December 12, 1996          HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS         Vol. XLIII  No. 52

 


The House met at 2: 00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Statements by Ministers

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of all members of the House and indeed on behalf of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, to congratulate Dr. Max House on his appointment on his nomination as the Lieutenant-Governor for the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

At the same time, I wish to extend a sincere thank you to His Honour, the Honourable Frederick Russell and his wife, Mrs. Russell, who have served the people of Newfoundland and Labrador faithfully and with great energy and great dedication over the past five years.

Mr. Speaker, His Honour's extensive background of community and military service on behalf of his Province and indeed his country have reflected well again and again, in his service as Lieutenant- Governor, and the government is pleased and proud to have had the benefit of his advice and his experience over these last five years.

Mr. Speaker, His Honour has had five decades of continuous service to the people of this Province and indeed to the people of the country. He began that service with great courage and great distinction back in 1942 - a period of 1942 to 1945 when he served as a Mosquito night fighter pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force, trained in this country but he served in Britain, France and in Holland. After the war years, Mr. Speaker, he assumed greater and more important roles and responsibilities in a wide variety of fields in the business life of this Province. Indeed, he was a very important contributor for many years to labour relations as well in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Among his many distinctions, was a period of time as Chairman of the United Church School Board here in the City of St. John's; he was Chairman of the Board of Regents of Memorial University. He was named, Mr. Speaker, a member of the Order of Canada and, Mr. Speaker, served in a wide variety of fields, a great deal of it volunteer time, freely given with no other expectation of any reward for himself or for his family other than the betterment of the community, the Province and indeed of the country.

Mr. Speaker, on a personal note, in the time that I have been here, I want to extend a personal `thank you', and in so doing, I think I reflect the feelings thank you to His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor whom I have made it a practice to see regularly for breakfast meetings, to seek his council, to seek his advice, to draw on his experience, and I hope I have been able to perform better in my duties because of that time which he has so freely given, and I know the same was true of Premier Wells when he was here as well. Mr. Speaker, today we thank him for a job well done and we thank Mrs Russell as well.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER TOBIN: The Lieutenant-Governor's shoes, because of the great energy, the tremendous energy, and organization he has brought to the job, of course, will be both literally, and I am sure he will not mind my saying, figuratively, hard to fill, but I think an excellent candidate has been nominated.

Dr. Max House is a superb choice to represent the Queen in Newfoundland and Labrador. He, too, has a long history of service to the people of this Province, dating back to the 1950s when he was a medical practitioner in Baie Verte. From 1960 to 1965 he was the only neurologist serving in the Province. Later he served as the Chief of Neurology at the General Hospital in St. John's, from 1966 to 1974, and Professor of Neurology at Memorial University School of Medicine, a school which he played a significant role in establishing during the 1960s.

Dr. House's commitment to high standards of medical education and service, and his previous experience with the difficulties of providing adequate medical care in a remote area, led him to the work that has brought him international recognition. In 1976 Dr. House founded the Telemedicine Centre at Memorial University, and as a result he is known as a Canadian pioneer of telemedicine, and is also widely acknowledged as a world pioneer in this field.

Under Dr. House's guiding hand, the Telemedicine Centre at MUN has brought international recognition to the university, and indeed to the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. At home, his leadership in telemedicine has fostered a relationship between health and education users within the university and throughout the Province, with the result that facilities initially developed for health care now play a major role in distance education at both the secondary and post-secondary levels.

Mr. Speaker, Dr. House's experience is so well regarded that he has been called upon to serve on numerous local, national, and international committees. He has delivered keynote addresses at conferences in more than thirty-five countries, and has directed many telemedicine and distance education projects in Africa and the Caribbean.

Mr. Speaker, the role of the Lieutenant-Governor is an important one - indeed, a vital one - for the exercise of government and democracy in our Province. With his long record of public service, Dr. House is a superb choice, and I believe that all members, and indeed all the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, will be proud to have him as our new Lieutenant-Governor. On behalf of the people of the Province, I wish to congratulate Dr. House, and his wife Mary, on this important appointment, which is to take effect early in February. Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I too join with the Premier in congratulating Dr. House on his appointment to his new position to take effect in February. I also certainly join with him too in thanking, and certainly I speak on behalf of the Official Opposition here, His Honour the hon. Fred Russell and his wife for their contribution to the position over the past five years. I'm sure His Honour Mr. Russell too has given distinguished service in a very professional manner. He has contributed to the history of our Province over many years.

Dr. House is an excellent individual who has had a very distinguished life in this Province in the medical field. He served at the General Hospital as the Premier mentioned when - in fact, I worked there during three different years, and he was Chief of Neurology there, and he was a very well respected and noted physician and specialist in that area. I certainly have all the confidence that the integrity and the professionalism that he brought to his regular working life will be exhibited in his new position as Lieutenant-Governor in this Province. I wish him and his wife all the best in their new position. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave!

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

The hon. the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to join in thanking Dr. Fred Russell and Mrs. Russell for their service to the Province over the last five years, and also to welcome the appointment of Dr. Max House as Lieutenant-Governor for this Province.

It is particularly fitting that Dr. House is well known and famous for his efforts in providing or finding ways, and creative ways, of bringing medical services to remote areas, and particularly in a province such as Newfoundland with so many communities. I think it is very fitting that he be in this position, and I look forward to seeing him in this position and serving the Province in the position of Lieutenant-Governor.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to report to hon. members that the outlook for the 1997 caplin fishery is very promising. This is due, in part, to the fact that my federal colleague has made an early announcement on what the total allowable catch will be, as was done by his predecessor, for the 1996 fishery. Before that, however, announcements on whether there would be a fishery and what the TAC would be were not made in time for the industry to prepare properly for the fishery.

Clearly, Mr. Speaker, that is changing and I commend Minister Mifflin for it. Now, with the early notice there will be a fishery, processors and harvesters can proceed with their plans to invest properly in their businesses to prepare for the 1997 fishery, and will be able to assure our markets that orders can be met.

I am also pleased, Mr. Speaker, that the Federal Government will have caplin management measures to keep dumping, discarding and by-catch of other species at a minimum. I fully agree with Minister Mifflin that while there are improvements in environmental and biological factors for caplin, conservation has to be priority number one.

Mr. Speaker, as provincial Minister of Fisheries, I am considering measures that will reduce or eliminate dumping totally at the processing level. My department will also continue its very effective inspection program to ensure that we continue to serve the market with premium quality products. For any species, quality has to be given top priority by everyone handling the product in order to maximize the returns to the fishing industry and to the economy.

I am confident that the combined measures taken by my department and that of Fisheries and Oceans will result in a 1997 caplin fishery that performs even better than 1996 when the export value was approximately $20 million.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is certainly my pleasure to comment on and congratulate the minister on having an early management plan. I must say, he is performing his duties on a faster schedule than his predecessor in getting an early management plan so people can plan ahead. I think it is important in the industry that people know in advance so that their plans and their markets can be determined, and especially it has an effect overall on the pricing structure and ultimately on the revenues that our Province will accrue.

I think it is important, with conservation, to ensure that a species such as the caplin that is basic and at the lower level in the food chain, for other species - in particular cod - that we approach it with a mind to conservation because, for a period of time, caplin have not been as large in size. It has had some effect over the years, and there have been a lot of people out there with certain scepticism, too.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SULLIVAN: With leave, just to finish, Mr. Speaker?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave.

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, there has been certain scepticism whether it is in the best interest but I am sure, with caution and reducing dumping and discarding, and doing it with conservation in mind - we cannot afford to make mistakes of the past when we disregarded conservation to balance the social aspects of the Province.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador will once again provide funding of $25,000 for a Provincial High School Drama Festival during May, 1997. These funds are used to assist with accommodations and meals for students and teachers, and other expenses incurred in operating the Festival. The drama clubs in participating schools raise funds to cover other costs such as student transportation to the location of the Festival.

Mr. Speaker, the Provincial High School Drama Festival is a major annual activity of the Department of Education and secondary schools throughout the Province. During the school year, schools participate in a Regional Festival and a school from each region is selected to participate in the Provincial Festival. Every year there are in excess of 100 schools participating in these Regional Festivals. The Provincial and Regional Festivals involve large numbers of senior high students who excel in acting as well as public speaking.

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to announce that the 23rd Provincial High School Drama Festival will be hosted at Discovery Collegiate, in Bonavista, on May 8, 9 and 10, 1997. The Department of Education will be organizing the Festival in partnership with the Clarenville/Bonavista School District and Discovery Collegiate itself.

During the Winter/Spring of 1997, there will be ten Regional Festivals, one within each of the ten new school districts. One school from each school district, or region, plus the host school, Discovery Collegiate, will be invited to participate in the Provincial High School Drama Festival in May. The host school will be writing a play to be performed on opening night that will reflect the historic landfall of John Cabot at Bonavista in 1497.

Mr. Speaker, Drama and theatre arts is an important component of the schools' curriculum and the cultural heritage of our Province. As well, 1997 has been declared the Year of the Arts. The 23rd Provincial High School Drama Festival will be a special event as part of the Cabot 500 Celebrations.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This is a good news story for education, and after this particular week, we need in education, good news stories. We need this government, Mr. Speaker, to continue with its obligation and to ensure that its commitment of the past to the students of this Province is kept. So I endorse this announcement. This is good news. Drama is important, Mr. Speaker, music is important, athletics is important, visual arts is important, travel for students is important, student exchange programs, Mr. Speaker, an improved and more varied curriculum is important, and improved facilities for the students of our Province. All of these things are essential, Mr. Speaker, and that is why we, on this side of the House, along with thousands and thousands of Newfoundlanders, are demanding of this government that they own up to their commitment to insure that there is funding for the students of this Province, funding which they deserve.

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 for the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

I ask the minister, what are the increased costs to Newfoundland and Labrador respecting the harmonized sales tax if only three provinces are on stream?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

MR. DICKS: Mr. Speaker, there are no increased costs. There is a savings of approximately $3 million in administration for this Province alone.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Is the minister aware that extra distribution, warehousing, logistic costs incurred by suppliers and particularly to independent, small retail chains, are going to be passed on to consumers?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

MR. DICKS: No, Mr. Speaker, quite the opposite.

There was some controversy among certain retailers at the beginning who made an issue as to the cost of having to print separate catalogues, for example, for the harmonized region and not being able to show a tax-inclusive price, and that prices here would be different from elsewhere.

On closer examination, it in fact turns out that most national retailers have as much as nine different zones where they print nine different catalogues, so it is very easy to make that adjustment. But to provide for any degree of uncertainty that remains, the Federal Government has agreed with the provinces to allow for a system of tax-inclusive pricing that also allows manufacturers to show the price pre-tax, before the 15 per cent is added on. All the analysis that we show, indicate that there will be substantial savings as a result of this and as a result of full GSP input tax credits. We expect prices to be substantially lower and not increase as a result of any marginal cost or change in computers and things of that sort that businesses have to do the change from 19.84 per cent tax to a 15 per cent tax.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Has the minister assessed the cost that retail operators are going to incur now when they re-ticket merchandise and when they re-program their computer systems? Has he considered those costs?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

MR. DICKS: Yes, Mr. Speaker, we have considered those costs and they were raised with one business group who came to see me. I am not in a position to go out and ask every particular business what it would be, but I asked, for instance, Peter O'Brien, the Canadian small business representative in the Maritime region in particular. He said that the cost was incidental and that the benefits far outweighed it.

I have asked individual retailers, and most of them assure me that in all their operations, even the larger operations, it is insignificant compared to the benefits received. Having met with one business group that raised the issue, I told them to report back to me if they thought they were substantial or significant, and I have not heard back from them. I assume on that basis, Mr. Speaker, that they are entirely incidental.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

On April 1, the price of a fur coat will decrease, but the price of children's boots will increase by 8 per cent. Does the minister believe that this is fair and realistic for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

MR. DICKS: Mr. Speaker, some things will rise in price, but people buy more than one or two items. Each family unit - and I have said this before - from as little income as $10,000 per year will benefit from harmonization. If you focus on one item that may have an increased tax, there are at least ten to 100 items that I can list by way of example where there are tax reductions. So it is a mug's game. The Treasury of this Province is losing $105 million off its tax base. That is going to consumers. There may be some items that increase, but by far and away the very substantial amounts of tax decrease will off-weigh them.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Federal Government has discovered that tax-included pricing is too costly to implement for postage stamps but it is okay for everything in Atlantic Canada. Now, can the minister explain why the Federal Government are applying two standards, one for themselves and one for the rest of us?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

MR. DICKS: Mr. Speaker, if anybody could delve the mysteries at Canada Post I am sure they would do a - better than be Minister of Finance. I have no idea what the Federal Government's position is. I can explain the Province's. I am sure if there are any concerns at a federal level people will raise it in that Chamber, but we see no problems.

It is a much simpler system. All retailers now have to do is, there will be one tax at 15 per cent, remitted once a month to one particular tax collector, and that happens to be Revenue Canada in this instance. Right now they have to do two tax calculations, one at 7 per cent, one at 12.84 per cent on top of that. They have to remit them at two or three different times, depending on whether or not they want to do their GST monthly, quarterly, annually. They get GST inputs on some things, they don't get them on others. RST is on some goods, it isn't on - I'm sorry. The GST is on virtually everything, RST doesn't apply. It is a nightmare to try to run a business and comply with the tax laws we have in the Province and federally presently. This is a much simpler system and I have every confidence that the support of the business community is there, and that consumers will be the ones who ultimately benefit.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

So the minister is telling us now that his new taxes on insurance, on the private sale of vehicles, and those other - liquor tax, are going to be collected by the Federal Government? if we are eliminating duplication. They are still going to be collected by the Provincial Government. We still have some duplication in the system, I say to the minister. But children's clothing, school supplies, gas, electricity: Minister, do you believe that these are important items for people in Newfoundland and Labrador? Why are you increasing the cost of these necessities?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

MR. DICKS: Mr. Speaker, what is too high in this Province and in many others in this country is the level of taxation. We have a burden that is close to 20 per cent on retail goods. We are prepared, as a province, to reduce that by $105 million. I can see no rationale where the people of this Province will arrive at the conclusion that it is better to have a 20 per cent tax rate than a 15 per cent tax rate.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

As the saying goes, we are taxed to death. Did you tell the people of this Province, Minister, that they now even have to pay more to die? There is a tax on death. Will you do the hon. thing and let this legislation die?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

MR. DICKS: Mr. Speaker, I am concerned with how people live, and I am concerned that in this Province the burden of living is exaggerated by the fact that we have a very high tax rate on income that you earn. We have the highest tax rate in the country. On your residual income, after you pay a tax, you have to pay more tax on goods that that you purchase. We tax and we tax again. We have to simplify the tax system, we have to reduce the tax burden.

Outside the hon. member, no person has come to me and said they are concerned that taxes will increase. I mean, it is very simple that across the board the tax burden is being lessened. I say to the hon. member that what I am concerned about is how people live. I am convinced that the GST and PST harmonization under a new HST system will benefit and the benefits will be magnified in this Province beyond what it is in the other two provinces that are part of this union.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, the minister and the Premier tried to sell this harmonization on the basis that it will put $100 million more back in the pockets of consumers in the Province. Now the Retail Council of Canada said that by adopting the inclusive tax-in pricing in only three provinces it will exceed, by many times, the savings of harmonization. Just ten members of that council submitted in confidence, material to the retail council showing their costs -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member is on a supplementary.

MR. SULLIVAN: - will increase by $28 million. I ask the minister, has this government done its homework and will it provide figures of its analysis of the impact of tax inclusive pricing?

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

MR. DICKS: Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member may know, some groups and some individuals grossly exaggerate these costs in order to try to get things changed. There is a group in this country and there are some national retailers, two in fact and I won't name them, who have come forward and said this will be terrible, that this will increase the costs. Every time you ask them to pin it down you get a different answer. The truth is, whether the figure is $28 million, $100 million, the minister of Nova Scotia told me that the retailers in his Province went in and said it will cost $200 million. He went back and challenged - the figure just simply is not there. The cost to business in making the change from 19.84 per cent to 15 per cent is so infinitesimal in terms of the value that businesses will receive out of this, that is inconsequential. I challenge the hon. member to go out there and deliver to this House by tomorrow, the name of twelve retailers of this Province who want a 20 per cent system instead of a 15 per cent system. I would like to see the list because they don't come to my office, I have not seen one, nor do I expect to see them. I will say further to the hon. member, if the majority of retailers of this Province want a 20 per cent tax system they can have it but he won't see it.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: I say to the minister, when the price of a fur coat goes down and the price of children's clothing, shoes and materials goes up, we have a problem.

Now since many suppliers are located in provinces that have not harmonized their tax they will not benefit from the input tax credits in respect of the provincial taxes. So I ask the minister, has he assessed the impact that this will have on the price of goods?

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

MR. DICKS: Yes, precisely, Mr. Speaker. There are two benefits to consumers, one is there are input tax credits that business receives as a result of buying goods that are subject to similar taxes along the line from production, whether it is wood harvested and manufactured into furniture, through the manufacturing, through the warehousing and through the distribution challenges to find a retailer, all those systems are direct tax input credits. What the person does when he, she or it charges tax, they deduct from the end tax all the input tax credits that they themselves have accumulated. The second benefit is indirect tax credits. In your general things, like your purchase of motor vehicles that don't go directly into the cost of goods, your legal fees, accounting fees and things that go into most businesses, those take a little longer to work though the system but in every analysis that we have done, there will be substantial savings directly in the cost of tax. We expect that within a year the full directing input and indirect tax credits should work their way through the system resulting in an ultimate reduction of the cost of the individual item before the tax is added. So in all the scenarios that we have looked at, there should be a substantial benefit to consumers, both in reducing the price of goods and reducing them immediately the tax burden.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I asked questions to him regarding suppliers located in other provinces that are not in the harmonized tax zone therefore they are not going to benefit from input tax credits. Have you assessed the impact that this is going to transfer into the price of a good that is sold in this Province that is in this harmonized area? I didn't ask him a definition of input tax credits. I wonder if the minister can answer that?

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

MR. DICKS: Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. What happens for example if a Newfoundland business or business in Labrador were to order goods from somewhere in Ontario, a business in Ontario, when those goods leave Ontario there is no tax on them because they are exported from that Province. They are subject to the GST, 7 per cent but they are not subject to the Ontario sales tax, which I think is somewhere in the vicinity of 10 per cent because they are destined outside that province. So when a Newfoundland business receives those goods it then takes a credit on the 7 per cent. So I don't understand the hon. member's question because it is a benefit in that we now receive goods without any provincial sales tax from other provinces being applied to it because there are extra provincial sales in those jurisdictions.

Secondly, Mr. Speaker, when goods are sold outside the zone our manufacturers have the benefit of the deductions of the GST tax credits as well, so I really do not see any substantial, or I do not sense anything to his question in terms of how there is a detriment to the business in our Province. Perhaps I misunderstand because the hon. member knows provincial tax only applied within the Province. That would have no impact on the cost of goods to our producers and distributers as I see it.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, I say I did not see anything substantive to the answer, not the question. The Quebec Department of Finance studied tax-in pricing three years ago and again recently, and on both occasions they concluded it is not a viable option, I say to the minister. Is the minister aware that retailers who have strived for years to take cost out of operations and make it competitive will now see this work destroyed by tax inclusive pricing?

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

MR. DICKS: Mr. Speaker, the greater argument in favour of tax inclusive pricing is to avoid sticker shock. I am sure any member of this House has gone in somewhere, bought something at $10.00, or take a price, and suddenly when they went to the check-out they had to pay $12.00 for it. You can imagine people who come here from the States or Europe who have a different system, where it is all included, and they see the price of goods go up by 20 per cent. I have heard from merchants and customers, that there is still an aspect of shock when you actually have to pay the tax on it.

The value of tax inclusive pricing is when you look at a good and see it for sale that is the price. You know what it is. It includes all the taxes and you do not have to do any calculations, either 20 per cent or 19.84, you see what the price is. It encourages the sales, people know what it is, and they have the assurance that this is all you pay. I do not see a downside to that, Mr. Speaker. In fact I believe there is a very positive upside, particularly for tourists who come to this Province, and particularly from outside the country.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: I am not talking about the concept of where the tax is included. I am talking about the total cost of the goods that the consumer pays. I say to the minister, too, that the Retail Council of Canada said they are concerned that some of the communications from government have left the impression out in the public, a mistaken impression of the impact of tax-in pricing.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member is on a supplementary and I ask him to get to his question.

MR. SULLIVAN: I ask the minister if this government will come clean with the people and tell the full and true story about tax inclusive pricing?

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

MR. DICKS: Mr. Speaker, the member is focusing on business reactions on this. Let me just say that the important thing in the Province is how it effects the majority of people in this Province who are not in business. We have a substantial positive reaction. People are in favour of this. If you want to look at the business community, and I believe that is important as well, every Chamber of Commerce that came to the hearings I had last year, with the exception of a couple of major retailers whom I challenged and who did not respond to the challenge, have been universally in favour of this.

They have advocated for years, ever since the GST was introduced in 1990, that tax inclusive pricing is seen by the majority of businesses as a very positive aspect of this. You will have some national retailers who say it is going to add to the cost of putting out additional flyers, but frankly I do not accept it, and to the extent that they are prepared to say they do not want it, I am prepared to say to any national group that does not want to be part of the system that you can still retain a 20 per cent tax system in this Province for your goods. You will not get GST and put credits.

Now, bring in whichever national group you want and if they want it I will particularly make an exception for them, but I challenge the hon. member, bring me a Simpsons, bring me a Canadian Tire, bring me whomever else that wants a 20 per cent tax rate with no (inaudible) tax credits and they can have it. The public will have the option of going to the other businesses in this Province that charge a 15 per cent tax rate.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, he is failing to realize that more than businesses buy school supplies, gas, children's clothing, and electricity. Tax included pricing is costly when only three provinces buy into the deal I say to the minister. If all provinces bought in it would not be detrimental. Now, will the minister admit that the only reason we are stuck with this HST agreement is because the Prime Minister gave orders to his only three Liberal governments in Canada to pretend they scraped the GST, including the Premier who is now trying to save face on that?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, this must be the first Leader of the Opposition in history who is standing valiantly fighting to retain a 20 per cent tax rate because the government is threatening to lower the tax to 15 per cent. Since 1949 every single government in office has either borrowed more or taxed more when confronted with the challenge for growth, and we have a Minister of Finance who is going to produce a 5 per cent drop in the retail sales tax, leave $105 million in the economy of the Province to help the average citizen, and the Leader of the Opposition is crying `foul'. I would say that if he does not get his economic facts better straightened away, his goose will be cooked with the public next time around.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. H. HODDER: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. My questions are to the Minister of Social Services.

Yesterday, in a ministerial statement, the minister indicated that there were 110 people in the Province who received $3,000 or more in home care support. She also indicated that each of these persons was individually assessed and the monthly support payment was only reduced with the approval of the client or the family, or their representative. In fact, that minister stated that thirty-five persons, or 31.8 per cent of all clients, willingly agreed to have their funding needs reduced.

That statement, Madam Minister, is absolutely inconsistent with the information that has been coming to my office in the last twenty-four hours, and contrary to comments in the public media this morning.

Madam Minister, whose comments reflect the reality: those of the clients, or yours in the House yesterday?

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

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

I say to my hon. colleague, I stand firmly behind my ministerial statement yesterday. I used the information based on fact, which is a basis of truth, and that is what I based it on.

I can further say that any person who received twenty-four hour care, or less than $500, was not affected by a 10 per cent reduction. I fear the member across the House is confused about this particular policy.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MS J.M. AYLWARD: I fear he is confused.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS J.M. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, my colleague is confused. Any person who is receiving over $3,000 per month was not affected by this reduction without their consent. That is the fact, the truth, of the matter.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

Madam Minister, in addition to the case that was mentioned in the local CBC program this morning, what do you say to a mother, to whom I talked yesterday afternoon, who is caring for a forty-one-year-old severely disabled daughter. In her words, she has been pushed, forced, persuaded, coerced, and intimidated to agree to a reduction in her support from 240 hours week to 120 hours per week -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member is on a supplementary; I ask him to get to his question.

MR. H. HODDER: - and now she finds herself having to give her daughter twenty-four hour care seven days a week, and it is expected that she will be there all of the time.

What do you say to that? She does not agree with your comments, and neither do I, and I am not confused about it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

I refer to some of my previous comments yesterday. I have a lot more faith in my front-line workers than to think they would persuade and coerce, and all the other things that you mentioned. I take great offence to that, Mr. Speaker.

I also say that when cases are put forward by the media, as my colleague knows, I cannot speak directly to a case. But I would say to my colleague to get all the information, get all the facts, before you state your case, because I fear you are missing a lot of information.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. H. HODDER: Madam Minister, we saw your commitment to front-line workers yesterday here in this House. There were about fifty of them in the gallery, and you disowned them.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. H. HODDER: They are the real front-line workers. They are the people who are on the front lines every day.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member is on a supplementary.

MR. H. HODDER: Madam Minister, it was your department that gave explicit instructions to your personnel to be aggressive in finding ways to reduce home care support for those who received $3,000 or more. Directions from the minister's office -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member is on a supplementary; I ask him to get to his question.

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

Directions from the minister's office have a tremendous impact on the methodologies used. Surely, Madam Minister, you are not surprised at that.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member is on a supplementary; I ask him to get to his question.

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

Will the minister review each of the thirty-five cases where she says consensual agreement has been reached?

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

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

I have every confidence in my front-line staff who have individually assessed all of those cases, Mr. Speaker. No, I will not go back and redo their work, because I have confidence in their decisions and I will stand by their decisions.

MR. SPEAKER: Final supplementary, the hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. H. HODDER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yesterday in the House the minister noted the great increases in the home care funding. Madam Minister, I noted yesterday that you did not indicate how much money was transferred from other government departments over the past ten years since the program began, since 1986. Have you completed an analysis of where the funding has come from, and how much indeed we are saving, when we know that some clients were subsidized to $20,000 a month in hospital and are now being serviced at $5,000 or $6,000 a month in home care? Have you completed a ten-year analysis of where the money comes from and how much real new money indeed is being spent by the government in its total Budget?

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

MS J.M. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I think yesterday in my statement I pointed out that there is over $39 million being spent on the home support program from $250,000 ten years ago. I think that states clearly a significant amount of money. I also stand by the fact that we have the richest home support program in this country. I know of people who have left this Province and flown to B.C. to get home support services, and they returned because they weren't paying the same amount of money in the richest province in the country that we are paying here in this Province of ours. So I stand firm behind the program we support, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

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

MR. OSBORNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My questions are for the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. Her department has just sent out 400,000 packages inviting people to visit the Cabot 500 celebrations in our Province next year. But when I called St. John's area hotels to check the vacancies for one of the major events next summer - I picked the Festival 500, which is still seven months away -, I was told that some of the hotels have very limited accommodations available. Two of them were completely booked -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear! Hear, hear!

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

MR. OSBORNE: Two of the other hotels are completely booked solid

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear! Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I remind the hon. members again that we are in question period. Let's get on with the questions.

MR. OSBORNE: The other two remaining hotels, I say to the minister, have only the most expensive rooms remaining, starting at $165 a night -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. OSBORNE: - and (inaudible) going well beyond $200 per night single, plus taxes. I ask the minister, what specifically is she going to do about the mounting crisis in accommodations next summer during the Cabot 500 celebrations?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)!

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

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

MS KELLY: Mr. Speaker, I'm very honoured to stand here this afternoon to answer this question because this is a good opportunity to be able to address this matter. Because we are very worried about the fact that, as you know, we had an occasion several years ago in this City when the Pope visited, and we did this very thing that we are doing here today. We are saying: Our accommodations are full - please don't come. We do not want to do this with our Cabot 500 celebration.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS KELLY: We have been working very, very hard with the hospitality industry, with all of the hotels, the bed and breakfasts, with the university, with the residents, we have been outlining a program that as soon as we see that our hotels, motels, B & Bs and other structures are full, we will be prepared to put in place a home-stay program.

We have also been very, very cautious to make sure that in this Province, the travel agencies and everyone are very, very aware that we have accommodations left throughout this Province, all over this Province and in Labrador. We have a back-up program which we have already instituted on the Bonavista Peninsula and which we are prepared to do all over this Province when it becomes necessary, and we would very much appreciate the support of all of our colleagues in ensuring the message does not get out, that there are not accommodations in this Province, when we have lots of accommodations in this Province and are very prepared -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS KELLY: - to go with a back-up program when we become full.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. OSBORNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Twillingate, I say to the minister, for the Matthew visit -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. OSBORNE: Twillingate has no room left at their hotel for Corner Brook for the celebration of Summer next year. There is absolutely no room at the inn. None of the hotels have rooms available, I say to the minister.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. OSBORNE: Does the minister realize that even though this event is a full eight months away, there is no room available in Corner Brook. What is she going to do to accommodate the extra tourism coming to Corner Brook next Summer? What is she going to tell the people who call her office asking about the celebration of Summer in Corner Brook next year? Where is she going to accommodate the extra tourists?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MS KELLY: Mr. Speaker, as I have just outlined to my colleague, we will be and are presently working with areas on home-stay programs. We still have accommodations in these areas, but you must recognize that it is not possible to build 500 rooms or 1,000 rooms in response for accommodations for one night. That is why, all over the Province, we are working to insure with Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador, that we have home-stay programs, cruise ships, whatever is possible to make sure that every type of accommodation can be used, but we are not going to scaremonger to ensure that tourists do not come to this Province.

This, in a way, is exactly the same problem that we have with Marine Atlantic when people say: there might be a strike. As soon as we say there might be a strike, people stay away in droves. We ought to be very, very cautious about making these statements. We have all the tourist associations in this Province, we have our regional staff in our offices out all over this Province working -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. minister to draw her question to a conclusion.

MS KELLY: - hand in hand with hospitality groups to insure that we have accommodations for next year.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has elapsed.

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I wish to table the financial statements of the Newfoundland and Labrador Legal Aid Commission.

MR. SPEAKER: In accordance with section 173, subsection 3 of Part III of the Election Act, 1991, I hereby table the Annual Report of the Chief Electoral Officer and the Election Finances for the period January 1, 1995 to December 31, 1995.

Notices of Motion

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Government Services and Lands.

MR. McLEAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I give notice that I will, on tomorrow, ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Automobile Dealers Act, The Insurance Adjustors, Agents And Brokers Act, The Insurance Companies Act, The Real Estate Trading Act And The Trust and Loan Corporations Licensing Act", known as Bill 51.

Thank you.

Petitions

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Trinity North.

MR. OLDFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition on behalf of 362 residents of Newfoundland and Labrador. The petition is addressed to the House of Assembly, and the prayer reads:

We, the undersigned, oppose the establishment of private fishing zones on the rivers of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is our inherent right, as Newfoundlanders, to use these waters in a respectful manner.

Mr. Speaker, this petition was circulated by a resident of Clarenville, a good friend of mine, Mr. Monroe Greening. Mr. Greening is an avid hunter, a sports fisherman, and he has been a trapper for over forty years. The concerns of the petitioners come from meetings that were held in Clarenville and in Glovertown over the past Winter, and these meetings were called to look into the possibility of creating community management groups to oversee the recreational activities on the Terra Nova River and the tributaries flowing into the Terra Nova.

The petitioners are concerned, Mr. Speaker, that as these management groups attempt to become self-supporting and self-sufficient, that it could lead to things like exorbitant user fees, and this would preclude some residents of the Province from being able to fish these rivers.

There were also statements made at some of the meetings, and suggestions, that maybe the management committees would set aside tracts to the rivers and the other waterways for the exclusive use of outfitters, and that was a concern.

There was a third concern, and that was that if left to individual management groups, the rules and guidelines would not be consistent for all rivers across Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, I brought these concerns to the attention of the Minister of Government Services and Lands back in June, and I have written assurance from the minister that there are no plans to privatize the Province's waterways or to restrict access to recreational fishing areas.

It has been noted, and it is public knowledge, that government would like to generate more public comment and more public input into the management of our natural resources; however, I have the assurance that government does not intend to relinquish control of our rivers, our lakes, and our streams. It is government's intention to manage and to preserve and enhance these resources and make them accessible to all people of the Province.

Mr. Speaker, I support the petition and I will continue to work with government to protect the interest of my constituents when it comes to the freedom that they enjoy to carry out recreational activities in the Province.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to rise and speak in support of the petition presented by the Member for Trinity North. It is an issue that I think the petitioners ought to be commended for bringing forward, because it is something that goes pretty deep in terms of a public philosophy of how we in this Province manage our natural resources.

It is a very important question. Because I think there is going to be pressure, and continuing pressure, on the government generally, on the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, to give over certain aspects of our natural heritage to private interests. It will come in various forms. It will come in terms of management groups, it will come in terms of outfitters needing to have access to licences and needing to have access to lands. It will come in various forms. We in this Province have a very different tradition than exists in Scotland, in New Brunswick even, and in other places where the resources of the rivers in particular, not just ponds but rivers in particular, are owned by private interests. They are controlled by them and they determine who gets to fish on these rivers and how much they shall pay for the privilege of doing so.

There are a number of questions that arise when this issue is discussed. The choice of having privately owned fisheries or privately owned rivers can be said to be valuable in some areas, where they say: This will provide an opportunity for someone to control and maximize the use of that resource. That is one argument that is being made in favour of this, and government might see a way of unloading some of its responsibility to properly manage this type of resource. I think it would be a terrible mistake.

The other side of that, when the public takes responsibility for it and ensures public access to it, there is an increasing responsibility on government to ensure, through public education, through strict enforcement, to cooperation in management and involving communities in management, to ensure that as a public resource the public is aware of its responsibility to conserve, and to ensure that this public access resource is managed for the benefit of all members of the public.

There is something to be said for our Province and for our own heritage that these rivers are still available to the public, just as, for the sake of hospitality - and I think that next summer, for example, there are going to be people coming here. There may be problems in accommodation. But I think what is going to happen is the Newfoundlander's reputation for hospitality will be seen holus-bolus next summer when we can assure people who come to visit our Province that the Newfoundlander's reputation for hospitality is well deserved.

In terms of public access to our heritage of our rivers, that is something that again the public has to take responsibility for and to ensure that these rivers are protected from poaching, that the management of those rivers, people participate in that. But at the end of the day it is the government's responsibility to ensure that these natural resources of the rivers are protected by the public and are not up for sale in any form, either in terms of management or in terms of passing over the right to assign fishing rights to either outfitters, private developers, or even community management groups. It isn't something that government should ever see as becoming something that should be bartered back and forth between private interests. It is part of the natural heritage of Newfoundland and Labrador and it is something that we all should continue to share in and have public and equal access to.

I support the petitioners and I congratulate them on bringing it forward. I hope the member's comments concerning government's considerations and intent are correct. If it isn't, the government can be assured that this will be something that there will be a major fight on if it determines that this type of heritage ought to be privatized or go away from public responsibility. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MS KELLY: Mr. Speaker, I would like to comment briefly on this petition from the government's point of view. Several departments have been involved in this; Forest Resources and Agrifoods, Development and Rural Renewal, Government Services and Lands and my department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. I am very interested in some of the points that are being brought forward today as a result of this petition and I would like to state emphatically that this government has no plans to privatize rivers.

I think that probably some worries these petitioners have is that they are jumping to conclusions after reading some consultants reports and saying that this is what they could see as the possibilities. I think if they were involved in and listening to the discussion around the table that they would realize that community management boards are in fact, many of them are being put in place with people around the table who are very concerned that this would never happen.

The community management board that I am the most familiar with is out in my own district and I know that this is one of the reasons this community management board group initially got together. I think that if many of the petitioners became involved - part of the difficulty out in the Terra Nova area is because many people are not being involved and the public need to get more involved to understand this issue. We have actually met with the Terra Nova group and have encouraged them to have more public meetings. They have had some but there has not been a high degree of public participation and I think if there was the population of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador would realize that while some people are saying there is no consistency, it is because our rivers are not all consistent. That every river system in the Province is different and needs a different management plan.

While there can be consistency in the rules and regulations that govern the overall governance we need to have individual plans to manage our rivers possibly and it must be done for the maximum benefit of all from a recreational point of view, a social point of view and an economic point of view. I think where people are getting a little worried is in the zonal system, in that the zonal system is being put in place for the conservation efforts on a river so that we can ensure that you would have an ability to have only catch and release in some zones of the river or you could catch only trophy fish in other parts of the river or you could only keep one salmon or two in other parts of the river and I think this is where some of the confusion is coming from.

