May 31, 1996                HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS             Vol. XLIII  No. 19


The House met at 9:00 a.m.

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

Before we begin the routine proceedings, I would like to welcome to the Speaker's gallery Dr. Martin Knapp of the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Dr. Joan Pennell, Director of the School of Social Work of Memorial University of Newfoundland.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: As well, in the public galleries today we have sixteen grade V students from Vaters Academy in the District of St. John's North, accompanied by their teacher Mr. Ralph Cann, and chaperones Ms Strickland and Mr. Fowlow.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: We have from the O'Donnel High School in Mount Pearl thirty Grade IX students accompanied by their teacher Mr. Mike Sutton.

Statements by Ministers

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS KELLY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise to inform the hon. members that today marks the beginning of Tourism Awareness Month. The theme for this month's campaign is "Ready for '97".

Previously a week-long campaign, this year we now have a month devoted to tourism awareness. This is a Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador initiative which works to promote and generate awareness for the economic and social benefits derived from the province's tourism industry. The Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation is proud to be a partner with Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador in its efforts to increase the profile of this province's tourism sector.

Tourism is the fastest growing segment of our global economy. For Newfoundland and Labrador, tourism expenditures account for more than $480 million annually. In realizing the objectives established by the Cabot Celebrations, next year government will grow expenditures by approximately $30 million and the number of tourists by 60,000.

Mr. Speaker, this year's awareness campaign will focus on ensuring that our province's tourism industry is ready for the opportunities that will result from the 500th anniversary celebration year. Driven by this government, this celebration represents the greatest opportunity ever for the province's long-term development of our tourism and hospitality sectors. The fact that the 1996 campaign has expanded from a week-long agenda to a month-long calendar of events, is truly indicative of the interest in and value for building awareness about the tourism industry and its economic and social benefits.

Mr. Speaker, this strong partnership between industry and government will work to ensure that the Province recognizes the opportunities for 1997; that it is ready to act on those opportunities; and that it will maximize the return on investment for the benefits of all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. This government participated with industry in Bristol, England last week in a highly successful public private partnership at the Festival of the Sea.

I encourage all members of the House of Assembly to take part in Tourism Awareness Month and to do their part to help promote awareness of this important segment of our economy. Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. OSBORNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This is indeed a good move. I understand that the Bristol contingency was quite successful and I congratulate the minister on that.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. OSBORNE: However, the Premier still should have been in town.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. OSBORNE: I find that it is a great move that the tourism awareness has been moved to a full month rather than just a week. I feel that tourism is a growing industry in Newfoundland and Labrador and that we should all put every effort possible into ensuring the success of the tourism industry.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform the hon. House of Assembly of the re-opening of the Salmonier Nature Park on June 1, 1996. The park will be open seven days a week until Labour Day, and for more restricted hours after that until the end of October. I would like to highlight, Mr. Speaker, that school groups can take advantage of the quality interpretation tours provided by our staff with no admission charge.

Mr. Speaker, Salmonier Nature Park offers the rare chance to see many of this Province's plants and animals in one place and at one time. Animals at the park include moose, caribou, lynx, snowshoe hare, arctic fox, mink, and beaver, as well as birds of prey, such as snowy owl, great horned owls, and bald eagles. There are also Canada geese, ducks and spruce grouse - no budworm.

Although the park is home to a small number of endangered Newfoundland pine marten, this species will not be on display. These animals are part of a captive breeding program that is designed to assist the recovery of this species in the wild. Last fall three female pine martens were captured in the wild and placed in the Salmonier Nature Park as part of the captive breeding program, and I am happy to report to this House that this endangered species on the West Coast of the Province recently gave birth to three litters of pine martens. Future plans for a video monitoring system will allow undisturbed viewing of the pine marten from the park's visitor's centre.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to encourage Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and in particular tourists to our Province, to visit this unique facility on the Salmonier Line.

Thank you.

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

MR. OSBORNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I say the government is getting worse. I got this statement two minutes before the minister spoke.

MR. TULK: I only got one before I spoke.

MR. OSBORNE: Is that right? The Salmonier Nature Park is a wonderful facility. I have been through the Salmonier Nature Park and there are indeed a number of animals and breeds of species in Newfoundland and Labrador that are in danger and it is good to see that the Province is taking the initiative to contain these animals in places where they can be viewed without being in danger of hunters and so on.

I feel that the Salmonier Nature Park, however, should probably be open to the tourism season later than it is. I noticed in the estimates for 1996 that the expenditures for the Salmonier Nature Park have been reduced, and I will speak to the minister on that in the estimates meeting which is to be held next week.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I am assuming that the hon. member is asking leave to respond to the statement made by the hon. minister?

MR. HARRIS: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. TULK: Yes.

MR. SPEAKER: Yes.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I did not receive a copy of the statement any more than the minister did until a minute or so before the House opened this morning. But rather than have the minister use up the time of the House for a public service announcement about the opening of a park, I would rather hear him tell us his plans for increasing the amount of wilderness in this Province, to the goals that have been set by this government, agreed on several years ago, and tell us what his plans are to meet those goals rather than just to be letting us know that a park is going to open which opens every year at this time.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Questions

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My questions today are to the Minister of Mines and Energy.

Our Province is losing some $800 million every year on the sale of electricity to Quebec as a result of a horrendous, Upper Churchill deal signed in 1969 and the worst is yet to come.

I ask the minister, is the government currently pursuing any options for increasing our take on the sale of this electricity to Quebec?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, the Upper Churchill contract is quite clear and has been challenged at least twice, I think, by Governments of Newfoundland to the Supreme Court of Canada and I think we have been shut out each time. So, the contract is what it is, we are twenty years into the contract and it expires in 2041.

There is not a citizen of Newfoundland and Labrador who would not like to see a change in that contract. Every last one of us would like to see a change in that contract but I am not sure what avenues we could take at this time to change the contract. There seems to be no interest on the other side to change the contract. In the meantime, we have to do everything we can to try to find ways to make extra money from Churchill power if there is any way to make extra money from Churchill power.

For a number of years, we have had, sort of a subsidiary agreement relative to providing power for winter availability during the peak needs in the winter season, and we made a few dollars extra in that regard. We are working on that again right now because I think the arrangement that was in place for a number of years has pretty well run its course. So, we are working on that particular aspect of it in terms of trying to provide power when it is most seriously needed during the big demand season, but other than that, I am not aware of any other particular aspect of it.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

"William Moull, Associate Professor at Osgood Law School in 1985, said that section 92A of the Constitution may well give Newfoundland the power to place restrictions on the export of Churchill Falls power to Quebec, regardless of the contract."

Now, is the Premier aware of this legal opinion, that the Constitution may well give us the power to set a maximum amount of electricity that can be exported from this Province, and the power to impose a new minimum price on what we are exporting?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, there is nothing new to that particular statement that he made. A number of people have made representations relative to that including, I am sure, the person who wrote that particular question for him, because I have seen copies of it stated by a number of people in the past, and at this time we are not taking any new action before the Supreme Court of Canada in that regard.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I wasn't asking him about taking action to the Supreme Court. The Water Rights Reversion Act was passed in 1980, and all of it was not proclaimed. The Constitution was not repatriated until 1982, and there was no reference made in the Supreme Court decision to section 92A of this Constitution. So, subsection (1)(c) of section 92A of the Constitution provides for exclusive provincial legislative jurisdiction in relation to the development, the conservation, and the management of sites and facilities in the Province for the generation and production of electrical energy. Now, management includes such things as supply and pricing.

I ask the Premier, or the minister: Are you aware of, and will you act on legal advice that this Legislature may very well have the power, under section (1)(c), 92A, to impose a new minimum price on any electricity that we now export?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, I understand that section 92A of the Constitution is not new. I am told that is has been there since 1867, which means I am assuming that it was there the last two times that the Government of Newfoundland went before the Supreme Court of Canada and challenged it. Which also was when we did have some of the best legal minds that we could find in Canada to help the government of the day on these particular cases. I'm not about to say that we are going off on that tangent once again.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: I say to the minister I have discussed with people who may be considered to be legal experts too in the area.

Subsection (4) of that same section of the Constitution now authorizes the Province to impose a taxation on sites and facilities in the Province for the generation of electrical energy and the production therefrom as long as the tax regime is not discriminatory against another province.

I ask the minister: Are you aware of, and will you act on legal advice, that we may very well have the power under the Constitution to place a tax on electricity that we export from Churchill Falls and to gain some desperately needed additional revenues for the Province?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, we generally act on the best legal advice that we can get. Any time that we have good legal advice we will consider it carefully. In this regard at this time we are not about to go off on a tangent based on the legal advice from across the House.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Subsection (2) of that same section, 92A of the Constitution, says: In each province, the Legislature may make laws in relation to the export from the province to another part of Canada of the production from facilities in the province for the generation of electrical energy, as long as the laws are not discriminatory against another province.

I ask the minister: Are you aware of, and will you act on legal advice, that we may very well have that power under the Constitution to impose restrictions on electricity and thereby to place ourselves in a far different situation from the one that we are in today?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should understand that there are more things than legal advice given in isolation. There is also the contract itself and there are certain conditions in that contract, imposed on that contract by the people who have lent money for the construction of the Churchill Falls project, and these conditions apply until about, I think, 2014 when the bonds are paid off. So it is not a matter of just saying: We have a lawyer's opinion on this now and therefore you have to do it. We have had lots of legal advice. I'm sure we will get lots more in the future.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Is the minister aware that section 92A was not referenced in the Supreme Court decision pertaining to Newfoundland's right to be able to impose a tax on electricity? Is the minister aware that the Supreme Court did not reference Section 92A?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Personally, Mr. Speaker, I'm not aware of it.

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

MR. OSBORNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My questions today are for the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. Will the minister confirm that on December 15 of last year Cabinet issued a directive calling for the invitation of proposals to establish a sport fishing lodge on the Eagle River system in Labrador? Will she also confirm that the call for proposals was advertized in the Island papers on January 20 and in Labrador papers on January 24?

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

MS KELLY: Mr. Speaker, in responding to the question from the Member for St. John's South, as you know I was not a part of government then. But in looking at my briefing notes and being very involved in this proposal because it has recently been accepted and announced by government, I believe the time frames are probably correct there.

I would have to check for you to make sure that it did go through Cabinet on December 15 and that it was in the Island papers on January 20 and in the Labrador papers on January 24. I would not have knowledge of those exact dates, and also would have to check. But we certainly can check and get back to the hon. member.

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

MR. OSBORNE: Does the minister have any reason to believe that any party submitting a proposal may have had advanced knowledge of this call for proposals or advance reason to believe that their proposal may have been successful?

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

MS KELLY: Mr. Speaker, I do not have any reason to believe that anyone had advanced knowledge of the proposal or the content of the proposal.

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

MR. OSBORNE: The head of the Labrador Metis Association said that it appears from comments made by one of the pair who were awarded the license that they began work on their proposal for the camp in October 1995. Part of the proposal was the custom design of a log cabin, and it is alleged that the successful proponents had the blueprints and architectural drawings all done up and ready to go when the proposals had gone out. In view of these allegations already made public by the head of the Labrador Metis Association will the minister commission an internal review to determine if the integrity of the proposal process has been compromised, and will the minister commission an independent review to determine whether the integrity of this process has been compromised?

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

MS KELLY: Mr. Speaker, I can certainly ask my department to look into these allegations but in reviewing all of this, as we were preparing to announce the proposal, there certainly was no indication of any improprieties. I will go as far, as a matter of fact, of contacting the Labrador Metis Association to get more information, because this is very flimsy information, and I would like to be able to follow through in a more proper manner.

I certainly will speak to the association who are making these accusations, and I also state to you that if you have further information would you please pass it on to me so that we can address this issue which is a very serious matter. I consider this a very serious allegation and I will check it through my department.

Thank you.

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

MR. OSBORNE: Is it not true that the head of the Labrador Metis Association has already been in contact with your department about these allegations?

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

MS KELLY: The head of the Metis Association has not been in contact with me. I can certainly check to see if, him or her, I am not sure who it is, if they have been in contact with my department. I can certainly check that, and as I have just said to you I will check and report back to the House. I would assume that the hon. member will be prepared to make an apology if these allegations are totally incorrect.

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

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, my question today is for the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation's statement of revenues and expenditures for 1995 indicate revenues from rental properties at $20,435,000. Mr. Minister you have stated that government plans to continue to sell off Newfoundland Housing market rental units. How does your government plan to make up this yearly loss from revenues, and what impact do you see on Newfoundland and Labrador housing's social rental program?

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

MR. A. REID: I suggest to the hon. member and the hon. House, Mr. Speaker, to go back and read Hansard of Monday and you will find the answers to those particular questions.

