November 6, 1995            HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS          Vol. XLII  No. 50


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): Order, please!

Before we get to the routine proceedings I want to deal with a point of order that was raised by the hon. Member for Mount Pearl on Friday in which he suggested that the comments by the Premier were unparliamentary, because as he stated, they accused the Leader of the Opposition of presenting deliberately falsified information to this House by the way of deliberately falsified documents.

Let me point out, of course, to all members that to say that a member deliberately falsified a document and presented it to this House or to accuse another member of fabricating a document is indeed unparliamentary and certainly out of order. However, I checked Hansard and read the comments that were made by the Premier and I see nothing in the Premier's comments that would indicate that the Premier was implying or accusing the hon. Leader of the Opposition, or any member of this House for that matter, of making a falsified statement or presenting a falsified document concocted by or fabricated by that particular member. Really, the comments were in order and certainly not unparliamentary.

Statements by Ministers

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: On Thursday and Friday of last week the Leader of the Opposition tabled photocopies of two facsimiles sent out of the Department of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture which solicited advertising for a booklet being published in support of a fundraising barbecue in the Minister's district. While, because of double numbering of pages and different placement of facsimile identification printing, the facsimiles actually tabled do not appear to be exactly as sent out, nevertheless, further investigation has determined that a total of nine facsimiles were sent out dealing with the same matter from the departmental office.

I have been advised that one of the two facsimiles tabled in the House was sent to Mr. Karl Sullivan of SeaFreeze and the other to Mr. Martin Hammond of the Milk Marketing Board. Over the weekend I attempted to contact representatives of firms to which facsimiles were sent, that could otherwise have dealings with the Minister's department. I was successful in reaching senior representatives of five of those firms.

All to whom I spoke assured me that they felt in no way pressured or inappropriately deal with in the terms of the solicitation of advertising. All said they treated this as normal political solicitation that they receive from a variety of representatives of all parties. I have spoken with two other individuals involved in industries regulated by Dr. Hulan's department and one individual did indicate that, while he had a concern about such a request, he never felt any kind of threat or pressure and he just assumed it was normal activity getting ready for the next election.

I have discussed the matter in detail with Dr. Hulan and his Executive Assistant, Mr. Gerry Reid and have told them clearly that whether there was any intention of influencing a recipient or not, such a process for political fundraising is inappropriate and unacceptable. Dr. Hulan has tendered his resignation and I table herewith a copy with this Statement.

Neither actual pressure nor the perception of pressure is an acceptable situation and ministers must be vigilant to ensure that neither they, nor their staff, cause or permit such situations to occur. In all of the circumstances however, accepting Dr. Hulan's resignation at this time would be a response in excess of what is necessary to deal effectively with the transgression.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: As his letter indicates, there was clearly no intent on Dr. Hulan's part to influence or pressure anybody and so far as is known no influence or pressure was felt by anybody. I have therefore advised Dr. Hulan that I do not intend to accept his resignation, but that does not mean condoning such action or inattention on his part, or on the part of any minister for that matter. Hopefully this embarrassing circumstance will serve as an effective lesson to all.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Premier of the Province has compounded the abuse of power by his Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture by personally phoning businesses that are regulated and licensed and financed by the provincial government, by the Department of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture. Now, Mr. Speaker, this is a Premier who has always had a double standard.

Previously, it was one standard for himself and another for his Cabinet and his caucus. One standard he applied to himself when, as Leader of the Opposition, he took a salary supplement of $50,000 a year without disclosing the donors and later, when he twisted government tendering practice to give major hospital construction contracts to Tom Hickman and Trans City; another that he applied to the Minister of Public Works and the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island when he fired them from his Cabinet.

Well now, he is simply applying his own personal standard to his Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture and he has now personally associated himself with the abuse of power. This is shocking and ridiculous. It is a product of a Premier who has lost the authority to govern and should resign for the sake of the country and who should take his Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture with him.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to advise that government and Hotel Buildings Limited have completed the tender process with the sale of the five hotel properties owned by Hotel Buildings Limited, namely, the Holiday Inns, St. John's, Clarenville, Gander, Corner Brook and the Hotel Port aux Basques. The successful tender bids were as follows; Fortis Properties Corporation for Holiday Inns, Mr. Hubert Chalk, Hotel Port aux Basques. The total selling price for the five hotel properties was approximately $6.5 million before normal sales adjustments including the purchase of inventories. We intend to commence the due diligence process immediately with a view to completing the sales transactions as quickly as possible. This will allow the prospective owners to take possession of the properties on a timely basis, thereby enabling them to implement their operating plans for the coming year.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to also note that government was pleased with the level of interest in the sale of the hotels and, on behalf of government, I would like to thank all parties who participated in the tender process.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

First of all, I express surprise at the length of the statement and obviously a complex process, I say to the minister, and I feel that this House should have more information. There should at least be some back-up documentation to this. I would like to ask the minister what plans does Fortis have for the four hotels, Holiday Inns that they have brought? How much did Fortis pay for their four and how much did Mr. Chalk pay for his Hotel Port aux Basques? My first reaction was that this was an incredibly low amount of money for these hotels. I know there was a bid for Clarenville at $1.3 million and I am sure the St. John's hotel must be worth $2.5 million to $3.5 million. So it seems like an incredibly low amount of money for those hotels. One would think, on the surface, that perhaps we are better off keeping them; but, having said that, I realize the book value is about $25 million to $29 million. In 1988 I think the book value was $25 million.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I was just wondering if the minister would undertake to provide documentation outlining the whole process, Mr. Speaker. It seems like an incredibly low amount of money for those hotels.

Oral Questions

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

MS VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have questions for the Premier about the Cabot 500th Anniversary. Three-and-a-half years ago, in April of 1992, the Premier and his Government established the John Cabot 1997 Corporation and appointed members of the Board of Directors, including a representative of the provincial tourism department. Earlier this year, the Premier and his Government reconstituted the board as a Crown corporation and continued the previous directors.

Why, last week, did the government high-handedly and abruptly axe the government's own creation? Why, instead, did the government not deal with particular concerns about lack of accountability and excessive spending over the last three-and-a-half years as these incidents occurred? Why did the government not trim the Crown corporation instead of axing it at a critical late date, three-and-a-half years after the government set it up, and only a year before the start of the anniversary?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I certainly appreciate the question.

Mr. Speaker, I hope people wouldn't mind if I registered a little bit of surprise at the approach taken by the Leader of the Opposition, because in fact while this particular government has supported the Cabot 500 Corporation from its inception, and did everything we possibly could to try to garner the necessary public support for the corporation, it was largely because of the questions and criticisms raised by members in her own caucus that caused some people in the public to lose some confidence in the corporation, and caused the media to continually question the corporation.

In fact, we stated quite clearly our intention on Friday that if, in fact, we had gotten to the point where we could have secured continuing federal commitments to the Crown corporation to run the major celebration in 1997, which will continue to be a tremendous opportunity for the Province, then we think we had already made the corrections in terms of a Crown corporation that was accountable to the House of Assembly, to the people of the Province through a minister of the Crown, and also that the corporation itself was beginning to take the in-house actions that were required to trim its own budgetary spending by, just in the last week before we decided to discontinue the corporation completely, changing the make-up of the administrative staff so that they could, in fact, respond to the types of planning and the types of events that we are trying now to continue on with for 1997.

So I am a little surprised, because I find it difficult that an Opposition would sort of want to have it both ways, that while we were defending and promoting and encouraging the public to buy into and encourage -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. GRIMES: - the work of the corporation, that now we have unfortunately had to let the corporation go but continue on with the celebration, that the Leader of the Opposition would suggest there is something wrong with that action as well.

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

MS VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

A supplementary for the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. I say to the minister, he and his government created the corporation; he and his government killed the corporation. They have been in charge all along.

Did the government do a cost benefit analysis of the option of keeping a scaled-down corporation versus the option the government chose? If they did a cost benefit analysis, will the minister table the analysis? Specifically, will the minister reveal how much the government will have to pay for killing the corporation in penalties and severance pay for employees, consultants, contractors and leases?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I'm glad that the Leader of the Opposition listened to the news reports of the last three or four days so she could get a question to ask. Those questions have been asked starting last Friday. They have been put forward through various forms in the media.

We have given a commitment that over the next five or six days, leading into maybe this time next week, we would need to go through a process. We are very serious about making sure that the people of the Province have confidence that the celebration will continue, and that it will be a great success and a great event in the Province, despite the fact that it won't be spearheaded by a separate corporation, albeit in the last instance a Crown corporation. We have every confidence that by looking at what kind of supplementary staff we might need to bring in to work with some people in the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, we will have a very good celebration that we can go forward with. We will be announcing, probably this time next week, exactly what the costs were of winding down some of the things with respect to the administrative trappings of the corporation, and also, what we will be doing in terms of continuing on with some commitments that the corporation had made that the department, on behalf of the government, will continue on with. Because they did a lot of very good planning with respect to a number of events that will still proceed in 1997 but will be managed by a staff in the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation instead of a corporation.

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

MS VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Words, words, words, no answer, big bluff minister. Isn't this another example of the government operating blind? Isn't it true that the government axed the Cabot Corporation for petty parochial partisan reasons without having an alternate plan? Isn't it true that there is no plan B?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate, as well, that the Leader of the Opposition is at least consistent even in her personal condemnation of me. I think if you check Hansard from last year sometime, I was answering some questions at that point and I heard this thing about words, words, words, no answers, and all that kind of stuff. At least, the Leader of the Opposition is consistent.

In fact, what we are doing is taking the time that is necessary throughout these next four or five days. It is clear that we have a little bit of work yet to do and we have indicated to everybody, that by this time next week we expect, Mr. Speaker, to be in a position, and I hope with the help of the Opposition, Mr. Speaker, to restore confidence and faith in the celebration for 1997, and that the members opposite will come on side with us and show everybody in Newfoundland and Labrador that their interests are in the Province and the success of the celebration, and not some kind of political games that they are trying to play again today.

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

MS VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

A supplementary to the minister: How can the minister expect the people of the Province to have confidence in planning for the Cabot 500th Anniversary when, a year before the start of the anniversary, the minister can't tell anybody, can't answer a straightforward question about how he is going to replace the corporation that he and his government axed last week? How many additional staff does the minister expect his department to now hire, and will the additional staff be hired on a temporary basis instead of through the Public Service Commission, so the minister and his colleagues can hand-pick Liberals, will this be more smoke and mirrors?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and again, while I appreciate the sincerity of the questions, I can only answer again that we are going through the process in the next few days; we will indicate as I indicated in answers to an earlier question, probably by this time next week the component of staff that will be required in the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation to go ahead, because, Mr. Speaker, there was a lot of good planning and a lot of work done by the corporation, and we plan to follow through and utilize that and carry on with many of the events that were there.

We are doing that assessment now, in a prudent fashion and with respect to the issue of the public service, Mr. Speaker, it is clear, one thing is quite clear, and I make sure you set the record straight in Hansard for that today, that because this is a time-limited project that will end at the end of 1997, we will not be going, I don't expect, through the Public Service Commission, with respect to the same way that we would for jobs in the public service that are here on a permanent basis; that contracts will be offered to people, to supplement the staff, Mr. Speaker, of the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation and that's a normal procedure when there is a job that is time-limited and has to be done and that's nothing out of the ordinary whatsoever, and shouldn't be implied to be so by the Leader of the Opposition because again, Mr. Speaker, it only shows I think, that the concern is there and starting again today, to try and show that there is something wrong with this, and that it is obvious that the Opposition do not care about this celebration and they should tell the people of Newfoundland and Labrador that. They shouldn't get up trying to say that we are concerned.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. GRIMES: They are trying to suggest now that in our best efforts of making sure that we have a good celebration minus a corporation, that they won't play the political games -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. GRIMES: - but let it ensue over the next week or so.

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

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My questions today are for the Minister of Social Services, as it relates to the Perlin Pre-Vocational Training Centre.

The minister stated in the House on October 25, 1995 that the Vera Perlin Society requested two-thirds of a million dollars. Does the minister realize this request is for one-quarter of the amount for this fiscal year, January to March, and that the federal government could cost-share 50 per cent of this funding hence causing this government about $90,000 for this fiscal year, not two-thirds of a million as the minister has stated?

With this in mind, will the minister now commit to funding this small amount for this very worthwhile cause?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Social Services.

MS YOUNG: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to inform the hon. member that I will be meeting with the Vera Perlin Society along with the Premier this afternoon, and we will discuss the matter further.

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

MR. MANNING: I am very pleased to hear that the minister and the Premier are meeting with the Vera Perlin Society this afternoon to try to straighten out some of the problems that are there.

I would like to ask the minister, could she confirm, or deny, that the Pre-Vocational Training and Assessment Centre, located on Topsail Road, operated by her department serves approximately forty-five individuals with developmental delay at a cost to the taxpayers of this Province of approximately $1 million? I would like to ask the minister, how can she justify not helping the Vera Perlin Society when her own department's program cost much more?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Social Services.

MS YOUNG: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to inform the hon. member that, yes, I indeed do know that that facility is costing a high amount of dollars to my department, and the whole matter is being under review as are all the programs.

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

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure if the minister realizes, or recognizes, that this is not just a small group of people wanting these services but a large number of taxpayers who totally support the idea that we must have centres so that people can be properly served in our communities. As a matter of fact today I will be presenting a petition with almost 3000 names on it of people who support the Vera Perlin Society, and I also have another one coming with the same number.

I would like to ask the minister if she would tell the House of Assembly today what government's position is with respect to the Perlin Pre-vocational Training Centre and does she support or not support their activities?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Social Services.

