May 16, 1997              HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS               Vol. XLIII  No. 27


The House met at 9:00 a.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): Order, please!

 

Statements by Ministers

 

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

MS KELLY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today to inform my hon. colleagues of a new community-based competition called Tidy Towns. This initiative encourages cities and communities throughout the Province to compete for the distinction of being named the best Tidy Town in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Through the spirit of healthy competition, this program is intended to motivate residents to preserve their built heritage, take pride in their community, and clean up streets, parks, open spaces, buildings, homes and gardens. This is a province-wide effort intended to improve upon the Province's overall aesthetic appeal for the benefit of all residents and the tens of thousands of additional tourists who will be coming to the Province in 1997 for our Cabot 500th Anniversary Celebrations. Modeled from the Tidy Towns program in Ireland, this new initiative is intended to evolve into an annual competition.

This program is a joint initiative of the Newfoundland and Labrador Women's Institute and the Newfoundland and Labrador Parks and Recreation Association, with support provided by the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. As well, a corporate sponsorship agreement with a leading Atlantic Canadian business is currently being negotiated and will soon be announced. Tidy Towns builds on the recent success of the national program entitled Communities in Bloom.

This competition will place the greatest emphasis on originality, maximizing your area's natural assets, and the community effort, rather than on spending scarce community funds. I am confident that this type of program will work to maximize our tourism potential in 1997 and beyond.

I call on all members of the House of Assembly to encourage their communities within their districts to participate in this great program. Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. OSBORNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Finally, great news from the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. I have to commend the minister on this initiative for Tidy Towns.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. OSBORNE: Mr. Speaker, we have positive news from the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. I think that this is a good initiative, especially during the Cabot 500 year, and I think that it will create healthy competition through many municipalities throughout the Province. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi, does he have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I think it is a tidy announcement from the minister to tidy up the end of the session and tidy up her department and I hope it tides up the towns in Newfoundland.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, since becoming Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, I have reviewed departmental plans to undertake a pilot project to privatize highway maintenance and snow-clearing operations on the Avalon Peninsula next winter. As a result, I am pleased to announce today that the department, in conjunction with the Newfoundland Association of Public Employees, will take a new direction with respect to this matter.

Mr. Speaker, earlier this week, I met with Mr. David Curtis of NAPE and explored with him the main thrust of the pilot project. Following that meeting, I submitted a new proposal to NAPE which offered to cease any further work on privatizing our highways operations in favour of an alternate pilot project. This alternate project will see a joint management-employee committee work together to identify a reasonable degree of substantive savings in the form of productivity and service improvements in our operations. Our position has always been to provide our highway maintenance services in the most cost-effective manner possible, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Curtis has confirmed that this is NAPE's position as well.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that Mr. Curtis has accepted this alternate pilot proposal and the department is looking forward to working with NAPE to provide this service in the most effective and efficient way possible.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am glad the minister is in the (inaudible) and listened to the advice I gave him in Question Period on Wednesday, and as I said last night in the House, I can expect his statement today to announce that privatization is off; I did not have the full contents of the statement I say to the minister and if you had done the research and background on it and followed the example in BC, you would never have announced privatization in the beginning and the reason it is coming now, is because Rex statements in Ferryland were lambasted in -

AN HON. MEMBER: Lambasted.

MR. SULLIVAN: - lambasted, no, he was blasted,

He was verbally assaulted that he would not get a vote in the district, he came back and he told people he would go back and talk to the people in Cabinet and get something done about it. I can tell you they are desperate attempts.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. J. BYRNE: Came crying on the Premiers shoulder.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

AN HON. MEMBER: Boys you fellows don't have a leak over there, (inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. members time is up.

The hon. the Member for Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi, does he have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I know this whole issue arose when the former minister told the employees about the program review initiative and the requirements of it. So, I am delighted to hear that the disastrous directive from Decker has been derailed and dumped by the new minister and that -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HARRIS: - and that the public sector workers in Works, Services and Transportation do not have to worry about what is going to happen now.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. members time is up.

MR. HARRIS: 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 Premier.

I ask the Premier, does he have any news yet for the people in Central Newfoundland and other regions of the Province that are out lobbying for a copper smelter in the Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: No, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Well, the Premier is well behind the times, the co-discoverer of Voisey's Bay is out calling for it, Opposition is calling for it, the towns in the Province are lobbying for it, and the Premier and Inco are the only ones not out now looking for a copper smelter in this Province.

I would like to ask the Premier a question: Does he have a deal on royalties, or do we expect to see legislation here so we can stop that ten-year tax give-away? When can we expect that?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SULLIVAN: Could the Premier inform the House of the status of negotiations, and what percentage he is negotiating for?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, we are not going to negotiate; we are going to tell Inco what share we are going to take, and it is going to be a rather large share for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER TOBIN: We are not going to take the advice of the Leader of the Opposition who, if he had half a chance, would sit down and negotiate away the benefit for the Province. We are going to insist upon a full and fair share, and we will bring legislation to this House, and we will use our majority to pass the legislation for a full share.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

They took our advice on the air ambulance, we just heard, in the midst of an election. They took our advice on the privatization of highways. They took our advice... I ask, Why are you not going to take our advice on this one? You probably will before it is over, I say to the Premier.

A couple of weeks ago, the Premier said in this House: `We do not have an energy plan because you do not want to limit your choices.' I ask the Premier: Whose choices are you limiting by not having a plan, by not having royalty legislation, and by not letting us get a return on our resources?

I ask the Premier: When you were talking about not limiting choices, were you talking about not limiting your choices or were you talking about not limiting the choices of Inco?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that the Leader of the Opposition has done the same kind of preparation for Question Period today as he did in finding a candidate for the Conservative Party in the district of Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

PREMIER TOBIN: Can you imagine, he must have gotten on the Internet and said, `Candidate required'.

The Leader of the Opposition came to the conclusion that at least one PC was going back to Ottawa after the next election, and that is the one who came from Ottawa by way of the Internet to be the candidate in the District of Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER TOBIN: Imagine, Mr. Speaker, nothing but recycled candidates: Charlie Power, Norm Doyle - what is the other fellow's name - Bill Matthews, and now a recycled defeated candidate from Ottawa down here in Labrador saying, `I am here because too many jobs are going to outsiders.' Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition - not to go outside to find candidates!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is a lot better recycling candidates than sending them out and getting recycled ones back here, I say to the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: I say to the Premier, an SOS went out some time a year ago, went out to the Grand Banks. I say to him: after you have achieved your 200 megawatts from damming rivers on the Island, annihilating tourism, ruining salmon rivers, ignoring environmental concerns, I mean, what choices do we have for energy then? Now, is it not true that entering into long-term contracts with small private producers is going to eliminate or seriously diminish the possibility of developing the Lower Churchill?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, with the greatest of respect to the Leader of the Opposition, the only thing that is true is that the Leader of the Opposition does not have a clue what he is talking about here today.

There is a process in place to determine the way in which to proceed with respect to the provision of power for industrial sites like that envisaged at Argentia. It is an appropriate process. There has been a call by Hydro. Proposals are coming forward. Those will be assessed. As for the actual source of power itself, VBN, Voisey's Bay Nickel has not even made a decision yet on which source of power they are going to look for, nor have all of the proposals by Hydro been assessed. I ask the Leader of the Opposition: Why would you want to be up saying to the people of Argentia today that the project is at risk; saying to the people in Placentia, who are making investments today for the future, that they should stop making investments; say to the people who are developing industrial sites in Argentia that they should stop development? Why is he saying to the people who put their heart and their soul and their hope into the development of this smelter site that all of that should come crashing down because the Leader of the Opposition is predicting Armageddon for the Province because we are going to have 3,000 or 4,000 industrial jobs paying high industrial wage? Why is the Leader of the Opposition so opposed to development? Why is he so looking forward to failure? Why can he not recognize there is a bit of sunshine today in this spring weather in Newfoundland and Labrador and quit frightening the life out of the people of the Placentia area?

Let me tell him something, Mr. Speaker: the people of Placentia know they have somebody who understands this project -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER TOBIN: - somebody who authored this project, in Rex Gibbons as their next MP, and thank God, they do not have to listen to the bleatings of the Leader of the Opposition on this important subject!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I can see that the highly-paid consultant they brought in in January to tell them they have to move their arms more - the Cabinet ministers - `you have to get out there more'; how to manufacture news you brought down at public expense. I can see it is starting to work.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: I say to the Premier: We want to see security there for the thousands of jobs that can be developed in the future by having a wise energy plan in the Province.

I ask the Premier: When we had a smelting refinery here that the Premier boasts about, a transshipment facility, when we were close to having the 500 megawatts of power that would have made the Lower Churchill domestically viable, why did you jeopardize that in the long term by running minimal energy projects around the Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I am hoping for two things: one, that the federal election will be over soon so that we may soon get again some sensible questions from other members on the other side, and two, that a single megawatt of enlightenment will visit itself upon the Leader of the Opposition.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I ask the Premier: Why did he eliminate Labrador's choices and diminish its possibility of developing by choosing not to develop one of the large energy projects in Labrador? Reliable and cheap energy is one of the greatest assets to establishing business anywhere in the world. I ask him: Why have you minimized Labrador's opportunities and potential energy development for the entire Province? Because once these rivers are developed here, Premier, where do we look then? The energy is gone. So why are you jeopardizing long-term development for some shortsighted decisions by this government?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, we are not jeopardizing Labrador's potential, and number two, there are far more than 400 megawatts of power to be developed in Labrador, not the 400 megawatts the Leader of the Opposition has talked about. He is wrong, and I would invite him to come have a briefing on the subject before he starts to ask questions about it. Number three, we are very much focused on the positive development of Labrador. That is why we have been able to attract actual Labradorians, real, living, breathing Labradorians, to be members of this party, because they want to have some say in the policy development of Labrador!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER TOBIN: Now, we know the Leader of the Opposition spent a few days last week travelling with General Paten up in Labrador and we know he got his marching orders to come back here and lead the assault for Labrador from the great mind-set that dreamed up the cause of Labrador on the banks of the Napean River. That being said, Mr. Speaker, I have members like Wally Andersen, born, bred and raised in the roughest of Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER TOBIN: I have members like Perry Canning, Ernie McLean, the great minister, great big Ernie. These fellows actually spent a full season, any one of four, living in Labrador and, Mr. Speaker, they tell me, we are on the right track. So I say to the Leader of the Opposition and General Paten, your misery will be over on June 2nd, and you will all be able to go home.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Premier does not listen very well, the Premier does not listen well at all. I said 500 megawatts would make it domestically viable. I know there are 3,100 megawatts and I will debate the Premier on this issue any day, or any issue he wants to publicly debate with me. I extend that invitation. He has always denied it.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SULLIVAN: I can tell him this, Mike Paten will be going back to Ottawa after the election - that is more than I can say for Roger Simmons and some others, I can assure you.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member is on a supplementary.

