March 25, 1996             HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS              Vol. XLIII  No. 3

 


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): Order, please!

Statements by Ministers

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy.

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, on May 4, 1992, I announced a successful Request for Bids that resulted in work expenditure commitments of approximately $1.7 million for three petroleum exploration permits onshore Western Newfoundland. Those permits covered an area of about 177,000 hectares.

A year later, on February 5, 1993, I announced a second successful Request for Bids that resulted in work expenditure commitments of approximately $5.7 million for an additional six permits. Those permits covered an area of about 190,000 hectares.

A few months ago, on November 23, 1995, I announced a third Request for Bids, at which time interested parties were invited to submit bids in the form of work expenditure commitments on thirty-one parcels of land by March 22, last Friday.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to announce that I have selected bids totalling approximately $21 million on twenty-eight parcels of the thirty-one put forward covering an area of about 880,000 hectares.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. GIBBONS: As before, the successful bids are in the form of work expenditure commitments whereby the companies undertake to spend the bid amount on exploration during the five year term of the exploration permit.

The successful bidders are as follows:

For parcels #1 to 6, 12 to 13, 26 and 28 to 31, Sandhurst Roxana Exploration Limited with total bids of $3,773,000; for parcels #7, 11 and 18, Vinland Petroleum Incorporated, with total bids of $828,000: for parcels #8 and 27, London Resources Incorporated, with total bids of $590,200; for parcel #9, Gentry Resources Ltd. with a bid of $12,500; for parcels #16, 19 and 22, Mobil Oil Canada Properties with total bids of $4,684,250; for parcel #17, Canadian Trans Ocean Petroleum Corporation, with a bid of $511,111.77; for parcels #20 and 23, Hunt Overseas Operating Company and PanCanadian Petroleum Limited with total bids of $10,350,000; for parcel #21, Company 10486 Newfoundland Incorporated with a bid of $52,500; for parcel #24, Imperial Venture Corporation with a bid of $185,440; and for parcel #25, Jay Construction Limited with a bid of $28,700.

Mr. Speaker, certain requirements must be met before I will issue the permits, pursuant to this Request for Bids. This includes the receipt of a security deposit for each permit in the amount of 20 per cent of the total amount bid.

Mr. Speaker, provided all requirements are met, the number of onshore exploration permits issued since the regulations were put in place in 1991 will now total thirty-seven. Total expenditure commitments will amount to $28.4 million.

Mr. Speaker, I note that momentum is building in offshore Western Newfoundland as well. Currently, there are three exploration licences in effect and the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board has issued a recent call for Bids on eight offshore parcels, four of which are located offshore Western Newfoundland. This call closes on September 30, 1996. In addition, Hunt Oil and partners are planning to start an offshore well, 6 kilometres SW of Cape St. George in May or June.

Mr. Speaker, I am extremely pleased by the level of interest that the oil and gas industry is showing in Western Newfoundland, onshore and offshore. We hope that this will lead to further economic activity whereby the full petroleum potential of that area will be realized.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

We join with the government today, and all members I assure you, in expressing the level of optimism that the Opposition wants to show for the exploration industry in Western Newfoundland in the oil and gas industry. Certainly, any news like this is welcomed and certainly welcomed with open arms but I want to assure the government, as well, that we, on this side of the House, while supporting that, will want to ensure that the maximum benefits are received for this Province and the people in this Province. Maximum technology transfer must be accrued, maximum jobs must be achieved and, in short, Mr. Speaker, we must ensure that we get our full and fair share.

Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Does the hon. the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: Agreed.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I was awaiting with great interest the announcement of the minister. Because the level of expenditure commitment, of course, reflects the optimism of the oil industry itself, having already conducted considerable amounts of seismic activity on the West Coast; that is room for a great deal of optimism, particularly with certain of the bids. So I am encouraged by it. There is reason to be optimistic. But I did not hear the minister tell the House what plans he had for ensuring that the people engaged in this activity are in fact Newfoundlanders. I know that they are bringing in seismic crews from elsewhere. I know some Newfoundlanders are employed. I would like to hear more from the government as to how it plans to ensure that Newfoundlanders get the full opportunities for working on these exploration activities.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS BETTNEY: Mr. Speaker, speaking in the capacity of Minister responsible for the Status of Women, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Members of the Provincial Strategy Against Violence Team and the hiring of the provincial co-ordinator. One of the key elements of the Provincial Strategy Against Violence Action plan was the establishment of a co-ordinating team with representatives from the Departments of Health, Social Services, Justice and Education who have at least 25 per cent of their work time dedicated to co-ordinating initiatives that address violence. The team is led by a full-time co-ordinator located within Women's Policy Office. This is truly a co-operative effort with all initiatives to be carried out in partnership. Co-ordination between government departments and collaboration between government and community groups is central to the successful implementation of this Action Plan. The team members are as follows: Jim Oldford, Co-ordinator; Joy Maddigan, Department of Health; Rosalind Smyth, Department of Social Services; Mary Hatherly, Department of Justice and Phyllis Mullowney, Department of Education.

For information of members, I would like to provide some background on these people so that you can get some indication of the depth of expertise that will be dedicated to this: Mr. Oldford holds a Masters of Social Work from the University of Toronto and has most recently worked in child and adolescent mental health with Janeway Mental Health Services. Much of his clinical work has been in working with victims of violence.

Joy Maddigan has a Master of Nursing from Memorial University and is employed as the Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Co-ordinator with the Department of Health. She has worked as a staff graduate and clinical nurse specialist in psychiatry and as a community mental health nurse.

Rosalind Smyth is a Senior Policy Analyst with the Division of Social and Strategic Planning, Department of Social Services. Her educational background is in child development and adult education.

Mary Hatherly holds a Masters of Law from Osgoode Hall and is currently employed as a Solicitor with the Civil Division, Department of Justice. While employed as a Senior Policy Advisor to the New Brunswick Department of Justice, she assisted in the Administration of the Crimes Compensation Program and was responsible for the development of internal policing and correctional policy, including aboriginal policing and women's abuse protocols.

Phyllis Mullowney is a Career Education and Cooperation Education Consultant with the Division of Program Development, Department of Education. Her training in the area of counselling and educational psychology, combined with extensive work with youth at the Brother T.I. Murphy Centre, allows her to bring both a theoretical and practical background to the team.

The Action Plan is based on a recognition that solutions to the problem of violence must be a collaborative effort between governments and the community. It is very encouraging to learn how much input was received from throughout the community in developing this Action Plan. We all have an important role to play in eliminating violence in our society, and it will be important to their ongoing evaluation process for the team to receive feedback from members of the community who are directly impacted by the initiatives that are being set in motion. The vision of this strategy, which is the foundation of the Action Plan, is that the people of our Province will live in a safe, caring community, where there is an inherent respect for each other and where violence is unacceptable.

The Provincial Strategy Against Violence is a five-year plan which involves the coordination of service delivery to women, children, the elderly, and other vulnerable adults who have experienced violence, and the coordination of violence prevention initiatives. Strategies to achieve these goals are recommended in four areas: legislation and policy; service delivery; public education; and research and evaluation.

During their first meeting, the coordinating team focused on developing a working process, reviewing progress made to date, and they began developing a clear implementation plan for the initiatives outlined in the Action Plan. One of the priorities is to complete the planning phase and begin implementation of pilot projects to test a number of service delivery models that promote a coordinated approach. These include: a multidisciplinary service centre; crisis intervention, assessment and referral services at a district social services office; an intervention and treatment centre which deals not only with individual victims but with other family members; and co-location of staff from one agency to another. Another priority initiative will be the development of regional coordinating committees. Priorities also include the development of a multi-phased, multi-year public awareness campaign concerning violence.

Mr. Speaker, this strategy was developed over a three-year period, under the leadership of the Women's Policy Office in conjunction with the Departments of Social Services, Justice, Health, and Education. The process involved the release of a consultation paper, a year-long consultation process with community groups, including five regional workshops, and the finalization of the Strategy which was released last June.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. H. HODDER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm very pleased today to support this initiative of the government. I am certain that the minister brings to this task the same kind of dedication that she has shown in her community prior to her taking the office that she now holds. I can say to all members of the House that the minister has shown great leadership in this initiative within her own community.

I'm pleased to hear words like coordination and integration. I only say to the minister that I hope that these words are really going to result in strategies that will help us reach solutions to violence, particularly violence against women and children. I refer the minister to the programs that are ongoing in provinces like Alberta where they have a family policy grid in which all departments of government have to place all of their legislation before a family policy grid that will examine them for their impact on families and particularly on the delivery of services. There are many examples across the country. However, I would like to point out that one of the examples of community involvement in the resolution of violence is right here in Newfoundland and Labrador. I refer to the initiatives that have taken place in Port au Port, and based on the New Zealand model. I say to all hon. members that the research shows that if we are going to solve problems that relate to violence we have to make sure that it is community focused, community monitored, and community controlled.

Mr. Speaker, I say to the hon. the minister, this is a welcome initiative. I know of Mr. Oldford, I worked with him when I was a high school principal, and he has made presentation to the Select Committee on Children's Interests. I can't think of a better person to coordinate the effort. I compliment the minister on her initiatives and I wish the process great success. Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Does the hon. the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: Leave.

MR. SPEAKER: Leave.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to commend the minister in making this presentation to the House. I think she set very high standards for this process. Certainly with the compliments of the Member for Waterford Valley the expectations are going to be very high. The people who have been appointed, some of them are known to me, they are a highly qualified group of people. As an action plan of course it is the results that people are going to measure it by. I think public education in the area of violence, violence in general but violence against women and children in particular, is something of very high importance. It has to be made perfectly clear to members of society that it is totally unacceptable and ought to be highly negatively treated by all members of society including officialdom.

I look forward to good success. We will be looking of course to ensure that we do get the kind of success created by the expectations here. I wish the minister well in the process.

MR. SPEAKER: Before we call Oral Questions I would like to take the opportunity to welcome to the public galleries on behalf of all members Mr. Boyd Noel, Mayor of St. Anthony, in the District of The Straits & White Bay North.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: As well, I would like to welcome on behalf of all members eight students from the Truman Eddison Memorial School in Griquet, and their teacher Ms Bonnie Bussey.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have questions today for the Premier. Since the Premier did not answer my questions in Friday's Question Period and insists he has to wait for more information from Ottawa I would now like to focus on aspects of UI reform that are within the direct responsibility of this Province.

In the proposed EI-UI legislation the federal government will no longer purchase training courses whether from this Province or from public or private institutions. This will severely affect enrolments at institutions around this Province. I ask the Premier: What arrangement is the Premier making to prepare for this downturn in post-secondary enrolment? Will he ensure that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will have the same access to post-secondary education as they did before?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Leader of the Opposition for his continuing interest in the subject. Before I respond to him, I know the Leader of the Opposition would want to join with me, with you, Mr. Speaker, and indeed with all members in welcoming to the House of Assembly today the Member for Windsor-Springdale who has taken his seat.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER TOBIN: May I say, Mr. Speaker, we are always pleased in this place no doubt to have such an experienced, sure-footed member take his place on the front bench to assist all of us in the conduct of our responsibilities and duties.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER TOBIN: We would be absolutely lost without the member; there is no question about it.

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition on Friday asked a series of questions about the proposed UI reform. At that time I responded by saying the Government of Canada has currently taken aboard suggestions which come from a wide variety of sources. Come from this side of the House, and indeed come from that side of the House - to look at the reform package that was tabled, with all of its components, and to make changes to it that ensure that seasonal workers are not discriminated against. Indeed, the minister who has that responsibility, the Honourable Doug Young, has said that with respect, in particular, to consecutive weeks of work, and with respect to the intensity rule, which affects the maximum insurable earnings of anybody who draws UI, that he is prepared to introduce new changes. The consequence of introducing those new changes is to affect the fiscal package around which the total UI payout occurs, and I think the Leader of Opposition knows that.

The Leader of the Opposition, on Friday, was comparing the proposal as it affects Newfoundland and Labrador compared to the proposal, or the tentative proposal, that was put down as it affects the Province of Quebec. If you look at the proposal as originally tabled - and I know the Leader of the Opposition has looked at it because the proposal is public information; it is not any kind of a state secret; it was made public some months ago - you see a package that has Newfoundland receiving a total of $162 million in assistance under the Employment Measures budget, on the HRIF program. That compares with $30 million in P.E.I., as proposed, Nova Scotia $102 million, New Brunswick $133 million, Manitoba $77 million, Saskatchewan $57 million, Alberta $172 million.

Now the Leader of the Opposition, inadvertently I am sure, gave us just a comparison with the Province of Quebec where Quebec, with its population, receives $747 million; but you can see by the numbers I have just made available that Newfoundland does quite well relative to all other similar or larger size provinces.

My point is simply this: Until the minister responsible concludes his deliberations on the points that I and the Leader of the Opposition both, and many others, have asked him to reconsider, we don't know what the final dollar figure is going to be for any of these programs. And I say to him, with great respect, let's give the minister an opportunity, I hope, within a matter of weeks, to come forward with his decision with respect to this program, and at that stage be quite glad to exchange views with the leader on its impact on Newfoundland and what, if anything, more the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador should do.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I, too, welcome the Member for Windsor - Springdale, and congratulate him on his election victory.

I did not ask the Premier about consecutive weeks, or intensity; I asked the Premier, in light of the announcement that the federal government will no longer purchase training programs from this Province or from public or private institutions, I ask the Premier: What is he going to do to enable this Province to compensate to ensure that there is an equal access to post-secondary education that there is right now; it is a provincial responsibility.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, once again the Leader of the Opposition sets up a scenario where he sets up this great big injury to the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador and then, having set it up, wants me to join with him in this quick attack to knock it down. Last week it was comparing Newfoundland's total funds to that of Quebec, which he did, but neglected to point out that while Newfoundland receives $162 million under the proposal that has been put forward, that is more than has been proposed for P.E.I., more than has been proposed for Nova Scotia, more than has been proposed for New Brunswick, more than has been proposed for Manitoba, more than has been proposed for Saskatchewan; but he neglected - I know inadvertently - to point that out, and I am glad to have this opportunity given the Leader of the Opposition's interest in dealing with numbers in an exact fashion, to make that information available to him today.