So we will continue to work with the community management boards that are in place and hope that more will be put in place throughout the Province and we will work very closely with them as a government. Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I stand today, Mr. Speaker, to present a petition on behalf of residents of the Province of Newfoundland.

To hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador ask for the House of Assembly to accept the following petition;

We the undersigned residents of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador do hereby petition the House of Assembly to direct the Department of Education to legislate a paid adult bus monitor program for all school buses in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. We find that students are presently being unsupervised and are at risk in their safety going to and from schools on school buses. The safety of our children is being compromised. We ask the hon. minister and his government to show compassion, leadership and understanding to ensure the safe transportation of our children.

Mr. Speaker, this is one of several that have been presented and I can assure, Mr. Speaker, that there will be many more petitions on this theme of ensuring that the young people of our Province are protected, secured and safe while riding on school buses in our Province.

Mr. Speaker, I have met with school administrators and parents on several occasions who have raised significant concerns about the safety and wellbeing of their children while travelling unsupervised aboard school buses here in our Province. The problem has been raised by parents throughout the Province, and specifically a number of concerns have been noted. They include the adequate supervision of students on the buses, as well as boarding and leaving buses, driver selection and training, proper school bus maintenance and vehicle communication, safety education programs for students, parents, teachers, and drivers, bus safety awareness programs for the public, and scheduled bus routes. These areas of school bus safety, Mr. Speaker, have to be adequately and comprehensively addressed in the highest quality if we are to ensure the safe transporting of our students to and from school each day.

A particular group sponsored by Holy Family School in Paradise have not only done their own survey, but they have presented to the minister a series of recommendations with respect to these different aspects of busing and school transportation in our Province. Mr. Speaker, it is an issue that will not go away, I say to the minister. There are tens of thousands of students and adults alike who are genuinely concerned about the well-being of their students and they now seek to have the minister seriously look into the possibility of a paid bus monitor program.

I will save the minister the time, Mr. Speaker, because I am sure he will raise it again, with respect to the fact of a comment that was made by myself as a critic the day after we had a most unfortunate tragedy in the Province. So I say to the minister, I will save him the time, he does not have to address it. I will say, and admit, quite openly, that on the day after this tragedy in the Province, yes, I indicated that an option we had is a volunteer service. However, I have met with sufficient numbers of parents, sufficient numbers of school administrators, and I am convinced that a volunteer program is not what we need. A volunteer program is better than nothing, but what we need ultimately and what secures children's interests to the utmost is a paid adult bus monitor program.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. OTTENHEIMER: I say that to the minister to save him the time so that he does not have to repeat himself once again.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. H. HODDER: Before my colleague opposite, the hon. the Minister of Education gets up and repeats the comments that he made a few days ago, and gives all the excuses of why he cannot listen to the requests and act positively on the concerns of the parents, I would like to say to the minister that this matter is not going to go away. Yesterday, my colleague, the Leader of the Opposition presented a petition with 12,000 names on it. These petitions are continuing to come from all parts of the Province. Holy Family School and the committee of parents at Holy Family School distributed the petition to all of the schools in the Province and the parents are reacting to the petition as I have never seen parents react to a petition before.

Parents are concerned that we allow in this Province seventy-two children to crowd onto a bus. I just have to say to the minister, on that issue alone, I would like for the minister to go to a junior high school, or a senior high school, and see what a bus looks like when it has seventy-two passengers on it, and when you are saying to a group of junior or senior high school students that you are going to sit three to a seat. That is what it means. You have to have three people to a seat to get seventy-two teenagers on one bus. You can imagine the potential there is in that kind of a situation for a great deal of overcrowding, and also, of course, it means that sometimes students will actually stand on the bus although school buses were never designed for students to be standing while the bus is moving.

Mr. Speaker, parents are raising questions about the proper and adequate supervision of students on the buses. They are concerned about boarding and leaving the buses, and the issues of safety. They are concerned about driver selection and driver training, and we have to say in the House that many of those drivers who drive those buses are not overpaid. Very often they drive the buses for minimum wages or just a little better than minimum wages, therefore they certainly have a great deal of responsibility for a very low rate of remuneration. In terms of their training, we have to develop a protocol in the Department of Education that assures that there is a certificate given in school-bus driving and school-bus training.

Mr. Speaker, I just have to note that you cannot take a piece of heavy equipment in this Province without having adequate training however, it is possible for you to take a school bus and drive it in this Province and have I think it is a Class 2 license, so I would say to the minister that the driver license is one thing, the training that goes beyond the license, because the license is not particular to school-bus driving, we have to make sure that all school boards in this Province have an adequate program of instruction and training for school bus drivers.

We want to talk about proper school bus maintenance and when you look at the accident rate in this Province, we have to be concerned about school bus maintenance. We also have concerns with the parents about vehicle communication. Now, I have had some occasion when I have had to rent buses to take students across this Province and I have tended to rent, when I was school principal, buses from CN Road Cruiser, for one reason. When they were on the road, they had communication systems that could keep in touch with the school and the parents at any one time along the way. Mr. Speaker, not everybody in this Province has access to buses of the type that was used by CN, but we do say that all school buses should be equipped with a radio system, with a phone system so we can assure that, if something happens, there can be adequate response and it can be made very, very quickly and very timely.

We must have better programs of safety for children, for parents, for teachers, and we have to make sure that every child who attends school -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. H. HODDER: - is appropriately trained and educated in the issues of school-bus safety.

Mr. Speaker, just for a moment if I could?

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

AN HON. MEMBER: Leave.

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. H. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, in closing, we have to be aware that safety begins with our parents, safety begins at home and we just expect the school system to be supportive of parents and ask the minister to give all due consideration to the prayers of the petitions that have been raised in this House and to the ones which I know are forthcoming.

Thank you very much.

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Just briefly, a couple of comments in response to the petition because we have heard this issue repeated in the House in the last couple of weeks.

Just for the information of hon. members opposite, I am sure they have done the calculations themselves. For adult, paid monitors, the information is that we have basically 1,000 school buses operating on a daily basis in the twenty-seven school boards currently in the Province, there will be ten school boards after Christmas, Mr. Speaker.

The school buses are basically operational for about four hours a day, a couple of hours in the morning and a couple of hours in the afternoon. If we assume, Mr. Speaker, that you would pay a wage of six dollars an hour, which is not a great wage but it is above the minimum wage, and understanding that schools are open for at least 180 days of the year, it is actually 185 of a 190-day school year, that equates to almost $4.5 million, Mr. Speaker. If we paid just six dollars an hour, it would be four-and-one-half million dollars.

Now, I believe when we make the decisions about what is in the best interest of the students and the education system, that, in isolated circumstances and individual cases where parents are convinced that the number one priority for them is a paid, adult bus monitor, the bill that is before the House, Mr. Speaker, gives them the right to collect the money and pay the monitors themselves. But for the government to institute a program, universally in the Province would cost $4.5 million, and then we would probably have the complaint that we are not paying them enough because that is only averaging $6 an hour.

Mr. Speaker, we are getting that representation now very strongly from members opposite who just earlier today in this House indicated that they would rather see a 20 per cent sales tax, say, in the Province, instead of 15 per cent. We are trying to give the people a break on the sales tax so they can make their own choices about how to spend their money, and now we have a group that wants us to use $4.5 million for adult paid monitors.

We might even spend $4.5 million or more to improve bus safety; it might mean buying new buses and equipping them with safety devices rather than paying for adult monitors, but the whole issue, as I have said, is under study. We will be actually in touch with the people directly in the not-too-distant future.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Orders of the Day

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, before calling Orders of the Day, I would move that the House not adjourn at 5:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion, that this House not adjourn at 5:00 p.m. All those in favour, `aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against, `nay'.

AN HON. MEMBER: Nay.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion carried.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I move that this House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole to consider certain bills, in particular, Order No. 2, Bill No. 23, to start with.

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

Committee of the Whole

CHAIR (Mr. Penney): Order, please!

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, Order No. 2, Committee of the Whole on a bill, "An Act To Amend The Registered Nurses Act". (Bill No. 23)

CHAIR: Shall clause 1 carry?

The hon. the Member for Conception Bay South.

MR. FRENCH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I would just like to make a few comments again today concerning the Nurses Act and, I guess, concerning our nurses in this Province.

Over the last several days, having had conversations with some of them, and indeed, people in the Health Care Corporation, I believe that besides introducing bills that look at the Nurses Act, I think we should say to the Minister of Health that maybe it is time we hired some more nurses for our health care system in this Province.

Our nurses are substantially overworked in our institutions, and I guess we have reached a stage in our hospitals today where unfortunately, and through no fault of their own, they have been forced into saying to people who have elderly parents: If you want your parents fed at feeding time then you had better be here, because if you are not here at feeding time, then your parents, in all probability, will not get fed.

I am sure not only members opposite but certainly on this side of the House have heard it time and time again.

I would just like to touch on a particular issue that happened to a good friend of mine last Friday night at the Health Sciences Centre, on the fifth floor. When his father's food was delivered on a tray, one of the items being served happened to be pea soup. This man, of course, who is not in very good condition, who happens to have a tumour on the brain, was not capable of feeding himself. The son happened to be present and took the cover off the soup that was being served. I don't know how many people have ever seen food that is spoiled, but this particular stuff was actually `working' in the container - I say to the Minister of Education, fermenting in the container, and if this man had been able to feed himself, he probably would have eaten it. He probably would have eaten this food and so would maybe some of the other people who were on that particular floor in the hospital. That to me, Mr. Chairman, is a disgrace, a disgrace to the health care system of this Province. When that has to happen, when we have to be present to make sure that our parents are fed or that the food that is being brought in to feed our parents is not fit for human consumption, as happened last Friday night, then there is something wrong.

When a seventy-nine or eighty year old man goes into emergency and the nursing staff say: `If you can stay all night and look after your father, we will keep him in so he can have medical attention -great health care! But we had no cuts to health care and somebody is doing one heck of a good job on health care. Somebody, Mr. Chairman, and I mean this sincerely and I really don't care who likes it or who doesn't like it, somebody in this province should be ashamed of themselves for what is happening to some of the patients that are going in and out of this hospital.

I could probably go on and on about health care and quote all kinds of incidents. I can go back to my own family, Mr. Chairman, when my wife, a couple of years ago, was a patient at the Health Sciences. Because she was not dying, because she was not terminally ill but yet had a very serious illness, she was not allowed to have a bed sheet of this `eggshell', because she was not dying. Only if she had been dying, she would be allowed the right to some decent comfort. Just imagine, in Newfoundland and Labrador in 1996, that is the way we treat some of our people in health care, and nobody cares. Somebody should care. Somebody should be checking and somebody should be watching, Mr. Chairman, what is going on, because these are not stories that are made up. These are stories that are the truth. These are stories that I can prove.

So to our nursing staff, we should be more supportive. We should be hiring more of them. We should be putting more of them in place so that some of the elderly in this Province, who are not capable of feeding themselves, can be fed a decent meal in the institutions in this Province, so that our old people get the right to live with some dignity. I think this is a shame when these things happen in health care and sometimes, through no fault of their own, they just don't have the time or the energy to do all the work that is required of them.

AN HON. MEMBER: It took nine months to get an ice machine in the ICU at the Health Sciences.

MR. FRENCH: Yes, if you can imagine, Mr. Chairman, my colleague who also has connections with somebody who is in hospital, it took nine months to get an ice-making machine repaired at an intensive care unit at the Health Sciences Centre. There, again, Mr. Chairman, somebody somewhere should be ashamed of himself, and the person who is responsible for that, if he is not fired, he should have been.

So I say, instead of getting rid of our nurses, let us increase our nurses so that our parents, unfortunately not in my case, but most of our parents, if they do have to go to hospital and they do have medical difficulties, they are able to be fed. The incident that I quoted, that happened in the Health Sciences Centre on last Friday night probably would not happen, because there would be somebody from a nursing staff there who would know exactly what happened. It meant him running out to the nursing station and the nurses scurrying around the floor to see that this particular piece of food was removed from all the trays that were on the fifth floor.

The other day, I enquired and mentioned this to somebody in senior management at the Health Care Corporation. The only answer I guess somebody could give me was: `Well, we have a problem with the heating unit at the Health Sciences Centre,' and because of that, then this type of food was allowed to go in and be laid on a table to be fed to the people of this Province.

That, Mr. Chairman, is a disgrace. Somebody in this government should be looking into it to find out exactly why, what happened, how it happened. It should never happen again. It was luck last Friday night that a friend of mine whose dad is a very seriously ill patient, happened to be there.

I don't mind speaking on health care, and I don't really care if I am here on Christmas Day talking about health care, because it is a very serious issue. If we want to rush it through, then that is just too bad. But these incidents happened. I think these incidents have a right to come before this House, and the people who suffered because of them have a right to some dignity. When that happens, somebody in this Province, somebody in this government, either the Minister of Health or somebody at the Health Care Corporation, should be fired. If they don't know, they should know what is going on. Because our parents - unfortunately, not mine, because mine are both gone - but other people's parents who live to be this age have a right, I say to the Minister of Health, to some dignity and some decent care.

This, to me, is a very serious matter. There are lots of times in this House we can laugh and joke and banter back and forth, and I certainly don't mind doing that. But today is not a time for this. This is a time to be serious. This is a time for us to be very concerned about what happened to these particular people. On that note, I think, in support of nurses in this Province, we should be increasing our nursing staff so that in our hospitals, these nurses are there and they will be able to help, not my parents anymore, but the parents of other people who are in there and who are suffering from very serious illness. On that note, Mr. Chairman, I will sit down.

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

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please!

I ask the hon. member if he would take his seat for a moment.

The Chair is seeking guidance from the House Leaders. Is it the understanding -

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, I think I know.

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Is it not ten and ten? I think myself and the Opposition House Leader have an agreement that we will go ten and ten, as is the usual practice, although it is not in the Standing Orders in that matter.

CHAIR: The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. H. HODDER: Mr. Chairman, we agree that for the purpose of Committee of the Whole, there will be a ten and ten rotation among members.

CHAIR: Very well.

The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

MR. J. BYRNE: We will see now by the next few days (inaudible).

Mr. Chairman, I am pleased today to stand and say a few words on Bill 23 in Committee. This piece of legislation, of course, is very important to the nurses in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. From personal experience, I have had a lot of dealings with nurses in the health care system in this Province over the past number of years, and let me tell you, they are a very professional group of people. I have to say, the number of times that I have been in the care of the nurses in this Province, they have been a very professional group. I have had no bad experiences whatsoever with respect to the nurses. They have always treated me well.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: I was in pretty serious condition, I say to the Minister of Education the couple of times I was in there, and treated well.

MR. GRIMES: They must be really good to pull you through.

MR. J. BYRNE: Well, there is no doubt about that I say to the minister. The Minister of Education says they must be really good nurses to pull me through.

MR. GRIMES: And, we are glad you made it.

MR. J. BYRNE: When the minister introduced this bill he talked about the bill itself, Bill 23, tightening up the act, and he talked about the nurses and members in good standing. Of course, with any professional association we have to have certain rules and regulations that they have to go by, and this bill seems to address some of the concerns that nurses had. With respect to this bill itself we have spoken to some of the nurses and have been informed that the bill reflects their aspirations, the Association of Nurses, and they are quite anxious to have this piece of legislation put through the House, to help them run their association and to deal with all the nurses and health care within the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Of course, this piece of legislation also deals with lay representatives to the council. This, of course, would allow people in the Province who are not in the health care profession to have some say in the health care profession in the Province and have some input into the delivery of health care within the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. That, I have to say is a good move. There is no doubt about it, Mr. Chairman, and I compliment the minister in including that in the bill.

Also, the nurses have advocated the annual licensing or nurses and the proposed new criteria for association membership and the roles of the association members. Anybody who is involved in the professional association knows the roles of the different positions on the various councils, from the president on down. I think one of the members here is past-president of the nurses association, one of the ministers, I believe, Mr. Chairman, so I would imagine that that minister was consulted quite a bit on this legislation.

We all know that nursing is a integral part of our health care system, and always has been. Nurses provide a valuable service to the people of the Province and to the health care system. The Province has produced many fine nurses over the years, but the only sad point with respect to nurses - well, I would not say the only sad point, but it is a negative, in that many of our nurses who are being trained in this Province are comparable to anywhere in the world, so I find that we are losing too many nurses who have been trained within our Province and within our health care system.

We are losing many of them to the United States. As a matter of fact, Mr. Chairman, I have a niece who graduated a few years ago and was basically looking for a job within the Province, but they were courted from various states and she ended up going to New Orleans to get a job. Some of her friends who graduated with her followed along and went there also. We know that nurses are leaving the Province and going to different provinces within Canada, but many of them are heading to the United States, where there are jobs available for them and they are compensated at a reasonable rate for their services.

The problem also in this Province with the nurses over the years, particularly, in the past few years are the cuts in health care. We know that is having an impact, not only on patient care within the Province, and the frequency which these people have to often times return to the hospital. People are let out too early and the nurses themselves are being put at risk. As I said before in this House, Mr. Chairman, I know that the nurses in this Province are overworked and understaffed. There are nurses I know of who are put in situations where they are putting their own health at risk, and they are finding that often there are times when there is only one nurse there to actually assist the patient.

I know of an individual, a nurse, who was trying to deal with a patient in her bed. The patient was basically, I suppose, trying to get out of bed, and ended up falling out of the bed and injuring the nurse because there were not enough staff. The minister should be aware of that.

Also, Mr. Chairman, this legislation deals with nurses taking their role as nurses very seriously in health care and in the delivery of health care within the Province. If you talk to any of the nurses, they themselves will tell you that they have serious concerns about what is going on with health care in the Province today.

Mr. Chairman, it is very important that the Minister of Health, and the health care system itself, start listening to the nurses and start taking direction from these people. They are professionals. They know what they are talking about. They are educated in the profession of health care and in the treatment of the sick. It is not only, I suppose, the actual physical treatment of patients, both patients in hospital and day-care patients who come in for a day and go out type of thing, but also the mental well-being of those patients while they are in hospital. The nurses have to be up, basically, all of the time. When I say `up' I mean in good spirits, because if you have a patient in hospital and they do not have a positive attitude towards themselves and getting well again it could prolong how long a person is in hospital. In effect, then, that is another drain on the budget of the Department of Health. So the nurses play a key role with respect not only to the physical well-being, of course, but also to the mental well-being of patients. In so doing, of course, they are helping the Department of Health in keeping their budget down.

On the other side we have a situation where the nurses are, as I said earlier, being overworked and understaffed, and it is hard for those people to be maintaining their positive attitude all of the time, I would say to them, although they are doing a fantastic job as far as I know at this point in time. But the question has to be asked: How long can they keep it up? How long can they keep up this positive attitude with respect to patients in the hospitals?

I have visited many people in the hospital, constituents and relatives, as we all have family and friends who end up in hospital, and we all go in to visit them. Not long ago I went in to visit an individual and there was one nurse on staff for something like fifteen or seventeen patients in the evening. Now that is an impossible task. That is an impossible task for any individual. I know that; they know that. They have come to me and spoken to me, and I can only sympathize with them.

We bring up the points in this House all the time. The critic for health, the Member for Conception Bay South, is bringing up concerns all the time in this House with respect to health care in the Province, and what do we see? We get the same old pat answers, and that is that health care is improving. Basically, the same pat answer from the Minister of Health is that health care is improving in this Province.

All I can to the Minister of Health is that I hope that he does not end up in hospital, because I know that the nurses will do their best, and the doctors will do the best they can to treat the Minister of Health, or any individual within the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador - they will do their best to treat any individual who goes to the hospital - but they are -

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

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

CHAIR: Does the hon. member have leave?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Yes.

CHAIR: By leave.

MR. J. BYRNE: As I said, Mr. Chairman, if any individual, the Minister of Health included - I have been in there as an MHA, and I have been treated well, but I have to tell you, and I want to say quite clearly, that the nursing staff in the hospitals in this Province, from what I can gather in listening to them, are being strained. They are being worked to the hilt, and this legislation, although it is welcome legislation, really won't address the major concerns with respect to the health care of the patients in the Province. It will address the professional association in dealing with the concerns of the nurses themselves as a professional group. But it will not address the concerns of the nurses that they have with respect to the health care profession and the delivery of health care services within the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will have a few comments about this act and the importance and role of nurses here in this Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Chairman, vital legislation and business is here, and the interests of the people in this Province have to take precedence over anybody's personal interest, I say to the minister. We have to do the business at hand, I say to the Minister of Health. I'm sure we will get home for Christmas. I'm sure in your wisdom that we will have Christmas Day at home, and maybe some other days, I say to the minister. We have about twenty-five or more pieces of legislation, over twenty-five I think with a few motions and that, and the end of November when they decided to get this House together to deal with some legislation.

Some of the legislation, I must say, is positive, in regards, much of it is, and much of it we can certainly support. I must compliment the Opposition House Leader here, and the Government House Leader and that for expediting second reading on all those bills very quickly, in short course. We haven't unduly delayed legislation that we felt is good legislation. We have had a comment on it, and I wanted to have a comment certainly on the Registered Nurses Act, because I feel nurses have provided a tremendous service.

They are some of the key workers out in the health care system today. They are doing a tremendous job under difficult circumstances. We are seeing a change in the Province from what was once full-time to 25 per cent today are casual nurses, many called in on short notice and so on. Called in the mornings. They have to rush in and get to work. Maybe work three hours in a day and back home again. We have seen a shift really in the workloads of those nurses. Nurses that serve in emergency departments, on the floors of hospitals. Everybody I guess in this House has somebody related to them who has been sick and been in hospital. I never hear complaints on the nurses and their dedication, the work that they do.

We do have a big problem too, I say, in the system where we have a problem with the quantity of nurses, not the quality that is being provided here. It has been said to me - I was visiting in a hospital and bumped into a lady about two weeks ago, and her husband - and I made reference here in the House - who was in and had surgery. Actually, surgery for cancer. Indicated: You know, it is (inaudible) that when you bring a loved one to hospital now, you have to go with him in the hospital now, and you almost have to stay there with him in hospital. Because the numbers and so on of people in hospital today, it is so stretched now they are just run off their feet practically in trying to care for the people under their control.

Years ago when I worked in a hospital for thirteen months, different parts, from emergency departments to others, and it is different today. I visit hospitals fairly frequently. Like most members here, and most people out in the public, go in to visit people when they are in hospital from their communities and people who they know. They are finding that the number of patients under the care of nurses now, while people say: Look, the number hasn't increased substantially, but the intensity of the care that is needed to give to these people has. Because in hospital they would bring you in, you would be in there for three to five days before an operation, which wasn't really a serious or critical operation, and they would be there, and you wouldn't need the highly sensitive care, or a higher intensity of care. After an operation they would keep you there for another week or two. I've seen people in hospitals for long periods of time after operations before they were discharged.

Today you are doing your pre-admission, which I support. A pre-admission, you go in, and when you go in hospital you are moved out very quickly, before you get a full recuperation, because there is always somebody more urgent ready to go in. That has become a part of the system. Putting people out in the communities today, we need a structure, a shifting in resources in our system too, to build up a community infrastructure.

I had the opportunity to chair a project that was a pioneer project, I guess, in health care, one in Denmark and one here in Newfoundland was selected to a nursing model in primary health care. In 1990 it began and endorsed by this government, by federal government, the World Health Organization, by the United Nations and it was a patterned project to try to make people aware in the community of the urgent need to assist better in caring for their own health, not just leaving the health professions by taking active role in mobilizing the community and enabling the community resources to pull together not only in educating and preventing and there has been a shift today in the type of care that we need in the Province. We need to have an education, a preventive focus on medicine today, and I must say there are efforts being made in that area, but unfortunately, the resources really to support those efforts on the level that we need are not happening quickly enough.

People today value their care, they value their health. The minister indicated and the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, in his Budget, that we are not going to touch health care this year, we are going to give you the same amount for the next three years. I mean, to freeze a health care budget when increasing cost of pharmaceutical, increasing cost of technology and equipment, increasing inflationary aspects in operating hospital facility-wise and personal-wise and other areas are becoming demanding, and is the same as having a reduction in the Budget.

Many things happened that were not supposed to happen in the Budget that happened since and there have been cutbacks. There have been cutbacks in health care since the Budget. What is happening now, what we are doing and it is happening a lot I can tell you - in education it is very similar - what we are doing by the economies in the system by re-organizing the hospital boards here in St. John's and it is important to have re-organization, we have never opposed the re-organization if it is going to reduce non-health related cost in the system, but we do not want to see re-organization that pull dollars out of the system as we are doing in education. We want these dollars to be left in the system to be utilized within the system because people value it.

Health care is our number one priority. Education being a very high priority too, probably right up there next to health, and it is important that the nurses are being foot soldiers out there, have given considerable time and effort, they do a tremendous job under very stressful conditions at times, with tremendous amounts of responsibility now, we are dealing with more acute cases on an ongoing basis, and I think it is important that we realize that, that we have to work with them. In my district now, and I think the minster is aware, they are trying a new innovative thing on the community health centre I say to the minister, and patterned I guess in Quebec, the CLSCs, how the concept has operated in Quebec for some time in which you try to involve the different disciplines with the medical areas together to have their focus in a community base, and we do have a severe problem in providing medical service in particular the rural parts in this Province, to rural Newfoundland, to Labrador, there are concerns.

I think the minister today made reference that even further difficulties may be on the horizon in being able to recruit specialists here in the Province. We have had to depend a lot on foreign specialists coming here because we could not find our own specialists and our doctors to be able to provide this service. The crunch is on when we have over eighty unfilled positions, I think seventy-eight to be exact I think, at the moment, unfilled positions out there. It is very, very difficult to try to see with regulations I think, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons recently I think, recommended that we not bring in outside specialists from certain particular areas because of different training techniques and different methods in training until they receive standing or a course and undergo intensive certification here within Canada.

So all this put increasing demands - what it tells us today and it relates very closely to nurses - increasing demands on physicians, people are depending more on nurses. I know of people out in the community in their own free time nurses out in communities are called many times. They work at hospitals in other areas, they get called at their homes when someone is sick, they give up their own free time to go out and health care for these people on a non-compensatory basis. It is happening in many instances there and we have seen a devastation of services in rural parts of our Province in terms of health care. We have gone through cutbacks in almost all parts of the Province and what is happening out here, we would like to see - people feel that rural Newfoundland is bearing the brunt because they are saying there is not enough money now. MCP is saying they even fully fund the ones that are there now until the end of March in doctors. So how can we say we are actively seeking to fill eighty positions when we have been told there is not enough in the budget to carry us to the end of this year now? It impacts down to the people in the community, if you have no doctor and somebody is sick or there is a problem they call the nurse who they happen to know who lives up the street or down in the next community and they are having to depend on these people who may have just come home from work from a twelve hour shift and have to give their services again. So not only out in the community, it is happening within the institutions here too, those increased pressures being placed upon nurses in the Province. I think we have to take a very serious look at where we are heading with reference to -

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SULLIVAN: Just a minute, half-minute. We have to look seriously -

CHAIR: Does the hon. Leader of the Opposition have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: Leave.

CHAIR: By leave.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you. Mr. Chairman, we have to look seriously at where we are in health care. We are having severe problems, particularly, not only in rural Newfoundland where it is more acute but we are also having it here in urban parts of the Province. I think a very serious look has to be taken and something done about it. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

On motion, clauses 1 through 4 as amended, carried.

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

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

Mr. Chairman, I just noticed here - not noticed, I had it marked to speak on clause 12 of the bill, which would amend the act by increasing the penalty for misusing the title `Registered Nurse' from $50 to $1,000. Now that to me is a very important clause in this bill because of course we know now that the legislation is there to tighten up the act. The act itself, Mr. Chairman, is to protect the public and the nurses themselves within the association. The fine before, for holding yourself out as a registered nurse or a professional nurse, Mr. Chairman, was only $50. Now $1,000 seems to me - if the nurses association are satisfied with it, I have no problem with it but I wanted to highlight the fact that the importance of that section or clause 12, that the people within the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador have to be certainly protected.

I don't know of any particular situation, Mr. Chairman, where a person has held himself or herself out as a nurse but certainly it is something that has to be addressed and certainly has to be avoided at all costs. We cannot have people treating patients within the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador or basically coming into the Province holding themselves out as a nurse, Mr. Chairman, within the Province. The nurses association, I would imagine the minister had some discussion with the nurses association on this point, if he had any consultation whatsoever with the nurses and as far as we know he did have some consultation with the nurses, at least I hope he did, Mr. Chairman. This section, I would like the minister to address that probably before he closes the - before voting upon this bill, if he believes $1,000 is sufficient in clause 12 as a penalty or if he thinks that it should be more? Obviously if it is there he thinks $1,000 is sufficient I suppose, Mr. Chairman, but I would like to know if he had some specific consultation with the nurses union on that specific clause?

CHAIR: The hon. the Minister of Health.

MR. MATTHEWS: Just one comment, Mr. Chairman, to indicate again to the House so that there is clarity in their minds, not that probably they need it any more, but all of the amendments that are being sought and incorporated in this bill have been put together as a result of the representation made by the Registered Nurses Association and they have their full support and collaboration.

I move third reading.

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Registered Nurses Act". (Bill No. 23)

On motion clauses 5 through to 16, inclusive, carried.

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the bill without amendment, carried.

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, I know that as far as the Opposition House Leader is concerned the next one I am going to call is, "An Act To Amend The Jury Act", but the Minister of Justice will be back shortly so I would like to move to Order No. 6 and call, "An Act To Amend The Portability Of Pensions Act (No. 2)", (Bill No. 28), if that is okay.

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Portability Of Pensions Act (No. 2)". (Bill No. 28)

On motion, clause 1 carried.

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the bill without amendment, carried.

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, I move to Committee of the Whole on a bill, "An Act To Amend The Urban And Rural Planning Act", (Bill No. 35). That is a Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs bill.

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Urban And Rural Planning Act". (Bill No. 35)

CHAIR: Shall Clause 1 carry?

The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

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

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: If I could, I think the minister is proposing an amendment. He might want to read that into the bill now so that members understand where we are with this bill.

CHAIR: The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. A. REID: "An Act To Amend The Urban And Rural Planning Act", clause 2 of the bill is amended by striking out the phrase, `by an applicant', and by striking out the words, `that applicant', and substituting those words with, `the appellant', in the proposed subsection 8.1 (3). Okay, Harvey?

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, if we could -

CHAIR: Order, please!

MR. TULK: A point of order.

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: I had an agreement with the Opposition House Leader, and I made a mistake when I called that bill. What I would like to do is, by leave of the House, to withdraw the bill now and put it back in Committee at some other stage, and move on, if I could, to "An Act To Amend The City of St. John's Act", (Bill No. 25).

CHAIR: Order, please!

It is the understanding of the Chair that the Government House Leader wishes to withdraw Bill 35 from the consideration of the Committee of the Whole at this time.

All in favour, `aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, `nay'.

Motion carried.

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Order No. 12, Committee of the Whole on a bill, "An Act To Amend The City Of St. John's Act", (Bill No. 25).

A bill, "An Act To Amend The City Of St. John's Act". (Bill No 25)

CHAIR: Shall clause 1 carry?

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Chairman?

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

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

Mr. Chairman, I stand in my place today, in Committee, to speak on Bill No. 25, "An Act To Amend The City Of St. John's Act". There are a few points we want to address here, of course. Section 9 of the bill deals with a person who becomes bankrupt or insolvent, may be eligible for re-election after that person has obtained an order, a discharge, or a proposal accepted by the creditors. Previous to this bill a person who became insolvent actually had to resign from council, as far as I know. We had some discussion on this before, once a person becomes insolvent it does not necessarily mean that that person is not suitable or capable of addressing the concerns of individuals within the city. Of course we agree with that section of the bill.

Section 2 talks about regulations respecting winter maintenance of roads and snow clearing, and with regard to wires, their streets, with regard to the registration of electrical wires and what have you. Of course that is a good move because the maintenance part of the City of St. John's has to deal with these concerns all the time. We had some dealings, too, with the definition of nuisance.

AN HON. MEMBER: (inaudible)

MR. J. BYRNE: That is what we talked about and that is what I am doing. The city is not liable for nuisance. We had some discussion the other day on that, defining nuisance, but I believe that is elsewhere in the City of St. John's Act, the actual definition of nuisance is defined, so that is not a major concern, but we do have some amendments to move.

I am going to move three amendments. Do we do it one at a time or three at a time? What way would you like for it to happen?

MR. TULK: Why do you not propose the amendments and then we can work on each clause?

MR. J. BYRNE: Okay, here we go. To move the following amendments, Mr. Chairman. Bill 25, "An Act To Amend The City Of St. John's Act" now before the House is amended by deleting Clauses 4 and 5.

AN HON. MEMBER: Will do what?

MR. J. BYRNE: Delete Clauses 4 and 5, seconded by the Member for St. John's East.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible)

MR. J. BYRNE: That is what we are going to find out now.

Bill 25, "An Act To Amend The City Of St. John's Act which is now before the House be amended by deleting Subclause 1 (1) and substituting the following: 1 (1) Subsection 9 (1) of the City of St. John's Act is amended by deleting all the words following the words, `the term of office', and substituting the words, `is absent from the Province for a period of twelve consecutive months shall stop being a member of the council", seconded by the Member for St. John's East.

And that Clause 4 of Bill 25, "An Act To Amend The City Of St. John's Act which is now before the House be amended by deleting the word "repealed" and substituting the following therefore, amended by deleting the number "20,000" and substituting the number "25,000" therefor. Seconded by.

Mr. Chairman, I don't know if you want to decide if these are in order or not before we go any further.

CHAIR (Mr. Barrett): The Chair needs copies of these amendments.

MR. J. BYRNE: They are passed out.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: I would imagine the purpose of that is to see which is in order (inaudible) not in order, (inaudible). The way those were put there, if the first one is not in order, well then we go to the next down the line, that way. That is the way it was intended, I do believe.

CHAIR: The Chair will get copies. We are having photocopies made.

MR. J. BYRNE: We have our copies here.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Yes.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: He has to move it.

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

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yes, my colleague was introducing it and I was going to second it, but in view of the fact that my name is on the amendment, I will move the amendment. I guess, formally, it can be seconded by my colleague, the Member for Cape St. Francis.

With respect to the first amendment, which I understand the hon. the minister and the Government House Leader now have, clause 1 removes subsection 9.1(c) which forces a member of council who becomes insolvent or bankrupt during the term of office to stop being a member of council. It also deletes subsection 9.2 which says: A person who becomes bankrupt or insolvent may be eligible for re-election after that person has obtained an order of discharge or a proposal accepted by the creditors.

What the amendment is in fact doing - I will just read it. It says, and I quote:

That Bill 25, An Act To Amend The City Of St. John's Act, which is now before the House be amended by deleting subclause 1(1) and substituting the following therefor:

"(1) Subsection 9(1) of the City Of St. John's Act is amended by deleting all the words following the words `the term of office' and substituting therefor the words `is absent from the province for a period of 12 consecutive months shall stop being a member of the council.'"

The reason why this particular amendment is being brought forward is to delete the reference in the original legislation which states: Is convicted for an indictable offence.

The concern there is that what this section is saying is that a person who has been convicted of an indictable offence is simply ineligible from seeking office as a councillor. A person may well have been convicted of an indictable offence fifteen, twenty-five or thirty years ago. It seems to be somewhat perhaps unreasonable, certainly unfair, that an individual who may, twenty years ago, have been convicted, is now precluded from seeking office for the municipality.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. OTTENHEIMER: I'm sorry?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. OTTENHEIMER: What is not factual?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. OTTENHEIMER: No, but isn't that what the original legislation is saying? In the original Act? Mr. Chairman, it was my understanding the Act, as it now stands, that is how it reads. It is my understanding that the Act as it now stands refers to the fact that a member could be stopped from being a member of council if he or she is absent from the Province for a period of twelve months, and is convicted for an indictable offence. However, I stand to be corrected on that, but that is my understanding of what the present legislation states. The concern is that a person who is convicted of an indictable offence is then precluded from standing for election in a municipality.

CHAIR: The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. A. REID: My learned friend and colleague from across the way, if you pay particular attention to 9 (1), and 9 (1) reads, `a member of council who during the term of office'. Now, `during the term of office'. If you go then to `is convicted of an indictable offence'. The reason that is there is, hypothetically, I suppose, or logically, if you are sitting on city council in St. John's and you are convicted of an indictable offence you could end up serving the rest of your term in the penitentiary, so it is not a question of having been convicted and not being allowed to run. It is a question of actually sitting on council at the time that you are convicted of an indictable offence. Do you follow what I am saying?