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

MR. J. BYRNE: I say to the minister that he may think the answers are there but he had better look again himself. Mr. Speaker, the minister stated that he was going to continue to sell off 200 market residents units this year. Could the minister inform the House what kind of demand there is for Newfoundland and Labrador Housing to rent these units, what type of demand is there?

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

MR. A. REID: Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman is referring to market housing that Newfoundland and Labrador Housing owns, maintains in the City of Corner Brook, St. John's, Stephenville, Goose Bay, Gander, and maybe one or two others. These units are rented based on the market value in the area. Churchill Square, for example, anybody can apply for admittance to any of these units. The catch to it all is that they would have to pay basically what someone across the street would be paying in private accommodations. These units have been on the market for the past, almost ten years now and we have gradually sold off blocks of these units based on government policy. I would say right now, in the city of St. John's, we have a number vacant that we cannot rent. There are vacancies at Arnold's Loop, there are vacancies in the East End of St. John's, there are no vacancies at Churchill Square - I am sorry, there are some vacancies at Churchill Square and the rental market per se is weak out there at the present time and not only is Newfoundland and Labrador Housing finding it weak but the private sector is finding it weak as well.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

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

Mr. Speaker, I checked with people at Newfoundland and Labrador Housing yesterday and they tell me that there is a rather large waiting list for Newfoundland and Labrador Housing units, as much as two to four years waiting period for a two-bedroom apartment. Mr. Minister, recently, members of the House of Assembly have taken up residence in Newfoundland and Labrador Housing apartments. Can you inform the House if these MHAs were on a waiting list, for how long, and if not, why not?

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

MR. A. REID: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is confused. He is combining social housing in St. John's with rental housing units. There are almost 4,000 people on a waiting list for social housing units in the Province. The majority of those people live in and about the St. John's area. There is a large number of social housing applications. Now, social housing people are basically the social services recipients, the lower income people that we try to help as well as we can and we subsidize. In the case of social services recipients, for example, Mr. Speaker, the Department of Social Services pays the rent. Somebody who is on the borderline, 25 per cent of the income of these people will go towards their rent for these particular units.

Mr. Speaker, in answer to the second question, I believe that when a former member, Mr. Bill Matthews, moved out of his apartment in Churchill Square, somebody moved in from this side.

AN HON. MEMBER: I did.

MR. A. REID: You did. At the present time, I am living down there. I was on the waiting list since 1989 and I am living in a two-bedroom Churchill Square apartment and paying full cost for it. Who else do you want to know?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. REID: Yes, there are MHAs and you asked me what their names were. I don't know -

MR. J. BYRNE: Were they on the waiting list and for how long?

MR. A. REID: I cannot tell you. I know I was on since 1989. I can check it out and get back to you, no problem, I can do that. I don't know if there is anybody over there down in housing now but if there were I know that on the other side of the House, your friend and colleague, for example, traded one apartment with somebody else on this side. So, yes, there has been a number of MHAs since Churchill Square has been built, living at Churchill Square. There are a number of rental units in Churchill Square, one-bedroom units, available right now that I would certainly make available to any member on the other side of the House if they want it or anyone in the city of St. John's or Newfoundland. We have vacancies down there and we would love to fill them. You have the opportunity as well as anyone else in the Province to apply for them.

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

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

My question is for the Minister of Development and Rural Renewal. During the month of April, Rowan Limited, the company drilling for Hunt Oil on the West Coast, overlooked qualified Newfoundlanders when it hired fifty technical people for jobs. I would like to ask the minister, who is responsible for employment in the Province, does she find this situation acceptable, and has she done anything about the situation?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Development and Rural Renewal.

MS FOOTE: Mr. Speaker, I would ask the Minister of Mines and Energy to take this question, please. Thank you.

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, Rowan Gorilla has done a commendable job, the Rowan Group of Companies in the employment on the west coast, a commendable job. At this time Regis is drilling. The rig spouted on May 15. Of about 180 people employed with this new system brought into the Province, 60 per cent are from this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. GIBBONS: The total number of people - Rowan Gorilla and the other contractors. Secunda, which is providing the two ships relative to this drilling project, have, I think, about fifty-five people, all of whom are Newfoundlanders.

On the Rowan Gorilla itself, the company has hired, I believe, about fifty-five Newfoundlanders, of whom about forty-two have been put on this rig and another fifteen or so put on a rig in Nova Scotia - the Rowan Gorilla III - to get them trained in case we are moving into a second well some time after the first one is completed. They have done a commendable job. We are at the maximum that we have normally ever seen for employment of Newfoundlanders and Canadians on a rig like this. There is no one who needs to apologize for what this company has done. They are doing a great job. I hope they are successful; I hope they find oil, because if they do, they will be here longer than four months.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. E. BYRNE: I would like to commend the minister for the great speech he just made in the House, but he failed to answer the question. No one is questioning the number of Newfoundlanders working on the Gorilla rig with Hunt Oil or Rowan Limited. What I am questioning is that they are at the lower salary scales. The reality is that there are fifty technical positions, including derrick men, motor men, mechanics, crane operators, all of which, I repeat to the minister, could have been filled by qualified Newfoundlanders - high salary position.

The question the minister and the government must answer is this: Why were Newfoundlanders overlooked in this instance for the high salary, highly skilled positions, when they were fully trained and qualified here? And doesn't the minister agree that the first beneficiaries of any resource development in this Province should be trained and skilled Newfoundlanders and Labradorians?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

DR. GIBBONS: There is no question about it, that we look for maximum benefits to the people of this Province, and in this case we are quite pleased with the benefits we are getting and the potential future benefits we are going to get if we should be fortunate enough to have success when this rig completes its job. There is no question in my mind at all about the quality of the jobs that are on this rig. Sure, some of our people are in the lower paying jobs, but all of the jobs on these rigs are well- paying jobs. There are none here that are going to be paying $4.75 an hour. They are all well-paying jobs, and they are all jobs that can lead people upwards.

I will give a little bit of history. The rig that is working onshore, the Noble rig that is drilling onshore, now has, I think, for the most part, just about everybody a Newfoundlander, or Newfoundlanders who came home who had the appropriate experience.

I visited the rig two days ago - I toured the Talisman rig and I met one of the young people who is back working on that rig, the first time that he has been able to come back to Newfoundland and work on an oil project after graduating here, and it is great to see young Newfoundlanders get jobs in good positions relative to oil and gas coming here.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Kilbride, on a supplementary.

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

There is nobody in this House who would not agree that it is great to see Newfoundlanders get paying jobs, etcetera. The reality is that there are enough qualified Newfoundlanders in this Province today - four times enough - to at least man four drill rigs in the highly skilled, highly technical positions. The question that you fail to answer is this: Why were they overlooked? You do not know, obviously. Would you do something about it? Obviously, you haven't. Will you act today to look at why they were overlooked, and in the future when those high skilled, high technical jobs become available, your government ensures these qualified Newfoundlanders get the jobs.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, there are limits to what any company can do in a single drilling project. You are not going to hire every unemployed Newfoundlander or Labradorian who has ever worked in the offshore.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

DR. GIBBONS: They have done a great job, in my view, of doing the appropriate review of those who are qualified and interested. They have done a great job in Western Newfoundland. They, in particular, in this case, have targeted the local area and have hired a lot of people from the local area to get them trained for future jobs over in that area. I commend them for what they have done, and in the future if we go from a one-well project to a many-well project, many of the other people in this Province who have experience will get jobs, but they should not all expect to get jobs on the first and only well that is being drilled this year.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Make that speech to the 200 or 150 people who are technically skilled and qualified for the jobs out on the West Coast, make that speech to them and ask them why they didn't get it.

Let me ask the minister this question: Why did Rowan Limited take the people from Gorilla 111 in Nova Scotia, bring them down to the Port au Port Peninsula and put them on Gorilla 1V and then hire people from Nova Scotia to put on the Gorilla 111 when there were qualified people here? It is a make-work project for technical staff in Nova Scotia when Newfoundlanders should have had the jobs. Can the minister answer that question?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

DR. GIBBONS: No, Mr. Speaker.

As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, people should realize that despite the fact that the Rowan Gorilla 111 is operating off Nova Scotia despite the fact that 98 per cent I think of the people who are working on that are Canadians. There are about thirty Newfoundlanders working on that rig. Nobody in Nova Scotia said: Don't go to Newfoundland and hire somebody; there are about thirty Newfoundlanders working on that rig before ever the Rowan Gorilla 1V was contracted to come to the West Coast.

There are people being brought in, experienced people being brought in from a Rowan rig and being put in places that are appropriate, positions that are appropriate in this one and there are more Newfoundlanders now being taken over to Nova Scotia and being filled into positions over there to help us. In general, what is going to happen is that more Newfoundland residents and Labrador residents will be qualified for the future jobs. More of us will be qualified for the future jobs that come with future drilling.

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

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

My question today is for the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

Minister, at the Government Service Estimates committee meetings, I questioned the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation and staff on the cost overrun on renovations to Philip Place compared to the original estimates.

Minister, could you tell this House the full amount of the overruns and the cause and, is it true that the extra was caused by major changes requested by the ministers to occupy the building?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member again, is making accusations, trying to impute motive towards ministers of the House of Assembly.

Changes to Philip Place was done in the engineering design according to the restructuring of government. It was originally designed for one department, one minister's office and as the restructuring of government and the changes in departments had taken place, then a request went in to change the design and the original design in the lay out of the building. That is the procedure that is being followed according to the demand of the staff that is going into that particular building.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis, on a supplementary.

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, my supplementary will be to the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

On May 18, '96, Mr. Minister, an ad, a very small ad I might add, a request for tender was placed in The Evening Telegram under the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation's name. The project, 119305083 is: General and systems furniture of Philip Place, Elizabeth Avenue. Interested parties are advised that the tender closing date on the above noted project has been extended to 3:00 p. m. May 23.

Can the minister -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TULK: I know it is unusual to raise a point of order during Question Period, but if the hon. gentleman is going to go on and read a speech on a supplementary, Mr. Speaker, I have to object and ask the Speaker, to bring him to order. A supplementary should be one, short question.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

To the point of order, hon. members know that on supplementary questions that information absolutely necessary for the question should only be given and that they should be brief and they should get to their question immediately.

MR. J. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you for that ruling but I believe that the Government House Leader is just abusing the time of the House, Mr. Speaker.

MR. TULK: You are.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the member to get to his question.

MR. J. BYRNE: Can the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board inform the House why the closing date was extended and the amount of money the department has allotted to furnish the Natural Resources Building?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

First of all, the hon. member should take some advice, probably even from his own colleagues. If he is going to stand in this House of Assembly and ask questions, and if he believes there is anything wrong being done, first of all he should research the question he is asking, find the answer, know the facts before he comes to the House of Assembly. In this case he is not doing it. All he had to do was, phone over to the Department of Public Works, the ADM, or any director in that department regarding the public tendering. They would tell him if there was any underlying reason or any special circumstances that would cause a tender to be delayed or an extension given.

In many instances there is a reason to extend the date of a tender, and if a tender goes out to extend it beyond that. That isn't an abnormal thing to do. What the hon. member is not doing is researching the answer to his questions and finding out before. There is a normal - certainly in any renovations taken to any building anywhere in this Province -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Question period has expired.

MR. EFFORD: - for extenuating circumstances to take place in the public tendering act.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Before we move to the routine proceedings I would like to welcome to the gallery on behalf of all members a former MP for Grand Falls - White Bay - Labrador in the person of Andrew Chatwood.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: As well we have thirty-seven grade V students from the Twillingate Island Elementary School from the District of Twillingate & Fogo, accompanied by their teachers Margie Green, Dave Dove, Jane Bussey.

MR. E. BYRNE: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: A point of order.

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. E. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Over the past two weeks or so there seems to be a consistent sort of approach by government during Question Period to stand up in the House during Question Period on points of order, which really takes away from the Opposition's time to ask questions.

People in the House understand that Question Period is for the Opposition to ask government questions on matters that we consider important, and for Opposition to hold government accountable for its actions. It clearly states in Beauchesne on page 123, 415, Questions of Privileges and Order during Question Period: "A question of privilege or point of order raised during the Question Period ought to be taken up after the Question Period, unless the Speaker considers it to be an extremely grave matter."

If members on this side have abused Question Period or have not followed the rules the way in which they should have been followed, I am sure that you, Mr. Speaker, would have taken us to task. The Government House Leader knows full well that Question Period is for the Opposition to hold government accountable. The consistent actions of not only the Government House Leader but the Premier on occasion to interrupt on points of order during Question Period, to disallow members of the Opposition a question, frankly is unacceptable, and I ask the Speaker to consider it a point of order.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, there is a half truth in what the hon. gentleman says. In that nobody -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TULK: And that, I say to the Leader of the Opposition, is 50 per cent more than we usually hear from over there.

