March 26, 1997               HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS             Vol. XLIII No. 9


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. ANDERSEN: Mr. Speaker, I ask leave of the House to pass along special congratulations to a member of this Province.

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

MR. TULK: By leave.

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. ANDERSEN: Mr. Speaker, for the last eighteen months, Mobil, Chevron and Murphy Oil, based out of Calgary, has had a representative who travelled across Canada, in particular the Northern communities, to select two people to christen the two boats that are being built to bring the oil ashore from Hibernia. I am pleased to say that Ruth Flowers of Makkovik, Labrador has been selected, and in July, she will embark, along with her husband, to Seoul, Korea, where she will christen the boat called the Komatik.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. ANDERSEN: Mr. Speaker, Ms Flowers has made an outstanding contribution in my riding of Torngat Mountains. She was the first female Mayor of both communities of Makkovik and Hopedale. She has received several awards including an award from the Status of Women. She is the founder of TIA - the Innuit Women of the Torngats. Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the mighty riding of Torngat Mountains and their people, I pass along congratulations to Ms Flowers on a well-deserved award.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

We, on this side of the House, join with the member in extending congratulations to Ms Ruth Flowers, who has been recognized for her exemplary role in her community and in the district. It is indeed appropriate that from time to time we stand in this House and recognize those citizens of our Province who have played leadership roles and are model citizens for their communities and for the entire Province. Mr. Speaker, we join with the member in offering our sincere congratulations.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to join with the Member for Torngat Mountains and the Opposition House Leader in congratulating Ms Ruth Flowers on the recognition of her contribution to her community and to women. It is not the first award she has received and neither will it, I suspect, be the last, Mr. Speaker. She has an exemplary record of public service in this Province.

MR. SPEAKER: Before we get into the routine business of the day, I would like to welcome to the gallery today fifteen Levels I to III students from Mount Pearl Central High, accompanied by their teacher, Claude Bishop.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

Statements by Ministers

 

MR. A. REID: May I have leave for just a second, Mr. Speaker?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Agreed.

MR. A. REID: A member's mother has died. Anna Thistle's mother, Mrs. Chesley Penney from Carbonear, died last night. The lady, in her eighties, had a stroke recently, and was in the hospital. It has come as a bit of a shock to the people of Carbonear, in particular, because Mrs. Penney has been involved with the church, ladies' auxiliaries and groups for a number of years. I would ask the House if the hon. the Speaker, could send our condolences to the Penney family which is scattered all over the Province. I am sure most of us know Ches' mother and a number of the boys from Central Newfoundland.

I think it would be nice if we could send our condolences to the family, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

We, on this side, want to join with all hon. members in extending to Anna Thistle, the Member for Grand Falls - Buchans, our sincere condolences. I spoke to the member just a couple of days ago and knew of the problems that her mother was encountering. Her mother, up until a few days ago, was in excellent health. We extend sincere condolences and will be thinking about the family in the days ahead.

Thank you very much.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to join with the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs and the Opposition House Leader, in asking Your Honour to send the condolences of all members of the House to the Member for Grand Falls - Buchans and to her family, in the loss of their mother.

 

Statements by Ministers

 

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. McLEAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, our Government Services Branch provides one-stop shopping for processing various permits, licences, approvals and inspections. During the past year, the branch has addressed many inefficiencies in the system and has eliminated duplication of services. The branch has also taken steps to dramatically improve delivery of government services throughout this Province, and during the coming year it will continue to explore innovative measures to improve delivery of services.

Mr. Speaker, as Minister of Government Services and Lands and Minister Responsible for Labrador, I am pleased to announce today that a new Government Service Centre will be in operation in Labrador West by the end of September.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. McLEAN: Government will call tenders this week for approximately 5,000 square feet of leased space.

The Government Service Centre in Labrador West will provide space for a number of departments and agencies which provide walk-in services and information to the general public and businesses. These departments and agencies include the Department of Government Services and Lands - Motor Vehicle Registration -; the Department of Development and Rural Renewal; the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation; the Hyron Regional Economic Development Board and the Labrador West Tourism Development Corporation.

Over the next few months, government officials will meet with the town councils of Labrador City and Wabush and other groups to determine if there are any additional services in Labrador West that might be offered through this centre.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank Perry Canning, the Member for Labrador West, for his efforts leading up to this announcement.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the minister for sending me a copy of his statement before the House sat today.

The minister talks about one-stop shopping. These centres are good in theory, but I certainly question the efficiency of the ones that are existing today across the Province. Maybe they should be called taxed-to-death stops. I don't know if I would want one in my district, but I am sure the people in Labrador West will be pleased to hear that they will have a one-stop shopping centre or taxpaying centre in Labrador West. Although the area itself is 5,000 square feet, I question the size of the area that needs to be leased for that centre.

The minister talks about how officials of his department will be meeting with the councils of Wabush and Labrador City. That is a good idea. Finally the minister and the government on the other side will have some positive consultation process put in place.

I have one other comment, and that is concerning... The minister thanked Mr. Perry Canning, the Member for Labrador West. Well, I expect the Member for Labrador West needs all the help he can since he lost the smelter in Labrador.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

 

Oral Questions

 

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My questions today are for the Minister of Health.