MS YOUNG: I would like to take the opportunity to inform the hon. member, and all members present, that indeed I do recognize the tremendous responsibility we have for all of the disabled people in our communities, not only in the St. John's area but throughout Newfoundland. We certainly have not turned our backs on the Vera Perlin Society. We are contributing a little over $1.2 million to the Vera Perlin Society and we have not cut any funding.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is to the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture. A few days ago I asked the minister what method his department was using in trying to collect money from fisherpersons who owed money to the Fisheries and Farm Loan Board. The minister in his answer said they were only accessing money from fishermen who could afford to make such payments. I ask the minister if there is an investigation being carried out to determine which fishers can or cannot afford to pay?

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

DR. HULAN: As I have already indicated to this hon. Chamber, every case is looked at on its own merit and if an individual has the ability to pay the payment is expected, and if the individual does not have the ability to pay there is a mechanism in place to defer.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Bonavista South on a supplementary.

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, as the minister is no doubt aware the federal government is now financing a license buy back from approximately 160 Newfoundland fishers ranging in price from $121,000 to $204,000. I ask the minister if his department will be intercepting any of this license buy back money in order to pay outstanding accounts to the Fisheries and Farm Loan Board?

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, as hon. member know the Farm Loan Board and the Fisheries Loan Board were amalgamated under Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador to build inefficiencies both from the collection side and from the administrative side. Under the Financial Administration Act the Department of Finance is bound to intervene where there are debtors to the Province. We have intervened with respect to school tax and intercepted refunds.

AN HON. MEMBER: That's cruel.

MR. FUREY: It is not cruel, it is an act that the former government brought in and we are bound by it. This government has inherited it and we are bound by it. Anytime there is an advance from the Department of Finance with respect to refunds the Financial Administration Act automatically kicks in where there is a debtor and it is looked at.

I think in the case that the hon. member raised last week, if my memory serves me correctly with respect to the Fisheries Loan Board I think we have intercepted two, maybe three, so far, and they were valued at less than $200. The particular case that he raised last week, I should inform the House, that particular loan was restructured, that particular fisherperson was in need, and we waived the RST right through to that particular fisherman.

AN HON. MEMBER: (inaudible) brought forward.

MR. FUREY: No. I should tell the hon. member that from time to time we review loans at the Fisheries Loan Boar and the Farm Loan Board to restructure -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Again, the hon. minister has answered a question asked by the hon. Member for Bonavista South; however, he continued to respond to questions from other people on that side and that is clearly out of order.

The hon. the Member for Bonavista South on a supplementary.

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, or the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture - I do not know who will stand - the federal minister, Mr. Tobin, has been on record as saying that fishermen will be allowed out of the fishery if they participate in licence buy back debt free. The federal minister has been on record as saying this, so I ask the minister: Who are the fishermen to believe? Are they to believe the federal minister, Mr. Tobin, or are they to believe the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology? I ask the minister if he would clearly state today, or put out a news release or something, so that those people may make a wise choice in determining what will happen financially to the rest of their lives.

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, as I was saying earlier, we are bound by the laws of this Province. The Financial Administration Act quite clearly states that wherever a debt is owed to the Province the Department of Finance, where it is in a refund position, must check with the various Crowns to see whether, in fact, these debtors have paid up.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I cannot magically wave a wand and erase all debt for fishermen. I can tell you that a lot of these loans are in good stead, as are the farm loans. When and if each case comes forward, if in fact there is a buy back position, the Financial Administration Act automatically kicks in. We have to recover these taxes for the taxpayers of all of the Province, and I think we would be negligent if we did not.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

Since Newfoundland became a Province we have probably never seen such a sick economy as we now have. With the failure of the fishery, with this government's cutbacks, they have basically brought the construction industry of this Province to its knees. Many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have not and will not qualify for unemployment insurance benefits. I would like to ask the minister: Can he tell me what plans he has to deal with that?

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

MR. MURPHY: I want to thank the member for his question. I am really, really glad to see that he realizes the state of the situation, and I totally agree with him. It is very, very difficult, I say to the member, that we are facing cutbacks and trying to adjust at the provincial level, municipal level and, of course, because of the federal deficit that has been passed down. So the member is correct; it is an extremely tough time for all of us. We are trying to adjust within all the social programs, as he is very much aware. We have negotiated over just about the last year with ministers in the federal government to try and reinstate in their minds the position of the people in our Province, but let me say to the member that even in that, in all the negativity, the member should try and be aware and understand that over the last year our industry outside the fishery, our employment picture outside the fishery, has grown some 2.5 per cent. If you look at the fishery also, you will see a growth of over 4 per cent.

Even though we have tough times, and we are going to have very serious situations to deal with, let me say to the member that this government is trying exceptionally hard. He knows the impact that the loss of the groundfish had. He knows the impact, as the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes said the other day, of the spin-off jobs that were lost because of the groundfish. So, all in all, I say to the member, yes, it is very difficult for this government, for all levels of government, to address the situation, but it is not all negative.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I did not ask the minister how difficult it was for him or the government. I asked him: What was the government going to do about the numbers of people who do not qualify for U.I.?

Now we all know that during the past couple of years, after considerable pressure by the Opposition and other groups in this Province, after countless hours of petitions being presented in this Legislature, the minister finally acted and implemented an Emergency Response Program. I would like to ask the minister, Mr. Speaker, if he is going to do that and will he announce today he will do it immediately?

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

What the member also needs to realize is that the provincial government last year went into negotiations and subsequently found $10 million in conjunction on a 50/50 cost sharing for seven different programs to deal with the severe unemployment situation in our Province for a total of $20 million. Those were seven different strategies. I am sure all members of the House, members opposite as well as members on this side who have dealt with the department, who have dealt with me personally, know how hard we tried to make sure that we did whatever we could throughout the Province to help those people who are less fortunate. The member also needs to know, over the last four years the Emergency Response Program or Employment Creation Program - call it whatever name you want to put on it - was never a budgeted item. It was an item that was always a special warrant item.

Now he heard the hon. Minister of Finance stand to his feet the other day. So what I am saying to the member is that we have negotiated all summer long with Minister Axworthy and other federal ministers, this particular initiative over the last few years, though it did help people, it flies in the face of the UI system as we know it. To purposely, for a government, to put funding out for people to do nothing more than qualify for UI is totally inappropriate in the minds of our federal colleagues. At this time, I say to the hon. member, no, there is no Emergency Response Program.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I find that almost incredible for the minister to get up and make the statements that he just made. Mr. Speaker, I am concerned about the people in this Province who are going hungry today and children who are going to school without something to eat more so than I am concerned about what the Minister of Finance has to say or not say. We all know where this government has wasted millions of dollars. There was no great concern, Mr. Speaker, about what the Minister of Finance had to say when you awarded the hospital contracts last year, there was no concern then.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I would ask the hon. member to get to his question.

MR. TOBIN: There was no concern, Mr. Speaker, when you spent millions of dollars on a referendum recently. I ask the minister, what happened to the committee of ministers they had in place, is that still active, that were meeting last year with the federal minister? Mr. Speaker, we all know the federal minister is about as compassionate towards social needs as the Minister of Health is in this Province. Now I ask the minister, what is he going to tell the people of this Province? What does he suggest that we, as legislators, tell the people of this Province who are calling us by the minute, Mr. Speaker, crying out for help because they are hungry and have no work because of this government's inaction?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

Let me say to the hon. member that he gets no more phone calls or members opposite get no more phone calls about situations of hardship then hon. members on this side of the House, he can be assured of that, and this minister. Let me say to the hon. member that Mr. Axworthy understands exactly - well the hon. member's can pass opinions - let me say that Minister Axworthy understands the position of this government. We have addressed all the situations that we have been involved with, as the government, in supporting employment throughout the Province and I hope within the next two weeks that Mr. Axworthy will also, as he deals with the UI system, will also deal with other scenarios related to those who are less fortunate and cannot find employment.

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

MR. MACKEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Environment and it is related to the Hydro development project in North West River. North West River, as you know, begins in the Bay du Nord wilderness and flows through Terra Nova National Park. In April, 1992, Newfoundland Hydro issued a request for additional hydro electric generation to meet projected requirements. However, Mr. Speaker, in its annual report, 1994, the Hydro report states that the Northwest River hydroelectric project, along with three other small hydro projects of Newfoundland rivers, have been given formal approval and will generate a total of 38 megawatts to go into service in late 1998. My question to the minister is: Can he advise why government's Strategic Economic Plan and Hydro's 1994 annual report both refer to this project as if it had already been approved despite the requirements of the environmental legislation?

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

MR. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, the government's Strategic Economic Plan highlights the fact that we are promoting alternative development. It doesn't highlight a specific project, or doesn't highlight which projects are going to be approved. It highlights the idea of alternative energy, of developing small hydro and other types of alternative energy for the Province.

The Environmental Assessment Act is working just as it should. Any project that applies and is rendered to have to go through an environmental assessments process does so. In this case, the Northwest River small hydro project is going through an environmental assessment, very detailed, as a matter of fact. It is very extensive. It has public participation from a whole variety of groups including the development of the terms of reference, the guidelines for evaluation. All of this is done in a public process. The Environmental Assessment Act is working as it should. Government will make a decision on it in the near future.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Grand Falls, on a supplementary.

MR. MACKEY: My next question, Mr. Speaker, is in relation to the need for the project. It is a known fact that the rate of consumption has been reduced. Last year's hydro sales on the Island system declined by 3.4 per cent - that is nine times the power from Northwest River. Because of declining population, idle fish plants, more energy-efficient homes and reduced industrial demand, all have reduced the rate of consumption and made the introduction of this new capacity questionable. My question to the minister is: Why is government letting this project go ahead while hydro sales on the Island are in decline?

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

MR. AYLWARD: First off, Mr. Speaker, the government is not letting this project go ahead. The government is having the project reviewed under the Environmental Assessment Act. There is no decision made. It is going through the environmental assessment process, which is a very extensive process, which is there for a proponent or a company wanting to undertake a project in this Province which may have some environmental impact. That is why the act works the way it does.

When it comes to the power source and the reason for power in the Province, I could give an answer, but I think maybe the Minister of Natural Resources may be a better one to answer that, though I have become well-versed lately in the idea of how much power we need in this Province. The fact is that I'm dealing with the environmental assessment process. It is working quite well, I will tell you. The act works quite well. This project is going through that process. Right now it is out for public consumption, the EIS. We are getting all kinds of public discussion about the project. We encourage it. We encourage more of it, as a matter of fact. That is why the act works the way it does, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Question period has elapsed.

Notices of Motion

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce the following resolution:

Whereas many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have failed to qualify for unemployment insurance benefits;

And whereas federal and provincial government cutbacks have been a contributing factor to this economic situation;

Therefore be it resolved this House call upon government to implement an emergency employment program to help alleviate the economic hardships facing many families in this Province.

Petitions

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

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to present a petition on behalf of 2,917 people who support the efforts of the Vera Perlin Society as it relates to the Perlin Pre-Vocational Training Centre here in St. John's. This is the first of several petitions I will be presenting on behalf of those people. I would like to read the prayer of the petition for the House.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador asks for the House of Assembly to accept the following prayer: We, the undersigned, respectfully request the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to fund another centre to provide services to our citizens who have a mental disability. In an effort to ensure the continued success of the Vera Perlin Society and our programs, we request your support. As in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, over the past couple of weeks, we have raised some concerns as it relates to future funding and continued funding for the Vera Perlin Society and as it relates to the Perlin Pre-Vocational Training Centre. Again, I asked questions of the minister today and I found out that there is a meeting this afternoon with the minister and the Premier and people from the Society. I hope that the issues that we have raised and the concerns that we have brought to the floor of the House of Assembly on behalf of those people will be addressed. The history of the Vera Perlin Society, which began in this Province in 1954, as I said before, is a success story that speaks for itself.

I have had, over the past couple of weeks, calls from parents who have children participating in the pre-vocational training at the Centre. I have had calls from citizens throughout the Province concerning the future of the Centre, and definitely, calls from people who are going to be disturbed at the end of this year when the Centre can no longer handle the number of people that it has due to the shortage of funding. There will be more than thirty people who will be asked to leave the Training Centre as of December 31, due to the fact that there is no funding. There is well in excess of 100 people already on a waiting list who are not receiving the training they need to try to integrate into the community.

We all know that the purpose of the Training Centre is to prepare people for the work force and to give them an opportunity to live normal and happy lives. The problem the Society has been facing over the past couple of years is a problem that isn't new to anybody in this Province, and that is, that the jobs are not there for the population generally, now, as they were five or six years ago even. What we have are a lot of people who are being trained who can't avail of job opportunities because the jobs are not there. Mr. Speaker, what is the alternative? We keep them in the Training Centre trying to upgrade them, or we send them back home.

I've talked to parents who have told me how much their children have grown because of their activities at the Centre, about how much they want to get up in the morning and go and participate in something that is considered, i.e., normal, I say. These parents speak straight from the heart, I say to the minister. I've talked to several people who have participated over the past number of years in training at the Centre. One person told me in a letter, it is her reason for living that she can get up in the morning and go to her training at the Centre. A reason for living - I think that, itself, sends a message.

My concern is that a fair number of the people who are going to be displaced as of December 31 are going to be from outside the St. John's area. Again, Mr. Speaker, we have to ask ourselves, is the only way you can partake of this training is if you come inside the overpass? I say again, Mr. Speaker, there are people outside the overpass who also have disabilities, and I think this should be addressed by this government and not shuffled aside for the sake of $90,000 the Society is looking for to carry themselves on until next March. This is a very serious issue that has come to light over the past couple of weeks and will continue to be in the news, and I am sure, in the minister's concerns over the next few days. I plead with the minister, on behalf of those people, not only on behalf of the people who partake in the training, but on behalf of the parents and the taxpayers of this Province that have been part of this centre, as I said, since 1954. It is not human, I believe, what is happening to these people who are going to be shuffled out on December 31st.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

MR. MANNING: I ask the minister to accept these petitions on behalf of, as I said, 2917 people who want this Vera Perlin Pre-vocational Training Centre to continue, and I hope that after the meeting today the news she reports to the House over the next couple of days will be very pleasant indeed.