In any case, Mr. Speaker, let me say to the hon. gentleman that it is not the usual practice, I say to him. I use the word -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TULK: Twice. I say to the hon. - if he could go down and spray the old budworm down there we would put the point of order, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TULK: Let me - Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TULK: Let me say to the hon. gentleman that it is not usual for anybody to rise in the House on a point of order during Question Period. He is half right. But it is also a privilege in this House, and it has been here for a number of years, and I would ask that if he looked at the precedents of the House he would see. I can tell him that I had to put up with some House Leaders from this side when I was the Opposition House Leader in which they rose consistently during Question Period, time after time.

AN HON. MEMBER: That doesn't make it right.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I'm frightened to death of him. Of course it is up to the Speaker. The Speaker could have very easily said to me: You can't rise during Question Period. That discretion is left to the Speaker. If the Speaker thinks -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TULK: Let me finish. If the Speaker thinks that when somebody stands on a point of order during Question Period that it is acceptable for somebody to stand on a point of order during Question Period, then the Speaker will let that person proceed. That is what Beauchesne says to him. He should read it very carefully, the last four or five words. Unless the Speaker so determines, I say to him. That is what he should read very carefully.

If the Speaker wants me or anybody else, to let me stand on a point of order during Question Period he is perfectly at liberty to do so, otherwise he is perfectly at liberty to tell me to sit down.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I will hear the hon. the Opposition House Leader briefly on this point of order.

MR. H. HODDER: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to say that it is the intention of the Opposition to exercise its privileges under the Question Period and we respect the rulings that His Honour has made. Mr. Speaker, however the precedent in this House, since I have been here, is that it is a very, very rare occasion in which any member on the government side would rise on a point of order during Question Period. I have seen it happen, I think it is three times in the past week. So, Mr. Speaker, I do believe that we do need to look at the precedent and we have to remember Beauchesne because this certainly takes away from our privileges as the official Opposition in the House.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I will ask the hon. member to be brief.

MR. TULK: Yes, Mr. Speaker, let me also say to the Opposition House Leader that it takes away from his privileges and everybody else's when somebody stands up here and abuses asking something that requires such long speeches.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

To that point of order, it has been the practise of course and Beauchesne clearly states that unless there is a serious point of order to be raised that it ought not to be raised until the end of Question Period. However, the Chair has no idea when a member stands on a point of order, until he hears what the member has to say, whether it is a serious breach of the proceedings in the House or not that the hon. member is raising. So again, I ask hon. members that unless it is a serious point of order that during Question Period it should not be raised until the end of the period.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Petitions

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today to present a petition submitted on behalf of a couple of hundred names from the district of Bonavista South. I will read part of the petition because the Minister of Education is back in the House today and I am sure that he will want it done properly again. To make sure that the petition is in order and if he agrees to the petition to the House of Assembly: To the hon. the House of Assembly in Newfoundland in legislative session 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 Newfoundland Power having made some $27.8 million profit last year is not in need of extra revenue from customers; and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the House intervene on behalf of the residents of this Province.

Mr. Speaker, I stand here day after day presenting those petitions and obviously it is a big concern, not only in my district but in all areas of Newfoundland and Labrador. When you see a utility company that made $28 million last year as a profit, a utility company with a monopoly and wanted a service that they provide come forward and look for a 4.9 per cent increase in their hydro rates then I think it is time that somebody intervened and spoke out on behalf of the ratepayers in this particular Province. I brought up here before about the way that Newfoundland Power meters the consumption of electricity that domestic users own and also industrial users, Mr. Speaker. You will find that when you reach a certain point in the year that you consumed x number of kilowatts of electricity than your whole billing for that particular year is based on your consumption for that particular month, whatever the peak is. I have known in past experiences of seasonal fish plants in this Province that went under. Seasonal fish plants that just could not pay their hydro bills because of the exorbitant charges that they had to pay even in the winter months when they were not operating. I am sure that that can go back to sawmill operations and every other operation that consumes electricity and is burdened with such a thing as a demand meter in this Province. I think it is unheard of that you have to go and pay all during the year for something that you have already paid for when you used it. It doesn't make sense at all.

When you look at the cost to home owners in this Province now, who are paying for this particular necessity, you will find that I suppose the days of the $25 and $35 and $50 hydro bill is non-existent any more, even in the summertime now. Even in the summertime people's hydro bill, people's utility bill, is up to $80, $90, $100, or $110 for just the basic domestic appliances. Here again we find that this utility company is coming back to look for another grab, if you would, from the consumers of this Province.

One of the arguments they use is that they have not had a rate increase since 1992. I don't think that is an argument that can be put forward in the economy that we face today, and I don't think it is hard to find a lot of people who have not had a rate increase in their own personal pay cheques since 1992, and long, long before that.

When you look at the advertising that this particular utility continues to do to try to compete with the oil companies, who is paying for it? It comes off the bottom line, it comes off their profits for the year, and at the end of the year when they go back and say their shareholders expect such a percentage, probably around 12 to 13 per cent on the investment that they put forward in that particular utility, then they have to up the rate in order to increase their profits in order to maintain investments so they might continue to supply the services they do to the consumers of electricity.

Mr. Speaker, I think it is about time that we started to hold some of those giants in this Province responsible. I think it is about time that we spoke up and said: If you are making $28 million profit a year, or if you are getting a rate of return on your investment of 13 or 14 per cent, then that should be sufficient.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. FITZGERALD: I don't think the burden should be passed on to the rate payers of this Province who do not have any other choice of where they buy electricity.

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

MR. H. HODDER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just want to rise for a few moments to support the petition put forward by my hon. colleague.

I do believe that it is sufficient to say that we have made great numbers of presentations to the House on behalf of ordinary Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who are very concerned about the application by Newfoundland Power for a rate increase. We acknowledge that the government has appointed a Consumer Advocate, and we acknowledge that the Consumer Advocate, from all public appearances, appears to be doing a very, very good job, but the people of Newfoundland and Labrador expect us, as legislators, to represent them, to bring forward their viewpoints.

Mr. Speaker, what we have is a situation where we have application for an increase on a basic consumer commodity. Electricity is fundamental to all people in Newfoundland and Labrador, rich and poor alike; however, the better off families, those who have jobs, can certainly afford to pay the extra cost a lot more than the people who are without jobs.

Mr. Speaker, in the Budget Speech the Minister of Finance indicated that we are going to be losing substantially this year in terms of employment. He indicated that employment might drop by as many as 9,000 people. We know that the government has laid off 1,000 people, not counting the numbers which were laid off last December; and, of course, we know there are going to be more and more people affected because of the indirect lay-offs that will occur.

Mr. Speaker, in a year in which we have the GDP going down by more than 4 per cent, to the tune of $344 million, and the number of people losing their jobs this year, the decline in employment, is going to go down by an extra 9,000 people, personal income is going to drop by 4.5 per cent - those are not our stats; those are the stats of the government. Therefore, we are saying and acknowledging that this is the minimal impact that will occur.

Mr. Speaker, in this kind of an economic situation, to even suggest that we would further compound the economic difficulties and the availability of disposable income of ordinary Newfoundlanders by permitting a Newfoundland Power rate increase is certainly not acceptable to the great majority of our people. I would ask all hon. members to support the concern of the residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, and let us do all we can to make sure that this rate increase does not occur.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Baie Verte, on a petition.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to present a petition. I will read the petition, although the Minister of Education is not in the House, but to keep his rules and technicalities.

The petition of the undersigned residents of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, known as the Fightin' Nfld'ers. I ask the House of Assembly to accept the following prayer: We, the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, do hereby petition the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to support our petition to do one of the following: Open a food and recreational fishery to all Newfoundland families, or close the food and recreational fishery for the rest of Atlantic Canada.

Yesterday when we presented a petition - I am glad when the members on the opposite side get up to make comments. They do not need to bawl and shout, just make points. I have points to make, they can make points on it. I was glad when the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture got up to make some points on it. I was really delighted the other day when the Premier, who was the fisheries minister at the time, got up to respond to this petition. I told the Premier that I will continue every single day to present a petition as long as the House is open, to make the points.

The first point I want to make - and again, from a few calls I have had in the last couple of days, is that I don't know if it is the majority of Newfoundlanders who support a food fishery. I didn't do a poll or survey. As a matter of fact, I will go as far as to tell you this: I don't know if my district, as a majority, supports a food fishery. I don't have a poll done on it, I don't have a survey done on it. It's not for a popularity contest. As a matter of fact, as most members tell me, nobody is listening to it - that's what they say. I think they are. It is not on a popularity note, it is not in the media much. I don't know if the people in my district, the majority, support it. I am not doing it for that.

I started it two years ago when the first food fishery was stopped. Because there were a couple of things that came up during that food fishery that bothered me for the reasons that it was closed. It was given by the now-Premier who was the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. It is two points for any members in the House who didn't hear the Premier say it. He said it is because we were getting small fish. I can't remember the exact dates - I had it written down but I didn't take it to the House with me - when the food fishery was open, but it was sometime in August. It was open for a couple of weeks.

There were two reasons that fishermen - so I went to ask fishermen who were fishing during that food fishery. They asked why there were so many small fish. I said: Maybe they are right, maybe there are very low counts of fish in the bays. The fishermen said: No, they aren't right, and here is why. First and foremost, any fisherman will tell you - if you ask the fisherman who has been fishing for years; and the Member for Bonavista North referred to it. But the first thing fishermen will tell you, and he knows this, they say: Paul, we don't go out catching our fish for the fall until September or October. That is when, for some reason - they don't understand. Scientists can't tell you either. But there are more fish in the bays in September and October. That is when they go to get their fall fish.

If you go around this Province to the small outports, that is what they will tell you. A fisherman doesn't go out in July and August. Some people go out for a little bit of recreation, but for the most part when fishermen go out to get their fall fish for the winter to be salted away or corned, or whatever they are going to do with it, they will get it usually in September and October. So point one is that they opened up the food fishery at the wrong time, if they want to get the best time for fishing.

Second is a point I made yesterday about it, when the Premier talks about the small fish they get. It is because there were doctors, lawyers, you name it, MHAs, going out fishing on the fishing ground. Anybody in Petty Harbour will tell you - because I did go out in Petty Harbour while that food fishery was open, with friends of mine. I went out with a fisherman and we went directly to the berth and we got our fish. The three times that I went out during that food fishery, I got my fish within an hour, an hour-and-a-half - ten nice fish, and came back. I went with fishermen, Mr. Speaker.

As a matter of fact, while we sat in the boat off Petty Harbour - and I forget the name of the berth, I wish I could remember it, because they all have names on these. But when I sat there with the fishermen, they saw this guy coming out in the boat and going around, going all over the place, and they laughed because they said, that man could be out here for ten years and if he doesn't know where the berths are on the fishing grounds, he will not get his fish. That's what was happening, Mr. Speaker, that's why the Premier was getting back reports that: oh, we are getting small fish, or we were out all day and used two tanks of gas and didn't get any.

Those doctors, lawyers, MHAs and MPs go out and circle around those guys in Petty Harbour who were launched on a berth. For members who don't know - and the Member for Bonavista North knows - if you go out in a fishing boat, you can be ten feet away from a fisherman on a berth and you could be over the edge of that berth and not get a fish. As a matter of fact, if you have been out there, and I know some members have experienced it, if you drift a little bit off the berth, just a few feet, you will not get your fish.

Mr. Speaker, it's a very particular way that the fishermen go about their business, and it is not what everybody else knows. I would not be able to go out off Petty Harbour, anchor down, and moor off on a berth. So, Mr. Speaker, the argument that the Premier used, that a lot of people were coming in saying: I didn't get any fish -

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

MR. SHELLEY: By leave just to finish that point?

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

No leave.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

I am certainly pleased to rise in my place and support the petition presented by the Member for Baie Verte, a petition to request, I suppose, and support the opening of the food fishery. I certainly support that.

If you want to go back in history somewhat, prior to 1949 when the debates were on to discuss whether we should or should not join Confederation, go with Canada or with the United States, or remain independent as a colony of Britain, there was a person at that point in time very opposed to Confederation and he made some statements. I have done a bit of reading on that period of time over the years, and that person was Mr. Cashin, Peter Cashin, I believe his name was, Mr. Speaker. He predicted that the day would come when the people in Ottawa would prevent Newfoundlanders from going out and jigging a cod fish, and it is sad to say, that man's predictions and beliefs turned out to be correct. Why now, Mr. Speaker, do we not have a food fishery in this Province? we do have a fishery - but the normal codfish which was the reason why we settled here in the first place. It is only in recent years that we got involved with under-utilized species. We settled here for the food fishery, the cod fishery.