Cutbacks in our health care system are being felt everywhere. There is $11 million less in the acute care hospital budget and long-term care budget in this upcoming year, and this effect is being felt in the operation of ambulance services. Even though there are five ambulances here in St. John's, only four are used in the day; three for four hours in the evening; only two from eight in the night until eight in the morning, and only two on all weekends; only two ambulances to service from Cape St. Francis now to the Tors Cove area, from where the ambulance has been recently removed. Because ambulances are not available, I say to the minister, the fire department is called upon more and more not only to respond but to transport people to hospital, which was never ordinarily done.

I ask the minister: Is it his plan to curtail or eliminate ambulances and have fire departments perform this service?

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The number of ambulances that we have operating in the St. John's metro area has been the same number, four, for the last fifteen years. Nothing has changed. We have two operating in the evenings. When the ambulances are tied up, obviously, the second responder being the emergency response vehicles at the fire department are dispatched. Last year, for the information of the hon. member, we had 12,000 calls for ambulance services through the 911 system at the Health Sciences. Of these we only had to use the secondary response, the emergency response vehicles, for 211. I think the record of the ambulance services in this area is an exemplary one and one that we can be pleased with and proud of.

Obviously from time to time there will be circumstances where, because of multiple occurrences at a given time, we may be pressed to meet the need. For the most part our ambulances, plus our back-up emergency response vehicles at the fire department, are providing an adequate and an appropriate and a very competent level of service.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It was only a couple of months ago that your government passed legislation here in this House to eliminate liability respecting fire-fighters responding to an emergency. I ask the minister: Was this your sneaky way to avoid the growing need of ambulance services by having the fire departments respond?

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

MR. MATTHEWS: We have not changed, Mr. Speaker, the level of ambulance response service in the St. John's metro area in recent time. The number of vehicles we have on a daily basis and the number of vehicles responding in the evening are the same as they have been for many years. I repeat again, for the benefit of the House and the hon. member, that on average and for the most part it is a completely appropriate number of response vehicles. Of 12,000 calls last year only 211 needed to be responded to by the emergency response vehicles because the two ambulances might have been tied up. I stand by that record on behalf of the Corporation and/or the fire department who are in tandem responsible for responding to 911 calls.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The fire department is responding increasingly more to such accidents, I say to the minister. You have increased the fire department's responsibility regarding emergency service. You have legislation that was on the books this past fall to prove that. Why at the same time has your government announced in their Budget this year the elimination of fire-fighting to our cities?

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The hon. member tries to put forth a proposition which would necessitate one to make a quantum leap in terms of the connection he is trying to make. We are providing adequate and a timely responsive ambulance service in this city. The 911 system is a system that incorporates responses on behalf of three levels of service, the fire department, the police department, and the Department of Health through the hospitals in the area. I say again that the response level is adequate, and it is appropriate.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. MATTHEWS: I agree, and I have seen myself during the last two or three weeks on a couple of occasions where there has been a multi-car accident and they have had to press into service the emergency response vehicles. But I remind the hon. member that the emergency response vehicles are part of the system for just that very reason, for just that very purpose, to respond when they are needed to respond as either a secondary responder behind an ambulance because they need the jaws of life or something, or because an ambulance might not be readily available.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. member to conclude his answer.

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition on a supplementary.

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, they changed the legislation this Fall to remove the responsibility, the liability, and then you have down loaded on municipalities and cut their grants in the process. Is this a preconceived plan and you had to do that, I ask the minister, and if it is it is being deceitful? Because of the shortage of ambulances routine calls are not being attended to, and even people who are transported from the Miller Centre to the hospitals here in the city for x-rays and other medical procedures and services are often left waiting on a stretcher at those institutions for up to six hours before they can be transferred back to the Miller Centre.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I remind the hon. member that he is on a supplementary and ought to get to his question.

MR. SULLIVAN: I ask the minister if he thinks this is acceptable?

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

MR. MATTHEWS: I had occasion yesterday morning or the morning before to meet with some ambulance operators from the Province. As a matter of fact they represented about 60 per cent of the private capacity in the Province, and I shared with them this, and I will now share it with the House and with the hon. member. Of all the issues I have had to have particular concern about, of all the issues that have been brought forward to me since I have been in Health for almost three years now, the one service that I have had almost zero complaints about is the road ambulance service in the Province.

We have a road ambulance service in this Province that to some extent as an extension of the institutions, as in Corner Brook and as in the Health Care Corporation, we have the private ambulance operators, we have the community based service.

I can tell the hon. member that the road ambulance program in this Province and the road ambulance program that we have operating in the St. John's metro area is again at an appropriate level to get the job done day in and day out, and it is responding appropriately. The hon. member reads the Telegram in the morning and he finds that is the source, he thinks, of a potential question for the day. I applaud him at least for reading the Telegram. But I have to tell him that -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. MATTHEWS: - there are a lot of more serious -

MR. SPEAKER: I ask the hon. member to conclude his answer.

MR. MATTHEWS: - problems in our health care service than the road ambulance service.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A supplementary, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. That is disgraceful. One year ago you made tax collectors out of ambulance operators and drove up the rate by 50 per cent. He tries to tell this House here they are happy. They are far from it, I say to the minister. Do you think it is acceptable for eighty- and ninety-year old people to stay on a stretcher for six hours at the Health Sciences, people with broken hips and other injuries, waiting to get back to the Miller Centre again? Is it acceptable, minister?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. MATTHEWS: I would simply respond and answer, Mr. Speaker,the hon. member's question this way. If he has a specific incident, or knows of instances where that has happened, I would ask him to provide the information to me and I would be the first one to undertake to check it out. I have no such knowledge that that has happened on one or more instances. I don't deny that it could happen, but if it has happened I'm not aware of it. If he has an instance, let him bring the information forward and we will check it out and do the appropriate thing. If he doesn't want it....

