May 23, 1995                HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS              Vol. XLII  No. 29


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

Oral Questions

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

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

With rumours of significant lay-offs coming within your department, the Department of Works, Services and Transportation, I am wondering, Mr. Speaker, can we be assured - can the people of this Province be assured - that these lay-offs will not jeopardize the safety of our highways?

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

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, the people of this Province can be absolutely assured that any changes within the staffing of the Department of Works, Services and Transportation will definitely not affect the services given to the people, winter and summer, across this Province.

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

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Among the people to be laid off are what are called wingmen, a second driver on these fast-moving vehicles. I am wondering, can the minister assure us that the travelling public, the driving public, the walking public, the children who play on the sides of the roads, can be safe, with the lay-offs that are coming - so many - 100 wingmen supposed to be laid off in the Department of Works, Services and Transportation.

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

MR. EFFORD: I guess my answer, Mr. Speaker, could be exactly the same as my answer to the first part of the question. Yes, we can guarantee that public safety is number one in the operation of our maintenance crews, summer and winter, on our highways.

In the case of the wingmen, we have ploughs, in the last number of years, operating on the road with one operator, one driver. We have done research in other provinces, Quebec, Ontario, and a number of other provinces have this now, one driver per vehicle. The wingmen operator - there is a piece of equipment going to be installed. The new trucks are modified to be able to take care that the driver can totally operate the wing part of the plough with the safety and the total operation of his responsibilities on our highways.

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

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have heard tell of seeing-eye dogs; now we are going to have seeing-eye snowploughs. Mr. Speaker, any vehicle has to be steered and has to be stopped. Mechanics and mechanic support helpers are scheduled to be laid off in the cutbacks in this department. Can the minister assure us that with such people being laid off - is safety going to be further jeopardized?

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

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member, if he is going to state a question at least he should state it with some accuracy and some common sense in the beginning of it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: He made a statement.

First of all, it only takes one individual behind the steering wheel to apply the brakes and to steer the vehicle. We don't have two people steering and applying brakes, the hon. member made that statement in the beginning. Secondly, we undertook some major reorganizations in the department a year and a half ago. We started with the top, superintendents, administration -

AN HON. MEMBER: They should have started at the top and fired you.

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

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

The Agnew Peckham Report indicated that all personal care homes, nursing homes, continuing care and alzheimer units should come under a single entry system in the St. John's area. Now I asked the minister in this House on November 29, if the waiting list is 1500 people as indicated in the Agnew Peckham Report? The minister said that some people appear on that waiting list more than once, in fact some four, five and six times. He stated that: When the new single entry system came into place or comes into place we will know exactly what the waiting lines are. Now will the minister inform this House how many people are on the waiting list for admission to nursing homes in the St. John's area?

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

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The question was raised earlier by the hon. member.

When single entry became operational February of this year, which was two or three months ago, there was an accumulation made of all of the names on all of the waiting lists at all of the long-term care facilities in this area and that totalled 6,000 names. Up to that point the waiting list was perceived to be 6,000 people waiting entrance in the nursing homes. Upon first purge that number was whittled down to just 1,600 names. As a result of that, letters were sent out to the 1,600 names that were left on the list. As of the last time I spoke with the CEO of the community health board, Brenda Fitzpatrick, which was just about a week ago

AN HON. MEMBER: Fitzgerald.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Fitzgerald, I am sorry. They had received responses from about 400 or 500 people on that list. So we are down now to about 400, 500, 600 people who have responded. Of those who have responded not all indicated that they were in fact wanting entrance or wanting to remain on a list for a nursing home admission. So the process of assessing or reassessing all of the names of those who had responded was commenced. As we speak, there are approximately 150 assessments completed and there is a list of about 150 people, which we think is about the bulk of the people who are actually waiting admission to a nursing home.

Now, of that 150, they are not all from this region, some of them are from other parts of the Province; some have indicated that they are not quite at a point in time when they want admission to the nursing homes. Given the fact that we probably have between 150-or-thereabouts people on a waiting list, and given the fact that we admit about thirty-five a month because of the attrition that occurs in nursing homes in this area, it seems reasonable to assume that we could probably place most of these people within a three-to-four-month period. What we have determined is that the waiting list for entrance into nursing homes is not at all, nothing near what the perception was and we should have a full handle on it within the next two or three months.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

On November 29, I asked him if the waiting list was 1,500. Now, he just indicated, he identified 6,000 before duplication; after duplication he just stated it was 1,600; I asked him if it was 1,500 on November 29, and he said it is way off; there are five or six waiting lists, he admitted that.

Now, the minister also should admit, that on February 20, the 150 on the list who are identified are those who are in urgent need of care in those homes, the most urgent cases, when in reality, the large numbers, people give up waiting to get in because the waiting lists have become so long they are waiting years to get in. Now, I ask the minister, how does he plan to address this critical problem of nursing home beds in this Province when, in this year's Budget he eliminated $1.1 from the operating costs of keeping those nursing beds going?

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

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

I would like to caution the usage of figures at this point in time as with respect to waiting lists. The member talks about 150 and I indicated that that's a figure that I am hearing as being the appropriate waiting list or the total waiting list at the moment but we are still in the process, through the single entry system of re-assessing and re-evaluating all of the responses that we are getting in.

Bear in mind also, we get twenty or thirty new requests every month that have to be added to that list, so it is sort of a fluid situation now in terms of coming up with the firm number but the bottom line is this, that we do not have 6,000 on a waiting list for homes as was once perceived; we do not have 1,500 or 1,600 on a waiting list as was once perceived. We know that we are down in the hundreds, and probably as few as between 100 and 200 people. What I am saying to the hon. member is that once we determine with some reasonable finality what the list is, once we determine how many levels ones are in nursing homes that are more appropriately to be used for levels two and three care, once we determine that we can forego admitting level ones into nursing homes, we will have increased capacity on an ongoing basis. Within the next three to six months, as I said, the indication is that there will be no undue waiting list, but we have sufficient beds, it seems at the moment, in the system in the St. John's area to take care of those who appropriately need long-term care, help and admission.

I would say to the House and to the hon. member that the situation is not as probably the Opposition would like to portray, or as the public originally perceived. We are working very rapidly to get a handle on exactly what the situation is, what the numbers are, and I think the member on the other side would be pleased to know what the numbers are when we finally get them.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Ferryland.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The 150 as of February 20 that was mentioned does not even include patients at the Waterford and Miller Centre who are waiting to be transferred. They are not even included in those 150 urgent ones.

I say to the minister, with an aging population, it is estimated that the St. John's region will need 425 more long-term care beds in the future, in the next seven years. It is going to cost $35 million to put those beds there. That is not counting the 740 now in the system, two-thirds of what is there that are going to need outright replacement or substantial renovations. I received a list of capital funding. There is no capital funding in this year's budget to address any of these requirements. The combined capital and operating costs for those homes is over $60,000 per bed.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SULLIVAN: I say to the minister -

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. SULLIVAN: I will ask the minister -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, he is delaying me to get to the question. I would have the question asked if the minister hadn't got to speak. If government is not going to address any of those shortfalls -

MR. EFFORD: Put your question, boy!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Be quiet. Put the snow plow back on the road.

MR. SULLIVAN: I'm asking the question. The minister has to go back to grammatics, to speak to the Minister of Education and Training. If the government is not going to address the capital concerns for nursing homes, will it not turn those over to private enterprise to build those nursing homes and then government subsidize their operation at a substantial savings to itself of tens of thousands of dollars?

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

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

The hon. member prefaces his question with a lot of `ifs'. If the waiting list was 6,000 people, as was indicated it was three or four months ago, we would have a different circumstance. The waiting lists are down around 100 to 200 people in the St. John's area and we cannot sensibly, rationally, or intelligently plan the redevelopment of beds that are in the system, or the addition of new beds to the system, until we know what the need is. The single entry system is very rapidly identifying very succinctly what the real picture is, and what the real needs will be, and within the next three to six months we will be able to say with some real accuracy whether or not we need new beds in the system.

The other thing we have to realize is that the Agnew Peckham Report was produced three or four years ago. It has not been adopted by government as policy. The recommendations have never been totally agreed to by government, and some of the things that are in that report are not consistent with what we believe to be the facts of the requirements for long-term care. Some redevelopment is needed for higher levels of care, that is true, but on the other hand, we have some inappropriate usages of the beds we have in the system and we have to address that before we address putting new beds into the system.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have a question for the Premier, a question actually for the Premier in his capacity of acting Justice Minister. It was reported in the news media a little while ago that the RCMP Commercial Crimes Division were reviewing the Supreme Court judgement on Trans City with a view to conducting a full-blown criminal investigation into the Trans City scandal. Will the acting Justice Minister tell the House whether the police are currently conducting a review and inquiry, or investigation, into the awarding of contracts to Trans City?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, let me correct the misstatement in the Leader's comment. I, too, read the story in The Evening Telegram and I, too, understood from a variety of other sources that the police did indeed review the transcript and so on, but nowhere at any time did I see any statement that they were reviewing this with a view to conducting a full-blown criminal investigation. That part, as far as I know, is totally incorrect and I assume is a little embellishment.

As to whether or not they are doing any kind of an inquiry whatsoever, I have no reason to believe they are, nor do I have any reason to believe they are not. I just do not know; nobody has ever told me. I assume that if they were they may well have told me. I do not know.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, a supplementary for the Premier.

The Premier acknowledges that the RCMP may be investigating the government's award of contracts to Trans City. I would like to ask the Premier whether, in view of the controversy about a mystery Cabinet paper, missing information and shredded documents, whether the Premier has given explicit instructions to members of his Cabinet, present and past, his caucus, his staff, the public servants, to co-operate in full with the police by providing any and all information and documentation about Trans City when requested by the police?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I find it difficult to answer because there is no credibility to what the hon. Leader of the Opposition is saying. There is no investigation that I am aware of, but if there is any investigation, like we do with every investigation, every minister, every member, everybody concerned, always co-operates fully with the police. The question is so silly and stupid it is hardly worth giving it the time of day.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I find it very surprising that the Premier and acting Justice Minister claims not to know whether the police are investigating the Trans City affair.

In November the Premier removed from the office of Justice Minister the current Government House Leader, because the police were investigating a firm in which the Government House Leader has a substantial ownership interest. Should the Premier not now be in a position to tell people whether the police are investigating his government with respect to their handling of the Trans City contracts, and if the police are conducting an investigation, should the Premier not remove himself from the Justice portfolio?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, there are two or three ways in which one can answer questions like that. You can ignore it totally and treat it for the drivel that it is, or one could pretend that it is a serious question, and if you do that then you equally have to pretend that it is a serious answer. I don't know how else to do it. There is no foundation to it, there is no reason for it; it is just a pure fabrication of a circumstance that does not exist, so the thing is not capable of being answered in any kind of a serious or honest way because the circumstance that the leader is talking about simply does not exist; it is fabricated for her own purposes.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Will the Premier not confirm what he said earlier, that he read the same news report as most of the rest of us, that the RCMP were looking at the Supreme Court judgement ruling that the government - his government - broke the law, violated the Public Tender Act, in awarding the hospital construction contracts to Trans City. And will the Premier not check and report back to the House on whether the police have proceeded with an inquiry or a review, or a full-blown criminal investigation into the government's handling of the Trans City awards?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker, I read the papers too, and the Opposition are trying to fabricate something out of this where nothing exists. They do it by asking questions for which there is no foundation, and try to cause answers to be given to try and give the circumstance a credibility that it does not have.

There is no reason for me to believe any investigation is under way. I do not ask the police what they are investigating. I have not yet asked the police what they are investigating. I have no intention of asking the police what they are investigating.

I understand that if, as and when an investigation is being carried out that involves government, or a minister, or anybody directly involved in the running of the House, normally as a courtesy the police will advise the Attorney General. Now, nobody has advised me - I think that is a correct statement - and the Leader of the Opposition, as a former Attorney General, would know that.

Mr. Speaker, all I can say is the police have not indicated to me that they are carrying on any kind of an investigation into anything. I have no intention of furthering this kind of silly nonsense that the Leader of the Opposition has been trying to foster for days by pretending to treat the question as serious and asking the police anything.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A question for the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. Some time ago there were announcements - months ago I guess - as to the Trans-Canada work being done in the Province this year. We are told there is supposed to be some sort of a modest provincial roads program this year. I'm wondering if the minister could indicate the dollar value of the provincial roads program this year and whether or not an announcement of the provincial roads program is imminent.

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

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, there is a provincial roads program. Two point seven million dollars of that program was announced earlier this year. In fact, tenders were called in January when we called tenders for the Roads for Rails agreement. The reasoning for that was to be able to get the best possible price on the resurfacing and the maintaining of roads in the area where we are spending that money. So we called tenders of $2.7 million. There was a further $12 million to be spent, and I think it was $11.75 million, that will be spent on the provincial roads program this year in many different areas of the Province where the need is greatest. I haven't made any formal announcement of it but tenders are being called as we are talking here today. In fact, road construction is on the go. In fact this is the earliest year that ever we've had road construction in full start-up right across this Province to the tune of $65 million. That is what is being spent on the roads in our Province as we are now talking.

MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary, the hon. the Member for Green Bay.

MR. HEWLETT: Yes, Mr. Speaker. As one member for one rural district I'm certainly curious as to the composition of the provincial roads program. I wrote the minister regarding one road in my district that came up in a brief discussion when the minister met with the joint councils of Green Bay. After that meeting I wrote the minister and he came back to me in a letter dated May 15 saying: As you are no doubt aware by now, government has not allocated any capital funding for this road in 1995-1996. That road is the road to Harry's Harbour, Jackson's Cove, in my district.

Mr. Speaker, I haven't heard anything except on the basis of an enquiry as to whether or not there are any other roads in my district to be done. The minister has been less than generous with my district in the six years I've been a member of this House. Is the minister saying that out of the $12 million or so that he is talking about there is no money allocated for Green Bay District, a rural district with many unpaved roads and old paved roads that are falling apart, that there is no money available for Green Bay this year?