Mr. Speaker, there's fish in them there bays. As they used to say: There's gold in them there hills, we say: There's fish in them there bays. If you talk to a lot of the fishermen now, they will tell you that there are fish in the bays, in Placentia Bay, and in different bays around this Province. Now, Mr. Speaker, I don't profess to be a fisherman and I don't profess to be an expert in any sense of the word when it comes to talking about the fishery in this Province. But I do know fishermen in my district who are well-versed on the fishery, who know the fishery, who have fished all their lives, and they tell me that there is fish in the bays.

Mr. Speaker, to say that we can't have a food fishery - when you compare our Province to other provinces, especially the Atlantic Provinces, where you can go out and jig a fish. Up in Labrador you have people in one community looking at people in another community, when looking at Quebec and Labrador, being able to go out on the same grounds and jig a fish, and to me, that is morally wrong.

Mr. Speaker, if you look at the amount of fish that a food fishery would take, if it were to open up for a couple of weeks, at the right time of the year - not at the wrong time as was done two years ago when people were not able to jig a fish, again leading people to believe there were no fish out there - a food fishery at the right time of the year when ordinary Newfoundlanders can go out and jig a fish, bring it home and either salt it down or put it in the freezer for the winter months - when you compare that to the amount of fish that the seal are taking in our waters this day and age.

We now know that seal do eat cod. People tried to proclaim that seal did not eat cod. We know now that seals are actually going up salmon rivers and taking salmon. I believe that is happening on the West Coast of Canada, so we know that seals eat salmon and seals eat cod. The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture himself, the other day mentioned that there were 2.7 billion pounds per year of cod being eaten by seals. Now, that is a lot of fish, and that is only if the seals eat one pound per day, but from what I have been told, the seals will actually take a bite out of a cod, it would probably take a part of the belly or part of the back and what have you and the cod is gone and then they move on to another one. So, how much codfish are actually being destroyed by the seal, Mr. Speaker? So if you look at the amount of fish that will be taken by Newfoundlanders in Newfoundland if we had a food fishery, in comparison, it would be very minimal, Mr. Speaker.

My belief, the reason why we do not have a food fishery in Newfoundland is all to do with public relations, and public relations with respect to the present-day Premier of the Province when he was Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, when he wanted to go over to Europe and say: Listen, we have people in my own Province who can't go out and jig a fish. He is talking about the conservation end of it and rightly so, we have to look at the conservation and proper planning of our fishery in the future. But in the past, it was poor management by the Federal Government that allowed the fishery in this Province to be destroyed.

Again, I have to say, Mr. Speaker, it is only right and proper that Newfoundlanders be permitted -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. J. BYRNE: In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I will only say that it would be right and proper to allow Newfoundlanders to have a food fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador, this year.

Thank you.

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

MR. OSBORNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I stand today with a petition, to petition the discontinuation of school busing. The residents of St. John's South have delivered this petition; the students of St. John Bosco School are being discriminated against; the students in Shea Heights who travel to St. Mary's School are being discriminated against. My hon. colleague, the Member for St. John's East, presented a petition within the past couple of days from the residents of Brophy Place and area, they are being discriminated against. I know that the students in Quidi Vidi are being discriminated against; the eastern end of Newfoundland Drive and many other areas in the city of St. John's and indeed, the students in St. John's itself are being discriminated against, as the government does not subsidize Metrobus as they do subsidize school busing for many other communities in Newfoundland and Labrador. So I ask the House to accept this petition on behalf of the students in Shea Heights and indeed, the students in the remainder of the city of St. John's.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to support the petition presented by the Member for St. John's South on the issue of school busing within the city of St. John's.

There are two different systems in operation in this Province, Mr. Speaker, with respect to school busing. One is provided by the Department of Education and paid for by the Provincial Government. The other is the Metrobus system in St. John's and is paid for by the St. John's municipal taxpayer and by the people who put their money in the coin box on the bus or buy a bus pass, and that's a very interesting situation that has been allowed to go on, Mr. Speaker, where students who require busing to get to school outside of St. John's have the buses paid for, have their transportation paid for by the Province, by the Department of Education, and students in St. John's have to pay their own way on school buses and the Province contributes nothing; no direct subsidy to transportation in St. John's by the Province.

The St. John's city taxpayer subsidizes the Metrobus and the students and their parents have to pay the transportation costs. That is an incredible anomaly, Mr. Speaker, that has been allowed to go on for many, many years, and little bits and pieces of those anomalies have made it even more outrageous, Mr. Speaker, when Wedgewood Park continued its school busing service, paid for by the department, special arrangements were made for Brophy Place, and there are other little bits and pieces that have continued on. Now, the government is going to take them away as well, and maintain the gross inequity between St. John's, Mount Pearl, Conception Bay South, St. Anthony and every other part of Newfoundland and Labrador, Mr. Speaker, except for the city of St. John's.

Now, that is a gross inequity; it is discrimination of the worst kind. Even solutions that have been suggested by the Member for St. John's South to allow an existing school bus contract which carries students from Blackhead down to St. Mary's Church is not being allowed to stop at Shea Heights and take people from there. This is the kind of policy that this government are pursuing and they are making no effort to redress that situation. There have not been any plans from the Minister of Education to deal with that and they are allowing this gross discrimination to continue.

I am anxiously awaiting some response from the government on this as to how they are going to redress this anomaly, by either offering a subsidy to the school buses or the Metrobus system in St. John's to allow them to provide better student rates or by offering a subsidy directly to the students who must use Metrobuses so that they can get transportation to school by means of a bus pass for free or be subsidized by the Provincial Government. Those kinds of solutions are the kinds of solutions that we need, Mr. Speaker, to end discrimination against students from St. John's.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Orders of the Day

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

MR. TULK: Order No. 11, Bill No. 9.

MR. SPEAKER: Bill No. 9, adjourn debate on the second reading on Bill No. 9.

The hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am certainly happy to rise again today and continue debate on Bill 9, the professionalization of a fish harvesters certification board. Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday in this House, I think it is a very positive piece of legislation. I think it is long overdue; but even if it is long overdue, it is certainly very meaningful now that it is here. When we look at some of the things that have been allowed to happen in this fishery over the past number of decades, it is only right that we start involving the stakeholders and making them part of the decision-making process and making them part of the fishery of the future.

The minister gave us some thoughts and ideas of what he thought the fishery of the future might be allowed to look like when and if - as I suppose a lot of people say - the fishery returns. I speak of the cod fishery I guess, when I say the fishery because there is still a very active, vibrant fishery out there today in many, many other species of fish. In fact, I suppose the income for this particular department is probably greater than it ever was. You talk with Fishery Products International and they will tell you that their sale volumes have certainly increased and their profits have increased in most cases from what it was in prior years. But if we look around our coastal communities we are reminded very quickly that some of those fish companies might be doing all right but the people, the greatest stakeholders of all, the fishermen, the fisherwomen and the plant workers are not doing very well, Mr. Speaker. And I think it is the responsibility of each and every one of us, as elected officials here, to make sure that we never again allow what has happened in the past to be repeated.

When we talk of the fishery of the future, there are many questions that need to be asked. We talk about - the minister spoke about it yesterday - about gill nets, saying that he never, ever believed in gill nets. I think if we are going to use gill nets - it was a way of fishing, it was new, it was a way of having something out there fishing for you when you were doing other things, when they came about back in the 1960s, and allowed us to increase our catch and increase our dollars, increase the fishermen's income. If we are going to replace that, then let us replace it with something that is environmentally friendly, and replace it with something that is never going to destroy our stocks, as we have seen done in the past.

I, for one, don't disagree with the use of gill nets if it is done right. I think if you use the proper type of material in a gill net, that is biodegradable, if you would, if you use a gill net with a mesh of a sufficient size that will not catch small, juvenile fish, if you use them in a way that they have to be attended to every day, then maybe we can use gill nets again, but the people who should decide that are not you or me; it is the professional fisherpeople. Those are the people who should decide what type of gear should be used in what particular area of this Province.

We look at the size of mesh that was used when it was first brought forward - I don't know the exact size, but I know that gradually, year after year, the size of the mesh was decreased, the size of the mesh was made smaller - we should have recognized we had a problem then, but we didn't. All we did was change our method of fishing to adapt to the size of fish. That is what we did, and the fish plants kept buying it, and naturally, we kept catching it and carrying it there. When you look at using gill nets again, and if it is going to part of the fishery of the future, then we should consult the stakeholders, consult the fishermen.

Should there be a limit on the number of gill nets used? Up until now there has never been a limit. You could go out, and if you wanted to put out 100 nets, you could; if you wanted to put out 200 nets, it was just a matter of putting out nets and finding berths to tie them somewhere and anchor them in a place where they would fish and give you a good catch. In a lot of cases, this again was abused, because people here who know anything about the fishery, when you are talking about the inshore fishery, it is completely different from the offshore. You cannot allow fish to lie in a net for two or three days, or you cannot allow fish to lie in a trap if they are meshed in the leader or something, for three or four days, and go back and still have a good product. The type of feed that inshore fish feed on, you will find that if it is allowed to be left for any period of time, then the acidity in the feed will break down the inner walls of the stomach and the fish will deteriorate very, very fast, and I suppose the water temperature will play a part as well.

As you know, if you buy crap on the wharf, then you pack crap in the plant, then you ship crap out the door and that is what you market, and it has to come back to haunt you in the price that you get in the marketplace and in the profits that our plants make, and that is probably the reason why many of our plants were not very profitable, and the reason why many of our fishermen just eked out a meagre livelihood.

Mr. Speaker, if we are going to go back into the fishery again, I think we should have some limits on the size of our boats. I don't think it should be kept where it is today. I think people should be allowed to increase the size of their boats. I don't think they should be stifled by some of the foolish rules and regulations that are there today. If we are going to go fishing again tomorrow we should decide, or I suppose somebody should decide for us, what species of fish we are allowed to catch. Should we only be allowed to catch black back and lump and skate, or should we be allowed to catch all species of fish, and that way it can be brought into all seasons of the year, and we will go from the trap fishery into the caplin fishery, the crab fishery, into the cod fishery, and then the herring fishery, the mackerel fishery, right on in through the fall of the year, Mr. Speaker.

As it stands today many of our fishermen have only a few licences. It is only certain times of the year that they can fish. Many of them are limited as well to the quota of fish they can catch. I suppose that is an indication of the number of people involved in the fishery. Because if we were allowed to go out and just take whatever might be there then it would be a situation where we would destroy the stocks again and go right back from where we started.

There should be limitations on it. The cod trap fishery: How many cod traps should we be allowed to fish? Should we be able to go out and put them wherever there is a berth, or should we limit the number of cod traps that people are allowed to go and take part in? If we are fishing with hook and line what is the size of the hooks that we should use? What size hooks should we be allowed to use? The modifications and limitations on gear should certainly be considered.

We are talking about multi-species plants. That is the way of the future, and it should be. I think if you are into the fishing business then that is the business that is there to process fish. If you are only going to be open two or three months of the year then nobody realizes much benefit from that particular enterprise. Not only the plant owners, but the fishermen, the fish plant workers, will not survive any more on two and three months' work. I think we should look at multi-species plants and we should look at every fisherman being a multi-species fisherman as well.

Secondary processing. I think we have one major plant in this Province today that takes part in secondary processing, FPI down in Burin. I think it does very well. Up until now that particular plant has been fairly successful but I don't think it operates year-round. In fact, I think it might be only operating probably six, seven months of the year. I know that the time frame is increasing there, and the product that it put up is an excellent product and it is shipped. I think the markets are down in the United States.

Why shouldn't we be doing secondary processing? Why should we be shipping our lump roe out in barrels by the truckload, by the boat load, and have it come back into this Province in a little bottle of about one gram and appear on our supermarket shelves ready for the marketplace? Why can't we do that here? This is nothing new. We have all been saying this year after year but nothing seems to happen. It seems like when we go and we can take part and do something we allow things to leave this Province in the crudest form and be happy with the small amount of benefit derived from it.

This reflects back on not only the fishery. We can look at Hibernia. The Member for Kilbride brought up, I suppose, another example in Question Period today when he talked about Newfoundlanders being denied the opportunity to work on a couple of oil rigs. The minister responded by saying that we do have thirty Newfoundlanders on a particular oil rig. Minister, what I say to you is, if there are sixty jobs there why settle for thirty? Don't be happy until we can look after each and every one of our people here. If it means going and giving them some training and if it means having to go to bat for them, then let's do it, because that is the only way that we are going to survive.