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

MR. OTTENHEIMER: If that is the interpretation the concern is, if that is the interpretation.

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

MR. A. REID: I got that from the Table. If you read the opening sentence, `A member of the council who, during the term of office,' and then you follow with (a), (b), (c), `during the term of office'. There is nothing in the law that prevents someone who was convicted of an indictable offence twelve years ago and now he wants to run. In fact I know of a case not too far from my hometown where there is a person serving on council who was convicted of an indictable offence some years ago, but he sits on council. There is nothing to stop that person from running after he pays the penalty or serves his term. That is there to protect the council at the time that a person who is actually sitting on council, if he or she commits an indictable offence and has to be sent off to, say Dorchester, and then you have a council short one person. That is the interpretation from the Table.

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

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. If that is the interpretation, and the understanding of that legislation, I accept that. The concern was raised from the point of view of a person being precluded from running. However, if the hon. the minister is correct in that position, I accept that, and therefore, that amendment will be withdrawn.

MR. TULK: Which amendment?

MR. OTTENHEIMER: In the interest of time, Mr. Chairman, if that is the interpretation and position of the minister, that amendment is withdrawn.

There is a second amendment, Mr. Chairman, to move the following amendment: That Bill 25, "An Act To Amend The City Of St. John's Act", which is now before the House, be amended by deleting clauses 4 and 5.

Clause 4 repeals section 284, which deals specifically with the Minister of Finance paying a $20,000 grant from the Province to the City for motor car fees, and a grant in aid for the upkeep of Bowring Park formerly received by the council. It has been the position of members on this side of the House, and the issue has been raised publicly, that the reference to Bowring Park, for example, is an important issue and one which is quite close to many people in this region but, of course, not restricted to residents of this region because, certainly, people who visit our city from wherever enjoy the surroundings of Bowring Park in the west end of the city.

The reason for this amendment is that we find it unacceptable that an amount of $20,000, which is certainly not in the scheme of things a significant amount of money, just being arbitrarily withdrawn from City coffers by this particular grant not being available to the City, therefore, the amendment that is being sought is simply that there be a deletion of clauses 4 and 5 with respect to Bill No. 25, "An Act To Amend The City Of St. John's Act".

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: The amendment is in order, and the amendment is, for clarification: That Bill 25, "An Act To Amend The City Of St. John's Act", which is now before the House, be amended by deleting clauses 4 and 5.

Shall clause 1 carry?

The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

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

I take it that the amendment is in order?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes.

MR. J. BYRNE: Yes, okay.

Mr. Chairman, with respect to the amendment itself, and the proposal by the Member for St. John's East to have section 4 removed, basically the City of St. John's, as the member said - and we have had some discussion in this House before - is getting a grant for $20,000 from the Provincial Government for Bowring Park and transportation within the City. Basically it is not a large amount of money, but the number of cuts that the municipalities have received over the past number of years is getting harder and harder for the municipalities to bear.

Also, with respect to Bowring Park itself, as we all know it is basically a regional park, or more like a provincial park. The park itself has been utilized by tourists coming into the Province from all over the world, and it is promoted by the City and by the Province as a tourist attraction over the years. It has certainly been utilized as a tourist attraction, and it should not have to be just the responsibility of the City of St. John's to maintain that facility.

We know that the park itself is a beautiful park. It costs a lot to operate that park each year. The City of St. John's has an amount set aside each year to run the park, and for the Province now to just take out $20,000 from that is unreasonable, in my estimation. It is unreasonable in the eyes of the Member for St. John's East, of course, or he certainly would not have put forward this amendment. Hopefully the minister will agree with this amendment and leave the City of St. John's with the $20,000.

Also, another concern is the fact that if this bill goes through the House as presented by the minister, it is retroactive. It comes into force April 1, 1996. In actual fact, I do not really know at this point in time if the City of St. John's has received that $20,000. If they have, if this becomes retroactive, the city may actually have to pay it back to the Province. Now that does not seem reasonable to me, Mr. Chairman.

MR. A. REID: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Pardon, Minister?

MR. A. REID: (Inaudible) do not have it yet.

MR. J. BYRNE: They do not have it yet? Well, it is all the more important that they receive it. The Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs says that the City of St. John's has not received that money yet. So, Mr. Chairman, they must have allotted that in their budget for 1996. So, in actual fact, it is even a more serious situation than we had anticipated, it might be taken back. It is there now, budgeted for the $20,000. They have not received it so it is all the more reason for the minister to agree with this amendment that has been put forward by the Member for St. John's East.

Now, getting back to the park itself, Mr. Chairman, the park is a large area within the boundaries of the city of St. John's. It is a large area. As I said, it is being utilized by tourists who travel to the Province. It has been utilized by people all over the Avalon Peninsula, Mr. Chairman, more frequently I would say by people on the Avalon Peninsula than people from further west of the Avalon Peninsula but people do come in from all over the Province and Labrador to utilize that park. I know people in my district who take full days and make a trip to Bowring Park for a holiday with their family. So really it is a provincial facility and the Province should see fit to keep those few dollars going to the City of St. John's.

Now, the minister will probably get on his feet and say, `Well you know, cuts are coming all the time. It is a time of restraint and what have you, Mr. Chairman, but personally speaking I am sick and tired of hearing the word `cuts.' The people in the Province are sick and tired of hearing the word `cuts' and it is time now that the government started looking at basically holding the line and not cutting the services to the municipalities any further than what they have received. Since 1989, Mr. Chairman, the municipalities in this Province have been getting major, major cuts. I think the minister will agree that what is planned by this Province is that all grants to the municipalities are due to end in the very near future. I would say, Mr. Chairman, in the very near future, probably within another year to two years, I would expect, from what the minister has said in this House, that all grants to the municipalities will be cut.

Now, Mr. Chairman, as I said before, the municipal operating grants, especially with the smaller municipalities, are being cut as much as 60-70 per cent at this point in time. I wonder if the $20,000 that the city would like to keep, within the park itself to go towards the park, it cannot be a big, big factor overall percentagewise with respect to the Department of Municipal Affairs budget. So the minister can get up in due course and say that the park is within the city of St. John's and that the City of St. John's should be responsible for it. But, as I said earlier, Mr. Chairman, the park is a provincial park and I support the amendment put forward of course - I second it, so I would not actually support it. So I am going to sit down now and see if anybody else would like to say a few words to the amendment.

CHAIR: We are in Committee and it is Thursday, normally on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. the Chair would announce the topics for the adjournment debate which takes place normally at 4:30 p.m. on Thursdays. We have had a motion before the House that the House not adjourn at 5:00 p.m. The Chair did not announce the questions at 4:00 p.m. but I guess, with leave of the House, I will announce them now. My understanding is that by leave of the House we would adjourn the Committee at 4:30 p.m. and proceed to the Adjournment Debate, which is a bit ironic because there is not supposed to be an Adjournment Debate. We already said that at 5:00 p.m. the House would not close, but I guess by leave of the House we can have the debate at 4:30 p.m.

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, I believe you are exactly right. I don't believe that at 4:30 p.m., if you strictly follow the rules the motion to adjourn has now been, in a sense, defeated. There is a motion not to adjourn; therefore, I think we have to do it by leave at 4:30 p.m., that the Chair will rise at 4:30 p.m. and the Speaker will come back in the Chair - and it is by leave. I have to say to the Opposition House Leader, I give you leave. At 4:30 p.m. the Committee will rise and report progress I guess and the Speaker will come back in the Chair and then at five o'clock I guess, the Chair will move the House back into Committee of the Whole again.

CHAIR: Yes, because we already -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

CHAIR: We already voted the House not adjourn at five so there won't be a vote for adjournment at the end of the adjournment debate.

The questions are: Number one, to the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, on tax harmonization and that is the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

Question number two, to the Minister of Social Services on home care support payments and that is the hon. Member for Waterford Valley; and question number three, is to the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, the E-911 system, the Member for Cape St. Francis.

Clause one, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I want to have a few comments on amendments with reference to Bowring Park. There are not too many in the Province who come to St. John's and are not aware of Bowring Park, and it does have a significance you know, beyond the city limits. In fact there are provincial cross-country meets held in Bowring Park in different age classes, people coming here for weddings and numerous things that people utilize this as a major attraction and I don't think $20,000 is unfair, when you look at the total cost of administering and maintaining a beautiful facility here in the city that is served by the people of the Province, nice walking trails - Oh, it is $10,000 for Bowring Park I think and $10,000 for roads and vehicles and -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I knew it was $20,000 overall. When the member mentioned it, he mentioned both of these together, he did not specify $10,000 each, he said $20,000 and mentioned those two points, I say to the Government House Leader. Whether it was broken to $15,000 and $5,000 or $10,000 and $10,000, I was not aware of the specific amount but I was aware that it was $20,000 for both.

I think Bowring Park serves a purpose, beautiful facility there and I am sure many members of this House, many members of the public at large frequented there and the City of St. John's is not unlike many other areas in the Province that do have to deal with budgets, increasing taxes; in fact, under our infrastructure program recently, the City of St. John's got proportionately far less than other municipalities across the Province in other areas, just a minuscule amount. I know in my part of the district in there, they have tremendous problems with water and sewer in the area of the Goulds, that is running out in the drains where there is a heavily populated area.

It is a big problem, a big concern and they have not been able to allocate resources for those areas, they are making some progress in certain areas and when they really got crucified on the structure under infrastructure, it is just a little area here to be able to provide a small portion, a very small portion that has not increased I understand for some time of operating expenses there, it is not going to really encumber the Province in any great way when last year, the minister proudly indicated we had a balanced budget, indicates this year he is not going to have to dip in to the $30-million reserve fund, that is what the minister indicated in his good news statement he made recently with his real positive news, how our economy was only declining by 2.9 per cent, when he told us personal income tax is only down by 1.8 per cent, unemployment he said, is only down by 4.2 per cent, that was the good, positive news we had from the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, and if things are so positive, things are performing so much better, I mean, do we really need to crucify municipalities to death?

We have seen a devastation in municipalities in the Province by downloading. We have over $50 million down to the twenties now and there are plans - I know the minister indicated maybe in the future to have none. I think we need to be fighting for our fair share of federal transfers having been cut back in areas that enable us to be able to utilize more resources, $87 million this year out of the Canada health and social transfer alone, we should be pounding Ottawa to try to get a fair share in a poor Province, at least for health, for post-secondary eduction that gives us more latitude within our budgets to be able to do the things we want to do and that is not a huge cost, within our budgets to be able to do the things we want to do, and it isn't a huge cost, I might add, for facilities and things that this Province does utilize to an extent. The people of the Province utilize it. I know St. John's benefits in some other ways by rural areas buying from here and contributing to their tax base here. There are many other areas. I know it isn't always a one-way street. I know that many of the businesses outside the City do buy and purchase. That is why they do have a certain taxation base level commercial here in the City.

When you look at projects on a more specific basis here I think it is money fairly well spent. It enables us to be able to keep up and maintain some of the natural beauty around the City. When you look at the City of St. John's, especially overhead when you are flying in, you are surprised by the amount of trees it has, and the park areas within the City can be easily seen. It isn't something that you really recognize or appreciate as you drive around, and you don't realize it, but it is important. We have to try to maintain it, preserve it, and have an opportunity for people to go out, especially on weekends.

A lot of people have utilized Bowring Park and the facilities, and the schools around Newfoundland and Labrador have used it. One of my constituents had sleigh rides in Bowring Park and set up in there. Unfortunately the snow didn't cooperate this past year, but the previous year they had sleigh rides and that contributed a little to the businesses in the area there also, and certainly paid a certain percentage, I understand, or a fee to, I guess, pay for that aspect of usage of it there. So why not the Province in some way, some small proportion, compensate for the usage that we get as taxpayers of the Province. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

On motion, clauses 1 and 2, carried.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) amendment.

CHAIR: No. The amendment on clause 1 was waived. Withdrawn.

On motion, clauses 3 through 5, carried.

A bill, "An Act To Amend The City Of St. John's Act." (Bill No. 25)

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the bill without amendments, carried.

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, I move that the Committee rise, report progress and ask leave to sit again at 5:01 p.m. of the clock.

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

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

MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole have considered the matters to them referred, and have directed me to report having passed Bills Nos. 23, 28 and 25 without amendment, and ask leave to sit again.

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

MR. SPEAKER: It being 4:32 p.m., we now move to the Late Show.

Debate on the Adjournment

[Late Show]

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

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

Mr. Speaker, on December 9, I asked the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs a question with respect to the 911 system that he has proposed, put forward, to basically put money into for a Province-wide 911 system back in March of 1995. He said at that time, and I quote from Hansard: A Province-wide E-911 service with a substantially improved level of emergency response for police, fire, medical, ambulance and other agencies, including poison control...

I asked the minister why, basically, now, he is cancelling or not going forward with the 911 system. The answer I got was: We could not afford it.

The minister stood in his place and spoke about restraint, how we could not afford it in a time of cuts and what have you. It was only a year ago. The cuts have been ongoing the past five or six years. The minister was well aware, at that point in time, of the financial situation of the Province. He has been Minister of the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs now for a number of years, and he is well aware of the financial situation of the department itself and the department's budget. He is well aware of the financial situation of the municipalities in this Province. It was just over a year ago that he made the statement that it was needed in the Province and that they were going to go forward with it. To come back now, just a year later, and say we cannot afford it is not acceptable to me, and I would not say it is acceptable to the people in the Province.

We know that there are now municipalities calling out for this 911 system. I believe the fire-fighters in the Town of Gander made some comment recently with respect to the E-911 system. He knows himself the seriousness of the situation. It was only this past week that we had some discussion, I believe, in this House about the municipalities becoming responsible for costs involved to fire-fighters who may be charged in the line of their duties, both volunteer and paid fire-fighters. We had a situation on Bell Island where an individual was sued, a fire-fighter, in the line of duty. We know the results of that, but doesn't it all go hand in hand? If we have a 911 system, the response time to an emergency often times is most important, especially with respect to fire-fighting. The health and well-being and safety of the fire-fighters themselves can be at risk if the response time is longer than it should be.

The minister made a statement in his answer that basically - this is the kind of twisting that we get in many of the answers from the ministers. When I asked the question, I was quite serious about it. I said: Why is the government actively undermining the health care network on which rural Newfoundland relies, and what are the real savings versus cost?

Of course, we did not get an answer to that but we got a little bit of a twisting of what my intentions were and what I was trying to say. His response was: I cannot believe that my hon. friend across the way would even suggest that we take money out of the health care budget.

Mr. Speaker, by any stretch of the imagination no one would assume or could assume that, unless you are just trying to basically evade the question and use the tactic that they are going to throw it back onto the Opposition for even asking the question, a legitimate, logical, sensible, reasonable question, and I will continue to ask those types of questions. He says here: I know, and he knows, maybe we can do without it for another two or three years. I hope and pray that he is not suggesting - would you suggest that we take it from the Department of Health?

Not at all am I suggesting that. All I am saying is that a year ago, a year-and-a-half ago the minister knew full well the situation within the Province, within his own department, within the municipalities of the Province. He knew there were times of fiscal restraint. He was promoting it at that point in time. He stood on his feet, Mr. Speaker, and said that there is no one who has been promoting this more than himself and I agree. Mr. Speaker, there is probably no one who has promoted this more than the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs but that does not alter the fact that he knew about this a year ago and he promoted this a year ago. He must have known the situation then so all of a sudden it is cut. I have to ask the question why and I would like the minister to address that?

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

MR. A. REID: Mr. Speaker, I am a very quiet personal generally. You don't hear me standing in the House and ranting and raving very much but I am - since the House opened this time, Mr. Speaker, all I have been hearing from my hon. colleagues across is spend, spend, spend and I would like for somebody over there to tell me and tell this side of the House where in the name of God are we ever going to find the money to do what they are recommending? I have been listening this week alone, they attacked the Minister of Education on Monday for not spending enough money on education, for reneging on a deal they claimed that we had to put money back into education. They hit him on Monday and Tuesday. On Monday and Tuesday and again today they hit the Minister of Social Services saying spend more money on home care. Spend more money. Raise the minimum wage, the wages of the home care workers. They had the audacity this afternoon to stand up and say, `give Bowring Park boys $20,000!' Bowring Park $20,000! Now he is up over there now, Mr. Speaker, telling me to spend $3.5 million on a 911 system. Now make up your minds what you are up to because I am getting tired of listening to you, tired of listening to you talking about spending!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. A. REID: Let me tell you where 911 went. Let me tell you, I will be honest with you now. I am going to do something here now that I am not supposed to do as a Cabinet minister. I am going to tell the world where the money for 911 went. It went to the Department of Health. I gave it last year to the Department of Health so that we could keep the health care budget in this Province for 1996 at an even par or an even level it was in 1995. Now that is where it went. Now I am telling you, sir, in all sincerity, if you want me to take back that $3.5 million, Mr. Speaker, maybe he will suggest that we will take it out of your hospital that is down in Old Perlican. Maybe he will take it out of my hospital in Carbonear. You are not going to take it out of the Health Sciences in St. John's because he is not going to allow me to do that. Maybe we will take it out of Corner Brook or Grand Falls. Suggest where we should take the $3.5 million to spend on E-911.

Now maybe, Mr. Speaker - oh, there is my friend up in the gallery, it is nice to see you again. Maybe, Mr. Speaker, we can - it's nice to see you Nick. It was only yesterday, Mr. Speaker, he was over here standing in the House and accusing me of not doing justice to the people down in one of the towns in his district. He wanted $40,000 or $50,000 for the Auditor General to go down and do a report and today he is up and his Caucus is up talking about along with that, now throw in an extra $20,000 or $25,000 so we can keep Bowring Park opened next summer as well. Now, Mr. Speaker, that is ludicrous.

Mr. Speaker, 911, in the report that was presented to Social Policy Committee on Tuesday, the Fire-Fighters Association in the Province addressed the question of 911 and do you know what they said to us? And the report is available for anyone to read. They said, look that is not important at this particular point in time. There are other things that you can do for fire departments in this Province. So we are not even going to discuss the 911 question with you because we understand it will cost you a tremendous amount of money.

Now, Mr. Speaker, if I am going to listen to anyone in this Province, as it relates to 911, I am going to listen to the fire chief and the Fire-fighters Association of Newfoundland and Labrador before I listen to the hon. Member for Cape St. Francis. Thank you very much.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I feel I have an obligation to tell the minister before he leaves where he can get $105 million. We just signed - in reference to my question the minister (inaudible) answer - a harmonization agreement that the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board said is going to take $105 million out of provincial revenues here in this Province and what it is going to do in the process, by adopting it only in three provinces, as a tax-inclusive pricing, is going to drive up the cost of goods and services and is not going back into the pockets of consumers. That, I say, is giving away $105 million which, the $10,000 going into Bowring Park is only a pittance compared to $105 million, that the minister admits and by people across this Province, Atlantic Canada, with studies done in Quebec showed, if all the provinces in the country bought into this deal of tax-inclusive pricing, we would not have the built-in cost in the system by taking goods from non-harmonized areas in the harmonized areas, and the extra cost will be passed on to consumers with the warehousing, with the programming of computers and other basic costs.

We are taking fund out of a system, to do what? To enable someone to go out and buy a mink coat, a fur coat and get it less and go out and put an extra 8 per cent more, to double the taxes on school supplies, on children's clothing, on fuel to heat their homes or drive their automobiles, on electricity in homes? Those costs, they do not make sense. The Province of Quebec, three years ago, analyzed it in a study, again this past year they did and they said it is not an option. Businesses, Chambers of Commerce and other people in Atlantic Canada, the Retail Council of Canada, people out there have said, it is not filtering down to consumers.

Now, the purpose of this harmonization was to increase really, the spending power of consumers here in the Province, and when consumers are not going to be the beneficiaries of this new tax, it is regressive, it distributes the dollars in a different manner. It allows people who have more income, who can buy fur coats, the new cars and other areas to have that discretionary income.

But the people who spend 80 per cent or more of their income on basic necessities, to buy clothing for their children, to put boots on their children's feet in the wintertime, and the extra costs associated with heating that home, with gas for their automobile, and some of the basic essentials, are the people - and the minister admitted this, by the way, that: Yes, the people on the low end of the scale are going to be hit harder.

The minister said it would allow those people - he made a statement that is incorrect - to put something extra in their lunch boxes. He then admitted that it is those people who are going to be hit hardest with the tax, the people who cannot afford now to put something in their lunch box. How can they put something in when they are going to pay more than twice as much in taxes on the basic necessities that they need to keep going?

That is the situation in a province that has unemployment around 20 per cent, in a province that just had a reduction of $87 million under the Canada health and social transfer this year, and is going down $60 million next year, and $20 million the year after, and $20 million again. We are going to go down, in five years, from $427 million to $230 million, to siphon $200 million out of the economy of this Province on the backs of the people who can least afford to do it, and the minister pulls out $105 million and tells us that- on top of that - he wants to have his cake and eat it too - instead of accepting the GST base, what he does - there would have been no insurance if we accept the GST base, no insurance tax - he puts a 15 per cent new tax on that, that we have to collect. That is duplication.

Why knock that, or complain about that one, but it is still higher taxes for the people. They are not necessities, so I will live with that one certainly. It has put the extra burden on the people who can least afford it.

He admitted it. Other provinces have done something about it in a rebate system.

AN HON. MEMBER: He admitted nothing.

MR. SULLIVAN: He admitted it in a news conference. He said it on numerous occasions on record, I say to the Government House Leader, and the minister would admit it in this House himself. Maybe I will ask him again tomorrow if he stated it. I will get the transcript of his news conference and what was stated.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SULLIVAN: By leave, for a minute?

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. SULLIVAN: Basically, Mr. Speaker, the minister and the people out there today have indicated that they have tried to sell this by not giving the facts, and giving the people the impression that it is going to have a positive effect on consumer spending when it is going to have a detrimental effect on consumer spending. In fact, it has been indicated in studies and in confidence, companies releasing their analysis to their parent body that it will be many times more costly by tax-inclusive pricing than harmonization basically would save on the other hand.

That is something, Mr. Speaker, that is going to have a detrimental effect on spending. We receive $348 million. The minister has admitted we are losing over $100 million a year. In three years it is gone (inaudible). What do we do in year four and thereafter? Is there a commitment? You have to give eighteen months notice to back out of this agreement. To be honest with you, I think it is a very serious problem we are going to have to deal with in the future, a gap of over $100 million in this Province. We threw revenue out the door and didn't give it to the consumer to spend. We took it out of the revenues of this Province and left a gap there, just like taking a lump sum we did in other instances there. It is detrimental, it is going to have a negative effect in this Province in the year 2000 and beyond, and it is too late when we are making short-term decisions. We have seen Churchill Falls. We have now seen harmonization -

MR. TULK: A point of order.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TULK: We gave the hon. gentleman thirty seconds to conclude leave. Leave is withdrawn.

MR. SULLIVAN: Okay. I did say to the minister, I thought I might get another five. Mr. Speaker, I thank for your extra time.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Education.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am glad that the Leader of the Opposition raised the issue again, even though it was clear earlier today in Question Period that he was on a line of attack, I guess. Because he seems to think that he has something from time to time, and then he sticks with it, regardless of the answer. He writes down three or four questions and asks them anyway. He doesn't seem to listen to what has been given in the answer and decided he is going to say something and so on.

Because the issue earlier today - he was championing the cause for these nationally based retailers who have a great concern about tax-inclusive pricing, and what a detrimental and catastrophic effect that is going to have on their sales across the country, because of the fact that there is only going to be a harmonized tax regime in three provinces instead of in ten provinces and two territories.

He has gotten nowhere with the point. I don't disagree with our House Leader, but I would have given him leave to go on and speak for the rest of the day, because he makes absolutely no sense. I was thinking as he was speaking that I am going to get some copies of Hansard and send it out to my district. Because every time I get an opportunity to have people in my district hear the Leader of the Opposition speak on an issue, our party goes up in the polls, and theirs goes rock bottom because they haven't got the slightest idea what he is talking about.

Again, evidence of it here that some of the arguments got nowhere with the tax-inclusive pricing thing. Because he didn't accept any of the answers and seems to want to lobby for the big business part of Canada, they might hurt a little bit in this somehow, so he switches to the kinds of lines that we have heard and gotten used to hearing from Open Line shows mostly I guess, that when all else fails, make a comparison about: Oh, the price of a fur coat is going down and the price of children's boots or something is going up and you put that out there as if that is the only impact of this.

The reality of it, Mr. Speaker, that nobody can deny, is that there is $105 million less that the Provincial Government will take directly as a result of dropping the basic retail sales tax from 19.84 per cent down to 15 per cent. That has been verified, Mr. Speaker, by the fact that the Federal Government knows we are going to take less money, so they are giving us some for three or four years. They are actually passing us over cash because they know we are not going to take it from the people. They know the government needs it and they know the people of the Province are going to have $105 million in their hands, and there is one other thing, Mr. Speaker, that has been proven time and time again.

When you leave people with discretionary money in their pockets, they spend it on things that they find to be attractive and enticing to them, but they will make the decision. It is not that they go out as they do now and spend something for a particular item and pay 20 per cent tax on it, they will pay 15 per cent. And I am delighted to hear the Opposition getting up day after day, fundamentally saying that they want the sales tax in Newfoundland and Labrador to stay at 20 per cent, because that is the message. It does not matter what excuse they give, whether this is going down or that is going up, tax-inclusive pricing is no good. The end result of every argument made by the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Speaker, is that they are supporting the concept of the tax staying like it is, two separate taxes, because otherwise there would be no point to the whole line of questioning.

So I do not mind at all getting Hansard, sending it out all through Exploits district, I will probably put it in a Christmas stocking for everybody, that the Opposition party wants all of them to continue on with a 20 per cent sales tax and they do not want the Liberal Government to bring in a 15 per cent sales tax. They will understand that message loud and clear, Mr. Speaker, because the gobbledegook that is in the questions of the Leader of the Opposition, is not going to be understandable to any them. The difficult is that many times, I suppose, someone suggested that he should ask some questions, so he asked them.

The answers are obviously irrelevant to them; he has decided that he wants to keep a 20 per cent sales tax in the Province, he asks questions about it regularly, I am sure they will admit that when we debate the bill, Mr. Speaker, I hope they do. I hope he speaks for an hour when the bill is introduced to explain why he wants a 20 per cent sales tax to stay in place in the Province. And we will pass it along, Mr. Speaker. I know I don't pretend to speak for my colleague, the Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board who does such a great job for us, but I will pass along to him as well a copy of Hansard of this extended Question Period today to make sure that maybe at some other point the Minister of Finance might want to deal in more specific detail with the issues as written.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

I want to rise for a few moments to comment upon the questions that I have been receiving from the Minister of Social Services relative to cutbacks in home support payments. Now, Mr. Speaker, the minister has been grandstanding for the last couple of days. She had a Ministerial Statement yesterday in which she heaped praise upon herself and her department. We notice lately that every day there are self-congratulatory Ministerial Statements coming at the rate of about two and three a day and these are designed to get the press. Well, I suppose the press fall for it but that is up to them. However, Mr. Speaker, I wanted to draw the minister's attention to a memorandum which was sent from her office on October 8, relative to cutbacks in home support payments. I want to read from the memorandum. It says: Support services - I quote from the memorandum, it says: `In reviewing the present requirements -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. H. HODDER: It says, `In reviewing the present requirements, all possible solutions for implementing cost savings should be considered for discussion. Example, reduction in hours, sharing of staff or sharing living environments, movement to alternate family care, provision of equipment which could reduce reliance on home supports,' etcetera. Then it says, `The above suggestions are not meant to be all-inclusive and social workers are encouraged to be creative in discussing and exploring possible options with individuals and families.' Mr. Speaker, what has happened is that, yes, there have been interviews carried out with those people in this Province who receive home support. I have here a copy of the twenty-page assessment that has been used. It is very individual, it is very complicated and it is an assessment that has been gone through by many people in this Province with a great deal of fear, a great deal of trepidation, because they are afraid that if they answer the questions, they might find themselves, at the end of the questionnaire compromising the income support that they feel they need to support their loved ones.

Mr. Speaker, the minister yesterday said that thirty-five persons, or 31.8 per cent of all the clients, willingly agreed to reduce their funding needs. That is inconsistent with what we heard this morning on CBC Radio. That is inconsistent with what I was told yesterday by three different family members. A mother of a forty-year-old daughter told me: My daughter was twenty years in an institution. Then I took her out, and in the last few days I have had dialogue with the Department of Social Services. My hours were reduced from 240 hours down to 120 hours.

Then she said, as an act of some kind of compassion, they said: We will give you two hours a day of respite leave.

Now, let's be realistic. This lady told me, and I have to be very careful that I do not say things that would be inappropriate to say in a public forum, but I want to say to the hon. the minister that I have the permission of this lady to say that she feels that there has been a great deal of pressure put on her. She talks about the fact that she has been pushed to reach a conclusion.

Mr. Speaker, being reduced from 240 to 120 hours, and being told that you are allowed to have two hours a day on average for respite care, we say to the hon. minister: Is this fair? Is this the kind of caring environment? Is this compassionate?

This mother said to me: I am afraid that my daughter is going to end up back in an institution from whence she came.

I say to the hon. minister, and I say to her in all sincerity: When you look at those thirty-five people would you please, for a moment, have a little bit of maybe an opening to say: Maybe there has been some intimidation. It may be unintended. I believe, Madam Minister, that your social workers are professional people; they may not know that they intimidate people when they visit them.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. H. HODDER: They may be unaware of that, but people who have spoken to me feel that they have been intimidated, and I ask the minister if she would try to address that matter.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

In response to my hon. colleague who spoke about home support again today, I think it is necessary, obviously, to repeat again, because I still believe there is an element of confusion on the part of my hon. colleague. I said in the memo that was sent out - and I've agreed previously that those people were given the authority to go and sit down on a case by case basis and meet with the families or other people who are making the decisions. They did that.

My hon. colleague said that people fear they would return to institutions. The very reason we are doing this is to prevent people from going to institutions, and to give them the choices they need to stay in the community. With a budget that has been increased from $10.2 million to $16.5 million, we are trying, by looking at ways of delivering services in a creative way, to quote my colleague and to quote a previous memo, to allow these people to stay in their own home environments or to live in alternate family care.

Of the 110 people who were assessed, thirty-five of those people were reduced. Seventy-five of those 110 were reinstated at their current level of home support services. I will restate again, Mr. Speaker, that in this country Newfoundland has the richest home support program, providing twenty-four hour service, that provinces like British Columbia can't afford and would not do. People have gone there and investigated it, and have flown out there only to come back again to say: I couldn't live out there under home support, they wouldn't give me nearly as much money and services as Newfoundland. That is a fact. We have sent people out there and we have had it totally assessed.

I also would like to talk about the assessment tool that my colleague referred to. I suspect, again, I hope he isn't confused on this issue, but he probably is aware that that was pilot tested. It was not actually used as a decision making model that was used to assess these people. It was trial tested. It was trial tested because it had been created and developed with the help of the Newfoundland Association for Community Living, the Canadian association of family living, and also families and stakeholders, as well as our own staff. I think it is only right that any forum that is used to do such a valuable, important role needs to be pilot tested. It was not the criteria used to make that decision. It was pilot tested separately over and above that.

I've said time and time again over the last number of days, this government is committed to keeping people living in the community. We are committed to keeping people out of institutions. If we are being accused of trying to deliver services in a more efficient way by asking people to help us in that, well yes. That is part of our consultative process, it is part of the reason we are here today because of our consultation, and we are committed to the work we are doing. We are also pleased with the outcome to date. Because we know that people over the $3,000 limit have been consulted on an individual case by case basis, and they have accepted these changes that we have put forward. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!


 

December 12, 1996        HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS        Vol. XLIII  No. 52A


[Continuation of sitting]

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I believe it is necessary that I move that the House resolve itself into Committee of the Whole to consider Bill 36 and other bills.

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

CHAIR (Penney): Order, please!

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, Order 13, Bill No. 36, "An Act To Amend The Assessment Act and The St. John's Assessment Act".

CHAIR: Bill No. 36, "An Act To Amend The Assessment Act and The St. John's Assessment Act." Shall clause 1, carry?

The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

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

Mr. Chairman, I again rise in my place today to say a few words on Bill 36 in Committee. This bill, basically, is an Act to amend the Assessment Act. The St. John's Act deals with the assessments of the properties within the municipality of St. John's and the Assessment Act itself. The way it is presently, the assessments that are done now in municipalities are done every six years; and, of course, the intent of this Act is to have the assessments done every two years, in effect, every three years, and that is a positive step, of course. We said before, it is a positive step that assessments be done every three years, for the simple fact that oftentimes it takes so long to have some of the municipalities assessed. For example, I know of municipalities which have gone as long as ten years and not had assessments done, and that has a negative impact on the municipality itself. It can have a negative impact upon property holders, Mr. Chairman, and a negative impact upon businesses within the city.

The negative impact I am talking about, of course, for the municipality, would be that if it is taking such a time span going upwards of six, seven, eight or nine years to have your property assessed and it is the base year that it is utilized or used in the assessments it can cost the municipality taxes in that if the rates increase or if the property values increase the municipality is not going to get revenues that they could have received for a number of years, whatever the time frame may be, if it is five, six, seven, eight or nine years. If this, in fact, happens to come to pass, that it will be at least every three years, well, then it will not be so hard on the municipalities.

With respect to its being a negative on the property owners themselves, Mr. Chairman, is the fact that if it goes for a long period of time before the assessments are done, then, when the assessments are done it can be quite a large increase in the assessments of the properties themselves. I have seen some municipalities increased by as much as anywhere from 40 per cent to 60 per cent when they got their new assessments done and really that is not acceptable. It is not acceptable for the individuals to have to come up with that kind of an increase all of a sudden, Mr. Chairman.

Also the businesses, if an assessment is done on businesses or the property owners, the assessment can either be up or down. So, in effect, it can be hard on the business or it can be a positive thing on the business and negative on the municipality. Because if there is a decrease to the business, well, then, the businesses are paying taxes they should not have paid. If it is an increase, then, the municipality is not going to get the money they should have gotten, because of having to wait so long for the assessment to be done.

Apparently, the Board of Trade, would like to see it done every year. I think the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs has been trying to - and I brought this question up a number of times since I came to the House - the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs is trying to put in a computer system to upgrade and to become more efficient with respect to assessments within the Province. Of course, that is a positive step and if it comes to pass it will be great for the municipalities, good for the property owners and it will be good for Municipal Affairs - it will be good for all concerned. I do not know how far along the minister is with this new computer system, but according to what he was saying today, the Province is hard up for money, Municipal Affairs is hard up for money, and there are the cuts, and he is giving money to people, this one and that one. So we really do not know when the new computer system will be put in place for the assessment division.

Now, the other aspect of this, too, Mr. Chairman, that I would like to address is the fact that there has been some discussion within the department - and the minister has addressed this on a few occasions - that they are talking about privatizing the assessment division of Municipal Affairs, and that has been called up a number of times. Of course, it would not have a major impact upon the City of St. John's, because they have their own assessment division, but, Mr. Chairman, it could have a major impact upon some of the municipalities, particularly the smaller municipalities. The minister actually made the statement - and I assume it to be correct, he would be in the know on this matter - that the assessments in the smaller municipalities or the cost to the municipality can be as much as three times what they are paying now. Of course, we know the system that is in place now, with respect to the assessments and the levy paid by the municipalities to Municipal Affairs is carried over, I think, a five- or six-year period. If the assessment is $100,000, then the municipality would pay $20,000 a year, or if it is $200,000 it would be $40,000 a year, the number of years, the base year upwards of five or six years, Mr. Chairman. So the assessments is a very serious issue with respect to the municipalities. As I said earlier, it can cost money, it can save money, depending on the situation and the time frame and the base year that is being utilized, Mr. Chairman.

Now, this bill, as I said, it is hard to argue or say anything against it, although I did speak to some assessors, people in private industry, and they seem to have some major concerns with this legislation and this amendment. We did not have the time, really, to get into proper discussion and detail to see if there should be any amendments put forward in this House of Assembly, in Committee on this bill, Mr. Chairman. But I am wondering if the minister had discussions with people in private industry with respect to this legislation, this bill itself, and if he did, I wonder would he comment on that? I would like to know what some of the people in private businesses or private industry said to him with respect to this amendment, because the person I was speaking to certainly had some major problems with it. What I am looking at, as just a lay person and a former mayor of a small town, it seemed to be quite reasonable to me what he was proposing in this bill, but the private assessors certainly seem to have some major concerns. So I would like for him to address that if he so wishes. It is up to himself, of course, Mr. Chairman, however, there is a possible drawback in that it increases the frequency of assessments. The residential property assessments will tend to rise more quickly, and consequently, the tax burden experienced by the individual property owners may increase more rapidly. That can be a negative, but if, as I said earlier, you wait for five or six years, go out and it increases in one bang, I think that is a bigger negative, from my perspective, on the property owners.