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

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, we've about 2,400 kilometres of unpaved or gravel roads in the Province of Newfoundland besides Labrador. We are just talking Newfoundland. So Green Bay District is not unlike many other districts in the Province. The answer to the last part of his question; No, we are not spending any money in his district this year in the provincial program.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Mr. Speaker, given the minister's comments all along I'm not surprised there is no money being spent in Green Bay this year. In the six years this government has been in power it hasn't put one shovelful of pavement in Green Bay so I'm not surprised.

I would ask the minister, and maybe the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs: I've had a number of complaints from small contractors. There appears to be very little in the way of small to medium-sized water and sewer projects on the go this year, and very little in the way of small road-paving projects, or small road construction or reconstruction projects. Is the minister concerned that this is going to have a very serious impact on those people in the Province who depend for seasonal work in the construction industry?

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

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, I'm concerned about the people all across the Province. I'm concerned about providing enough money. I was concerned from 1985 to 1989 when I sat on the opposite side of the House and I witnessed and watched the Tories waste multi-millions of dollars which if I had today as Minister of Works, Services and Transportation I would be able to pave all of the roads in Newfoundland and not borrow one penny.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HODDER: My questions are to the Minister of Education and Training.

In the Liberal policy manual of 1989 the following statement appears: Our future economic success depends on the improvements we make in our educational programs than any other single factor. The Liberal governments stated policy on literacy states: All adults in the Province, whether urban or rural, have the right to be provided means of achieving literacy. Mr. Speaker, can the minister now confirm that his government has abandoned the principle of free access to adult basic education and that the Liberal Party's commitments to develop our human resources to improvements in our educational programs have been abandoned, especially as it relates to adult basic education?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. DECKER: No, Mr. Speaker, no.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Waterford - Kenmount.

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, the truth is that in the future, unless those in need of adult basic education are sponsored by an agency like HRD or are wealthy enough to pay the cost of their own upgrading, they will be denied access to the opportunity to upgrade their basic educational skills. In other words, this government has abandoned the poor, the disadvantaged and the functionally illiterate in our Province. That is the bottom line and I ask the minister to abandon his proposal to balance the provincial budget by slicing educational programs, discriminate against the poor and the disadvantaged and to publicly announce it now.

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the truth is that the statement that the member claims to be true is not true. Now whether or not he is ill advised or misinformed I would not dare say but he gets up and says the truth is something but the truth is not that at all, Mr. Speaker. The reality is, there are more people today taking advantage of adult basic education then ever before in the history of this Province. I am proud to tell about the literacy council which this administration put in place, Mr. Speaker. I am proud to tell about the commitment that the public colleges are making to adult basic education. I am proud to tell about the experiments which are taking place in distance education, Mr. Speaker, where we are delivering adult basic education to parts of the Province where it was never dreamed possible before. So the truth of the statement that the hon. member gets up and tells about has no truth to it whatsoever, Mr. Speaker. I will have to sit down with the hon. member sometime and try to enlighten him but he never seems to make time from his schedule to come over and be enlightened. He is making those statements which he claims to be true and they are not true and I cannot deal with that, Mr. Speaker, that is his problem.

MR. SPEAKER: A final supplementary, the hon. the Member for Waterford - Kenmount.

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, cuts to adult basic education goes against every principle of fairness and every principle of equality of access. Mr. Speaker, it makes poor educational sense, it makes poor social policy sense and it makes poor common sense. Under educated adults represent untapped human potential. How can the minister persistently and consistently twist his statistics with a straight face? How can he tell the hundreds of people, who at this moment are protesting in Corner Brook and those who have protested in Bonavista and those who have protested in St. John's, that his government cares about your future, that what he says is the truth and that they are all wrong?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member must have been just reading Alice in Wonderland when she said: down here words mean what you want them to mean. Mr. Speaker, all the words he just said I agree with them but they mean something totally different over here and that is why we are making the commitment that we are making. So go back and read Alice in Wonderland again, I would tell the hon. member.

Mr. Speaker, I reiterate what I said, this administration has a greater commitment to adult basic education than any other administration in the history of this Province. We are using modern means. Now, Mr. Speaker, there is a problem with a government to government purchase of seats which deals not so much with adult basic education as it is a social program to make available to clients of the Unemployment Insurance Commission who were given babysitters, who were given salaries for attending school, who were given a lot of benefits, Mr. Speaker, but with the adult basic education we have in excess of 6,000 people in the system, plus the volunteer sector, plus the distance education. We are more committed than ever before. The hon. member cannot seem to accept that for some reason.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The time for Oral Questions has elapsed.

Notices of Motion

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

MR. NOEL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I give notice that I will on -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. NOEL: - tomorrow ask leave to introduce the following resolution:

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I am having trouble hearing the hon. member while he is speaking.

MR. NOEL: Whereas I now have an opportunity to speak -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. NOEL: WHEREAS the value of Newfoundland and Labrador's fish resource continues to be a substantial factor in our economy; and

WHEREAS government must do everything possible to create jobs and raise revenues necessary to maintain valuable public services at minimum and equitable tax levels; and

WHEREAS government has responsibility to ensure all citizens benefit to the highest and fairest extent from resources owned in common;

BE IT RESOLVED that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador ensure that our fish resource is managed to provide the highest level of employment through maximum local processing where practical, and, where appropriate, through devising other means of ensuring the whole Province benefits from value which may be derived above reasonable levels of return for harvesters and processors.

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

MS. VERGE: I am wondering if the Premier has the latest and most complete out-migration -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture.

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

On Friday last, a question was put to the hon. the Premier on the issue of the status of government-owned fish plants, as of May 23, 1995 and I am very pleased to table that information in the House today.

Petitions

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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise again to present another petition, I think the fifth on the matter of the proposed changes in the electoral boundaries.

Mr. Speaker, petition sheets are still coming in from various parts of my district and I shall continue to present the concerns of my constituents on this matter as long as they wish to send me their points of view.

The prayer of the petition is as follows, Mr. Speaker:

WHEREAS our communities have been in Green Bay district for many years; and

WHEREAS a recent government proposal would see some of our communities assigned to Baie Verte district;

THEREFORE, we the undersigned, petition the hon. House of Assembly not to entertain or approve any proposal that would see our communities removed from Green Bay district.

Mr. Speaker, this is a matter of some concern in my district and I am presenting these petitions on behalf of the individuals obviously who signed them, but also on behalf of two district-wide organizations, the joint councils of Green Bay and The Green Bay Economic Development Association, both organizations not wishing to see the current political structure of Green Bay disrupted to any great extent. The current boundary proposal would see the district being split with part of the northern part of the district being assigned to Baie Verte district, and the southern part of the district remaining as is, but adding to it, almost all of the former Town of Windsor.

Mr. Speaker, this is a matter of some concern to the people in the district. It is starting to come together out there as a unit; the joint councils are a new body; the development association with the changing of the development situation in the Province with the economic zones, they are very concerned that they be maintained intact, especially during the early years of the new economic development proposal under the new economic zone system; the development association has as part of its constitution that its membership be drawn from the electoral District of Green Bay, so changing significantly the communities that make up the electoral District of Green Bay will have a very negative effect on that organization and basically disrupt the very good work started by the joint councils of Green Bay.

Also, Mr. Speaker, as I have heard from the news media and commentary out of Central Newfoundland, there is considerable consternation in the Town of Grand Falls - Windsor that is currently of course, divided, in regards electoral districts. They had been hoping, Mr. Speaker, that any new change would show some support from the government with regard to the concept of the amalgamation which is taking place. Obviously, the current forty-eight seat proposal that was tabled in this House goes back to the way things were before amalgamation with the town being split right down the middle along the same old boundaries that government worked so hard to wipe out with the amalgamation.

Mr. Speaker, I note as well that in this weekend's paper Professor Boswell, who writes on political matters in a weekly column, indicated that the Premier's favourite phrase of 'fairness and balance' has gone out the window on a number of fronts. Also, he tackled this issue with regard to boundaries. He says: And what about fairness and balance in the setting of electoral boundaries? Once again, the Wells government comes up short. While the goal of reducing the number of MHAs is certainly laudable, the procedure which was followed undermined the credibility of the exercise.

That, Mr. Speaker, is an understatement to put it slightly. This government has fooled around with this process now a number of times and what we essentially have here is basically the fourth proposal to see the light of day, and we still have many members on the government side who are not happy with this situation. I guess, the government is in a position right now, of what do they do? They spent $500,000 in commission fees, they have tampered with the report on a number of occasions and they are at a point now where they have to do something.

The goal of significantly saving money by greatly reducing the number of seats has gone out the window. Reducing the seats from fifty-two to forty-eight is a joke in terms of overall savings. This has become a terribly embarrassing situation for the government and one wonders if they do not wish it would all go away. Mr. Speaker, it is not going to go away. I am not going to go away, and the concerns of the people of Green Bay, as annunciated in their petition, that is not going to go away either, Mr. Speaker. It is time that government acted, and acted honourably on this matter, and stopped dragging its feet. Take a position, bring it before the assembly and let the assembly deal with it.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HODDER: I wish to rise to a few comments in support of my college for Green Bay. Since this entire process has started, that is the electoral boundaries revision, we have seen a fair bit of fumbling. First of all we had the directions that were given to Judge Mahoney in December, 1992 in which he was instructed to start to prepare a report. In the middle of that he came back and suggested they would have forty seats in the House. Then, of course, there was the dialogue that occurred between the chair of that commission and the government representatives, the famous Clarenville meeting. There were other representations made and the commissioner went back and rewrote some of his information. The commissioner has now presented that report which called for forty-four seats. I made submission to the Mahoney Commission in which I argued for a lower number of MHAs, and in particular I argued for a forty seat House.

Mr. Speaker, if we are going to do something with this commission let us do something meaningful. We were pleased with the final report of the commission which said they would recommend a House of forty-four members with some exceptions for one or two districts. Then we saw the gerrymandering, we saw the government having concern in its own caucus, and now we have a recommendation that we go to forty-eight seats in the House, but not until there has been further dialogue and a further commissioner appointed.

What has happened is that the whole process is suspect. Contrary to what happened when the Progressive Conservative Party was in power in the mid 80s, when the commissioner was appointed what the commissioner came back with was accepted word for word, without alteration, without changes, without input from select persons in Cabinet, and without dialogue with caucus members. It was accepted as it was written.

Mr. Speaker, if that had happened the people of this Province would continue today to have faith in the electoral boundary revision and the process that would be followed by most jurisdictions. However, in Newfoundland and Labrador we have a breakdown of faith because of the public believe, rightly or wrongly, that there has been some tinkering with the process. They believe that government was not being sincere when it talked about a lower House. It now has a proposal for a forty-eight member House. I say to government get on with the business and let us get this matter before the House before there is any further erosion of public confidence.

Thank you.

Orders of the Day

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, that brings us to the happy moment when we can deal with the government business. Would you be good enough, please, to call Motion 1, which is the Budget debate. My friend from St. John's East Extern had given us the first thirteen minutes of his reading of page 52 of his standard speech. He has seventeen minutes left and we will gladly hear what he has to say, if anything.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Motion 1, the hon. the Member for St. John's East Extern.

MR. J. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. First I would like to thank the half-Minister of Justice for his kind remarks, typical as usual.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to continue speaking on the motion of non-confidence on the Budget, put forth by the hon. Opposition House Leader. The other day when I concluded, adjourned debate, I was just about to get into saying a few words on the job creation program that this government has, or actually that this government does not have. I should speak on the lack of a job creation program. Last winter they did bring in the Emergency Employment Program, after much pressure from the public and from this side of the House, but most of the money - I should not say most of the money, but much of the money - had to be returned to government, which was the plan from the beginning.

There is a job creation program already on the go by this government, of course, and that is the job creation program for the friends of the members of the government. This government, back in 1989, or before they were government, when they were campaigning to be elected to government, a major, major, platform in their campaign would be no political patronage, especially in jobs. Well, we soon found that not to be the case. It is just basically another example of the hypocrisy of this government.

Mr. Speaker, I have a list, basically, of jobs that were given to the buddies of this government. Now, I have a long list. I won't go through every one of them, but just to get my point across I am going to name a few, probably, and maybe some of the Liberal candidates who did not make it, and some of the former Liberal members.

Of course we had Mr. Seabright, the Chairman of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Tribunal. The Government House Leader at this point in time, before he was elected to the House, was Chair to the Waterford Hospital board and a few others. We have the Member for Fogo right now, before he was elected, or re-elected, who was appointed. We have Mr. Wood, a Liberal candidate, Mr. Stoyles, a Liberal candidate, Mr. Whalen, a Liberal candidate, Mr. Simmons, a Liberal candidate, and the list goes on and on and on - Mr. Ashley, Hiscock, Best - many, many more names. Of course, the most recent was Eric Gullage with the Workers' Compensation. The list goes on and on; it is unreal. Most recently, of course, is the appointments of Mr. Wiseman and Mr. King as EDGE facilitators, whatever that is going to be, a job created for those people, and Mr. Comeau, Director of Community Affairs.

Now that is the job creation program of this government, nothing more and nothing less, political patronage, probably the worst that has ever been on the go since we joined Canada - by far the worst - and I can say that, especially because I have only been elected to the House of Assembly for two years and I really was believing what I was hearing before I was elected to the House of Assembly about this government and no political patronage, until I got elected and saw the real story, something that is disgraceful as far as I am concerned.

This government is creating jobs for no one else, and have not and are not planning on doing it, only for their buddies. This is a `don't care' government, a `don't know' government, a `don't worry' government, and a `don't remember' government. There is no economic plan. The Economic Recovery Commission was put in place a number of years ago, headed up by Mr. House, and there has been no results. It is producing no results up to this point in time.

Maybe why there is no cohesion or plan put in place at this point in time is because of the confusion on the opposite side of the House, or the government side. There is basically five groups of individuals over there on the government side of the House. The first of course is the Cabinet which is supposed to have the power, which thinks it has the power, but it really doesn't. This was proven a short while ago by the second group, of course, which is the caucus back benchers, when they got together and basically told the Premier that Hydro was not going to be a done deal any more. When the back benchers received the pressure from the people in their districts they met with the Premier and Cabinet and told them: Listen, back off the Hydro. They also put the - I suppose, I don't know how to put it to you - maybe put the boots to the importation of garbage also. That is the second group. We have the Cabinet and we have the caucus back benchers.