It is disgraceful when you see - and it is still happening right across this Province today - the fish that we catch - the crab is a prime example. Last year I think a lot of it left this Province in a state just pretty much the same as it came from the water. It was caught, it was bought it, it was cooked, it was cleaned and put in a package and shipped out to the Japanese market. What were we told? We expressed a concern, we told them we had problems with what was being done because it wasn't employing our people. We were told that that is what the marketplace demanded, that is what the marketplace wants.

If the marketplace wanted crab meat, which is the bottom line - that is the only way that it is going to be consumed is the meat, there is nothing else on it any good - then let them buy it the way that we want to produce it, and let's derive the most benefits that we can here. I believe that can be done, minister, and I think that is the way of getting our people back to work.

AN HON. MEMBER: They don't serve crab out of a can in the restaurants in Japan they usually serve it out of a shell.

MR. FITZGERALD: That can be done here, sir, that is what they have been doing for years but you don't have to go - and I don't think that they put the full crab on the plate. They may with the Alaskan crab. I think that is the way that the Alaskan crab is served for the most part but our snow crab is a much, much smaller species and what you find is that that is served with most of the shell removed, I say to the minister. That is the way that I have seen it over the years. It is probably done a little bit differently in other places but I am sure there is a place for it out of a can as well. If there is a demand for it let's put it in the cans here. If there is no demand for it in a can, you are right -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) fish, millions and millions of dollars worth. They have it in cans stored in warehouses on the mainland and they cannot sell it because nobody wants it.

MR. FITZGERALD: That is probably true but I am sure that the way a lot of that crab left this Province last year that there was something else done with it before it reached the marketplace and this is what we find with a lot of the produce that we put forward here. The same thing out at Hibernia -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Just a minute to clue up because there are other people who want to speak. I just want to clue up by saying this Bill 9 is a very, very positive bill, Mr. Speaker. It is certainly going to change the way fishermen do things. It is about time that they were consulted. Is it the answer to all of our fisheries problems? Is it going to get our people back to work? Is it going to be the lifeblood of our towns? No, Mr. Speaker, it won't do any of that but what it will do is give the stakeholders, it will give the fishermen some say in what they do. It will, I think, go a long way in never allowing what has happened in the past to happen again if this bill is taken at its value. Those people are allowed to have the input that they should have and that they deserve to have in this particular industry. Thank you.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is my pleasure to rise on Bill 9 in second reading and speak in favour of this legislation which does something very important and very significant for the fishing people of this Province. It is something that is a long time coming and it is due to the efforts, principally, of the fishermen's union in promoting the recognition of the professional character of people who engage in the fishing industry. It is important for what it contains but it is also important for its symbolic content. The professionalism of fishermen and fish harvesters is something that was not recognized by the governments of Newfoundland, indeed by the people of Newfoundland. Fishing was often seen as something that people did as a last resort and that anybody could go into a fishing boat and become a fisherman without getting the recognition and having the pride of the fishing enterprise being recognized by society in general.

It probably was not, Mr. Speaker, until the success of the William Coaker's fishermen's protective union in electing fishermen to this House of Assembly that fishermen started taking their rightful place in having an influence on the fortunes of government and of politics in Newfoundland. We see in this latter day the influence of fishermen and women, plant workers, people engaged in the fishing industry, whom, since the late '60s, have through their organization, the fishermen's union, developed a role for the fishing industry and for the participants in the fishery in terms of having a say in the working conditions through getting legislation passed in this House, recognizing that fishers have the right to collective bargaining and to negotiate collectively for the price of fish. A very substantial change in the recognition and the ability of fishermen to have any control over their lives, instead of being at the bottom end of society, the victims of the market, the victims of manipulation by fish merchants who have more knowledge about the markets, more control over the lives of individual fishermen through credit arrangements and other activities, and the virtual monopoly in many cases around the Province as to whom fishermen could sell their fish.

What we are seeing here is a significant development in terms of societal recognition of the professionalism of fish harvesters, of fishermen and women who make their living from the sea. And I am sure it is controversial as well. There is nobody here in this House going to say much about that, but it is controversial, the idea of designating certain people as certified professional fish harvesters, because there are some who say that there is a God-given right to fish in this Province, and perhaps even to catch the last fish some might say, but there isn't.

There is a group, a class of people, who have dedicated their lives and their livelihood to engage in the fishery, to invest their time, their education, their training, their experience, their cash, their credit, in getting involved in the fishing enterprise. And when we are talking about who shall have access to this resource in terms of making a livelihood, I think there is a developed consensus that is recognized in this act, although the Province does not have the control over licensing, there is a developing consensus that certain people whose attachments to the fishing industry, whose experience, whose education, whose training, whose ability, whose commitment, and whose dependency on the fishery for a livelihood qualify them to be recognized as certified, professional fish harvesters.

I think it is inevitable that programs, government programs, government assistance, whether at the provincial or federal level, will be limited or defined by people who are certified fish harvesters. That is something that is inevitable with the passage of this act, and I think that is appropriate, because the people who are defining the qualifications and the needs for professional fish harvesters are, in fact, in large measure, the fishermen themselves.

With other elements of society, representatives appointed by government, representatives of other players in the industry, the stakeholders is the favourite term these days, who will have an influence on who is involved with, or what the rules are going to be for this fish harvesters certification board. I think it is very important that the objectives of the board are spelled out here as providing an advisory role to both the federal and provincial governments in the formation of fisheries policies consistent with the common good of fish harvesters, and it spells out the areas of resource conservation, fish quality improvement, a reasonable return to participants, optimizing product value, and a very important one, the safety of fish harvesters and the public.

Fishing continues to be, by far, the most dangerous industrial activity in all of North America, more dangerous than mining, despite the drama of a mine disaster such as Westray.

AN HON. MEMBER: Fishing is.

MR. HARRIS: Fishing is.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, absolutely.

MR. HARRIS: Fishing is far more dangerous than mining, far more dangerous than industrial, high level construction, heavy construction. There are far more lives lost in fishing than in any other industry in Canada. So it is very important that this board address itself to the issues of safety of fish harvesters, but it is also interesting and unique, the establishment and the development of a compliance code for a code of ethics for fish harvesters. That is something that is brand new, Mr. Speaker, well recognized that not every person who is engaged in fishing follows proper environmental and ecological practices in the activities that are involved in harvesting fish, and I am assuming that we are talking about harvesting seals here as well.

Under strange definitions, some of our acts, a seal is a fish according to the Fisheries Act of Canada so I think this code of ethics for fishermen and for fish harvesters will also include sealers and I think that, that is important, important to our understanding that anybody engaged in the harvesting of animals whether they be seals, caribou, moose or fish or seals or any other alive animals, have to abide by a code of ethics that recognizes that this type of activity cannot be done in any manner that one chooses but must follow standards and principles that are acceptable to not only the fishers themselves, but to the public at large.

So it is right and proper that the board not merely be representative of fishermen themselves but also include others outside of the direct fishing community, including a representative at large to be chosen by the minister, representatives of the fisheries co-operatives group, representatives of the provincial Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Department of Environment and Labour Relations presumably on the environmental side having a great influence on the development of a code of ethics for fish harvesters.

I look forward to seeing that, Mr. Speaker, and perhaps having that code of ethics up for public discussion and debate before it is adopted so it can't be suggested that the fish harvesters are developing a code of ethics inside the tent as it were, without public scrutiny and public discussion before it is adopted. I think it is a very forward step in the life of the fishing industry in Newfoundland to have finally recognized that the activity of engaging in fishery is a professional occupation that requires education, training, experience, standards that are not available to every person, and that require perhaps an apprenticeship to get one to the stage of being able to properly conduct the fishery.

There are many skills as other members have said, associated with being engaged in the fishery. A fisherman is called upon to deal with dangerous weather, dangerous water, called upon to look after marine engines, electronic equipment, radar, all sorts of new technologies that are involved in the fishery, and I think that an examination has to be made as we contemplate the return of a commercial fishery in the cod sector. There is a very significant role that must be played in examining the technologies that are being used to harvest fish, whether the technologies themselves are damaging to the fish stocks, not only damaging to the fish stocks but damaging to the way of life of our communities. We also have to consider that, not simply whether or not more fish can be caught faster in a particular way but whether or not there is a better way that ensures healthy communities as well as healthy companies.

So there are a lot of complex issues in the return of the fishery and I for one, am delighted to see that The Professional Fish Harvesters Certification Act is being presented to this House at this time, and perhaps in some ways it is appropriate that the time that is upon us during the moratorium, that this is a time to consolidate some of these ideas to establish this type of forward-looking and forward-thinking board and legislation, so that as the cod fishery returns we have it returning on a different level, perhaps with less participants - I think that people recognize there are going to be less participants in the fishery - but that the primary access to the fishery ought to be and must be people who have an attachment to the fishery and who, by their education, training, experience, and their degree of dependency upon the fishery for their livelihood, meet the qualifications of being regarded as a professional fish harvester, and be given prior access to the resource provided by principles established and agreed upon in advance of the federal government relicensing, or reopening and reestablishing quotas.

I think we have been through a very difficult time in the fisheries. It has forced everybody in this Province, not just fishers themselves but everybody in this Province, to examine the role that the fishery plays in our society, and to recognize that not every person is entitled to go and become a commercial fisherman when there are significant numbers of people who have the education, training and experience, and involvement in the fishery, that gives them, in fact, a prior right to engage in that activity. Other provinces have similar programs for agriculture, that if you are not considered a professional farmer you don't have access to certain programs of government that are designed to support farming and agricultural activities.

It is not an outrage against individual rights and liberties to establish a professional fish harvesting board and certification program to allow that recognition that fishing men and women in this Province deserve to have, and to recognize their qualifications, their professional status, and their ability to control, through this board, ethical practices, and ensure that fisher people who claim to be professional fish harvesters, in fact, meet professional standards and are prepared to abide by the rules and codes of ethics laid down by the professional fish harvesting board.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I indicate firmly my support for this process, and my congratulations to those involved who have been fighting for this for many years, and to also acknowledge, of course, the minister who has, in fact, introduced this legislation, that he has accepted the advice of the fishermen's union and presented this for consideration by the House.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

I am glad today to rise and make a few comments on this particular Bill 9, on the new fishery of the future I guess you could say. The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, of course, in his opening remarks, said it is an historic time, and it certainly is. I guess a lot of people have not realized it yet, but we are about to mark the 500th birthday of this Province, why we came to this Island so many years ago. It is sort of ironic that 500 years later we are about to take our first step in a new direction in the fishery. Some would say that we may be 500 years late, but the truth is that everybody in this Province realizes - everybody in this Province, I think, now realizes - and in this country, and probably around the world, what a problem with management of such a resource can do to the livelihood of a place such as Newfoundland, that after 500 years, when John Cabot threw his basket over the side of the boat, with so many fish, they came to this Island and made a living and stayed here. Therefore, we have the history before us today that so many people are proud of, that we live on this Island and in Labrador, in a part of the world where teems of fish were in abundance and attracted so many people from all over the world, the different countries of the world, the Spanish, the British, the Scots, the Irish, and so on. That is why we have such a proud history in this Province today.

The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, in opening, refers to the first step, and that is what it is. That is why I support the legislation, and that is why I agree with him, that it is the first step, but it is just a small baby step.

Now, what needs to be followed by this is real effort by every single person in this Province, including the politicians, the people in the industry, the unions and so on. What was also positive about this is that consultation with the unions and the people in the industry, and the people in the fishery, were really the ones who brought this to the forefront, who initiated the consultation and so on, because they were the ones with the input who saw what really should happen in the fishery of this Province.

The old-timers who are around will tell you now, when I talked about the food fishery a couple of times, and it is not bawl and shout about points, it is just an opinion I am giving on my behalf, on their behalf, about the principle of what we are talking about here today. We are talking about a new professionalization, a new movement, and a new direction we should take in the fishery.

Here we are about to celebrate our 500th birthday next year and the reason that brought us to this Province. It is the reason that brought us to this Province and made us so proud of what we are today, but there is nobody in this Province or in Canada that does not realize that the management of the fishery of the past is what we have to learn from. That is what the minister said in his opening remarks, that we have to learn from our mistakes of the past. Really, this minister and this government has a golden opportunity, which is the way I look at it. If we say we should look at things positively well that is the way I look at it.

Right now the minister and the government have an opportunity, a golden opportunity, to start us on the right track, back to the fishery of the future, to the fishery of the future that is going to be sustainable and will be managed properly. I agree with the minister when he talks in his estimates about the attitude. That is the first priority and that is what has to be the foundation and the root of the whole beginning of this new legislation. It is a step in the right direction, it is the foundation, but unless we change the attitude before we move on into the fishery of the future the same thing will happen, we will have another collapse.

