guarantee or a commitment from the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs in order to do so. So if those people cannot arrange their lines of credit, cannot get permission to borrow and cannot get capital funding from the department, could the minister explain to the House how those municipalities are going to function in the near future?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member asks a very good and I suppose educated - from his point of view - question. I really am not in a position right now to say what I am going to be able to do. I met with one of the communities this morning and the plan by the department is to meet with each individual community. I have assigned a number of people from the department as well as the hon. member sitting behind me, Fortune - Hermitage, he is helping me with it as well because of his background in municipal politics and we are meeting on an individual basis with every one of those communities starting with the community which finds itself in the most difficulty. We met with one this morning and we made the commitment to these communities that we will send our people into the community, to sit down, help them with their budgets and look at the overall financial picture of the community.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I will say to you that I know that there has to be a solution to this. The solution will have to come I guess with deliberations with the hon. Minister of Finance, with Cabinet, with municipalities, with the Federation of Municipalities and all the people connected. I cannot say to the hon. member today, Mr. Speaker, that I can give him an answer. All I can say is that we are working on the problem and hopefully within the next month or so we will be able to sit down with some recommendations to Cabinet, to Treasury Board and all the other people on what we actually can do to help these communities.

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

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

Could the minister tell the House today - I know it was announced in the Budget earlier last week or the week before last, that there would be no capital funding this year for municipalities around the Province - whether they have re-assessed that particular decision, and will they be offering any - the municipalities that can support themselves and pay their way, especially after doing this review - will they be offered any capital funding this particular year?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, yes, probably it will give me the opportunity to tell the House that the federal government just last week has come back now and asked us to save up to $15 million of this year's infrastructure funding. That would basically mean that there would be approximately $10 million left in the fund. We are in the process right now. The Minister of Finance and Treasury Board and myself are meeting tomorrow morning with some of our federal people to discuss that possibility. If that doesn't happen, and we are hoping that it doesn't happen, then there will be approximately $25 million left in the infrastructure program that will be made available this year.

On top of that, there is a statement in the Budget basically saying that communities that can afford to pay 100 per cent of the recoverable debt on water and sewerage, monies will be made available to those communities. The hon. member knows the communities I'm talking about. They are basically the communities out there that are below the $335 range, are paying their own way anyway. If there was a regular capital works program this year they would automatically come in and probably qualify for the money and pay it back over a period of ten or fifteen years themselves. We are assuming, looking at the requests, there could be as much as $25 million spent on that as well. So the overall capital works budget this year could reach as much as $50 million.

There is a problem with that, of course. In so much as we've already decided, and the hon. House knows, Mr. Speaker, that we've already decided that any of the communities that I mentioned before that are in serious financial difficulty, we cannot as a government keep giving money to these communities to incur future debt. Those are the only communities that will be made available money this year, plus the infrastructure money that will go out to the other communities besides.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yesterday the Minister for Finance and Treasury Board was good enough to table some answers to questions I put to him last week in Question Period dealing with the Trans City contracts. He gave us some information dealing with the lease payments.

It also indicates - and I've not had an opportunity to go through it in detail; I will be doing greater analysis on the numbers provided by the minister and will be no doubt getting back with further questions to him - but on the surface it indicates that the sinking fund payments that we were told amounts to some $16 million over the term of the thirty-year lease are included in the lease payments. Yet the information the minister tabled on November 30 1994 dealing with the stream of lease payments didn't even mention, in fact, the sinking fund. Would the minister confirm that the sinking fund payments are indeed included in those payments that add up to $96 million over thirty years? Why were we not given this information in November?

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

MR. BAKER: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I believe if the hon. member checks back he will find he was given the information back in November. As a matter of fact, when he asked me questions about whether this was a total cost I said yes, it was a total cost. He refused to believe me. He said: No, there is some big pay out at the end, and so on. In actual fact, this time when I tabled I tabled the breakdown - the monthly total, for instance, for years one to five for Burgeo was $55,567, made up of $53,500 for monthly lease and $2,004 sinking fund. The amounts I tabled were the total amounts, the monthly totals, which is all I was asked for before. I indicated to the hon. gentleman at that point in time that that was the total payment. That is in fact true.

MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary, the hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The document I have here that was tabled by the minister on November 30, 1994 did not make any mention whatsoever of sinking fund. In fact, it was quite a bit later than that that we even found out there was a sinking fund. The first time the minister indicated was last week when I questioned him. He did indicate that the sinking fund might be included in that payment. It is only now that we have it in writing that it appears to be. I wanted the minister to confirm that that is included.

The minister also talked about present day value and the comparison of the leases based on fixed rentals and escalating rentals over a thirty-year period, and related that to present day values. That changes considerably when you are talking about a portion of that being put into a sinking fund which earns interest. Would the minister tell us if his analysis of that, which indicates at least in his opinion that the Trans City proposal was the best one, indeed includes provision for that sinking fund building up interest over that thirty-year period?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, the numbers I have given the hon. gentleman are accurate comparisons. It is the fairest comparison that can be made and includes everything. I will repeat that again for the hon. member, it includes everything. In the calculations, it is the same comment I made back in November when the question of this big balloon payment, came up, and I told the hon. gentleman, I am sorry, all of that is included in the numbers you were given, but I wasn't believed.

It is the same situation, Mr. Speaker, everything has been taken into account, as far as I know, in terms of the comparison, the present value costs that I have provided him. The hon. gentleman can peruse it, I suppose, over the next few day and add more questions on it.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, a final supplementary to the minister. Since Confederation Life, we now know, benefits from this sinking fund - this money is put on deposit with them in order to have a sinking fund there that is capable of paying off 60 per cent of the purchase price at the end of the thirty-year period. Would the minister tell us what that sinking fund is earning by way of an interest rate from Confederation Life as compared to the 9.41 per cent the minister has already told us, and does he still think that is more favourable than the 9 per cent borrowing rate the minister had available to him on October 15, 1991 when he borrowed $200 million U.S. on a thirty-year lease term, about the same time as he entered into this contract at 9.41 per cent?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, the calculations have been done on the Province's cost, I think, of 9.58 per cent, but I will check into that again. The wording the hon. gentleman uses about Confederation Life benefiting from the sinking fund and the interest it will earn - no more, Mr. Speaker, than the bond holders in New York benefited from other borrowings we have done. This is a borrowing and when we go to the U.S. market, or the Canadian market, we pay interest to bond holders, and this is the way we get money, as the hon. gentleman understands.

I think one of the numbers mentioned there was the expenditure for Newfoundland Enviroponics. There is $75 million over the next thirty years going to be paid out to these bond holders in interest, so this is a normal cost of doing business, Mr. Speaker, and not to anybody's great profit.

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

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is for the Minister of Health. The minister is aware that at the health care centre on the Baie Verte Peninsula there has been a downgrading, especially as it relates to acute care beds. As a matter of fact, there are now six acute care beds left in that facility and that is for 10,000 people and for twenty-one communities on the Baie Verte Peninsula. The overflow in case loads since them have either gone to Grand Falls or Corner Brook.

Can the minister tell me if he is satisfied that these case loads are being handled by Grand Falls and Corner Brook?

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

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

There has been, in the health care facility in Baie Verte, as there has been in many of the other acute care institutions around the Province over the past number of years, a re-adjusting of services that are being delivered from those sites. What is happening, of course, is that we have some pressure in the long-term care side for nursing home type beds, and on the other side we have some diminished requirements for acute care beds, given the way that health care continues to evolve in terms of its delivery and so on.

Now, in respect of the circumstance to which the minister refers at the Baie Verte facility, I happened to have had the opportunity to visit there in January as I was going through that region looking at some facilities, and I can tell the member that there was absolutely no expression of concern as to the level of service they were able to deliver. There was no expression of concern as to the programs they were providing, and I can tell the hon. member that from a health care perspective that facility, in conjunction with the hospital at Grand Falls, and in conjunction with the facility in Corner Brook, is adequately and appropriately meeting the health care needs of the people in that region.

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

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Speaker, I can assure you that it is far from adequate what the people receive in Baie Verte, and it is far from adequate when they go to Grand Falls and Corner Brook. A case in point, Mr. Speaker, is a call I had just a few hours ago which is very disturbing. A fifty-four-year-old logger in Burlington, who has a chronic back problem met a specialist in Corner Brook in January, and the specialist told him the only way to get rid of the problem was to have surgery on his back, but first he had to have a myelogram - no problem. The only problem is, that the myelogram was scheduled for November - eleven months later he can have his myelogram and then he can have the problem corrected.

Yesterday, the pain was so unbearable his wife had to call the hospital in Baie Verte. They called an ambulance at 12:15; at 5:45 the ambulance showed up in Burlington and took him to the Baie Verte hospital - and the reason why the ambulance was delayed, by the way, was, at the Grand Falls hospital there were other Baie Verte patients waiting to get into beds, and two ambulances were held up in Grand Falls. When they finally got him to the Baie Verte hospital, Dr. Ewing, at the hospital, said: `We would like to take you in and treat you,' they understood the situation, she simply said there was no room at the inn - `we can't do anything for you,' and they sent him on the same ambulance, back home, where he sits right now in pain that is unbearable and waits for a November appointment for a myelogram.

You can tell me that adequate services are still available in Baie Verte, Mr. Speaker? What can the minister say in those circumstances?

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

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

I have no reason to question or doubt the circumstances that the hon. member just described as with respect to a specific situation and one of his constituents.

What I can say to the member is that, he certainly has every opportunity to bring these `unusual situations', I would term them, to my attention on an urgent basis, and I will do what I can to expedite service; but I have to say this also to the member, that the new health care board, the Central West Health Care Board that is in place in that area, has primary responsibility for delivering health care services, and if there is on even one -

MR. TOBIN: You don't have enough money to do it, boy - that's the problem.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. L. MATTHEWS: If there is even one situation where treatment or service is not available on a timely basis or is not appropriately delivered, then I am sure that board will take due cognizance of it and address the situation, and if it is necessary for the member to bring it to my attention, I will assist in any way I can. I will repeat to him again though, that the health care services in that region are adequate, and I can just refer him to a conversation I had last week with a delegation from the town of LaScie. At no time in my discussion with that delegation, did they refer to any inadequacies in that region for health care. So, there may be situations where people may be inappropriately suffering or not timely attended to but if there are, we will do all that we can within our resources to take care of them and address the needs.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Question Period has elapsed.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

On behalf of hon. members, I would like to welcome these guests to the galleries: Mayor Clarke, Deputy Mayor Philpott, Councillor Wilton, and Town Manager Moyles, of the Town of Lewisporte.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am pleased to present the Annual Report of the Labour Relations Board for the period, January 1, 1994 to December 31, 1994.

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

MR. GILBERT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to present the report of the Government Services Estimates Committee. The Committee have considered the matters to them referred and have approved, without amendment, the estimates of expenditures of the Departments of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, Works, Services and Transportation, Finance, Employment and Labour Relations, the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation, and the Public Service Commission.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I wish to table the following list of guaranteed loans paid out by the Province since my last report to the House. As well, I wish to table a list of temporary loans raised under section 48 of the Act, between the period February 28, 1994 and March 15, 1995. These are the daily overdrafts.

MR. SPEAKER: I just want to put a motion on the report of the Government Services Estimates Committee. When shall the report be received?

On motion, report received and adopted.

Orders of the Day

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, in accordance with the understanding we gave the House at the adjournment time yesterday, we will -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I am sorry?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: That is not what Hansard says. I took the trouble to look at it. I wasn't sure myself, I say to my friend, but I concluded by saying we would do Supply today, if my hon. friend refers to Hansard.

With that said, I would ask if Your Honour would call Order 2 (a) to put us into Committee of Supply to deal with the Estimates. That is also a note I sent across to my hon. friend three-quarters of an hour ago, but I did say it, if he looks at Hansard.

On motion, that the House resolve itself into Committee of Supply on a Resolution and a Bill Respecting the Granting of Main Supply to Her Majesty, the Queen, Mr. Speaker left the Chair.

Committee of the Whole

MR. CHAIRMAN (P. Barrett): Order, please!