Of course, we have the fabulous four, people who were dropped from Cabinet there I believe it was last fall. We have the Member for St. John's Centre, the Member for Windsor - Buchans, the Member for Twillingate, and the Member for Conception Bay South. These people spoke up on the Hydro deal after they were dropped from Cabinet, but when they were in Cabinet they decided no, that it was all well and good to support the ideas of the government, what the Premier was putting forward. But no, they spoke up afterwards. We thought they were doing us a great service, but only last week when the Premier put out his press release basically saying that he has the full support of these individuals, so basically somehow or other they've been muzzled again.

Of course, we have the `Gang of Four.' Those were the four ministers involved in hiding the truth or hiding the information from Cabinet when they made their decision to award the contract for Trans City. Those individuals of course are the Ministers of Industry, Trade and Technology, Education and Training, Finance and Treasury Board and the Member for Humber West. Basically they approved the breaking of the public tender act in keeping information from Cabinet.

Of course we have the fifth group that I refer to, the `4-Ds'. We have three-dimensional, now we have the `4-D'; 3-D, `4-D.' They are: the don't-remember, which is the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, of course; we have the don't-know Minister of Health - every time he is asked a question basically he gets up in the House and he doesn't really know and he will have to check into it; we have the don't-worry Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture, because he doesn't know any better but not to worry. That is the story on the minister. I'm tempted to say something here and not that polite - but he is not here. If he had been here I would have said it, so I will let it slip for another day. Of course, we have the don't-care minister. Everybody knows who the don't-care minister is, of course. It is the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation who this year has a budget cut from $40 million in 1989 down to $15 million and doesn't seem to be that concerned, or overly concerned. He should be.

This government has no heart and that seems to be the problem. They are ruling with no heart. The bottom line is the major factor and concern of this government. For example, the policy of Social Services these days with respect to not paying arrears of the Newfoundland Power. That is introducing a hardship on the recipients in social service. Last week is one that particularly caught my attention, and that is the headline that said: "Welfare cops save big bucks." Maybe they should, and they are. In certain areas they probably are legitimately saving money. They are.

But I have a situation in my district where I received a call last week - and just listen to this now, this is unreal. I have a lady who called me last week, she has been widowed I believe it is fourteen years, she told me. It is either fourteen years or seventeen years. Can you imagine now. She is on social services and she is living alone, an elderly lady. She received a letter from Social Services last week trying to collect $675 that Social Services is now saying that she was overpaid when her husband was alive. She has been a widow for fourteen to seventeen years. I find that disgusting, Mr. Speaker, nothing less than disgusting.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I say this government has no heart. Are they really balancing the Budget on the backs of the people of this Province, the people who can least afford it? Well, it certainly seems to be that way.

Now, another issue that certainly affects the Budget is the out-migration of people from this Province. The Premier was asked the question last week about out-migration. He spoke of 15,000 people leaving the Province, in 1993 and 1994, which I was surprised to hear; and the Premier stood up and said: the real numbers are 4,500 because when you look at the people coming into the Province and people leaving the Province there is a difference of 4,500. I think that was the point he was trying to make, but what the Premier didn't say and what wasn't clarified, was the number of people who came into this Province as transients with respect to maybe Hibernia, the Bull Arm site. How many people do we have moving into this Province with families who are here for a very short time to work on certain sites and are then gone? So the 4,500 figure that the Premier used is really not an accurate figure, Mr. Speaker. He can get up and rationalize all he wants, or anybody on that side of the House can get up and rationalize with respect to the out-migration of people from this Province, it doesn't make it right.

The Premier campaigned when he was running to be elected on the promise of bringing home every mother's son. Now, he stands in his place and says that is something he never said, but I am pretty sure I heard that with my own ears, Mr. Speaker, and, they are big enough to hear it, let me tell you, and he did say it. As far as I can see, all he did was campaign to bring every mother's son home here to pack up and move their families away. There are very few people returning to Newfoundland and Labrador, Mr. Speaker. Then you hear an idea that someone may latch on to -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Oh, you never know, he comes up with a good one every now and then.

- and that is, we have Newfoundlanders all over the world, Mr. Speaker, we have very educated, experienced people all over this world who are holding down various jobs in various levels of government, different boards, different industries in private business, and are holding down very high, important jobs in positions as presidents and vice-presidents of these companies and boards.

Maybe the government should look at doing some kind of a profile study of all these individuals all over the world, in Canada, the United States, Europe wherever, and let us try to entice some of these people to come back. Let us give them some incentives; these are the people who create the jobs, who have the ideas. We have too many of these people leaving the Province. Now, I will also mention, too, that of course, there is a lot of people living here in Newfoundland at this time who have some great ideas also, Mr. Speaker, and these people have talent that is not being tapped into.

I think we have to start importing our people back to this Province and stop exporting. Government has been an obstacle, as far as I am concerned, with respect to the creation of jobs and new businesses in this Province. There is too much red tape, there has been too much red tape. But I had some hopes that this government would have been doing something about that.

A couple of years ago, they announced that they were going to get into one-stop shopping where, an individual will come in to start up a business, would go to one area, one building, what have you, make his application, meet with the proper people and get his directions and that would be the case. I thought that was supposed to come into place in April of 1995, but I don't know of anything yet that has actually been put in place. Mr. Speaker, I think that is something government should get moving on.

Now, Mr. Speaker, when I say that this government has been an obstacle to development and to the creation of business and employment in this Province, some of the red tape would be, as an example, the payroll tax. Now, this is a tax that really upset a lot of people in this Province, especially the small businessmen. Before I got into government, I had a small business myself, so I am quite well aware of the payroll tax, and I know that there are businesses out there that when the payroll tax was $300,000, they deliberately kept their payroll under $300,000 so they wouldn't have to pay the tax. So, what was happening, was that companies were either laying off or not hiring, therefore jobs would be affected that way - jobs would be lost in that situation.

That was bad enough, because it doesn't take a lot of salaries to get up to $300,000 in small businesses. If you have ten to fifteen employees, it wouldn't be long getting up to $300,000. But within a year, I believe it was - the government didn't hurt small businesses enough - they dropped that figure to $100,000. In this Province, Mr. Speaker, a total payroll of $100,000 is not a lot of money. The result - jobs gone. Again, people who may have had five, six or seven employees dropped an employee, laid the person off or if they were going to hire they would decide not to hire because it would go over that $100,000. So the payroll tax has been a really negative, negative impact on businesses in this Province. Also, every opportunity the Premier gets he talks about the reduction of the corporate income tax, Mr. Speaker, down from 17 per cent to 16 per cent and then back to 15 per cent but I think the Premier should be reminded that basically they increased it to 17 per cent in the first place, Mr. Speaker, and they brought it back to 15 per cent, so that is no big deal.

They talk about a balanced Budget, this government, Mr. Speaker, and are really quite proud of the fact that it is a balanced Budget, but I have to wonder why they say it is a balanced Budget when we know, the people in the real world know, that it is nothing but downloading on the people of the Province and on the municipalities of the Province. There has been some drastic, drastic cutbacks and maybe some tough decisions had to be made, Mr. Speaker, but you can go too far. They have gone too far and they are continuing to go too far, Mr. Speaker, you get to the point of diminishing returns. They have increased taxes in this Budget where they say they didn't increase taxes. An example of that would be, of course, the liquor tax increase. After the Budget came down the liquor taxes went up.

Of course, then we have the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation bringing in the .05 legislation which was nothing short of a money grab, Mr. Speaker. Studies have shown that from .05 to .08 there are revenues available to the Provincial Government of $800,000. The minister can get up and talk all he wants about safety on the roads. Studies have also shown that there are very few accidents caused by people within that bracket of .05 to .08. Basically, it is a money grab and nothing else, Mr. Speaker. That legislation will not affect or stop the driver who is habitually over that level, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Oh, I do know, I do know.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. J. BYRNE: By leave?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. EFFORD: No leave.

MR. SPEAKER: No leave.

MR. J. BYRNE: In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I would like to say that the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation can't take hearing the truth.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Humber Valley.

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Now, the Member for Harbour Grace had better be quiet or I will have to tell a few stories especially - and he is in a good place now for me to tell a few stories, Mr. Speaker, right alongside the hon. gentleman, the Member for Port de Grave.

MR. SULLIVAN: They won't be modest ones either, I tell you.

MR. WOODFORD: Anyway, Mr. Speaker, I welcome the second opportunity to have a few words on the Budget. We are speaking now on the non-confidence motion. I was expecting the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation to be up this evening but I guess he is waiting. He wants to wait until Thursday or Friday, I would say, so he can get up and give us some good news on the tender calls and who got them.

MR. SULLIVAN: He must have all confidence in the government.

MR. WOODFORD: No, no, he has no confidence. The Member for Port de Grave has no confidence in the government, I can tell you that, especially as it pertains to some of the legislation that is on the Order Paper now, namely, the redistribution of boundaries and so on, Mr. Speaker. He is going to vote against it when it comes to the House, that's for sure.

Mr. Speaker, on a more serious note, we all had an opportunity to speak for half-an-hour some time ago on the Budget, and now we have the opportunity to speak for another thirty minutes on this non-confidence motion, so it is a chance to get in a few comments, especially as it pertains to your district and some other areas around the Province.

Now, seeing the minister is here, I will mention the transportation sector. We had all kinds of examples, especially in the last year or so, starting off with the new airports policy, the downloading by the Federal Government onto the Province, and then, in turn, onto the municipalities. It is going to cost the taxpayers of this Province millions and millions of dollars and the Provincial Government said absolutely nothing about it. All of a sudden, no matter what the feds do, it is perfect. Everything is good for the Province. It is not hurting anyone or anything in the Province and it has no bearing whatsoever on the provincial budgets, absolutely none.

It is a far cry from previous to the federal election of 1993 when pretty well every little thing, including a $10 million transfer fund, or a $30 million cut to transfer funds in the Province, every minister and every member on the other side kicked up the biggest kind of a hullabaloo about those insignificant funds at that time, especially in comparison to what the Federal Government is after doing since 1993, crucifying the people of the Province.

The Provincial Government, the Administration opposite, was elected to look after the needs, the requirements, and the concerns of the people of the Province, not the Federal Government. Not only have they abandoned the people of the Province completely, now, as far as I am concerned, they have become subservient to the Federal Government, their cousins in Ottawa. No matter what they do, no matter what kind of a program they come up with, everything all of a sudden is hunky-dory.

Now, the airport policy in this Province is not going to work. The airport policy submitted by the Federal Government and downloaded on the Province is not going to work. The municipalities in this Province cannot bear the brunt. I don't profess, I say to the hon. the Minister of Social Services, to know everything, but I know a little bit about everything, something I can't say for the minister. I can't say that for the minister when we have people around this Province -

MS. YOUNG: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: That is right, a little bit about everything.

I say to the minister that she had better start learning some things about her department.

MS. YOUNG: Like what, now?

MR. WOODFORD: Like sending out bills to people who have been dead for the last twenty years. You can't come much lower than when you have a government in this Province who are hounding the life out of people, out of widows in this Province, and other people. Their husbands have been dead some eight or ten years, fifteen years, twenty-three years. One bill was twenty-three years old for $219, and another, twenty-three years old for $605, and the bills are in the name of the deceased, to make matters worse. That, to me, is degrading. That to me is wrong. When I checked with the department, they said they can't take it off the books because of the statutes of the Provincial Government with regard to collection. There is no such thing as a statute, really, with the Provincial Government. If you owe the Provincial Government a bill, you owe it in perpetuity; you owe it until the day it is paid regardless of what family member.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: But something has to be done. I do not think there is any such thing, especially when government have the will. If the government have the will they can do something about those things. Are we saying that someone who got a few dollars from Social Services some twenty years ago to feed their family over a week or two-week period - and now all those years have passed, are we saying we cannot do anything at all about it? Something has to be done about it. If the people could afford it, and the state could afford it, yes I would agree with it, but in a lot of cases...

One case I have, for instance, the bill is twenty-three years old. The husband has been dead for eight years. The woman is blind; she is a widow; she is some sixty-seven or sixty-nine years old, living on her own, and is now asked to pay back $610 or $619. Now, those kinds of things, I am sure that the minister, and if it was brought to the attention of other cabinet ministers - I know that a lot of them don't have much heart, and some of them, you probably wouldn't know where to find the proper rock if you had to have a heart transplant, but there are a lot of people there with a bit of social conscience, and I think that if the minister brought that to her Cabinet colleagues, that particular problem would be addressed.

I say to the minister, and to the ministers opposite, that if this does come up, they should treat it with some degree of concern and sincerity, because this is no laughing matter. We have the poorest of the poor. If some of those people could get a lawyer and take some of those cases to court, it would probably be thrown out or, in some cases, written off by the Provincial Government.

I have gone off track there with regard to, pardon the pun, the transportation industry, when I was talking about airports. I don't think there is a community in this Province, I don't think there is a local authority in this Province, willing to take over any of the airports in this Province.

When the Federal Government changed their policies, they said at first that the Provincial Government would have the mandate, or the opportunity to take over the airports; next to that would be the municipalities; next to that would be the local authorities, and after that, if there were no success, there would be an ordinary straight privatization, and I don't think you are going to get it - I really don't - even in the Deer Lake area, where the Deer Lake airport is one of the most successful regional airports in Canada. It has the thirteenth highest traffic movements and thirteenth highest passenger movements out of all the regional airports in Canada, some seventy-seven regional airports in Canada, and I don't think you are going to get a local authority to take over an airport such as the Deer Lake Airport.

The airport in Stephenville, the airport in Deer Lake - the Stephenville airport had a $1.2 million or a $1.3 million deficit last year, and the Deer Lake airport had a deficit of some $875,000. Those deficits will have to be addressed before any municipality, any individual, or any local authority will even look at the possibility of taking over those airports. Having said that, that part will be addressed. The Federal Government, in its wisdom now, will be looking after the deficits - the deficits will be looked after - making it feasible for a community or a local authority to take it over if it is just based strictly on the deficits that are there now. This will be wiped out over the next five years.

