April 7, 1995               HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS                Vol. XLII  No. 15


The House met at 9:00 a.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

Oral Questions

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

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the minister responsible for Municipal and Provincial Affairs. The minister is fully aware that about 98 per cent of the fire fighters in the Province are volunteers providing a much needed service to residents of the Province. The minister is also aware that the present court case in the town of Wabana has put a lot of extra stress and strain on volunteer fire fighters in the Province. Because of the importance of having volunteer fire fighters in communities and towns in this Province, and because the increased legal liabilities are of a grave concern to fire fighters and councils, what does the minister plan to do about this very serious problem facing volunteer fire fighters in this Province?

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

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is referring to an ongoing active court case. I've made one comment on it previous to this, and basically the comment that I made was let's wait and see what the result of the court case will bring forward. If the magistrate or judge finds that there is something that needs to be changed in the act or as far as government is concerned, at that particular time we will address that particular question.

MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary, the hon. the Member for Humber Valley.

MR. WOODFORD: The minister is fully aware that there is no protection now - absolutely no protection under the municipalities act - for any volunteer fireman in the Province. Absolutely none. The minister does not have to wait for the outcome of the court case on Wabana. It has been an issue for some time now with the fire fighters in the Province. I think it is about time now for the minister and his department to act to do something about this. Would the minister consider bringing in legislation in this spring session of the House to provide some protection for the volunteer fire fighters in the Province?

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

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, there is protection provided to volunteer fire departments to the tune of almost $600,000 a year that we pay to the Workers' Compensation to protect volunteer firemen from the possibility of injury and the loss of wages. The question the hon. member has put forward is one that has been debated for years, and years, and years. It is not the first time it has come forward and I will reaffirm what I said a few minutes ago, that if, after the case is heard, the current case is heard, there are recommendations from the magistrate or judge, to look at the possibility of doing what the hon. member is suggesting, then we will certainly look at it at that particular point in time.

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

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

The minister is also aware that the $600,000 we are spending each year on compensation for firemen in the Province, and insurance, has nothing to do with legal liabilities brought on by third parties, so I would suggest that the minister could act and bring in something similar to what they have in other provinces. I think it is referred to as the good samaritan clause, or something like that. Some of the other provinces have it. Some other areas, I think, are covered by it in the Province.

I think the minister realizes this is a very important subject and concern for volunteer fire fighters in the Province. I say again there is no need to wait for legislation. The compensation is there, the insurance is there, and they are protected under that from the time they leave their home to go to a fire and return, but there is absolutely no protection for any other liability that may be incurred such as the one now on Wabana.

Again, I ask the minister if he could bring in some sort of legislation this session, and furthermore, if the court rules sometime this spring, could the minister make a commitment to the House now that he will bring in that legislation to protect the volunteer fire fighters in this Province?

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

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, I commend the hon. member for asking that question this morning because he knows, as I guess a lot of members in the House know, the service that volunteer fire fighters in this Province provide. I am sure the hon. member is aware of how I feel about the volunteer fire departments in the Province. There is no bigger supporter of volunteer fire fighters anywhere in this Province than me.

I will say to the hon. gentleman, and he understands as well, Mr. Speaker, that a piece of legislation cannot be drafted, concocted, or put together in a matter of a few days, so how can I, Mr. Speaker, stand in this House and make a commitment that a piece of legislation would come to this House this spring, with the agenda that we have, and the time that we may end up having before the House closes, I can't make that commitment to this House, but I will make the commitment to him that if and when the court case is heard and the judgement is rendered, then we will consider that judgement, and at that particular point in time, please, Mr. Speaker, give me the right and the privilege to sit down and evaluate my position. Then, if we need to do it at a later date we will certainly do what the hon. member is suggesting.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier.

All Members of the House are very pleased to see the level of co-operation going on now between the Government of Newfoundland and the Government of Canada dealing with the turbot war. There was a measure of success there, and we are all very pleased with that co-operation, but in January we were made aware of some sort of emergency committee, a federal/provincial committee, which was to deal with the economic crisis in Newfoundland. The committee was to, and I quote: "Quietly co-ordinate federal and provincial economic development policies."

They have certainly been quiet, Mr. Speaker. Would the Premier like to tell us who, indeed, is on that committee, and what is their mission and mandate?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, it is not an emergency committee in that it was suddenly put in place. It was a committee that I had asked former Prime Minister Mulroney to put in place as the fishery crisis was deepening and developing. He failed to do it, although he wrote me a letter, in fairness to him, and said that he was prepared to engage the fullest resources of the Government of Canada to respond to this problem, but that is where it ended. Despite repeated efforts after that, there was no follow-up on it.

When the new government took over in Ottawa, I think within a week I went to see the Prime Minister. I showed him the letter from former Prime Minister Mulroney, and told him what the basis of the concern was, that I felt the fishery crisis had three aspects that needed to be dealt with. One was the immediate economic impact on the individuals displaced from work, and the TAGS program, or NCARP as it was at that time, was dealing with that issue. Second was the need to make sure that we managed the resources in such a way as to conserve the stocks and rebuild for the future; and the third component was dealing with the overall impact on the Newfoundland and Labrador economy of this massive closure of the groundfish fishery, and that is what we put this committee in place to deal with.

Since that time, Mr. Speaker, a number of courses have been followed, a number of ideas have been put forward. The officials looked at it. There was a suggestion that it would take about another $600 million over and above what had already been put forward under the federal program to deal effectively with the overall economic impact. It is clear, in the present circumstances, the Federal Government would have great difficulty trying to find $600 million to do that.

I have recently written to both the Prime Minister - I say recently, it started last December and there have been several pieces of correspondence and several meetings since with the federal Minister of Finance in particular, with Mr. Massť who is the Chairman on the federal side of the committee and Mr. Tobin is involved in it as well. I have to say that a specific proposal has been put to the Federal Government by the Province. We have not received a positive response from them yet. We believe that what we put forward is a way that will help us deal with the overall economic impact that will not make it necessary for the Federal Government to put up a large sum of capital as had been suggested by the initial assessment. But I am still waiting for a response from the Federal Government.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I thank the Premier for that.

Mr. Tobin was quoted back in January, in fact - I understand he is one of the members of this great senior committee - he was quoted as saying, `We will be able to demonstrate there are a variety of areas where we can take limited dollars and have some measurable impact, in a constructive way, on economic development in Newfoundland and Labrador. Some of these ideas should become clear in the months ahead.' These ideas are not very clear yet to us. Would the Premier like to tell us what great innovative ideas Mr. Tobin or this committee have to stimulate the economy of Newfoundland without spending any great amounts of money?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I am not sure what the member is reading from.

MR. WINDSOR: A Globe and Mail quote. I'll table it.

PREMIER WELLS: Oh, yes, as a matter of fact, I would like to see it. I don't doubt what the member said, but I would just like to see it so I can deal precisely with it.

AN HON. MEMBER: He can't table it, he just mails it.

MR. SPEAKER: He can't table it. Perhaps he will hold off on tabling until I make a ruling on Monday.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Tobin said we will be able to demonstrate and then something - there is a gap. There are a variety of areas where we can take limited dollars and have some measurable impact in a constructive way on economic development in Newfoundland.

He is right. The suggestion didn't originate with Mr. Tobin, it originated with the Province, but his description of it, I think, is accurate. Now, my problem is, the Federal Government hasn't yet accepted the proposal. I don't want to make it more difficult to get their acceptance by having a detailed discussion of it in the House. I would be most anxious to discuss it in fact on a personal basis, but I don't want to jeopardize resolution - working co-operatively with the Federal Government by doing so today. I hope the hon. member understands.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I can appreciate where the Premier is coming from. Obviously, you are negotiating with the Government of Canada and if there is some input there -

Will the Premier undertake to table this proposal at the earliest possible date when it is available, when negotiations have proceeded to that level, or in fact when he is convinced that to table that document will not in any way jeopardize any financial contribution that the Government of Canada has been requested to put into this? Can he give us any idea of the types of things that perhaps are being proposed here?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I will table the correspondence from the Province to the federal ministers outlining the proposal, at the time when, as the hon. member says, there would be no prospect of the tabling of it jeopardizing the success of the proposal. I'm not in a position even to give any hint of it. I can't give any kind of a hint of the general direction of it, but it wouldn't involve substantial expenditures of federal funds.

That was the argument I made to the Federal Government for taking it: Look, you acknowledge the Federal Government's responsibility for the impact on the people and the economy of this Province of the closure of the groundfish fishery. You've responded quite well in terms of dealing with the direct impact on individuals, albeit on a temporary basis. You've put up a lot of money to help respond to this situation. We realize that in these present times when you are struggling to control a massive debt and persistent deficits that it is very difficult to ask you to put another $500 million or $600 million of federal capital into this. So we are prepared to look at an alternative that would not see that kind of expenditure of federal capital but which we believe would be equally effective, if not more effective, than spending that kind of money. We've put it forward to them on that basis. That is as far as I can go today.

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

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My questions today are for the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. Mr. Speaker, for some reason or other the minister seems to have a veil of secrecy surrounding his department as it relates to the John Cabot Corporation, et cetera.

Some while ago the government announced a new direction for provincial parks as a result of the task force report. I would like to ask the minister: Is this report, with its recommendations, available to the public, and, if not, why not?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

With respect to the provincial parks, as are administered through the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, there was an internal task force of government employees - no external consultants, or anyone of that nature, no money spent other than staff time from people in two or three departments - who looked at the running of the parks, whether they were meeting the needs of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, and our visitors from outside the Province, or whether they need to be operated on some different basis.

They did a report for government. If the hon. member, not having had the experience, would check with some of the people in the front bench on the other side, he would recognize that it is a fairly common practice for employees of the government to do some assessment and to make some recommendations to the government from time to time. That was done with respect to the parks. There was no public consultation process other than that. There were some questionnaires and surveys filled out through, again, using the employees of the parks when people went into parks, and when they left, in terms of what their needs and expectations were. Everything was internal so that we could make some decisions about the future direction of the parks, so we could better meet the needs of the public, both resident and non-resident.

That report was submitted to the government; some actions have been taken. For every action taken, there has been a complete reason and a full reasoning given as to why we did it. I don't know what the secrecy is. We have told exactly what we have done, and we have told exactly why we did it in each case, so I don't understand how that is -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. MANNING: I thank the minister for his answer.

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the task force studied the issue of gravel pit camping. I would like to ask the minister: What was the recommendation of the task force on this contentious issue, and what plans, if any, does government have to deal with this particular issue?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I believe, if I am not mistaken, at the public press conference we held at Holiday Inn when we released the government's plans, which I believe all members of the Opposition and members of this side of the House were quite free to attend - it was a public event - the issue with respect to roadside and gravel pit camping was raised. Questions were asked at that time. The exact question that the hon. member asked today was asked at that press conference. As a matter of fact, it was covered on the news that night, so maybe he got his question from a clipping of that particular news.

I explained at that time, in the approach we take of giving all the information all the time, that the task force had indeed recommended that government should take action to, in some way, prohibit or ban roadside and gravel pit camping. It was an official recommendation from some employees of government, that we appreciated very much. But we, as government, in looking at it ourselves, with the responsibilities that we have, and this Cabinet and this caucus, looked at that issue and decided it was not a role for government at this point in time, to ban gravel pit camping. But if we have concerns about roadside and gravel pit camping, it is to do with cleanliness, garbage, environmental concerns, and we will deal with those issues. But our real issue here, in the mandate of the parks, is to make the parks attractive enough so that people will want to go into the parks rather than camp on the side of the road.

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

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, with the announced closure of twenty-nine parks in the Province, and the possible privatization of those parks, I would like to ask the minister: While we are waiting to privatize, how will the Provincial Government protect those parks from being used for woodcutting and other private use?

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

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, there is one very timely part to the questions that the hon. member raises in that today, actually, April 7, is the final day for expressions of public/private sector interest in terms of who would like to operate the parks that the government have indicated they are not going to operate.

In the interim, all of those twenty-nine facilities are still covered under the Provincial Parks Act. They have not been de-proclaimed as provincial parks to this point in time. The good news is that we will be announcing very early next week that there have been expressions of interest, Mr. Speaker, for almost every one of those facilities where there is somebody privately who feels that they want an opportunity to operate those facilities. We will be announcing within a couple of weeks who it is that will, in fact, be given an opportunity to run the facilities and make them available to the public of Newfoundland and Labrador, and that presently they are still protected as provincial parks lands. There is no cutting allowed, nothing of that nature. Only those facilities of the twenty-nine where there is absolutely no expression of interest by anyone in Newfoundland and Labrador of operating them, will they revert to normal Crown lands.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is to the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture. I would like to ask the minister: Is he aware of the new berry farm industry that the joint town councils committee has been trying to create on the Bonavista Peninsula?

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

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) stand up (inaudible).

DR. HULAN: I won't answer that because I like to answer my questions sitting down.

To quickly answer the question, I could simply say yes and sit down. Rather than do that, I should say that six years ago I started preaching in this Province that we had to develop the blueberry industry and the wild berry industry that had been neglected all through the years.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

DR. HULAN: Yes indeed, I am aware of the proposal, and I have indicated my support in principle for that proposal. As far as I know right now, the process is proceeding, although the member from Marystown has some problems understanding english, and that is why you hear these certain sounds coming from across the gallery. Anyhow, the berry farm proposal is proceeding at this stage. Recommendations have been put forward to Crown lands with approval in principle. I assume the proponents of the proposal are now actively going on to the next step.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, that is a little bit of a different situation than I was made aware of yesterday when there was a press release put out by the joint town councils of the Bonavista Peninsula saying that this project that was going to create 100 to 200 jobs has now been lost in a maze of bureaucracy. That is a news release put out by Mr. Claude Stagg, the chairperson of that committee. I would like to ask the minister again: Has he been misinformed, or have you not been informed, Minister?

