November 23, 1995      HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS          Vol. XLII  No. 61


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

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

Statements by Ministers

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

DR. GIBBONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, on July 20th of this year, I announced a Call for Postings, under the Newfoundland and Labrador Petroleum Regulations, 1991, inviting companies to identify lands in Western Newfoundland that they would like to see made available in a Request for Bids, and, Mr. Speaker, we had a great response.

I am pleased to announce to this House today, that I intend to make a Request for Bids. I am happy to inform you that this will be by far the largest land offering to date. Thirty-one parcels of land totalling almost one million hectares will be made available for competitive bidding by the petroleum industry.

Mr. Speaker, the residents of the West Coast of the Island have long been aware of the numerous oil seeps throughout the area, and historically this goes back to 1812. The historical record shows the first oil seeps being noted as long ago as 1812.

The geologists and geophysicists within my department and at Memorial University's Earth Sciences Department are very familiar with the positive geological factors present in the area. The petroleum industry has recently rediscovered the area as an overlooked frontier. One well has recently been drilled and it was finished as of August 1st and another well is presently being drilled on the Port au Port Peninsula.

We have seismic exploration ongoing in the Port au Port/Stephenville area right now, today, and several programs are in the planning stages, and applications have been submitted to my department. This Request for Bids will provide the opportunity for an increased level of exploration and for new companies to get involved in the area.

The Request for Bids will close on March 22, 1996. This will give the companies four months to assess the potential of these parcels and plan their bids. It will also provide companies with the opportunity to acquire seismic data over the winter months when the ground is frozen. This data will be used to identify promising geological structures.

The bids, Mr. Speaker, are to be submitted in the form of work commitments. It is only by means of exploration programs, that include seismic and drilling, that we will determine the petroleum potential of Western Newfoundland. By accepting bids in the form of work commitments, we encourage these crucial exploration programs to get moving.

Mr. Speaker, I am quite pleased by the high level of interest that the oil and gas industry has expressed in Western Newfoundland. I look forward to reporting an enthusiastic response to the bids by March.

As an aside, I want to draw attention to the map which shows thirty-one areas from the tip of the Northern Peninsula down to the Port aux Basques area; there are thirty-one blocks that are up for bids.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. GIBBONS: I also want to note that publicly, previously, I have stated that I wanted to close this call for bids by some time in December, to have the licences out by January, but because of the large aerial extent of these thirty-one blocks, because we have pending programs in application stage in the department to do seismic programs this winter, and because it would be best for companies to get the seismic programs done so they would know how to bid, I am delaying the closing until March 22. The winter is the best time to do this type of exploration, so let's let them do it, and then I expect we will have a great response come March 22.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to thank the minister for a copy of his statement well in advance. We, in the Opposition, consider this to be good news. Certainly, any significant increase in oil exploration on land is doubly good in that there is absolutely no question as to the ownership and jurisdiction over the petroleum resources that may be there. With regard to this, and mineral finds as well, one point that I have made that I would encourage the minister and the government to look into is some sort of equalization deal as we have for Hibernia so that we maximize the profit to the Province of any income from such finds.

Thank you.

Oral Questions

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HODDER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My questions are to the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

As a result of a decision by Madam Justice Wilson on December 7, 1989, in the Tock versus St. John's Metropolitan Area Board, municipalities are facing an increasing number of liability claims. This has resulted in municipalities being sued for actions that are beyond their control. Municipalities have no protection under current legislation and as a consequence they face higher liability insurance costs and possibly the actual loss of liability insurance altogether. This is a very serious issue for municipalities and in fact a resolution at the autumn convention suggested that some municipalities may be seriously impacted and have very serious negative consequences for them.

Does the minister intend to introduce legislative amendments that will address this issue in this session of the House, and if so, when, and if not, why not?

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

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, the whole question of liability to municipalities to some degree is being addressed in the new Municipalities Act and I was hoping that the act would be ready for public consumption, I guess, through the Federation of Municipalities and ourselves because that is who put it together, and in the next while hopefully get the new Municipalities Act in place before we address changing legislation, the other parts of the act that would need changes to the legislation.

We are taking that particular problem seriously but it is going to take some time before we can actually address the whole question of liability as it relates to municipalities. I would like to say to the House that a number of these issues have been raised and are being talked about at least, not necessarily dealt with, and ultimately, I suppose, I will have to come back to the House. I cannot say to the hon. member and this House exactly when we will be bringing in changes to the legislation, but I can safely say it will not be in this sitting.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, there are four issues involved. As the minister knows because of this decision the premiums for liability insurance have increased, the deductabilities have increased, there has been an increase in the cost of claims, that is the amount paid to the people who sue the municipalities, and also an increase in the number of claims. In other words municipalities face liability claims for performing duties and for not performing duties, for sins of omission and commission, regardless of whether or not the municipality had knowledge of the servicing problem or whether or not the problem was -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. member to get to his question. He is on a supplementary.

MR. HODDER: Sorry, Mr. Speaker. Or whether or not the problem was caused by a rare occurrence, like a once in a one-hundred year storm. Last year the minister publicly stated he would introduce legislation this term. I want to know -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. HODDER: - more precisely why not?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. REID: Yes, Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman is correct when he is expressing on behalf of municipalities the concerns, in particular the four concerns that he raised. He is also aware that because of recent judgements - for example the one on Bell Island, Wabana, in regards to the fire department, which I suppose at the end of the day you can look at as being a good ruling from our point of view. But then, even because it was a good ruling it is enough reason for us to go back and look at pertinent acts as it relates to certain issues in municipalities. I can assure the hon. gentleman that we are in the process of doing it.

I will say this to him. I'm sure he understands how much time it takes to go through the Minister of Justice's department and go through my department and have all these people review and look at these pieces of legislation. At the end of the day I can assure the hon. gentleman and this House that all those issues that the hon. gentleman has raised here today will be dealt with in due course. Hopefully sometime either in the spring session next year or in the fall session, as quickly as I can get them in, I will bring them to this House for House approval.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, on a different question. At the emergency meeting with the NLFM on Saturday November 18 the minister committed support and participation of government in a cooperative and collaborative review of municipal financing in the Province. More specifically, the minister agreed to appoint a task force to review the operation and financing of local government. Has the minister, in cooperation with the NLFM executive, developed the terms of reference for the task force, and when will the minister be sharing the specifics of this task force with the House?

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

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, I received yesterday - in fact it wasn't me at all, it was addressed to my Deputy Minister - the suggested terms of reference for this particular task force. I haven't had a chance this morning, being busy. It came late yesterday afternoon. In fact I have it here. I'm going to review it myself today and I'm going to issue some direction to my staff, being the Deputy Minister, hopefully some time tomorrow.

Immediate attention will be paid to this. We are going to come together with the Federation of Municipalities, maybe as early as tomorrow if we can do it. The Federation of Municipalities to sit down - and we are going to suggest to them the direction that we think. So it is going to be sort of a collaboration of both groups coming together, if not on Friday, tomorrow, it will be Monday or Tuesday. We will set the direction. The federation has said that they are willing to contribute their share of the financing of that particular task force. They have made some recommendations already and told me some of the things that they suggest that we should do as a government. I have not had time to even digest it. I just never had the time this morning to do it because I was in Cabinet but I can assure the hon. gentleman that as soon as we sit down and we agree on the terms of reference I will make the terms of reference known to the hon. gentleman and anyone else in the Province that wants to know.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, the agreement that was reached last Saturday indicates that the report of the task force will be due on or before January 31, 1996. I would like to ask the minister, has he made decisions or had discussions with who will be sitting on the task force? He mentioned who is going to be paying for some of the expenses and will it be arrangements for public hearings throughout the Province so that municipalities can have their collective and individual concerns put forward?

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

MR. REID: No, Mr. Speaker, I cannot make any commitments whatsoever on what the task force will actually do. I cannot honestly say to him who will sit on the task force because the federation - in a letter this morning that was one of the first questions. I asked my deputy, when he mentioned the letter to me, did they recommend it? The federation has not recommended yet, who should sit on the task force. They did suggest earlier this week in a telephone conversation to my deputy minister that they would like to have somebody from the federation sit on the task force. I am not sure who they are going to put on there and I have not even thought about it yet, who I would put on there representing the government. So the answer to all these questions is, for the time being I have to say no to all of it.

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

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

With the present cutbacks by government in all departments and the fact that the Minister of Social Services has stated here in the House and in the media that her entire departmental programs are under review, I would like to ask the minister a question in relation to the Newfoundland and Labrador Youth Centre at Whitbourne. Could the minister tell the House how many people are presently employed at the facility and could she tell us how many are on staff versus how many are in management?

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

MS YOUNG: Thank you. I don't have the figures in front of me but I certainly will get them for the member.

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

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, I believe the minister should be aware that the ratio of management versus staff at the Whitbourne Centre is approximately one for two - one manager for every two staff members. A few examples are: We have an administrator, an assistant administrator, a security operations manager, a program manager, four facility operations managers, four cottage managers, food manager, kitchen manager, building manager, assistant building manager, and so on; the list goes on. Mr. Speaker, I believe this is totally out of control. The minister must be held accountable.

I ask the minister: When she proceeds to make cuts, will she be sending home people who are in management or will, as usual, the people who are providing the front-line duties, the youth care workers, are they the people who are going to lose their jobs, Madam Minister?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS YOUNG: Thank you.

I want to thank the hon. member for his questions. Certainly all of these positions that he named out are correct, and the whole matter of staffing is being reviewed by my department.

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

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It has also been brought to my attention that there are usually eighty-five residents at the Youth Care Centre, but the number is now hovering around sixty. There seems to be some concern that residents are being sent home on TA - temporary absence - or early release in order to save dollars once again.

I would like to ask the minister: Is this the case, and if so what type of message does she believe her government is sending out to young people and to the courts of this Province?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS YOUNG: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am sure the people in the Whitbourne Centre make decisions based on the information that they have regarding the young offenders, and any decisions that they make are based on sound decisions that they have come to as a result of why, indeed, that person is in the centre, in the first instance, and then as to the length of time they have to serve, and so on, so all of the issues that they deal with around young offenders is based on professional judgement.

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

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, Unit 5 at the Whitbourne Youth Centre is known as the female unit. I have been told that at present female residents and male residents now occupy Unit 5. I would like to ask the minister, is this a fact, and is this one of her plans to save money?

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

MS YOUNG: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Any decisions, as I say, that our staff make at the Whitbourne Centre have been made based on professional information that they have, and they deal with the young offenders in a professional and reasonable manner.

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

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, I have several other questions but I guess I will have to make one.

Mr. Speaker, it has been brought to my attention also that there are very well-paid resident unit supervisors at Whitbourne, who are responsible for each, individual unit, but they only work the day shifts, Mr. Speaker, and sometimes on Saturday mornings.

I would like to ask the minister: If they are only needed on days and not on nights and on weekends, the question has to be asked, are they needed at all, and isn't this the place where money could be saved?

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

MS YOUNG: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

During the day there is certainly a lot more movement of residents from one unit to another, and back and forth to the school and to the working areas, so I would assume there would probably be need for more workers during the day than there would be during the evening.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes, this will be his final supplementary.

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, we are all aware of the problems at the Youth Centre in the past especially not long ago when a youth care worker was attacked.

With the proposed cuts, Mr. Speaker, we are hearing that the department plans on cutting the youth care workers from two to one per cottage, per unit, from twelve midnight until the morning shift in order to save dollars again.

I would like to ask the minister: Can she confirm that this is going to take place and will she be taking responsibility for the youth care worker who will be left alone with ten residents on the midnight shift?

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

MS YOUNG: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am not sure what I am hearing. One minute he is advocating that we cut down on the number of workers at the centre and the next instance -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS YOUNG: - he is asking us to improve it, so all of our budgetary measures are being reviewed. We are looking at ways that we will be improving our fiscal situation and any decisions we make at the Whitbourne Centre will be made with sound, reasonable judgement.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is to the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture.

I asked the minister if he or his department has had any input into the calculation of the proposed licensing fees that were recently brought forward by the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans?

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

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To answer the question correctly I would have to say in the exact calculations, no, but my officers had discussions with the federal minister on the issue of the fees and we have expressed a view.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Since the minister has remained silent once again on this financial hardship about to be inflicted upon the fishermen and women of this Province by his cousins in Ottawa, we can only assume that the minister agrees with the proposals as brought forward.

I would like to ask the minister, how he can justify agreeing with 1400 per cent to 1500 per cent increases in license fees at a time when this industry can least afford it. Minister, do you agree with those exorbitant increases and I would like to ask you, what views did you put forward to your Minister of Fisheries and Oceans in Ottawa?

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

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

There is no question that the timing of these fee increases are off as far as my ministry is concerned and this government is concerned, simply because of the state of the fishing industry in this Province. I should also say that it is probably easy to justify somewhat the increases in fees for the fisheries that are lucrative fisheries, those fisheries that retain and continue to retain a good return on the investment and the work involved. But even having said that, for those fisheries as well, I should say that it is my view that the increases should have been introduced in a more graduated rate than a one time imposed fee.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I ask the minister if he is at all concerned about the cost of a groundfish licence to fisherpersons after the moratorium ends. Those fishermen and fisherwomen could end up paying thousands of dollars under this proposed structure in the area where the industry might be experiencing a total failure. I ask the minister if he would consider this, and if he is about to make a proposal to the federal minister to make changes in this proposal as put forward.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. FITZGERALD: That is the reason why it can change, I say to the member.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. Member for Eagle River to restrain himself.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

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

The hon. the minister.

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for recognizing me. To go back to the question now. As the hon. member is well aware the present fee increases of course exclude those licences affected by the groundfish fishery. With the return of the fishery and the opening up once again of the use of those licences, then the whole issue of the licence fee will have to be reassessed vis--vis that fishery and the condition of that fishery in the Province. Or I might even say, in certain areas of the Province versus other areas. If, as the hon. gentleman suggests, that in some cases there may be a severe hardship on those using those licences in certain areas of the Province, then this whole thing would have to be addressed at that time, of course.

The interests of this government, and certainly of this minister, is to do everything possible to ease the pressures today and even in the future on those involved in the fishery of this Province. That includes the groundfish fishery when it returns. I believe indeed it will be returning, and probably quite fairly soon. Thank you.

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

MR. MACKEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a question for the Minister of Justice concerning the electoral boundaries bill. As you are aware, the new boundary changes will divide the town of Grand Falls - Windsor, placing a small part of the town in the proposed district of Grand Falls - Buchans, and part of the town in Windsor - Springdale, and ten or so houses in the Grenfell Heights area, which is now under the District of Grand Falls, and according to the boundary description will be placed in Exploits district.