MR. SULLIVAN: I ask the Premier: When we have a Hydro corporation, that is run competently, I might add, why did we not follow the recommendations of Hydro themselves, year after year, and pursue the development of the Lower Churchill? I ask the Premier: Is it your plan to jeopardize that and to give away the copper to Quebec, also?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, we do not intend to jeopardize anything, we intend to, in an intelligent way, through proper analysis, through proper development of policy proposals to see that we maximize all of the natural resource benefits of Newfoundland and Labrador. And I say again to the Leader of the Opposition, if he has some proposals which are thoughtful and well considered to put forward, we would be glad to consider them, but I say to him, a flying visit with a neophyte from the Napean during a couple of days in Labrador is not the basis of sound policy development for the people of Labrador.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I ask the Premier: Why, in the best interest of long-term development in this Province, do you not follow the plans of Hydro in their long-term energy plan? We have tabled an energy policy consultation paper that sets out the long-term energy plan and the framework. I ask: Why does this Province not prepare for the future? Why do you not follow your own Hydro Corporation's plan for energy in the Province? Why is the Province void of an energy plan? I ask the Premier, and why do you not follow Hydro's recommendations? You are jeopardizing our future and future jobs. I ask the Premier: Will you do it now and proceed with a plan?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, if I could make head or tail of what the Leader of the Opposition is suggesting, I would probably consider it. I would ask him to put his proposals in writing and we will consider them. Frankly, I have to say to him with the greatest of respect, I know there is an election on, it will be over in a couple of weeks, then we can go back to some reasoned questions about issues that are important to the Province, here in the Province. But the Leader of the Opposition trying to have a debate, mixing up the presence of a smelter refinery complex at Argentia, the power requirements of that complex, with the power requirements of an ovoid mine site, plus an underground mine site with the long-term power requirements of VBN in Labrador with the possibilities, for example, of a silica smelter development in Labrador West, mixing that up with the possibility of export power, with the negotiations now going on between Hydro Quebec and Hydro Newfoundland, mixing all those things up and demanding an instant answer because General Paten needs help in Labrador, is not responsible policy-making and I will not pretend to respond to it in a serious manner.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It disturbs me that the Premier does not understand the importance of having an energy plan for our Province. In light of that, I want to ask the Premier, will he do the honourable thing and appoint a minister to represent energy in this Province in mines, who will be competent and interested enough to look at a plan for this Province? Will he do that now and have a very important portfolio in this Province, at a very important time in our history, represented by somebody who is going to devote full time to it and who can do the job?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

In view of the fact of the large industrial development, some of which the Premier talked about this morning, and the emerging of an exciting offshore and gas industry, I would like to ask the Minister of Education, with respect to identifying training opportunities and employment opportunities, has his department, over the last couple of weeks - I asked this question one time before - has the department begun identifying -

MR. FUREY: You have already asked the question.

MR. E. BYRNE: I did not get an answer last week, I say to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, and I am going to keep asking the question until I get an answer.

Is the department going to begin to develop a registry, so we can understand and fully know where we have qualified people, where they can go to work, where we do not, that we begin training for those positions and take advantage of the employment opportunities that will emerge as a result of the industrial activity in this Province?

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

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, I hope I heard the question correctly. I think it was: Are we going to begin to do it? The answer is no. The work has been ongoing for some time, Mr. Speaker, and I thought I tried to give that answer a couple of weeks ago. As a matter of fact, the seeds for the work that is very important - and I do appreciate, Mr. Speaker, that the hon. member is quite serious in his question and has always been in terms of his, continuous, repeated concern that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians be given the first opportunity for jobs in Newfoundland and Labrador, a concern shared by everybody in this Legislature, as I understand it, Mr. Speaker, and he should give some credit to predecessors of his who sat in the government benches for the Conservative Party.

I know it is almost ten years ago now and people have almost forgotten about it, it is that long ago. But in fact, over ten years ago, when their Party was the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Education and Training Minister of the day started the process, Mr. Speaker, because there had been so much hope about the future of offshore oil and gas and jobs related to that. There was a full training program that went on for ten years. I thought, Mr. Speaker, I had answered in the House a week or so ago when the same question was answered, that there are fully subscribed programs today in the campuses of the provincial college, the College of the North Atlantic, in the Marine Institute, and also students who are taking courses at Memorial University because they have been given directions, Mr. Speaker, as to the types of job opportunities that are likely to be available in the offshore. because the onshore construction phase for Hibernia at least has been completed and we hope to repeat some of that now for Terra Nova, Whiterose and other projects in the future.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. GRIMES: The registry, Mr. Speaker -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. minister to conclude his answer.

MR. GRIMES: The registry, in particular, is an issue that was discussed, certainly with me, a year or so ago when I took this particular portfolio, largely with the members of the unionized workers in Newfoundland and Labrador, and everybody agreed it is a good idea and there has been work progressing on a more detailed registry as well.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that the Minister of Education is either not fully aware or not fully committed to taking advantage of every employment opportunity that we can.

I would like to say to the minister that yes, there has been good work done by the Department of Education recently and even up to ten years ago, but that does not mean that we have to stop now. There are employment opportunities being lost today. There are divers who have been brought in from outside the country; there are industrial electricians who have been brought in from outside the country and outside the Province.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. E. BYRNE: I ask the minister: In view of that and in view of the fact that we do have a technically advanced workforce which could be more technically advanced, does he not see the merit in developing a registry for both union and non-union, for every Newfoundlander and Labradorian, to identify one thing: Where there are skill shortages and where we have people who do not have the background or education, that we can give it to them, and foresightful training initiatives be put in place so that we can take advantages of those opportunities? Certainly, the minister would agree that that is an ongoing process and not something that begins now and ends today.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Education.

MR. GRIMES: Yes, absolutely, Mr. Speaker, and while it is unfortunate, no matter how well we try to prepare all our workers, there will continue to be circumstances where a few of the workers in any one sector would be from outside Newfoundland and Labrador. As a matter of fact, with that kind of thing, there are Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who take much more advantage of that, Mr. Speaker, by providing and filling needs in other parts of Canada and around the world. So it isn't that in any location or jurisdiction 100 per cent of the workers come from the local area.

The notion of the registry I thought I answered again in the first question. It is not that something has stopped or started. It started years ago, it is continuing as we speak, and we understand that this will be a continuing, growing, developing industry, and that everybody's concern is that the maximum opportunities be there for the advantage of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. That is why, as I said in answer to the first question, that the courses that are available are fully subscribed at the campuses in Newfoundland and Labrador. These workers are preparing themselves so that they will at least have the training and qualifications. Then if they don't get the jobs it might be because they might be lacking in a little bit of experience.

The good news is we have -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. GRIMES: - hundreds of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians -

MR. SPEAKER: Again I ask the hon. minister to conclude his answer quickly.

MR. GRIMES: Yes, Mr. Speaker. We have hundreds of already trained Newfoundlanders and Labradorians working in the offshore now, in the Gulf, in the North Sea, and so on, who would then have experience as well, so that they might very well be the workforce for the offshore operations off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, all I'm saying to the Minister of Education is that you haven't developed a registry. You can't say that one exists when one does not exist, Minister. There are people and companies in the Province that have brought workers in because the skills do not exist. I would agree with the minister, I have no problem with people coming in from outside the Province where skills don't exist, as long as they are going to teach the people in this Province those skills so that we in turn can go to other places and sell that technology.

All I'm looking for from the minister is one simple commitment: to develop a registry, to take a few people within the Department of Education to work with stakeholders in the industry, whether they be union, contractors, or non-union groups, set them at the table, and develop a registry that would identify where the skill shortages are and how we can take advantage of them. Can he commit to that today?

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

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, maybe neither of us is communicating that well with each other. I thought again I answered that that issue had been brought to my attention a year or so ago. We had meetings that involved largely representatives of the unionized workforce of the Province. They, along with officials from the Department of Education, and also other departments of government that are interested - Mines and Energy at the time, Natural Resources and others - everybody committed and agreed that it was in the best interest of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to have a registry. I don't know if it is exactly the kind of registry that the hon. member is describing.

But everybody has agreed that there should be a registry. We should know what the likely jobs and opportunities are. We should have a data bank that indicates what the skill level of Newfoundland and Labrador workers are today, and that they would then be able to make a match and a fit when there is a training need required and when there is a job opportunity available. That to my understanding is ongoing as a matter of course, and not something that was done as a one-time project or should have a start or end date.

MR. SPEAKER: 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. The initial information that the minister provided to me under the Freedom of Information request had an oversight of $20,000 on a figure on Jonathan's Pond. The minister has since provided me with updated information on Jonathan's Pond and the provincial parks overall under that same request for Freedom of Information. Is the minister now prepared to stand by that information? Can she tell us that this information is no longer misleading?

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

MS KELLY: Mr. Speaker, I would be only too pleased to answer the question. We have been communicating with the hon. member's office since he asked the question to bring some clarity, and we have been asking him where he got his information, and what his detail was. He has been very reluctant to give it to us. We have provided the information to him that yes, $20,000 was provided to the regional manager of parks in the central region, and that yes, in four different allotments - I don't remember the exact amounts; I think they were two that were a little over $5,000 each and two over $4,000 each - were provided for siding, for a generator, for repairs, to the park's cabins in Jonathan's Pond Park. The information that we have been providing is not misleading. The information in the questions that have been asked has been very misleading.

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

MR. OSBORNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The minister is the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. She should be able to tell me about the $20,000, not me tell her. She confirmed the information.

Mr. Speaker, the minister stood by the information that she provided to the people who requested tendering packages on the provincial parks that are up for privatization. She said that the information that was provided was not misleading. Does the minister still stand by that statement?

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

MS KELLY: Of course I stand by my statements.

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

MR. OSBORNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The minister stated that the reason she decided to privatize provincial parks was because they cost the provincial taxpayers last year $1.8 million. Does the minister still stand by this statement?

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

MS KELLY: Mr. Speak, this question is unbelievable. The parks did not cost us $1.8 million last year. We had forty-eight parks. The savings that will accrue every year from here on in will be $1.8 million. That was very clearly stated in all of the press releases and to the member.

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

MR. OSBORNE: Mr. Speaker, that statement alone is misleading. They did not cost the taxpayer $1.8 million but they are going to save $1.8 million. It is amazing.