Today he set up another great injury to the Province. The federal government, says the Leader of the Opposition, is going to stop funding certain programs for Newfoundland and Labrador. He hasn't told us that the proposal is one that applies to the whole of the country. And I say to the Leader of the Opposition: When we see the full impact of the proposals that are forthcoming, when we see the changes that are suggested by the Minister responsible for HRD, the Honourable Doug Young, when we see what is left in the fiscal pie at the end of the day, we will sit down with the federal government, look at the full range of programs, and I would be happy then to ask the minister responsible to give a full report of the end result of those deliberations to the Leader of the Opposition and, indeed, to the House. Until such time, for me to sit here and speculate out of thin air the full impacts of proposed changes is more than I can do or should do.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Once again, in an area of provincial responsibility, I am asking the Premier, will some community college campuses now close in this Province? The federal government no longer funds those institutions; it has been indicated that they will not, and that is not one of the areas that is now under review for consideration, that is a factual statement that has already been dealt with. Now Bell Island and Bonavista, areas like Port aux Basques, Springdale and Baie Verte campuses are some of the ones that are dependent on HRD funding. I ask the Premier, will some or all of those campuses now close?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Again, I appreciate the question and the interest of the Leader of the Opposition in it because it is an important question. All of the information, Mr. Speaker, with respect to the community college system in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador run by the government through the Department of Education, is a matter like all of the other program areas that are under review in terms of the Budget of the Province.

It is true that some of the courses and some of the students in some of the courses are there under funding arrangement with different federal programs. HRD, the regular UI Program, TAGS Programs in some cases and there are many other private institutions that have arrangements, Mr. Speaker, where some of their funding come from some federal sources. That is not new, it is not unique, it is not different, it didn't start with TAGS, it didn't start with the UI Program, it has been going on for years and from time to time, the federal government and other agencies withdraw some funding from certain programs with which they are involved, the government then makes adjustment in terms of what is expected student population is to be in those campuses and whether or not there is a need, regardless of where the money is coming from for the students who are in the campuses. The judgement, Mr. Speaker, is always whether or not there is a need to have the number of facilities that exist at any one point in time, continue into the future regardless of what is happening.

The main decision is made on the basis of the potential student population regardless of where they are accessing their money and the ability of the Province to provide for the continuation of the facility, the staff and the programs to meet the needs of that potential student population. That exercise has gone through every year, Mr. Speaker. There is no particular crisis this year. We are examining the college system at this point in time and we have been examining it, Mr. Speaker, for a considerable period of time largely in terms of trying to have increased efficiencies -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. minister to conclude his answer.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

-increased efficiencies particularly at the administrative level so that any monies that the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador is putting in to the community-college system, will have the maximum impact on the students that it is designed to serve.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Minister of Education must be living in a different world because there is a change. The federal government has announced that it is no longer going to continue the current program of purchasing seats at those colleges. It is not going to do it any more, period.

Now, adult basic education is another example, even though it is a provincial responsibility, many Newfoundlanders, young and old alike are relying on seats purchased by HRD in order to be able to attain a high school education, and there are many students now who just need a couple of credits and four and five credits to complete that, but with a discontinuation of those programs, I ask the Premier what he intends to do to ensure that those students who are close to graduating, are able to continue and to receive a high school education?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Again, and not to downplay the seriousness of the issue that the Leader of the Opposition raised, there is an issue because there is no question that at any time you find a student in any program regardless of the source of funding, who finds himself or herself part way through the program and then has difficulty completing it, it is an issue that needs to be addressed.

I think the characterization and the representation of it by the Leader of the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Speaker, needs to be clarified and redirected in some way. What we have, is a number of initiatives ongoing, where different funding sources of the federal government are in some duress and under some stress. They are trying to make arrangements in some instances, Mr. Speaker, to close out certain centres and have the students who are part way through a program move to other nearby centres and complete their courses where that can be done. At the end of the day, that is what all of the players involved, particularly the TAGS related training and others are now in an exercise where the representatives of FFAW, who are very concerned about this, are working with their own members to try to make sure that the facilitation and ease of transfer does not cause difficulty for the students in the middle of a program.

The whole issue though, Mr. Speaker, to try and represent that in fact there is a major problem that has been caused here in some way that the provincial government should be stepping in, regardless of what is happening, and making sure that nobody is impacted in any negative way. That has never been within the realm of capability of the Province to 100 per cent deal with all the problems all the time. We are working with the affected parties, we are trying to minimize any direct negative impact on a student who is in the middle of a program, Mr. Speaker, and we have every confidence in working together with the organizations involved, with the individuals and with the federal government so that we can manage to make sure that the students are not disadvantaged.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. What the minister is saying is that some of these are going to close out. That is the inference that the minister is making.

I ask the Premier, will he provide alternatives to the HRD funded education centres, like the sixteen that the FFAW union has across this Province, so that people will not be left high and dry?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, again, I think we just answered that question posed in another way.

It is not the intent of the Province to try to step in to make sure that a particular building or a particular location stays open. The focus for the Province, working with FFAW - the organization representing the workers in the program - is to make sure that the students themselves, to the maximum extent possible, Mr. Speaker, have an alternate location where they can continue their training. There might be some slight dislocation in terms of physical location where they actually do the training, there might be some slight inconvenience but the biggest concern is to make sure that, if at all possible, that all of the students get to finish their programs.

It is the same kind of thing that we deal with from time to time in the community college system, in the day school system, where when the student populations decline and other factors come into effect you don't just arbitrarily decide to keep all of the facilities open regardless if there are any bodies in them or not. There is a restructuring, a rearrangement going on with the FFAW centres that the FFAW officials, Mr. Speaker, are doing a very good job of trying to work cooperatively with the federal government officials to minimize any negative impacts on the students.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. minister to take his seat.

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. To the Premier, I know the Premier met with the federal Finance Minister, Mr. Martin, on Friday. I ask the Premier, did he discuss the impact the EI program is going to have on this Province with the minister on Friday and if so, what steps is the federal government going to take to address this projected $140 million shortfall out of the Newfoundland economy?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, first of all, I did meet with the Minister of Finance, discussed a variety of questions with him, including the need to get a decision early from the Minister of Human Resources Development on the matters that have been put before the minister, the question of ensuring that the reform, if it proceeds, does not discriminate against seasonal workers. The Minister of Finance has taken that aboard and we discussed a variety of other matters as well.

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

MR. H. HODDER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Minster of Social Services. They relate to the need for an emergency shelter for children in the St. John's region and the proposed closure of Presentation House. While I agree that foster homes have their place in our community, I remind the minister that an adequate supply of foster homes may not eliminate the need for emergency shelter for children. Presentations made to the Select Committee on Children's Interests last autumn did not show an over supply of foster homes in the St. John's region. I ask the minister: if foster homes are so readily available why has the Department of Social Services left three children waiting for a long term placement at Presentation House since December 26, 1995, one day short of three months?

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

MS J.M. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

In response to your question concerning why the children have been in Presentation House for as long as they have is really to facilitate their re-entry into the normal family environment. As you are probably aware, there is a pilot project going on at Presentation House whereby these three children have been a part of a process whereby the family come in and do the actual parenting to allow them to return to their normal home. It is a process to minimize disruption and as you know, that is part of the policy of Social Services to try to re-establish a normal home environment as soon as possible.

With respect to the number of foster homes, there are a number of foster homes waiting to be licensed. I think there are fifty-one that are in the process of being licensed, and we are very pleased with how that is progressing.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. H. HODDER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

What the minister has given is an excellent rationale for the continuance of an emergency centre for children, which is what Presentation House is all about. I say to the minister, that prior to the opening of Presentation House in 1980, children who were in need of emergency care were placed in the Janeway where they occupied acute care beds even though they did not need direct medical intervention. I want to ask the minister what assurances she has today that children who are at risk will not be forced to be admitted unnecessarily to the Janeway or placed temporarily in some local motel or hotel without adequate resources of counselling or have access to a nurturing environment?

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

MS J. M. AYLWARD: Well, to reiterate, I guess, the most important part of the process of re-entering children back into the home is trying to put them back in a normal family environment as soon as possible, so my previous response to your question would not facilitate the need to create other centres like the Presentation House. In fact, it would lead to the other conclusion, and that is, the sooner we can replace children in a normal family environment, the better.

In terms of a guarantee of not putting children in an institutional environment, from our perspective we feel we can give as much of a guarantee that children will be placed in foster homes as much as we can guarantee people will receive any services that they need. We are in the process of facilitating the licensure of a number of foster homes and it is our intention to keep children out of institutional settings. It is our intention to maintain a normal family environment. The front line workers and the staff of Social Services are working very effectively to do that, and we are very pleased with that process.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. H. HODDER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My supplementary is to the Premier. In December, 1994 the government of Premier Wells appointed a Select Committee of the Legislature to hold hearings throughout the Province on how government and its various agencies can better address the needs of children and families. Technically, this committee ceased to exist at the call of the February election; however, the problems encountered daily by children and families are as obvious today as they were a year-and-a-half ago. What provisions have government made to complete the mandate of the Select Committee on Children's interests?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I thank the member for his question. I know of his genuine interest in this matter and I want to assure him that the work of the committee is one that I am reviewing. I am well aware that the committee has heard from 700 participants from communities all over Newfoundland and Labrador, and that many of those participants await now the consequence, the final result, and the recommendations of this committee to government, and I want to assure them that I and members of the Cabinet, and particularly the ministers most concerned with the work of this committee are going to have a look at where it is in its mandate, consider extending that mandate so that the job can be finished and so that government and the people of Newfoundland and Labrador can have the full benefit of the great deal of work that has already been done, and the amount of work that yet needs to be done to complete the mandate that was formerly given.

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

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

My question today is to the Premier. Initiatives by the Federal Government to centralize government operations are having somewhat disastrous consequences for many regions of this Province. In particular, Mr. Speaker, this Province has lost many jobs and services over the past two years to the provinces of Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Has the Premier met, or does the Premier plan to meet with his federal cousins in Ottawa to discuss this very important matter?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the member raises a problem. The problem he refers to is the loss, I think, he said, of jobs generally to other provinces or other regions.

MR. E. BYRNE: The centralization of -

PREMIER TOBIN: - and centralization. I take it as a serious representation by the member, but perhaps I would be better able to make representation to `federal cousins' if you can give me some specific examples of the kinds of job losses you are talking about?

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, the federal Department of Supply and Services announced recently that thirty positions would be moved to Halifax from this Province and that people holding those positions would not be given the opportunity, or the chance, to move with those jobs or to relocate. Does the Premier, in asking for specifics, support this latest export of federal jobs from this Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, as a general rule, this government supports the maintenance of jobs in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and that is why I hope and expect the member opposite, and indeed, all members opposite, will support the initiative by this government to put in place, in essence, a federal forestry centre in the City of Corner Brook, so that the federal forestry jobs which were scheduled to go as part of a consolidation to the Province of New Brunswick can be retained in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER TOBIN: I know the member opposite knows that this was a very important part of the platform that we put forward in the recent election campaign. It is an example of the kind of initiative we are taking to consolidate federal and provincial expertise, to maintain jobs in the Province. If the member has suggestions as to how we can employ those kinds of initiatives - certainly we will be looking for them ourselves - to maintain jobs in this Province in the future, we would be very glad to have his constructive suggestions.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, the Premier knows full well that when he was the federal minister, over fifty jobs left this Province in the sector of forestry and went to New Brunswick with a maintenance of only seventeen jobs left in this Province. I mean, the reality is this, that over the past three years, the Provincial Government has stood by and watched hundreds of jobs and many, many services by the Federal Government leave this Province.

The question for the Premier is this: Will he take a more pro-active approach than his predecessor? Will he take immediate action to meet with the Prime Minister or whoever is necessary to meet with to ensure that the maintenance of federal jobs and/or services for people in this Province remain in this Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, may I say a couple of things, in response to that question, to the member. First of all, you know, I think all of us in this House have a responsibility to transcend, and all of us are tempted, including me, and all of us give in to the temptation on occasion, including me, to practice politics as usual. But the reality is very simple.

MR. E. BYRNE: It is a legitimate question.

PREMIER TOBIN: And a legitimate answer. I would ask the member to listen. The reality is very simple. We have in this Province a $230 million deficit that we have to deal with this year. We have a projection of negative growth this year for a variety of reasons, some having to do with the number of people on TAGS who will be moving off that program, some having to do with the fact that the Hibernia project, which has been a major provider of income for many people, is entering a wind-down phase, some having to do with the fact that the national government has reduced transfers in order to deal with its deficit, just as we are reducing program expenditures to deal with our deficit. Now, that is the reality.

If the total sum of the debate in this place on members on both sides, not only one side, is merely to pick up rhetorical questions or rhetorical answers and to lob them back and forth, the people of Newfoundland and Labrador won't be well served. Because the reality of the Province and the reality -

MR. SHELLEY: (Inaudible).

PREMIER TOBIN: I say to the Member for Baie Verte, he should give me a moment to finish. The reality of this country is that we have -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) the question.

PREMIER TOBIN: I am addressing the question, fundamentally. It doesn't matter whether we are talking Municipal Government, Provincial Government, or the Federal Government; we have substantial fiscal problems to deal with. And it requires some co-operation, it requires some partnership, and it requires some honesty in coming to grips with our circumstance.

So, in answer to the question, no, I am not going to make a career out of looking at every single dollar the Federal Government cuts on every occasion and jumping up and down and being alarmist about it. As for my record as a federal minister, I think the party opposite tried to make that an issue in a recent election campaign and the results are obvious.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question this afternoon is to be directed to the hon. the Minister of Justice. It is with respect to the Whitbourne boy's home and the Pleasantville Youth Centre. I wonder if the hon. the Minister of Justice could indicate to this House this afternoon the true rationale for the transfer or change in jurisdiction with respect to the Whitbourne boy's home and the Pleasantville Youth Centre as I have mentioned, from the Department of Social Services to the Department of Justice. What is the reasoning, Mr. Speaker, with respect to this transfer and change of jurisdiction from one department to another?

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

MR. DECKER: I thank the hon. member for his question and congratulate him on his maiden speech in the form of a question.

The rationale was explained very clearly. I would recommend that he read the last edition, I think the Weekend Edition, of The Evening Telegram. There are two components to this issue. One is the rehabilitation of the children who are in these facilities, the corrections aspect, and that will indeed continue and be carried out by the same people who are doing it now.