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman, there are three heads that are debated in the House. Could we start with the one on the Executive Council? That begins on page 13 of the printed Estimates. We will come back to CFS if my hon. friends wish to deal with that in more detail - we have lots of time. Let's start on page 13 with the first vote there, Sir, and go through them.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Executive Council; accounts centred at 1.1.01.

The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

AN HON. MEMBER: Carried.

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible) explain that?

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Chairman, I thank government for that detailed explanation of their estimates. It is quite an introduction. Are we going to go through it in detail or are we going to do it generally? We are going to do it as we go, are we?

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

MR. ROBERTS: We will do it if the hon. gentleman wishes but the practice varies, as he will acknowledge. We will do it as members of the Committee wish, of course, but normally there is not much debate on the Lieutenant-Governor's establishment. That is, I think, what my colleague had in mind.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Chairman, all I can say is that generally we get into a department and we call the minister's salary. We debate the minister's salary for a day or two and then we finally start moving through the subjects. I would like to debate the Premier's salary for three or four days, but I don't care, we can go through the subheads.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: If the hon. member wishes, you will notice the President of the Executive Council has left to go to a meeting. I have a commitment at about 3:20 that I have to go to. So if - to the extent that you would prefer that I answer any questions, I will be here until about 3:15 anyway and I would be happy to do it. I would be happy to talk about the Lieutenant-Governor's salary because we don't pay it.

MR. ROBERTS: Let's pass subhead (1) and go on to subhead (2).

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

MR. SIMMS: In that case, Mr. Chairman, perhaps the Premier can leave now. There is no need to stay until 3:20. We don't want to hold him up or anything like that. He is always talking about how he has a lot of confidence in his ministers and they are competent.

PREMIER WELLS: The President of the Council has just stepped out for a meeting and I agreed to stay (inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: So you are the Acting President of the Council.

PREMIER WELLS: I am the Acting (inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Anyway, we will leave it to our Finance critic and go through the headings and we will stop.

On motion, 1.1.01 through 2.1.01, carried.

MR. CHAIRMAN: 2.1.02 - Executive Support?

MR. ROBERTS: No (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: It doesn't matter, Mr. Chairman, I just wanted the opportunity to reduce the Premier's salary to a dollar but we can reduce his support staff. That was done once before, as we recall. We seem to be going through it quickly. There are a few things I wanted to get into and you were moving so quickly, I wanted to make sure we stop before 2.2.02, which is the salary of the Government House Leader, Mr. Chairman, and this is a new subhead. If one would look at the 1994 Budget, you will find there was no appropriation for a salary for the Government House Leader. In fact, there has never been an appropriation for the Government House Leader, but all of a sudden we find that last year we spent $48,000 on that. I guess the real question is now, who is the real Minister of Justice? Who is being paid to be Minister of Justice? Where is the Special Warrant for that $48,300? It was not appropriated last year, so there had to be a Lieutenant-Governor's Warrant in order to cover that.

PREMIER WELLS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: He isn't back.

MR. SIMMS: Like we said, you can go on.

MR. WINDSOR: Obviously, the Minister of Finance doesn't have the same confidence in the Premier that the Premier has in the Minister of Finance.

PREMIER WELLS: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: No, we don't want you to answer (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: No, we just want to point out that all of a sudden there is an appropriation of $150,000 this year for the Government House Leader and I guess it begs the question of when are we going to deal with the position of Minister of Justice?

Now, the Premier is not in the Province enough to justify the salary of $99,000 that is there under his subhead as Premier. He certainly can't justify the salary that is there for the Minister of Justice, too. And now we are paying a Government House Leader $150,000 - we are not paying him, but providing $150,000 for the operation of his office as Government House Leader and Minister responsible for government's legislative program. A wonderful new terminology that was invented this year to make sure that the minister gets paid.

It is a good opportunity to ask the minister - and I ask this very seriously and without any malice - what is the standing on the whole pharmaceutical supplies deal, the investigation into that? When can we expect a resolution so that the minister's name can either be cleared, or we can be clear of the minister is a better -as the case may be?

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I am happy to have the opportunity to address the matter, Mr. Chairman. I guess, to explain it in a nutshell, it is simply this: without any allegation or suggestion of any knowledge or involvement whatsoever of the Government House Leader, some individuals at a company in which the Government House Leader owns shares were apparently or alleged to have been misbehaving in an improper way that attracted police consideration first in Ontario.

When we became aware of that, because of the minister's position as Minister of Justice, we felt that he should stand aside as Minister of Justice, and not have anything whatsoever to do with anything relating to the direction of public prosecutions in the office, which ministers have virtually nothing to do with anyway - the DPP does it all on its own. The role of the Attorney General is simply to see that he is acting properly, but to have no involvement in the day-to-day direction, and secondly, the direction of the police forces in the Province, which normally comes under the Minister of Justice.

What I asked the minister to do, in order to relieve me of the excess burden, because it would be too much for me to cope with, was to do everything that he would ordinarily do as Minister of Justice except anything to do with the role of Attorney General or the direction of the police. I do that, and I have asked him to do all of the others.

Now, technically, there has to be provision for him in the Estimates to be paid as Government House Leader, but I can assure the House, or the Committee, that he is not being paid for both Government House Leader and Minister of Justice. I can equally assure the House that neither am I.

My problem to answer the question as to timing that the member raises legitimately is sort of a difficult one. There are two aspects to this. One is the RCMP investigation that is centred in the main in Ontario about certain allegations respecting an individual in Ontario and his relationship with the individual who was formerly managing Pharmaceutical Supplies and has since, I believe, been dismissed from that position.

The second was as a result of information turned over to the police by the directors of Pharmaceutical Supplies; they carried out an investigation locally and certain other involvements of some management people at Pharmaceutical Supplies are under investigation currently.

I would hope that they would get it done very quickly so we can end this difficulty and, as the member says, either clear the minister's name or clear the minister, one or the other, and he is quite right when he casts it in that way. Mr. Chairman, I have not asked the police to speed up their investigation, and I don't intend to, because I don't want it ever to be suggested that they had anything less than adequate time to do whatever investigation they felt was necessary. So I have said nothing about it in the hope that the investigation that is being done within the Province will be completed with the least possible delay. As soon as that is done and I'm aware of it, I will advise the House of it. Then, I don't know how long that investigation in Ontario may take, but once the matter is cleared up within the Province it may resolve the matter for us, in any event, but that remains to be seen.

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Chairman, I thank the Premier for that. My purpose in asking the question was really just to set the record straight and know where we are now. I should point out, though, that it is very difficult for the Premier in his capacity as Premier to also fulfil any responsibilities of the Minister of Justice. This is a lengthy period of time now that we've not had a full-time Minister of Justice and, as the Premier just told us, and understandably so, it could well be months, perhaps another year - who knows? - before we have a resolution of the matter.

Would the Premier not consider putting in place an Acting Minister of Justice if he obviously wants to leave a position open? I realize the Premier is Acting Minister of Justice, but in all honesty, the Premier seems to be spending more time travelling than being anything else. He can hardly fulfil some of the responsibilities of Premier here in the Province, let alone take on additional responsibilities of Acting Minister of Justice. The people of this Province need service from government in the right of the Minister of Justice. I'm sure there are matters that are being delayed because of this temporary arrangement. And one can accept that on a short-term basis, but when it becomes extended such as it is, I think it really should be reconsidered. Maybe the Premier would like to address that.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: The hon. member is quite correct, and if I had to fulfil all of the duties of Minister of Justice I would be hard-pressed to find the time. All I am doing is filling the responsibilities of Attorney General and anything that relates to the direction of the police, and there is very little, to be honest, that relates to the day-to-day direction of the police.

I announced the appointment of a new Chief of Police the other day, and I was involved in the signing of a policing agreement with respect to arrangement at Davis Inlet, and occasionally a variety of things like that. It is true, it does add an additional burden, and I don't think I have worked harder and put in more time at any time since I have been in office than I have in the last two to three months for a variety of reasons, one of which is having this additional responsibility.

Fortunately, the Government House Leader takes on all of the other responsibilities, the direction of civil litigation, responding to the day-to-day operations of Justice Department matters that don't in any way involve the direction of the police or the Director of Public Prosecutions. So, it is not as though I had all of the duties to do, I don't. It is just those two, and I have to say, Mr. Chairman, that my experience is that we have a first-rate Deputy Minister of Justice and a first-rate Director of Public Prosecutions, so I have a high level of confidence that we can manage it without any undue difficulty. It takes some extra time, and takes some extra effort on my behalf but I think it is the best way to deal with it, at least for the next little while. I will see where it goes from there.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Well, Mr. Chairman, obviously, what we have is a Government House Leader who is still the Minister of Justice but not the Attorney General, basically, he is not dealing with any of those matters; so I assume he still occupies the office of the Minister of Justice.

MR. ROBERTS: No.

MR. WINDSOR: He found another perch, that is very good. It is probably much more lavish than that of the Minister of Finance or the Minister of Justice.

MR. ROBERTS: If the hon. gentleman will allow, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman, I can speak to that with knowledge. I don't know how lavish the digs are. They are the digs formerly occupied by the Minister of Finance. My friend, the Member for Mount Pearl may be familiar with that, but because my friend for Gander is both Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board there is an empty ministerial room down in the west part of this wing so I operate out of there. I have been on the fourth floor once since November. It is inconvenient because it means officials come to see me, but I have not - the office is empty up on the fourth floor, as far as I know.

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

MR. WINDSOR: I am familiar with the office. It is not very lavish but it is tastefully decorated, if I do say so myself.

MR. ROBERTS: Well, Tory blue, you know.

MR. WINDSOR: That is what I thought - not bad.

Mr. Chairman, I will move on from that. We will leave that for the moment. I have a question now that I am sure the Premier can't answer and I wish the Minister of Finance were here. Under 2.3.05 Social Policy Analysis, that is on page 17, surely, that is an error there under Transportation and Communications. We are not increasing that from $2,500 to $502,000 this year. Surely, that is a typographical error. No, it is not?

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I can explain, if you would, Mr. Chairman.

The member will probably remember that when we developed the Strategic Economic Plan, the original consultation paper was largely developed by a committee of senior public servants, mainly deputy ministers. Ideas were put forward and so on, then we asked the Advisory Council on the Economy to take it around the Province and get provincial input, and it worked very well, because we greatly improved what would have been produced without that discussion around the Province. It also created a great level of awareness, and incidentally, a kind of ownership of the Province's Strategic Economic Plan, so in all counts it worked fairly well.

The Strategic Social Plan consultation paper is now at the stage where it is getting ready for consideration by Cabinet. I don't know when Cabinet is going to consider it, but this money is put in place to allow that consultation to take place on exactly the same basis as we did for the Strategic Economic Plan, and we intend asking an agency outside of government - we got the Advisory Council on the Economy to do it in the case of the Strategic Economic Plan - we intend having an agency outside government so that people can express their views, tear strips off government, if they want, without any concern about speaking to government representatives.

MR. SIMMS: There is no chance of that happening.

PREMIER WELLS: There is not much chance because it is not deserved. There is very little chance but we want to make sure there is the freedom to do it if they are so disposed. But that's what that amount is there for and it is a one-time thing that would finance that public consultation for the Strategic Social Plan.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

It seems like a lot of money for that kind of a consultation, I must confess, and I am not sure that is the appropriate subhead for it, but I guess it doesn't matter where it goes.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Well, the Strategic Economic Plan went to some (inaudible) communities and there were a number of people involved and we had to rent halls, and travels and so on. I didn't determine the amount, it was on the basis of advice from public service. It may not cost that much, but I can assure hon. members if it doesn't we won't spend it.

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

MR. WINDSOR: What group would the Premier like to suggest might do that other than a government group; I mean, what group or what organization in the Province is available that can do that kind of social consultation?

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I would say to the Committee, Mr. Chairman, that we have had only a preliminary discussion with the committee that is developing it, as to what group, and there is a group that is independent of government that we could ask to organize this, but not having had the discussion with that group yet, it would be a bit difficult to discuss it here now.

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

MR. WINDSOR: I am thinking about going into partnership with our leaders, Mr. Chairman.