Now, I am wondering if the minister will want to address, also, how serious he is about privatizing this. Are we going to see this in the very near future? Are all the assessors at Municipal Affairs going to be let go, as we saw with some of the inspectors there a year or two ago? We saw some of the - a large portion of Municipal Affairs are being let go. I wonder if he would like to address that? That is basically all I have to say on this amendment at this point in time, Mr. Chairman. I wonder if any other members on this side of the House would want to speak to this bill?

CHAIR: The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. H. HODDER: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

I just wanted to rise for a few moments to support the general principle of the bill and to do so at this stage. I do understand from my hon. colleague, the minister, that there will be an amendment that will be coming forward in a few moments. I wanted to ask my colleague, the Member for Cape St. Francis, if he would want to read through the amendment while I am having some time here to debate the matter, so that he can have a look at it.

As the critic, Mr. Chairman, I just wanted to generally say that this particular amendment is timely, that the minister and I have discussed this matter on a number of previous occasions. Although the St. John's Board of Trade would like to have the assessment done every year to reflect the real market value, we agree with the minister that this suggestion is not a practical suggestion because it would be almost impossible to be able to do that every single year. The matter of doing the assessment is probably, I should say, more appropriately done every three years rather than to have it done every calendar year.

Mr. Chairman, we want to note, however, to the minister that there are certain matters here that we did have a little concern about and the matters are being addressed, I do believe, by the amendment, in that the City of St. John's would want to have subsection 3 come into effect on December 1, 1994. There has been some concern expressed to us prior to today on that matter but we do support the bringing in of an amendment by the minister to give us further clarification.

Mr. Chairman, with these few comments, I do believe that we can probably give Committee approval to the first clause, and maybe after the minister introduces his amendment we can have a further comment and maybe this is the time for the -

CHAIR: On a point of order, the hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Are we proceeding clause-by-clause now, or are we putting in amendments and doing the whole bill? When we adjourned, we were saying, alright, if there are amendments we will put them in and then we will pass the whole bill. Now, are we going to do it clause-by-clause or are we going to put the amendment, speak on it, vote on it and get it out of the way? Let us make up our minds here.

MR. H. HODDER: If it is the wish of the Government House Leader, we can do it in a collective form. I believe we had agreed to that and I do believe that I kind of indicated clause 1. So I will give the balance of my time here now to the minister so he can do his amendment and then we can do the whole thing at one time.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. A. REID: Yes, I assumed we were doing the whole bill and I should have moved the amendment prior to my colleague rising, really, but I think it is already covered off.

I just want to introduce the amendment, if you do not mind, Mr. Chairman. Clause 5 of the bill is amended by adding immediately after subclause 3 the following; `(4) subsection 3 is considered to have come into force on December 1, 1994.' That is what the City of St. John's has asked for and that is what my colleague, the Member for Waterford Valley was referring to just a few moments ago. So I am ready now to go to the amended, at least to the -

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Assessment Act and The St. John's Assessment Act." (Bill No. 36)

On motion, amendment carried.

On motion, clause 5 as amended, carried.

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the bill with amendment, carried.

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, Order 14, "An Act To Amend The St. John's Municipal Elections Act". (Bill No. 37)

CHAIR: Bill No. 37, "An Act To Amend The St. John's Municipal Elections Act".

The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

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

A busy man today, Mr. Chairman, I must say, up and down, speaking on a lot of bills.

I have no problem speaking on Bill No. 37, "An Act To Amend The St. John's Municipal Elections Act." Mr. Chairman, from what we can gather, the City is certainly in favour of the amendment to this piece of legislation. Basically, it is moving the date up for the election of the City of St. John's council from November to the last Tuesday of September. As I said before, this bill would allow time for the new councillors elected to get in and get their feet wet before a budget is required by the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. It would give them time to adjust to the workings of the City, to get to know the regulations of the City of St. John's and the municipal plan before the budget is brought down. Actually, it would give the new councillors and the new council, mayor and deputy mayor, time to study last year's budget because, in effect, you may get a complete new council there at any given time. You may have some carry-over from the previous council and, to me, it is probably long overdue.

The City itself, I do not have a problem with it. There were some questions - I think I addressed it the other day when it was introduced at second reading, Mr. Chairman - about the deputy mayor. I believe the City was looking at wanting a separate election for the deputy mayor and the minister said that that could easily be addressed in the next sitting of the House, the winter sitting, or the spring sitting. So, to me, that is not a major problem at all. The people within the city itself, I suppose, would also welcome this because it would not put the pressure on the new councils, as I said earlier, Mr. Chairman -

CHAIR: Order, please!

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Chairman, the bill itself is a positive bill, as I said. I do not think we are proposing any amendments - I am not. I do not know if the lone member of the NDP is interested in having a comment on this bill or if he is planning on putting forward an amendment. It is nice to see him here, I must say, Mr. Chairman. There is not a lot more to say on this bill. I know, other bills similar to this are coming up. The City of Corner Brook Act, will be forthcoming and we will be saying a few words on that also, but it is very similar to this bill.

As I said earlier, not only will the earlier time give the council a two-month jump, Mr. Chairman, with respect to the regulations, getting the budget together and so on, but also it will allow time for the new councillors to study the City of St. John's Act and all the implications involved. The councillors, Mr. Chairman, take on and carry a very important responsibility and they need to be well informed of the situation within the City at any given point. When we have new councils being elected, something, I suppose, that the minister has addressed, too - not necessarily with the City of St. John's, I suppose, although they do come under the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs - is training for councillors so that the new councillors can understand the Act, the regulations and what is going on in the city of St. John's.

The Government House Leader is having a fine chuckle for himself over there. I wonder what he is up to now?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: That is good stuff, I say. That is what you are getting paid for. You are getting paid not to listen to the Opposition when they are bringing up good points on any legislation that is coming to the House of Assembly. Is that what you are saying to the people of the Province, I ask the Government House Leader, that you are not being paid to listen, that you are being paid to be over there yapping away at some other individual?

Anyway, Mr. Chairman, I am not going to say a lot more on this bill. I think the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi wanted to say a few words.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, as the other `Jack' on this side of the House, I suppose, the other bookend of the front row.

I want to make a few remarks on this bill, "An Act To Amend The St. John's Municipal Elections Act", because there seems to be an awful lot of rumours around this city that I have a great interest in the St. John's Municipal Elections Act. Now, I do not know why, but I -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: We want `Jack', we want `Jack'!

MR. HARRIS: It sounds like we want `Jack' out of the House.

I do want to have a few words to say about this. As far as the merits of the legislation itself go, I think we have to concur with the views expressed by the minister introducing the legislation and the comments of my friend, the Member for the district of Cape St. Francis that this is a sensible amendment particularly to allow an election to take place in 1997 and also to move up earlier into the fall, the election itself - not too early in September, but a little bit later for the elections to ensure that there is a better opportunity for city councillors, the mayor and a new administration to be able to adequately address the budgetary needs of the city before having to bring down a balanced budget.

In talking about this bill, I think it is important to give some recognition to the role that municipal councillors play throughout the Province, but I think it is particularly so in the city of St. John's where there is a very, very considerable responsibility that city councillors undertake, managing a budget of in excess of $100 million. It is not an easy task with the great demands on the city. It is not a very popular thing to say in this particular House but St. John's, in fact, gets lesser recognition in this House of Assembly than it deserves, not only from the House but also from government. It is very popular in this Province, particularly in politics, because of the representation system that we have, to talk about how everything must be done for Newfoundland, in particular rural Newfoundland.

I am a big supporter of rural Newfoundland but I think it has to be recognized that falling upon the City Council of St. John's is a tremendous responsibility to manage the public services for this capital city without any major support from the Province that other councils enjoy, and with a responsibility to undertake services that are used, not by every citizen of the Province obviously but by many other areas outside of St. John's; by citizens of Mount Pearl, for example, by citizens of Conception Bay South, by citizens of Holyrood, by citizens of Bay Bulls and by citizens of all municipalities. Perhaps some have an easier road in providing services for their citizens because the city of St. John's exists and provides other services that they do not have to provide.

There are at least two former mayors of Mount Pearl here in this chamber and they know what I am talking about. Because things have been made easier for the city of Mount Pearl by actions of this government through the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation, through the Motor Registration Division, through the various developments that have taken place at taxpayers' expense, supported by taxpayers and then made available to the citizens of Mount Pearl, to the city council of Mount Pearl in the form of an already made tax base.

We could go further and talk about Donovans Industrial Park. We could go further and talk about many other things that have been done to create a separate city out of the greater St. John's area.

AN HON. MEMBER: I am itching to get up.

MR. HARRIS: Well I hope you do get up. I hope you do get up because some things have to be said, Mr. Chairman, and there is only one person in this House who said them at the time of the amalgamation scheme that was brought forward a couple of years ago when they could not really quite go far enough. They wanted to but they couldn't really quite go far enough because they were afraid of the backlash from the citizens of Mount Pearl. They were afraid that instead of having only one member on the Opposition from Mount Pearl they would have two.

At the same time the Goulds was brought into St. John's and responsibility was given to the City of St. John's to look after the municipal services in that under-serviced area, that area that had not been fully serviced; the expense of that brought into the city and the expense of other parts of the St. John's metropolitan area board brought into the city. Wedgewood Park was brought in but Mount Pearl was carved out and said: No, we will maintain that separate municipal status despite the fact that it now represents a - perhaps no longer a satellite because it is in the middle. It is not a satellite outside of St. John's. It is now surrounded, for the most part, by St. John's. I know that the -

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Mount Pearl. I am on Mount Pearl now. We are talking about Mount Pearl and we are talking about the great responsibility that the municipal councillors of the city of St. John's have, to look after all these problems that exist without the resources to do it.

MR. TULK: He sounds like somebody who (inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: I know there are those who are Mount Pearl chauvinists who can't see past Mount Pearl staying exactly what it is, growing larger, perhaps even one day swallowing up St. John's. Some people are so strong about their love for Mount Pearl that they could even see that happening somewhere down the road.

I know, Mr. Chairman, that most members will agree that the municipal councillors in the City of St. John's do have that responsibility of looking after the capital city without the advantages that Ottawa has, for example, with the National Capital Commission and taxpayers' dollars put in to beautify the national capital because all Canadians enjoy that city. All Canadians are proud of that city, just as all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, although they don't like to admit it, should be proud of the City of St. John's; which I am very proud to represent in this House.

I just wanted to say a few words to remind members of the role of the St. John's City Council in looking after municipal services for such a large area and with such a large budget, with the kind of constraints that they have, particularly with the kind of downloading that this government and the government in Ottawa have given onto provincial governments and on then to municipal governments and the responsibilities that are passed on. The ones who are required to make the tough decisions sometimes are at the municipal level.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: I am not very familiar with the St. John's Municipal Elections Act. I am not as familiar with it as I am with the provincial election act and I am not as familiar with it as I am with the federal election act. So I have not looked into the Municipal Elections Act too much.

MR. TULK: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: On a point of order, the hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, well it is a point of information really. Is the hon. gentleman looking for a campaign manager? I would be terribly interested.

CHAIR: As the hon. Government House Leader has already pointed out, it is not a point of order.

The hon. the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I know the Government House Leader would like to find a way to see me in another House, whether it be in Ottawa or whether it be down in city council, but I have a job that I was elected for in February of this year and, according to the Premier's statement in the House the other day, there is not going to be another election until the Year 2000.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. H. HODDER: Mr. Chairman, thank you very much.

I just didn't feel that I should be getting up this afternoon too often, but, Mr. Chairman, I have been forced by the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi who has just got up and announced his intention to seek the office of the mayor for the City of St. John's. He did not do it in all those words but that sense of purpose, that carrying to his chest the loyalty he has for the City of St. John's came through. He has baited me sufficiently that I have to rise up and defend my honour, as the past mayor of the City of Mount Pearl.

Mr. Chairman, I regret that my colleague, the immediate past mayor - and she certainly will be given copies of the address that has been given by my hon. colleague here. I want to just say to my hon. colleague that the people of Mount Pearl do have a great sense of loyalty to their community. That is to be respected, that is to be honoured and we don't want to, shall we say, take lessons on municipal management from anybody, particularly not from the city of St. John's.

Mount Pearl is a model of a community when it comes to efficiency. If we believed that bigger was better then we would be all there to join with St. John's, to become part of the larger city. Mr. Chairman, the issue of whether or not Mount Pearl should be amalgamated with St. John's has been discussed ad nauseam. The people of Mount Pearl have rendered their decision and that decision has been respected by the Wells Government. As a matter of fact, the government of Premier Wells had quite an extensive study completed on the issue of amalgamation. It is a case of where the people of St. John's were given all of the opportunities to make their presentations to the various studies, and they did, and the government of the day rendered a particular decision. Now, Mr. Chairman, there was a concerted attempt to amalgamate Mount Pearl with St. John's. It was aided and abetted by some members who sit in this House now representing the City of St. John's. It was pushed by some members who were in the government of the day from St. John's, but at the end of the day the people of Mount Pearl rendered a decision.

In fact, Mr. Chairman, it is well known how I came to be in this House. In 1992, I was encouraged by the people of Mount Pearl to take on the member who had been elected and had received a sizable majority within the City of Mount Pearl when he ran in 1989 - that part of it is history - and had become the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. He deserted the people of Mount Pearl when they rendered their decision on his, shall we say, mandate that they had given to him. They were given the opportunity and I was encouraged to offer myself as a candidate. I went out to the people and, in fact, the district of Waterford - Kenmount at the time was about 25 per cent in Mount Pearl and about 75 per cent in St. John's; and the people of St. John's didn't elect the minister as well. In fact, I had a majority in both parts of the district.

So, Mr. Chairman, the people of St. John's rendered their decision on that minister and they rendered their decision as well on the next minister who was from the District of Placentia because the next minister who came into Municipal Affairs and promoted amalgamation in that area also went out. He was defeated by my good friend, Nick Careen, in 1993. So not only was there one minister defeated, there were two ministers defeated.

However, the next Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs was very well appraised and learned that the two previous ministers had gone down to defeat because they had forced amalgamation on people. The present Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs had learned a good lesson. He said: I had better start from the grass roots and see what people feel about amalgamation. I won't force it from the top. He had gone out and said: Maybe I'd better consult with people first to see how they feel about it.

The present Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, because he had a different approach, a different philosophy, believed in grass roots politics. When it came time for the people to render a decision on him in his constituency, the issue of amalgamation had long since passed and the people out there in his district did not have this amalgamation issue, did not have a forced issue in his constituency and, perhaps because of that, he was successful in the '96 election. There might have been other factors as well, but certainly he did not have to carry the issue of forcing amalgamation on people into the election and that perhaps helped him along. It certainly did not do him any harm; if you look at the record of the previous two ministers in his department and look at what happened to them when they went to the political test in the next election.

Mr. Chairman, I do not want to get into all of the scenarios. I could talk about Mount Pearl and amalgamation from now until you know, ten o'clock tonight and go over all the history of it. I walked it, I lived it and I know that the Mount Pearl people are proud of their community. All the current research, by the way, I can tell hon. members in the House, is certainly not supporting these large amalgamations that are occurring in other parts of the country. It certainly goes to show that bigger is not necessarily better, is not more efficient, and this has been brought out by work that has been done in the greater Toronto area, work that has been done at several of the schools that offer courses in municipal government across the country, and by some of the research papers that have now currently been written. At the right time I will probably share some of these. If I could I would do it now but I am sure that members would not want me to get into a long dissertation on that.

It is nineteen minutes before we break for the supper recess, but I know that several of my friends here are anxious to get up and talk about these issues that pertain to St. John's. You see, the difficulty with St. John's is that they believe in a regional approach to matters. The difficulty with the City of St. John's is that they believe they have to be the regional government. I have always had a strong commitment to regional approaches, but the trouble we have always had with St. John's is that they believe that is a good idea and they believe in a great, big regional city. You have to ask yourself: Where will they stop? Will they stop at Mount Pearl? No, not really, because they really have their boundaries now right out to the Foxtrap access. You come to "Welcome to St. John's"; and then you have all of CBS. Where would you stop? Go to Holyrood?

Would you stop in Torbay, would you go on to Cape St. Francis or would you take everything that is north of the Witless Bay line and put all that in one city? Maybe we should make one regional city out in the Carbonear area to take in all of Harbour Grace and all of that. If you believe the philosophy of St. John's, they would have you believe that everything that is east of Come By Chance should be all in St. John's.

Then they get on with this nonsense, you know: We have this, that we built those roads and we do all these services. You know, I wonder, where do the people of St. John's go when it comes Friday afternoon? You know they do not stay in St. John's. They go out to Topsail or they go to Come By Chance or they go to the Southern Shore. You do not hear the people down in Witless Bay saying: Oh, you know, on the weekends -

CHAIR: Order, please! Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. H. HODDER: - we do not want the people from St. John's driving over our roads.

CHAIR: Does the hon. member have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave.

MR. H. HODDER: That is what you hear all week from the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi.

CHAIR: No leave.

MR. H. HODDER: The people of St. John's are welcome to drive on the roads in the City of Mount Pearl as they are welcome to drive on the roads in Marystown, but it seems that when they come into St. John's, the people from Carbonear are not welcome in St. John's because somehow St. John's says: Well, you know you are driving over our roads and some how, you know, St. John's should be compensated for that. We should be talking about the fact that 84 -

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. H. HODDER: By leave, just to finish up; for one second.

AN HON. MEMBER: No.

MR. H. HODDER: No?

AN HON. MEMBER: No.

MR. H. HODDER: Okay. I just want to point out that 84 per cent of all the consumer spending that is done in this region is done in the City of St. John's and point out as well, that the total taxes paid at the Village Mall are greater than the total taxes paid in all of Donovan's Industrial Park. Therefore, if you want to talk about dollars and values then let us talk about it, let us not get into this kind of a thing about St. John's as poor St. John's, because, you know, they only get 84 per cent of the total retail sales in all of this region. Argument can be made that a place like Conception Bay South, which has a much lower tax base, indeed is in some way subsidizing the City of St. John's. When the people of CBS or Mount Pearl come into St. John's, they come in here to spend their dollars and they should be welcomed and not told that they are driving over roads that are subsidized by the taxes from city hall or from the Province.

Thank you very much.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Me thinks that the Member for Waterford Valley protests too much. He is reading an awful lot into a speech that I made when I was praising the love that the people of Mount Pearl have for their city just as I have the pride for St. John's that I would expect people from every community in this Province to have. So the arguments that he is making on behalf of St. John's are not ones that I make.

What I was concerned about, Mr. Chairman, was that all hon. members recognize that the City Council for the City of St. John's have great responsibilities, have enormous responsibilities, to look after the needs of the citizens of St. John's, the infrastructure in St. John's, and to do that on a tax base that is limited because certain things have been done in certain ways over the years to assist the growth of Mount Pearl on the basis of provincial priorities and provincial policies.

Now, I have heard it said - I do not know if this is true but I have heard it said, and perhaps the Member for Waterford Valley can confirm this - that the reason a lot of people live in Mount Pearl - many people are born there, second generation Mount Pearl residents. Many people come to the capital region and they really want to be living in the capital region, but they do not want to be considered `Townies' under any stretch of the imagination. The last thing that they want to do is to be considered `Townies', so instead of moving to St. John's, they move to Mount Pearl. So when their relatives ask they say: No, no! I don't live in St. John's. No, no! I have not become a `Townie'. I am living in the City of Mount Pearl.

MR. TULK: Who said that.

MR. HARRIS: That is what I have heard. Now, I have not done extensive research on this but I have heard it said.

AN HON. MEMBER: It is hearsay, Jack.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible), not hearsay.

MR. SULLIVAN: It is not admissible, Jack.

MR. HARRIS: I don't know about the Member for Topsail. Now, the Member for Topsail, I think he had a move going there a little while ago; he wanted Paradise to be part of Mount Pearl.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who did?

MR. HARRIS: The Member for Topsail. He was part of a movement, and I think it is a movement. I think the Member for Waterford Valley would agree that there is a movement afoot to make parts of St. John's, the now parts of St. John's or the greater metropolitan area actually parts of Mount Pearl. Despite the fact that the Member for Waterford Valley is talking about Mount Pearl, I do not know if he used the phrase `small is beautiful' but he said: It is a nice little place, we don't really want to grow; although I don't know if he is saying now that they do not want Southlands, they do not want Topsail. But I know there is a movement for certain places outside of Mount Pearl to want to join Mount Pearl, and I understand that the Member for Topsail is one of those who have been actively supporting a move by Paradise residents and Topsail residents to be part of Mount Pearl, so they can avoid being swallowed up by St. John's. I don't know if he is still active in that movement, but I think there is a movement afoot, and members who are not from the capital region should be aware that there are undercurrents of politics, throughout the capital region, which are at work.

MR. WISEMAN: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Topsail, on a point of order.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WISEMAN: Mr. Chairman, the hon. -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please! Order, please!

MR. WISEMAN: The hon. the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi is making accusations across the House that I, in some way, have been involved with a movement from my area, whether it be Paradise, the Conception Bay South area, to join the great City of Mount Pearl.

Mr. Chairman, I want to assure the hon. member that in my involvement up in that area for the last twenty-five years, we have tried to stay out of areas like Mount Pearl. We have a wonderful area in the area of Paradise, Conception Bay South and I would ask, Mr. Chairman, that the hon. the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi, withdraw those remarks.

CHAIR: There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Chairman, I would have been happy to yield to the hon. member who wanted to make his maiden speech instead of bringing up a point of order that was not a point of order. And I am sure he would be happy to hear further elaboration on why it was that the Member for Topsail has been at least accused of it. He has certainly been accused of actively campaigning.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, Oh!

CHAIR: Order, please! Order, please!

MR. WISEMAN: To me, then, I accept the -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please! Order, please!

Does the hon. the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi wish to yield -

MR. HARRIS: I would be happy to yield to the Member for Topsail so that he could explain himself -

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for Topsail.

MR. HARRIS: - and whether or not, in fact, he supports the move for greater Mount Pearl or whether he -

CHAIR: Okay, okay. The hon. the Member for Topsail. It is not Question Period.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WISEMAN: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

I want to thank the hon. member for giving up his time to speak to bestow it upon me. I am sure it is just a move by the hon. member to cause me to rise in the House and say a few words.

MR. J. BYRNE: Rise to the fly.

MR. TULK: Actually, I think he sucked you in.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WISEMAN: Mr. Chairman, I suppose any member of this House can voice an opinion, it may not be fact but it certainly can be an opinion.

I had started to say that the area in which I live is probably one of the best areas in the whole of the Avalon Peninsula.

AN HON. MEMBER: One of the best.

MR. WISEMAN: The best, Mr. Chairman, and we certainly like to protect that particular area and the aesthetics of it would remain for a long time. The hon. the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi would certainly like making those accusations because -

AN HON. MEMBER: Do you want the letter read now, or later?

MR. WISEMAN: Mr. Chairman -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please! Order, please!

I have recognized the hon. the Member for Topsail.

MR. WISEMAN: There is no desire in my area to join the area of Mount Pearl, there never has been and, to my knowledge, I do not see anything happening in the near future. We are responsible, we are managing our area in a responsible way, and with the help of the great Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, we are certainly moving along in terms of infrastructure. There is no need to amalgamate, there is no comparison to the beautiful area in which we live, compared to the postage-stamp blocks that they have in the city of Mount Pearl. We are not used to living on small lots, as the hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs has said; I do not think we even have an elevator in our area.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WISEMAN: Well, Mount Pearl does not have an elevator but I understand the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi is proud to represent his people; he probably has a much, much larger problem than we have. We have a manageable problem that has been managed effectively and efficiently and I hope it is going to continue. We do not want to compound our problems by joining either St. John's or Mount Pearl.

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. FRENCH: No, he is going to yield to me, Mr. Chairman, if that is okay?

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for Conception Bay South.

MR. FRENCH: Mr. Chairman, I am going to take about two seconds. While `Jack' is campaigning to be Mayor of St. John's, and he and `Harvey' are fighting over who gets Southlands, and `Ralph' is fighting to keep Topsail district out of the loop, I will meet with the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs and, whatever you have, Sir, I will gladly take it in the next budget for the Town of Conception Bay South.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

CHAIR: I remind hon. members -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please! Order, please!

I remind hon. members that you are supposed to refer to hon. members in the House by the districts they represent.

The hon. the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I listened with great interest to the Member for Topsail but I am very surprised that he would say that neither he nor anyone in his district would want to be part of the City of Mount Pearl. I think that sits as an insult to the people of Mount Pearl and their representatives in this House, and I am surprised that he would deny at this stage that there was ever an attempt for Mount Pearl and Paradise and the District of Topsail to be part of the same municipal entity, but I think there are some serious points to be made here, too, Mr. Chairman, that municipal governments, in particular, the large municipal government of the City of St. John's has a terrific responsibility to undertake and is no easier now, in fact, it is more difficult as time goes on and the responsibilities of the municipal government get larger and larger. There has to be a way, Mr. Chairman, to prevent the kind of rivalries that can grow up between cities and towns that adjoin one another, particularly if there are artificial things happening at the Provincial Government level to affect one part or another by giving special advantage to one part or another.

I think all members know that what the Member for Waterford Valley said was correct, in that there was an intention, there was a plan on the part of government to have one large city, and that it was the reaction of the people of Mount Pearl that caused government to change its mind. I said at the time that all they are doing is postponing a debate that is going to have to take place a little further on down the line.

We all look with some interest as to what government actually plans to do, but I think the sensible thing to do with Southlands is to leave it where it is right now. Who is in or out of the loop is not important, the reality is that there is a big loop all around the greater metropolitan area of St. John's, and we all have to live in it, we all have to pay taxes in it, and we all have to have a good quality of municipal services. The people who have to undertake those in the municipal government have a big responsibility, and what I wanted to do in my remarks was to underline the serious responsibilities they have and recognize that that is just as important to be giving attention to in this House as the problems of rural Newfoundland and the problems we all have as a Province.

With those remarks I move that the House adjourn for one hour. May we recess for one hour?

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Alright, let it go.

A bill, "An Act To Amend The St. John's Municipal Elections Act." (Bill No. 37)

On motion, clauses 1 and 2, carried.

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the bill without amendment, carried.

CHAIR: It is agreed, I think, that we recess at 6:00 o'clock. It is 5:59 now.

Before we recess for lunch, dinner, supper, or whatever you want to call it -

AN HON. MEMBER: Supper around the bay.

CHAIR: Supper around the bay. The Chair has been very lenient in terms of the debate in the Committee. I remind hon. members when we come back at 7:00 p.m. that we are debating clause-by-clause of bills. We just finished changing the elections date for the City of St. John's. We had extensive debate on the Southlands and the Chair has yet to figure out what is the connection between the election and Southlands, so I urge hon. members to be more relevant when we come back at seven.

Recess

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, before calling the next order, I move that this House not adjourn at 10:00 p.m.

CHAIR: It has been moved that this House not adjourn at 10:00 p.m.

All those in favour, say `aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: Those against, `nay', carried.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Order 16, Bill No. 41.

CHAIR: "An Act To Amend The City Of Mount Pearl Act." (Bill No. 41)

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Bill No. 37?

MR. TULK: We have called the question on Bill No. 37. I ask the Table to confirm it but I am sure we voted on that. It is carried. We voted before we went to supper.

CHAIR: That bill passed before we broke for supper.

MR. TULK: We are now doing Bill No. 41, "An Act To Amend The City Of Mount Pearl Act."

CHAIR: Shall clause 1 carry?

MR. H. HODDER: Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for Waterford Valley.

MR. H. HODDER: Thank you, Chair.

The intent of this particular piece of legislation is contained in the Explanatory Notes. Basically it would amend the City of Mount Pearl Act to require councillors to take office within two weeks of being elected, and the clause would also provide for the expiration of the term of `office of councillors'.

Most members in this House will understand that at the moment there is not any precise time set aside for members who have been elected to assume their office. In fact, in some municipalities it occurs a day or so after the election and in some others it occurs ten days later, or two weeks later. There is not a precise definition, or a precise time set aside, so having this particular clause here is indeed very timely. It is appropriate. Certainly, it means that now the department has given guidelines, through legislation, to all municipalities that the newly-elected council has to be sworn in within two weeks, and that should provide for an appropriate transition time. In other words, it says to the outgoing council: `Tidy up your things and be on your way'; and to the incoming council: `Get ready for the swearing into office of you and your other colleagues.'

Clause 2 of the bill is primarily protecting the council from liability for nuisances. I said in second reading, this is a very appropriate piece of legislation in that the long history of this particular issue would lead us to give approval. As members know, some years ago there was an issue that caused the St. John's Metropolitan Area Board to find itself in court; it is referred to as the Tock case - Neil Tock. He was a resident on a street in what is now the east end of St. John's. He had a flood one day when some debris got into a manhole and his basement was flooded. He then took the St. John's Metropolitan Area Board to court and he was awarded damages. The trial judge at that level was Judge William Adams, himself a former Mayor of the City of St. John's and also a former member of the provincial Cabinet.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. H. HODDER: Yes, and also the member for the District of Fogo.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. H. HODDER: Judge William Adams.

AN HON. MEMBER: Never the Member for Fogo.

MR. H. HODDER: `Never the Member for Fogo', says the current member. The Member for Twillingate.

Anyway, Mr. Chairman, the situation was that Judge William Adams found that the St. John's Metropolitan Area Board was liable for the damages to the Tock residence on the basis of being liable for nuisance. He said that the authority, which is the St. John's Metropolitan Area Board, should pay damages to the appellant in this case, and he awarded damages. The St. John's Metropolitan Area Board appealed the decision to the Newfoundland Supreme Court and again there was considerable expenditure - lawyers had a field day - and, of course, the result was that the Newfoundland Court of Appeal upheld the Trial Judge. Therefore, it meant that the Newfoundland Supreme Court said: Yes, municipalities and others should be responsible for nuisances that arise in this kind of manner.

It then became an issue at the Federation of Municipalities. At that time, I do believe the current Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs was indeed the president of the Federation at that time. I was a member of the executive as the director responsible for what we used to call the `large towns group' within the Federation. We brought it to the Federation. It came up at several of our annual meetings. Then we took it again back to the court system. This time, it went to the Supreme Court of Canada. There was some interest in this because this was designed to get a substantial interpretation of the law. It went to the Supreme Court where there were some people who asked for leave to speak to the Court, and that included the FCM, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, and also some of the larger municipalities in the country. Because it would be somewhat precedent setting if this law was allowed to stand.

The bottom line is that at the Supreme Court of Canada the law was allowed to stand. The Court found that unless the provincial governments introduced some laws that would protect municipalities, the law as it then stood would be the governance of the municipal level of government and would affect all future decisions.

Across the country since then there have been a number of changes made at the provincial level similar to what we are seeing here. I understand from the minister that this is Newfoundland's attempt to be able to address that considerable issue at the Newfoundland and Labrador level. I understand there has probably been some consultation with other provinces on the matter as well.

It is a welcome piece of legislation for many municipalities which do not want to find themselves liable for a whole variety of nuisances. That might be from such a circumstance as gave rise to the case originally, or it could be a case of where you might find somebody who had a grievance against the municipality because some building got erected that blocked their view, or some traffic sign got put up in the wrong place, in their opinion, or something like that. These kinds of things that arise, they may seem very small and petty to some people, but to people who are affected by them, they can become very serious issues. In municipal law they are referred to as nuisances.

The situation now is that this particular bill will change all of that. Mr. Chairman, clause 4 of this bill would amend the Act to confirm an election will be held in 1997 and every four years after that. It would have the last Tuesday in September as the date for the election. We totally agree with that. There has been consultation with the municipalities throughout the Province. We know there are two reasons for this particular amendment. One is the fact that if you have the election in November -

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. H. HODDER: One is because if you have the election in November, hon. members will know that within a few days after that members have to bring in a municipal budget. Mr. Chairman, right now I think it is the first or the second -

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave!

MR. H. HODDER: No leave?

CHAIR: The hon. member's time is up.

MR. H. HODDER: Mr. Chairman, I do understand that there is leave to conclude for a second. Leave has been granted, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: Does the hon. member have leave?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. H. HODDER: Mr. Chairman, then I will conclude in a sentence or two. Because there will be many more opportunities before the evening is out for us to debate this particular bill, and I am sure that before the evening is out, we will be tired of hearing about the changes in the municipal election. I will get a chance to elaborate on all the reasons for this the next time that I get up, which will be in about another forty-five minutes from now.

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

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

Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to stand in my place and say a few words on Bill No. 41 in Committee. I am rejuvenated, Mr. Chairman. I just had a nice sandwich to keep me going for another while tonight. The Government House Leader made a motion that we not adjourn at 10;00 p.m. - sobeit. We have a number of bills that the Government House Leader wants to get through tonight, in Committee, and hopefully he will be successful.

Now, we have Bill No. 41, "An Act To Amend The City Of Mount Pearl Act". There are a number of clauses here, of course, and clause 1 amends section 15 to do two things: It commences a councillor's term of office within two weeks of being elected. Now the current bill has no such section, Mr. Chairman, and again, of course, it is motherhood, I suppose. It is a good clause in the Act welcomed, I think, by the municipality involved. There are a couple of issues, actually, when the previous speaker was up before we broke for the supper hour, that twigged my memory. One was the amalgamation issue, of course; and to the City of Mount Pearl Act, we had the Member for Topsail, who was speaking a while ago, before we broke, about how he did not want his area to become a part of Mount Pearl. And the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi got up and addressed his concerns somewhat.

The amalgamation issue, Mr. Chairman, is an issue that was started a few years ago by the Liberal Government. Many of the ministers who are there now, were there at that time, the present Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs -

CHAIR: Order, please!

I remind the hon. member that we are doing clause-by-clause study of a bill.

MR. J. BYRNE: Clause-by-clause. Mr. Chairman, thank you for that. I think it was the agreement across the House earlier that, we would speak on all clauses as we stood so, if we want to go clause-by-clause

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Pardon?

CHAIR: We are debating a bill on the elections, on the term of office for councils. The hon. member is getting into the amalgamation issue and I do not think it is relevant to the clauses of this particular bill.

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

I will try to be relevant.

In the municipality of Mount Pearl, the councils will take office within two weeks after the day of the election, I would imagine, and I will try to remain relevant. The period of two weeks from election day until the people who are elected, men and women, take their positions on council, would give time, I would say, for the then present council to review their files and take time to clear out their desks, so to speak. It would let them address the concerns of the people in their communities or in their towns at that point in time, Mr. Chairman. It would allow them, I suppose, to write letters, to address any concerns that the people bring forward within the period of time that they have discussed at previous council meetings, and have a council meeting to address the Minutes of the previous meetings and clear up the concerns of the council.

Also, with respect to that clause, Mr. Chairman, it would give the new councillors time to get in and discuss with the administration, the concerns ongoing within the town itself, within the municipality in the City of Mount Pearl. It would allow them to meet with the previous council, to address all the concerns, to meet with the administration, the town manager and assistant manager and the town engineer, to review the records of the town. It would let them drive through the streets and become familiar with them. And it would give them time to address the concerns that would be forthcoming in future council meetings.

Also, clause 1 amends section 15 to end a councillor's term of office at a time a quorum of newly elected or appointed councillors is sworn in or affirmed. The current section 15 says the same thing, although apparently in bad grammar. So the new council that would come into effect would have the time within, I would say, that two-week period, as I said earlier, to address the concerns that the previous council had, to meet with each individual councillor if they so wished, to sit down and talk individually with councillors to identify their concerns, and then create some files to address those concerns to be brought forward at future council meetings. Of course, the election then would be very important from that perspective - the two-week notice. Basically, clause 1 is saying that those two weeks is very important to these people.