The other reality is that the people who occupy these facilities are either in the remand centre, waiting to go through the justice system, or they are people who have been incarcerated for a period of time, and there is an element of that which is clearly that which falls under Justice. There have been some problems, and we are not suggesting that they will all go away because it has been transferred to Justice, but there have been some problems with the custody out there with children. We had some escapes, as the hon. member knows - we did have a guard who was attacked; and we are hoping that we will be able to deal with these matters better under Justice. But I assure the hon. member - I know he is concerned - that there will still continue to be the same level, and quite possibly a higher level, of rehabilitation. Because we don't look upon them as simply a place to secure a child - they are awful places. We hope to rehabilitate the people who are there so that they can go forward and be contributing members of society.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John's East, on a supplementary.

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question to the hon. minister is, simply: What is the rush? It is certainly my understanding that as recently as October, Dr. Inkpen was asked to review this whole situation, and I understand from reports, that in April of this year, just less than a month away, the report will, in fact, be finalized and obviously disclosed to the public. So my question to the hon. minister is: Why has this transfer taken place now from the Department of Social Services to the Department of Justice when, in fact, we are only a matter of weeks away before this report will be tabled, which was, in fact, requested by the hon. members on the opposite side?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: If I may respond to the member's question, I want to point out that if the member takes a look at the structure of government, and I am sure some of those who have been around a little longer than both you and I will note, there has been significant restructuring of the responsibilities of many of the departments of government, not just this one. We have just gone through a change of administration. We have gone through some change, clearly, in the personnel of Cabinet, and members of the House generally, and we have gone through some restructuring in the senior civil services and, as well, in government, not just in this department.

The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture has taken on new responsibility. The Department of Forestry and Agrifoods flows from what was part of the responsibility formerly of the Department of Mines and Energy, which was Natural Resources. The Department of Development and Rural Renewal flows in part from what was formerly the responsibility of the Department of Industry, Trade and Technology.

May I say, Mr. Speaker, there have been many structural changes. Those changes have occurred for the sake of efficiency, and this change has been made, amongst many, in that context, nothing more complex than that. If the member has other information that I don't have, I would be glad to have it.

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

Notices of Motion

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

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

I rise today to give notice that on tomorrow I will move the following private member's resolution:

WHEREAS Newfoundland Power has asked the Public Utilities Board to approve an increase in electricity rates; and

WHEREAS Newfoundland Power, since it has a monopoly in the delivery of essential commodity in this Province and is not at risk of becoming non-competitive; and

WHEREAS Newfoundland Power, having made some $27.8 million in profit last year, is not in extra need of revenue from consumers; and

WHEREAS Newfoundland Power, in passing corporate income tax increases on to consumers, will be defying government's intention of ensuring corporations dip into their own profits to help bear the costs of public fiscal responsibilities; and

WHEREAS the expanding low energy youth market is a situation that Newfoundland Power helped create by advising consumers to reduce their demands for electrical energy and it would be wrong for the Public Utilities Board to try to alter this situation by penalizing the consumers who heeded the company's advice; and

WHEREAS many Newfoundlanders who do not use Newfoundland Power-delivered electricity to heat their homes, instead use wood furnaces because they cannot afford to do otherwise; and

WHEREAS differential rate increases, while penalizing the poor for not using electric heat, will do nothing, Mr. Speaker, to provide them with the money they need to pay for electric heat so as to increase the company's competitiveness but will force many to dip into their food budgets to pay for the electricity they need for lights; and

WHEREAS it is Newfoundlanders on low and fixed incomes who use the smallest amount of electricity, since they have the fewest electrical-run amenities, and it is therefore the poor who will bear the brunt of a differential rate increase; and

WHEREAS Newfoundlanders suffering from the fish resource crisis, the general economic downturn, the deep government spending cuts, can ill afford increases in essential commodities at this time; and

WHEREAS not having a rate increase since 1992 is no justification for a rate increase today, in 1996;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador do whatever is required to ensure that an increase in electricity rates does not occur at this time.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Petitions

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

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

A petition to the House of Assembly. I am pleased to present the petition of the undersigned residents of the Province of Newfoundland:

WHEREAS Newfoundland Power has asked the Public Utilities Board to approve an increase in electricity rates; and

WHEREAS Newfoundland Power, since it has a monopoly in the delivery of an essential commodity in this Province, is not at risk of becoming non-competitive; and

WHEREAS Newfoundland Power, having made some $27.8 million in profit last year, is not in need of extra revenue from consumers; and

WHEREAS Newfoundland Power in passing corporate income tax increases on to consumers would be defying government's intention of ensuring corporations dip into their profits to help bear the cost of public fiscal responsibilities; and

WHEREAS Newfoundlanders suffering from the fish resource crisis, the general economic downturn and deep government spending cuts can ill afford increases in essential commodities like electricity at this time;

WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that your honourable House may be pleased to request the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador do whatever is required to prevent an increase in Newfoundland Power electricity rates.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to speak in support of the petition as presented by my colleague, the Member for St. John's East, and certainly ask the government of today to intervene in the rate increases being sought by Newfoundland Power. The Government House Leader might say that we cannot intervene, that that is not our role as a government, that we are putting forward a consumer's advocate and it is his role to intervene and speak on our behalf. Mr. Speaker, if that is the case, then I remind the Government House Leader, if the former House Leader, who didn't mind intervening on another process that was taking place across this Province a few months ago, when we saw the Government House Leader travel to Clarenville and intervened in a process that was taking place to look at the redistribution of the boundaries in Newfoundland and Labrador. They didn't see it beyond their mandate at that time to intervene for their own political reasons, so I ask them now, Mr. Speaker, to intervene and to come forward and speak out on behalf of the power users, the electricity users in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Every time we turn on our televisions, Mr. Speaker, there, for a while, every time we turn on our televisions, turn it over to a certain channel and you will see an ad being put forward by Newfoundland Power, that had somebody rolling up a bundle of dollars and throwing them in a furnace in competition with the oil companies and I asked who was paying for those ads. It was a great setup. All they had to do is, charge out the ads and go back to the Public Utilities Board for an increase. What a business to be involved with, what a business I say to the members opposite, to go and be able to do exactly what you want to do, make $27 million in profits and to be able to go back and say because we haven't had a rate increase since 1992, now we need one because it is 1996, and even though, Mr. Speaker, we have a monopoly on what we are doing, there is no competition, we still have to have an increase.

I ask the government of the day, how many public servants out there have had a wage increase, or how many people in private enterprise have had a wage increase since 1992? Not very many, and when you look at the commodity being supplied, and when you look at this particular company, Mr. Speaker, having a monopoly on that commodity that they are supplying, then it makes us wonder why they should expect to earn more than $27.8 million, almost $30 million profits in one year. A few short months ago, this government tried to stop people from going in and cutting firewood, tried to lower their needs down from eight cords of wood to six cords of wood, a need that many people out there needed, not only to heat their houses but to provide heat for cooking and other needs as well.

I am wondering now, it is all coming together, Mr. Speaker, it is all coming together because now those poor people who were out there burning firewood to heat their homes, are now going to be charged a higher rate because the utility of the day feels they don't use enough of the commodity that they sell, that we are going to charge you more than the person who can afford to heat their houses with electricity. I say this is shameful, Mr. Speaker. It is shameful and it is only right for the government of the day to intercede on behalf of all the thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians out there, unable to pay their light bills, unable to meet the demands for food and to clothe their children as they try to attend school.

Many of our younger people today, I think my colleague for Waterford - Kenmount said in excess of 40,000 people are going to school today hungry, and now we are going to say that we are going to up your electricity rates. We are going to up your electricity rates and allow the entity, Newfoundland Power, to make a profit in excess of $28 million a year. I say, Mr. Speaker, that is shameful and I am certainly happy to add my two cents here to this petition that was so ably presented by my colleague from St. John's East.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Baie Verte.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to present a petition on behalf of over some 300 citizens of the community of Westport on the Baie Verte Peninsula. This was passed to me during the election campaign and they have asked that I present it in the House of Assembly and it reads:

We, the parents and citizens of Westport are concerned about the new changes that will come about when the new Schools Act is brought into effect. This act states that, No. 1) students in Kindergarten to Grade VI shall be required to spend no more than forty-five minutes one way en route to school under normal road conditions. No. 2) No students in Grade VII to Level III shall be required to spend more than sixty minutes one way, en route to school under normal road conditions. What this means to our community is that our schools will be closed. We, as a community, will not let our schools close without a fight.

Mr. Speaker, these petitions of course circulated throughout the election campaign as many members here know during the election. Many people were very concerned with some school closures throughout the Province. We all stood in this House time after time and talked about school reform. I don't think there is anybody in this House who would disagree that we need education reform, and there has to be a better way of spending money so that we get the best bang for our buck, I guess, when we talk about the students and school reform in this Province.

We also have to remember that many parts of rural Newfoundland depend and live around their schools. Not just as a school to educate children but also it becomes a focal point in the community, a centre for the community where they do their meetings, they do their social activities with sports and so on in the community. In simple terms I guess, it is the heart and soul of the community.

These people are talking about their children of five and six years old, getting on a bus, for example in Westport in particular, that would have to travel over a partly dirt road, poor road conditions and so on, with a six-year old, seven-year old. Parents are very simply saying that they will not let their children do that. In order to have an education which everybody has a right to in this Province they believe that a forty-five minute bus ride for a seven-year old at 7:00 in the morning and go to school, spend another forty-five minutes in the evening or even wait longer because of the high school students who have to get out, when you think about the details in these changes, how they would affect a six- or seven-year old, parents just simply say to you that they will not let this happen to their child.

No more can we blame them for saying that. These parents are very concerned that the education of their children is going to come down to a fiscal act, not really taking into account the effect on the student him- or herself. These parents, although they now say of course, and the Premier said during the election that it is basically on hold, the new Minister of Education will have to deal with that, he knows the concerns that are out there. That is why these students and these parents and so on are saying: Give us a say. According to the Premier and the new government they are saying that they are indeed going to do that and listen to the people.

When we talk about criteria for schools and the viability of schools, of course we talk about distance from the next school. We also talked about the number of students who are enrolled in that school. Those are the details. We also have to take into account road conditions in this Province, which was pointed out in this particular petition. Then also schools in Seal Cove, Pacquet, in my district, also some of those schools that are being considered to close.

The parents from Seal Cove from my district also put together some statistics; I will read a few of those statistics. They say: During our research we have found evidence to support a very negative impact closing school and busing children. Findings such as lack of participation in extra-curricular activities. Teachers attributed 35 per cent of learning problems of students to busing. That was a study by Ryan in 1976. Students' scores were lower when the students completed the bus journey before taking the test. That was a study by (inaudible) in 1977. And so on.

Of course, there are lots of examples of this as the minister knows. The bottom line here is that before any schools are closed in any part of rural Newfoundland I hope the consultation is done with the student in mind, and also involving the parents who want to have the final say in where their child achieves his education. Of course, they achieve the fullest education possible in the Province. That is the underlying fact. When this debate on whole education reform started we found that the student was left out. We talked about all kinds of things without focusing back on the student and what a particular family with the child aged six, seven or eight, what they have to go through if in fact 100, 150, or 155 schools, or however many schools, close in this Province.

People in rural Newfoundland want to know where their child is going to go to school, what services they are going to get -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SHELLEY: - and the type of education. If I could just clue up, Mr. Speaker. These parents, along with other parents in many parts of rural Newfoundland, are just simply asking that everything be taken into consideration before any schools are closed. Because it isn't just a building that is closing down but it is a way of life in rural Newfoundland. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Terra Nova on a point of order.

MR. LUSH: Mr. Speaker, I did not want to interfere with the member in the presentation of the petition, but it struck me that when he read the petition it was not in the proper format that petitions are presented in this House, and I think it is proper that we straighten that out at this particular time in the Assembly, at the beginning, that if petitions are to be presented that they be done in accordance with the rules and the regulations of the House. There is a proper format and I think these petitions that the hon. gentleman presented were petitions that were presented to everybody during the election and they were not done in the proper format for presentation to the House.

I think that is a matter that ought to be straightened out. I did not do it before because I wanted to give the hon. member the chanced to present the petition, but I believe there is an onus on all of us, if we are going to be presenting petitions, to do it in the proper format.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Opposition House Leader, to the point of order.

MR. H. HODDER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. To the point of order raised by my hon. colleague, we have to keep in mind that many of the people in this Province who wish to express an opinion do not have access to the formal documents and to all of the material that the member would have access to.

Mr. Speaker, we have no hesitancy in saying that we would wish that every petition that is presented to this House would be done according to the proper procedure that is laid out in the rules of the House. However, Mr. Speaker, we have to keep in mind that if we are going to come here as elected members and fail to present a petition because the wording of the prayer is not exactly according to the rules that are laid down in this House, then certainly what we are saying is that the prayers we hear from people before we get here are substantially different from the prayers that we are willing to listen to after we get here.

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member, or if you, as Speaker of the House, wish to establish some guidelines, we would be happy to participate; however, we have to understand that tolerance and understanding, and the access of the ordinary person to this House is paramount. We cannot go laying down rules that say that the ordinary person cannot go within his community and take up a petition and because it is not written out according to a precise format, we are not going to hear it. We are the people's servants; therefore, we have to make sure that we are accessible to the people. We have to listen to what the people are saying and just because they do not have the Queen's English down perfect we are not going to say to them we will not hear your voice. When that day comes, this House will be reduced to a very sad state of affairs.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Does the hon. the Member for St. John's East want to speak to the point of order.

MR. OTTENHEIMER: No.

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair would just like to say that the hon. the Member for Terra Nova is correct when he says - and our Standing Orders, I think, are clear on this - that a petition has to be in a standard form, an acceptable form, when it is presented to the House, and that is why over the years that I have been here, we have asked members, and particularly we met with the new members and indicated to them that here is a standard form that a petition should be in and it should follow this particular form. And we have asked them, before presenting petitions to the House, to consult, at least with the Clerk, so they will know if there will be any objections to the form of the petitions they are presenting.

I ask all hon. members for their co-operation in this matter. The rules are there and if you wish to change the rules, then, that is up to the House, but the Chair has to abide by and follow the rules that are set down in our Standing Orders.

The hon. the Member for Baie Verte.

