May 26, 1998 HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS Vol. XLIII No. 32


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): Order, please!

Before we begin our routine proceedings, it is with sadness that I advise hon. members of the sudden death yesterday of Mrs. Elva Clarke. Mrs. Elva Clarke had been an employee of the House of Assembly for the past twenty-one years. She started as a Transcriber in the Hansard office, and more recently she was the Senior Editor. For those of you who knew Mrs. Clarke, she was a cheerful, hard-working and loyal employee of this institution.

On behalf of all members, I look to the House Leaders to move the appropriate motion so that we can send condolences on behalf of all members to the Clarke family.

I also wish, of course, to acknowledge the grief and sadness experienced by the employees of Hansard office, by the Clerk's office, and in our library, of her colleagues who will certainly miss her from her work. We want to as well share their experiences.

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all the members, those of us who have known Mrs. Clarke for a number of years, I am sure we would all want to move that a letter of condolence be sent to Mrs. Clarke's family, and I would so move.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

We, too, in the Official Opposition, wish to endorse the motion to send condolences to the family and certainly send our deepest regrets from the Official Opposition.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is with sadness that I learned earlier today of the passing of Mrs. Clarke. I know she has been a long-standing and dedicated employee of Hansard who enjoyed her job very much and was particularly proud of her interest in translating our sometimes difficult oral language into the written word. I would like to join in expressing the condolences of the members of the House to her family and to those who worked closely with her.

 

Statements by Ministers

 

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. The Minister of Human Resources and Employment.

MS BETTNEY: Mr. Speaker, managing our finances is a tough challenge at any age. This is especially true for our youth. Today, Mr. Speaker, I would like to tell all Members of the House of Assembly about an exciting new information package for the youth of our Province.

Earlier today I had the opportunity to visit students at O'Donel High School in Mount Pearl. We were there to introduce a new information kit entitled `Money Smarts'.

Mr. Speaker, Money Smarts is a two-part financial awareness package designed for young people, the teachers, and community leaders. The information provided in this learning resource kit will encourage young people to look at all of the financial options available to them so they can make informed decisions and wise money choices for the future. The program specifically addresses the unique challenges facing young women when they are planning their financial future. Money Smarts was developed by the Government of British Columbia in consultation with other jurisdictions, and we want to thank them for their permission to reprint this material.

Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of Human Resources and Employment, and as the minister responsible for the Status of Women, I appreciate the importance and the significance of this program. Research indicates today that young people generally lack information about financial matters; and while it is important for everyone to plan for their financial futures, young women face unique challenges. For example, a major gap remains between men and women's income in Newfoundland and Labrador. On average, Mr. Speaker, women earn 60 per cent less than men in the labour market.

Recent studies show that women are more likely to live in poverty, with single parent families having the highest incidence of low income in all family types in the Province. In addition, women live longer than men so planning a retirement income is important.

I should make a correction to one earlier statement there, Mr. Speaker. On average, women earn sixty-four cents to every dollar that men earn, not 64 per cent less than. That would be quite a disparity.

Mr. Speaker, the Money Smarts information kit addresses these issues by exploring the myths and realities of money management. Through this kit, our youth will be provided with detailed information on resources, including banks, credit unions and trust companies. It also includes a learning resource for teachers and community educators. Using case studies, this gives the students an opportunity to make the link between life choices and financial security, and it is designed for both use in the schools and in community settings.

Mr. Speaker, our communities recognize the challenges that our youth face, and I believe that Money Smarts provide some much needed solutions to these challenges. We will have copies available for all members of the House, and if anyone would like additional information I encourage them to contact the Women's Policy office.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MS S. OSBORNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to thank the minister for providing me with a copy of the statement which on the surface looks pretty positive. Anything that will help young people better plan financially is welcome, but there is something disturbing in this statement. That is reference to the studies that show that women in this Province, particularly single parents, are living in poverty. This is the statistic that I have been referring to for months, and it is appalling.

I resent the implication that programs to help these women and other young people plan financially will get to the root of the problem of poverty. The problem is not that they are wasting their money; it is that there are no jobs for them, and those on social assistance or in low income jobs are barely scraping by. The implication that young people are responsible for their own poverty because of lack of financial planning skills is one that I cannot and will not accept.

We have heard the Leader of the Opposition stand in this House on many occasions, in fact this week, describing the hard-hearted policies of this government and your federal cousins toward post-secondary students. Funding cuts and student loan policies are forcing tuition fees through the roof and crushing our young people under mountains of debt. Now Ottawa is preparing to pass anti-bankruptcy legislation. Ottawa's solution earlier was to let students borrow from the retirement money to finance their education. How out of touch are the policy makers?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

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

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to thank the minister for an advanced copy of her statement. It is obvious that this minister has recognized a good program when she sees one, from the Government of British Columbia, and is prepared to acknowledge that in the House here today.

I question, Mr. Speaker, the minister's comments on the situation of poverty for women. Women are not poor because of a lack of financial planning. Women are poor, particularly single women, because of inadequate child care and child support payments, and an ongoing and continuing inequality of opportunity and inequality between men and women in our society. I do not know the connection between the two. We need to tackle the root causes of poverty and inequality in our society.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HARRIS: This might inform some people but will not solve the problems.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Forest Resources and Agrifoods.

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

Mr. Speaker, Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, in its continual efforts to maximize the utilization of their timber supply, has introduced steep slope cable logging practices in Western Newfoundland. Two cable logging systems will be used on steep slopes previously inaccessible under traditional logging methods.

The move toward cable logging systems is a positive step toward addressing the Island's wood supply deficit. The additional volumes harvested by cable logging from stands previously not available due to terrain such as steep slopes will supplement the Island's wood supply in the forest sector.

Cable logging is a labour intensive process. All felling of timber is done with chain-saw operators. Corner Brook Pulp and Paper has informed me today that they will be hiring approximately twenty-five people in the harvesting sector to be created with this process.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. K. AYLWARD: Trees will be processed at the roadside for pulpwood and sawlogs. The higher allotment of previously unusable timber allows a greater flow of logs to the sawmills, thereby increasing additional employment opportunities in the sawmill and harvesting sectors.

Mr. Speaker, initiatives such the cable logging and the recent multi-million dollar silviculture projects that we have just announced and being undertaken this year show a continued effort by the industry and the government to create a stable supply of timber resource in the future. Many of these projects are two-thirds funded by the pulp and paper industry in a multi-year agreement between the mills and the provincial government.

The recent silviculture projects and the cable logging projects, provided by the industry, will provide employment opportunities in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. We applaud the efforts of the industry as they work toward these goals.

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

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

I would like to thank the minister for a copy of his statement. Of course, anything where you are going to provide one more job or twenty-five jobs or 100 jobs is a positive thing, I say to the minister. There is no doubt about that.

AN HON. MEMBER: And they are real.

MR. SHELLEY: And they are real.

AN HON. MEMBER: And will lead to a lot more.

MR. SHELLEY: Hopefully they will lead to a lot more, I say to the minister.

The real good news in this, I guess, is sort of a hidden good news. They will have to use the traditional logger to do it. The mechanical harvesters won't be able to go up the side of the mountain. I am glad to see that, because it is something we have to address. I mentioned it to the minister on many occasions, mechanical harvesters, at the rate they progress... We are all for positive technology in the Province, there is no problem with that, but at the same time we have to realize that a lot of loggers in this Province are being displaced by mechanical harvesters, something we have to control, something we have to balance. We have to be able to put these people to work in the industry, we hope.

This is one move in the right direction, a small step. Hopefully they will do more down the road -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SHELLEY: - but anything that addresses that situation in the Province is welcome news.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This certainly is a move in the right direction, but in perspective it must be remembered that twenty to twenty-five jobs is the number of jobs displaced by one mechanical harvester. The minister could increase jobs in the industry if he insisted that the paper companies cut their total allowable cut before they are importing logs in this Province. There would be 2,000 more person weeks of work in the woods, Mr. Speaker, if they did that.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS FOOTE: Mr. Speaker, I apologize to the Member for St. John's South for not getting him a copy of the statement.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS FOOTE: Mr. Speaker, I have said from day one that our first priority since the closure of BPS Imaging Partnership is to see that the employees get paid for the work they have done. Mr. Speaker, we have been working diligently to see this accomplished.

The discussions that both NewTel and I have had over the past week with the company, indicate that the money owing to the employees will be forthcoming from two sources; from the company and from the sale of assets. Mr. Speaker, because this is taking more time than either the employees or government would like, government has decided that if the money from the company is not forthcoming tomorrow, it will request of the employees that in return for them assigning their right of claim in this matter over to the government, government will flow the money owing to them and collect from the company and from the sale of assets.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS FOOTE: The employees have waited long enough, Mr. Speaker. This government has no intention of seeing them wait any longer.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, last week it was the ice storm and the dissolving of a partnership that caused the break up. After a full week of questioning, government has finally taken an initiative to take care of the employees and it is because of the pressure brought on by this House, Mr. Speaker, and by the employees themselves.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, we await with much interest what the audit will bring, the audit that was conducted by HRD themselves to see where the rest of the public money went and what accountability this government put forward in handing out $1 million cheques.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's 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.

A good move on the part of the government. By ensuring that the employees get paid, the government has finally realized, and the minister has finally admitted, that the funding of PBS was in fact a bad call and government is taking responsibility for it.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

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

MS KELLY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The T'Railway Provincial Park has become one of our Province's most popular outdoor recreational venues, and today I am announcing the conditional approval for the T'Railway to remain a multi-use recreational park between Octagon Pond and Holyrood.

Provincial legislation covering the park allows the use of ATVs and snowmobiles in this area beyond Octagon Pond, through the rest of the T'Railway right across the Province.

Given some local concerns about the use of ATVs on the portion of the T'Railway which runs from Octagon Pond to Holyrood, a review was undertaken to determine whether or not ATVs should continue operating in this area.

Following consultations with users, various associations and area municipalities, the decision has been taken to permit the continued operation of such motorized recreational vehicles between Octagon Pond and Holyrood.

Mr. Speaker, the T'Railway is a 900 kilometre linear provincial park which has been positioned as a cross-Island recreational tourism opportunity, and significant support for continued multi-use in the Paradise-C.B.S. area has come from the town of Paradise, area ATV associations, and others.

ATV users and other groups have expressed interest in helping the Newfoundland T'Railway Council and my department oversee the Octagon Pond to Holyrood section of the T'Railway, to help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience in the park.

Government does not have the necessary resources to completely upgrade signage, install barriers and other infrastructure on the T'Railway at this time. This remains a long-term important objective of my department and the T'Railway Council.

Therefore, ATV and snowmobile users, indeed all users, are responsible for safe and cautious behaviour throughout the entire T'Railway, as government, under its legislation, does not assume liability for its use by any group or individual.

This policy will be regularly reviewed and the approval to operate ATVs or snowmobiles in the Paradise-C.B.S. areas of the T'Railway will be revoked if major concerns arise. In future years, we hope to incorporate alternate trails or loops through busy or built up areas, but for now the onus is on the users of the T'Railway to exercise caution to ensure a safe recreational experience.

There is no question the appeal of the T'Railway continues to grow, right across the Island.

In the meantime, I look forward to working with local groups and the Newfoundland T'Railway Council, to ensure the T'Railway remains a safe and popular recreational venue for outdoor enthusiasts.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Conception Bay South.

MR. FRENCH: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to, first of all, thank the minister for providing me with a copy of her statement before she came in today. I want to compliment the minister because I've -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FRENCH: - been a supporter of this particular T'Railway, and my colleague for Topsail. As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker - and I will try to do this fairly quickly - I had three phone calls opposing the use of the rail bed in Conception Bay South. One from a gentleman who said the only reason he called me to complain was because I put a statement in the paper and said I hadn't received any calls, and he wanted to make sure I got one. I got a second call from a gentleman who didn't live in my district, who lived in the district of my colleague for Topsail. When I was finished I'm not sure if he wanted me to go down and blow up the crossing in Manuels River or if he didn't. The third one, the only problem that gentleman had was he didn't want any trucks or cars on the rail bed.

Minister, I compliment you today for doing this. You will certainly make a lot of people in my district very happy today. We may have some people a little bit upset, but I know the t'railways and the people involved in t'railways in my district will certainly be very happy.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

Oral Questions

 

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

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

I will see if I can put a stop to government providing the Opposition with leave now in a few seconds.

Mr. Speaker, recently the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board announced the development of condominium units at the base of Marble Mountain. Given that it seems to be the public policy of government to discontinue to be involved in the private housing business or private housing matters, what are the public policy reasons for becoming involved in this essentially private enterprise venue?

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

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The government has an obligation to foster economic development in the Province. It can do it by supporting the private sector in worthwhile ventures; it can also do it directly itself. There are numerous examples of where this occurs productively: Churchill Falls in the 1960s, Churchill Falls in the 1990s and after the year 2000.

Marble Mountain is the single largest tourist draw to the Province. What we need to attract a larger spectrum of skiers is to have a resident base at the bottom of the hill and to have the services there. Interestingly enough, I had an inquiry lately from someone else who is interested in doing development there as well.

Unless we are prepared to provide support, and for government to take the initiative, simply put, a lot of these initiatives will not occur. There would not be a $30 million development at Marble Mountain now if it were left to the private sector to do, as there now is.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, given the fact that government has twice walked down this road before in terms of condominiums, or building condominiums (inaudible), what other options did government look at intensively before making the decision itself to get into the construction of condominiums at the base of the mountain?

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

MR. DICKS: Mr. Speaker, since Finance took responsibility I have said repeatedly publicly that we invited the private sector to develop at Marble Mountain. No one came forward, with one exception that at that point was unviable.

What we indicated to the public when we did this was that we need to build a condominium development there to get it started, we need to establish a standard, and I am quite confident that it will be successful.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that there is a $40 million private sector proposal that requires no government money that has been before the Minister of Finance for the last twelve to fourteen months, and recently, as of March, 1998, it was reconfirmed to the minister that there was still interest there.

The question is: Why has the minister not responded to the proponents with respect to the possible private sector development that would require no government money? Also, it should be noted that the proposal indicates that government would maintain ownership of the hill and the ski facilities, but the development around it is what is interesting in this private proposal.

Why has the minister not taken a serious look at this proposal? And why has he not responded to the proponents who have forwarded it to him? I know that proposal is on his desk right now.

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

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, the government did in fact respond. We have a Chairman of the Marble Mountain Development Corporation who responded to it. I will file in the House the sequence of correspondence. There were three or four letters over the course of last summer, I believe it was. Now the group that were interested in doing this, that came forward most recently, was one of the groups that made a bid originally when it was supposed to be privatized.

The essence of their bid at the time was that they would pay $1.2 million for it out of profits. Simply put, Mr. Speaker, there would have been no money paid for a government asset that was worth in the vicinity of approximately $30 million.

What we indicated at the time was, we had correspondence back and forth, and because government had not privatized, we consulted with Treasury Board. Our officials came to the conclusion that if we were to go with what they suggested, we would have to do another public call for proposals. When we told them that in order to accept it we would have to do a public call for proposals, they said to us in writing that they would not - they withdrew their offer. They were not prepared to go ahead if we made it subject to a public call.

Frankly put, Mr. Speaker, government is in a position that if we are going to have any development, or if someone wants to do a comprehensive development of that sort, we have to give all people an opportunity. That was the advice from the officials, which I believe is correct, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, my understanding is that government did look for private sector proposals and the only serious one coming forward was the one that I just mentioned. Is the minister saying now that they looked for private developers of the mountain, and that as a result of only one group coming forward they did not want to deal with that particular proposal?

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

MR. DICKS: Not at all, Mr. Speaker. What I said - and the record will show - is that government made a call for proposals, I believe it was in 1995 or 1996 it was finally completed, over a course of about a year-and-a-half or so. What that called for was the sale of the hill. The consultants that were engaged negotiated a lease arrangement over a longer period of time, eventually resulting in a sale.

Last year what we indicated when the people came forward with this proposal was that we could not rely on the earlier proposal because this was not a sale of the ski hill. So we indicated to them that if we could go ahead with development we would have to do another public call for proposals. They indicated at the time that if we did a public call they were not interested in leaving their proposal there, and that ended the matter. It was not us; it was them. I will file the correspondence in the House today.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, maybe the minister can confirm this, then. As a result of what he has just indicated in terms of the privatization initiatives that began or were ongoing in 1995, that involved privatization of the hill - I do not need to repeat what he has indicated - let me ask him this: In view of the fact that he has on his desk today a private sector proposal for the development of Marble Mountain, that does not require ownership of the hill or its facilities being passed to the private sector but the Province maintaining ownership, why hasn't he responded to that proposal that would involve significant funding, an eighteen-hole golf course, a 120-room hotel, and further development without any public money?

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

MR. DICKS: Mr. Speaker, I intend to meet within the next several weeks with a group that has come back with a proposal to us to build a hotel at the base of Marble Mountain. Now what I have indicated, Mr. Speaker, is that we have an obligation to the public. There is a Public Tender Act. In the case of the disposal of government assets, government has always followed the practice that we call for proposals. If people meet the terms of the proposal, we can go forward with it. When they cannot and when their offer does not meet the terms of proposal we call for, we have to go back and recall for proposals.

When I suggested that to them, when we said it in writing, when the Chairman of the Board said that, they said they were not interested in going ahead with it; end of matter. It was not us, it was them who withdrew, and I will file the correspondence within ten days.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, obviously what is needed, if what the minister is saying is true, and what the people that I have spoken to on the West Coast are saying is true, then what seems to be required is a facilitator between the private developers of the proposal that is before the minister for this development.

Let me ask the minister this; I will move to another area: What is the nature of the financial arrangements? What is the nature of the financial arrangements with respect to government building the units? I believe it is around $2 million to $2.5 million. Obviously there are some financial arrangements that are put in place. If the minister could take some time just to explain what government's role is with respect to the Marble Mountain Corporation.

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

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Marble Mountain Development Corporation has secured a loan from a chartered bank without a government guarantee to do this development.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Without any guarantee?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DICKS: (Inaudible) guarantee.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. E. BYRNE: I would not get too up in arms yet, I say to the members opposite. Don't get too excited yet.

Mr. Speaker, this must be a new initiative that banks - I would like to know the name of the bank that is providing an unsecured loan to build thirty-one condo units so that we can provide it to every entrepreneur in the Province. If government cannot sell any of the thirty-one condominiums -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. E. BYRNE: If government cannot sell -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: I would say to the Premier, if you would like to ask a question, stand up and I will give you leave to ask me one. Otherwise, I am asking the Minister of Finance a few questions.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, in all of the public releases that the minister has put out on the issue, certainly in the Province, he has indicated that with the Marble Mountain Corporation there is no guarantee necessary. So is he saying that the provincial government is providing enough funding to Marble Mountain Corporation so that no guarantees are required? What is the basis on which somebody is lending $2.5 million without any guarantee whatsoever?

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

MR. DICKS: Mr. Speaker, I don't know what principle the hon. Leader of the Opposition is espousing. If he is espousing the notion that government should not do anything that the private sector could do then we are going to have to abandon a lot of things. We are going to have to abandon Newfoundland Hydro, so let's get the private sector to develop the Lower Churchill. Let's abandon NLHC because it builds houses. The private sector can do that.

I think any person who understands public policy will realize that there is an appropriate role for the government: to do, to build and to manage things. There are ski hills around this Province. The tourist industry is heavily supported by government, and to good advantage.

Now I say to the hon. member that Marble Mountain is a corporation. It has a substantial cash flow in the range of $1.2 million to $1.5 million per year. The bank has reviewed its cash statements, it has reviewed its assets, and it has come to the conclusion that it is a viable project. It is prepared to advance the approximately $2.5 million to build. They have confidence in the project that the proceeds will be sufficient to retire the debt. It is a commercial arrangement, Mr. Speaker, and it makes a lot of sense from the bank's point of view as much as it does from the government's.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Let's be clear. The principle the hon. member is espousing is - it is my understanding - that there is a $40 million proposal before government from the private sector that does not require any government funding whatsoever that could develop the economy in a far greater way on the West Coast than any other initiative the government has announced.

What I also understand is that government has proceeded down this path of construction of condominiums for Marble Mountain on two separate occasions and they have not been able to fill it.

Mr. Speaker, all I am asking from a public policy point of view is that if we have a significant proposal by private sector interests on the table, that we look at it seriously. I am not convinced yet that the minister has done that.

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

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

We have done so. I will point out to the hon. member, that offer was withdrawn when we said that it would be subject to a public call for proposals, because the one before was not appropriate to what these people were proposing.

What I have indicated to the public since that time is that we are interested in private people coming forward to develop the base of Marble Mountain. Does the hon. member know how many have come forward since? Nobody.

Since we have started this condominium development, one of the groups has come back to us, and I plan to meet with them in the next couple of weeks, indicating that they want to look at building a 120-odd unit hotel at the base of Marble Mountain. I can tell you, that would not have happened if government had not had the confidence to itself go forward and build a condominium development at the base.

I forget, the hon. member had another question. I will be prepared to reply to that, it just escapes me right now.

The other point was: We did not neglect the offer; the proponents withdrew it. There is a critical and clear difference. If they had left it on the table, if they were prepared to allow us to go forward to make sure it was subject to and satisfied public expectations and scrutiny, and if they had the money and we could have satisfied ourselves on those arrangements, we probably would have done some or all of it.

We just cannot take things on faith, particularly when there is nothing to back it up at that stage and when the proponents say: If you have to make it subject to a public proposal call, we withdraw.

Once it is withdrawn, if the hon. member understand law at all, there is nothing to consider. If they want to come back and are prepared to allow the public to have reasonable scrutiny of what they propose, then we may ever well do it.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, it is clear that the private sector proposal has come forward to the minister. If a public proposal call is all that is holding it up, why does the Minister not move today to call a public proposal?

I have talked to the proponents of the private sector development and they have indicated to me today that they are ready to proceed with this development, but they have received no response from the Minister of Finance.

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

MR. DICKS: I do not know with whom the hon. member was speaking. I spoke with the Chairman of Marble Mountain Development Corporation within the last couple of days. He indicated -

AN HON. MEMBER: Who is that?

MR. DICKS: Mr. White. I am curious to see who you were speaking to.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DICKS: One has to understand, every church has a sexton; every Crown corporation has a chairperson.

AN HON. MEMBER: Would you like to tell me (inaudible)?

MR. DICKS: Yes, I would. I can tell the hon. member that I have indicated to Mr. White that I am prepared to meet with a certain individual to discuss a hotel development. Now, if you are prepared to say what the name is, I will tell you whether or not it is the same individual. Does the first name start with an `N'?

MR. E. BYRNE: (Inaudible)?

MR. DICKS: With an `N'?

AN HON. MEMBER: Give me an `N'.

MR. DICKS: Give me an `N', give me an `F', (inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, I understand that the Minister of Finance is probably waiting for Vanna White to show up and turn the letters, but I do not think it is going to happen.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. E. BYRNE: Now, Mr. Speaker, if he wants to know clearly, it begins with an `M'. Next after that is an `A', then it is an `R'. It is called Marblewood Village. I can gladly provide or table the documents here, or give them to the Minister of Finance. He knows full well that he already has the documents, but if he would like for me to give them to him again, that is not a problem.

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

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I now know where the hon. member gets his questions, by watching TV at night and Ms White supplies him with the questions. However, in my case, the Chairman of Marble Mountain Development Corporation, Greg White, supplies me with the answers and they are much more reliable than the hon. member's questions.

Yes, that is a group. I indicated to Mr. White we would be quite prepared and delighted to meet with him. I indicated, in fact, that I could meet with him on Tuesday if they could come to St. John's. Other than that, I may meet them in Halifax or Corner Brook when I am next there.

Mr. Speaker, if they have a proposal that makes economic sense, if they have the money to back it up, then we can negotiate it here in the House of Assembly. If that is the way the gentlemen choose to do it, that is fine with me.

The other thing, too, is that it may be subject to a proposal call by government. When I said that, this individual - the same group last year - withdraw the proposal. I should have the letter here in a few minutes. I will file it before the House, and I will read it if I get it here in the next ten or fifteen minutes.

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

MS S. OSBORNE: My questions are for the Minister of Human Resources and Employment.

Citizens in this Province, at age sixty, have the option of taking their CPP at that time and locking themselves into a reduced rate, or they can wait until age sixty-five and take it at the higher rate. But the department has removed the choice for citizens on social assistance and forces all who reach the age of sixty to take their CPP then and to lock themselves into a reduced rate for the rest of their lives, a rate they are stuck with.

Does the minister think it is fair to take away that choice from our seniors and lock them into a decision that will have consequences for the rest of their lives?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Human Resources and Employment.

MS BETTNEY: Mr. Speaker, income support for people in this Province is really support that is in the nature of the last resort. It is a time when people come to government to look for public assistance because they have no other means with which to support themselves.

In the case of access to other funds, including Canada Pension payments, we require that people draw down on those resources when they are available to them before they can receive full entitlement to other supports to bring them up to a required level. Mr. Speaker, in the case of the Canada Pension Plan entitlements, I realize that when the person reaches sixty-five, they are also able to access the Old Age Supplement or the Guaranteed Income Supplement, and this offsets, for the most part, any loss that they would have by drawing down early.

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

MS S. OSBORNE: Years ago, government stopped putting social assistance recipients through the humiliation of food stamps and gave them cheques so they would have independency to make decisions of their own.

Now, why are you removing from seniors the right to make a decision whether they should take their CPP at age sixty or at age sixty-five?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Human Resources and Employment.

MS BETTNEY: Mr. Speaker, in the nature of providing public assistance, social assistance, a factor that we have to keep in mind is that there is a considerable cost to the public treasury.

At the present time, our allocation for income support is approximately $230 million a year.

Mr. Speaker, in order to even keep our income support budgets at those kinds of figures, we require that people access other avenues of assistance if they are available to them. The Canada Pension funds to which people are entitled at age sixty, fall into this category. We think it is reasonable that people draw down this other money that is available to them before considering what they can access from the provincial government.

As I said before, Mr. Speaker, the key here is that, in terms of the long-term impact on the individual, this is, for the most part, offset when the person reaches age sixty-five. They will have had five years of receiving Canada Pension plan payments to which they are entitled, and at age sixty-five, if they do not have a level of income that exceeds the basic requirements, they are then entitled to the Guaranteed Income Supplement.

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

MS S. OSBORNE: Thank you.

Many senior people who could be fifty-nine-and-a-half and ready to turn sixty and only receiving social assistance for six months - and there are many seniors out there who take their CPP early, even at a reduced rate, so they can invest it. But seniors on social assistance do not have that luxury. They have no money in the bank. So you are forcing them to do with less.

Why are you being so hard-hearted to our seniors, many of whom have spent a lifetime paying into CPP and were probably laid off at the age of fifty-eight or fifty-nine, and are now being robbed of what they paid into and should be earning back?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Human Resources and Employment.

MS BETTNEY: Mr. Speaker, I will repeat again: Social assistance recipients must apply for and receive all other sources of income for which they are eligible, before we determine the nature and the level of support that the provincial government supplies in the form of income support. We apply this in all cases. We think it is a reasonable policy. It helps to keep our finances in terms of the amount of money that we have to spend on income support within the level of affordability on the provincial treasury. Mr. Speaker, I believe that this is a reasonable approach to take in the instance of Canada Pension plan entitlements at age sixty as well.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My questions today are to the Minister of Health and Community Services.

Yesterday I raised the issue of your department allowing medical radiation technologist jobs, basically, to be changed by taking laboratory technologists, cross-training them for a reduced period of time with short clinical experience to be able to do X-ray procedures.

Now, Minister, each time a radiograph is repeated it increases and exposes people to potential ionizing radiation. A radiation technologist would have a sound understanding of the affects of that ionizing radiation. Individuals cross-trained are not going to be covered for liability under the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists, and I believe not covered under the Canadian Society of Laboratory Technologists, which means that responsibility is going to rest with the employer. The potential for hospital boards in this Province to face very large law suits and so on is highly likely, so much so that the radiologists, the experts out there, expressed this concern in writing, I say to the minister.

I ask the minister: Has she considered this factor in allowing cross-trained laboratory technologists to do X-ray work?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Health and Community Services.

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

As I said yesterday - and I think it is important for the member opposite to understand - the question is around the issues concerning multi-training and multi-skilled workers as it relates to this particular role.