Mr. Speaker, the information that the minister provided to the people who requested tendering packages, and the information that the minister provided to me under the Freedom of Information request, suggests that the parks cost the taxpayers - to operate the provincial parks last year - less than $600,000. I ask the minister: Was the information that she provided to myself and the people who requested tendering packages misleading, or was the figure of $1.8 million misleading?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MS KELLY: Mr. Speaker, the information that was provided stated very clearly that the cost savings in privatizing twenty-one parks would be $1.8 million. The information that has been provided to the various entrepreneurs who have been bidding on these parks has been very carefully given to them. We have worked very closely with any proponents or businesses that were interested in bidding on these parks on a one-for-one basis. We have done interviews with all of the short-listed proponents, and we are very pleased to date with the quality of the proponents, and we have already announced nine of the twenty-one parks that are to be privatized, and they will be open this weekend.

There are more campsites open this weekend than ever before on the May 24th long weekend.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. J. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

The minister announced the funds to assist municipalities regarding their debt load, which was a good idea and welcomed by many of the towns. Can the minister tell the House how many towns have been assisted this year, and if the program will be in place next year? Those are the funds to assist the towns.

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

MR. A. REID: Mr. Speaker, I have no idea how many communities we are going to be able to help refinance, straighten out. We have set a target of ten a month. It is a long process. We did one in the Central Newfoundland area last week, and it took us a full week - one person a full week - to do. I don't have ample staff to be able to go out and look after everyone, so what we plan to do is take the most serious ones first and work our way back down through.

All of the members of the House also realize - and I have given the hon. member the opportunity; in fact, I mentioned it to him yesterday - if you have a town in your district that you think is serious enough for us to do early, to move up on the list, just give me the name of the town and I will certainly do what I can and instruct my employees to go out and try to do that town as quickly as possible.

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

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

Mr. Minister, the Town of Flatrock has been looking for assistance with its debt load the past two to three years. They are paying $35,000 a year, as you know, and have no houses serviced. Works, Services and Transportation are negotiating with the town now to take over five kilometres of road, which they really cannot afford but they want to do. When can the Town of Flatrock expect to hear officially with respect to this program? I know you have been working on it for some time.

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

MR. A. REID: Flatrock, because of the situation where Works, Services and Transportation is trying to do a deal down there with a town to take over Works, Services and Transportation roads, and the fact that we have talked about Flatrock for a number of years now I suppose. We are moving on Flatrock almost immediately. Flatrock will probably have somebody in there in the next couple of weeks and actually start the process. In fact, Mr. Speaker, I have recommended to Works, Services and Transportation that when we do the deal for them that that be part of the overall financial package. So we take the whole thing, the whole picture and look at it. I am hoping in the next couple of weeks I will be able to tell the hon. member that we are going to do Flatrock.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis, time for one quick question.

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

Mr. Minister, the town of Logy Bay - Middle Cove - Outer Cove has decided to go ahead with a volunteer fire department. The town has requested approval to borrow $450,000 to set up the volunteer department and they have received approval, from what I gather. In a letter dated April 3, to yourself, they requested a government guarantee to get a better interest rate on the borrowing. Can the minister comment on their request?

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

MR. A. REID: No, Mr. Speaker, I cannot comment on the request. I believe the request has been made but I have not been briefed on the request to get a government guarantee. It will be very irregular if government provides a government guarantee for a fire truck. We don't do that.

MR. J. BYRNE: More than a fire truck.

MR. A. REID: - and a fire hall. We don't normally provide government guarantees for that type of a loan but I will certainly look at it. I have not had a chance to do it yet but I will certainly look at it and I will get back to the hon. member on it.

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

Before we proceed with routine business I would like to welcome to the galleries today twenty-eight Grade VII students from Mount Pearl Junior High in the district of Waterford Valley, accompanied by their teachers; Gordon Hicks, John Newell and chaperon Mrs. Edwina Baldwin.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

Notices of Motion

 

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

MR. K. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Shops Closing Act."

MR. SPEAKER: Further notices of motion, the hon. the Minister of Environment and Labour.

MR. K. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Labour Relations Act."

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

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

 

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

 

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

MR. McLEAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I wish to table answers to questions from the hon. Member for Cape St. Francis from last week.

 

Petitions

 

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is my privilege today to present 1,896 names on a petition to go along with between 15,000 and 16,000 that were presented earlier here in the House. I will read the prayer of the petition, it says;

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 bus monitor program for all school buses in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. We find that students are presently being unsupervised and they 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, I don't have to emphasize the importance, in this House, of having safe transportation of school children. I served as a teacher in the school system for over twenty years and fortunately there were no serious accidents in my area but we had the misfortune recently last year of a young boy in Paradise at Holy Family School, who suffered a tragic accident in his area. It is very important that, in particular, Mr. Speaker, that young kids, five, six, seven and eight year old kids to be going on a bus without supervision can be very, very dangerous at any time of year, not only in the wintertime but also in the summertime. I think we have a responsibility to ensure that the safe transportation of these kids should be paramount upon our minds. It is very important. You cannot reverse the clock on a tragic accident unfortunately but we can do something to ensure that it does not happen again.

We have seen commitments given by this government to reinvest dollars into education in this Province. They did it in written form to householders. When I went to Ottawa the Premier took a package to Ottawa that he said one of the reasons to amend the Terms of Union basically on education in this Province, Term 17, was to be able to reinvest money back into the educational system of our Province. We have seen this year, Mr. Speaker, $35 million taken out of education. We have seen $50 million taken out in the last two years. With the change - and the former Minister of Education told us we spending $10 million being wasted on buses in the Province. This new revamping, restructuring or reforming of the educational system is going to save millions and millions of dollars. Well all we are asking is to reinvest a portion of that money back into safe transportation for our kids. That is not too much to ask, Mr. Speaker, when almost 18,000 people around this Province put their name on a petition asking the House of Assembly here and asking this government to do the honourable thing and safeguard the rights of children that are entrusted on those buses. It is difficult for a bus driver to transport sixty or seventy kids and to look out to the safety of each and every one.

Anybody who has kids, or have had young kids, knows that when you have seven or eight around the household that alone, in itself, is a major task. But when you have seventy kids being transported, sometimes in very difficult conditions, from their home to the school and return, it is a great responsibility entrusted to individuals, and we and this department should take the steps necessary to ensure they get home safely from a day's work at school.

I know the Minister of Education has turned a deaf ear to it. He hasn't acknowledged the importance of safeguarding the rights of kids, and the Government House Leader is a member of that very Cabinet and very government that refused to recognize and live up to their commitment, to put dollars back into education and the safe transportation of people to and from school.

It is a very serious matter. It is no laughing matter. It is very serious, and I feel this government should act and do something before we have another tragic accident here in this Province.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

I rise to support the petition put forward by the Leader of the Opposition relative to the prayer of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, that the Department of Education and government institute a paid adult bus monitor program.

Mr. Speaker, we all in this House know the history of buses and accidents on buses on this Province. We know that from time to time accidents have occurred, and the prayer of the petition... It comes from all across the Province. The signatures I am holding here now are from the West Coast of the Province, from Port Saunders and the Port au Choix area, the Great Northern Peninsula, and the hundreds of people who have signed this petition represent, shall we say, a mosaic of all of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise and say to the Minister of Education that this is not an isolated concern. It is not for one region of the Province. All parents in the Province are saying: We want the Minister of Education to do more to promote school bus safety.

Unfortunately, as I said here one time before, I know what it is like. I was at Mount Pearl Central High School some years ago when a young Grade VII boy was run over by a school bus on the parking lot, so I know what tragedy can do to a school. I have been there, and I can tell you that it takes years and years for a school to be able to recover from that kind of tragic event.

Mr. Speaker, we say to the Minister of Education, when you are reinvesting funds... As we have said here in this House, the savings from education should be put back into the educational system, but the Province has not decided to do that. This government has said no to that, and they have put forward their reasons, in spite of the fact that was the whole premise upon which the reforms in education were sold to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, we want to say to the Minister of Education again today, based on the prayer of this petition and the wishes of the parents... Of course, as we say here, this is what the people want. They have a right to petition the government. So I ask the Minister of Education if he would begin to address, in a positive manner, the whole issue of school bus safety so we can look forward to a time when our school buses aren't the ones that are brought in from other provinces; because in Newfoundland and Labrador you are allowed to use the buses longer than you are in some other provinces.

We also want to direct the attention of the minister responsible for bus inspections to make sure that buses are inspected properly and frequently so that we have the whole issue of school bus safety addressed from a number of perspectives. Also keeping in mind that if we are going to close another sixty or seventy schools in the next year, by this September - if we are going to have sixty or seventy schools close - then we are going to have more bus transportation, not less bus transportation, so there are going to be more and more buses on the road. You cannot close schools without saying we have to bus more children, so I say to the hon. members opposite this is an issue that is of great importance to parents. They aren't satisfied with the initiatives of this government relative to bus safety. They want more action. Their suggestion is that the Province support a paid adult bus monitor system.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm hoping that some minister over there will care enough to be able to get up and give a response.

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

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I stand this morning to present a petition on behalf of approximately 3,000 residents of the area of Carbonear, Harbour Grace and Riverhead. These particular parents have asked that I make representation in the House of Assembly on their behalf in the presentation of this petition which deals with respect and in response to the designation of schools.

What is happening in this area is that the high school in Harbour Grace, St. Francis High School, is now being designated as a school for grades VIII and IX only in this area. It is the belief of these 3,000 petitioners that the communities of Harbour Grace and Carbonear can both have viable school systems, and therefore it is the belief of these 3,000 petitioners that Harbour Grace itself, as a school system, can be established to accommodate students from kindergarten to Level III.

Some of the points that have been raised, for example, in their presentation to their local school board indicated that their position will show the savings of tax dollars, it will avoid the enhancement and construction of schools, and it will not require the necessity of additional busing. All of these features are obviously important when we are looking at the dollar value. In addition to that, a proposal was forwarded to the Avalon West School Board, but as has often been the case, and I may say particularly with respect to this school board, the petitions seem to go on deaf ears. There is no response being given, there is no responsible response being given by this board, to not only, now, the residents of Harbour Grace, Carbonear, Riverhead area, but we see other examples in Brigus, Brownsdale, Bay de Verde, just to mention a few.

The people of this area require a response. They require an answer. They need somebody who will respond to them and show an interest in their concerns. Three thousand people is a significant number. To get 3,000 names on petitions of individuals in the Carbonear, Harbour Grace, Riverhead area who obviously are sensitive to the decisions which are being made by this school board is obviously something which this particular board, the Avalon West board, has to turn its mind and attention.

I will provide these petitions to the Clerk. I would ask that members opposite - the member for the area - ought to take seriously the representations that are being made by these people in this area. Indeed, the Minister of Education has a responsibility, I would say a legal responsibility, not to just shove off to the school boards, as he has done in the past, these appointed boards. The minister keeps saying: I will wash my hands of any decisions affecting education and the future of our children in our Province. The boards are there in place, let the boards deal with it.