MR. SHELLEY: To the point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Well, the Chair has already ruled on the point of order.

The hon. the Member for St. John's East.

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would just briefly like to respond to the petition as presented by my learned colleague, the Member for Baie Verte. As Education critic, obviously it is with interest that I read the petition and note the points that have been made with respect to the petition by my colleague. The parents and citizens of Westport are obviously concerned with the fact that with the proposed changes in legislation concerning schools, and the governance of schools in this Province, it may very well be that schools will be closed, particularly in our smaller communities and, in fact, very young children will have to be bused over a significant distance to travel from their community, to a school in another community.

I mention the proposed changes in school reform, and I say, if and, in fact, when we have school reform in this Province, because the uncertainty which appears to exist at this time is quite confusing and perplexing to Newfoundlanders regardless of the side in the education debate on which a particular person may stand. Certainly, it is interesting to note that points that have been made publicly, and statements that have been made public, make it very unclear and uncertain what, in fact, the position of this government is.

Nevertheless, the issue of busing, the issue of school closure, the issue of life as we have always known it in this Province in rural Newfoundland, these are issues which are of grave concern to the electorate of this Province and, as my colleague indicated in the presentation of this petition, a school in a small Newfoundland community is the heart and soul of that community. We only have to think of the parish hall, or the school hall, or usually a building which is affixed to or adjacent to the school, once that school goes, in all likelihood, if the statutory recommendations are, in fact, followed, the properties go with it. Therefore, it is only a matter of time until, a school in a small community, once having been removed from that community, goes the heart and soul of that community as well. So, it is indeed an interest that all of us have to take interest in, and it is an area that I am pleased to respond to in seconding the petition as brought forward by my colleague, the Member for Baie Verte.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have just a couple of comments with respect to the petition presented.

First of all, I was delighted with the ruling that you made that we should really respect the rules of the House. I am certain that the members opposite, and members on this side, will concur with the ruling of the Speaker because this petition, while the nature of it, as expressed and as signed during the recent election, is serious, the fact that it is shown here today, when it is not in proper form, unfortunately, would lead me to suggest that the member opposite is more interested in a little bit of political coverage than dealing with the issue. Because there is no question that the hon. the Member for Baie Verte could have, like all members in this Legislature, and all candidates in the previous election that was just run, could have told the people of the Province honestly that the issues that were raised in that petition about busing distances and times were off the books. That was a decision that was taken by Premier Tobin before the election was even called. The day that he became Leader of the Liberal Party - and I am glad that the hon. member said what he just said, and I will repeat it so Hansard picks it up - it was clear that those viability criteria had been absolutely withdrawn. Then, of course, the slant of the Opposition was, `Oh, you cannot trust them.' And I heard it throughout the election myself, in going door-to-door. They said, `Oh, you cannot trust that crowd'.

Now, as if in putting a reflection on members on this side of the House, that if you were a Liberal you could not be trusted, but if you were a PC you could be, once any member suggests that you cannot trust a politician, they call into question the trustworthiness of all of us or any of us, and it doesn't do anybody any good to suggest, `He cannot be trusted, but I can.' That is a self-defeating argument, a useless, political argument, and I am disappointed and saddened that it has entered into this debate by taking a political opportunity to present a petition in an improper form on an issue which is serious.

Mr. Speaker, to raise the spectre that there might be, again, in speaking to a petition, to suggest, and to use language suggesting there might be 100 or 150 or 155 schools closing -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I remind the hon. member that he is speaking on a petition and he should keep his remarks relevant to the prayer of the petition.

The hon. the Minister of Education.

MR. GRIMES: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

Again, the Opposition critic, in supporting the petition, talked about the government being unclear on its position on education reform, anyone who wanted to, Mr. Speaker, could have read parts of what I call the `ready' book. "The people have spoken. Educational reform will proceed." They could have given this document to anybody they chose. Instead they say: Don't trust that crowd. Then we had such things as: "The new Liberal government is committed to dialogue and discussion on all elements of implementing educational reform before decisions are made" right in front of everybody's nose to see. The answer instead was: Don't trust that crowd, you cannot trust them.

"There will be no new school viability rules for September 1996." It was in red and white on a piece of paper. The answer and the approach instead, from members opposite: Do not trust that crowd, you cannot trust them. Suggesting that people who were running to be members of this Legislature were nothing short almost of being absolute liars. Mr. Speaker, it does nothing to present it here -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member knows that he cannot use that phrase in this House. I ask him to withdraw.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and again I withdraw the remark.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. member to withdraw the remark.

MR. GRIMES: Absolutely, Mr. Speaker, withdraw the remark, but again if you check in the context - I didn't call anybody a liar and would never do that -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. GRIMES: - but I have withdrawn, without doubt, no question, that remark.

"There will be no change in the current times for busing students." All these things were laid out on a piece of paper that anybody could see. Instead, the people honestly signed a petition because they thought there was some risk. Members travelling about the districts like the hon. member who presented the petition knew the difference, could have presented a document that showed the difference, but chose instead to encourage the people to believe that there might be a problem - you cannot trust that crowd - and then presents a petition in an improper form in the House, and would only lead you to believe - I am very concerned about the parents and the students in Westport.

They have written to us, they have agreed to work with us as the government, we are going to meet with them and consult with them, and it doesn't do anybody any good for a member in the Legislature to present a petition that is passť, it is over, it is done with. It was presented on an improper basis because people were misled to believe there is a problem when none exists. Then, Mr. Speaker, we have this kind of a situation here today.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

I have a petition to the hon. House of Assembly of Newfoundland in legislative setting convened. The petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador that: Whereas Newfoundland Power has asked the Public Utilities Board to approve an increase in electricity rates; and whereas many Newfoundlanders who do not use Newfoundland Power-delivered electricity to heat their homes, instead use wood furnaces because they cannot afford to do otherwise; and whereas it is Newfoundlanders on low and fixed incomes who use the smallest amount of electricity since they have the fewest electrical-run amenities and it is therefore the poor who will bear the brunt of a differential rate increase; wherefore your petitioners humbly pray that your hon. House may be pleased to request the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador do whatever is required to prevent an increase in Newfoundland Power electricity rates. As in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, when we look at the issue that people are concerned about today, and in terms of the increase that has been requested by Newfoundland Power to the Public Utilities Board, it is a serious issue because of the economic and fiscal times that we live in. Nowhere today has anybody in this Province seen an increase in the extent of their living conditions, in the extent of the wages they receive, in extent in terms of municipal services that are provided, to the extent that they have seen an increase in Federal Government service or Provincial Government services, because that has not happened.

In questioning the Minister of Mines and Energy on Friday on this very important matter, he really said that government has fulfilled its role because it has appointed a - what is Mr. Brown's name, Denis Brown; they have appointed him as the consumer advocate. And their role in terms of their obligation to the Public Utilities Board and people who are concerned has been lived up to. The minister went on to say that we should not prejudge in any way, shape or form what the increase will be, or if there will be in fact an increase in electrical power rates in this Province.

Well, Mr. Speaker, anybody - any member in this House, or any person living in this Province, if they take the time to look at the decisions of the Public Utilities Board over the last twenty years, they will see clearly what the trend is. They will see clearly that Newfoundland Power, each and every time that it has requested an increase has gotten one, maybe not to the extent, Mr. Speaker, that they requested, but an increase nonetheless. So while I do not prejudge what will happen at the Public Utilities Board, I do have grave concerns about what the increase will be. Maybe it will be 4.9 per cent, maybe it will not, but if we look at the past history and the past record of what the Public Utilities Board has done in rendering their decisions, upon request by Newfoundland Power, it will be clear, Mr. Speaker, that there will be an increase once the hearings are over some time in June.

But, Mr. Speaker, there is another issue at hand here that all of us have an obligation to put forward. There is nothing, and I repeat, Mr. Speaker, there is nothing stopping the Minister of Mines and Energy from personally intervening. There is nothing stopping the Minister of Education from appearing before the Public Utilities Board and asking, on behalf of his constituents, that there will be no increase granted. There is nothing stopping the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology from going before the Public Utilities Board and requesting of the Public Utilities Board that no increase take place at this time on behalf of the constituents whom he represents. There is nothing stopping the Member for Terra Nova from doing the same and certainly, there is nothing stopping members on this side of the House from doing the same.

Mr. Speaker, I say to all members, ministers and otherwise, this is an issue that we must look at seriously. Those of us or those who can afford a 4.9 per cent increase, it may not mean much to them, and maybe there are people inside this House that it may not mean much to.

AN HON. MEMBER: It does to me.

MR. E. BYRNE: But the reality, Mr. Speaker, is that the people who will be asked to bear the brunt of this increase are not those who use electricity the most. There are those who cannot afford to use electricity so they use alternate forms of energy, and believe me, Mr. Speaker, there are many, there are many in my district who cannot afford it. And I know, Mr. Speaker, from my own experiences and my own travels in this Province, that there are many in each member's district who cannot afford a 4.9 per cent increase in power rates. It is not a flippant issue. It is a serious issue. It is one that all of us, individually should take stock in and it is one, that all of us, individually, as members of this House should respond to.

The other thing, Mr. Speaker, is that the Public Utilities Board was enacted by a statute in this House. It was enacted by legislation in this House. It is governed by the rules and regulations emanating from Cabinet. It is governed by the rules and regulations coming out of legislation that was put in this House of Assembly by the members of the day, and once this debate is over, because I am not sure, Mr. Speaker, if the will exists in government to interfere in a process in what is really, a quasi-judicial board, a board nonetheless, but I am not sure if the will is there to interfere in the process because it is now underway. But, there is nothing, Mr. Speaker, stopping -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. E. BYRNE: By leave, just to clue up?

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

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes.

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. E. BYRNE: There is nothing, Mr. Speaker, stopping this House and the members who presently sit in it from looking at that legislation, reviewing it, overhauling the rules and regulations associated with the governance of the Public Utilities Board, to ensure, Mr. Speaker, that, this House has a little bit more direct control over increases, so that public utilities that have a monopoly on a situation in terms of a resource and a commodity that we all need to have and need desperately, that they cannot, year after year, or on their wish, Mr. Speaker, apply to the Public Utilities Board and say: `We need an increase,' without any real justification.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I will sit down. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

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

Mr. Speaker, today I stand in my place to support the petition put forward by the Member for Kilbride. Of course, the petition opposes the rate increase requested by Newfoundland Power and, Mr. Speaker, I myself have a petition that I am planning on presenting in due course to the House of Assembly. It contains, at this point in time, 103 names of people living in and around my District of Cape St. Francis.

I have also requested to be an intervener at the Public Utilities Board on the rate increase for Newfoundland Power. I agree with the Member for Kilbride, that every member of this House of Assembly could do this exact same thing.

Now the government has appointed Mr. Brown to be a consumer advocate on this situation and that is basically making it arms length for the government but if they would recall back a year or two ago, when the commission on the electoral boundaries was being held in the Province, the former Minister of Justice and the former Government House Leader made a presentation to that commission when it was to the basic benefit of the government themselves. The people of this House, all members of this House of Assembly are elected to look out for the welfare and the well being of the people in their districts, Mr. Speaker, and that is why I made a presentation, wrote a letter to the PUB and asked to be an intervener at their hearings, and as I said I am planning to do so.

Now the reason why Newfoundland Power asked for an increase of 4.9 per cent was because they had not had an increase in four years, since 1992. Now when you look back at it and you see the people of this Province, especially the civil servants, Mr. Speaker, people working in hospitals and all government departments, Newfoundland and Labrador Housing and what have you, have not had an increase in pay since 1989, which is six years. Before that they had a very, very minimal increase in pay, maybe one or two per cent over probably four or five years before that. So actually the people in the Province are in - the amount of expendable monies that they have at the end of the month, they are probably - as you recall, in financial reverse.

Newfoundland Power last year had $27.8 million after they paid their shareholders and paid their expenses and what have you for the year. $27.8 million when people in the Province are actually going reverse with respect to the amounts of money that they have to spend. So it is just basically ludicrous that they would even request such an increase at this point in time. I believe that it is morally wrong that they would request an increase at this point in time. Even Newfoundland Power themselves got a program on the go that is called 'Share the Light' I believe it is referred to. So they themselves know how hard it is out there for people to pay the light bills at the end of the month and to -

AN HON. MEMBER: Do you know how much they contributed to 'Share the Light' program last year?

MR. J. BYRNE: I don't know.

AN HON. MEMBER: $15,000.

MR. J. BYRNE: Well Newfoundland Power with $27.8 million in profits contributed $15,000. That is not a very high percentage, Mr. Speaker, for 'Share the Light' for people in this Province. I know in my district and I know in other people's districts in this Province that we have people's lights being cut off to their houses because they have missed two or three months payments. I have had to go to bat for a number of people in my district to help those people out, to try and work out a deal with Newfoundland Power. Often times I had to deal with the Department of Social Services, Newfoundland Power and the individuals themselves to try and work out a deal to get the people's electricity put back on, Mr. Speaker. So to say that Newfoundland Power needs $27.8 million is absolutely ridiculous. I would certainly oppose it and I do oppose it and that is why I am standing here today, Mr. Speaker.

Now Newfoundland Power, I have to say, I don't know if they were trying to pull a fast one here or not but they promoted the conservation of energy. They put out literature in your envelopes that you received each month. They put ads on television that you should conserve energy; conserve, conserve and people went and did that Mr. Speaker. They conserved energy as much as possible. Now they want the people who pay less to end up paying more. So they are penalizing people for paying less and I have a serious problem with that approach. When the people started to oppose this approach then they came out and said basically that they would look at maybe an across the board increase for everybody. I think it worked out to be, for every household, something like seven dollars a month. So now you have to wonder, was this part of a plan in the first place, that we go with the worst first and then we will have some negotiations and get what we want in the end, Mr. Speaker, and that is something that the people in the Province will have to have a look at.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I would say that again, I would have to go back to the members of the House of Assembly in fighting this. We are elected to be the mouthpiece of the people of our districts and for any member here to sit in their place and not oppose the rate increases for Newfoundland Power, at this point in time, maybe a year or two or five years down the road -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. J. BYRNE: By leave, Mr. Speaker, just in conclusion.

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

MR. J. BYRNE: In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I would just like to encourage each member of the House of Assembly to get up and say their piece and support the people living in their districts.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. E. BYRNE: A point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Kilbride on a point of order.