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have always responded -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SULLIVAN: I've always responded with names to the minister. I gave names to the Health Care Corporation this very week of people who have been in that situation. You speak to the staff there, speak to the senior people there! I've given them names that I didn't raise in this House.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, this past weekend in my district there was a terrible auto accident. Five people, including two children and three adults, were transferred and transported to hospitals. There was one ambulance on the scene which transported three people at one time. One was an elderly lady -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: - with broken ribs and a punctured lung who is now in intensive care, and two others were able to walk on their own. The other people, two kids -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: The other two kids were transported by a fire department vehicle. Minister, what are you going to do when there is another serious accident that happens and there aren't enough ambulances to deal with the people who are injured? Are you going to continue to jeopardize people's lives?

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, it isn't the intention to do as the hon. member propositions. Quite the contrary. Rather than jeopardize people's lives in this Province we are trying to provide a health care system which, as best can be done, meets the needs of the people of this Province. I would say to the hon. member it is not very appropriate. I think it is rather disgusting that the hon. member, who sits over there, who has been elected by the people of this Province and who has attained the rather important position of leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, to be trying to score cheap political points on the backs of the people of this Province by putting forward scaremongering propositions -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. MATTHEWS: - that are not realistic and that should not be done. I think it is despicable and I think the responsibility should be to -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is not fearmongering, I say to the minister. Every single case I bring up is a real, human, life situation, people with stress on their families because of that minister's actions!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member is on a supplementary.

MR. SULLIVAN: I find it reprehensible that -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member is on a supplementary.

MR. SULLIVAN: - Mr. Speaker, that this government would want to muzzle the media and not permit cases to come out in the public. I find it unacceptable.

Now I ask the minister, fire department officials and EMAs work in very stressful and high pressure situations. Now we had concerns just recently on a 911 call that was in the media today. Now is your government, minister, asking professionals when faced with emergencies - let's say four emergencies, all critical - to eliminate one over another?

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, the health care system works this way, when people present themselves for service or when people call to have service go out to them, such as an ambulance service, the dispatching is done or the service is rendered on a basis of relative severity and seriousness as is determined by the health care providers who are in charge of the health care system on an operational basis. I don't play the role of a doctor in the system or of any other health care professional. We leave the judgement as to who gets served - when there are a number of people calling for service or presenting for service - to the people who are best to make that judgement in terms of rendering service and that is the doctors, the nurses and the other health care providers. That will not change, Mr. Speaker, because that is the appropriate way to do business in health care.

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

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

Mr. Speaker, my question today is for the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. Last weeks Budget imposed severe cuts to the MOGs, 60 per cent over three years. These cuts will impose many hardships on municipal councils and in turn will cause cuts in service and/or rise in taxes. My question is: is your plan and the plan of government to financially strangle the municipalities to force people to accept a loss of local decision making and to force amalgamation through the back door?

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

MR. A. REID: Mr. Speaker, the answer I suppose to the question is no. I could say no and sit down but to answer my hon. colleague, Mr. Speaker, I think I would have to go into a long dissertation about what we actually did last week and the fact that we are contributing $10.5 million to some of the hon. ministers and certainly some of the hon. speakers communities to help them cope with the downturn in the economy and problems that really cannot be attributed to inadequacies in the community on the part of councils. I personally feel, Mr. Speaker, that I can now stand in the House and hold my head high and say that this government is doing everything we possibly can for rural Newfoundland communities.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. A. REID: And if, Mr. Speaker, there is some harm done to the larger municipalities I am certainly sure that the majority of people living in those municipalities realize that we have 150 rural communities out there that are in dire straits and need assistance. I don't think that the people of St. John's or Mount Pearl or Corner Brook or Gander or Carbonear or anywhere else in the Province want to see our fellow sons and daughters and sisters and brothers out there suffering because of what is happening in this Province, so I take great pride, Mr. Speaker, in saying that this government is doing the right thing in this Province for municipalities not the wrong thing.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, Oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

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

The minister knows full-well that the $10 million he is putting to the municipalities will, in the long-term, take the financial burden off the Province more so than off the municipalities.

Mr. Speaker, the minister has publicly stated that funding under the capital works and infrastructure programs may not go to towns which need it most but rather, to towns which are financially better off. What benchmarks will the department use to determine financial stability?

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

MR. A. REID: Mr. Speaker, I have one community in the Province and listen carefully, Mr. Speaker, to what I am going to say to you. I have one community in this Province, Mr. Speaker, that has debt charges that amounts to 116 per cent of their total revenues.

MR. SULLIVAN: It sounds like you were the mayor.

MR. A. REID: No, it happens to be in a Tory district by the way. Now, Mr. Speaker, if you can figure that out

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. A. REID: Mr. Speaker, if you can figure out that they are paying out 116 per cent more money in debt charges than they are collecting, then you are a smart person because I cannot do it. I cannot do it, Mr. Speaker.