That is why it is so important that the foundation be laid of an attitude where we have to process properly, secondary processing, the technology we use, how we go about managing the fishery, how we harvest the fish, and the full utilization, Mr. Speaker. That is what we have to start with, so it has to start with every single person in the industry, and say that this is our resource and it has to be managed in such a way that our children, the children of the future, can also go into an industry that is professionalized and is a resource that is going to be used. It is in front of us in the waters every single day and that we use all of it, Mr. Speaker.

It is also encouraging to hear the minister in the estimates and in his opening remarks talk about multi-species licenses because I have said it, and I know the minister has heard it from many people in the industry over the years, it is not just cod that Newfoundland is all about, it is all those species out there, even the cucumbers that the minister talks about. To be honest with you, I heard very little talk about that before, the cucumbers they find all around this Province. That is something new, but that is just a small example of what is out there. That is why I really believe that funding has to be available, especially for research and development.

If we are just going to jump back into our boats and go out and start catching fish again we are going to be in the same downward slope, but the problem this time is that we will not have so long. We had 500 years to get to this, 500 years to get to the destruction, but we do not have the luxury of going another 500 years before we correct the mistakes again. If we make mistakes the second time, now that we have started on the right foot, we will not have the luxury of waiting 500 years for the collapse. The collapse will come within years, in the short-term. That is what will happen. The collapse will come quickly this time if we make the same mistakes again.

That is why the attitude of the people in the industry, government, provincial and federal, in management and harvesting, processing, has to change and has to change quickly. We will not be able to go for another twenty years, or 100 years for sure, if we start on that same slippery downward slope. The word is always used by fishermen themselves, besides all the people in the industry, DFO and so on, the word is `greed.' That is where all this came from - greed. The quickest way to get it, use whatever technology, don't worry if there is anything left for tomorrow. Don't worry about that - get a name on your boat, get out there and scoop it up as quick as you can or somebody else is going to get it. That has been the problem, Mr. Speaker.

That is why I agree wholeheartedly with what the minister says in the Estimates and in the House about attitude. That is a big challenge, but it has to be put forward in black and white and what are processing, harvesting and so on, how we are going to manage the fishery of the future. Because the history of this Province and what brought us here is something to be proud of, yes, but we have to learn and learn quickly and do something about it quickly, in legislation like this, which is the first step, so that it doesn't happen again. Because we will find very quickly that we don't have the luxury of time. We can't go experimenting now. This is not a time for experimenting, I say to the minister. This is a time, we have learned, to put in place the actions that are going to make sure we don't follow the same mistakes again. That is what we have to start with.

Then, there is secondary processing. We have all talked in this House about secondary processing. It is a funny thing, you know, you take a practical example: My brother who left home three months ago, and he is working in a McCains fish stick plant just outside of Windsor, Ontario. You know, we have Newfoundlanders going away and working on secondary processing of fish. It is incredible when you stop to think about it. I wonder how many Newfoundlanders - as they say, there are more Newfoundlanders gone than there are here - more Newfoundlanders across this country - don't go to the United States yet; just across Canada, how many proud Newfoundlanders who want to live home - the irony of the situation - are working in secondary processing plants in Ontario and all over?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: And Labrador. They are working across this country, Mr. Speaker, on secondary processing. You talk about the multi-species licence and the cucumbers and whatever else we can take in from the oceans.

AN HON. MEMBER: Sea cucumbers.

MR. SHELLEY: Sea cucumbers, I have to remember that - not Sprung cucumbers. There is so much in that ocean that could be beneficial to us that we haven't even tapped. It is like the tourism industry we talk about in the Province. It is not tapped. There are so many resources in this Province, and for the last five or six years in this business -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) not doing a tap.

AN HON. MEMBER: We know they're not doing a tap.

MR. SHELLEY: They say the government wasn't doing a tap, Mr. Speaker. Maybe that is true, but I won't say that. I wouldn't say the government isn't doing a tap.

The point is, and we have all said it, that we haven't tapped the multi-species around our coasts, the same as we haven't tapped the tourism potential. So funny - all these resources that are in front of us and just blow up in our faces, and we don't see any benefits from it. Hibernia, Churchill Falls, we can go on and on.

The attitude change, number one - I agree with the minister, and that is where he has to start. If the attitude doesn't change, in ten years, twelve years, we will see another collapse. Whether the minister is still in that portfolio, or whoever is in the portfolio, we will see another collapse. But the point I am making to the minister, I say, is that we don't have the luxury now to wait another 500 years. I agree that this legislation is going in the right direction but we have to do it quickly.

From all indications - and the minister says it so we are going to hold him to it, that he acts quickly and does things quickly, because they need to be done quickly. But they need to be done in consultation. When we talk about multi-species licences and so on - I've talked to the minister about it a few times. I told the minister, and the minister did talk to me. He doesn't like to admit it in the House but he actually does talk to us sometimes - not very often.

My message to the minister is that when we do increase licences, multi-species or whatever the licence is, that people should be consulted so they know what is going on with their livelihood. It is not a time to play with people's minds, it is a time to let people know what their fate is. When they get up in the morning, they look at a fish plant that lies idle that has been working for years; like in La Scie, they have looked at that plant - and not just La Scie, but people around, the communities around, Brent's Cove, there are ten or twelve communities that made their living from that big building there in La Scie. For a long time it has been the hub of that part of the peninsula. The mines went in Baie Verte - that was the hub for that. Then there was the plant in La Scie.

Mr. Speaker, what I am saying is that those plants -

MR. G. REID: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Speaker, if the Member for Twillingate & Fogo wants to know why the people in La Scie gave away their licences and in what year, I don't remember. Does the minister know what year it was?

MR. EFFORD: Nineteen ninety.

MR. SHELLEY: Nineteen ninety. You will have to ask that, Mr. Speaker. You will have to ask the people of La Scie. You can do that very easily, I say to the minister. Don't use anything to divert attention from the point I am making, that if there are any new licences or new restructuring in this Province, that he do it through the people of those communities. Don't play it with companies and cartels and use all of that. We are talking about human beings, people who should be consulted.

The people in La Scie know about that plant, and can give you its history, the people who lived there for years. The people in Fleur de Lys know about their plant, and what that did, and in Little Bay Islands, and in Middle Arm, and all over this Province - I am just talking about my district now - the point being that before anything is moved on, if there is anything new happening, the people, not just the industry, the people who own the companies, but the people in the communities who make their livelihood and live in those communities because of that industry, they should know what is happening. There should be no cooked up deals behind closed doors with the so-called cartels that the minister keeps referring to.

All I say to the minister is that if it is going to be done fairly, let everybody have their say, and if there is a community anywhere in this Province that has a plant in the community, then those people, from the mayor right down to the councillors, right down to every citizen in that community, should at least know what the plans are, should at least have some idea, not some idea that some plan is being cooked up behind closed doors with industry or cartels, as the minister talks about, and then they find out in a press release that a plant is opening here or there, or licences are gone here or there. That is what I say to the minister, just be reasonable, sincere, honest, up front with people, to at least give them their fair chance to put forward why they think their plant should reopen.

I don't believe a plant in a community belongs to any particular company; the building and the structure itself, yes, but the licences don't. The licence is for the government to issue, I believe, to a community so that they decide what happens with it.

Now, the crab industry, of course, has grown in leaps and bounds, especially since the moratorium, and that is why that particular licence, and a multi-species licence that the minister keeps referring to, should be consulted on with the people of the community - that is all I say about it. But secondary processing, to get back to that for a second, has to be a big part, an integral part, of the new fisheries of the future, so that what we catch in our waters, from a cucumber to a crab to a codfish, whatever is done, that every possible chance and potential be considered for that to be processed in this Province, and we can send it out in a package - like what is being done with FPI now on the Burin Peninsula, it can be done in this Province.

I think the minister - and I am sure he will make some more responses - when we does get up, will respond to that and tell us what his feelings are on secondary processing; I know what they are, but I want to ask him again - I have heard him say - on this particular piece of legislation.

Now, of course, the Premier, who once was the federal Minister of Fisheries, does - he should - understand the fisheries of this Province, and the problems we have had in the past. And with consultation with everybody - and by everybody, I mean the government officials, I mean the Premier, I mean the minister, I mean the Cabinet officials, I mean the Opposition, the NDP, the Independent here in this House, people in the industry, DFO, union, but we cannot leave out in those consultations... That word `consultation', that escapes us so often, when we talk about consulting we talk about some board that is made up, a committee that is struck. The real consultation always has to be referred to the person the implications are going to affect the most, and in that case, I mean the people who live in the community, just the regular citizen, the regular resident of that community. That is who it is going to affect, so they have to have some say. At least, if nothing else, they have to have input. If you are going to affect their livelihood, if they are going to have to take up their family and move anywhere else in the Province, or move to the mainland, the least that a government has to do, and it is incumbent upon any government, is to consult with those stakeholders. They are the real stakeholders.

The processors are the people who make the profit. They are there for one reason, to make profit. Yes, they should be part of the consultation process, there is no doubt about it, but that citizen, that person who lived in a community for forty, fifty or sixty years, and their families longer, they have to be recognized as the real people who will feel the effects of any changes to the fishery. They are the people who get up every morning and walk down the street with nothing to do now, on TAGS or unemployment or social assistance, and look at this mammoth building, the biggest building in the community usually - the fish plant is usually the biggest building in most communities. They look at that, Mr. Speaker, and they want to know, I say to the minister, what their fate is.

There are a lot of people at a point in this Province right now who will look at you and say: If the plant is not going to open just tell us there is no chance, or if it is, then get on with it. That is what the minister credits himself with saying, that we are going to get on with it. But if he does get on with it, remember the people who are affected most. It isn't the processors who bring in the profits but the `Joe Blow' who lives up the street, who looks at that plant every day and wonders if he is going to live in that community next week or next month, and wonders if his children are going to grow up in that community. Those are the real people who have to be part of the consultation process. It's not a matter of profits.

There is always a balance between the processor, the guy who makes the profit and, of course, the person who lives in the community. Yes, they have to make profits, but at the same time, these people have to live there. They want to live there. When we talked about rural Newfoundland - and when the minister spoke in Estimates, he referred to rural Newfoundland - I have always said this: St. John's and the bigger centres of this Province only go to the beat of rural Newfoundland. I've said that long before I even considered politics, let alone entered it. If rural Newfoundland survives and thrives, then St. John's, Corner Brook, and the bigger centres in this Province so go - the same thing, Mr. Speaker.

That is why the golden opportunity of the fishery of the future - and I have mentioned this before, Voisey's Bay. We are all excited about Voisey's Bay and that is great. We were excited about Hibernia. That is great, too. But those are mega-projects in one location with so many jobs. They are wonderful and we are all going to support them, and we are all going to watch very closely that the right thing happens to Voisey's Bay and Hibernia and the Port au Port Peninsula. They are all great and exciting. But I still say that the backbone of this Province and why we are here is the fishery. Because all of those little plants, and the man who went out on the water and had a net or fished hand line, they were, they are, they always will be the backbone of Newfoundland. They are what Newfoundland is all about.

On that principle alone, although we are talking about this new Bill No. 9 -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: - and I don't do it to get a shouting match going with the Government House Leader. I do it on the principle of the food fishery that comes right back to the root of the principle of why I am always requesting and support a recreational food fishery in this Province. Because the people who are asking now for the food fishery, the genuine people I talk about, a lot of them who fished for years, and now at a ripe old age, they look down from their houses in a small community, and after all these years of living there, knowing that there are fish right in that little bay - and there are plenty of fish there - knowing that there are fish there, they are not allowed to go down there and jig a fish.

That hurts them a lot deeper than any law or regulation. Like I said, it is the reason we came here. It is the last person who should be blamed for any collapse. And the last person to be blamed for the collapse of the fishery in this Province and therefore the collapse of the economy, is the person who jigged a fish to eat. The hand line was the last technology that was -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SHELLEY: By leave, just to clue up, Mr. Speaker?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Speaker, I go back, and like I say I do it - and I am glad the Premier is back in his seat. Because instead of a shouting match like you had with the Government House Leader yesterday - I am glad you are back because I didn't want another shouting match like I had with the Government House Leader yesterday. I make this sincere principle point, because I'm glad also that the Premier responded to one of my petitions on the food fishery.

AN HON. MEMBER: What were all your other points?