MR. E. BYRNE: I did not want to raise this point of order during Question Period, or during Notices of Motion, but in view of the fact that a number of questions were put to the specific ministers today, and many of the answers that were given were long-winded, not necessarily to the point, I think it is incumbent upon each minister, as it is incumbent upon members who ask questions, to be to the point and to answer the question as is.

On page 120 of Beauchesne's Parliamentary Rules & Forms, it clearly says, "Answers to questions should be as brief as possible, should deal with the matter raised, and should not provoke debate."

While this is the beginning of a new session, I only raise it to, I guess, remind all members that when questions are asked - we have many questions to ask, as an Opposition, and Question Period is there for that. It is meant to be a time when we can ask government questions, to hold government accountable, and it is also a time for government to deal with our answers, but not a time to chew up a half-hour period so as to limit the number of questions that members in the Opposition may ask.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TULK: To the point of order, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, there is no point of order. The hon. gentleman may be new here, but he must realize that a minister, if he wants to, does not have to even answer a question - he must know that - and it is not for the Opposition or the hon. member to tell a minister, or anybody else for that matter, what they must say in this Legislature. It is up to him to ask the question, and I would remind him -

AN HON. MEMBER: It must be brief.

MR. TULK: It must be brief; it must be to the point, and so on. He has had great latitude in that over on the other side of this House. I would also remind him that it is up to a minister of the Crown how he answers it.

It is not a point of order, Mr. Speaker, and the hon. gentleman should not be allowed to go on with this kind of thing and use up the time of this Legislature.

MR. SPEAKER: To the point of order, really there is no point of order. The Chair is in control of Question Period and will determine, I guess, at what point in time an answer becomes too lengthy, or a question becomes too lengthy; and, in that regard, of course, the Chair will make those decisions.

I just want to remind the hon. member that the Speaker's rulings relating to Oral Questions are not debatable or subject to appeal.

Orders of the Day

On motion, that the House resolve itself into Committee of the Whole for the purpose of Supply, Mr. Speaker left the Chair.

Committee of the Whole

CHAIR (P. Barrett): Order, please!

Bill No. 2; shall the resolution carry?

The hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Chairman, I think the hon. Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture adjourned debate, so I would...

CHAIR: In Committee, members can speak for ten minutes, can speak as often as they like. Normally there is no such thing as adjourning the debate. Whoever is the first to be recognized...

MR. EFFORD: I apologize to the Chair, but I cannot hear one word you are saying - not a word.

CHAIR: We are in Committee on Interim Supply. Normally, if we were in second reading on a bill and a member would adjourn the debate, he would be recognized in the next debate to speak, but since we are into Committee of Supply, it is ten minutes and members can speak as often as they want. I recognized the first member to rise, which was the Member for Bonavista South, and I recognize the Member for Bonavista South.

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is about time we had some fairness here in this House. When you control the Chair I can see a difference in the attitude of the House, and I can see a difference in people's mannerisms on both sides. You are to be commended, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, I rise today, my first time speaking, I guess, since this new sitting, the 43rd sitting of the Legislature, and I would like to begin by offering my congratulations to everybody who got re-elected on both sides of the House, and especially members elected for the first time. It is certainly nice to be able to sit here and see new Cabinet ministers stand at their seat. The very first day I came in the House I know how I was intimidated, and to see those people come in and have questions popped at them and so capably answer the questions, I commend them and I say that very sincerely right from the bottom of my heart.

Mr. Chairman, it was certainly encouraging to see the Minister of Development and Rural Renewal the other day stand in her place and talk about her plans for rural economic renewal. She went on to talk about decentralizing government, moving government departments away from the centre of the city, away from Mecca and out into rural Newfoundland, a place where they should be. If we believe in rural Newfoundland, and if we believe in the information highway and I think the new term over on the other side now is the seaway, then there is no reason why this cannot happen.

Mr. Chairman, the greatest fear I have is that those ministers with all their good intentions will be swallowed up by the old fellows in the front rows. That is my greatest fear. Once the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs gets his claws into them, and the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, then I fear they will go back to their old ways of thinking. I fear they will go back to the old ways of not allowing members in Opposition to come and meet with them, not allowing members in Opposition to bring their councils in to meet with them.

I fear this is what will happen but I will give them a chance and I hope they will change the old boys instead of allowing the old boys to change them, and get off their plan, because it would be nice to see a new approach to government. When people went to the polls on February 22 they voted for people to give them hope, they voted for people to go forward and get away from the pettiness and bring their problems and their frustrations here to this House where they could be acknowledged and addressed.

Mr. Chairman, if I were to look after the seating in the House of Assembly, if I were to look after the seating over there, I would have the second row in front and I would have the back row in the second row, and the front row would be so far back that you would have to feed them with a slingshot. They would be so far back that the hon. gentleman up operating the electronic equipment would have to use spyglasses. That is the only way you can bring about any change in this Legislature. That is the only way to bring about change.

When I see some of the people overlooked and some of those old faces put back in it makes you wonder where the Premier was. That makes me doubt the integrity of the Premier, when I see people like the Minister of Justice sitting there, and the hon. Chairman who went out and bought two suits of clothes because he thought he was going in Cabinet, and deserved to be there, I might add, was overlooked. The hon. Member for Port au Port, the smartest man in the House of Assembly, bar none, should be in the front benches and given a chance. The Member for Trinity North is another fellow I have great respect for should be in the front benches. They have done their tour of duty and they should not have been overlooked.

Anyway, Mr. Chairman, all that be as it may I have no power to change it. It is not for me to say.

AN HON. MEMBER: How about Bellevue?

MR. FITZGERALD: The Member for Bellevue, the Chairman, I already said, Sir, that he should be in the front benches. He deserved to be there and he would have made a perfect Minister of Education. He should have been there because I know he would have treated everybody fairly. He would have treated them with respect and he would have been there for Newfoundland and Labrador, and not just for the district of Bellevue, Harbour Grace, Carbonear, or the district of Bonavista South, he would have treated everybody with respect, fairness and balance. That is what he would have done and I regret, Mr. Chairman, that he was overlooked.

Mr. Chairman, then we heard the new Government House Leader, whom I might say is a breath of fresh air as compared with who was there before him, doing a good job, but then again we come in and we see the ghost from another age here, the other day when the House opened, the old House Leader himself, still here calling the shots and we talk about a new government and a new leader and a new approach. Where is it? Where is it, Mr. Chairman, where is it? Still operating the controls upstairs, making all the moves, who goes here, who goes there, he is still at the top, he is the fellow who is making the decisions, he may be hidden away in the back room but he is the fellow who is still calling the shots. If you are going to start anew, start fresh. The tired, old faces - give them their pay cheques, they deserve it, they went out and were re-elected but don't put them in charge any more. You see all the mistakes that were made in the past and I am sure that they won't change. It is a job to teach old dogs new tricks.

Anyway, I stand today to address Bill No. 2, Interim Supply. The House Leader said the other day that he thought we were going to get up and ask all kinds of questions, that he thought we would get in to the nuts and bolts of Bill 2 and find out where the monies were being spent. In fact, I think if we had listened to them he would have wanted us to send over our questions for the next six weeks so he could prepare for them, but it was some food for thought and there are some things that are especially dear to me in my District of Bonavista South and one is, Route 235, and Madame Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, I don't know if you have been brought up to speed on Route 235 or if you have been briefed on it or not but, it is a road in my district that extends from the Route 230, which is the main highway leading from Clarenville to Bonavista, and it is the old road that goes out around over a very picturesque area of my district, down around the coast and in to Bonavista. It is a route that is used by school buses going both ways, part of the district goes up to Musgravetown and Lethbridge and the middle of my district travels towards Kings Cove and the lower part travels down to Bonavista and all of Route 235 is used to transport children to and from school.

There have been many petitions brought here in this House over the dilapidated state of Route 235. I had the minister down there last summer but he saw fit to fly down in a helicopter rather than drive down, but to be very honest with him, he did take the tour over part of the road once he got there; we had a fellow drive him over the road. It is to the point where many of the students refuse to have breakfast because they get ill on their way to school over the bumpy bus ride. Bus operators have threatened to take their buses off the road and when you drive down over this Route 235 especially at this time of the year, it is almost like driving through a Robin Hood Bay out there, you see mufflers and tail pipes and hub caps and everything else all the way down this route. The people in the area have had public meetings, they have pleaded with government to come out and try to upgrade this Route 235 which has been in existence now for about I think, twenty-eight, twenty-nine years, and the life of any rural roadway here in Newfoundland, I think you will find it is probably twenty-five years at the most.

Madame Minister, I don't know if you have looked at Route 235 when you brought forward your estimates here in the interim funding or if you have been briefed on it at all, but I think that you should Madame Minister, because it is a route that handles a lot of traffic and it is very instrumental to other businesses in the area, and if you haven't already been brought up to speed on it, I would only be too glad to meet with you privately or to have representatives from the area come in and meet with you to tell you exactly first-hand what is happening there. Because it is certainly in a deplorable condition. I think we deserve more.

The people in the area there have been very patient in that they haven't come out and said: We want block funding or we want funding now to complete Route 235. They haven't done that. They have come out and said: What we would like to see is a beginning made on Route 235. If you came forward and did a kilometre or two kilometres this year and a couple of kilometres another year, that is all they are asking for. They are asking for their problem to be identified, number one, and number two is that they are asking for the solution to be brought forward, and they would like to see a start made.

The Department of Works, Services and Transportation in Clarenville, which is the local area that looks after that particular area, has identified that particular strip of roadway as its number one priority. But prioritizing things and getting funding as you know, Madam Minister, are two different things altogether. For the sake of the schoolchildren, for the sake of those children getting on their bus, not being able to eat breakfast in the morning, for the sake of the bus operators and the people who have to use this particular roadway to go and buy groceries, to go and visit government offices, it is the only way to and from their communities. Madam Minister, I think they deserve more, and I'm sure you with your new approach to government will allow them the opportunity to come forward and receive your ear and your understanding in having funding directed to have this particular piece of roadway upgraded in the near future.

Route 230 that I just referred to - and here is the mentality of that other minister who I talked about - this particular roadway was a roadway that was identified under the Roads for Rails Agreement. There was X number of dollars brought forward in order to compensate for taking away our railway back whenever. Up until now there has been a fair amount of work done on this Route 230 but there is still $10 million left to be spent. Leading up to 1997 they tell us we are having a big celebration. Bonavista is supposed to be one of the focal points for the 1997 celebrations since that is the place where Cabot landed, that is the landfall of Cabot. Everybody there is optimistic; they are upbeat about what will happen in 1997. Haven't seen a lot to be optimistic about up until now, but nevertheless they are optimistic. They feel that finally they will be given their chance to show off what they have, the beauty that we have, and the hospitality of the wonderful people who live there.

Madam Minister, there is $10 million left to be spent on this particular roadway which I understand cannot be transferred to Route 235. Not to confuse the two. But now here is where the minister comes in. The minister says: We aren't going to spend any money on Route 230 either, not going to spend it until after 1997. I don't know why. I don't know if he is afraid to put economic prosperity in the area there. I don't know if he thinks that all the construction crews are going to be busy doing other things, or there is some hidden agenda there to have the route closed down altogether, or to have Bonavista South or the Bonavista Peninsula taken off the map. Because you would think with those thousands of visitors who are expected in 1997 that if we believe in tourism we would want to do one of two things. We would either want them to come back as tourists again and spend their money, or we would want them to leave as goodwill ambassadors and tell other people about their wonderful trip to Newfoundland and Labrador. About the beautiful town of Bonavista, about the beautiful town of Trinity, about the beautiful communities and the hospitality of the people as they drive down through.

No, the minister says that he will not spend any money; he had no intentions of spending any money in 1996. I don't know if he is afraid the pavement would be worn out by 1997 or not. In my judgement, we should go out and we should upgrade those roads if we have the money there. Those roads where we don't have any money - I know we are living in hard times, but I still think people deserve a decent road to drive over. When you consider the taxes that people pay for gasoline and when you consider the cost of people's driver's licences, and the cost of insurance, then you will find very quickly that a lot of people need and deserve better roads to drive over than we are experiencing out there in that area today.

The Member for Terra Nova knows what I'm talking about. I would say that the Premier knows what I'm talking about. Because I think during the election he drove up that way on a bus, and he would certainly be very familiar with the conditions of this particular roadway that I'm talking about.

Mr. Chairman, not to hog my time frame here, I will go and allow somebody else to get up and have a few words, and sit down and take part in debate again as the week rolls by.

Thank you.

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. E. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is a pleasure today to stand up and have a chance to have a few words publicly since the election.

I would first like to congratulate all returning members to the House of Assembly. The Member for Terra Nova, certainly the Minister of Mines and Energy, and all others, and congratulate them honestly on their successful returns to the House of Assembly. I wish them well. I also want to say congratulations to the new ministers. Because I know that being first-time newly elected is certainly one experience, but being appointed to Cabinet for the first time must be certainly another experience that I know some day all of us on this side will get an opportunity at some point in the very near future to have the same experience.

Sincerely, I would like to congratulate certainly the Members for St. John's Centre, Mount Pearl and Gander, and the Member for Grand Bank in her absence, not only being elected as new members of the House, but certainly being appointed to Cabinet.

It was indeed a very interesting election. Many issues that came up in my district certainly are ones that I've tried to deal with over the past two and a half years as a member of the House. They are ones that we have had some successes no doubt, in areas of recreation, but there are other areas that over the next two to four years, between now and the next election, that I certainly will be knocking on the doors of ministers and government to request their help. Certainly in -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: There is no question, Mr. Chairman, that the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs' door was open, at least to this member. I can't speak for anybody else. It certainly was open to this member and I appreciated the time that he afforded to me, but more importantly the time that he afforded to the people of my district through me as their representative.

There are many issues that face my district, and I'm sure there are other districts in this Legislature that have similar problems. I don't think that many districts in urban Newfoundland have the problems that my district has. The Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, in terms of Interim Supply, can he tell me this year for example that there will be monies allocated again for water and sewer? Will it be the same as last year? Will it be more than last year? Will it be less than last year? Does he know that yet? Are those budget requirements allowed to be talked about, or can he talk about them yet?