The minister must have had some concern about this, to be bringing in this amendment to the City of Mount Pearl Act. It is basically - what would you call it - a motherhood, housekeeping, section of the bill, clause 1. The new council, of course, would have time then to get to know each other, to talk to each other. There may have been seven councillors, I think, in the City of Mount Pearl; there may be fifteen or twenty people run. There was a by-election this past summer and something like thirteen people ran. An outrageous number of people showed concern, an interest to run in the City of Mount Pearl. Can you imagine if you have a general election in the City of Mount Pearl and there is going to be two weeks from the time they get elected to the time they take office. If there are seven positions, there could be fifty people run. So once the people are elected to council, it is good to know for a fact that they are going to have two weeks available to them before they take office, when they can talk to each other and actually meet with - maybe if fifty people ran, they could actually talk to each other and discuss the concerns that were presented to them when they were candidates, going door-to-door, and learning about the concerns of constituents in the city of Mount Pearl.

It is certainly a good clause, as I said earlier. The people who are running would get to know the district. And, of course, the people who would be running for election during that time would be very concerned and interested in talking to the people of the district and getting to know them.

This is just clause 1 of the Act, and I am trying to be as relevant as I can on the position, on this point. There are a number of other clauses, of course, that we have to address in due course.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. J. BYRNE: My time is up already?

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for Conception Bay South.

MR. FRENCH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I will take a few minutes tonight to talk on Bill 41, "An Act To Amend The City Of Mount Pearl Act", and to touch on various clauses as we go through. I think that is probably the agreement, and if so, we will live with it.

Clause 1, Mr. Chairman, amends section 15 to do two things. It commences a councillor's term of office within two weeks of being elected. The current section 15, of course, has no such thing in it, and I do not really see any problem with that particular section. Once the term of office is spelled out within two weeks, then the councillor-elect, he or she, must take his or her term. Clause 1 15.(b) says it ends a councillor's term of office at the time a quorum of newly elected or appointed councillors is sworn in or affirmed. The current section 15 says the same thing.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FRENCH: It does not matter who (inaudible). You wanted to be here all night, we are going to be here all night. So sit back, relax, bring in the paper. I hope the Telegram is out so while I'm talking I must be a bit - every once in a while I wake up the Minister of Education. I hope they bring in a paper from his district or something, so as we progress on through the night he will have something to read. Every once in a while I will jump up and sing out to him, and we will wave in passing in the hall or something.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible) campaign.

MR. FRENCH: No, he is not a bad campaigner, it just depends on where he goes, right? I have to say, the Minister of Education, when he was with me, and when he was in another portfolio, I say to the hon. the Government House Leader, he was a great campaigner and was a tremendous asset to us a year or so ago.

MR. TULK: What was that, now?

MR. FRENCH: He was with us in a particular venture that involved bringing - I guess it will probably bring millions of dollars into this Province. The minister at the time was in another department and was more than helpful to us when we made a bid in San Juan, Puerto Rico to host the 1997 World Youth Tournament in this Province. We are going to bring in fifteen or twenty teams to this Province, and hopefully, millions of new dollars with it.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. FRENCH: He was good. The last time we did them, the celebration after was even better, I say to the minister.

Anyway, I will carry on here, Mr. Chairman. I will try and stick to the points here. Clause 2 amends the Act by adding after section 179, section 179.1, which says "The city and the council are not liable for a nuisance." Now, Mr. Chairman, I am not so sure, that in this particular Act nuisance is really defined. I think that as part of this bill, if it is not -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FRENCH: I am not doing anything, I am just talking. We should certainly add the word `nuisance' to this section, Mr. Chairman, and we should define the word nuisance under the Act. From what I understand from my own House Leader, the word `nuisance' is not defined in this particular Act. I think as the night progresses, we should have a look at maybe moving an amendment here that would add a definition to the word `nuisance'.

MR. J. BYRNE: Just put a picture in the amendment.

MR. FRENCH: It might be a good idea, I say to the Member for Cape St. Francis. The amendments to the City of St. John's Act, Bill 25, The City Of Corner Brook Act, Bill 40, and The Municipalities Act, Bill 42, also have this clause protecting municipal governments against liability from a nuisance.

I guess we have to define again, Mr. Chairman, exactly what a nuisance is. The term `nuisance' is not defined in these bills, neither do these bills say who is responsible or liable for damages caused by such a nuisance. Is a nuisance liable? Is the Province liable or is it possible that no one is liable? What has been the situation to date when a nuisance has caused damage?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: I think this is going to be our topic, boys - a nuisance!

MR. FRENCH: This word should certainly have a definition, should certainly have - and maybe before this night is out, I just might be a nuisance.

Incidentally, section 179.1 does not bear directly on section 179. Subsection 179.1 gives council the powers to establish and operate public water, sewer and storm drainage systems. Section 179.2, gives council power to acquire waters in watershed areas and lands and subsection 179.3 gives council power to build and maintain the systems.

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible) have to strive for a higher degree of protection.

MR. FRENCH: I think so, yes. I know that two of my colleagues in the House are former mayors of the City of Mount Pearl. So I guess the new mayor now has to strive to meet the standard that his two predecessors set.

Clause 3 amends section 202, regarding the council's power to make regulations to add a new paragraph (f) regarding the winter maintenance of roads and snow clearing. The existent regulatory powers involve fences, signage, recreational vehicles and toys, traffic control and road clearing. The addition of winter maintenance provisions seems reasonable under this particular section, Mr. Chairman. In my own district a while ago there was a club that was operating and became somewhat of a nuisance to people. Under the Act in the legislation, the council acted and things were brought to bear, hopefully to the satisfaction of some residents.

Clause 4, Mr. Chairman, repeals and replaces section 316. Now, the current section sets elections every four years on the second Tuesday of November, except when the day is a holiday, and permits a three-month deferral. The new section sets the next election in 1997 and every four years after that, and sets the date on the last Tuesday in September. References to a holiday is gone and the minister's right to defer an election is not changed. Again, I really have no problem with that. I think, Mr. Chairman, it is a great idea to move elections back, as we are going to do under this bill for the City of Mount Pearl. Then, of course, we are going to move them back into September, from November. The new councillors, the new municipality, will have a lot more time to bring in a budget, to set its committees, and I guess, if the need arises, to meet with various people from the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs to set out exactly in what direction they should be going.

When I get up later on tonight, for the second time, I will talk about how we should put into place some form of training which relates to municipal councils, and an understanding -

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. FRENCH: By leave?

CHAIR: Does the hon. member have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes.

MR. FRENCH: With those few remarks I will, in a minute or so, sit down, but I would like to say that I still think we have to have some discussion here tonight on new councillors coming into a municipality, an understanding of the Municipalities Act, and exactly what the government should lay out for new councillors so that they do not get into conflicts and they do not get into problems on various money matters in various municipalities.

Mr. Chairman, those are things that I will discuss later on tonight. It seems we are going to be here for awhile. We seem to be all settling in pretty well. My House Leader said a few minutes ago that he will be back in forty-five minutes, so I guess I will be back in about fifty-five to sixty. Anyway, within the next hour or so, Sir, you will hear from me again.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

CHAIR: The hon. the Leader of Her Majesty's Opposition.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, a clause in the bill decides to add a new part to the bill that was not there before. It says that the City and the council are not liable for a nuisance, and maybe they should not be liable for a nuisance, but I compared it to the City of St. John's Act, and other Acts, and they define what a nuisance is, but this new Act that is adding a term in, has not defined it in its definitions. I think if we are going to say we are liable for a nuisance, there has to be a definition of what a nuisance is. The City of St. John's Act says that, and the City of St. John's Act says a nuisance is... It includes those terms.

Maybe Mount Pearl does not have any nuisances.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: Maybe there are not going to be any nuisances in Mount Pearl. Maybe it is only the City of St. John's and other areas of the Province that have nuisances. Is that the intent of the minister? If you are going to have someone not be liable for nuisances, you have to have nuisances there before you can make them not liable for what nuisances do.

That is something like the Minister of Finance - a major announcement on the economy of our Province. I will use an analogy.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: There are employable people out there who have been nuisances, too, I say to the Government House Leader. It is like the analogy, I guess, of the Minister of Finance who jumped up and told us he wanted to make a statement on how great we are doing in the Province. He told us the employment levels were only down 4.2 per cent, and they thumped their desks over there and went crazy. Then he said the GDP is only down 2.9 per cent, and they applauded louder and louder; and personal income is down by 1.9 per cent, and they got louder. They rejoice in the downward, and negativity.

Seriously - and I think we will move an amendment later on tonight, sometime, or tomorrow morning - if you are going to include the term nuisance, as the City of St. John's have done in their Act, we should apply a definition. Here are some examples of nuisances in case anybody has never been called one. It could refer not only to individuals, of course. It is (i) a premises in a state that is injurious to health. The House of Assembly could be called a nuisance, Mr. Chairman. It can be injurious to some people's heath here I am sure. It says: (ii) a pool, ditch, gutter, watercourse, privy, urinal, cesspool, drain or ashpit so foul or in such a state as to be injurious to health. That is another aspect that could be liable under this specific, or the city would not be liable in such instances. (iii) an accumulation or deposit which is injurious to health; (iv) an animal so kept as to be injurious to health or a source of annoyance to neighbours. If we are going to have `nuisance', we have to be able to single out what is an offence and constitutes a nuisance so there can be a determination of liability; because if we do not define something how can we determine whether or not something is liable.

Now: (v) a house or part of a house so overcrowded as to be dangerous or injurious to the health of the residents. In other words, if you have twenty-five people in a house, that is considered a nuisance. If you think the size of the house is detrimental, really, to the health of the people, that is grounds and gives the city the authority there. In this case, it gives the court a very lateral interpretation, a very broad interpretation, rather than being able to designate it to specific instances.

(vi) a factory, workshop, or work place, not kept in a clean state or not ventilated in such a manner as to make harmless where practicable gases, vapours, dust, or other impurities generated in the course if the work carried on in the factory, workshop or work place, that are injurious to health, or so overcrowded while work is carried on as to be injurious or dangerous to the heath of those employed in that factory, workshop or work place; (vii) a chimney, for example, sending out smoke or vapours in a quantity as to be objectionable to neighbours. Somebody might be burning some really green boughs or wood causing smoke over the neighbourhood.

MR. J. BYRNE: What do you mean by green bough?

MR. SULLIVAN: Green is something that is not red, blue, black or orange, or a variety of other colours. It could be darkening the clothes that someone next door has on the clothesline. The city needs responsibility to be able to regulate those things that are not unexpected.

It talks about buildings in dangerous condition that could be a threat to people. Somebody who does not keep their property in good condition, that could come under this category. I could go on and on. It could be individuals. (o) "occupier" or "occupant" includes a person in actual occupation of land or premises without regard to the title; and so on. We are now getting into other terms beyond the concrete definitions of a nuisance.

Over the course of the evening, I think, we would certainly draft up a little amendment to include in the City of Mount Pearl Act, I say to the minister, which should be in Clause 2 of the act. It should be located as (h), and (h) be moved to (i). We will get around to that a little later, between municipality, I guess, and real property, between those terms, define it and include similar terms.

Now, if the minister said they do not want it defined, and if he has information that they do not want it defined, as is done in the City of St. John's Act, and there are repercussions of a legal nature, I will certainly get an opportunity to hear from my colleague on that and maybe some other individuals who profess certain legal expertise on interpretations that I don't, because there could be very valid reasons as to why we do not define a term when we are adding a term to this here.

If there is anything written to that effect, maybe there is a rationale for it, I say to the Minister. In all seriousness, there could be a valid reason why, and if I hear a valid reason why it should not be defined, when it is defined in other areas, I certainly will not propose an amendment.

AN HON. MEMBER: We are going to introduce it tomorrow.

MR. SULLIVAN: Well, we could do it tomorrow. I will be back at 12:05 again and maybe I can move it when I get back. It could be moved under clause 2, because that part of the act is dealing with specific definitions and there are eight terms defined in the City of Mount Pearl Act: building, city, council, councillor, election, minister, municipality and real property. Maybe we could add another one, the term `nuisance'.

Basically, in selecting of a term, to move it up to September is not a bad idea at all. In fact, I think it is important to give municipalities an opportunity to be able to get a council in office and to be able to prepare their budget. I had an opportunity -

AN HON. MEMBER: This guy specialized in February elections (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes. Your points are well-noted, I say to my colleague.

I had an opportunity to serve as mayor in my community. In fact, I served one term on council. So I understand the importance - and we did have balanced budgets. We didn't have a hefty surplus of $80,000, I say to the minister, when I left. We had a community without arrears, basically. We had some debt financing, of course, but we were well up on our payments and in a fairly good position. Still, we had the opportunity then - times were a little more prosperous - to be able to have a budget that was balanced, as many communities did. Since then, I know, communities have certainly fallen a little behind. It is the nature of the times, and maybe overcapitalization has occurred in many instances.

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: We did, at the time, I say to the Member for Windsor - Springdale. We did have them there, and I do not make any apologies for any representation I had; and we had, I must say, representation in my district of Liberal members. We had a minister. Aiden Maloney is a minister from the district who did an excellent job; a very fine individual too. We have had members of both political stripes serve in my district. In fact, almost fifty-fifty, right into the 1980s, were PC or Liberal in the district.

MR. J. BYRNE: In fact, Ferryland district is the only district (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes. In fact, it is the only district, my colleague was starting to tell me, that has never changed its name since we became a Province, way back even prior to -

AN HON. MEMBER: 1832.

MR. SULLIVAN: - 1832. It is the only district in the Province that still retains -

AN HON. MEMBER: And two more now.

MR. SULLIVAN: No, not any more.

MR. J. BYRNE: Yes, there are.

MR. SULLIVAN: No, there are two back to a name they had before, but they never had continuous names for the districts since 1832. It is the only one that has continuously retained the name Ferryland as a district in the Province. So it certainly is an historic one, and we certainly have had good representation from people of both parties in the past in the Ferryland district. I am very proud of it; some excellent representation -

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. J. BYRNE: By leave?

MR. SULLIVAN: Just to finish up, I ask the Government House Leader.

CHAIR: Does the hon. member have leave?

MR. SULLIVAN: I will just take a minute, and then I will sit down.

CHAIR: By leave.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

As I was saying, to have an opportunity to be able to plan your budget, to get a council into office and the opportunity to be able to plan it properly, sometimes new councils need that little extra time because of the rush from municipal affairs to get your budget in at the end of the year. At times I know budgets have been coming in late, that that has not really been enforced. There has been sympathy shown when you have a very short term to put it together.

Sometimes it is very difficult to try to make decisions on your budgets. Sometimes there are public meetings to explain to the people what you are doing, and rather than compress it into a short time frame, if it is important - I know there is one new section here, clause 1(a): shall begin within 2 weeks of his or her election or appointment. That is new, of course, which is fair game. The other part is actually in the old act too. I think it just moves down to (b). That is also in the current act. I certainly can support that aspect, I don't see any problems with that.

I will just sit down now, and take the opportunity to address some of the other points on some of the other clauses when I get back on my feet again a little later on.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I am pleased, Mr. Chairman, to participate in this very enlightening debate, this debate which is of utmost interest to all members of the House. I can tell by the enthusiastic reception that we have received since we resumed, approximately three-quarters-of-an-hour ago, that we have obviously touched on a topic which has aroused significant interest and is of significant importance.

We are talking about a piece of legislation which is Bill No. 41, "An Act To Amend The City Of Mount Pearl Act." In particular, Mr. Chairman, in section 2 of this legislation it states, "The city and the council are not liable for a nuisance." We must obviously refer to definition sections or interpretive sections of other pieces of legislation to find out exactly what the legal or legislative definition of nuisance is. That is the problem with this piece of legislation. We have to go to other pieces of legislation. We have to look at the City of St. John's Act, for example, to find out how the term nuisance is defined in the City of Mount Pearl.

Mr. Chairman, that is the problem that members on this side of the House have with this piece of legislation. We cannot look at the City of Mount Pearl Act to find out how the City of Mount Pearl defines nuisance. We had to go to an adjoining municipality, an adjoining city, to find out how the people of that city define the legal and legislative term nuisance. Therefore, there is a significant void I would say in the proposed piece of legislation known as Bill No. 41, "An Act To Amend The City Of Mount Pearl Act."

When we look, Mr. Chairman, at the City of St. John's Act in an attempt to define the term nuisance so that we can assist the City of Mount Pearl Act, we find in clause 2(n) that nuisance includes the following:

"(i) a premises in a state that is injurious to health;

(ii) a pool, ditch, gutter, watercourse, privy, urinal, cesspool, drain or ashpit so foul or in such a state as to be injurious to health;

(iii) an accumulation or deposit which is injurious to health;

(iv) an animal so kept as to be injurious to health or a source of annoyance to neighbours;

(v) a house or part of a house so overcrowded as to be dangerous or injurious to the health of the residents;

(vi) a factory, workshop, or work-place, not kept in a clean state or not ventilated in such a manner as to make harmless where practicable gases, vapours, dust, or other impurities generated in the course of the work carried on in the factory, workshop or work place, that are injurious to health, or so overcrowded while work is carried on as to be injurious or dangerous to the health of those employed in the factory, workshop or work place;

(vii) a chimney sending out smoke or vapours in a quantity as to be objectionable to neighbours;

(viii) buildings in a dangerous condition."

All of these provide examples in that piece of legislation, Mr. Chairman, examples as to what may be included in the definition of nuisance. I ask as well: Is it possible to include in the definition of nuisance, hypothetically, a situation that when individuals are told that there are twelve bills to be debated, and when there is a willingness by a group of people to deal with those twelve bills, only to find out, after one party is in agreement to deal expeditiously with twelve bills, that there are more. There are a number of bills that exceed the number twelve. Is it possible that when that situation occurs in that scenario, that that too can be included in the definition of nuisance? I would suggest that on this side of the House we are of the point of view that it does.

Therefore, Mr. Chairman, the City of Mount Pearl Act, under Bill No. 41, states - and I would just like to refer to it - that the city and the council are not liable for a nuisance. Again, Mr. Chairman, the problem is that we have nowhere to go in that piece of legislation, to be satisfied with what the definition of nuisance is exactly. We are forced, as I have indicated earlier, to seek out elsewhere an acceptable definition which can be provided to, "An Act To Amend The City of Mount Pearl."

Mr. Chairman, clause 2 amends the act by adding after section 179, section 179.1, which says: the city and the council are not liable for nuisance. Amendments to the City of St. John's Act, Bill 25, the City of Corner Brook Act, Bill 40 and the Municipalities Act, Bill 42, also have this clause protecting municipal governments against liability from a nuisance. The term nuisance is not defined, as I have indicated. Neither do these bills say who is legally liable or legally responsible for damages caused by a nuisance.

Therefore, the question has to be asked, Mr. Chairman: Is the nuisance liable? Is the Province liable? If we use the definition or the proposal that I gave earlier to this House, is it possible that the nuisance is responsible for the very fact that we are discussing this very issue this evening, Mr. Chairman? I would argue that in all likelihood that could be the case.

If we enlarge the definition of nuisance in the City of St. John's Act so that it could now be applied to the City of Mount Pearl Act, we may very well have included in that enlarged definition a definition for nuisance which could very well describe and determine for us why we are here this evening discussing this very bill.

Mr. Chairman, it is unfortunate that the act is not significantly developed to include that definition of nuisance, because if so, there may well have been a penal provision or a penalty that could be imposed on individuals who act in that way and act according to the provision of that section of the act; but, Mr. Chairman, we don't have that. We can only deal with this in a hypothetical sense. We can only suggest that if the definition were developed or enlarged sufficiently to include the type of hypothetical situation that I referred to earlier, we could then deal with it; but unfortunately we can't. We have to deal therefore with the more restricted definition of nuisance. Again, as I have indicated, we have to find other pieces of legislation, other than the City of Mount Pearl Act, to satisfy this void. Because the City of Mount Pearl Act does not deal with the definition, we have to go outside, and in so doing, find a definition which is acceptable.

So, Mr. Chairman, we have no choice on this side of the House but, at a time to be determined, at a later date, perhaps today's date, perhaps Friday the thirteenth, tomorrow's date, an amendment will be brought forward to deal with this serious flaw in the legislation where an adequate definition of nuisance is not found in the City of Mount Pearl Act. There is no choice. Members on this side of the House have no choice but to proceed in that fashion.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. FRENCH: By leave.

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

MR. TULK: Clued up, are you?

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Clued up, sure.

CHAIR: The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible) anyway.

MR. OTTENHEIMER: No, no. Leave more for later.

MR. A. REID: You will still get a chance to speak. I just want to interject here.

My hon. colleague from Mount Pearl is letting you so-called, what we refer to as townies, get up and make these comments. Has anyone stopped to think that maybe the definition of liability in the City of St. John's Act is antiquated? It is so antiquated that everybody else, every lawyer and everyone in my department, has said: Don't use the City of St. John's Act as an example to define liability. Because, Mr. Lawyer, Mr. Councillor, listen, when you are standing in a court of law trying to determine what liability is, and it is set out for you, written, black on white, what it is, and there is something that doesn't fall in that category, then the town council has a problem.

So councils have asked us. We have mentioned it to the City of St. John's, and they are reviewing it. They are not sure that their legislation is antiquated, but we let the City of St. John's pretty well do what they want with their own legislation. The City of Mount Pearl would rather leave it as it is with no definition, to allow then a magistrate or a judge to define what can be considered liable and what cannot. If you want to find the answer to this, our Clerk at the Table gave me the definition some time ago, he gave it to me again tonight, and I would suggest before you do the amendment, talk to him. Because the City of Mount Pearl may be quite upset if we do an amendment to this, knowing full well that they don't want the terms of reference of the City of St. John's on the liability.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. REID: Okay.

CHAIR: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I just wanted briefly, for a couple of minutes, to direct remarks to the minister. I indicated that, certainly, if you have a legal opinion to that effect, or the City of Mount Pearl doesn't request that, or if there is any reason, I say to minister, we won't bring in an amendment to that effect. If that is what the wish is, and that has legal substance, we aren't going to do it. I stated that there could be a possibility, if it isn't there. If it was left out inadvertently, or there is doubt whether it is best to have it in or out, if you have a legal opinion let's say from the Department of Justice to indicate that it is important that it not be in, or it should be - we are certainly open to hearing any opinions on that before we render a judgement on doing so. We have never stated definitively - in fact, I said on the record that if a satisfactory answer could be provided to that, we won't propose an amendment and so on. We will just deal with it as it is, I say to the minister.

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

MR. OSBORNE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

There are a couple of items that I would like to bring up regarding Bill No. 41, "An Act To Amend The City Of Mount Pearl Act." Clause 3, for example, has an addition regarding winter maintenance. I think this provision seems quite reasonable and is quite acceptable to us on this side of the House. Subsection 179.2 gives council power to acquire waters in watershed area lands, and also gives council the power to build and maintain water systems. Again, I feel that we on this side of the House are prepared to accept that. That seems quite reasonable and within reason.

There is an area, the new section that sets out the next election in 1997 and every four years after that, and sets the date on the last Tuesday in September. The reference to holiday is gone, and I'm only presuming the City of Mount Pearl is in agreement with this. If that is the case, we see no reason to argue this, so we on this side of the House would be in agreement with that as well.

There is a section there, clause 2, which says, "The city and the council are not liable for a nuisance." Now, the problem here is the term nuisance is not defined in these bills. It does not state anywhere within the bills who is responsible or liable for damages caused by a nuisance, other than the fact that the City of Mount Pearl is not. It doesn't say whether or not the Province is liable, whether an individual who maybe has created the cause of nuisance is to be liable. Is it possible, maybe, that there is nobody liable, and that the person who is put out of his way as a result of the nuisance will have to bear the cost himself? What has been the situation to date when a nuisance has caused the damage in Mount Pearl? That is a question.

Now, some of my colleagues have mentioned the fact that the City of St. John's Act clearly defines nuisance, whereas the new act for Mount Pearl does not define nuisance. I would venture to say that while the City of St. John's is quite familiar with and quite capable of defining a nuisance, it does not mean that Mount Pearl has no nuisances.

AN HON. MEMBER: What?

MR. OSBORNE: I am sure Mount Pearl has as many, or more, nuisances as St. John's. It is just that St. John's knows what the nuisances are and Mount Pearl has no idea yet what their nuisances are.

The City of St. John's Act, which defines nuisance, says that they are: buildings in a dangerous condition; a chimney sending out smoke or vapours in a quantity as to be objectionable to neighbours. It can be a factory, workshop or workplace that is not kept in a clean state, or not ventilated in such a manner as to make harmless, where practical, gases, vapours, dust or other impurities generated in the course of the work carried out in the factory, workshop or workplace that are injurious to the health, or so overcrowded while work is carried out as to be injurious or dangerous to the health of those employed in the factory, workshop or workplace.

It could be a house, or part of a house, that is so overcrowded as to be dangerous or injurious to the health of the residents; an animal so kept as to be injurious to the health, or a source of annoyance to neighbours; an accumulation or deposit which is injurious to health; a pool, ditch, gutter, watercourse, privy, urinal, cesspool, drain or ashpit, that is so foul or is in such a state as to be injurious to health; or a premises in a state that is injurious to health.

There are probably other definitions of nuisance that have not been included in the City of St. John's Act, but at least the City of St. John's makes a clear attempt at defining nuisance, whereas the new act for the City of Mount Pearl makes no attempt to define what a nuisance is. Therefore, it is clearly not acceptable just to say that the city and council are not liable for a nuisance, and leave the term nuisance subject to interpretation.

The term nuisance should be clearly defined, and upon being clearly defined perhaps there can be clauses put in place that will define what in effect can be done about a nuisance; or, if indeed somebody is found liable for the nuisance, what that person or group of people would have to do to correct the nuisance.

Indeed, if the nuisance is within the city boundaries and it is not on anybody's land other than the City of Mount Pearl land, to say that the city and council are not liable for this nuisance is probably questionable as well. I mean, if the nuisance is created on city land, then who else would be liable for the cause of nuisance? Who else would be subject to the cost of repairing or making right the cause of nuisance?

Again, is the Province liable? Is the Province going to start getting bills from the City of Mount Pearl to correct what is left open to interpretation in the City of Mount Pearl Act? Will the Province start having to foot the bill for what Mount Pearl defines as a nuisance, where in fact the City of Mount Pearl will not be responsible or liable for such a cause? It is left open to much interpretation. If indeed the nuisance is caused on personal or private property, perhaps the person or persons can be billed for the correction of such a cause. But to just leave it open to interpretation, I think we on this side of the House have some very clear difficulties in supporting clause 2 of this part of the bill.

I think that basically we are leaving the Province liable in certain aspects, because by saying that the city and city council are not liable for nuisance does not state who is. In times of fiscal restraint and budgetary measures, to leave the Province in such a position, that we could be found liable where the City of Mount Pearl is not found liable, is clearly, here, a loophole that could potentially start costing the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador a lot of money.

I think it has to be more clearly defined here, first of all, what a nuisance is, who a nuisance is, what person or persons would be actually liable for the cause of a nuisance.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. OSBORNE: By leave?

CHAIR: Does the hon. member have leave?

MR. OSBORNE: Just to clue up.

CHAIR: Does the hon. member have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes.

CHAIR: By leave.

MR. OSBORNE: So I say to the Chairman, and to the other members of the House, that I think before we pass Bill No. 41, "An Act To Amend The City Of Mount Pearl Act," we have to clearly define what a nuisance is in the City of Mount Pearl Act, and make some clear definition as to who would be responsible for the cause of nuisance if indeed the City of Mount Pearl and the council of Mount Pearl are not responsible for a nuisance.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

CHAIR: Order, please! Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please! Order, please!

The Chair has recognized the hon. Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I wasn't intending to speak on this legislation until I heard the amount of debate that was taking place about amending the City of Mount Pearl Act. I'm very surprised there would be this much debate about amending the City of Mount Pearl Act. In fact, I'm even surprised there is an amendment on the floor of the House to amend the City of Mount Pearl Act, or to change anything about the City of Mount Pearl.

Listening to the Member for Waterford Valley earlier, I am convinced that the City of Mount Pearl is already perfect. Even the member representing Paradise was not able to say that his district was the best district in the Province; he only said it was one of the best, and inside of his district is Paradise. Well, he has Paradise in his district and he is still not prepared to say that it is the best community in Newfoundland. He said, `only one of the best', and I can understand why, because he has agreed, along with the Member for Waterford Valley, that Mount Pearl is, in fact, perfection itself, and that nothing should be amended about Mount Pearl, not even it's act.

Now, I do not know whether the Member for Mount Pearl thinks that. I think she wants to amend the boundaries. I think, and I agree with the Member for Waterford Valley, that Mount Pearl is perfect as it is. `Small is beautiful,' I think he said earlier, that, as perfect as it is, it does not need to be amended. The act does not need to be amended; the boundaries do not need to be amended.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: I think that, in the perfection of Mount Pearl, one can say that Mount Pearl is perfect, and yet its boundaries are inadequate. I think he rejected the suggestion -

MR. A. REID: Everybody who lives there is perfect.

MR. HARRIS: The Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs says that everybody who lives there is perfect. I am not so sure. The Chairman lives there. Or does he live in Bellevue? We are not sure where the Chairman lives.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: He lives in both places.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Mount Pearl.

I have become convinced, I say to the Government House Leader - there have been rumours going around that I want to be Mayor of St. John's, but after listening to the speech of the Member for Humber Valley, I am now convinced -

AN HON. MEMBER: Humber Valley?

MR. HARRIS: Of Waterford Valley. I am now convinced that the only city to which I could ever aspire to be mayor is the City of Mount Pearl. Therefore, I am announcing today, to end all speculation, that I will not be running for Mayor of St. John's.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HARRIS: I want to put all rumours to rest; I will not be running for Mayor of St. John's. Now, Mount Pearl is a different matter. I don't know when. It may not be in 1997. The act suggests there will be an election in 1997. No, it does not. I am sorry; that was St. John's. A general election will be held in 1997, so I will not be seeking the mayoralty of Mount Pearl in 1997, but one never knows. As political leaders, or political representatives, we strive to be better all the time. We strive for the pinnacle. I have decided, after listening to the Member for Humber Valley, that the pinnacle is not here in this House. The pinnacle is, in fact, somewhere else. To dare to try to amend the act of the City of Mount Pearl, or even anything to do with Mount Pearl, would be an insult to the perfection that now exists.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Did I say Humber Valley again? Well, there are many valleys. In fact, I was listening to the radio the other day and a gentleman called in to talk to astronomers, and he offered an opinion of his own.

CHAIR: Order, please!

I remind the hon. member that we are on clause 1.

MR. HARRIS: We are on clause-by-clause analysis, and I will explain to the Chairman how this is relevant.

The City of Mount Pearl contains Humber Valley.

CHAIR: I do not think we are relevant there. I doubt if it includes Humber Valley.

MR. HARRIS: Well, Waterford Valley is one of the valleys in the City of Mount Pearl.

There was a gentleman who called the radio station, and he was offering the opinion that the moon was, in fact, square and not round. It is only an illusion, he said. While he was at it, he also said that there have been people saying that the earth is flat, but he knew that the earth was not flat because, after all, we have hills like Signal Hill, and Longs Hill, and everybody knows the earth cannot be flat if we have hills like Signal Hill and Longs Hill. He was very convincing, I tell you. After hearing him I will never ever again think that the earth is flat or could have been flat. He seemed to know the difference.

Waterford Valley is one of the reasons as well. Waterford Valley in the City of Mount Pearl is one of the proofs that the earth is indeed not flat. I apologize to the Member for Waterford Valley for confusing that great valley with the valley in the other part of the Province, on the West Coast, Humber Valley; another proof that the earth is indeed not flat.

Mr. Chairman, to get to the specifics of clauses 1, 2, 3 and 4 of this act, I think that, perfect though it is, these amendments do not detract from the perfection that is Mount Pearl. Therefore, I would say in closing, that I support these amendments and do not see any reason to change them. I think the amendments are desirable and, in fact, bring about greater ability for the city councillors in Mount Pearl to carry out their duties and allow for proper regulations for the maintenance of roads and snow clearing; and also conform this act to that of the City of St. John's Act, and others that are being debated tonight and provide for elections in 1997 and every four years thereafter, at a more appropriate time of the year.

With that, Mr. Chairman, I conclude my remarks and allow some other hon. member to participate in this debate.

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for Waterford Valley.

MR. H. HODDER: Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to continue the rotation that we began here at 7:00 o'clock. It is now seventy-five minutes later and we still find it necessary to try and apprise the House of the importance of Bill No. 41, "An Act To Amend The City Of Mount Pearl Act."

My colleagues have spoken on various aspects. They were telling me that they had to go to St. John's to find the definition of a nuisance. Then, when they found that definition of a nuisance, they, in consultation with the hon. the minister and the clerks of the Legislature, have decided to reject that too.

Mr. Chairman, I want to thank these hon. members for having participated, and to again refer back to some of the most important points in this particular amendment. As all hon. members are now aware, one of the things that this particular amendment to the City of Mount Pearl Act does is let them have their elections in September. Mr. Chairman, it is not any old day in September. In fact, of all the days in September they could select, and of all the days in the week they could select, they have decided to go with Tuesday. Now, Tuesday is always a good day for an election because it lets you campaign all over the weekend. You can get the last minute things done. It lets you have a rest on Sunday, and then you can get kind of geared up on Monday and then have the election on Tuesday. I think Tuesday is an excellent day to have an election. It is a really good day, and I complement the minister on selecting Tuesday as the day for having an election in Mount Pearl. Very wise on the minister's part, because the minister could have selected Monday, he could have selected Saturday, or he could have selected Wednesday or Thursday or Friday. I know he would not select Sunday. The minister selected Tuesday.

MR. SULLIVAN: Is that because the President of the United States gets elected on Tuesday?

MR. H. HODDER: Well, that's probably because in Mount Pearl we are right up there, and the American President was always elected on a Tuesday. So in Mount Pearl we will now select the mayor and the councillors on a Tuesday. Now, it is not just any old Tuesday either, it is a Tuesday which falls, not in the first part of September, not in the second week of September, not in the third week of September, but the Tuesday is going to fall in the last week of September. Now, Mr. Chairman, there are always four possible Tuesdays in September. Now, we know we would not select the first Tuesday because that could confuse them with Labour Day. So then, the second Tuesday the kids are -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. H. HODDER: Yes. We need to get to the cabin on a weekend and this kind of thing. Then, of course, the second Tuesday, the kids are just settling in school, and the third Tuesday is kind of giving the -

AN HON. MEMBER: It is dart night.

MR. H. HODDER: Well, it is dart night. So you could have it the third Tuesday. The fourth Tuesday is the date when they are going to have the election in the city of Mount Pearl starting in 1997.

Now, Mr. Chairman, this is a very, very important part of this particular amendment because we see the minister make two good choices. He made a choice on the day of the week, which was a Tuesday, and then he made a choice on the particular Tuesday in the month. Now, I happen to like September because September happens to be the ninth month of the year. So, in the ninth month of the year, on the fourth Tuesday, we are going to have an election in the City of Mount Pearl in 1997. Now the ninth month is a very good month. It is the month where we have the end of the summer. We have had the opportunity for members who want to run for election to get their campaign literature ready. They have had summertime to get around and do their lead up to the election. They have gone to their cabins and they have gotten their restful summer holidays all done. The ninth month is the month that the minister selected to have the election. He could have selected January, but he said no. He could have been like the Premier, he could have said February. We know the Premier loves to have the elections in February. In fact, he had the election on the - was it a Monday or on a Tuesday? I forget the day of the week now.

I am not surprised if it was a Tuesday because I suspect that the Premier consulted with the minister and said that Tuesday is the best day to have an election. Therefore, all throughout the Province now, Tuesday will be the date for an election. I am surprised, though, that the Premier did not tell the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs that he would have the election in February. The minister knows that the Premier likes the elections in February, on the last Tuesday, I do believe. Therefore, the last part of the month is okay. He made a mistake, he gave us the second month for the provincial election, but the minister just moved it on up and he is going to have the election in the ninth month.

Mr. Chairman, we have the ninth month. We could have had it in March, but no, no, no. The minister looked at that and said, no, March is a month when we are going to be getting ready for the House. My colleague behind me here is giving me prompting that might be inappropriate, so I will continue on with my train of thought and say that we could have had it in the month of March but the minister over here, in his wisdom, decided - I know it was in consultation, a big decision of Cabinet - not to have the election in March. I know that they wanted to have the election in March because the House would be open and they could keep an eye on things that were happening at the municipal level.

April, of course, would mix them up with Easter, and all that kind of thing. Besides, the Minister of Health would have to stay home from Florida, and we would not want the Minister of Health to have to stay home from Florida. I walked by his condominium in Florida a couple of years ago - and, you know, it is a case of where he would want to be in Florida. I know that the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs would like to have the election in April, but `no,' he said, `we cannot have that.'