Thank you.

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

MS VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I paused, hoping the Minister of Social Services would respond to the petition. I wholeheartedly support the petition of over 2900 citizens and endorse the remarks of the presenter, my colleague the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes.

Mr. Speaker, the situation addressed by the petition highlights the lack of planning on the part of this government, the inconsistencies of their approach to serving people with mental disabilities. In Question Period today my colleague asked the minister about a program her department operates directly, a program operated on Topsail Road in St. John's costing over $1 million a year, serving approximately 45 mentally challenged adults.

Mr. Speaker, the cost of that program is far greater than the programs operated by the Vera Perlin Society. I am told the effectiveness of the departmental program is nowhere near the level of the Vera Perlin Society program. If the minister does not meet the request of the Society for a relatively small amount of additional funding, some twenty-nine individuals who are now being served by the Vera Perlin Society will be sent home. Now, these are people who are benefiting from the day program offered by the Vera Perlin Society. These are people who are making a useful contribution to society through their participation in the Vera Perlin Society day program. Without a continuation of that program, without the small amount of additional provincial funding, these people will have to go home where they will not have the opportunity to participate in useful activity.

There is a serious shortage of jobs in the Province and people with disabilities, people who are challenged have a harder time than other citizens in finding jobs. The sad reality is that there are not enough jobs to go around and mentally challenged people are unemployed in greater numbers and to a greater extent than others in the population, and that is why we need the continuation and expansion of the programs provided by the Vera Perlin Society.

I would suggest to the minister that after her meeting with representatives of the Vera Perlin Society today - and I know it will not be her first contact with them, I understand she has visited their pre-vocational training centre - that she will immediately address the request, grant the money, and allow the twenty-nine individuals to have the benefit of an ongoing uninterrupted program, and then look at shifting resources away from the program her department now operates directly and into, either the Vera Perlin Society or other comparable community organizations which have proven their ability to provide these services.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Social Services.

MS YOUNG: I would like to advise the hon. Leader of the Opposition that I was giving opportunity to anybody else from the opposite side to speak to the petition before I rose to speak to it.

I certainly accept the petition that the hon. Member for St. Mary's - The Capes has presented to the House this afternoon, and I would like to reiterate that yes, I have had ongoing meetings with the Vera Perlin Society. I have visited the centre several times over the past year.

AN HON. MEMBER: Several times?

MS YOUNG: Yes, I have visited it several times. As well, I have met with the executive of the Vera Perlin Society on two occasions, and I certainly understand their concern about the Topsail Road centre. Again I feel, as they do, that is a considerable amount of money that we are investing into that centre. It is under review, and maybe some of our dollars can be spent more wisely.

I think it is a time in our history, too, that we have to look at all of the programs that our department funds, and make sure that we are providing the best opportunities to the people that we serve through these programs. Again, I am sure that after this afternoon we will have an opportunity to again discuss what we can do.

I mentioned as well, I think it was late last month, that we are undergoing a review of all of the dollars that we provide for training to developmentally challenged groups out there, and while one option may serve one group, it may be the way they wish to go, other groups may wish to go in another direction, and we have to be sensitive to the needs of all of the people who we serve, because I am sure that if we went out with six programs there would be at least ten more programs that might be of more benefit to these people.

So I want to again reiterate that at no point in time have we, in the last number of years, sat down and deliberately cut funds from the Vera Perlin Society or any of the organizations that we serve. We have continued to be able to meet the dollars that we put in last year. We were able to do that in our budget this year, and again the whole issue of the people we are serving out there, we have to do a review. Otherwise, we are not being a responsible department if we do not conduct a review. As the hon. member indicated, yes, maybe some programs are receiving too much money, and that will all be part of the review that we are undertaking within the department.

Orders of the Day

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, thank you.

As we announced on Friday, we will be asking the House to deal with the Regulatory Reform Bill. It is called, "An Act Respecting The Revision And Consolidation Of Subordinate Legislation". It is Order 11 on today's Order Paper, Bill No. 7, the Premier's bill, Sir.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act Respecting The Revision And Consolidation Of Subordinate Legislation." (Bill No. 7)

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am touched by the overwhelming expression of support, unanimity, but I think I probably need to address a couple of comments before the members opposite should vote unanimously in support of the legislation, although I expect they will unanimously support it. I certainly hope so.

Mr. Speaker, I have to admit to a small degree of pride in moving second reading of this piece of legislation because I think it is the culmination of a reform that has been long overdue. For at least forty-five years, and probably for 100 years now, we have been building regulations. I expect some of the regulations that were assessed in this process were in effect long before Confederation occurred in 1949, and we have been adding to those regulations endlessly since that time. I think of this as a significant achievement, and I am happy to be associated with it.

The genesis for this action was really in the Strategic Economic Plan. If you look at the action items spelled out there, I think it is action item 2, specifically provides that government is determined to remove barriers to entrepreneurship and implement changes to programs, policies and regulations under its control in order to promote and attract investment of small to large scale enterprises. That is the objective. In pursuit of that objective, Mr. Speaker, we have been taking steps in a variety of ways to make this a more economically friendly climate for the increase in business activity. Mr. Speaker, we have done a number of things that the House is familiar with so I don't need to detail them and they are starting to work. As a matter of fact, I was looking on Friday at the labour force statistics. Now as all hon. members know I have not followed the same practice as the former government. I don't comment on the labour force statistics every time they show a positive but for the last twelve to fifteen months they have been showing a slow but steady improvement. We now can say that there are 5,000 more people employed in this Province, in October of this year then there was in October of last year.

Now, Mr. Speaker, before hon. members - the hon. member rushed to say well that is because they are all driven out, that is not true. The labour force number is exactly the same with 241,000 last year and 241,000 this year. There was 192,000 employed last year, there is 197,000 this year.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: So there is a significant and steady improvement, Mr. Speaker. That comes about largely as a result of the slow but steady changes that we have been making. One of these changes, Mr. Speaker -

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: When you take the fisheries out of it the number of people in the broader economy working is considerably more then when we took office, considerably more -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: - and I will get the figures and provide them. I will provide the figures the next day in the House. Now let's not divert now, let's deal with this issue. I will provide these figures.

Now, Mr. Speaker, amongst all of the other things that we have been doing to try and rebuild the economy of this Province, a significant factor in what we are about is the elimination of the unnecessary regulatory burden. The first step in carrying this out was the establishment of a joint committee of the government and the private sector under the supervision of The Economic Recovery Commission. This was put in place, Mr. Speaker, and they set about putting in place a process that would address this problem. There was extensive consultation and as a result of that a joint business government working group, under the auspices of the ERC, was identified and a focus for regulatory review was put in place. That focus had these four key characteristics to ensure a client centered approach, to promote coordination of regulatory activities across departments and governments, to improve efficiency and to facilitate the reduction of regulations overall, maintaining only those required to safeguard the public interest. Mr. Speaker, that is the approach that we took. The second step was to constitute the regulatory reform project. That was put in place and the -

MR. TOBIN: You are not allowed to say that word 'constituted.'

PREMIER WELLS: The second step was to constitute a regulatory reform process and they had key aspects. They were to take into account all of the regulations to determine first whether the regulations were necessary. Secondly, if they are necessary are they appropriate, effective and efficient? So to take a look at not only whether we need regulations in that area but whether or not we need them to the extent that we have them and whether or not they are effective to achieve the legitimate public purpose.

The overall objective, Mr. Speaker, besides reducing regulation to the minimum necessary to protect the public interest was to establish a climate which will ensure that businesses, citizens and municipalities are free to pursue their own agendas, economic and otherwise, without undue interference from government. The terms of the project assume an acceptance of a greater role for the marketplace and competition in ensuring the effective running of the economy. The criteria also explicitly questions the legitimate role of government in society and its relation to business, other levels of government and the general public.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the process was put in place and what we are dealing with here today, this act, is one stage of the process. It is really one of three elements. The first of those three elements, was the appointment of a committee; the second, was the setting of objective criteria by the Cabinet, a standard by which the committee was to judge the acceptability of the existing regulation, and we are now at the third and final stage and that's this bill and the implementation following this bill.

Our first step was to appoint a commissioner, an outside commissioner who would look at it objectively and would not have his or her judgement clouded by a connection with the public sector, so we asked for the appointment of a judge of the Supreme Court. Mr. Justice Noel undertook the task, and he and the team who worked with him have done a superb job and I must say, Mr. Speaker, I give all of them the highest possible marks for the activity that they carried out in a relatively short period of time; and here, it would be unfair of me not to also say, that the senior levels of the public service generally, embrace this with enthusiasm and contributed greatly to the measure of success that has been achieved.

Too often, we are critical of the public service; too often we are saying that they are just preserving their position in office and so on and they use the regulatory process to do that. Well, they didn't. The senior levels of the public service responded with enthusiasm and I give them the full credit that they are entitled to. The public service team generally, was headed by Mr. Faour, Fonse Faour, the Deputy Clerk of the Executive Council and he, and all who worked with him, did a superb job.

Let me tell the House something else. We had estimated a total cost for the full team to complete their report of about $500,000, and that's what we budgeted. They did the work for less than $360,000 saving $140,000 of the $500,000 that we budgeted, so they worked effectively, they worked efficiently, they worked very well and they addressed the problem in an effective way.

The objective criteria, Mr. Speaker - I should draw the House's attention to it and spell out the basis on which we put it forward. Mr. Speaker, I draw the House's attention to the components of the objective criteria and I will just read them for the House so you will know the standard by which we judge these regulations. Here was the direction to the commissioner and the team: The review shall have as its objective, the reduction of regulation by government to the minimum level required to protect the public interest. The commissioner shall recommend for repeal, any regulation which does not have as its objective, the protection of the public interest, so there was a clear direction, recommend for repeal any regulation that doesn't have as its objective, protection of the public interest.

Then it goes on to say: A regulation shall be deemed to be one which protects the public interest, if it (a) is necessary for the maintenance or enhancement of public health, order or safety, (b) is necessary for the maintenance or enhancement of the environment or contributes to the goal of sustainable development, (c) as a positive effect on the competitiveness of the private sector in the Province including a positive effect on innovation and the encouragement of efficiency in the conduct of business in the Province or, (d) is necessary for the effective administration of the government of the Province.

Unless it fell within one of those four categories, the commissioner was directed to specifically recommend it for repeal and that's what the commissioner's report says he did. He recommended it for repeal but he was careful and cautious, and in cases even where he recommended for repeal on the basis of these criteria, he also pointed out, the department may have had a different recommendation, that notwithstanding that it didn't meet any one of these criteria, the department recommended that it be kept or adjusted and he put forward that advice as well. So, the Cabinet, in considering this, has all of this information before it.

The criteria went on to say: If the regulation meets the test under paragraph 4, then the commissioner shall make recommendations to maintain, amend, delete, replace or modify the regulation or its administration, following an analysis for its consistency with an appropriateness to its objective, its impact on the competitiveness of business, the level of burden on those regulated when compared with the benefit to society, and its efficiency of implementation and operation as determined by the commissioner; and the sixth point - Well, I can table that order yes.

The report, no. We hadn't intended to. I will take a look at it; most of it is detailed. I will take a look at it and see whether or not we can table or table most of it. It is a report to Cabinet so it does not, in the ordinary course, get tabled but I will take a look at it and see if we can table it; because I think hon. members might well be very interested in it.

I mention also the sixth point, Mr. Speaker. The commissioner shall make recommendation for the purpose of eliminating formal and systemic gender discrimination in the regulatory process of government. There was other detail but it is really administrative detail and I don't need to take the time of the House to highlight that today.

Let me say that all of the legislation, all of the regulations were looked at in that context. Let me give the House an idea of the results. The project examined 441 acts, statutes of this House, and 2,358 separate sets of regulations. Can you imagine? Two thousand three hundred and fifty-eight separate sets of regulations. In fairness, some of those were pretty routine and simple, but some of them were pretty burdensome and clumsy and unnecessary, and extensive as well.

Of the 2,358 separate sets of regulations, here is the disposition: less than a half - 49 per cent to be precise - were kept as they are. Less than one-half of them met the criteria. That is the extent to which we were unnecessarily burdening the running of society and the economy. Another 5 per cent were judged to be necessary but needed some substantial reduction or change in order to make them more effective and more efficient to achieve the objective. A full 46 per cent were judged, on the basis of that criteria, to be unnecessary. We are going to eliminate 1,088 regulations.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, it might be a little too much to say that. There may be a few, but very, very few, where the commissioner said: Based on the criteria they should be repealed, where we had to look at maybe some other impact or possible cause of that we may have to keep for a brief period of time. But basically, we will be totally eliminating nearly 50 per cent of the regulatory burden that we have.

That should enable us to run a more efficient, a more effective government, should enable us to save money, and should enable us to reduce greatly the burden on people generally, whether they are applying for a piece of Crown land to build a service station, or applying for a piece of Crown land for a summer cabin, or they are going to operate a newsprint manufacturing plant, or whatever. To greatly reduce the burden on society in general of excessive government regulation.

Mr. Speaker, I stand here today with a small measure of pride, stick out my chest just a little bit, because I think that this was an innovative idea to eliminate this -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)!

PREMIER WELLS: No, I will keep a bit of a control on me. But I don't mind confessing to a small measure of pride.