We have 150 communities out there that are paying in excess of 50 per cent of their revenues this year for debt servicing, and this hon. member gets up and asks me, what the criteria for future funding - what is our criteria as a government for future funding, for those types of municipalities? Not one cent, Mr. Speaker, until they get their houses in order with my help, and at that point in time, when they get their houses in order and they can show this government and future governments that they can afford the services they are asking for, then we will consider providing them with capital funding to do servicing or put in services.

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

MR. J. BYRNE: Of course, Mr. Speaker, the minister did not answer the question and a lot of municipalities in the Province today are finding themselves in situations put there by this administration with downloading and increased debt retirement.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the minister indicated in a press release on the 20th March, 1997, that the towns assisted through the long-term debt retirement may not be eligible for funding under a municipal-capital works project. The minister is encouraging refinancing through the chartered banks.

Wouldn't the minister agree that the towns could suffer in the long-term if interest rates rise and in fact, the Province is off-loading its financial burden to the towns, and to make the Province's bottom line look better, Mr. Speaker. Is elimination of the Newfoundland Municipal Financial Corporation next? Are they going to eliminate the Newfoundland Municipal Financial Corporation?

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

MR. A. REID: I think the hon. Member for Waterford-Kenmount might be able to get up and contradict his colleague in the House and say he does not know what he is talking about again.

We have refinanced in this Province up to yesterday $50 million in communities, Mount Pearl being one that came in to this government and said: We want to refinance our debts that we have to NMFC, and in doing so, Mr. Speaker, they have saved, am I correct in saying, almost $1 million over the next two or three years? Will the hon. member for that area shake his head, will he give me a `nod', will he blink and say that his colleague is wrong in the comments that he made? No, Mr. Speaker, absolutely not.

I am not encouraging communities to go to banks; I am not encouraging communities to go to financial institutions to refinance. I am encouraging communities around the Province to get their act together, with my help, with the $10.5 million that I have, so that I can put them on a good financial basis whereby, if we need to spend capital dollars or need to assist those communities in the future with water or sewer or capital works or whatever it may be, then they will be in a position to contribute at least something to the cost. So I say to my hon. friends -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. minister to finish his answer.

MR. A. REID: - through this, Mr. Speaker, please, go out and ask some of the communities who have already been financed.

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

MR. J. BYRNE: Will the minister agree that the towns are being encouraged to do the refinancing to get away from the Newfoundland Municipal Financial Corporation to get lower rates at this point in time, and in actual fact it is the department that is putting the towns in the position they are in today. Will you agree to that?

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

MR. A. REID: Mr. Speaker, the Newfoundland and Labrador Financial Corporation is losing money. With every community that refinances their loan, the Newfoundland Financial Corporation is losing money. These are long-term debts that the government of the Province - not only this government but previous governments - have incurred on the bond markets around the world, and those just cannot be paid off. There are large penalties that are being inflicted, if I can use that word, on these municipalities who are trying to refinance because Newfoundland Financial Corporation would, at the end of the day, rather keep the St. John'ses and the Mount Pearls and the Deer Lakes and the Corner Brooks on their books. They want to keep those places, so for the hon. member to say that it is a plan to download from the Newfoundland Financial Corporation onto communities is totally incorrect.

The gentleman does not know where to find something other than what he has been asking me, and I do appreciate the fact that since last Thursday this is the first question I have had in the House. I have been begging the hon. member, and begging the members on the other side, to ask me a question down here because I have been bored since last Thursday in not being asked a question on the Budget.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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 regarding discussions that the minister has had with tourism groups concerning the privatization of provincial parks and the issue of gravel-pit camping. I ask the minister: What commitments were given to tourism groups about changes to gravel-pit camping?

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

MS KELLY: I am not sure to which tourism groups... I have met with one group, and I suppose within that group there were two. It was Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador, and within that group there were some private operators of campgrounds, and they presented some concerns that they had about gravel-pit camping.

I did not give them a commitment about anything. What we did agree at the end of the meeting is that they would present their concerns to me on paper, and also that we would address it in the discussion paper that we are putting together.

As you know, I have stated many times over the past several weeks that this government is not planning a ban on gravel-pit camping. We do, though, have concerns which I understand the hon. member, the Opposition Leader and others, have stated very publicly that they are also very concerned about the environmental aspects of this problem, and also public safety concerns. But we are not in any way advocating a ban on gravel-pit camping or public camping on public land in our Province.

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

MR. OSBORNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I ask the minister: Is it true that this tourism group was led to believe there would be major changes made to gravel-pit camping once the provincial parks are privatized?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS KELLY: Mr. Speaker, I would like to tell my hon. colleague, through the Speaker, that I did not give any commitments to this group about either before or after the privatization of parks. I have outlined to you that they agreed that they would put their concerns on paper and we would hold further discussions. I very clearly outlined that we were not going to ban what we call gravel-pit camping, but we did have concerns both about the environment and public safety issues, which I think all of us would concur that we ought to, as a government, be addressing.

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

MR. OSBORNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I ask the minister if she is prepared to tell the House today what changes she is planning to make regarding gravel pit camping.

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

MS KELLY: Mr. Speaker, I cannot tell my hon. colleague what changes we are going to be making because we do not know if we are making any changes at all. I have outlined the process to you. I think you could concur with my hon. colleagues, the Minister of Government Services and Lands and the Minister of Environment and Labour, who were present at the meeting, that at the end of the meeting we agreed to receive a written brief from the group we were meeting with.