They are serious issues in my district. In one-third of the District of Kilbride, predominantly in the Goulds and some areas in Kilbride, there is raw sewage that runs in the street today. Certainly down in Petty Harbour Road, Walsh's Lane, Old Bay Bulls Road. These are areas where residents are paying significant taxes, especially the old Metro Board area and the old town of the Goulds since it has been amalgamated, but have seen zero increase in services. It is to the point that many people in the area - we have formed a water and sewer committee that we are considering applying to a fund through the federal government that provides water and sewer infrastructure development for developing countries outside of this country; that we, a group, are considering applying to that. Because there is a serious health hazard and a serious environmental concern.

Before I go on, I must congratulate the House Leader on his appointment as House Leader and on his appointment as the Minister of Forest Resources and Agrifoods. An elevation that was long overdue in my opinion, and I want to congratulate him publicly. To say to him that as a resident of my district he can be assured that he will get great representation from this member right here.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: No, Mr. Chairman, not looking for anything, just offering sincere congratulations.

This member knows, and this minister knows, living in the Goulds, understands and knows fully the situation in terms of the infrastructure problems that lie in that district. He is in an area where there is no water and sewer.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: I suspect you would have met the same fate that the Liberal candidate met.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Did you really? Good for you.

But he knows. He shops in the area. He buys local vegetables in the area. There is no doubt about it; people tell me all the time they saw the Member for - what is it, Bonavista North now, I believe; yes - the Member for Bonavista North, all the time in the district buying a few vegetables, down picking up some supplies for his wine, red, white, et cetera, but he knows the district. He lives there, and he knows what I am talking about.

AN HON. MEMBER: Did he vote for you?

MR. E. BYRNE: Pardon me?

AN HON. MEMBER: Did he vote for you?

MR. E. BYRNE: I doubt it very much, I say to the Minister of Education, but I believe some of his family might have.

MR. TULK: Do you have somebody chasing me around all the time?

MR. E. BYRNE: I have a great grapevine in the district.

The reality is the same, there are services required. If government deals on a priority basis - yes, go ahead; I am sorry.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: The reality is that the services in my district that are required are immense. The taxes that they pay, as residents, I think, are second to none in terms of the highest amount of taxes they pay for the inferior level of services that they receive for those taxes. I don't think there are many members in here - there are exceptions, of course, but there are few who can say that in one-third of their district there is raw sewerage running in ditches alongside the main road. It is a serious, serious concern.

I want to say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation that there is an issue that has been developing over time. It has been in the environmental process, the environmental assessment process right now, dealing with the Goulds bypass road. Will it happen? When will it happen? I know that the environmental assessment process has taken an extraordinary amount of time. It has been, I think, some three years now, which is at least twelve to sixteen months longer than: Will that bypass road begin this spring?... is a question that is on the minds of many people in the area.

If you come down the main road in my district, it can be described only as a cow path. The former minister, now the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture, said to me time and time again that if there is one area in this Province that needs a bypass road, because of the amount of traffic that comes from the Southern Shore and from other areas, it is the District of Kilbride.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: There are very few cows that go across that road, but the reality is that it is in a terrible and deplorable state. It needs to be resurfaced, and it needs to be widened, but the reality is that the now Minister of Works, Services and Transportation is within her jurisdiction and her department to ensure that road begins to happen.

There is zero money required from the provincial government for that road. It was a piece of work that was negotiated under the Roads for Rails agreement. It does not require one penny of provincial money. The plans are set. The route that road will take is already predetermined, and the studies that have been done in terms of traffic flow, et cetera, have been done. It will alleviate a huge concern, a safety concern that is on the minds of every constituent and every resident in the District of Kilbride. It literally came up hundreds of times during the election at public meetings, privately at doors, and it certainly has been a concern over the past two-and-a-half years.

I say to the Minister of Education, who talked about the type of representation they receive, at least they see me. At least over the last two-and-a-half years they have been able to contact me and see me, unlike some other ministers, or unlike some other members, but maybe that is a debate for another time.

Mr. Chairman, one of the other concerns that arose during the election in the district, certainly, I think, is an area that is not just focused or is not just a concern of the District of Kilbride, but is a concern of each and every one of us, and that is jobs; that is employment. The amount of jobs that are required in this Province is phenomenal.

We can stand here every day and debate changes to the Canada Health and Social Transfer Act. We can debate changes to unemployment insurance, and the impact that will have. We can debate changes on declining transfer payments, on less money coming from the federal government in terms of federal/provincial agreements, whether that be in agrifoods, agriculture, forestry, mining, fishery or whatever but, Mr. Chairman, the priority for this Legislative Assembly here today must be finding employment for Newfoundlanders. There is no greater social safety net than a job. A job that provides a decent level of income so people can live, pay bills, pay their taxes and move on. I think that should be a priority for all of us, Mr. Chairman, as we, throughout the coming months and years, continue to debate legislation that impacts this Province and the people who live within it.

I know that Interim Supply is part of the budget process and I will get more time to be more specific, as it comes to Interim Supply and specific questions dealing with the Departments of Education, Mining and Energy, Employment Services and certainly the Department of Environment and Labour. Maybe when the Minister of Environment and Labour drops back - I was going to talk to him now on it but certainly what he sees as the future of the Department of Environment and Labour, new department with two distinct, specific roles, now coming under one department and how he sees his job, as the new minister of that department proceeding over the next four to five years and how he sees on the one hand, promoting labour peace and on the other hand streamlining the environmental process.

With that, Mr. Chairman, I will sit down. Thank you.

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

MR. J. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to stand here today and say a few more words on the Interim Supply Bill but I did neglect the other day to congratulate the members who got re-elected to the House of Assembly and I will do that now. Mr. Chairman, I also congratulate all the ministers and former ministers who got their Cabinet positions again this time and the new ministers, I certainly congratulate them. Actually, I have letters of congratulations on the way to you people. You should receive them today or tomorrow.

Now, Mr. Chairman, with respect to the Interim Supply Bill of course - and that is directly related to the policies, the financial policies of the government and the new administration and that of course is a direct result of the Throne Speech. I am going to say a few words about the Throne Speech, Mr. Chairman. The two things that I saw in the Throne Speech that probably will happen and there are certainly no reasons for them not to happen of course, is the name change from the Province of Newfoundland to Newfoundland and Labrador and I have no problem with that. I certainly support that, Mr. Chairman.

The volunteer medal, Mr. Chairman. I think it is very important to recognize volunteers in Newfoundland and Labrador. I have been a volunteer myself. I have served on a municipality as a mayor for seven years. Completely volunteering my time, using my own vehicle and spending as many as thirty to forty hours a week as a mayor of a local town. There are very many people across this Province, Mr. Chairman, who do the same thing; mayors, deputy- mayors, councillors and what have you and they play a very important role in the running of the Province. As a matter of fact, they play a very important role in the running of any country, volunteers. It is not only volunteers with respect to municipalities but different groups that try to raise money for the poor in the Province and in the country itself, Mr. Chairman. So I believe that a volunteer medal is a very good idea as long as they are not passed out with any type of thing, that they are considered to be a medal of distinction and that people have to work hard to receive them. I am sure there would be some criteria set down for a person to be able to receive such a medal.

Now, Mr. Chairman, as I said these are probably the only two things that I seen in the Throne Speech that probably will actually happen. What I did see though, Mr. Chairman - I was wondering, when the Lieutenant-Governor was giving the speech, I was wondering who actually wrote the speech. I seen the former Premier sitting on the floor of the House of Assembly here and I was wondering if at times he had actually written the speech himself because it was so close to the goings on -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: No, the Throne Speech, the one that was given a few days ago. Yes, I will get into that. Just listen and you will hear my reasoning for that, Mr. Chairman. I thought that they were so close and then I saw the Cabinet in the front benches here, I looked across and saw all the same Cabinet members there in the front benches, the same people making the same decisions type of thing. The only bright light I saw I suppose was the second row, Mr. Chairman, and the new ministers who were appointed. Hopefully they will have some impact upon the former ministers and ministers who are there now in the front benches. Hopefully so they will be.

The new Minister of Education. I can understand why the Premier appointed him as Minister of Education. Because they needed a mouthpiece, they needed somebody who could stand in his place for five, ten, twenty minutes or half an hour, be asked a question, and say nothing after twenty minutes. The man is perfect. He couldn't get a better person to do it. He had a prime example today. That is why he was there. The Minister of Education was all upset today because the Member for Baie Verte presented a petition on the closing down of schools.

He neglected to say that two days - I believe it was two, maybe three; give it three, say three to be fair - after the election they had the former Minister of Education and Training and the former Minister of Justice, who was in the gallery the same day the House opened type of thing, in Ottawa trying to meet with the Liberals in Ottawa to try and force through Term 17. After the Premier himself - he was Premier at the time, during the election - made a statement that he would be open to consultation and negotiation and what have you with respect to education reform in the Province. Then two days after he has his ministers in Ottawa - his minister and... what would I call the other person? The remote control person.

MR. E. BYRNE: They were ministers at the time.

MR. J. BYRNE: Was he minister? So he was, he was minister at the time, that is right, the former Minister of Justice and Government House Leader. In Ottawa, trying to force through Term 17, or trying to get support for Term 17. That is why I would say the former Premier probably wrote the speech for the Lieutenant-Governor this time around.

My fear with respect to this Administration is this, that it will basically be an extension of the federal government. We know the new Premier was in Ottawa for sixteen or seventeen years type of thing as a Cabinet minister. Let me tell you, Mr. Chairman, and the people listening, whoever is listening, that the government before this Administration was bad enough with respect to being yes men for the federal government. We saw no opposition at all from this government. Whatever they sent down, whatever they wanted to cut, or whatever they wanted to do with respect to Newfoundland, the Premier would stand in his place and say: We would have to be responsible and accept our responsibilities and accept our share and what have you. No opposition now.

The former premier also went to Ottawa looking for cuts with the ISG program. The Premier today was a part of the silent seven that's - well, the silent five there now, we may get two more after today. Hopefully not, anyway. Anyway, the Premier today was a part of the silent seven who accepted the cuts that came from Ottawa and he said nothing about it.

Another impression I got from the speech I suppose is that this government may be more wasteful than the previous. I don't think that could be possible though, really, but I hope they do improve upon the last Administration. I'm sorry now the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture is not in his place today. He always has a habit when he is on his feet to talk about Sprung and what have you and the waste of money and all that kind of stuff. He isn't here now so -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: The pickle factory. What he always neglects to say and talk about of course is the waste that this government did in six years. In six to seven years this government spent $10 million on Hydro privatization which never went through, which they were told from the beginning was a bad idea. At least the Sprung created 300 jobs for two years or whatever, and created some income tax and RST and what have you for the people of the Province. Not this Administration, Mr. Chairman.

It spent $6 million I believe on the Cabot Corporation which basically created nothing for the Province. Trans City again was $40 million over the period of the contract. That is $56 million so far. The Economic Recovery Commission, which we were hounding the previous Administration to dismantle, it was spending $3 million a year I believe for six years. That is another $18 million. Not a job created. The former Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture today, has the gall to stand in this House and make the comparison with Sprung. Measly in comparison.

Now, I believe the Premier - I wish he were here, it is too bad he is not here, hopefully he is listening. Maybe he is, maybe he is not - called an election. It was completely unnecessary to call an election. Two years and nine months into a mandate he called an election and spent, I don't know, $4 million or $5 million or $6 million, we do not have the facts and figures on that one yet, but we will find out in due course, so he spent money on an election that wasn't necessary, he could have called a by-election and sat in the House of Assembly and waited another year or year-and-a-half for an election, when possibly the Province could better afford such a thing.

He increased the size of the Cabinet after the previous Administration cut the number of seats in the House of Assembly from fifty-two down to forty-eight to save a few bucks for the people of the Province - so-called save a few dollars for the people of the Province. He increased the size of the Cabinet; we do not have the facts and figures as to how much that will cost the people of the Province at this point in time. He has already got into publicity promoting himself, I suppose; I wouldn't say he is promoting the Province as such but I think he is promoting himself when you look at the ads in the Globe and Mail and you see a big picture of the smiling Premier costing $75,000.

There is a lot of people out there today, Mr. Chairman, who are on social services and would like to have a cut of that $75,000. And, I am wondering you know, how much travel this Premier will do in the coming years, how much money he will spend on travel around the Province, around the country, around the world, Mr. Chairman. I really don't know at this point in time but if you look at his record as a federal Cabinet minister, and he referred to that himself today when he was up answering a question - he was pretty long-winded when he was answering a question today for the Opposition House Leader, when he said: Look at my record, look at my record as a federal Cabinet minister.

Well, from his record as a federal Cabinet minister, is the fact that he was the most expensive federal Cabinet minister in Ottawa. He has spent as much as $800 a day, I believe, $800 a day so that will, maybe, give you some indication as to what kind of money is going to be spent on travel in the Premier's Office this time around, Mr. Chairman.

Now, one thing I did like about the Throne Speech, of course, is the fact that it talked about revitalizing rural Newfoundland. Now that is something that I have been on to for a number of years. The situation in rural Newfoundland -

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. J. BYRNE: By leave, Mr. Chairman?

CHAIR: Does the hon. member have leave?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Yes.

MR. J. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

As I was saying, I was talking about revitalizing rural Newfoundland and I believe that is a very, very important process to happen in Newfoundland. It is very important to the urban centres in Newfoundland such as St. John's, Corner Brook, Gander and so on, Mr. Chairman.

But rural Newfoundland now, if you take a drive around some of the rural communities in this Province, you see houses boarded up; you see roads in a pretty sad state in various communities in this Province. You see people leaving the Province right, left and center; you have droves and droves and droves of people leaving this Province.

I think it is of the utmost importance that we do something to revitalize rural Newfoundland. But, my problem with that, of course, is, the fact that this Premier was a part of the silent seven, as I said before, who played a major part in the negative decisions that affected, and is continuing to affect rural Newfoundland; decisions which affected the cuts to the transfer payments to this Province, Mr. Chairman.

He had a part in the decisions that were made with respect to the UI cuts, UI changes and the Employment Insurance now that we will have in the near future, quite possibly. The Leader of the Opposition was asking questions today and the last day that the House sat with respect to the employment situation and the unemployment situation in this Province but we did not get very good answers, Mr. Chairman.