The bill that is before the House has a technique for doing this. I ask hon. members not to get too excited about what is in it. This was the method that the Legislative Counsel and others have advised us as to how it is to be achieved. The process by which it is going to be achieved is that all subordinate legislation with the exception of the rules of the Supreme Court - and there are four different categories there - and the lottery regulations - which are made under the Criminal Code, so we can't treat them the same way as made under a federal statute -, so with those exemptions only, all regulations are repealed as of the effective date, and there is re-enacted at the same point in time those regulations that are going to continue.

That is a technique to cause it to happen. Because so many different bodies and agencies - not just the Cabinet - had the power to make these regulations. So we had to take the statutory power to repeal them all and re-enact only those that were appropriate to continue. That is just a technique. There is nothing special in it, and I thought I should point that out.

I do have to say to you, however, that because of the extent of the work the commissioner asked that we extend the time for completion of his report from July 31 to September 30, and we did. That is going to cause a consequent delay of a couple of months or so in implementation. I think you are going to find the Government House Leader moving an amendment: Instead of December 31, 1995 to March 31, 1996, to just extend to a slight period in the future the timing for that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: I will seriously consider that, I say to the hon. member. I will have a look at it, and I will consider tabling the report.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible). How can anybody be expected to (inaudible) if they don't know what regulations are going to be thrown out, if they don't know (inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: This is just a process.

PREMIER WELLS: Well, most of the regulations can be thrown out by government order, anyway.

MR. ROBERTS: Sure, all of them can.

PREMIER WELLS: All of them can. All this legislation does is provide a convenient and orderly way of doing it. There are only a couple of pages to this statute. It is just a convenient - we can do this anyway, for the most part.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: Oh, yes, we are going to do that anyway.

MR. ROBERTS: Anything we do we can undo (inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the whole world will know what and how many regulations we are getting rid of. It doesn't, in a sense, depend on this legislation. All this legislation does is provide for a convenient mechanism. The Cabinet can repeal every regulation that it ever made.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: Oh, yes, and here is another benefit of it. For the first time, we will have put all of the regulations together in a single book, and everybody knows they are indexed and they are there in an orderly way; here is the regulatory law of the Province, and anybody can just pick it up and look at it and see what it is. So it really is a marvellous step forward, and I invite the support of all members of the House, and I will try this week to see if I can get that report cleared. I will have to wait until Thursday when Cabinet meets to consider it, and see if we can get that report cleared for presentation to the House. I would like to release it, to be honest with you, because I like to boast a little about it. I think it was a superb process. I think it is an example to all of the rest of the country to follow.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: Yes, okay.

AN HON. MEMBER: With respect to the process itself, if you had a committee in place looking at all of the different regulations in the particular departments, how did the committee themselves determine which regulations should be dropped and which should be kept?

PREMIER WELLS: By the criteria. The criteria was set out, I think -

AN HON. MEMBER: I know that. I know what you (inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Well, that is the criteria.

AN HON. MEMBER: Well, that's not factual, either. There would have to be a lot of grey areas.

PREMIER WELLS: No, no, it is pretty black and white.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: I will tell hon. members now who was on the committee that did the work. The Commissioner was Mr. Justice Noel, and he had the final decision, but his work, of course, would have been made much easier if all of the committee were of one opinion that they should be eliminated, then there is not a whole lot for him to argue about or judge. If there were differences on the committee, then he would have to make the final decision.

Here is the make-up of the committee: The Chair of the working committee was Mr. Faour, who is the Deputy Clerk of the Executive Council. Sheree MacDonald was the project manager. Mr. Calvin Lake, who is the legislative draftsman, was a member of the working committee. Mr. John Abbott, a senior official in Treasury Board, was a member. Mr. Michael Dwyer - and, incidentally, this ties into the government services centre project to make for a more efficient delivery of government services - he was on it. Ms. Susan Sherk, who is the Assistant Deputy Minister in Tourism, was on it. Mr. David Jones was the legal counsel to the commissioner. Mr. Lise Noseworthy was a researcher. Wayne Loveys was a researcher. Kimberley Hawley was a legal researcher, and Darlene Neville was a legal researcher. Virginia Prozesky was the administrative support officer. Mary Donovan was secretary. Cynthia Wade, Yvonne Parsley, Janice Fudge and Emily Squires were word processing operators, and Cynthia Walsh was clerk-stenographer in relation to it.

I should say to you that all of the people received the highest commendation of the commissioner. He spoke extremely highly of the full team, and I have acknowledged and passed on to them his compliments.

The process was, they did a full examination of everything, and then they met with all the departmental officials and had the input from the departments as well, the deputies and the assistant deputies and directors who were involved with it, so there was a very thorough discussion of it. Anywhere where there was a different opinion, the Commissioner has provided a detailed report to the Cabinet of the opinion of the department, so that the Cabinet's attention could be drawn to the fact whether or not the matter should be repealed as the Commissioner had recommended. We are getting rid of a massive quantity of regulations that are really unnecessary. I can't think of any other public purpose that needed to be addressed other than those outlined in the criteria. I think that said it all. Anything that did not meet those objectives was clearly not in the public interest to have us hidebound by those regulations, and that was the objective.

So I invite the support of all hon. members. Thank you very much for giving me your attention today.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: I appreciate it. I will endeavour to have that report. It only came out just a short time ago. I will endeavour to have that report available for members. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

As is obvious, members of the Official Opposition believe that the Province is overregulated. We feel that the many, many sets of regulations which successive Cabinets have enacted constitute needless interference in the lives of citizens and businesses. We wholeheartedly agree with the objective of the exercise the Premier and his government have carried out. We support weeding and pruning and trimming. We agree with getting rid of obsolete regulations with eliminating regulations that serve no legitimate public purpose. However, I have serious concerns about the technique - to use the Premier's word - that he and his government have chosen. Now, as the Premier has indicated, regulations are entirely within the control of the Cabinet. Regulations are made under legislation by Cabinet without the need to come to the House of Assembly. Cabinet meeting every Thursday morning, Cabinet meeting irregularly at the call of the Premier may enact regulations, may revise old regulations, may amend regulations, Cabinet may weed, Cabinet may prune. What the Premier's technique involves is something quite different. It involves killing all the regulations, killing all 2,358 sets of regulations and then reseeding.

Now, Mr. Speaker, this is a government that bungled the uniform municipal utilities tax legislation. Now, that was a high profile initiative of the government that required legislation that involved the House of Assembly. Did the government get it right? In its first try, no, Mr. Speaker. The government botched the draft of the bill. Did the government get it right the second time, Mr. Speaker? No. After two attempts at a simple legislative change, the government had to come back to the House of Assembly the third time to get it right. Now, Mr. Speaker, while the stacks and stacks of government regulations include many provisions that have no useful purpose, many sections that are archaic, many rules that have no known purpose in 1995, in the myriad of regulations there are also needed protections for public health and safety.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the Premier why he doesn't carry out the objective of sorting through government regulations and continuing only those regulations that have a public purpose now acknowledged by him and his colleagues through the usual Cabinet process? Why does the Premier want to take the extraordinary measure of legislating the end of all the regulations with the risk that some needed regulations will not be continued, will not be reintroduced, whether in the original form or in a modified form?

Mr. Speaker, as one member of this House of Assembly, I don't want to be part of passing this bill with a result that on March 31, 1996 all regulations are wiped out and only the ones that Judge Noel and a committee of civil servants deem to be in the public interest are continued. I don't want to wake up some morning in June and hear on the radio news that there has been a fire in a licensed boarding home with a loss of life, and discover later that day that the regulations setting health and safety standards for licensed boarding homes were inadvertently discontinued because they were killed with the sunset legislation back on March 31 and the civil servants forgot to re-enact them.

I support the objective of weeding regulations, and I can believe that half the regulations on the books have no useful purpose in 1995. I would urge the Premier and his colleagues in Cabinet who are politically accountable to take responsibility themselves in the usual way for regulations, and by all means repeal regulations they decide have no useful purpose now, but continue the ones that have a purpose and amend others which can better serve the public interest in a modified form.

Mr. Speaker, when the Spring sitting of the House of Assembly was coming to an end, after the House Leaders had agreed to conclude Spring business on a certain day, the Government House Leader, panic-fashion, came to our House Leader and me saying that he had forgotten Bill No. 7. He really wanted Bill No. 7 to pass in the spring but he forgot. He asked us to give special leave to waive the usual debating time so it could be whipped through before the summer. I was rather startled by that request and I asked his purpose for wanting to get this through in such an unusual haste. He arranged for me to meet with a couple of the senior civil servants guiding the review of regulations. When I talked to them I asked them: Why do you need this legislation? Cabinet already has the power to rescind regulations or amend them. Just have Cabinet do it in the regular way. The reply was that the legislation was needed to impose discipline on ministers and their departments, because some departments weren't taking the exercise seriously.

Well, Mr. Speaker, if there is a lack of discipline, I suggest that the Premier deal with it and impose discipline, but please don't associate Members of the House of Assembly who haven't been privy to the process, who don't even know what regulations are slated for repeal, or the ones that are to be modified, or the third category, ones that are to be continued, to be made partly responsible for some inadvertent omission or oversight.

I would encourage the Premier to carry out his objectives but change his technique and use the usual technique of having the ministers in Cabinet discriminate, examine the recommendations of the commissioner and the civil servants, look at the regulations and decide which ones are needed and which ones are not. But don't expect members of the House of Assembly, blind, without being privy to any of the proposals, without knowing which regulations will be killed, to be responsible for ending all 2,358 sets of regulations as of March 31, 1996.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to speak to this -

AN HON. MEMBER: The Premier is going to respond to Lynn's question.

PREMIER WELLS: With the House's permission, I would like to (inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Well, I have a few concerns, too. Maybe he can respond to both of them at once when I'm finished.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: If he isn't going to be here to listen to my concerns, well, that's fine.

I want to raise a few points on this legislation, Mr. Speaker, because I think the Premier has misconstrued what this is really all about. He keeps talking about regulations as if they were some minor items that by virtue of using the word `regulation', he is using a term that seems to be considered a negative term, that regulation in and of itself is a bad or negative thing. What we are really talking about here is not regulations per se, it is actually legislation. It is called subordinate legislation, and the modern theory of government is that the Legislature only deals in the legislation, in the acts that come before the House, with broad principles and some certain specifics, and the details of a legislative enactment are left to regulation.

Regulation is passed by the Cabinet. They are called regulations but it is actually, in fact, subordinate legislation. It is of the same force and effect as the act itself. As long as the subordinate legislation does not contradict the act, the subordinate legislation is of the same force and effect, and same legal effect. It is not surprising, Mr. Speaker, that there be some 2000 so-called regulations for 441 acts. We are really not talking about a large body of law, rules, and sections that deal with that for a Province the size of Newfoundland which has been enacting legislation and subordinate legislation for the last number of years.

Now, I don't have any difficulty with the principle of reviewing legislation, whether it is legislation passed in this House or whether it is subordinate legislation, but what we have here is a massive project, undertaken at the request of government, with a report sitting on the government's desk that is not more than a month or so old, and nobody here has seen it. Perhaps the Cabinet has seen it, I don't know, but nobody here has seen it, and the recommendation of the bill before us now says we are going to wipe out everyone of those 2000-some-odd pieces of subordinate legislation except those that the Cabinet passes again, between now and the end of the year.

We have no idea, to date, what the government plans, what the report recommends, what government's response to that report is going to be, and while it may well be within the power of government to do all this, once piece at a time, what the government is undertaking here is a massive project that is subject to not just the criteria that are laid out - and the criteria themselves, I haven't examined them in detail. But I don't have any major objection to the criteria in that subordinate legislation, or regulations, as they are called, should be efficient and should be necessary, and should meet the criteria of sustainable development, and that there should be absence of gender bias, systemic or formal.

I don't have any problem with that, but I have a lot of problems with very general kinds of things like that when someone's judgement has to be exercised as to whether it was appropriate or not for a particular piece of subordinate legislation to be repealed, and what kind of wholesale changes are taking place under the guise of this particular legislation. We don't know. There is no transparency here at all. We have a set of subordinate legislation - they are called regulations but that is only the terminology. It is actually of legislative force, and all the detail of legislation is contained in this subordinate legislation or regulations. And, as some people once said, the devil is in the details, Mr. Speaker.

This House passes legislation and gives broad guidelines, and sets out aims and goals of legislation, and then the officials of the department, through their processes, set out the details by which the legislation is to be carried out. It is a very important process and as any of you who have read Eugene Forsey's memoirs would know, he devotes a whole series of his memoirs to dealing with subordinate legislation in Ottawa. He talks about this theory of government where the Legislature can only do so much; it is only so much that could be debated here, but that all the detailed work of government is contained in subordinate legislation, so this is a big project and if anyone on this side of the House or on the other side of the House wants to really know what the government is doing here, are they going to have to conduct the same kind or research that Judge Noel and his committee took months and months and had to get an extension to do it, to find out what's going on? When are we going to have this report, not just a censored version of it which the Premier seems to be talking about today? The whole report on the table of the House so that we can have a look at it and if the government wants to make these wholesale changes, let us examine them.

Is a Committee of the House going to have a look at them to see what the government plans? It is not transparent, I say to the Premier; it is not transparent what's going on. If Judge Noel has made certain recommendations based on his judgement of what's appropriate and what's not, and the department doesn't agree with him and the government is going to do one thing or the order, then we should know what choices the government plans to make, so that if there is a problem it can be at least, aired publicly and criticized, if not convince the government or the Premier to change his mind.