MR. ROBERTS: If Lynn Verge doesn't win, you might as well.

MR. WINDSOR: I have no concern about that, I can assure the hon. Government House Leader.

Mr. Chairman, Native Policy, professional services $250,000 this year. Could somebody address that? Perhaps the Government House Leader, who has been involved I think, in Native policy. Can you tell us what we are doing, whom we are hiring and what for?

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman, if I may -

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

MR. ROBERTS: We don't know whom we are hiring because we haven't hired anybody yet but, the Committee will recall that in the Budget Speech, my friend, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board made reference to one-half million dollars for matters connected with Aboriginal affairs. One-half of it appears here, the other half appears in Justice, and we have a number of extensive aboriginal issues to be looked at, without trying to enumerate them in any particular order. We are in the midst of an extensive negotiation process with the Labrador Innuit Association; we are somewhere in the midst of a process with the Innu nation; we have extensive dealings with the Micmac Band at Conne River and there are a number of other issues that are coming out of the Makkovik people, who are the Innuit in Northern Quebec, who have put in a claim which embraces part of Northern Labrador and so forth. So the allocation is here and a companion allocation in the Justice estimates to allow us to retain outside consultants. Some may be lawyers, some will be researchers, because much of what we want to do this year

PREMIER WELLS: Historians, in the main.

MR. ROBERTS: Historians, the Premier reminds me.

- is research, historical research, because much of this area of law, as I am sure the hon. the Member for Mount Pearl knows, depends on the record. The work has never been done, it has to be done, and we decided this is the year to get on with it; so that's what the money is for essentially.

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

MR. WINDSOR: (Inaudible) finally and then I will pass on to somebody else.

Constitutional Affairs: Mr. Chairman, we had a Budget of $123,000 and thankfully we didn't spend any of it last year; we finally got away from the Constitutional issue, but probably very much is going to be involved in a Quebec debate over the next twelve months so there is nothing - there is a small amount of $1,000, a token amount in there in Constitutional Affairs, page 25, I say to the Premier, the bottom of the page, under Intergovernmental Affairs, Secretariat for which the Premier is the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, I believe, still, if I am correct?

PREMIER WELLS: Oh, yes.

MR. WINDSOR: What does the Premier envision by way of involvement in the Quebec debate? Any involvement here, are we going to have any requirement here for support and travel and whatever, dealing with that? That probably will be one of the greatest issues facing this nation in the next twelve months. Is there any provision anywhere or should there not be a provision here and, can the Premier give us his views on how he sees that debate arising and what role we may be expected to play here?

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I should qualify any comments that I make in this regard as I frequently do whenever I am asked the question. I don't have an adequate personal knowledge of the state of affairs in Quebec to express a judgement. I can only express the views that I've heard others express whose judgement on these matters I trust.

As nearly as I can judge, the indications are that it is highly improbable that there is going to be any significant level of involvement by other provinces in constitutional issues at this point in time. Undoubtedly, there is going to be some substantial public debate and activity within Quebec. But I have no reason to foresee any significant expenditure by the Government of the Province in relation to constitutional issues, or any involvement that would involve expenditure in constitutional issues at this time. I suppose it is theoretically possible there could be some debate or discussion at a first ministers' conference or something of that nature, but those expenditures would be covered otherwise.

When we were in the middle of the Meech Lake debate and that kind of thing, we needed and incurred this kind of expenditure specifically for constitutional purposes, but as you can see, we had budgeted $123,000 last year and spent absolutely none of it. This year, there is just a token $1,000 in there. I don't really anticipate any expenditure but I acknowledge the possibility that it could arise. If it could arise, then we will have to go to the Lieutenant-Governor with cap in hand and plead for a warrant to provide whatever is necessary. Our best judgement is it is not likely to involve any expenditure on the part of the government this year.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Just one more, if I may. Around that issue, I would ask the Premier to give us his opinion on this issue related to that. Many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and I tend to be one of them, are growing a little tired of this whole Quebec debate, quite frankly. I've been in this House now almost twenty years and it has been an issue that we have had to deal with for all of those twenty years. There have been thousands of hours and millions of dollars expended one way or another - the whole Meech Lake affair -and every two or three years there seems to be another referendum. Somebody is campaigning across the country is support of one position or another.

More importantly, I see the Government of Canada, in budgets and in policies, favouring the Government of Quebec in order to make it more attractive for Quebec to stay in Canada. I think that is clear, and I think it was clear in the last federal Budget, that many of the policy decisions that were encompassed there were designed pro-Quebec, in the knowledge that a referendum was about to be held in Quebec. Does the Premier share that view? I can tell him that many Newfoundlanders are growing weary of it. It is time the Quebec issue was dealt with once and for all, one way or the other, and it is time for Quebec to decide whether or not they want to be part of Canada.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I agree with the general observation, Mr. Chairman, that the time has come to make a decision on this and get it behind us. It affects the ability of the whole country to grow and expand and prosper, so it is a matter of concern for the whole country and it is time to be decisive about it, put it behind us, and get the decision made.

My best judgement on what the Government of Canada did is work in that direction. I would be hard pressed to point to any particular federal budgetary decisions that were said to be specifically pro-Quebec or to create a very favourable position for Quebec. I think that everything I've heard the Prime Minister say - and while I haven't examined in detail everything that he has done - he has been pretty straightforward about it, so I assume he has been - he has performed in a manner consistent with what he said, that everybody gets treated equally, no special treatment for anybody. That was the policy he has enunciated, and he said that was the course he was going to follow.

Now, by the same token, I wouldn't be surprised if you could probably point to a particular approach in the Budget that may reflect a national policy development that was done in that way on a national basis, because maybe it avoided any head-on conflict with Quebec. I don't know. I wouldn't be surprised if you could probably look at the Budget and find something of that nature. I don't think there was a preferential treatment for Quebec as opposed to other provinces. I know the hon. member is right when he says that some people believe this is the way it is being done and have that level of concern, and I think that his observation in that regard may well be correct. But I would be hard pressed to point to anything specific in the federal Budget that would justify people holding that point of view.

I share his general conclusion that it is time to bring this to a head and make a decision so we can get on with causing Canada to prosper in all of its parts.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I know the Premier has to go in a few minutes, so let me ask him my question. I was going to comment on the Quebec issue, but I think I will take the Prime Minister's advice and keep my nose out of it. It seems to be going well by taking that approach, so I will take his advice.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: If you want them to stay, it's going well.

MR. SIMMS: Pardon?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: If you want Quebec to stay, it's going well.

MR. SIMMS: Absolutely, and I want them to stay - I make that clear.

The question I have of the Premier, and it's under his responsibility as Premier and may not be under the heads that we are discussing specifically, but in general terms, has to do with the appointment or appointments that he has made since last August, since the uprising in the caucus. I am sure he remembers fondly the fusses back last August and September within the Liberal caucus.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: If the Premier can't remember the uprising in the Liberal caucus, then he is sitting too close to -

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The Minister of Finance.

MR. SIMMS: He is sitting too close to the Minister of Finance, who can't remember signing Cabinet papers. So, I would say, stay away from him.

PREMIER WELLS: (Inaudible) uprising (inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: You don't remember? Anyway, as a result of -

MR. ROBERTS: You were listening at the wrong keyhole.

MR. SIMMS: No, I would say I was at the right keyhole and I was at the right door. Anyway, the question, because I know he has to leave and I want to get an answer - I could have a lot of fun with this. During that time, or since that time, since last August, since the Cabinet shuffle, there were appointments of legislative assistants, or parliamentary assistants - I can't even remember what they were - they made such a profound impact on the Province that I can't remember the names of them. Were they parliamentary assistants?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Legislative advisors.

MR. SIMMS: Legislative advisors? Okay, legislative advisors. I am not sure how many there were because, I think, there were a few done at one time and then a couple of more. If I am not mistaken, almost every second person over there in the back bench may now be a legislative advisor, I don't know, but if I were to look at - the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island, I know, is one. The Member for Harbour Main is one. I am not sure about the Member for Port au Port; I don't believe he is; that's two. Fortune Hermitage is one; that's three. Lewisporte is four, and LaPoile is five.

AN HON. MEMBER: Six.

MR. SIMMS: That's six, is it? Anyway, whatever it is, there are five or six of them.

The question I would like to ask the Premier, and I don't expect him to have it at his fingertips, but I would ask him if he could provide the House, during the debate on the Estimates and Supply, with a breakdown of the expenses incurred, travel expenses and so on, entertainment or whatever, of each of those five or six legislative assistants since their appointment in the last four or five months, and a breakdown of any trips they have taken, where, what purpose was served, and so on.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I will ask the Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board to provide that information to the House, but let me tell the House, there is no salary or other pay. If there were some expenses incurred, there are no salary or other emoluments of any kind.

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

MR. SIMMS: Just as a supplementary, I guess, Mr. Chairman, we understand there was no salary, but we are interested in seeing what travel they have done - what trips they have been on, for what purpose, and so on.

May I also ask him, in a supplementary question: Where are these expenses taken from? Is it from the individual department's estimates, as part of the minister's office?

MR. BAKER: Minister's travel.

MR. SIMMS: Minister's travel, part of the minister's travel budget.

PREMIER WELLS: If they travel on behalf of the minister, then the minister would have (inaudible) so there is no additional expense incurred, no allowance put in place (inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Okay, so if a minister's office travel is, and I haven't looked at it lately, $40,000, for argument sake, for the year, budget -

PREMIER WELLS: It would come out of that budget.

MR. SIMMS: It would come out of that budget, okay.

MR. BAKER: Yes, that is correct. But I will provide the information.

MR. SIMMS: The Minister of Finance will provide the information? I would appreciate that. It would be helpful to us to have a better understanding of how it is working, if it is working well. It seems to have worked well from a political perspective, because there doesn't seem to be as much uprising or as much racket as there was last fall. So maybe the Premier has made a smart political move here, whether it has done anything else -

PREMIER WELLS: There will be an uprising in his own Caucus (inaudible).

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Chairman, I can say to the Premier, he would love to have the same uprising as I have in my Caucus. He would love it because I tell you it is like Sunday school over here in terms of what is happening over there now. In terms of what is happening over there now it is like Sunday school over here but in terms of what is going to happen over there is probably even worst. Worst things on the horizon but then again the Premier won't have to be concerned about that. The Premier won't have to worry about that concern.

I say to the Premier, he should have a talk to his friend from Eagle River because he quelled the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations when he was sitting in that seat as parliamentary assistant. He told him how to talk: Don't be shouting across, you shouldn't be shouting across the House. It worked fairly well but it is not very effective for the Member for Eagle River, you can tell him that. Not only is it not very effective, it is not effective at all. Anyway, Mr. Chairman, if the minister will provide us with the answers on the financial part of it - from the political part of it will he also provide the information as well, whether it is serving a good purpose? If he could give us that answer in the absence of the Premier, when the time comes to answer, we would appreciate that.

The other question I have for the Premier is an elaboration of the question I asked him today although the Question Period degenerated, I think, and deteriorated somewhat as we went on. I am not quite sure what caused it but in any event, I was asking about the job creation program, the emergency job creation program. I don't know if it was Efford that detracted me or if it was the minister over there or who it was but in any event I was quite serious about it because we have done a quick calculation over the last day or two - and the minister can comment on it if he wishes as well - but we have found that in the seven and part of an eighth district, $225,000 being returned. Now if there are fifty-two districts it looks like it could be about $1 million, maybe it is more, I don't know. That is why we were asking the questions. If we could get that kind of a calculation one day by a few phone calls then it should not be too hard to get the rest of the information. We would like to have a handle on it to see what is going on with it because if the funds were provided to create -

MR. BAKER: We're after accurate numbers though. We don't know (inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Well exactly. We're after accurate numbers to, I say to the Minister of Finance, and that is why we have been asking questions for the last three weeks. We cannot get the answers and for the Minister of Finance to say he's after accurate numbers it must be something new. It must be a new approach for it. In any event, these were funds that were provided to the people of Newfoundland or to the organizations and so on, to try to create some jobs for people who were in desperate need of some jobs and some help. If there is $1 million coming back from it then obviously it has not worked even though $4 million has been spent and there have been some jobs, a couple of thousand jobs or whatever created. There is a big demand and a bigger demand than that. I want to say to the Premier today, I had a -

MR. BAKER: That is very successful.