Thank you.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is to the Minister of Development and Rural Renewal. Thirteen months from now the Atlantic Groundfish Strategy runs out of money and in excess of 15,000 will be left with no job, no income, and no federal aid. Would the minister inform the House what her department is doing to respond to this major catastrophe that is about to happen in this Province?

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

MS FOOTE: Mr. Speaker, we are in constant discussions with the federal government. We recognize there is a problem here and we really do want to make sure that something happens to accommodate the fishermen who are going to find themselves in desperate straits when TAGS runs out. Clearly, the federal government have taken the decision that 1998 will be the last year, and at this point we have gotten no further with them other than to recognize that fact.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister, a few years ago fishery workers were told they must retrain or lose their TAGS compensation. Today government has abandoned many of them midway through courses and programs. I ask the minister if this is the right way to prepare displaced fishery workers to pursue future employment opportunities?

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

MS FOOTE: Mr. Speaker, no, it is not the right way and we are pressing that point with the federal government. We are as concerned as anyone with what is going to happen with these people. Clearly the decision has been taken with respect to the ending of the TAGS program. The number of people who took up that program were more than could be accommodated with the money that was available. It is a federal program, as you know, and all we can do is impress upon the federal government our concerns with that program ending a year before it was scheduled to do so.

In terms of what is available to people coming off TAGS, there are employment programs. We have just announced a Labour Market Initiative that we are going to make sure they can take advantage of as well. There are other things that these people can avail of, but like you we are concerned. We do not want to see these people left without anything to access or carry them over the lurch.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Minister, I say when those fishery workers and fish plant workers were given commitments by your cousins up in Ottawa they knew full well the number of people who were on this particular program. The entire TAGS program has been undermined by your federal cousins in Ottawa right from the very beginning. Written commitments such as the TAGS program duration are being broken. People plan their lives around those commitments.

Would you, as the provincial minister responsible for the Fisheries Compensation Program, commit today to speak up and represent the fishery workers of Newfoundland and Labrador to have Ottawa continue the TAGS program until 1999 as was committed in the past?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS FOOTE: Mr. Speaker, let me put it this way, I will continue to make representation to the federal government. I have never stopped doing that. We are concerned about what is happening to the people in this Province, particularly the people coming off TAGS, and when you talk about the federal government knowing how many people were going to access the program, ask Mr. Crosbie if he knew how many people were going to access that program. It was hard to gage and I will stand by that any day.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is for the Minister of Finance. Last Thursday the minister tabled his Budget and with it a booklet called Departmental Salary Details which are said to be, in the introduction, the salary allotment of each department broken down in detail in accordance with the 1997-98 Estimates showing the number of employees, job classifications, and the projected salary expenditures.

Mr. Speaker, this shows some 6,765 permanent positions in the public service, but if you take your magnifying glass and look very, very closely at a footnote in a print smaller than an eyelash, it says: Positions to be abolished during 1997-98 are not yet removed from Salary Details.

Mr. Speaker, why did the minister table such a deceptive document along with his Budget? Was he trying to fool public servants into thinking that their jobs were not gone? Why did he do that at great expense, obviously, to the treasury?

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

MR. DICKS: Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. I take it that the hon. member is referring to the first several pages that are unnumbered. Is that correct?

MR. HARRIS: Schedule I (inaudible), footnote three.

MR. DICKS: Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. The departmental estimates are put forth each year. What we are concerned about is until we know what the final results of bumping are, until all the people have been given their notices and we see how it works its way through the service, it didn't seem appropriate to us at this stage to start eliminating the positions. So what this is, in essence, as I understand from my officials, is a general breakdown of the salary estimates by departments and positions. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I suspect it to some extent reflects some of the changes that have been made in ongoing....

MR. SPEAKER: Question period has ended.

The hon. the Minister of Social Services.

MS J.M. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I stand today on a point of privilege.

As Minister of Social Services, in an effort to fulfil an undertaking I gave to the House yesterday, concerning information that was alluded to being released by my colleague the critic for social services - he alluded that information had been released by staff or through some other inappropriate means. I think this has certainly alarmed the disabled community, it has challenged the credibility of my front-line staff, and clearly it has added stress to the workforce.

Here we are some twenty-four hours later, Mr. Speaker. I have no information on which I can act upon, and I urge the member to put forward the information so I can fulfil my undertaking to the House and investigate this very serious allegation.

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair will take the point that the hon. member has raised under advisement and report back to the House tomorrow.

 

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

 

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

MS BETTNEY: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I would like to table the Public Tender Act exemptions for the months of November, December, January and February.

 

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

 

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

MR. K. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In response to a question asked by the environment critic for the Opposition a day or so ago, some fees that will be introduced will be similar to the ones that were there up till 1990. For municipal waterworks, $50 to $250 was the fee at the time; a fee of $50 to $250 for municipal sewer works. It was also there based on population. These fees were eliminated in 1991. We are looking at reintroducing them in the Budget this year. We haven't decided on the final numbers. That will be done shortly through government and Cabinet. Also, these fees will not be charged to domestic household septic systems, they will not be charged there. There are no fees for septic systems or well water testing in this Budget. Thank you.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: Anyway, Mr. Speaker. contrary to what the Opposition said, they weren't there in the first place, and they aren't going to be there.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: Read Hansard! Read Hansard! Read your answer the other day (inaudible)!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

Petitions

 

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today to present a petition on behalf of a number of residents of the Province who are petitioning the House of Assembly to direct government to establish a universal comprehensive school lunch program for every school in Newfoundland and Labrador to help end child hunger and give our children a better chance.