There are a lot of people worried about this particular piece of legislation, I say to the Premier, and I have had calls on it on numerous occasions. There are people afraid, that the government has somehow adopted an ideology of so-called deregulations, they are going to wipe out every regulation on the books in the interest of no government, like the Reform Party talks about or the Newt Gingriches in the States, the Republican ideal that there should be less and less if not no government if possible. There are people worried that, as the Leader of the Opposition has pointed out, that there are safety regulations, that there are nursing-home regulations that there are provisions that are important for public safety or individual safety that are going to be thrown out with the dirty bathwater.

Now, I don't have a problem. The principle of reviewing legislative enactments, reviewing subordinate legislation and finding out whether there is dross that needs to be gotten rid of, I don't think anybody in this Province has a problem with that. There is nobody in this Province who will say we don't believe in efficient government and we don't need to have rules and regulations that are unnecessary, that are only causing a burden, but it is not enough for the government to say, Mr. Speaker, well, we always act in the public interest. Well, as defined by whom, Mr. Speaker?

Obviously, the government is going to act in the public interest as defined by itself, but if the public doesn't know what the government is doing, until after the fact, until next March sometime, well this is what we did last year, here are the new rules. If we get at the end of the day, Mr. Speaker - and this is something I think the Premier should answer - if at the end of the day, next March, the Premier stands in this House and says: Well, here is the published volume, this is what's left. Now we have it all in one place, this is what's left of government's subordinate legislation.

My question to the Premier is: Well, what did you take out? Do I have to go and do six months of research to find out what was removed, or are we going to have this report? Are we going to have this report and be able to say: Okay, well you are removing, a, b, c, d and e, 50 per cent of the subordinate legislation, we have to know what's being removed, Mr. Speaker, before we can know what the effect of it is, and it is not good enough to say we are doing this in the public interest. It is not good enough to say people are going to know, for the first time because there is going to be a book. What we need to know is, what's left out? Where is all the rest of it, what are they? Are we in agreement or is the public in agreement that the other 50 per cent should go? People have different opinions, I say as to what may be in the public interest or not, and if the government is doing something as such a large project as this, then it should be transparent.

I know the Premier has hinted at, you know, making this report public and I urge him to make the full report public, not a censored version of it, the full report so that when this one book is left, here is the book of subordinate legislation in this Province, we will know not only what's in the book, but we will know what this government has taken off the books without having to do a six-month research project such as Judge Noel did. So these are important considerations, Mr. Speaker, and if hon. members would yield, I would hope the Premier would address them and I have finished and have concluded my remarks at this stage.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Let me address a couple of questions that were raised. First, by the Leader of the Opposition.

Why not do each one individually? Well now, we can kill this project right now by going through all of this and have public debate and public discussion on each one of them and that will be an end of it, and we will still be left with the same amount of regulations we had forty years from now. So the answer is: Don't try and bog down the system. Of all of the people in the Province who shouldn't try and constrain what we are doing, it is this House. You should be trying to get us to get the thing cleaned up.

The Leader of the Opposition said: What about if we eliminate a regulation that we shouldn't and it causes a fire? We suddenly discover that the fire was caused because that regulation fell through the cracks and weren't enforced. I have no basis for a concern in that area. Surely our fire fighting regulations were the very regulation necessary for public safety and order. They don't get repealed on that basis. They are essential for public safety and order, so they are not repealed on that basis.

Much of what is eliminated, by the way, is duplication. There is substantial duplication in our regulations. Much of what the commissioner said - and you will see much of his report say - it is unnecessary to have this set of regulations because the matter is already dealt with under this regulation. Here we have two different departments enforcing essentially regulations to achieve essentially the same objective.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) five and six.

PREMIER WELLS: There may well be five and six in some cases. The hon. member may well be right. So there is no concern, I don't have a major concern along those lines. If we find at any time that we have eliminated a regulation that should not have been eliminated, then either the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, if it is the Lieutenant-Governor in Council that has the authority, or the body having authority can re-enact the regulation at any time.

If you look at the bill there is one provision in it that specifically provides that the body - it is section 6(1): "Notwithstanding that subordinate legislation has been re-enacted by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council under this Act, the subordinate legislation, as re-enacted, may be amended, revised, repealed or otherwise dealt with by the minister, board, commission or other body on which the power to make the subordinate legislation was first conferred...." So if something has been done, we suddenly decide or discover: Gee, look, we shouldn't have wiped out that piece of regulation, we need it, then the body having authority can put it back in place, or a revision of it, very easy and very quickly. There is no reason to be greatly concerned.

The hon. Member for St. John's East wants to have a committee of the House and have this transparent discussion of it. That will kill it. That will leave us with regulations in place for decades to come if we try and put that kind of a process in place.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: Because it will go on forever and ever. There will be debate and discussion about it. Everybody will be wanting to hold this up and to add to this, and add some more to it, and we will have even more regulation than we ever thought of having.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: Everybody has got an idea that they can run government better than government. The hon. member effectively wants to be a member of the Cabinet and he wants this House to decide what regulations are going to continue or not.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: The Member for St. John's East. This is his suggestion.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: Well, maybe it is the only way he is going to get there, but he wants this House to be able to make the - well, this House doesn't make the regulations, this House passes the statutes. We can't effect any change in a statute, and many changes are recommended, without coming to this House to do it. Only this House can address it. For the most part the regulations are made by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, but in some other cases there are some different entities and agencies that make the regulation.

That, Mr. Speaker, is the reason for choosing this technique. If they were all regulations that were made by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, the Lieutenant-Governor in Council could do it without coming to the House. But in some other cases other bodies have been given the authority to make the regulations.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: There is a variety. There is a -

MR. ROBERTS: Ministers can do it.

PREMIER WELLS: Workers' Compensation Board, a variety of others. All the boards and agencies in the Province make regulations, a variety of them. The only body that can effect all of them is the House. The Lieutenant-Governor in Council can't supersede a regulation made by another agency or body. We can't repeal it. So this technique was necessary in order to deal effectively with all of the regulations. That answers that question.

I hope the answers have -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: I told the House that I would address that and I will. I will let the House know in a day or so. Thank you again very much, and thank you for your accommodation of me. I do appreciate it. Thank you very much.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the opportunity to stand and speak to this piece of legislation today dealing with subordinate legislation.

Let me say that I as a member of this House support deregulating and streamlining government to make it more effective, to make it more open, to make it more useful to individual taxpayers, businessmen and women in this Province, who want to see that when a good idea is launched by them, individuals, or a group they are associated with, that they have the opportunity to get it done and get it done quickly. We support that. I support it wholeheartedly, but I do have some concerns.

Every rule and regulation, subordinate legislation, that comes before Cabinet, that are made, as the Member for St. John's East alluded to, is really where the details are found in legislation that we pass in this House. What happens if A, B, C, D, or E happens? Then we know that F will follow because of the rules and regulations associated with it, and often in this House six months to a year after legislation is passed we find there is trouble with the legislation, not what we passed here so much in the debate that took place. The former minister of Workers' Compensation and I can have this debate, but what rules and regulations apply to it.

An example of that is when this government passed, or changed the appeal process for workers' compensation, made the appeal tribunal, put in place an independent arbitrator, a single adjudicator system and it was not until seven months later that we discovered in this House, through information that was brought forward, that the minister, when we passed legislation said there would be a specific amount of money per case, $500, and that was the perception of each and every member in this House, it wasn't until later that a rule and regulation was made that actually defined the case.

Now, while that may not be a huge issue it is an example of what rules and regulations are about in the House of Assembly. I have a great deal of concern in passing this government a blank cheque, to say that we will take every piece of subordinate legislation that is before the House right now, we will make them all null and void and than reintroduce all of them, the January one or whatever the date is, or whatever ones we want.

Now, the Premier indicated in his opening remarks that there would be 1048 regulations that would be deleted, and his opening remarks were again convincing because the aims and objectives that he portrayed, that he spoke about in the House here in introducing this legislation are ones that, I think, most members support, but that is not where the problem lies. The problem does not lie with the aims and objectives of legislatures. The problem does not lie with what we all strive to do, or what we strive to bring in in terms of legislation in the House. The problem occurs, Mr. Speaker, around the Cabinet table where rules and regulations are passed. That is where the problems occur. That is where the problems occur for each and every citizen of the Province. Whether they are going to get a moose license, whether they are picking up a rabbit license, whether they are going to look for permits to build municipally. These are where the problems occur, at the rules and regulations level.

Now, the Member for St. John's East suggested that maybe we could have a Committee of the House who could look at what rules and regulations would be repealed so that we would know what the impact of it would be, either positively or negatively. The Premier's response was this, if we put that before a committee of the House, if we instigate or initiate public debate on this very important piece of legislation, it could kill the project altogether.

Well, Mr. Speaker, very simply put that is a valuable suggestion that can be handled with appropriate times given to any committee of the House. Supposing it is all members of the back bench on the government side given a specific amount of time, say December 1. They would conclude their hearings; they would conclude their work on November 30 and pass their recommendations forward to the House of Assembly ultimately for approval or disapproval.

Now, Mr. Speaker, what would be the problem with that? Why is it that this Premier has a problem with public debate? Why is it that this Premier in introducing this legislation indicates that public debate would kill this project? That does not need to be. If we are going to limit public debate on a very serious piece of legislation, which not all of us know what the implications will be, well, what am I doing here? What did the people of Kilbride elect me for? Why don't we just turn it over to a benevolent dictator like one Clyde K. Wells? Is that what we are about here? I don't think so and that is not what we should be about here. I apologize to nobody for not accepting this government's advice on this piece of legislation or others.

What are other examples, Mr. Speaker? We recently passed a resolution in the House here that would effectively see this government changing Term 17. When members of this side asked very basic questions on that piece of legislation and the impact of what it would be in terms of viable schools, what would make up a viable school, has the viability criteria been given? What was the answer? There was none, Mr. Speaker, because this government either did not know or were not forthcoming with the information when asked. That is why I have a problem with some of this legislation. I support the objectives of the government in trying to deregulate and make government more accessible and easier to maintain, easier for people to get access to information, permits to build homes, to build businesses or whatever the case may be but I as one member cannot accept being requested to sign a blank cheque for this government, for this specific government, to sit down over a Cabinet table, thirteen individuals, and decide what the faith of the rest of us will be. I will not accept that and I will not stand here and I don't think my constituents should accept it.

Mr. Speaker, there is no reason why the Member for St. John's East suggestion could not be taking place. That we would look at the regulations that are being repealed, we would see what is being replaced and what the impact will be. What would it take? We are sending a committee around the Province right now and indeed we have sent them around the country, a committee on children's interest - why not? Why could we not do that? Why could we not set up a small committee, with three or four members, that would look at the impact of this particular piece of legislation in a sixty day, forty-five day or thirty day period? We have the ability to put criteria and time limits in place to get things done effectively here but not at the peril and not at the demise of public debate and for members of the House to have a look at what is happening. My God! If that is the standard and the principle that we are going to apply in every decision that we make, no matter how big or how small, Mr. Speaker, then we are in desperate trouble.

With that I will conclude by saying to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations - I don't know if I can get the minister's attention for a moment. Could I have your attention for a moment? I suggest to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations that when you sit around the Cabinet table and this piece of legislation is made law, that when all rules and regulations of the Workers' Compensation Commission are repealed and you as minister can influence in any way, shape or form what rules and regulations will be put back in effect or in law, then I say that you have an opportunity right there, minister, to clean up the Workers' Compensation Commission like no other minister's had before you. I suggest that, if at all possible, you take that avenue and take the window of opportunity that is presented to you, to have a good look, a strong and in-depth look and an analysis of what the rules and regulations are at the Workers' Compensation Commission to see if they work, not for just injured workers, not just for employers and not just for government but do they work for the concept of the Workers' Compensation Commission as they should and if they do not, I suggest that you repeal them. With that, thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am very supportive of any streamlining in regulations. With government here, I think that we are overregulated. We have too many sets. There are some concerns I want to express here. Maybe the Premier when he closes debate might address these. He indicated, when he introduced the bill, that there were 1,152 sets of regulations that are going to stay as they are. He mentioned that 5 per cent were necessary to retain but they needed changes and that amounts to about 118 sets of regulations which means there are 1,088 regulations now that are being dropped or repealed. I know the House here does not set those regulations. It is done by Cabinet but in many of these regulations, if we go back and look at the history of these regulations that were set, they were done in response to a public need. In many of these regulations there was public input. There were hearings at different forums around the Province to set these regulations. It was not just the fourteen people or fifteen people in Cabinet who had input into these, it was hundreds and hundreds of people around the Province who raised concerns, who met with ministers, who brought these regulations to Cabinet and had them enacted in the best interest of serving the public need.

Now, I would like to see a copy. Prior to having this debated here in the House, or maybe before it goes into a Committee of the Whole before final reading, it would be good to have a copy of those 1,088 that are being repealed, a copy of those that are amended now, the 5 per cent or so that are amended, and also the ones being retained, because just as a smaller group of people are making decisions on the repealing of these - and, granted, these people are fairly expert in their area, and 99 per cent may be no problem, but there could be certain particular ones there into which we might need some public input.

Now, regulations arose out of a need to regulate and control certain activities. A particular one comes to mind recently - and I am not sure what category this is in - let's take the motorized vehicles and snowmobile legislation, or ATV regulations as we have come to know it. This was enacted by Cabinet, and they have every right, but they didn't have any public meetings on this. It got enacted, and they admitted, and the Minister of Natural Resources did admit that yes, there need to be changes now. After several months he realized that maybe there should be more input, so he would set up a committee and look into doing a revision and doing some amendments to these so they would be in the best interest not only of protecting the environment, but also in the best interest of people in some way that would permit continued use of those vehicles there without adversely affecting the environment.