I will say again, we do not have a brain surgeon on standby in Bonavista, but we do do brain surgery as it is required in St. John's in the tertiary care centre. Yes, Mr. Speaker, I will agree, that you do increase the uptake of radioisotopes when you increase the number of X-rays that are taken. However, X-rays are ordered by physicians or by nurse practitioners as the need will be dictated through the regulations. Mr. Speaker, these people are doing angiography or very hi-tech types of treatment. We have to remember, and it's important to remember, on one hand this particular individual wants rural Newfoundland to have access to services; on the other hand, he wants skilled practitioners, to the point where they aren't able to maintain the skills they have.

We believe on this side, Mr. Speaker, that for the purposes of primary health care, which is the first contact with the health care system which will allow early diagnosis and prevention, that those particular workers, working within their regulations, can meet their requirements and can provide solid primary health care services to rural Newfoundland.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It scares me, I say, to know that the minister would make a decision showing that she knows so little about this particular aspect in her answer. That is puzzling.

Minister, on October 15 you indicated in writing that officials in your department will be meeting shortly with the Department of Environment and Labour, with the Newfoundland and Labrador Health Care Association, and with the association representing technologists, to discuss this issue.

I ask you, minister: Why, after repeated requests since that time, have you and your department refused to meet with the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Health and Community Services.

MS J.M. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, there has been ongoing work with all of the various health professionals about the whole issue of changing regulations and scope of practice. We deal with it every single day. We, on this side of the House, are focused through projects like our multi-disciplinary health and teaching units, and with providing other types of services, to maintain health care services in Newfoundland. That is our focus.

We have spoken with the boards, we have worked with other practitioners, and, Mr. Speaker, this is not a new concept. This is not something that hasn't existed in this Province before. We have used these services quite effectively. Our goal is to maintain and sustain health care in rural Newfoundland as well as urban Newfoundland, and we stand by those types of decisions.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

You stated in writing, Minister, you would meet with them. I met with them, and your department refused to meet with them.

I have to ask the question to the Minister of Environment and Labour on this topic. Section 10(1) of the Newfoundland Radiation Health and Safety Act states that no person shall use radiation equipment for the irradiation of human subjects unless that person is authorized to do so by the Act of the Legislature. Section 10(2) of that act defines a person who is capable of using radiation equipment.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: I ask the minister: Minister, is it your intention to give graduates of this shortened program in cross-training the same scope to use radiation equipment that you are now providing to full-fledged members of the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists?

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

MR LANGDON: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

We are presently negotiating with that group. They are having a meeting with us over the next few days to address these concerns that we are addressing in consultation with the Department of Health and Community Services.

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

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, my questions are for the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

Minister, the government took responsibility for the Marine Atlantic in Lewisporte some time ago. Can the minister tell the House what process was put in place for the awarding of various contracts for the Lewisporte terminal while under the provincial jurisdiction?

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

There was one primary contract that we went to tender for and that was the provision of services on the coast. If the hon. member is referring to something other than that major contract then I -

MR. J. BYRNE: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. MATTHEWS: Marine Atlantic, Mr. Speaker, terminated their involvement in Lewisporte, December 31. In the interim period we put in place, Mr. Speaker, caretaker capacity to ensure that the facilities, the wharfage, the vessels, the terminal and all the facilities were maintained safely and kept in a condition so that when we got a prime contractor they could take it over without any difficulty. We did that around January 1st, we went to tender in February, we awarded a contract in March and we are now providing a service out of Lewisporte.

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

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that Marine Atlantic were operating it under the responsibility of the provincial government for a year pervious to that. So the question was: What was the process for awarding various contracts while it was under the provincial jurisdiction, even though Marine Atlantic was doing it as a contract to the Province?

Next question: I have been informed that a number of contracts were awarded to the former terminal manager; contracts for security, a contract for snow clearing, a contract for sandblasting of twenty-three containers, without a tender. Can the minister confirm it and if so, explain why that was so?

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would be happy to address those two questions. To the first question, Marine Atlantic continued to operate on behalf of and in the name of the Newfoundland Government from April 1, 1997 until December 31, 1998. They carried on business as though they were the operators themselves within our name and for our benefit. So I think that is straightforward. Any tendering or any purchasing or any procurement they would have done in that period of time, they would have done as they would otherwise have done in pervious years, doing their normal business.

In the second instance, on December 31, we had to put in place -

MR. J. BYRNE: (Inaudible) had nothing to do with it.

MR. MATTHEWS: Well if it has nothing to do with that, what has it got to do with?

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

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

While the Lewisporte terminal was under the jurisdiction of the Province, even though Marine Atlantic was doing it as a subcontract for the Province, can the minister tell us what the process was for disposing of vehicles? Will he confirm that a vehicle, an 1987 Chev Blazer, was transferred on December 12 to the former general manager of the coastal services and transferred twice on the same day? Will he confirm that there was money spent on that vehicle shortly beforehand? Can he tell the House if proper procedure was followed in disposing of that vehicle to the former general manager of coastal services?

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, I don't know whose head is thick, if it is mine or the hon. members. I would be happy to subject myself to measurement if he is happy to offer up his head. We could see whose head is the thickest.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the minister to get to his answer quickly.

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, the Marine Atlantic organization -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. minister to quickly conclude his answer.

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has ended.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: I give the hon. minister a few minutes to complete his answer if he so desires.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave?

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

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave.

PREMIER TOBIN: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier, on a point of order.

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I move that both members quit while they are ahead.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

Notices of Motion

 

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Minister of Health and Community Services.

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

I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Medical Care Insurance Act", and I further give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Medical Act."

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I just want to bring to the attention of the House that Private Members' Day tomorrow will be the private member's resolution submitted by my colleague from Conception Bay South.

 

Petitions

 

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to present a petition from the District 2 School Board area from the community of Williams Harbour -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I wonder if the hon. member could just take her seat for a few minutes.

The Chair ruled yesterday on the process of petitions being presented to the House, and the Chair indicated that members ought to and must, before they present petitions to the House, clear it and have it certified by the Clerk at the Table. It is my understanding that this petition has not been presented to the people at the Table, the Clerk.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: If I could, Mr. Speaker, rather than pushing to have the petition ruling out of order, I wonder if we could have the Table look at this and maybe revert to petitions a little later?

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I was going to suggest, Mr. Speaker: We have some petitions here that we could move in the meantime and then we could come back to the petition of the Member for Cartwright - L'Anse au Clair.

MR. TULK: That is no problem.

MR. SPEAKER: Okay. So if the hon. member could present her petition to the Clerk at the Table, then we will allow her to present her petition if it is in order, after we have heard some other petitions here.

The hon. the Member for Waterford Valley.

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

Today, the Member for Cartwright - L'Anse au Clair and I are working together on some petitions, and I want to present a petition on behalf of the residents of Red Bay. The prayer of the petition, although quite lengthy, I wish to read in its detail. It has been cleared by the Clerk of the House.

It reads: To the honourable House of Assembly in the Province of Newfoundland in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly showeth.

WHEREAS the government through their Small Necessarily Existing School Policy has reduced teacher allocations from 5.81 regular units to 5.50 regular units in Basque Memorial, All Grade School in Red Bay Labrador, suffering a loss of .31 teaching units for a 5 per cent reduction which will result in an increase in triple grading and no variety in senior high school programs; and

WHEREAS this school will have to contribute .70 units of its Small Necessarily Existing School allocations to Distance Education, Special Education, and Guidance Administration thus reducing the number of regular teachers in the classrooms; and

WHEREAS less courses can be offered and Level III courses have to be offered to Level I and Level II students in order to accommodate them; and

WHEREAS almost no one-on-one assistance will occur because of too many grades in one classroom; and

WHEREAS all students from K to XII will be at a disadvantage to become involved in a very competitive society because of lower quality of education for which we have situations in our school compared to that of the 1950s and 1960s; and

WHEREAS we feel that the provincial curriculum is not geared to these types of classroom situations; and

WHEREAS in the House of Assembly, on May 14, 1998, Mr. Grimes, the Minister of Education, stated that there is a guaranteed opportunity for students in Newfoundland and Labrador, whether they are in St. John's, Corner Brook, Gander, St. Anthony or Red Bay, and it is simply this: That having gone through the K to XII system, regardless of where you have completed grade XII, you will have been exposed to enough course offerings that you can meet the post-secondary entrance requirements for any institution in this Province.

WHEREAS this statement, the petition says, is totally false, for we have students graduating from grade XII this year who have been refused entrance to post-secondary schools of their choice because they were not successful in meeting the required course offerings to allow them entrance; and

WHEREAS we feel that you do not fully understand our predicament, and have not been aware of the burdens placed upon the shoulders of our children in their not having the accessibility of attending the courses they need to enter the careers of their choosing; and

WHEREAS Basques Memorial all grade school is not deemed a viable school;

We the undersigned citizens of the town of Red Bay, petition the House of Assembly to direct the government to undo these injustices and increase our number of regular teaching units to seven full regular units, whereby students can receive the quality of education that is desperately needed if they are to graduate and become active members of society.

If by September, 1998 our regular teaching units have not increased to seven, that is 1.5 more regular units than allocated, we guarantee that Basque Memorial all grade school will not open in September, 1998. As citizens of this town we cannot stand by and adhere to this form of abuse to our children. We sincerely hope the government can see our need. We also realize that hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense regardless of how it turns out.

Mr. Speaker, that petition is signed by approximately 150 of the residents of the town of Red Bay, Labrador. We have in the last number of days brought to the attention of the Ministry the difficulties that have been encountered in teacher allocations in this particular school district, District No. 2, of the Great Northern Peninsula and the Coastal Labrador part of the Province.

We know, we have said here before, that this particular district has the highest use of distance education programs of any district in the Province. We also know that there is not one single art program offered in any of the schools in that district. We also know that only two of the schools have any music programs, and that does not include a single school in the Labrador part of the district. We know that physical education courses now have to be offered by regular classroom teachers. Eighty per cent of the classes next year in this school district will be doubled, tripled, or other forms of multi-grade classrooms.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. H. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, with leave to continue, if I could.

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave!

MR. H. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, have it known that the Minister of Education denies leave to the residents of Labrador -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member doesn't have leave. I ask the hon. member to take his seat.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

Is the hon. member speaking to the petition just presented?

MS JONES: Yes I am.

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I want to rise and support the petition that has been presented my colleague representing the people of Red Bay in District 2 school board area. I was up there in the last week, on Thursday, and met with the parents in this community, and heard first-hand what the concerns were regarding their school, the curriculum, the program that would be offered, and how this down sizing in teaching units is going to affect them directly in the classroom.

Mr. Speaker, we had quite a number of people there. They talked about their school and how it has changed over the years. There were people in that room who had gone to school there twenty years ago when the system was being restructured and funds were tight and so on, but they believed they had received a better education within the classroom than their children are going to be receiving in the next year.

Mr. Speaker, I talked to kids in this school who are graduating on Friday, who are going to walk up and get their diploma, who have been refused by institutions in this Province for post-secondary education because they do not have the courses to meet what their entrance requirements are, and that concerns me. It concerns me that we are delivering a graduate high school program whereby a student can apply to a Nautical Science Course at the Marine Institute and be refused because in the community in which he grew up the school could not provide the adequate curriculum for him to be able to enter into that program.

We have students, Mr. Speaker, in this community who have applied to the Coast Guard but have not been accepted because they have not been equipped with the proper courses in order to meet their entrance requirements.

I have to say, that when the small school allocations came into effect we were hopeful that these would increase the number of units and would enhance the program of delivery in the small schools around rural Newfoundland and Labrador. In a lot of cases, Mr. Speaker, they have succeeded in doing that, but there are cases where they have eluded doing that; and this, Mr. Speaker is one of those cases. It is one circumstance, whereby the loss of this partial position is going to impact on the program delivery of all the grades within the school.

Mr. Speaker, I have walked into many classrooms in my district where we have had dual classes, dual grades in a classroom. I have walked into schools where a teacher has had one class in a gymnasium doing phys ed and another class in the classroom doing geography. I can just imagine how unmanageable that most be and the amount of stress and the amount of time that it takes on behalf of the teacher to be able to deliver an adequate program to these children, operating under those circumstance.

Well, what we are going to have now, Mr. Speaker, at Basque Memorial is not dual grading, but triple and quadruple grading. We are not only going to have one class in the gym and one in the classroom and one teacher, we are going to have four and five classes in the one classroom, all doing a different course and the teacher trying to provide what is necessary to equip these kids for post-secondary education.

It cannot be done, and these students are going to be the losers. They are going to come out of rural communities in this Province, they are going to be refused by post-secondary institutions, and they are not going to have the adequate curriculum to be able to make the courses and set the career choices that they want, Mr. Speaker. This is what we have to deal with.

As I said, whereas the allocation may have sufficed to add units to some schools and deliver a better program, it has eluded other schools, and I think these are the schools that we have to work with, Mr. Speaker.

In District 2 there is a unique situation. We have small communities with schools that are totally isolated from one another. That board, Mr. Speaker, has done a remarkable job. They closed eight schools last year, they are closing three schools this year, and they are busing children from one end of the Northern Peninsula to the other, from one end of Labrador to the other, wherever they could possibly do it, Mr. Speaker. They cannot do anymore than what they are doing. They cannot.

We have these kids in schools in communities right now who are leaving at the age of thirteen and fourteen and moving, paying board and getting educated in other communities. We can do no more to provide an adequate education to the children in this part of the district, Mr. Speaker. It is up to the minister, it is up to the department, right now, to see what is happening and to make the increase in allocations to give these schools the additional units that they require-

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. members time is up.

MS JONES: - so that these children do not have to undergo any harder circumstances then what they already are.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I appreciate the opportunity to respond very briefly to the petition that was presented.

Mr. Speaker, there are a couple of things by way of clarification, because no matter how eloquent people try to be in presentation of the petition, and no matter how convicted and convinced that are of the arguments, you cannot make something that is not true, true, just by repeating it with some vehemence and some energy. Mr. Speaker, that is just not what happens.

The fact is this, Mr. Speaker: In no school in Newfoundland and Labrador are there this year, or will there be next year, students who will not meet the entrance requirements to the post-secondary institutions in the Province.

Now, Mr. Speaker, some examples have been given of very specific courses at the Marine Institute which is a part of Memorial University. But every single student in Red Bay who applies for acceptance to Memorial University in general studies can be accepted. If they want to get into a speciality course, Mr. Speaker, at the Marine Institute - I have news for the member opposite who represents parts of Mount Pearl, there are students from Mt. Pearl Central High who did not meet the qualifications of that program because of the courses that they chose during their high school time in Mt. Pearl.

Mr. Speaker, when the people in Red Bay are so sincere in their petition, for it to be twisted and hinged upon a couple of examples, where it applies to the people in the biggest schools in the Province, to suggest that they are not meeting the criteria, it is just not so.

MR. H. HODDER: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

I ask the hon. minister to take his seat.

On a point of order, the hon. the Member for Waterford Valley.

MR. H. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, the point of the petition is that the children of these rural communities do not have the choice. They cannot access the programs that the children of Mt. Pearl, St. John's, or Bishop Fall's can. The minister is factually wrong in what he said.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. member to take his seat. He is not on a point of order. No point of order.

The hon. the Minister of Education.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I will conclude, and I would invite them to send these comments back to the parents in Red Bay as well.

The school in Red Bay for next year, under the Small Necessarily Existent provision, will have enough teaching units for the size of the student population to guarantee, as it did this year, that every student could be accepted into Memorial University, not necessarily into a particular course of study. They could not get directly into the medical school. Maybe they might want to give that example the next time around. You can take a selected specialized course, Mr. Speaker, and show that some student could not get into that course. They can get into Memorial. The only thing that stops any student from getting into university is whether or not they have a 70 per cent pass rate in the courses that they concluded in high school.

Mr. Speaker, the school in Red Bay - because that is the example given in the particular petition - will have an equal number of teachers in total to any school of an equivalent size and equal size anywhere in the Province. We cannot provide extra teachers in Red Bay that we would not put into any other community of the same size with the same student population. The number of teachers in the school does not equate to what is being described in this petition, because I would suggest that some people, maybe even members of the Opposition, have given some misinformation to some of the parents, and that the full information does not pertain to some of the comments made in support of these petitions.

MR. H. HODDER: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

On a point of order, the hon. the Member for Waterford Valley.

MR. H. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, the minister in his comments has, I do believe, breached the rules of procedure in that he has impugned motives to the Member for Cartwright - L'Anse au Clair and to this member in the preparation of petitions.

I want to assure the House that I have had no discussions with the Community Council in Red Bay. They speak to this House out of their concern for their citizens, and it is wrong in Parliament for the minister to impugn motives to any hon. member, including this member of this House.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair did not interpret the hon. member's comment in that light, but we will certainly review Hansard and rule on the point of order raised.

MR. DICKS: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if we might revert to Answers to Questions for which Notice has been Given for a moment.

MR. SPEAKER: Does the hon. minister have leave to revert to Answers to Questions for which Notice has been Given?

MR. TULK: Yes.

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

During Question Period, I indicated to the hon. Leader of the Opposition that we had a letter whereby the offer to which he referred was withdrawn. The letter is from Marble Resorts Inc. It is dated June 12, 1997. I would like to read a couple of paragraphs.

`I was extremely displeased and disappointed to hear the bad news to the effect that the minister and his advisors have decided that it is necessary to recall for public proposals for this project to ensure that any other interested parties may have an opportunity to submit a competitive proposal for the project.

`As I indicated to you on the phone, I have proceeded to review this very surprising turn of events with the other principles of MRI, particularly in view of the fact that we have already responded to your written invitation to submit our proposal to you last week for our Phase I Development Program, which clearly indicates we are not asking government for any funds for the project.

`As a result of all of the above, we have decided to take the following course of action irrespective of the fact that the minister may proceed to public recall for proposals:

`Number One: Marble Resorts will not respond to any recall for proposals for reasons which were explained to you and the minister at our meeting in Steady Brook on April 25, 1997.

`Number Two: Marble Resorts will not in any likelihood proceed otherwise with any of the development described in our current proposal until the development attitude improves to our satisfaction.

`Number Three: Marble Resorts will respond freely and openly to express our disappointment with the lack of response to our proposal. The various members of the media continue to aggressively seek information from us about our development plans.

`Further to all of the above, we hold the strong opinion that there is no justification to circumvent Marble Resort's present willingness and capacity to proceed with the project by publicly recalling for proposal at this point in time. Our belief is based on the fact that MRI clearly was selected by the government through the initial public proposal call last year and moveover has, in the interim, amalgamated its (inaudible) the only other bona fide proponent then participated in last year's proposal call process.

`Irrespective - and this is interesting - of the looming possibility of a public recall of proposals and our willingness and capability to proceed unilaterally with other development plans, we have decided that we must withdraw our proposal which was made to you last week, if we do not receive your positive written response to it before noon, tomorrow, Friday, June 13, 1997.

`We sincerely look forward to receiving your favourable reply.'

That's a letter to which I referred when the proposal was withdrawn.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I would like to table this.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DICKS: I am going to meet with them. They want to discuss it again.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MS JONES: Mr. Speaker, in the minister's comments I had the understanding that he was interpreting what I said as being false information and insinuating that I was lying in the information that I was giving.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A point of order has already been raised on the comments by the hon. Minister of Education. The Chair is taking it under advisement and will rule on that matter later.

MS JONES: Okay. I will await the ruling from you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Bonavista South, on a petition.

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to present a petition to the House of Assembly. The prayer of the petition reads:

To the hon. House of Assembly in legislative session convened, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland;

WHEREAS 1.5 kilometres of the road through the community of Princeton remains unpaved; and

WHEREAS the road is in such terrible condition that vehicles are being damaged, including school buses serving the area; and

WHEREAS the residents of Princeton pay the same cost for services, including gasoline taxes, registration of motor vehicles and drivers licences, as all others in Newfoundland and Labrador;

WHEREFORE your petitioners urge the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to upgrade and pave the two remaining unpaved sections of road through the community of Princeton, and

AS IN DUTY BOUND your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, here is a petition put forward by the residents of Princeton, a small community on Route 235 of approximately 170 residents. This petition is signed by eighty-four residents of that particular community asking the government if they would look at paving the roads through the community.

Mr. Speaker, there are two small sections of roadway there, in total of 1.5 kilometres of road. It has never been paved. They are not asking for their road to be recapped. They are asking that their road be paved. It is the road going by most of the houses in the community, and for some reason the pavement passed by Princeton but did not make the two detours in order to include the two small byroads where most of the residents of this particular community live.

Mr. Speaker, they are not asking that the road be upgraded, all the turns taken out and all the hills to be done away with. All they are asking, is for government to consider paving their roads. It is certainly not a luxury anymore, Mr. Speaker, it is almost a right, I suppose, that we have all come to take for granted, to have a road paved through our community so that we might be able to open our windows in the summertime, so the ladies might be able to hang the clothes on the line, so people might go out and do such simple things as even wax or shine or wash their cars, be able to go out and drive through their community without experiencing the taste of dust and without experiencing a cloud of dust in front of them all the time.

It is not unfair, Mr. Speaker, today to ask that we have a paved road through our community. Some of those dirt roads - we say that we are going to go out and do away with the dust, we are going to solve the dust problem, we are going to spread calcium on the roads and this sort of thing, Mr. Speaker. That makes for an awful mess tracked in over people's floors and over people's floor coverings, and it is certainly not the answer.

Mr. Speaker, what people are asking for is simple. The request is very simple. They are asking if government will consider paving those two local roads. I don't see how they cannot pave it, when you look at the extra cost of sending the grader in excess of 20 kilometres on a regular basis in order to grade the 1.5 kilometres of road through Princeton.

Mr. Speaker, I approached the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation on this particular problem, and he had indicated: You are getting 15 kilometres of pavement this year now and that is all we can do.

That particular section of road that is being paved this year falls under the Roads for Rail Agreement, where that money was specifically directed to be spent on Route 230. It can't be changed and spent through the communities of places like Princeton, Winter Brook and Jamestown. The minister also went on to say: This year we have committed the majority of our funding to pave local gravel roads, not to recap. Well, Mr. Speaker, this petition would certainly fall in that category of thought. It would certainly fall in the category of unpaved roads. People are asking that their road be considered, they are asking that their road be paved, and I support them 100 per cent in their efforts.

It's unfortunate sometimes that residents have to go and circulate petitions in order to bring their plight to the attention of the minister in the House of Assembly. Mr. Speaker, members rise daily to put forward petitions of people's concerns where they have to go draw up prayers of petitions, go door to door and put them in local centres to have people sign them.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. FITZGERALD: I don't think we should have to do that. I think the government, in its wisdom, should attend to the necessary problems, and it should attend to them as soon as possible.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

I rise today in my place to support the petition presented by the Member for Bonavista South on behalf of the people of Princeton, a community, as he said, with some 170 people. Eighty-four people signed the petition. Pretty well 50 per cent of the people in Princeton signed the petition to get their road upgraded.

According to the member, Mr. Speaker, a member who has no problem speaking in this House of Assembly to support the people of his district - no member on this side of the House has any problem standing in their place to support the constituents of their districts in the form of petitions. With respect to the 1.5 kilometres of road needed to be paved, two sections of road that pass by a number of houses in the community, that definitely needs to be done.

The member stated the reasons why the people in the district need it done. We have dust from the cars in the summertime. In wintertime, also, there is a safety issue, I suppose, with ice building up on the roads differently than it does on pavement. The ice builds up and it requires more salt and sand and what have you. It is a safety issue.

Also, Mr. Speaker, with respect to the school buses travelling over these roads, bringing children to school: I am sure any of us living in our communities wouldn't want our roads to be in the condition that the Member for Bonavista South says this road is in. Although I do have to say, in my district there is one section of road, 5 kilometres off the Bauline Line going over towards Portugal Cove, that is a dirt road, that yet needs to be paved, and so close to St. John's. We have been trying to get the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation to put some money into that over the past few years, and I will continue to work towards that end to get that section of road paved. It is long overdue, Mr. Speaker.

With respect to the situation in Princeton, the member mentioned that it is no luxury to ask to have this 1.5 kilometres of road paved. From what I can see the people are not asking for something out of the ordinary or anything like that. Basically, they are asking for equality to other areas in this Province, to have their road paved. It is not a lot to ask for in this day and age, I don't think. People in the community of Princeton would certainly appreciate having that done.

He mentioned in his few words that he has approached the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. I am sure that the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation is hounded by all members of this House of Assembly trying to get roads upgraded, re-done, re-surfaced and what have you in the communities and in the districts throughout the Province. If you look at the overall budget, I suppose, of the Department of Works, Services and Transportation, 1.5 kilometres is not a lot to ask in the overall scheme of things for the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, especially in light of the fact that the member mentioned the Roads for Rail Agreement and some of the work that was done down there. The money came out of the federal pot, is one way to put it, Mr. Speaker.

I certainly support the petition presented by the Member for Bonavista South who, as he always does, is speaking on behalf of his constituents, and I am sure he will continue to do so.

Thank you.

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I want to rise and present a petition from Williams Harbour Integrated School in District 2. It says:

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the government through the Small Necessarily Existing Schools policy has reduced teacher allocations from 1.31 regular teaching units and .50 SMH units to one regular unit and .50 SMH at Williams Harbour Integrated, suffering a loss of .31 teaching units for a 24 per cent reduction which will result in six grades being taught together in one classroom;

WHEREAS the principal will be responsible for teaching all students in all grades for the whole day;

WHEREAS the school will not be able to access any specialized services such as guidance, music, French, et cetera;

WHEREAS the school has a .50 SMH unit, probably making it rather difficult to attract a qualified teacher to this remote island;

WHEREAS the school is struggling to offer the minimum required program and thus students will be drastically disadvantaged;

We the undersigned, petition the House of Assembly to direct the government to undo these injustices and increase our number of regular teaching units, whereby students can receive a more quality education to meet the demands of a competitive and challenging society;

As in duty bound your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, this is one of the four schools in District 2 that has fallen through the cracks in the Small Necessarily Existing School regulations.

The community of Williams Harbour, on the Coast of Labrador, is on a tiny island. The children of this community have been educated to Grade VI and then transferred to other communities to live with family and relatives and so on to continue their education for a number of years. Now today their Grades Kindergarten to VI, the quality of education that they are going to receive, are being put at risk. This is certainly not at all in fairness and equity to the children who are there.

Mr. Speaker, there is one teacher in the school. That teacher is also the principal. The principal of this school is expected to go into a classroom from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with six grades in the classroom, and at the same time do the administration work for the school, organize extracurricular activities for these children so they can be involved in some form of physical activity, drama and so on. They are expected to do all this, and at the same time prepare these children for when they leave Williams Harbour and go into a junior high school program in another community.

Now, Mr. Speaker, that is a big task, and it is a lot of responsibility to place on any one teacher in any one school in our Province. I think it is situations like this that the minister and the Department of Education have to sit down and review individually, look at what the impacts are going to be on these children in the community of Williams Harbour and in other schools in District 2 that are affected similarly, and they have to address this situation, each school individually, as to how they can help and how they can deal with it, Mr. Speaker.

I think the people in this community and the students in this school have fared very well over the years. They have developed a good curriculum for the children who are there, they have built their community around their school, and they took a lot of pride in the calibre of education that was being provided to their children. Now, today, all of that is going to end. Come September, they will all be crammed into one classroom with one teacher with inadequate courses to be able to prepare these children for leaving their community, leaving their school, and going into another program somewhere else.

One would think: What will happen to these children when they go through and finish Grade VI and are transferred to another school in another community to do Grade VII? They take up board and lodging with someone else in that community. They will have to go into a school and sit in a classroom with dozens of other children and be able to hold their own and be able to continue with the program. They have to be prepared, and the crucial years of preparation are these years in their schooling right now.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MS JONES: So how can the department justify putting six grades in a classroom with one teacher and expect them to have adequate education?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MS JONES: I ask the minister to look at situations like this and deal with them adequately.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Waterford Valley.

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

I rise again to support the petition put forward by my colleague on behalf of the students and the parents and the entire community of Williams Harbour.

The Minister of Education should by this time have had his sensitivity increased and his level of awareness become a little more acute to the particular needs of some of the communities in rural Newfoundland. The community of Williams Harbour and its problems have been quite adequately explained by the Member for Cartwright - L'Anse au Clair. I have had discussions with some of the people in Williams Harbour in the last several weeks, and they tell me the situation they are facing now means their children will be more disadvantaged than they were themselves thirty years ago.