The Premier had a part in the decisions made with respect to the cutting of the lighthouse staffing in this Province. He had a part in the decisions made with respect to the cutting of TAGS and people on TAGS being removed from that program in this Province.

When you speak about TAGS and the fisheries in this Province, the government has to take, and they have so far, taken responsibility, to a certain extent, with respect to the situation and the effect that the Federal Government had on the fishing industry in this Province. It was those people who set the quotas, who set licenses and what have you, and it was under the Federal Government's administration that the fishing industry in this Province was decimated.

So to say now that after X number of years, three, four, five, or six years, they are going to start taking people off TAGS - and they have done that - is not right. It is morally wrong, Mr. Chairman, and as long as it takes, the Federal Government should be responsible for the fisherpersons in this Province to get a livelihood, a living, out of the fishery.

The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture just walked in. I say to the Minister of - are you the Minister of Chickens now? Oh, that is where I am getting confused. It should be the Minister of Chickens. Can you imagine a man coming in, in this Province, an elected representative in the House of Assembly for eight, nine, ten, fifty, whatever the case maybe, and calling a news conference, there were three or four of them now, calling a news conference and saying to the people in his district, saying to the people of the Province of Newfoundland, saying to the people of Canada, and all over the world, I have no guts. I have a little man coming down from Ottawa and I am afraid to take him on for leader of the party.

Oh, the minister, was he number four, five, or six, and we had the Minister of Education saying the same thing. The Member for Conception Bay East & Bell Island called a news conference and said he was not going to run against the man from Ottawa. I cannot imagine calling a news conference and telling the world they had no guts. It is unreal, but it worked. I would say it worked. He kept his position as minister, so it worked.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Anyway, Mr. Chairman, during the recent election, I knocked on many, many doors in my district and there were a number of issues that came up.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Do you have a problem? Is that right? Well, there is a time and place for that.

Anyway, Mr. Chairman, there were a number of issues that came up, of course, and as I said the other day, there were social service issues and I addressed them, and there was workers' compensation.

Actually, I had an example that I was going to mention with respect to workers' compensation that came up in my district. A man was trying to get some workers' compensation from October until this past month, and he finally got it settled. So that issue came up. Education reform came up, but not as often as some people might think it would have come up.

But the biggest issue in my district, was, and is, and will continue to be, until this government starts delivering on some of the promises they made, and hopefully they can deliver, or pray they can deliver, because you set some people's expectations pretty high - the biggest issue in my district by far, bar none, was, and is, jobs, jobs, jobs.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Not so, not so!

What is happening here now, I say to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, is that we are again being very polite, as we normally are on this side of the House. The other day when some of the ministers were up and some people were up asking questions, we were very polite over here. We did not question them, we did not heckle them, but when a person or two got up on this side of the House we had to bully. We had the Minister of Health up on his feet and we had yourself up on your feet, being the bullies you are, of course, but in the meantime what we are doing here now is something - you will find out in a minute or so what is happening.

In the meantime, Mr. Chairman, I will sit down, take a break, and be up on my feet on Interim Supply in due course.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Chairman, I did not see that the hon. member over there wanted to make her maiden speech. I will yield and let her make her maiden speech.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: It is the last time, Mr. Chairman, I am taking advice from the Member for St. John's North.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Cartwright - L'Anse-au-Clair.

MS JONES: Thank you very much, all of you.

Mr. Chairman, and hon. members, it is with great pleasure that I address the House today, on behalf of my district and the people of Cartwright - L'Anse-au-Clair.

First of all, I would like to say I am very honoured to be part of a team of Labrador people who have just been elected to this House, and I wish my partners luck in their endeavours. I would also like to say that I am very proud to represent the people of Cartwright -L'Anse-au-Clair. Obviously, we have not chosen a candidate that follows within the party lines, but rather, we have chosen an Independent to be our representative within government and within the structure of this Province, and their decision has been well justified within the riding.

I would also like to say that politics is on the rise within my district, and all across Labrador. It is probably more important now than it has been in a very long time for the Government of this Province to take the time to review the issues of Labrador people, and I hope that the strong recognition that they have given to Labrador in the Throne Speech will be continued and they will certainly build upon their efforts.

I had hoped that my candidacy would not renew emotions of Labrador people towards other options of government within Canada, but my candidacy without party affiliation was only to ensure that the people of my district had the best possible representation that they could have.

Mr. Chairman, I would like to go on record as saying I do not encourage new political options for my district or any part of Labrador. I feel that we all have to try to work within the system of government of our own Province -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS JONES: - and there has to be a co-operative effort on everyone's part, regardless of the side of the House on which we sit, or the part of the Province in which we live.

The discontent of many across Labrador is due in part to hard economic times, frustration of change, misrepresentation, and the knowledge of never benefiting from the resources that we foster; but I am sure there are a lot of members in this House who represent rural areas of this Province who understand today where the people of Labrador are concentrating their efforts, and their reasons for it.

In addition to bringing to the House today the mentality of Labrador people, I also bring some of the issues that we face and the initiatives that we are working on, or concentrating on at present.

No doubt the District of Cartwright - L'Anse-au-Clair, like a lot of others within this Province, suffers from hard economic times and from a failing cod fishery. We face high UI rates; we have seen significant increases in the number of people dependent on social assistance, and we have seen the stability of our social structure waver. Yet, the communities of Cartwright - L'Anse-au-Clair boast high economic potential within the fishery and within other industries. What we need is the expert knowledge base, the technology, government co-operation, and investment in order to make it a viable and economic contributor to the rest of the Province.

The action plan for fishery development in Labrador, which was released in May of last year, offers a variety of recommendations for fishery development in Labrador, all across Labrador. For my district, we intend to look at exploratory fisheries within the scallop, crab, lumpfish, sea urchin, and also explore the potential of an inshore shrimp fishery. We want to look at the potential of our bays for aquaculture development through the use of pilot projects, and research the options. No doubt, we intend to look at this new development and diversification, I am sure, with the full co-operation of our Fisheries Minister, and with the co-operation and support of our regional fisheries office.

Next, Mr. Chairman, I would like to offer a few words on tourism. It is certainly a more refined industry than we are traditionally accustomed to, but no doubt, an industry that has potential and prosperity, not only for my district but for all of the Province. As once quoted, `Labrador is a land to challenge your imagination and awaken your sense of adventure.' I invite you all to experience it at some time.

We offer professional services in historic scenery of the Labrador Straits including L'Anse-Amour and the National Historic Basque Whaling Site at Red Bay. I will not spend time talking about the beauty we boast because Newfoundland and Labrador has lots of it, but I would also like to make mention of the Battle Harbour Historic Site in Southeastern Labrador, the site that now stands as a monument to the Labrador fishery.

We also have the natural resources and infrastructure to launch a winter tourism campaign across Labrador. I look forward to working with our new minister on that endeavour and certainly there is much that we can learn from other provinces such as Ontario with regard to what they have done, and being able to market that industry.

Forestry development is another area of concentration for my district. Because of the primary scale forestry development and the potential for more in Port Hope Simpson, Charlottetown and Cartwright area, we are looking to pilot new initiatives within the industry, considering sawmilling and lumber production, harvesting of sawlogs and pulpwood. But in order for this to be a viable economic initiative, there has to be more emphasis on forestry access roads and the availability to the resource. The forestry resource that is in Southeastern Labrador right now could be a valuable contributor to the economy of this Province and it has to be looked at and developed in conjunction with everyone.

In addition to the mining development in Voisey's Bay, there is much happening within my own district that I would like to touch on. It is probably the newest phase of industry development to strike the communities of Southern Labrador and, as the hon. minister knows, we have claims option to a number of companies across Canada and we have two companies that are presently working in the Alexis Bay area, line cutting and conducting drill samples.

Unfortunately, there are always setbacks to development, and in my district, it is no different, the two most prominent factors being the lack of effort to deal with the issues of the three aboriginal groups and the non-existent road transportation system. The latter is probably the most physical problem that we face.

Mr. Chairman, the district that I represent, as I have just indicated, has the potential to diversify in other industries. However, the instability in our transportation network proved to be a strong barrier to development. The Marine Atlantic coastal services in summer has been downsized on an annual basis and the transportation subsidy for airline services in the winter months was cut by the previous provincial Administration, leaving Labrador coastal communities with a freight transportation system and a passenger service used for access to medical resources that we cannot afford to access anymore. I will be asking our new Minister of Transportation to review the network in Labrador communities and to work with us in developing the resources that we have.

The lack of transportation between communities has always posed a barrier to unification and development of large working groups and the unification of the Province's resources. My representation of the people of Cartwright - L'Anse au-Clair is one that will involve much consultation and great commitment. All of the industry development options that I have mentioned today, I will attempt to pursue in the next few years, and I will pursue them in co-operation with each and every member within the House.

Before I close, I would also like to say that we all have an important role to play within the Legislature of this Province and it is as important to have a strong and knowledgeable Opposition as it is to have a skilful government. I have great confidence that the views and the concerns of my constituents will play an equal role in the decision-making of this Province, regardless of our political stripe, and I look forward to bringing the issues of my people to the forefront.

I thank you all for the opportunity to be able to address you in the House today. I look forward to meeting with you on the many issues that I have brought forward that confront the people of my district, and I hope for co-operation and a working relationship between each of us. Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for Gander.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS KELLY: Mr. Chairman, first of all, my congratulations and best wishes to all members of the House, new members and those who were (inaudible).

This I do not really consider my maiden speech, because I do not intend to talk so much about my district of Gander; I will do that at some other time. I would like to make a few comments from the point of view of Interim Supply, and my Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation.

While we have a small budget, we know that budget will have to go far. My department is important to the future of Newfoundland, especially rural Newfoundland. We will work closely with the new Department of Development and Rural Renewal. We know that initiatives like eco-tourism, adventure tourism, outfitting, the hospitality industry in general, are very important to rural Newfoundland. I hope to be, basically, an ambassador for tourism, culture and recreation, to market Newfoundland and Labrador to ourselves and to the world.

Tourism is the number one industry in the world. It is the second-largest industry in Canada, and is Newfoundland and Labrador's fourth largest industry. We hope with initiatives that my department is pursuing, and this government, in the upcoming months and years, that the industry will grow.

Cabot 500 celebrations will certainly highlight our program in the upcoming year. Newfoundland is not Disneyland, but we have much to offer. I think we all know the importance of celebrating 500 years of history, of a unique history, a persevering culture, is very important to us all. I think we all realize, as Newfoundlanders, we know how to be hospitable. We know what we want to do to celebrate our 500 years. The important thing is to tell the world, and to invite the world, and we intend to do that.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS KELLY: There are other initiatives of great importance, some of which, in my previous experience in municipal politics, I have certainly had some dealings with. The T'Railway, the new linear park, will certainly be an upcoming thing that will be very important to us, and already great plans are put in place that we hope to pursue and work in a co-operative way with groups right throughout this Province, especially through the rural development movement.

The Arts and Culture Centres continue to be a problem that will have to be addressed, but will be addressed in consultation with the regions where there are Arts and Culture Centres. Public consultation will be the number one item on my agenda in addressing the concerns that I have. The art procurement program is something that my department will be discussing very soon in a public way. The study has been completed, and we will now start to sit down and look at it with the artistic visual arts community.

Research and development continues in my department, and is important, and I support it. There are several new initiatives that will, in particular, help tourism. The 1-800 reservation system which I know is part-way through the process will come on line soon, and we hope will be greatly supported and will help this Province's tourism industry greatly.

Air access - the air access study is almost completed. The meetings, actually, are being held in my district today, and we hope in the upcoming weeks that will be a tool that we will be able to use with the `open skies' agreement to pursue international tourism to our Province, in particular as it relates to eco-tourism and adventure tourism.

Sea access, as was discussed by the Member for the Cartwright district, is certainly a really important issue that has to be discussed, and we hope in the upcoming year to be able to address this with a proper study from a tourism point of view. We tend to look at the sea, and the access to Newfoundland by sea, more from a fisheries point of view and a transportation point of view, but it will be very important to work with Marine Atlantic and others to talk about the importance of sea access as it relates to tourism.

Of course, another research and development issue that needs looking at in this Province is health as it relates to active living. There are some ongoing projects now that I hope will enable us in the upcoming months and years to be able to do some good work in this Province through recreation as it relates to health.

I look forward to working with the various associations, Hospitality Newfoundland, the NLP/RA, the Arts Council, and the others - there are so many.

In municipal councils, for instance, I think already, there is a request in for about forty meetings just in the first two weeks that I have been here, and forty is not an exaggeration. But these meetings will be held and we will work in close consultation with these groups and with the general public.

I look forward to the passage of the Interim Supply Bill so that our programs can proceed on schedule. It is very important in the tourism business and recreation, while we are trying to be into an all-season business in Newfoundland as it relates to tourism. Right now, this upcoming summer season is still the main season and one that we need to be able to get out of the starting blocks very quickly, so I hope that things will proceed on schedule and that our plans will come to fruition. I look forward to working with all the hon. members of this House to implement a plan whereby tourism becomes a bigger and bigger and bigger industry for us.

Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for Baie Verte.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The new Chairman is doing an eloquent job in the Chair, too. I must say, he is much better in that seat than in the seat across sometimes; I think he listens much better when he is in that seat.

Mr. Chairman, first of all, I would like to congratulate the Member for Cartwright - L'Anse-au-Clair in Labrador, for her eloquent speech here today, speaking on behalf of her constituents, Mr. Chairman, in her capacity here today, as many of the other Labrador members will have a chance to do in the not-too-distant future, I hope, in this House to express views -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) hands are in her own pockets.

MR. SHELLEY: Yes, I can say to the minister, at least my hands are in my own pockets.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

CHAIR: Order, please!

MR. SHELLEY: - and I can say to the Member for Cartwright - L'Anse-au-Clair and the other Labrador members that it is your opportunity to stand in your place to express views of your constituents, especially as it relates to Labrador and, of course, the ongoing concerns in Labrador, in particular, especially now that we see potential developments again that are ready to take off, I guess we could say in Labrador especially as it relates to Voisey's Bay.

I guess, Mr. Chairman, like all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, Labradorians, in particular, are very concerned that the development goes ahead in a way that Labradorians get a full benefit of that resource and it is developed so that Labradorians have a priority on development and of what happens with the jobs in that area and so on. So I am sure over the next weeks and months that the other members from Labrador will get their chance to voice their concerns on those very important issues that relate to Labrador specifically.