That is not good enough. What happens when the board says: We will not deal with it, we will not review a decision? It is then, and it is essential, that the Minister of Education take an active role in decision making. As I've stated before in this House, we are approaching a time which is critical. These decisions are going to be permanent. They are going to be long-lasting. The educational interests of our children are going to be affected for a long time.

The minister must take an active role, and he must listen to the thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who want to be heard on educational issues. Here today we have an example of 3,000 people from the Conception Bay North area who want to be heard with respect to educational change and reform.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

I rise to support the petition put forward by the Member for St. John's East.

Mr. Speaker, in the whole process of education reform we talked about consultation, and the government of the day has committed to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador there would be lots of consultation and we admit that there has been some consultation relative to leading and up to, I guess, the new reforms brought about as a result of the changing number of school boards from twenty-seven down to ten, but the parents of Newfoundland and Labrador, on the school designations feel that there have not been adequate consultation with them, and in certain parts of the Province, parents believe that if there had been, to solve it more adequately, different decisions might have been arrived at and decisions which probably would have been to the betterment of the whole educational system.

So, Mr. Speaker, we are not surprised that the parents of the Avalon West School District would indeed be petitioning the government to hear their plea and to have a new look at the designation of Harbour Grace High School as a Junior High School and these parents believe that the best interest of their children are not being served and that the communities best interests are being served. They are talking here of Harbour Grace, Carbonear and Victoria and they are saying that they would like to see the Harbour Grace and Carbonear areas retain their respective school system which would incorporate Kindergarten to Level IV in community-based schools.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we cannot fault the people in Harbour Grace and Carbonear and Victoria who want to have their schools maintain a community focus, because many people in that area of the Province believe that the school itself is part of their whole community structure and, Mr. Speaker, we say to the government that before we finalize the closing of another sixty or seventy schools next year, we should have a process of more open dialogue, more adequate consultation and recognize that parents are a very important part of the educational system.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to present a petition signed by approximately 125 people from Memorial University. They are members of an organization called Enviromun, Mr. Speaker, which is composed of students, faculty and staff of the university who are particularly concerned about environmental issues and their petition concerns the proposed smelter for the Argentia area.

The prayer of the petition, Mr. Speaker, outlines the concerns that the residents have -

AN HON. MEMBER: Jack, could you repeat (inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Environmun.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: The concerns expressed by these members of Enviromun read as follows:

WHEREAS the impact of the various proposed power generation projects to supply energy to the proposed nickel smelter at Argentia (over thirty of which have been registered with the Department of Environment and Labour in the first three months of 1997) are being assessed separately from the impact of the actual smelter itself;

WHEREAS the time frame for the environmental impact process (215 days from registration to decision) is too short to allow for sufficient public input;

WHEREAS as the precursor of acid rain and the poorly buffered lakes of the Avalon Peninsula are already showing signs of acidification;

WHEREAS the effects of emissions from the smelter on the flora and fauna of the Avalon Peninsula have not been sufficiently investigated:

WHEREAS the Voisey's Bay Nickel Company, in its public documents, does not clearly state the anticipated composition of smelter effluent, focussing solely on sulphur dioxide;

WHEREAS Premier Tobin has publicly stated that the best available emission control technology will be used for the Argentia smelter;

WHEREAS the major population centres of the Province are downwind from the proposed smelter site:

WHEREAS issues of slag disposal remain unresolved;

WHEREAS the proposed site for the smelter is presently contaminated and the environmental impact of the requisite cleanup is yet to be determined; - I will give the minister a copy of this so he can read it while I am speaking -

WHEREAS issues of slag disposal remain unresolved;

WHEREAS the proposed site for the smelter is presently contaminated and the environmental impact of the requisite for cleanup is yet to be determined;

WHEREFORE we urge that firstly, the provincial mandate using legislation as necessary, that the proponent, Voisey's Bay Nickel Company, use the best technology available worldwide for emission control. They want the Province to mandate that;

Secondly, the Province extend the time frame for the environmental impact process to allow for sufficient public input at every stage;

Thirdly, that the proponent's environmental impact statement be required to include an assessment of the environmental impacts of generating all the power needed for the project;

and fourthly, the proponent's environmental impact statement be required to address all the specific concerns outlined above.

Mr. Speaker, this is a very distinguished group of residents, faculty members at Memorial University, students at Memorial University and technical staff at Memorial University who are concerned about environmental issues. One of the most important concerns that they have expressed is how the wording of the Environmental Terms of Reference is being put forth, Mr. Speaker. There has been a lot of talk about emission control and at one point the Inco officials were saying that the emission standards or the effluent from the project here in Newfoundland would be 1 per cent or less than 1 per cent of the emissions at the Sudbury smelter. Well, Mr. Speaker, that is not the best emission standards that are available because the most efficient smelter technology in the world also, I think, owned by Inco has emission standards that one-tenth of 1 per cent of the effluent currently at Inco. One per cent is still 10,000 tons of SO2, 10,000 tons of sulphur dioxide to be released into the atmosphere, starting at Argentia but covering everything down wind from Argentia which is a severe potential for acidification problems and a very serious impact.

Mr. Speaker, the individuals quote the Environmental Impact Terms of Reference as indicating a lesser standard than the best available technology.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HARRIS: By leave, Mr. Speaker.

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

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, the concern is that the wording used by the proponent is not the best available technology. The wording that they are now using is, `..leading edge technologies are to be used `where technically and economically feasible.' They are not talking about leading edge, they are not talking about the best available technology. It says, `...where technically and economically feasible.' The petitioners, Mr. Speaker, are very concerned that this will amount to them being used only where financially expedient for the proponent. Now I know, Mr. Speaker, that these individuals are not opposed to the smelter development. They are not opposed to it because they know it is economically necessary for the Province and the jobs are going to be very important but they are very concerned about the process.

Mr. Speaker, I will end by talking about the three main issues, the main points that these petitioners are asking the government to deal with. Number one, to hold the component to its commitment of the best possible emission control technology, the best possible standards, not some wording that is going to allow them to get out if they think it is economically expedient to do so with something less than that. Number two, to allow sufficient time for public commentary and input at every step of the process which requires a longer time frame, Mr. Speaker, then that allowed. Thirdly, to ensure that the environmental impact statement discusses all the effects direct and indirect of the project on this Province which means including those from the increased power demand, whether it is proposed by Voisey's Bay itself in their own activity at Argentia or whether through purchase of power through other processes. So these are the three main points that the petitioners are concerned about. It is a very, very serious issue, Mr. Speaker. We cannot, just because we are desirous of having these jobs, proceed without proper determination and insist, we have the right to insist, Mr. Speaker, that Inco, in the development of this smelter, use the best available technology in the world.

The Premier is on record as saying that, but the proponents are using some little phrase that say, `where economically and technically feasible'. That is what they say in their documentation. They have to be challenged on that at the highest level. Government has to mandate that the best available technology be used. The lakes and streams and waterways on the Avalon Peninsula in particular will be at risk if 10,000 tons of SO2 per year, and other effluents, are allowed to come out of that stack at Argentia. The lakes that are there now, that are already under threat, are going to be far more threatened and perhaps killed from the emissions coming from the Voisey's Bay smelter at Argentia. This has to be addressed, and it has to be addressed now.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

Mr. Speaker, I rise in my place today to support the petition presented by the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi on behalf of the people at MUN, the professors, the students, and whoever.

Mr. Speaker, this is a very important issue to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, the environment. Yes, it is very important for us to create jobs in this Province, but we should not create jobs at the cost of our environment, which is the future for Newfoundland and Labrador.

The member spoke of the best available technology and, of course, we should demand that with respect to the smelter going into Argentia. We should demand nothing less than the best available technology.

I suppose all I can do, really, at this point in time, is reiterate what the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi has said in his statements in supporting this petition; but one of the concerns I have, of course, is the rivers. It seems here that there have been thirty projects registered with the Department of Environment and Labour to support the power supply for the smelter at Argentia. Many of those projects, of course, are the damming of our rivers in Newfoundland and Labrador.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Come By Chance?

MR. J. BYRNE: What I support is the development of the Lower Churchill.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Reduce the emissions at Come By Chance. Well, you know, what I say to that is that for every project that we put on the Island with respect to the damming of the rivers, it reduces the potential to develop the Lower Churchill. That is what we should be looking at, and now we are getting into a panic to get the energy projects on the Island put in place to service the Argentia smelter.

We cannot forego any restrictions with respect to the environment. We cannot forego or try to speed up -

MR. FITZGERALD: (Inaudible) offshore oil and gas development project by the hon. Member for Kilbride. I strongly recommend it. It is much better than that old (inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Yes.

I could refer to the policy put out for the Member for Kilbride with respect to the energy on this Island, but getting back to the very important environmental issues on this Island today... Another major factor, and I don't mind saying it may have a major impact upon the Avalon Peninsula, is that the population downwind from the smelter site... Preferably, and I don't mind saying it publicly, I would have liked to see the smelter go in Labrador, but we have to deal with the situation at hand now. What we have to do is ensure that all of the available technology is put in place to handle the smog or - what is the proper word you would use from the smelter?

AN HON. MEMBER: The effluent.

MR. J. BYRNE: The effluent from the smelter.

AN HON. MEMBER: The emissions.

MR. J. BYRNE: The emissions, that is the word I am looking for. We saw what went on out there in that area with respect to Come By Chance. You drive by and you have all of the emissions coming from that site. There was pressure put on the House of Assembly to the government to get that area cleaned up. It has been cleaned up somewhat, but not nearly enough I would say.

This petition makes some very, very good points. They need to be addressed, and if this government has any sense of responsibility to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador they will certainly adhere and try to follow the recommendations put forward in this petition that has been presented here today by the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. K. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

First off, I welcome the petition from the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi and the comments also from the Opposition critic for the environment, and it is a very responsible petition put forward by people who are interested in this subject, Mr. Speaker, a subject that is very serious, one that we are taking extremely seriously with the environment assessment of the smelter refinery complex.

There is a whole range of issues that have to be taken into account for the development of this large industrial complex, probably one of the largest smelters on the planet. As part of the evaluation, a whole range of issues has been identified through the Environmental Assessment Act. Included are air emissions, and a range of issues dealing with waste at the site, that they produce. A whole range of other issues have been identified through the environmental assessment process.

The project was registered. It is going through, now, a joint federal-provincial environmental assessment process. The Federal Government's environmental assessment is also being used here, and the different departments that have concerns, including the Coast Guard and others about different impacts, Environment Canada, wildlife, the different departments, also have their concerns listed and being addressed.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: I am not going to quote the hon. member because I do not want to get him in trouble.