Therefore, in rural Newfoundland the quality of education is not getting better. Access to equal opportunities is not improving. In fact, I spent several days in District 2 last week talking to the parent councils, talking to the school principals, talking to the people who came out to the public meeting in St. Anthony where the Minister of Education was invited to be, and where the Minister of Justice as the member was supposed to be, and where the member for the area in Hawkes Bay, the current Minister of Mines and Energy, was supposed to be there as well, none of whom turned up at the meeting.

The people in St. Anthony last week, when we had our meeting, wanted to talk to their Minister of Education. They wanted to talk to their member, who is the Minister of Justice. They wanted to talk to their member, who is also the Minister of Mines and Energy. None of these people bothered to attend the meeting. The message to these people was very loud and clear. It was one that said: Your concerns are not being heard.

The people at that meeting last week representing all of the people in school District 2 raised concerns about the quality of education. They talked about equal access, they talked about equal opportunities. One gentleman got up and said that the quality of education in District 2 would be worse in 1998-1999 than it was in 1960-1961. That certainly was the concern of the parents.

They are talking about the fact that if they are going to attract doctors to work in rural Newfoundland - and one doctor stood in St. Anthony last week and said: If my children have to suffer because I want to practice medicine in St. Anthony, in that area, then I will make a choice, and my children will be the winners. He said: I will not stay and practice medicine in rural Newfoundland if my children cannot have a quality education.

That is what is happening in the rural parts of this Province. That is why more than 100 people turned out in St. Anthony last week to say to their school board, and to the provincial representatives, of which I was the only MHA who turned up at that meeting, to say to the elected people that their concerns needed to be addressed by this House.

District 2 has unique problems and they should be addressed. I know the Minister of Education says he is going to do something about it. He is wishy-washy again, which is not unusual for that minister. He is just hoping that it will all go away and over the summer things will dissipate and disappear and all will be lovely. Mr. Speaker, that is not the case. The children of rural Newfoundland, the children of School District 2, deserve better.

Mr. Speaker, we can expect more petitions to arrive from communities like Williams Harbour, from places like Hawkes Bay, and from all up the shore. I met last week with some parents in Flower's Cove, in the area of River of Ponds and all throughout that particular district. Mr. Speaker, their wish is that their children will have some of the reforms that were talked about when we talked about education reform, implemented in the next school year. What they are seeing instead is a government that is focused on cutbacks. They say, we are going to balance the provincial budget on the backs of the children of this Province and that is ultimately very, very unfair.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

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

 

Orders of the Day

 

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, before moving Orders of the Day I would move that the House not adjourn at 5:00 p.m., but that we recess for supper hour at 6:00 p.m. and come back at 7:00 p.m. I would move that, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that the House do not adjourn at 5:00 p.m.

All those in favour, `aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: Those against?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Nay.

Motion carried.

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, Order No. 2. I would move that the House move itself into Committee of the Whole on Supply.

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

 

Committee of the Whole

 

CHAIR (Penney): Order, please!

Order No. 2, Committee of Supply Estimates.

The hon. the Member for Waterford Valley.

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

I welcome the opportunity to participate again in the Budget Debate. We have heard many speeches in the last number of months, and some of them have been very helpful. I compliment the Minister of Finance for his participation last week when we were doing line by line. It is rare that a Minister of Finance has taken so much time and effort to be so helpful in giving answers. However, Mr. Chairman, we do know as well that overall the performance of this government raises a lot of questions.

Mr. Chairman, throughout the debate we have had questions asked about many issues. As a matter of fact, there is a whole Auditor General's Report that has not been addressed yet by the ministry. The watchdog of the government in Newfoundland since Clyde Wells decided that we did not need an ombudsman, has to be the Auditor General. Glancing through the Auditor General's Report, we note that there are many, many places here where there are questions relative to the management of finances of this Province that have not been addressed by the government. Questions that were asked by members of this House and the Official Opposition have not been answered by the ministry.

Mr. Chairman, we do know that there are problems in many parts of this Province. Today in Question Period we made note of the problems in Education and the problems of equal opportunity and equal access as they apply to schools in rural Newfoundland. There were some questions as well in the Auditor General's Report relative to the transfer of assets from the twenty-seven school boards to the ten school boards, and the Minister of Education has not yet to date given adequate answers to these particular problems.

We had hoped during the Budget Debate the minister would stand in his place and apprise the House of what happened to all the assets of the twenty-seven school boards. Where the Auditor General draws reference to the fact that some of the money needs further explaining, we thought perhaps during the Budget Debate the Minister of Education would stand in his place and make sure the public of this Province were well informed of where the $160,000 - it says: The amount in excess of the approved levels totals approximately $160,000. I have not seen the Minister of Education stand in his place and give explanations that would satisfy this House, or satisfy the comments made by the Auditor General in her statements that were tabled in the House for the year ending March 31, 1997.

We also wanted to draw some reference to the fact that there were some considerable overpayments made to the directors. We know there are ten directors and thirty assistant directors in the ten new school boards. The Auditor General in her comments said: Establishing the minimum salary a director or assistant director could be paid, the department requested employees to complete a form indicating their current annual salary levels.

The Auditor General continues: We assessed the accuracy of twelve of the forty salary submissions, and our review indicates that five of the twelve salary submissions included one-time bonuses, bonuses not actually paid, inflated bonuses, and one-time vacation payments as part of their annual salary. The department's annual funding for administrative salaries for five of the twelve school board executive positions therefore overstated by approximately $26,000. That was only on an examination of twelve of the forty salary submissions, and five of the total presentations of the twelve that came in from the various school boards. In that there was found to be an overstatement in the amount of $26,000.

The Minister of Education should have, by this time, since he has had ample opportunity, had a thorough investigation. He did say, when this matter came to public knowledge, that he would carry out an investigation and that he would be tabling the result of that investigation in the public forum of the House of Assembly. However, to date we have not had the benefit of that particular presentation made to the hon. members.

We are asking the Minister of Education when he will conclude his investigation as to what overpayments may have been made to the directors of education during the transfer period from twenty-seven to ten school boards. Since the Auditor General only examined a sample of the positions, what was the conclusion? We know that in the ones the Auditor General examined there was an error of overpayment by $26,000. Was the total $40,000, or was it less than $50,000? How much did, really, the transfer cost by way of overpayments to the directors or the thirty assistant directors?

Also, there were issues surrounding the annual leave that former superintendents claimed for compensation purposes. The Auditor General raised some questions on that as well. Therefore, there are some real issues we have to seek answers on, and there also were some detailed commentaries made on various school boards as well.

We had also asked some questions in this House relative to the way in which the Memorial University books are audited. As a matter of fact, I do believe the Member for Cape St. Francis one day asked questions in the House to the Minister of Education as to why the University is not subject to the requirements of the Auditor General's act. We have not had answers to that during the Budget debate, Mr. Chairman. So we are saying to the hon. the Minister of Education that Memorial University spends $100 million of the taxpayers' money in this Province. During this Budget debate we have had zero input from the government as to where the $100 million was spent. We just have a blanket allocation in the Budget of the total amount paid to Memorial University, approximately $100 million. We asked questions on it here and we asked questions through the Auditor General and her division and we are told that when she goes to the university that the door is shut, that she is not allowed to ask direct questions of how the money was expended. The university, of course, claims that any questions on their finance just happen to be an infringement of their academic freedom.

Mr. Chairman, we know that is a lot of nonsense. But there was an act passed by the Well's government that meant that the university could operate without having to be answerable to the Auditor General and could not be brought before the Bar of the House for direct questioning.

Mr. Chairman, that is not what happens in other Provinces of this country and it certainly should not happen in this Province. I can assure all hon. members that one of the polices that will be brought forward by this side of the House, when we can get a chance to ask the people for their commentary, in the not to distance future, is that we will be espousing two things. One would be that we will have a Ombudsman appointed for this Province and secondly that we will be requiring the whole expenditure associated with Memorial University, to be accountable to the Auditor General.

Mr. Chairman, throughout the Budget debate as well we have had some discussions directed toward the issues as wide ranging as the trips that were taken by the Premier. Mr. Chairman, someone asked me today, in fact, downstairs in the cafeteria, the question was asked was: Is anybody trying to get information relative to how much the Premier spends on his travel budget. It was a case of where the person asking the question, who just happens to be an employee of the Provincial Government, said: You should try to find out additional information.

Mr. Chairman, the travel budget of the Premier has to be one of the highest since Joey Smallwood, who, of course, was well travelled, all at taxpayers' expense. Mr. Chairman, even the media are beginning to question now some of the travel itinerary of the Premier and the fact that he rarely is where he should be, which is here in this Province.

Mr. Chairman, we also had comments during the Budget debate on all the polling that has been done, the $59,000 spent on polls over the last while; the poll that the Minister of Fisheries had done to determine whether he would support the people on TAGS or not.

 

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. H. HODDER: By leave, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: Order, please!

Does the hon. member have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave.

CHAIR: The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I was really enlightened by the speech of my colleague for Waterford Valley and I would be delighted to hear him continue here, Mr. Chairman.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for Waterford Valley.

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

I want to thank my good colleague for Ferryland for facilitating the efficient use of the parliamentary rules that say, that when we have a Budget debate, we go ten and ten. It only requires one interrupting speaker for the procedure to start all over again. Mr. Chairman, that is the beautiful thing about parliamentary rules.

Mr. Chairman, I was saying before I was interrupted by the Chairman, carrying out the rules of the House, as he is supposed to do, I was talking about the travel of the Premier. More and more and more people of this Province are saying: What is going on?

Yesterday, we had the minister announce that they are going to change the Child Tax Credit. That certainly gave people in this Province great encouragement. I remember the current Minister of Health standing in her place day after day and denying that the Child Tax Credit was going to adversely affect those people who were dependent on social services benefits. I remember the current minister standing in her place and saying: No person will be receiving less money than they did before, and denying that there would be any adverse effect on those people who were the poorest of the poor.

Mr. Chairman, I am pleased, when I see the government has finally recognized that we should be giving help to people who are the working poor in this Province, but that it should never be financed by the very poorest of the poor families in this Province.

Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to say, after all the denial, after all the statements made by the current Minister of Health - she stood in her place day after day after day and said: No, no, no. That they were not going to change the rules relative to the Child Tax Benefit. But, Mr. Chairman, we know now that there are some people in the back-benches of the Liberal Caucus who have a conscience. We know they could not be in the Cabinet because, if they were in the Cabinet, changes would have been made a long time ago. They would never have occurred initially.

So, the people of conscience had to be people in the caucus who put extreme pressure on the Cabinet to change its mind. I would say, that the truth is there would have been a caucus revolt if there had not been changes made to the Child Tax Benefit.

Mr. Chairman, that was the real problem. I talked to hon. colleagues in the back benches and I know how they felt about the Child Tax Benefit. I know how they felt about the hard-nosed approach by the current Minister of Health and I know what the response was to other comments made by hon. members.

Mr. Chairman, I am glad that people in the back benches of the Liberal Caucus still have the power to say to the Cabinet: You have to have a conscience. You cannot introduce projects and work initiatives for the working poor and have it paid for by the very poorest of people in this Province. I am glad to say that what happened yesterday shows that the back benches of the Liberal Caucus told the Cabinet: If you do not change that, you are not fair to the very poorest of people. There would have been a revolt. We know that there would have been a revolt.

We know, on this side, that it would have gone back to the Cabinet meeting or Caucus meeting that Clyde Wells had, when the voices were shouting and there was almost a revolt at that time, in the Fall of 1995.

Mr. Chairman, I can tell you now, that we are happy to give credit to the back-benchers of that Caucus who put pressure on the Cabinet ministers and taught them a lesson in consciousness and fairness, and showed them what it was like to really feel for, and respond to, the needs of the ordinary poorest person in this Province.

Yesterday, when the minister stood in her place, we were, on this side, delighted. I want to give credit to the great job done by the critic in our caucus. The Member for St. John's West has been calling into the open line show, she has been giving press releases, she has spoken on petitions and has presented a private member's resolution. She has been here as well speaking in debate and one persistent theme she has had is that, we have to be fair to the very poorest of the people in this Province.

This claw back that is connected to the Child Tax Benefit was so unfair - yesterday was a triumph for her, in particular, because she has been the advocate. Also, by the way, it was a triumph for people like George Baker, who has been speaking out on this issue as well, Mr. Chairman. I am glad that the people in the back benches of the Liberal Caucus finally convinced the Cabinet that they had to take measures or they had to suffer a revolt. Mr. Chairman, I believe that the people in the back benches over there knew that this particular policy was so unpopular in their constituency households that they would have great difficulty trying to market this particular program for the sake of $10 million, which might sound like a lot to ordinary folks but in terms of total budget dollars, when we have nearly $3 billion, that is not much.

That was what we would have taken from the very poorest of people, a lot to an individual, not much in terms of the total budget, but would have a tremendous impact in the households of this Province, and would have helped young families to get on their feet, helped them to put food on their tables and helped them get their kids ready to go to school, probably making sure that there is a lunch in some child's book bag that would not ordinarily have been there.

Mr. Chairman, that is an initiative that we applaud. Government sometimes does things that are right, and yesterday, after much convincing, after months and months of ultra right-wing Liberalism, they decided that they would show a little bit of Progressive policy - Progressive policy was working - and finally they came to their senses and abandoned their right-wing Liberalism and listened to the back-benchers. They were able to forego a caucus revolt. It all worked for them.

Mr. Chairman, with these few comments, I want to conclude my introductory comments this afternoon. I am sure before the long day that we anticipate will occur has expired, I will get a chance to get back again and continue my commentary relative to this particular Budget and some of the good things in it, some of the bad things that are there, and where the government deserves to be commended, like the back-benchers of the Liberal Caucus, what they did to the Cabinet forcing them to change their minds. We will commend the back-benchers as I also have commended members of this caucus, especially the Member for St. John's West who led the charge on this side and deserves a great deal of credit in having that particular policy changed and amended.

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Chairman, I sat here today for as long as I could and listened to the hon. Member for - Waterford Kenmount?

AN HON. MEMBER: No, boy. You don't even know the name of the district.

CHAIR: Order, please!

It is Waterford Valley.

MR. EFFORD: Waterford Valley. It goes to show you how boring he is that we do not even know where he is from. He stood there in his place for about twenty minutes and kept talking about the change in policy, one change in policy, and he repeated it over and over and over again. He never talked about all the good things that are happening in the Province today, but for twenty minutes he stood to his feet in total negativity.

That is the reason why he is sitting in the place he is in today, not now the Opposition House Leader that he was in the past, moved over to the third row; two people sitting all alone over there. He then stands to his feet and tries to impress his Leader that he is -

MR. SULLIVAN: You have sat back further than that, I say, before.

MR. EFFORD: Oh, no doubt, but at least I came forward. I am still not sitting in the third seat.

Mr. Chairman, I spoke to a group of students at 10:30 this morning at Ascension Collegiate in Bay Roberts on the future opportunities in Newfoundland and Labrador. The one thing that I talked to the kids about this morning is attitude in Newfoundland. If we have one thing going against us it is attitude, the negative attitude that is being displayed and being talked about, like we are talking about in the House of Assembly, through the news media and around the kitchen table. Wherever a group of people are talking, it is negative. People don't appreciate and look at the advantages and the opportunities, what we have in this Province of ours. If we keep on brainwashing our young people into feeling the negativity that is being displayed by members opposite and other people around the Province, nothing is ever going to change in this Province.

I keep hearing people say: We don't have opportunities here in this Province. We don't have resources here in this Province. We don't have jobs here in this Province. Well it is not the government's responsibility to be creating jobs. Regardless of the political nature, it is no government's responsibility to go out there and start up industries. In fact, history has proven that every time governments have been involved in industry it has been a losing proposition.

So the way to turn it around is to get out of private industry and let private industry develop the opportunities and create the jobs. But we don't have the confidence. The average Newfoundlander does not have the confidence in the resources available and does not see the depth of the resource available to look at the opportunities and develop a bright future, and it is because of negative -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) lack of confidence.

MR. EFFORD: That is one of the problems, lack of confidence. How can you not lack confidence when every time you hear someone speak opposite, every time you turn on a news clip on television, it is negative, negative, negative? Nothing will ever change while we keep talking negative.

`If you go and speak to a group of high school students, no matter where they are around the Province, you will get the same story: What have I got to live in Newfoundland for? I have to get educated and I have to move out of Newfoundland.' Mr. Chairman, that could not be further from the truth. If we, in this Province, believed in the resources we have in this Province, looked at the opportunities, and if the business communities start developing the opportunities there would be no reason for people to be so dismal and so negative in their views about the future of this Province.

Look at the forest industry in this Province, look at the mining industry, look at the aquaculture industry, look at the oil industry, look at the fishing industry: All of those industries are the envy of a lot of provinces in Canada.

I often compare the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador to a small country like Iceland. The main resource they have in Iceland is the fishery. What do they do in Iceland? They bring people in from other counties to work in the fishing industry. They don't have enough people in Iceland to work in the fishing industry. It is almost a carbon copy of Newfoundland as far as the marine resource but we have all of the other resources. We have the forest industry, the agriculture industry, the mining industry, the oil industry, along with our fishing industry.

Mr. Chairman, there are opportunities in this Province to develop in the fishing industry if we have a vision, if we have an imagination, if we start exploring the world needs and the world demands, looking at the world technology, looking at the world opportunities. There is more to fishing in this Province than catching fish and processing or filleting fish on a line.

Even today, with an export value of $575 million in 1997, the average Newfoundlander thinks there are no fish. Five hundred-and-seventy-five million dollars worth of export value and the average individual in this Province today thinks there is no fishing taking place. How do you educate the people in this Province? How do you get the information out there that the fishing industry is not gone? In fact, the fishing industry is better today than it ever was in the history of the Province. Why? For the first time in the history of this Province, and I should say since Confederation, we are exporting $575 million worth of fish with not one dollar of government or taxpayers' money, either federally or provincially.

In the last two years there have been absolutely no subsidies, in any form whatsoever, go into the primary processing or the primary harvesting of any species of fish in this Province. People said that it could not work. People said: If you don't give the money to the industry the industry will collapse. I said the opposite: If you take the subsidies away, if you take the grants away, if you take loans away that government gave in the past, it would become stronger than it ever was. I was right, Mr. Chairman. Today the fishing industry is on a road to success. It is on a road to building, growing, year by year. As I said last year, $575 million. With the increase in the shrimp quota this year given to the inshore fishermen of this Province, I will say now, depending on the market price of the species sold, that this year, 1998, we will exceed an export value of $600 million.

In 1997 we employed 21,000 people in the fishing industry. In 1998, according to the increase in quotas of the shrimp fishery, that should exceed 23,000 or probably 24,000 people. Mr. Chairman, that is not an industry that is dead. That is an industry that is alive and well and sustainable to the people in the communities where those opportunities are, where the harvesting and the processing take place.

What else did we do in the fishing industry? We said, as a government, that we are not going to allow any more product to go out of this Province unprocessed to be further processed in some other part of the world. As a result of that, Mr. Chairman, for the first time in 500 years - harvesting fish and hunting seals. 1998 is the first time in the history of this Province that we are now canning seal pelts. What did we do for all of the history of the Province? We hunted the seal, we pelted it, we took it and put in a container and shipped it to some other part of the world where the jobs were created. Now, today, we have two tannery operations in this Province and a third one coming next year.

What did we do with the male caplin? For all of the years we have had a caplin fishery in this Province, since the early 1960s, we took the caplin out of the ocean and separated the males from the females. We shipped the females to some other part of the world to be processed, and we dumped the males back into the ocean to let them rot on the bottom and to let the other species of fish eat them.

We changed that policy, Mr. Chairman.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who?

MR. EFFORD: We, as a government. We - you and I - changed that policy and said: No more dumping of male caplin. Utilize it, use it. Today, in 1998, there will not be one male caplin dumped as waste into the ocean, not one caplin. The 20,000 tonne that was dumped annually will now be used for zoo food, for fish meal, and for human consumption. It is one of the highest protein species of fish in the world, the male caplin.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. the member's time is up.

The hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: I am trying to enlighten your member on something here. If you spent more time over here maybe you would learn something.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible). You are back on to the Chair.

MR. FITZGERALD: The Chair is back on to me, I say to the member.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I stand here today to add a few comments to the Budget Debate. What topic are we discussing?

MR. J. BYRNE: Executive Council.

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Chairman, it is all very well for the minister to get up and say that you should not be negative; you should speak positively. You are carrying forward a message that nobody believes. We are belittling everybody, where everything that is happening is negative, there is nobody leaving this Province, everything is great out there.

Mr. Chairman, it is one thing to speak the truth and it is another thing to speak negatively towards things. When I talk to people, I put the best foot forward and tell people what opportunities are out there. I speak at functions. Mr. Chairman, there is nothing worse, I suppose, than a negative-minded person.

MR. LUSH: The member does a good job. (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: The Member for Terra Nova has heard me speak, and when I do it is always a positive message that I put forward and let people know what is out there. Mr. Chairman, it is a job to speak positively about negative things.

Before I continue, I have to compliment the Member for St. John's West in the efforts that she put forward. I have to compliment the member in her tireless effort that she brought forward in seeing something to be changed. Whether it was negative or positive, it was changed, and it was changed because it needed to be changed. I have a funny feeling that the people on the opposite side, when they got the Premier's ear, when they got the Cabinet members' ears, they had whispered the same message because they were hearing it, Mr. Chairman.

I have to tell you a story. The member today - should be a minister - asked questions about the Canada Pension claw-back, if you would, whereby people now are forced to apply for Canada Pension at age sixty, even though they may be on social services temporarily. It might be the first time, the only time, and the only six months, that an individual would apply for social assistance because they may find themselves in a position in life that is totally unfamiliar to them. Because they find themselves in that position, social services today say that you must now apply for your Canada Pension because you are sixty years old.

Mr. Chairman, one of the stipulations in applying for Canada Pension is that you should have a drastic reduction in your income. Your income has to be substantially decreased, number one. Number two, Mr. Chairman, is that you must have some idea that you are going to retire.

For people on social services, or somebody finding themselves in that situation, neither one of those questions can be truthfully answered yes. Today they may find themselves on social assistance and their income would be substantially reduced, that is true, but who is to say what happens tomorrow? I am certain that most of those people are out actively looking for work. They find themselves probably very temporarily in this situation where they have to go and access the public purse in order to support their families.

As far as the individual retiring, I am certain that is not their intention, to spend the next five years with such a meagre amount of income and wait until they are sixty-five. They will not be living in any lap of luxury when the ripe old age of sixty-five rolls around, with the amount of money they are getting, especially when you see what the amount of money that one single old age pensioner can receive to look after a household.

Two senior citizens will not do too bad. Two senior citizens get their basic old age assistance. They will probably get their supplement, if they are not getting Canada Pension, or they may get a Canada Pension cheque as well. They are not doing too bad, I say to people opposite. They can maintain their household, pay their bills, and probably drive a decent car.

When you see one senior today trying to live in their own household, to maintain the bills and the commitments they have to make in order to keep their home and buy food, I can guarantee you that they are not living in any lap of luxury. They are not living and getting the necessities they need.

In fact, it is not uncommon today to see senior citizens having to go to food banks in order to get food to put on the table. That is disgraceful. We are certainly not looking after our seniors in as compassionate a way as we should.

Mr. Chairman, I can take the department of social services claw-back one step further. I think of the claw-back that happens when somebody who is unfortunate enough to find themselves on social assistance, through no fault of their own, gets an income tax return. In some cases when people are fortunate enough to have a job, they show the designation as being single. They show their marital status, and then they show that they want to claim as a single person with no dependents, even though they may have dependents. It is all done in a way where they might get a few dollars back at the end of the year in order to buy something extra.

My thoughts go back to a telephone call I got last year. It was around this time, probably a couple of weeks earlier than this, when I got a call from this lady from my district and she was very, very distraught. After chatting with her, she was telling me that her son was graduating with his Grade XII class, a group of people with whom he went to school for the past thirteen years and she got her income tax back. She was fortunate enough to have had a job during that year and she got her income tax back. I think it was $200-and-some odd but less than $300. That lady took the $250 and went out and bought her son a suit of clothes, and a shirt and tie. She did not go out and buy a $500 suit. She bought a suit of clothes, and a shirt and tie for her son who was going to graduate, for him to attend his graduation. That is what she did.

She called me, Mr. Chairman. The graduation was the following week, and she said: Do you know what I found out today? The department of social services called today and they are going to take that $250-something off my cheque. Do you know what that lady had to do? She had to carry back the suit of clothes, she had to carry back the shirt, and she carried back the tie, and denied her son the opportunity to attend his graduation. Now, if that is not shameful, what is? How do you speak positively about that? How do you get up here today and talk about all the wonderful things that are happening?

MR. SULLIVAN: They are not facing reality.

MR. FITZGERALD: You are not facing reality is right, I say to the hon. the Opposition House Leader. Mr. Chairman, that is what is happening out there. It is shameful. Here was this lady who went to work, paid her income tax as a single individual, got a refund, did not waste the money. She did not take the money and go out playing the slot machines. She did not take it to go and play bingo. She went out, Mr. Chairman, and bought her son some clothes so he could attend his graduation with his fellow students with whom he had gone to school for thirteen years, and the uncaring department of social services said: Now we are going to take that money from you even though you made it, you paid taxes on your income while you were working, but now you have an income and we are going to take it back.

Mr. Chairman, I fully agree that people out there today, if they have the wherewithal to support themselves and be able to buy a new car, buy new clothes, a $500 suit or a $600 coat or what have you, no, they should not be going to the department of social services and accessing public money. When people are out there today struggling, and if they get a small cheque from income tax that they paid in, and they want to go and pay a bill or buy something of necessity, then the least we can do is to try to help them along the way. Because for the most part, the people who receive this small income use it to either pay a bill or to catch up on their hydro bill, or to buy something extra that they ordinarily cannot have or ordinarily cannot put on the table. That is what is happening out there today and it is shameful, Mr. Chairman.

You heard when the Minister of Finance delivered his Budget... Before I move off social services I will end it, I suppose, by saying this: The people who are out there abusing the system -

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave.

MR. FITZGERALD: Just a couple of minutes, Mr. Chairman, and I will carry on again.

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for Bonavista South, by leave.

MR. FITZGERALD: The people out there today who are abusing the system should be dealt with. I have no problem with that. If you have somebody today who is getting a government pay cheque and it is being abused, I have no problem with those people being dealt with, and whatever we have to do in order to bring justice about should be done. I think we have to be careful when we have children involved.

The other thing before I leave, another policy, since the Minister of Human Resources and Employment is here, is that I cannot understand when a social worker or somebody working within the department brings about a decision whereby they assume or presume that somebody is not abiding by the rules and regulations. As soon as that happens, the individual is taken off government funding and told they have a right to appeal. Before they are proven guilty by the appeals board, the Department of Human Resources and Employment assumes they are guilty right from the very beginning. They take away their funding and say: We will now await the decision of the appeals board. So you are guilty until proven innocent.

Those are just a couple of points that I want to bring forward. I have more that I will touch on later. Since my time is up, I will pass to another member on this side of the House to continue debate. I understand we are here until 10:00 tonight. I am sure we will have lots of time.

AN HON. MEMBER: Nine sixteen.

MR. FITZGERALD: Nine sixteen. We will have lots of time to bring forward our concerns and suggestions.

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

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Chairman, I say to the Member for Bellevue, we cannot vote now because of the Government House Leader. He can ask him why. He will explain to you why we will have to go on and use our seventy-five hours on the Budget. He understands, I expect, so that is why we are here. We are going to have our full seventy-five hours on the Budget, I say to the Government House Leader, no problems at all this year. Think about it now, use your head.

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

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. the Government House Leader on a point of order.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible). I just wanted to know if he had a question, because if he had a question I would provide him with the answer.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TULK: We know what he is supposed to do with his head.

CHAIR: There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Chairman, there is no point of order, as usual. I have yet to see the Government House Leader get in his place and have a legitimate point of order. I did not ask the Government House Leader a question. I made a statement. He should be paying attention. If I asked a question he would know what the question is, no doubt there. I have to say, he is quite different from the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. He would understand the question. The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation cannot understand a good simple question.

Anyway, with respect to this Budget, I have to say I am so proud today to stand in my place and say a few words with respect to the Budget. What I have to get into is what went on in this House of Assembly yesterday when the Minister of Human Resources and Employment stood in her place and said that the Member for St. John's West was right all along.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: On the what? Can compliment you on what? Yes, right. What a mouth. It has been proven here numerous times when the Minister of Education stands in his place to answer a question, a nice pair of glasses on over there now, Mr. Chairman, that he rambles on. There is no point in telling the Minister of Education anything in confidence because his mouth is too big. He has to go and blab it all over the place.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: That is what the Member for Bellevue is getting on with now and I deny anything he tells you.