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

DR. HULAN: I suppose I could respond, Mr. Speaker, by saying there are no berries buried in my bureaucracy. There is no question about that. I can assure you, this project is not being held up because of the Department of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture. The recommendation of approval in principle has been put forward.

Now, let me tell you, the full recommendation will be following up after we have had a chance to assess this land mass, assess these 2,500 acres. Yes, there are individuals on the Bonavista Peninsula concerned, very much concerned, that we would be allowing a project of this magnitude to occur therefore preventing the regular picking by regular pickers in the future. I have often traditionally picked berries in this area. So I can assure this hon. House, Mr. Speaker, that everything is being done to make sure a project that I have been insisting on for six years will take place.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A final supplementary, the hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like for the hon. minister to get in touch with this volunteer organization on the Bonavista Peninsula because as of now the Department of Human Resource Development, Mr. Speaker, has held up funding for this project, have held up funding because the minister and his department have not given a commitment for more than two years to prepare the ground. If they don't get the commitment now the money will be lost. So I will ask the minister, if he would be kind enough to follow that up, given the commitment that the project will proceed and allow those people, Mr. Speaker, to go to work and have meaningful employment on the Bonavista Peninsula?

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

DR. HULAN: Mr. Speaker, my officials were in touch with a Mr. Brian Canning, who I think is the spokesperson for this organization, as late as the day before yesterday and they are very pleased, according to Mr. Canning, with the response that has come out of my department and the work that we have done on it for them, everything is proceeding, it is just great but we will continue with encouraging this development as the days go on, in spite of the neglect by the Tories for sixteen years to develop this great industry that has so much potential in this Province. Then they have the audacity to put those questions to this House. They should hang their heads in shame.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, my question will be addressed to the hon. the Premier. It deals with the Auditor General's report and it is relative to the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland. It says: The estates office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland, the minister's trust funds totalling $25.7 million as of March 31, 1993. Then on page 98 it says: As a result of the review we conclude that the estates office is not functioning in an appropriate manner with regard to registrar's legislative responsibilities as a trustee, therefore we recommend an independent review be undertaken of all facets of the operation of the estates office. Then the Auditor General lists eleven different categories of inadequacies. I would ask the Premier if he could confirm to the House that these matters are being addressed in an appropriate manner?

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General's report, to which my friend from Mount Pearl refers, is of course for the '93-94 - Waterford - Kenmount, I am sorry. No territorial ambitions at all, I say to my friend from the -

AN HON. MEMBER: He won all the delegates in Mount Pearl.

MR. ROBERTS: He won the delegates in Mount Pearl, I am reminded but for the '93-94 financial year. This matter came to the attention of the officials in Justice some time in July or August of '93. Action was taken then to begin to address the problem by bringing in - I think we had seconded an officer from the Auditor General's department. There was some independent accounting advice taken from an accounting firm outside the government. A report was received, action was taken to implement the changes. It is my understanding that the changes were made. I did not have the Auditor General's report in front of me but here is the registrars response, which of course reflected the action taken by the deputy minister: We agree with the recommendation that an independent review be undertaken of all facets of the operation of the estate office. We are pleased that an independent forensic audit of the estates office has been completed, a copy of that final audits report was received in the registrars office on October, 1994. While there was indicated a general lacking of management practices, policies and procedures at the estates office, that report concluded there was no evidence to indicate there had been any wrong doing on the part of any staff, at the estates office and then the registrar went on to list thirteen specific steps that had been taken to address the issue, so, yes, there was a concern, yes, it was identified, yes, the officials, under my direction at the time, responded in what I suggest is an appropriate manner, and, no, there is no indication there has been any defalcation or loss of any sort.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, a supplementary.

The list of inadequacies that were listed - the Auditor General said there are no formal policies for investment decisions, and investments and mortgages have been made which exceed restrictions outlined in the Trustee Act. Then further on it reads, it states office staff lacked the training and expertise to perform certain duties assigned to them. Could the minister or the House Leader comment on these particular specific aspects?

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

MR. ROBERTS: I would be delighted to, but I would say to my hon. friend that the answers are all set out. All he has to do is to read the report of the Auditor General. What he is doing is reading out in the House simply one half of it. The Auditor General, doing her job very effectively -

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I am sorry, the hon. gentleman for Burin - Placentia West has trouble on a Friday morning?

MR. TOBIN: Yes.

MR. ROBERTS: I noticed, okay. If he would be quiet we could get on with dealing with an important matter and not be diverted by expressions like that. Now, let me come back. The Auditor General doing her job very effectively raised a concern. The Registrar who is the official responsible for the operation of the estate's office, the Registrar of the Supreme Court, has addressed each of these and the two specific points that my friend for Waterford - Kenmount raised have been dealt with.

Investment policies are being put in place and steps are being taken to ensure that the staff are trained to do that job and there is an adequate policy manual to give them guidance when matters come up. Now, I can take the time of the House, if you wish, Mr. Speaker, if my friend wishes, to read the entire response. It takes a full page of the Auditor General's Report. If the hon. member wants I will, but I suggest to him he can read it. It is not really helpful to the House to raise a question to which the answer is appended to the question and not give the House the answer at the same time. Yes, there was a concern, (b) we heard about it very early on, (c) we moved very quickly to address it, and (d) with respect, I think, we have addressed it fully and completely, and I have heard no suggestion to the contrary.

If my friend has evidence there is a problem I would very much like to know about it so that we can deal with it.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Question Period has expired.

Before proceeding, as members know, from time to time we welcome guests to the House of Assembly. I have received two notes this morning, one from the Minister of Natural Resources and one from the Member for Fortune - Hermitage, indicating that the Member for Harbour Grace and the Member for Bellevue are celebrating birthdays today.

I wouldn't be presumptuous enough to extend best wishes, or assume that it was the universal opinion that it was a great day for democracy, but I thought I would draw it to members' attention for whatever actions they deem appropriate.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Trinity North.

MR. OLDFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to table the report of the Social Services Estimates Committee.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I notice you ruled in the House this morning that you would like for the Member for Mount Pearl not to table something until you made a ruling on Wednesday, because he is a Private Member. I am just wondering what gives the Member for Trinity North the right to be able to table one.

MR. SPEAKER: On the point of order, it is clear under our Standing Orders, I believe it is No. 121, that members are required, in fact, to submit reports, so, yes, it is in order.

I draw to the member's attention, Standing Orders 120 and 121 which refers to specific making of reports by the Estimates Committee, so that is sufficiently clear and will be part of my ruling. It is in order for the member to file that report this morning.

MR. OLDFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Social Services Committee have considered the matters to them referred and have directed me to report having approved, without amendment, the Estimates of the Departments of Education, Health, Justice, Environment, and Social Services.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

On motion, report received and adopted.

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

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

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, as a result of a question from the hon. the Member for Humber Valley yesterday in the House of Assembly, some concern was raised about the downgrading of fire services at the Stephenville Airport. I now table information that proves it is not a downgrading but an upgrading. They are going to replace the equipment at the Stephenville Airport with new fire-fighting equipment.

Orders of the Day

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

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, could we carry on with the debate, please, on the Estimates? It is Order 2.(a) on today's Order Paper.

On motion, that the House resolve itself into Committee of Supply on the Estimates for the Consolidated Fund Services, Legislature and Executive Council, Mr. Speaker left the Chair.

Committee of the Whole

MR. CHAIRMAN (L. Snow): Order, please!

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

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

I have just a few comments on the - I am just wondering how we are doing time-wise, by the way. Do you have any idea how we are doing time-wise? How are we doing with the Estimates time?

MR. ROBERTS: I will ask the clerks, Mr. Chairman, to compile that and to provide it to my hon. friend.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: It is not that I intend to be up that long, but I was just wondering.

MR. ROBERTS: Well, the hon. gentleman only gets ten minutes, so if he wants to use seventy-five hours, he has to use it ten minutes at a time.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Of course; I know that. How many times would that be, that I would have to be up here?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Only twelve hours. Well, I would get home by midnight.

MR. TOBIN: No, the House can't sit beyond 5:00 p.m.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No more it can't; it's too bad.

MR. SIMMS: It is twelve hours on the Estimates, not counting the nine hours for Concurrence.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, that's right. We have nine hours on Concurrence Debate, in addition to that, which we plan to do next week if we can reach an agreement with the Government House Leader. If the Government House Leader would only stop being so pushy, stop pushing us and bullying us, trying to force us out of the House for Easter, we might come to some agreement.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, I expect any time now.

MR. ROBERTS: If my hon. friend would yield.

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

MR. ROBERTS: I'm not trying to push him. My friend, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board suggests all we have to do is go to 11:30 tonight and we can finish it. Is that what the numbers are? So we aren't trying to push. If my friend, the Member for Grand Bank wants to go to 11:30 tonight we can. He may be here alone, but we can do it.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible) just passed an amendment to the rules the other day to quit 5:00 p.m. on Fridays.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, we passed - 5:00 p.m. on Friday, I believe, takes care of it, doesn't it?

MR. TOBIN: Remind the minister.

MR. ROBERTS: I can (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You can move that we now adjourn at 5:00?

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) I can take care of that.

MR. TOBIN: No you can't!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, but I know you wouldn't, I say to the Government House Leader. Based upon his performance over the past number of years as House Leader, I know he wouldn't do that, he wouldn't resort to those tactics. That is one thing we have enjoyed. He is co-operative. When you make deals with him, he keeps them, never knocks the deal off the rails like the former Government House Leader used to do, the Member for Gander. You could never trust him. Whenever you made a deal you didn't know when he was going to pull the rug right out from under you. But I must say, with this Government House Leader things have been much better.

Mr. Chairman, just on the Executive Council Estimates -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Lieutenant-Governor (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The Lieutenant-Governor's operations. No, the Member for Bonavista South has expressed an interest in the Lieutenant-Governor's operations publicly and I thought perhaps that he would speak to that. I know he has some very serious concerns about the Lieutenant-Governor's operations and the cost to the people and so on. I'm sure that he will be having a few words on that particular matter before we clue up and based on those estimates, Mr. Chairman.

Over the last number of days we have touched on a number of very interesting topics in the estimates of the Executive Council, from the expenditures on Protocol, as raised by my good friend, the Member for Burin - Placentia West, the cost of how many chauffeurs there are attached to Works, Services and Transportation that chauffeur ministers, in particular -

MR. BAKER: Two.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I know there are two, I say to the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board. There are two. We know that, we found that out.

MR. BAKER: I told you. You didn't find it out, I told you.

MR. SIMMS: No, we found it out.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: All we could ever get from the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, Mr. Chairman, is that it is in the Estimates. That is the answer he always gives. He gets up with his book and he says: It is all in the Estimates. It is in the Estimates but, I say to him, try to find it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Chauffeurs, yes, we've determined there are chauffeurs.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible). That is not a chauffeur, it is a gofer.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No. That is someone trying to - I said we've learned from our digging and prying, the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, that there are two chauffeurs on call. The government has two chauffeurs. Someone said when you walked in: Bring up about chauffeurs. The other member said: No, he is not a chauffeur, he is a go-fer, referring to the minister. I said: No, I don't believe that, and I'm not going to say that, which I just said.

We've found out some interesting things. We found out that indeed the day before, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology informed the House that some of the Premier's travel was included -or paid for the Premier's travel in a number of trips all around the world. The Premier had said that all of his travel and entertainment were covered in the estimates of the Premier's Office. We have discovered now, that is not a fact, that indeed, I would say, a substantial amount of travel has been covered off by the Department of Industry, Trade and Technology. So we really can't get the true figure as to how much the Premier spent on travel the past year.

AN HON. MEMBER: It will never be found.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Sorry?

AN HON. MEMBER: You'll never find it.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You'll never find it - it is buried too deep in the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board's Estimates.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You can't have that. Get another one. In the - he is trying to steal my Estimates now, Mr. Chairman. I need protection from my colleague here, he is trying to take my Estimates away.

Really, we are trying, because we will get here - this ongoing debate, particularly by the Member for Eagle River, about how much less this current Premier spends than former Premiers. When you try to really get to the real figures, it is kind of difficult to do. Because when you have the chauffeurs who are attached to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation's office -

MR. EFFORD: What's wrong with that?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: There is nothing wrong with it, I say to the minister. I'm glad he has a chauffeur. He needs a chauffeur. According to his driving record, Mr. Chairman, he should not be chauffeured back and forth in his district. Any man who would run into a moose -

AN HON. MEMBER: Deliberately.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I did not say deliberately. I say he listened too much to Buddy Wasisname when he said he was going to wing him with his car. That is the only way he got the moose. He could not pass the shooting text.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible)

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I agree, but the Member for Humber Valley says you could not pass your shooting test so the only way you could get a moose was to run into it with your car. I do not know if that is true or not. Is that true? I heard the minister was one time out turr hunting, Mr. Speaker - I know I am straying from the Estimates of the Executive Council a little bit this morning but on Friday members are usually pretty tolerant. I heard he was out turr hunting one time and he is not very good with the shotgun either. The word is that he blew a hole right through the bottom of the boat, right through the bottom of the boat.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yesterday we quizzed the Government House Leader on Newfoundland Information Services, the public relations cost to government, which he was very forthcoming with, and information that was very good.