The thing is, we are doing a very intensified environmental assessment process for this project. It will be one of the most detailed environmental assessments that has ever been done, anywhere. I remind members opposite, who are always getting up and saying, the environment is always secondary in this Province - I have to remind some people: Long Harbour was left to this government to clean it up and to put the process in place. ERCO was there for a number of years and we had an environmental nightmare on our hands out at that site. We took five years to do the assessment of what the problems were, then we put in place a clean-up effort and we have the funds set aside from the company; and that is because this government decided we were going to ensure that that site was cleaned up.

It was left because there was no Environmental Assessment Act thirty years ago or twenty-five years ago. If there had been, we would not have what we had out there that we are still trying to live with and clean up and make a proper site.

There are a number of other sites around the Province with which we have been doing the same thing. They are left, they became orphan sites and we have had to go out and find public money in other places to try to clean them up.

Mr. Speaker, the Environmental Assessment Act, even through it gets beaten up lately by some people out there, this Act allows for public input all along the way.

When a project is registered, the document is public, it gives a description of a project, whatever it will be, and that project is then described and the proponent will tell you what they propose to do, the environmental implication and how they propose to deal with it. The Department of Environment and Labour looks at that project and then we send it out to all the different government agencies and also the public. Our government agencies that are responsible for different aspects, be it DFO federally, be it wildlife provincially, be it anybody else, our own environment officials, water resources, all of those officials get a chance to look at that document and to give their commentary, along with the public. Anybody in the public can give their commentary and when they do, the government then has to decide on what we will do for further assessment.

In this case, this project is complex and it is large, and a very much intensive environmental assessment is being carried out and it will be carried out and deal with the issues that we are talking about here, that they have identified.

The power supply for the smelter has to be decided; it has not been decided yet. A number of proposals have been put forward by proponents out there, Mr. Speaker. Each one of them has to go through the Environmental Assessment Act.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: I am getting to that, just give me a chance now. There are a few issues here, but I will get to that.

So, Mr. Speaker, all of the different power proposals, despite what some people say, are all going to go through the environmental assessment processes. So, when some people say: that is not being given the proper due course - well, it is. Every proposal has to go through an Environmental Assessment Act, it has to clear the Act, it has to clear the process. And all of our proposals - every proposal that has come in is given due consideration. That is occurring now, and the power source that is decided on, if that power source is decided on the Avalon Peninsula, then the impacts for that, along with what is going to be constructed at Argentia, have to be taken into account.

As part of the environmental assessment of the smelter and mine, one of the considerations that is being evaluated is the air quality component for the Avalon, with the Come by Chance refinery -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. K. AYLWARD: By leave, Mr. Speaker?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. K. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, I am sorry to be like the Minister of Education in giving my answers, but this requires a bit of detail. We are going through the environmental assessment process on power proposals.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: I am answering a question, Mr. Speaker. I have a serious petition on my hands here and I am trying to deal with it. I am not very good at thinking on my feet, so stop that, please.

Anyway, as I was saying so eloquently, where the air quality component is under evaluation through environmental assessment, the impacts of the smelter and the SO2 emissions will be taken into account. The power source, if it is built on the Avalon, if that is what is agreed to, will have to be taken into account. We will be looking at that issue, and that is being looked at in the environmental assessment. There are at least 250 days, which is ten or twelve months, of a process for evaluation, and it could be more for the evaluation. It depends on what issues arise throughout.

The other point that was raised here in this petition is the fact that at Argentia there is already an environmental clean-up under way. There is a specific $17 point-odd million expected to be spent now, this year, on the clean-up at that site. We are going to be visiting the site in the next couple of weeks to have a look and see exactly what progress is being made and to have a detailed briefing further on those issues. We are also going to be visiting Sudbury, to look at the smelter in that area and to get an idea again about the impact. We have had our officials up there already, but we are also going to have a look ourselves.

The point here is that every concern that has been put forward by the public is going to be addressed as best it can be. The best available technology is going to be required for that facility, because it is a multi-hundred-million dollar facility, and we want to have the best environmental technology, and I will be speaking to the company about that when we get further into the environmental assessment process.

The other point is this: The power sources that we are seeking as a province, all of those sources of power have to go through an intensive environmental assessment if it is due and if the problems identified need to be evaluated. The Environmental Assessment Act is working quite well, and it is quite to the contrary of what some people say out there, that the environment does not get taken into account. As a matter of fact, these days, that is the biggest issue for a company when they are going to do anything anywhere in Canada. Our environmental law in Canada is as strong as anywhere else on the planet. The first consideration now for companies when they are going to look to do anything is how much they are going to have to spend on environmental protection, and that is a good thing; it is about time, and it is good to see.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

 

Orders of the Day

 

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I move that we proceed to Committee of the Whole to consider certain bills, starting with Order No. 2.

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

 

Committee of the Whole

 

CHAIR (Mr. P. Barrett): Order, please!

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board has agreed to steer his bills through. He is unavoidably absent. The first is Order No. 2, "An Act To Amend The Judgement Enforcement Act," Bill 8.

CHAIR: Bill 8.

On motion, clause 1, carried.

CHAIR: Clause 2.

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

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Clause 2 in Bill 8, states that the the share for an employee or agent of the sheriff is not personally liable for an error or omission in respect of the discharge or purported discharge of a duty or function under this Act.

During second reading, Mr. Chairman, this clause was debated to some limited extent and I understood from the minister at that time that there would be some attempt made to clarify what was meant by purported discharge of a duty or function under the Act.

I have not had a response from the minister as to his explanation or clarification on that. All I will say, Mr. Chairman, is that the reason I express some concern on this issue is that one has to question what is meant by `purported discharge'. It is certainly acceptable that there not be personal liability with respect to the sheriff or an employee or agent of the sheriff's office when he is carrying out his responsibility in acting in the capacity as sheriff. However, when we see wording like, `purported discharge of duty', one has to question exactly what is the interpretation of purported discharge. When does one draw the line between the actual carrying out of ones responsibilities compared to the purported discharge? Does that mean the alleged discharge of responsibility, an assumed discharge of responsibility? I believe maybe the Minister of Finance is going to respond to this, and that was essentially the nature of the question that was raised the other day.

CHAIR: The hon. the Minister of Finance.

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

In response to the hon. member's questions, I guess one might say, a number of comments, one is that legislative people who draft these things tend to draw them as widely and as liberally as they can in order not to miss any particular matters that might not satisfy the strict definitions of conducts in this case or lack of conduct that you are trying to, in this case, ensure against.

It appears to me, and as I interpret it, of course, we as legislators pass laws and judge (inaudible) interpretive. But, as I understand it, this gives a protection to the sheriff and the sheriff's officials for a number of things; one is errors or omissions. So, one is acts, as the hon. member knows, and the others are failures to act in respect of the discharge. So you might very well act in carrying out your duty, or you might omit to act in carrying out your duty. The other, I guess, to come to the point, or the purported discharge of a duty or a function. I read that to mean where the sheriff or his/her officials assume that they are carrying out a function that they are entitled to carry out in the discharge of their duty, and later it turns out that this was not one of their duties. So the purported discharge seems to me to speak to the mistake on the sheriff's part or his/her officials of an action that should properly be within the scope of duties entrusted to them.

Now, we do have one of our legislative draftspeople here who can perhaps shed a little more clarification on it, but that is my interpretation of it. It appears to me to be one of these insurance-type of legislative wordings that are thrown in to make sure we do not miss any particular action or omission that should be covered in carrying out the general intention.

If I can just say, the intention, and I think what the section speaks to, is that the sheriff or his/her officials will not personally be liable, and that speaks of good faith. If it were done maliciously, of course, they would be liable, but if an official of the sheriff's office honestly believes that he/she are carrying out their duties, even though they may be under an honest mistake, that they are not personally liable for it. Of course, the government, on the other hand, may be liable and that is more to the issue of public protection. But in terms of the person, him/herself, if they honestly make an error - and I had it happen when I was Minister of Justice - I do not think they should be personally liable.

The sheriff at that time went ahead and sold something and did not realize that he should have gone through the Public Tender Act. I suppose he might have had that authority, but in my view he probably should have. The question was raised here in the House and I basically said, well, yes, I agree the sheriff made a mistake and what are you going to do about it? Well, nothing could be done because it had been already sold in a way that bound the government. There was not any evidence of malice or dishonesty, so the sheriff, like other people and other public officials and as we do ourselves from time to time, made an honest mistake, and I think in that case he should not have been personally liable. That is the intent and thrust of the section.

The wording as to how these things get before the House sometimes causes us concern, but I do not see that there is any danger of misunderstanding the intent of the section. As I said, I think it speaks to an honest mistake in how one might discharge a duty as well.

On motion, clauses 2 through 24, carried.

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

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, Order No. 3, "An Act To Amend The City Of St. John's Act And The St. John's Municipal Elections Act".

Are there any amendments to be proposed to this? If there are not, I will just call it; Order No. 3.

CHAIR: Order No. 3, "An Act To Amend The City Of St. John's Act And The St. John's Municipal Elections Act".

CLERK: Clause 1.

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

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

I have just a few comments on clause 1. This Act basically now is going to require that a deputy mayor be elected separately in the City of St. John's. That was not the case in the past - the deputy mayor was elected from within the council itself.

I remember bringing this up before the amendments to the City of St. John's Act went through last fall and I requested, because there were a number of people in the area who wanted a separate election for Mayor, that this be done last fall; but the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs gave me his word that he would bring it in at this spring sitting of the House and, true to his word, he has done that.

I think this is a good move that is going to benefit not only the council itself but the people of the city, who will have a direct say in electing the Deputy Mayor of the City of St. John's.

That is basically all I have to say on that clause, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: Shall clauses 1 through 14 carry?

MR. J. BYRNE: No.

Are we doing this clause-by-clause, or the whole lot?

CHAIR: Okay. Shall clause 2 carry?

On motion, clauses 1 through 3, carried.

CHAIR: Shall clause 4 carry?

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: Clause 4, the hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

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

Clause 4 of the bill would amend the Act to allow councillors to elect from within the council either a voted mayor and/or deputy mayor in the event that no one was nominated to run for that position. So basically this bill now says, if the council had a slate of candidates run and there was no one nominated for mayor and deputy mayor, then the council themselves could elect a deputy mayor and/or council from within.

Again, that is just housekeeping, I suppose, for the City of St. John's. We certainly have no problem with that and we support that also, Mr. Chairman.

On motion, clauses 4 through 5, carried.

CHAIR: Shall clause 6 carry?