AN HON. MEMBER: She called me.

MR. J. BYRNE: Yes, right. She does not even know who you are. She would not know you if you walked down the street, I say to the Member for Bellevue.

Mr. Chairman, the Minister of Human Resources and Employment stood in her place yesterday and said the Member for St. John's West was right all along with respect to the National Child Benefit. The Member for St. John's West has been presenting petitions in this House of Assembly trying to have that changed. She brought in a private member's resolution to ask to have that changed, that the government would not proceed with what was in their Budget that was brought down in March, that they would claw back the benefit that was being passed on to the people on social assistance. She was asking that the government not go ahead and make those changes to claw back the National Child Benefit.

It was voted down by the government side of the House. The private member's resolution was refused, turned down, no. Here we are a few short weeks after and what do we have? The government coming now and saying that they have a heart and that they are now not going to go ahead with what was planned in the Budget. The Member for St. John's West has to take credit for that, and members on this side of the House who fought hard to make government change their view.

I would say one of the factors that made them change their view on that matter, Mr. Chairman, is that they must have done a poll because we all know that this administration governs by polls.

MR. MATTHEWS: That's not so.

MR. J. BYRNE: Now, the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation says that's not so. They spent $69,000 last year on polls, Mr. Chairman. When they were looking at the shops opening on Sundays, Mr. Chairman, they had a poll done. They went ahead and did that, Mr. Chairman. A couple of years prior to that, when the former Premier was here, they spent $3,000 or $4,000 on polls. Last year they spent $69,000, I think. I stand to be corrected there, but around $69,000 on polls. And the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation has the audacity to say that they don't govern by polls. Now, Mr. Chairman, we all know differently, especially people on this side of the House. We all know differently.

MR. MATTHEWS: Good government policy.

MR. J. BYRNE: Yes. The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation is living in a false world, Mr. Chairman. He talks about good government policy. That is why they changed. Unreal, Mr. Chairman, what they believe. I don't know what planet they are living on, Mr. Chairman. I really don't know.

Anyway, Mr. Chairman, the Minister of Health and Community Services stood in her place the other day and held up a picture of The Future is in Our Hands with respect to the cover of the Estimates. She said: Here it is, The Future is in Our Hands. She feels that a picture on the cover of a book is going to make all the difference in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Well, I have to say, Mr. Chairman, it takes a bit more than that. It takes a bit more planning, Mr. Chairman.

The Member for Ferryland, the Opposition House Leader, gets up and asks questions almost daily of the minister, trying to get answers, trying to get policies changed, Mr. Chairman, but he can't get them.

MR. SULLIVAN: Oh, I got a policy change though. Practice she said, but it was a policy change.

MR. J. BYRNE: Policy change.

Mr. Chairman, a few weeks ago in this House of Assembly I asked questions regarding certain drugs to be paid for by the government, in the health care corporation or what have you, new drugs that are there to help people with MS. The minister basically made statements that they were untried drugs and we can't get into that, whereas I understand it to be that 80 per cent of the provinces now are paying for these drugs, Mr. Chairman.

MR. SULLIVAN: And 80 per cent of the people in the country have access to it.

MR. J. BYRNE: Eighty per cent of the people in the country that have MS have access to these drugs that I mentioned in the House of Assembly the other day. Here this past week, last week, it was MS week and we had a private members' resolution put forward by the Member for Ferryland, Mr. Chairman, and it was adopted on the spot, that the Province -

MR. SULLIVAN: The minister was away at the time.

MR. J. BYRNE: Oh, the minister was away at that time, the Minister of Health and Community Services. She was not in the House at the time, Mr. Chairman. There was a private members' resolution put forward, adopted wholeheartedly by both sides of the House, on the agreement by the Premier the government would do whatever was in their power to make sure that people with MS had access to these drugs. Rebit is one (inaudible) and Beta Sorosis - I think that's the pronunciation.

We had a private members' resolution put forward here last week, adopted by both sides of the House, so I would expect, Mr. Chairman, that government now would move towards trying to include, on the list of drugs that are being paid for by government, these three drugs, to have these drugs paid for by the government, so that people with MS will not face what they have to face now. These drugs are supposed to help relieve the pain and the suffering, Mr. Chairman, that these people go through, these people that are unfortunate enough to have this horrible disease. Hopefully government can do something about it.

Wth respect to the Budget itself, Mr. Chairman, I have stood in my place a number of times since we started debating the Budget and made a number of good, legitimate, solid points that this government is trying to act upon, Mr. Chairman. But we have so many questions, it just baffles the mind over there. I know it is not really hard to baffle the mind on that side of the House because we had a prime example of that today.

When we asked the minister over there a question - one of the worse, Mr. Chairman, for getting baffled, not understanding questions, I have to say, is the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. He showed a prime example here today and he attacked me, Mr. Chairman, he attacked me. He didn't know the answer. He didn't understand the question. So when you don't have an answer, what do you? You attack the person who is asking the question. We saw that today. Sad to see something like that happen in this hon. House of Assembly, but it happened, I would say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. We can tolerate it over here, we will live with it. We are people here, we have big shoulders, no problem there.

Back to the highlights of the Budget. Again, there is so much in this Budget. I have to say, one here is: No new layoffs are anticipated, with respect to the Budget. What does that mean? I remember at least four years ago bringing up, in this House of Assembly, the morale -

CHAIR (Oldford): Order, please!

MR. J. BYRNE: By leave?

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

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

CHAIR: Does the member have leave?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave!

CHAIR: By leave.

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

I remember bringing up, in this House of Assembly, at least four years ago the morale in the civil service at that time, and how the people were losing their jobs right, left and centre, cuts upon cuts. I remember the Premier getting elected two years ago saying there would be no more cuts in the civil service. He wasn't in the door and we saw thousands of people being laid off. We saw 2,000 people, I believe, laid off the following year, in 1996-1997.

Recently the Member for Conception Bay South asked the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs a question with respect to Newfoundland and Labrador Housing, what is changing over there, what is coming down the tubes, and would there be lay-offs. He honestly couldn't say if there would or wouldn't be lay-offs, or what was going to happen. Then again, Mr. Chairman, it goes back to the morale. We don't know.

In the Budget it says, no new lay-offs this year. We now are facing the possibility of lay-offs. That is only in one area of government. We have to look at that and ask questions on that.

The highlights of the Budget say: "Government has consulted with the people and is making investments in education, health care, and the reform of our social programs." Mr. Chairman, again I have to make this point. The government talks about consulting with the people to put together the Budget. If you are realistic, and I think we are on this side of the House, if we have a government going out two weeks before the Budget is printed, are they genuinely concerned about what the people have to say in the Province? What the people had to say during those consultation meetings, was it really integrated into the Budget, or was it basically just a front to say: We consulted and this is what we ended up with, and this is what is going to be in the Budget? Was it a done deal before they went out? That is a question I asked before, but never got an answer, Mr. Chairman, as usual.

It says: "Health Care - Continues to be Our First Priority." I hope so. I would say it should be. I would say the polls the government have done all the time, that they are spending a fortune on, are showing them that health care should be their first priority. People in this Province of Newfoundland and Labrador have become accustomed to good health care in the Province.

I have been in the health care system myself on a number of occasions. The staff, the people working at the hospitals, you couldn't get any better; very professional, very caring.

The problem is, Mr. Chairman, the amount of money that needs to be spent and the cutbacks that have come down from the federal government in the social transfer payments to the provinces. The transfer payments that didn't come to the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, that is where the problem lies, a major portion of the problem. We haven't seen this Administration standing up to be counted and taking on the federal government.

What I think may happen - and time will tell if this will actually happen - from my perspective, is what you will see in the near future this Administration edging towards taking on the federal government and trying to make them the enemy for an upcoming election. That may be the angle this government may take. Have the common foe to try to get the support that way.

That is a false reason, Mr. Chairman, to take on the federal government. They should take them on for legitimate reasons, and the reasons are, of course, the cuts to this Province. We have seen it in the EI program over the years. As a matter of fact, I have been led to believe that the amount of money that was put into the TAGS program over the years is the same amount of money that was taken out of the ER program. So, in actual fact, they robbed Peter to pay Paul. What did they really give us? Not a lot over and above what they should have, when it was the responsibility of the federal government to manage the fishery in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The very reason why we settled here, Mr. Chairman, 500 years ago - we had our 500 years celebration last year, with all kinds hoopla to get ready for it, then we had it and it was gone; 500 years, the reason why we settled here. We had the federal government taking on that responsibility in 1949 when we formed Confederation, and what did they do? They blew it for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. There is a group of people up there that are in government now, wondering if they should do anything for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Chairman, it is not a question, it is now a duty of the federal government to live up to their responsibilities, to put something in place, because they were the people who caused the problem in the first place; to give away our fishery left, right and center, to give away set quotas to people whom they never should have. For what reason? To make themselves look good in the eyes of other countries where they were trying to do some bartering back and forth.

We see people still waiting who were cut off from the program a few weeks ago, still waiting to hear word. We had the Premier going all over the world last year trying to make a big to-do about the foreign overfishing, arresting the Estai and all this show-boating, and nothing ever came of it.

What is going on with the TAGS situation? Where is the Premier on this issue, Mr. Chairman? We do not heard much lately. He stands in the House of Assembly and says: Well, we are waiting to hear something from the federal government. I don't know if we should be waiting too much longer. The people of this Province are getting hungry and they need something put in place.

I, for one, hope when the program is announced in the near future, that it is sufficient to do something for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. A lot of people out there do not realize the importance of the fishery in this Province, do not realize the importance of having a program put in place. Because it does not only impact upon the fisher person, Mr. Chairman, or the plant worker and what have you, it impacts on every one of us in this House of Assembly. It impacts on our children, it impacts on all people throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, the economy in general. It creates jobs outside the fishery because people have money to spend when the fishery is up and running. It just goes on and on and on. We could stay here all night talking about this, Mr. Chairman. I hope that in the near future something is coming for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador with respect to TAGS.

Budget Highlights, 1998 - Education - The Future is in Our Hands. Mr. Chairman, we have $50 million over the next several years towards construction and upgrading of schools. There is an new board - what is the name of the board for the construction?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. J. BYRNE: Anyway, Mr. Chairman, there is a board being appointed by government to look at the construction and maintenance and what have you, on how this $50 million is going to be spent. I hope that it is utilized in the proper fashion.

I can tell you one thing, Mr. Chairman, that this member here has been working long and hard for a new school, K to IX, in the Pouch Cove, Flatrock, Bauline area, and I have been told by the Premier -not the Premier, I stand to be corrected - by the Minister of Education that this school is forthcoming. The previous school had selected a spot, a number one site, after looking at fifteen or sixteen sites. The present school board, the existing one today, the one that has been recently elected, has named the same site, the same location, K to IX, and it has gone off to the minister, gone off to the board, to make the decision to do the funding on it. I am just waiting now, Mr. Chairman, for the announcement.

People in the district are waiting, the people in Pouch Cove, Flatrock and Bauline are waiting, the students are waiting. We have two schools down there that are old schools.

By the way, during the referendum on education, Mr. Chairman, the government was promoting benefits of schools coming together. They were closing down three schools in the area, going into one and what have you. I was preaching at that time, Mr. Chairman, that this is a prime example of what can be done, two schools coming together into one. That was agreed upon. We had public meetings in both schools and the public at the meetings voted in favour of coming together in one school, one building. We had the PTAs agreeing to it, we had the teachers, we had the previous Avalon East School Board, we had the previous Roman Catholic School Board and we had the DECs agreeing to it. We had everybody agreeing to what the government was trying to do, a prime example of what they were trying to do, Mr. Chairman. This was two or three years ago and it is still not started.

The year before last, Mr. Chairman, we had to jump through so many hoops it is was unreal. The previous construction board made our committee, our group and me, jump through hoop after hoop after hoop.

MR. SHELLEY: Hoopsters.

MR. J. BYRNE: A bunch of hoopsters, that is right.

Mr. Chairman, everything they requested we went back and got for them, and finally they made a decision. And what happens? The big referendum comes; all up in the air again.

Another board appointed, Mr. Chairman - hoop after hoop after hoop. We went through that again and got all the information again, approved by the board, approved by the construction board. What happened then, Mr. Chairman? The election of a new board. Same thing, go through hoop after hoop after hoop. We got all the information, got the site selection committee in place again and they made a decision. They made a decision it was a k - IX. It went on again, Mr. Chairman, and finally two weeks ago they made a decision, K - IX again. This is the third time for the government to get funding. K - IX, the same site out of fifteen sites. Now it is in the minister's hands to make a decision as to when we are going to get that new school. The children down there are waiting.

I remember, Mr. Chairman, when we were trying to get a site down there; if it was going to be in Flatrock, if it was going to be in Pouch Cove, if it was going to be in Bauline. I campaigned that time: Listen, as long as we get the school, we have to do what is best for the children. I stayed away from site selection, I did not want anything to do with it. We appointed a group, a committee from both boards, from both schools, and they went and looked at all of the sites. We had the Department of Education looked at it, the Department of Works, Services and Transportation. They made the recommendation and I was happy. Mr. Chairman, I was happy if had gone to Pouch Cove, if it had gone to Flatrock, if it was going to Bauline. I was looking for something for the children down there. By getting a new school, Mr. Chairman, I did not interfere, I say to the Member for Humber East.

All I did was encourage the people to make a decision, to involve the decision makers to make a decision. I did not try to get them to change their decision, Mr. Chairman, all I wanted was a decision for the students of the area. The same decision was made three times, I say to the Member for Humber East. Three times, the same decision, and all we are doing now is waiting and waiting and waiting.

The benefits, Mr. Chairman, for the children of area, that is what I am looking at. We have two old schools down there now. The gymnasiums are too small, in poor shape. We have extensions on the schools. It is like going in a maze, all over the place down there, Mr. Chairman. We have to worry about the wiring being old and the cafeteria facilities are not proper. The computer rooms: Fundraising has been done by parents over the years and donations made and they got some computers and what have you.

If they get a new school, all this stuff can be looked at. Even the sites where the two schools are now are not proper sites for young children, Mr. Chairman; small, on the side of a hill in one area down there, St. Agnes; and in the other school, Pouch Cove Elementary, there is a river running behind the school, a cemetery on the other side, housed in a very small area. So, if you bring it all together, the number of kids in the school, of course, would impact upon the number of teachers allotted to the school and to the area. Mr. Chairman, it is all plus, plus, plus, if they can get something down there in the near future.

I do not want to quote the minister too much, but he has, on a number of occasions, said to me: Not to worry Jack, it is coming. I am trying to be as patient as I can, Mr. Chairman. They say patience is a virtue. Well, boy, I must be pretty virtuous. That is all I can say, Mr. Chairman, because I am the most patient man in this House of Assembly.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: I said man, I never said person, Mr. Chairman. I saw some eyebrows rising over there.

MR. MERCER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: What is?

MR. MERCER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: I said, I am the most patient man, I say to the Member for Humber East. Now, we do have females in the House of Assembly, in case the Member for Humber East did not realize that before now, but in the meantime I still say I am a very patient individual. Hopefully the people in the area, their patience won't run out, I say to you, Mr. Chairman.

So I will end on the note, with respect to the school, that I sincerely hope the minister will be forthcoming in the near future, to make the announcement, to put the funding in place to construct the school in Shoe Cove on Satellite Road for the people of Pouch Cove, Flatrock and Bauline; long, long overdue.

Now, Mr. Chairman, another point I will make with respect to the Budget on Education is, this government will add back 200 of the 425 teaching positions that would have been eliminated based on declining enrollment. An additional seventy units will be provided to help those children with special needs. Seventy positions, Mr. Chairman: Now that, I have to say, is a very positive step.

If the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture was here today, Mr. Chairman, he would be very happy to hear me say that this is a positive step with respect to the seventy units that will be provided to help those children with special needs.

As a matter of fact, I was at a function Sunday and a parent came to me with respect to a special needs teacher required at St. Francis of Assisi in Outer Cove. We have a couple of children with special needs down there. There is a special needs teacher this year for one of the students, and they are afraid they are going to lose her. So they were saying to me that they were afraid that they were going to lose the special needs teacher, Mr. Chairman, in Outer Cove. We have seventy more this year which is certainly a positive step, and maybe one of these seventy could end up down our way, something that I am sure the people in the area would appreciate very much. I hope that works out for them and I am going to see what I can do. I am going to talk to whomever needs to be spoken to, to try and put as much emphasis and pressure on the decision makers to see that we get that position in that school in Outer Cove.

With respect to adding back the 200 of the 425 positions, according to this, it gives the impression that they are giving something back. All they are doing, what they are still doing, is taking away a little over half of what they said they were going to take away. The government is not really giving back here. That is what needs to be looked at.

Maybe if I was over there on that side of the House - after the next election more than likely I will be - maybe I would write it like this too, because of course they are going to try and write things in the most positive aspect they can.

When I am on that side of the House, I say to the Member for Conception Bay East & Bell Island, he can come see me any time. He is one of the members over there who can come to see me any time. He is one of the few over there. Who else can I pick out? I am considering the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

I will tell you one thing, though, I am glad I am not his critic any more - the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. When I was his critic - he is a different man today. I do not know if I used to upset him that much. He is definitely more relaxed. Was I that mean and nasty, I wonder, at the time? Maybe when I came into the House of Assembly I was a bit too much, was I?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes.

MR. J. BYRNE: I think I relaxed too, maybe.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Oh, has he? He is looking good, I have to say. He has lost some weight, and all that kind of stuff.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: He is not smoking again?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Oh, he gave it up? Someone behind you, I won't say who, is saying that you smoke.

MR. A. REID: I have not had a cigarette since the second day of October (inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: We are talking about eight months now, are we?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: That is not bad.

Mr. Chairman, back to the Budget. I should not be getting led astray.

The government will provide $4 million for awards to post-secondary students. I hate to say this - I don't hate to say it but I have to say it, I suppose, that is a positive. I don't know if it is enough. That is another good move with respect to the Budget.

I am going through the Budget trying to find the positive stuff because we are being accused, on that side, of always being negative. I am trying to find positive things.

MR. EFFORD: Everything in it is positive.

MR. J. BYRNE: No, you have missed a few things. The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture is saying that everything is positive. I do not know about that. Do you consider cutting out 225 teaching positions positive? Do you consider that positive?

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) positive.

MR. J. BYRNE: No, it is not. You are cutting. You go around the Province and ask some of the schools about the positions they are losing and the schools being closed, and the communities losing their schools. The communities losing their schools do not think it is a positive step, I say to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. I wouldn't think they would think so.

It says: "Government will make a contribution of $3 million to Memorial University's Opportunity Fund, bringing its total contributions to date to $9.3 million."

It is curious, Mr. Chairman, that we talk here about MUN. I know that the Auditor General -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

CHAIR: Order, please!

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Chairman, a point of order.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The Member for Cape St. Francis on a point of order.

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Chairman, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture just came back in the House of Assembly and he missed my few words -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: I am on a point of order.

CHAIR: Order, please!

He is speaking on a point of order.

MR. J. BYRNE: The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture just came back in the House and is withdrawing leave for me, who has been here speaking on the Budget. I think if he was here for the whole time of my speech he would not be withdrawing leave, Mr. Chairman, and he would be giving me leave.

CHAIR: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Member for Waterford Valley.

[The continuation of today's sitting will be found in Hansard No. 32A]


May 26, 1998             HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS             Vol. XLIII  No. 32A


[Continuation of Sitting]

CHAIR: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Member for Waterford Valley.

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

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TULK: It is customary to go back and forth across the House. His Honour may think -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TULK: No, the Chairman might think there is nobody speaking but the hon. member was up speaking.

CHAIR: Order, please!

I did not notice the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture standing. It is tradition that we go back and forth.

The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, I had to leave earlier when I was speaking because I had to go to a meeting. The reason I stood to give a speech earlier in the afternoon was because the hon. Member for Waterford Valley was up for his time allotted in the House. He spoke for the full amount of time and he spoke totally negatively towards everything in the Province.

I just left for a brief meeting with the Minister of Finance, and when I came back the Member for St. John's East Extern continued with the negativity that the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: St. John's East Extern.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Cape St. Francis. They change so much, I just cannot remember the names. Nevertheless, he continued speaking with the type of negative attitude that his colleagues have.

MR. J. BYRNE: A point of order, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis, on a point of order.

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Chairman, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture is in his place now. He was out of this House of Assembly just about all the time I was on my feet. He has come back here saying I was speaking negatively, but members on that side of the House will have to agree that I was not. I was being very positive in my statements, and I think he should withdraw that remark.

CHAIR: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: To that point of order. Mr. Chairman, the hon. member -

CHAIR: Order, please!

I have already ruled there is no point of order.

MR. EFFORD: Oh, okay.

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

MR. EFFORD: For the hon. member's information, even though he is a sitting member in this House of Assembly, even though he represents a number of constituents in Cape St. Francis, he has not been here long enough to know that sitting in another room in this building you can turn a switch and listen to the hon. member speaking.

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

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis, on a point of order.

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Chairman, when the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture was leaving here today, he made a statement that he was going to a meeting. I am sure he was not in a meeting with a number of ministers listening to what was going on here.

CHAIR: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

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

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, that is not exactly true. I can tell you that as soon as the hon. gentleman walked back in, he said he was in the meeting and he wanted to hear exactly what the hon. gentleman said. So he turned up the (inaudible) and said to our colleagues sitting around the table: I want to hear the words of wisdom, the pearls of wisdom, that are falling from the mouth of the Member for Cape St. Francis. He did, absolutely.

CHAIR: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: Then my colleague at the end of the table went and got a hot cloth to put on my forehead.

Mr. Chairman, to continue from when I spoke earlier this afternoon about the positive things that are happening in the industries, not only the fishing industries but industries in this Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, we have to keep talking about it; seriously. We have to make sure that the people in this Province, and particularly the children, our kids in high school, in elementary school, in post-secondary education, have to know all of the positive things that are happening in this Province.

We have dwelled too long on the negative. We have convinced our young people there are no opportunities to live and work and earn a living here in this Province. It is talked about around the kitchen table, it is talked about on the streets, it is talked about on the wharves. It is particularly driven by the Opposition, through the news media today, and every time you meet a young person in this Province: What are you talking about, Mr. Efford?

It shows up everywhere you go. Like I said earlier, this morning I spoke to a group of students at Ascension Collegiate who will be graduating from high school this year. They are convinced in their minds, because of all they have heard, there are no opportunities in this Province. When I told them about just the fishing industry, which I spoke on this morning, when I told them about the opportunities -

AN HON. MEMBER: You never?

MR. EFFORD: Yes.

When I brought with me the seal oil and seal protein capsules, and said -

AN HON. MEMBER: Seal protein?

MR. EFFORD: Seal protein, a capsule that is now dried seal meat.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Chairman, this is important. Let's just take one minute - I have a couple of minutes left - to talk about this capsule. Until this year that was never, ever heard about in this Province. It is dried seal meat, capsulized into a protein form.

Listen to what I am saying. We have 36,000 children dying every single day of the year of starvation.

AN HON. MEMBER: Where?

MR. EFFORD: In the world.

AN HON. MEMBER: In the world?

MR. EFFORD: In the world, 36,000 every single day.

Seal meat is the highest protein meat of any animal in the world. It has 67 per cent protein.

The average child living in those countries cannot digest seal meat. Their little bodies, their digestive systems, cannot digest seal meat the way we can, or the way people can in countries like Russia, Iceland or Norway. But dried protein, powdered seal meat, added to a little bit of food, juice or milk, whatever they eat, can give them enough protein, the value they need, to save them from starvation.

MR. TULK: Are you serious?

MR. EFFORD: I am quite serious.

MR. TULK: And we are making those here?

MR. EFFORD: We are making them here.

Yet we have 6 million animals in the ocean that, as sure as each and every one of us are sitting here today in our seats, will perish and die if we do not harvest them. Because when the food chain runs out, nature will kill 3 million to 4 million animals. Yet we have this, and it could be manufactured in millions and millions here in this Province. Our federal government is sending over, through world food aid, multi-multimillion dollars every year, and we are going to let those animals perish out in that ocean.

It is time, Mr. Chairman, that we woke up here in this Province and did what is right: create hundreds of jobs, save people from starving in this world. Not only that, bring back the fishing industry the way it should be brought back, so that the seals will not destroy it.

The seal oil capsule is not a joke. The seal protein capsule, if you break it in two, is not a joke. It is dried protein seal meat.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: So you should, that is what it is for.

Those are only two of the products that can be made and utilized to the food values of people in the world. Yet, Mr. Chairman, the Opposition stands up every day and talks about negative; there are no opportunities here. Yet, 6 million animals are floating and swimming in the water out there and they do not see beyond the negativity they can display to try to get two seconds on a news item on television. Look up to the value; talk about something that is real. Talk about opportunity for Newfoundland and Labrador. Mr. Chairman, believe in your industry.

MR. TULK: The Member for Port de Grave was never concerned about getting on television.

MR. EFFORD: Believe in the industry, believe in the Province, believe in the opportunities, and create some values in our young people. Tell the young people that being a biologist, being a chemist, being educated in science - look at the opportunities and the value of the resource. The problem is, in our history, we hold very little respect and very little value of the marine resource in our oceans; and until we change that attitude and until we get away from the negative discussions and negative displays that those people put on every day, nothing will ever change in this Province. This side is positive, this side will continue to be positive, and that side will be filled with opposition, as you will, over there for the next ten, twenty, or thirty years. You will reap what you sow, Mr. Chairman, and I adjourn debate.

MR. TULK: You cannot adjourn debate. We not adjourning.

MR. EFFORD: Oh, we are not? Are we eating?

MR. TULK: At 6:00 p.m.

MR. EFFORD: Oh, at 6:00 p.m.

I will let the Opposition get up now.

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

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

Mr. Chairman, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture came back in here and again got to his feet. The tactic on that side of the House now is so obvious, it is unreal and blatant.

MR. H. HODDER: Had he been listening on the outside he would have heard the Government House Leader say that the House would not adjourn at 5:00 p.m.

MR. J. BYRNE: Good point. If the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture had been listening outside, he would have heard the Government House Leader say that the House was not closing at 5:00 p.m.

Mr. Chairman, it is the attitude. You can see the tactic, the angle, this Administration has taken. It is all at the lead of the Premier, of course, and it is all to try and paint this side of the House as being negative. A pile of blarney, foolishness, Mr. Chairman. Any time I am speaking in this House of Assembly, I am speaking to be positive.

MR. EFFORD: A point of order, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, on a point of order.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) the hon. member's time to speak because I know he is going to continue on for another twenty minutes, but the hon. member does not need anybody on this side to paint him. He has done quite a good job of whitewashing himself.

CHAIR: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

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

A pile of blarney on that side of the House, trying to paint this side as being negative. If he had listened, and if he was being forthright with us when he came in here, he would have heard me say positive things. He would have heard me say positive things about this Budget. The Government House Leader has to agree that I was speaking positively here today.

MR. TULK: I was just about to say (inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Now, Mr. Chairman, doesn't that say... Did you hear the statement by the Government House Leader?

I remember hearing stories about that minister there - I was going to say sliming around in the grass, but crawling on his hands and knees with a flashlight - looking for dirt. That is what he was at, looking for dirt, in the middle of the night. Mr. Chairman, let me tell you this, he was not looking for night crawlers.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please!

MR. J. BYRNE: He was not looking for night crawlers, I can guarantee you that, in the middle of the rain. Anyway, Mr. Chairman, out in the middle of the night looking for dirt, and he over there talking about us being negative. As a matter of fact -

AN HON. MEMBER: They nicknamed him `the night crawler' then.

MR. J. BYRNE: I heard, Mr. Chairman, and I was just reminded here, that he was nicknamed `the night crawler'.

I have to get back to this because they are over there - you can see it when the Premier is out getting his scrum and he runs out in front of the cameras looking for the `x' on the floor so he can get a good spot -

AN HON. MEMBER: Who?

MR. J. BYRNE: The Premier.

- trying to say, oh, they are negative this and they are being negative that, when they are asking good legitimate questions, getting to the bottom of points in this House of Assembly, what we are on this side of the House being paid to do, Mr. Chairman.