Since only the House of Assembly has the power to amend the proposed boundaries, notwithstanding the fact that the population of the town of Grand Falls - Windsor according to the 1991 census is 14,693, which is approximately 1,300 persons above the 10 per cent variance; and given the fact that the town was recently amalgamated and there is still a lot of sensitivity with regard to splitting the town into two districts; and also given the fact that two districts in Labrador were given exemption from the plus or minus 10 per cent variance, my question is: Would the minister consider an amendment that special consideration be given to amend in the electoral boundaries act to permit all of the town of Grand Falls - Windsor to be placed in a single district known as the district of Grand Falls - Windsor?

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I assume that the hon. gentleman doesn't mean to suggest that the situation of the people who live along the Coast of Labrador between L'Anse-au-Clair and Nain is comparable to that of the people who live in the town of Grand Falls - Windsor in the middle of the Island on the Trans-Canada Highway.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Your Honour, let me go on. If the gentleman for Mount Pearl would contain himself. I realize he is fulfilling all of the roles of the leadership on the other side today, but let me -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Yes, the hon. gentleman needs help understanding, and it is beyond my help. Mr. Speaker, let me come back to the gentleman for Grand Falls. Only the House can set the boundaries, and this matter will go in Committee on Monday, I anticipate. I assume the House will deal with it at second reading today but that remains to be seen. The House can deal with it. We have brought before the House the recommendations of Mr. Justice Noel. Mr. Justice Noel was given a commission that allowed him to vary by 10 per cent from the quotient. He drew the boundaries and we are bringing them here before the House. All I can say to my hon. friend is that government are not going to make an exception for the reasons he has given because, in our opinion, the reasons he has given are contrary to the principles upon which the bill is founded. Now, he can try in making his case in Committee when we come to it and the Committee will be the master, because in that context, the Committee is the House.

Mr. Speaker, I must reject, it is really specious in the extreme, the analogy to try to compare the situation of people who live in Makkovik, Davis Inlet, or Cartwright, or L'Anse au Clair, with the people who live in the town of Grand Falls - Windsor. Surely, that is not worthy of the hon. gentleman, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. MACKEY: Mr. Speaker, my question was not to compare the District of Grand Falls - Buchans or Grand Falls - Windsor to Coastal Labrador. My question was: Would the minister consider an amendment, given the fact that it was like an exemption in the case of two districts, an exemption that the 10 per cent variance was made in that case, and where the town of Grand Falls - Windsor seems to be on the other end of the scale and having nothing to do with the size of the geography, but the population. My question was, would he consider it as a single district?

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I was not aware there was a question. I heard an attempt to rephrase the earlier question and I have as much difficultly understanding the second one as the first one. In case my first answer wasn't clear, let me say again, we are not prepared to consider an exemption on the grounds put forward by the hon. gentleman because the situation of Grand Falls - Windsor, in our view, is no different from that of the people who live in St. John's, Corner Brook, Happy Valley - Goose Bay, or anywhere else. The only exemptions we are prepared to put forward are those in respect of the people who live along the 800 or 900 miles of coastline between L'Anse au Clair in the south and Nain in the north.

Now, the hon. gentleman can state his case in the Committee of the Whole House here and if he can persuade the committee that is fine. The committee sets the boundaries, but the hon. gentleman, in my submission, has not made a case for an exemption and indeed I think he has even acknowledged he has backed off himself in his second attempt to phrase his question. He really should speak to whoever writes the questions for him, is my suggestion, and ask them to do it better.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I will make no comment about the attack on the new member.

Mr. Speaker, I have heard from Long Island in my District of Green Bay. It is in arrears with regard to debt charges, and if these are refinanced and it meets its current ongoing charges, it is going to have to come up with something like $68,000 a year for a community of some 200 taxpayers. Actually, getting into the situation in order to get another phase, to be allowed to have another phase of water and sewer, would mean a raise of say from $175 a year poll tax to about $650, nearly 400 per cent. Is the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs saying that this kind of exorbitant increase is the price that a community must pay if it is to remain rural in these economic circumstances and still expect services from the government?

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

MR. REID: I really don't know, Mr. Speaker, what his question was. I am assuming what the hon. member is saying is correct, that a 400 per cent increase is necessary in order for that community to stay viable as a rural community. I don't think that any community in this Province is going to disappear because of the amount of taxation a municipality charges people to live there. I am led to believe that there are a lot of people, or a number of people, in this Province who are moving out of the Province today for various reasons, mostly to find employment, and I challenge anyone in this House to find me someone who moved out because the taxes in the community were too high.

Ironically enough, most of them are moving to Edmonton, Toronto, and places where they will have to pay ten times the amount that they would have to pay in some of the communities in rural Newfoundland. So, I am not going to accept the fact that people are moving out of rural Newfoundland today because taxes are too high. The hon. member has communities in his district where they are paying as low as $100 and less than $100 a year for services provided to the people in various communities around this Province and especially in his. I say to him, we have reached a point in our history when people who are living in these communities are going to have to start paying for services. This government can no longer afford to be going out into communities, be it rural or urban Newfoundland, and saying here are millions of dollars, millions and millions of dollars of money each year for you to put Cadillac water and sewage systems in the ground and not having to pay anything towards it and that is what is happening in a lot of communities around this Province. A lot of communities around this Province are saying categorically, I am not paying any more. I am not going to raise the taxes. I am not paying any more. Sobeit, Mr. Speaker, if they are not going to pay any more then they can't expect to get any more services then what they have at the present time.

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

MR. HEWLETT: In the case of Long Island we are dealing with a situation where we have a town with half a Cadillac system that was put in under a different set of rules and regulations. The minister is basically saying and I want him to answer - what he is saying that if they want any more water and sewer that fits in with half of the town that is already done then the only way they can do it is go through these exorbitant local tax increases or literally do without half of the town being done at all.

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

MR. REID: What I am saying, Mr. Speaker, is that if the people on Long Island, be it Lushes Bight or Beaumont or wherever it is, want to continue getting funding from this Province for water and sewer services or upgrading, street improvements and road improvements, they are going to have to pay the money that they signed for over the last number of years in the commitment they made to the Government of Newfoundland - your government by the way, because 90 per cent of what they have in the ground out there you gave it to them and put them in the situation that they are in. They pay their share that they agreed to pay to NMFC. Now, at the end of the day, if they can't afford to make that payment then that is the point in time when I will have to step in and do something about that. But I am saying exactly what the member is saying, I don't disagree at all. I agree with you but you have to agree with me as well. Government does not have the money any longer to put these expensive systems in the ground. If people want them, if people want to live in this Province in rural Newfoundland and Labrador and not have these services, and not avail of these services, sobeit. It doesn't matter to me and I am certainly sure it really doesn't matter to the government where people live, but they can't live in places in this Province and expect the government to foot the bill for all the expenses incurred.

MR. SPEAKER: The time for Oral Questions has elapsed.

Order, please!

Before we move on with the proceedings, I just want to draw hon. members' attention to some of the rules governing Question Period and I refer them to Beauchesne, Paragraph 409, which says:

"A brief question seeking information about an important matter of some urgency which falls within the administrative responsibility of the government or of the specific Minister to whom it is addressed, is in order.

(1) It must be a question, not an expression of an opinion, representation, argumentation, nor debate.

(2) The question must be brief. A preamble need not exceed one carefully drawn sentence. A long preamble on a long question takes an unfair share of time and provokes the same sort of reply. A supplementary question should need no preamble."

With regard to the nature of the question, it:

(5) "...ought to be of some urgency. There must be some present value in seeking the information during the Question Period rather than through the Order Paper or through correspondence with the Minister or the department.

(12) Questions should not anticipate a debate scheduled for the day, but should be reserved for the debate."

I would just ask hon. members to keep these in mind, on both sides, when asking and answering these questions.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Notices of Motion

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

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My friend, the Minister of Natural Resources, is out of the House for a moment or two. On his behalf, may I give notice that he, on tomorrow, will ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Mining and Mineral Rights Tax Act".

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. DICKS: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will, on tomorrow, ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Public Accountancy Act".

MR. SPEAKER: Answers to Questions for which Notice has been Given.

AN HON. MEMBER: Mr. Speaker, the Member for Gander has a Notice of Motion.

MR. SPEAKER: Okay. Could we revert to Notices of Motion.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Agreed.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. VEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I give notice that I will, on tomorrow, ask leave to introduce the following motion:

WHEREAS Newfoundland and Labrador are the most easterly points in North America, which historically had and continues to have major importance as a strategic military location; and

WHEREAS only 2 per cent of Canada's national defence budget is spent in Newfoundland and Labrador; and

WHEREAS every other Province of Canada, except two, receives a higher percentage of the Department of National Defence budget;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that this House of Assembly call upon the Government of Canada to increase its level of national defence spending in Newfoundland and Labrador; and

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that this House recognize Gander as a strategic military location of world renown, and urge the Government of Canada to take appropriate action to strengthen, modernize and expand Gander and other military locations throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, obviously, from the applause, members recognize that in the words of one famous former member of the House, the hon. the Member for Gander just made his `first' maiden speech.

Mr. Speaker, a couple of days ago, I had this answer and it was hidden and I couldn't get it, and hon. members weren't willing to give me leave to give it, but I am happy to give it now. I was asked some time ago by the Member for St. John's East whether the government was in the process of burying the regulation on which the recent court case was founded. My reaction to the member at the time was that that was an inappropriate characterization of what the government was doing in terms of eliminating the excessive regulatory burden, but I am happy to tell the House that the recommendations recommend the re-enactment of those regulations and not the elimination of them.

Secondly, I was asked some time ago, by the Leader of the Opposition - or in response to her suggestions that there were now more deputy ministers than there were six or seven years ago, and more assistant deputy ministers. I had a very thorough assessment done. I had to make sure that everything was corrected. I was out a little bit. I had suggested - I was pretty well dead on in one - but I had suggested that in 1989 there was something like 129. It turns out there were 131 all told, and in 1995 there were 110. So it is a reduction of twenty-one members, roughly about 17 per cent or 18 per cent less than it was in 1989.

Mr. Speaker, I'm happy to table the information. It contains a list of all of the positions and all of the persons filling those positions, or an indication that the position is vacant if in fact it is vacant.

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

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today in response to a question put by my hon. friend the Member for Bonavista South earlier this week concerning a surimi production facility at Clarenville.

Back in 1984 two lines were established at the Clarenville plant. One line was a surimi line and the other was an imitation crab line. The surimi line of course was in place utilizing small fish from the cod trap fishery. The source of raw material for the source of surimi came to a halt with the moratorium that was called in July of 1992. Since 1992 that particular equipment has been sitting idle in the plant occupying space and gathering dust. The imitation crab line has continued to operate utilizing surimi material from the West Coast of Canada at a considerable cost to the company.

The member also raised the question as to whether there were any government funds involved. The company received no assistance under the department's loan guarantee program to purchase any of this equipment. Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador and the Department of Finance and Treasury Board have confirmed that there are no financial obligations between the company and the Province on any of this equipment either.

It is my understanding as late as this morning, in speaking with the owner of that plant, that all equipment still remains in that plant. I think I understood the hon. member on Monday to say that it was moving out on Monday. All of the equipment still remains in that plant.

Further to this, this particular company is now exploring opportunities to utilize the surimi line in a joint venture effort elsewhere in order to be able to attain a reasonable price product to continue on with the imitation crab line so that that production facility can be put on a more viable basis. This of course will enhance the operation in the production of the imitation crab product.

It is unfortunate the way the question was worded on Monday. It sort of incited some degree of unsureness of the workers out at that plant, and it created some problem as you know. The media on Tuesday morning indicated that the production facility was closing and moving out of the Province. That created some uncertainty amongst those workers and I'm very sorry that that happened. Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. FITZGERALD: Point of order, Mr. Speaker. The minister (inaudible) -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Bonavista South on a point of order.

MR. FITZGERALD: Point of order, Mr. Speaker. The question I asked the minister was if the equipment was being moved out of Clarenville and to the Province of Nova Scotia. The minister in responding to Answers to Questions for which Notice has been Given stated it was still in the plant in Clarenville -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. FITZGERALD: - but then he went on to say that it was moving somewhere else in order to make it viable. Now is it being moved

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. FITZGERALD: - out of the plant or is it not? That's the question.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order. The hon. member may have a difference of opinion with the hon. minister but that certainly doesn't constitute a point of order.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Tourism, Recreation and Culture.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yesterday in the House, the hon. Member for Baie Verte - White Bay was inquiring about the status of an application under the Program for Older Worker Adjustment with respect to the mining operation in Baie Verte. As indicated, Mr. Speaker, the layoff occurred in November last year, the application under the program was submitted in July of '95, the permanent layoff status of the company which is required under the program did not occur until August of '95, a couple of months ago. This is done under a federal/provincial agreement and there is a process in place, Mr. Speaker.

The provincial approval designating - the official layoff took a total of two days, that was done back in August, it was then forwarded to the federal government system for the rest of the approvals, normally that process, Mr. Speaker, because this is done on a nation-wide process for layoffs in all industrial sectors, takes up to six months in most cases because the final decisions in the federal process are made at the federal treasury board and there is quite a system to go through to get on the treasury board agenda.

The individual verifications have all been done. If in fact it is approved through the system in its next meeting in December month, then the process requires that there is a tendering process because the benefits paid under this early retirement program, Mr. Speaker, are contracted out through annuity, that will take a period of time and the earliest date for this one, could be concluded, in our last check with Ottawa, is likely to be still March month and that would be with everybody's best effort, so I provide the information and I am sure the hon. Member for Baie Verte - White Bay will get the information from Hansard tomorrow.

Orders of the Day

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

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you.

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I might begin by moving that the House do not adjourn at five and that the House do not adjourn at ten, tonight?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

It is moved and seconded that the House do not adjourn at five and do not adjourn at ten.

All those in favour, `aye"

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: Those against?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Nay.

Motion, carried.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, would you please call, Motion No. 5.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 5, moved by the hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, pursuant to Standing Order 50, that the debate or further consideration of second reading of Bill No. 31, entitled, "An Act To Amend The House Of Assembly Act And The Electoral Boundaries Act", standing in the name of the hon. the Minister of Justice and any amendments to that motion for second reading of Bill No. 31 shall not be further adjourned and that further consideration of any amendments relating to the second reading of Bill No. 31 shall not be further postponed.