Another example is the Dockyard down here. There has been a lot of talk over the last number of weeks about the St. John's Dockyard. Now,we all know that the writing is on the wall. Despite what people opposite say, the writing is on the wall for the St. John's Dockyard. This didn't come up yesterday; this came up as long as three or four years ago, when this thing was discussed right here in this Assembly. When anybody looks at the magazine Sailings, and the latest one, the May 15th edition, we know what is happening. Mr. Young and his federal counterparts in Ottawa have told CN that they are going to be privatized, have told the people of Canada that CN is going to be privatized. They now will decide on how much of the $2.6 billion debt should be recapitalized, Mr. Speaker, without being unfair to the CP rail system.

I don't think their concern is for unfairness to the CP rail system. I think their concern is for the new shareholders who are going to buy out CN. That is where the concern is by the Federal Government, it is for the big shareholders who will be taking part when CN is privatized. They want to make sure that CN has a strong enough capital position where it will command a BBB bond rating. They want to make sure that it has a good BBB bond rating so they can borrow money on the money markets of the world. They hope that the shares will rise between $1.5 billion and $2 billion.

The bottom line is that they were told to get rid of all the money-losing areas in CN before it is privatized. Before they want to float any bonds, before they want to sell any shares, they want to make sure that all the losing propositions and the losing segments or parts or entities of CN are gone before they start selling shares. That is the difference. They will be putting a clause in there that the shares of CN, the privatization of CN, that any foreign entity or foreign corporation would not own any more than 15 per cent. That is no comfort to anybody who is working at the Dockyard today. It is no comfort to one person working at the Dockyard today, not one.

We know what the Federal Government is up to. The Provincial Government knows exactly what the Federal Government is up to - sell off all the losing parts of CN before they start selling shares. They have some fairly good companies involved in the - they've selected ScotiaMcLeod Incorporated, Nesbitt Burns Corporation, and Goldman Sachs & Co. to be the global co-ordinators of the sale of the CN shares. Those are three of the biggest -

AN HON. MEMBER: Liberals.

MR. WOODFORD: Oh yes, they are all Liberals.

- the biggest companies involved in this work, Mr. Speaker. Pretty well, if not in the world, definitely in North America. Some of those are the biggest names involved when it comes to doing up a prospectus on the privatization of any business in this country.

But it doesn't stop there. It doesn't stop with the airports, it doesn't stop with the dockyards. The Provincial Government just took over the South Coast ferry. It was given a block funding of some $55 million to $65 million so they could balance the Budget this year and then go crying to the provincial coffers next year or the year after to try to get money to run the South Coast ferry.

AN HON. MEMBER: The minister didn't even know what happened to the money.

MR. WOODFORD: The minister knows.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, it was in a special fund. The worst thing about it all, now we are talking about privatizing CN Marine. We had former ministers in this House - one, namely, the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island, who just a couple of short years ago was going to sue the Federal Government.

AN HON. MEMBER: For what?

MR. WOODFORD: For increasing the fee on the CN ferry from Port aux Basques to North Sydney, from North Sydney to Port aux Basques. Yes, he was going to sue the Federal Government at the time when he was provincial Minister of Tourism because the fee went up slightly on CN ferries from North Sydney to Port aux Basques. Your hon. colleague now just gave me in the blueprint, in the famous 1989, I would say, Liberal manual. He said a Liberal government will consider ferry transportation to islands off our coast to be an extension of the road system. Now that is exactly what the former minister brought up. This is why he was going to go after the federal government at the time because it was - as far as he was concerned and rightly so at the time - that it was an extension of the road system, the Trans-Canada system and it should, under our Constitution and under the Terms of Union, 1949, it should be treated as just that, an extension of the Trans Canada Highway.

AN HON. MEMBER: It is a good thing we have it now.

MR. WOODFORD: We would not have anything to drive on within the Province let alone to get on outside the Province. Now, Mr. Speaker, what is this administration going to do and what has it been saying? There is not a word from the minister, there is not a word from government and there are no meetings being held in Ottawa with regards to the privatization of the CN system. What will happen to the tourism industry in this Province? What will happen to the food industry in this Province? What will happen to all exports that are trucked out of this Province? Mr. Speaker, the effect it will have on the consumers of this Province, if there was a study done - and while I am on that subject, the Province in its wisdom should have something done now to see what the effects would be, the repercussions would be for the consumers in this Province. They are doing absolutely nothing. The federal government is doing it, they are talking with their people.

Mr. Burgess from CN Marine said awhile ago they may cut off the ferry run to Argentia in 1997. Now he is not saying that, he is not trying to float that. How naive is he to think that we figured he is just floating that around? That suggestion has come from CN Marine to the federal government and they are saying: Now float that for a few months. Put that out around for a few months to see how the people receive it and see how receptive they are to that particular idea. That idea, Mr. Speaker, is not going to float in this Province. The idea of privatizing CN Marine to crucify the people of this Province, Mr. Speaker, is not going to be receptive to the people of this Province.

What will people do when they come to North Sydney and they look at a 10 per cent, 20 per cent or a 30 per cent increase in the fare from North Sydney to Port aux Basques? Where are they going? They are going to stay in Nova Scotia, go back to New Brunswick, go back to PEI or some other point west. They will not be coming over to this Province to look at our scenery for the price of another 30 per cent or 40 per cent on to their fare on the CN ferry. To add to that, the effect it is going to have on food products and any other product that is shipped into this Province, for sale in this Province, Mr. Speaker, is going to be astronomical. We are the ones, the people of this Province - and if we don't speak up now, if the government does not speak up on behalf of the people what is the good of me or anyone else? They are the only voices that will be heard in Ottawa. We have federal members who have said absolutely nothing. They are up there and we don't know they are there unless -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: They were paying, some of the ones, yes and even carried the name Payne. This Province today, Mr. Speaker, is at the worst time in its history. Right now nobody is standing up for them, absolutely, nobody. We have nobody federally and we have nobody provincially now standing up for the people of this Province. It is evident in some of the things that I outlined today, especially as it pertains to the transportation sector. Like I said and I will say again, start with the airports, downgrade them; start with the South coast ferry service, downgrade; start with the CN Marine, now going to be privatized; start with the dockyards and CN itself, CP is going to be privatized and all on the backs of the people of the Province, Mr. Speaker, and absolutely nothing done or said about it. All of this is going to come back to haunt this Province.

We saw an example of the roads for rails agreement. That has been maligned and torn apart by members opposite over the years. Mr. Speaker, if we never, ever had that agreement in place today the construction industry in this Province would be at a stalemate, finished, closed down. There is no capital funding for Municipal Affairs this year. The minister hasn't announced it, only what has been carried over last year from the infrastructure program and by the way, only for that we would have pretty well absolutely nothing; nothing, and the transportation sector would have nothing because provincially this year, there is nothing bar about $14 million.

MR. EFFORD: What?

MR. WOODFORD: The minister knows, he needs that much for his own district; he needs $10 million of it for Port de Grave guaranteed, and not only that, the minister is doing alright out of the federal money the last couple of years that is coming down there, Mr. Speaker. Now, I would not say it too loudly because the Premier might be somewhere up in his office listening and he would probably send Danny out to check it out to see what is going on out there.

AN HON. MEMBER: He knows the need is there.

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, and that is what he knows, he knows the need. I guess he does know the need and I tell you -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, the hon. member just told me this morning, he said: Boy, he said, I can come in in an hour and fifteen minutes this morning. I am some thankful for the Member for Port de Grave, he is living alongside of me. He said: I made some time this morning coming in. The RNC and RCMP were not on the road, only for that, they would have had him this morning but, Mr. Speaker, only for the money that is being spent on the Trans-Canada Highway this year, the construction industry in the Province today would be closed down.

You talk to all the companies around, talk to the construction companies, heavy-equipment companies, heavy-equipment operators and so on, only for the little bit of work that is being carried out under the Roads for Rails Agreement; and what irony, Mr. Speaker; here we have members opposite now, talking about the Trans-Labrador Highway. We should take off the ferries for Labrador and we should build a road in Labrador. Yes, a good idea, but what irony in the fact that members opposite stand and criticize the Roads for Rails Agreement.

Now whatever chance the trains had to operate in this Province, had it under the former administration. Under this one, according to some of the cuts that are taking place now, there would be absolutely nothing, it wouldn't last a month. Now, I am looking forward to seeing the type of agreement that will be struck between the federal government and the present provincial government as it pertains to the ferries that are operating in the Labrador region. It would be very interesting, Mr. Speaker, to see what kind of an agreement will be put in place to do that road across Labrador; see if it will be in comparison to the Roads for Rails Agreement that was put in place some seven or eight years ago. We will see what kind of a deal now this present provincial administration will put in place. So just on the transportation sector alone, Mr. Speaker, there is a full half-hour or an hour or I suppose two or three really, you could speak with regards to the problems and the repercussions that that is going to have on the people of this Province.

When we talk about the transportation sector, we are talking about tourism, we are talking about prices and the food products; we are talking about exports, we are talking about pretty well everything. Once you talk transportation, you are talking big bucks. Any business today in this Province that has to move anything whether it is interprovincial or otherwise, they are talking big dollars and the kind of money that is going to be detrimental to a lot of businesses operating in this Province today. We just saw another example of the Atlantic Freight Assistance Subsidy gone; another 8.6 per cent taken off all truckers in Atlantic Canada, gone. Who do you think, Mr. Speaker, is going to absorb the brunt and the loss of the 8.6 per cent Atlantic Freight Assistance Program? The consumers in this Province are the ones who will have to pay.

We see how the federal government say in their budget: no tax increase; the provincial government says: no tax increase. If we took out all the indirect taxation on transportation, on health care, on municipal affairs the downloading there, the downloading in every other sector, Mr. Speaker, I would venture to bet that the people of this Province - taxes alone over the last three years, just three years, have gone up around 13 per cent. My calculations tell me that it is somewhere around 13 per cent over the last three years, if you take into consideration all the downloading from the federal government and provincial government on to the taxpayers of this Province, and yet there is no increase in personal (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: That is since 1989.

MR. SULLIVAN: That is on top of it, yes.

MR. WOODFORD: On top of it. Make no wonder - and when we see the Budgets the last number of years, we see Budgets read out, very few things highlighted in it with regard to tax increases and so on, and then every week or every month you always see something - there is something new - there are ten laid off here, there is a program cut there, there is a hospital bed closed there. There is something always done after the Budget is read that we do not see in the Budget.

It is smart politics, no question, but the numbers are there for anybody to see. The thing about it, people are finally realizing what is happening. They can see, when they walk into hospital today. All anybody has to do today is take one visit, visit some of the homes down around this city alone, and walk in and see the kind of care and the kind of services that are there now for our senior citizens. Walk into some of those homes and see how many staff - count the staff that are there - one nurse and two nursing assistants looking after thirty-three to forty-four people in some of those homes. Pretty well every one of them have to be looked after, have to be fed, have to be cleaned, personal care twenty-four hours a day, and the staff is not there to do it. The staff is just not there.

The will is there on the part of the staff. They are doing what they can to try to care, and they are doing a wonderful job under the circumstances, but they cannot; it just cannot be done. It is not humanly possible. It is not humanly possible, and I say to the minister responsible, the Minister of Health, if he took one trip and went down to some of those homes, and took a stroll through some of those Alzheimer wards down here, he would come back and have some recommendations to make to his colleagues in Cabinet, I can assure you. If he made one visit to some of those homes down here, and walked in on some of the wards, and saw the capabilities, and saw how some of those patients - three people, one nurse and two nursing assistants looking after thirty-three to forty-four people who are completely incapacitated -

AN HON. MEMBER: Are you talking about the nursing homes?

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, in this case.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) I have been in every one of them.

MR. WOODFORD: Well, boy, if you have been in every one -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) about two months ago.

MR. WOODFORD: Well, then, I hope they took you through all the wards, because if they did I do not have to tell you anything; you know exactly what I am talking about, and it is sad, I will tell you that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Oh, yes, it is all across the Province - I realize that - but I know a lot of us take things for granted. We all take things for granted, and I did the same thing until I became involved with visiting those homes over the last few months. I will tell you, when you are going down there every day of the week, it is no trouble for you to see the shortcomings, and see the shortcomings.

They have the will. As I said, the staff has the will; they just do not have the bodies to look after them.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: At the nursing homes that I was just talking to the hon. minister about.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

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

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes.

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. WOODFORD: I will take just a couple of minutes, Mr. Speaker, just to clue up.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Well I have to say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, I was fairly amazed really today, because I stayed on transportation for a nice while; I thought to get some response -

MR. EFFORD: You are only trying to get a bit of road paved.

MR. WOODFORD: Everybody is trying to get a bit of road paved.

Anyway, I notice -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: I say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, now, I would say the Member for Harbour Grace has a good chance to get his road paved, and I will tell you why, because with these boundary changes -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Oh, he is keen. If these boundary changes go through he is going to have the former member out campaigning for him.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Oh, yes, you will get it this year, no question. Put in your request, because I will tell you, you will be looked after this year, not next - yes, probably next. There might be a little bit in next year's budget, too, because you don't know when the election is going to be called.

Mr. Speaker, I know there are other concerns but we will all have an opportunity for debate over the next couple of weeks. In regards to forestry you will have an opportunity to say a few things on forestry, on municipal affairs, on social services, recreation. There are all kinds of opportunities to have another few words on those particular problems. Other than that I think I will take my place now and give some other member a chance to have a few words before the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation kicks in. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. TOBIN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I didn't know I was supposed to get up. One thing about it they can always depend on me to get up and say a few words.

The Government House Leader is not in a very good mood today. I understand he was not very successful in his fishing venture the weekend. It is my understanding his $9 rod didn't work very well. His $9 rod wasn't very successful.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) fifty-cent worms didn't do it.

MR. TOBIN: That is what they call it?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I will tell you all about it, any time at all.