I have to wonder sometimes about that side of the House, about some of the ministers over there getting money for work they are doing. I have to wonder, when you ask the minister a question in this House of Assembly and he will get up and blabber on for a half-hour and not answer the question.

Mr. Chairman, I am on my feet here on this side of the House saying positive things whenever they are required to be said, but that is not going to deter me from asking the questions that need to be asked. That is what we are here for. In case the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture doesn't know it, that is what democracy is all about. He is a good one to talk, I have to say.

With respect to the Budget, let's look for some positive things in the Budget, as I was doing before leave was taken on me.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Yes, look at the cover. Are we talking about this cover here for the Estimates?

AN HON. MEMBER: The Budget.

MR. J. BYRNE: The Budget. If it is coloured red I don't know if it can be positive, Mr. Chairman.

Let me see what we are going to get into next here now. "Social Reform - Bringing Opportunity and Independence to Families." It says: "Basic rates for individuals and families receiving income support will be increased by 7 per cent over the next three years, commencing with a 2 per cent increase in 1998-1999." Positive. Not a lot. A very small step but a positive step, I say to the Government House Leader.

It says: "The monthly earnings exemptions for those families with dependent children on income support will be increased from $100 to $150." That is a very small increase. As a matter of fact, when I go on appeals for people for social services, and I have gone on a number of them - I was on three last week, by the way, two one morning and one the next morning - it amazes me, blows my mind, how people can survive on what has been given to them. I find it hard to imagine how the people survive on the amount of money they are getting. It is really hard. The Member for Ferryland was up here the other day making a good point with respect to the appeals.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Either half is good for me. One is as good as the other. No problem there. I would say - we have two halves over here for a House Leader, and either one of those halves is certainly equivalent to the Government House Leader.

Mr. Chairman, the Opposition House Leader was making a point with respect to appeals.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: They are trying to distract me again. I have a very legitimate point to make here, and that is the appeals. I went out on an appeal the other day for a person, Mr. Chairman, a social services appeal, who wanted $15 a month - taken away from him. We have four board members in being paid I don't know how much, but they had three or four days' work there with different appeals. They had staff, secretaries, all these people, for $15 a month. Now, where are the economies of scale there? I don't know if that is the right terminology, but it makes sense to me, Mr. Chairman.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Yes. That was pretty mean of you, today, I say to the Government House Leader. You tried to embarrass her, that is what you did.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: No, you did, by bringing it up. You tried to embarrass her.

Anyway, Mr. Chairman, with respect to social services, getting back to the point of how they are surviving: Single parent families, with two or three children, living on that amount of money, it just blows my mind how they survive. They are existing. I suppose that is the right word to use, existing. They are surviving, Mr. Chairman, no luxuries whatsoever.

Mr. Chairman, I think I will come to a conclusion and probably give one of my colleagues on this side of the House a chance to say a few words. I am sure, by the time 10:00 o'clock comes this evening I will have an opportunity to get on my feet once more, and get leave from the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture to go beyond my time as he so kindly does each time we ask for leave in this House of Assembly.

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for Baie Verte.

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

I rise today and continue on where I left off with some remarks yesterday.

It is easy for the government members to get up every now and then, Mr. Chairman, and talk about positive things and so on. I will start my comments now with some positive things that we mentioned, something I was just talking to the Minister of Forest Resources and Agrifoods about; maybe more positive at this stage than potential to be positive. We started on the right track today but it was only a very small step in that direction. I have a few comments I want to make while the minister is here, with regard to the forest industry.

The potential that we have for the forest industry, Mr. Chairman, if things are done right, I say to the minister - it is at a critical stage now in the forest industry that things be done right. As a matter of fact, it is one of those times that if we do things right within the next two years - I know the minister, I do not mind giving credit where credit is due. To move in the right direction in the forest industry -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Yes, I do say that, more emphasis lately, Mr. Chairman - I cannot read it from here.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Good stuff! Something else positive, but we are going to stick with this now, Mr. Chairman.

In the forest industry at this stage of the game - a lot of people have raised concerns - there are comparisons with the fishery. People say there is a big difference, but there is not. It is a renewable resource that we managed. The only difference, Mr. Chairman, is that the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the government, the minister, control the fate of the forest industry within the next year to two years.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Well, give up, call it quits. He is overwhelmed.

Mr. Chairman, I am not going to go that far now. The minister is going to try to throw me off with that nonsense, that foolishness. We are not going to be overwhelmed by it. He found his pickle book. I am going to set him up.

Mr. Chairman, I am going to stick to this issue. I made a few notes on it. I want to talk about it. That is the forest industry in this Province.

Within the next couple of years especially, a year to two years, a lot of people in the forest industry, including people working in the paper-mills, the loggers and the sawmill industry people, believe that if we do things right in the next couple of years we could head into the millennium on a positive note because we are moving in the right direction.

I say, today even, the twenty-five or thirty jobs that we are going to have in cable logging, that should have been done a long time ago, is a step in the right direction. It is only a small step but it is the right concept. At least they are thinking like that.

I don't know if five years ago, I say to the minister, they even thought about doing cable logging. They might have done a little bit but they certainly were not turning their attention to doing the unused timber -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: They have done it. I did not say they did not do it. The member should listen now, put in his earplug and he will get some good points here. Mr. Chairman, they have done it over the years, it is nothing new. Certainly with the unused timber of the Province they are starting to focus again. The whole point being that we are at a point in the forest industry where we have to look at that, we have to look at silviculture and we have to look at integrated sawmills, if we are going to move in that direction.

Mr. Chairman, on integrated sawmills, we are working on one now in the Baie Verte area. Of course, there is a very good example in Hampden. People in the Baie Verte area, three gentlemen, sawmill operators, got together. This evolved over the past couple of years, as the minister knows. I have been talking to these three gentlemen this past two or three years, and every year they would call me with the same thing. When we had the former Minister of Forestry, and a couple before that, every year they would get on the phone or come to the House and beg him for another little bit of quota so these sawmills could survive. Basically, Mr. Chairman, they were crude operations, a band-saw usually and not utilizing the full timber amounts, things like that. They would screech and bawl every year for those few extra logs.

What they have done this year, Mr. Chairman - and that is an example for anywhere in this Province, for these people to come together and join in being a part of a new industry. My whole point in this debate is that if we include people in the industry, at the grassroots level, let it be the fisherman in the boat or the logger in the bush, the solutions are within the people who know the industry best. That is my point. That is why real consultation with these people is going to be the answer down the road. Whether this government is here in two or three years or whoever, they have to keep that in mind, that if we are going to solve problems in the forest industry, talk to the loggers and involve them in the consultation.

By the way, Mr Chairman, another positive to that, besides the fact that we get the best solutions for the industry, is that when people are involved in the consultation and actual process, even if it fails, then at least they can say they were a part of it and we have to try again. Because Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, in essence, Mr. Chairman, have a residual component that tells them to drive forward, that in the face of diversity and problems they can move forward. They are not afraid of failure. Failure is something that comes with success. Lots of people fail in business for the first, second and third time. The real success stories, Mr. Chairman, are the people who get back on their horses and go on again.

I talked to the Member for Terra Nova here yesterday who, I guess, took my debate out of context for a little while. He did not hear the full story. I just talked about one particular couple who had given up hope, but I certainly don't mean all the students in this Province. I have spoken at three graduations in the last two weeks and every time I speak to a graduation I am sure, like every member here, you don't talk politically, you talk about positive things that are happening. We certainly do that all the time, Mr. Chairman. Of course, when you get in this House at times and the rhetoric begins and everything else - you talk positive about education, what they can do and where they can go.

Mr. Chairman, back to the point I wanted to make in the few minutes I was going to speak on this -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Talk to the Premier, he is the worse.

MR. SHELLEY: Yes, talk to your Premier. That is what I say about that.

MR. J. BYRNE: No, talk to your Premier. Every time you bring anything up you are playing politics, he says.

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Chairman, the point I am making, I think, is a good one. I think it is something that everybody can agree on, on a consensual basis. If we include people, no matter what the situation, if they are involved in solving the problem, Mr. Chairman, even if it fails, then you go back to them and they say: Okay, let's try something else. That is exactly what these loggers have done, these sawmill operators. They have been struggling for years, just barely making it, employing a few people. Some of them have employed up to as many as twenty-five people. Instead of coming and complaining every year, they got together. Of course I encouraged them, and former ministers, I would say, have encouraged them also.

Guys, it is not working, the sawmill industry. We are turning into a new era in the forest industry and it is time to move on. We have convinced them. Because now they are part of the solution we are involved in, even if it fails and I don't think it will, I think it is a very positive thing - but they are part of the process, an integrated sawmill in the Baie Verte area.

I gave an example. That was initiated, and with all due to respect to the minister who has been very cooperative with this group, it was initiated by a group of people at the grassroots level who said: We know what the solution is if you give us a chance to get involved. The minister was very good with them, I will say that.

At the end of the day, when all this rhetoric is out of the way, Mr. Chairman, we will go out there and hopefully there are going to be twenty-five people. The former Minister of Forestry was involved in it.

MR. TULK: Yes, and I will tell you something (inaudible) and I turned him on you didn't I?

MR. SHELLEY: Turned him on me? You didn't turn anybody on me. What are you talking about?

MR. TULK: He don't know what he's talking about.

MR. SHELLEY: The minister does not know what he is talking about. The minister is out of the loop now. Every now and then he levels off but then all of a sudden he goes out of the loop. He is trying to tell me now - he don't know the men I am talking about, believe me.

MR. TULK: Oh yes, I know I do.

MR. SHELLEY: You don't know them as well as I do then.

MR. TULK: One was like a (inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: The minister definitely does not know what he is talking about now then.

All I can say, Mr. Chairman, about the former Minister of Forestry is that I hope he is better than the last contender who strolled down to the Baie Verte Peninsula. I think the answer given to him was that the parachute did not open, was the last comment he left with on Baie Verte.

Mr. Chairman, the point I am making is that the people at the grassroots level got involved with the minister and we worked together. Hopefully, Mr. Chairman, in the near future, in the next week or so, in the next little while we are going to have jobs down there. The minister can have all the rhetoric he wants. I don't really give a hoot.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: No, I don't, because I know that when I go back to my district on the weekend, Mr. Chairman, twenty-five people are going to be saying: I am going to work. I am going to tell you, that means more to me than anything else, any of this stage going and rhetoric that we see in here all the time.

I always say, Mr. Chairman, day after day after day when we get up in this House, come in here for three or four hours a day at a certain time of year, it is a whole show of rhetoric and all the back and forth. Then you go back to your own district and as soon as you cross over a certain line, as soon as I turn down the Baie Verte Peninsula or go into the King's Point area, it is a whole different world again. Then you have to start dealing with reality again. That is when people are starting to look for jobs. It is easy to be positive about some things, Mr. Chairman, it is easy -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Alright, I will be over for $50,000 tomorrow then, Mr. Chairman, I say to the minister.

We are working on some things. Another project, Mr. Chairman, that we are working on -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Now I was planning to use all this time for positives, so you better be quite.

The other project, Mr. Chairman - and I wanted to do it while the Minister of Fisheries was here, but he is left now - is the seal industry.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Oh, the minister is not here, but it is going to be positive though. He can call me to order if he wants!

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SHELLEY: By leave, Mr. Chairman?

CHAIR: Does he have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

CHAIR: By leave.

MR. SHELLEY: If you want me to say something positive. The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture who is not here, and I will not mention, I will talk about.

Mr. Chairman, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture talks about the seal industry. That is another area where I can see some positives. As a matter of fact, it is the same situation again, Mr. Chairman, where the seal industry is even more tightly squeezed with timing than the forest industry. In the next few months, I am talking about, over this spring and into the summer and fall, if the right things are done with the seal industry, that is going to be one of the industries - a lot of people, I do not believe, realize the potential, the magnitude, of what the seal industry can do for this Province in the short term, if it is done right. I say to the minister, and I have told him before, that I would walk across Canada with him if I thought I could promote the seal industry; and anybody here should do the same thing. At the same time, we cannot ignore what is going on in the industry as far as the problems we are faced with.

I know in Bonavista South right now, Mr. Chairman, as late as this weekend past, I was in that plant and saw them processing and purifying the seal oil that they are getting ready for market samples right now. The quality of that oil, Mr. Chairman -

AN HON. MEMBER: Walk across Texas.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Chairman, (inaudible) walk across Texas.

Mr. Speaker, the seal oil -

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible)?

MR. SHELLEY: Yes. Get up.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I have to give more good news, Mr. Chairman, more good news, because there is so much good news to talk about here in the Province. It could take me from now until - what time are we going to adjourn, at 12:00 midnight tonight? I could talk about all the good things that are happening in the forestry, in the inland fishery, in the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, in the Department of Mines and Energy and in all of the departments of government. There is enough good news to keep me talking until next week.

I will tell you, Mr. Chairman, the opposite side has never been, except for one occasion that I know about in my history in politics, since 1985, able to put forward any good news. I am just going to take a minute for those members who are not familiar with the good news to just read a couple of paragraphs - no recipes yet, the recipes are for later on - but just a couple of paragraphs from the good news opposite.

Their former government and the type of message they sent out: It is the introduction to the cucumber recipes from Newfoundland Enviroponics. The good news! Let me read a couple of paragraphs. This, remember, starts off about the fishing industry, in this book, in this pickle book. The Government of Newfoundland has printed it and distributed recipes for fish products for some time now. If consumers have access to a variety of appealing and nutritious recipes for fish they are likely to eat more of it, benefiting themselves and our fishing industry. Good beginning! It gets better.

With the Newfoundland Enviroponics facility now supplying - the words `now supplying' - fresh vine ripened cucumbers to the Newfoundland market, the same holds true as would be for the fish products. Newfoundland families consume only 15 per cent of the Canadian average of cucumbers, no doubt because of higher prices, unavailability and inconsistent quality.

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

CHAIR: Order, please!

The Member for Cape St. Francis, on a point of order.

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

I think, from being in this House of Assembly, if a minister is referring to a document or reading from it he is supposed to table it, Mr. Chairman. So, could you ask the minister to table that document?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Member for Cape St. Francis is correct in what he stated. Beauchesne does indicate that if a minister reads or quotes from a dispatch he has to table it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Chairman, I will table 20,000 if I have to. That is not a problem.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: I will table 20,000 and probably triple that amount because I can tell you, there are enough of them in the library to keep me on until next year.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please!

MR. J. BYRNE: He has to table that, Mr. Chairman, before he can refer to it. Mr. Chairman, that book should be on the Table now.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The minister has to table the document after he is finished reading from it.

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Chairman, I have to read the last paragraph and then I will go on: This recipe book is designed to reverse this lack of consumption and to help tap the market that is yet - this is good news. I have to go back over that again: This recipe book is designed to reverse this lack of consumption and to help tap the market that is, as yet, undeveloped here. Improved nutrition can only result from these herbicide and pesticide free cucumbers, picked fresh year-round. Combined with new jobs, import substitution, export and the development of a new technology, I am confident we are on to a good thing. When you taste the recipes in this book, I am sure you will agree. A. Brian Peckford, P.C. M.H.A., Premier.

Mr. Chairman, that is good news, and I will just give you one example of the good news recipe from the pickle book; and this is my favourite one. In fact, it is Bev's Favourite Dip: One Newfoundland cucumber; one package of Uncle Ben's Original Southern Salad Dressing Mix, not mayonnaise, Uncle Ben's Original Southern Salad Dressing Mix - and I have never had this one out in Bareneed - one cup of mayonnaise milk. Now, here is what you have to do. The hon. Member for Cape St. Francis should know about this one. Mix Uncle Ben's, Mayonnaise and Milk until you get the consistency you like. Slice and arrange cucumbers on a plate and put your dip dish in the middle. Now, Mr. Chairman, that is good, positive news for the future of Newfoundland and Labrador.

I remember truck loads and truck loads - and the hon. Member for Cape St. Francis should know all about it, you really should, because you live in the district where day after day, from 1985 for three or four years, I would be out there on the streets watching the truck loads of cucumbers go out to Robin Hood Bay, truck load after truck load.

Then I heard another story going around.

AN HON. MEMBER: Is that where they made Bev's Dip, out there?

MR. EFFORD: That is where they must have made Bev's Dip because that is where the cucumbers were trucked. What happened to the plant at Robin Hood Bay?

Then, the other thing that we were told, apart from making all of those Bev's Dip recipes, they were also trucking them out to the barns. Now what were they doing with those delicious cucumbers at the cattle barns? So there is more good news for members opposite.

I have to give them one more before supper.

AN HON. MEMBER: Is there another recipe?

MR. EFFORD: There is another recipe.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Oh, no. This one here, this is the one. If you love yogurt, you will love this: Two Newfoundland cucumbers grated and unpeeled, do not peel them, unpeeled cucumbers; two cups of milk; four cups of plain yogurt; half-a-cup of dry white wine - and believe me there was lots of wine around in those days, lots of wine - one tablespoon of lemon juice; one onion grated; one clove garlic minced or crushed - now, keep in mind you can mince your garlic or you can crush it, that is your choice, how you like it, to your taste - salt and pepper to taste; and two parsley sprigs. Now this is the key: Whisk together milk and yogurt in a large bowl - remember, use a large bowl - add the wine and lemon juice, stir in onion, garlic, salt and pepper and cucumbers and then cover it. Do not forget to cover it. Refrigerate for one hour, garnish with slices of Newfoundland cucumber and parsley. Mr. Chairman, out of that mix of cucumber soup, you will get six to eight servings of yummy, yummy, soup.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

CHAIR (Penney): The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Chairman, that book has to be tabled. Page, please get that book.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. J. BYRNE: The Chair already ruled on that. It has to be tabled.

CHAIR: It is my understanding that the Chair has already ruled that what the hon. minister was quoting has to be tabled.

MR. J. BYRNE: That is right.

CHAIR: I will instruct the Pages to get photocopies of whatever he was quoting from.

MR. J. BYRNE: No, it has to be tabled.

CHAIR: The portion of the book that the minister was not quoting from need not be tabled.

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Chairman, I have to challenge you on that. That book is the document that he is referring to and that has to be tabled. That is what the previous Chair ruled.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The Chair has ruled that what the hon. minister was quoting has to be tabled. If the hon. minister is quoting from a book that is 300 pages thick, the entire book does not have to be tabled.

MR. J. BYRNE: That is not what he ruled.

CHAIR: The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Chairman, I certainly concur with Mr. Chairman, that we will receive copies of that, but the original that he quotes from has to be tabled. He does not have to give us the book, but he has to give us the portion that he read from in its original form. It must be tabled and we can get copies from that original form. That is my understanding.

CHAIR: Does the hon. minister have a problem with the request?

MR. EFFORD: No.

CHAIR: Then it will be done. It is in the process of being tabled.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

MR. TULK: That is a document that has been tabled and the hon. gentleman has asked that we make copies of it. I presume that he means -

MR. EFFORD: You can get them in the library. There are barrels full up there.

MR. TULK: Are there?

MR. EFFORD: Yes. I will bring you down some more copies.

MR. TULK: So we will send up to the library and get them?

MR. EFFORD: Yes.

MR. TULK: So that everybody gets one.

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

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

I was outside in the caucus room and I had the speaker on listening to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. Here is the statement -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: If you want to speak, get up and speak. I want to make a statement. This has to be heard.

I was outside listening to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture and he made this statement. I could not believe what I was hearing from the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. He said that he has been around politics since 1985 - Hansard will prove it - and the Opposition has never said anything positive.

I would like to ask the minister: Where was he from 1985 to 1989? On what side of the House were you on?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: He just admitted himself he was negative.

MR. SULLIVAN: He was not hear. He was out with his flashlight.

MR. J. BYRNE: He was out with his flashlight.

His own words say that he was negative for four years.

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

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

MR. TULK: I must say to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture that the Opposition - I remember I used to be his House Leader and he just about drove me insane as well as everybody else. I must say though that the Opposition did paint him as a person who used to be out crawling around. But the reference to the light is wrong, I say to the hon. gentleman. The reference to the light is wrong.

In the case of the Tories, when the Tories were in Opposition, you did not need a light in the night to see their mistakes and their blunders. All you had to do was walk outside the door. As a matter of fact, if you were up in a airplane, anywhere within twenty-five miles of St. John's, you saw the light in the sky, the orange glow from Sprung.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, there was no need of them calling it the light. We know about the light.

CHAIR: The hon. Opposition House Leader.

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Chairman, to that point of order.

The only remanence of that bright glowing light that was there is behind the Government House Leader, I can tell him, the minister in charge of that bright light. He was the minister in charge. The light is so bright it blinds the minister to the real truth, I say.

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

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader, to the same point of order.

MR. TULK: Yes, to the same point of order.

Mr. Chairman, let me say to the hon. gentleman that, again, he has given the House - not intentionally because he would not do that - but he has given the House the wrong facts.

The truth of the matter is, that this member here, when he was the Minister of Agriculture, had the good sense to shut it down.

AN HON. MEMBER: Turn off the lights.

MR. TULK: He turned off the lights.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TULK: He turned off the lights, Mr. Chairman, on that monstrosity, that $27 - $28 million light in the sky that the Tories created.

AN HON. MEMBER: Pie in the sky.

MR. TULK: Pie in the sky.

CHAIR: Order, please!

Is the hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis replying to the point of order?

MR. J. BYRNE: Point of order, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. J. BYRNE: Thank you, I say to the Government House Leader. The famous pickle book. Mr. Chairman, I am so glad that the Government House Leader just presented me with this (inaudible).

Mr. Chairman, we have the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, every opportunity he has, stand and talk about the Sprung Greenhouse. Now let's deal with reality, and let's deal with the fact of what is happening here. We had a situation where a government produced 300 jobs for two years at a cost of $20-some million and it did not succeed. We all know that, Mr. Chairman, it did not succeed. But what do we have with this Administration? We have Trans City!

Trans City cost this Province close to $40 million more than it should, and not one job. We have the Murray Premises down there costing $8 million or $10 million, and it could go to another $15 million, and not one job; $55 million. We have Newfoundland Hydro, another $10 million out the window. Ten million dollars, Mr. Chairman, not one job. Sixty-five million dollars and not one job. Mr. Chairman, the most recent, BPS, 1,000 jobs the Premier says - 1,000 jobs - out the window, $1 million gone, and what do we see?

MR. CANNING: A point of order, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: Order, please!

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

MR. CANNING: Yes, Mr. Chairman, would the hon. Member for Cape St. Francis like to table a road map to the seventy-five fish plants that they were going to open in the last election?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

CHAIR: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

MR. J. BYRNE: The Member for Labrador West is getting up trying to be cute but showing how childish, immature and simple-minded he really is, Mr. Chairman. It didn't cost the taxpayers any money. But this Administration over there, in four projects - $40 million, $15 million, $10 million - $66 million and not one job, Mr. Chairman. We can see why the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture has gone, because he is embarrassed. He is embarrassed because a dose of reality sinks him down to what he really is, Mr. Chairman, out sliming around in the grass with a flashlight.

Anyway, Mr. Chairman, that is the story on the Sprung Greenhouse.

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

MR. T. OSBORNE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, just a few words on the Budget. It has been talked about today, yesterday, and for several days over the past couple of weeks, and that is the call centre, the BPS call centre.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who are you going to call?

MR. T. OSBORNE: Who are you going to call? That's a fact.

Mr. Chairman, if you look at almost $1 million in provincial funding gone into this call centre, almost $1 million in federal funding gone into this call centre, and supposedly $1 million from the partners, that is $3 million for an operation that could only last eight months; eight months with $3 million, the wages paid by Human Resources Development Canada for the call centre. Ironically enough, Mr. Chairman, on the week that the wage subsidy from Human Resources Development Canada ends, they close their door.

Mr. Chairman, we have to wonder where the money went. Hopefully Human Resources Development Canada, through their audit, because they were willing to conduct an audit - our provincial government, after investing almost $1 million of taxpayers' money, are still unprepared to conduct their own audit - undoubtedly Human Resources Development Canada are going to chase the money they have invested. They are not necessarily going to chase down the money that was invested on behalf of the Province. So the investment made by the people of this Province by the people they entrusted to government has not only gone unsecured, but unfortunately they are not prepared to find out where that money has been spent, unfortunately for the people of this Province.

Mr. Chairman, if you were to invest almost $1 million you would be sure to keep a close eye on that money. If you were to invest almost $1 million with a stockbroker and he handled your money the same way this government has handled the money invested into BPS, you would be sure to fire that stockbroker and hire another one. Unfortunately, the money invested on behalf of the people of this Province, not only was it unsecured - which I still can't believe. I still have trouble thinking that this government would invest almost $1 million in machinery and equipment for a call centre and not put a lien on that equipment in the event the call centre closed its doors.

To make matters worse, not only did they put $1 million into BPS, but one of the partners in BPS, after splitting from that company, starting his own company, government put $1 million into the second call centre, again unsecured. Not only did they make the mistake once, but they have put money into a call centre again unsecured. This call centre may prove to be the most successful venture ever invested into in this Province, but the point remains that there is $1 million of taxpayers' money invested by the people of this Province unsecured.

The people of this Province have to go day by day hoping that this call centre will make it, hoping that this call centre will be successful and continue to operate, because there is no security on their money. The equipment is there, but if this call centre closes its doors the same as the first call centre, we have absolutely no lien on this equipment, we have no security. There is no guarantee the money invested on behalf of the people of this Province is protected.

Today that is probably the least of the worries of the employees. They have two weeks and two days put in and have not yet seen their money. We have been told today in the House by the minister that they will get their money. The question now remains: When will they get their money? These people have families to feed, bills to pay, and the question that is going through those people's minds right now as we debate and speak in this House is: When are they going to get their money, the money they have earned, the money they have worked for, the money they have put time in and justly deserve, the money that was paid by Human Resources Development Canada to the owners of the call centre? Money that has been paid, money that should be there for the employees, and we have absolutely no idea where that money is. We are not even sure if we are going to be able to come up with it, except through maybe the sale of the equipment at the call centre. The creditors will probably be gracious enough to pay the employees.

Unfortunately that is not good enough. It is not good enough for the employees of this call centre; it is not good enough for the people of this Province whose money was invested. The people trusted this government to invest their money, and we have seen what this government is capable of doing by investing money. Investing money in Bre-X, investing money in a gold mine in Indonesia, in Bre-X, and we saw what happened with that money. Unfortunately, again, that money is completely and totally flushed, gone. We are not able to recapture or recoup any of those funds that were invested by this government on behalf of the people of the Province.

We have seen many stupid investments by governments in this Province: chocolate factories, rubber boot factories, hockey stick factories -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please!

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

MR. T. OSBORNE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

We have seen many crazy investments by governments in this Province, from chocolate factories to rubber boot factories, hockey stick factories and, yes, Sprung. More recently - because really the only bad, bad investment by the previous Tory Administration was Sprung - more recently we have seen the Trans City investment which will cost the taxpayers of this Province almost $30 million. We have seen the attempt to privatize Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, which cost the taxpayers of this Province almost $10 million. We have seen the Atlantic Leasing fiasco, where they justly owe a gentleman for government's wrongdoing and they are still contesting it in court, costing the taxpayers of this Province further legal fees. That cost the taxpayers of this Province almost $10 million. So far, just in those few items named in this Liberal Administration since they have come to power in 1989, we have seen over $50 million of taxpayers' money wasted by bad investments, Mr. Chairman.

So there have been bad investments made by all stripes of parties in this Province, but we have not seen anything the like of the bad investments made on behalf of Liberal Administrations in this Province. There is far, far, far more money wasted by Liberal Administrations in this Province than there ever had been by Tory Administrations. Just this most recent Liberal Administration, since 1989, has wasted far more than the Tories have ever wasted through Sprung, I can guarantee you that, when you look at the Trans City, the privatization attempt on Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, Atlantic Leasing.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. T. OSBORNE: Yes, you look at the hockey stick factory, the rubber boot factory, the chocolate factory, Adler bars. Can you remember Adler bars, Mr. Chairman? The hockey stick factory? What about, what was it called, silica? They announced, was it, silica they were going to mine? Was it silica they were going to mine? A silly name anyway, silica. I think it was silica.

AN HON. MEMBER: Where?

MR. T. OSBORNE: Joey was going to mine out in Gros Morne somewhere. They did not want Gros Morne Park to be privatized; they were going to mine silica out there. There are all kinds of scandals in this Province, most of them Liberal.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. T. OSBORNE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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

CHAIR: Order, please!