All in those in favour of the motion, `aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: Against?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Nay.

Motion, carried.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Order 24, which is Bill No. 31?

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

MR. HODDER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Today I rise to speak again to this particular debate, not so much because I have anything new that I did not say in the first part, but to protest the message used by the government in bringing closure to the debate.

Now, Mr. Speaker, all of us I think, on this side of the House have been very co-operative and very understanding of the process and yesterday we were -

MR. SPEAKER: I was just wondering if the hon. member - yes, we are now debating the amendment and it's twenty minutes. Each individual who speaks can only speak for twenty minutes and the members who had spoken on the amendment cannot speak a second time of course, and members who have spoken on the main motion cannot speak a second time, I just want to inform the House so that all hon. members will be aware of that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Okay.

MR. ROBERTS: My understanding is that a person who has spoken on the main motion may not speak again, and my friend from Waterford -Kenmount, has spoken on the main motion in this debate, Sir.

MR. SPEAKER: But he can speak on the amendment.

MR. ROBERTS: He has not spoken on the amendment, Sir, no.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

No, we are not debating the closure motion. The closure motion has been passed. We are now debating the amendment. We are now debating the amendment to Bill 31.

The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: On a point of order, fifty in our own Standing Orders, which is the closure motion, says once the closure motion has been resolved in the affirmative no member shall thereafter speak more than once or longer then twenty minutes. It has always been a practice in this House that once closure is called, because all other debates, whether they be amendments, sub-amendments or the main motion have been therefore eliminated that every member now has one opportunity to speak but for only twenty minutes. That has been the practice, Mr. Speaker, in the past for as long as I've been here.

MR. SPEAKER: I will just address the point of order raised by the hon. member. We are now debating the amendment under the closure motion. Amendments can be made under that but no person can speak if he has already spoken to the main amendment or if he has already spoken to the main motion or the amendment and this has been ruled on on several occasions. I have here the latest ruling on that. On May 10, 1994, the hon. Speaker ruled that on the question that was raised with respect to Standing Order 50 - I will first of all point out that what is being debated is not the closure motion. The motion is neither debatable nor amendable. What we are now doing is debating the question of second reading and accordingly those who have spoken on a previous day are not entitled to again speak because they have already spoken to the second reading except, as the hon. Leader of the Opposition has, with leave. However, if the bill is amended or it is amended at second reading then those who have spoken on a previous day and not spoken to the point today may again speak, provided they do not exceed the twenty minutes. That has been ruled again - the same ruling - on April 8, 1991. So clearly that is the procedure that we have been following and that is a precedent.

MR. WINDSOR: Your Honour, if I might? I know it is not permissible to debate with Your Honour but maybe you can correct me, Your Honour, are we not debating the member's motion that the debate shall not be further adjourned? That is what the member moved.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

No. As I explained, we are not debating the closure motion that motion has been put and carried. That is not amendable nor debatable. What we are debating is the amendment to Bill 31.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: No, the Chair just thought that we would clarify that point before we got too far into the debate.

The hon. the Member for Waterford - Kenmount.

MR. HODDER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I understand that your ruling indicates that if I have not spoken on the amendment then I may proceed to make my comments. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, my commentary reflects the fact that the House was, I thought, proceeding quite nicely with the discussion. We have had a good dialogue back and forth and members have expressed a variety of opinions. Members from rural Newfoundland have advocated the opinion that there should have been some leeway in the 10 per cent rule. Mr. Speaker, we have had discussion relative to the cost, to the process that was followed and relative to the appointment of Justice Mahoney and then the report and then the following report by Justice Noel. There have been some good points made. So therefore, Mr. Speaker, we were quite surprised in yesterday's session when the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation rose in his place and said that when the debate started today that it would not stop until the debate had ceased and a vote had been called.

Now, Mr. Speaker, closure is always a very profound weapon. A weapon of last resort that a government has. We don't, on this side, fault the concept of closure. We only say that, why would we introduce it when the Government House Leader knew, or should have known, and I know he knew because he keeps very accurate records of everybody who had spoken, he would have known the members on this side who had spoken, unless, of course, he happened to know that there were a lot of people who wanted to speak on his side of the House and they had not yet had an opportunity to stand in their place and express their opinion. I rather doubt if that would be the case, however, he would have known exactly how many minutes each member on this side would have taken. In looking across at the benches here he could have found out how many speakers there would have been left to speak on the amendment and also on the main motion. In fact, there is only a handful of us left to speak on the amendment and there are only two or three at maximum left to speak on the main motion.

Mr. Speaker, we have some concerns that this closure motion was introduced without fair consideration to the concept of parliamentary debate. We, over here, could certainly not be accused of delaying the debate. The motion was introduced on Monday of this week, November 20, and today is the 23rd and we are saying that it must pass second reading today. Now, that certainly is a fair enough reason for me to stand and exercise my right, which is to speak on the amendment even though I had already spoken on the main motion.

When members have been speaking there have been a variety of viewpoints. Some people are in favour of the forty-eight seat concept, and some believe it should be reduced to forty seats. I haven't heard anybody say it should stay at fifty-two, but there may be members who might hold that viewpoint who have not spoken. My own viewpoint is that the membership of the House should be nearer to forty than it should be to forty-eight; however, I am prepared to accept the forty-four seat concept.

I listened to the Premier's dialogue with the Opposition House Leader a few days ago and it was a very good exchange, I might say, in fact one of the better exchanges that I have seen in the House in the last while. It was rational, it shared the rationale that the government had for moving from the forty-four, it was logical, and I am sure it helped enlighten members as to the reasons and the viewpoints that government have. In fact, it was probably the one ten minutes that we had here when there was some semblance of what I would call real dialogue and exchange that was meaningful. I thank both hon. gentlemen for arranging that. I know it wasn't arranged in that sense of the word, but it just happened, and it was very useful.

Mr. Speaker, there has been talk about the 10 per cent versus 25 per cent variation, urban versus rural. I know that we have to try to have representation by population, and I listened carefully the other day to the viewpoints put forward by the Member for Eagle River when the member argued that we should have four seats in Labrador because there is going to be a phenomenal growth take place in Labrador. I hope that there is an increase in the population in Labrador, and in fact I expect there will be an increase in the population with the economic activity that is occurring or is expected to occur in Labrador in the next several years.

However, likewise, we have to be careful with that kind of rationale because if we applied that to other parts of the Province, to rural Newfoundland, we would have to look at the fact that there is an expectation that there will be more and more people move out of rural Newfoundland. It is totally unfair in 1995 that we should allocate fewer seats to rural Newfoundland on the basis that we might expect the population to be declining by the year 2000 or the year 2005, and you cannot accept one rationale without accepting the other. Likewise, in the district that I represent, Waterford - Kenmount, it is recognized that in what is the Waterford section of that there have been tremendous changes in the population statistics since 1991, the year in which the last official census was taken. Two major subdivisions have been built in that district since then, but we have to take a year, and when we take a year, in this particular case, we take the official Census of Canada data, so that is June of 1991, and over the ten-year period, the figures will change. People move. Some areas, some communities, will grow, and some will decline, and this is why every ten years we have a census and why, every ten years, or as near to that as possible, we have a review of the electoral boundaries for the House of Assembly. That has been the practice for a long, long time and I suspect it will continue to be the practice in the future Houses.

Mr. Speaker, the other issues that have been raised have been addressed, I think, adequately by my colleagues. Again, I go back to the closure that has been introduced by the minister. I think it is regrettable, because it kind of indicates that members on this side of the House have not been co-operative and therefore the government, as a last resort, said: We will have to introduce closure out of absolute frustration.

Mr. Speaker, I say to the House again, I have seen no evidence of any attempt on this side of the House to frustrate the process, that this bill was, I think, ready to be put to the House this day regardless of whether or not there was going to be closure, or whether or not there would be the normal process followed.

Mr. Speaker, with these comments I again indicate that I will be voting against the bill. It is a step in the right direction. I would have preferred if it had gone further towards the forty rather than up to the forty-eight, and I would have preferred a smaller House than the forty-eight seat proposal as is indicated in this bill.

Thank you very much.

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

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

I rise today to speak on the amendment put forward by my colleague, the Member for Grand Bank, I guess, and to make a couple of points related to the bill that we are dealing with.

There are two major problems, as I see, with this particular piece of legislation. The first one is that, in my opinion, the reduction in seats does not go far enough, particularly in the strong or more populated regions of the Province, urban Newfoundland and Labrador.

In my case, I represent a district of some 15,000 people, the statistics presented as proposed in the 1991 census. I can say with certainty, because of the parameters and the geography from which that population lives, that it would be no problem for myself to service an additional 6,000 or 7,000 people. I have a busy district; it is very rural in many ways, a heavy farming area, agricultural area, fishery area - people who are fishermen and fisherwomen also reside in my district - many public servants, many social services problems, so it is a large district with a hodgepodge of problems, but the reality is, for members who represent urban districts, we are in a far more advantageous position to represent more people simply because of the nature of how close we are to the district.

I live directly in the center of my district. If a constituent has a problem, or contacts me either through my office here or my district office on Bay Bulls Road, or at home, it is very easy for me to respond to that situation very quickly. The situation is not true and does not exist for many members in rural Newfoundland and Labrador who represent rural ridings. The reality is, members here who represent rural districts may have to travel upwards to seven, eight or nine hours. They have sixteen, seventeen, sometimes eighteen different municipal councils to deal with, interact with, on a regular basis. I have two. Members who deal with specific problems related to fishery; high unemployment, moreso in rural Newfoundland than in more urban areas - these are the issues that rural Newfoundland representatives have to face on a more daily basis.

I know, in our office, the number of calls MHAs who represent Newfoundland receive in a given week far exceed the norm that most St. John's or other urban members receive in a given week. Again, these are general statements I make because there are specific examples which do not apply.

Mr. Speaker, my feeling, and I submit to the House and to the government, is have another look at this piece of legislation. Why can't we reduce it to forty-four or to forty seats, forty-two seats, as the old boundaries indicated?

I wanted to be on the record as well, as saying that, as a member of the House, I support four seats for Labrador. A definite case can be made and has been made, obviously, for the distinct cultural and linguistic differences that exist in a northern region of the Province, in a huge region that makes up Newfoundland and Labrador. As one member - and I believe there are other members on this side of the House as well - I say to my friend, the Member for Eagle River, that this member here supports four seats for Labrador, and this Party does not have a position by which we do not support four seats for Labrador. There are specific members who have different opinions than mine as expressed here, and that is their right to express them, but there is no PC Party position that exists by which we do not support four electoral seats for the region of Labrador.

PREMIER WELLS: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Pardon me?

PREMIER WELLS: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Yes there is. We support the recommendations that came in the Mahoney Commission report as proposed, a forty-four seat Legislature, with the recommendations, two other -

PREMIER WELLS: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Our position is -

PREMIER WELLS: (Inaudible) privileged position (inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Pardon me? Maybe I'm misunderstanding something.

PREMIER WELLS: Do I understand that the hon. member is suggesting we support a privileged position for the people of Goose Bay or Menihek district (inaudible)?

MR. E. BYRNE: No, what -

PREMIER WELLS: (Inaudible) that is the result. (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: What I am saying is that this member supports four seats for Labrador as is put forward by the government.

PREMIER WELLS: Even though it results in that privileged position?

MR. E. BYRNE: Pardon me?

PREMIER WELLS: Even though it results in a privileged (inaudible)?

MR. E. BYRNE: That is a matter of opinion, I say to the Premier. There is a definite case that can be made - let me ask the Premier, does he support four seats for Labrador?

PREMIER WELLS: I accept the principle of four seats for Labrador.

MR. E. BYRNE: Based on what?

PREMIER WELLS: Based on the seats in the other part of the Province be treated the same as Menihek and Naskaupi. That results in forty-eight seats. If you don't do that, if you are going to reduce it for the Island part of the Province, you have to reduce the proportion for Labrador. (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: So the point that you make then, is that if we reduce the seats lower than forty-eight as proposed in Bill 31, then we can't have four seats in Labrador.

PREMIER WELLS: Absolutely right, yes.

MR. E. BYRNE: That is fair enough. I mean, that is an opinion that the Premier has expressed, obviously.

PREMIER WELLS: (Inaudible) position, and it is the whole principle underlying (inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Fair enough. But let me say to the Premier, I don't necessarily agree with the principle that underlines the bill. I made the point here yesterday; a legitimate point, Premier, it is just a difference of opinion - and there are places in Canada and provinces in Canada which have done this - that in certain parts of the province where strong representation is needed, distinct rural differences, distinct linguistic and cultural differences, that the variance proposed in the bill - like in urban Newfoundland. You could have put in this piece of legislation -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Just one second now, just let me finish for a second, please. In this bill you could have proposed a plus or minus 10 per cent variance for strong, urban, populated areas. But in rural Newfoundland the problems are distinctly different. I don't accept the principle that you put forward. There is a different set of problems and realities that members in this House who represent rural Newfoundland and Labrador have to deal with than urban members. And the Premier - or the government could have given the Mahoney commission and Justice Noel more flexibility in terms of a variance for rural Newfoundland and Labrador, maybe a plus or minus 20 per cent, as opposed to plus or minus 10 per cent.

Those are just two of the things I would like to raise. With that, I will sit down.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. MACKEY: Mr. Speaker, I wish to speak to the amendment, but first of all I wish to thank you for your clarification on asking questions on an issue that is currently in debate before the House, and apologize to the House if in any way my question was not in order.

Perhaps what I am attempting to do, since closure has been invoked, I look at it as an attempt by the government to try to muzzle debate; however, with the issue regarding the District of Grand Falls - Windsor, while I agree with, perhaps, one person, one vote, and that some exceptions could be made for areas that were significantly below the norm, and if you take into account the size of the districts, especially for the District of Torngat Mountains and Cartwright - L'Anse-au-Clair, what I am trying to put forth is an argument that could be used in certain areas where population slightly exceeds the norm, and in this case, with particular reference to Grand Falls - Windsor.

The government legislation will place part of the town of the proposed District of Grand Falls - Buchans, and part of the District of Windsor - Springdale, and about ten houses or so from Grenfell Heights, which is part of the current District of Grand Falls, and putting that in Exploits District, so what we have seen, in effect here, is that a relatively small town of 14,683 people is being spread across three districts.