The Minister of Education and Training is a good one to talk about demonstrations. He had them on the street here last week, in this building, out there last week he had demonstrations, and he didn't have the courage to come up and speak to them. But at least we had the courage when we met them on the bus to get out and speak to them. This minister lacked the courage to come up and speak to the group from the ABE. They were down in Bonavista last Friday demonstrating again, and they are out in Corner Brook today demonstrating again, and where is this minister? He is taking the elevator or the back stairs to avoid them. That is what is going on. He is at all times -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes, that is right, we know all about the meeting you had in St. Lawrence. He flew in on a helicopter, landed on the back of the hospital or whatever it was, went in through the back door, and was gone before anyone in St. Lawrence knew he was there. In a helicopter.

AN HON. MEMBER: Left her running.

MR. TOBIN: Left her running, Mr. Speaker. The minister boasts about leaving her running and how he figures that he duped the people of St. Lawrence. But all that this minister has done is give a cause for people to demonstrate. He cut the guts out of the health care system when he was minister. He never left anything in that, nothing sacred in the health care system. We've seen our colleague for Waterford - Kenmount today up asking questions about the ABE program.

MR. SULLIVAN: The literacy rate has gone up since he became minister.

MR. TOBIN: What?

MR. SULLIVAN: The literacy rate has skyrocketed since he became minister.

MR. TOBIN: I guess the department's did, that is for sure, when he came in. Because he brought a certain amount of illiteracy to that himself.

Mr. Speaker, there are a couple of issues I want to address today, I want to speak on. One is the deal with the mineral tax act that was brought into this House and the way the Minister of Natural Resources handled that. There is a lot of people in this Province today wondering if we are not about to be into a Churchill Falls situation again. All I can say is that I sincerely hope - and I believe, by the way - that government will do what is necessary to ensure that does not happen. Because we are in a very peculiar, very perplexed situation as it relates to that piece of legislation.

Some people today I heard when I was driving in were questioning as to whether or not the minister knew that Voisey Bay was a find - there was some suspicion. The minister didn't tell us anything, because I personally was briefed by the minister on that piece of legislation as were other people. I had no reason then, nor do I now really, to question whether or not the minister had anything but the best interest of trying to attract credible people to invest in the mining industry in this Province. But if that was the case, and the minister was honest, and assuming that he was, now we know there is a different situation in this Province. We hear people talk about the largest mine discovery in this century. We heard it referred to as the largest find in the world.

Now, if that is the case, we are not talking about someone going to St. Lawrence where at best they are breaking even. We are not talking about someone finding a small mine on the Baie Verte Peninsula and at best breaking even. What we are talking about here is a mine that the minister, I believe, has attributed to it being one of the greatest mines of all time. That is good and we are all happy to know that at least in the last few years something positive has happened in this Province. I say to the Minister of Natural Resources, if that find is what he says it is -

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) nobody listening.

MR. TOBIN: You are listening to me `John'. You are talking to me now. At least I know `John' is listening to me, Mr. Speaker.

The Minister of Natural Resources doesn't listen very well anyway. He is not known to listen. I saw him today laughing at some sort of ignorant statement that was made by the - that word is not parliamentary so I won't use it, but some sort of statement by the Minister of Education, that he found funny. I see the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs is about to leave, but I understand he is now in the final stages of a capital works program to be announced probably next week. I will have more to say on that as I get into it this evening.

Mr. Speaker, I say that the Minister of Natural Resources should be very concerned. I am not saying anything about the minister, what I am saying is that he should take this find and this tax exemption - Now, if the Minister of Natural Resources was not honest with this House when he brought in that piece of legislation, if he misled this House, what we have to determine is whether the Minister of Natural Resources and this government knew about that massive find in Voisey Bay and then brought in this piece of legislation. If he misled this House and robbed the taxpayers of billions of dollars, if that legislation is allowed to stand, then he should do the honourable thing and get out of politics, get out fast; if he didn't, then we will accept it, but I hope he will correct that piece of legislation.

If it was done for the reasons he gave us then we will accept it, but if the Minister of Natural Resources brought that piece of legislation into the House for the development of Voisey Bay then there is something amiss.

MR. SULLIVAN: He might get a job as a geologist when he retires.

MR. TOBIN: My understanding is that he was fairly good as a geologist. I understand he was very good at his job. But I hope that he did not mislead this House and that this was not a deal cooked up by some of these people from Vancouver, because we have to be careful of that diamond field mine. We know their track record and why they are leaving the States. We know about that so the minister has to get on his guard. He has to set up the proper environmental laws and structure so that we are not left hanging like happened down in one of the States.

MR. SULLIVAN: In Colorado, wasn't it?

MR. TOBIN: In Colorado, yes.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) Environmental Assessment Act.

MR. TOBIN: All I am saying to the Government House Leader is that we have to ensure that this company does not do anything, or get away with anything, that any other company is not allowed to get away with in this Province.

MR. ROBERTS: We have an Environmental Assessment Act.

MR. TOBIN: I am aware of that.

MR. SULLIVAN: We are talking about the tax breaks now.

MR. TOBIN: No, I am talking about the environment, too.

MR. ROBERTS: The Member for Ferryland should listen (inaudible) the Member for Grand Bank talking about environmental act. What I'm asking (inaudible) whether the Environmental Assessment Act is adequate (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: What I'm saying, I say to the Government House Leader, and I don't even know if it is true, but there is - I can't say a fact, but there is -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: No, it is not rumours either. Word out there, it has been covered on the media and everything else, that this group came away from Colorado, I believe it was, and left an awful environmental mess down there. I would say to the Government House Leader -

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) a man named Freidlander, and whether it is true or not I don't know. But the issue is whether - the concern obviously is real and the hon. gentleman and I will share it. The issue - the Pages will pay attention once in a while. Could one of the Pages get my friend water and fuel him? The issue is whether the present Environmental Assessment Act - it is the governing legislation for environmental purposes - whether it is adequate or not. It sets out a procedure.

MR. TOBIN: The Environmental Assessment Act that we have, if that is detailed and strong enough to protect the environment from a group that has a reputation or from investors that have a reputation of not being overly generous towards the environment, then I'm satisfied with that, I say to Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Well, I mean, that is the issue, whether the act as it stands is strong enough, or whether we need new (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes.

MR. ROBERTS: My friend thinks it is strong enough? or yes, that is the issue?

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I say to the Government House Leader, if government feels that act is strong enough to protect it, familiarize themselves with what the charges are that are being made about this group, and as the people who have been invested with the authority to govern by the people of this Province, if they feel and believe that is it, then I guess we can have a difference of opinion or whatever the case may be, or we may be satisfied with that.

But I think that we have placed our trust - and I can say one thing, that with this Minister of Environment, I know he is going to do what he believes is in the best interest of the Province. Hopefully, he will get the same support from his Cabinet colleagues. I really believe that. I know there have been a few minister of environment in the past couple of years that I wouldn't have the same faith in, I say to the Government House Leader, but I do have it in this minister.

The other thing - while I have the Government House Leader's attention, that concerns me - and I said it, is with respect to this mineral tax act of last December. The Minister of Natural Resources came into this House, and I was personally briefed by him, as were other members. At that time it looked like it was being done for all the right reasons. It was marginal mine companies he talked about, like St. Lawrence, and there were people trying to start small mines in the Baie Verte Peninsula. And, Mr. Speaker, you have to be supportive, you know? If that is what it takes to get mining developed and small mines, marginal mines operating, then that is fair ball. But what we are seeing right now with this Voisey Bay is it is being described as the largest in the world, one of the best finds of this century.

If that is the case, and if that is a fact - and I have no reason to doubt that it is, and I'm really happy that it is, because there would be some jobs for the people who are growing up in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador - and hopefully we will get back some significant taxes. I was just asked by the media did I think it was another Upper Churchill. I don't know. I don't really know what is (inaudible). We have to be careful that it is not, I say to the Government House Leader. So I won't argue why the minister brought that in. I will accept his word that he did it for all the right reasons that he gave us back in December. I will accept that. But now we know that is a major find and I believe that the necessary framework has to be put in place, the safeguards, to ensure that we do get a substantial amount of taxes from that development, and that is not there now in this piece of legislation.

MR. ROBERTS: The other issue to be looked at in addition to that is the question of escalation in value. That is where the Upper Churchill deal got in trouble, because it projected forward and didn't take into account the fact that - not that the costs would rise, but the cost of alternate energy sources would rise, not the value of the energy.

MR. TOBIN: That was a contract signed for sixty years or however long - ninety -

MR. ROBERTS: The fact remains that nobody saw it at the time, nobody.

MR. TOBIN: The only thing, I would say to the Government House Leader, and while I'm not about to question the Minister of Natural Resources, I will take his word for it when he brought in that piece of legislation, is that there are people in this Province - and I heard it this morning when I was driving in - who are somewhat suspicious as to whether or not government knew in December that this was a major find. Because the -

MR. SULLIVAN: Archean knew a year ago, it said, Archean Resources.

MR. ROBERTS: I don't know what Archean knew. I have no idea what Archean knew. The governments -

MR. SULLIVAN: They said it publicly.

MR. ROBERTS: So they might have. I don't know what they knew or did not know but the changes which were approved by the House (inaudible) the Strategic Economic Plan a couple of years ago. Try action item, I think it is thirty-seven.

MR. TOBIN: It is not for me to stand up and say the minister knew and misled the House, that is not for me to say. I accepted his word then, Mr. Speaker, I was briefed by him, he in no time got into the details of this major find, I accepted his word then and until someone tells me otherwise or proves to me otherwise then I will continue to accept his word but I would certainly hope that he did not intentionally mislead this House.

MR. ROBERTS: Archean may have known whenever but I saw in a story the other day, this man Chislett said they discovered it in the summer of '94. I don't know what they told people.

MR. SULLIVAN: That is almost a year ago.

MR. ROBERTS: Well the first we heard of it, it was well into November when they came in with the first finds which they announced publicly. That is what we heard.

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible) hunch last week.

MR. ROBERTS: Well they may have had a hunch. Gee, there are guys going all around Labrador with hunches now. A fellow in Corner Brook won the lottery on the weekend.

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, I know but this is no hunch now and (inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: There is no hunch with Voisey Bay (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I will tell you something, I read it in the paper.

MR. SULLIVAN: That is a reality and he indicated he knew almost a year ago.

MR. ROBERTS: My hon. friend from Ferryland is simply telling us what we all know. Yes, Voisey Bay is a reality.

MR. SULLIVAN: But you said you did not know.

MR. ROBERTS: I said I did not know whether Archean knew.

MR. SULLIVAN: No, they stated publicly, don't you believe them?

MR. ROBERTS: I don't know what Archean knew. Come on Glen -

MR. TOBIN: Ed, you missed your calling. Look at the mike turned on for you. Oh, they just turned it off.

Mr. Speaker, like I said to the minister, is that government now has to deal with that piece of legislation, they have to change it and put in place a safeguard so that we don't repeat a situation that happened years ago.

MR. ROBERTS: The burden rests with us to address the issue and bring it here to the House.

MR. TOBIN: That is right and that is all I say. Now, Mr. Speaker -

MR. ROBERTS: The hon. gentleman should be worried because we are agreeing. One of us needs to be worried, we are both agreeing.

MR. SULLIVAN: So the minister said that is being done?

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I have had an opportunity to agree with the minister on many occasions. I say to the Minister of Education and Training, I served with the Government House Leader on the Public Accounts Committee when he was chairman for a couple of years.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) committee.

MR. TOBIN: Yes we did and we worked rather well together as a committee. As a committee we worked rather well together. There was no -

MR. SULLIVAN: That is a first.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You are not getting the Government House Leader, forget it. You are not getting a government appointment.

MR. ROBERTS: I don't know, after we give my friend from Grand Bank one we have one left for the fellow from Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I say to the Member for Grand Bank, that if I wanted a government appointment I would feel fairly sure that the Government House Leader or the Premier would make sure I would get it.

MR. SULLIVAN: Double-dipping.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, now the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs just came back, it is my feeling that the minister is about to announce a capital works program.

AN HON. MEMBER: No, tomorrow morning.

MR. TOBIN: Probably it is tomorrow morning but I will let the minister speak for his department. I have more confidence in the minister speaking for his department than I have with you speaking for yours according to the answer you gave this evening.

So I don't know if that is the case or not or if the minister can tell us how much money -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: That is the only way that you are going to get to see the minister is if he gets off the track.

MR. TOBIN: The Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs is about to, I understand, announce some provincial funding over and above the infrastructure program.

MR. SULLIVAN: What?

MR. TOBIN: Some additional funding.

MR. SULLIVAN: That will be a miracle.

MR. TOBIN: Yes, some millions of dollars I have been told and I don't know if the minister can confirm that today or whether he cannot.

The minister is at his crossword puzzles again, Mr. Speaker, the minister is not paying attention again. He is at his crossword puzzles. I heard about it on Open Line, I read about it in the paper and today he is at it again.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who?

MR. TOBIN: The Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs over doing his crossword puzzles again. Assisted by the way, by the Member for Trinity North.

AN HON. MEMBER: The way I look at it, it is better to be in here doing crosswords then not being in here at all.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh, that is debatable.

MR. SULLIVAN: No, that is the wrong attitude. No, it is better to be in here doing crosswords then out there doing crosswords.

MR. TOBIN: Now, Mr. Speaker, the minister said it is better to be in here doing crosswords then not be in here at all. Now I would say that he does miss the Member for St. John's South, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations because I only seen him here a couple of times this year. I think he is probably talking about him.

Can the minister tell us whether or not there is going to be capital funding for Municipal and Provincial Affairs announced over and above the infrastructure program and what it will be?

MR. REID: Twenty-five million.

MR. TOBIN: Twenty-five million, and will that be announced within the next two weeks? Would that be a fair assessment? Before the middle of June anyway, before the middle of June?

AN HON. MEMBER: That is a good guess (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Okay. Mr. Speaker, that is not a lot of money I would say to the minister but it is better than nothing.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: It was supposed to be thirty, he is going to announce twenty-five; he kept a little five for himself.

MR. TOBIN: Well, Mr. Speaker, I hope I am included in the twenty-five and the five because there are municipalities out there today that are crying and I can say that in my own constituency, in my own district for example, Fox Cove - Mortier I would say to the minister, one year they put in place and spent a half-million dollars I think it was; they brought water from the pond to the road and put in one fire hydrant and never connected up a house.