MR. SIMMS: Pardon?

MR. BAKER: If over $4 million has been spent that is pretty successful.

MR. SIMMS: No, there should have been $5 million spent that is why you allocated $5 million you see, I say to the Minister of Finance. You should have had $5 million. You would not have had $4 million if we had not kept pushing you in the House of Assembly, the Minister of Finance.

MR. BAKER: You had nothing to do with it.

MR. SIMMS: Oh sure we did. The minister would not admit it if we did but we did.

I had a letter today from a constituent of mine actually, who happens to be a unique person, I think, in many ways. I phoned her as soon as I got the letter. She is a person who is the mother of four children. The youngest one is two years of age. Her husband worked at the mill in Grand Falls as a millwright and was on the call in list. He went away to upgrade himself to become a millwright while he was on the call in list on a temporary basis. During the restructuring at the mill of course the call in list basically is no more because of the cutbacks in the jobs and all that kind of thing. So the husband has no income or had no income. She had in fact worked - she has some training, post-secondary education training in computer work. She had worked as a program coordinator for CEIC. Not full-time, on one of these short-term programs. I tell you. She has four children. They are now on social assistance, they are on welfare, but she has an attitude unlike that that you normally might expect. She hasn't given up on life, she hasn't given up on trying to better herself or anything else, for her or her husband, for that matter. She had a little bit of an idea.

The idea was for Social Services. She offered herself - the minister is here, I'm glad she is here, she might care to listen, because I might drop her a note on this - as a - you can go ahead. I will talk to the Minister of Social Services. I understand the Premier has to leave. I understand that.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I thank the member for being understanding. I do have a commitment that I have to meet. I will leave that now in the capable hands of the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

I was sincerely hoping you were going to ask about the expenses in my office, and not a question. Here I am all ready for it, and about to be totally disappointed. I will leave the information with the minister in case they get the courage to ask about the expenses in the Premier's Office.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: Oh, my travel is there too. Absolutely. It provides for everything, including my travel. I was just hoping they would ask a question. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible) Premier's travel just to find out where he has covered it up, because I'm sure it is not there in the Premier's Office. I'm sure it is not all being shown. Can't be.

Anyway, I'm not sure who to speak to over there now. Maybe the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. Relating to this serious situation that I was talking about a moment ago. This serious situation of this mother with four children.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. SIMMS: The mother with four children who was unemployed, whose husband is unemployed, can't get back to work at the mill, for obvious reasons now because of the restructuring, four children, and they are on social assistance.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Yes. I say to the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, she had an idea. My first thought was to write the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations because I think there may be some interest in his department, in one of those divisions that he has in his department, about a job creation. She had her own idea. What she was doing was she was trying to create her own job, obviously. She was suggesting that maybe the Department of Social Services could hire her as a special project coordinator for the specific purpose of identifying people on social assistance who have qualifications, experience, post-secondary training, computer experience, computer training, something other than a lot of those people who we know who have had hard times and haven't got the education and have had to depend on low-paying jobs all their lives in a different field. If the minister gets my drift.

I spoke to her personally about it. She was hoping that she might be able to go in that kind of a position and be able to talk to people on social assistance who are in that group, who have more experience and more interest to want to better themselves, prepared to better themselves, and might be prepared to be a bit more open about it if somebody with a similar situation was the one that she was talking to. If you follow me.

I said to her: Maybe if you contacted the Department of Employment and Labour Relations under one of their job creation projects -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: I'm sorry. For my two colleagues here back and forth, I can't hear what the minister is saying.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Yes, well maybe you can comment on it too. I would like to hear your comments on it. But the new job initiative. So obviously then Social Services would have to agree to hire her to do that kind of a job, and maybe get their funding for that particular job project from the Department of Employment and Labour Relations under new job initiatives. I think it was a great idea.

What is more interesting, I say to the minister, is that this lady was like no other whom I've spoken to in a similar situation, and I have spoken with a lot of people over the last twenty years who are, unfortunately, recipients of social assistance through no fault of their own - many, many, many people, mothers, single mothers, and others - but this particular individual struck me as the type of person who wanted to try to do something. By the way, she told me specifically, and it is in her letter, she was prepared to work for $5.68 an hour - whatever significance sixty-eight cents is, I am not sure what that means - close to -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Okay, $200 a week, okay. I said: $5.68; you would think you would be looking for something that might pay... `Well,' she said: Look; $5.68 would give me enough to make it livable. My four children will still be able to go to Guides. I will still be able to pay their Guide fees. I will still be able to do reasonable things - not a lot - but it would be livable for me.

Her husband is unemployed - not only unemployed, but he has no income, so they are getting whatever they are entitled to, I guess, from social assistance, but it must be pretty similar to what she would get working at $5.68 an hour, but she would be prepared to do that. She would be prepared to communicate with the media. She is a very articulate person, but not pushy, and we had a very interesting conversation.

She understood - that is what struck me - she understood what it was all about because she had gone through it; she was going through it now. Yet, she had a lot of good qualifications and she was interested in trying to help others in the same kind of position that she is in, help boost up their morale, maybe, by talking to them and saying: Look, if I can do this as a project co-ordinator, advising you where to go, or how you might want to proceed to try to find a job, and all the rest of it, because I am in your category; I am making $5.68 an hour, fairly low wages, but I have four children, and a husband at home who is not working, but we can manage it. Now that is not where I want to finish the rest of my life, but I want to get out of the rut; I want to get out of the social assistance rut. I want some meaningful work. I want to do something for whatever income I am going to get.

I just thought it was a very interesting idea. As I said, I took the time to telephone her as well, to discuss it, and I am going to be writing to the minister, and I will probably copy the Minister of Social Services on it, and maybe you could get somebody in your department to follow up with it. Maybe the minister himself might like to give her a call because, I tell you, she is worth talking to in terms of understanding.

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The hon. Opposition Leader presents a case that is not totally unique, but certainly one that requires support, I would suggest to the member. As he is probably aware, the department now has again re-established our 50/50 cost shared funding and, of course, we do have a program that would address that particular situation as the member explained it, from a standpoint of unravelling the situation in her situation with our program.

What I would suggest to the member is if he would send me a copy of this very interesting letter, as he explained it. Perhaps he can do an appropriate letter over the top of it and forward more information. Then I would have people in our department contact that individual. I sense what he is saying, that this is unique. I sense that it is - well, it certainly is a new way or a new approach that she offers.

She mentioned $5.68 because obviously she has already looked at the situation, and she knows that is the funding that initiates that kind of program, so she understands it; so she has taken that initiative. The mere fact that she has taken that initiative on her own is, I say to the member, encouraging from my point of view and the departments point of view, and I would be more than happy to look at it and try to accommodate that woman as soon as possible.

If we do have a program that suits her, and in conjunction with my colleague, the Minister of Social Services, I would be more than happy to respond, and I ask the member to forward that information.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the response from the minister. I will certainly do that, I can assure him, and I hope that something positive comes out of the initiative.

I didn't mean to imply that it was unique. What I meant was that in my conversation the lady struck me as being a unique person, not absolutely unique, I have talked to others like it but there are far too few, unfortunately. She seemed to be somebody who really wants to get out of that rut, really do something, and would go so far as to suggest the type of job she could do and make it sound sensible and attractive, and beneficial to the Department of Social Services. To try to identify social assistance recipients who have post-secondary training and education, I am sure if we have any figures on that, any statistics, or any information on that, it would be interesting to have because we have 50,000 or 60,000 on social assistance.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. SIMMS: Isn't it 45,000 caseloads? There are 40,000 or 50,000 people, so quite a few of those must be people who already have some training and some background, and maybe some post-secondary education. There might be quite a few of them. This lady certainly was one. I do not know what the numbers are. I do not know if we have any numbers or if we keep any kind of a statistical breakdown. The Minister of Social Services is not here right now but I think it would be an interesting thing to pursue. Her idea, this lady who is my constituent, her idea was to try to identify those people and then meet with them, maybe in the form of seminars. Try to get them together in one room, try to bring them out of their rut.

That is what she was interested in doing, to try to motivate them, and her way to motivate them would be to say: look, here is what I did and I am a mother with a husband who is unemployed with no income, other than what we get from social assistance, and I have four children, three in school and one two year old, but I did it. I went out and did it and got this job. Here is what I did. As a motivational force I think it would be exceptional. Anyway we will leave it at that for now and see what transpires with it.

The other question I want to raise with the minister, since we have him on his feet now, is a follow-up to the Question Period today, dealing with the jobs program. I briefly mentioned it to the Premier but he had to leave so I could not elaborate. I want to say to the minister that aside from what transpires in Question Period, where sometimes things get heated and short-tempered, you only have thirty minutes and are trying to cram it all in, I have to elaborate now because it is an important issue. I think the real issue is, first of all, the long fight - and the minister may not want to give us any credit for it, or outside sources any credit for making sure there was a job creation program eventually put in place, but there was, and whoever wants credit for it can take it, but the fact was that eventually there was one put in.

Now, first of all, day after day, after day, in this House, I say to the Minister of Finance, you got up there and said, no, no, we are going to Ottawa. You stonewalled for months. You did not want to do it until you were forced to do it. Now, finally you did it. Then you brought in place a $5 million program which was less than you had last year by $1 million, but this year, acknowledged by everybody over there and here, is a worse year than last year, more difficult, more tough, so you would expect more, but you did not get more, you got less than last year by $1 million, so that wasn't satisfactory to us to begin with. Then, to top if all off, of course, the criteria was such that, especially the first set of criteria, even the minister finally acknowledged that and changed it, somewhat. He made some changes. Even he recognized it was too restrictive.

AN HON. MEMBER: A small move.

MR. SIMMS: Yes, it is a very small move, but what we argue to the minister is that it is still very, very restrictive. He must know that. Surely, he has heard that. Members on that side of the House, his own colleagues, have spoken to me about it personally, privately, about the problems they have been facing, and I hear it certainly on this side. I have a list of seven districts in the community that had to return funds, just from the short number of phone calls we made today all over the Province, there are dozens of communities who have had to return the funds because they could not find the workers in that area, in my own district, by the way, I say to the minister, so this does not just apply to a rural district or something. In my own district of Grand Falls the Exploits Valley Tourism Association were allotted $20,000 to hire two workers for twelve weeks. They only used $9,000, they have to send back $14,000 - coming back to the government. They couldn't find the other worker; imagine that, they couldn't find somebody unemployed.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: No, it wasn't that they could find somebody unemployed, they couldn't find somebody unemployed who fell into that category, that very restrictive category. Now, in all seriousness, if the numbers we have, $225,000 approximately, of seven districts, just multiply it by four for argument sake, you can't do that but just to give you a rough idea, of course, there could be more in some and less in others, but let's say the number is about a million bucks that comes back, what I am asking the minister is, would the government then consider using that $1 million -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Well, I am asking the minister now, he is the one who has to make the case to him. You have to be forceful and go in and make the case and say: By God, there are people out there starving contrary to what the Premier says, there are people out there starving; quote the Member for Fogo and others who have used the same terminology as I have and say: Look, we have a million bucks, it went back to general revenue, fine and dandy; it is a small amount anyway. We still have a serious problem out there, very serious, it hasn't dissipated at all, I am sure the minister must know that. It is a very serious employment problem no question .

Maybe, just maybe, the government might be prepared to do something on their own initiative and do it earlier, because he is going to be faced with the same bloody problem this fall as he has been faced with and as we were faced with I suppose going back for I don't know how many years. The fall, emergency, job creation program and try to help people get some work so at least they could get enough work to qualify for some help from the unemployment insurance program or whatever. The same think is going to happen this fall.

One of the problems last year, by the way, the minister might acknowledge it or he might not, was that, by the time you finally did make a decision, that was too late. There were a lot of things that were eliminated in terms of the ideas for projects because it couldn't be done, January, February, March - you know what I mean? The minister knows what I mean and that was probably part of the plan, to try to cut down the odds as much as you could - well, I shouldn't imply that there are any other motivations other than the best of intents but, nevertheless, that's the way it worked out, the minister knows what I am talking about so that took away from it too.