The Chairman has not yet recognized the hon. member.

The hon. the Member for Waterford Valley.

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

After all the talk about all of the things, about Sprung and all that kind of thing, I want to set the record straight. First of all, I want to let members know that Sprung Greenhouse was never, ever located in the City of Mount Pearl or the Town of Mount Pearl. It was not located within the boundaries, and the City of Mount Pearl, the Town of Mount Pearl -

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

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

MR. BARRETT: I want to clarify what the hon. member just said. He said that it was not in the City of Mount Pearl. No, we were a town at the time of the Sprung Greenhouse.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please!

The Chair is trying to hear -

MR. BARRETT: It may not have been in the Town of Mount Pearl but we sure had the bugs from the place in the Town of Mount Pearl. Your house was covered with bugs when the Sprung Greenhouse was there. I am sure the hon. member was mayor at the time and he was on the radio complaining about the bugs.

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for Waterford Valley.

MR. H. HODDER: Mr. Chairman, (inaudible) all over Mount Pearl but it was not enough to get the hon. Member for Bellevue elected in the 1985 municipal election.

Just to clarify matters, the municipal jurisdiction of the land where Sprung was located was actually, at that time, located -

CHAIR: Order, please!

I presume the hon. member is still speaking to the point of order?

MR. H. HODDER: (Inaudible).

CHAIR: There is no point of order.

MR. H. HODDER: Okay, there is no point of order. Mr. Chairman, I thank you for making such a ruling. I apologize; I thought the Chairman had already ruled.

I want to make it clear that the municipal jurisdiction for Sprung was actually the St. John's Metropolitan Area Board. That piece of land has not been within the municipal jurisdiction of Mount Pearl since Mount Pearl was incorporated in 1955, and it is not now in the municipal jurisdiction of Mount Pearl although it is adjacent to Mount Pearl and there was some dialogue which occurred from time to time with the municipality of Mount Pearl.

Mr. Chairman, when we heard the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture up talking a few minutes ago, I had to rush upstairs because he was painting a picture that the Tories, under Brian Peckford, were doing all those wrong things relative to Sprung. Every time he gets up he gets another copy of the cucumber recipe book, of which he has extra copies today and made them available to some hon. members.

Mr. Chairman, we are going to go back and do a history lesson. We are going to go back over the last ten to twelve years. Having, I suppose, recognized that the Minister of Education in early March said that he apologizes to the people of Newfoundland for ten years of mismanagement and neglect in education, which resulted in our schools not being fit to house students, the minister then said that after those ten years of cutbacks and letting (inaudible) grow in the school system we have to do something about it. So, of course, he admitted that for the last ten years there has been a terrible thing happening in our school system, namely that the neglect that has been inflicted on the children of Newfoundland and Labrador by this minister and the Liberal government since 1989 has resulted in our children being exposed to very poor health conditions. So we are going to go back and give a little history lesson like the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture was doing this afternoon.

Maybe we should go back and review some of the Liberal records since Confederation. For that reference I wanted to refer to - not to quote extensively but refer to - and use the reference as copious notes, and that would be to quote from Chapter 15 of Harold Horwood's book about Joey Smallwood. You want to go back and read - I have lots of references that detail the corruption and the mismanagement of the Smallwood era, and that was the... If we are going to talk about the seventeen years of Tory government, and we are going to use that as some kind of a benchmark, then I can assure all hon. members that I have enough references in my library upstairs to keep the House going, talking about the Liberal regime from 1950 until 1972.

I want to draw reference to Chapter 15 of Harold Horwood's book. It is called, `The King Of Cost-plus'. The whole chapter is about Liberal graft and Liberal extravagance that is well documented. Just let me quote to you. Talking here about a Cabinet minister who was in Joey Smallwood's government, after he left the government he says: He then became Chairman of the Board of Liquor Control, a position from which he could strengthen and enrich the party.

Mr. Chairman, this was a former Cabinet minister in Joey Smallwood's government.

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

CHAIR: Order, please!

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

MR. CANNING: Mr. Chairman, would the gentleman be kind enough to table the book so we could have a look at it? Furthermore, I guess he has been reading quite a bit about the history of the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador. It came to my attention a little while ago that he wanted to join us.

MR. H. HODDER: To that point of order, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for -

MR. H. HODDER: Mr. Chairman, it has been ruled in this House that private members are -

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Waterford Valley, to that point of order.

MR. H. HODDER: Mr. Chairman, it has been ruled in this House that private members are not permitted to table documents even if they wanted. They are allowed to read from documents and use them as copious notes. Mr. Chairman, that is quite within the parliamentary procedures. I was using it as a reference here.

Mr. Chairman, I know the Member for Labrador West would not want to be caught reading some of this stuff but, if he wishes, it is Harold Horwood's book, The Life and Political Times of Joey Smallwood.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member is already speaking to the point of order.

MR. H. HODDER: I can understand why he would not have a copy but they are available in the bookstores.

MR. CANNING: Mr. Chairman, I did not -

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Labrador West, to the same point of order.

MR. CANNING: Mr. Chairman, I did not say that he has to or he must table the document. I asked him if he would be kind enough to table the document, Mr. Chairman.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please!

As pointed out, it has been ruled in this House of Assembly many times, reinforced by Beauchesne, that hon. members are not permitted, even if they wish, to table any document. The only people in this House of Assembly who are entitled to that privilege are ministers of Cabinet.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

CHAIR: Order, please!

It is also not acceptable to read from, but it is quite acceptable to quote from, documents.

The hon. the Member for Waterford Valley.

MR. H. HODDER: Mr. Chairman, I know I would not want to indulge the House until ten o'clock tonight. This book has 341 pages in it and I would not want to read all of that, but I do want to go back again to the chapter about cost-plus because the Smallwood era was known as the cost-plus era.

Let me just illustrate again what cost-plus really meant. It talks about another Cabinet minister here. It said that he bought a piece of property for $20,000 and, by the time he sold it at a fabulous profit for development of an expanding city, he estimated that the modest investment had returned a total of $860,000.

Mr. Chairman, when he walked into government, this particular Cabinet minister was a millionaire. So if you want to talk about that kind of thing, let's do it. For example one Cabinet minister, one of the ones kicked out of Joey's government, was quoted in this book here, and he says that the government was paying as much as twice the normal bidding price for a span of public buildings that were then flooding the Newfoundland landscape.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. H. HODDER: By leave, Mr. Chairman?

CHAIR: Does the hon. member have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

CHAIR: The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I know my colleague is rearing to go, but I will adjourn debate so we can recess. We will recess, have supper, and then come back again, I think, Government House Leader, at 7:00 p.m.

CHAIR: The House will recess until 7:00 p.m.

 

Recess

 

CHAIR (Penney): Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Waterford Valley.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

Just before the recess for a supper break, I was addressing the issue of Liberal heritage. I was brought to this matter by the comments of the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture on Sprung.

Mr. Chairman, I want to refer back to Harold Horwood's commentary on the Liberal heritage. It is a wonderful book. It is called JOEY The Life and Political Times of Joey Smallwood by Harold Horwood. It is available in all of the bookstores, for the benefit of the Member for Labrador West.

Just before we finished I was telling the story about a Cabinet minister who bought a piece of property for $20,000 and when he sold it he netted enough that his profit was $860,000.

AN HON. MEMBER: Where was this?

MR. H. HODDER: This was in Joey Smallwood's government. We are going to talk about Brian Peckford's government. We are going to go back, say, for eight or ten years. Let us go back and do the whole history of it. Let us talk about the days of the Liberal heritage and how they did things with cost-plus, because they never quite got away from that if you remember the deals that were made relative to the hospital contracts in this Administration and the Wells' Administration, because they follow the same pattern.

Mr. Chairman, let me just illustrate again to hon. members that one former Cabinet minister, speaking of how the system worked, said that hospitals, nurses' residences, trade schools, arts and culture centres, were all built on cost-plus contracts, and cost-plus was the royal road to graft. This was written by a person who had served in Joey Smallwood's government.

Mr. Chairman, this is all quoted in Harold Horwood's book. So this is the Liberal heritage, and I am only talking here about the late 1950s. I have not gotten into the Valdmanis story, which I can get into in some detail if you wanted to do that.

We are going to talk about the Peckford era and the Moores era, and it is seventeen years. Let us stretch it to forty-seven years. Let us look at the whole history of Newfoundland politics and who was in power at the time.

Mr. Chairman, let me tell you about another writing here by a former Cabinet minister who wrote a book. He said: I have even published a series explaining how it worked, and have written of millions poured out in graft and corruption.

Mr. Chairman, these are not ordinary people writing. These are people who were participants, people who were there at the time. We know these people as former Liberals, former Cabinet ministers. They knew how the system worked. It tells one story here of a writer accusing a Cabinet minister of being involved in graft and corruption. It says, instead of firing the minister, Joey had moved him to a safer portfolio where he would have less responsibility for awarding contracts.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. H. HODDER: I say to the Government House Leader that this particular exchange was instigated by his own Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture when he got up and complained about the Sprung Greenhouse. I have had enough of that. Every time the minister gets up in the future and complains about the Sprung Greenhouse, I am going to get up and tell the true Liberal history as it is here and as it is written down. As a student of Newfoundland history, I can tell you, I do have a pretty good knowledge of what went on in that particular era.

Mr. Chairman, let me continue on here with what Horwood says. He says, technically speaking, the new buildings were not being constructed on a cost-plus basis but on leaseback contract, which was perhaps even worse.

Mr. Chairman, I am merely saying here that the government of the day would accept the contracts and they would not call tenders. There were no tenders called whatsoever.

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

MR. TULK: I owe a member of this House an apology and I want to apologize and I am glad to apologize. I just said that the Member for Burin - Placentia West was a relative of the Member for Waterford - Kenmount, and she just informed me that I am wrong. Mr. Chairman, I am so happy to apologize to her because I consider her a lady. She would never do what the hon. gentleman is over there doing now, picking on somebody who is dead and who cannot defend himself. That is about what he is good for.

CHAIR: There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Waterford Valley.

MR. H. HODDER: If we are going to use that standard then I assume the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture will cease and desist talking about the Sprung Greenhouse and all of these things.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. H. HODDER: I did not speak about Brian Peckford. I am talking about Sprung. If we are going to give history lessons back to the Sprung Greenhouse time, then I just want to tell the Government House Leader that he has a heritage. He has a Liberal heritage, and it is not all pretty.

MR. TULK: A point of order, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. TULK: I have a Liberal heritage, and before the hon. gentlemen is finished tonight we will outline to him exactly why I am proud of it.

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for Waterford Valley.

MR. H. HODDER: I assume you are going to rule on the point of order?

CHAIR: There is no point of order.

MR. H. HODDER: Mr. Chairman, I just want to point out to hon. members that if they want to accuse us on this side of having the heritage of the Peckford era, if they want to make that accusation, then we on this side are going to just move back a little bit beyond that -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

CHAIR: Order, please!

MR. H. HODDER: You cannot have it two ways. You cannot accuse us on this side of having the Peckford era as part of our heritage if you are not going to accept responsibility for the entire Liberal heritage that you have. Because of your obviously upset nature, you do not want the truth to come out.

Mr. Chairman, let me just read from page 253 of the book here. The chapter is called `The King of Cost-Plus'. Horwood says that the cost-plus was the royal road to graft, and he was quoting Greg Power at that point. He says here that there were millions poured out in graft and corruption in the Smallwood era - not hundreds of thousands of dollars - millions. In fact on page 254, I quote: "In the 1960s the Newfoundland government spent some $200 million on leaseback contracts..." in this Province. That is quoted from the book, "...$200 million spend on leaseback contracts..." in this Province. That is what the Liberals did when they were in office. They went out and got contractors and business people to give them a price.

Let me tell you one little incident. In 1964, and I had just moved into Mount Pearl at that time, there was a federal election on around that time, 1963 or 1964. The Liberal candidate in the Mount Pearl area was going to be a man by the name of Richard Cashin. Joey Smallwood came into Mount Pearl and said: If you vote for the Liberal candidate we will pave all of your streets. The people of Mount Pearl, under the leadership of former Mayor Kell Ashford, said they would buy into that proposal. What happened was the people of Mount Pearl voted Liberal in 1964. When the contract was called it was called and awarded to a contractor. I can tell you, it was cost-plus, because on Glendale Avenue in Mount Pearl there were four and five inches of asphalt put there. In fact, when I was mayor we had to take up that street finally because it had to be replaced, and there were up to five and six inches of asphalt there, because the asphalt was awarded on the basis of so much per ton.

That is the way contracts were awarded in the Smallwood era. It is not the fault of the contractors.

CHAIR: Order, please!

MR. H. HODDER: You cannot blame the contractors.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. H. HODDER: It was the fault of the Administration. That is the Liberal heritage. Before the night is out, if I feel so compelled, I will have to tell you more and more and more about your Liberal heritage.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible) lowlife.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. H. HODDER: You don't have any life!

CHAIR: Order, please!

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Chairman -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. H. HODDER: You know your heritage.

CHAIR: Order, please!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. H. HODDER: You know it. You don't like the truth!

CHAIR: Order, please!

MR. H. HODDER: You don't like the truth. You heard the truth. You want some more about it? I will tell you about your Liberal heritage!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) lowlife!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. HARRIS: A point of order, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi on a point of order.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I have heard the Government House Leader use the term `lowlife' on a series of occasions just now in reference to the Member for Waterford Valley.

I don't know if there has ever been a ruling on such a term, but given the connotation and the vehemence with which the member made the reference, it seems the kind of language that could lead to blows when sent back and forth across the House. If it has not already been ruled unparliamentary, perhaps the time has come for Your Honour to do so, because it is a very insulting term. It is one that is calculated to create an emotional reaction from the person who is on the receiving end, and I think it generally speaking does.

I know if someone was shouting at me and calling me a lowlife, which never happens I am sure, I would feel a sense of anger at that person. Perhaps the former Speaker could comment on the theory of this. That seems to be the kind of language that ought to be unparliamentary, Mr. Chairman.

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, to that point of order.

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader to that point of order.

MR. TULK: Let me say to the hon. gentleman that I withdraw any connotations or emotional upset, and I did use the word `lowlife' to the hon. gentleman. There is no connotation or anything intended.

CHAIR: The hon. member has withdrawn, so I see no point for there being any further submission on that point. Is the hon. member standing on a further point of order?

MR. SULLIVAN: No, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: Because the hon. member has withdrawn any comments made.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please!

I see four members standing at one time. The Chair can only recognize one at a time.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader, is he standing on another point of order?

MR. SULLIVAN: No, Mr. Chairman. I was standing to be recognized to speak on the Budget.

CHAIR: The Chair has already recognized the hon. Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes -

MR. HARRIS: A point of order, Mr. Chairman.

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Chairman, am I -

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi on a point of order.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Chairman, I understood the Government House Leader not to withdraw the term `lowlife'. He said he wishes to withdraw the emotional connotations of it. I don't know if that is an unqualified withdrawal of the comment or not.

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, that was the basis of his point of order, that you should not utter the word `lowlife' with a connotation that was emotionally upsetting, about to cause fisticuffs in the House, about to cause mass destruction of the universe, and, Mr. Chairman, I withdraw that. Anything I said to the hon. gentleman, `lowlife, Harvey', was a form of low life. It has nothing to do with the hon. gentleman on the opposite side. What is he in a fit of pique over there about? I withdraw it.

CHAIR: Unless the member is standing on another point of order, the Chair has already ruled that the hon. Government House Leader has withdrawn.

AN HON. MEMBER: Withdrawn what?

CHAIR: Has withdrawn the comment that he made that the hon. Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi found so offensive and unparliamentary.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader, is he standing on a point of order?

MR. SULLIVAN: No, Mr. Chairman. When the point of order was dealt with, I stood and there was no one else standing. I stood to speak and debate on the motion. Other members stood afterwards. I was just standing to be recognized, Mr. Chairman. I stood again, and was the only one standing - first to be recognized.

AN HON. MEMBER: The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: He stood later.

CHAIR: As the hon. Member for Waterford Valley took his seat, the hon. Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture stood and was recognized before the point of order was called. So the Chair has already recognized the minister to speak in the debate.

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Chairman, I do not have a problem. I assumed he was not getting up again.

CHAIR: Is the hon. Opposition House Leader speaking to a point of order?

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: On a point of order.

MR. SULLIVAN: The point of order is that when the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture remained in his seat after people spoke to the point of order, I stood, Mr. Chairman. The minister stood up afterwards, I agree, but if it is a point that he wanted to finish his ten minutes, I am not so tied up on it that I have to go now. I don't mind sitting down, but I did stand before anyone else stood when that point ended and I waited to be recognized. I was standing first; he got up after.

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Just to satisfy the hon. gentleman, the truth is that the minister -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TULK: Hold on now. No, no -

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

CHAIR: Order, please!

MR. TULK: That is right. The Minister of Fisheries -

MR. SULLIVAN: I stood before you.

MR. EFFORD: You did not.

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

CHAIR: Order, please!

The Chair would appreciate, when somebody is speaking to a point of order, that the Chair be given the opportunity to hear what is being said without interruption.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, I think the sequence of events will show that the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture was recognized. Then the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi rose on a point of order. I spoke to the point of order. Then the hon. gentlemen on the other side stood and the Chair said: Are you speaking to the point of order? He said no, and sat down. The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture was obviously recognized, so there is no point of order on the other side, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: At exactly eight minutes past the hour of seven the Chair recognized the hon. Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. The Chair is not about to entertain any other presentation on that point of order.

The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The only thing I regret is that I stayed in the common room, our caucus room, had supper, and did not have the same supper they had. Because if I had the same supper they had then I would be able to speak with the same tone with which they are speaking, because it is certainly different from what we ate for our supper. I suspect the dessert was much more appetizing and -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Well, I guarantee you, the supper was not all solid food - that is the point I am making - from the way you are carrying on.

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

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

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Chairman, the statement that the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture just made, he obviously was impugning something that this side of the House was doing while we were outside and he should be asked to withdraw that comment.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The Chair did not hear the hon. minister make any comment for which he will be asked to withdraw.

The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Chairman, not solid food, or jelly and custard, or whatever you want to eat, it could be tapioca.

I think we should listen to a couple of comments the hon. Member for Waterford Valley made. The book he is referring to, Harold Horwood. Just listen now.

AN HON. MEMBER: The bitterest of the bitter.

MR. EFFORD: The bitterest of the bitter. The guy who is now living in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, the famous Newfoundlander, the man who is defending the rights of Newfoundlanders, the man who is accusing governments of Newfoundland for working against their people. I wouldn't even hold the book in my hand. Why wouldn't I? He is a man who has contributed to and joined the forces of the IFAW -

MR. T. OSBORNE: (Inaudible).

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for St. John's South -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Yes.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for St. John's South on a point of order.

MR. T. OSBORNE: No, a point of privilege, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for St. John's South, on a point of privilege.

MR. T. OSBORNE: Mr. Chairman, I would like to know who it is the minister is speaking of. I did not hear the name first.

CHAIR: That is certainly not a point of privilege. That is not even a point of order.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. EFFORD: Now, Mr. Chairman, I am convinced -

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No leave!

MR. EFFORD: Now I am convinced that supper was not all solid food.

CHAIR: The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I find it very unusual that the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture wouldn't hold a book by Harold Horwood and he holds on to the cucumber book for the past two years, I would say to him. Is he that much in love with a cucumber book, or that much out of love with the book by Harold Horwood? While I have the minister's attention I want to ask him a question. Maybe he will answer when he gets up. Why would the minister get up in the House and - I didn't know yesterday but I know today - he got up in the House yesterday -

MR. BARRETT: Mr. Chairman, a point of order.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Bellevue on a point of order.

MR. BARRETT: I want to bring to the attention of the House that the hon. Member for Waterford Valley brought up reference to a book by Harold Horwood who disowned Newfoundland and moved out of Newfoundland and is in Nova Scotia. He is against the seal hunt. The hon. Opposition House Leader also brought up a book that was published by another fellow who moved out of Newfoundland and disowned Newfoundland. I just want to bring a comparison from the Member for Waterford Valley and the Member for Ferryland on the same authors, the same books.

CHAIR: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

It is on a budget. The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture yesterday read a statement in this House and I responded, in a positive manner I might add, to see people get employed out in rural Newfoundland and in Red Bay. What I didn't know at the time, I say to the minister, and what I didn't know the House should know, is that the company, Labrador Shrimp Company, I might add, had applied for a licence to do sea urchins before and were turned down. It was only when the former Member for Eagle River, Danny Dumaresque, went into a partnership with the company that they then got the licence to do sea urchins.

AN HON. MEMBER: What's wrong with that?

MR. SULLIVAN: Because you refused the other company unless he was a part of it. They gave the licence to him because he was a part. The minister, I said, is doing all he can -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, he agreed with me. He said: What's wrong with it? He knows that. I said, and I will repeat it again, that Labrador Shrimp Company had applied for a licence to do sea urchins in Red Bay and they were turned down by your department. The minister agreed. He said: What's wrong with that?

I am asking because I would like to know. Because I was told that, I would say to the minister. I think it is only a fair question, and a fair comment. The former member for the area is now a part of, I think, Janes sea foods, or involved with them, now has the licence in partnership with them - it was a condition - and that is why they were able to do it - and they couldn't do it. A company that was established before, has a good reputation, and a new company was given this.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: No, it is not at all.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) I heard their plan was to make Danny so rich he won't want to come back here.

MR. SULLIVAN: That might be a good idea.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Whatever plans they have for Danny, the Independent Member for Cartwright - L'Anse au Clair has different plans for Danny, and the people of Southern Labrador, from Cartwright to L'Anse au Clair, have different plans for that member.

In fact, I am hoping that the Premier has a dog, even if he is not called Harry. I hope the Premier has a dog so that the Parliamentary Assistant can get some exercise, by walking along with the Premier's dog; because Harry has his walk. Everybody knows about Harry, I tell you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes. He got his throat slit. That ended Harry. I just hope the same fate does not come -

MR. J. BYRNE: (Inaudible) dog, right to my door.

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, there was blood spilled over that one. I do not know if this Premier has a dog. Could anyone tell us? Can anyone tell us if this Premier has a dog?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes.

MR. J. BYRNE: I bet you this Premier has (inaudible)

MR. SULLIVAN: It is marked on this, dog oil pills. That is what they are.

Does the Premier have a dog? Does anybody know? Can anyone tell us if the Premier has a dog? Because the former parliamentary assistant-

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: What kind, Percy? What kind of a dog has he got?

MR. SULLIVAN: Somebody told me that the former parliamentary assistant used to walk his dog regularly. One of the parts of the job description was: The parliamentary assistant must walk Harry every night! That is what he had to do. And he walked Harry. The member got tired of walking Harry and do you know what the member did to Harry? I will not say it on the record here of the House. So, I am just wondering whether the new Premier has a dog and whether anyone walks the dog. I would like to know that.

Somebody told me - I did not believe it but now I do believe it - that the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture forgot to take his pill today. He said that he forgot to take his pill and that is what is wrong with him. He gets really irritated when he does not get his seal oil capsule, his Omega 3 fatty acids. I am sure the minister would like to have back his seal oil pills. We would not want him to have to suffer from withdrawal symptoms for not taking his seal oil capsules, I might add.

I think it is commendable for the Premier to have a dog. What is wrong with it? But I also think it should not be in the job description, that the parliamentary assistant has to walk the dog. Maybe we call him a lap-dog, the parliamentary assistant, but that does not mean he has to walk the dog, I say to the member. So, I think we should have a job description there that is a lot more related to the functions of the parliamentary system here in the House.

We know what happened to the former parliamentary assistant from Cartwright - L'anse au Clair, when he failed to provide walking services for the Premier's dog. He not only fell out of favour with the Premier, he could never get that extra step. He almost got to Cabinet, he almost got to the door. The parliamentary assistant was next to go into cabinet, but the Member for Cartwright - L'Anse au Clair took care of that in the last election, and the member helped considerably himself, I might add, in that particular process too. So that is what happened. I am sure the current parliamentary assistant is around too long, and he is too smart, I would say, to fall into that same trap.

AN HON. MEMBER: Do you know the name of the Premier's dog?

MR. SULLIVAN: No, I do not know. In fact I am trying to find out if the Premier has a dog. No one seems to be able to tell me.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, he has a dog.

MR. SULLIVAN: He has a dog. It would not be called Harry II, by any chance, would it?

MR. J. BYRNE: No, no relation to Harry.

MR. SULLIVAN: No relation whatsoever. Thank God for that, because the fate of the walker and the fate of the dog -

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

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, on a point of order.

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Chairman, I know the Budget Speech is a wide- ranging speech, and I know that you can talk about just about anything on the rules of the House of Assembly pertaining to the relevance of what is happening in the Province, the economy of the Province, anything. I just do not understand the relevance of a former member of the House of Assembly, who is now out in private business, what it has to do with whether he walks a dog or whether he does not walk a dog.

I think, with the way we are tuned in to the public, to be up for ten minutes of the House's time talking about such trite - I think the hon. member should have better sense than doing that.

MR. SULLIVAN: To that point of order.

CHAIR: The hon. the Opposition House Leader, to that point of order.

MR. SULLIVAN: For the minister to stand in his place, with the nonsense he is getting on with today and in the past, utter nonsense, talking about recipes, reading about cucumbers and reading recipes - if the people of the Province knew what he was talking about, he would be kicked out.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: That is right. Reading recipes from books on highly saleable commodities here in the Province, I might say.

CHAIR: Is the hon. Opposition House Leader still on that point of order?

MR. SULLIVAN: Sorry, Mr. Chairman. I got so carried away there I forgot to get back to the topic at hand. I finished speaking on the point of order.

CHAIR: Before the hon. member gets back to the topic, which is the debate, the Chair will rule on the point of order.

First of all, it has been ruled many times that during debate on the Budget there is a wide range of debate, and relevance is very seldom, if ever, called. It is commendable to see the hon. Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture so concerned about relevancy in this particular debate tonight, and the Chair is very impressed.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader has run out of time.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for that rousing vote of support in what I had to say about the minister.

CHAIR: The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. I presume his comments will be relevant.

MR. EFFORD: Yes.

A famous author living in Antigonish - I need my hon. colleagues on both sides of the House to hear this. The hon. Member for Waterford Valley was up defending and reading quotes from a book, I believe he had written about the former -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. EFFORD: We all know the problem with the over-populated seal herds in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador today. We all know the impact it is having on people living in communities in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. We all know that it is one of the main causes of our fish stocks not being returned to commercial harvest value six years after the moratorium. We all know why we are being treated and looked upon, in most parts of the world, as barbarians here in this Province, as people who have no better sense than to go out, take animals, skin them alive, cruelly kill them and do all the inhumane things that we do; put forth by the IFAW over worldwide television, sucking the money out of the emotional bleeding hearts down in Hollywood, $50 million a year. You would think that any Newfoundlander, so called Newfoundlander, living in any part of the world - and God's knows there are Newfoundlanders and Labradorians living all over the world - you would think that with the blood that is flowing through their veins they would have some pride and respect for the people and the Province in which they were born and in which they earned a living and are probably receiving royalties and a pension from. You would thing that most of them or all of them would stand up and fight for their people and their Province.

Not Mr. Horwood. What does he do? He joins them, he contributes towards them, his name is on their list. I phoned him because I did not believe it when I was told. I did not believe there was a Newfoundlander ever born on this Rock who would ever turn against his own people. I picked up the phone and I phoned him in Antigonish and asked him a question. I said: Harold, I never met you. I introduced myself, not only as a minister but as a citizen of this Province who believes in this Province and believes we should have a future here and do not believe that people in this Province are barbaric.

I asked him the question: Are you against the killing of animals? He said: I am against the killing of seals. I said: The question I asked you is: Are you against the killing of animals? If you are against that, then I believe that you are a vegetarian. He said: No, I am not. Whatever gave you that impression. Well, I said: You are against the killing of animals. He said: No, I am against the killing of seals.

If he had told me he was a vegetarian, I would have had some respect for him, but he is only against the killing of seals. I asked him: Why? Explain to me how you can be a so-called Newfoundlander, born here on this Rock, and go outside and join a group which is using the blood of the people of this Province to fill their bank-books and buy their houses down in the Caribbean. How can you contribute? How can you be a part of that group?

Harold Horwood -

AN HON. MEMBER: Harvey's buddy!