Oh, there is one thing I was going to ask the Minister of Finance, I see there is a decrease this year, which I have noticed with some curiosity, 2.4.06 on Collective Bargaining. There is a decrease in the money. Last year there was $580,000 spent in that particular subhead and this year they are budgeting $486,000. Now, last year they spent just about $100,000 more than was budgeted.

I know the Government House Leader is perhaps listening to me but the Minister of Finance is preoccupied there with my colleague. On Collective Bargaining 2.4.06, Page 20 of the Estimates. Last year there was $497,000 estimated under Collective Bargaining, and then actual expenditure was $580,000, about $100,000 more than was budgeted.

MR. ROBERTS: That was all in Professional Services.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: This year I notice you are down in Professional Services about $100,000. I am just wondering why this year you spent that much more, in the last fiscal year? If you spent that much in 1994-95 why would you be budgeting $100,000 less in 1995-96? Can the minister answer that for me?

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I do not have the details here, although, of course, I can get them. If my friend wants the precise details I can get them but I do not have them with me. The increase in 2.4.06, as the committee will see, is almost entirely the result, the increase in the actual last year over the Budget last year, was almost entirely the increase of $85,000 in 05, Professional Services. That is the vote to which we charge the expenses of arbitrators and arbitrations. We pay, of course, lawyers fees and we would also have to pay our share of the arbitrators fees, and any other professional, if we have to retain an accountant, or a consultant of some sort in connection with arbitrations.

My recollection is that last year there were one or two very lengthy and difficult arbitrations. I am not sure which bills are in here but there have been cases in Corner Brook. My hon. friend has read of them, I think, very difficult arbitrations where a couple of men were charged with criminal offenses and the jury found them not guilty. Well, that is the end of that. Then these men brought arbitrations to try to get their jobs back. There was one extremely lengthy arbitration which upheld the government's decision to let the man go.

Then there was another man whose arbitration, I believe, is underway. I forget the gentleman's name but the name is not important in this context. The man has a right to arbitrate his grievance and it is being arbitrated. This is drawing a lot of attention in the press. Bill Callahan in the telegram has written about the man's case several times.

Now I don't have to tell my hon. friend that these things can be very expensive. I believe the government are being represented by Michael Harrington Q.C. of Stewart McKelvey here in St. John's. A very capable lawyer but I have no doubt getting paid a fee he would command in ordinary work and these things add up very quickly. So it is my understanding that is the reason. Now why are we back this year? We just take the best guess we get on what is likely to come and really this is one of these cases where an estimate could only be an estimate. It is not like a salary vote where you can predict with some certainty what you are going to need. A salary vote, my friend will note, is exactly the same this year as it was last year. In the Budget the actual was $5,700 less. If my friend wants more details, I will get them for him.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Before I recognize the hon. Member for Bonavista South. The hon. Member for Grand Bank indicated that his hon. colleague will be discussing the Lieutenant-Governor's establishment. It is my understanding that we have passed the estimates on the Lieutenant-Governor's establishment.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: It is up to the House if they want to revert back.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, Your Honour is right but my point was that I know that the member had expressed some concerns publicly about that and someone said to me about - I think it was the Leader of the Opposition - about the Lieutenant-Governor's arrangements and so on but I really didn't know - I don't know what the Member for Bonavista South is going -

MR. CHAIRMAN: No, I just want to clarify that point, that we have passed it and if members -

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Yes, I know that -

MR. CHAIRMAN: - wish to discuss it then it would have to be at the consent of the House.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: - but I am sure the Government House Leader would have - if the member wants to make a few comments on it, there would be no problem.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman, I would be happy to revert my friend -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay, that's fine. The hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

Yes, the House has agreed to revert back to the estimates of the Lieutenant-Governor's establishment.

AN HON. MEMBER: So has it been passed already?

MR. CHAIRMAN: It has been passed but by agreement we will revert back, okay?

The hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, I voiced my opinion in the past about the Lieutenant-Governor's house and I think it is an opinion that is probably shared by quite a few people here in Newfoundland considering the age and the time that we find ourselves in today. When we look at the Department of Social Services having to take such stringent actions as to look at not paying hydro bills and hear the kind of story that was related here by the Member for Burin - Placentia West a couple of days, Mr. Chairman. It is even more blatant to see some of the expenses that have been carried on and have been brought forward by the report here on salary details for the Lieutenant-Governor's house.

I would like to read down through a couple of them, Mr. Chairman, if you will; private secretary to the Lieutenant-Governor, $62,413 - a private secretary to the Lieutenant-Governor. Now that is in addition to the $100,000 that the gentleman takes in as a salary. He has a private secretary, not only does he have a private secretary but he also has another secretary being paid $34,263. Another $100,000 for secretaries at the Lieutenant-Governor's house, Mr. Chairman. There is another charge here that I would like to ask the House Leader to respond to at the end of the day or at the end of my little spiel here today, because I am not so sure what it means; secretary to assistant deputy minister. I don't know why that would be included in the Government House estimates here, Mr. Chairman, in salary details, for another $26,358. That is on page 9 of the departmental salary details.

Let's go on down to establishment operations, the gardener at the Lieutenant-Governor's house, Mr. Chairman, makes $30,593. How many other people do we know out there today that the taxpayers will pay for a private gardener for $30,593. The chef, Mr. Chairman, he has his own private chef deciding what is served, what the menu is, who eats what, another $26,000. Seamstress - just imagine, at the Lieutenant-Governor's house there is a seamstress being paid $20,000 a year - $20,000 a year for sewing buttons on, cuffing up pants, making changes to a skirt, I suppose. It is ridiculous, a blatant misuse of taxpayers' dollars.

I said there was $30,000 paid to a gardener. If you look on down the line, there is a Gardener II as well. There are two gardeners at the Lieutenant-Governor's house. The second gardener, a Gardener II, is making $6,000 less than the first gardener. Just imagine.

AN HON. MEMBER: What totals are they?

MR. FITZGERALD: The total for gardeners is - let's see, Gardener I and Gardener II - $55,000 at the Lieutenant-Governor's house.

Now all this pomp and ceremony is all very well. At one time it played a big part in our history. I am not so sure that it has a part to play any more. When you go out and see the opening of a building, or you see the Lieutenant-Governor coming here to sign a bill that has been passed through the legislation, you see the big, black limousine parked outside, big, black Cadillac, flags flying, the pomp and ceremony of it, who pays for it?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: Yes, I say to the hon. Member for Grand Bank, his white Cadillac is being paid for by private funds from his own bank account, I am sure. The taxpayers are not paying for it; and the Member for Burin - Burgeo agrees with me 100 per cent back there.

AN HON. MEMBER: Minister of Health.

MR. FITZGERALD: The Minister of Health drives a Jaguar, but I am sure he paid for it himself because he had it before he was a minister. If I owned a Jaguar, I have to say to the minister, because I drive by his house every day, I certainly wouldn't have it out in the salt. I would park it in the driveway, or I would keep it out of the way until the salt disappeared.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: It wasn't there all winter, I don't think.

AN HON. MEMBER: No, it was in the garage.

MR. FITZGERALD: It was in the garage? But you have taken it out too early. You have a nice car there. I might borrow it some time to go down to Grand Bank. I wouldn't go to Bonavista South with it. I wouldn't take it to Bonavista South; I would never get elected again.

AN HON. MEMBER: You've got a deal.

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, and I am sure the minister is sincere when he says that, because he is a good man.

AN HON. MEMBER: He uses his Cadillac in the wintertime.

MR. FITZGERALD: Yes, the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes says that the Minister of Health parks his Jaguar and uses his Cadillac in the wintertime - so very true - but I am sure that the Minister of Health made his money in an honest and sincere way. He was an enterprising businessman, and I commend him for that. What he got he earned, I am sure.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: Am I against the monarchy? Absolutely, I am against the monarchy. It should never be. It should be done away with. Why should we here, as Newfoundlanders, have this big building down there on Military Road where we house a family that does only ceremonial duties?

AN HON. MEMBER: It is not the party policy.

MR. FITZGERALD: It may not be the party policy, but I speak my own mind when I stand here, and that is what we all do on this side. If I ever got into a position of power, it is something that I would always bring forward, that it would be something that I would want done away with. We can't afford it any more.

We go down there, and I think it is $100,000 a year we pay. I think that comes from the federal funds, but it is still taxpayers' dollars. We are all very cognizant now of both provincial and federal money. We pay for the upkeep and the gardeners and all that kind of thing, the administration support for the establishment down there, that costs us in excess of half-a-million dollars a year. I am not so sure if people - what would you call them, the higher-ups, the -

AN HON. MEMBER: Elite.

MR. FITZGERALD: The elite from other countries, when they come here, if they stay at the Lieutenant-Governor's house or not. I am not so sure about that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: Some do and some don't?

AN HON. MEMBER: Not usually.

MR. FITZGERALD: Not usually, I don't think.

AN HON. MEMBER: I want to find out who these elite are.

MR. FITZGERALD: Who are those elite? Those are people who are in high authority in other countries, I say to the minister. You wouldn't be included. I say to the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, you wouldn't be included if you went to another country. You would not be considered as an elite person. I probably would because I speak for the common people. I would probably be considered elite by the common people, but Mr. Minister I doubt if you would. You would have to earn your stripes.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: I don't get any anyway, Mr. Chairman. The minister blacklisted me. He won't even allow me to meet with councils, he won't even allow me in his office, so now I have no reason to be nice to the minister. But I respect the minister as well. That is why I wouldn't say anything that would be very negative towards him other than his own actions here.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: I beg your pardon? What is that?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) find $6 million and $7 million and $8 million a year (inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: I know you can't, but you could have the decency to say that if your member wanted to come and meet with him that he would be allowed there too. That is all. You could have done that. That is only common decency. It is a privilege and a courtesy that you should extend to your colleagues who sit here in this House. Even though they might have different viewpoints you should not lower yourself to such childish ways.

When questions are asked - I refer this back to the minister as well - he and his seat mate there, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, no matter what question is asked the finger is pointed: We will get you, we are going to get you. How childish, Mr. Chairman.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) president of the Injured Workers Association.

MR. FITZGERALD: Same thing. Bully fashions, bully ways. Anyway.

Mr. Chairman, if there are people here in this House, or if the government of the day feels that we must have a Lieutenant-Governor, then let's look at doing things a little bit differently than the way we've been doing it. Let's put him in an office here at Confederation Building. Give him a suite if we have to and let him carry on the ceremonial duties. Take the car away from him, take the chauffeur away from him, take the house away from him, take the gardener away - Gardener I and Gardener II -, take the seamstress away, take the two secretaries away. Let's have him here in Confederation Building. There is lots of room. Invite him up. Set him up with an office, set him up with a suite, let him perform his ceremonial duties, but let's do it in a fashion and a way that the common people out there can relate to.

Those are some comments that I have to make on that. Those are my views, I would like to add, not necessarily the party views. I think it is about time, in the economy that we have today, in the economic conditions that we find ourselves in, when you look at 70 per cent unemployment on the Bonavista Peninsula, when you look at people on social services with two or three people saying that you should survive on $150 a week, when you look at the amount of money that we are paying out to those people - and we are throwing money, taxpayers dollars, at the Lieutenant-Governor and on his establishment down there, on the big mansion that he lives in. We continue to go out and look for other funding from the federal government to put up the Caboto building where we can house our archives and our museum. What a place for it. Put it down there, and be ever mindful of the good old days when we could afford that kind of thing.

Let's do away with it. Let's be responsible. Let's set him up here in Confederation Building.

MR. EFFORD: What would that accomplish?

MR. FITZGERALD: You will save $500,000 a year. The minister goes: What is $500,000 a year? That may not be much to you Mr. Minister, but I can tell you it is one hell of a lot to a lot of people out there today in this economy. It is the principle of the thing.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. FITZGERALD: It is the principle of the thing to show that we are responsible.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman, before I make a comment or two upon the remarks of my friend for Bonavista South, the Committee asked earlier where we are with respect to the seventy-five hours and the Clerks at the Table have given me the information. I would be happy to make it available to the House. The rule says seventy-five hours. That is one of Bill Marshall's legacies to this House I say to my friend for Grand Bank. My friend for Grand Falls concurs. He was probably in the Chair when the rule was adopted.

Forty-five hours have been accounted for by referral of fifteen heads to the committees in accordance with rule. Nine hours are accounted for by the concurrence debate so that is fifty-four which leaves a total of twenty-one available for the debate. Interim Supply took five hours and eight minutes, I am told by the timekeepers, and the debate up till the end of yesterday - now, we have not talked about whatever time we have used so far today, it was four hours, so as of the start of this morning we had eleven hours and fifty-two minutes left.

I think that is probably what my friend for Gander, who is pretty good with figures - when he estimated 11:30 tonight he was being a little generous. We could probably finish this by 10:00 o'clock tonight if we simply want to sit straight through, but I do not think anybody is very keen to do that.

MR. TOBIN: (inaudible)

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman, we do not need leave of the House to do that. My friend for Grand Falls knows what the rules permit. I am not suggesting it. I think reasonable people could come up with a reasonable answer, but the committee wanted the information and that is the information.