But I say to him in all sincerity, it is a very serious problem, I have no axe to grind any more at all, so it is not rhetoric, it is not just politics; it is a difficult situation around this Province, everywhere in this Province but particularly in rural Newfoundland. It is a desperate situation in many places and I mean desperate, so maybe, the minister might look at saying to the Premier or to the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, who did such a great job in that last one, you gave me five I only spent four, how about this year, let's do something a little earlier, let us announce it a little earlier so we don't start getting the pressure and the heat, we can avoid all of that, let's take the initiative ourselves because we are going to have to do it anyway -

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Do it right.

AN HON. MEMBER: Be proactive.

MR. SIMMS: Yes, be proactive, we are going to have to do it anyway. The minister wants me to sit down, I will sit down and let him make the announcement now.

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Let me say to the hon. member that, you know, looking at the whole problem throughout the Province of people looking for meaningful and gainful employment. Now what the member should realize and didn't allude to, was that, social services have provided all year a program to have recipients go to work, to take people out of the social assistance environment and put them to work.

The minister and the previous minister have administrated that fund and what we did this time I say to the member, was, provided some funding with a criteria that gave people who had been out in the workplace were seeking work, and the criteria was done with a purpose and if there is some slippage, and the member indicates there will be and there probably will be, I would say to the member that we intend to do an extensive follow-up on the program this year to gain as much information to find out what these types of programs do in the Province, how they impact the public. We understand the need. There is no one over here who doesn't understand the need out in rural Newfoundland and in urban Newfoundland too, I might add, so if the member will bear with the study, we are going to do it behind this one, we are going to do certainly a more comprehensive look at this type of program and the impact it has. Hopefully from that information I can get together with my colleague the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board and we can review these kinds of things, and make sure that we are doing the best thing by the people and the best thing for the dollar that the government doesn't have, I would say to the member.

In those few words, Mr. Chairman, thank you.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Looking at the Estimates for the Executive Council there are a few questions maybe the minister can answer - the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board is in his place. I will go through them first, and he can either answer them now as I go through or he can stand after and do so.

One of the questions I would like to ask is 2.4.03, Executive Support, for Professional Services. This heading was for the appropriations provided "for senior level advice on financial, personnel and administrative functions of Government to the Treasury Board Committee of Cabinet, as well as direction of the operations of the Treasury Board Secretariat." Would the minister I wonder explain why there was budgeted $1 million for Professional Services, it was revised to $1.5 million, and there is nothing for Professional Services budgeted for this year? Is there some explanation? That is a fairly large sum of money. Maybe when the minister rises in his place he can probably explain that particular heading to me. If he wishes to do so now it is okay with me. It is entirely up....

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

MR. BAKER: Yes, Mr. Chairman. That expenditure was in relation to the privatization initiatives, NLCS and some other privatization initiatives that are ongoing. Treasury Board was handling these initiatives, the privatizations, NLCS and so on. Since then the responsibility has been passed over to Industry, Trade and Technology, so there is no amount in there this year because Treasury Board is no longer leading the privatization initiative.

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

MR. WOODFORD: So what the minister is saying then is that the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Computer Services -

MR. BAKER: And some others that we (inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Would any of the privatization of Hydro money be in here at all?

MR. BAKER: No.

MR. WOODFORD: Nothing. So they have no plans this year, although it was announced in the Budget plans for some other privatization efforts. It will be done through the Department of Industry, Trade and Technology.

MR. BAKER: Yes.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Yes.

MR. BAKER: Yes, and NLCS.

MR. WOODFORD: NLCS, that will be done through the department of -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: Sorry, Farm Products, yes.

MR. WOODFORD: Farm Products, yes. That will be done through -

MR. BAKER: Industry, Trade and Technology.

MR. WOODFORD: - the Department of Industry, Trade and Technology.

Mr. Chairman, under 2.4.06, Collective Bargaining. I don't know. It was budgeted for $117,000, went to $202,000, and this year it is back to $105,900 for Professional Services. What is included in those Professional Services under Collective Bargaining, under that particular 2.4.06 heading?

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

MR. BAKER: That is for lawyers, for arbitrations, and all this kind of stuff. Quite often you have to hire outside expertise, in legal expertise as well as accounting expertise, so sometimes we have to hire outside expertise. That is what that is all about.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Mostly for lawyers, I suppose mostly - only a couple of hours work. One hundred and five thousand dollars, that is only a couple of hours work, Mr. Chairman.

If there is going to be a lot of discussion this year when you are talking about collective bargaining - I know it is not actual collective bargaining - but there is a process that will have to take place this year, especially as it pertains to the pension programs and so on.

That was also mentioned in the Budget about getting together with unions, with the whole general service, public service and teachers, the NTA and I suppose with members and so on to discuss and see what they are going to do with regards to the unfunded liability in the pension funds, Mr. Chairman. So I would suspect that probably this year that figure may be down a bit. So it depends I suppose, if it goes smoothly and we don't encounter any problems then we won't need any lawyers. Then again if the lawyers find out about it, it won't be long creating some problems and then that amount will rise rather quickly, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In relation to that very point, as we go on with discussions about the pension plan and so on there may be need to get more actuarial studies done in terms of how exact changes will affect the unfunded liabilities and so on but it is not only lawyers, it is probably actuary expenses as well that may be involved here.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Chairman, the minister could move on to Treasury - still under Treasury Board Secretariat, 2.4.07, this is the organization and management part of it, appropriations provide for the coordination of the organizational design function and financial and human resource systems in government, as well as undertaking Executive Council information technology services. This information technology, what was the big item there last year budgeted for $4.594 million, spent over $5 million, they revised over $5 million and still an estimated figure, a budgetary figure there this year for $2.56 million. Could the minister explain that? That is a fairly large sum of money for that particular heading.

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

MR. BAKER: Yes, I could provide I guess some time in the near future a detailed breakdown of the $5 million that was spent last year. We budgeted $4.5 million and spent $5 million on information technology and that relates to some financial human resource design systems as well as the Executive Council IT. This year we don't intend to spend as much on IT and the amount has dropped considerably. I don't have it off the top of my head but I could get the member a detailed listing of the IT expenses for the coming year compared with last year and I will try to do that.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, would the minister at his first opportunity, Mr. Chairman - I would like to have a breakdown of that particular section and particular item.

Under Government Accounting, 2.4.12, appropriation provided for the management of government accounting services and the development and enhancement of financial accounting systems in government. Could the minister tell me what changes? It is Purchase Services, so obviously it must be some kind of expertise from outside of government that was used last year, $304,000 budgeted revised down to $277,000 but this year it is up to over half-a-million dollars, $531,000 for Purchase Services under government accounting. I wonder could the minister just give me a little explanation of that?

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I cannot give you the details because I don't have them off the top of my head but there is going to be more activity this year in terms of enhancing the financial accounting systems in Treasury Board and Executive Council. So again, I could provide the complete listing but we just are doing more in that area that is all I can say. We are doing more in that area of enhancing financial accounting systems in government. We have to be a little more careful in the way we plan now then we used to. Each year of course the Auditor General makes comments in terms of financial accounting and we try to accommodate the Auditor General as the reports are issued and so on. Many of the comments have to do with tightening up, in terms of the accounting systems and new procedures and so on. So this is an attempt to deal with these issues and there is more activity next year but again I could - a detailed listing is available in Treasury Board if the hon. gentleman wants to see it.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Chairman, I was under the impression that there was always enough government accounting covered by each government department but when you look at a figure of $531,000 it is obvious that the minister is planning on tightening up somewhere in some departments. What they are, who they are or who is running them, I don't know but $531,000 for outside expertise to try to tighten up some departments, Mr. Chairman, makes you wonder. I don't know if some of the other ministers over there realize that the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board is starting to look at some of their books a little more closely, and keeping a closer eye on some of the other government departments. Maybe one of the reasons he has to keep a closer eye on some of the other government departments is since they announced and put in place the new legislative assistant positions.

I notice - and I won't mention any names, or anything like that - that over the past year or so there have been some fairly nice trips for the legislative assistants. I won't mention any names, or anything like that, but maybe we could look around at some of the faces in the House and see some of the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, and see what monies were spent for legislative assistants this year. It would be very interesting to look in the headings of some of the departments this year.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: No, that's true, a parliamentary assistant couldn't even get out - he had a job Friday evening getting out of the airport.

Legislative assistants are positions provided last year by the Premier to quieten some of the backbenchers and, if it keeps up, if the ministers that the legislative assistants are responsible for over the next year get some of the nice trips that they got this year, they are going to have no trouble with the Premier passing some legislation in the House, I can assure you.

Mr. Chairman, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board looked ahead to another heading, 2.4.14, Information Technology Management. I notice that last year there was a very small amount budgeted for this particular heading of $57,000. It was revised at $142,200; but now this year there is a very, very big jump, especially as it pertains to salaries, which would mean quite a few new positions, which is good to see. At least it shows that there is probably going to be some new hiring done in one particular part of government, and not lay-offs.

This particular heading there, could the minister explain that to me, why, under salaries, there is $451,900 now for Information Technology Management?

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the President of the Council.

MR. BAKER: I think, Mr. Chairman, to give a proper answer you have to go back to the Budget for 1994-'95, which showed a small amount for salaries but a large amount for professional services, and this, perhaps, typifies the situation as it existed before the privatization of NLCS, where the coordination would be done in terms of the government departments, but it would be done through NLCS, and we would be paying NLCS for the coordination.

Once the privatization was done, and that accounts for the shift, there was very little actually paid for professional services under this heading for the year, but there was an increase in salary because towards the end of the year we hired on people, and these are people who previously worked with NLCS.

We need government coordination in terms of our information technology. We need people in government with expertise to provide us with advice on matters pertaining to computers, and all of this kind of stuff. So, in actual fact, in this coming year, you see $451,900 for salaries. These are the individuals who are now in place in government as a whole - not just Treasury Board, but in government as a whole - to provide some coordination in terms of information technology, computer expertise. You can see that we are no longer going to professional services to get that expertise, so it is a shift in funding. Instead of paying NLCS, we now have the individuals hired ourselves, and they are now working for us as government employees, so that accounts for that shift.

MR. WOODFORD: So I would suspect, then, that the information technology is part of the same thing; that is why the big increase there.

MR. BAKER: Yes, (inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: It is all tied in with the one thing since the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Computer Services.

Mr. Chairman, under 2.5.07. This comes under Intergovernmental Affairs, but I would say probably the minister can answer for that. The "Appropriations provide for projects approved under the Federal-Provincial Planning Agreement. As projects are approved during the year, funding will be transferred to the applicable Department."

Would the minister, under that particular one - there was $250,000 allocated last year. It was revised to $87,900. That is all that was spent. This year there is an allocation of the same amount that was allocated last year, $250,000. I would ask the minister to explain why $250,000 was allocated last year, $87,000 spent, and again this year there is $250,000 estimated or budgeted for that particular heading, 2.5.07, under the Cooperation Agreement - Development and Planning. It also says here under the heading that this "... funding will be transferred to the applicable Department." Is that all the federal-provincial agreements that - does that have to do with the federal-provincial agreements all told, whatever work is done there, or what?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Chairman, I'm not knowledgeable about the details of these particular federal-provincial agreements. This is the one on Cooperation Agreement - Development and Planning. It is the cooperation agreement that is in place. I think the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology probably knows more about it than I do. This is a lump sum that is put here so that as projects get started during the year it is just transferred out to the individual departments that are actually carrying on those projects under the agreement, this cost-shared agreement. As you can see, last year there weren't enough projects to take up the amount that was here. Hopefully this year we can perhaps spend a bit more of the money. This is cost-shared money.

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

MR. WOODFORD: The minister could probably take a look at 2.5.08 on the Encouragement of Military Training (Labrador): "Appropriations provide for the Province's support for the continuance of low level military pilot training in Labrador." Especially under Professional Services and Purchased Services. I noticed that last year there was $60,000 allocated under Professional Services, $81,200 approved and spent, I should say, revised. There was a little heading there under Purchased Services as well, but there is nothing there this year. Is that an indication that everything is okay or that there is a study being done and funded by someone else, or what? Could the minister explain that particular heading?