MR. FITZGERALD: Harold Horwood, who is now living in Antigonish, sold -

AN HON. MEMBER: He sells those books and uses -

MR. EFFORD: - and uses the money from the sales of those books to contribute to the (inaudible) and the IFAW. That is what you are standing with here in the House of Assembly, with pride, and quoting from? You should be ashamed of yourself. I told him when I finished the conversation, as far as I'm concerned, and anybody who I have contact with, he will never again be recognized as a Newfoundlander and Labradorian. He doesn't deserve the recognition, and I would take every piece of literature or every word he has ever written and put it in the garbage can.

Anybody who would bleed on the backs of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador to earn money to put in their bank account to buy their houses down in the Caribbean, and anybody who would stand and support those types of people, doesn't deserve not only to be called a Newfoundlander, but doesn't deserve to be called a Canadian. That is the type of people that you are quoting from this evening in this House of Assembly, and that is the kind of an individual that you are supporting.

MR. J. BYRNE: Point of order, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR (Oldford): Order, please!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please! Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis, on a point of order.

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Chairman, I agree with what the minister is saying. It's a good story and what have you, with respect, and it could be a true story, but if he is using this to try and deflect from what the Member for Waterford Valley said, it doesn't change the reality of what actually happened when Joey Smallwood was in power. It doesn't change the reality of what really happened.

CHAIR: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Chairman, I am not talking about what went on in any political system, whether it was the former Tories or whether it was the former Liberal government. That is not what I'm talking about. I will get to that a little later.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)!

MR. EFFORD: No. I'm talking about an author of a book that you have in your hands, who you are quoting and who you are believing, somebody who is now in Nova Scotia, now turned his back on every Newfoundlander and Labradorian. He now is agreeing with the IFAW that Newfoundlanders are barbarians. That is what you are saying. There is a reason for what I'm saying here. It has nothing to do with governments, and it has nothing to do with politicians. It has to do with standing up for the people in this Province.

Anybody who turns their back on people in this Province, or people in their own land, or in their own country, doesn't deserve one word of recognition. By what you are doing this evening in this House of Assembly, you are giving him recognition that he should never get out of the mouths of any Newfoundlander or any Canadian. There is nowhere else in the world where you would hear of it.

AN HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear!

CHAIR: The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I have a few comments on the Budget. I might add I spent an hour and twenty-five minutes in initial debate on the Budget, talking strictly on what the Budget doesn't provide. I spent another forty minutes after that. Sometimes you have a little bit of fun, have a few comments, and try to correct a few misstatements and get things on the record.

I said it before, as this government well knows, this Budget - and last year's statement was a surplus budget for this Province. The question I ask is: When we had a surplus budget last year it didn't show up that way because they took the figure of $21 million for the Newfoundland and Labrador Investment Corporation for schools, they prepaid $4 million out of last year's fiscal year, that is $25 million, and they only showed a deficit of $20 million. There was a surplus in the budget last year to deliberately paint the picture whereby they would prepay so they wouldn't reach their surplus until next year, an election year, and justifies not having to pay out money to people who have been, since 1989, without an adequate increase when we showed a surplus last year.

The warrants were signed on March 12, I believe, for $25 million, last year, that came out of the budget when we are only showing last year about a $20 million deficit. We had a surplus last year, and to try to convince the people of this Province that we are $20 million down, we are going to be $10 million this year, and next year to have a surplus, is just playing with the figures to create the impression things are worse than they are so they can justify the actions government is taking. That is a game that governments play, not to have to justify. So they don't justify what they are doing. At the same time we have seen examples here. We have seen how flexible the Premier is.

My colleague from St. John's West - we had a resolution. The hypocrisy, I might add, the hypocrisy we see so many times. I watched on TV yesterday how the Premier said we can't have these poor people, the poorest people out there - we are going to help them by not clawing back. The same government that over a week ago, it will be two weeks tomorrow, stood here and defeated a Private Members' Resolution by the Member for St. John's West, asking for the same thing. The hypocrisy of what government does! The very same thing. All of a sudden their little poll shows them he is not popular, and we do it. Well, that's great. You did not need a poll to tell people that the poorest people in the Province should have those extra dollars for their kids.

My colleague today from Bonavista South said here in this House - and I think it was rather appalling. Your heart goes out to a person who got an income tax refund. I raised this issue two years ago and offered a solution to the minister at the time. I made this statement, and I will make it again, that if anybody, before they go on social assistance, has any money due them on income tax or from any source, that revenue should be able to be applied against any debts they have at that time. If the revenue exceeds their debts, no, you cannot pay them income support or social assistance, whatever you want to call it, if they are in that situation. But when someone, a year ago, because they got deducted as a single person got more taxes taken out, it was their money retroactively.

A person went out for their son, I think who was graduating, to buy a suit, a shirt and tie and found out they had to take it back; for someone to go to their own graduation, I mean that is a difficult situation. There is a solution to this, I might add, and I offered it to the minister of the department two years ago here in this House. I offered a solution.

In fact, I will use another example, an example that happened in my district, and we won it I think. I am pretty sure it will happen. Back last year, unfortunately, a lady passed away and her husband who was not able to go to work had to resort to social assistance for the first time. That person had an income from TAGS and, of course, the income ended when the person died. Their income tax filed for that year had a rebate coming of $800 or $900. On the funeral cost, there was over $2,000 owing. One of the members of the family paid and got it down to $1,200. They asked if the $800 coming back could be applied against the $1,200 that was owing on the funeral and the answer was: No, you can't do it, we are going to claw back. I said: A pile of bull! It is ridiculous! Why should anybody else out trying to make a living with no limited income have to pay off a debt incurred by someone? There are arrears out there and revenue should apply. If their income tax was $2,000 and the arrears were $1,200 there would be a surplus of $800, and I could see justifying clawing back on that portion.

I am optimistic. I helped draft a letter with the person - actually he is not a constituent of mine any more. He resides here in the city, but a former constituent. I helped draft a letter with them and I am optimist. I guess they have their income tax by now. I did not hear back in the last month. I am assuming they have their cheque. I hope they have and there is nothing else off that. We went through that process, but to have to go through those types of things, I mean commonsense has to prevail at certain times, a bit of commonsense. In other words, before you go on social assistance and you have income due to you and you have bills to pay from that income - if you had had it you would have paid the bills. Why does it happen? I mean, it does not make sense.

My colleague put forth the resolution here and, all of a sudden, what tremendous news, well orchestrated; people in the gallery to hear that ministerial statement, to play it up out there as if all along they had been so compassionate and understanding of putting money in for children, when it was a game. It is a public relations game. That is what it is. And we pounding this in the Budget debate here since that announcement. My colleague here on resolutions - every single person over there voted against it, and all of a sudden they are in favour.

AN HON. MEMBER: Poppycock!

MR. SULLIVAN: I am talking about fact that is on the record in this House, I say to the minister, fact; more than the minister talks about. The minister talks about fiction, not about fact. That is fact. It is on the record of this House, I might add.

AN HON. MEMBER: We didn't vote against it.

MR. SULLIVAN: You changed it, that is what you did, you altered it. You can call it what you like. I am delighted, as the member is, and the rest of us, and members on that side. I don't care what their motivation was to change it, the final result is that people now get the benefit of something they were supposed to get the benefit of, and that is what is important. They want to have their extravaganza and various things about it, but what I don't like is the hypocrisy about it and so on. There is no sincerity in it, but I am delighted with the final result, and I think everybody affected by it is delighted.

There are too many kids - 40,000, I think. My colleague who served on a committee here along with members on that side of the House on children's interest did an estimate of people in this Province who go to school hungry. I know when I taught school there was an individual - we didn't know it - who would leave at lunch hour, go into the washroom and stay there until the bell rang to go back to class. It went on and on. It was because the person had no money to have lunch and went away by themselves. That shouldn't happen in this day and age here. When it is brought to attention, I am sure the principal and the school administration try to see that doesn't happen for individuals and people who they know are in that situation; and they are.

The minister says we are always negative. When you look around and see people going out of this Province day after day - people can't even get mobility assistance to get out of the Province who want to go. The job prospects, the unemployment; there are less people working in this Province than there were. In 1989 there were 208,000 working in this Province, and there are several thousands less working than there were in 1989. You are seeing our best trained, our brightest individuals, getting jobs in the rest of the country and you wonder what is happening.

You have to tell people the reality. You don't tell them things are great when the roof is falling down over their head. If it is bad it is bad, and if it is good it is good, but you have to have some hope. I agree. It is not all doom-and-gloom. We are here in this House promoting positive things many times, and it is our job to point out things that government do and try to put a positive spin on things, to lay out there what is wrong with that. That is the role of an Opposition to do that.

AN HON. MEMBER: Can you tell us what you are going to do?

MR. SULLIVAN: I have said on every single occasion in the past what I was going to do.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) hours debate and you haven't said yet what you are going to do.

MR. SULLIVAN: When? I have been on record on numerous occasions, I say to the member. I have said what we are going to do on many occasions; in news releases, I give statements. I have made clear in several areas what we would do, what should happen here in the financial end in this Province, the areas we should move on. They moved on some already, actually. It is on public record.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: The member should like to know that I didn't contest it.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SULLIVAN: By leave? They don't like to hear the truth, that is the problem.

CHAIR: Does the member have leave?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No leave!

CHAIR: No leave.

The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I want to get back for a few minutes to the comments of the Member for Waterford Valley, because he stood in this House and quoted some things from the book which he is still reading about the author, Mr. Horwood, who has made some remarks about the government of the day and the misspending of taxpayers' dollars.

I would ask the simple question: How can you trust an individual like that? He turned his back, a month ago, on Newfoundlanders. How can we trust one word he is saying? Did he turn his back on the government and the premier of the day? The things that he is saying in that book, is there any word of truth to it whatsoever? Does the hon. member believe it? Is the hon. member taking sides with that individual? He certainly appears to be, because instead of taking the book and throwing it in the garbage can he certainly is reading it. Is that what all hon. members believe over on the other side? An individual who has turned his back - what do you call an individual who turns his or her back on their country, on their people?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. EFFORD: But what do you call him? There is a word. Use your imagination. Here is an individual who has turned his back on Newfoundlanders, who is building up the forces against everything that Newfoundlanders believe and do, and the very culture that we have existed on for 500 years.

MR. TULK: And now being quoted as an authority.

MR. EFFORD: And now being quoted. Which leads me to believe that the hon. Member for Waterford Valley is in full support of what this gentleman is now in Nova Scotia supporting. I wouldn't like to believe that is what members opposite -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: But he is doing it.

MR. J. BYRNE: Twisting the facts.

MR. EFFORD: No, I did not twist the facts. Harold Horwood, the author, turned his back on Newfoundlanders. He came out publicly in Canada. Is that wrong? Did he do it or did he not do it?

MR. J. BYRNE: That is what he is doing now (inaudible). Was he?

MR. EFFORD: That is not the point. He turned his back on Newfoundlanders, so I would not trust him anymore then, or anything he wrote in that book, than I would trust him today.

There is something wrong, when that party opposite is supporting those types of people. It is clear. Look at the member. You do not see me or anybody on this side of the House with a book in their hands.

MR. J. BYRNE: No! (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Not this book.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. EFFORD: I am not talking about those books. I am talking about the gentleman who wrote that book. I know now the truth hurts. I know now there is more support than the Member for Waterford Valley.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Well, I would say to the hon. member, what I would do, if there was ever one in my office or my home, is I would take it and burn it. I would not hold it in my hands. You are turning your back on everything this Province believes in; keeping in mind we are the only country in the world that does not have a seal cull today, keeping in mind that every other country in the world has a cull of different animals. In Ontario, two weeks ago, they killed 7,000 bears because of an over-population. Down in Pennsylvania they have a cull on the deer population every year.

This man in Nova Scotia, today, living in Antigonish, joins the forces of the IFAW, destroying a way of life that we have had here for hundreds of years. The Member for Waterford Valley will still hold it in his hands with pride - look at the expression on his face - and then get support, which I cannot believe, from the hon. Member for Cape St. Francis when the people in his communities live off the ocean, depended on marine life for hundreds of years; and you will stand and condone that type of thing in this House of Assembly. There is something wrong with anybody who would even contemplate supporting the hon. member with that type of nonsense in his hands. I am talking about turning against the people of this Province.

MR. J. BYRNE: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Do you agree with him or not? Answer the question.

AN HON. MEMBER: What?

MR. EFFORD: Do you agree with the author of that book and do you agree that anybody should hold that book in their hands?

AN HON. MEMBER: Or trust him?

MR. EFFORD: Or trust him?

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis. Are you rising on a point of order?

MR. J. BYRNE: (Inaudible).

CHAIR: Do you give him leave?

MR. EFFORD: Yes.

MR. J. BYRNE: Here is the reality of the situation - and you are trying to question it - you are asking me do I agree with what the man is doing today? I do not agree with what Mr. Horwood is doing today. But he wrote a book and he quoted from the book. I can understand why the Minister of Fisheries is ashamed of Mr. Horwood. I can understand why. He is a former Liberal minister.

He talked about traitors and what have you. It is typical, Mr. Chairman, of what is going on on that side of the House. The Minister of Fisheries is trying to twist something that the member said, and he did not do it. He quoted from the book. What the minister is saying -

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. Are you rising on a point of order?

MR. EFFORD: I am withdrawing leave, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: Leave is withdrawn.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Chairman, at no time during my remarks about the so-called individual living in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, did I ever use the word `traitor'. I never, ever, used that word in this House.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: I did not, at any time

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: I asked the question: What do you call an individual who turns against his or her people? There has to be a reason or a name for individuals who do that. But I am going to tell you, you will never live long enough to see this member, or any member on this side of the House, condone the type of thing the hon. Member from Waterford Valley is condoning. You would never live long enough. All you would see, if ever that came into the possession of members on this side of the House, take it and put it in the garbage can, because that is where it belongs. That is where the individual who wrote it and the individual supporting the IFAW today belong, in the garbage can!

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for Waterford Valley.

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

I just wanted to get up for a moment and remind hon. members that this publication by Harold Horwood was put out in 1989. It was a public document. It could have been challenged by the hon. member at that time, it could have been challenged in the courts, and it could have been challenged for its accuracy or inaccuracy. There was plenty of time for all members of the public to read this book. Before it went to press I am sure the people who were doing the publishing checked it with their legal people, Mr. Chairman. Therefore we have to assume, because there were no court challenges to all of these documents and records that are in this book, the Liberals of Newfoundland and Labrador were content in 1989 that this book contained an accurate reflection of the Liberal era from 1949 until 1972. Because if it was not an accurate reflection of the Liberal record, they would have challenged it, they would been in the courts, they would have said you cannot publish it; but there were no challenges.

Mr. Chairman, I also say to hon. members here that the only purpose of my exchange today is to show the members opposite that if they want to bring up the seventeen years of Tory government from 1972 until 1989 then we will just transfer you back a little bit further than that. We have lots of documentation.

MR. TULK: A point of order, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: Order, please!

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

MR. TULK: If the former school principal wants to know if he has taught us a lesson, I have to tell him that indeed we are not like a crowd of schoolchildren. We do not need him to stand up and teach us and cane us and put us in the corner and tell us what we can or cannot do. If he thinks by standing and quoting from a person who I would not take as a very good authority is going to change my views about anything in this House, then I say to him, go out and do better research.

If you cannot trust the hon. gentlemen today, surely, can you trust his word at any time? That is the point being made here, and he should quickly learn that is the point.

CHAIR: Order, please!

MR. TULK: He should sit down, too, when there is a point of order being made.

CHAIR: There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Waterford Valley.

MR. H. HODDER: Mr. Chairman, I will just point out to all hon. members that if they wish to change the author, I can do that too by quickly going into my office and picking up Richard Gwyn's book, Smallwood The Unlikely Revolutionary. It contains substantially the same kind of information. Therefore, I can quote from another author. I can go to umpteen authors.

The point I want to make is that if the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture is going to stand in his place and read from Sprung Greenhouse recipe books, as he has done over and over again, we will, on this side of the House, let members know we have had enough of that.

Mr. Chairman, we give notice that we are going to put out before the public of this Province, if they want to go back and give a history lesson, I can give a history lesson as well as anybody else here.

Mr. Chairman, I just want to make the point that all of us in this House have heritages, or we have parts of our political system that went before us. If you want to go back and talk about Sir Richard Squires, I can do that too.

Therefore I say that we on this side of the House, if you want to get into that kind of dialogue, are prepared; we can bring in the references. We know the heritage of your party. We are not going to tolerate the kind of nonsense the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture got on with earlier today.

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for Port au Port.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I have been moved within the last few minutes to rise and take a few minutes in this debate. I have heard the level of debate within the last half an hour or so - degenerate is a word that could be used, I guess.

I am a bit surprised, I must say, with my colleague for Waterford Valley, whom I consider to be an hon. gentleman. I have been in his company on a number of occasions and we served on committees together. I am amazed at the turnaround I see here this evening. This is surely not the same person I have spoken with on a number of occasions and sung the praises of the first Premier of this Province; what a great Newfoundlander, what a great Canadian, and what a great supporter he was of this individual.

I have heard of people seeing the light, but obviously it would appear with this gentleman that somebody has put his lights out.

Mr. Chairman, I think there is something seriously wrong when we use this forum... I think all of us here have heard stories, and I am sure just about everyone in this House has, at times, had occasion to have been critical of the gentleman in question; but I really feel that we do not do this House or the people of this Province any great service by standing up and vilifying a great Newfoundlander and a great Canadian.

MR. H. HODDER: A point of order, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: On a point of order, the hon. the Member for Waterford Valley.

MR. H. HODDER: Mr. Chairman, at no point did I - rarely did I ever use the former Premier's name in my exchange. I have talked about the political system that was involved at that time. I just wanted to remind members of the actual facts of what occurred. For the member to stand and say that I vilified the former Premier is an absolute inaccuracy.

CHAIR: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Port au Port.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) withdraw it.

MR. SMITH: No, Mr. Chairman, I will not withdraw it. I am just reacting to what I interpreted from what was being said here this evening. I am sure there is no misinterpretation on my part.

I think it is very inappropriate. Here we are on the eve of the 50th Anniversary of becoming part of this country, and the man who brought us into Confederation, the man who helped this Province become part of this country, certainly deserves better from people who sit in this House now than to be placed under attack or have articles quoted here in the House that bring him into question. We really are not serving ourselves, and we are not serving the people of the Province, when we do that sort of thing.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SMITH: He is not there, so it is no good to point to him.

Mr. Chairman, I was part of a generation of Newfoundlanders who grew up when Mr. Smallwood was Premier of this Province, and I personally benefitted from some of the visions and initiatives that he initiated.

The greatest thing I think of - even though when I was at university I was as critical of the man as anyone, and I think all of us were - when I look back, in hindsight, I have to recognize the fact that there was one thing he did have, a strong commitment to education. He really felt that education was the way to turn this Province around. I am sure that deep inside - and everybody who advised him had to tell him: Premier, if you really place the emphasis on education, if you really make it available to everyone in this Province, some day it is going to come back to haunt you. Because if you educate these people and they get to the point where they are able to stand on their own two feet and speak out, they are going to come after you. He knew that was going to happen, but that did not deter him from making that commitment and seeing that educational opportunities were made available -

MR. H. HODDER: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: Order, please!

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

MR. H. HODDER: Maybe I should ask the hon. gentleman if he could confirm whether or not, at the recent Liberal convention in Gander, there were a number of Liberals who wanted to disassociate Joey Smallwood from the 50th Anniversary celebrations next year. In fact, it was only in recent days that the Town of Gambo has been able to get some funding to be able to put Joey Smallwood in perspective. At the recent Liberal convention, I am told by well-known Liberals, there was an effort by some members in the Liberal Party to disassociate Joey Smallwood altogether from their celebrations. So don't talk about my loyalty to Joey, talk about your own.

CHAIR: Order, please!

MR. TULK: To that point of order, Mr. Chairman.

I would never stand in this House and accuse -

CHAIR: Order, please!

Government House Leader, I was going to rule on the point of order that it is not a point of order. It is a mere interruption as described in 318 of Beauchesne. There is no point of order.

MR. TULK: A point of order, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, there has just been a piece of information distributed in this House - unintentionally, I think - by the Member for Waterford Valley that somehow or other the Liberal Party wants to disassociate itself, and that at a recent Liberal convention there was an attempt to disassociate ourselves in the 1999, the fifty years of Confederation, celebrations in this Province, from the hon. Joseph R. Smallwood. Let me say to him that if he did it unintentionally, it is forgivable. If he did not do it unintentionally, it is not forgivable. Let me also tell him that it is a piece of trash and a lie, (inaudible) lie for him.

CHAIR: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Port au Port.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Port au Port.

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Well, all I would say to the hon. Member for Waterford Valley is that if he did pick up the rumours emanating from the convention that there were concerns of this nature being expressed, they certainly would not agree with his own views on it because he and I have talked on occasions and he has shared with me his belief that the memory of that gentleman should, in fact, be recognized and honoured in this Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: I agree.

MR. SMITH: The other thing is, in the debate here this evening, in addition to the former Premier of this Province, we have also had reference to a former member of this House, and some question as to his present involvement in his business life. Again, I find it difficult personally - while I am in this House and things are raised, if I feel there are matters raised that reflect on me personally, on my character, then I certainly have the right and the opportunity to stand and defend myself. I think it is really unfair and rather cowardly to use this House to engage in attacks on people who are not here to defend themselves and do not have the opportunity to do so. I think, if we feel that way, the proper thing to do is to go outside the House and make the concerns known out there, to have the courage to go out and say to the media the things we will say in here. I think it is very unfair. I really think we should be more considerate when engaging in debate in this House, and show some respect for people who have sat where we sit now, because some day we are going to be out there. I would like to feel, at that point in time, if someone stands in this House and chooses at that time to question my character, there will be someone here who will stand to defend it.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS S. OSBORNE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture suggested that we not use negativity, and I choose to use reality. Unfortunately, negativity and reality, as they pertain to this Budget, are the same. You have the look of amazement on your face there.

MR. EFFORD: No, disgust.

MS S. OSBORNE: Disgust is it? Well, there is a line right here on page 2 in the Budget Speech and it is "...attributed to the introduction of the HST - which represents the single largest tax cut in this Province since we joined Confederation..." A cut it was. That is reality, a cut. A cut is reality, right there. HST being a cut is reality. Because what it did is cut into the soul of the people out there, the low-income people, people who cannot go out and buy four-wheel drives and Jimmys and Jeep Cherokees and the whole business, and park in their driveways, and drive around, and go hunting, and things like that. It is a cut into them, because each month when they received their fuel bill there was an extra tax on it, and that cut into their food budget. Each month, when they paid their oil bill or their electricity, there was a cut into their food budget.

So actually it is reality, it was a cut. It was the single largest cut in the Province since Confederation because it cut into the very core of the people in this Province, low-income people and people on social assistance. Factually it was a cut. If that is negativity and it is also reality, I am sorry if the two of them go hand in hand, because negativity and reality as they pertain to this Budget and this government happen to be simultaneous.

Another part of the Budget - well, it was the Throne Speech - forecast a reform of social programs: "New ideas and innovative measures are needed to bring meaningful change." The first bit of meaningful change we saw was yesterday, and what brought about that meaningful change?

AN HON. MEMBER: Graham Flight.

MS S. OSBORNE: Graham Flight.

AN HON. MEMBER: Political fear.

MS S. OSBORNE: Political fear is right. Did this government do another poll, or are they anticipating doing another poll?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) the only one who cares about anybody in this Province.

MS S. OSBORNE: I do not think for one minute that I am, but on May 13, when I asked that the people who are receiving social assistance receive equal to the National Child Benefit, you probably voted against it, so I may not be the only one. I am thankful to the people in this Province who -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Harold Horwood.

MS S. OSBORNE: That is right. I am thankful to the people in this Province who called my office daily, who sent in petitions, who called the Open Lines, who put the fear of the `x' in you, the `x' that you will be looking for in October. And now, after putting fear into the families on social assistance in this Province - what you tried to do, what this government tried to do, was bring in wonderful programs, family resource centres -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: Do you want to talk about predecessors? Okay, we will talk about Mr. Valdmanis, or we will talk O. L. Vardy, or we will talk about John C. Doyle, and how their pockets were lined so -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: I beg your pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: Don't fall over that seat.

MS S. OSBORNE: I won't fall over this seat. I do not have my glasses on, either. That way the view on the other side is skewed, which I must say is an improvement. You are all a blur, yes. You are all a blur.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS S. OSBORNE: Now, if you want to talk about predecessors, I can go back to predecessors. The hon. Member for Port au Port - talking about predecessors, it is not often that I claim age but I can remember when Mr. Smallwood had a great commitment to education, and it was his downfall because he educated all of the people in the Province and then they caught on to what he was doing.

AN HON. MEMBER: Should they have kept him in there?

MS S. OSBORNE: Should they have kept him in there? No, no. He educated them, thankfully, and he made them wise enough to see what he was doing.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: Exactly, and it was his own doing. Because it made them wise enough to see what he was doing and they, fortunately, had the ability to turf him out. I am glad to say that I worked against him back in 1971. I am proud of it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: Yes, and I will go back to that meaningful change that happened here in the House of Assembly yesterday when, on the 13th of May, with a private member's motion, everybody over there voted against it. Suddenly, there was a change of heart and the Minister of Human Resources and Employment said it was not brought about by public pressure. No, it was not brought about by pressure of the Opposition. She also got up in this House of Assembly and said that all the advocacy groups out there were praising all the programs. I was praising the programs too, but how cheap was this government in trying to initiate programs and take credit for them when the children of this Province were paying for them?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: Okay, I will whisper. It will be just as effective because the children of this Province were still paying for the programs for which you guys were trying to take the credit.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: Yes.

Then today on the Open Line show she said: Well, the caucus have been negotiating, the caucus have been thinking.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who, who said that?

MS S. OSBORNE: The Minister of Human Resources and Employment said it. As I am listening to it, I am thinking to myself: Did the caucus -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) patting yourself on the back again will you?

MS S. OSBORNE: I am not patting myself on the back. I am patting the people of this Province on the back because they recognized the harshness and the unfairness and the inequality of this policy. And they stormed my office, and they stormed the Open Line programs, and they wrote letters to the editor. Then, I suppose, the government decided, well, there seems to be a lot of rumbling out there about that; maybe we better do a poll.

The polls must have been wonderful because the people, the children, the poorest children of this Province, were the benefactors of that poll. Last year, your polls cost you $60,000. This was a dear little poll because it cost you to pay the children of this Province their National Child Benefit. So that will be a costly one for you.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) not finished yet?

MS S. OSBORNE: Oh, no, I am not finished yet.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: That is right, and in this Budget this government gave a 2 per cent increase to people on social assistance; not on all the programs they are getting, just on their bare social assistance. So any family now, or any single person who is out there who does not have children and is able to take advantage of this new tax credit, any person out there who does not have children, like the single, employable person living downtown who is getting $130 a month, 2 per cent of $130 a month is two dollars and sixty cents.

Now I asked the Premier, but I did not get any response from him - let your imagination run wild. Just let your imagination run wild for a couple of minutes and figure what -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: Yes. Well, I will get to that in a minute. That two dollars and sixty cents - the look on his face was worth it. I said: Mr. Premier, let your imagination run wild and tell me how a person can enhance their lifestyle with two dollars and sixty cents a month

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: The hon. Government House Leader might be saying tongue-in-cheek that I had a big effect, but you were sitting next to him. I was looking at him. When I waved about the statistics from the National Council on Welfare that showed that 72 per cent of the children in this Province, living in single family homes are living in poverty, and it was so effective that the Minister of Human Resources and Employment used it in her Ministerial Statement yesterday -

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave?

CHAIR: Does the hon. member have leave?

MS S. OSBORNE: I will be back.

CHAIR: No leave.

The hon. the Minister of Justice and Attorney General.

MR. DECKER: Mr. Chairman, over the past few months I have been reading the speeches from the National Convention when our forefathers met to discuss the future of Newfoundland, remember? We had just been seventeen years with a Commission of Government. The people around the Province elected the National Convention.

Mr. Chairman, it does your heart good to read some of these speeches, some of the speeches that Joe Smallwood made,

fantastic speeches. It is obvious, as you get into the convention and you read these speeches, the man went in with his mind made up to bring Newfoundland into Canada. It was his dream, it was his ambition, it was his obsession.