Then he went through and said: Now, when would be the best time to have an election? He put it before his colleagues: Will it be the month of May? It cannot be May, because that is the time of year when we are going to be getting the House of Assembly open, and we have the May 24th weekend, all those kinds of things, so he went through all those months and selected to have it in September; so the election in Mount Pearl is set for September.

We find these are three good decisions the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs has in this one little clause. He selected Tuesday, which we totally agree with; we support it. We think this is a wonderful decision he made. He selected not any ordinary Tuesday, the fourth Tuesday. He had seven choices for a day; he selected one, and we, on this side of the House, believe that was the right decision and we are supporting it.

Then, of course, he had twelve choices of the month he could have selected and he came down to one. They have been having it in the eleventh month for a long, long time. In September he had thirty days. I forgot to mention that he could have had it any other day. He had thirty days, but he selected one particular day.

I am saying to the minister, these were very, very good decisions and we are supporting them. I wanted to make a note to say, over here, that the Member for Waterford Valley likes the Tuesday, likes the month, likes this decision. And we would want the minister to record in his notes the unanimous support of all the members of the Official Opposition for his decision on the month and the day of the week, and for the time of the year. Mr. Chairman, I am quite proud of the fact that I can stand here and say that on all three of these issues we support the minister.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. H. HODDER: No, I have known the minister for a long, long time. The minister and I sat together in many meetings when we were members of the Federation of Municipalities, and we made some big decisions; but of all the big decisions we made, they just do not rank up there.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not like this one!

MR. H. HODDER: We made decisions about the whole 300 municipalities, and when we were in the federation there were well over 300 municipalities, but in this particular decision I know the research the minister did. I know he consulted with the President of the United States on the selection of Tuesday, and -

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

CHAIR: Does the hon. member have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes.

MR. H. HODDER: Just to clue up, and not to repeat myself, because I certainly would not want this House to know that I was repeating myself.

I just want to say again for the record, so members would really know, the next time I speak I will talk about the issue of `nuisance'. I disagree with my colleague, the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi - he talked a lot about that. We know that this particular bill is so important that we want the members to know we are going to give it thorough debate. I would not want this bill to pass without a thorough debate in the Legislature. We on this side are prepared to give it all the time that is necessary, if it means that we have to sit here until the wee hours of the morning, and not for one speaker, not for two speakers, not for three speakers, not for four speakers, not for five. I am speaker number eight, because the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi has already spoken, and I am now doing my second turn here.

I want all members to know, I want them to be aware, that before this night is out I will probably have to rise again. I will give it my best effort to make sure that the people of Mount Pearl are well served. Because all members on this side of the House are going to be persistent. They want to stand up for what they believe in, want to tell the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs what great decisions he has made, particularly on the selection of the day and the month and the day of the week to have the municipal elections, starting in - not any old year. Remember, we started having elections every four years, municipal government in Newfoundland, in 1961. Before that they used to be held haphazardly. In 1961 we set a firm date for municipal elections, and every four years after that we have an election: 1965, and 1965 plus four is 1969. Then you add four more years to that, 1973, and you can go on, add them up. Now we are going to go with 1997. So in 1997, in September, we are going to have an election.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) by now?

CHAIR: Does the hon. member have leave?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No.

CHAIR: The hon. member does not have leave.

MR. H. HODDER: Mr. Chairman, I thank hon. members for their time, and I am sure that some other hon. member now will be able to continue the debate.

CHAIR: Shall clause 1 carry?

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Chairman.

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

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

I just rise in my place again this evening to say a few more words on clause 1 before I get on to clause 2. Since I stood in my place when we came back here at 7:00 p.m. there have been, I think, seven speakers up on Bill No. 41, An Act To Amend The City of Mount Pearl Act.

Before I go on to clause 2, I would just like to reiterate basically that this section commences a council's term of office within two weeks of being elected. As I stated earlier, this allows, of course, a time for some communication between the old councillors who are outgoing and the new councillors who are coming in, and to talk also to the administration, as I stated earlier, and to get their feet wet, I suppose, and just get a little bit of experience before they take over and hold the first council meeting.

Since I stood here, actually, there have been, as I said, seven speakers speak on this topic. I was quite interested in the Member for St. John's East talking about the word `nuisance', and describing `nuisance', and the possibility of maybe putting forward an amendment to that. But when the minister got on his feet he made a very good point, and I would have to have some time on this now and see what we are going to do. We will have some debate, I suppose, with respect to the amendment. The point he was making, of course, is the definition of `nuisance' in the City of St. John's Act may be outdated. It very well could be. We will have to look at that, I suppose, and see if the member is going to actually pursue the moving of an amendment later on tonight or early tomorrow morning, whatever the case may be.

The previous speaker, the Member for Waterford Valley, was talking about the date of the election to be held in the City of Mount Pearl. He was making some very good points. Of course, it is the fourth Tuesday four years after 1997. It will be every four years, in 2001 and so have you, 2005. It is the fourth Tuesday in September of each month. September is the ninth month, as the previous speaker said. This follows, of course, the summertime when children are on their school break and people are on holidays and they are out in the country. So it is probably not a good time to have an election.

Most elections are not held in the summertime. They are either held before school is out or just after school comes back. Although, as the previous speaker, the Member for Waterford Valley, said, the Premier held a provincial election in mid-February and it worked out fine actually. Election day was a nice day in and around St. John's. I do not know what it was like across the rest of the Province, but certainly, in my district it was a nice day, Mr. Chairman. But September is a good month, there is no doubt about it, Mr. Chairman, to have an election. The day is not a big factor for me, I suppose, as long as it is consistent and that the people who are going to be running know well in advance what day it is going to be held, and now they will know. In previous years, it was held on a certain day in November each year, but as I said earlier, that does not really give the new councils a lot of time to prepare for their budgets.

Also, in September of course, as we said earlier, it is at the end of the Summer. It is the beginning of the Fall, and usually September is a good month weatherwise. It will give the candidates, the people who are running, an opportunity to get out and do some door-to-door polling, visit the people in the area and get their literature out, Mr. Chairman, when they know, a long time in advance, where they are going to be running and what they are going to be - I am not sure, does Mount Pearl have zones like the city of St. John's? No?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: I am not sure about that. Anyway, Mr. Chairman, certainly September is a good month, there is no doubt about it, with respect to the weather and so on. Now, I do not want to say much more on clause 1 but I would like to say probably a few words now, if I could, on clause 2.

Clause 2 amends the Act by saying the city and council are not liable for a nuisance. Now, the Member for St. John's East was up talking about nuisance and trying to define nuisance. Also the Opposition House Leader, Mr. Chairman, had the City of St. John's Act out and was looking at the definition of `nuisance' in the City of St. John's Act, and a nuisance includes a number of concerns. I would say, to be honest with you now, Mr. Chairman, that maybe there are some people on that side of the House tonight who will be looking over here and probably thinking that we are nuisances tonight and maybe so, but if that is the case, sobeit, we are doing our job. We are here to discuss this legislation and all legislation that comes before the House of Assembly. We are about to do that and we are going to continue to do that in good order. We have everybody here tonight all revved up and ready to go. We are doing the job that we are in this House to do, Mr. Chairman.

Now, the definition of `nuisance' in the City of St. John's Act describes a nuisance and includes a premises in a state that is injurious to health. Now, that to me, Mr. Chairman, is pretty all-inclusive when you are talking about premises in the city of St. John's or if this was to be included as an amendment in the city of Mount Pearl - a premises in a state that is injurious to health. Now, for example, if an individual were going in to the city of Mount Pearl to the council building or the engineering building, in the winter months, and the steps were not properly salted or sanded and he slipped and broke a leg or broke an arm, and an ambulance had to be called to take him to the hospital, Mr. Chairman, would then the City of Mount Pearl be responsible? I really do not know at this point, Mr. Chairman, if they would be. Who is responsible or a liable for damages caused by a nuisance? Is a nuisance liable? Is the Province liable? Is it possible that no one is liable? Now, in the city of Mount Pearl, if this bill goes through and there is no definition, it is possible that nobody may be liable for a nuisance. Obviously, just by the mere fact that it is a nuisance, you would think that someone would be liable, I say to you, Mr. Chairman. However, it is not defined, and again, the minister was on his feet and explained why it is not in there, and it could very well be a good reason. But at this point in time, it remains to be seen if this bill will proceed through the House without any amendments.

Again, back to premises - `a premises that is injurious to their health'. It is all-inclusive, it could be, I mean, going into a building anywhere in the city, and it could be a block of wood on a step, it could be a piece of wire across a step, it could be a piece of wire across a gate, not properly identified, and someone, a child on a bike could be going down the road or riding into what he sees as open space and there could be a cable across there and he could fall off the bike and hurt himself, and wind up going to hospital. Now, who is going to be responsible for that, I ask you, Mr. Chairman?

Another part of the definition in the City of St. John's Act is a pool, ditch, gutter, watercourse, privy, urinal, cesspool, drain or asphalt so foul or in such a state as to be injurious to your health. Now, Mr. Chairman, there could be an area within the city that could be just a bog hole, I suppose, that could be smelly. I mean, is the city going to be held responsible for that? Mr. Chairman, it could be something under construction within the city and it could be -

AN HON. MEMBER: Stop making a fool of yourself! Sit down!

MR. J. BYRNE: Who is that member? He does not speak that often. That member who just spoke, who is he? He does not speak that often so I cannot remember what district he represents.

Mr. Chairman, we could have a situation in the city, with construction, where the city may not have taken proper precaution in respect of the construction company. Maybe they are putting in water and sewer or it could be the planning of streets -

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

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

CHAIR: Does the hon. member have leave?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No leave.

CHAIR: The hon. member does not have leave.

MR. J. BYRNE: Okay.

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for Conception Bay South.

MR. FRENCH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I told you I would be back in about an hour or so, and I am back again; I am not sure if I am sixth or seventh on the list but anyway, I am in there somewhere. There are a few things I would like to discuss again, seeing we are back here, Mr. Chairman, on this.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) shame (inaudible).

MR. FRENCH: No, some people have no shame. Some people cannot represent their districts, I suppose.

Anyway, Mr. Chairman, I will go on. I realize that the member, wherever he is from, speaks once in a while. I do not know if he speaks on any of the bills that we have presented here in the House. I know he certainly will not be speaking on this one because I guess he is not allowed.

To go on with this particular bill, Mr. Chairman, like some of my colleagues, I must commend my colleague, the Member for Waterford Valley on the speech he just gave. I thought it was great, I thought it was very entertaining, and when he comes back in an hour-and-forty minutes time, he just might give the same speech again or he may give it around 1:30 or 2:00 o'clock tomorrow morning. But it was a good speech, very interesting and it would kind of keep you alive, Mr. Chairman.

Anyway, this particular bill, "An Act To Amend The City Of Mount Pearl Act" is now before the House, Mr. Chairman, and I would like to talk a little bit about `nuisance'.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FRENCH: Well, I say to my hon. colleague across the House, he should certainly know about nuisance.

Anyway, subsection 2 is amended, but in this case, Mr. Chairman, we do not define the word `nuisance' in the particular Act that is before the House tonight. And I promised that when I came back the next time, I was going to talk about how we should educate our councillors, and so on, but I kind of got sidetracked here and I will have to save that for when I come back in an hour-and-forty minutes time. I am sure I have ample time, or I will have ample time.

MR. TULK: Seventy minutes.

MR. FRENCH: Well, whatever time I have, seventy minutes or whatever. I am good until daylight. You do not have to worry about me.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. FRENCH: Well, that is good. We will certainly keep you here with us tonight, I say to the hon. member.

MR. OSBORNE: What are you getting, the nomination fee for east?

MR. FRENCH: I was kind of curious there a while ago because I heard the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi give a statement that he was not running, and I think the Member for Conception Bay East & Bell Island should listen to this, because he gave a very eloquent speech and in the end he finally said that he was not running for Mayor of St. John's, but that is not the end of his rumour mill. The rumour mill also has him running in the federal election.

CHAIR: I remind the hon. member we are on the Mount Pearl bill.

MR. FRENCH: Well, he may wish to run in Mount Pearl.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FRENCH: I will do this very quickly, Mr. Chairman. The Member for Conception Bay East & Bell Island may also run in St. John's East, but I am not sure how much of Mount Pearl is in the district of St. John's East - maybe none of it. I do not believe it is.

AN HON. MEMBER: No Mount Pearl.

MR. FRENCH: No Mount Pearl. Again, you and my colleague here next to me just might face off in a few months time, these two gentlemen here. The rumour mill has it that St. John's East - the rumour mill was not only for him to run for mayor.

MR. TULK: Federal election?

MR. FRENCH: The federal election. The rumour mill was not only for mayor and the hon. gentleman has certainly killed that here tonight.

Anyway, back to the bill, Mr. Chairman. I am sorry about that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FRENCH: I do not, but I just have to let you know that I heard it. He is moving into the district of St. John's East, I say to him.

AN HON. MEMBER: How many times did you run before you got elected?

MR. FRENCH: Who me? The first time I ran I got elected.

MR. J. BYRNE: The same here.

MR. FRENCH: That is right. I do not fool around. I ran for the nomination, first time, got opposed, one. You fellows over there, you especially, voted to create a district where you figured all the Liberals were going in flying. You left part of my district in, because you figured that you would win this. Well, what a fright you must have got when I got elected. Imagine, me, I made it and I won the part of my district where you thought I would lose. Imagine, part of my district that never before in history had ever gone Conservative, and I won - imagine that - and won quite handily, I might say. I did not win by seventeen votes. I won by a lot more than that.

CHAIR: Order, please!

I remind the hon. member we are on the Mount Pearl bill.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FRENCH: Anyway, I have to carry on, Mr. Chairman.

AN HON. MEMBER: The first election is easy, boy.

MR. FRENCH: Is it? I will talk to you in four years time. I will be back in four years time.

MR. SULLIVAN: It gets tougher and tougher.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FRENCH: Well, you do not mind them, I say to my colleague across.

MR. TULK: The former House Leader used to say to me, it's n-o--t the first one, it's n-o--t the second one, and it's n-o--t the third one, but it's the fourth one that (inaudible) defeats you!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: Is that recorded? I hope that is in Hansard.

MR. HARRIS: Isn't that where Hansard says: HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. FRENCH: I hope it is recorded, too.

Mr. Chairman, I seem to have some difficulty getting into the part on the nuisance here, you know, as I said earlier; and my time is going. When I come back next time I will talk about the councillors and what kind of benefit it should be to -

MR. TULK: That will be five minutes to ten.

MR. FRENCH: I think so, somewhere around there, and I am good then until probably five after, with a bit of leave, probably twelve minutes.

MR. TULK: I promise you -

MR. FRENCH: I thank the Government House Leader for the entertainment earlier on. It was a pretty good punch line.

The nuisance, of course - and I am glad the minister got up and spoke, you know, it is probably a good idea that we do not define that. If, as he says, the City of St. John's are looking at the possibility of changing it, then we probably should not introduce an amendment that would put something in there that is certainly antiquated, anything that should not go in there at this point in time. Maybe, we should have the department take a look at this and go through all of it, Mr. Chairman, so that we can get the proper definitions to go in these particular Acts somewhere down the road.

So I guess when the department is ready, in its wisdom, we will probably see an amendment to the City of St. John's Act and we will certainly see an amendment to the Act for the City of Mount Pearl. Again, I think some of my colleagues, Mr. Chairman, have certainly defined a nuisance, I would like to do it again. It is a premises that is in a state of disrepair, or it is a pool, a ditch, a gutter, watercourse, a privy, a urinal, a cesspool, a drain, so foul and in such a state as to be injurious to one's health.

Now, some years ago, Mr. Chairman, I was a town manager for a particular town and we had somebody who created such a particular nuisance, where he barred off a natural watercourse in a community and it led to the flooding out of the road. And it required the serving of a notice under the nuisance that is defined in the Municipalities Act, where we had to send in our own staff and actually had to use the constabulary -

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. FRENCH: By leave, Mr. Chairman?

CHAIR: Does the hon. member have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes.

MR. FRENCH: Thank you.

The first notice that we sent along to the particular house, got dropped off back to us within about thirty seconds, and some of our staff were threatened if we turned up anymore, that they would shoot them. So we got hold of the constabulary and went back with the constabulary, of course, and served the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FRENCH: No, I had leave.

So we went back and served notice on the (inaudible).

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for Windsor - Springdale says the hon. member does not have leave.

MR. FRENCH: Do I not?

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for Green Bay says the hon. member does not have leave.

AN HON. MEMBER: Windsor - Springdale.

CHAIR: Windsor - Springdale, is it?

MR. FRENCH: Okay, well, that is alright. He can sit around and listen to me when I come back. Thank you.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I rise to speak -

MR. WISEMAN: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for Topsail, on a point of order.

MR. WISEMAN: It is quite obvious there is no member here for Green Bay.

CHAIR: There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I would like to address a few remarks to the provisions of the bill, An Act To Amend The City Of Mount Pearl Act, in particular, clause 2 of the Act. What we have is an amendment to the Act by adding a provision which makes the City and the council not liable for a nuisance. There may well be some debate about what a nuisance is or who is a nuisance and who is not. Heaven knows, there are a number of people in this House who have been accused, rightly or wrongly, of being nuisances in the past.

I wanted to draw members' attention to the definition of nuisance that is already in legislation, for example, in the City of St. John's Act. Mr. Chairman, if the City of St. John's Act definition were to be used, and it can be held that the City of Mount Pearl is not liable for a nuisance, what it seems to mean is that a nuisance includes under the City of St. John's Act "a premises in a state that is injurious to health."

If what this legislation is doing is saying that the City of Mount Pearl is not responsible or is not liable for a nuisance, if the nuisance means "a premises in a state that is injurious to health," does this mean that the City Council of Mount Pearl can maintain buildings, maintain premises, maintain lands and other facilities, that are in a state that is injurious to the health of the citizens of Mount Pearl or the citizens of the Province without any liability for that? Is that what this means?

Included also in the definition is "a pool, ditch, gutter, watercourse, privy, urinal, cesspool, drain or ashpit so foul or in such a state as to be injurious to health," and the City Council of Mount Pearl is not liable for maintaining cesspools that are so foul a state as to be injurious to health. There is no liability, no responsibility, for maintaining pools, ditches, gutters, watercourses, privys, urinals, cesspools, drains or ashpits that are "...so foul or in such a state as to be injurious to health." Is this giving the City of Mount Pearl total licence to ignore the requirement to maintain premises and to maintain the environment of the City, lands owned by the City, facilities owned by the City, in any way? Also included in the definition of a nuisance is "an animal so kept as to be injurious to health or a source of annoyance to neighbours."

Ordinarily speaking, the general legal definition of nuisance would include the use of your own land in such a manner as to interfere with other people's use of their lands. So, I suppose, if the definition of nuisance is not a broad one but rather a narrow one, the common law definition of nuisance, then it may be alright. Because the City of Mount Pearl would then be only liable to ensure that it used its lands or its premises so as not to interfere with the use of the lands and premises of other people.

But when we have a sister Act, as it were, the City of St. John's Act, with a very particular and broad definition of nuisance, talking about the maintenance of premises in a state injurious to health, or the maintenance, or the lack of maintenance I suppose, of "a pool, ditch, gutter, watercourse, privy, urinal, cesspool, drain or ashpit so foul or in such a state as to be injurious to health," then it seems that in this particular section of the Act, the amendment is, in fact, giving the City of Mount Pearl freedom, or licence to act in a manner that damages the health of not only its citizens but potentially the citizens of other cities or towns in the Province.

I do not know if that is the intention or not. I did not hear the minister expound upon it, but I think there is a balance to be kept between the rights of the citizens and the rights of the City. I am familiar with some of the legal cases that have gone forward, and I do not think that the City should be totally an insurer for anything that happens within its boundaries - that is something that people have to insure against themselves -but when the insurance policies that home-owners might have do not protect the home-owner from certain events, and yet the city council or the city authorities are exempted from perhaps the very same things that are exempted from an insurance policy, then that is placing a very great risk on home-owners.

Mr. Chairman, when a City like Mount Pearl establishes watercourses, or engages in drainage programs or, in fact, diverts watercourses or drainage in a certain area, and if that causes a nuisance to someone's property, fills up their basement because of inadequate maintenance of a drainway set up by the City of Mount Pearl, then surely, you cannot exempt the City from the nuisance that it causes to an adjoining landowner.

MR. WOODFORD: Nor should they.

MR. HARRIS: As the Member for Humber Valley said, `Nor should they'. They should be responsible. If they caused the nuisance, and that caused the damage, then why are we here in this House interfering with the ability of an individual to hold the City responsible for what happens? That has not been adequately explained here tonight. This debate has been going on for two hours now, and I have not heard the minister get up for one second and defend this provision of the Act, not once. We are in clause-by-clause study, the detailed study of this Act, and we have been waiting patiently for the minister to explain to us why it is that he feels we should adopt this legislation which is exempting the City of Mount Pearl from the right to be sued by its citizens if, in fact, they are injured by a nuisance created by the City itself.

I am not satisfied with some general, vague argument about the changing of one word, and the word `nuisance' is one open to too many interpretations. I am not satisfied with that. It is open to many interpretations. There are nuisances afoot everywhere we look, and some might say whether a person or a thing is a nuisance is a matter of opinion. But we are not talking about opinion here, we are talking about the law, and the statute law is a very important rule by which courts decide whether or not an individual has to bear the cost or bear the damages, or suffer the damages themselves, or whether it can be passed on to an insurance company, or whether it be passed on to a municipal body that is responsible for causing the damage, or whether they must bear it themselves and suffer the loss.

A so-called `Act of God', I think, is the famous phrase that the insurance companies use. `Oh, no, that was not us. We did not do that. That is not covered under your policy. That is an act of God.' And if you look a little further, it is not an act of God at all but an act of inadequate maintenance that might be carried out by the City, a City that has the power to set up drainways and move watercourses, establish facilities, and if they do not properly maintain them and a nuisance can be caused thereby, and if that is being exempted by this Act, then we may have a situation where a home-owner's property is damaged and he suffers a terrific loss but does not have any opportunity to cover it even though he is paying enormous sums in municipal taxes, and even though he is paying enormous sums in household insurance. Yet the loss cannot be covered because the Act exempts the City.

So there is a problem here, and I have not heard a proper explanation in this House.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I am just delighted to be able to stand up once again and to be able to reflect upon and give some thoughts with respect to Bill No. 41, An Act To Amend The City Of Mount Pearl Act.

This legislation is obviously of importance. It has sparked significant debate here in the House this evening. Members opposite are paying close attention to what is being said, particularly after the words of wisdom as espoused by my colleague, the Member for Waterford Valley. It is the type of legislation which requires an in-depth analysis and requires careful review before just speedy passage and the quick passing of a piece of legislation, and after Committee and after debate during second reading and so on. We have to really carefully review legislation to ensure that it is fully discussed, that all aspects of the legislation are scrutinized, and that is the exercise we are going through here this evening.

A lot of the discussion by my colleagues this evening, both my colleagues in the Official Opposition and another Opposition colleague in the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi, has centred on a definition of the term `nuisance'. But there is a case that perhaps many members are not familiar with. This is an actual case that took place in Montreal a number of years ago. It was the former prime minister, Pierre Trudeau. Mr. Trudeau actually sued the City of Montreal for allowing an act of nuisance to occur which affected his property. The act of nuisance was that his apartment view was being blocked by a building which had been given a permit - obviously the owners and developers of this building were given a permit to erect a building. When this building was, in fact, completed, the view of the former prime minister's apartment in this apartment building was blocked.

One may ask: What is the legal remedy, what recourse does an individual have in a situation like that? The recourse is that the City can be sued for an act, or allowing an act, of nuisance. Again, the nuisance is that the view of the former prime minister was blocked by an adjacent building. That is an example of nuisance which affects an adjacent property or a neighbouring property. We can see that it does fit in the definition in a broad sense when we look at the definition of nuisance. It states "a premises in a state that is injurious to health." We realize that there is no health consideration in this case.

It is not "a pool, ditch, gutter, watercourse, privy, urinal, cesspool, drain or ashpit so foul or in such a state as to be injurious to health." It does not amount to "an accumulation or deposit which is injurious to health." It is not a health consideration, but what it is, is a condition which has been allowed to develop and occur which affected a person's property resulting in a legal act of nuisance.

Now, the question may be asked: Well, what is it about that particular example which makes it so relevant and so important to Bill No. 41, The City Of Mount Pearl Act? What is relevant, Mr. Chairman, is that if a similar situation occurred, if a road condition or a property condition or a sidewalk condition were such that potentially could be injurious to a person's health, that obviously could create an act and an action in and for nuisance. If, for example, the City of Mount Pearl granted a permit to a developer or to a property owner and the development of that particular property resulted in an act of nuisance, the City of Mount Pearl does not have a defining section in the Act which could be relied upon in order to ascertain whether or not a nuisance has been committed.

Now, as the hon. the minister pointed out earlier, yes, it is true that the absence of a definition may, in fact, be of benefit to a municipality. It broadens the definition. You can rely on the common law definition. As times change, obviously, circumstances change and the actual definition of nuisance in a broad sense may change. But the down side, the disadvantage of that, Mr. Chairman, is that without a defining section there are no restrictions, no guidelines, no parameters, and in order to determine whether or not an act of nuisance, in fact, exists, members on this side of the House would argue, Mr. Chairman, that it is better to have guidelines. It is better to have direction. It is better to have some basis upon which a decision could be made whether or not an action could proceed.

Mr. Chairman, the definition continues to state that a nuisance includes - I noticed the definition is inclusive. It does not say that it is this and only this. It just gives some direction and some guidelines to those people within a municipality who want to determine whether or not a particular act or acts of individuals could come within that definition. It includes a house or part of a house so overcrowded as to be dangerous or injurious to the health of residents. I would suggest, Mr. Chairman, that there are circumstances perhaps within this municipality and I am sure in others, where that set of circumstances, perhaps an unfortunate set of circumstances, could exist where a house or part of a house could be so overcrowded as to be dangerous or injurious to health -clearly, a situation where the Department of Health officials would have to be invited to come in perhaps to inspect the property to ensure that the best interests of the inhabitants are being maintained.

It includes, for example, a factory workshop or workplace not kept in a clean state or not ventilated in such a manner as to make harmless where practicable, gases, vapours, dusts or other impurities generated in the course of the work carried on in the factory, workshop or workplace that are injurious to health or so overcrowded while work is carried on, as to be injurious or dangerous to the health of those employed in the factory, workshop or workplace. So, clearly, this expanded definition of nuisance which is, again, absent in the legislation and absent in the municipality that centres around this piece of legislation, the absence creates, I would suggest, Mr. Chairman, just an inability to determine whether or not an action can be commenced against the City.

The other legislation that we had dealt with earlier, the City of St. John's Act, and the legislation which gives some guidance to other municipalities whereby it has provided for the benefit of other municipalities the use of this definition, the other act and therefore the other municipalities do not have the same problem. The definition is there for others to assess whether or not an action is available and whether or not the definition of nuisance is complete.

Also, nuisance includes a chimney sending out smoke or vapours in a quantity as to be objectionable to neighbours, and buildings in a dangerous condition. As we can see, Mr. Chairman, many of the provisions of this section, as has been admitted earlier, are outdated. I mean, we are talking about a situation, a chimney sending out smoke or vapours in a quantity as to be objectionable to neighbours. Obviously, that would have been a situation that would have been much more obvious, perhaps, and present within our society in this city, fifty, seventy, eighty, ninety years ago. Nevertheless it is there, and it provides a set of examples and it provides an idea -

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. OTTENHEIMER: - it provides an idea, Mr. Chairman, as to when the whole concept of nuisance is available.

CHAIR: Does the hon. member have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

CHAIR: The hon. member, by leave.

MR. OTTENHEIMER: There are many more interesting points on this topic which I will refer to, perhaps shortly before midnight, Mr. Chairman, and I will wait until that time to expand.

Thank you.

CHAIR: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) section there about (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Is it? Yes.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: No.

I am sure it is not accepted behaviour, I say to the minister. Did you say after twelve o'clock? So, if you have any water to dump out the window, do it before twelve o'clock. Is that what the minister is implying?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Well, no, I have not seen that part. In fact, I only reference the sections referred to in the bill.

AN HON. MEMBER: Now, that is nuisance.

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, and not being able to define that is a downright shame, I say to the minister. We should be able to define that.

Certainly, in Bill No. 41, as my colleague from Waterford Valley so eloquently stated, the minister did have thirty choices of when he would like to have that election. I thought he was very succinct, you know, and very to the point, that he had thirty choices from which he did select the last Tuesday in September. I mean, that was certainly something of great interest to people in the Province, and it is important in this section too. It mentions: shall begin within two weeks, that is the term of office, of his or her election or appointment, which is, I think, an adequate period of time in which to be able to assume office.

There is an interesting point here in one of the clauses too that says: It shall be held in 1997 and every four years after. Well, I think that is appropriate. In fact, I think, provincial elections should be nailed down to, let us say, four-year terms. Whatever happens at the time, happens. Why subject us to thirty-two or thirty-three month elections? I know back in 1982 there was an election after three years, in 1985 after three years, and we had another one thirty-two months. I am a strong believer that this four-year period identified here is sufficient. We should not be running the taxpayers into undue costs by having elections any more frequently than a four-year period. Then, whatever happens, if you are on the top of the political wave or you are at the bottom, you take your licks; you know when it is coming, prepare for it. That is what happens in the United States, as we mentioned, and it seems to work fine. People know when to expect an election and know what is happening. It is not at the whim, really, of an individual.

The City of Mount Pearl has had elections in predetermined times too, of course, unlike provincial elections. Still it is appropriate to know when it should be, to have it on regular intervals, to have sufficient time for a transfer of office, all ordinary things we would expect to see here in the legislation. There are things in the legislation too that add some new powers actually. It isn't that I'm opposed to these at all. In fact, some of them are positive.

Section 202 of the act, in clause 3, talks about regulations. It says it is "amended by striking out the word `and' at the end of paragraph (d)..." and it goes on, to add in some other new areas under regulations. Because the council already is defined in the City of Mount Pearl Act as being able to make certain regulations, and it has that power already. There is a new addition here too, in respect to winter maintenance of roads and snow clearing, including regulations which "prohibit or control parking during the winter months." So it is empowering councils to specifically lay out those conditions. I would assume there are certain controls over these now too, I say to my colleague who was mayor there, but they aren't specifically defined as such. It is just a general power.

This really identifies specific powers which the council has to make regulations governing or prohibiting or controlling parking during winter months, which, in terms of snow clearing, can be detrimental to a proper operation of snow clearing equipment and can produce impediments to council and the City there in doing its work.

It can also, in (ii), "prohibit or control the erection of structures which impede or hinder winter maintenance of roads and snow clearing." That is one of the purposes, that council needs to be able to have certain flexibilities, of course, in carrying out its responsibilities. There are many different areas in the regulations here that council has the power to do. They can prescribe the height and construction of fences in the town, if you want to have a certain fence around your property, "requiring the owner or occupier of a lot abutting on a public road within the town to fence the lot and to keep and maintain the fence in repair to the satisfaction of the council." That is one of the powers that is already there, and there are specific powers under this part of that.

We already have the powers in the City of Mount Pearl Act, in section 202(b), to prohibit or control, "subject to rights existing at the coming into force of the regulations, the erection, maintenance and use upon or near public roads, sidewalks and bridges of telephone and electricity poles, signs and other objects and requiring their removal from one place to another; the removal to be at the expense of the owner unless the location in that one place had been approved by council." So there are certain powers and controls there to ensure that there is a proper distribution and placement of telephone utility poles, generally speaking.

There are even powers they have in section 202(c)(i) to prohibit or control "coasting, skating or sliding...," and in (ii) riding bicycles. I know, skateboards is one area, I know, that has been talked about a lot recently, about regulating and trying to control the use of those within areas there. I don't see that mentioned here as such, certainly in the City of Mount Pearl Act. Yes it does. Sorry! It says in (iii), "the riding or driving of children's wagons, push carts, skateboards..." is defined in the City of Mount Pearl Act. Tricycles and other similar objects, is already empowered in section 202(c)(iii) of the regulations. That is already there.

It can also, in (d), prohibit or control "vehicular or pedestrian access onto or over a public road or bridge." The powers are there. Also, in (e), protecting and preventing injuries to those roads and bridges is a responsibility. The city has to be able to protect its property to ensure that people don't remove any "foreign matter from these public roads," or changes there that might impact upon the ability of the city to maintain its own assets and properties.

Certainly, to add in these new regulations here, and new points added in in subsection (f) of the regulations there, gives some specific powers that weren't identified in the previous act, powers, as already mentioned, that prohibit the deposit of snow on public sidewalks and roads.

The Mount Pearl area is a area where you get a lot of snow. There can be banks of snow piled very high in some areas. This now specifically gives the city the power to make regulations that would prohibit some one from putting snow out on the public roads, sidewalks and areas that the city has responsibility for clearing. It seems to be a positive regulation that gives the city the power to be able to do what it probably has the general power to do now but not currently specifically identified under Section 202 of the act.

Of course, there are certain structures that can impede winter maintenance. They could be on properties that are within the right-of-way of the city, just outside the boundaries, areas that may effect the ability of the city to be able to clear their streets properly, or they can cause damage to equipment because of the manner in which they are erected. This section here, Clause 3 in this bill, is certainly positive. It adds to the list of regulations that are already there, to give the city specific powers and controls over these specific areas.

We did make reference earlier - and I spoke with the minister and also the legislative people - with reference to the definition of nuisance there. I certainly do not feel we should move an amendment, under that section, to have nuisance define there. I accept the explanation that was given, as I said earlier, and I think that by deleting a specific definition of nuisance from the act, which is in the City of St. John's Act by the way, sort of limits the definition of what constitutes nuisance. I would assume that a nuisance would be determined now, not necessarily by the act as in the City of St. John's, but the courts now will determine whether something constitutes a nuisance if action is taken toward that.

Even thought there are certain aspects here, I must say, that define nuisance in terms of the City of St. John's Act - and I am quite sure that many of these terms -

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you.

AN HON. MEMBER: With leave.

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave.

MR. SULLIVAN: Okay. I will get a break.

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for Baie Verte.

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

I am glad I could rush back here this evening after a very important meeting to speak on this very important piece of legislation, Bill 41, "An Act To Amend The City Of Mount Pearl Act." I think it is important that we all make some comments and make some points. My colleagues have done a fine job thus far, Mr. Chairman, in acknowledging the points of this particular bill.

Of course, Clause 1 amends Section 15 to do two thing basically. First of all, it commences the term of office within two weeks. As we know now, when the elections have taken place, councillors can go for weeks or months, or whatever. Nothing was ever stated as to exactly the amount of time, but now we know it is two weeks, Mr. Chairman; not three weeks, four months, or whatever. It is very specific. It does amend the act to say that within two weeks the new councillor should take his place and begin to do his work, as a councillors should do, Mr. Chairman.

Then it says: it ends a councillor's term of office also, Mr. Chairman, and at that time a quorum of newly elected or appointed councillors is sworn in or affirmed. The current section says fifteen days, the same thing; though it is with bad grammar, Mr. Chairman. It starts the councillor officially, I guess, and it ends the councillor officially, but at least they know when they start and when they finish, and that is what is important.

I guess, with respect to that, the amendment is clear. The minister has made comments about it and my previous colleagues have made comments about it, so I guess it clarifies that. We all should know when we start our duties and when we end our duties, the same as the members in the House of Assembly.

Clause 2 amends the act by adding, after section 179, section 179.1, which says the city and the council are not liable for nuisance. Now, Mr. Chairman, there has been quite a conversation tonight about nuisance. I guess you can give definitions in the amendments to the City of Mount Pearl act. They do not define it and, I guess, as out Opposition Leader has already stated, maybe we do not need it defined. In the City of St. John's Act it does have definitions: "nuisances" includes (i) a premises in a state that is injurious to health; (ii) a pool, ditch, gutter, watercourse, privy, urinal, cesspool, drain or ashpit so foul or in such a state as to be injurious to health.

Now, that is a definition, or one of the parts of the definition, but I think what they should do is give examples of nuisances. It is easy to read definitions of nuisances, but it is better to back it up with examples. I guess, you could point around the House and come up with a lot of examples of nuisances, but I would not do that. I am just saying you could do it. I say to the Minister of Education, you could do it. I dare not do it. I certainly would not point at the Government House Leader as an example of a nuisance. I would not do that. We could point out a lot of different people as examples of nuisances, but I would not do it, especially while we are in debate on such an important bill.