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

MR. BAKER: Again, this is something that I haven't worked on directly myself. Maybe the minister from Labrador could deal with it in more detail. There has been an environmental impact study process under way concerning Goose Bay and the use of the airport at Happy Valley - Goose Bay. During that process we felt the need to provide support to the community, to provide support to them to go and talk to the users of the airport at Goose Bay, to talk to the federal government, to talk to people across Canada, to try to develop support for the training activities.

That process is now at an end, is the point. If there are expenditures related to it this year, related to the final results of the EIS, and I think they are talking in terms of getting another agreement with the Dutch and German and whatever to continue to use the air base, if there are any expenditures needed then obviously I guess we will provide it. That EIS process is beyond the point now where we need to convince people. The report is in and now we have to respond to the report.

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

MR. TOBIN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I was just looking under the heading, the Hibernia Project - Implementation and Monitoring, 2.8.01. For Professional Services, last year the revised budget was $20,000 and this year it is $68,500. I wonder if the minister can tell me why the increase in that?

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the President of the Council.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

There is not really an increase there. In the Budget last year there was $80,000 and we are now reducing that to $68,500. We didn't spent the $80,000 last year so we feel there is no need to put as much in this year's Budget. That is an amount that may or may not be spent. It is actually a reduction from last year's Budget numbers.

MR. TOBIN: It is a reduction from the Budget but it is not a reduction from the revised, I say to the minister.

Mr. Chairman, Salaries there is $186,300. What does that salary entail from the Executive Council for the Hibernia people?

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the President of the Council.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I was just looking through here. When the Budget was tabled there was also a document called Salary Estimates, which the hon. member has, and can have a look at and see exactly who the individuals are. I just went to look for mine and I think some hon. member has absconded with my copy. I am sure the hon. member has a copy and he can have a look and see exactly the number of people employed in the Hibernia project implementation and monitoring.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, I know there is a lot of work that is carried out under Industry, Trade and Technology, I would imagine, for the Hibernia people, as well as the Offshore Petroleum Board, but why would these people be included under the Executive Council? Why is there a $500,000 Budget for the Hibernia project coming under the Executive Council, most of it in salaries, employees benefits, transportation, and professional services?

MR. BAKER: Would you repeat that, please?

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

MR. TOBIN: I say to the minister, there is $278,000 budgeted there basically for the Hibernia project, implementation and monitoring. Why does that come under the Executive Council as opposed to under ITT, or some other government department?

MR. BAKER: If the hon. gentleman would look back he will recognize that under Executive Council comes a number of areas. We just went through Treasury Board, Item 2.4, and then Intergovernmental Affairs Secretariat, 2.5, and then after the IGA, which has within it - that goes as far as 2.5.07, I guess, the encouragement of military training, and then the total for Intergovernmental Affairs, so there we come to the end of Intergovernmental Affairs. Now, in addition, under Executive Council, there are the Strategic Economic Initiatives, and we have a Secretariat and Appropriations for that.

Then there is the Women's Policy Office, which doesn't really fit under any of the previous ones, and the Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women. Then there is the Hibernia Project - Implementation and Monitoring, and then the Advisory Council on the Economy. All of these organizations operating separately - they are separate organizations operating individually - are simply dealt with separately at the end of Executive Council. They don't properly fit under anything else.

This is not an organization that has to do with Intergovernmental Affairs, for instance. It simply has to do with the relationship between the Hibernia management, what is happening on the project, where the jobs are going, how the contracts are going, and to keep track of all this stuff for government. So it is not really an IGA activity. It is not really a Treasury Board activity because it is different from expenditure control, so it doesn't really fit under any of the other headings. And it is the same with the Women's Policy office, the same with the Advisory Council on the Economy, they don't really fit under any of the other headings in Executive Council so they are provided with their own heading, No. 2.8.

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

MR. TOBIN: I have just been skimming through this here now and I am looking at the Protocol Budget, but before I really get into that, I would like to ask the minister, Mr. Chairman, where are the cars the Premier uses, where are they budgeted in this? I know there is a chauffeur and a big Oldsmobile that picks up the Premier right in front of the building basically on a daily basis. Where is the Budget for the chauffeur, how many chauffeurs does the Premier have and how many cars are allocated to him in terms of providing him with transportation?

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the President of Council.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Chairman, as far as I know - although the hon. gentleman is free to look through the Departmental Salary Details because all of our employees are there. As far as I know, there is no heading of a chauffeur, a Premier's chauffeur. I believe from time to time - and I don't think we have a big, stretch limousine or anything in our fleet but I will check and see.

MR. TOBIN: What would you say (inaudible).

MR. BAKER: What was it?

MR. TOBIN: I said it was an Oldsmobile.

MR. BAKER: Which kind, do you know?

MR. TOBIN: An `88' or a `98'.

MR. BAKER: I am not familiar with that vehicle, to be honest with you, Mr. Chairman, but as far as I know, from time to time the Premier needs a driver to drive him to occasions that he can't drive himself or doesn't want to drive himself for one reason or another and somebody, I believe on the staff of Work, Services and Transportation, I am not certain where they are now, and I believe the car is associated with the car pool where all our cars are, in Works, Services and Transportation. So I think that's where that would show up, but there is no sort of Premier's chauffeur and special Premier's cars, I believe. I believe the hon. gentleman used the plural. I believe he is going back a bit. As far as I know - and I stand to be corrected - as far as I know, there are no cars, plural, that are in existence.

The Premier may have used different cars at different times, I have no way of knowing that and would suggest to the hon. gentleman that there is an individual who drives the Premier around when he needs to get somewhere during the working day or when he is going to an occasion where he simply does not want or can't drive himself, and that has been known by everybody. I would like to point out to the hon. gentleman that gone are the days of the $1,200-a-day limousines, gone are those days. Gone are the days when there are large numbers of people following a Premier around and carrying his briefcase and so on, and looking over their shoulders, gone are those days. We don't do those things anymore, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. TOBIN: Now, Mr. Chairman, for the minister to get up here, in his sanctimonious tone, and say the Premier of this Province doesn't have a chauffeur - Mr. Chairman, he has the cap, the big hat he wears, he wears the uniform, he gets out and opens the back door and the Premier gets in.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. TOBIN: Someone else, Mr. Chairman, chose (inaudible). Don't you talk about back doors, you have been going through them a lifetime; you have been going through back doors a lifetime, don't you start talking about back doors, you are the expert on them.

I asked what the Premier of this Province has, Mr. Chairman. He has a chauffeur and it is covered up in the Department of Works, Services and Transportation and his car is covered up, the big Oldsmobile is covered up in that; that's what's going on here. The Premier of this Province does have a chauffeur; the Premier of this Province does have a big car, Mr. Chairman, and I don't quarrel with it.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I don't quarrel with that. There are times when the Premier of this Province needs to be chauffeured around, I don't argue with that and I don't argue with the Premier of this Province having a car, Mr. Chairman. There is a time when that is needed. I've seen it. I know that the Premier of this Province at all times can't drive if he is going to certain functions. I realize that if he is going down to a function in the daytime to the Newfoundland Hotel to speak to a Board of Trade luncheon there is hardly a place to park. Someone has to drop him off. We all realize that, we've seen it, but it should not be covered up, it should be out front. It should not be buried away in the Department of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes, well, I say something to you, too, Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. I say to the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, he had better be careful with what he says here, or I might start talking about trips, I say to the minister. Now, that is enough out of you or I'll fix you some quick!

AN HON. MEMBER: Why don't you (inaudible)?

MR. TOBIN: Why don't you tell what you told Jeff Brace and Eric Gullage, to charge what you like?

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

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations on a point of order.

MR. MURPHY: I know that the hon. member certainly doesn't intend to mislead this House purposely, and I know he only said it in jest, however, I know that he knows that statement is totally incorrect.

MR. CHAIRMAN: There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, I'm certainly not speaking to any point of order. I would not mislead the House intentionally, I say to the minister. All I said was the minister told Jeff Brace and Gullage to charge what - I didn't say for what. I didn't say anything else. All of a sudden the minister gets all excited and jumps up again. I don't know what he is talking about, I've no idea what he is talking about, no idea.

I was dealing with the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: I have your information now. I have more information.

MR. TOBIN: You found the car?

MR. BAKER: No, I found the chauffeur.

MR. TOBIN: You found the chauffeur. Okay, how much is he being - how many chauffeurs does the Premier have, and how much are they being paid?

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the President of the Council.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Chairman, I would just again like to reiterate that the Premier does use a driver from time to time - not very often. There are occasions when he needs a driver and a car - the member admits that - but there is no chauffeur assigned to the Premier. Now, there is a big difference, right? As a matter of fact, what I have discovered is that, in fact, under the Department of Works, Services and Transportation, there are two chauffeurs - two. There is a position of chauffeur, two positions, and the salaries total $41,750. There is a position of two, and the cost is about $20,000 each. I don't know how the minister works that, but there are actually two chauffeurs that I am assuming do a lot of government work, things that need to be driven around and so on. I'm assuming they do a lot of other work other than drive the Premier around. The answer very quickly is that there are two chauffeurs, not one, and it comes under Works, Services and Transportation. And that is where the car is - or the cars they use would be under Works, Services and Transportation.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman - okay, sure.

MR. BAKER: Could I just finish for one second, Mr. Chairman? I would like to apologize to the Opposition House Leader, if I may. I didn't really mean to get the Member for Burin - Placentia West stirred up. I really like listening to him. I know that you didn't want him stirred up. I really apologize to you for that, but I really like listening to him.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, I am not surprised that there are two chauffeurs appointed to government - not surprised at all - because Ministers of the Crown, having served in Cabinet myself, are invited to speak at various functions, lunchtimes and everything else, and because of the actions of that minister there they can't even have a glass of wine with their lunch.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TOBIN: What is happening now is that it is costing the taxpayers chauffeurs; that is what is happening. The people of this Province today are paying for chauffeurs to drive around Cabinet ministers because of the actions of the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: You would probably be better off if you had to hire some inspectors for the cars in this Province, the old cars that are driving around, rather than hiring chauffeurs to drive around Cabinet ministers so they can have a glass of wine with their lunch.

I can tell you something else, it is no wonder the chauffeur's salary is buried in the Department of Works, Services and Transportation, because if you want to cover up something, if you want to do something through the back door, get the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation to do it for you.

AN HON. MEMBER: Protocol.

MR. TOBIN: Protocol - $394,300 for Protocol; what is all that about, I ask the minister? Who is providing the protocol? What is it for? Does this have anything to do with the Cabot celebrations, I wonder, the salaries that are being paid to people?

AN HON. MEMBER: Cigars, big old Cuban cigars, just as big as cucumbers.

MR. TOBIN: I will tell you one thing, you were weaned on a cucumber, by the look of it, no doubt about that.

AN HON. MEMBER: A short one, too; it wasn't fully grown.

MR. TOBIN: No, it was pretty blunt.

Under the Protocol budget, I would like to ask the minister: Why are we spending $123,000 on salaries; Purchased Services, $212,000. Last year the budget was $72,000 spent on Purchased Services, last year, for Protocol. This year the government has budgeted $212,700.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I won't sit down, I say to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. One of these days I will stand up, too, and expose some of the stuff that is going on in your department as it relates to the Cabot celebrations. Some of the answers that you gave last night have to be brought out in public here, some of the coverups that have been involved, I say to the minister, by him, and the salaries that are being paid to the crowd involved in that.

I ask the minister: How can he justify - how can the Minister of Finance -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Half a minister getting a full salary waving his hands; yes he should, half a minister. There is another example. Today, the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay got up in this House and laid in front of everyone in this House a situation that is desperate to an ailing and sick man in his district, and because of the lack of money -

MR. EFFORD: We had seventeen years of mismanagement (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, all I would say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation is that there was no one sitting on this side of the House when we signed the Churchill Falls deal that gave away $880 million a year, but your leader was sitting on that side of the House, and so was the Government House Leader. That is where the sell-outs and giveaways came from.