Now, Mr. Chairman, let me come back to my friend for Bonavista South. He is entitled to his opinion. Nobody would quarrel with that. I certainly don't, but I want to say very clearly that we on this side, and I am speaking for the ministry, and I believe I speak for all of my colleagues, in fact I believe I speak for the great majority of the people of the Province, we reject his view.

He very straightforwardly says he would abolish the monarchy, sobeit. In Canada we have a constitutional monarchy and that is the system. I see no need to change it, but if he does, get on with it I say. I am reminded of the apocryphal story of the speakers corner in Hyde Park in London. I do not know if my friend has ever been there on a Sunday morning? The Leader of the Opposition has been there, I suspect, and my friend for Grand Bank. It is a glorious thing to do if one is in London on a Sunday morning.

MR. SIMMS: They have one of those up in Toronto (inaudible)

MR. ROBERTS: I have not seen it, I say to my friend for Grand Falls. It is a glorious tradition, an exemplar of free speech. You go along to the Hyde Park corner, bring your own soapbox, or your own hoarding. Literally that is what a hoarding means, and you get up and make your speech. Some people come week after week.

Lord Soper who was a methodist minister - I think he is now dead, but I have heard him preach there. He was then the Reverend Mr. Soper but eventually they made him a life peer. The Queen made him a life peer. He would go over on Sunday morning, and he would have up his hoarding with his placard on it: repent for the end of the world is coming - or whatever was his message for the day. He would get up, the crowd would come and then the crowd would move on.

The story goes that one day there were two or three crowds, and over one crowd there was a socialist haranguing that we should get rid of the Queen, she should be put out to work as a scullery maid at two pounds a week, or whatever. Then another crowd were saying, we should cut off the king's head, they are nothing but plagues on the body, and the bobby was there saying, all those who want to get rid of the Queen over on this side, and all those who want to get rid of the King over on this side.

That is the way I treat the hon. gentleman, get on with it. Get out and make his speech. If it is his party's policy let them put it in their platform, but we reject it.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible

MR. ROBERTS: I accept what my friend for Burin - Placentia West says, it is just an eccentricity on the part of my friend for Bonavista South and he is entitled to that. I am not going to get into the kind of inflammatory rhetoric that he did. Let him do that and I have no quarrel.

Now, let me just make a comment or two about the facts of the matter. The Lieutenant-Governor is not simply an ornament. The Lieutenant-Governor is an integral part of the government, of the machinery of this and every other province. The office is in the Constitution Act. We could not abolish it in this House. We could abolish Government House. We could take away the Lieutenant-Governor's staff. We could do all that, but we do not have the power to abolish the office of the Lieutenant-Governor.

Mr. Chairman, other provinces do things other ways. Some provinces have a Government House and some don't. We have one here, but let me come back. The Lieutenant-Governor is an integral part of the government of this Province. All of the executive government functions - and my friend for Bonavista South has never served in the executive government; maybe he will, maybe he won't - but all of the executive government functions are done in the name of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council. That is a Cabinet directive there, not an Order in Council. That is the way it works. A law doesn't become a law until the Lieutenant-Governor or his delegate sits here and gives it royal assent.

We could create another system of government. The Americans have a different system. There the president serves both as head of state and chief of state. But in our system we have a prime minister who serves - I can never keep these straight. I think the prime minister is the head of state and the Queen or the Lieutenant-Governor or the Governor-General in their respective offices are the chiefs of state, but I may have that transposed. I never could keep it straight. That is point one.

Point two. The office of Lieutenant-Governor, and before it the office of the Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador, is an integral and a very honourable part of our history. It is a tradition which I for one would want to carry on.

Point three. The cost of maintaining the establishment of Government House is very modest. My hon. friend had great sport reading out the salary details. Of course there is a staff there. Government House is a provincial monument, it is a building with a history. It is about 160 years old now. It is a monument. It is one which successive governors have opened up. Many years ago very few Newfoundlanders saw inside Government House, but I guess about in the - well, perhaps with Sir Leonard Outerbridge, the second Governor after Confederation. In Sir Leonard's time, and down through his successors, Government House has become very open. The New Year's Day levee, the garden parties. Throughout the course of a year I would say that hundreds and thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians go through Government House functions of one sort or another. There is hardly - well, the court circular as it is called is a little pretentious, perhaps - but it is - no, the Government House Circular is published in the Telegram I believe it is each Saturday. It tells what functions are coming and what functions the Governor will be attending outside Government House. It is an important part of our life.

The costs are not excessive. The Lieutenant-Governor has a private secretary who is really the deputy minister or the chief administrative officer. The private secretary is the ancient title. The Governor has a secretary. I don't find that unreasonable. My friend for Bonavista - South has a secretary, and one could argue what he does is no more important than what others do who have secretaries.

He went on, secretary to assistant deputy minister. This comes up throughout the Estimates. If he had been at a committee hearing the other night - and I'm not complaining he wasn't, but somebody else was, made the point - this is the title description. The secretary to the assistant deputy minister I would wager shown on page 9 of the salary details is the secretary to the private secretary. Possibly, almost certainly a woman, I suspect. The person who takes dictation, answers phone calls, files letters and prepares -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: There would be - the private secretary is General Barnes, who is - you might call him the chief executive officer, or the deputy minister. He comes here to the House often.

AN HON. MEMBER: Aide-de-camp.

MR. ROBERTS: No, he is not an aide-de-camp. The aide-de-camp are voluntary at Government House. They are military and police officers. Again, we often see them here in full fig during -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I'm sorry?

AN HON. MEMBER: They don't get reimbursed (inaudible)

MR. ROBERTS: As far as I know the aides do not get a - they may get a free meal, you know, if they are down there for a dinner. But as far as I know they are not - I assume if they travel with the Governor their travel is paid. The private secretary is paid. He runs the office. He runs the Governor's office as Governor.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) three, three secretaries.

MR. ROBERTS: The private secretary - sure, if you want to call the deputy minister a secretary as well. The private secretary is the deputy minister if you wish in the Lieutenant-Governor's establishment. The title is called private secretary. Just as years ago I think Mr. Peckford when he was premier had an officer called principal secretary, my friend for Green Bay. Now, he was not a secretary in the sense that he - I doubt if he - I don't know what he did, but he didn't take dictation and do filing and do that. He did other things for Mr. Peckford. He was called the principal secretary. He really functioned I guess as either a chief of staff or a deputy minister, but the title shouldn't mislead even my friend for Bonavista South.

He went on to talk a little about the gardeners and chefs and so forth. Government House is a very historic building. It needs to be looked after. It is also a building where the Governor entertains. He may do some personal entertaining; I mean, that is up to the Governor. My friend for Bonavista South I suspect has his friends in from time to time.

AN HON. MEMBER: Where do you do yours?

MR. ROBERTS: Mine?

AN HON. MEMBER: Your entertaining.

MR. ROBERTS: I do mine generally at my home. I would be delighted to ask my friend for Grand Bank to join me but I have to tell him his colleagues might look askance at that. I would be glad to have him come down for dinner, particularly if his wife came with him. Particularly, particularly.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Exactly. My wife would say that my hon. friend's taste is better than that of his wife, and he can think that one through and work that one through.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Well, my friend from Burin - Placentia West might know about that. I think I will leave that one on the table. The two of them can talk about that behind the Chair.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) gardening.

MR. ROBERTS: We will plough another furrow, I say to my friend from Grand Falls.

The Government House is not a lavish or elaborate establishment. It is run very efficiently, very effectively. It is run with regard for economy. I think the staff there do a very good job. I have been there officially in the past. Sometimes I might have been there privately. Sometimes the Governor of the day might say, come and have a bite to eat with me. Sometimes they don't; that's up to them, but sometimes when I was minister I was there. There is certainly nothing lavish about it, but it is done very tastefully, very well, and very much a credit to the Province.

So what I will say simply is that while my friend is entitled to his opinion, I reject it. There is no lavishness. There is nothing we need to be worried about there. If we are going to have a Government House, the costs we are incurring are the costs we must incur and I, for one, and the Ministry of which I am a part, say without hesitation that we believe Government House is a worthwhile expenditure of funds, and we have no hesitation at all in asking the committee to approve the amount requested here.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: If my friend from St. Mary's - The Capes has a question, of course I will yield.

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

MR. MANNING: Last year they opened up parts of Buckingham Palace for the ordinary citizen to go in and visit. Would you agree, or the government consider, some sort of arrangement at Government House in order for the ordinary citizens of the Province, and indeed visitors and tourists, to come and visit the establishment as a tourism attraction?

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

MR. ROBERTS: That is a very good suggestion. I can say to my hon. friend, my understanding is that Government House is available in three ways. First of all, the garden parties, and there are now three or four held, but the major one is here in St. John's, and the New Year's Day levee are public in that anybody may come, from anywhere in the Province, who wishes to come to call.

Secondly, my understanding is Their Honours and their predecessors are more than willing to try to accommodate any group that wishes to come. My hon. friend was a rural development officer, I recollect, before he came into the House. If the Rural Development Officer's Association were having an annual meeting and wanted to come to Government House, my understanding is that, Their Honours, the Governor and Mrs. Russell, will do what they can to try to accommodate, to come in for a glass of sherry or a cup of tea or whatever.

Also, my understanding is that any group that wishes to tour the public house - now the house is two houses; the Governor lives over the shop. I must say, I suppose I started going to Government House when I was fourteen or fifteen, but it wasn't until I was in my fifties - I had never been up over the stairs in Government House, into the private quarters. There are a number of bedrooms and sitting rooms up there, but the public part of the house, my understanding is that one calls the private secretary's office and they are only too happy to arrange a guided tour. Now, it has to be a guided tour because it is a home. It is not a museum. It is a working home - it happens to be the Governor's home as well - but if my hon. friend knows of anybody who wishes to tour the house, a group of his constituents, or young people or what have you, my understanding is that they are only too happy to try to oblige, and they do.

The tourism part I am not sure about, because the house is not large. It is a big building in that it is larger than any house any of us has -

AN HON. MEMBER: People use the grounds (inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Oh, yes. I have a friend of mine who walks every day from his office to his work, and he walks right through the grounds of Government House - he goes in one gate and comes out the other -and he has made a tradition of calling upon, whenever a new Governor is appointed, and saying: Your Honour, may I continue to walk through, instead of going down around through the mall and around by St. Thomas Church. And the Governors, up until now, have always said yes, so I think it is available.

Now I am not sure it would be practical - I am giving an opinion off the top which may be worth nothing more than that - but I am not sure it would be practical to open it on a commercial basis. I have not been in Buckingham Palace. I have gone down with Alice and watch them changing the guard, but my understanding is, only some of the state rooms are open.

At Government House, there are only three public rooms, three or four. On the front of the House there is a drawing room, a ballroom, a dining room, and the `green room', I think it is called, the old billiard room, in fact, there along the Military Road side of the House. They are really the only public rooms there. The Governor's study is his own office. There is a morning room which the family uses as a sitting and a dining area, and then there are cloak rooms and washrooms, that is the ground floor of Government House as I - that is the public part. So I don't think it would be feasible to have tourist groups going through, but any group that wishes to tour it, my understanding is, the Governor is only too happy to make it available and to arrange to have a tour. They have a group of volunteers who come in and - for example, the ceilings at Government House are elaborate plaster work and they are painted. They are done by the same man, Alexander Pindikowsky, who did the old House of Assembly ceiling. He was a prisoner down at the Penitentiary and his work there, I guess, was to go out and paint the ceiling of the House of Assembly and Government House. But it is a very handsome house, very well kept and a credit to the present occupants and to their predecessors.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

MR. FITZGERALD: Just a few other comments, Mr. Chairman, and I will be very brief on this. The minister seems to think that the Lieutenant-Governor's position is almost cast in stone and something that we need in order to make government function. It has been traditional and all of that and is in the Constitution, but I am wondering if we are not satisfied to do away with the whole thing then maybe we should start considering doing away with the building, doing away with the residence. I say again, all the things that he said are good and wonderful. Why can't the Lieutenant-Governor - would it be demeaning to have the Lieutenant-Governor occupy a suite of offices here in Confederation Building? Would it be demeaning to have him in another building other than this great big giant mansion of a house down there on Military Road? It would certainly save us a lot of dollars and it would certainly make more sense.

In many richer provinces, I think of Ontario and I think of Alberta, my understanding is that their Lieutenant-Governor stays in a suite of offices, that is where he goes. He gets up in the morning, if need be and goes to work. He doesn't have this big House where he has all the staff and gardeners and what have you. Sure, it is beautiful down there and if I were spending that kind of money, you would expect it to be no less. And as far as somebody using the grounds for taking wedding pictures is concerned, that doesn't mean a row of beans. There are lots of places in St. John's where you can do those things. What an ideal building to do away with the $35 million or $40 million that you are looking for from the Federal Government. What an ideal building to make that into what you plan on doing with the Caboto Centre,and if it meant expanding on it and making it different, then do that as well.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible) get you sworn into Cabinet.

MR. FITZGERALD: That is no problem. I have no hang-ups about not wanting to go in there and it is not a slight against the present Lieutenant-Governor. It is the office, the pomp and ceremony and it is the building that I have a problem with.

Mr. Minister, one final question: Does the Lieutenant-Governor pay taxes?