MR. OSBORNE: You would not point at the fisheries minister either.

MR. SHELLEY: No, I would not point at the fisheries minister. I would not even mention him, because he is not here and you are not supposed to mention ministers that are not here; so I certainly would not do that.

Nuisance can be defined differently: (iii) an accumulation or deposit -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: (Inaudible) talking about the Minister of Fisheries but we cannot do it because he is not here.

(iii) an accumulation or deposit which is injurious to health.

MR. LANGDON: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: No, Sir. I say to the Member for Fortune Bay - Cape la Hune, I would not talk about the Minister of Health because he is not here and I am not going to use him as an example of a nuisance.

It is late in the night, as you can understand, but we would not use examples of nuisances; we just use definitions of nuisance which is in the City of St. John's Act but not in the Mount Pearl amendments, Mr. Chairman.

(iv) an animal so kept as to be injurious to health or a source of annoyance to neighbours. You certainly would not talk about the Member for Fortune - Cape la Hune, as an example, compared to the definition.

AN HON. MEMBER: Or the fisheries minister.

MR. SHELLEY: Or the fisheries minister, who is not here.

Also in the St. John's Act it says: (v) a house or part of a house so overcrowded as to be dangerous or injurious to the health of the residents.

MR. OSBORNE: That is like the Government side of the House.

MR. SHELLEY: No. The Member for St. John's South would say that compares to the government side of the House. I would not say that, Mr. Chairman. That is what the Member from St. John's South is suggesting, but he does not have the floor and I do, and I would not say that.

MR. OSBORNE: It is overcrowded and it is dangerous to the public.

MR. SHELLEY: No, I cannot say the other side of the House is overcrowded and dangerous to the public, Mr. Chairman.

Then it says: (vi) a factory, workshop, or workplace, not kept in a clean state or not ventilated in such a manner as to make harmless where practicable gases, vapours, dust, or other impurities - and I certainly would not refer to the other side of the House as that - generated in the course of work carried on in the factory, workshop or workplace, that are injurious to health -

this `injurious' word is used quite a bit in this piece of legislation, as when you define nuisances; but I guess you can give all kinds of descriptions for it - while work is carried on as to be injurious or dangerous to the health of those employed in the factory, workshop or workplace; or (vii) a chimney sending out smoke or vapours in a quantity as to be objectionable to neighbours; or (viii) buildings in a dangerous condition. Mr. Chairman, that is defined in the St. John's Act but is not specific to the City of Mount Pearl Act.

Mr. Chairman, "An Act To Amend The City of St. John's Act", Bill 25, "An Act To Amend The City of Corner Brook Act", Bill 40, and "An Act To Amend The Municipalities Act", Bill 42, also have this clause protecting municipal governments against liability from a nuisance. The term `nuisance' is not defined in these bills, as we referred to earlier.

Is a nuisance liable? Is the Province liable? Is it possible that no one is liable? Of course, we addressed that earlier. I must say, the Opposition Leader has stated that quite clearly and, of course, in conversation with the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, they have agreed.

Section 179.1 does not bear directly on section 179. Subsection 179(2) gives council the power to acquire waters and watershed area land, Mr. Chairman. I think that is pretty straightforward. It is something they are able to do now. Subsection 179(3) gives council power to build and maintain the system. That makes perfect sense. It is well written, it is placed there, and it is very specific. It is something that we can support. We would have no problem in supporting it. Any council should have control of that. They all should have, of course. The obvious point here is that it gives council the power to build and maintain these systems, and so they should. It should have been there all along, as far as I'm concerned.

Clause 3 amends section 202 regarding the council's power to make regulations or to add a new paragraph regarding winter maintenance and roads and snow clearing. Mr. Chairman, when it comes to winter maintenance and snow clearing, I think everybody can relate to the snow clearing problems and so on, not just in cities but also in small towns. Although right here we talk about the City of Mount Pearl Act, we can also relate to that in the smaller towns around the Province, when it comes to snow clearing and the problems that we have with winter maintenance. Not just in towns, Mr. Chairman, but we can also mention highways in the Province, and the problems we have with snow clearing, I guess, and cutbacks to transportation and so on, and the danger that imposes on people in the Province; not just on our highways, but it also relates to people in these small towns all around Newfoundland.

Then, of course, clause 4 repeals and replaces section 316. This current section sets elections every four years, Mr. Chairman, on the second Tuesday of November. I guess it is significant, or there may be significance, in that it is every second Tuesday. Maybe that was the minister's preference for some reason. Maybe he can tell us why it was every second Tuesday of November. Of course, every four years; everybody has always agreed to that. These are very important points, Mr. Chairman, that must be made.

MR. FRENCH: You are doing a great job.

MR. SHELLEY: I certainly agree with the Member for Conception Bay South, that I am doing a great job in bringing out these points and highlighting these points in this very important piece of legislation, Bill No. 41.

MR. FRENCH: A great job! Tremendous job!

MR. SHELLEY: I don't know about tremendous, Mr. Chairman, but a very good job. I will go along with very good, but not tremendous.

I do say, Mr. Chairman, that the new section sets the next election in 1997 and every four years after that, and sets the date on the last Tuesday in September. It is very significant, Mr. Chairman, that it is the last Tuesday in September. It is very important that it is that particular date and that particular day.

The minister has the right to defer an election if the election is not changed. So, it gives the minister those powers. We have no problem or objections to any of those. I think there are good points made. They are specific to the City of Mount Pearl. The only thing different that we can see, of course, when you talk about definitions of nuisance, going back to the definitions of nuisance, is that they do have it in the City of St. John's Act but they don't have it in "An Act To Amend The City Of Mount Pearl" Act which is now before the House and we speak about here tonight.

Mr. Chairman, maybe we could take time to speak about nuisance and what it really means. The first part of the definition says, "a premises in a state that is injurious to health." That definition has been used over and over and over and over and over, and the point has been made over and over in this House. Sometimes people wonder why we continue to define nuisance and why we continue to make points on that particular part of this amendment. Mr. Chairman, I think it is quite obvious why we continue to make the definition of nuisance known. Because, Mr. Chairman -

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave!

MR. SHELLEY: By leave, Mr. Chairman?

CHAIR: Does the hon. member have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave!

CHAIR: No leave?

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I will have a few minutes to continue with this.

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

MR. OSBORNE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

MR. GRIMES: They are eating in the Legislature, Mr. Chairman, they are eating in the Legislature.

MR. OSBORNE: Who is that? I'm not.

AN HON. MEMBER: They are stuffing their gobs right full.

MR. OSBORNE: Mr. Chairman, I am more than happy to be standing again in my place and speaking on this very important bill, a bill that I think each and every one of my colleagues feels is important enough that we are going to stand in our places many, many times and speak on this bill. This is a very important bill. It is a very important amendment to the City of Mount Pearl Act, and I know that my colleagues on the other side of the House also feel it is important because each time one of us on this side of the House has asked for leave it has been granted. That tells me that my colleagues on the other side of the House also feel this is a very, very important bill and deserves just discussion. So I feel that we on this side of the House will probably speak on this bill many times tonight, and probably into the wee hours of tomorrow morning.

The most important part of this very important bill that we are discussing is clause 2. As I mentioned, when I was up earlier, some of the other clauses, such as clause 4, which is the new section, sets out amendments for the new election in 1997 and then every four years thereafter, and sets the date to be the last Tuesday in September.

Now, under the new act there is no reference to holidays, so I guess even if the last Tuesday in September happens to be a holiday for some particular reason, the election, in my understanding, would probably go ahead on that day anyway; within two weeks of being elected the new councillors will take office, which is a change because the current section 15 has no such section.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is called their Thanksgiving party.

MR. OSBORNE: That is when they will have their Thanksgiving party.

The current section 15 has no such clause.

MR. FLIGHT: How would you know, Tom?

MR. OSBORNE: This is a very important bill, I say to the Member for Topsail.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. OSBORNE: I am sorry, Windsor - Springdale. I had you confused with the legal beagle.

Within two weeks of being elected, the new councillors will take office and be sworn in, which is a change because before there was no such mention under section 15, and the old council could hang on, I guess, as long a time as was considered reasonable, but it could be five or six months. They could use the excuse that there was important business before the chamber of council and they had to pass this business before passing it over to the new council. So this here, I think, is very acceptable by my colleagues on this side of the House. We feel that this is probably a good addition and a good amendment to the act, and we are more than happy to give this part of the act our consent.

Previously, the old council would take over in December and would not have enough time to really get an idea of what was happening with the municipality. A lot of times they were voting on a budget they weren't entirely familiar with. So in that regard, again I reiterate the fact that this section is acceptable by all colleagues on this side of the House.

There is also an area, paragraph (f), which is regarding the winter maintenance and roads, snow clearing and so on. Again, this paragraph, I think, is acceptable by all colleagues on this side of the House. I think section 202(f), there was a need to amendment that, and we are quite happy to give that our consent.

There is an area there, section 179(2), which gives the council the power to acquire waters and watershed area lands. That, Mr. Chairman, again is acceptable by the colleagues on this side of the House. That is a very important amendment to this act, because certain municipalities in the past may have had problems acquiring waters and watershed areas, and we all know how important and vital it is to ensure that a city has a proper water supply, a healthy water supply. So in that regard, this side of the House is more than happy to give consent to section 179(2).

Section 179(3) gives the council power to build and maintain water systems. Again, I think that all colleagues on this side of the House are more than happy to give consent to this section and feel that this is a very just and reasonable amendment to the act. By all means, the councils should have the powers to decide for themselves when and where they will build and maintain, and how they will maintain, their water supplies.

The area of the act that I think this side of the House is most concerned with - and each and every member of this side of the House has spoken extensively on clause 2, and it because it is so important. I think we will continue throughout the night to speak on clause 2. The reason being, the city and council have no definition as to what a nuisance is, other than to say that the city and council are not liable for a nuisance. There is no definition as to what a nuisance is.

I feel that my colleagues on this side of the House - now, I know there are members on the other side of the House who look around their side of the House and see many examples of nuisances and can probably describe in great detail the definition of nuisance. But to get back to the seriousness of the matter, and it is a very serious matter, and we know that my colleagues on the other side of the House believe this is a serious matter because they are allowing us leave to speak on this very serious issue each and every time we get up. We on this side of the House, feel so compelled to speak on clause 2 because we feel that, for the benefit of Mount Pearl and the citizens of Mount Pearl, the term nuisance should be clearly defined, as it is in the City of St. John's Act. I think it is unreasonable to either have to refer to the City of St. John's Act each and every time the council of Mount Pearl wishes to decide what, in fact, is actually a nuisance, what constitutes a nuisance, what defines a nuisance, and whether or not any particular party is liable for such a said nuisance.

I think the term nuisance in the Mount Pearl Act should be clearly defined for a number of reasons, one of which is namely the fact that otherwise the term nuisance would be either left over to interpretation or they would have to refer to other city acts to describe the term nuisance and define the term nuisance.

We on this side of the House, feel that for the protection of Mount Pearl, and indeed for the protection of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the term nuisance should be clearly defined. Otherwise, the statement that the city and the council are not liable for a nuisance may in actual fact -

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. OSBORNE: By leave, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: Does the hon. member have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes.

CHAIR: The hon. Member for St. John's South, by leave.

MR. OSBORNE: Thank you.

Once again this only confirms the fact that the members on the other side of the House feel this is a very important amendment, that what we on this side of the House are talking about is very important, and that the members on the other side of the House are very interested and very concerned with what we have to say. So we will continue throughout the night and the hours of tomorrow morning to give advice to our colleagues on the other side of the House, as they are so interested in what we have to say, to explain our thoughts and our opinions on this particular clause, and to express how we feel about this particular clause and the amendments to the City of Mount Pearl Act; namely, as I mentioned, the clause concerning the fact that the city and council of Mount Pearl are not liable for a nuisance.

Clause 2: As I mentioned, and I will elaborate in further detail why we on this side of the House feel it is so important to describe what a nuisance is. We feel that Mount Pearl should have clear definition, in the City of Mount Pearl Act, of what a nuisance is. Again, I have to express our concerns, that not only for the protection of Mount Pearl but for the protection of the Province, we feel that if nuisance is not clearly defined, and other than just stating that the city and the council are not responsible for a nuisance, it may come back on the shoulders of the Province. It may come back on the shoulders of the Province.

It says here that the city and the council are not liable for a nuisance. So, who is liable for a nuisance? Is it the Province? That is not clearly defined. We have to clearly define what a nuisance is and who is responsible for a nuisance. Now, I cannot point out any examples because I would be so tempted to point fingers and I do now want to get into doing that tonight. Who is liable for the nuisance? We cannot have the Province liable for a nuisance. We do not want this coming back on the shoulders of the Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is enough, Mr. Chairman, no more leave.

CHAIR: Order, please!

Has the hon. member's leave been withdrawn?

MR. OSBORNE: By leave.

CHAIR: The hon. member's leave has been withdrawn.

MR. OSBORNE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Just another ten or fifteen minutes to clue up?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. OSBORNE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for Baie Verte.

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

These are a few notes I made on this while I was listening to my colleague speak. He was making so many good points that I thought I should reiterate some of them to strike home on this very important piece of legislation, "An Act To Amend The City Of Mount Pearl Act." My colleague the Member for St. John's South made some very interesting points, especially with reference to nuisance. It is funny how nuisance is brought up so often in this House and how you can give definitions but you can't give examples.

I was really wondering why my colleague, the Member for Windsor - Springdale, was so concerned about us. He came over to tell us how concerned he was that we might not be doing the right thing. I have to say that I was really touched that the Member for Windsor - Springdale was so responsible as to come over and sit down and tell us that he had concerns about us. He is my neighbour and colleague and I'm sure he watches very closely what happens in my district, as I do watch the member who is my neighbour. I'm very concerned about him too, I say.

AN HON. MEMBER: So you should.

MR. SHELLEY: Yes, I am very concerned, and he should be very concerned too, Mr. Chairman.

I will get back to this act now, Mr. Chairman, and try to stay relevant to the act and mention some points. First of all, it commences a councillor's term of office within two weeks of being elected. The current section 15 has no such section, so at least now they know when they are going to start work and when they are going to end work. That is what the first two parts of the amendment do. I'm pretty sure of that. I refer to my colleague, the Member for Waterford Valley. I think those are correct, aren't they?

MR. H. HODDER: Oh yes.

MR. SHELLEY: It was never in the section before, it was never in the act before. I'm glad to see the minister took the time to put those into the amendment, and we could talk about them.

It also ends the councillor's term of office at the time a quorum of newly elected or appointed officials is sworn in or affirmed. The current section 15 says the same thing, though it is with bad grammar, Mr. Chairman.

It is important that those two things are in there, I say to the Member for Windsor - Springdale. It has so much relevance and is so important that the press is starting to float in. I expect the galleries to fill up any time now, to listen to some of this debate on the Mount Pearl act. I think you might see the security pick up outside if people want to come in and listen to this particular bill.

Then it says: Clause 2 amends the act by adding after section 179 section 179.1 which says, "The city and the council are not liable for a nuisance." Mr. Chairman, that seems to be the most important part of this bill, the section I just read, 179.1, which says, "The city and the council are not liable for a nuisance." We all have referred to this over and over tonight, and used examples of definitions. No, we didn't use examples, we used definitions throughout the night.

I will give you some definitions, but I won't give examples, Mr. Chairman, because I'm afraid of referring to members in the House and people being offended by that; so I won't use that. I won't point across the House at people who I think are examples of nuisances. I will just define them.

MR. H. HODDER: You haven't got enough fingers.

MR. SHELLEY: No, I've only got ten fingers.

Nuisances include:

"(i) a premises in a state that is injurious to health;

(ii) a pool, ditch, gutter, watercourse, privy, urinal, cesspool, drain or ashpit so foul or in such a state as to be injurious to health;

(iii) an accumulation or deposit which is injurious to health;

(iv) an animal so kept as to be injurious to health or a source of annoyance to neighbours;

(v) a house or part of a -"

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: If you can't refer to examples in the House, I wonder, Mr. Chairman, can you refer to examples outside the House of nuisance? No, I don't think I can. I was going to refer to some former members but I don't think we can use that either. I can think of a couple. I will just let the members opposite try to think of some former members who might have been nuisances. Maybe that is it. Maybe we had some on that side who moved to this side who now could be nuisances, who are on this side that are about to leave who could be nuisances, could be used as examples.

AN HON. MEMBER: Nuisance in motion.

MR. SHELLEY: Nuisance in motion. Maybe it could be a nuisance in motion, Mr. Chairman, referred to as the legal beagle. I think the Member for Windsor - Springdale is soon going to get up to have a few words, because he has heard the points so often now. He does not say a lot, so maybe it has all sunk in enough now that he can make some reference to it, and maybe make a few points on it later on. Perhaps he is getting bored just sitting there and wants to stand up and say a few things. So, while we are here, maybe the Member for Windsor - Springdale will stand up, since he is so concerned about me and my district. I could not believe he is so concerned, Mr. Chairman. That is maybe why they sent down the last member during the election, because he was so concerned about it. That is probably what it was. That is probably it, Mr. Chairman. I am starting to figure out now what it was all about, and that is exactly what it was. He was so concerned about me he sent his colleague down during the last election. That is exactly what it is.

"(v) a house or part of a house so overcrowded as to be dangerous or injurious to the health of the residents;"

This next one is a bit lengthy, Mr. Chairman, but it covers a lot of things:

"(vi) a factory, workshop, or workplace, not kept in clean state or not ventilated in such a manner as to make harmless where practicable gases, vapours, dust, or other impurities generated in the course of the work carried on in the factory, workshop or workplace, that are injurious to health, or so overcrowded while work is carried out as to be injurious or dangerous to the health to those employed in the factory, workshop or workplace."

That is very specific, Mr. Chairman. I think it explains it very well. I could read it once more if you did not get it all; but I won't, I will wait for the next time.

"(vii) a chimney sending out smoke or vapours in a quantity as to be objectionable to neighbours."

Mr. Chairman, I think this is very important as part of the definition, if you are going to define it; especially if you have a lot of wood stoves sending smoke into the air, especially if people burn rubber boots or rubber materials in the stove. The smoke gets thicker and blacker. So it is very important.

AN HON. MEMBER: Or anything rubber.

MR. SHELLEY: Or anything rubber, any kind of rubber whatsoever, Mr. Chairman. If you burn wood, if it is green wood, Mr. Chairman, the smoke gets thicker. So, it could be all these reasons.

MR. J. BYRNE: What do you mean by green?

MR. SHELLEY: It could be very green wood which gives off a greener smoke.

"(viii) buildings in a dangerous conditions."

They do give definitions of nuisance, but they don't give examples of it. Maybe they should give examples of it.

Also, clause 2 amends the act by adding after section 179, which is about nuisance - incidentally, subsection 179.1 does not bear directly on section 179. Subsection 179.1 gives council the power to establish and operate public water, sewer and storage draining systems. I think it is very clear and nobody would have any problems with accepting that.

Subsection 179.2 gives council power to acquire waters and watershed area lands.

Subsection 179.3 gives councils power to build and maintain these systems.

Clause 3 amends section 202 regarding the council's power to make regulations to add a new paragraph (f) regarding the winter maintenance of roads and snow clearing, Mr. Chairman, which is very, very important. Of course, snow clearing becomes a problem for all of us, not only in towns but on the highways, especially when we get to this time of the year. Mr. Chairman, a lot of communities, cities and towns all around Newfoundland and Labrador, are very worried that they are going to have enough funding in the budget to make sure that winter maintenance is carried out.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, clause 3 amends section 202 regarding council's power, by adding a paragraph regarding winter maintenance of roads and snow clearing. The existing regulated powers involve: fences, signage, recreational vehicles and toys, traffic control and road clearing. The additional winter maintenance provisions seem reasonable, Mr. Chairman. That is what it says. With this part of the act, we have no problems; we support it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: I guess, Mr. Chairman, you could add those points. Clause 4 repeals and replaces section 316. The current section sets elections every four years on the second Tuesday of November, except when the day is a holiday and permits a three-month deferral. The new section sets the election in 1997 and every four years after that, and sets a date on the last Tuesday in September.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave.

MR. SHELLEY: Just to conclude, Mr. Chairman. A reference to a holiday is gone - no leave?

CHAIR: The hon. member has no leave.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. H. HODDER: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

I just wanted to rise again and I feel compelled - we feel great regret that it is taking up so much time of the House to debate this particular bill, this very crucial bill for the City of Mount Pearl. I am sure that all hon. members by this time have now become somewhat familiar - in fact, I had hoped by this time that we would have been able to complete our discussions on the City of Corner Brook Bill, the Firefighters Protection Act, the Provincial College, the Dental Act and the Physiotherapy Act. We had hoped that these would all have been done by this time but we know that all hon. members want to take all the time that is necessary to be able individually to debate all of the bills that are coming before the House this evening.

We have assigned a certain amount of time to get this work done. When we set out at the beginning of the day, we had aimed to have twelve pieces of legislation through Committee. The objective is still there, I say to my colleagues. The objective is still there, fair and reasonable but we find ourselves now wanting to -

MR. TULK: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: On a point of order, the hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: The hon. gentleman has gone on with that foolishness long enough. The truth of the matter is, I called him and asked: `What are your easiest pieces of legislation?' He listed off twelve. He asked: `Are we finished then?' I said: `We will see.' Now, unless the hon. gentleman thinks -

AN HON. MEMBER: - he runs the place.

MR. TULK: - thinks he forms the government, sometimes, with nine members, unless he thinks that, Mr. Chairman, I say to him that he is close - and I do not believe he intends to - to misleading this House.

MR. H. HODDER: On that point of order, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: Is the hon. the Opposition House Leader speaking to the point of order?

MR. H. HODDER: Yes, I am speaking on the point of order, Mr. Chairman.

It is true that my colleague, the Government House Leader and I did dialogue earlier in the day. We did identify the twelve pieces of legislation to which I referred, and we had hoped that through dialogue and discussion we could have had all of this procedure successfully completed in a day. I had gone to my colleagues here and we had made some agreements; however, Mr. Chairman, there is no intention on my part to try to run roughshod over the House.

CHAIR: Order, please!

There is a point of order being debated and the Chair would like to hear what is being said.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. H. HODDER: Mr. Chairman, speaking to the point of order, the Government House Leader has no point of order whatsoever. He may have disagreement with his colleague on this side, but certainly, he has no point of order.

CHAIR: There is no point of order. The Opposition House Leader and the Government House Leader have taken advantage of the opportunity to elaborate on the individual views of both parties.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

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

Speaking to this bill, I just wanted, for a few minutes, to talk about two very important words in this bill. They are the word, `Mount' and the word `Pearl'. I have ten minutes to talk about the word, `Mount' and the word, `Pearl.' I just wanted to do a little talk about those two words. It is a case of where members know that you have to be very relevant in this debate, and there can be no more relevancy than to talk about the name of the bill, or part of the name of the bill. So, I want to talk about the word `Mount', and I want to talk about the word `Pearl'.

Now, I should tell members that the word `Mount' comes from the word `mountain'. Sir James Pearl was born in 1790 in Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia. He entered the British Navy as a young lad and fought with Lord Nelson at Trafalgar. Later on, when he was recognized for his great work in the British Navy, he was given a grant of 500 acres of land in Newfoundland. He came to Newfoundland and set up a farm in what is now the Waterford Valley, and he called the place, at first, Mount Cochrane. Then, later on, after he had been there for awhile and had fallen out with Governor Cochrane, he changed it to be Mount Pearl.

CHAIR: Order, please!

I direct the hon. member's attention to the fact that we are in Committee of the Whole and the debate should be relevant to the content of the bill.

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

I judge by your ruling that I cannot give an elaborate history on the wonderful name of the city of Mount Pearl.

CHAIR: That is precisely the ruling, yes.

MR. H. HODDER: If that is precisely the ruling, Mr. Chair, I accept your ruling.

I will move on, then, to clause 3 of the bill. In clause 3 of the bill we are giving consideration to the winter maintenance of roads, and snow clearing. We know that winter maintenance of roads is very important. If you do not maintain them, they stay slippery and cause accidents and all that kind of thing; so we have to make sure that we clean the roads properly. Now, in order to clean the roads properly, you have to have a lot of equipment. Of course, to get equipment you have to invest the taxpayer's dollars, invest them wisely, and you have to have a plan for road maintenance.

In Mount Pearl, of course, we have to pay special attention to snow clearing, because what happens is that the winds in this part of the Province gush up the Waterford Valley and blow rather strongly, and you get a lot of snow up the Waterford Valley, so Mount Pearl has to have a very special, thorough, plan when it comes to snow clearing.

Clause 3 of the bill gives the City of Mount Pearl the authority, the permission, to make rules and regulations relative to the maintenance of roads and snow clearing. That includes, among other things, of course, its ability to be able to take the snow right off the road altogether. In fact, this particular section of the bill will let the people know exactly who owns the snow.

I remember one time when I was the mayor there was a lady who got snow ploughed up on her lawn, and she shovelled it all back in the street because she said it was the city's snow. So this will let us know exactly who owns the snow, and that is important stuff.

Mr. Chairman, we are very happy that the minister, in his wisdom, as usual, has seen fit to give unto Mount Pearl the authority to be able to maintain its roads, to clear the snow, and to be able to do so very, very successfully. You see, all kinds of regulations are needed for snow clearing. I could talk for awhile about snow clearing, tell some wonderful stories about snow clearing, and that kind of thing. It would all be very relevant to this bill because this bill is all about snow clearing in the city of Mount Pearl. We could talk about snow clearing on the hills in Mount Pearl. We have three or four very large hills. We have Farrell Drive and we have Mount Carson Avenue, among the steepest hills in the whole St. John's region, and they take a great deal of care. The City is now about to decide whether or not, for example, the people who live on Farrell Drive are able to throw their snow out into the road or whether they will pick it up -

CHAIR: Order, please!

I ask hon. members to refrain from shouting across the House when they are not in their chairs and when standing. It does not lend anything to the decorum of the House, I remind hon. members.

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

I am glad that you are affording me ample protection. Mr. Chairman, on snow clearing in Mount Pearl - we know there are a lot of things with the snow clearing in Mount Pearl and we are very, very proud of it. With the extra snow we get going up the valley, with the fact that the temperature in Mount Pearl is normally somewhat below the average temperature at the airport and at the waterfront it is colder in Mount Pearl in the wintertime, and they get more snow; so, they should have a good set of regulations to be able to go and do their job.

I was mentioning before, when I had to stop at the interjection of the Speaker who was trying to protect me, about the hills in Mount Pearl, Farrell Drive and Mount Carson Avenue.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. H. HODDER: With leave, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. A. REID: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

I am going to take a few moments, if I may, and give both hon. House Leaders a chance to relax and maybe take a break for a few moments. I know the two of them have been in the House all night and maybe if we can all agree, one can go one way and one can go the other, if they want to do that. Anyway, with that said I want to say a few words.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. A. REID: Mr. Chairman, not only are we dealing with a bill tonight that has to do with Mount Pearl but the same bill has already been dealt with and passed as it relates to St. John's. We have another one on the Order Paper that we have yet to go through, that is, the bill relating to the City of Corner Brook. That is identical to the one we dealt with this afternoon in Committee. Basically, we are going to be talking, I guess, for the next two or three days, at this rate, because we have two more bills to do that are identical to the one on the Order Paper right now, that we are debating. I would like to, if we are going to do this - if we are going to take that much time in the House, maybe we can convince our colleagues on the other side that instead of just debating the Mount Pearl bill, maybe we can debate the Corner Brook bill, the Municipalities bill, and the St. John's bill all at the one time so that we will not have to do it tomorrow.

I am going to stay here and keep speaking tonight, if you do not mind, Mr. Chairman, and with your permission, maybe I will give my two hon. colleagues a chance to have a break and come back into the House later on. I am going to keep talking as long as I can to make sure that these two fine gentlemen reach some solution on what is going on here today. I think we have had a long day and I would not be here, to tell you the truth, if this were not my bill.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. A. REID: Let me tell you a little bit about the nuisance regulations. I think you have already accepted that. I find great amusement and education sometimes when I have to deal with St. John's, and changing the bill, "An Act To Amend The City Of St. John's Act," because there is such good stuff in it. It is interesting reading. If you sit down and read some of the things that have gone on in politics, especially in the city council in the City of St. John's over the last 100 years or so you are certainly guaranteed to get a chuckle here or there.

I remember, one piece of legislation at one time talked about dumping waste water, or human waste water through the window at a certain time during the night. Now, if you were unlucky enough to open your window and dump your pail out at a certain time during the night, you could be fined for it, and then there were other times during the night when if you were the unlucky person under the window walking along -

CHAIR: Order, please!

I remind the hon. the minister that we are discussing the clauses of the bill and I ask him to be relevant.

AN HON. MEMBER: A good call, Mr. Chairman - a good call.

MR. A. REID: I think it was an excellent call. We are talking about nuisance here. I do not know about the rest of the baymen sitting in this House, but my grandmother used to call it one time `my nuisance.' Quite often when you dump nuisance out through a window, it ends up being a nuisance on top of someone.

I am not sure if I am off the topic or not, but I would assume that our colleagues from across may be ready to make some comment here. I am going to give them a couple of more minutes. Mr. Chairman, sometimes we play childish games, and I guess I am as much to blame for playing these games sometimes as other people. But I think, at the end of the day, most of us are mature enough to realize that we do waste a lot of the taxpayers' money by standing in the House and debating questions and issues and words that sometimes have very little or anything to do with the day-to-day operations of this Province.

I will say that I have a lot of respect for members on both sides of the House, and I am hoping that within a very short period of time maybe we can get down to doing some business for the people. I want to congratulate our House Leader tonight in handling himself so proficiently and admirably, and I want to also offer the same compliments to the new House Leader on the other side.

Thank you very much.

CHAIR: I want to remind hon. members of paragraph 190 of Beauchesne, and I read it for hon members: "The Speaker, and those persons presiding in any committee are empowered by Standing Order 11(2) to direct any Member to cease speaking if the Member indulges in persistent irrelevance or repetition. The Chair is obliged to first call the attention of the House to the breach of order. A Member who continues to speak after being directed to cease may be named by the Speaker." If we are in Committee, "The Chairman of the Committee may report the Member's conduct to the House."

The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

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

I want to continue on with a few words on Bill 41, picking up on clause 2 where I left off. I have spoken already on clause 1 and I am going to continue now with clause 2. I was talking about, at that time, the relevance of the city and the council not being liable for a nuisance. I ended off, I believe, where I was talking about the possibility of there being a construction site where the City may not have taken proper precautions, I would say, to -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) repetition.

MR. J. BYRNE: I have not repeated it. The Member for Windsor - Springdale is not in his seat and he is making comments across the House, Mr. Chairman, that are not relevant to the situation.

Before I was interrupted by the Member for Windsor - Springdale, I was talking about the relevance of a construction site or the possibility of a nuisance being caused by a company that may be in the process of doing some construction in the city of Mount Pearl. They could have an open ditch with pipe lying in the ditch, or it could be a construction company putting in a new subdivision with permits from the City of Mount Pearl. They could be constructing sidewalks, there could be excavation within that subdivision of the building lots with piles of clay pushed out in the road, which could be certainly a nuisance. It says here the City may not be liable for damages if somebody were injured. These are just a few of the things that may happen if there is no definition in the bill with respect to a nuisance.

The minister was on his feet a few minutes ago speaking about the City of St. John's Act, the City of Corner Brook Act and the City of Mount Pearl Act as being very similar. I thought the comments that he made were quite reasonable, and if something could be worked with respect to that, we could discuss all three bills at the same time and possibly have them all moved one after the other, because they are very similar, Mr. Chairman. I do not know whether or not that is going to come to pass, but it certainly does not seem that way at this point in time.

Now, with respect to the bill itself, Mr. Chairman, section 3 of the bill: "Section 202 of the Act is amended by striking out the word "and" at the end of paragraph (d), by striking out the period at the end of paragraph (e) and substituting a semicolon and the word "and", and by adding the following immediately after paragraph, (e): (f) in respect to winter maintenance of roads and snow clearing, including regulations which (i) prohibit or control parking during winter months." Now, that clause, in itself, Mr. Chairman, is a very important clause. It may seem minor to some people in the House of Assembly but, in actual fact, when you sit back and look at the situation within the city of Mount Pearl and possibly the city of St. John's - although the streets in the city of Mount Pearl, in general, are wider. It is a newer municipality and snow clearing may not be as big a problem as it would be in the city of St. John's.

Mr. Chairman, snow clearing is difficult, especially in the middle of a snow storm, when vehicles are parked on the side of the road. And if there is a vehicle parked on both sides of the road, that will certainly narrow the passageway for the snowploughs.

The Member for Windsor - Springdale is asking me to sit down, but I am trying to be as relevant as I can with respect to this bill, Mr. Chairman. Actually - especially if you look at the situation now - the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation a few years ago, with respect to the highways, took the wingmen off the ploughs. So if, in fact, Mr. Chairman, there is only one operator on the snowploughs in Mount Pearl - and talking about section "(f) in respect to winter maintenance of roads and snow clearing, including regulations which (i) prohibit or control parking during winter months," if there is only one operator and we have streets that could be blocked with cars or automobiles, it could be a very dangerous situation, Mr. Chairman. That, in itself, I suppose, could be considered to be a nuisance in that people walking in the streets or trying to get home could be injured by the operations of the equipment of the City of Mount Pearl. So that is a situation that has to be addressed, and hopefully, will be addressed with this bill.

Also it says, "(ii) prohibit or control the erection of structures which impede or hinder winter maintenance of roads and snow clearing." Now, what they are speaking of here, I would think, Mr. Chairman - erection of fences would be one thing, and there are limits of how far a fence may protrude in front of a house. There are limits with respect to how high a fence may be in front of a house, for two reasons, of course. I suppose one of the minor reasons might be the blocking and the drifting of snow but the other point would be the height of a fence in front of a house, especially at intersections of roads. If you have an intersection and you have a fence protruding in front of the house out towards the road in an intersection and a car would come out either way, I would say to you, Mr. Chairman, that it could certainly block the view.

Now the Member for Windsor - Springdale is trying to interject and throw me off course by keeping me from being relevant, Mr. Chairman, but I am doing my best. I am doing my best to try to be relevant, and he knows the ruling that the Chairman just made. I am trying to stay within the guidelines that are set down by this House. I certainly have enough respect for the Chair to abide by a ruling and to listen to what the Chair has to say, although some members get up often times on points of order that are not points of order, Mr. Chairman.

AN HON. MEMBER: Tell us about the land freeze in Logy Bay.

MR. J. BYRNE: When there is another bill going through the House we will speak about the land freeze.

Also in section 3(f)(iii) "prohibit or control the deposits of snow on sidewalks and public roads." Now, that is another important issue, Mr. Chairman, the control of deposits of snow on sidewalks and public roads. Of course, we know that the City of Mount Pearl, like any municipality in the Province, and any municipality within the country, I would say, spends a lot of money on snow clearing in the wintertime, and we have people, I suppose, who would not be following the regulations, who could very well cause a nuisance or cause an accident to happen by the fact of clearing their driveways and pushing the snow out onto the road. This regulation would prohibit the people living in the municipality from pushing the snow onto the sidewalks or onto the roads.

We have situations where people have these snowblowers. They have to get out in the middle of snowstorms - well, most times after the snowstorm or what have you, or heavy snowfalls - and they clear their driveways and push the snow. When you drive through the streets in Mount Pearl you can see banks of snow on the lawns, up above the front windows of the houses. That is certainly an important issue that needs to be addressed by the City, in snow clearing and maintenance within the city, during the winter months.

Another aspect of the regulation that is being put forward here in Bill 41, section 3.(f) (iii), is the small business operators, I would say, or people who are in the business of snow clearing, and they go in and want to clear people's driveways, which are private driveways, and there are thousands of them in the city of Mount Pearl. They also do snow clearing, of course, for small businesses in the city. Sometimes there may be some people who are trying to do it in a rush, like any normal businessman would do, because they have to do x number of driveways within a certain period of time. For them to make a living, the more driveways and the more parking lots that they clear in a given morning is more money in their pockets. Also, I suppose, after a snowstorm in the city of Mount Pearl or, as I said, in any other city, there are people who want their driveways ploughed early in the mornings so they can get out to get to work, especially people who work in the health care of the people of the Province. There are nurses and doctors and physiotherapists, and all these different types of people who live in the city of Mount Pearl, who also work in the City of Mount Pearl, and they work in the City of St. John's in the different hospitals. They may work at the Health Sciences Centre; they may work at the Grace hospital; they may work at the Janeway; they may work at St. Clare's, or any of the health care establishments. Therefore, it is important that these people get out early in the mornings and are able to get to work.