MR. EFFORD: Where?

MR. TOBIN: Down in Fox Cove - Mortier. Then Mr. Speaker - the minister is at those crossword puzzles again - and I am trying to speak on behalf of my constituents. See, over at the crossword puzzles again, Mr. Speaker, and the right people are in the gallery too, looking down over his shoulders.

Mr. Speaker, they spent half-a-million dollars to bring the water

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)?

MR. TOBIN: That was down Jackson -

Mr. Speaker, they spent half-a-million dollars to bring the water -

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I don't think it is right, on behalf of my constituents, for me to be in this House, trying to express their cause to the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, and he is over there doing crossword puzzles. Mr. Speaker, I will tell you something else, that I intend to make that known publicly this evening.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TOBIN: I intend, Mr. Speaker, to make that public this evening, that while I was standing in this Legislature, trying to express concerns of the people of Fox Cove - Mortier, the minister totally ignored the comments and the views that I expressed on them, sat with the Member for Trinity North and continued to do crossword puzzles.

MR. GRIMES: That is not true.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: If it is, you won't make any decisions next year.

AN HON. MEMBER: He said they are putting in twelve million this year.

MR. TOBIN: Yes. If it is he won't make any decisions on water and sewer next year, if there is a Question Period or two left after the announcement is made, I can tell him that.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, will there be another minister?

MR. TOBIN: Another minister gone.

Mr. Speaker, I say to the minister, if he would ignore the crossword puzzle for a few minutes and let me tell you about Fox Cove - Mortier; we have dealt with it before but they spent half-a-million dollars -

MR. EFFORD: Not a cent are you going to get.

MR. TOBIN: What's that?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Not a cent are you going to get.

AN HON. MEMBER: Praise him up a bit.

MR. SULLIVAN: There is nothing to praise him up about.

MR. TOBIN: You have to praise the minister to get something for your district?

MR. SULLIVAN: Isn't that what the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation is saying?

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, it is a job to praise the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreations, I can tell you that, the old weeping willow.

Mr. Speaker, they brought the water to the road and they put in one fire hydrant and it was two years, three years in a row not another cent.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Not one, not one. They brought the water from the pond to the road and put in one fire hydrant and never connected up a house. The minister knows that's the truth and then the council -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, what do all the dogs do? What an answer. I have to have that recorded in Hansard in case there is money for him this year, the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs and the Minister of Social Services, what do all the dogs do? Mr. Speaker, I have that in Hansard now. Came to the main highway, crossed the road, put in one fire hydrant, three years, not a cent, not a nickel.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Oh, Fox Cove - Mortier is a fairly large community.

Then, Mr. Speaker, the council resigned - they got frustrated and resigned - so last year they sent, I forget his title, Mr. Warren from Municipal and Provincial Affairs, who went down and met with the council three or four times at public meetings. I went to some of them as well.

MR. SULLIVAN: Keith Warren, regional director.

AN HON. MEMBER: A good man.

MR. TOBIN: Regional director; he is a good fellow, yes, a good man, from Burin, actually. Then, the minister -

Mr. Speaker, will someone take that paper from the minister and let him listen to what I have to say instead of doing the crossword puzzles?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: No, I am serious. I say to the minister, I am very serious about this. I want to express the concerns of the people of Fox Cove - Mortier, and I think it is more important for you to listen to them than it is to do crossword puzzles.

Then you sent out -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes, we have discussed it. I have been in your office discussing it, and seeing you about it.

MR. REID: You were never in my office in your life, never come in (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I tell the minister now that he is getting on with that, I was in his office but you cannot get in his office all the time because he is usually on a trip down to Florida. He is usually down in Florida. Now, if he wants me to pursue it further, I will ask him some questions about how he got to Florida and where he stayed, if he wants to get on with that stuff; I will tell you what I said.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Don't you make fun of the people of Fox Cove - Mortier either, and don't say that I wasn't in your office when I have been there with councils from my district.

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, do you know what he is accusing me of doing? I never said anything about the people of Fox Cove - Mortier.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I would ask the hon. member to get on with the debate.

MR. TOBIN: Then the minister sent down his assistant deputy minister, Mr. Colbourne, to meet with the people of Fox Cove - Mortier who were concerned about the water problems and everything else. I ask the minister, will he do something in his capital budget this year for that community based on what has been brought back by his regional director and by his assistant deputy minister?

I say to the minister: As a result of the efforts of these two gentlemen, there was a council formed down there, and it is a council that is very aggressive, and out doing the things that need to be done. There are other councils in my district, Port au Bras, that need continuation of funding, Lewin's Cove, Burin, Winterland, Marystown, Parkers Cove, Rushoon, Baine Harbour, Red Harbour, the list goes on. All the districts are entitled to money.

MR. REID: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: What is wrong with that? Are they not just as much entitled to it as anybody else? You haven't been giving any to us; you might as well give it -

MR. REID: If I didn't have to give Len Simms $6 million for Grand Falls -

MR. SULLIVAN: You didn't give it to Len.

MR. REID: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: You didn't give it to him; you gave it to the people of the Province, the people who pay your taxes.

MR. REID: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Anyway, Mr. Speaker, I would ask the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs if he would give serious consideration to the communities that I mentioned, and others in my district.

MR. REID: Yes.

MR. TOBIN: Okay, Mr. Speaker; there are other issues.

MR. FUREY: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: What is that, Chuck?

MR. FUREY: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: That is fair.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: What is that?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I do have to say that I find it somewhat irritating when you stand up in the House to express the concerns of your constituents and the minister ignores you and continues to do crossword puzzles. I have to say that; it has to be on the public record. People up in the gallery know; they can look down and see what he is doing. What are you doing? Crossword puzzles, reading his horoscope.

MR. REID: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I would rather he left than stay in the House and do crossword puzzles. I would much rather he left than stay in the House and do crossword puzzles. But I hope he is here tomorrow for Question Period.

There are other issues. Like Works, Services -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: What is that?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) sit down and give somebody else a chance.

AN HON. MEMBER: There is nobody yanking him down.

MR. TOBIN: They all left, Art. Mr. Speaker, Works, Services and Transportation. We had questions today in this Legislature about the lay-offs, the condition that has been brought upon the people of this Province by -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave!

MR. TOBIN: By leave, Mr. Speaker?

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Grand Bank.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Sorry? Did the minister make a comment before he left?

MR. SULLIVAN: He said he had a million and a half ready and he just took it away.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Give it to me. Thank you.

MR. TOBIN: Tom Harris must have the contract down there, has he?

AN HON. MEMBER: No, Tom is not down there at all (inaudible).

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I understand what is going on here. A pretty heated debate between the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs and the Member for Burin - Placentia West, a pretty heated exchange. Quite obviously the Member for Burin - Placentia West doesn't feel that his district is being treated properly by the minister. Of course we are talking about lack of confidence again, this is what this debate is all about, lack of confidence, non-confidence in the government. That is what the debate is about.

Before I really get started I want to follow up where the Member for Burin - Placentia West was talking to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation wants two names now to put to work somewhere on the roads. He is asking if he wants two names.

AN HON. MEMBER: Two Liberals.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Two Liberals, two Liberal names. He is saying to the minister's buddies: Get me two names so I can put them to work on the roads. That is why, Mr. Speaker, there is no confidence in this minister and in this government.

MR. EFFORD: You don't expect me to ask for two Tories, do you?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, I certainly do.

MR. EFFORD: Do you think I am sick or something?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I'm not going to answer that, I say to the minister, whether I think you are sick. That wouldn't be nice for me now for the public record, to put into the public record what I really think of the minister, whether he is sick or not. I have to say to the minister, don't get upset now if I tell you what I think of you because you asked the question. Unlike the minister, when someone asks me a question I answer it. I answer the question.

I would answer the question the minister asked me: What do you think, I'm sick or something?

MR. TOBIN: He was never well.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I'm not going to say that. He was well once but it wasn't for long. The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation was well once but it didn't last long enough.

The Member for Placentia raised some very serious questions today in Question Period about the lay-offs in the minister's Department of Works, Services and Transportation and the implications for the people of this Province, I say to the minister. He can try to slough that off all he likes with his short answers and sitting in his seat. That is a reason why the people of this Province have lost confidence in the government, Mr. Speaker. Because what this minister has done in the Department of Works, Services and Transportation has been nothing short of criminal. Nothing short of criminal, the actions that this minister has taken in the Department of Works, Services and Transportation.

First of all, by doing away with the mandatory inspections, I say to him, by doing away with the motor vehicle inspections.

MR. EFFORD: What should I do?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You should have left it as it was, I say to the minister. What he is doing now, Mr. Speaker, with the lay-offs in his department, particularly with snow plough operations, where you are going to have one operator on some of that snow clearing equipment -

MR. EFFORD: Not on some of them, on all of them.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I'm telling you something, you are asking for big trouble, I say to the minister. I just hope, I say to the minister in all sincerity, that come next winter the minister doesn't have to be raked over the coals like he had to be this past winter. If he takes the actions that he is proposing to take with the operations of snow clearing equipment in this Province, this minister is going to have a lot to answer for this winter.

He got all out of sorts with the Member for Mount Pearl last winter but I tell you something, if this minister doesn't

MR. EFFORD: It's no good talking about what happened in Mount Pearl.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I am just telling you what happened this winter, and I predict for the minister what is going to happen this coming winter if you proceed with your actions in your department, of one operator on some of those snow clearing machines, I say to the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Tell us about your weekend.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I will tell you about that later on.

If you put one operator on those flyers, particular the flyer, the fast moving snow clearing machine, if you take off the wing operator, the minister is asking for big trouble. Now, he can joke about it all he likes, and I hope ministers and members over there realize how serious an action this minister is taking.

DR. HULAN: They knocked down one of my fence posts.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: It doesn't matter about taking your fence post because the minister will replace that, I say to the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture. If they knock down the post of your fence they can replace it, but if you knock down one person in this Province you can't replace him. And that's what is going to happen this winter.

MR. EFFORD: No.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I tell the minister, I know more about that than he does. These people are out in blinding snowstorms, can't see ten feet in front of them, and you are going to have one operator on that machine this winter, where you have always had two, and you tell me there is going to be no problem. What do you know about it, I ask him? Get your head out of the sand for god sake.

MR. EFFORD: There is no sand, just snow.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I say to the minister it should be in the snow, and I tell you, if something happens on those highways this winter because of your actions, your head is going to be in the snow because I am going to put it there.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Now, you can take that how you like.

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, if you were listening, the hon. member opposite issued a threat to an hon. member on this side of the House.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

To the point of order. I don't believe the tone and the manner in which the hon. the Member for Grand Bank made the statement was in any form of threat. There is no point of order.

MR. EFFORD: What!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Grand Bank.

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

The minister just a minute before said that his head wasn't in the sand, it was in the snow. Now, that is what he said. He said that, and I said that if anything happens to anybody on the highways of this Province this winter because of his actions his head would be in the snow this winter.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. EFFORD: That is not what you said.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Hansard will show what I said.

The thing is it is very serious, I say to the minister. What he is doing is very serious. Now, there were nine or ten deaths on our highways this past winter.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) not killed.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, there were, the former Minister of Justice knows that, the part Minister of Justice, the acting Minister of Justice.

MR. SULLIVAN: The fugitive from Justice.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, not the fugitive from Justice, that is unparliamentary.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Control yourself, boy.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I am controlling myself, I say to the Member for Eagle River a little better than he can control himself. It is serious. Do you know the problem? The problem, I say to the hon. the Member for Eagle River, is that you people don't recognize a problem when you see one. Those machines cannot operate with one operator. You can operate them but you are taking an awful chance. You have a safety concern for the motoring public, you have a safety concern for pedestrians, and you have a safety concern for the operators themselves, I say to the minister, out on that road by themselves. There are three safety concerns.

Now, if anything happens, because of the minister's actions, to either one of those groups of people, he is going to have to answer, that is my point. The minister will be accountable. The minister will be called to task in this House. That is what I am telling the minister. In a round about way it is what I told him a minute or so ago, but I hope he understood.

MR. EFFORD: That wasn't very round about, that was right direct.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Yes, you lost control.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I say to the Member for Eagle River, I do lose control occasionally, not continuously like the Member for Eagle River, out of control all of the time.

We are talking about non-confidence in the government. We look at the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. That is when the people of this Province lost confidence in this government. That is when the first crack in the armour of this government really came, with that botched attempt to privatize Hydro. Up until that time they really had hoodwinked the people, but that was the first crack, and oh, how the crack has widened, I say to the members opposite, how it has widened. It has gone on from there.

We can go back to amalgamation, the Workers' Compensation scandal -

MS. VERGE: You mean the Gordon (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The Workers' Compensation scandal -

MS. VERGE: Part II.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, Parts I and II. First with Seabright they were shown in spades how there was a real problem with Seabright, but what did this government do? They went and made it worse. They appointed Eric Gullage; they went and made it worse, but it is typical of this government. They get a big problem, they go ahead and say they are going to resolve it, but then they make the matter worse.

How many times on the privatization of Hydro, did they worsen their own case? How many times did they have to show the Premier on television, reminding him of what he really said in the debate, and each time it got worse and worse and public opinion rose up against him.

AN HON. MEMBER: Three more votes.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Just three more - three more Erics - Gordon Seabright, Eric, Jeffrey Brace -

MR. SULLIVAN: Mary O'Brien.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mary O'Brien, and now we have Ralph Wiseman and who else?

AN HON. MEMBER: You only needed three of them.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Three of them. You talk about confidence, patronage appointments.

MR. TOBIN: Now Jeff Brace is upset; he is going to (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Jeff Brace will get his day in court with his government; don't you ever worry about that. Jeff Brace will have his day in court with this government sitting opposite here, whom he has been a very strong supporter of, by the way.

MR. SULLIVAN: Sean Hanrahan is not happy with Tom Murphy either.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: How could anyone be happy with Tom Murphy? A couple of weeks ago I was getting off the elevator. I went out to the House to take the elevator and Tom was going in front of me, and he wheeled around on his heels to come back and said, `My god, I don't even know where I left my truck.' I said, `Well, `Tom', how could we expect you to remember where you left your truck? You don't even know where you live. You don't even know where your principal place of residence is.' That is enough about the minister, because he is not here.