These petitioners come from Happy Valley, Labrador, from Corner Brook, Carbonear, St. John's, Clarenville, Marystown, Burin, Torbay, Mount Pearl, Hillview. These are petitioners from a variety of places in the Province, all of whom are calling upon the government to recognize the affects of poverty on the ability of children to have a proper nutritious diet and to learn properly in school.

We do have a volunteer based school lunch program which has done excellent work in laying the groundwork in how to present a stigma free school lunch program in schools. A number of schools have been able to adopt that model because there have been in their communities a group of individuals, whether it be a service group or a new volunteer group, which has taken it upon itself the job of implementing such a program.

However, that is only satisfactory for some places and some schools. There is a very huge shortfall, a very huge gap. It is not being filled, will not be filled and cannot be filled by this type of volunteer effort. Mr. Speaker, we have learned - in fact, last night I was watching a panel discussion on the cable channel here in St. John's, where several panellist were educators, school board, home and school association representatives, Dr. Patricia Canning herself - the author of the report, Special Matters - were all participating in a panel discussion on the report, Special Matters, in which part of the discussion had to do with child hunger. Mr. Speaker, it has become a very important issue around our Province as to what we do, as a people and as a government, to help those children who are unable, by reason of poverty, to fully participate in the learning experiences that are available at school.

Now, there are other ways of dealing with some of the problems that young children encounter in school. There are pre-school programs, there are early intervention programs that have been highlighted. There are many other types of things that can be done, but there is one here, Mr. Speaker, that can directly be implemented as part of a schoolboard program in each and every school in the Province that will go a long way in providing an opportunity for schoolchildren to enjoy a good solid, nutritious meal at least once every school day so that they can enjoy a lack of hunger at least for that period of time, Mr. Speaker. They can enjoy the school period, not be distracted, not have a loss of attention, not be concerned and worried about whether or not they have a proper meal or whether they have to run and hide at lunchtime because they have no lunch or get on a school bus and go home to no lunch, which is a very sad experience that happens in this Province.

At least, Mr. Speaker, in a program such as this, there would be camaraderie, with children in a school participating together in a school lunch program that can be afforded. Because we have embarked on a great project for several years now of restructuring and reforming our school system to make it a little bit more efficient, so that there is not duplication of effort, so that there is not money spent on things it ought not to be spent on. That money can be spent on the child and on the educational experience. What better way, Mr. Speaker, to enhance the ability of hungry children to benefit from the educational experience than to ensure a school lunch program for each and every school in the Province. This can only be done if government does it. It cannot be left to the volunteer sector.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. J. BYRNE: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: On a point of order, the hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Environment and Labour was just on his feet a few minutes ago and made a statement to answer a question I asked the other day. You said - and I think he may have been unintentionally misleading the House. I just want to correct it. I asked the question: `Is this new fee for the people building new homes with a well and septic system and/or a new charge for existing homeowners who want their well water tested?' The answer that the minister gave is this - and this was from Hansard on Monday: `Yes, it was a practice in the past that there was no charge for a lot of work done by the officials. We have decided there will be a charge for it.' Now, the minister is over there now saying he did not say that. It is in black and white in Hansard.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

To that point of order, the hon. the Minister of Environment and Labour.

MR. K. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, there is no point of order, but I was responding in general to a general question. I indicated that I would get back with the details, Mr. Speaker, and that is what I did today, I got back with the details and corrected the misinformation that the Opposition is trying to spread.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order. It is a disagreement between two hon. members as to the allegation of facts but no point of order.

 

Orders of the Day

Private Members' Day

 

MR. SPEAKER: It being Wednesday, this is Private Members' Day. It is not quite 3:00 p.m. but if there is no other business we will go to Orders of the Day.

Motion No. 6. The hon. the Member for Topsail.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

It is indeed with pleasure that I rise today to seek the support, the full support, I might add, of this hon. House towards this petition which reads:

WHEREAS workers in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador living near the Quebec/Labrador boundary have sought equal employment opportunities for many years; and

WHEREAS there are restrictions which in the Province of Quebec apply in the hiring of construction trades people from other provinces; and

WHEREAS Quebec and Ontario have recently come to an agreement on labour mobility between their residents;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador initiate discussions with Quebec to achieve a similar labour mobility agreement.

Mr. Speaker, most of us are aware -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair has recognized the hon. the Member for Topsail.

MR. WISEMAN: Most of us are aware, Mr. Speaker, that the Government of Quebec regulates the conditions of employment, including residency conditions and local preferences in hiring for all construction trades in the Province of Quebec.

This regulatory regime which exists in the Province of Quebec has divided the Province into eleven different regions. Now, the regulations state that employers must hire all available workers in any given trade in that particular region before the employer can hire anybody from outside that region or from another province.

Mr. Speaker, the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and all other Provinces of Canada and the Territories, are generally open to -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member, of course, has a right to be heard in this House uninterrupted. I ask hon. members to allow the hon. member to be heard.