Even the people who work night shifts in these hospitals may have to get out in the middle of a snowstorm, so it is all-important that we have regulations in place in the Province, in the City of Mount Pearl, that attempt to deal with these situation.

There has been a lot of discussion on this bill so far today. I thought, as I said earlier, that when the minister was up he was making a very good suggestion. I was hoping that from his suggestions, something would come to fruition, but not so far.

Section 4 states: "Subsections 316(1) and (2) of the Act are repealed and the following substituted:

`316.(1) A general election shall be held in 1997 and every 4 years after 1997.'

(2) A general election under subsection (1) shall be held on the last Tuesday in September."

Mr. Chairman, there has been a lot of debate in the House on this section with respect to the general elections, and I have been trying to go through this bill clause-by-clause, as instructed by the ruling which was made earlier while I was on my feet, to talk about relevancy, and I am trying to do that, Mr. Chairman.

A general election will be held in 1997. Of course, that is the normal time for an election because the last election was held in 1993. Nineteen ninety-seven is the normal four-year period. September of 1997 is the date that has been set and, of course, the date is two months earlier than has normally been the date set for municipal elections in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The two months earlier, of course, is, as we said earlier, when the minister introduced the bill on second reading, that -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: All relevant, I say to the Member for Windsor - Springdale.

AN HON. MEMBER: Very interesting.

MR. J. BYRNE: Very interesting, I would say. I say in reply to a few of the comments made on the other side of the House that maybe the members opposite would like to get on their feet. Maybe the Minister of Social Services would like to get up and say a few words on this section. Because I was speaking a few minutes ago, Mr. Chairman, on the relationship of this bill to health care in the Province, and particularly, nurses trying to get out to work. I believe the Minister of Social Services was a former president of the nurses union. Is that correct? Maybe she would like to get up and say a few words about the nurses' point of view on this bill.

Back to section 4: Subsections 316(1) and (2) are repealed. A general election shall be held in 1997.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

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

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for Conception Bay South.

MR. FRENCH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I guess, what I got up close to three hours ago to talk about, I will get into that now, seeing we could not make an agreement, I guess, on twelve bills. I guess people do not want to be bullied, and I, for one, certainly do not want to be, and will not be tonight by anybody, particularly the Government House Leader. So if he would like to stay here all night, if he thinks I am foolish, I am quite prepared to sit here with him, quite prepared to stay here until daylight tomorrow morning.

If the fellow next to him would like to keep on yapping, he can yap until the cows come home for all this member here cares. I really do not care about him or the fellow sitting next to him. I have to say in all honesty, I have stood here tonight - I have gotten up and talked - and he is still not sitting in his own seat. He is still yapping like a crackie - still yapping, the crackie from Windsor - Buchans, is it? He is still over there, he is still yapping, and he can yap until the cows come home for all I care.

AN HON. MEMBER: Windsor - Springdale.

MR. FRENCH: Wherever he is from, and I am not even sure if he knows himself.

Anyway, Mr. Chairman, I am very pleased with -

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, I know you are being lenient, and I know your patience must be sorely tempted, but I would like for the Chair to perhaps enforce relevance here a bit. I mean, I fail to understand what the gentleman for Windsor - Springdale or the Member for Bonavista North have to do with the relevance of this bill. I would like a ruling.

CHAIR: The Chair has ruled numerous times on this bill in terms of relevancy. Yes, the hon. the Member for Conception Bay South was really stretching the rule of relevancy. I ask the hon. member to keep his remarks relevant to the clauses of the bill.

MR. FRENCH: Mr. Chairman, I have absolutely no problem with sticking to the agenda as long as this gentleman (inaudible) -

CHAIR: I remind hon. members that we are on clause 1 of this bill.

MR. FRENCH: If he would let me get me on with what I have to say, I will gladly carry on, Mr. Chairman. I hope you can keep him in line, too.

MR. FLIGHT: Irrelevant, and making a fool of himself.

CHAIR: I remind the hon. the Member for Windsor - Springdale -

MR. H. HODDER: A point of order.

CHAIR: - that he is not in his chair. I ask the hon. member to restrain himself and stop shouting across the House.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader, on a point of order.

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

The hon. member who was not in his chair shouted across the House and used the word `fool' to indicate my colleague, the Member for Conception Bay South. I submit that he is trying to do through the back door what he would not do through the front door and that the language is clearly unparliamentary.

MR. FRENCH: Come outside and resolve that. I will show you what a fool is (inaudible). I will give you the fright of your life. Go back and sit in your own seat while you still have a set of legs under you.

CHAIR: The Chair cannot recall the hon. member saying that, but will check with Hansard and rule on it on a later date. I cannot rule because I cannot remember him saying it. It has probably been a long day or something like that.

The hon. the Member for Conception Bay South.

MR. FRENCH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I would like to say to the Chairman that he just repeated it again, but I will pass that off as his ignorance, I guess.

Now, Mr. Chairman, I will get on to what I was going to say earlier tonight and talk about the councils putting into effect the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FRENCH: Boy, let me tell you something, you have a great fellow over here, too.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: Biggest idiot over there, `Bob'.

MR. FRENCH: Anyway, this particular bill -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: I remind the Government House Leader and the hon. the Member for Baie Verte that I have recognized the Member for Conception Bay South.

MR. FRENCH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The current section -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

CHAIR: Order, please! Order, please!

MR. FRENCH: - of this Act, of course, permits an election every four years and we have moved the election back to September rather than November and I happen to think that is a great idea. It will give new councils coming in the opportunity to prepare budgets and to do things in their municipalities which certainly would benefit the municipalities in preparation of the budget; and it moves the election back to September. As a councillor for five years, Mr. Chairman, and having been elected in November and having to come in in November and prepare a budget to be brought in, or that was supposed to be submitted on December 31, is not a very easy thing to do. It is a very difficult task when you are new.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh. oh!

AN HON. MEMBER: Trash? Who is trashing whom?

MR. J. BYRNE: (Inaudible) trash.

CHAIR: Order, please! Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis is not in his seat, and even if he were, that word is unparliamentary. I remind the Government House Leader and the Member for Baie Verte, I recognized the hon. the Member for Conception Bay South.

MR. FRENCH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I will continue now from where I was. This particular bill would enable an incoming councillor the time to avail of training that the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs may provide to such a new councillor, training that in some cases around this Province is probably badly needed, especially in the budget area, and I have to go back to that again, Mr. Chairman. It is a very difficult task when you are elected in November and you have to submit a budget by December 31 - very, very difficult. You have to rely on other people to prepare a great deal of items for you, and it is not a very easy task to get ready.

Again, on the training, Mr. Chairman - in my own district, just recently we elected a new council and on Saturday past, they had the advantage of receiving some training from the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. They had the opportunity to meet with people from Finance, and others, and I learned from talking to some of these particular councillors afterwards that they certainly found it to be of tremendous benefit, Mr. Chairman.

As well, this bill deals with various regulations. Clause 3 amends section 202 regarding the council's power to make regulations. Of course, this covers winter maintenance. The existing regulatory powers involve fences, signage, recreation vehicles, and traffic control and road clearing and, of course, in winter that is a very necessary thing.

Again, the City of Mount Pearl certainly has to have the opportunity to do these things within their bill. They have the right to have these powers as it relates to fences, to signage. They have the right to issue permits, of course, and to make sure that it falls within their guidelines in their various sections.

They certainly have the right in winter for snow clearing, to make sure that their roads are done properly and in a very timely fashion. They also have the right, of course, of traffic control. Under that regulation, they have the right, if vehicles are parked and so on, during snow clearing time, to have them towed away and parked somewhere else. Again, I think that has to be done. There are quite a few people who live within the boundaries of the city of Mount Pearl, and the council, naturally enough, has to have the right and the power to be able to do those things.

Section 179.1 does not bear directly on section 179. Section 179(1) gives council the power to establish and operate the public water, the sewer, and the storm drainage systems. Section 179(2) gives council power to acquire water and watershed area lands, and section 179(3) gives council the power to build and maintain the system. They have to have the right to operate various systems within their own municipalities, and they have to be able to do that, again, in a very timely and orderly fashion. This particular bill, Mr. Chairman, would certainly give to the City of Mount Pearl the -

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave!

AN HON. MEMBER: Leave, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for Conception Bay South.

MR. FRENCH: If somebody else, Mr. Chairman, were giving me leave, I would take it, but I am not interested in him.

CHAIR: Shall clause 1 carry?

AN HON. MEMBER: No.

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

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I am just delighted to be able to stand again and comment upon this piece of legislation, Bill No. 41, An Act To Amend The City Of Mount Pearl Act. The Act is important for a couple of reasons. Number one, the legislation is obviously a piece of legislation which is of significance to the City of Mount Pearl and sections of it are indicative of the types of changes that have to be made to assist the various municipalities within the Province into cleaning up their legislation and ensuring that the legislation which is on the books is clear and straightforward and has substance for the residents of the municipality, in this particular case, the municipality of Mount Pearl.

Mr. Chairman, section 15 of the City of Mount Pearl Act is repealed and it is substituted by a new section 15, in clause 1: "The term of office of a councillor, whether elected or appointed, (a) shall begin within 2 weeks of his or her election or appointment; and (b) expires when the number of newly elected or appointed councillors sufficient to constitute a quorum are sworn or affirmed into office."

Under subsection (a) it commences a councillor's term of office within two weeks of being elected. The current section 15 under the existing legislation has no such section. Under subsection (b) it ends a councillor's term of office at the time a quorum of newly elected or appointed councillors is sworn in or affirmed. The current section 15 says the same thing, although different language is being used.

Under clause 2 of the proposed legislation, the Act is amended by adding the following immediately after section 179, and that is 179.1: "The city and the council are not liable for a nuisance." Amendments to the City of St. John's Act under Bill No. 25, the City of Corner Brook Act, Bill No. 40, and the Municipalities Act, Bill No. 42, also have this clause protecting municipal governments against liability from a nuisance. However, as has been mentioned earlier by numerous people at numerous times, this particular piece of legislation does not define `nuisance', and we see in the original City of St. John's Act - not in the amendment, but in the original Act - the term `nuisance' is defined for all to see.

Also, these bills do not say who is responsible or liable for damages caused by a nuisance. That is a weakness we have observed in this piece of legislation, which is why we are prepared to continue addressing these points to ensure that the concerns raised by, quite possibly, citizens of the city of Mount Pearl are addressed. At least it can be said that we, on this side of the House, were prepared to deal with these issues which are felt to be of some importance.

However, Mr. Chairman, there is another reason, of course, why we are talking about this particular piece of legislation here tonight; and that is, as we have indicated earlier, we quite simply feel that twelve pieces of legislation, twelve, a significant number, is a sufficient number to go through with relative ease, I might add. I agree with the point that was made earlier by the Government House Leader. I agree with the Government House Leader that a lot of this legislation may not be critical in nature. However, members on this side of the House would like to have some assurance that there are twelve and no more than twelve. That is essentially why we are here debating this tonight - twelve pieces of legislation. It is unknown, for example, if the important school Act or the critical education Act - are they going to be sprung upon this House? We do not know.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible) Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, the truth of the matter is, I have to inform the hon. gentleman that I just told his House Leader out behind the Chair that I would not call the two school bills this evening.

MR. OSBORNE: What about tomorrow?

AN HON. MEMBER: What about next week?

AN HON. MEMBER: You could have had your six days.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

CHAIR: Order, please! Order, please!

I recognize the Member for St. John's East.

Those type of negotiations should take place behind the chair.

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Mr. Chairman, members on this side of the House certainly feel that on any given day twelve pieces of legislation, some of which require debate, some of which require discussion, is certainly sufficient. Assurances given to us that there would be twelve and no more than twelve, would have been sufficient.

CHAIR: Order, please!

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, I assure the hon. gentleman that I gave nobody assurances that there would be less or more than twelve bills called. I asked the Opposition House Leader what were the easy bills he could get off the Order Paper quick and he named off twelve.

CHAIR: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

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

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Obviously, it appears that we are really no closer in terms of coming to some understanding, I guess, as to exactly what pieces of legislation will be debated here this evening at committee stage. Therefore, lets return to this intriguing piece of legislation with respect to the City of Mount Pearl Act, and a continuation of what is meant by the term nuisance as is found in the legislation.

We see once again, Mr. Chairman, that the term "nuisances" includes:

(i) a premises in a state that is injurious to health;

(ii) a pool, ditch, gutter, watercourse, privy, urinal, cesspool, drain or ash pit so foul or in such a state as to be injurious to health;

(iv) an animal so kept as to be injurious to health or a source of annoyance to neighbours;

(v) a house or part of a house so overcrowded as to be dangerous or injurious to the health of the residents;

(vi) a factory, workshop or workplace, not kept in a clean state or not ventilated in such a manner as to make harmless where practicable gases, vapours, dust, or other impurities generated in the course of the work carried on in the factory, workshop or workplace, that are injurious to health, or so overcrowded while work is carried on as to be injurious or dangerous to the health of those employed in the factory, workshop or workplace.

Again, the question has to be asked, when we look at this piece of legislation, and in the absence of a working definition for this particular term: Is the nuisance liable? Is the Province liable? Is the municipality liable? Is it possible that nobody at all is liable? What has been the situation to date when a nuisance has caused damage? Again, Mr. Chairman, it may be questioned by members on the side opposite: Well, what is so important about the term, and the legal significance of the term nuisance?

Well, when the term is omitted and the definition does not expressly state what is meant by the term nuisance, we have to improvise. How do we improvise? We look for a definition in other similar legislation which may be of assistance to parties, may be of assistance to municipalities or may be of assistance to persons who are injured within a particular municipality, as to what the term nuisance actually means.

Clause 3 amends section 202 regarding the council's power to make regulations, to add a new paragraph (f) regarding the winter maintenance of roads and snow clearing. The existing regulatory powers involve (a) fences, (b) signage, (c) recreational vehicles and toys, (d) traffic control, and (e) road clearing. The addition of winter maintenance provisions appears to be reasonable, and the additional provisions, Mr. Chairman, do not appear to be of any difficulty to members on this side.

Clause 4 repeals and replaces section 316. The current section sets elections every four years on the second Tuesday of November. As my colleague for Waterford Valley said, Tuesday appears to be an appropriate day, a reasonable day, and a day that members on this side of the House certainly would have no difficulty with, except when the day is a holiday and permits a three-month deferral. Clearly, if it cannot be held on a Tuesday, presumably it would go to the next day.

The new section, Mr. Chairman, sets the next election in 1997 and every four years after that. So there is now a specific date, there is a specific time, in this legislation which makes it clear as to when the electors can expect to go to the polls once again in the City of Mount Pearl. Reference to a holiday is gone, and the minister's right to defer an election is not changed.

Mr. Chairman, "An Act To Amend The City Of Mount Pearl Act" introduces some new provisions.

CHAIR (Walsh): Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. OSBORNE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I notice there are some drowsy eyes around the House, and I'm more than happy to be on my feet again to bring some life to people here sitting in the House, members on the other side of the House, to tweak their interest again.

I made some very interesting points the last time I was on my feet, an hour or so ago, and I think I can pick up where I left off. Hopefully, if I'm granted leave, maybe this time I can conclude what I'm going to say on this particular debate.

I was saying that, first of all, there is a new section which sets out the election in 1997 and every four years thereafter. Our side of the House is happy with this particular clause, and we are more than happy to pass this particular clause. The date is set for the last Tuesday in September, regardless of whether it is a holiday or not. That is clause 4, a clause that each and every member on this side of the House is happy with, ready to pass and ready to give assent to.

Clause 1 says that within two weeks of being elected the new council will take office. We feel this is a good move, this is a good amendment to the act, because previous councils, once the new council was elected the old council did not necessarily have to give up office until it was ready to do so. This could have created some complications, if that council had decided for some reason it had business in the council chambers it was not ready to let pass, for any particular reason, and they wanted to hold on to office and make sure that whatever business was there was put through before the new council took over. So, this is actually a good clause. It ensures that if a council is elected in any particular municipality, especially in this case in Mount Pearl, that within two weeks of being elected they take office.

Subsection 179(2) gives the council power to acquire waters and watershed areas. This also is a good subsection.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. OSBORNE: I beg the pardon of the Chairman. Regrettably, I have to say, in inclusion - I would love to stand here and talk some more, but in conclusion, Mr. Chairman, thank you very much.

On motion, clauses 1 through 4, carried.

A bill, "An Act To Amend The City Of Mount Pearl Act." (Bill No. 41)

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the bill without amendment, carried.

CHAIR: The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. A. REID: Order No. 17, Mr. Chairman, "An Act To Amend The City Of Corner Brook Act." (Bill No. 40)

CHAIR: Clause 1?

MR. H. HODDER: Mr. Chairman, I wanted to rise just for a moment to speak to Bill No. 40 which is the -

CHAIR: The Chair certainly welcomes the Member for Waterford Valley, and would now give him the right to speak.

MR. H. HODDER: Thank you very much.

I just wanted to draw reference to the main provisions of this bill. Mr. Chairman, in, I suppose, a conciliatory gesture towards my colleagues on the other side, the members of this side are prepared to let this bill pass. The commentaries that apply to the amendments to the City of Mount Pearl Act or to the amendments coming up later on to the Municipalities Act also apply to this act, and we are prepared to let this bill pass without any further debate by members on this side of the House.

On motion, clauses 1 through 11, carried.

A bill, "An Act To Amend The City Of Corner Brook Act." (Bill No. 40).

Motion, that the Committee having passed the bill without amendment, carried.

MR. H. HODDER: Go to 47.

MR. A. REID: Go to 47? Which one is that, Harvey?

MR. H. HODDER: That is the Provincial College.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The Chair would like to have some guidance.

The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. A. REID: What number on the Order Paper, Harvey?

The Provincial College one is next.

MR. TULK: The what?

MR. A. REID: The Provincial College one.

MR. TULK: That is one of the twelve, is it?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes.

MR. TULK: The so-called twelve?

CHAIR: The Chair has recognized the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. A. REID: What is the Bill No. on that?

MR. TULK: Bill No. 47.

MR. A. REID: Bill No. 47, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: Clause 1, the Member for Waterford Valley.

MR. H. HODDER: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

The members of our caucus have given consideration to this bill. We discussed it in second reading at some length and my colleagues instruct me that we do not seek further amendments to Bill No. 47, and that we are prepared to support Bill No. 47 without further debate at this time.

On motion, clauses 1 through 32, carried.

A bill, "An Act Respecting A Provincial College." (Bill No. 47).

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the bill without amendment, carried.

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: "An Act To Amend The City Of Corner Brook Act," Bill No. 40.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: It's done.

MR. TULK: You just did that? Did you do the City of St. John's Act as well?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, that is done.

CHAIR: The Chair has been able to deal with at least three bills in the last little while.

MR. TULK: You are very smart.

"An Act To Amend The Dental Act," Bill No. 31.

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for Waterford Valley.

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

The members of this side of the House have given this particular bill adequate consideration at the second reading stage. We have consulted with the governing board for the dental society, the Dental Board, and we do not wish to offer amendments, nor do we wish to discuss the act further at the Committee level.

On motion, clauses 1 through 4, carried.

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Dental Act." (Bill No. 31)

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the bill without amendment, carried.

CHAIR (Penney): The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, Bill No. 49, Committee of the Whole on a bill, "An Act To Amend The Physiotherapy Act."

CHAIR: What is the order number of that one?

MR. TULK: Order No. 24.

CHAIR: Bill No. 49, "An Act To Amend The Physiotherapy Act."

Shall clause 1 carry?

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

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

We have had some dialogue on this particular act and we wish to submit an amendment to Bill No. 49. It would read as follows:

That clause 1 of Bill No. 49, An Act To Amend The Physiotherapy Act, which is now before the House be amended by deleting subsection 13.1(1) and substituting the following therefor:

I would like to, if I could, ask if a copy could be passed to the Government House Leader.

AN HON. MEMBER: What is that?

MR. H. HODDER: This is an amendment to Bill No. 49, clause 1. For the Chair, as well.

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

I will read the amendment into the record. It says:

"(1) Where a person is found by the council to be guilty of misconduct or incompetence under section 13, and where

(i) 1 month has elapsed since the date of notification of the order of suspension or cancellation of membership and the person has not appealed to a judge of the Trial Division against the decision of the council, or

(ii) a judge, having heard an appeal against the decision of the council on the person, disposes of the appeal without setting aside the suspension or cancellation,

the council may, in addition to dealing with the person under section 13, order the person pay the expenses or a portion of the expenses of the council arising out of an investigation and hearing under section 13, and in a time fixed by the council."

The reason for offering this particular amendment is that we don't want to have a situation arise where members are made responsible in hindsight, you might say, for actions that might come their way by having been suspended or having their membership cancelled, and be responsible for the financial liabilities that might go with that.

If I could, just for a moment: the amendment basically rearranges wording of the bill to ensure a person is ordered to pay expenses for an investigation hearing only if found guilty. The bill, as now written, says: the College of Physiotherapist can order a membership suspended or cancelled and within one month a person can appeal to the courts. This amendment says: Expenses can be ordered only if a person found guilty, who does not appeal in the time allowed, or a person whose guilt is confirmed by the courts. What it basically would mean is that if you are found guilty then you can be ordered to pay the expenses for the investigation, but if you are not found guilty then it does not seem reasonable that you should have to pay the expenses of the investigation, and that amendment would give more protection to the innocent.

In other words, if there is a case where there is an action against a physiotherapist and the physiotherapist is not found guilty, then it does not seem reasonable to assess the cost against that person. I would like to commend that to the Chair and ask if we could have a look at that particular amendment to give greater protection towards the innocent parties.

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, let me say that the bill itself is not one with which I am familiar, but it is my understanding, from speaking to the Table officers, that the particular piece of legislation that is before the House has been cleared by the physiotherapists in the Province and it is exactly what they would like to see. Given that fact, I don't think it is appropriate for us - and the other thing is, I say to the Opposition House Leader, that the Minister of Health, who put this bill, is not here at this time and I don't think he knows about this amendment.

MR. H. HODDER: No, he doesn't.

MR. TULK: He doesn't know about this amendment. So I am prepared, in the spirit of Christmas, to say to the hon. gentleman that I withdraw the bill from Committee until the Minister of Health is available to put the bill and indeed consider the amendment. If, in consultation with the Table clerks, he sees that is okay, then I would have no problem with it, but other than that I would have to (inaudible) the bill now.

CHAIR: The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

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

We offer the amendment only in the spirit of giving assurances of greater protection for persons who may find themselves the subjects of an investigation, and then find themselves liable even if there is no guilt established. We wanted to address that matter, but we are quite content to accept the position of the Government House Leader, to refer the matter back to the appropriate minister, and in consultation with the Chair, the Table can decide whether or not this amendment is needed to give the protection.

I should say to the Government House Leader, as well, we were not able to have the kind of dialogue with the association that we would have liked to have had. We had dialogue with some individual members who expressed some concern. So we agree with the Government House Leader, to maybe defer it until there can be further consultation.

MR. TULK: Do we need a motion for that?

CHAIR: The Chair understands that the -

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: I think the agreement is that I will withdraw it - it is in Committee - that we will not put the vote, that we will withdraw it until such time as the Minister of Health has had a chance to confer with the Table officers and then bring it back to Committee again.

CHAIR: The Chair understands that Bill No. 49 is being withdrawn from consideration by the Committee of the Whole and the Government House Leader is doing this by leave of the House. Does the hon. Government House Leader have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes.

CHAIR: Very well.

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, there are two more bills that I would wish to put this evening. They are Order No. 18 and maybe, I say to my hon. friend the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, Order No. 21, because I did say to the Opposition House Leader this afternoon that I think the Member for Bonavista South wanted to say something on the firefighters bill.

MR. A. REID: I've got that taken care of.

MR. TULK: But he has an amendment there. I understand the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs has an amendment which takes care of the concerns of the Member for Bonavista South. If that -

MR. A. REID: It isn't in the amendment, but I want to make a comment, and he will be satisfied with my comment.

MR. TULK: Well, let's see if that is the case.

I would call Bill No. 43 and see what happens.

CHAIR: Bill No. 43, "An Act To Provide Firefighters With Protection From Personal Liability."

Shall clause 1 carry?

The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. A. REID: I think we all agreed basically, in second reading, that there were two basic flaws. The hon. Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi mentioned a clause, and in my amendment I'm going to take care of that because we agree with him. Does the Opposition House Leader have a copy of that?

It reads:

Subsection 4(1) contained in clause 4(1) of Bill No. 43 is repealed and the following substituted:

"4.(1) A fire-fighter who acted in good faith in the execution of his or her duties shall be indemnified for reasonable legal costs incurred

(a) in the defence of a civil action, if the fire-fighter is not found to be liable;

(b) in the defence of a criminal prosecution, if the fire-fighter is found not guilty; and

(c) in respect of another proceeding in which the fire-fighter's execution of his or her duties is an issue."

That was on the bottom. Now we have moved it to the top so that it follows through. This amendment would change the clause by inserting the phrase "who acted in good faith in the execution of his or her duties" at the beginning of the subsection so that it would apply to all three paragraphs and not just to paragraph (c). That was what the hon. Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi wanted.

The other question was from our hon. friend for Bonavista. He was looking for individual protection for communities which are non-incorporated. We found out after, yesterday, that his community is the only one in the Province with a fire department that is non-incorporated. I've been authorized to offer him sort of a special deal whereby if that fire department finds itself in a situation - I can't put it in the act because it only refers to one community. After, if - if! if! - a regional council comes in place that fire department could come under the regional council.

For the time being, I'm offering the hon. member protection through my department. Okay? I think the fact that I'm saying it in the House is enough. The fact that I'm saying it in the House that I'm offering that community protection through my department rather than through a municipality is enough of a commitment from me here tonight to say that if something should happen then we will help the community with the liability issue.

I think he will be satisfied with that because we talked about that yesterday. In fact he, at one time, recommended that maybe Municipal and Provincial Affairs could act in this particular case as a town council. I don't have any problems with that for the time being until we deal with the regionalization question. But I can't put one community in a bill that is related to the whole Province. Okay?

CHAIR: The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

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

I do understand the minister has read into the record the amendment that he proposes. Looking at the amendments that were proposed by my colleague, the Member for Bonavista South - we had two of them that he has submitted to me - one deals with the matter that is raised in the amendment that has been tabled by the minister on this matter, and the other one, I think, will be covered by the minister's commentary relative to his particular community.

The fact that the minister has read the matter into Hansard - and I'm sure the member will follow up on it tomorrow. He regrets that he indeed is in Bonavista tonight and probably should be back in the morning. If there are further difficulties then maybe we could deal with them at that time. But on the basis that I believe the amendment the minister has made and the commitment he has made address the two issues that we have identified, I do believe, unless my colleague for Cape St. Francis wishes to have a commentary, we are prepared to act in good faith and let this particular bill go without further amendment. We will support the amendment to the main act and also the amendment just mentioned by the hon. the minister. We commend the minister for his initiative in bringing in liability protection for the firefighters of Newfoundland and Labrador.

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, if I could just said to the hon. gentleman: If there is a problem there will be an opportunity obviously in third reading to have the Member for Bonavista South say whatever he has to say.

On motion, clauses 1 to 3, carried.

CHAIR: We are voting on an amendment to Clause 4. The Chair has heard it has been read into the record but the Chair has no recollection of it being read into the record. Would the hon. the minister like to read it into the record now?

MR. TULK: It has already been read into the record.

CHAIR: It has been read into the record? Okay.

Then we are voting on the amendment to Subsection 1.

All in favour of the amendment, `aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: Opposed, `nay'.

Carried.

On motion. clause 4 as amended, carried.

On motion, clause 5, carried.

A bill, "An Act To Provide Firefighters with Protection From Personal Liability." (Bill No. 43)

Motion, that the committee report having passed the bill with amendments, carried.

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, Order No. 5, Bill No. 24.

The Minister of Justice is not here, but I understand from a conversation across the House with the Opposition spokesman on justice that I do not believe he has a problem. He may want to say a few words to it, but I do not believe he has a problem with it.

CHAIR: Bill No. 24, "An Act To Amend The Jury Act, 1991."

Shall Clause 1 carry?

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

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I have indicated to the Government House Leader that there is no difficulty with this particular piece of legislation. The legislation, Mr. Chairman, is relatively straightforward and essentially housekeeping in nature. It simply states that a juror may be paid reasonable travel and other expenses. We have no difficulty with the legislation and we will not be speaking to it further.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

On motion, clause 1, carried.

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Jury Act, 1991." (Bill No. 24)

Motion, that the committee report having passed the bill without amendment, carried.

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, this will be the last bill I want to call for the night. I think this clears up the stuff that is non-controversial on the whole thing.

Committee of the Whole on a bill, "An Act To Amend The Municipalities Act." (Bill No. 42)

CHAIR: Would the Government House Leader be so kind, for the convenience of the Table, to call it by Order Number?

MR. TULK: Order No. 15.

CHAIR: Bill No. 42, "An Act To Amend The Municipalities Act."

Shall clause 1 carry?

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. H. HODDER: Mr. Chairman, we are not totally prepared to enter into detail, clause-by-clause, of this particular bill this evening. We had considerable discussion of it at the second reading stage. We did have a couple of questions we wanted to direct towards the minister, and I wonder if we could probably engage in a few minutes of dialogue back and forth, not necessarily, shall we say, restricting ourselves to ten minutes or that kind of rotation.

Some of our members had some questions about the implications for municipalities of changing the community councils in the Province over to town councils. They wondered what the liabilities were, what the positive things were, whether or not there has been consultation with the Federation of Municipalities, and what the general viewpoint was. So we did not want to say we give our approval without having the opportunity to hear the rationale put forward by the minister.

MR. A. REID: Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. A. REID: As the hon. member I am sure is aware, the federation has been talking about this for some time and we have had a number of requests from community councils in the last year or year-and-a-half to switch to regular councils, because the bottom line with all of this is that they are the same anyway. They have the same authority, other than the fact that they are elected in a committee meeting in a hall every second year, and a lot of them are having problems with that. A lot of councillors getting elected that way are having problems with that because throughout the year they are running into people saying, `Well, I didn't vote for you,' and I never had a chance to vote for you,' and `I was away this night,' and so on. The vast majority of the communities that we have talked to, community councils, are happy with changing their status from community council to a regular council.

Now, there will be an election in each one of those communities in the month of September next year, the same as every other community. So the words `community council' will disappear out of the act altogether. In consultation with administrators and the Newfoundland Federation of Municipalities there were no problems with this. In fact, in reviewing our act that was one of the recommendations that the Federation of Municipalities made, that by doing that - by the way, my hon. friend is going to give an avenue to a lot of community councils to now join the Federation of Municipalities and take an active role in that organization.

There are no problems, as far as I know, and, as I said, I have been talking to a lot of community councils as well. We have not had, as far as I am concerned - now, I do not know what my office had, and I guess I would have been told. I have not had one complaint from any community council. It is a matter of wanting to do it.

Now, at the end of the day, if this bill goes through, after September of next year all councils in Newfoundland will be full-fledged councils and there will be no such thing as a community council anymore.

MR. H. HODDER: What are the positive things that would happen?

MR. A. REID: Other than the fact that it gives a council four years to operate instead of two - we are having difficulty in maintaining councils being elected that way because in a large number of cases they will call their meetings every two years for the town hall, or for a community meetings, and they do not get representation enough to elect a council.

The biggest problem we have in -

AN HON. MEMBER: Expenses too.

MR. A. REID: And expenses.

The biggest problem we have in Municipal Affairs right now with those community councils is trying to find people to maintain a council in the community, because being appointed at a meeting does not seem to have the same amount of authority, and the status that goes with it, as being elected. You find that a large number of people will just resign or not show up to meetings during the two-year period, and you have a lot of those councils then hanging out there in the air with not enough people to conduct a meeting with a majority of members in the chambers.

It will clean up that mess. We think, and the federation thinks, that by putting them on as full-fledged communities, and going through the process of an election, you will get more people volunteering, better people in the communities volunteering. They know then that they have to make a personal commitment for four years, and in most cases they will end up like our regular communities. So, that was the main reason.

Everything I know of has been positive towards it, and I'm certainly not lying to the House.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. REID: Funding will then revert, the same way it did under the act before -

CHAIR: Order, please! Order, please!

If I might have the attention of hon. members for a moment. If it is the wish of the hon. Opposition House Leader, we can instruct that the microphone be turned on for both the minister and the Opposition House Leader, if he wants to dialogue back-and-forth for a few moments. Otherwise....

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

CHAIR: I would prefer if there was one questioner at a time, and you could question the minister. I will instruct the microphones to be turned so that you will have it for the record.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

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

I just wanted to ask the minister a very quick question. It deals with the matter of funding, particularly as it applies to, for example, the responsibility for local roads, snow clearing and having to pay for municipal plans. What are the positive things that would encourage a community to say: We want to be a town council as opposed to a community council? I acknowledge that my knowledge of the community council structure is not as, shall we say, detailed as my knowledge of either a town council or a city council. I wanted to make sure we aren't doing something that is going to add further burdens to a community, because they happen to change from being a community council to being a town council, and that we aren't trying to turn over new roads or turn over responsibility for assessments or responsibility for municipal planning or anything like that.

MR. A. REID: I wonder are you getting mixed up with local service districts. I believe he is getting mixed up with local service districts, because community councils right now, in the act, have the same powers -

MR. H. HODDER: So there are no liabilities?

MR. A. REID: No. They have the same powers as a regular council. Part two of the act -

AN HON. MEMBER: This will eliminate part two of the act.

MR. A. REID: Yes. Section 2 of the act basically names another form of council called a community council which is elected every two years. All I want to do is take out that part two so that community councils disappear.

See gentlemen, there are three types of councils. There is a regular town council, there is a community council, and there is a local service district.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. REID: Okay, part six. What I'm suggesting in the act is we do away with the community councils. There is no need. They have the same powers, they can borrow the same amount of money. The only thing with them, the problem they have, is they have to go to a community hall once every two years and have a general meeting to get elected on council; and they don't want that any more. They want to do the same thing as all other communities do and have the chance to be elected, have an election and go through that process and be elected for a four-year period.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. REID: It has nothing to do with it. It is all there in the act now. They have the same -

AN HON. MEMBER: Right now the community council is required once a year to have a general meeting (inaudible), which is a nuisance.

MR. A. REID: In the act, the community council is required to have an annual general meeting as well, and nobody shows up to it. It ties the hands of the council and the councillors and they don't know what they are doing. So, in most cases, well, I shouldn't say most, but in a lot of cases what happens is I end up with their resignations on my desk. They are saying: I'm poisoned with this because you can't get anywhere with it; so we are resigning. I'm saying: Let's put them in there as a regular town council so we will end up with town councils and local service districts only; and that is it.

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

I'm wondering if my colleague for Cape St. Francis who is the critic has any questions prior to our concluding the debate.

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

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Chairman, just one question for the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, because he addressed most of the concerns I had with the Member for Waterford Valley.

This bill will come into effect in less than a month really. What implications might that have with respect to community councils themselves, in converting from being a community council to a town council?

CHAIR: The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. A. REID: Nothing whatsoever, because there is a section in the act which says that the abolition of those councils will not come into effect until an election is called on Tuesday of the third week of September, 1997, is it? Harvey Hodder said that tonight so many times I am after forgetting it. None of this will come into effect until that particular time, and at that time an election will be called in the community, and then every four years; they will just proceed as a regular town council.

On motion, clauses 1 through 27, carried.

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Municipalities Act." (Bill No. 42).

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the bill without amendment, carried.

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, I move that the Committee rise and report a great deal of progress and ask leave to sit again at some point in the future.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): The hon. the Member for Lewisporte.

MR. PENNEY: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole have considered the matters to them referred, have directed me to report Bill Nos. 37, 41, 40, 47, 31, 24 and 42, passed without amendment, and Bill Nos. 36 and 43 passed with amendments and ask leave to sit again.

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

On motion, amendments read a first time, bills ordered read a third time on tomorrow.

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, before moving the adjournment of the House, I would like to inform the House that tomorrow we will be doing what is on today's Order Paper, Order No. 26, Bill No. 45, an historic bill which will see us combine the GST and the RST in this Province. I suspect that tomorrow will be a great day.

I move that the House adjourn until tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m.

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