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman, as far as I know, His Honour pays taxes on any income as defined by the Income Tax Act of Canada. My hon. friend may be referring to the fact that the Constitution Act, the original 1867 act, says that the salary of the Governor General of Canada is exempt from income tax. That reflects the principle that the Queen pays no tax, personally, to the British authorities in England, in Great Britain, but my understanding is that the Governor is no more exempt from tax than anybody else. I have no doubt he has expense allowances and they are not taxable but then again, my hon. friend and I both draw tax-free expense allowances as members, and not only that, further we draw tax-free expenses on a reimbursable basis, as members. My understanding - now, I have never really looked into it - but my understanding is the Governor is an individual like anybody else and therefore pays taxes.

I can go further, I had occasion in a previous life to look into the issue of whether the Governor was compellable or had to respond to a civil process. I am not talking about a criminal process, even the Queen would have to answer to a criminal charge and that is an interesting legal argument, but of course she would if she broke the law in some way - but the Governor of this Province, in my judgement as a lawyer - I had occasion many years ago to look at it for a client. The conclusion to which I came is that the Governor of this Province is compellable as a witness, is compellable as a party in civil litigation, is on no different footing from anybody else, even if the government were a party to the litigation. Of course, the "even if" is important, because the government, in effect, is the Lieutenant-Governor. When we act as a Cabinet we are the Lieutenant-Governor in Council. That is our most formal form.

Again, that is not a new principle. There was a very famous case in England, oh gosh, 120 years ago, when the Prince of Wales, who afterwards became Edward VII, Victoria's eldest son, the Prince of Wales appeared as a witness in a very unsavoury divorce case, in which he perhaps knew more about what had been going on than he ought to have known. In any event, in due course, he appeared in court. It caused quite a sensation at the time, the Prince of Wales appearing as a witness in a divorce action, particularly given that he did know a little about what was going on and the subject matter of the divorce action. In those days, divorce actions were only adultery in the U.K. But legally, there was no question, the Prince of Wales was a proper witness.

So the Governor stands on exactly the same footing as any other citizen of Canada. I can't say for certain that he pays taxes on his income because I don't know that, but I'm quite certain that he does. If my friend has concerns beyond the question I would be happy to look into it and undertake to get him a proper answer. The Governor-General - there is a special section, I could look it up for him, in the Constitution act. The special section, as I recollect, says the Governor-General shall be paid £5,000, I think it was, tax-free. That reflects the fact the Governor-General is the Crown.

MR. FITZGERALD: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

MR. FITZGERALD: (Inaudible) what do you mean by subsidize? Help pay the hydro bill and help pay the maintenance?

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) money out of their own pocket.

MR. WALSH: And the receptions. By the time the year is over most of the receptions (inaudible) - not the formal ones - but most of the teas and coffees and so on are usually paid for by their Honours. I've know three of the last people who have sat in that position, some representing both sides of this hon. House, or I suppose, the House of Commons. I can tell you, at the end of each year, there is not one who has been there that I've known in the last three, of whom it has not cost them money personally at the end of the year in order to serve in that position. I think one that you would probably be able to talk to yourself very easily would be the predecessor to the current person sitting there. But it costs them personally. You've got to be willing to write off a fair amount personally.

MR. FITZGERALD: I say to the member, it costs us all money to take part in any organization or to have any occupation, so that is no great thing. I ask the minister if he would undertake to find out if the Lieutenant-Governor pays taxes on his personal income and report back. If you don't want to report back to the House, then I certainly would like to have it.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you. I shall certainly get that information for my hon. friend, of course.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, I'm not going to get involved in the discussion on the rights of the monarchy or the Lieutenant-Governor or anyone else. I don't happen to be of the same strong belief as my colleague, the Member for Bonavista South who, I know, if he got the chance to go down to the Lieutenant-Governor's House, he would probably be there 11:00 for 12:00.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) the hon. gentleman (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: No, I think he probably believes in what he is saying.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I know he believes in what he is saying.

MR. ROBERTS: That is (inaudible) belief.

MR. TOBIN: It is certainly not a view shared by our party, but our party is an open party, and we are fortunate enough to have people like the Member for Bonavista South who, when he feels strongly on an issue, doesn't mind speaking it. Our party is big and broad enough to let people speak their minds on issues that they feel very strongly on.

Mr. Chairman, what I want to try to touch on briefly again is the travel estimates. We got into the travel estimates of the Premier and everyone else, as to what we could find there.

Now, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology was very helpful the other day, while the Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board, the person most responsible for gutting the Social Services budget in this Province - no wonder the Minister of Social Services has to have so many meetings in the run of a day with the President of Treasury Board. It is hard to believe, when you look at the budget of the Department of Industry, Trade and Technology - and my quick calculations as I went through this, and I only wish the minister was here - in transportation and communications, under the different headings, in the Department of Industry, Trade and Technology, my quick calculations show me that the travel budget is $1.2 million. When I go through that, I am wondering under which heading - The Premier confirmed yesterday that he does travel and charge it, to Asia, to the Eastern Seaboard, to Vancouver and other parts of Canada, and I am wondering what part that comes under.

For example, I notice that under the budget heading in the Minister's Office, the travel is only $111,000. In Executive Support it's $156,000. In Administrative Support it's $78,000. In Policy and Strategic Planning it's $37,000. In Marketing - the transportation budget for the marketing division of Industry, Trade and Technology is $473,000, up by $172,000.

The Member for Bonavista South is back, Mr. Chairman; I would think he didn't get invited to lunch at the Lieutenant-Governor's house, if he did, he would be down there.

Mr. Chairman, Technology Development, $132,000 in Transportation and Communications; $49,000 in Industry Development; $30,000 in Strategic and Industrial Development; $141,000 in Offshore Petroleum Business Development; $71,000 in Business Support under the Economic Analysis; $25,000 in Economic Impact Analysis; another $25,000 in the Financial Analysis; $10,000 in the Business Modern Development, for a total of $1.23 million.

What I would like to know - and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology is not here, but I would like to know - where in the department is the Premier's travel written off, under what headings? I would suspect there is probably some of it from the marketing end of it. I would suspect there is none of the Premier's travel coming from the minister's travel, because the minister is never home himself. So there are questions that have to be asked, and questions that still remain unanswered.

Now, the President of Treasury Board, the Minister of Finance, continues to be extremely vague about these headings, and he is the President of the Executive Council, and he has an obligation to answer the questions in this Legislature that are asked. The President of Treasury Board not only has an obligation to answer the questions; he has a responsibility to respond to them truthfully, and that is not what is happening around here. Like the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture, every time he got up this morning to answer a question, it looked like he hit his head off the bottom of the desk.

Mr. Chairman, these are questions that have to be asked, and questions that must be answered. I say to the President of Treasury Board, Mr. Chairman, now that he has finished his meetings, if I could get his attention for a minute, I ask the President of the Executive Council, upon confirmation by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, and yesterday by the Premier admitting that his trip to Asia and his expenses associated with it, was charged off to ITT, his trip to Vancouver, to Montreal, and Calgary, was charged of to ITT, his trip to the Eastern Seaboard was charged off to ITT, and none of it included in the Budget, Mr. Chairman. I wonder if, when the minister gets up, he would be able to tell me under which heading I would find where the Premier travelled, where the Premier travelled as it relates to the travel the Premier admitted yesterday he took on the expenses of ITT?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Chairman, thank you, very much.

Following our policy of being very open and straightforward about those things I would like to point out to the hon. gentleman that the travel the Premier undertakes to fulfil some of his obligations as Premier comes under the Premier's office and is included under that heading. The travel that he undertakes to promote EDGE legislation and so on, and trips arranged by ITT, would be obviously paid by ITT and would be included under the travel allotment for ITT.

Mr. Chairman, obviously, as the Premier goes around promoting the Province we must pay his airline tickets. This is not a benefit to the Premier or anything. It is simply paying government bills that we like to do promptly. We like to pay our bills as promptly as possible. These bills are paid because they are legitimate travel expenses. We must carry out promotion of the Province because this is an ever shrinking world. We must rely on the rest of the world to sell our products and to develop this Province. We must do that. We cannot build a wall around ourselves and simply stay in this Province and never go outside, and try to survive totally independent of the rest of the world.

Mr. Chairman, that is not possible so we have to make use of the rest of the world, and we have to get around. There is a cost to doing this and the costs are paid. The expenses are as outlined in the Budget. He made the comment, the Premier is travelling and it is not in the Estimates, and so on. It is in the Estimates, Mr. Chairman, under travel for the Premier's office, and where this has to do with promoting the EDGE legislation, and things set up by ITT, it is paid for by ITT. If the Department of Finance wanted the Premier to travel to New York to talk to Standard and Poor's, and Moody's, then I would pay for it out of my travel allotment in finance, because he is in essence going instead of me.

These are normal things that are done, normal proper things, things that must be done for this Province to carry on as a Province in a world economy. We make no apologies for it, Mr. Chairman. We are very open and very honest about it, and everything that is done is under the proper headings in the Estimates and is here for approval of this hon. House.

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

MR. TOBIN: We do not argue with the need for the Premier to travel. I say to the President of Treasury Board that we do not argue with the need for the Premier to travel, but what I will say to the President of Treasury Board is when the Premier is out of this Province for approximately ninety days there is no way his travel amounts can come from the Premier's Budget.

I do not doubt for a minute that the Premier would like to have it all shown upfront, but it is the President of Treasury Board, the President of the Executive Council, that is sneaky about all this, who is trying to cover it up. It is the President of Treasury Board who put together the Budget that cut the guts out of the Department of Social Services and who has people out there today being driven from their homes.

Yes, it is some kind of a Budget, Mr. Chairman, that is some kind of a budget when you look at the Province's expenditures on highways. I say to the member, the last year we were in government it was in excess of $50 million. The highway budget was in excess of $50 million. This year, Mr. Chairman, the provincial contribution is $15 million, I say to the Member for Eagle River. All it shows, Mr. Chairman, is that the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation was not able to convince his Cabinet colleagues to get the kind of money that we could get when we were in government. $15 million -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: What do you mean they are not getting any? I just finished announcing last - I say to the minister, that twice in the last month I announced when tenders closed for the ramp on Harris Drive in Marystown and the repairs to the Beau Bois Road and the bridge in Creston North when it closed. I announced that it closed, who the contractor was, Mr. Chairman, and when it was awarded I announced it again on behalf of the minister. So for the minister to say that I am not getting anything, I have announced it three times. I don't know what he is talking about, Mr. Chairman. I got calls from people in my district thanking me, the council and the minister.

AN HON. MEMBER: And the minister?

MR. TOBIN: Oh yes, they thanked the minister too, my buddy the minister, Mr. Chairman, my good friend. But for the minister to say, Mr. Chairman -

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: You had it all week.

Now, Mr. Chairman, that is what we got, $15 million and there is less than $10 million to be called in the transportation budget. I will tell the minister why now, if he wants me to tell him. I got sixteen pages here on transportation, I say to the minister. There is approximately $8 million left to be called in the transportation budget because out of the $8,150,000 there is $815,000 of that has to go to engineering which leaves less than $7 million. There is approximately $1 million carryover, $2.2 million allocated in grants, loans for town councils in the Province where you are buying out roads. I say to the minister, if he wants me to announce what is happening I will tell him. There is already $2.75 million in provincial work that has been called in the provincial budget.

MR. EFFORD: That was announced here in the House.

MR. TOBIN: I know it was announced here in the House.

Signs, Mr. Chairman, sign improvement -

AN HON. MEMBER: $1 million.

MR. TOBIN: No, no, $900,000.

MR. EFFORD: That was in the Budget.

MR. TOBIN: That's right. That's what I'm saying, which means that you had $15 million in the beginning, there is $900,000 for signs, $2.75 million already announced, $1 million carryover, $2.2 million for grants and loans and that leaves, Mr. Speaker, $8.15 million with roughly $815,000 in engineering.

MR. EFFORD: What grants and loans are you talking about?

MR. TOBIN: To councils, where you are buying back roads. That is not in your budget where you are buying back roads from the towns.

MR. EFFORD: That is not in the Budget.

MR. TOBIN: Well, Mr. Chairman, the information was given to me -

MR. EFFORD: It is the wrong information.

MR. TOBIN: Is that right? You are not buying any roads this year?

MR. EFFORD: I didn't say I was (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes, Mr. Chairman, that is what is left. I can tell the minister where the possible work is going to be this year.

AN HON. MEMBER: Where? Tell him.

MR. TOBIN: There is going to be some in Port de Grave, going to be some in Cupids.

MR. EFFORD: How much?

MR. TOBIN: A fair bit, Mr. Chairman. The kilometres to be done, Mr. Chairman, you cannot count them on two hands. No, Mr. Chairman, I won't say anything else.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Is that right? I think the Member for Twillingate might get some road work. Your member sitting next to you is not getting anything.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, there is money there for Burin - Placentia West, I say to the minister.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. member's time is up.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave!

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

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave!

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, that is what I'm saying to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible)?

MR. TOBIN: I have sixteen pages on transportation.

MR. EFFORD: How far have you got?

MR. TOBIN: First one. Mr. Chairman, I was talking about no money in the Social Services budget. Probably a little bit off track, but it is away from the Executive Council.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: That is why the Premier should fire half his Cabinet and bring in the ones from the back benches. People like the Members for Port au Port, Trinity North, LaPoile. Mr. Chairman, I would say to the Minister of Health there is some truth in what he said. But I tell you one thing, that there are rough times ahead, particularly in the health care system.