Mr. Speaker, there are provinces throughout the country where legislation recognizes the importance of keeping towns together in terms of representation in the Legislature so there is a strong representation on behalf of the common interest of the townspeople, even if this means going slightly above the district population.

According to the 1991 census, and these are the figures that were used to justify the numbers and the variance there, the town population of Grand Falls - Windsor, according to the 1991 census, was 14,693 people. Now, this would be just slightly under 1,300 more than the 10 per cent variance level, an amount that would be more than acceptable in any other province. Not to forget the fact that the House of Assembly does have the power to define a district, and it can define the district as Grand Falls - Windsor, again I make reference to the legislation in treating the Labrador districts of Eagle River and Torngat Mountains, which were given exemption from the 10 per cent variance rule.

Now, there are a few other concerns that I want to draw attention to on that. Of course, the Town of Grand Falls - Windsor, which was only amalgamated in 1991, and there were a lot of dollars spent on that amalgamation - the figure of $16 million is one that I am aware of - and there is still a lot of sensitivity with regard to splitting the town into two districts. The removal of the greater part of the former Town of Windsor from Grand Falls - Windsor to form another district, while Badger - Buchans is added to the former town of Grand Falls. This division perpetuates the old division that the town has been trying hard to remove. Secondly, Mr. Speaker, the naming of the two districts completely disregards the fact that on January 1, 1991, two towns disappeared and one new one emerged. The use of the names; Windsor, Springdale and Grand Falls - Buchans ignores a fact of history. The amalgamation, Mr. Speaker, has worked well and this latest provincial boundary report, to all intents and purposes, jeopardizes the achievements that have been made to date. That is the retaining of former separate names.

Mr. Speaker, since we are debating the amendment to accept the Mahoney report, the recommendation in that report says something to the effect that notwithstanding the population of the resulting districts, that the Legislature consider amending the act to permit all of the town of Grand Falls - Windsor to be placed in a single district. That was a recommendation that was made by the Mahoney Commission and I think, Mr. Speaker, it is not unreasonable to ask this House of Assembly to consider amending the boundaries act to reflect that change and a new district retain the name of Grand Falls - Windsor.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to speak on the amendment as put forward by my colleague, the Member for Grand Bank, an amendment to see the number of seats in the House of Assembly revert to forty-four as put forward by the Mahoney report back a couple of years ago.

Mr. Speaker, we all remember how this whole debate came about. It came about as a result of somebody - and I think it was a member on this side of the House, a member of the Progressive Conservative Party. He stood in his place and suggested that there are far too many members of the House of Assembly representing far too few problems, I suppose, out there in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. It was a prime example of somebody probably about to leave politics and not caring what happened or if not caring what happened, then certainly was not going to be around to face the music once the decision was made. Mr. Speaker, it is all very well to bring in a suggestion or bring in a proposal when you know that you are not going to have to be there to deal with it in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I suppose if I could touch on one thing which would be the shame of this whole process, it would be the plus or minus 10 per cent which the Minister of Justice brought forward should be the quotient to deal with reducing the number of districts in Newfoundland and Labrador. If we could bring forward one particular item, at least that bothers me, it is the plus or minus 10 per cent when you are dealing with two different districts altogether, Mr. Speaker, when you compare urban to rural districts. Many of us stood here in our place and members, at least one or two from the other side, have stood and compared the duties of a rural MHA compared to an urban MHA. We all know that they are completely different, Mr. Speaker, and the chores, I can assure you, are much more demanding in a rural city in this Province, not to mention the problems of geography and the problems of having accessibility to some of those areas. Some of our members here, on both sides of the House, have to travel many miles to get to their districts, have to travel by boat, some have to travel by plane and, Mr. Speaker, that's one heck of a lot of difference I can assure you, from having to get up in the morning and on your way to work, pass by or pass through your entire district and be able to go out on any afternoon, and in some urban areas, I suppose, to walk to your district and almost see everybody if they happen to be on their front lawns or in their gardens.

The problems of representing a rural district, is that you get to do many of the things that many other people did in the past. People have become reliant on their MHAs to do many things, to do many personal things for them whether it is to slip down here in the House and pick up a birth certificate or whether it is to go and fill out an unemployment insurance form, an income tax form or, to go and sit down in their house and write a letter to a government department or some other place where they are experiencing problems and need some guidance and understanding. And I suppose they have every right to expect that.

Many of those duties, at one time were provided by the local clergy in the community, the local school teacher in a community provided many of those services at one time, but I can assure you that many of those people today are not there, Mr. Speaker, to help those people who need to be helped, and as a result, when you go and knock on their doors or they see you or your telephone rings, many times it is a request to drop by and do some of those simple things which mean a lot to them, and mean a lot to us if we want to be re-elected again. Because I personally think that what people remember when they go to the polls, what people remember when they mark their `X' on that ballot, is not the bridges that were built or the streets that were paved or the water and sewer project or the infrastructure money that was spent. I think what they remember is the personal contact, the personal telephone call that was made and was never answered or, was answered promptly. I think, Mr. Speaker, also what people remember, is that they will not always judge you on your accomplishments but I think a lot of times, people will judge you on the effort put forward in trying to solve some of their problems as well, something which is very important and should be taken into consideration.

Mr. Speaker, in my District of Bonavista South, for me to get up and leave and go to the biggest community in my district which is Bonavista, it is sixty miles from where I live, you know, it is an hour and fifteen minutes drive every morning just to get down or whenever I can go to visit, to get down to that community and another sixty miles to get back again. And to leave the House of Assembly, to drive to my district, Mr. Speaker, you are talking about a three and three-quarter hours drive, so if you are going out there in the morning and come back again that day, you have the whole day shot, the whole day is gone.

Many times, as you know, and we have heard people get up here on both sides of the House and talk about attending different functions, whether it is one, two or - somebody said he was invited to seven functions this weekend. Mr. Speaker, that's not out of the ordinary; it is out of the ordinary to be invited to seven, it is out of the ordinary, I say, to be able to attend three or four in the same day but -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: There were about 200 if you count them, about 200 people I say to the member.

Mr. Speaker, it is not the point of how many people were out to dinners and dances. We heard this all the time when we were having the Hydro debate. The first thing that was said was how many people were there? Mr. Speaker, you go out and you give people an opportunity to come forward, let them know you are there. I go out and at least three times in my district I have a clinic, in the Town of Bonavista twice a year and in other smaller communities once a year, and I do that every spring.

What I do is, I advertise in the local paper, Mr. Speaker, to let them know that I will be there and to let them know that I am there for the whole day or a half-day, depending on how busy it is. Now, whether I go -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: I beg your pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) fund-raising (inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, some days you go there and you might see fifty people, it is not uncommon to see seventy-five people, but I have gone there on other days and have only seen ten or fifteen, so it is not the point of how many people were there, the point is, that you did it. You went there, you told people you were going to be there and gave them an opportunity to come out, and I think, Mr. Speaker, that is very important. I think we should allow accessibility to our constituents. I think that is what is wrong with us today, that is why we sit here in the House of Assembly, and we bring in closure. I heard one member shout about how much money he had in the bank and how big his bank account was. Now, that is the problem here today. I don't think this is the place for a rich man or a millionaire. I think it is the place for a common person to come and put forward the desires and the aspirations of the common people out there who are his constituents, Mr. Speaker. That's what is important and that's what is not being done here in this House of Assembly.

The Member for Eagle River continues to shout and holler, and whenever anybody makes a mistake it is almost like a contest because he is ready to pick it apart. That is the pettiness of the member, Mr. Speaker, and it only goes to show what he has his mind wrapped around instead of speaking up for his constituents. And hearing the Premier say things that are certainly completely different from what he espouses that should be right for his district, that is when he should get up and speak and not be there like a little puppet and not say a word only when the Premier allows him to get off his chair and put forward a suggestion or a proposal.

Mr. Speaker, most of the rural districts in Newfoundland are no different from mine. It is an area that needs a lot of attention. We are experiencing a downturn in the economy and 90 per cent of the phone calls that I get are from people looking for guidance to find themselves a job or to find help with their unemployment insurance or social services. That is very important to most people out there, and when you compare the number of phone calls, and the number of visits to offices that rural MHAs get compared to urban, I think you will find it is completely different, no comparison whatsoever.

Mr. Speaker, that is one of the things that the minister or the Mahoney Inquiry should have looked at and paid a little bit more attention to and not be stifled by the 10 per cent plus or minus that the minister put forward when he provided them with a mandate when they went around the Province and had something like forty public hearings. I remember the day that I appeared before the Commission in my district and I talked about how busy the distinct was, being a fishing district and experiencing the moratorium in the fishery and how people were left without a job, without hope, not knowing where to go, and in most cases, a lot of them were left finding themselves in a condition they had never experienced before.

I think it is a very frustrating thing to find yourself at fifty or fifty-five years of age without a job and without an education. As I put forward the thoughts that I thought these people should hear and my comments on the way the boundaries should be changed if they were looking at reducing them, I was told that for busy districts maybe we could hire more staff. Instead of somebody dealing with the MHA, maybe they could deal with another secretary or another office, but that is not what people want when they go and elect people. When you go and knock on people's door and ask for their support come election time, then you have to go out and support them if you ever want to get elected again, because I can assure you, that will be the first thing that is thrown up at you when the time rolls around again.

In the first proposal that was put forward by the Mahoney Commission, I think it suggested forty seats in a new House of Assembly. At that time, the District of Terra Nova was one of the districts that would have disappeared. It is one that I am familiar with because it is the district where I live, and at that particular time there were people coming forward with petitions, people coming forward to speak and provide written submissions, telling all the reasons why they thought Terra Nova should be put back in as a district again. They were all the right reasons and those people had every right to go forward and bring forward their suggestions to support and to have their district included in the forty-four seats, or the forty-three seats, or whatever the number was going to be, that would provide the final submission by the Mahoney Commission.

As it turned out, there was a forty-four seat proposal, a forty-four seat proposal which I must admit that I did not agree with, and I still do not agree with the way it was presented, the boundaries that were drawn. Because if you take into consideration the district that I represent, it is on the north end of the Bonavista Peninsula, and when you drive down to the Peninsula, you come to a community called Southern Bay and it forms an isthmus, if you would, for the Peninsula, and I have always maintained that should be the boundary for any particular riding if we were going to make changes. It would have provided a district on the south side of Bonavista Bay and on the north side of Trinity Bay, and it would be totally, totally fishing. Everybody there would have had a lot in common in that the industry that was common to most communities was the fishing industry, and a lot of people use the facilities at Bonavista and at Trinity to go and do their banking, do their shopping, etcetera, but when the final sketch came back, what it did was it went down and took five communities out of the district now known as Bonavista South, and went all the way up to include an area that had no relationship whatsoever to the rest of the district, that went up and took in an area that bordered on Clarenville, right up on the Smith Sound area, which took in an area that was about to be incorporated with the Town of Clarenville.

The Mayor of Clarenville, and all the other community people who came out to speak at that particular time, told the Commission that there should be changes, the boundaries should be reconstructed, and in the submission, the judge, I think, wrote that it would make sense to make some of those changes, but the reason they weren't made is because some of the communities on the other side, including Dover, Hare Bay and Gambo, I think, didn't want to be included in the new District of Terra Nova, and wanted to continue in the District of Bonavista North.

So I suppose we all have reasons to want to support our own districts and keep them the way they were, and not bring about any changes, but the problem we face is that if we are going to reduce the number of seats then there have to be changes, but I think the changes should have come about in a different way. I think they should have come about by the Commission looking at the geography of the area, the population of the area, and not be saddled by the plus or minus 10 per cent which the minister provided in the mandate to the Commission when it set about to have its public hearings.

As for Labrador being different or separate, I fully agree with the number of seats allotted to the Labrador Coast. I think when I complain - not complain - but when I talk about travel through my district, comparing it to the travel of an urban area, I think any member representing any district in Labrador can certainly compare his or her district to almost any rural district in Newfoundland and still find it completely different.

It is sad when you see the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation standing up for the Minister of Justice to bring in the gag order again, as it was called. I think when we bring about legislation which is going to have such a profound impact on most Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, I think the least the minister should allow is people to have ample time to get up and at least once speak for or against the changes as put forward to them by their constituents. Because, after all, that is why were are here, to stand in our place and to provide to this House, and hopefully to have fall on ears that are listening, their concerns and their suggestions on what the government should do, and what the geography of this Province as it relates to boundary changes should look like.

Mr. Speaker, we have seen the Minister of Justice, in his own bullying fashion, dictate to the House once again that enough is enough; we are going to try to get out of here; we are going to try to close this place down and not give people's representatives a chance to speak anymore, Mr. Speaker. By doing that we will bring in the gag order and introduce closure on this bill.

There are lots of other bills I can suggest that might be coming forward, lots of finance bills where people here can stand in their places and bring forward concerns of their districts. I can assure you that we will not be stifled by the minister on the other side or by the members who don't want to stand in their places and bring forward the wishes of their constituents, which is the reason why they were elected here in the first place.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Government House Leader is very eager for me to rise there. He has been begging me for the last few minutes. I feel an obligation to rise and express my views about electoral boundaries. I had intended - and I told the minister yesterday - to say some things about him that are not very complimentary, but they are truthful, I told him, the Minister of Justice who left. Maybe he doesn't want to hear it.

Actually, I said way back on December 16 1993 in this House, I said at the beginning, that I feel in a province with 570,000 people - less now, 567,000 and dropping; maybe less again by the time I'm finished speaking - is that forty seats is enough in a province our size. We have to have belt-tightening. We have to show leadership out there around the Province when front-line people are losing their jobs. There are people being laid off in hospitals, being laid off in the public service, being laid off in industry today, and we have a House of Assembly with forty-eight members representing only some 560,000 people.

I also stated that I support a 25 per cent variation in this Province between urban and rural districts. I think it is reasonable to expect - and according to that average - and I did a press release this week. It didn't get any coverage, now, nobody wanted to pay any attention to it. But for the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation - well, leave out recreation, that is gone - the `Minister of Tourism and Culture' -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I say to the minister, yes. The minister sent me over a few Timbits. I was in my office this morning, actually. I would like to know who paid for them, I say to the minister, the Timbits that were on my desk this morning. I had them analyzed. They are doing a bio-chemical analysis now of the nutritional value of what I received from the minister. When we get that - they are in the lab and they are undergoing a bit of scrutiny now. I said: Leave no bio-chemical element unturned. No holes barred, I said. Put them in the hole farther. They couldn't make money before and they subsidized out of the money given to do heart surgeries and everything else. The minister is going to make $200,000 now, that is what he is going to do. He said: We are going to hire - how many more nurses, eleven?