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: Clause 6, the hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

MR. J. BYRNE: With respect to Clause 6, Mr. Chairman, again this clause would - basically, if there were a vacancy of the mayor or deputy mayor within two years of the election, then there would be a new election to elect a mayor and/or deputy mayor, depending on which or both resigned or for whatever reason decided to leave that position, but after two years had gone by - less than two years prior to a new election - the council themselves could let the position of mayor and/or deputy be filled from within the council itself. Again, that is really common sense and housekeeping so we have no problem supporting that also.

On motion, clauses 6 through 14, 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 think there is some discussion going on with regard to an amendment to the small claims Act with the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board. I will move to "An Act Respecting The Good Faith Donation And Distribution Of Food," Order No. 6.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TULK: I will leave it until he is finished, because he is the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board as well. "An Act Respecting The Good Faith Donation And Distribution Of Food."

CHAIR: Bill 12.

On motion, clauses 1 through 3, carried.

A bill, "An Act Respecting The Good Faith Donation And Distribution Of Food." (Bill No. 12)

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

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Order No. 4.

CHAIR: Order No. 4, "An Act To Amend The Small Claims Act," Bill 1.

On motion, clauses 1 through 5, carried.

CHAIR: Clause 6. There is some amendment.

The hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

MR. DICKS: Yes, Mr. Chairman. We propose an amendment to clause 6 of the bill by striking out in the proposed subsection 10(2) the words, and I quote, "non-compliance hearing, or by contempt. I so move that amendment, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: Shall the amendment carry?

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have not had a chance to read the two amendments being proposed, but I do not see the words "or by contempt" in the proposed clause 10(2) of Bill 1. The proposed subclause to subsection 10(2) reads: "(2) Judgements and orders of a judge may be enforced by orders for payment, including payment schedules, and by payment hearings and non-compliance hearings, in accordance with the rules." The amendment proposes striking out the words "non-compliance hearing, or by contempt." The words "or by contempt" do not appear in the proposed subsection 10(2) of the Act.

CHAIR: The hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

MR. DICKS: As I said earlier, Mr. Chairman, our legislative draftspeople go to great lengths to ensure that they cover everything, in some cases striking out words that are not even -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: There seems to be a difficulty with the wording of the proposed amendment that is now before you. It refers to striking out from the proposed section 10(2) the words "non-compliance hearing, or by contempt," and the proposed 10(2) does not contain the words "or by contempt."

So there appears to be some drafting issue that needs to be addressed a little further before we proceed with this amendment. Perhaps, if we could stand this bill down for a few minutes and allow people to read the proposed amendments and see how they interact with the existing bill that is now before the Committee. I think that the Legislative Council -

MR. TULK: Sit down until I say yes.

MR. HARRIS: I understand that the Government House Leader is going to do that and -

MR. TULK: Do not take so long.

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, what we would like to do here is leave this in advance for a while and come back to it, so we stand down for a moment. We will move to another order by consent. Lets move to another order and come back to the whole bill.

Order No. 5, "An Act To Amend the Tax Agreement Act" (Bill No. 3).

CHAIR: Shall Clause one carry?

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Yesterday, I did raise a concern with reference to Bill No.3. The concern I had was that regulations made under this subsection maybe dealt with retroactive effect and I felt that that applied to the whole section and referred to all of subsection (1). There are five parts to that (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e) and the intent of this bill or the principle was that it would provide for the retroactively for the rebate to people of Labrador.

So, I had an amendment prepared, with the finance minister I discussed and showed him a copy and I will pass this copy to the Clerk, it is pretty straightforward, I will read it into the record. It says that: I move the following amendment as seconded by my colleague for Cape St. Francis that Bill No. 3, "An Act To Amend The Tax Agreement Act" which is now before the House of Assembly, be amended by deleting the words and number, regulations made under subsection (1) and substituting therefore the words and number, regulation made under subsection (1) regarding the issuance of rebates for building materials in Labrador and that would then enable the flexibility within the act that if there is a part of another section that might impact on that it would narrow it down and effectible be able to function and do that.

MR. DICKS: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Regarding regulations made under subsection (1), regarding the issuance of rebates for building materials in Labrador.

MR. DICKS: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I know the Minister of Finance wants to have a comment, so the intent as I said, is that the principle and the intent of this is to allow for the rebates to kick in because of the change of course from our RST and the GST into a one harmonized tax and to be able to apply the provisions of the act and there were two sections. I do not have the act in front of me, but section (b) dealt with I think the RST and section (c) dealt with the Excise Tax Act and I felt that this would not limit sections (a) and (d) or (e) if there were some other provisions that might impinge on this here that might affect it. Maybe the minister will want to comment on that.

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

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

It comes down to a matter of drafting, the hon. member had some concerns. Our intent in this is to ensure that we are able to cover a situation now where there is no provision for rebate on building materials in Labrador. We want to make it effective as of April 1, but the problem would be that, the regulations, unless they are expressly permitted to retroactive could only be prospective and therefore people who bought building materials in the last several months or until the regulations are enacted would not be able to claim the rebate and I do not think that was, certainly was not our intention and I am sure the hon. members do not wish to deprive the residents of Labrador that.

So, I do not have any problem with he hon. members intention, the only think is, I know he has an amendment, but I would like to have a sub-amendment because all we need to do to make it clear, I have two issues. One is that, I think what we need to do is to amend the proposed new subsection (2), so after the word subsection (1), we would have, regarding the rebates for building materials in Labrador and what I have done is two things, one is I think you deleted words that need not be defected, all we need to do is add those words and I think you had said regarding the issuance of rebates, we may need it to be a little broader because we would have to define what materials might be eligible and so on. So, if we had a little broader -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DICKS: Yes, because if we make regulations regarding the rebates that covers everything including the issuance, what is eligible and what is not eligible and so on.

So, I agree with your amendment, but let's not confine it to the issuance solely and what I would suggest we could do if you do not mind a sub-amendment and I am sure my hon. colleague the Minister of Education would second this, he is following the debate closely as always, we could just add after subsection (1), regarding the rebates for building materials in Labrador and if you are satisfied with that I would certainly consent to the amendment as proposed. Agreed?

AN HON. MEMBER: Absolutely.

CHAIR: Before the Chair puts the motion - I want to clarify something.

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, I was wondering if we could get together with the draftsman so that we could - I could hold this bill in advance somewhat. We could get together with the draftsman because I seem to recall that had this kind of thing last spring and there was a word stuck in whereby we had to come back and change some legislation again, but maybe we can get together with the draftsman in the next little while. I think we have come to an agreement and it is just a matter of putting in the correct technical words. Could we do that and leave this in abeyance until that time?

CHAIR: Yes. The Chair was going to say that we would not consider the amendment until it was typed so that we could have a look at it.

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Chairman, I do have a typed amendment and the only deletion from this amendment and I can certainly pass this on where I have moved it and there might be a sub-amendment which you may want to delete. I spoke to the minister previously and I think there is a general agreement of the intent of what I am trying to put through and I think it is an acknowledgement on the minister's part. So I would leave that and he might want to work from that particular draft by deleting three words. I think we would get the answer because, one of the concerns I have is that, with the retroactivity, applying it to the whole section and I guess, no more than the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board's idle stated in the House here before retroactivity and the former Premier said: I really think that any Legislature should avoid retroactivity like the plague; and I have a concern with making it retroactive to the whole section, just enough retroactivity to allow Labradorians to get their rebate without a problem and that is the intent of it. Okay? So -

AN HON. MEMBER: No problem.

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Could we leave it in abeyance until we get the correct -I think we have two bills now, and move on, Mr. Chairman, to Order No. 7.

CHAIR: "An Act To Amend The Residential Tenancies Act", (Bill No. 15).

On motion, clauses 1 and 2, carried without amendment.

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

MR. J. BYRNE: I was just wondering if you referred to clauses 4 and 5?

CHAIR: Okay, we are on the title so you can -

MR. J. BYRNE: Pardon?

CHAIR: We are on the title so -

MR. J. BYRNE: Well I was up when you said that, through 18.

CHAIR: Well, we revert to clauses 3 and 4. I did not see him.

MR. J. BYRNE: Anyway, just a couple of quick points that's all.

With respect to section 4. (1), it says: Section 11 of the Act is amended by deleting the words "the court" and "a judge" wherever they appear and replacing them with the words "the director".

Well on second reading, Mr. Chairman, I spoke to this and I do have concerns about that because I think that the situation may occur, although the intent of the Act is to speed up the conflicts or complaints that people may have, but I think in actual fact it could actually prolong that because if a person has been complaining and he takes it to court and he has a decision, it is likely that he may accept the decision, but if in fact it goes to the director who is a political appointee, who could be biased for whatever reason, Mr. Chairman, then in actual fact he may end up having to go through that process and then going through the court process anyway. So what the minister is trying to do here to maybe speed up the process, could, in actual fact defeat the very purpose.

With respect to Section 5, it is amended by deleting the words "Trial Division" and the word "court" wherever they appear and replacing them with the word "director", and the same argument applies, Mr. Chairman, that I have concerns with that and I just want to make it known and reiterate what I had said at second reading. That is about it, Mr. Chairman.

On motion, clauses 5 through 18, carried.

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

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, Order No. 8, "An Act To Amend The Collections Act", (Bill No. 16).

On motion, clauses 1 through 14, carried.

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

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Collections Act." (Bill No. 16)

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

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Order No. 9, "An Act To Amend The Direct Sellers Act," Bill 17.

CHAIR: Bill 17.

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Direct Sellers Act." (Bill No. 17)

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

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Order No. 10, "An Act To Amend The Schools Act, 1996," Bill 14.

CHAIR: Bill 14.

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Schools Act, 1996." (Bill No. 14)

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

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, I don't know whether the draughtsman are ready yet with either one of those two amendments that are proposed. If not, then maybe we could take a five minute or ten minute - I don't want to rise the Committee and bring the Committee back again. Maybe what we could do is take a five minute or ten minute recess and get the two amendments put in order by the draughtsman and come back and do Committee.

CHAIR: We will take a brief recess. We can reconvene in ten minutes.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

CHAIR: Eleven o'clock a.m.

 

Recess

 

CHAIR: Order, please!

Bill No. 3.

MR. TULK: Well, we can do Order No. 5, Bill No. 3, first.

CHAIR: Okay, we have an amendment to clause 6. I think all the other clauses were approved.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

CHAIR: Oh, clause 6, okay.

MR. DICKS: One clause.

CHAIR: One clause, okay.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

CHAIR: The Chair, like everyone else, is confused.

The hon. the Minister of Finance.