For example, I know of a person, I would say to the Minister of Health now. I say this because I know it. There is a person who is in hospital at this present time and one nurse on the floor that that lady is on. She is in a cast. I don't know how many beds are on the floor, but I do know one thing. That the other night the one nurse wasn't able to move the lady. That is who was on the floor. One person. They weren't able to get anyone else to come to help the lady get out of the bed, I would say to the Minister of Health. I think that is a sad reflection on our health care system. Who is responsible for it I don't know and I don't care. But when the situation is such that there is a lady -

AN HON. MEMBER: You should care.

MR. TOBIN: No, I want it corrected. When the situation is such that there is a lady in hospital - or anybody else for that matter in any hospital in this Province. I believe it is in the Health Science Complex -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I could be wrong, but it is my understanding that there was one nurse allocated to that floor that night.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I don't know, I have no idea. I really don't know. There is probably only one bed - well, obviously there is more than one bed on the floor.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: If one person in all of the health care system in all of the Province is not getting adequate treatment that is one too many. I want to know about it.

MR. TOBIN: You want to know about it?

MR. L. MATTHEWS: If there is only one not getting the proper care then I want to know about it. Because that is one too many. Everybody should get proper care.

MR. TOBIN: There is one I can tell you right now. It is no reflection on the nursing staff that was there. They work like Trojans, Mr. Chairman. What I was told the lady said was: No wonder there are so many nurses off in this Province with bad backs. Because the way the nurse was trying to move that lady the other night alone, it was unbelievable.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible) and turned her over. She died. She is being buried now this morning. They came in. Perfect care. Up at St. Clare's.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, I don't know. I'm not saying that. I don't argue with that, and I'm delighted to hear it. Because I can say what my experience with hospitals and people who work in hospitals is that they are extremely care-giving individuals. Our Province is fortunate enough to have such dedicated, committed and highly qualified people as we have in nursing staffs in this Province. We do have the best.

The problem is we don't have enough. That is why I say to the Minister of Health that the budget for his department will not suffice to provide to the people of this Province who need adequate health care, particularly those who are in the hospitals. It is not sufficient to deal with it. When you have a person who wants to get out of bed, needs to get out of bed in the nighttime, and there is only one - I was going to deal with the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs in a couple of pages I have for him. I have a couple of pages on Municipal and Provincial Affairs too.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Don't be long. Mr. Chairman, I have, look, provincial transportation, look, federal expenditures on highways.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: That is what I'm saying to the Minister.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: No, this is stuff that is -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: There is the total expenditures on highways since 1979.

AN HON. MEMBER: In health care you will see it go up, I bet.

MR. TOBIN: Well, I don't know about the health care... Look at the Province's expenditures on highways. Don't tell me that is going up, then. That is the year government changed. Look; that is where it was, and look where it has gone since then.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I am on leave.

MR. EFFORD: You are on leave? No way, Mr. Chairman.

MR. TOBIN: I am not on leave, boy, don't be so foolish.

Getting back to the Minister of Health again, I tell him that is a very serious situation that exists when people are in the hospital, in bed, and there is only one nurse there to try to treat that person. As a matter of fact, I appreciate that the minister - and I may get the information that I am talking about today, and probably the person will agree to give me the name and the whole bit so I can pass it on, but it is no reflection whatsoever on the nursing staff - none whatsoever.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Okay, and I appreciate that.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, I have no difficulty yielding to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation to let him speak.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. EFFORD: The hon. member said he is on leave. If he is on leave, I withdraw it.

MR. TOBIN: You will what?

MR. EFFORD: If you are on leave, I withdraw it.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

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

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, I want to take a few minutes to respond to some of the points being made by members opposite in regard to the Department of Works, Services and Transportation and the monies which are going to be spent this year on roads.

I guess I have received representation from just about every community group in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador with a request to have roads not only built, but maintained and serviced for the coming season. The one thing I would like to be able to do, and the one thing I have a responsibility to do, is to build roads wherever the need is required. The problem that I have is trying to find the money to build the roads, and through the budgetary process, and the decisions government has had to make again this year, I have no choice only to be able to spend the money which has been given to me by the budgetary decisions, and that figure is $15 million.

Honourable members opposite keep talking about $40 million and $45 million, and that the minister is not able to convince Cabinet to give him $45 million or $50 million like they used to do in order to build roads. I can respond to that and explain it.

I haven't pressured Cabinet; I haven't gone to Cabinet and requested $45 million or $50 million, and I based it upon this decision: We can only spend the money in which the revenues allow us to spend within the Province. Otherwise, we would continue on the same format as did the previous government, and I base it on the same principle upon which I operate my own personal life.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: No, seriously. If I am earning $50,000 - and that works out to, what, $3,000 a month clear money after taxes - and I want to do something beyond which my salary can allow me to do, and my budget can allow me, I would have to borrow that money from a financial institution. Then, if I kept on doing that for everything that I wanted to do, for the luxury life that I wanted to live beyond my means, beyond my salary, I would keep borrowing that money, and it would come at some point in time when I am not able to pay that money back, and you have placed yourself in a very serious financial situation personally.

You would do the same thing operating a business. I was in business for seventeen years, and I had to operate my business within the revenues generated by that business, and if I went beyond that I had to go to the banks. If I over expended my financial ability to operate the business within its own means, I would have to go to a bank and borrow more money, and during the seventeen years I was in business I saw many, many businesses go into bankruptcy for operating in that manner.

I remember one competitor that I had in the identical same business that I operated, he started up and in the second year of operation, on Christmas, he gave his wife and children and babysitter a trip to Florida - those were the tickets that were put under the Christmas tree that morning - plus a new car and all of these luxury things that they couldn't really afford. My wife, my people, asked me: Why don't you do the same thing for us? Your competitor is able to do it. I said: I can't afford to do it. A year later the guy was bankrupt.

So you can only do what you can afford to do. If you go beyond that somebody has got to pay for it. Government is in no different a position. The former government operated in that same manner. Borrowed money because of the political pressures from the general populace to do the things that they wanted to do. As a result of that type of operation that government went in for the ten years that the Peckford Administration was in, that is the reason why year after year the Province kept going farther in debt. Where the ability to pay back the loans and the interest became a major burden on the taxpayers of this Province. The voters of this Province and the people of this Province saw that. That is the reason why they didn't vote in that government back in 1989. That is the reason why they voted in this government. Because they charged us with the responsibility to make the right decisions based on the best interest of their future and the future of this Province, which is the future of the people who live in the Province and their children and grandchildren to come. I don't want to be a part of an administration that is not going to have any consideration for the people of the Province today and on into the future.

I would be the most popular minister in the Province if I were able to go out and do every section of road that is required by every MHA on both sides of the House. The reality is I'm not going to be able to do that. The reality is that we don't have the money to do that. The reality is that we are only able to afford to spend $15 million this year. It is not tasteful, but it is a fact of life. You can't do something based on borrowing. There comes the problem that we've all had for the last number of years. We've borrowed ourselves to the limit and we can't afford to do it any more. The party times are over and we have to make some hard decisions.

People, most people, the majority of people in the Province, realize that. Because if they did not realize that this government would not be in power. The Opposition would be in power as they were for ten years. The people of the Province know now mismanagement is not the way to go, overspending is not the way to go. You've got to have fiscal management, you've got to have a responsibility to the future of this Province, to children, our children, and our grandchildren. I for one do not want my children paying for my selfishness or my greed or my overspending or my irresponsible actions as a minister in a government, or my grandchildren into the future. Because if we spend the way the Opposition spent for the years it was in power then our children and our grandchildren would pay for those errors and those mistakes.

If we can only spend $15 million on roads now, you can imagine what they would have to spend, Mr. Chairman. They would have absolutely nothing at all. In fact, there would be no Province in which they would live. I've always said, I would like for my children and my grandchildren to have a choice to live in this Province. If they so wished to move out, fine; but if they choose to stay, fine, that is their choice. If we continued on with the same management and the same way of operations as those people on the opposite side, they wouldn't have a choice. They would have to move out of this Province. I've got more faith in the young people and more confidence that they want to live here in this Province, they want to be able to participate and carry on with some degree of confidence that we've left a format and a manner in which a government should be operated, and that it is going to be a choice for them, not something that is going to be forced upon them.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible) Western Bay.

MR. EFFORD: Western Bay? The hon. Minister Reid's district.

Anyhow, Mr. Chairman, I don't need to go on any longer. They just have to begin to realize that financial management is not a matter of choice now; it is forced upon us to make the type of decisions that we have to do to protect the future of the Province. We have no choice. I don't want to see the future young people of the Province, as I see the two Pages sitting down in the front of the House, I don't want them not to have a choice. We have to make the decision that they will have a choice to be able to carry on a life in this Province if they so choose. That is the reason why we are sitting on this side of the House and those members are sitting over there, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I rise to make a few comments on this. First of all, I suppose I would be remiss if I didn't make a few comments about what the minister just said. There are things you can agree with, such as when the minister says you have to be more careful about the way we spend money, and that over the years former Tories wasted money. We can stand here all day long, for the next twenty-four hours and myself and the minister can go back and forth to former Tories who spent money, to former Liberals and how they spent money. How long is that debate going to go on, Mr. Chairman?

One jumps up and talks about a Sprung greenhouse, another jumps up and talks about Churchill Falls, and we go back and forth across this House with this foolishness day after day. The truth is that all governments and all parties have wasted money and made grave mistakes, but that does not take away the excuse for right now, and especially this particular minister when he talks about transportation. Here is the reality today. We are not talking about seventeen years ago when my colleague, the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes was eleven years old. I don't want to talk about that. I don't even want to talk about the Sprung greenhouse for the next eight months in this House of Assembly.

I wasn't in support of any Sprung greenhouse - I wasn't then and I wouldn't be now. The thing about the Sprung greenhouse, not to be bragging about it, is that for three years, or however long it was, I cannot remember because I didn't follow it that closely, just some in the media as most hon. members did, Mr. Chairman. But for three or four years, whatever it was, 300 people or so worked. It was a mistake, yes, but they worked and we lost $20 million or whatever the number was.

Then we can go on back to the Churchill Falls rhetoric that we hear every now and then, and talk about that for the next couple of months. You know, all these things are past when we talk about mistakes.

I would like to talk to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation on this day in this House of Assembly, about the issue of transportation. The minister knows full well that the roads in this Province are deplorable. I can speak for my district, and I am sure when I talk about things in my district, how the buses were held up a couple of days ago because of a rough road, and the letters I read out from the children about going over a scrub board - I know there are other members in this House who feel the same way about the roads in their districts. So I want the minister to deal with the situation of the day, and not keep going back seventeen years, ten years, and six years ago, and cigars in the private dining room and so on.

I would like for the minister to act on what is happening here now. The truth is, if the minister would come upfront, come clean, and forget the foolishness and the history lessons of former governments, his, ours, and everybody elses, if the minister would fully admit that the amount of money he has for this year for road construction in this Province is unacceptable - it is unacceptable to the minister, I would say, Mr. Chairman, but the minister just doesn't have the intestinal fortitude to stand up here and say it. He doesn't have it.

It was months ago when I first got elected in here that I really thought this particular minister, from accounts in the public, would be one of those ministers with the intestinal fortitude to stand up and speak his mind whenever he wanted to. Well, over the last few months, especially for some funny reasons that I can guess at, the minister seems to have lost his edge on that. He is not the champion of the people that everybody thought he was at one time. One time he would speak out.

Mr. Chairman, I refer back to the Private Member's motion just a few days ago on the loan fisheries department. Since that debate people have mentioned to me that they expected the hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation to stand up and support that particular Private Member's bill. That was just another example of how this minister has - and the phrase was used over there, `yellow tail' or something to that effect - how this minister has leaned to that particular stance now, Mr. Chairman.

He was one of the champions of the people in the fishery and everything else, and there are people now in this Province who are surprised, totally shocked, some of the people, that this particular minister didn't stand and really speak out on what he believed. I don't know if he is one of the nine names or not, or if there were nine names on that particular petition. But I believe personally that this particular minister wanted to support that bill in principle but he wouldn't do it because maybe it was a member on this side who brought up the motion. That is just my personal belief, Mr. Chairman. I know the minister can speak for himself, but I wonder if he really wanted to stand up and speak to that particular motion.

When I heard the minister talk today about his Budget and how much money is to be spent this year on roads, I know he is not satisfied with the amount of money he got and, I know that the minister may be - as a matter of fact, in a little bit of defence of the minister - he may even be a victim of circumstance and timing when it comes to road construction in this Province, because the truth is, the timing of road construction now in this Province has come to a peak of need. It is needed more in this Province than in the last maybe eight to ten years. The roads have been deteriorating, and with the loss of pavement, degrading, of course, and there are so many gravel roads that need to be upgraded or paved, the minister finds himself in a predicament with regard to time, as far as road construction is concerned, and the fact is, we need it more this year than in many years. So now, all of this is accumulating on the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, and at a time when he really needed the support of his Cabinet colleagues for more money for road construction, he didn't get it.

In all defence of the minister -

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) one way or another.

MR. SHELLEY: I will finish now in a second; I will give him his word.

Anyway, Mr. Chairman, what I say is that the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, with the measly $15 million that he is going to have for this year, the truth is that he is bursting inside to say to the Premier, and say to his Cabinet colleagues, `This is a ridiculous amount for my department. We need double, maybe triple that amount this year just to keep in touch with the reality of the poor condition of roads in this Province.