AN HON. MEMBER: What is it now?

MR. SULLIVAN: Seven new nurses, he said. What else did the minister say?

AN HON. MEMBER: Eleven support staff.

MR. SULLIVAN: Eleven support - eighteen people for $200,000. That is what we are going to hire.

AN HON. MEMBER: More!

MR. SULLIVAN: That is what he said. He said seven nurses and eleven support staff, eighteen people on the $200,000 profit. Do you know what Ms Peachy said, what they are going to do with their money?

AN HON. MEMBER: Ms Peachy?

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, Ms Peachy of the Health Care Corporation. She said: If we make a surplus more than expected some of the other hospitals might benefit. We might give some to the other hospitals by selling Timbits. That is the ultimate. And the minister had the gall to stand up in this House and say that is privatization, supporting private business. That is nationalization of businesses, that is state-controlled business, by having hospitals and governments buying-in and running operations. That is not privatization, it is de-privatization, I say to the minister.

Now, I only have limited time. I want to get a few points in, points I want to make on electoral boundaries here. To be relevant, the Member for Eagle River was wondering where I stand on four seats for Labrador. I will tell him where I stand on issues. I have made it clear before and I will do it right now. I believe we should take the population of this Province, which is 567,000 approximately, and we should divide that by forty -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: - and that gives you - wait until I'm finished - that will give you an average of 14,200 people. Then we should allow, like we had here in this legislation and the Minister of Justice changed, then we should have a variation of 25 per cent. I stated in that release and I indicated here: Sullivan questions the appropriateness of having a district as small as Torngat Mountains with only 2,984 people. That is what Sullivan said if he wants to know. He said he believes that districts should not stand separately but should be -

AN HON. MEMBER: Nobody cares boy about what you said.

MR. SULLIVAN: I know but he wanted to know, the parliamentary assistant to the Premier asked me and I said I would tell him on the record and I am doing that, I say to the minister. I said oh Giovanni I am going to tell a parliamentary assistant where I stand. He said he believes the district should not stand separately but should be incorporated in another district when a number of districts is reduced. He said there should be a flexibility in defining boundaries for the more remote, geographically dispersed areas of the Province such as Northern Labrador but added the variance should be within 25 per cent of the quotient of the Province. That is what I said and that is what I agree with. That would save $1.5 million out of the budget of this House of Assembly.

AN HON. MEMBER: I'm glad you agree with yourself anyway because nobody else does.

MR. SULLIVAN: I do. The most sensible conversation I can get is when I sit down, I say to the minister, and have a talk with myself. I cannot get any sensible conversations from people on that side of the House.

MR. DUMARESQUE: That would mean that Labrador West and Eagle River or at least part of Eagle River has to go together. You know that (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: What it means, are you saying that because Eagle River was with Northern Newfoundland before that representation there was not adequate? Is that what the member is saying? The person who represented before did not do the job? The Minister of Justice, the Government House Leader could not handle it properly?

MR. DUMARESQUE: That's right.

MR. SULLIVAN: I toured your district - I almost toured your entire district in a day, I say to the minister and there is a growing number of PC people down in your district.

MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: No boy, I went up to Cartwright and everywhere. There are too many PCs - they have not told you up there.

Now I would also like to - the Minister of Justice, the Government House Leader talked about other provinces. Well Saskatchewan is the only province in this country that has a limited variance of 5 per cent. Saskatchewan has a special allowance for two northern ridings, they have fifty-six other ridings. In a province with over 1 million people they have fifty-eight ridings with a variance of only 5 per cent.

Let's look at other provinces and the minister did not refer to any other province in this country because the results are quite a contrast to what is being proposed here in this Province. If we look at Nova Scotia, they are now compiling and looking at boundaries in Nova Scotia. In Prince Edward Island for example, there is a variance of plus or minus 25 per cent in a rural province like Prince Edward Island and it should be here in this Province. There is one district there that has 21 per cent over that quotient, a district with 20 per cent less then the quotient and that is acceptable. I think that is acceptable, 10 per cent is too narrow a focus.

Yes, I say to members of the House and the Member for Bonavista North for example, I will use a comparison - I don't think it is unreasonable to think in a rural area, Bonavista North or any other rural area or even the south coast spread out, Fortune - Hermitage area spread out - in Labrador there are lots of rural areas that are fairly well dispersed. According to a 25 per cent variance divided by forty, no district would have more then 17,750 and that is not too much for urban areas. Districts have more now and they are not near as busy. We don't want to upset the one person, one vote, we have to work within that concept. If you look at a rural area that is spread out they will still have down to 10,650. I mean that would be the low end of the scale. The upper end of the scale would be 17,750 and that is an acceptable range. No one riding then, I say, has any more then 58 per cent or 59 per cent more then the other riding and that is within reason. Some now it is double, 2.5 times now. So that is keeping within an acceptable range.

Now New Brunswick for example, they have no more then a 25 per cent variance in New Brunswick also. They are reducing it now - they are recommending New Brunswick reduce to fifty-five districts from fifty-eight districts. There is only one exception there with a smaller one, that is Fundy Isles district there and that is the only variation. So I say we should look at parts of the country, what is acceptable in other areas of the country. If you look at Manitoba for example, Manitoba has two different standards basically based on more northern and southern areas.

If you are north of the 53rd parallel, there is a certain ratio and south of that because it is more dispersed in northern Manitoba. In Manitoba 60 per cent of the population live in Winnipeg, 60 per cent out of over a million people, for 600,000 of them in the City of Winnipeg so there is allowance for urban versus rural.

This Province doesn't acknowledge there is a rural Newfoundland; it doesn't acknowledge it. It is pushing people out in those areas and it is not allowing the latitude when in legislation to be able to have people representing districts that do not have city councils like here, don't have the services of a council, they don't have a lot of the amenities that you are seeing in urban areas of the Province and they depend on the member to deal with concerns, to deal with appeals, to deal with numerous sources of his problems, unemployment problems.

Many of these are federal in nature but the local member usually gets the call and has to do all of the work in these specific areas and I think there should be some allowances, based upon a reasonable variation and based upon a workload and the ability to serve those people. Isn't that what we are all about, to try to best serve the people of this Province, and if we can't serve it by giving a slightly better variation in districts to have a geographical - another disadvantage - whether the aboriginal people in Labrador should be given the leniencies in a distributed, geographical area, they shouldn't have the same numbers as a city as here in St. John's or in southern Labrador and they are the only two exceptions they made here, in Eagle River and in Torngat Mountains. There are other exceptions I say and we should be put into the one pot and the Premier said a citizen is a citizen is a citizen and I would say, if a citizen is a citizen is a citizen, they should be treated as citizens, equally in this Province and to look at something that is fair and reasonable across the entire Province and that is not getting done in this Province. That is not getting done.

AN HON. MEMBER: You don't believe that.

MR. SULLIVAN: I sincerely believe it.

In Alberta for example, certain population ranges can vary up to 50 per cent. They are looking at catering to more geographically, disadvantaged areas of the province to give them an opportunity to have input. That's happening. We have districts in British Columbia for example, with large numbers, a 59.9 per cent, more than average and 39.8 per cent less will be the other extreme in British Columbia. We have districts in British Columbia of 43,000 people represented by a member and here in this Province, we have over three members to represent that many people in some areas, areas that do not need that level of representation, they have it.

They have it at city council levels, now they have it at MHA levels, the federal levels and so on and people out in the areas of this Province, who need that extra attention, extra assistance and so on, who don't have those infrastructures there. They have to drive in to rural areas in the cities to see doctors now, to do their shopping, to pay for services, to avail of other recreation facilities, whether it is figure skating whatever the case may be, they don't have it in rural areas and they are calling upon a fair chance and a fair opportunity.

The Member for Eagle River wanted to know where I stood on things and doesn't seem to like some of the views there because they fly in the face of what has happened here and what has happened here, in this House, back in the fall of 1992, there was an Electoral Boundaries Commission to go out and look at a redistribution of seats in this Province within a forty to forty-six range, and I agree with that. I would have liked it to be a little more restrictive, probably thirty-eight to forty-two range but I can accept forty to forty-six. That Commission -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) disagree with it.

MR. SULLIVAN: No, I wouldn't. If you say something and I agree with it, I will tell you that and if I don't agree with it I will also tell you that. I felt strongly that the Commission with their forty recommendations was an acceptable number and if the House feels that some areas were done a disservice and they should be shifting within that forty, fine.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I know but I am entitled to express my opinion and the right to be heard is important and the only person that I am going to judge, is what I feel I have done, the people will judge on what they feel I have done every four years or three years or five or whatever happens, but I want to be satisfied that I have done my part and I have spoken what I feel on behalf of the people, my views and I am going to do that. The Minister of Tourism, Recreation and Culture is not going to deny me that appropriate process to do that.

Now, back with the forty seats, the Minister of Justice went out to Clarenville on the 32nd meeting and that's where I disagree. They gave a mandate to that Commission and a quarter-of-a-million- dollar budget. When that committee had a forty, a working amount, it wasn't a report to the House and I agree with that, it was subject to change but after being given a mandate from this government, of forty to forty-six, the minister goes out and interferes after thirty-two meetings with the mandate of that commission.

That commission came back and filed a report on forty-four. That is the only report filed by the Mahoney Commission and as a result of that report there were many people not happy, maybe people on this side and people on the government side, and really I do not care who is unhappy with it in the sense of it being proper. You have sympathies if something has happened. Everybody has that in his nature, that they do not want anyone pushed out, but you have to look at something fair. When a commission does something you have to live with an independent commission, and we should. We should not manipulate a commission and I do not agree with it.

I do not care what the PCs did in the past and I do not care what the Liberals did in the past, but I do not agree with appointing a commission to give a report and manipulating and changing that. The House of Assembly has authority for that I know, but if we are going to have authority for it why give it to a judge if we are going to come back and tear it apart? We wasted $400,000. Here is what the judge said on Page 5 of his report, `Therefore from the foregoing it can be seen that the commission acted entirely within the legislation and instructions under it. Subsequent events have demonstrated that it was all a waste of time and public money.'

That is what was stated, and that is why Justice Mahoney would not accept to go back again. That is why the Minister of Justice or somebody went judge shopping and tried to get somebody to take it, because it was improper for someone in the judiciary, and dishonourable, not proper to go in and tamper with it, and it should not have been. We should have accepted the hon. judge's report, even though I agree with forty. If he had said thirty-six I would have agreed with him, but he said forty-four. I would have liked it to be forty or less in a time of restraint. We have to show it here in this House of Assembly.

If we are going to try and protect our own turf and territory here and the hell with the rest of the people of this Province it is not the way to go. If you do not lead by example, if you do not lead the way and take your share, and more of your share of the cuts, how do you expect the people of the Province to follow in line with you? It is not proper and if we need to scale down the House of Assembly to forty seats we should do it. We should not have interfered out in Clarenville with that judge and his commission, duly appointed by the Chief Justice, and to have someone who is not appointed by the Chief Justice is gerrymandering of the highest form, and is totally unacceptable.

MR. GRIMES: You're wrong.

MR. SULLIVAN: No, I am entitled to my opinion. I say to the minister if anyone refutes what I said in terms of sequence of events I stand to be corrected.

MR. GRIMES: What you said did not happen.

MR. SULLIVAN: What I said did happen. I know the minister is playing his games to throw it off course but I am not going to be dragged into that. If he feels so strongly let him stand up and tell us what the real truth according to him is. I followed the sequence of events. I made a submission once on the forty boundary. I agree with forty. I felt there could be alterations within the forty because in some parts of the Province granted there were things that might have divided communities where you did not have to. We like to keep communities together.

I represent a very small community in this Province with another member. Petty Harbour - Maddox Cove is the one town. I represent Petty Harbour and the hon. Member for Kilbride represents Maddox Cove. I know that is not an acceptable thing, it is not practical, a small town with 1100 people represented by two members. Under this proposal now they are going to be in the one, and I think they should be one small community. If you have to go 15 per cent over it, or under it to get communities together, instead of dividing communities, let us do it.

Let us do it up to 25 per cent if you need it, but let us not go drawing borders down through the centre of small towns, let us not cut off your next door neighbour who has to go to a political rally or meeting, or literature from one member and the person next door probably a different party or a number of different things. Let us get everybody in smaller communities at least - the cutoff should be between communities is the point I am making here, or as reasonable as possible within towns or to try and keep sections of towns that have a historic attachment and grew up as part of one riding. One proposal had Mount Pearl divided in four different areas. If Mount Pearl only has enough people for three ridings, give then three, and if it has enough for two give them two, but do not put it into four.

MR. GRIMES: What are we suppose to do now, take out Mount Pearl separate and then figure out all the rest after and just give Mount Pearl to the city? Make some sense, boy. What are you suppose to do, say -

MR. SULLIVAN: I am not disagreeing with that proposal (inaudible). The minister is not paying attention to what I am saying, not paying attention at all. The questions I ask -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SULLIVAN: By leave to finish?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No leave.

MR. SPEAKER: No leave? The hon. member does not have leave.

Is the House ready for the amendment?

All those in favour of the amendment, say `aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: Those against, `nay'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Nay.

MR. SPEAKER: I declare the amendment defeated.

We are back on the main resolution now.

Division

MR. SPEAKER: All those in favour of the amendment.

CLERK: Mr. Sullivan, Mr. A. Snow, Mr. J. Byrne, Mr. Hewlett, Mr. Manning, Mr. E. Byrne, Mr. Fitzgerald, Mr. Hodder, Mr. Careen, Mr. Mackey, Mr. Harris.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against, please rise.

CLERK: The hon. the Premier, the hon. the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, the hon. the Minister of Education and Training, the hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, the hon. the Minister of Environment, the hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, the hon. the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, Mr. Lush, Mr. Penney, Mr. Dumaresque, the hon. the Minister of Natural Resources, the hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, the hon. the Minister of Health, the hon. the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture, Mr. Walsh, Mr. Ramsay, Mr. Langdon, Mr. Oldford, Mr. Noel, Mr. Anderson III, Mr. Smith, Mr. Whelan, Mr. Vey.

Mr. Speaker, eleven `ayes' and twenty-three `nays'.

MR. SPEAKER: I declare the amendment defeated.

MR. ROBERTS: Question!

MR. SPEAKER: Is the House ready for the question?