Who gave away $7 million to privatize Hydro, and who got $1 million of that in legal fees?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: We will talk about that one of these days. The Minister of Justice or the half Minister of Justice is getting a full salary for being a half minister when the sick and suffering of this Province have nowhere to go, the hospital beds are closed. Now, Mr. Chairman, I will ask the Minister of Finance to tell me how in the name of God he can justify spending $212,000 under Protocol for Purchased Services when the sick of this Province do not have a bed in the hospital to go to?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the President of the Council.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The member asked me a question about the protocol section, I am very pleased that he did. There are three individuals who work in the protocol section. There is a Director of Protocol, there is a Protocol officer and they have a Clerk-Stenographer III and this makes up the staff compliment in the protocol area. Mr. Chairman, it is necessary to have these people because there seems to be a steady stream of foreign dignitaries to start with who visit here, there are ambassadors and so on and somebody has to look out for them when they visit the Province. Somebody has to make arrangements, somebody has to take them around, show them what they want to see and so on. So there is rather a continuous number of these individuals who are coming to the Province that need to be taken care of and the protocol officers and the protocol division would handle that.

Also in instances where there are federal/provincial meetings and so on the protocol office gets involved in these types of planning as well so there is need for a protocol division, no doubt about it. If in fact there was not a protocol division then somebody else would have to handle it and we would have to create one. We would have to put them together and call them something else to do the same job. So it is an absolutely essential function and without a great expenditure.

Mr. Chairman, in terms of Purchased Services for that division, that is an amount that is very difficult to estimate because we don't know in advance in any year, how many instances there are going to be for the use of the protocol section. Last year for instance, Mr. Chairman, we budgeted $175,800 but we spent $72,000. In other words, just because the money is there doesn't mean you have to spend it. My father used to say that to me when he would give me an allowance: Now just because you got it in your pocket don't mean you got to go out and spend it all. And that is what we say to our public servants, just because it is there it does not have to be spent. This is an example of where - during this current year there was not the demand to spend $175,000. Next year we have put in an amount that we feel should cover any eventuality.

I have to check on this but there is an increased amount put in there because there may be some federal/provincial meetings here that will require some expenditures over and above what is normal. I will check into that and see. We put an amount in there but that does not mean, I say to the member, that that is going to be spent. Only the amount that is necessary will be spent and, Mr. Chairman, I am sure that we will prove to be next year just as good stewards of the public purse as we have been this year.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, I don't argue with the need for a division of protocol in this Province but I can say to the minister that when there are people in this Province today who have their lights cut off - when the lights have been cut off and the children are home, Mr. Chairman, with no lights, no heat in their homes, when you have people who cannot get into hospital because there are no beds for them, because the beds are closed, this government won't give them money, then I am not sure that the government got their priorities right, Mr. Chairman. How they can dash out the kind of money that they are spending on things such as protocol and other issues. I don't know where the government is coming from on some of these issues. Mr. Chairman, I believe that there is a major cover up taking place over there. For example, all the entertaining that the Premier does -

AN HON. MEMBER: Where?

MR. TOBIN: Where? That is the question. That is a fair question, where does the Premier do his entertaining? Where does the Premier, when he has these foreign dignitaries that the minister just made reference to, when these people are in the Province meeting with the Premier, where does he take them out to dinner? When there are people who come in -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes, like when the former Prime Minister of this country visits, the Premier I am sure, takes him out. Where does he entertain him, Mr. Chairman, and when the people dealing with Hibernia come in and have dinner, at times I know for a fact at the Premier's home, which -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: What's that?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, where can we find in the Budget, the money that the Premier spends on entertainment? Obviously he has to entertain, he has to take people out to dinner, he is the Premier of the Province so I would say where in the Budget, can I find where the Premier charges out his expenses in terms of meals and entertainment?

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. President of the Council.

MR. BAKER: Thank you.

Mr. Chairman, all I can tell the hon. gentleman is that it is all included in the expenditures; it is all open, it is all here. The people who are on salary are all in the salary details and the hon. gentleman, if he looks through can find them. I would also like to point out that quite often, I might say to him when Ambassadors are here and so on, I dine with them, I sit down and have a chat with them and sometimes I go out with them as well, so it is not just the Premier who spends some of this money, I spend some of it as well; sometimes they take me out and sometimes I take them out. I enjoy the odd after evenings that normally happens at six or seven o'clock. I would much rather be home I say to the hon. gentleman but I have to go to those things and do them and I tend to enjoy them, so I am responsible for part of that expenditure myself. Some other Cabinet ministers are as well, I think the Minister of ITT ; the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture, that is a couple of them and so on, and a number of Cabinet ministers also take part as their responsibility to go and attend some of those occasions so I guess we all have a part, including the Premier, we all have a part in spending some of that money.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, I would say to the minister that I am not arguing with the fact that the Premier does it and the Deputy Premier does it and the Minister of ITT and every other minister does it, I don't have a problem with that and I don't have a problem with the Premier doing it.

Mr. Chairman, what I said from the beginning is that I know the Premier has to do this kind of stuff and I am sure at times he does when he does not want to do it either, but when the Premier takes out people dealing with Hibernia or dealing with the EDGE Program or Ambassadors or delegations whatever the case may be

AN HON. MEMBER: Or Skiing.

MR. TOBIN: Or skiing, where, will I find it in this? Is it all included under the Executive - is every cent the Premier spends on entertainment and food and meals, is it included under the heading: The Executive Council or is it at times, charged out to other departments? That is the question.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Get up and answer it and stop trying to cover it up.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the President of the Council.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Chairman, I tried to answer it. I said to the hon. gentleman that it's all in here. The whole lot of it is in here. Mr. Chairman, I also pointed out that part of - it wouldn't surprise me that part of the Protocol money was spent by me, by some of the other ministers and by the Premier, it wouldn't surprise me. Mr. Chairman, that's part of the Protocol expenditures, having those meetings and the hon. gentleman (inaudible) -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. gentleman can ask his question afterwards.

MR. TOBIN: I haven't explained myself very well, I say to the minister. What I am asking you is - I know that you said everybody else - des the Premier charge out entertainment or meals to any government department other than the Executive Council when he is entertaining? That's the question.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the President of the Council.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Chairman, the member does not expect that I would go through every invoice that comes in to government. I say, as far as I know, no, it is not charged off at all. Some of it as I indicated might come under Protocol in the sense that if there is a reception for an ambassador and is paid for under this, and the Premier happens to be there or I happen to be there, then yes, I have spend some money and the Premier has spent some out of Protocol but as far as I know, it's not charged off, Mr. Chairman.

The Premier does some of his entertainment like that, and it is my understanding that he does a lot of his entertaining at home, and again, I can't verify that, I mean I am not there but I understand he does a fair amount of his entertaining at home when those people come to the Province. This is a bit unusual. I think a former Premier had a private dining room and everything that goes with it, a chef, the cigars, and the booze. The former Premier did that, did his entertaining there because, I guess, he did not want to entertain at home. Even though his home was paid for by the people of the Province, by the taxpayers of the Province, he did not want to entertain there. The people of the Province were probably not paying enough for the home. I guess that was the point. The Premier does quite a lot of his entertaining at home and I believe he does some at it outside. I am not absolutely certain about that but I could check and ask him if he does any outside.

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

MR. TOBIN: The minister seems to want to evade the question. I would like to ask the Minister of ITT if he can tell me if any of the entertainment done by the Premier at his home for visiting groups has been charged to his department, or not just his home, anywhere else?

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

MR. FUREY: I think most of the expenses attributable to the Premier in his capacity of entertaining comes from the protocol vote, but there was a portion of money that we set aside for the EDGE promotion, for travel, for various expenses across the country and the Eastern Seaboard that came from allotted money that we set aside for the promotion of that program. In the event that, I, as minister ask the Premier to do something pertaining to my department, yes, then it would be charged off against my department.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, the Minister of Finance was not up-front. The Minister of ITT stood in his place and was honest.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. TOBIN: Well, all I can say is that the President of Treasury Board said, no, that it was all done under the Executive Council and was charged out to no other department, but then the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology gets us and says, yes, it has been charged to my department, so I do not quarrel with that. I do not know who is answering the questions now regarding this. Who is responding to the questions now that the Minister of Finance has left? I ask the half Minister of Justice, or the acting half, or whatever you call it. I ask the Government House Leader. We are on protocol and all that, so I want to ask him, how much is allocated in the Budget for gardening for the Premier's home? Are there gardeners allocated?

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

MR. ROBERTS: My understanding, Mr. Chairman, is that there is nothing allocated in the Estimates for gardening at the Premier's home. Now, I do not see my friend the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation here. It may be that the fellow from Pippy Park comes down. We will find out in due course. Maybe the man from Pippy Park comes down and mows the lawn. I am not sure on that and I do not want to mislead the committee. I confess I do not mow my own lawn. There is no gardener provided to the Premier and no gardening services provided to him. The Premier gets an allowance for the use of his home for public purposes and that is where it comes from.

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

MR. TOBIN: What is the allowance the Premier receives now for entertaining at his home? What is the amount he receives?

MR. BAKER: The allowance is shown, Mr. Chairman, in my understanding at 2.l.01 (09) at $20,000, and it has remained unchanged for the last six years as far as I know.

AN HON. MEMBER: It's about $100,000 cheaper than (inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I wouldn't want to touch off a row, but I am told it is about $100,000 cheaper than the dining room used to be.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, you are talking about the dining room that was established for Mr. Smallwood when you were his parliamentary assistant?

MR. ROBERTS: At that time we used to pay for it.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. TOBIN: I would say to the minister that when he talks about the $100,000 cheaper, which he makes reference to, those are not really the facts. We just had the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board stand up and say that it comes under Protocol. We had the Minister of ITT stand up and say, `Yes, it is charged off to my department.' Mr. Chairman, I would say it's $500,000 more than what it was before, if anything.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I am not arguing with that. I say to the Minister of Fisheries, Food, and Agriculture, or whatever his title is, that the Premier of this Province is expected to entertain, whether it is at his home or somewhere else, and I don't expect the man to pay for it out of his own pocket; I don't think he should. In terms of the gardeners who go down and do whatever is done around the Premier's grounds, I don't argue with that. He is bringing people to his own home, people from all over the world, and he is bringing them in and entertaining them in his own home; it should be done. I don't argue with that, but don't be sanctimonious. Don't be holier than thou. Stand up and admit it. Never mind -

AN HON. MEMBER: How much?

MR. TOBIN: How much? That's the thing; don't be covering it up in various departments. Don't have Protocol paying for part of it, and Works, Services and Transportation, and ITT, and Justice - don't have all of that; lay it on the table.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes, you told me; sure, you told me. Lay it on the table. Some of it is charged out to the Department of Fisheries. Why don't they say the Premier's expense for the year so we can see it? Why cook the books, like Steve Neary used to say?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: That is right, and I am sure the Member for St. John's Centre would like to know up front what it is costing to operate the Premier through entertainment expenses, instead of having them covered up all over the place. That is what is not right, I say to the minister.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I will tell you one thing, that's a note they sent in dealing with social services, I say to the minister. I can tell you what it is. It is somebody whose lights are going to be cut off on Thursday and their four children will be taken - somebody whose lights are going to be turned off on Thursday and their four children will be taken from them.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I will share it with the minister. It is from my district.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: What is it?

MR. TOBIN: Someone called to talk to somebody. A light bill had to be paid this evening. The lights will be cut off on Thursday and four children will be taken from them. That is basically it. They talked to some officials in your department and there is nothing can be done.

Mr. Chairman, here we are today at this time, 4:40 p.m. on April 4, debating protocol, debating entertainment, food allowance, chauffeurs, cars, and that is what ends up on your desk.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: It puts it all in perspective, doesn't it?