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

I can understand the position that the members opposite are in. It is a difficult position, and I suppose they get some recognition from shouting across the House, but I do not want to be too harsh on them. I understand their dilemma.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. WISEMAN: I do, Mr. Speaker, have a lot of compassion for people. The people opposite are no exception. Also, Mr. Speaker, I am looking for their support on this motion and it would certainly go well to send out the message.

As I was saying, Mr. Speaker, the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and all other provinces and territories, are generally open to all sectors of workers, both unionized and non-unionized, with the notable exception, of course, in our Province with respect to the offshore petroleum sector under the auspices of the Atlantic Accord.

Mr. Speaker, I understand from speaking to my colleagues from Labrador that this issue certainly raises some concerns for their constituents. I know, of course, that my friend and colleague, the Member for Torngat Mountains, will certainly be standing in this House shortly to express his concerns, as only he can. I am certain that my friend and colleague, the Member for Labrador West, if he were here today, would be up speaking on this particular resolution because it is closer to him, I suppose, than to any of us who sit in this House, since the border of Quebec borders on his district. And I am certain that my colleague, the Member for Lake Melville will be on his feet this afternoon expressing his views. So you see, Mr. Speaker, it not only affects the people of Labrador, it affects all of the people of the Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WISEMAN: The Member for Torngat Mountains now is reminding me, what about him? I have already mentioned that he would be speaking. We all know the interest that the Member for Torngat Mountains puts into his specific area. Every time he goes down he has a bundle of money to take down to get things fixed. I am certain that he will be involved in this up to his ears, as we say, trying to get an agreement. I am sure that he will be approaching the Minister of Environment and Labour encouraging him to try to talk to the Government of Quebec to try to reach a solution.

As I said, the Member for Labrador West, unfortunately, could not be here because of urgent needs in his district that he had to attend to. But, Mr. Speaker, I can imagine being a construction trade worker living in Labrador, especially in Labrador West, and wishing to work in neighbouring Quebec, in the Quebec mines or with the Quebec North Shore Railway, the Labrador Railway.

As we all know, this railway serves the mines of Labrador West, yet all the hiring is done in the Province of Quebec. It is done accordingly under the Quebec labour law, preference given to residents of Quebec when job opportunities arise. We all know, of course, with the development of Voisey's Bay, that the importance of this issue is certainly going to increase significantly. We know that construction trade workers from the Province of Quebec will certainly be able to work in Voisey's Bay and other construction and mining projects in the Province while our trade workers, notably those in Labrador, are not afforded the same opportunity of access to work in Quebec on a comparable basis.

Mr. Speaker, the members of this House are well aware that the option of enacting the restrictions on Quebec construction trade workers similar to what is exercised in Quebec is not feasible or appropriate. I suppose what we are saying is that this House is aware that the agreement on internal trade prohibits provinces from instituting new trade barriers of this nature to restrict in any way the free movement of labour from one province to another. We know that this all came about when we got into the negotiation on the trade agreements between provinces. We all know that this kind of action would not provide employment opportunities for residents of this Province. That is the overriding objective at this time. We want in every way possible to create an opportunity for the people of this Province, the trade union workers of this Province, an equal opportunity to work anywhere in Canada that they choose.

I am sure that this government with the support of this House, a little nudge along the way, will try to speed up the negotiations, or try to make contact to start negotiations. In order to get agreement we have to have dialogue. We know full well that this very capable government is quite able to reach an agreement with the Province of Quebec. We know that the government recognizes the negative impact Quebec labour laws are having on construction workers in this Province, and particularly those workers who live in Labrador.

As I said earlier, it is pretty difficult to live in, let us say, Labrador West -

MR. FITZGERALD: You have never been there. How long have you lived there? When did you ever live in Labrador West, and how long?

MR. WISEMAN: Mr. Speaker, the Member for Bonavista South again tries to attract attention to himself. I do not think it is me. I don't think he is concerned about my profile or what attention I might get. I think, Mr. Speaker, he is trying to attract attention to himself. But I should tell the hon. member that I have travelled across this country many times; I have been to Labrador West, I have travelled to every community in Labrador, and I have been to the Torngat Mountains, Mr. Speaker. I know that the previous Tory government went to the Torngat Mountains too, but they did nothing. This government has certainly put its money where its mouth is, and certainly stood up and helped the people of Labrador.

Now, Mr. Speaker, this issue is not unique to this Province. The Provinces of Ontario and New Brunswick face similar problems. Mr. Speaker, Ontario has formally resolved its problem.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. WISEMAN: As I was saying, Mr. Speaker, that rich Province of Ontario has solved its problems with the Province of Quebec by signing a bilateral labour of mobility agreement. They now make it possible for their workers to travel across the border of Ontario into Quebec and work where there is work available.

Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this motion today is to urge the government to move on with the job of looking after the employment of our people, and they certainly are doing a good job. Even the Opposition has said so, Mr. Speaker, and that is very encouraging, to know that the Opposition Party in this House admits that the government is doing a wonderful job.

Now, Mr. Speaker, when the Province of Ontario can have the Province of Quebec recognize certificates out of Ontario - says that Quebec will recognize a broader range of Ontario's certificates which means that Ontario workers who previously had to re-qualify in order to work in Quebec, will now be able to work without further examination. This includes broader recognition for several categories of workers in twelve Ontario construction jobs.