So I think it is important, even though we don't have any say in repealing these, I think it is only fair that when we go through such an extensive review, and I support that review, and I am delighted that we are down to only half the number there, but I would like to have a copy. At least, each member in their critic area here would be able to break those sets of regulations down in their areas, take a look at them, become better informed, be aware of what regulations are there, and be able to determine and do their own follow-up, too, in case something needs to be brought to the attention of government, in case they may need to include something there, or at least take it under advisement and give it proper consideration, because no one individual or no one group are really infallible. We all make mistakes. And I think it is important to do it right. I know I want to support what is happening there - very much so I want to support it - but I would like to see a copy of those particular regulations there.

Now, I know the purpose overall, the objective, is that we want to streamline the regulatory process, and we all know it is frustrating enough to try to establish a business in this Province without, say, just operating a business that is already established, with continuous regulation changes we are being confronted with. I think it is important that the public, and as elected members here in the House, that we should have the opportunity to be able to scrutinize those regulations, not just to receive them and vote on them the next day. Because, if it took so long to go back at committee to review all of these, and to come back and pass this bill here in this House, we feel it is important to be able to have input.

The Premier indicated, I think, that he would be providing, if I heard him correctly there, a copy, and we would like to have it sooner rather than later. We don't want to be voting on this and get a copy later. We don't want to have it at the final moment. It would save a lot of unnecessary debate and discussion here in the House. If we had it now, most of the debate on this could be concluded on second reading, with very little debate in Committee, and on third reading; it would just go through fairly automatically without much discussion, and it would save time for the House in the long term. I say we should be better prepared. I think if we want this bill, "An Act Respecting The Revision And Consolidation Of Subordinate Legislation", I think we should be better prepared in having our information here so we can look at that. I say to the Premier, or to the Government House Leader in the Premier's absence, that I think it would facilitate the process and it would greatly assist us in scrutinizing, and hopefully the proper changes would be made.

One thing we don't want to see is the repealing of a certain regulation by Cabinet and the elimination of something that could have detrimental effects, or there could be a void out there that is not being met, because every regulation, I would assume, was brought in out of necessity to meet a certain need. If 50 per cent don't meet a need right now, there must have been some dramatic changes over the past number of years. We would like to know what has changed in that time, if there has been consolidation of different regulations into one set of regulations. I'm just wondering.

We would like to know, too, how much deregulation has occurred. Have a lot of those regulations - I think he said 46 per cent are unnecessary. Are some of these being combined with others? Are we almost as regulated as we were before? Are we being regulated as much as we were before but all the regulations are in now and they are just fewer in number, and almost as many regulations?

These are some of the questions that we need to have answered. I'm sure the Premier could address these probably on second reading when he closes debate. It would save us some time then when we get into Committee. That would conclude my remarks on this legislation, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. A. SNOW: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I just want to have a few comments on this bill, An Act Respecting The Revision And Consolidation Of Subordinate Legislation.

The Premier talked about how important this piece of legislation was and how proud he was of it, because he felt that it was very necessary to streamline the operation of the regulatory process, if you will, within government. I thoroughly agree with him.

I, as an individual, for most of my working life, have been in the private sector operating a small, family business. I recognize how sometimes you feel like tearing your telephone off the wall when you live in Labrador and you are trying to talk to some technician or public employee, whatever they are, here in St. John's or in Goose Bay. You get so frustrated at times you would like to take that telephone and bring it down to St. John's or to Goose Bay and want to push that telephone right down their throats, or another opening in that person's body, probably. That is what you would want to do. A lot of people in the Province feel the same way, especially people who live further away from the so-called administration locations, the government service centres, whether they are here in St. John's or Clarenville, Gander, Grand Falls, Corner Brook, or Happy Valley - Goose Bay.

Mr. Speaker, what really concerns me is that I've seen the product of what this government does when it takes the attitude: I know best. I've been a victim of it, my constituents have been a victim of it, of its saying: I know what is better for you than you do. A small example, if you will, is the Motor Vehicle Registration office. This Administration decided to shut down a Motor Vehicle Registration office in Wabush ostensibly to save money. They had the computer systems and everything all installed previously. It was all paid for, done. One employee lost his job. They shut down the office. There have been hundreds, if not thousands of people for whom I've had to take their documentation and bring it in to Mount Pearl to get it straightened out, since that closure.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: That was the only one shut down, I tell the minister, and it was the furthest one away. They said they were going to do it to improve the delivery of service. Now, I agree with the delivery of service, and I can see how it could have been improved, using the bank procedures - but that the idea should be to get the process up and running and then shut it down! We are seeing another example here in what this Administration is proposing to do with health care. It is going to shut down a couple of hospitals in St. John's and then see what it will do with this process after. There is no plan.

That is what bothers me, that we are going to do away with all these regulations and we are going to leave it up to this bunch in Cabinet to see what they are going to do, what the new rules are going to be - that is what really bothers me.

Now, Mr. Speaker, it wouldn't be necessary for the House to debate every regulation. I can understand how - there has been some suggestion that, well, that's our responsibility within Cabinet, you are in Opposition, you don't have any rights to be doing any of this, you should leave that to us. Well, Mr. Speaker, there has been too much left to `us'. There has been much too much left to `us', there has been too much power put within Cabinet, I believe. But, Mr. Speaker, that's what really bothers me about these regulations.

We can't see why it can't be public knowledge how these 2,358 sets of regulations are going to be repealed and only half of them are necessary. Now, Mr. Speaker, three-quarters of them might be unnecessary, but I would like to know which ones are going to be changed and how they are going to be changed. It is fine for somebody to stand here in St. John's - and I have heard it and seen it before - how this government is supposed to be promoting and fostering the ideas of creating a climate for entrepreneurial development. To put it simply, to be able to be entrepreneurial-friendly, Mr. Speaker, to be friendly with business. I don't have a problem with that, but they say that on one hand, and on the other hand, they go out and nail the person who is operating a small business in this Province.

Whether you are a small garage-owner, who last year was attacked by the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation - every small garage-owner in this Province was attacked last year by the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, because he was accusing them all of doing excessive work on their vehicles, calling them a bunch of crooks, basically, is what he was doing. And that doesn't promote small business, all that does is provoke the people, the ordinary citizens of this Province, to go out and mistrust the person who is in small business - that's what that did. So, Mr. Speaker, they say one thing, they do another, that's what this government is all about; that's a hallmark of this government. They say one thing, appear that you are doing something but do absolutely nothing.

We saw the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, last year, come in with a Budget that was supposed to be a balanced Budget, and there was more thumping going on over there, I tell you, you couldn't believe it. It was unbelievable how proud they were to have this balanced Budget, and six months later, they are back in with a new minister, who tells everybody in the Province that it is all smoke and mirrors. We laid off the nurses, we have laid off the front-line workers but we found that we have hired more bosses - that's what we did.

MR. EFFORD: Did you take your `nasty pill' this morning?

MR. L. SNOW: Not this morning, it was lunch time.

MR. SULLIVAN: `John', the effects would be worn off by now, if he did.

MR. A. SNOW: It was last night's `nasty pill', I guess.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, I think we should have been more concerned about the delivery of service; that's what we have to consider and we have to think of what this government has been doing over the last couple of years. And I am sincere about this. Some people think it may be funny but, Mr. Speaker, it isn't. This attitude that father knows best and we will fix it all, is fundamentally wrong. You have to listen to ordinary people, and you aren't listening, and the most glaring example, as I said, Mr. Speaker - until I was interrupted by an hon. member opposite - was the example of this government bringing in a budget, a plan, that's what it was; they brought in a plan and were talking proudly and boasting of this balanced Budget, only to find that they were - and everybody in the Province knew, they couldn't figure it out, they said: there has to be something going on here - you must have cooked the books. You must have misled the people. You must have been over-exuberant in your anticipation of the revenues.

AN HON. MEMBER: A balancing act.

MR. A. SNOW: It was a balancing act that just didn't work. The high-wire act failed. What that tells us, the people of this Province, is that you do not, in effect, have a plan. A budget is a plan. And this is a colossal mistake, a $60 million mistake, including all of the creative bookkeeping ones, the one-time funding ones that we had from the Federal Government. But the ultimate one was when the new Finance Minister suggested that smoke and mirrors was what it was all about. The previous plan was smoke and mirrors; that is what he said, to use his words. Now, are we seeing more smoke and mirrors?

Is this piece of legislation again another piece of propaganda, another piece of smoke and mirrors to be perpetrated on the people of this Province? that you appear to be doing something but, in effect, what you are going to be doing is something completely opposite, which is nothing; or you are going to be implementing more regulations that are going to be more cumbersome, more unhealthy toward small businesses to operate, more detrimental to ordinary people, ordinary residents in this Province? Is that what it is going to be? I would like to have a look, as would a lot of other people in this House I am sure, at the report itself. I think it is important that we should see which sets of regulations are going to be scrapped, thrown away, dumped, and how it will affect the ordinary people of this Province, people who work hard. Or are they just being duped into thinking that what is going to happen is they are going to clean up the regulations with regard to the cottage lot, as one example the Premier mentioned? which is a common complaint that I get. Because of the number of regulations and the hoops and the hurdles that a person has to jump through to get a cottage in this Province, I am surprised there are any cottages built.

Mr. Speaker, are they going to clean up these regulations, or indeed set up more regulations, or a more cumbersome regulatory process that will have the people totally frustrated?

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like a few words on this particular bill with regard to, I guess, the overhaul, the repeal of some, the amendment of some, government regulations.

One thing we, as an Opposition, found somewhat surprising today was that the government brought in this bill which covers a lot of ground but really didn't lay out in any detail what sorts of regulations are being re-enacted, what sorts are being done away with completely, and what regulations will be amended to make them more effective in terms of serving our people.

Mr. Speaker, we had, earlier in the day in this Assembly and last week, an instance of a minister breaking regulations that the Premier had put down for the behaviour of his Cabinet ministers. You can make regulations, I guess, until you are blue in the face, but one has to wonder, what good are regulations if they are not enforced, and consistently enforced?

Since this government came to power some six years ago we have seen some changes, one could argue some improvements, in regulations, especially as they affect Cabinet ministers and their role within government and our society as a whole. We have seen ministers of the Crown lose their seat because of a breach of regulations as laid down by the hon. the Premier, and here we have today, both in what the Premier said in the House of Assembly and what I overheard him saying in a meeting with the press outside this Chamber a few moments ago, a minister who the Premier acknowledges has broken the regulations, but because he indicated the minister concerned brought certain special skills and talents to the government, he did not think he could afford to get rid of that minister. Also, he interpreted the regulations in favour of the minister in this particular case because he said the minister is new.

Mr. Speaker, we had some regulations and there are some regulations as well, dealing with what is legitimate behaviour on the part of ministers. With this particular minister there was some considerable controversy in his department some months ago relating to a function attended by him and several of his senior officials. There was some question as to whether or not the behaviour at a certain - how shall I put it - golf tournament or whatever, was indeed in line with proper behaviour for ministers. We have been told that certain hotel bills and expenses were taken back and redone a certain way so that they would conform to the Premier's regulations. Now those are regulations that were already in place and that minister did not conform to them. Now the minister has not conformed to a new set of regulations and we have the Premier saying the minister is new, he does not know the rules so I am going to forgive him this time. Mr. Speaker, that is not sufficient, not at all.

Then we have the Premier in the enforcement of his regulations, come into this hon. House and breath the names of two civilian human beings into the record of this House, people that he telephoned with the sole purpose of intimidation, Mr. Speaker, let's be honest about this. This Premier has actually called up people before, who have signed petitions to this hon. House, just to call up and lay the heavy hand of God on them and let them know the big brother is indeed watching, that big brother is indeed marking down your name for some future time.

We heard the names of two individuals repeated here in this House today in response to a minister breaking the regulations. Not only was it not good enough that the Premier forgave the minister for his breach of the regulations but then he had to go on and basically say to all and sundry in the general public: don't you dare complain to the Opposition or to the media about a minister breaking regulations or I shall tell the whole world who you are and everybody, all 3,000 civil servants on Confederation Hill, will know darn well who you are and they will know not to return your phone calls. They will know to send your tax bills out early and to process your payments late. They will know all of those kinds of things because the regulations that we have in place for those kinds of things can be manipulated by the Crown.

I have no doubt that regulations with regard to the collection of money will be left in place by this particular government. The regulations with regard to the payment of money to businesses or individuals out there will be very slackly enforced by this government but to have it here today, where the hon. Premier stood in this place and named individuals in response to acknowledging that a minister broke the regulations, Mr. Speaker, is simply not good enough. Like I said, his excuse to the media out in the lobby was that the minister was new, brought invaluable talents to the government and therefore he was reluctant to let him go. Now, Mr. Speaker, I found that somewhat amazing because we have heard stories about this minister, not only relating to his combine harvester. Let me say, Mr. Speaker, this minister has caused some considerable controversy and indeed, dare I say, embarrassment to this hon. government in this very Chamber in response to matters raised in Question Period.