MR. SHELLEY: On the food fishery. I say to the Premier, I do not know - and it is the root of all this legislation, I think, it is very closely tied to this Bill No. 9. We are talking about a new fishery of the future and so on, so I was making the point - I know the Premier is busy talking, but I was making the point that this comes back to our great history. Five hundred years ago we came with buckets of fish over the side, and now the hand line and the fisherman who went out to jig a fish to eat - before you sell; I'm not talking about a commercial fishery - he was the last person to blame for the collapse of the fishery in this Province. The skipper who went out in his dory, he was the last person we should blame for the collapse of the fishery.

I say to the Premier, in my district - he knows, because it was his district, I do not know right now if even the majority of the people in - maybe the Premier can afford to do a poll. I can't. But the people in my district, just from going around, on hearsay and talking to people in Snook's Arm and Round Harbour and all those places that the Premier knows about. That is all I got it from. I will be quite honest. I would like to do a poll to see if people in my district support a food fishery. As I stand here today I do not know if the majority of people in my district support a food fishery. All I am saying, if it is five people in Round Harbour, if it is five, if that is all in the Province who supported a food fishery for the arguments that they gave me as people who - I am talking about the older guys now who sat with me and said this is why I think that we should have one.

PREMIER TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: And that is a good point, Premier, I do already have all those votes and that is exactly what I am saying. I am not up here to get votes on a popularity contest for the food fishery because, Mr. Speaker, as some members have already told me, none of the media is listening to this. I said it two years ago and I will say it again, before the election - during the election I brought it up and the Premier is right by the way, it wasn't a big issue. So I agree with him. When he stood and said that I agree with him. I tried to make it an issue during the election. I will confess that. Do you know what, Mr. Speaker? There were so many other issues and the Premier had such a big red tide going that they were not paying attention to it. I tried to make it a big issue but I couldn't so I failed in that. All together, the strength of my point is that I don't know, we could do a poll - maybe the Premier could afford to do it - a poll in the Province on the food fishery, a plebiscite or whatever you want to call it and maybe 90 per cent of the Province are against it but until the scientific research from this -

AN HON. MEMBER: You're insulting the media in the gallery now, I say there is nobody up there listening now.

MR. SHELLEY: The federal research that was done on this, of why we have a moratorium, I fully support. I don't support a commercial food fishery, I say to the Premier, until - of course the evidence that we have right now does not allow for a commercial food fishery. Mr. Speaker, I will just say that the principle of a man being able to jig a fish to eat, if I can see concrete evidence that that would hurt the recovering fish stocks, I would not support it. If that can be shown that is fair enough, Mr. Speaker, but I still, as of right now, unless there is new evidence, new scientific research to support a man or woman in this Province who wants to jig a fish in their bay to eat. How it is done, the criteria and so on - like the Premier mentioned before, I am sure that with consultation with the right people that we could sit down and come up with some rules and regulations. I am not sure what those rules and regulations should be but all I am asking is that it even be opened up for discussion, if not to open up the food fishery then open it up for discussion.

Mr. Speaker, as far as Bill 9, I think it is a step in the right direction. Yes it is but the attitude has to change very quickly and rules and regulations have to be put in place with the proper consultation. So that this Bill 9, a step in the right direction, will continue with more steps so that we develop it carefully, well planned consultations with the stakeholders. By stakeholders I don't just mean the people in the industry, I mean the people who live in these communities all around this Province who are waiting for answers on this. That is what I am talking about so that we can give a fair, reasonable imputation on a step by step, very carefully planned fishery of the future. That is what is going to bring back this Province, Voisey's Bay and so on, yes, Mr. Speaker, but the fishery of the future is the backbone, is going to be our reason for survival, is going to be a reason to bring hope back into rural Newfoundland and therefore hope back into the Province because that is where it starts, in rural Newfoundland. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I too would like to pass some comments on Bill 9 to establish a professional fish harvesters certification board and provide for certification of professional fish harvesters.

I commend the work done by Father Des McGrath and members of the Fishermen Food and Allied Workers Union in being the forerunners in putting forth legislation to deal with fish harvesters in this Province. We have numerous different groups and organizations that have certain professional organizational standards within the legal profession, parliamentarians, electricians and numerous groups. In addition to their union initiatives there is a certain professional aspect to the harvesting of different species in this Province. I think it is important that the people who are involved in harvesting, the fishers themselves are the ones who should have a particular input. They should be involved in setting the standards for the professional fish harvesters. It should not just be us -certainly as parliamentarians here - to initiate that and it has not been done. I understand that it could very well have come under the heading of Father Des McGrath because it is in line with what their suggestions are and I compliment the minister for seeing what they were presenting and having the harvesters themselves have the initiative and the input into establishing standards for professionalization for the people who are going to be affected by it, they should set standards. Sure, I say to the minister, we are doing the right thing.

I do have reservations on what is going to happen with the movement of a core fisher as set down by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and how it is going to affect the standards by which, and I am sure in the direction we are moving, that a core fisher of course, is not going to be one who meets the professionalization standards; they are not going to be parallel I understand, I mean from what is happening and I know it is the right of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to set down standards for licensing and who is eligible to avail of a specific licence, and it is also the right of this provincial body to set down legislation based on any training or any aspect of professionalization.

I know we have two areas of jurisdiction which clearly defines responsibilities but I think it is very important; I know the union - Father McGrath, I have spoken to him on occasion and had an opportunity to see some of the things that are being put forth here prior to this legislation, I don't think it was any secret of anybody's where they were moving in terms of getting this moved in the House and getting the co-operation of the minister and the department and this Legislature to accept that, but with reference to core fishers and I am not sure how closely the minister is pursuing this, I am not sure if the minister agrees with all the standards set down on core criteria.

For example, I will just touch on a few. There is reference made to a head of an active fishing enterprise for two of the last three years, there are numerous instances and the minister knows as well as I do, all around this Province, that we are the fishery that was in decline for some time and further north it was more pronounced and it gradually moved down to 2J, 3K and into 3L and a bit later in the 3No, 3Ps and other specific areas, the decline seemed to move from a northern area, whatever the reason may be, the colder water temperatures, maybe the salinity effect whatever the scientific reason we might give for this, we could see the decline coming.

The people out there could see it coming and we knew it was happening and that is why it is unfortunate too, that people who have had a long, historical attachment to the fishery, for twenty-five and thirty years, who, during the last two or three years jumped from an inshore to an offshore to get on a boat, back to an inshore when they thought it was going to be a good year as there were signs, and there was an opening in a crew, that now jeopardises them from meeting the standards for core fishery in this Province, that prevents them from being able to avail of multi-licences and so on of other species to enable them to be able to prosecute a fishery in the future that is going to be able to provide a livelihood for them and their families.

These are some of the concerns that we need to have a sensitivity by people within the department to be able to make decisions that are going to look at an historical attachment, and it doesn't matter if the person had to leave and go to Ontario on a construction job in 1990 because there was no fish in July or early July there were no signs, and that person fished for twenty-five or thirty years and came back again in the winter and missed one of those key years, we have to be looking at the long historical attachment. Somebody who was there in three years from 89, 90, 91 who just came in, was head of an enterprise during those years but still had their full time fishing license for a period of, we will say seven years, they can come and be eligible for access to any licence in the industry and a person who toiled for twenty-five years in the industry, and had to probably leave because the family had two or three kids or he could not afford to stay here, and barely meet minimum UI requirements and draw an unemployment cheque on which he couldn't live in the winter time, had to pursue other things.

Now there is opportunity and in the professionalization aspect, any fishery, and I have been speaking to DFO probably as much as anybody in this Province I would say, over the last four years, on hundreds of occasions represented in person almost 300 people and dealt with thousands of cases, some up to 250 in groups from entire plants in meetings arranged with these people and went through individual circumstances so the opportunity to be able to address those problems there with these people, I think is something that is important and we have to be looking at that aspect. For somebody who is in the industry for just a few years who, maybe, happen to get in and pursue a particular one and hit those three years and someone who twenty-five or thirty years in the industry and can't avail of these, that is what it makes it kind of difficult there, that we do not exercise provisions sufficient to base it on historical attachment to the fishery. They only have been applying - the federal government - and I think it is improper and it is wrong, and our Premier was the Minister of Fisheries there before, they only apply historical attachment when we have an extenuating circumstance. If there is an extenuating circumstance, we will only look at historical attachment then. They don't even include, for the sake of TAGS benefits, that historical attachment into the terms of these benefits.

I will use a specific example, and I appealed individual cases right to Treasury Board, and (inaudible) has spoken with higher officials in HRD as a test case. We had numerous people around this Province who were employed in the fishery, in fish plants or harvesters, who got injured on the job, and I will use an example. One person, in 1989, and was injured in 1990, came back into the industry - twenty-five years working in a fish plant, never missed a day in twenty-five years - and was injured, on workers' comp, after nine week's work. One week more and this person would have qualified for U.I. After nine weeks in the summer, he went on workers' comp, could not qualify for U.I., did not need to, receive workers' comp until next fall. One year out, could not qualify in 1989 because if he had to get one more week of work he would have qualified and got forty weeks credits, the next year missed it, and that person has lost two years of income because they would not consider that.

Now that, under NCARP, was an extenuating circumstance, and they would go back to previous years, to your historic attachment, and give you credit. Under TAGS they are not doing that. They are saying that workers' comp, it does not matter if you are hurt on the job - I understand there may be appeals to the Canadian Human Rights Commission in terms of addressing that, but it will never happen; the program will be long over with, and these people are so desperate; I have dealt with so many hardship cases in that category - why shouldn't somebody who has spent twenty-five uninterrupted years with 100 per cent of their income in the fishery, who happened to go on workers' comp for one year and went back on the job after, why should they be denied access to core fisher people in some instances, access to benefits that are laid down in a specific program? I don't think that is justified, and there are many, many hardship cases out there that we are going to start seeing now from May 11, with the minimum requirements.

They allowed them, they considered the workers' compensation, being off, to allow you to meet the requirements for TAGS, but once they got you in the door they wouldn't consider the workers' comp exception to allow you to have duration of benefits. They let you put your foot in the door, and they wouldn't give you benefits by getting in the door because of that, and that is improper. It is inconsistent with NCARP, it is improper, and it is not fair to those particular people.

Now, with core fisher persons, and there are certain criteria laid down for core enterprises, I should say, because basically where we are moving in the fishing industry we are going to be seeing that a person is going to be the head of their enterprise, and as an employer, I guess, if they move in that direction, I am not sure, I guess the person maybe has some right, maybe has the rights as to who that person would like to fish with that individual. If you have a business, you would like to have some flexibility if you owned a business, who you would like to work for you; there are certain standards. It is not everybody you may want to take out on a fishing boat just because they meet the requirements. Some people don't do the job at sea; it is hard work. When you are out there ten and twelve days at sea, it is tough work; and if you don't do your share, someone else pays the price. So the skipper of an enterprise is going to want people on that boat who are going to pull their own weight or are going to do the work and are not going to be a deterrent to the proper performance of that crew, and sometimes risk lives of crews, and their safety, because people don't want to do their work. So it is important to have that flexibility.

Under the criteria set down in the professionalization, it is not parallel to the core fisher persons at all. In fact, the head of an active enterprise for two of the last three years, of the qualifying years - and there are three different qualifying years; I won't get into those specifics, but it depends on whether you are currently active, whether you were TAGS eligible or NCARP eligible, those are the three areas, and I won't get deep into specifics - it says you must have operated a vessel using his licence and reported a minimum of $5,000 in earnings in that enterprise, if it is under thirty-five, or higher, $10,000 if it is thirty-five to sixty-five, and you must have 50 per cent of your fishing activity on your own registered vessel.

Well, it happened in certain instances that people could not get 50 per cent on their own registered vessel. There were various reasons. Once again - engine failures happen. Now, these are the type of things that are subject to review decisions, if someone is out of commission during the peak of the year. For example, in the past, if the engine gave out on your boat during a crab fishery that only lasted four or five days in instances, you lost tens of thousands of dollars in revenues because of an engine failure, and you couldn't get 50 per cent in a particular category, or in other species the same basic thing. They are the types of circumstances that should be left to people who understand the industry, boards.

I am glad to see here, of course - professional harvesters should be on the board. They have the majority of people on the board - fifteen is referenced here in the legislation. We need people who understand it, who are out there making day-to-day decisions. These people are responsible. They know what it takes and what we need to be able to represent industry. It is time that harvesters had a lot of input into what is happening out in the industry. It is very important. That is their specialty, harvesting. They should be permitted to set standards and make recommendation to the minister for adoption of legislation on harvesting. If we are dealing with other aspects, whether it is in processing, that is a category to deal with people who are experts in that and whatever specific area. We should be listening.