As I was saying earlier, Mr. Speaker, when you are into a kind of situation where you set up a region that will only accept workers from that region or workers from the province, like in Quebec where those regions exist, then it is impossible for construction-trade people from this Province to obtain work in the Province of Quebec. I believe, Mr. Speaker, that the Province of Quebec will sit down with the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador and negotiate a fair and equable agreement so that no barriers would exist.

We all know, Mr. Speaker, that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have travelled around the world seeking employment, and they have been very, very successful at it, I might add. I always like to say that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are the most successful people in the world. Wherever you may travel in the world, Mr. Speaker, you will find a Newfoundlander or a Labradorian. Mr. Speaker, it is a little bit difficult to comprehend that in our own country Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are restricted from working because one of our sister provinces has brought in legislation to restrict themselves.

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, I believe that this government will talk to the Government of Quebec, or I would like to think that after today the Minister of Environment and Labour will make contact with his counterpart in the Province of Quebec, so they can sit down and begin discussions on how this thing can be -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. WISEMAN: Mr. Speaker, I won't take up too much of the House's time. I know that we have other speakers on this side and I understand that the House Leader from the other side has other speakers.

Mr. Speaker, I urge my government to initiate discussions with the Province of Quebec so that our workers can have a reasonable access to construction jobs in Quebec as Quebecers currently are enjoying working in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

Let me say, first of all, that we on this side of the House have no hesitation supporting this resolution, but I would like to add, Mr. Speaker, that I hope the Member for Topsail is not part of the negotiating team that is going to negotiate some bilateral arrangement with Quebec in the construction industry.

MR. J. BYRNE: Why?

MR. E. BYRNE: He talked about the kind of situation that exists. Now, if he cares to stay in the House I will inform him of the kind of situation that exists in this Province with respect to trade between the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Province of Quebec.

Last year, some $15 to $20 million worth of tenders within the business that our hospital does were bid on by firms from Quebec and won by firms from Quebec, but medical companies, Mr. Speaker, going into the Province of Quebec, wanting and wishing to bid on contracts there were not allowed. While this motion is not a difficult motion to support we need to look more at expanding the type of principles that are contained in this.

For years, Mr. Speaker, people from many provinces in Canada have come to this Province to work and for many years, as well, people from the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador have gone to many other provinces to work. There is nothing wrong with that. It is part of being a country, it is part of being Canadian. The sooner, Mr. Speaker - I applaud the member in some of his statements - the sooner we move on and enter into bilateral negotiations, the sooner we do that the better off we will be. But, Mr. Speaker, we must move a little bit further in the first instance, that until such arrangements can be made, until such negotiations are complete, until an agreement is reached that the rule that Quebec applies to its own workforce than we should apply to our own workforce as well, that where people from this Province who have skills, who can work, who can take the jobs, that if there are provinces that are shutting us out from possible work opportunities and employment opportunities then they should not be allowed across the Straits to come in here and work themselves. That is what we should be doing until negotiations on this matter are complete.

Hundreds of Quebec companies operate in this Province every year, bidding on contracts and winning contracts, supplying goods and services to the people and businesses of this Province. Mr. Speaker, it has to be said, and it must be said loudly, that a reciprocal sort of relationship does not exist where it should exist, not only in the construction industry but in all sectors of our economy, whether it be in the resource industry, whether it be with business, whatever you care to wish to name, Mr. Speaker, that same sort of relationship exists.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I think that the deal is already done. The agreement is just about close. It is close to being made. In typical fashion, Mr. Speaker, what we are seeing is government getting out in front of itself, knowing a decision is being made, to try to create some sort of spin about what we have done so wonderfully for the people of the Province and to make an issue out of it. Fair enough! That is government's, I suppose, prerogative to go ahead and do what they wish, but we on this side of the House, Mr. Speaker, have no hesitation whatsoever in moving this motion.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I would like to move that we vote on this particular resolution right now.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Unless there are other members who wish to speak, the Chair is ready to put the motion.

The hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains.

MR. ANDERSEN: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to the motion put forward. With regard to remarks made by my colleague across the way, I hope that there is a deal that is going to be made pretty soon.

Mr. Speaker, for many years we have seen a lot of companies travel into Labrador, bringing in their own personnel, their own equipment and their own labour force. Many times we have spoken out against it, all to no avail.

For example, up in my riding and elsewhere in Labrador, there have been several companies from Quebec who have brought in brush cutters, and when companies from Labrador have contacted these companies they have given us the run-around. So, Mr. Speaker, I fully support the motion put forward.

I can understand the concern of the people in Labrador West, because they border very closely with Quebec. The minerals that border on our side of this Province and on the other side of Quebec, no doubt during the years will come to a great debate. Unless we have an understanding between the two provinces for the workforce, I feel that this Province will lose out on a lot of jobs.

Mr. Speaker, I am not going to prolong the debate much longer. I fully support the motion, and I look forward to the time when the agreement will be signed, when the people in this Province will be given an equal opportunity to work side-by-side with their counterparts from the Province of Quebec. The sooner we sign some form of agreement, Mr. Speaker - I anxiously await that time. I support the motion fully.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER (Barrett): Is the House ready for the question?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye!

MR. SPEAKER: Against, `nay'.

Carried.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: It has been moved and seconded that the House do now adjourn.

MR. FUREY: Yes, Mr. Speaker. We are adjourning until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow by unanimous agreement?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, that is correct.

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