MR. TOBIN: That is what puts it all in perspective. That's not very abstract.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Is that right? You let them take $10 million from your budget and put into forestry. That's why we are like we are. That is what happened, I say to the Minister of Social Services, but if you want to put it all in perspective, we are here this evening, as I just said, debating -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I am not talking about you, I say to the minister. I am talking about government in general - cars, chauffeurs - and when, in the middle of all of that, there is a note sent in from a constituent that says a woman's lights are being cut off and her four children are going to be removed from her on Thursday, shouldn't that make some ministers over there a little bit ashamed, a little bit embarrassed? Because I can tell you right now that this is not just happening in Burin - Placentia West, and I can tell you right now that if some woman in this Province has to lose her children, has to have her children taken from her, because she can't afford to pay her light bill, then someone will have to answer questions in this Legislature, I say to the ministers opposite.

AN HON. MEMBER: Calm down.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, I cannot calm down. That makes me mad, four children -

MS. YOUNG: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, I say to the minister, forget what it cost for my blood pressure being up, look after those four children and let them stay with their mother, that is what I say to the Minister of Social Services.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TOBIN: Because you are the one who has ultimate responsibility for these actions. You are the one that is responsible for social services in this Province and if because someone owes a light bill social services are going to remove their children from their home because they are cold and hungry on Thursday, then I would say to you, Madame Minister, that you better act. I am going to share the name and phone number with you after the House closes so that you will know who I am talking about.

MS. YOUNG: Refer it to your district officer.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, refer it to your district - you are the Minister of Social Services, you are the one who made the legislation. You are the one responsible for the budget that social services district offices cannot do anything except act upon the policies and the programs of the department.

MS. YOUNG: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: You will never spend any money on me.

How much money are you going to save by - I tell you boys, this is serious stuff.

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, the minister is taking it really serious.

MR. TOBIN: How much is it going to cost to put four children in foster homes? How much is it going to cost to put four children in foster homes if they are dragged away from their parents because they cannot afford to pay their light bill? How much is foster care in this Province going to cost, I ask the Minister of Social Services, if four children got to be taken, dragged - and don't tell me, Mr. Chairman, and it is not easy. She might not have any experience to know what it is like in removing children from their homes. Being a social worker is a very, very demanding job on times but there are times they do have that. There are times that it is necessary to remove people from their homes. There are times that that is necessary, I say to the minister, but it is not necessary to remove people from their homes because their light bill has been cut off and children are cold, I say to the minister. Government has a responsibility -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I am speaking on a note that was just passed to me from my office, from a woman in my district who called, whose four children are going to be taken from her on Thursday. Not only that, child welfare has been involved in it as well, I say to the minister.

I say, that is not good enough, and this government will not save money if they have to put four children in a foster home in this Province. It will cost them a fortune. And as I said earlier, this is not just happening in Burin - Placentia West, it is probably happening throughout every district in this Province, because of the Budget that this government brought in.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I am going to discuss it with the minister right after -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: No, you wouldn't get on the Open Line program and tell me what you did, either, as Minister of Social Services. Ask the Member for Fogo why he is no longer assistant deputy minister - talk about interference on your part.

MR. EFFORD: What does that have to do with those kids?

MR. TOBIN: I say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation that, as a former social worker, you are part of a Cabinet that has gutted the Social Services budget, and today we have children going to be taken away, and you can scream all you like, but you are as guilty as the minister.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TOBIN: That's what is going on here, and I tell you, you should be ashamed of yourself. You shouldn't be shouting.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Minister of Works, Services and Transportation on a point of order.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: The hon. member is making accusations that the Minister of Social Services is not looking after her position, when he knows full well what his responsibility is, and if he is serious about those four children he would leave the Chamber now, go back to his office, and take care of that problem without trying to make political points on it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: What that is, is a point of admission of guilt by the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, who sat around the Cabinet table and let government cut $10 million from the budget, and not support the Minister of Social Services when she needed support around the Cabinet table. That's what is going on here, and for you to say that the minister won't deal with it -

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes, I am asking - the highest authority in Social Services is no more than twenty feet away from where I am, and I am going to ask the minister if I can see her after and -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, did you hear that? The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation tells the minister not to meet me on an issue as important as this?

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) make a phone call.

MR. TOBIN: Make a phone call! The phone calls have been made and there is nothing we can do because of government action, I say to the minister, nothing.

AN HON. MEMBER: Carried.

MR. TOBIN: No, it is a long way from being carried when there are four children threatened to be taken from their home in this Province, I say to the minister. If I got to be on my feet - I ask other members opposite, if there is anyone over there who has the same problem for God's sake, for heaven's sake, stand up and be counted on this important issue. Stand up and be counted.

MR. WOODFORD: They get calls but they won't admit it.

MR. TOBIN: Stand up and be counted, I say to members opposite, because this is serious stuff.

MR. EFFORD: Yes, you know how serious, to say it in the House (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I say to the Minister of Social Services, don't take any advice from him. You make your own decisions. Don't you listen to the Minister of Justice on this issue because he doesn't know what it's like to live out in the sticks in this Province and be poor and not have a whole lot. I say that with all due respect to the minister. But I say this, that when we sit down in this Legislature, boy, reality can hit quickly.

The President of Treasury Board is back now, Mr. Chairman, he wasn't back when I got this note. I say to the President of Treasury Board, in all sincerity, that this is probably one of the worst things that has ever been passed. We are here today dealing with chauffeurs, cars, entertainment and food and who is paying for it and all that, the end result is the taxpayers. Reality is really put into perspective when someone slips a note to you, gives you the name and the phone number of a person who is on social assistance, their lights will be cut off on Thursday and their four children will be taken from them. Now, Mr. Chairman, I don't know if one of the ministers, whether it be the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board or the Minister of Social Services would stand up and tell me that this will not be allowed to happen, that children will not be allowed to be taken from their parents and put in foster homes because -

AN HON. MEMBER: What happened?

MR. TOBIN: Now, Mr. Chairman, I don't know what happened, I am not going to comment on that, I am not commenting on that but I want to see the minister after - but I would ask, either the Minister of Social Services - Mr. Speaker, I don't know what the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation is again telling the minister not to speak to me on it. I want to see the minister on it, I ask her in front of everybody if she will give me a minute on this important issue, after the House, or I will sit down now and discuss it with her if she wants to and I will ask the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, so do they want to go outside the House or at the back of the curtain or whatever the case may be? I really want to discuss this issue with you, it is urgent, it is important Minister and I really want to be able to -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Now? Okay, I will sit down, Mr. Chairman, and discuss it with the minister. Bill?

MR. CHAIRMAN: The Opposition House Leader.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I think they do. I think they will be alright.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I think they will be okay and I hope the minister sorts it out.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Sorry?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The problem I mean, not sort out the member, I don't know if that's possible but sorting out the problem is what's important and I hope it happens; I hope it happens. The member has made some good points since he got the note; that it sort of brings you back to reality. We get a bit flippant here sometimes and carry on with each other and talk about all the things we do and how we are going to spend the taxpayers money but sometimes things like this bring you back to reality. We are very fortunate as a group of people we get paid decently for what we do. Most taxpayers would argue that we get paid too much for what we do because they don't think we do very much.

AN HON. MEMBER: Most people (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, most people don't think we do very much; the popular opinion amongst the public is that we don't do very much and we are overpaid so a lot of us can't identify with problems such as was brought forward today by the Member for Burin - Placentia West, where you have someone whose lights are going to be cut off -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible), Burin - Placentia West.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Chairman, who has been recognized, I would like to ask the Chair, who has been recognized? The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, this afternoon, has spoken more than all the other members who have been recognized and taking part in the debate. I don't know why he doesn't stand up and be recognized and participate in the debate and defend some of the actions of government of which he is a part. That's what he should do, stand up and tell us why you support spending $350,000 on Protocol in this Province. Tell us why you support there being two chauffeurs in your department. Why you support all the entertainment budgets of all the departments of government; why you support the Premier of this Province who gets $140,000 or $150,000, getting an additional $20,000 entertainment allowance, when the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology confirmed today that indeed the Premier charges out entertainment expenses to other government departments. As well, as the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board said, a lot of it comes out of Protocol. But in addition to all of that the taxpayers of this Province give the Premier $20,000 to run his house, which was supposed to be for food allowance, as I understood, and so on.

So perhaps the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation can stand and explain and defend all of that when the Member for Burin - Placentia West today gets a note from a mother who is going to have her lights cut off on Thursday and her four children taken away from her. I ask the minister, if you can stand up in your place and defend that then you can defend anything.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, I say to the minister, there certainly is a big difference.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, I'm not going to sit down, I say to the minister. I've been recognized, the minister hasn't.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, you can't explain it, I say to him. It is impossible to explain, try all you may. Try all you may you will not be able to explain that to my satisfaction, or to the taxpayers of this Province, I say to the minister. In this day and age when times are so tough, things are so hard out and about this Province. As anyone who lives out in rural Newfoundland knows, it is hard out there, it is difficult.

As a matter of fact today one of our colleagues was chatting - no, and the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation shakes his head because he can't believe the Minister of Social Services went and talked to the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) blood pressure.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well good, I thank you. I was worried about my colleague, but it is only because he is concerned about the situation.

What I was going to say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation was to tell him another little story that came to my attention today. One of our caucus members had to leave today and go and pick up a constituent and drive her to a doctor's appointment because she couldn't afford to get there. Living with her mother, who is a social assistance recipient, had a doctor's appointment, and had no means to get there. One of our member's had to go and pick her up and take here there. Good for the member, he had the time to do it.

I mean, I'm sure we all have had occasions over the years to do things. I've had calls, I'm not proud to say, from a single mother who told me she didn't have milk for her baby. I've had calls from a single mother who told me she could not feed her baby. What did I do? I went and bought her milk. I went and bought milk for the baby. What else was I going to do? Now, not every member would do that. Not every member perhaps could afford to do it. I would do it if I couldn't afford it. If I had to go take it up on tick I would have done it. I would have taken it up and taken the lady the milk for her baby.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, but that was years ago - I'm not talking about now. I am talking about years ago. We were the government when that happened, I say to the minister. I am not saying it for that reason. We were the government when I had to go and buy milk for the baby. We were the government, no problem.

MR. BAKER: Did you close down the dining room because of that?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I had no say in closing down the dining room, I say to the Minister of Finance, none whatsoever.

MR. ROBERTS: We believe the hon. gentleman.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I tell the truth. I had no say in it whatsoever, or in anything else of that nature, any more now than hon. members have anything to say about the Premier getting $20,000, $50,000, $20:00, or twenty cents, but when you sit in a Cabinet and you make decisions, you sit in a government, and all that stuff, then you are part of it, and you have to take the onus, the responsibility for it. It is no good to slough it off and say I didn't have anything to do with it. I keep hearing, Sprung, Sprung, Sprung, but I wasn't proud to be part of Sprung, I can tell you that, and I had my differences over Sprung with the proper authorities. But I remained to sit as a minister and consequently, I had to take whatever they tarnished me with, the same way as ministers now will take whatever you are tarnished with because of the money you spent on Hydro and your handling of Trans City. You may disagree, but if you stay to sit and remain a minister, you share the responsibility. It is as simple as that.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The Government House Leader should stop being so pushy, I say to him. He should stop being so pushy and being a bully. It works with some of his own caucus but it doesn't work with me, I say to him.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Please, what? Please tell them to settle down?

I adjourn the debate, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. ROBERTS: If my friend, the Member for Carbonear would allow me to stand without keeping me down I move the Committee rise, report progress, and ask leave to sit again.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Trinity North.

MR. OLDFORD: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole on Supply have considered the matters to them referred, have directed me to report some progress, and ask leave to sit again.

On motion, report received and adopted, Committee ordered to sit again on tomorrow.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, before we adjourn, the new rule, 53.1, I think it is, that came in yesterday with respect to Private Members' Day, provides that the House Leaders will say which motion is to come up. Now, my friend, the Member for Grand Bank didn't yesterday, but I understand the motion standing in the name of the gentleman - well, there are two from the Opposition members on, but I take it the one from the gentleman from St. Mary's - The Capes will be called, so we will deal with that tomorrow. On Thursday, we will be back on this instructive debate on Supply.

With that said, I move that the House adjourn until tomorrow, Wednesday, at 2:00 p.m.

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