I am not sure if the minister had any particular input on the make-up of that board. I know I see here there are fifteen members to be appointed by the minister. There are going to be seven representatives and organizations that have been recognized by the Labour Relations Board. The FFAW is certainly a recognized one, and one from the Co-operatives. That will give eight out fifteen directly to the harvesters. The other seven, I am not sure if there was any particular submission or request or whether the minister was looking at having a greater representation and a core decision-making from the harvesters themselves. We still have, of course, seven others. They still a majority. If there is a unanimity on those particular things, they certainly can achieve what they want to achieve in those instances. That is just an area where I was wondering whether there were concerns expressed or whether there were any particular points in that regard.

It is important to see, of course, like most legislation - all legislation should be anyway - an appeal mechanism here. That has been provided also. Once again, it is good to see that two out of these three are going to be appointed by this harvesters group that is going to be able to have input in case somebody feels they weren't fairly assessed in terms of meeting the professional fish harvesting requirements that are set down.

In these professional requirements, as a result, it mentions his or her education, training, experience as a fish harvester, and a combination of education, training or experience and degree of dependency on the fishery for his or her own livelihood. Those aspects, too, I am sure when we see more specific regulations and how this breakdown is going to occur, what these standards, what is the cut-off point on some of these areas, and in order to be a professional harvester, too, of course there are going to be certain requirements in courses. It is important to have an education representative, and of course there is a person representing the training aspect, on that board, too.

So it is important that we cover all the bases there. I think Father Des McGrath and the union people have done a commendable job in, you know, laying out where they stand. We had an opportunity actually to meet and to go into detail and ask questions, too, way back sometime when this was in the early stages of developing legislation. Because it is so important that - we put the legislation in place, it is going to accomplish what the people affected by it most want to see accomplished. That is why this process, I think, sort of emanated from the union, from the desire to move forward in an industry of the future that is going to be professional, that is going to have a degree of regulation by the harvesters and their union representing themselves, and it is going to be embodied in legislation here in this Province that is going to put some teeth into that and be able to give some substance to it.

That is important, because there are always differences as to who should be a professional harvester by the people out there themselves. There is always a difference of opinion. Until we get to the point where this is accepted, it has little effect and creates more acrimony, in cases, than anything else. So that is good - I am encouraged to see that we are moving forward. We had hoped, I think, to have it implemented by January 1, but it is good at any time, of course.

I would encourage the minister to push to ensure that the core fisher aspect, which is still not resolved, I am sure, I say to the minister, very much unresolved. I am sure harvesters feel that we should have some degree of control over who should access certain standards and certain licences, the harvesters themselves. I know they are pressing upon the Federal Government, their representatives. Union representatives representing those groups are doing that. I know I have certainly voiced my input to people in DFO and people in decision-making wherever possible to suggest -not to criticize - to suggest where I feel the changes should be made. I have done that on many, many occasions, and I am sure people in those capacities down there will tell you exactly that - many recommendations, some of them I have seen come into print and have come into effect dealing with some of those changes. I hope that a resolution can be involved, because there is tremendous confusion out there.

We went through a phase last year, what we call SEC, special eligibility criteria. Now, how can you not be confused? The people themselves out in the industry are confused. Special eligibility criteria was going to establish certain ground rules by which harvesters out there, heads of enterprise could establish and meet certain criteria to be able to be available for a license.

Let's use the crab fishery - the quota was increased and the inshore boats could get up to 5 metric tons for those small enterprises. There was a massive rush of small enterprises trying to get in on a draw to get a crab license. Unless you made certain criteria there, which was special eligibility criteria - in fact, last year that occurred, I think the first time it went to the small under thirty-five, 5 metric ton. This year now they are in the process of hearing, it was 100 probably in (inaudible) it was 170 or whatever. I know dozens that I'm dealing with, which are being heard in this area now starting in June. There is a whole rash of them coming up. Here is the confusion, the special eligibility criteria is going to make a decision now this month or in June, on whether these people meet the criteria that they might be able to be in a draw, but when that is over, that dies. There is no more special eligibility criteria. That is the end of special eligibility criteria.

We have a whole new category now that - a core enterprise is going on now simultaneously with a special eligibility criteria and it is utter confusion unless you know it inside out and have looked at the details and have dealt with it. How can the ordinary person out there, even a fish harvester, understand this? It is only the higher levels or the bureaucrats in the system who deal with this specifically who understand it.

MR. G. REID: I don't know if they do or not.

MR. SULLIVAN: And I am not sure it they do, maybe they are not. I say to the Member for Twillingate & Fogo, that is probably the case, that they don't understand it. It keeps changing in fact, from week to week. I deal with it from one week to the next and I have often seen, from one week to another, that there is now different tolerances built in there that were not there the week before. So I think we are evolving now. That is where we are now, we are in the evolution of a process for core fishers that is going to get the least possible public resistance out of the options that are available. That is where we are feeling our way right now. That is what is happening really. I have voiced mine over the past while, over the past few months in particular, as this is evolving, exactly where we should be going, what we should be doing and how we should be accomplishing this. I think we should come out with a clear-cut, one category, right, concise, and meet these criteria instead of running through a special eligibility status into a core status and that is changing every single week or so, at least some things. When there is a loud public outcry, as we noticed - I know the fishermen's union expressed it, the fish harvesters and the public, then there were some changes allowed in this process.

So it is a response to public reaction and that would not be necessary, I can tell you, if we had a process whereby the consultation occurred sufficiently in the beginning we would not be having to react to public outbursts. We have seen it - I don't have to tell this government about that - recently. We have seen our college system with no advanced consultation, we have seen it with public exams. There was no consultation that was promised. We are seeing it in many aspects of this Budget that the people out there are mad because they were told they were going to be consulted - but they had no input into it, the professionals are dealing with it - the teachers, the students and the parents in our education system.

The same thing applied here in Term 17, another example. I had an opportunity to have some input on that, that I saw happening and to ensure that our views are put out there clearly. Crown land is another example. We have had busing situations. We could go on and on. There are limitless numbers of them and there are more probably going to crop up over the next while from the Budget that we have not even seen it. So here are some of the points as to why it is important and I do feel, in this specific area, this specific legislation, that there was a fair amount of consultation. Well, the work was really done - I am sure the minister acknowledged - by Father Des McGrath. The union people did tremendous ground work on this and I think it is incumbent to - and the minister has tabled this bill here in the House to put into effect really what they want. I am not sure if they deviated in any particular way from what they asked.

I had one question - I think the minister probably did not hear it, he was speaking to somebody at the time - with reference to the fifteen I just mentioned on the board. I know eight of these fifteen represent harvesters, seven from a certified one to bargain on their behalf, which would be the FFAW, the UFCW, or whatever the case may be, and also one from the cooperatives group which would make it eight. Out of the other seven have there been submissions or suggestions that maybe it is just the bare minimum from the harvesters and that it should be a greater proportion? Has the minister had any submission to him on that? On that now we have, from his department, from Fisheries and Aquaculture, a representative, from Environment and Labour Relations, from Fisheries Oceans, Human Resource Development Canada, from post-secondary education and training institution, and a representative at large chosen by the minister. Basically, seven out of fifteen are not from the harvesting sector.

So, overall I certainly do not have a problem. My caucus has looked at this, have met, and gone through the professionalization of Newfoundland Fish Harvesters that FFAW was involved in. We have gone through that in detail, all our caucus, we went through this process, and there is nothing here that raises any particular concerns that should come up for amendment, at least up to now. We will have an opportunity in committee stage to have a little closer look at this in case there are any suggestions.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Sure. As of now we are quite content, and we can certainly support the initiatives here undertaken in Bill 9.

MR. SPEAKER: If the minister speaks now he closes debate.

The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I want to begin by expressing appreciation to all members of the House of Assembly for supporting this piece of legislation that is so important to the success of the future of the fisheries in this Province. What this bill accomplishes is recognition in the fishing industry as it should be and as is recognized in most and every other profession. All too long we have gone on in this Province and not given enough respect to the people and to the industry as a whole, and not given enough attention to the people involved in the industry in allowing them to be a part of the professionalization of an industry that is so vital to the economy of this Province. That is the real question, an industry that is so vital to the economy of this Province.

As many debaters and many speakers in the House have said, and as I said in the introduction of this piece of legislation, of all the years we have been involved in the fishing industry, the 500 years, the age of this Province, from the very beginning up until just recently most people in this Province did not recognize or see the value and importance of the industry to the economic success of this Province. Only during and after we went through a major crisis where we saw the total collapse of the industry, did we then start to sit down and talk, and put a proper plan in place, that in rebuilding and in reorganizing, and in restructuring the fisheries of the future did we then realize the necessity of the importance of recognizing the value of the fishery to the whole of this Province?

Yes, the fishery is the backbone of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, has always been, and must continue to be. We must make some major changes in the fisheries of the future if it is going to be successful. The one thing that we can do is stop complaining and pointing fingers as to what happened in the past. It happened, its over with, and now it is time to rebuild. There is a lot positive that has come out of the collapse of the fishery and what we can do is take advantage of what we have learned from the errors of the past and apply them to the success of the fishery of the future.

The certification of the professionalization of the fishing industry of this Province is exactly intended to do that. It is the beginning of the rebuilding of an industry that will see the revitalization of rural Newfoundland. The resource that we have in around the shores of our Province will be utilized to the best advantage for the whole of the Province and especially those with a direct involvement in the industry. We must respect it, we must take care of it and we must rebuild it in the professional manner the same as we would any other industry. Any other corporation, the fisherpeople today are business people. The amount of money that is handled, the amount of transaction, the amount of purchase, the amount of sale, the amount of marketing, the amount of technology in the fishing industry is comparable to any other industry in this world, yet we have never looked at it in that manner. We have never respected it in that manner, only as I said earlier, only after the crisis did we then begin to do that.

The one, positive thing that I am totally satisfied with as minister, and as a citizen and as an individual who lives in the fishing community, that now, it is not only recognized by a few, by a government, by a union or by a sector of this Province, it is recognized now, and I think I have the confidence to say by the majority of the people in the whole of the Province, by all business sectors because businesses have collapsed, not only businesses selling marine supplies and fishing supplies, they collapsed at the moratorium, but many other businesses, because of the spin-off factor of all that amount of money that was derived from the fishing industry, and if I remember correctly, the year previous to the moratorium, I think it was $700 million plus, around that figure, value added product, total economy to the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in one year, and it went right down to less than $100 million except for the crab industry and underutilized species.

So we made a lot of mistakes, we lost a lot of money, we took a lot of pain and now the rebuilding structure is in place, but it is very, very vital and important to the rebuilding of the future that is a total recognition and a partnership, a partnership by all people in the industry and all recognized and supported by all people in the Province. It cannot work unless it is a partnership; it cannot work unless it is accepted by the industry in its totality. No more can I expect that this professionalization will work by just introducing it and passing it in this House of Assembly and through the Legislature, unless we have the commitment by industry as a whole.

From the time that people go aboard their boats, the preparation of going aboard their boats, and from all sectors involved and that piece of fish, that product hits the consumer table and we have total respect and total maximum benefits out of that piece of product, will it be a success, and that can only happen with a partnership thinking, that can only happen with everybody being totally committed to the industry. I have no doubt that we have a lot of work to do; I have no doubt that we must still have a lot of consultation as members opposite and the Leader of the Opposition Party pointed out, a lot of consultation has been done but there is also a lot that needs to be done in order to have commitment, in order to have attitudes changed as the Member for Baie Verte said, attitudes, commitment, all go hand in hand; education, action, professionalization, thinking, this is mine, I am going to act in the manner in which it benefits me and if everybody acts in that matter, it will benefit everybody in the industry as a whole and the Province as a whole. That is what is hoped to be gained by this piece of legislation, Mr. Speaker, so in closing, without repeating and being repetitious of what has already been said today, the intent of the legislation is to direct and carve out a direction for the future of the fishery in this Province that will be competitive and equal to and better than, any other part of this world.

It is a major industry and it is a major industry that we must develop, otherwise we will fall behind. This is a major piece of legislation, an historic day in the Province, Mr. Speaker, and I am pleased as Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture to be able to stand in this House of Assembly with the co-operation and the recognition by all members of the House, the importance of this piece of legislation and I just want to, in closing, express appreciation and thanks to all members.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Establish The Professional Fish Harvesters Certification Board And To Provide For The Certification Of Professional Fish Harvesters", read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House on tomorrow. (Bill No. 9)

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, we had intended, if we had finished a little bit earlier, to go into Committee to do Committee of Supply on the three heads that are referred to the House, but I think we have agreement from the other side that we will call it 12:00 and start on those items on Monday, because by the time we get into Committee and get out, the rest of the time will be gone anyway.

I move that the House do now adjourn until Monday.

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