Every part of the Province that you go, people who talk about the roads say: My god, we have that great champion of the people, that Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, and he got $15 million. How much clout does he really have in this Cabinet? That is what people are asking. This great Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, how much clout does he really have with the Premier of this Province and that inner circle of that Cabinet that dishes out the money? I wonder, how much does he really have?

Mr. Chairman, what I am saying is that the people of this Province who really believed the minister at one time to be the champion of the people and speak out, and were really glad when he first entered the Cabinet under the portfolio of Works, Services and Transportation, they were excited. They were all glad. They said: The minister, he has a lot of clout; he will put his point forward.

When he came up with $15 million this year for provincial roads in this Province, a lot of people, a lot of big supporters of the minister, started to wonder. They started to say to themselves: I wonder how much clout does the minister really have?

I do say, in defence of the minister, that I believe he is a victim of circumstance and timing of road construction in this Province. I believe that he is coming onto the scene now when we need more money than ever. I think even the minister would agree with that, that we are at a time now where road grading and pavement and so on is needed more in this Province than ever, and I think that the minister, in all fairness to him, pushed, scratched and grabbed for a lot more money in the budget in his particular portfolio, but the bottom line is he just couldn't get it. He couldn't get the support of his caucus and the Premier.

Mr. Chairman, he talks about how he balanced the Budget and so on, how really misleading is that? There is also another question that may be asked. When you put forward a balanced Budget in a Province such as Newfoundland, what kind of message, I wonder, is that sending to our federal counterparts and their federal cousins? That is, maybe, a concern that I heard raised in one of the national programs; what kind of message is that sending to our Federal Government, the people we rely on for federal funding? We here, down in Newfoundland, we are all okay; we balanced the Budget. As a matter of fact, you cut us a bit more; we can handle that, too.

I will always remember, back a couple of months ago, when - I don't remember the exact quote, but - the Premier made a comment I read in The Western Star, as a matter of fact, a letter he had written to Paul Martin, Minister of Finance for Canada, to say that basically - I can't remember the exact quote but to the effect: Go ahead Mr. Martin, we are going to be hard pressed not to support the cuts that you propose for this Province. So in other words, come on with it, we can take it. Now what kind of message are we sending, Mr. Chairman, when we talk to our federal cousins in Ottawa. Maybe that is the problem here now, maybe that is the catchword that they are federal cousins in Ottawa now and that is the whole difference. I wonder what the Premier would be saying if there were opposite parties in Ottawa, Mr. Chairman. So maybe a little cosying up to the federal government here may be a problem for us in the long run. What kind of signals is that sending, for this Province, to the federal government?

Well, Mr. Chairman, that is just on transportation and that particular part of it but I would also like to make a couple of comments before I clue up here. I know there are just a couple of minutes left. I just wanted to mention something last night that I mentioned in the estimates debate while the Minister of Natural Resources is in the House. I said it last night and, Mr. Chairman, I am going to repeat it as often as I can repeat it and that is how it relates to forestry. The federal agreement, which expires -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SHELLEY: By leave?

MR. CHAIRMAN: By leave.

MR. SHELLEY: By leave? Just a couple of minutes to conclude?

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

MR. SHELLEY: Just to make a couple of remarks, Mr. Chairman, to conclude on the forestry. Last night I mentioned to the minister in the estimates that - and I think that a lot of members in this House and I think even the minister agrees with me to a large extent. What we can do is another thing but on the issue of the federal agreement expiring and that the federal government will not be supporting the extension of that particular agreement, the CFDA agreement. Mr. Chairman, that may have some devastating effects on this Province as it pertains to forestry.

We all know that the CFS Centre, which I mentioned in the House in Question Period, that will also close in March of 1997. Mr. Chairman, that particular centre was solely responsible for identifying the infestation in the forest for this year. Mr. Chairman, the minister also concurs too, that that particular centre has done some fantastic work in this Province over the years, in infestation, in silviculture and so on. It is a real shame to see that that centre is going to close down. It has been in operation in this Province since Confederation. Since 1949, Mr. Chairman, that particular centre has been in operation.

It is somewhere in the area right now - I think there are sixty-eight or seventy employees over there. If the proposal goes through to terminate that centre, it will be left with seventeen workers in this Province and basically they will be monitored from a centre that is being left open in New Brunswick. Now, Mr. Chairman, that is a disgrace, it is an outrage to this Province to even think, with the group that we have in this Province at the CFS Centre, that we are now going to be monitored by an office that is left open in New Brunswick. Mr. Chairman, I don't think there is anybody in this Province, especially in the forest industry, that does not feel outraged with even the thought of that proposal - that seventeen workers who will not be sufficient for the work that needs to be done in this Province. It will be monitored and controlled out of an office in New Brunswick for our forests, Mr. Chairman, and I find that hard to believe.

Also getting back to the agreement about how much of a devastating effect that it will have in our forest industry. Mr. Chairman, the bottom line and the fact is that the forest industry in this Province may be in trouble as we speak. I used the analogy before of the fishery in this Province, well I can see, Mr. Chairman, the forestry in this Province can go the same route as the fishery. Here is our renewal resources again - and it is funny how we can draw comparisons so quickly, Mr. Chairman. For example, we all, in this House of Assembly and this whole entire Province have said one of the major reasons for the collapse in the fishery and the crisis we see in the fishery today is that we listen to people outside of the Province for advice on the fishery. Isn't it ironic that now we look at another renewal resource, the forest, and what are we seeing? The same bloody thing. We are seeing now where we are going to get the advice in a couple of years on silviculture and forestry, from New Brunswick and Ottawa.

A jurisdiction, Mr. Chairman, a couple of points of fact; first of all it is a provincial jurisdiction, the forestry of this Province. If this minister or some other minister in the future has to stand in this Province which I don't think - some people may think it is far outreaching but I certainly don't. It is quite conceivable, Mr. Chairman, that in two, three or maybe four years - I cannot predict that exactly - that a minister of this Province will have to stand and recommend a moratorium in the forest industry in this Province.

Mr. Chairman, I know it's a scary scenario, but I have had officials from the forestry department say to me that they are worried. I have many, many people in the forestry industry tell me that they are worried, and the people I listen to most, and I have learned from the fisheries crisis, too, is that I listen to the people in the industry, such as the loggers themselves.

Let's draw another comparison, Mr. Chairman. We have said, and we have all said it in this House, that the people we didn't listen to in the fishery crisis were who? The people in the boats. They were the best experts to give us advice on the fishery, and we didn't listen to them. What an irony again that here we are today not listening to the loggers say the same thing that the fishermen were telling us from the boats fifteen and twenty years ago when we didn't listen, and we are not listening, the same thing again. The loggers and the people in the forest industry are telling us now, and they have been telling us for the last ten or twelve years, that we had better be concerned with the forestry industry or we are going to see it go the same way as the fishery.

That is point number one, and it is provincial jurisdiction. We won't be able to jump up in three, four or five years time and say: Oh, the federal government mismanaged the forests in Newfoundland. We won't be able to say a five year moratorium or a six year moratorium, and come up with another compensation package for forest workers. We won't be able to do that for five or ten years. We are hoping that the fishery can come back in ten or twelve years. That is not too bad, but can you imagine a moratorium in the forestry? We are talking about trees growing. We are talking about a thirty to forty year moratorium. That is how long it takes for trees to grow back.

Mr. Chairman, we don't need experts from up along to tell us either - I don't need them, and I am sure a lot of members here in the House of Assembly don't need to be told - we know how many trees there are in this Province, in the Island and in Newfoundland. Trees don't swim around, like the former minister said to me one day. I know trees don't swim. They float down river, though.

Mr. Chairman, we have the luxury of being able to count the trees because they stand still, not like the fishery where we had so many different opinions from so many different scientists over the year. The trees are there. We can count them. So you ask a simple question, a logistical question, a common sense question: How many trees are there, so we can count them.

Now, how do we lose our trees? Commercial cutting, private cutting, insect infestation.

MR. CAREEN: Natural disasters.

MR. SHELLEY: Natural disasters, such as fires, forest fires. Then we lose lots of trees, of course, due to over-mature trees that fall down and die; so we have all of these things that take trees out of our forests. Now let's weigh that with what puts trees back in the forest, natural regrowth.

I know that in this Province we rely a lot - as a matter of fact, 85 per cent - on natural regrowth. In defence of that, it is quite true that we do have good natural regrowth in this Province, for which we are very lucky. Thank God we do because, from the look of it, from our silviculture input in this Province, if we didn't have that great natural regrowth that we do have, we would be in real big trouble right now.

The bottom line is, when you take those two things, when you take what takes trees out of our forests, the cutting by commercial and by private, insect infestation, natural disasters like fires, and then the over-maturing of timber, all of these things taking trees out of our forests, and we are relying 85 per cent on natural regrowth, a little bit on silviculture, the simple question is: Are we replacing a tree for every one that is used or taken out naturally, through natural disasters or whatever?

The answer to that question, I believe, is no, we are not. So because I have surmised that we do not replace a tree for every one that is taken out of the forest, we don't have to be a mathematical genius to figure out that sooner or later we are not going to have enough trees. Now that is just simple, logistical reasoning.

To say that I might be way out there in declaring that we might, in fact, have a moratorium in forestry in the not too distant future, I don't think it is too far out at all. I always remember a story I watched on Remember When, a black and white film, about three years ago now, two to three years ago, of four fishermen sitting around a kitchen table, three gentlemen about in their forties, forty-five, and one older gentleman sitting with them, and it was a couple of days before the vote on Confederation, and they were discussing the Confederation vote.

The three younger gentlemen were for Confederation. They were going to vote in a couple of days for Confederation, but the old gentleman said, no, I am not voting for Confederation. Of course the three younger gentlemen tried to talk him into voting for Confederation, and the reason the older gentleman gave was this. He said, if you guys vote for Confederation - now, this was in 1949, if you three gentlemen vote for Confederation you are going to see a day in this Province where you are not allowed to go out and jig a fish. That is what the old gentleman said to the three young men. He said, you will see a day in this Province when you will not be allowed to go out and jig a fish.

Now, Mr. Chairman, the three men laughed and we probably would have laughed, too, if we had been sitting at that table. What a ridiculous thing to say in 1949, with all those fish out there and you could not even get your hook down in the water, what a ridiculous thing to say at that time, you will not be able to go out and jig a fish.

MR. EFFORD: If Mulroney had chased the Spaniards off the Grand Banks when we went and told him we would not have that problem.

MR. SHELLEY: Maybe that older gentleman knew a lot more than we figured. I just want to comment on a comment just thrown across the House by, of course, again, the vocal Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, and I agree with him on a certain point of this. He said Mulroney caused the fish to go.

MR. EFFORD: If Mulroney had listened (inaudible)

MR. SHELLEY: So, the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation thinks it was Mulroney's fault that the fish are gone. I agree with the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, and so was it Trudeau's fault, and so was it whoever was there before them, and so was the point which I made a few minutes ago, that the federal government of Canada had a major stake in the demise of the fishery of this Province.

I agree with the minister but it is too bad he has to be so political in everything he says and that he cannot use a bit of his wisdom because he must have a little bit somewhere. If he could use a little bit of that wisdom with a little common sense to take his political stripe off he would be wonderful, but of course that is not possible with that particular minister. I agree with him, it was Mulroney, it was Trudeau, and it was the federal government who played a big part in the demise of the fishery of this Province.

That is why I also say at this point that is the same analogy I draw to forestry. We can use the same arguments here. We cannot go to the federal government in three or four years time and say that same thing. It is too bad we can't. We cannot go to the government in Ottawa and say: you are the reason we have a moratorium in the forestry today because it is the jurisdiction of this Province and this government, the provincial forestry.

Therefore, Mr. Chairman, I implore, I beg, or whatever you can do, that this government and this minister do everything possible, with all of us here in this hon. House of Assembly, to ensure that there are no further cutbacks, nothing else that will have a negative impact on the forestry of this Province, or we are going to be standing here crying the same foul about the forestry of this Province as we did with the fishery, and that is going to be a real shame.

That is the caution I give here today with my few words, that the forestry of this Province has to be taken very seriously and not wait until the eleventh hour and see the demise that we saw in the fishery, and that we all work together on that and send a strong signal to whoever's cousins are in Ottawa. This is a renewable resource that is in danger right now. It has to be addressed now and it has to be addressed quickly, and I look forward to the support of every member of this House of Assembly in attacking that and making sure that the message gets through to the cousins in Ottawa.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I want to speak briefly on the Estimates for the Executive Council and the Consolidated Fund Services. It tends to be a bit of a wide-ranging debate but I want to focus on a couple of issues that we see expenditures for throughout. Not only the Estimates for the Executive Council but throughout many of the departments, and that is the issue of information technology. Information technology seems the buzz word of the Budget. Information technology is a great piece of rhetoric.

We heard the Minister of Education talk the other day about how wonderful it was that we were now in the information highway age and one public library in Newfoundland had two computers, and all of a sudden we were all going to be hooked up to the information highway. What he didn't say was that these two computers, and all the equipment that go with them, didn't come from the government.

I notice that the education critic for the Opposition party got up praising the government for the development. The government had nothing to do with it. It was a voluntary effort by a whole bunch of people who believe that there should be more access to INTERNET and to each other through this information technology.