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I just wanted to clarify, there was an amendment. I was proposing a sub-amendment that we now have drafted, which reads as follows: Clause 1 of the bill is amended by adding immediately after the figures "(1)," in the proposed 6.(2), the following, and I quote, "respecting a rebate for building materials in Labrador", and I think that is acceptable to the hon. member who proposed the original amendment.

CHAIR: So that is a sub-amendment, is it?

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

That is certainly satisfactory and it fulfils the intent, I think, that the minister laid out in the beginning.

On motion, amendment carried.

On motion clause 1, 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 No. 4, "An Act To Amend The Small Claims Act", (Bill No. 1). I think we had that in abeyance as well and there were some amendments that were being done by the draughtsmen.

CHAIR: Bill No. 1. We had approved clauses 1 through to 5; I think we are on clause 6.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: There seems to be some difficulty with what is happening here, so I would move that the Committee rise and report progress and ask leave to sit again.

CHAIR: This bill has been deferred until the next day.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Bellevue.

MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole have considered the matters to them referred, and wishes me to report having passed Bill Nos. 8, 13, 12, 15, 16, 17 and 14 without amendment, and Bill No. 3 with amendment, and request leave to sit again.

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

On motion, amendments to Bill No. 3 read a first and second time, ordered read a third time presently.

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I understand that the second reading of a bill, "An Act To Remove Anomalies And Errors In The Statute Law," Bill 9...

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that Bill 9 be now read a second time. Are we into second reading, or has...?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Okay.

Second reading of the bill.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. H. HODDER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We on this side of the House want to say that we have some concern with the particular bill. The concern we have is that some of the clauses here are far beyond the realm of anomalies and errors. While we recognize that every time we have a piece of legislation like this, which is represented by Bill 9, "An Act To Remove Anomalies And Errors In The Statute Law," this occurs from time to time, but this year there appears to have been an awful lot of errors, or there is an awful lot of anomalies. Because it is forty-seven pages long, and I can't believe that there would be these many anomalies in Statue Law to occupy forty-seven pages and certainly the Government House Leader would not want to admit that there are forty-seven pages of errors in Statute Law. Mr. Speaker, so this year this whole process is in and of itself, an anomaly. I want to be a little more precise and say that some clauses here are quite okay. There is something like seventy-eight pieces of legislation that we are affecting here and that's a lot. That is a lot of legislation to have errors or omissions or anomalies in. Nearly eighty pieces of legislation are covered here.

Mr. Speaker, if you look at clause No. 70, you will find that there may be a host of other regulations that might be affected as well. So because of that we do have some particular concerns. Mr. Speaker, there are some clauses of this bill that are in the realm of typographical errors or I should say that they represent changes in practices regarding fees and forms and other apparently, what we will call, non-contentious matters. In particular, for example, clauses 8, 11, 19, 20, 35, 38, 48, 54, 71 and 75, these clauses represent only changes in typos. So we have no difficulty with that. These clauses that I just named; 8, 11, 19, 20, 35, 38, 48, 54, 71 and 75, we are saying these are all okay because obviously from time to time there will be typographical errors made and we recognize that.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. H. HODDER: No, we did not say that. We said we totally support the corrections of these particular clauses. Then there are some other clauses that represent changes in fees and forms or these kinds of procedures and they are okay too. In particular I want to refer to the following clauses and I will list them out but we have no difficulty with the following clauses; 2, 3, 4, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 28, 30, 39, 47, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 57, 60, 61, 64, 66, 68, 69 and 73. Now on these particular clauses we have examined them and believe that these represent, for the most part - the minister will probably be able to comment on this a little later on - they represent for the most part, only changes -

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. H. HODDER: The ones with typos only?

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. HODDER: Okay. The ones with typos only, we read them as clause No. 8?

MR. TULK: Clause 8.

MR. HODDER: Eleven?

MR. TULK: Eleven.

MR. HODDER: Nineteen?

MR. TULK: There is a pattern right here.

MR. HODDER: Twenty?

MR. TULK: Twenty.

MR. HODDER: Thirty-five?

MR. TULK: Thirty-five.

MR. HODDER: Thirty-eight?

MR. TULK: Thirty-eight.

MR. H. HODDER: Forty-eight?

MR. TULK: Forty-eight.

MR. H. HODDER: Fifty-four?

MR. TULK: Fifty-four.

MR. H. HODDER: Seventy-one and seventy-five?

We believe that there is some reason to these changes. In other words, these represent typos and the list I gave to the Government House Leader a few seconds ago on changes in fees and form matters and we have no difficulty with these changes; and then we wanted to deal with the matter of retroactivity.

Now, Mr. Chairman, we remind the honourable House of a statement made by the former Premier, Clyde Wells in this House on June 29, 1989, and I want to read the statement into the record because, at that particular time, the government was introducing a bill where there was some retroactivity being provided for in the bill, and the Premier of that day said: "I really think that any Legislature should avoid retroactivity like the plague." and he apologized to the House for bringing in retroactive legislation, however as a parliamentarian, we respected his viewpoint, we did not always agree with his views but in this particular matter we respect him as a parliamentarian.

Mr. Speaker, what we see here of course is a lot of retroactivity being applied.

MR. SULLIVAN: You agreed with him sometimes, I guess.

MR. H. HODDER: Perhaps in this matter we agree with him a lot more than some members in the government of the day. You know, he is persona non grata in some aspects of the Legislature now.

Now, there are some other, more contentious sections I say to the minister and they deal with retroactivity and we have these listed as clauses No.5, 21, 26 -

MR. TULK: (Inaudible) 26? where did you get 26 from, that is another anomaly.

MR. H. HODDER: That is the other anomaly - 32,

MR. TULK: Isn't 26, there?

MR. H. HODDER: No, 26 is not there; 32, 33 -

MR. TULK: What about 29, do you have a problem with that?

MR. H. HODDER: No, we will get there in a few seconds.

MR. TULK: Thirty-three?

MR. H. HODDER: Thirty-three, 41 -

MR. TULK: No 41, Harvey.

MR. H. HODDER: Another anomaly. I do not have the bill in front of me here; 43? Okay, 26 and 41, 43, 45, 56, 58, 62, 63, 67, 70, 72, 74 and 76. These particular clauses of the act vary in terms of the (inaudible) of the retroactivity. Some of them even we would admit might make some sense, and obviously some of them do.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. H. HODDER: It is a case of where, I say to the hon. minister, that in the process of legislation if it is a minor thing then we aren't going to oppose that. But take for example, let's have a look at one of them. Clause 45.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. H. HODDER: I wouldn't expect the Member for Topsail to be able to follow the dialogue, but the Government House Leader can, and the minister is paying very great attention over there. Let's have a look at clause 45.

AN HON. MEMBER: The legal beagle can't follow it.

AN HON. MEMBER: Now listen, you were warned about that before.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. H. HODDER: In clause 45 here what we are doing is we are amending subsection 13(1) of the Mining and Mineral Rights Tax Act, and it is "amended by striking out the comma and substituting the words `prescribed by the minister and in the.'" Mr. Speaker, if you look at subsection 3 -

MR. WISEMAN: Point of order.

MR. SPEAKER (Penney): The Member for Topsail on a point of order.

MR. WISEMAN: Mr. Speaker, the Member for Cape St. Francis has a few times been advised that he is not allowed to refer to any Member of the House other than the hon. member. He continues to do so, so I would ask the Speaker to remind the member.

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair is not aware of any comments that were uttered. I would be glad to check Hansard in the morning of the next parliamentary day.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. H. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, the difficulty we have with clause 45 is because of the retroactivity that is proposed in section 3 and then subsection (3), where it says: "`(3) Notwithstanding subsection (2), regulations made under subsection (1) and gazetted on or before July 1, 1997 may be made with retroactive effect to a date stated in the regulations of more than 12 months before their date of publication in the Gazette but in no case shall those regulations be retroactive to before January 1, 1995.'."

We have difficulty with that, because in the Explanatory Notes that come with the bill to clause 45 that completes that as well, it says on page 7: "Subclauses (1) and (3) of this clause of the Bill would amend the Mining and Mineral Rights Tax Act by removing from the Act the requirement to establish forms under the regulations and adding a proposed section 34.1 which would allow the minister to prescribe forms."

That isn't what it is about at all. In our opinion this particular clause is not about that altogether. In fact, we should probably ignore the explanatory note altogether because that is not what it is doing. We have great difficulty here because this will allow the government to make regulations until July 1 1997 that would be retroactive to January 1 1995. We ask the basic question: Why? Why would you want to do that? Why would you want from now until July 1 to make regulations and then say: Yes, but now these are retroactive back to January 1 1995. In effect what we are saying is that that is two and a half years.

So why would any government say we are going to take a regulation and make it anytime between this date, today, if this bill were passed, and July 1, and what we are going to say to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador is that we are going to make that retroactive back two-and-a-half years. There must be some other motivation here. There has to be something else to this, and we want to ask the minister: What else is going on here?

The clause, the Explanatory Note, doesn't say anything. The Explanatory Note would have us believe that this is just a minor adjustment. After all, the bill is errors and omissions. Now, the error might be that you should have made the regulations back on January 1, 1995. In fact, that might be the error; but it is certainly not an anomaly because an anomaly would have us believe that there are minor conflicts between what one bill is saying and what another bill is saying. That is not the case. There are no anomalies here. What we have is an attempt by the government to do something now that it should have done, and it knows it should have done, some time ago. In this particular case we are saying that we want the right to make a regulation in the latter part of the first half of 1997, that is going to come into effect on July 1, and we want that to go back two-and-a-half years. We want to say to the minister, we would welcome if the minister would stand and give us the rationale for that, because we don't see the rationale here.

Since this affects the mining tax, clause 45, if I can just switch over to it again, it affects the Mining and Mineral Rights Tax Act. It says here it makes it a bill that is affecting...

Our difficulty is that government should tell the people what it wants to do here. Tell us what you intend, and why. Give us an explanation of why you want to amend the regulations under this particular act to make it retroactive that far back.

Certainly, I know I have an hour to carry on this debate, but I wanted to see if I could ask - well, the Minister of Justice is the sponsoring minister, but I am sure that somebody on the other side has a rationale - if maybe one of the other ministers, in place of the Minister of Justice, could rise in his or her place and give us a rationale for doing it. Maybe the rationale would be totally acceptable to us.

We don't read into subclause (2) the rationale that the minister may intend, so I say to the hon. Minister of Government Services and Lands - the minister of (inaudible) - that he should probably consider rising and explaining the position of the government on this particular matter.