Now, Mr. Chairman, I would also like to commend the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation for her - although she said it wasn't, but it is her maiden speech because her first speech is. But, I am sure she will get a chance to talk about her great District of Gander, my neighbour in Central Newfoundland, in the not-too-distant future also, but today she took the time to make a few comments -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: There is no more budworm on the Baie Verte Peninsula.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SHELLEY: I would like you to know I didn't say that, Mr. Chairman, it came from the Government House Leader.

Mr. Chairman, getting back, I would like to commend the minister on her making some remarks today on her portfolio in particular and I know she is looking forward but also, she will get a chance to speak later on her District of Gander. But I tell her that, along with all members on this side of the House, we also believe in support, and I have said it many times before and I would say to the minister, that we also believe that tourism has just begun in Newfoundland and the Cabot 500 celebration will give us a really good chance to put us on the map internationally as a great place to visit.

Of course, like the minister said, the best resource we have here is our people and that is as it relates to tourism and I know that in our celebrations in 1997 - and we hope it is back on track much better than with her predecessor in the Ministry of Tourism, that we get Cabot 500 back on track, Mr. Chairman, and we make it a show for the world so that when they come here that year, in '97, we show that we can be the best hosts in the world and indeed that we can lead the way in tourism in North America. And when it comes to places to go in North America, Newfoundland will be remembered as a place of friendly people with beautiful scenery; of course, we talked about Labrador and Newfoundland and so on.

So, I commend the minister on her remarks on tourism and every member of this House of Assembly I am sure, will be obliged to help the minister in every way possibly to make sure that the Cabot 500 celebrations is the best thing we have ever seen in Newfoundland and we invite not just tourists who are coming in from around the world, but also we extend an invitation - and I am sure the minister will agree with this - to all Newfoundlanders who had to leave this Province for all kinds of reasons throughout the year. So we send a special invitation to our own Newfoundlanders - nothing to do with the 8,000 who left last year because of the previous Administration. We won't get into that, and I refuse to get into a conversation with the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture because it is too serious an issue. It is a good issue to discuss, that we have to invite back all those Newfoundlanders.

I know, many people in my family - I know, many members in this House, have family all over this country, all over the States and all over the world. Newfoundlanders, they say, are the most travelled people in the world and they are also the best workers in the world, Mr. Chairman. We hear throughout the country about the workers of Newfoundland. I know there are lots of people in Fort McMurray, Elliott Lake and all those places that Newfoundlanders went to years ago, and Toronto, of course. We will be inviting them back to celebrate 500 years of history in this Province. I am sure that the minister also believes that those people have to understand and realize that for them to come back and to celebrate with us is just as important as for people who are living here now to celebrate that great milestone of 500 years in this Province. So, Mr. Chairman, that is on tourism.

Now, today I just thought I would take a couple of minutes to direct my comments on Interim Supply towards the Minister responsible for Forestry Resources and Agrifoods and now the Government House Leader. Mr. Chairman, I do have some specific questions over the next few days and months and maybe even before this session is out, about such things as a forestry centre for Corner Brook. Mr. Chairman, while we applaud that and while we applaud anything that is going to help the forestry in this Province, we also have to remember that jobs were lost in this Province of people who knew the forest industry very well in the centre here in St. John's.

Newfoundlanders, for example, with scientific research, had a big part to do with the spruce budworm and all that we found out about that over the years. It was done right here in this Province, Mr. Chairman. Now, a lot of those workers were lost to New Brunswick and now we are going to look to New Brunswick to give us that information. I think it could have been done here in Newfoundland; it could have been in Corner Brook in our new centre that we are about to build there. So although we applaud that the forestry centre should go in Corner Brook, and so it should, being the centre of forestry activity in this Province, we should also remember that we have lost skilled people in this Province. Now, we are going to look for research from New Brunswick. I don't think that was right and I don't think the minister thinks that. I don't think the previous minister thought it was the right thing, that we have lost jobs in this Province. If the minister does not know he should go back and check. From fifty to seventy jobs were lost in this Province at the forestry centre here in St. John's. And now that same work is being done for Newfoundland by people in New Brunswick and it could have been done here by Newfoundlanders who were trained for those particular jobs. That is my point, Mr. Chairman.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Well, the connection is quite simple, I say to the minister - the same type of work that can be done in Corner Brook now, only a small amount, a minuscule amount compared to what was done at the centre here in St. John's. I am saying that instead of using the expertise of people from New Brunswick we could have had these people work in Corner Brook in that new centre.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: That's right; I am saying that we should have more people in Corner Brook. I hope the minister agrees with that, that we should have more of our own people in Newfoundland working in the forestry centre in Corner Brook as opposed to having people work out of New Brunswick sending us back information about the Newfoundland forest.

Mr. Chairman, as a matter of fact, my first maiden speech in this House had to do with the forestry and for thirty minutes - I will remind the Chairman of this and previous Minister of Forestry - my first maiden speech in this House had to do with forestry. Because I am very concerned with forestry. My district is a big part of the economy in my district and it has been a very big part of the economy of Newfoundland for many, many years. Although many people refer to the fishery, the forestry has played a big part.

Mr. Chairman, I used the analogy of the fishery way back when the Chairman was the Minister of Forestry, I used the analogy for a full thirty minutes of our forestry heading the same way as our fishery - overuse. The harvesters comparing to the draggers offshore, too many people in there, too many licenses, too many trees being cut down and not enough being planted. I used the same analogy in the fishery as with the forestry. I said to the then minister: One day we are going to stand in this House - whoever is the Minister of Forestry at that time - we are going to stand in this House and a moratorium will be announced in the forestry. The same as we can't jig a fish now we won't be able to -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)?

MR. SHELLEY: I'm getting to that. The same as we can't jig a fish now, a man won't be allowed to go out and cut a junk of wood to put in his fire. The same analogy, Mr. Chairman, the forestry to the fishery. After thirty minutes of comparing the forest industry to the fishery and using that analogy the previous Minister of Forestry and Agriculture looked at me and said: All I know is that trees don't swim. That was his response. So now of course -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: How do you get protection from the Chair? Anyway, Mr. Chairman, there is an analogy there. We all are concerned about the forest industry in this Province, and we all know that we have to have a sustainable cut. We also know that silviculture has to increase. We also know, in reference to the member from Labrador, that before we even enter into Labrador to cut one tree that we have to keep in mind that practices in Labrador have to be better than what they were in previous years on the Island portion of this Province, that before we head into Labrador that the practices and the sustainable cut are solid, and that we know exactly what we are doing before we enter that part of the Province. So Labrador has to be considered for those reasons.

Just a few minutes ago the new Minister of Education - now he is sitting in a different seat - referred to the viability in schools act and how it is passť, and how in the red book it says don't worry about it, in 1996 there will be no changes, and that maybe I shouldn't have presented this petition today, and because it wasn't worded right we shouldn't have accepted it. There were some other allegations. The bottom line is simple. Over 300 people from Westport are very concerned about losing their school. What they did was sign a petition. They weren't worried too much about the wording or the prayer. I apologize to the House if we didn't take the right format and the wording was wrong. We will correct that. I think that is all minor compared to what the intent of the petition was, and that is for people in this Province and rural parts of this Province to express their concerns that their school has the potential to close down.

I say to the Minister of Education, not saying that the Westport school will close, like he said, and maybe the viability rules will be seriously considered, and maybe we will have criteria in place that will be sensible. That people in rural parts of the Province will have a say in whether the school in their community closes or stays open. All it says in the red book or the rhetoric book, all it says in that book is that they will wait until there is consultation done. They're not saying it won't. They just said for 1996. They didn't say for 1997. So when the Minister of Education sits in his seat and says: Everybody relax, don't worry about it, it is just passť, that was just a viability. Well, I'm glad to hear it was scrapped, but how long is it scrapped for? And what will be the final viability of the Schools Act?

We don't trust them. That is what people were saying. Now, I didn't say that, but the people were saying they don't trust them. And how can you blame them? How can you blame them for saying not to trust the government, when the former Minister of Education, with the education reform, and the mess it was left in? And where are we now with it?

What I have always said about educational reform is that the problems that we had - and this was two years prior to any of this mess, that I said, if we get tangled up in constitutional reform in Ottawa, that is where it is going to stay, and it will be tied up. What should have really happened is that we give the people a chance to have their say, and we use the spirit of cooperation to settle this.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who did?

MR. SHELLEY: That is what we should have done. Nobody did it. That is the whole problem; the government did not do it. There was no cooperation - there was no spirit of cooperation - and people are concerned that those schools in their areas will close.

I will say to the Minister of Education here today that the viability as it is now may change, but there will be schools in this Province close; but if they are to close, the message is: Let people who are directly affected by those closures have a say. And if they follow through on the consultation process and the partnership and so on, we will soon see how many schools in this Province close, and we will soon see what the reality is, and we will soon see what viability means.

Yes, the viability of criteria may be scrapped, but it is certainly not passť, as the minister says. It is far from passť. The truth is that the real changes are about to come, and they are about to come in short term, but we have to let the people who have children in these schools have a say, have meaningful input, not just consultation for the sake of saying it, but to really have meaningful input so that we listen, and that is the problem that has been with the government; it is not listening.

Mr. Chairman, these are issues which surfaced during the campaign. These are issues that people are still concerned about. These are issues that were not dealt with during the campaign. We talked about campaign, and trust, and so on. What issues were debated?

I would like to see the Minister of Fisheries stand and make his views known very clearly on a food fishery, on a recreational food fishery, so that they are straightforward in their views, and so that the minister can tell the people of the Province where he stands exactly on the food fishery, why we are discriminated against with the food fishery - 2,000 tons of fish that were caught when the last food fishery was opened. So much for conservation.

I say to the Minister of Education go talk to people in rural Newfoundland and see what their views are on the food fishery. I will stick with my issue of the food fishery anytime, anywhere, Mr. Chairman, and that is why I talk to people one on one.

Mr. Chairman, those are the ones that were not answered during the campaign. They were not debated and that is why people are concerned now, because they have not gotten straight answers to those. Forestry, the mining in Voisey's Bay, the offshore oil, what will happen? It is okay to say we are going to have a better tomorrow but a lot of people say tomorrow never comes, and that is the problem with that slogan, tomorrow never comes, or is tomorrow going to be better?

Mr. Chairman, in the next days and weeks ahead we will soon see what the answers to those very important questions are, and I am sure as Interim Supply goes we will have more specifics on forestry, on tourism, and on the mining, but when the Minister of Development and Rural Renewal is back in the House I have some specific questions on Interim Supply.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I had intended to speak earlier today because I was told by my House Leader that I adjourned debate and that I should be here when the House opened, but when the hon. Chairman corrected the position and told me what I could or could not do, I decided I would let it go until later on this evening because I had several meetings outside.

I wanted an opportunity before we closed this afternoon to make a few comments because it was in relation to what had taken place here in the House on Friday. I started to think about it over the weekend and I said I am not going to start talking about things that happened in the past, about the pickle book and the cucumbers, because I do not think I should pass on all the comments to the people because they have heard it so often. They have seen the deficit, the debt that this Province has from time to time. The Minister of Finance is out around the Province talking about the $7 billion that we owe, talking about the seventeen years of mismanagement, taking about all the things that were done, irresponsible things that were done during these years, so I do not think it is really necessary for me to go on this afternoon and keep repeating all those things. To take that little book out of my desk and start talking about the silly things. Bev's Dip, I think, is the cutest thing that is in that book, and that will give you an idea about the irresponsible decisions that the former administration made that caused this government to have so many headaches. Caused our Minister of Finance and Treasury Board to be out around the Province today trying to rationalize, trying to consult with the people in the Province because the debt is so large that we have a noose around our necks for many years to come.

Mr. Chairman, instead of talking about that, instead of talking about the pickle book and the cucumber factory and all those things we put out in Robin Hood Bay, I should be talking about what I'm going to do and plans we are going to put in place to carve a position for the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture's role in which we should be playing in the fishery of the future. We have to forget about all those silly things of the past, so the hon. Member for St. John's South need not get upset about the fact and think that I may or may not have senility, and may or may not remember the pickle book. I'm going to discard it for a few minutes and talk about the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

I'm going to talk about the plans that I intend to put in place to make the responsibilities of the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture play a major role in how we are going to carve the direction of where we want the fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador to go. I know hon. members opposite are not going to be able to understand or take in the fact that we here in this Administration have been, as ministers in the previous government, making some rational and logical decisions. We intend to go on with that. They just can't relate to that, but the fact remains very clear that we are going to make the decisions. They are going to be hard decisions, they are going to impact on some people in a very difficult way, but nevertheless the decisions must be made.

If we are going to carve out and take a direction for the fishery of the future we have simply to base it on a couple of words. Number one, quality. Number two, maximum benefits to the people of this Province. Maximum benefits means simply this: To ensure whatever species of fish would be caught in our oceans that the maximum benefits out of that species of fish that can be derived from those species of fish must be to the harvester, to the processor, which in turn gives it to the labour force that would work in that processing plant. Maximum benefits in all instances, wherever possible.

That is not to say that we have to have eight or ten or fifteen or twenty large ships fishing on the ocean only, and eight or ten or a number of large processing plants in the Island only. It means simply this: Using the resource to the maximum benefit of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, the maximum benefit that can be derived.

Secondly, quality. If we were to take a lesson over the last number of years and in particular last year, we are sometimes our own worst enemy. The crab processing last year, for example, and I am not going to name and say today - I will at a later date - where it actually took place, but the crab processing that took place last year, and the manner in which it was processed, and not enough emphasis put on quality, but more emphasis placed on the financial benefits to the company or companies of that day, would cause a quality of product to go into the market which would cause a lessening of the ability to be able to get top quality prices for the harvester, the processor, which includes the plant worker of the day, which means less benefits to all Newfoundlanders. That is the direction in which we are going.

I adjourn the debate, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, I move that the Committee rise, report progress, and ask leave to sit again.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Bellevue.

MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, the Committee on Supply has considered the matters to it referred, wishes to report some progress, and ask leave to sit again.

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

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House adjourn until tomorrow, March 26, at 2:00 p.m.

I want to tell the Opposition House Leader that tomorrow, as he knows, we will be into Interim Supply again.

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