So, Mr. Speaker, what are the good of regulations if they are not going to be enforced with consistency, with regularity and with a degree of sensitivity towards the issues involved? I was astounded today, Mr. Speaker, that the Premier would actually mention individuals - who else out there now, Mr. Speaker? If another minister of the Crown has been raising funds for his district association, directly targeting businesses and individuals who are vulnerable to that minister by virtue of his position, who else is going to give the Opposition or a member of the press evidence of what that minister is up to? Absolutely nobody, Mr. Speaker, because the Premier put the world on notice that you speak up, you will be named in the House, government ministers, the government civil servants, everybody will have you marked down in the lamb's book of life but it won't be for going to heaven, Mr. Speaker, it won't be for going to heaven at all.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HEWLETT: Mr. Speaker, whether it comes to regulations or whatever, Mr. Speaker, this government has been very, very big on piety and very, very poor on performance.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

MR. HEWLETT: It is rather passing strange, you know. If you get up and you say a few nice things about a boring bill going through the House of Assembly and you basically agree with the principle of what they are doing, and you don't throw any sand in the gears or otherwise cause a ripple on this quiet tidal pool of an assembly, they all love you for it. The minute you get up and start hammering them on something that they've done or they haven't done it is time - `Sit down, sit down!' That is all you hear from the other side.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. HEWLETT: Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member for Exploits can attack me personally all he wants but that still doesn't excuse what the Premier did here in the House today. The Premier does have the discretion, yes I do say, under the British parliamentary system to accept or reject the resignation of a minister. I don't think there is a soul out there in the general public who actually believes that the minister resigned voluntarily. It was a bit of a charade to have a letter of resignation come in and have the Premier stand up and say: I'm not going to accept his resignation, even though he broke the regulations, and even though people -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) regulations?

MR. HEWLETT: It has everything to do with regulations. It has to do with the regulations governing your conduct as a minister. If you were to have a fund-raiser for your district association and you were to send out letters to every single tourism body in this Province and they were to donate to your campaign on that basis, you would have broken the regulations. The Premier is letting every tourism person out there know now: Don't complain if Roger did that to us, because we will get named in the House of Assembly too.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I don't know if the - I think the applause was for my colleague for Green Bay for such a spirited speech. It is obvious that he struck a nerve with some others opposite, especially the ministers. I see one minister now can't take the heat, he is packing up and leaving, you see? He knows he is in for another roasting, Mr. Speaker, (inaudible).

I want to have a few words on the bill introduced by the Premier today. As has been said by a number of other speakers as well, I support the bill in principle. I support what the government is doing in principle here; there is no doubt about that. Too many regulations, too much red tape, too much bureaucracy. There is no doubt about that. We all run into situations dealing with constituents where people get frustrated, have been frustrated, to the point where some give up on some very good ideas. People just throw up their hands in frustration and say: I can't go on with any more of it, I've got to give it up, I'm frustrated. I thought I had a good idea, it could have been a viable proposition, but the bureaucracy and the regulations bogged it down so much and cost me money and time and energy, and I just have to give it up. I can't pursue it any more. That has happened so much.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: That is what I'm trying to say.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, not me. I say to the Minister of Education and Training, I've started a lot of things but I finished most of them.

AN HON. MEMBER: I'm sorry, I (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, the minister is selective in what he hears and selective in what he remembers.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I could start something, I say to the minister. I could start something with the minister every day but my better judgement takes over and I back off. Because he has changed his fax number now and he doesn't get my questions. Then he is getting Dr. Len Williams then doing the answers for him.

MR. TOBIN: Bill, the welfare officer will see you now, (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: But, Mr. Speaker, seriously. We've all run into situations with our constituents where they are trying to start a small business or they have some other idea, tourism-related or whatever, and the bureaucracy and the regulations I say to the minister, turns them off.

MR. DECKER: (Inaudible) regulations.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh, they have been building up for years, building up for years, I say to the Minister of Education and Training, building up for years and the Wells Administration has compounded and complexed and complicated them even more up until now, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, no, I say to the minister, it is a good initiative. It is a good initiative, but I only wish my colleague, the Member for Mount Pearl was here today because he would want to speak on this. He would want to speak on this and tell of a personal experience with regulations in various departments, crossing departmental lines, I mean, it is unbelievable to hear this man tell the story about trying to get a small business going, and I mean, if you heard the man tell it and what he has had to go through and what it has cost him, I mean, it is absolutely unbelievable.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Sorry?

AN HON. MEMBER: The first obstacle is the (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: But you know, for someone who has had the frustration and there are hundreds like him, and there are people who quit, who gave up, they wouldn't carry on because they got frustrated or they couldn't afford it; they didn't have the financial resources to keep pursuing what they thought was a meaningful idea for employment and so on, in this Province, so it is positive what is happening.

MR. SULLIVAN: Look what Rodrigues went through out there. Took seven or eight years for him (inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, precisely. We all know cases of it. I mean, the Premier alluded to it today about Crown Lands, trying to get a piece of Crown land or get a permit to build a cabin, my God in heaven, you have to get the Department of Health, the Department of Environment, the Department of Works, Services and Transportation and on and on it goes, and then they wait for visits from the various officials from all the departments, I mean, we have all experienced it so what the government is doing is good. It is good.

AN HON. MEMBER: Like everything else?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, I can't say that, like everything else, but this initiative is good and the kind of person that I am I say to the Minister of Education and Training, is the same thing as I said when I was appointed critic for Education and Training, I went on record then and said that I will not criticize for the sake of criticizing; if the government takes good initiatives I will credit them. If the minister takes good initiatives and positive initiatives in education, I will give him credit and I will compliment him.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: It is not bad enough, Mr. Speaker, to send the questions over a couple hours before Question Period but now he wants them the night before, so he can fax them over to Dr. Williams and Dr. Marsh and Dr. Crocker so they can do up his responses, I mean, that's how the minister had it before the shuffle I say to him, that's how the minister had it before we had the shuffle. The former critic, my good friend for Waterford - Kenmount had him ruined, he had him spoiled, Mr. Speaker, he knew days in advance -

MR. SULLIVAN: He is still not answering them any better.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, he doesn't answer them any better, but my good friend from Waterford - Kenmount knows I am only talking in jest; he is not here to defend himself.

AN HON. MEMBER: The proof is in the pudding with regulations, what they are doing now.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Sure, but there were some valid concerns raised today and the Premier's introduction of the bill and his response to the Leader of the Opposition and the Member for St. John's East, alleviated some of my concerns. I did have the same concerns that they had, I was afraid there might be a void, certain regulations being repealed and re-enacted, whether there will be a void, a period of time, I understand now how that will be done. I accept the Premier's explanation that there will not be problems in areas such as the Leader of the Opposition alluded to, with public safety and fire regulations and so on, and that's one that I had. I did have that concern as did a number of our caucus members.

But I am wondering and maybe I will get a chance to ask the Premier as we proceed later on in later stages with this bill, I mean, this is eliminating, in my view, a tremendous amount of work, there must be a tremendous amount of manpower involved in carrying out those regulations, in the regulatory process, there must be a tremendous amount of work and bureaucracy, trying to administer all these regulations. Now the Premier tells us that 50 per cent of them, an hour ago, would be wiped out, they will be gone, consequently, I guess it would stand to pass that about 50 per cent of the work and the manpower related to regulating - the Minister of Education and Training is starting to tap his head, it is starting to sink in what I am building up to.

MR. SULLIVAN: A smaller Cabinet now, we need.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, after all I was going to ask the Premier about the size of the Cabinet, right? Maybe we could get by now with seven or eight ministers, but the bigger question though it what is it going to mean in terms of departmental employees? Are we going to see massive layoffs in government departments? The Minister of Education says, yes.

MR. DECKER: I would think so.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You would think so. Maybe the Minister of Finance who is grappling with his $60 million problem may be able to help me, but I would think if you are doing away with 50 per cent of your regulations, and you have officials in all government departments that are enforcing them, going out and inspecting, getting forms filled out, accepting fees, and all the other things that go with it, it makes me think that you are not going to need a lot of those people now.

AN HON. MEMBER: Leaner.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Leaner, more unemployed is my concern. Let us take the opposite, but it might create more -

AN HON. MEMBER: (inaudible)

MR. W. MATTHEWS: My point to the minister was if we make the system more efficient, and we make the environment more friendly and attractive to business by doing away with these regulations then maybe we may have a net gain in employment, I say to the minister. The minister is starting to become a good student. Maybe that is the role for the minister, a student and never a minister.

AN HON. MEMBER: Well, why do they keep hiring?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, that is another question for another day, why they kept hiring? I have concerns about that. I am concerned about those people who now have what they think, or have had secure jobs with government, the public service who have had secure jobs with the government and who now must be very concerned. Those who are involved directly in administering regulations by various departments must be a lot of nervous people today. There must be a lot of nervous people in the public service today because if you are doing away with 50 per cent of government regulations you are not going to need all the people who are now employed to enforce them, administer them, carry out inspections or do whatever.

I am sure when the Premier responds, and I get a chance to ask him in debate or otherwise, I hope he will have an answer because I am sure government must have done an analysis on how much they are going to save on salaries. How much are you going to save on salaries by bringing in this new system? How much is government going to lose by fees and so on that come in because of some of those regulations? There has to be a loss of revenue to the government if you are doing away with all those regulations and some of the costs associated. I would think government gets reimbursed from those applying to start a new business, and that there are fees associated with it, so I would think government is going to lose that revenue. They are going to save by laying-off employees but they are going to lose revenues on the other hand.

I am sure government, being the very thorough and efficient government they are, must be able to tell us that. The Minister of Finance must be able to tell us today what these new regulations will save government by employee layoffs, and what they will cost government by loss of revenues for fees and so on. There has to be an answer, and maybe the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology might be able to tell me. He is a very thorough minister.

I say to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, my point is, if you have done away with 50 per cent of the regulations-

AN HON. MEMBER: How is your driver?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: My driver is okay, it is who uses the driver. I say to the minister, if you are doing away with 50 per cent of the regulations you are not going to need all the people who have been associated with carrying them out, so government will save money on salaries, but on the other hand government will lose revenues because there must be fees associated with a lot of those regulations that government will not now take in.

Do you know what I am saying? Save on one hand and lose on the other. I am wondering what the net benefit is going to be for government. I ask the Minister of Finance if he has done an analysis on that? He is not listening. See, the Minister of Finance has a $60 million problem, and I am trying to help him address it. Will we see lay-offs, I ask the Minister of Finance, as a result of doing away with 50 per cent of the regulations? Are we going to see lay-offs in the public service? Is that where you are going to get some of your savings to address the deficit?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Only in the Opposition. You are going to do away with the Opposition. Well, that is a start, I say to the minister, but you won't save much doing away with the Opposition. He is going to have to do away with more than that to get his $60 million, but they could start by reducing the number of departments over there, consolidating, because you are not going to need all of those ministers with all of that staff now if you are doing away with 50 per cent of government regulations. Just think about it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You only need one minister. Well, you only have one minister now, I say, with all due respect to the Minister of Finance. There is only one minister over there now, really.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The odd minister writes a letter over the weekend or late at night. You have ministers over there drafting letters in the wee hours of the morning, coming into the House the next day tired and so on, consulting, and all night writing letters for their colleagues to sign, makes sure the wording is correct and all the bases are covered, I say to the Government House Leader over there. It looks like he has had a rough, rough couple of days.

MR. TOBIN: Who?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The Government House Leader. It looks like he is worn down and tired over there.

MR. SULLIVAN: Up late writing letters, was he?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Writing letters, all weekend on the phone and in meetings, trying to get that letter done up that I read there earlier. As soon as I read the letter I said, I know who wrote it.

MR. TOBIN: What letter was that, Bill?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The letter that was tabled today in the House.

MR. TOBIN: Bud's letter?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, the Government House Leader wrote that.

MR. TOBIN: Did you write that, Ed? Did you have any input into writing that letter.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: He writes a mean letter, I say to the Government House Leader. I saw a few other ministers going around over there today looking for copies of it. I saw a few other ministers today going around looking for a copy of the press release and the letter, reading it. What is that about?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The Member for St. John's Centre asks: What is what about? Other ministers going around looking at the letter and reading it. All that is going to be changed on other letters over there that will unfold over the next little while will be the one who signs the bottom of it. It is going to be the same letter. All that is going to be changed is the name on the bottom, and who signs it.

MR. TOBIN: Did you hear Roberts burned the midnight oil last week?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The Government House Leader is tired. He is worn down. He has had to try to find a solution, with the Premier, to get around this situation, and he has done a good job, as usual.

MR. TOBIN: He has had a lot of experience.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: He has had a lot of experience - trouble, and writing letters - a lot of experience.

MR. TOBIN: He handled that drug scandal pretty good.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: He does a good job, a remarkable letter writer.

Having said that, Mr. Speaker, I have raised a couple of concerns I have about the bill. I support the bill.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Of course.

MR. TOBIN: After Bill.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: He is following me. I am just setting the tone now. I have been complimentary to the Government House Leader in saying how well he writes letters. Now my friend from Burin - Placentia West is going to get up and attack the Government House Leader.

MR. TOBIN: No, I am not. I wouldn't think of doing such a thing.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Going to attack him, vicious personal attacks.

MR. TOBIN: I would never attack the Government House Leader; he is too close a friend.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: He is too close a friend.

I am wondering if someone from the government, and I do not know if the Government House Leader has been listening or not, but I hope

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, he hasn't been listening either? That is the problem, you see; I will have to send a copy of Hansard to the Premier.

AN HON. MEMBER: I will tell him.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You do that. I know you will. If you give me an undertaking you will carry it out, but I want someone to answer that for me. Will we see lay-offs as a result of this piece of legislation? Will there be loss of revenue to government from fees and so on because the regulations are done away with? These are the concerns that I have, and I would like for someone to address them for me. I would like to have an answer to that. Not only do I want to know, but I am sure there are a lot of people in the departments who would like to know, because a lot of these people, their jobs have been enforcing the regulations, and I think it is a very valid question that needs to be answered. As much as I believe in streamlining for efficiency, I would like to have the answer to that. Someone from government can answer it.

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

MR. DECKER: (Inaudible) says: Who is the big crowd with all of the placards waving.

MR. TOBIN: You have that wrong, Chris. I knew exactly who they were.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: When I saw Rick Seaward on the bus, it wasn't much trouble to know what was going on, but I will tell you something, since the minister mentioned that, Joe Price probably would have never won that election except for that day.