Basically, we ask three or four questions. I will make a statement first. The government should tell the people what it is trying to do by this amendment. We should have precisely laid out what regulations you intend to try to bring in, what you are proposing. We want to ask the very basic question: Is this an attempt by the government to cover up the loophole that has occurred in the royalty holiday that Inco now enjoys? Since it is under the Mining and Mineral Rights Tax Act, we have to ask ourselves a very direct question. Is it the intent here to eliminate the tax holiday - the potential tax holiday - that Inco now enjoys relative to the royalty regime that they are trying to negotiate with the government, is that the intent? If that is the intent, then we can address that.

So, maybe if the minister, who seems to be following the dialogue, would you like to rise and state on the record what you think the intent is and I certainly give you my time to give us the explanation.

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

MR. McLEAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

In response to the Opposition House Leader, I would suggest that the reasoning for the retroactivity in terms of the regulation under clause 45 which he refers to, is to bring the regulations in line with the date that the act itself was enacted, subclause (2) there indicates that. Now, in terms of the interaction with the tax holiday for Voisey's Bay, I do not see this as having a part to play in this because there will be legislation brought forward in the fall in terms of the whole Voisey's Bay situation.

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

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

I am a little clearer as to what the governments intent is, but not very much because he has not told us what regulatory changes the government proposes and the whole purpose here is that, if you are going to make it retroactive to January 1, 1995, we wanted to say to the government what retroactive changes are you talking about? Precisely tell us what it is you are trying to achieve. I do not hear the Minister of Government Services and Lands coming forward and saying, here is precisely what we would like to achieve. So, Mr. Speaker, failing that, we have some difficulty with the ministers answer.

Also, I wanted to draw reference to clause 70, again it refers to the Subordinate Legislation Revision and Consolation Act and again we have what seems to be more of a blanket approach to correcting a problem which has been created by earlier blanket legislation, you might say. So, we do not have a list of all of the subordinate legislation that is affected by clause 70, I say to the minister. So, we do not know what impacts the various subclauses are going to have. How can we go and say to the Legislature that we can agree with passing clause no. 70, but we have no idea what the government proposed to introduce by way of changes and again we have no listing of the subordinate legislation, we have no listing of the various subclauses that would be affected here and again we are giving a blanket thing to the government without any precision. So, we do not know, I say to the minister -

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. H. HODDER: Well, it is a case where if we are going to be affecting certain clauses, I say to the Government House Leader, and you want to make changes, then I think it is up to the government to say to the House precisely -

MR. TULK: We already told you, it is something you (inaudible).

MR. H. HODDER: We have to respond to the proposed legislation, I say to the Government House Leader and when you have a blanket kind of statement like that we can only assume that there must be some kind of a hidden agenda. So, we say to the Government House Leader, who is now interjecting rather profusely, we say to him that if we knew exactly what the pieces of legislation he wanted to change were then we might be able to react to it in a more positive manner.

I will just look at the explanatory note because that does not give us any great comfort either. If you read the explanatory note, again it does not give us any great comfort because again we, as I said before, do not have a listing of all of the subordinate legislation that would be impacted by the various subclauses that are listed there.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. H. HODDER: Yes, but you have not given us a listing of these, I say to the minister. With all the acts that are there it would seem reasonable that we would have some kind of a more precise statement from the government.

Mr. Speaker, I know that we can't dig it all up but the point in digging it all up is that if we got this bill a few days ago, we have been rather rushed in going through it to try to sort out those particular clauses that causes difficulty and we have identified two of them. Clause No. 45 and clause No. 70, these are the two clauses that cause us great difficulty and, Mr. Speaker -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. H. HODDER: I can't hear the minister. Maybe the minister can address that when he gets up in a few minutes.

Mr. Speaker, because of the rush here - we only got this act a few days ago and - yes, it has forty-seven pages -

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

The hon. gentleman should know that -

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Government House Leader, on a point of order.

MR. TULK: - this particular act has been in the House for a week, at least a week.

AN HON. MEMBER: Say it again now that you are recognized, say it again.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I have to tell the hon. gentleman, I raise a point of order and tell him that he is giving misinformation to the House. I know he does not intend to but this act has been around for at least a week in this House, at least.

AN HON. MEMBER: You would need three weeks to examine that.

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

MR. H. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, my point being made is that when you have a piece of legislation that even the Government House Leader admits has only been here for seven days, a week and here we have amendments to seventy-eight pieces of legislation, forty-seven pages -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Is the hon. Opposition House Leader responding to the point of order raised by the Government House Leader?

MR. H. HODDER: Yes I am, Mr. Speaker. What I am saying, when I use the word a few days - my definition of a few days would be up to and including the number seven.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order. It is a matter of a difference of opinion between two hon. members.

MR. J. BYRNE: As usual no point of order from the Government House Leader, as usual.

MR. SPEAKER: On a point of order, the hon. the Member for Labrador West.

MR. CANNING: Mr. Speaker, I want to read something into the record. It is a matter of personal privilege and I read from yesterday's Hansard from the hon. Member for Waterford Valley. He said this into the record, "I cannot believe what I have been hearing in the last few minutes. First of all, the Member for Labrador West says that he is against reductions in the payroll tax. He thinks that is a great tax. Therefore, what he is saying is that this is an appropriate tax to be charging on business firms in Labrador West." Now, Mr. Speaker, what I actually said was this, "Mr. Speaker, the payroll tax provides $70 million or $80 million a year to provide opportunity for the people of this Province through the services we provide, whether it is health care or education. The fact of the matter is, there is not a soul in this House who agrees with the payroll tax, if we had revenue that could offset it, but I agree more with providing health and education services to our people, that is appropriate and able to do the job that our people need, before we get rid of payroll tax.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask the hon. member to withdraw the comments he attributed to me yesterday.

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

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. H. HODDER: What the Member for Labrador West said yesterday was that: (a) He wanted the $70 million, and he said the payroll tax was the way to get it. You cannot have it and say, `I want the $70 million' and then say, `I don't approve of the payroll tax'. He cannot have it two ways. I am sorry, but I cannot apologize or withdraw the statement because the member feels that this is a wrong message he wants to send to business people in Labrador West.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair will take the matter raised by the Member for Labrador West under advisement, will check with Hansard, and will deliver a ruling on the next parliamentary day.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

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

Before I finish my introductory comments, I want to go back to some of the clauses we mentioned earlier, some of the clauses that have not been included, and to say that we have other clauses which are non-contentious, and I failed to mention some other clauses for the benefit of the hon. the minister, to say to him that we don't have any real difficulty either with clauses 6, 7, 12, 13, 29, 34

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. H. HODDER: I am just giving a list of the ones with which we have no difficulty. I gave a partial list before.

36, 37, clause No. 40, 46, 55 and 59. Mr. Speaker what that means is that, we have clearly said to the government the clauses that we feel are representing typos only. We have identified the ones that we feel represent changes in fees and forms only. We have also identified the ones I just mentioned, which are pretty non-contentious in our opinion, and we have identified the contentious ones that deal with retroactivity and put these on the record.

I have mentioned all of these and then the ones that cause the most difficulty, I will identity these for the minister, I just talked of one there. The clauses that cause the most difficulty are clause No. 21, the Financial Administration Act is repealed and the following substituted, we have difficulty with that. Clause No. 31, it says here this is section 13 of, An Act To Amend The Hydro Corporation Act, The Electrical Power Control Act in `94 and other acts and we have difficulty with that because we do not quite see again the anomaly and the error here. Clause No. 32, again it is amending section 29 of the Hydro Corporation Act and we want to have a further rationale of what that means. I mentioned clause No. 45 and clause No. 56, that is amending subsection (1) of the Provincial Parks Act and strikes out the word proclamation where it twice occurs and substitutes the word order, we want again an explanation of that. Clause No. 65 and that says subsection 141(3), The Securities Act is repealed. We wanted to have again some commentary from the ministry on that particular one and I mentioned before clause No. 70.

So, Mr. Speaker, the ones that we have difficulty with would be, just to repeat them, clauses 21, 31, 32, 45, 56, 65 and 70.

Mr. Speaker, I have outlined in the last half-an-hour or so the difficulties we have with all of the clauses I have mentioned. I have not gotten into all of them. I mentioned the retroactivity problems and basically, I believe we would want to have explanations from the ministry, because we believe that is necessary to be done and according to Parliamentary tradition. We would also want for you, Minister, if you could, to comment on the matter of why they would bring in so many changes here that have basically a retroactivity application.

Mr. Speaker, with these few comments, I do believe that the Leader of the Opposition is going to have a few comments.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I, too, want to make comments regarding Bill No. 9.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker?

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

MR. TULK: If the hon. gentleman would - we are obviously back here on Tuesday. Maybe he would like to keep his comments for Tuesday, and I would ask leave, if I could, to do first reading on a number of bills so that we could distribute them and then we would probably adjourn the House and let the hon. gentleman start on Tuesday. Is that a problem?

MR. SULLIVAN: No, that is fine; if you want to do first reading, sure.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I ask that we do first reading on a couple of bills so that we can have them distributed and people may have a chance to look at it; then, we will adjourn the House and come back on Tuesday.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. member is asking leave to do first reading on a number of bills. Does the hon. member have leave?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, "An Act To Amend The Teachers Association Act", (Bill No. 19).

Motion, the hon, the Minister of Education to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Teachers Association Act", carried. (Bill No. 19)

On motion, Bill No. 19, read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, "An Act To Amend The Labour Relations Act." (Bill No. 20)

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Environment and Labour to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Labour Relations Act," carried. (Bill No. 20)

On motion, Bill No. 20 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, "An Act To Amend The Shops Closing Act." (Bill No. 18)

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Environment and Labour to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Shops Closing Act," carried. (Bill No. 18)

On motion, Bill No. 18 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I believe, too, there are some bills that we have agreed on in Committee, that have gone through Committee. There is one bill that we still have to do some work on and that is Bill No. 1, in Committee, but I will ask leave of the House to do third reading on some bills that we did in Committee this morning.

MR. SPEAKER: I remind the hon. member, he does not need leave for third reading of the bills because the Committee is not a stage.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I will read off the numbers if you want to so that we can just - we do not have to spend time. Bill Nos. 8, 13, 3, 12, 15, 16, 17, 14.

On motion, the following bills read a third time, ordered passed and their titles be as on the Order Paper:

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Judgment Enforcement Act". (Bill No. 8)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The City Of St. John's Act And The St. John's Municipal Elections Act". (Bill No. 13)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Tax Agreement Act". (Bill No. 3)

A bill, "An Act Respecting The Good Faith Donation And Distribution of Food". (Bill No. 12)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Residential Tenancies Act". (Bill No. 15)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Collections Act". (Bill No. 16)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Direct Sellers Act". (Bill No. 17)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Schools Act, 1996". (Bill No. 14)

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do adjourn until 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday of next week. We will take a long weekend, I suppose, and come back on Tuesday.

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