What he also didn't say was that this organization had to go and raise money to pay for telephone lines so that people could have access to it, and that they could only afford two phone lines at a cost of $35 a month each, that they were fund-raising to be able to pay for, and that the system as it exists right now allows four people to have access at any one time to this great information highway - two if they happen to be sitting in the library at the terminal, and another two people who can call up on the two telephone lines that they have to pay for through fund-raising and voluntary efforts, and this government didn't put one single cent into the effort, is not giving them one single cent to help them, with the exception, I suppose, of allowing them to use the facilities of the public library system to have their two computer terminals which were donated not by the government, but by private sources and individuals.

While that is going on, and the government is sitting around praising it, we see, on the government side of things, even in the Executive Council, the great buzz word of dollars for information technology, information technology all over the place throughout this Budget, and in the Executive Council Minutes alone you go through each of the subheads, and for many of them you find information technology as a big lump of money.

Now obviously in the Premier's office it isn't there, but you look in Executive Support and you find $50,000 for information technology, up from $19,000 spent last year. You see $83,000 in the Cabinet Secretariat under Economics and Statistics. You see another $60,000 Information Technology, Newfoundland Information Service, another $5,700 in the Offshore Fund. You see another amount in Organization and Management; $2,576,700 for Information Technology, another vote. In fact, Information Technology has its own subhead under Executive Council, Information Technology Management, another $677,000.

Mr. Chairman, I haven't added them all up, but even the figures that I just related amount to some $3.5 million or thereabouts in Executive Council alone for what is called Information Technology.

As I said, it is a great buzz word. You wouldn't know but the Member for Eagle River would travel from Labrador to St. John's on the information highway without batting an eye, but don't expect to be able to make use of information technology at the public library unless you are one of the four people who can get on the line, because they can't afford telephone lines to give people access to it.

The government's great plan for information technology in the last year was to privatize an organization that was returning $3 million a year on business of $21 million to the government, to sell that enterprise for $9 million - for $9 million to sell an enterprise that was producing $3 million a year to the government. This is the government that goes around talking about how we have to get rid of the national debt. The provincial debt is too high; we have to reduce it. Yet, they are unloading enterprises that make money for government, at a fraction of their value, when you look at the actual cash return. Then, guaranteeing that same cash return or more for seven years exclusive contract to a consortium of the largest corporations in the world. Instead of providing opportunities for Newfoundlanders and Newfoundland information technology people, they've closed off that door.

Mr. Chairman, that is one example of how this government and the Executive Council here are handling issues that are of great interest and cost to the people of this Province by taking one aspect of the Budget, spending millions of dollars on its own, and in each department as you go through - we had the Justice Estimates the other night. I think the Justice department alone probably spends $2 million or more on so-called information technology, some of which is absolutely necessary, some of which seems to be part of the rhetoric of the day: We've all got to be on top of things.

Yet when we go to the Social Services department with some 60,000 or 70,000 clients, with 1,200 or 1,300 employees, with an expenditure for social assistance of about $200 million, they don't seem to be able to have their fingers on the information that is needed to deal with the problems. The officials complain about the lack of a significant or sensible data base on which to base their numbers and projections.

The priorities seem to be all wrong. When in areas where it is absolutely necessary to have information to make plans and projections there seems to be a dearth of information technology. Yet, in the senior executive branches of government, in the Executive Council, in the various secretariats and in departments like Justice, there is all kinds of money for information technology at the high end of the scale.

There is another area of the Executive Council Estimates that I wanted to deal with and that is an expenditure of $350,000 on the Advisory Council on the Economy. I was wrong: $368,500 for the Advisory Council on the Economy. The government departments - the Department of Finance and Treasury Board, the Cabinet Secretariat, Intergovernmental Affairs - are full of people, they are full of them - they are full of more than people, some of them - but they have economists, they have statisticians, they have social planners, they have modellers, they have computer projections, they have access to all kinds of expertise and advice. They have access to all of the financial papers and financial documentation being generated throughout the country. They have, through Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador and through the Strategic Economic Plan and its agencies, access to all kinds of information, statistical advice, from their own sources, without having to go out and spend an additional $368,000 on the Advisory Council on the Economy.

What is that for? Is that a place to put some friends of the party in power?

MR. SHELLEY: The buddy club.

MR. HARRIS: Is that the buddy club, as the Member for Baie Verte -White Bay calls it? Is that where...? Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador, the Economic Recovery Commission, the Cabinet secretariats - all throughout government there are all kinds of people who are able to advise the government on the economy.

In fact, every year - I think we got it a little late this year - but we got a little paper with the Budget document. It is called The Economy. That is not produced by the Advisory Council on the Economy. That is produced by the dozens and dozens and dozens of experts that the government already has on the payroll, paid for by the public purse. People who have training, who have expertise, who have statistics, who have economic data and papers at their disposal to be able to put together for the government, for its use, advice on the economy and to which the Minister of Finance is required to make his Budget projections for what is going to happen. So what do we need an Advisory Council on the Economy for, except to look after some of the buddies of the government? I don't know, I have not seen the list of people but if you go by the Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal you have a collection of a few people who are friends of the government, some people who are failed candidates, former Cabinet ministers, friends of the governing party and so we have a little fund for them. We call it the Advisory Council on The Economy in this particular case. I don't know.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Chairman.

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

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. CAREEN: You're after hearing it and you will hear it again, I say to the Monster of Works, Services and Transportation, the road hazard. One thing worst than sleet and worst than sand is the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, the human road hazard.

MR. EFFORD: What did you say?

MR. CAREEN: Read Hansard or get someone to read it to you. Once upon a time -

I would like to touch briefly on part of the Executive Council report on Hibernia, the project. We have been told, late, that there is a pre-qualifying tender out on Hibernia offshore supply. There are a number of companies looking at four or five sites in this Province; St. John's, Bay Roberts, Bay Bulls and Argentia to name four but what we find down in Argentia is that we are not playing on a level playing field at all. Some of the higher ups in Hibernia want to be able to open their curtains in the morning and look out on St. John's -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CAREEN: - and they are willing, my friend, they are willing to pay the extra flexibility of monies to be able to utilize St. John's. Some of this money is from their companies but don't forget, other monies in this Hibernia project is from the Canadian taxpayer. By utilizing Argentia it has been proven - the difference between using St. John's and Argentia a year is a savings by using pilotage - with pilotage you would save $1,357,000 a year by using Argentia as an offshore supply base for Hibernia, that is with pilotage. Without pilotage you would save $1,116,000 but still and all some of these higher ups in Hibernia are making every effort to utilize St. John's.

The Premier, last summer, last June I believe - he can't dictate to the companies where to go, where to settle but the Premier did write Hibernia, did write the people in Hibernia to make sure that Argentia was on a level playing field. He did write that letter and they are still not responding. These pre-qualifying tenders that close on next Wednesday, we will see in some time or other whether they listened or whether they were interested in having us on a level playing field.

This is the company, Hibernia, that has a certain kind of status.

MR. EFFORD: What?

MR. CAREEN: A status that some people are afraid to touch them.

I say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, while you and I have our arguments, Sir, if you made a $27 million mistake, or I did, you would never be allowed to forget it. The engineers, the foreign engineers, the domestic engineers, the national engineers that were in Hibernia, made a $27 million mistake by the forms they were going to use in pouring the concrete for that site. They afterwards changed their minds and went to a slip form. As a result, the mould forms are being transferred out of that site in Hibernia now, to be taken apart, catalogued, palletized, and sold - a $27 million mistake - but nobody says anything, because everybody is so `in tune' with those people, afraid to say something, afraid to say that what they did was wrong. There wasn't enough of a kick-up with what happened in Marystown because of the mucky-mucks in Hibernia.

Lougheed in Alberta had his faults, like every other human being, but they were in the driver's seat, that government, and when the oil companies got out of line they were hauled back in line. They were allowed to operate and do their business as they should, but they were never to walk on the people of Alberta.

I do thank the Premier, and I did thank him at the time, for his letter to the Hibernia management to make sure that we got a fair shake. We don't need any extras, I say to the members here. All we want in Argentia is to play on a level playing field, and we can beat them all every way to Sunday, the best port in the Island, bar none, an ice free port, and if the federal government brings in its changes, what they want companies, user fees for ice breaking, we will see that Argentia will come to the forefront.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CAREEN: Bay Roberts is not getting anything. It is one of the first places on the Island to freeze, and one of the last places to thaw out, that and Badger. I would say Badger would have a better chance of getting the offshore supply base than Bay Roberts does.

MR. EFFORD: We will wait and see.

MR. CAREEN: Well, if Bay Roberts does get it, Sir, there is really something wrong. They will have to continue using Argentia, as they always did, as an alternative port, like Bay Roberts and St. John's and these other ports used now, when they are frozen up in the wintertime.

We also heard the other night - and it has been going on for ages -stories about the hiring practices in Hibernia. A letter by a friend of mine was published in the paper last Sunday, which says he has been black-marked by some personnel inside one particular union.

AN HON. MEMBER: Did he deserve it?

MR. CAREEN: No, Sir, he didn't deserve it. I know the story very well, and I also know there is some move within government to have a talk with that man to look over the situation to see if some things can be rectified without giving away any secrets of our provincial Cabinet. It has cost this man $14,000 and he is still nowhere with it. Those companies should not be allowed to override. None of them should be any more important than the people of this Province who are represented by this government.

There are too many practices going on that seem to rise above every one of us, and some of these people in Hibernia have to be reined in, and reined in they will be.

Thank you.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman, I am not sure if the House is ready for the question. If so we will put them. It is about 11:45. Do you want to call the votes? We have a number of heads to go through if the Committee are ready.

Does my friend, the Member for Grand Bank wish to speak?

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I sort of sense a spirit of co-operation here, Mr. Chairman. The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation is over there shaking his head. He wants another racket here this morning.

MR. EFFORD: I have not said a word.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: As long as we don't get knocked off the rails here, I think, we will be able to report significant progress, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Acknowledging the co-operation - in which my friend, the Member for Port de Grave is fully co-operating; I have him strapped in his seat there!

Your Honour, we have three heads and perhaps we could deal with them in the appropriate way.

On motion, 2.1.01 through 2.1.03, carried.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Shall we call them in blocks rather than go through each individual one?

MR. ROBERTS: Why not call the .01 in each of them and then call the rest en masse, if that is acceptable to the Committee, Your Honour.

On motion, 2.2.01 through 2.9.01, carried.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The total is $21,785,500.

On motion, Executive Council, total heads, carried.

MR. ROBERTS: Subhead one, which is the 1.1.01 - and then if so we will go - have we dealt with one point...?

MR. CHAIRMAN: No.

MR. ROBERTS: Okay, would Your Honour call that, please?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Consolidated Fund Services.

On motion, 1.1.01 through 1.3.02, carried.

MR. ROBERTS: I believe, Your Honour, those are all the heads referred to the Committee of the Whole, but would the Clerk please confirm that?

MR. CHAIRMAN: The Legislature hasn't been carried yet.

MR. ROBERTS: Would you call that please, Your Honour?

On motion, 1.1.01 through 3.1.01, carried.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The total is $11,338,200.

On motion, Legislature, total heads, carried.

MR. ROBERTS: Your Honour, those are the heads referred to the Committee of the Whole. The Committee has now dealt with them. That being so, I ask if Your Honour would rise the Committee and 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 (Dicks): Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Bellevue.

MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of Supply have considered the matters to them referred and have passed, without amendment, the heads of expenditure of the Executive Council, the Legislature, and Consolidated Fund Services, and ask leave to sit again.

On motion, report received and adopted.

MR. ROBERTS: Please, Your Honour.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Government House Leader, by leave.

MR. ROBERTS: Your Honour, that will conclude our work for today. Before I move the adjournment, let me advise the House that on Monday we will be moving into the first of the Concurrence Debates. The Government Services Committee, with my friend, the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir as Chair, presented its report first, so we will call that on Monday when we finish Orders of the Day. The rules provide that we can take up to three hours for that. We don't have to - it's up to us - but the government will be prepared to ask the House to sit a little late, if necessary, to get the three hours in.

On Tuesday, we will deal with the report of the Social Services Committee. My friend, the Member for Trinity North presented the report here this morning. I understand the last of the Estimates Committees will hold its hearing on Monday morning, and I assume that on Tuesday we will have the report of that Committee. We will debate that either on Wednesday or Thursday, as may be agreed among members. If we agree to debate it on Wednesday, then we will finish and call the Easter break on Wednesday evening. If we need to debate it on Thursday, the Easter break won't begin until Thursday evening.

With that said, I thank members on both sides for their -

MR. WOODFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I am sorry?

MR. WOODFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I say to my friend, the Member for Humber Valley that the spectacle of him wearing bunny ears and laying eggs would be one that we would all be here on Easter Sunday to see, but I think it is probably his wish, and I can tell him it's the wish of the members with whom I have spoken on both sides, that we adjourn as soon as we finish our work next week, and we will all go off on whatever pursuit we are engaged in.

My friend, the Member for St. John's East and those on this side will be engaged in different pursuits from my friends who sit opposite as members of the Opposition.

AN HON. MEMBER: What are you doing?

MR. ROBERTS: I am going to Bermuda for a couple of weeks. I have to say to my hon. friend, the Member for Grand Bank, for all the good he has done, he might as well come to Bermuda. We would be delighted to have him come with us. I can say to him, his colleagues would probably be prepared to take up a subscription to pay him to go down, but the fare back is another matter altogether.

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

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