MR. DUMARESQUE: You won't know where you are sitting in a couple of weeks.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Won't know what?

MR. DUMARESQUE: You won't know where you are sitting in a couple of weeks.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I say to the Member for Eagle River now that if only he could get as comfortable as to where he sits.

Mr. Speaker, the Trans City scandal, I was looking in the paper - someone took it - just a minute ago, and I saw something very interesting. It is hard to keep a paper these days since Voisey Bay. They are all looking at the stock market, especially the Member for Menihek and others. You can't hold on to a paper; they are checking their stocks. I was over earlier and the Government House Leader was going through something over there, looking at his stock.

MR. ROBERTS: The hon. gentleman is not going to take advice on the stock market from me.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, I gave some to you but you wouldn't accept it.

MR. ROBERTS: Maybe I should accept it.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, talking about Trans City and that scandal on which the court has ruled against the government, that scandal and very interesting here at the bottom of today's Evening Telegram, 54 per cent said `yes', Mr. Speaker; 54 per cent said `yes' to a public inquiry.

AN HON. MEMBER: Fifty-two per cent said they will vote Liberal.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Fifty-four per cent said `yes' to a public inquiry into the awarding of hospital contracts to Trans City Holdings, 54 per cent; 11 per cent said `no', 54 per cent said `yes' should there be a public inquiry into the awarding of hospital contracts to Trans City Holdings? Fifty-four per cent said `yes', I say to the Premier and to the government, 54 per cent.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) for Confederation.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, and we joined Confederation with 52 per cent. Now, if we could join Confederation with 52 per cent, don't you think we should have a public inquiry into Trans City with 54. per cent, I say to the minister? But of course, with the minister's twisted logic, he can't understand that, and I am going to ask the Member for Waterford - Kenmount to stop asking the minister complicated questions. He has bamboozled him on ABE, he can't follow the questions at all, tries to be smart, talking about confidence in the government or lack of confidence, tries to be smart; the Member for Waterford - Kenmount blinds the minister with education data and information, and the minister's only way around it is to try to be flippant to say `yes' and sit down, to say `no' and sit down.

MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Danny, it took you six years to get out of the back.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, there is a good debate going on here between the Member for Eagle River and the Member for Ferryland and I must say I am really enjoying the debate here, Mr. Speaker, I am really enjoying the debate between the two members, even though neither one of them has been recognized, I say to the Member for Eagle River.

MR. SULLIVAN: And Danny is the only guy who sat in the same seat for six years in here.

MR. CAREEN: He is immature. How immature is the Minister of Fisheries (inaudible).

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Speaking about confidence or lack thereof. The Newfoundland Dockyard situation, Mr. Speaker, not a peep; everything was alright; don't be concerned and what happened? What happened? After the Member for Kilbride and others on this side, with the assistance of the union, brought the issue to the forefront, it was amazing to see the walk-out of the meeting they had a week or so ago, there was the Premier, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology and the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, how the three of them were so concerned and how they were going to take up the fight for the Newfoundland Dockyard. What a public relation show it was; what a public relation show.

Oh how committed we are and we are not going to let this close but, the barn door was already closed, and then we come in here for the private members debate on the resolution and at the very time that we were debating it people were getting their lay-off notices and the government knew full well while we were debating what was happening down there. They knew in advance, they knew when they met with the union, they knew that the writing was on the wall and they came out of the meeting like the big fight we were going to put up on behalf of the Newfoundland Dockyard, and you wonder then why people have lost confidence in this government.

Do you think the workers at the Newfoundland Dockyard have any confidence in this government that they are going to defend them and take up the fight for them? Do you really think the Newfoundland Dockyard workers have any confidence in this government, do you think they have any left? Do you think anybody in the Province has any confidence in this government after they failed in the privatization of Hydro? Do you think they have any confidence in this government after getting rid of Gordon Seabright, whom I would say was competent, he at least could write a report. He was competent and he was qualified. And what did they do? They replaced him with Eric Gullage who was not competent, so you talk about confidence or lack thereof. Then you say, what about the Trans City issue again, the big letter by the minister for St. John's Centre and the other four former ministers who were not provided with what they thought was the proper and adequate information? They said information was withheld from them in making a decision on the Trans City contract, and then people said: what is going on with this government?

Here is a Premier who orchestrated a decision that was not in the best interest of the people of the Province, and what do we find a few weeks later, a press release by the Premier saying: everything is fine now, all five are satisfied. What do you think that does to the confidence of the people in the government I say to the Member for Eagle River?

MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Any day now I say to the Member for Eagle River.

How does the song go? I shall be relieved. The song says, any day now I shall be relieved, I say to the Member for Eagle River. And how relieved I would be if only the Member for Eagle River would be quiet, Mr. Speaker. I shall be relieved. I would be instantly relieved if Harry the dog would stop yapping over there.

Now, talking about security of positions I say to the Member for Eagle River. Talking about being secure in your position, Mr. Speaker, there is one thing I do not have to do. I do not have to issue threats to the Premier's dog nor do I have to take the Premier's dog for a walk to feel secure, but that is what that member has to do.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You will have one I assure you, but you will not be allowed to speak. What the Member for Eagle River does not realize is that the Premier is now up in his office listening to him. He is listening to him because the Premier is soon going to have another shake up over there, I tell the Member for Eagle River. I will let him in on a bit of information. There is soon going to be another shuffle over there, and the position that is first on the block is the one that the Member for Eagle River really wants. The only person who wants it more than the Member for Eagle River is the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MS. VERGE: And what about the Member for Fogo?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh, he has given up. The Member for Fogo has given up completely. He quit. He has given up. The man is defeated, he is broken. His pride is hurt. Can you blame him, a man who served the Liberal Party for so many years, and served as President of the Liberal Party? He thought for sure when he campaigned in the last election in Fogo that he was going to be the new Minister of Fisheries. He got elected on that, by the way. He got elected in Fogo: I am going to be your new Minister of Fisheries, and the closest he got to the position of the Minister of Fisheries is that he sits behind him.

MR. TOBIN: He was President of the Party and he had that prestigious position. He had that other position, that prestigious position of House Leader.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: He had the very prestigious position, that of Opposition House Leader. The Member for Fogo is a broken man. I say to the Member for Eagle River that you should temper yourself, keep cool, because the Premier is monitoring your behaviour on a daily basis. You might not know but there are reports that go to this Premier every day about you. Not only about you but more so about you, because there is more to report about you.

MR. SULLIVAN: And most of them are going from that side.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh, all are from that side. The reports are going from his own caucus. The report has been consistent on the Member for Eagle River. He is still not ready, Premier. He is still to immature. He is still to juvenile.

MR. TOBIN: Now, I heard another story, that he is bringing reports to the Premier every day about a couple of ministers.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: But the Premier knows the dog story. The Premier has been made aware of the threats on his dog.

AN HON. MEMBER: On who?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The Premier's dog by the Member for Eagle River, Harry. There is no credence put into the Member for Eagle River's reports. He is finished. Now, when the Premier makes a shuffle and gives the flick to the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture, which is coming as soon as the House closes, he is going out of Cabinet. He is going out, gone.

MR. CAREEN: Bill, when the Premier says bow Danny says wow.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: That is probably about it, that sums it up. I would say to my colleague from Placentia, that the Member for Eagle Rivers sense of smell, I would say, is greater than Harry's smell when it comes to a Cabinet seat. When it comes to a Cabinet seat he can smell it more so than Harry can. So there is no confidence in the Member for Eagle River. He fits in perfectly with this government at this point.

MR. SULLIVAN: He is the bow-wow assistant isn't he?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I see the Member for Fortune - Hermitage is down trying out the seat and waiting. The Member for Fortune - Hermitage is getting a bit comfortable there now. He knows it is up for grabs. You tried out the seat of the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture, I say to the Member for Fortune - Hermitage because you know he is going. Yes, I can understand why he is speaking to the Minister of Health.

MR. SULLIVAN: I heard him saying: Are you still in the 500 Club, Lloyd?'

MR. W. MATTHEWS: It is obvious he is, look at him. I would say he is in the 5000 Club. Look at the tan he has, the minister.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: If I am still in it I am the only one.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You look like you belong in it though. You look like you are still in it but I was really surprised with the Minister of Health today when the Member for Ferryland was questioning him, he turned so pale, the colour drained out of him. I said to him you look so sick.

AN HON. MEMBER: If you had any pride you would have resigned (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I would have resigned if I had any pride?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, any pride (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well maybe I don't have any pride, I say to the member, perhaps I was not born with any.

You see the Member for Eagle River, the problem is that he does not understand. I want to ask you a question -

MR. DUMARESQUE: I know that the Member for (inaudible) has to go and research the Standing Orders so he might have (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well I hope he does, he is good at that.

MR. DUMARESQUE: No, he is not.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: He has a better understanding of Standing Orders than I do. It is a confession that I have to make. He does very well with it.

The point I have to say to the Member for Eagle River is that I believe - now I am not sure - the Premier appointed him to his position, I believe. I am not sure now. So with my position as well, I get appointed by the leader.

MR. TOBIN: No, but he is appointed by Order in Council.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I get appointed by my leader. I just did not carry on, I had to be reappointed.

MR. SULLIVAN: You don't understand the process.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well that is fine, that is her choice, she knows that. The same as the Premier can give the Member for Eagle River the flick and bring someone else in, I say to him. That is the parliamentary process.

Mr. Speaker, speaking of confidence in the government, I must say I was really taken back yesterday, Mr. Speaker -

MR. ROBERTS: Not far enough back, I say.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I am not going to admit how far taken back I was yesterday, I say to the Government House Leader. But I was so surprised when I read the paper and saw the confession by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology which really surprised me, for a minister who I thought was going to be our next Premier, I really did. I thought he was going to be our next Premier. I thought he was a shoe-in over there once the Premier leaves but he has tarnished himself now with this admission, his confession of the partisan appointments of those executive assistants.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, I don't, I say to him. I don't have an understanding of that, no, I don't. If I only understood as much as the hon. member thinks he understands, I would be well away. I didn't think that once an executive assistant was appointed - I say to my good colleague from Burin - Placentia West and the Government House Leader - that he or she was guaranteed a job for the life of the government. I thought that with a political appointment, an executive assistant was appointed and the minister got the flick or resigned, that executive assistant was gone, or the incoming minister, a new minister, would take that executive assistant, fair enough.

MR. TOBIN: An executive assistant is a political appointment.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: That is what I am saying; you are agreeing with me. We are agreeing for a change. You and I are agreeing, for a change.

My point is -

MS. VERGE: Isn't it important that we can trust the people administering all of (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, for the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology to accommodate three executive assistants with Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador and whoever else, EDGE - thank God for EDGE. Now we know what is meant by EDGE. We know what the intent of the EDGE legislation is now, I say to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology. We know what it was designed for, the EDGE legislation. It was to give an edge to executive assistants. You don't have to go through the Public Service Commission to get jobs with ENL or EDGE. If you are an executive assistant to a minister, a former executive assistant, come on in. The door is always open. The price is right. Come on in; you have the edge. You worked for Pat Ralph; come on in, Rick. `Come on down', Bob Barker says. Come on down, Ralph. Come on down, Larry; and on and on it goes. The price is right.

MR. TOBIN: Larry is not a bad fellow.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh, Larry is a good fellow, competent, personable, great musician; I love listening to him play and sing. There is only one problem with Larry; he supports the wrong party.

I can see it now. I know what he is doing over at Charlie's Bar with me now every second or third weekend. He knows the government is going to change, and it is going to be so hard for me to say no to Larry. Larry is setting himself up, you see. He knows that she is changing.

AN HON. MEMBER: You know you would not do the same thing, would you?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: What, to Larry? All I would be doing to Larry is keeping him in the same position. I wouldn't be saying, `Come on down, Larry. You were an executive assistant; come on down'; or to Ralph, `Too bad about Pat, Ralph, but you come on.'

MR. TOBIN: He is not Larry.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I am sorry?

MR. TOBIN: He is no Larry.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh, I know he is not a Larry. We won't get into that.

There are some political appointments and partisan appointments that you have more tolerance for than others, because believe it or not there are some competent Liberals - none in the benches over there, none in the benches -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, that is going a bit too far. There are one or two of them that I like.

AN HON. MEMBER: Bill?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, Sir?

AN HON. MEMBER: What are you trying to say, Chuck (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Chuck what?

MR. CRANE: What are you saying, that Chuck took a course in Haig Young?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, all I can say to the Member for Harbour Grace is that the Member for Harbour Grace is now where Haig Young was. They are now ready to do with you what they did with Haig Young; and, of course, the real Haig Young of the Liberal Party is sitting right here, the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. That is him there. Now, we know what they are getting ready to do with him, in spades. I am talking about the electorate, not me, the electorate.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: By leave?

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

MR. EFFORD: No leave.

MR. SPEAKER: No leave.

The hon. the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am hoping there are no fire alarms going to go this time. The last time I stood we had a little trouble with the fire alarm.

Mr. Speaker, I will get a couple of minutes, anyway, before we adjourn the debate this evening to talk on this non-confidence vote. We could certainly go on for days and days and days on a non-confidence vote, but just to pick up on one point where my hon. colleague left off, the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture, you talk about a non-confidence vote - I was amazed, struck amazed as one man would say on Monday when I heard the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture say on VOCM Radio: he is going to bat for the fishermen of Newfoundland, he is going up to take on Mr. Tobin and straighten out this whole mess on TAGS, he is going to take care of us now.

Mr. Speaker, the same minister is standing up talking about how the process was perfect, and how he sent up the Member for Eagle River to make sure the advance work was done so he could set it all up with the minister in Ottawa, but lo and behold, the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture stands up Monday in the media and says he is going to bat for the fishermen in Newfoundland. If he is going to bat, Mr. Speaker, it is with a fly swatter because there is no bat. First of all, he has to send up the Member for Eagle River to do his advance work as if there is an election going on, but what a joke.