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

MR. MANNING: I'm allowed to speak. I suppose you are allowed to speak.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm glad to have an opportunity to say a few words on this important piece of legislation that has come before the House. I got taken away from my comments the other night due to the interference of the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, so I hope to have the opportunity to go on uninterrupted today and say a few things.

Let's talk about the electoral district boundary changes that the government has put in place. I think when we talk about making changes to the districts we do it for three reasons, I guess: one has to do with financial reason, the second has to do with efficiency, and the third has to do with public perception. I think that the government is not realizing any of those goals with the changes that it is planning on putting in place, not financially, efficiency or public perception. Because we are talking about reducing the seats in this Legislature from fifty-two at the present day down to forty-eight. We are talking about taking six districts away from rural Newfoundland and adding two on to St. John's.

I think when I look at a district such as mine as St. Mary's - The Capes and I'm thinking about what the changes will do to that district and the concerns that the people have raised in that district in relation to the changes, I feel that the government is on the wrong course and that once again rural Newfoundland is getting the dirty end of the stick, I say.

I will go back, if I could, to May 3 1993 when the people of the District of St. Mary's - The Capes elected me as the member to come forward and bring the concerns of their district to the House of Assembly. I've attempted to do that over the past couple of years in many concerns that have been raised. There are several concerns that people have in relation to the changes under this piece of legislation that I would like to have the opportunity to raise today.

Those are the fact that in my district at present we have thirty-one communities, twelve community councils, fifteen volunteer fire departments, four development associations, and so on that I have to deal with on a constant basis, plus all of the individual concerns that people raise.

Rural politics, I am sure, anybody would be honest, definitely has a major difference than what it does in urban centres. In my district I deal on a daily basis with people who have problems with local councils, problems with their UI, problems with TAGS, problems with social services, and so on and so forth. In the meantime there are also problems that have been raised about garbage collection, water lines, and everything else that in St. John's is usually dealt with by a council, whereas in rural Newfoundland many people call upon their Member of the House of Assembly to take care of those issues for them.

Well, I have been pleased and honoured to have the opportunity to do so for the people of St. Mary's - The Capes. I am just trying to get across the point that an urban district is very, very different from a rural district, and the fact that these changes are going to enlarge the rural districts in this Province, at the same time cutting down the size of an urban district, I think that the government is definitely on the wrong track.

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to see that the government, in their wisdom, even with the changes, which is not very wise, but even in their wisdom, have decided to include the name St. Mary's once again in the district changes. When it was announced first it was just the District of Placentia. I am pleased to see that the community of St. Mary's has been added since the fact that Placentia and St. Mary's go back to a Representative Government in 1832, and the name of St. Mary's has been there, along with Placentia, for those number of years. So I am very pleased to see that the government, in their wisdom, has included the name of St. Mary's - the historic name of St. Mary's - in the new district name, at the same time not agreeing exactly with what the government is planning on doing with the district changes, but I do agree and am very pleased that after consulting with the Minister of Justice back some months ago about the concern that people in the St. Mary's area had raised with me about the name being dropped, that the Minister of Justice has come forward and included the name of St. Mary's back into the district again, and I am very pleased to see that.

Mr. Speaker, we have come through a long process since the government began this process in relation to changing the districts. We go back to 1992 when the Wells' government announced that they were going to make some changes, and we will jump ahead, if we could, up to August 27, 1993, when the Mahoney Commission released a proposal dividing the Province into forty seats. When you talk about the reductions that we are asking people in this Province to make today through municipal grants, through health care cuts, through transportation cuts, through cuts in social services and so on we, as legislators, and definitely you as the government, are trying to send a loud and clear message out to rural Newfoundland that everybody has to tighten their belts, and I find it very appalling, to say the least, when we are asking people to make those drastic cuts in rural Newfoundland and in the whole Province, and at the same time we are only willing here, in the House of Assembly, to reduce the seats by four. I think this sends a mixed message out to the people of the Province.

I believe that we are not sending the message that the government is trying to send in all their other policies when they talk about the reductions that they are trying to make, so I believe myself that the people will see through this convoluted message that the government is sending out, and see that definitely the government is taking care of their own table while not worrying about the tables of the many people living in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, when Justice Mahoney came forward with the forty seat proposal he travelled around the Province and held hearings, and I had the opportunity to present a brief to the Justice and his group at the Colonial Building, and I presented a case of my District of St. Mary's - The Capes being spread out over such a large geographical area, and the fact that many of the communities are calling upon you several times during the year to partake in different functions, and the calls from rural Newfoundland due to the economic crisis and the fishery shut down are definitely after increasing. I believe that when Justice Mahoney came forward with the forty-seat proposal, the concern that was raised at that time, and I will raise it again, is that we have to send the message out to the people of this Province, loud and clear, that we are willing to reduce also, but at the same time protect rural Newfoundland. I believe, once again, the government has stuck the knife in the back of rural Newfoundland.

Mr. Speaker, the forty seat proposal came forward and we had interference. We had interference from the government. We had interference from John Efford's executive assistant, Roland Butler, at a hearing in Bay Roberts on October 6, 1993, when he put forward that the cuts were too large, enlarging provincial districts would not mean any real savings to the provincial coffers. We had interference on November 8, 1993, when Ed Roberts made a presentation to the hearings in Clarenville when he said that the mandate of the Commission was flawed from the beginning and that the number of provincial districts should not be reduced below forty-four. Then we had to come back on February 25, 1994, a proposal by the Mahoney Commission that divided the Province into forty-four districts. It is very strange, Mr. Speaker, that the Minister of Justice would go out and propose forty-four and then the Commission had to answer to that particular minister that they will come back with forty-four.

The first Mahoney Commission divided the Province into forty-four seats, again, Mr. Speaker, I would say, interference by this government because they were not getting what they wanted through the independent commission, or the so-called independent commission that they have put forward, Mr. Speaker. So they decided to change the rules halfway through and put pressure on the Commission to put back what they wanted. So instead of accepting the report of the independent commission or the amending of an act to facilitate the implementation of the Commission's suggestion, the government hired Mr. Justice Jones to rework the boundaries according to the Terms of Reference which the government withheld from the public. They withheld the Terms of Reference from the public.

The government hired Mr. Noel to lend credibility to government's efforts to manipulate the boundaries according to their own specifications. I think, Mr. Speaker, that this whole process has been flawed from the beginning because of government's manipulation and interference. I believe that the people of the Province know full well what government is trying to do here and definitely, not trying to put our House in order but indeed to take care of the people on the other side of the House, Mr. Speaker. The government tabled Bill 31 in the House of Assembly on November 14, providing for forty-eight districts, which I believe was concocted by the government here and indeed, was not what the people of this Province wanted. They wanted the seats of the House of Assembly reduced by a measurable number that would put forward a message to the people that yes, we are trying to tighten our belts also in the same manner that we try to send the message out to you.

Mr. Speaker, this Commission's report has cost this Province and the taxpayers of this Province almost $500,000. I believe that the independent commission that was put in place to bring forward these concerns and changes was definitely - the government just squeezed them off and did exactly what they wanted to do. To ask for a 7.5 per cent reduction in the House of Assembly while we are asking for health care people, people on social services, people in transportation, school boards and everything else, to make more major cuts than 7.5 per cent I think, Mr. Speaker, is definitely not the route that the government should be taking.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: No, I'm not finished yet, I say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. I have my time limit and I'll use it.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a few comments if I could on the district of St. Mary's - The Capes once again and bring forward the concerns that people have out in that district. We have been, over the past number of years, I would say, wrecked with havoc over the closedown in our fishery. It has definitely dealt blows to communities from Portugal Cove South right out to Barasway. Representatives from different communities, Mr. Speaker, have been on a constant basis trying to find ways and means to offset the closedown of the fishery and the impact it is having on the communities and I believe that only by sticking together can we find those solutions. I believe that expanding the district now and not providing that fair representation that the district has been used to, Mr. Speaker, I think is definitely not the route to take. I believe that the people of, not only my district but indeed the people of the Province have told government time and time again that the House of Assembly should be reduced by a fair number of seats and not by the four that the government is proposing to do.

Mr. Speaker, I talked the other day for some time on the economic zonal concept. The Minister of Justice asked it, I think it was right to have two seats within St. John's. I will go back to that if I could for a minute, I believe that yes, there may be room for a couple of extra seats in St. John's to bring it up to maybe four or five seats, but not to have eleven seats inside the overpass, while outside the overpass we see a loss of six seats. I think it is unfair and I believe that any - I had some nods from some ministers the other day, Mr. Speaker, when I spoke on that. I believe that any minister who represents a rural part of the Province, any member of government or the Legislature that represents a rural part of the Province would agree with me, Mr. Speaker, that there is not a need for eleven seats inside the overpass at this particular time in our history when rural Newfoundland is being dealt one of the heaviest blows I feel it has been dealt in the past number of decades.

I believe that over the past couple of days - we see the government bring in a closure motion that has really limited debate on this issue. We are not having the opportunity to stand up in the House of Assembly and put forward the concerns of the people of our district and indeed the people of the Province. I believe that the government has intentionally put forward this so we can get this over with and get it under the table and have it dealt with. I believe the strong arm of the Minister of Justice is behind this and that he wants to close off debate. I believe that it is not fair to the people not only on this side of the House of Assembly, but indeed unfair to the people of the Province who have raised these concerns with us.

If I could just once again go back to the District of St. Mary's - The Capes and say that since May 3, 1993 when I was elected I have felt very proud and very honoured to have the opportunity to stand here and represent the people of my district. I feel that I have carried out their wishes to the best of my ability. I'm sure there are many things that we would like to see done, and I'm sure the people of the district would like to see done, but we are all under restraint. It is definitely not an easy time to represent any district, and especially not an easy time to represent any district in rural Newfoundland. When we have a government that, as far as I am concerned, have their own agenda for the future of rural Newfoundland, I think it makes it all the harder to be able to stand and represent those people. But I have put forward their concerns, I've brought the issues to the House of Assembly, I've represented the people to the best of my ability, and I feel that when the time comes, the people will decide if I have done that.

I don't believe that we should be stifled. I don't believe that we should not be allowed to stand up in the House of Assembly and say what is on our minds as it relates to the issues of the day, and definitely as it relates to the changes in the districts. I listen to the open line shows, I read in the papers, I read the Letters to the Editor and so on, where people have put forward their concerns as it relates to the changes that the government is bringing forward. I don't believe for one minute that the people of the District of St. Mary's - The Capes or the people of the Province are going to be satisfied with what this government is planning to do with the House of Assembly in reducing it by four seats.

When I look at my district and the concerns that are brought forward, there are several people who have had to take advantage of the Department of Social Services' programs for the first time in their lives due to the financial hardships they have found themselves under in these hard economic times. There are people leaving our communities. Time and time again I hear of somebody else who has gone to the mainland to find some type of work, or find something at least to give them an opportunity to live some type of normal life. I find that the answers are certainly not forthcoming from this government, or the policies that this government is bringing forward are definitely not the policies that are going to induce or bring any type of happiness or economic stimulus to this Province.

I think that the `cut', `cut' attitude of people like the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation and so on is only making it much harder for the people of this Province to survive. I think that there is no compassion whatsoever shown to the people of this Province, especially to rural Newfoundland, by this government. I think, time will tell, that the stifling by this government and definitely the pressure that they are putting us under with our not being allowed to speak - I think this is being rushed through for the simple reason that this government wants it dealt with.

With that in mind, I would like to move the following amendment: I would like to move that the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word "that" and substituting the following: Therefore Bill No. 31, An Act To Amend The House Of Assembly Act And The Electoral Boundaries Act be not now read a second time, but that it be read a second time this day three months hence. That is seconded by the hon. the Member for Placentia, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Could the hon. member get a copy of the amendment to the Chair, please?

The Chair will recess for a few minutes to determine whether the amendment is in order.

Recess

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The particular amendment as moved by the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes, is a standard amendment that has been moved in this hon. House on many occasions, commonly referred to as the three-month hoist and has been ruled to be in order. It is the determination of the Chair that the amendment is in order.

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

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My time is limited so I don't think I will have the chance to speak on the amendment, but I have a couple of minutes, Mr. Speaker, to clue up my remarks, and I would just like to say that I thank Your Honour for your ruling, Mr. Speaker. I believe that the amendment put forward by myself in relation to a three-month hoist can give the people of this Province time to understand and to realize what this government is trying to do. They are trying to shove this down the throats of not only the members of the Legislature, but indeed the people of the Province.

They are trying to send a message to the people of the Province of a restraint, cut back, belt-tightening, and at the same time, we are standing up here reducing the seats in this Legislature by four. I think, Mr. Speaker, if there ever was one, this is a classic, Newfoundland joke that we are trying to put forward here by reducing the seats in the Legislature by only four.

Mr. Speaker, once again, I bring forward, that the people of my district and indeed the people of this Province, want government to fall in line with all their other policies, fall in line with the polices that they are putting forward for the ordinary Newfoundlander and Labradorian, and indeed to cut the cloth to fit the garment and I don't think the government is doing that with what they are trying to do here today, especially since they tried to stifle us, on this side of the House, and stifle the people of this Province in having an opportunity to say what they want to say about this particular issue. I believe the District of St. Mary's - The Capes, and indeed all the districts of the Province, are not having a fair opportunity to voice their concerns on this particular issue.

Mr. Speaker, I say in all honesty that I cannot believe we are looking at an average district size of 12,181 for rural Newfoundland and the average district size of 12,181 for urban Newfoundland, at the same time taking into consideration, the problems that are facing rural Newfoundland at this particular time, and I ask: Where is the fairness and balance in putting a district in urban Newfoundland to the same number as a district in rural Newfoundland? I ask: where is the fairness and balance to that? I don't think there is any fairness and balance, Mr. Speaker, I think that the definition of fairness and balance from this government is definitely, definitely not the same definition of fairness and balance that one would find in a dictionary.

Mr. Speaker, I say that I put forward this amendment to give members on this side of the House an opportunity to say a few words about what the government is trying to do, say a few words about the stifling act of the Minister of Justice, the arrogant act of the Minister of Justice as he is trying to put forward this bill through the House - the forward push by the members opposite, indeed the government, to put this under the table and not give the people of the Province a chance to have a say. And I look over at the likes of the Minister of Tourism, Culture and we have to forget about `Recreation', Mr. Speaker. I say that it is members like you, who have no compassion, who have no feeling for the people of this Province, who stand up here day after day and push forward policies that are starving the people out and driving them to pack up and leave this great Province of ours. I think that is wrong. It goes right back, Mr. Speaker, to the piece of legislation that is before us today. It is that if government wants its way, one way or the other it is going to get it. It is going to use the majority here in the House to push it down people's throats, and to try to push it down the members of the Opposition's throats. I don't think it is fair, I don't think it is right, and I don't think it is honest to do what they are doing.