AN HON. MEMBER: Is that right?

MR. TOBIN: That day Joe Price won the election. It really won the election for Joe Price, that protest. So all protests don't always work against the people who directed it but I will tell you about it some day. That was a very interesting night when we had to be escorted in. I say to Chris, we had to be escorted into the hall and sticks were flying up on the stage, as my colleague from Grand Bank said -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: By a bunch of Liberals. Some of the people - Roger Simmons.

AN HON. MEMBER: Teachers?

MR. TOBIN: No, they were not teachers, no, no, no.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: No, that was the other one. That was down in Lewisporte.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: No, best kind, I don't mind.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) make a fool of yourself.

MR. TOBIN: Why don't you get up? Well you could sit down and make a fool of yourself too, I say to the Minister of Justice. Is he the Minister of Justice yet?

MR. SULLIVAN: Chris, this will make for good reading in Hansard so far.

MR. TOBIN: What regulations, Chris? Mr. Speaker, if the Minister of Education would be quiet -

MR. SULLIVAN: You wanted to talk about regulations now he is going to.

MR. TOBIN: The House Leader asked me to get up and I got up.

MR. DECKER: Bill No. 7.

MR. TOBIN: I know what it is.

Mr. Speaker, by the way, I am going to start off today different than I have ever started off any speech I made in fourteen years. I would like to commend the Premier for bringing in this piece of legislation, for doing something that is going to be a positive factor to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador but what is more important, that in my humble opinion it is probably the first time this government has done something that I can agree with. I cannot agree with this government. This government holds the record in Newfoundland and Labrador, the Wells Administration with the Minister of Education, the Minister of ITT and the same Minister of Justice holds the record for running up the highest deficit in one year. The highest deficit in one year ever recorded in the history of Newfoundland and Labrador was recorded in 1990-1991, $347 million.

MR. SULLIVAN: Roberts wasn't there.

MR. TOBIN: Okay, I owe an apology to the Minister of Justice, Mr. Speaker, he was not there. The Minister of Justice was not there in 1991. No he was not, no. He is after coming in so often, Mr. Speaker, he will soon have to come through the back door. As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice - I say to the Minister of Education that when I came into the House first the Minister of Justice was Leader - no, he wasn't Leader of the Opposition.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) in 1982.

MR. TOBIN: But I tell you one thing, he was rather scrappy at that time. But he is mellowing, Mr. Speaker, he is much more gentle, much more kind -

MR. ROBERTS: Much too willing to take pity on fools.

MR. TOBIN: What did he say?

MR. SULLIVAN: Unparliamentary, according to Beauchesne.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, that might be true and I tend to believe what he said because a few years ago the Minister of Justice would never have wrote the letter that he wrote this past weekend. He would never have written it, Mr. Speaker. So I tend to agree with the Minister of Justice taking pity on fools.

Mr. Speaker, the Premier talked about this sunset legislation, and I have never heard of anything more appropriately suited to the Minister of Justice. But I don't know how this government - it is too bad, Mr. Speaker, that some of them don't follow the lead of the best person they have ever elected - Mr. Baker - and that is to retire; Mr. Speaker, he should follow suit. I don't know why the Minister of Education and Training doesn't go.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible), you are always attacking the man.

MR. TOBIN: No, never, not Winst Baker.

AN HON. MEMBER: What?

MR. TOBIN: Attack Winst Baker, no, no.

Mr. Speaker, there is only one way for him to find out, and that's go. I have to say to the Minister of Education and Training, that I have always had nothing but respect for the former Minister of Finance and Treasury Board; I thought he was a good minister, the best House Leader the Wells Government has ever had. There was only once in my years in the House that I witnessed the former Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, Mr. Baker, become frustrated, only once, Mr. Speaker, and that's the day he left `Chuck' in charge. That's the day he left the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology in charge and Garfield Warren, Mr. Speaker, and Garfield Warren, above all, pulled the plug on `Chuckie' and you couldn't get handy to the Hansard Office, the day Garfield moved the six-month hoist or something, was it?

AN HON. MEMBER: A point of order instead of Division.

MR. TOBIN: No, a six-month hoist. Garfield moved it and the Minister of ITT was supposed to call for Division, and he called for a point of order, and Baker said: When `Clyde' comes down we are all going to be hung.

AN HON. MEMBER: Didn't you read `Loyola's' poem.

MS VERGE: Yes. (Inaudible) on the burning deck.

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible) stood on the burning deck, wracked with indecision.

MR. TOBIN: Chuck stood on the burning deck.

MS VERGE: He called a point of order when he should have called division.

MR. TOBIN: Another good man, Mr. Speaker, who is no longer in the House, the former Member for St. Mary's - The Capes, was a fellow who contributed significantly to the well-being of the Assembly for the number of years he served here and he was always there -

MS VERGE: The Grand Banks of Newfoundland.

MR. TOBIN: Pardon?

MS VERGE: (Inaudible) the whole story of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and about the Nova Scotians being over here fishing.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who are you talking about?

MR. TOBIN: Loyola Hearn.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Roger Simmons? No, Mr. Speaker. Roger Simmons, in my days in the House that he was here, didn't contribute anything.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not even to his own party.

MR. TOBIN: No, not even to his own party, and how they elected him leader I will never know. I will never know, Mr. Speaker, how they elected him a leader.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: How they elected him the interim leader.

Mr. Speaker, there are two of us in this House, I would submit, who feel the same way about Roger Simmons, and that is, myself and the Minister of Justice, and I won't say anything more about that.

MR. ROBERTS: I am not sure I agree with that. I know him even better than does my friend, the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. SULLIVAN: That tells you why he is keeping quiet, does it?

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, it is some hard to get to speak on this legislation.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) in conclusion.

MR. TOBIN: No, boy, I have to keep her going.

MR. ROBERTS: If this is keeping her going, I would hate to see her (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I bet we won't sit tonight, Mr. Speaker, because the minister is too tired from writing letters, but I agree with my colleague, the Member for Grand Bank; the Minister of Justice can really put it on paper. I read that letter today as well, and I would submit that there will be another signature on that letter before long.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who is that?

MR. TOBIN: I am not saying who.

Mr. Speaker, I have talked to people this past weekend who have been applying for Crown land and have been totally and completely frustrated by the amount of foolishness that is set up in regulations.

AN HON. MEMBER: Crown lands.

MR. TOBIN: Crown lands, that is going to be hopefully gutted, taken out and removed, and the person who has to get Crown land go to one... Right now it takes six months. You make your application, and by the time someone looks at it, it has to be sent to Forestry, Municipal Affairs, Department of Health, Works, Services and Transportation, Environment -

MR. SULLIVAN: It goes to councils first.

MR. TOBIN: Councils, it has to go out to all of them. Then, by the time they get a look at it and send it back the government has - because of the cutbacks in government there aren't enough people out there working, although I don't know how the civil service has grown. You can't find a place to park on that parking lot. People in here the other day from my district had to park over there across from the Cabot Institute because there was no room to park on this parking lot. That way, is it? Mr. Speaker, I am like the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, I am going home.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TOBIN: South is that way, `Tom'.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: No, I said that they had to park over by the Cabot Institute, and I pointed that way.

AN HON. MEMBER: They had what?

MR. TOBIN: They had to park over by the Cabot, the crowd who came in here; the parking lot was full. I said that they had to park that way, and the minister pointed out to me it is that way. I said I was like the minister; I was going home.

MR. SULLIVAN: Some people don't catch on easily, `Glenn'.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I would say this legislation that the Premier is bringing in will make it easier, as I understand it, for people to do what I'm talking about doing in terms of Crown lands. The Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs - it takes two months' work if something has to go through them, the Department of Works, Services and Transportation, the Department of Environment, same thing.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Nightmare.

MR. TOBIN: Yes, Mr. Speaker, it is a nightmare, not that it was any different in the past, I say to the ministers.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: What is that?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Well, it is my understanding, from what the Premier is telling us.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, if it is not, then we might as well give up. I'm talking about getting Crown land. I'm saying today you have to go to Environment, Works, Service and Transportation, Municipal and Provincial Affairs, councils.

MR. EFFORD: You're wrong, you're wrong!

MR. TOBIN: Natural Resources.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: What is that?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, it is not fixed.

MR. TOBIN: No, Mr. Speaker, it is not fixed, I say to the minister. Because I had a person from my town who applied for a piece of Crown land. I checked on it last week and it was still waiting for answers from the Department of Works, Services and Transportation. They were still waiting for an answer from the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, I believe it was, and they were still waiting for an answer from some other department.

AN HON. MEMBER: How long was the application (inaudible)?

MR. TOBIN: The application -

MR. SULLIVAN: I have a guy who applied in October and he is waiting on three departments now. He has word back from one. He applied on October 8 or 9. I have his name and application number. He is still waiting on three departments. One has responded.

I would say to the minister that it isn't fixed, that it is still a problem. It is still bogged downed in bureaucracy. That was last week that I checked it out. If the minister wants the name and the number I can give it to him. I spoke to the people in the department.

AN HON. MEMBER: Give me his name (inaudible) so that I can check it out.

MR. TOBIN: Yes I will. Give you the name now, if you want it - Gilbert Inkpen.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: No, Mr. Speaker, he isn't afraid. I have lots of time, I have a half-hour.

So if that is what this is going to correct, I am all for it, because there is no reason why, if someone wants to build a cottage up the road, what they call the Cowboy Road in my district, where there are all kinds of other cottages built, and there is a piece of land on which he wants to build, it is only formality once it is approved and he is given the opportunity to build there as the rest of them have done, but for him to have to wait months is not right, but my understanding from what the Premier said today is that this is going to correct it, then if that is the case I commend the government for doing it. I support him wholeheartedly, Mr. Speaker. I may even call for division so that I can record my vote.

AN HON. MEMBER: Come on over.

MR. TOBIN: No, Mr. Speaker, I would not be caught handy to the minister.

AN HON. MEMBER: See how easy it is to get him going.

MR. TOBIN: Not as easy as it is to get you going.

AN HON. MEMBER: I have a dog at home who reacts the same way. Just say `cookie' and the dog jumps up.

MR. TOBIN: Is that right? I have a dog and his name is Scrappy.

AN HON. MEMBER: And he is always jumping up.

MR. ROBERTS: Do you know where the name comes from?

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

MR. ROBERTS: We are just wasting time anyway, so I can waste it better than my hon. friend. Members may find this hard to believe given the present size and girth, but when I was born I was held up by my heels and one of the nurses in the OR - and I heard this years later from the nurses at the OR at the Grace, they were named Benson, Thomas, and Morgan, they were then much older women but were case room nurses at the Grace - one of them said, what a scrap he is. That is where it came from. It has been with me since my birth.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is not what I heard.

MR. ROBERTS: Well, I do not know what the hon. gentleman heard. I head the hon. minister is competent, I mean, you know.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. ROBERTS: What I have to say is that Mr. Benson is immensely flattering. Froggy Marshall got his name in school in Prince of Wales. He was always called Froggy. We grew up together. He is a little older than I am but that is where scrap comes from or scrappy. Sure, it goes back to the day -

AN HON. MEMBER: Who is Froggy Marshall?

MR. ROBERTS: Froggy Marshall? The hon. Mr. William Marshall of the Court of Appeal but he would be the first to tell you that as a boy growing up here in St. John's he was called Froggy Marshall. Mr. Benson's column is entertaining. One should not always take it as being factual. Now the hon. member may want to say a word or two and then adjourn the debate because if not we are here tonight.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I'm sure that the Government House Leader has now set the record straight as to why he got the name scrappy.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: No, I am not going to say anything else about the Minister of Justice, he is tired. Mr. Speaker, I don't know if the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation wants to tell us where he got the name Popsie.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, I will get back to this regulation. I think it is important. I really believe it is important that it is made much easier for people who want to avail of government services than it has been in the past. I share it with the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs because I felt that when it became one stop shopping and they had all this big hullabaloo about cutting - that it was over until I had a call from a constituent last week - and then I checked it out and they said, no boy, we are still waiting to hear back from three departments; Works, Services and Transportation, Forestry I believe - what's that?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Health.

MR. TOBIN: It could be Health, yes. And, Mr. Speaker, there have to be regulations, people cannot go out and put septic tanks where they wish and all that kind of stuff. We agree with that but there have to be people in the system who are going to be able to go around and do the inspections because on the Burin Peninsula, Mr. Speaker, there are not enough inspectors. This minister there, Mr. Speaker, right there -

MS VERGE: Which one?

MR. TOBIN: The person responsible for the Cabot 500 celebration. Scuttling that, Mr. Speaker, that minister there is the fellow who took the electrical inspectors from the Burin Peninsula and throughout this Province and they have caused, Mr. Speaker, a backlog, no doubt about that. The Department of Health, on the Burin Peninsula for 50,000 people, there are two health inspectors. Okay, Mr. Speaker, I will adjourn the debate.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, the good news is that the hon. gentleman adjourned the debate. The bad news is that he will be back on tomorrow. In any event, be that as it may, we shall call the bill tomorrow when we come to government business at 2:30 p.m. or 3:00 p.m., whenever, according to the rules.

AN HON. MEMBER: What is next?

MR. ROBERTS: What is next? We will go back and conclude the environmental minister's bill, and then we will carry on from there. That should probably take us until Thursday night, the way things are going.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Well, my friend, the gentleman from Grand Bank and I, shall consult before then to determine what is next.

With that said, Mr. Speaker, I move that the House -

MR. TOBIN: When are you bringing in your bill?

MR. ROBERTS: Which bill?

MR. TOBIN: The electrical boundaries.

MR. ROBERTS: The electrical boundaries or the electoral boundaries? I anticipate the bill will be in the House this week.

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

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