The Member for Eagle River just talked about the shift a little while ago with the flip-flop. He stood up the Monday before last and said how he was pleased with the process and how he had a brief discussion with the minister in Ottawa, and what clout he has with the minister in Ottawa and how the process was ideal and everything was floating just fine. I wonder how much the minister really knew, Mr. Speaker, and I wonder about the `love to be' or `would want to be' Ministers of Fisheries, the Member for Eagle River and the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation and the Member for Fogo, all these `want to be' Ministers of Fisheries and how he wouldn't know, as one fellow in my district said to me: he wouldn't know a cod from a halibut when it comes to the fishery, but now, all of a sudden, one week later, he is going up to go to bat for all the people who are fooled up on the process on the TAGS appeal.

The truth is, if the Member for Eagle River did his job when he went to Ottawa, when he was sent up to do the advance work, he would have told Mr. Tobin that the truth is, that Mr. Tobin in all his glory and heroism the last few weeks on the turbot, has lost control of the TAGS, and he would be the first one to tell you that the minister says now, that the truth is, the final fate of the fishermen in Newfoundland and the TAGS appeal is right in the lap of Lloyd Axworthy and HRD. I have even said it in the House and the minister asked me for my sources. DFO officials have said point blank and they would probably say it in public, that the truth is they have no more to do with the TAGS appeal. By the time you go through seven or eight recordings on the phone, they are sent right back to HRD again and now HRD won't accept the 1-800 number; so what I did - and the Member for Eagle River knows bloody well it is true - I decided to take the same route that any man would call to get an answer on the TAGS appeal.

I did that very thing, Mr. Speaker, and ended up with seven recordings before I finally talked to a person, one-on-one; seven recordings, just to go through the process to see where we would end up and then all of a sudden we get the Member for Eagle River and the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture - I mean, you could really mix up the letters in that pretty easily - saying: no, no, the process is fine; there is no problem, I had a brief discussion with the minister in Ottawa. He had a brief discussion alright. It was fairly brief because he does not know how to talk about fisheries that's the whole problem, so he sends the Member for Eagle River up to do his advance work and he comes back waving a red flag and all of a sudden, what happens, the same as last year: up goes the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture again, for another flight.

You remember last year, Mr. Speaker, about the same time, I went to Ottawa to speak with the member for my district, the Minister of Fisheries, like I do every year to talk on issues, especially about the fishery and lo and behold, he gets a phone call from the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture saying: What are you doing speaking with the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay, you haven't even met with the minister from Newfoundland yet, and I think the Minister of Fisheries said to him: Are you really the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture for Newfoundland, and who are you supposed to be? He was all upset because I was up talking to my member, the Minister of Fisheries, and then of course, next, the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture, and then all of a sudden, the Member for Eagle River, up he goes again and when he comes back, up goes the minister again. So he goes up and does his advance work; makes sure Mr. Tobin understands all the problems before the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture even gets there.

Oh, the big racket in caucus.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Oh, the fingers were being pointed then, Mr. Speaker. Now when it comes to agriculture, Mr. Speaker, it took the member -and all of a sudden the Member for Eagle River comes up with all of these stories from the leadership. I wonder who is feeding him his stories because half he has told so far has no truth to it whatsoever. He makes up the big stories - so we go along with him of course in jest to make sure we keep the Member for Eagle River happy but the truth is, Mr. Speaker, he knows nothing of what went on down there really. He made up some stories, some fabricated stories that he sends back into the Caucus - so they are looking for something to cling to but the truth is they know the tide is turning, the winds of change are blowing, Mr. Speaker. They know their problems. They know, it is right in front of their faces so they fabricate some stories about me and the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes. They hate to see us go and get along so well. They hate to see us so together over here and united. That is the problem, especially the Member for Eagle River, so he takes a little blurb from the media and grows on that and hopes that he has something, clinging to it. He is hoping that he has something to cling to so he can bring us down. He hates to see the unity and all of us getting along so well.

He compares us to his Caucus, Mr. Speaker, when he comes out of his Caucus and the red faces and the fingers being pointed in the hallways at the ministers, Mr. Speaker. Oh my, he hates to see it, that is the problem. He came out of the Caucus meeting the other day: We had a great Caucus meeting. They all came out ready for the House of Assembly and the Premier was in the hallway with the fingers pointing, two ministers came out red faced and leaving for the stairs out in the front of the building, Mr. Speaker. They hate to see the unity over here so they find a little detail in the media. They hate to see the little detail in the media and they cling on it, they build on it and they are scrapping away at it all the time.

Mr. Speaker, it is really funny to see the Minister of FFA stand in his place and then you hear him on VOCM on the next Monday. I will take the Hansard, Mr. Speaker, maybe tomorrow and go though it but I am sure that it went something to the effect that the minister said: I don't know what the Member for Bay Verte - White Bay is talking about, the appeals process is running just smoothly. I don't know what the problem is. I talked with the minister this morning in Ottawa. There are no problems with the TAGS appeal. Meanwhile, the Member for Ferryland straightened him out on that pretty quick, Mr. Speaker. He straightened him out pretty quick when he gave the statistics, as he well knows, the Member for Ferryland, 1,500 people still waiting on Level II, 200 people still not out of Level I and then we have an independent review board, the big saviour of the TAGS appeals, the independent review board but nobody can go and represent themselves. What a farce, Mr. Speaker.

Then what was it he said, Mr. Speaker, that he is like a Bulloch chain-saw, he never cuts out? Guaranteed, it goes on even when it has water in the gas tank. That is what he is like, a Bulloch chain-saw that has water in the gas tank, it keeps on going and going. The Member for Eagle River could do a commercial for the Energizer battery. He is like the pink rabbit, Mr. Speaker, steady go. All you have to do is change his battery and he will say the same thing over and over.

Just to change the subject before we clue up for this evening, to come away from the TAGS appeal, and the great job now - the Minister of FFA is gone to Ottawa to solve all the problems and get the whole appeals process straightened out. What a great job he is going to do now, going to save them all! Here we have people in this Province, over 2,000 people waiting to get an answer. Whether it is right or wrong, or in their favour they don't really care at this point, Mr. Speaker. They have boxes packed and they are going to join the 4,500 who have already left this year. That is what these 1,500 people are doing, sitting home with boxes packed, waiting for an answer on a TAGS appeal process on which our minister responsible for fisheries says there is no problem, it's running smoothly. Then the next day he is on the radio saying he is going to Ottawa to straighten it all out.

There are 1,700 appeals and 200 still at level one. There are over 2,000 people in this Province stuck in limbo not knowing where to go, Mr. Speaker. The simple truth is, if the Member for Eagle River could use the same energy in his mouth and go to Ottawa and tell Mr. Tobin what he really thinks of the process - instead of calling him the big hero, and praising the minister because of his turbot wars. The truth of that will all come out in the end, too, the big turbot hero. The real nuts and bolts of that will come out, too. Mr. Speaker, there are people in this Province who would like our minister in Ottawa, besides talking about the turbot war, to tell the truth about the appeals process, so maybe we will get those answers.

Mr. Speaker, just to change the subject for the last couple of minutes this evening, before I adjourn debate, I want to talk about Adult Basic Education and the decisions in education these past few weeks. It seems like it is another issue that is being ignored by the government, an issue that will not go away, the issue of adult basic education.

I had the opportunity of instructing adult basic education for about a year or a year-and-a-half and I can't for the life of me see any government, provincial or federal, who would support anything that would reduce the number of people who go through adult basic education. Either at the provincial level or the federal level, they should fully support the people who rallied and demonstrated out here in the halls a few days ago. These are people who just barely got through school, who for some reason had to drop out, and now all of a sudden they get their legs cut out from under them when they are trying to further themselves and better their education.

Adult basic education, what a target for a government which decides to cut! And at whose expense? These people have simply said, `We want to further our education and be productive members of society as opposed to...' I guess the Member for Eagle River would agree with that, too, because he agreed with everything else the government did, so the Member for Eagle River is telling me that he agrees that Adult Basic Education, the cuts - provincial and federal should support that type of cut, Mr. Speaker? These are the people who are telling the government: We want to be productive members of society and not be dependent so much on government, and go out and make a living for themselves, and they get the legs cut out from under them, as one person said out here in the lobby a few days ago. These are the people. Now, how can any government, provincial, federal, municipal, support that type of a cut?

It is an investment into the future. Even if we pay out this year more in Adult Basic Education, it will save in the long run because those people won't end up on the welfare rolls or the unemployment rolls for the next ten years. They will be self-sufficient and independent. The argument for those people has to be made strong by both levels of government, and this Provincial Government have to make sure that the message is clear to their federal counterparts, because every point that we brought up today, and every point that my colleague mentioned earlier, all relate to the cosiness of the feds and the Provincial Government here. You think about it.

The Marystown Shipyard, the Federal Government, nothing said, floated out the harbour. The Newfoundland Dockyard, what has really been going on in the Newfoundland Dockyard for two years? There is a long story behind that Newfoundland Dockyard, a long story, and it is too late for the johnny-come-latelys to bring it up now and talk about it. It has been evolving over two years, and sometimes it is a johnny-come-lately situation where it is going to be too late and we see more jobs go out.

To continue on in the same vein of the federal cosiness, look at the forestry centre here in St. John's. One hundred and twenty people worked down there. They were instrumental in the hemlock looper experimentation that went on here for years, and now have done enough experimenting in that field to handle that situation. That is just one example. Since 1949 that facility was down there.

Just take the scenario that here we are, Frank McKenna in New Brunswick, the Federal Government comes down and says to him, `We are going to cut your forestry centre and now you can go to Newfoundland and get your forestry expertise.' Now, what do you think Frank McKenna and the people of New Brunswick would have said to that? There would have been blue murder. He would have screamed blue murder, he would have been in the media, he would have been in Ottawa, and he would have been fighting that tooth and nail. What happened here in Newfoundland? Not a peep, not a sound, not a sound whatsoever, some continuing discussions going on, a letter written maybe to the minister responsible for forestry in Canada, not a peep, Mr. Speaker.

Over the next few weeks, as we announced last week, a forestry committee will be travelling this Province to talk with people who have concerns in the forestry industry. The response we've gotten since we've announced that committee has been phenomenal. There are people in this Province - a man who was twenty-three years in forestry said to me the other day, it is about bloody time. Forestry has been put on the back burner for so long. Forestry is never brought to the forefront. The concerns are out there. They muddle on, just like what happened in the fishing industry. For decades we just go right on by letting the crisis come to a head tide until finally we have to do something about it. We should have learned from the fishery.

We are going to take this committee and go across the Province, talk to people, right from the fellow who cuts a Christmas tree, right from the guy who cuts his own wood, right up to the unions and the different companies, Abitibi and Kruger. Everybody has to have input into what is being said in the forestry industry. That is one industry that if we - a renewable resource that is at a crisis here in this Province, or soon will be. We are not quite sure where it is. But at least we don't do what we did with the fishery: Wait until the last minute, until we have a minister in the House stand up and announce a moratorium in the forestry.

The same analogy can be used to the fishery, yes, because it was the same people who said: Don't worry about it, you will always have the fish to eat. I always remember the story of the four gentlemen sitting around when the old skipper said to the guys: Don't worry if we join Confederation, we will always have a fish to eat. He said: We are going to see a day when you can't jig a fish to eat.

It is the same analogy that we use with the forestry. There is going to be a day in this Province if we don't come to grips with the forest industry and the crisis that is looming when we are going to stand up here and say: You can't go cut a Christmas tree or you can't go cut your own wood.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Yes, and I guess like the Member for Eagle River said, everybody was silly when they said that you wouldn't be able to jig a fish to eat either. It is the attitude of the Member for Eagle River and governments over the past, Liberal and Tories, the NDP, whatever they were, it is the attitude of the Member for Eagle River; that is why we are in the mess we are in with the industries that we have in this Province. The fishing industry, and now the Member for Eagle River, the Energizer battery, the rabbit that goes on and on but never says anything. Ever notice that, Mr. Speaker? The Energizer rabbit goes on and on but he never does say anything. He is always going, never stops - could be a rabbit dog, could be a beagle. There is a good chance on that.

I, here now in the House, invite the Member for Eagle River to come to our first hearing on the forestry and we will see how many jokes there are in the hall. We will ask him to give his honest opinion of what he thinks the state of the forestry is, if he thinks it is all great, that there is no problem, we are doing lots of silviculture, there is no problem with cutting, we are a sustainable forest for as long as we want it.

Like an alcoholic or a drug addict or anything else the first thing you have to do is realize and acknowledge the problem. That is the problem we have. If you don't acknowledge the problem you can't deal with it. That is why as we go around the Province now with this committee on forestry I think you are going to see a lot of concerned people in the forestry and outside the industry themselves who will come forward and express their views. Because they are saying that they don't get a chance to do that. The forestry is never in the forefront of any government. It hasn't been for years.

I think the committee will have great input from all walks of life and all people included right from the man who cuts his firewood right on up to the logger, right on up to the man who operates the harvester in the woods. All of these people will have input and a chance to have their say. I believe from the calls that we've gotten over the last few days on this particular committee that we are going to see great numbers out to these meetings.

AN HON. MEMBER: Never got a call.

MR. SHELLEY: Never got a call. Why would you? You are not going to get a call. They call us. That is why they called us, because they've called you for six years and you never listened. We are going around with the committee. Mr. Speaker, you mark my words. You watch when the bandwagon gets rolling and all the minister jump up and down and talk about: We should have done that, we said that. We will soon see when the forestry committee hits the road how many people come out concerned. Finally a chance to voice their opinion.

Seeing that we are running out of time I will adjourn the debate for this evening and continue on tomorrow.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I apologize, but the hon. gentleman's speech was typical and so nobody was paying any attention to it.

Your Honour, before I move the House adjourn, tomorrow is Private Members' Day and we will deal with the most excellent resolution that my friend for Pleasantville gave notice of today. Then on Thursday we shall be back on the Budget. So I say to my friend for Baie Verte - White Bay he has twenty-four hours' grace, and we live in hope - we may die in despair - that the concluding half of his speech will be an improvement. With that said, Sir, I move the House do now adjourn.

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