With that I put forward the amendment as I did to give an opportunity for members on this side of the House, and indeed anybody who would like to speak to the amendment, and I believe that it was right in doing so. I think that the day will come when the people will realize that this district - whether it goes forty-two seats, forty, forty-four, forty-six, forty-eight - whatever change will cause problems, it will cause concerns for me and my district. Indeed, the people in my district.

I believe that we are not sending the right message by what we are trying to do here today, by sending out that we are going to reduce the seats to forty-eight. I don't think the government is sending the right message. Therefore I think that with the three-month hoist that I put forward today, hopefully it will pass and that this will be accepted by the members opposite and give the people a chance. Give the people a chance to voice their concerns over the next couple of months and to bring forward the concerns they have with this piece of legislation. Indeed, bring forward the concerns that have been expressed through several areas. That the people of the Province can have an opportunity to express their concerns and indeed put forward -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, in closing I would like to say that I am -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. MANNING: In closing, Mr. Speaker, I'm glad to have the opportunity to -

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

MR. MANNING: - stand and bring forward the concerns on behalf not only of my district, but indeed on behalf of the people of the Province, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: Okay. Mr. Speaker, I say in all honesty, with the Premier present, I would like to make one quick comment if I could with the Premier present.

AN HON. MEMBER: Don't abuse it, but just finish it.

MR. MANNING: I won't abuse it, Mr. Premier. In all honesty I say, with the Premier present, whether the district changes are forty-eight, forty-six, forty-four, forty-two or forty -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: I'm talking to the Premier, if you wouldn't mind. Whatever the number of seats come out it is going to cause me a concern, and indeed the people of my district, because whatever the changes they affect me. Right. Mr. Speaker, I say that I don't think that we are sending -

PREMIER WELLS: The hon. member is not alone.

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, I say to the Premier that I don't think that we are sending a clear message to the people of this Province. When we talk about restraint and we talk about cutbacks and belt tightening, we are only cutting the members of this House by forty-eight. So whether it goes to forty it will cause me maybe a bit more concern than what it will at forty-six, but I say that we are not sending the message across. I think it should be reduced more. I think the Premier should have used the Minister of Justice to send a message to the Commission. We should have reduced it. We had an opportunity to reduce it to forty. I think we failed in that opportunity and we failed in sending the message out to the Province.

PREMIER WELLS: You're bordering on abuse now.

MR. MANNING: Okay, Mr. Speaker. I say I thank the Premier for listening to the comments. With that I sign off.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. When someone says heavyweights they must be looking at my stomach. Because my own wife is claiming that there is seventy-five pounds of me now that she didn't marry some thirty years ago.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CAREEN: After you. You first, we will see if it works, Mr. Speaker. We will have to bury you in a thimble.

MR. ROBERTS: I think I won on that one, Nick.

MR. CAREEN: Oh yes. Well, I will give you credit for it, minister. I like a good joke. I can take one and I can give one.

MR. ROBERTS: That is a Jack Benny story.

MR. CAREEN: Yes, I know. Anyway, to more serious business.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CAREEN: Mr. Speaker, on to more serious business today. I rise on this amendment. The gag order, a muzzle order put forward by the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation aiding and abetting the Minister of Justice, aided and abetted by all members opposite. This government has put in more closures than all other governments since Confederation. In six years more closures, more muzzle orders. They must be trying to get on That's Incredible. They must be looking to get on that show That's Incredible. A muzzle order is quite serious, Mr. Speaker. There is a letter circulating around here this afternoon about a similar type of muzzle order. Democracy is being stifled by the Member for Twillingate who had stomach enough to speak out on an education referendum, Mr. Speaker, a muzzle order by this government this Premier on the Member for Twillingate who had courage enough to stand up for his people. A letter was circulated, and while he does not agree with the Premier is that so bad, that someone had stomach enough to stand up wherever they are?

AN HON. MEMBER: The hon. gentleman has stomach enough.

MR. CAREEN: I do have stomach enough. That is rampant through this government, that the Member for Twillingate in a letter to the Premier essentially said: my problem is with your style of leadership and not with the Liberal Party or the basic principles for which it stands.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Who wrote that?

MR. CAREEN: The Member for Twillingate.

AN HON. MEMBER: Why?

MR. CAREEN: Because they are giving him the cold shoulder, and what other treatment I do not know, how sly they are, how miserable they are to the man for Twillingate who dared to stand up and keep on standing. He found a place to stand and he stood there. Then there is some report from some judge talking about the commission report back in 1993. He said with regard to all the interference and all the goings on from the Justice Minister therefore from the foregoing it can be seen that the duly elected commission acted entirely within the legislation and its instructions under it. Subsequent events have demonstrated that it was all a waste of time and public money.

There was $400,000 flushed down the toilet, beds closing, people laid off, see what Municipal Affairs is inflicting on the towns of this Province and the cities of this Province, and $400,000 chucked down the toilet. This bill, Mr. Speaker, Bill 31 is a sham. With what is going on in this Province, what they are expecting to go on in this Province, the axes that are waiting to fall across the heads of the people of this Province, cutting it back to forty-eight seats is not enough. Forty seats is plenty and let them all scramble who want to save their seats. Let them do some work or stand up like the man for Twillingate did. That would be something for them to do, a 4.25 per cent variation.

There should have been a bigger variation between urban and rural parts of this Province. We see in other provinces that they take a higher variation. They look at remote areas, other areas in rural areas, and why not in this Province? We have seen in one commission report where the Premier's seat was gone. Bay of Islands had disappeared, and then all of a sudden, like Harry Houdini, presto, it was back again. Bellevue had disappeared and it was back again. It is amazing, Mr. Speaker, and that is the reason I support this three month hoist, to let the people of this Province - it made them more aware, with the cuts that are going to be occurring shortly, to be fully knowledgable that this is a sham and to demand - because the only thing governments respect is numbers - to demand that it be cut back to forty-six.

The closure, the gag orders - the most, as I said earlier from Confederation, has been invoked since 1989 by this government, why? Do they want to give people a chance to speak? Obviously they do not. You invoked orders on other bills, on many more bills then any other governments in the previous years since Confederation. You cannot stand the heat.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. CAREEN: The only, I say to the Minister of Justice, the point that he has is on his shoulders.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. CAREEN: That will come time enough. That will come in its own good time, I say to the Minister of Justice.

The people of districts of this Province are facing mass exodus. We have heard people talking about Newfoundlanders in exile; they are being joined by more compatriots in more modern times then ever before. Newfoundlanders are leaving in droves and the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation is denying it?

MR. GRIMES: It is not true.

MR. CAREEN: It is not true that they are leaving?

MR. GRIMES: What is a drove? Leaving in droves?

MR. CAREEN: Droves, numbers, multitudes, get out your dictionary boy. They are being driven. There is a resettlement program on the go, more subtle then the one done by your previous Liberal government, Mr. Smallwood's, back in the late '60s.

MR. GRIMES: A drove, he used it as a noun, what does it mean?

MR. CAREEN: Look up the word drool first. Look up the word drool and then look up the word drove. All that I have seen in you since I came in, I say to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, is that he has been drooling over the Premier's seat since I came in here. Now he cannot see anything else, Mr. Speaker, he is being blinded by a mad dash to get to the main seat in this House.

MR. ROBERTS: And there is certainly nobody on the other side (inaudible).

MR. CAREEN: Oh yes, when all the facade comes out, when they really see the personage of the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, he will come in last. However many that is, he will be last. He will be left wanting. He will be left alone. He won't even be the king maker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CAREEN: Mr. Speaker, where is the fairness and balance that was mentioned to the people of this Province six years ago? Where is the 'real change' that was mentioned in their campaigns when they sat by hospital beds and were photographed with the sick and the elderly?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CAREEN: In your campaign of 1989 but you were not there then. You were once again retired. You had gone out into the wilderness and then the Liberals had called you back to get this man here under some kind of a reign and now between the two of you, you are inflicting greater pain on this province than we have seen in decades. The dynamic duo, the deadly duo. The men who don't care about inflicting all on their own brethren, you are not Liberals, you are a shame. Look, I like looking over at Sir Robert Bond; now that is a Liberal. That was a Liberal. That was a great man, and I would like to be able to have the likes of Robert Bond behind me instead of some of these characters who sold us out, but you and your buddy, you and your buddy -

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. CAREEN: No. I am just talking about what you are inflicting on the people of this Province and I fully evoke and fully support a chance for the people of this Province to know what is going to come down in the next three months, what they are going to be facing and show more clearly, cutting four seats is definitely not what is needed in this Province. Cutting it to forty is an example, and if we don't lead by example how do you expect the nurses and the nurses' assistants and the poor devil on social services and someone else trying to get UI, how do you expect them to be able to look up with any great respect when the crowd in here is only saving their jobs.

Thirty-eight, forty-eight seats, fifty-two, throwing $400,000 down a toilet when money is scarce, but we can't blame this on Ottawa. Ottawa can take lots of blame for what is going on in this Province because here in this Province, we all know it's an orphan's fight we have with Ottawa, but we can only blame this on our own; forty-eight seats, gerrymandering, and then we have closure in on it, when they would wind itself out over the next day or two anyway? What does it mean, another day or two? Why, so many have so many commitments for this evening? You all have meetings after supper? I don't think so. I don't think so.

Rural developments falling apart, we are on the verge of the UI system coming down on the people of this Province to make that ISP program that you advocated the year before last look good. You are making that ISP programming become a support program that the people rose up against.

You are going to inflict some great infliction on this Province as they have never seen to make your program look good, the one the Premier brought up to make the Prime Minister of Canada privy to before the people of this Province were. Is that your plan? Delay it for three months and advertise like you did, I say to the Minister of Education, like your big pages of advertisements on the education referendum. I dare you. You do not have the guts to put that in the newspapers. Advertise what you are planning on doing. Compared with all the other cuts you are only cutting this by four seats. Advertise that like you did on the education referendum.

We were told for months that the money they were going to save on education was going to be dumped back in education. Some joke. You will never see it. This government on fairness and balance is a joke. This government in its Budget the past spring was deceitful and callous and let good jobs go on the South Coast by letting Marine Atlantic and the federal government off the hook, and subjecting other Newfoundlanders to lower wages. Do we need lower wages I ask members of this House? No. Any good salary comes into this Province, it makes its way around. It was made round to go around is the old saying.

Now, the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation - I have not verified it yet, but I was told that not only are the boats gone up the South Coast, Marine Atlantic's ferry boats, but he wants his government to now take over looking after the wharves and the freight sheds that are left standing on the South Coast. I do not know if it is true but I will find out in the next day or two. He is going to take more responsibility away from the federal government and putting the onus on this Province. Down loading, and the municipal governments are being down loaded on. Nurses and nursing assistants are drove foolish.

You are talking about the sick leave in the hospitals. What would you expect? Cut it back to forty and probably you might have to do some running around equal to what some of the nurses and nursing assistants have to do in this Province. Then the Minister of Education and Training looking for further cuts from education. It is amazing what this government can do and what this government can get away with.

AN HON. MEMBER: What would you do?

MR. CAREEN: I would find out where the actual waste is, sir, and I would close that off. That is more than I would say you have done. You are a yes-man, Mr. Speaker, I say to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. You are a goose-stepper. We've heard people like you after the war in Germany, they said in 1945: (sic) Ve ver only following orders. Is that what we hear from the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation? That: (sic) Ve ver only following orders. He is blinded, Mr. Speaker. His eyes are on the Premier's chair and his backside is somewhere else.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. CAREEN: Thank you.


 

November 23, 1995         HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS        Vol. XLII  No. 61A


[Continuation of Sitting]

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I am disappointed that time has elapsed for the hon. member preceding me - it was just getting interesting. He was about to tell us why all of the members opposite are doing the things that they are doing and voting the way they are voting, in particular, the Cabinet ministers who are following the orders of the Premier on important matters before the House.

This one is an important matter because it involves the democracy which we are part of and purport to believe in. Yet, we have before us a piece of legislation that is an example of a manipulation of democracy to suit political purposes and not an honest representation of a democratic effort. The Legislature have a role in dealing with the legislative boundaries and they exhausted it. The Legislature passed a piece of legislation establishing a committee, giving it a mandate, giving it a budget and saying: Go off and make a report within the mandate.

This wasn't a political commission even though it was headed by a former member of this House who sat on the Liberal side of the House. He was a former politician, but once you become a Supreme Court judge you are supposed to leave your partisanship behind you and act in a manner in accordance with the mandate and legislative sanction that you have been given. So a commission was established that had partisan elements, yes. There was a former member of this House who sat as a Progressive Conservative; there was a former member of this House who sat as a Liberal; a well-known New Democrat, not a member of this House but a candidate for the New Democratic Party for this House. So there were partisan elements, if you will, or appointments to the commission. Later, a representative from Labrador who had served on the constitutional committee was appointed as well.

My information is that at the beginning of the sittings of this commission, it was made clear by the chairman of the committee that there would be no political decisions made, no interference, no jockeying for lines or boundaries based on political considerations, and the moment that there were, the commissioner indicated that he would resign and state the reason why.

He didn't resign. I can only conclude from that, that during the course of the deliberations of the commission, the five commissioners, chaired by Judge Mahoney, made their deliberations based on the mandate that they were given, based on their instructions from the Legislature, based on the representations made to it by the public, if they came back with the report.

Now, I am not sure I support the amendment currently before the House. It says, wait three months. Is the climate going to improve in three months? Are the people on the other side going to change their decision? I see a lot of heads shaking over there. They say they are not going to change their minds even if we wait six months or six years. They are still going to vote -

MR. ROBERTS: I am going to vote for it anyway, `Jack'.

MR. HARRIS: You will still vote for it anyway.

MR. ROBERTS: Yes.

MR. HARRIS: So I wonder what we are doing debating a three-month hoist.

MR. ROBERTS: Wasting time is what we are doing. The hon. gentleman should (inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Well, the question becomes: Is something going to happen in the next three months that could improve the circumstances for this legislation?

MR. ROBERTS: The hon. gentleman may go back to full-time law practise.

MR. HARRIS: There may be many things that could happen in three months, I say to the Government House Leader.

AN HON. MEMBER: We will have Christmas.

MR. HARRIS: We will have our Christmas turkey, as the minister says.

Perhaps the public will become a little bit more informed about the changes that are being proposed, although I gather from the speeches made by the Member for Green Bay over the last several months that his constituents, at least, could not be more informed than they are now.

MR. ROBERTS: I think the hon. the Member for Green Bay has done his very best to inform them.

MR. HARRIS: I think the people of Green Bay should know that the Member for Green Bay has represented their point of view in this House - I was going to say on many occasions; I should say, on many occasions every day since the House opened on October 16. Will another three months help the Member for Green Bay? I don't know.

Perhaps the fact that the government, after only two days of debate, has called for closure, is an indication that they do not want this debate to go on for very long. Perhaps they do not want it to go on for another three months, because the longer it goes on the more people become aware of what the government is up to, and how distasteful a process it is, so perhaps that is a good reason to vote for the three-month hoist.

MR. ROBERTS: Is this the hon. gentleman (inaudible)?

MR. HARRIS: I am here, I say to the Speaker, trying to find a way to influence the other side of the House.

MR. ROBERTS: If I had sensible argument, for a change -

MR. HARRIS: Now, there is a novel idea, coming from the Government House Leader. A sensible argument, he says, would persuade him.

MR. ROBERTS: You have not persuaded me yet.

MR. HARRIS: A sensible argument might persuade him, but perhaps the argument that to accept the report of a commission given a mandate, acting within its mandate, making reasonable recommendations, is more acceptable to the political process than a process which the government has chosen that detracts from political acceptability, detracts from the attempt, at least, at objectivity that was carried out through the Mahoney Commission, by having a commission appointed with a flavour of political representation, but with a very clear statement by the Chair of the commission that there would be no political activity or political interference with the boundaries and the boundaries that were devised.

The reality is that the government, and perhaps more particularly the government back benchers, were not prepared to accept the report of the Commissioner, and weren't prepared to go along with it, so a system had to be devised to get away from that. That is what has been done. I think those who have paid attention to this debate, those who have seen the news reports, those who have read the newspaper reports, are aware that what is going on here is political, is not designed to do anything more than satisfy the political desires of members opposite to have changes to the system that suit them, and I suppose, to some extent, try to make it look like by reducing the number of seats even by four, they are carrying out some cost-saving measures.

Mr. Speaker, I don't think that the public is buying it. I think what the government has done has reversed the attempt to have a process with integrity by establishing the Mahoney Commission and gone back to the old notion of governments doing things with political boundaries to suit their political purposes. It reinforces a cynical view of politics and a cynical view of democracy. I suppose I don't know that another three months will make a difference, but I guess I am like George Baker in the House of Commons. He said the other day on t.v.: I don't know if I will ever have any effect on the government that I am representing, that I am sitting in the House for. I don't know if I will have any effect -

MR. ROBERTS: George has been there for twenty years.

MR. HARRIS: I don't know, but I have a feeling that what I am saying is futile in this circumstance, Mr. Speaker, but like George Baker, I have to say it anyway in the hope that perhaps it will make a difference. At some point in time there has to be something happen, some change, have some effect, on what governments do. Someone has to say it, someone has to put it on the record, and in this circumstance I can't let the occasion go by without in fact doing that.

Having done that, I see the Member for Green Bay is most anxious once again to speak on behalf of his constituents who do not have any desire to see this bill passed, and I think even the prospect of having the passage of the bill delayed for another three months brings warmth to their hearts. I will take my place and let the Member for Green Bay go up and do his best to try to convince the side opposite to change their minds.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Once more into the breach, dear friends, for Merry England and St. George.

What can I say, Mr. Speaker? We have the closure motion put on us. There is a limit to what we can say today, and there is a limit to how many times we can say it. The government chose to do this on this particular day. For circumstances beyond our control a number of our members are on the road for various purposes relating to other aspects of their office, so we are fast running out of speakers.

I stood in this Assembly over the last several months and presented petition after petition on behalf of my constituents not to have the District of Green Bay divided. It has been on the electoral map since 1928. The joint councils of Green Bay and the development association were extremely upset that the forty-eight seat proposal would indeed not only add territory to Green Bay but actually see the district split. Under the forty-eight seat proposal, the northern part of Green Bay, the King's Point - Harry's Harbour area, the Little Bay - Beachside area, would be added to Baie Verte district, and the Central Newfoundland area, under the current proposal that would be added, would be most of the former town of Windsor.

This flies in the face of the petitions sent to me which I presented in the House on behalf of my constituents and basically shows the lack of flexibility available to the commissioner who drew up the forty-eight seat boundaries. The original proposal of the Mahoney Commission for forty seats and his forty-four seat final proposal had sufficient flexibility to leave Green Bay intact as a seat with territory added on. In that case, the Badger to Buchans area. The forty-eight seat proposal, because of the tight constraints with regard to the arithmetic, it is not possible with a plus or minus 10 per cent variation to do anything to keep Green Bay in one piece. If you keep Green Bay whole then we have a problem with Baie Verte district being under the population quotient, and you have a problem with the Central Newfoundland area being over it.

Mr. Mahoney, when he put in his report, put in the report under the mandate given with the numerical constraints upon him, but he did, at the end of the report, suggest a degree of flexibility with regard to the 10 per cent rule on the West Coast and the Humber Valley area, in the Lewisporte - Exploits area, and also with regard to the town of Grand Falls - Windsor. Grand Falls - Windsor, I think, being roughly 2,000 people over the numerical limit, is nonetheless one compact Central Newfoundland community and it makes all the sense in the world to leave it as one individual seat.

The Premier has said, and the minister responsible for this bill, the Government House Leader, indicated in Question Period earlier today that even though a degree of flexibility was shown on the Labrador peninsula for, I would not dispute, good reason, such good reasons did not apply to Central Newfoundland; that the notion of community of interest along with geography, etcetera, would not come into play to the extent that they would come into play above and beyond 10 per cent.

Mr. Speaker, that is rather unfortunate, because Judge Mahoney, in bringing in his report, did see the sense in having Grand Falls - Windsor as one particular community, and unfortunately, the government, even though it used Judge Mahoney's additional recommendations, including the additional seat for Labrador, it used that as a springboard to bring about the report by Judge Noel. They, nonetheless, were selective in the recommendations of Judge Mahoney that they took and did not agree with his recommendation with regard to keeping Grand Falls - Windsor as one seat.

I have been given to understand from conversations outside this House and from an indication, as well, from the Government House Leader, that the Member for Windsor - Buchans will be bringing in an amendment to bring about some changes of the borders in the Windsor - Springdale - Grand Falls - Buchans seat arrangement, not going outside the population envelope but drawing certain new boundaries within that population envelope. That will result in Green Bay being added to the Badger - Buchans area again, but because of the tight restriction on numbers a small chunk, maybe as high as 2,000 people in the former town of Windsor, will be added to Green Bay, with the rest of Windsor and all of Grand Falls forming one Central Newfoundland district called Grand Falls - Windsor.

Mr. Speaker, I suppose it can be said that half a loaf is better than none. In this particular case, we are dealing with, I guess in the Town of Grand Falls - Windsor, three-quarters of a loaf or at least three-quarters of the town are being put into one electoral seat. The Member for Grand Falls - Windsor has spoken on the issue; he questioned the minister in Question Period today, pleaded basically with this government, as did Judge Mahoney, to show some flexibility with regard to the 10 per cent rule.

Mr. Speaker, one person one vote is a principle, I accept that, but there are valid variations to the principle as the government has explained with regard to the Labrador Peninsula. I would also say, Mr. Speaker, that community of interest and historic perspectives are also valid considerations with regard to the plus or minus 10 per cent rule. When Judge Mahoney did his original proposal for forty seats, he was allowed a 25 per cent variability and he easily drew up an electoral map that took into account a lot of local sensibilities that were on the go at the time, while at the same time significantly reducing the number of seats.

Unfortunately, the Liberal Party, being the majority party, takes the biggest hit when you have a number of seats eliminated, a hit bigger than the Liberal Party was willing to accept, they amended the judge's mandate, they came back with a forty-four-seat House and that even still was a hit bigger than the Liberal Party was willing to live with. So the Liberal Party concocted its own set of borders under a very tight numerical mandate given to a judge who had very little choice, Judge Noel, but to rubber stamp what the Liberal Party wanted.

Mr. Speaker, as the Member for St. John's East indicated earlier, this is one of the best pieces of evidence of political cynicism that we have seen in some time. And this is one of the reasons, I think, that members of the general public out there wonder about politicians in the negative sense, that are we solely concerned with our own interests and not concerned with the interests of the people at large. The government ran on a mandate to significantly reduce a number of seats, for its own political reasons decided not to so do, and now is basically bringing in a token reduction. And that only breeds contempt for politics and the people who do it, politicians.

Mr. Speaker, I am not proud to be a part of this Legislature when we are doing this sort of thing. There are better things that should be done with regard to the well-being of the population of Newfoundland and Labrador right now. People are unemployed, there are people on Social Services who are hungry; there are serious concerns in the health care and social welfare systems, and instead, we spend our time in this Assembly debating a token reduction and representation. If the government were serious about the need for restraint in this Province, Mr. Speaker, there would have been a more significant representation, and if they were serious about the image of politics and politicians, they would have accepted the report of the independent commission which was forty-four seats with a recommendation for an extra seat for Labrador, and with a recommendation for flexibility on the 10 per cent rule in the Humber Valley area, in the Lewisporte area and in the Grand Falls -Windsor area. Mr. Speaker, that makes a world of sense.

The proposed amendment that the Member for Windsor - Buchans is bringing forward makes some sense, Mr. Speaker, from the point of view of the citizens of Grand Falls - Windsor who want their town to be united to the maximum extent. It is unfortunate that this particular government will hang itself on one principle and throw others out the window and, as a result, you have a situation, certainly in Central Newfoundland, where really, nobody is happy with the borders. Everybody understood that a seat had to disappear because of population problems, that was understood, but the way it was handled, the mechanism whereby the population is divided in the seats in Central Newfoundland makes absolutely no one happy, is a major source of embarrassment to the Liberal Party, will make the citizens of Windsor, especially, less than happy with the Liberal Party come the next election - a town, that, with one recent exception in the P.C. sweep some years ago in the Peckford Administration, a town that has consistently voted Liberal. But given the results of the Education referendum and given the hostility felt out in that particular area by the populace with regard to the way their boundaries are being fiddled with, the people of Windsor may well have something else to say with regard to the Liberal Party come the next election.

Mr. Speaker, I sincerely hope that the people of the Province will somehow get the message of what is going on here, that we are involved in a fake attempt to reduce money being spent with a token reduction in seats, and anything having to do with the integrity of politics and politicians went out the window, and, Mr. Speaker, when we came into this gross gerrymandering that we are into now. It serves no one well, least of all ourselves and certainly least of all the people of the Province.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Is the House ready for the question?

AN HON. MEMBER: Question.

MR. SPEAKER: All those in favour?

MR. ROBERTS: Hold on Mr. Speaker.

MR. REID: May I say a few words, Mr. Speaker?

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

MR. ROBERTS: We are not going to keep her going but I want to make sure there is enough to keep to end this.

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, just a few comments.

I want to direct my comments to some of the good things that are in this bill and really, basically talk about what is going to happen in my area of the Province, for example.

As most of you know, the Towns of Harbour Grace and Carbonear, are less than a mile-and-a-half apart, and I think some of the hon. members, for one, my friend, the Member for Mount Pearl, will remember, some years ago when we came in together as two towns back in the early 80s, to try to convince the government to hold the Summer Games, remember, in Carbonear - Harbour Grace, and I think a lot of people were surprised at the time that the people of Harbour Grace and the people of Carbonear could actually get together and go after something -

MR. WINDSOR: Doug straightened us out on that one.

MR. REID: Doug straightened us out on that. I have been saying for years and years that Carbonear and Harbour Grace in particular should be closer with regard to the number of things that we can offer to the Conception North area.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. REID: I am not talking about amalgamation, I am talking about doing things together. And over the last six or seven years, and thanks to the ex-Mayor, Paul Moriarity - he was a good personal friend of a number of us and a lot of us respected him. He was Mayor of Harbour Grace for just about all the time that I was Mayor of Carbonear, and we had an agreement -

MR. ROBERTS: That's a great speech, `Art'.

MR. REID: - a solid agreement. But anyway, I am going to be very short and say that at the end of the day, now, after all this time, Carbonear and Harbour Grace are going to be in the same provincial district, and I am certain that because they are in a provincial district, it is going to make things - they can gel even more, so finally, at least with that said, I am happy as the bill stands today.

Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: Is the pleasure of the House that this bill be now read a second time?

All those in favour, please say `aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: Those against, `nay'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Nay.

MR. SPEAKER: Carried.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, if there is no request for Division, it will stand. I will move the adjournment, but before I do -

MR. SPEAKER: Just a second now, we haven't finished, the bill is not read a second time yet.

MR. ROBERTS: Oh, I am sorry, Sir.

MR. WINDSOR: On a point of order.

Are we debating the amendment, the six-month hoist or three-month hoist of amendment?

MR. ROBERTS: No.

MR. WINDSOR: Should we not vote on that first?

MR. ROBERTS: Oh! Right on, right on!

MR. WINDSOR: Where would you be without me?

MR. ROBERTS: It is an attractive thought, `Neil'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Since I left the Chair, there was an amendment that the Chair was not aware of.

AN HON. MEMBER: That's right.

MR. SPEAKER: All those in favour of the amendment, please say `aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: Those against, `nay'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Nay.

I declare the amendment defeated.

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Amend The House Of Assembly Act And The Electoral Boundaries Act," read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House on tomorrow. (Bill No. 31).

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, now that we have straightened ourselves out, I will move the adjournment.

Tomorrow we will meet at nine and we will adjourn not later than noon. The government will be calling first, Motion 2, which is the adjourned debate in Committee of the Whole on the Local Authority Guaranty Act Resolution and then we will move on, if the House is so minded, to Motion 1 and to Motion 4.

I doubt if we will get beyond those tomorrow but if we do get there we will deal with that at the time. The House, on Monday, will be back in Committee stage on the redistribution bill and we will see how we move along at that time with that.

With that said, Mr. Speaker, I thank the members on all sides for their co-operation and I move that the House do now adjourn until tomorrow, Friday, at nine o'clock.

On motion, the House at its rising adjourned until tomorrow, Friday, at 9:00 a.m.