Major Peter Cashin was an anti-Confederate, Mr. Chairman, but his speeches were outstanding.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DECKER: I would recommend them to my colleagues, to read the speeches that Cashin and Smallwood made in that National Convention, Mr. Chairman. They are recorded. Memorial University, Dr. Hiller did us all a great service when he collected these speeches and bound them into two volumes. You can buy them, pick them up and read them, fantastic speeches which are there, are a part of our heritage, something of which we can be proud, Mr. Chairman.

There was a gentleman who represented White Bay North; his name was Isaac Newell. I thought he was from St. Anthony, there are Newells up there today, and his speeches in the education debate, after the Committee on Education had brought in its report. Isaac Newell got stood up and made speeches which were so relevant that during the denominational education debate in this Province any of Isaac Newell's speeches could have been taken. Fantastic speeches that were made in that National Assembly, all recorded in Hansard, passed down to future generations. It makes you proud as a Newfoundlander to read these speeches.

We are into another national assembly, the 43rd General Assembly. Out of the 560,000 people who live in Newfoundland and Labrador only forty-eight have the privilege of sitting in these seats. Only forty-eight people have the opportunity and the privilege to get up and speak into these microphones and have every word, every pause, every comma, every iota, every jot that we utter, recorded for posterity in the Hansard.

I ask you, of the speeches that we have listened to tonight, which ones would we be proud of if our descendants would pick them up and read them? Will some future politician fifty years from now get up in this House and boast about a speech that was made by the Opposition House Leader when he talked about the former parliamentary assistant to the former Premier walking a dog whose name was Harry? Is that the kind of speech we are going to brag and boast about, the forty-eight people here who are privileged to come into this General Assembly? The only forty-eight people in the Province of 560,000 souls, only forty-eight of us can sit in this House? What do we do? We get up and we listen to people talking about a former parliamentary assistant walking a Premier's dog.

How about the spurious points of order? As a part of parliamentary procedure there is an opportunity when, if someone steps outside the rules, any member can rise on a point of order, and it is supposed to be a serious thing to do. You interrupt the proceedings of the House, you interrupt the most serious speech that is being made, and you rise and the Speaker recognizes you, and everything else comes to a stop. Someone gets up on a point of order and says: Mr. Chairman, I didn't hear what the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture said; I wonder could I have him repeat it. You, Sir, quite rightly said it was not a point of order, and I commend you for making the ruling.

Forty-eight people only, of all the people in Newfoundland and Labrador, and someone gets up with spurious points of order. The man who I normally respect, the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi, who normally makes a lot of sense in this House, started the evening session with several points of order, all of which were ruled out, all of which made no sense. It was just an interruption of the proceedings in this House.

Then someone gets up and spits out some vicious innuendo about some rumour, about some statement that in his mind was made at the Liberal convention about the Liberals disowning a former Premier. No one else on earth ever heard such foolishness he was getting on with. It can only be a figment of his imagination. Unless he is prepared to give the source of that information, he has to take responsibility for it.

The point I am making is this. We are here tonight and we are discussing the people's money, the money which belongs to the people up in St. Anthony who are working very hard to pay a portion of their taxes so that this government can be run. We are talking tonight in this Committee of the Whole of the House of Assembly about the Executive Council. We have been here for one hour and twenty-three minutes, since after supper, and I have not heard one person on the other side of the House ask one question or make one comment about the Executive Council, Mr. Chairman. Twenty-five years from now, when some descendent of ours picks up the Hansard and reads it and if he goes through all the information that is available and should happen to come to the conclusion that we are supposed to be discussing the Executive Council, he or she will say: What are you doing talking about walking dogs? What are you doing talking about innuendo?

Mr. Chairman, the point I am making is this: Seventy-five hours are set aside for members opposite and members on this side of the House, if we so wish, to get up and speak about the Budget, speak about the Executive Council. Now if members have seventy-five hours of comments that they can make about the Budget, about the Executive Council, then by all means take the seventy-five hours. I tell you, if there are more than seventy-five hours required, this side of the House would be quite willing to give leave, Mr. Chairman. I say to hon. members, you don't have to use the seventy-five hours if you don't have something constructive to say. It is up to seventy-five hours and I think it is time -

MR. J. BYRNE: Sit down! Sit down!

MR. DECKER: See, Mr. Chairman, here again - I don't know if Hansard picks up these silly little remarks which are made by people who don't have the nerve to get up, who don't have the ability to get up on their feet and make a speech. All they can do is heckle from the back benches, Mr. Chairman. If Hansard picks that up it will be too bad, but unfortunately because of the modern invention called radio, because of modern technology at our disposal, every time the hon. member from Cape St. Francis heckles, his words are picked up, Mr. Chairman, on that microphone and they are fed into the radio system. They strike the satellite, Mr. Chairman, and they go all around the world.

Can you imagine someone, Mr. Chairman, in China listening to this man; and what do they hear? They hear the heckler from Cape St. Francis, one of forty-eight people. Remember now, of the 560 souls only forty-eight are allowed in this House. Only forty-eight have the privilege, and more than the privilege, Mr. Chairman, it is an obligation, it is a duty, it is a scared trust. That is what it is. What is it, Mr. Chairman? We get some member or we get some -

CHAIR (Penney): Order, please!

The hon. minister's time is up.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave.

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave.

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Chairman, if my poor old grandmother were alive tonight she would be in here and have me carried home.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FITZGERALD: I often wondered when you read the paper and you read a piece like Russell Wangersky had printed today, where he gets the information.

I am going to carry on in the vein of the Justice Minister, Mr. Chairman. The thousands of Newfoundlanders who are out there today, the thousands of fishermen and fish plant workers waiting to get guidance and direction from this House of Assembly and hear the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture get up here today and spend his valuable time reading recipes from a pickle book - the Minister of Justice is right, when you speak here in this House this microphone takes your voice all around the world.

A committee of this House got together and spent taxpayers' dollars to go to Ottawa to plead for the fishermen and fish plant workers of this Province, and did a good job I might say. We come back here to this House, we sit until 10:00 p.m. and we take an hour for lunch, Mr. Chairman, and we come back here again, hopefully to try to solve some problems in this Province. Hopefully, Mr. Chairman, to give guidance, to provide information, to provide some answers, to let the people of this Province know that there are forty-eight people here working on their behalf.

Mr. Chairman, the hundreds of fishing communities that are out there would love to get a meeting with the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, would love to be able to come in here and sit in the galleries in order to know what their life might look like in two weeks or six months time. The thousands of fishermen out there today would like to know what the fishery of the future is going to be. The thousands of fishermen, Mr. Chairman, out there today would like to know when the fishing season is going to open down in 3PS? Thousands of fishermen would like to know if they can extend the size of their boats, what size nets they are going to use and how many boats are fishing on the Nose and the Tail of the Grand Bank. And what do we hear from our minister? He stands up in this House tonight and gives you recipes out of a pickle book. Is that what leadership is all about, I ask people opposite? Is that what leadership is all about? Is that what you thought you would hear when you were given the privilege to come here and sit in this House, to come here and represent the 9,000-plus people in each of our districts? Is that what you thought you would hear?

I went up to my office to pick up a folder and there were two people sitting up there in the gallery, Mr. Chairman, and I met them. They got on the elevator on the third floor coming down to the first floor. They said: We have been standing outside in the foyer since last week and we have heard more sense out there talking to nobody than we heard up there tonight. Those are the people who call the open line shows. Those are the people who call and talk about politicians. Those are the people, Mr. Chairman, who are paying your's and my salary.

We are sitting here tonight not only, I hope, to use up the seventy-five hours on the Budget. It is very important, Mr. Chairman, part of the reason why we are here, but I would think that we are here, Mr. Chairman, to make a little bit of sense, to give some guidance, and hopefully to provide our constituents with some of the answers and alleviate some of the fears that they are surely experiencing out there in rural Newfoundland and Labrador today. Mr. Chairman, we are not hearing that.

When I think of out in my own district, when I think of the people who are out there unemployed, when I think of the calls I get, and I think of the people calling and saying: When are we going to find out if we are going to be included in a new program? When are we going to find out if there is going to be a test fishery in area 2J+3KL? When are we going to find out when I can go and take part in a fishery, Mr. Chairman. What kind of nets am I going to use? What size of mesh am I allowed to use? Am I going to be allowed to sell the seals that I catch in a lumpfish net? How about the by-catch of seals, am I going to be allowed to sell them? What can I do with them? Where can I take them? Am I expected to leave them lying around the beach? This is what they expect to hear from the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. This is why the minister should stand in his place and talk about his department.

I don't see any other minister getting up and getting on with the foolishness, Mr. Chairman. The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture stands here and talks about foolishness and silliness, while our fishing communities, and our fishermen and fish plant workers, are out there begging for information.

The Minister of Justice is 100 per cent right, the speech that he just made, he is 100 per cent right, Mr. Chairman. I do not care who reads the transcript or Hansard in twenty-five years time or forty years time or how they judge me, Mr. Chairman, but I care who reads it tomorrow. I care about the people who sent me here. I care about the people who are wondering and trying to get answers from this government. I know that the federal government holds the key to many of the answers that we are looking for, but as least we can make an effort and put forward our thoughts and our opinions and let them know where we stand, Mr. Chairman.

You talk about how we are supposed to be debating the Budget, and people stand and talk about what a wonderful document it is. Well, if they believe it is a wonderful document, then so be it. They probably have reason to. But I have my opinions too. When you drive out Kenmount Road and you drive out towards the West End you see signs erected, Mr. Chairman, calling on the Premier and the Minister of Finance to reconsider such things as the HST. You see signs erected saying: Premier, Mr. Dicks, Minister of Finance, reconsider your decision on the HST. Look what it is doing to our housing, look what it is doing to our economy.

Mr. Chairman, when you see that happening it is time for people to stop and think. It is time for people to start asking questions. It is time for people to consult. That is not being done. We are not asking, we are not consulting and we are not listening to people out there today. We are going through the lip service but we are not listening to what people are saying.

It is not enough, Mr. Chairman, for the Minister of Finance to decide that he is going to hold consultation sessions a week before the Budget is brought down. It is not enough to expect people to go to one or two centres around rural Newfoundland and Labrador and take part in a high-tech setting whereby they can call in and speak with the minister's assistant here in St. John's. Many people are intimidated by that. A lot of people would like to be able to come forward or go and visit with their member and have their member bring forward their views and opinions right here in this House, to put forward their suggestions and their concerns, but that is not done, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, we talked about the child tax benefits and how the government changed its mind. Well, that is a sign of strength when you see a government changing its mind on something. It is a sign that they are finally listening. It is something that shows strength, when you change your mind and admit that you have made a mistake.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, I have been in this House of Assembly since 1985, and I can tell any hon. member, especially the hon. member opposite with his sanctimonious platitudes, that I know what my responsibilities are as minister and as an MHA. I do not need to take any lessons from that gentleman opposite. I suggest to him, if he wants to change the attitude and the debate here in this House, he should do it at his next caucus meeting. He should talk to some of the members opposite, about, day after day, from the time this House opens, at 2:00 in the afternoon until it closes, the nonsense that comes out of the mouths of the individuals opposite.

This House of Assembly is not a place where ministers make decisions on what goes on, day-to-day, in fisheries or agriculture or forestry. This House, as any House in the whole of the world, is a place for debate. Yes, there are times when the debate gets out of context of a particular bill or the Budget speech. That goes on in any House in the world. Any individual who stands up and, in a sanctimonious way, tries to preach to someone else, should look in the mirror, should go over the last number of months and see what he or she has contributed to the well-being and the economy of the people living in his or her own district.

I do not need to take a lesson from you or anybody else in this House. I know what my responsibilities are.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: I am going to tell you something else: The people living in Bonavista, the fisherpeople and the plant workers, know full well that this Minister of Fisheries is working on their behalf and for their future.

For the first time in the history of this province we have a fishery that is self-supporting, that is not built on social programs. We have a fishery where those people out there know when they get aboard their boats they are going to earn a reasonable living from the industry which they should have been earning a living from for decades in the past.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: I am going to tell another thing to the member opposite. Look back over the ten to twelve year, or whatever time your party was in power, and see what a mess was made of the industry, see what happened when the multimillions of taxpayers' dollars was thrown away, and a false impression given to the people.

Was it the last election or the previous election, when their Leader went around the Province and said, vote for us, we will open up seventy-five new fish plants and put 245 buildings in the Province, that that member was a part of.

AN HON. MEMBER: That was the last one.

MR. EFFORD: That was the last election. Seventy-five new fish plants and you stand here in this House of Assembly and tell me how to be acting as a Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture for this Province? Look in the mirror, sir! Look in the mirror!

MR. FITZGERALD: I was not a part of it.

MR. EFFORD: Not only were you a part of it, sir, you were running for the Party when you did that, when that was said. You supported that type of policy. Now that is really representing the fisherpeople of this Province, that is really going out and telling the people what kind of a future they have.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Yes, and that is something else I was reminded about by my colleague; campaigning for the former Minister of Fisheries, Jim Morgan. Now, there is a contribution to the fishery in this Province! That is why we took over as government, we wrote off $35 million that was given out to build fish plants and to support their buddies in this Province. That is the reason why; $35 million. That is the reason why on the Avalon Peninsula we have fifty-seven fish plants. On the Avalon Peninsula - listen to what I am saying - we have fifty-seven fish plants, 345 in the Province. We have them reduced now. We have told the people the truth. I sat here for ten minutes and listened to the sanctimonious display by the member opposite. I suggest that the fellow who has his thumb in his mouth should look in the mirror tomorrow morning and wonder what he is going to say in the House, after what just came from your colleague over there.

Yes there will be debate here in this House of Assembly, yes the pickle book will be talked about, and yes nonsense at some point in time. Let me tell you something else, there is not .05 of 1 per cent of the people in this Province who know that this House of Assembly is open tonight, and I would say it is not .05 of 1 per cent who give a hoot whether or not the House of Assembly sits or not in the night time or any other time.

MR. FITZGERALD: That doesn't mean you can by silly.

MR. EFFORD: Well, I tell you one thing, I will take a back seat to you at no time in this House of Assembly. I will put myself up before the people of this Province and let the people of this Province judge any time, with any member opposite. I will be willing to risk my future, but I do not think it would be much of a risk with members opposite and their display when performing for the people of this Province.

As far as the future of the fishery in this Province, there is a future for the people. As far as anybody wanting a meeting with this minister, they can have a meeting any time of the day or night. So, when you stand on your feet again, and you perform in the sanctimonious way in which you did, at least put some truth into what you are saying over there.

MR. FITZGERALD: It is all truth. That is why it hurts so much.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I would like to say a few words in this debate about the issues that are important to the people of this Province today. We are discussing the Budget, Mr. Chairman. We have heard tonight, amidst the banter back and forth, some very important points made by individual members.

One of those, Mr. Chairman, was the importance that was placed on education by former Premiers of this Province, going back as far as the first Premier after Confederation. The importance of education, I think, was expressed by the Member for Port au Port as being an issue of greatest importance to the people of this Province. The Minister of Justice spoke about it being discussed during the National Convention, the value of education and the importance to this Province of having an educated population. Mr. Chairman, I would say many of those speeches could be made today because education is no less important to the people of this Province today than it was fifty years ago.

Today, Mr. Chairman, the salvation for this Province is having a better educated population than we had, and that goes through all levels of society, from pre-kindergarten to the lifelong learning into which I understand the government has paid $250,000 for senior civil servants and Cabinet ministers learning to speak French.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Perhaps I can ask a question and someone can answer it. I read it in the paper, I didn't hear it in the House and I didn't see it in the Budget. Perhaps the minister can tell us about this. I would certainly welcome anybody in Cabinet, the Ministry of Finance and Treasury Board or the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board to explain the detail on it. I would certainly give leave to do that. I just read in the paper, about $250,000 a year for senior civil servants, for Cabinet ministers -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: I'm just telling you what I read in the paper. I'm going to ask the member. I will give leave to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board who attended all the Budget consultations next to the minister and is very close to the minister, has his ear as they say. He probably gets an earful every now and then too. Perhaps he could explain the policy and how it works and whether the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs is eligible as well. I would be quite prepared, Mr. Chairman, to give leave, some of my time, to the Member for Conception Bay East & Bell Island, the Parliamentary Secretary, to get up and explain.

For the record, I was talking about the importance of education in this Province from the early childhood education, the pre-Kindergarten, to the lifelong learning of senior public servants and cabinet ministers whom I understand have $250,000 spent to allow them to speak French. The Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs said: I wonder can I get in on this. I say I don't know, and I'm prepared to defer -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: That is what I hear, Mr. Chairman. I don't know if the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture participates in the program or not, but it appears the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs is interested. I just wondered if we could be enlightened on what the policy is and who is included, and whether the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs is included or not, or the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Which language were you teaching them?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Chairman, it seems that even though he is parliamentary secretary, for the very reason of being able to answer the questions when the minister is otherwise on government business, no doubt, he appears to be unwilling to participate in this debate on that particular point.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. HARRIS: I am sure, Mr. Chairman, it would be much more enlightening to have this on the record, but I'm not going to translate for Hansard. If the minister wants to speak from his chair while he is reading something else, that is up to him. I will ignore the issue and talk about the importance of education.

I have some serious concerns about our children, Mr. Chairman, not only our pre-school children who don't have sufficient access to per-school education, to early childhood education, child care, but who don't have an adequate kindergarten program in this Province, and, Mr. Chairman, throughout their early education suffer from a lack of nutrition and suffer from child hunger, something that should and could be alleviated by a school lunch program.

Now, Mr. Chairman, I am sure now that government has reversed its decision on the child tax credit we will have the Minister of Education say: Well, look we don't need a school lunch program now. We are just giving everybody the advantage of the child tax credit. Well I am hoping, Mr. Chairman, I don't hear that because my response to that is that the child tax benefit - and the minister yesterday in her speech said it should amount to about a 13 per cent to 14 per cent increase in social assistance benefits for families with children on social assistance.

Well, Mr. Chairman, let me tell you, that from the period, December 1990 to September 1997 alone, the Consumer Price Index for St. John's - not St. Anthony, it is probably worse up there. It is probably worse in other places, in smaller parts of Newfoundland and more remote parts. But the Consumer Price Index for St. John's rose 18.7 per cent. To say that we have given a 13 per cent increase -

MR. GRIMES: It's not true.

MR. HARRIS: Well the Minister of Education says it is not true. Perhaps we will ask the Minister of Justice if he is going to - that is one of his points of appeal on the decision that was filed last Friday in a case involving the provincial court judges, because the judge accepted as a fact, Mr. Chairman, that the Consumer Price Index for St. John's rose by 18.7 per cent in that seven year period.

AN HON. MEMBER: How much time?

MR. HARRIS: From December of 1990 to September of 1997. That is only a portion of the period of time since the Liberal government took over in 1989. Now to say we are giving a 13 per cent increase to people on social assistance, that still leaves them 5 per cent behind what they were back in 1990.

So, Mr. Chairman, I don't think that we need to go around bragging about how we have solved the problem of child hunger in the Province. That change, while welcome - and I am the first one to say that it was welcome and necessary and absolutely ought to have been done - it surely does not represent the solution to the child hunger problems in this Province.

Mr. Chairman, as I said earlier today on the radio, you don't congratulate a bully for stopping beating you up. Mr. Chairman, it is something that should not have been undertaken by this Province and they finally recognized that they were facing a political firestorm, Mr. Chairman, starting in July, continuing in August, then into September and October, into what may well be a period when this government, for some reason or other, might want to go to the polls.

So, Mr. Chairman, I don't think this government wanted to face that reality all summer long, having people tell members opposite about the unfairness of that policy; having to tell the Premier at the barbecues all summer, if they can go, if they can afford to go, about the unfairness of this policy, the inequity of this policy, Mr. Chairman, between families and people, the cruelty of this policy considering the child poverty rates in this Province and the huge - and I guess embarrassingly to the Premier, Mr. Chairman - embarrassingly huge rate of child poverty in this Province and the number of single parent families with children who are below the poverty line.

I was reading, Mr. Chairman, a very interesting book the other day, an autobiography of a man named Lofty MacMillan. He was a CUPE organizer back in the 1960s. He talks about coming to Newfoundland in 1963 and organizing the Corner Brook hospital. They started a strike. They had to get involved in a strike to increase their wages. They came in to see Premier Smallwood.

One of the things that Mr. Lofty MacMillan said to the premier in a meeting was: Mr. Premier, I know you must be a very proud Newfoundland. You are proud of being premier, you are proud of your Province, and so you should be. I want to tell you something else to be proud of: The wages you pay to hospital workers in the Western Memorial Hospital are the lowest in Canada, the lowest in Canada at that time. The premier got very upset. He turned to the Minister of Health: Is that true, Dr. McGrath, are we worst? Dr. McGrath had to turn to him and say: Yes, Mr. Premier, I'm afraid to say. I am sorry to tell you, yes it is true, we are absolutely the worst in the country.

I think something like that must have happened over opposite. The Premier must have been told by someone over there - I don't think it was the Minister of Human Resources and Employment - how can you hold your head high across this country knowing that in this Province we have absolutely the highest rate of single parent poor families in the entire country at 72 per cent? Something must have hit them. I hope it was a recognition of the needs of the families, the needs of the people, and not just political considerations based on the fact that they knew a political firestorm was about to attack them once the summer hit, once the reality set in, that a cheque was coming from Ottawa, from Paul Martin, and was being taken away by Premier Tobin.

That was the political reality that was going to start hitting home this summer, and an unpleasant political reality it was going to be. They had enough sense to foresee that, Mr. Chairman. They got a taste of it here the last week or so. The Member for St. John's West and myself tag-teamed them, embarrassed them, frightened them, gave them a taste of what they would be getting for the next six months in the lead up to the election, or whenever it's going to be. The next six months or twelve months or two years or whatever it was going to be, they would be hearing that from one end of the Province to the other, from their own constituents, on the open lines. Any public forum that was available would have blasted them - rightfully so - from one end of every stage to the other.

They had to deal with that. They have a lot of other issues they have to deal with too. There are currently 11,000 students in private post-secondary education whom the minister has given no choice but to end up in an educational system where they must pay the full cost of education.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HARRIS: By leave, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: Does the hon. member have leave?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No leave!

MR. HARRIS: No leave, Mr. Chairman?

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for Burgeo & LaPoile.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. RAMSAY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

It is interesting to hear the perspective of a gentleman opposite, a man who said many things about one of our former premiers in his dissertation on the history of Liberals in the past. It is interesting to note that former Premier Smallwood who served the people of this Province well, a man who had a vision for this Province, a man who obviously, by virtue of the things that he did in this Province that have lived long past his life, those things that have provided much employment to the people of this Province, those things, if we look back on them, the many industries that are often spoken of as being problems - that he never had a vision, that he did it all wrong, that he made mistakes but he was willing to try. We only have to look at a number of them.

One, of course, looking back at my own family - you speak of people who are involved in either public policy or those involved in public life in any way, or those associated with them. The members opposite would have us believe - and this is probably the reason why politicians are held in low esteem; because some of us have no respect for the fact that the office we hold is bigger than each and every one of us.

Some of those opposite and some of us generally, as political people in political lives in the Province, do not take into account the fact that the office we hold is a precious office given to us by those who have given up lives, those who practise democracy, those who keep this place, a place where we as individuals should follow the rules and the procedures of parliament in an appropriate manner so that we can continue, and the history of this place is given the respect that it is due.

Mr. Chairman, to suggest and talk about those who have benefited wrongly - and, of course, there are people who have done so.

AN HON. MEMBER: Is your leader trying to be another Smallwood?

MR. RAMSAY: If you will just listen, as I have listened to the hon. member who is trying now to be cute. As much as I have had respect for the hon. member opposite, cute is not one of the qualities I would give him as part of his portfolio of capabilities.

Mr. Chairman, to look at the hon. member and what he was talking about: What did former Premier Smallwood do? Let us look at a number of them. One is Churchill Falls. You speak about Churchill Fall.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RAMSAY: Well, I have these points made. Let us talk about people who have vision for the future, people who can look at the overall way they perform as members of government and try to do the best for the people who they were elected to represent.

Look at the project such as Churchill Falls: We have to look at the fact that it was often said that former Premier Smallwood managed to convince Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of Great Britain at the time, of the fact that, without even seeing the location of Churchill Falls, hon. Premier Smallwood convinced him that this was the right thing to do, and he was convinced without even seeing Churchill Falls.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who was?

MR. RAMSAY: Winston Churchill, the name sake.

MR. TULK: It is pretty bad when you (inaudible).

MR. RAMSAY: I am throwing it out there for people. That is one part of it.

The Come-By-Chance Oil Refinery, at the time, the largest, single oil refinery anywhere in the world, eventually did close. But, today, the fact that that oil refinery exists - it is employing some 600 people in this Province, providing economy benefit to the people of this Province and a huge amount of benefit to the construction industry in this Province this year. It was refurbished to the extend of some $32 million, with 1,800 construction workers working to refurbish it. The government had to bring in more inspectors to keep up with the pace of refurbishing that.

So is the vision of former Premier Smallwood, in seeing that refinery built, providing benefit to the people of this Province in this day and age? Yes, it is. That is living beyond. His legacy lives beyond him in that. The legacy of Churchill Falls, at the time when we do the larger deployment of Churchill Falls, will be the single largest power project in North America, providing more electricity than, I think, all but one. There is more electricity coming from one of the large dams in the Eastern United States. Is that a legacy that we can point to of a former leader, a person with some vision in this place, to add to the legacy of Come By Chance?

Further to that, we look at the Labrador Liner Board Mill. Some considered the John C. Doyle affair and different things like that to be a fiasco. It was a significant thing which affected history, saw the resignation of John Crosbie and the resignation of former Premier Wells from the Cabinet at the time, and changed Newfoundland history. But ultimately, Mr. Chairman, that Labrador Liner Board Mill was purchased by Abitibi Price, now refurbished employing some 400 workers in and around Stephenville.

Well, along with the spin-offs, every penny of government investment ever made in Churchill Falls, every penny of government money ever spent in Come By Chance, likewise with the Abitibi Price Mill in Stephenville, is producing benefit. So the vision of Premier Smallwood is producing significant benefit currently for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador; through taxes, through income, through the provision of that to the economy. If anyone thinks that has not returned tenfold, a hundredfold, a thousandfold to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, then you are really not looking at the truth of history.

As well, Mr. Chairman, to come into this place and to look at the fact that those of us who have the privilege of sitting here, no matter what the effort and the quality of those who come before us, we have to only look at the quality of people who have sat here prior to us and the history of this place - we are tied and connected to those who have come before us.

I think of members of the Opposition who I admired from the time that I was elected here in 1989 - you learn a lot from watching Oppositions. I only wish that those members over there who - and some of them had the opportunity of serving with some of their predecessors. Now, of course, you are all newer members and the older guard of the Tory Party is not in this place; members such as Len Simms who was an accomplished member, quite a good member, and Tom Rideout who served on both sides of the House but was an excellent parliamentarian. I had heard of Minister Ottenheimer, and he was Speaker I understand; very accomplished. Many of the former Tory members, along also with many of the Liberal members from this side - we only have to look at Ed Roberts, who was a distinguished parliamentarian in his day, and again someone very capable, very knowledgeable of the rules of parliament; the distinguished members on this side of the House as well who we all learn from. That is severely lacking here now, because I am going as far as the Opposition goes. If I look at the Opposition now and measure it against the Opposition of old, you know it is great to have that history there.

AN HON. MEMBER: How old, Bill?

MR. RAMSAY: Well, two parliaments ago, put it that way.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is not old.

MR. RAMSAY: Well, you have been here too long.

Anyway, Mr. Chairman, I just wanted to speak a little about the legacy of this place. If people are so wont and willing to criticize former members of this Legislature for the efforts that they have made, former members of the House, for the overall -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RAMSAY: Right.

Anyway, Mr. Chairman, we often wonder, as the hon, Member for Port au Port said: What will they say about us after we are gone? What legacy will we have left?

AN HON. MEMBER: They will say thank God they are gone.

MR. RAMSAY: Maybe they will. But the fact of the matter is, about Premier Smallwood, those 600 people working in the Refinery in Come By Chance would not be working were it not for the view that man had, that vision for the future. Those 350 to 400 people in Stephenville: Do you think if Premier Smallwood had not put the money into that, that would just automatically be created out of no vision, someone else would have done it? No, it would not have happened.

Also Churchill Falls: Without the fact that he went and convinced others that that should be put there, then that legacy for this Province would not be here. Some may talk about it and suggest that it is a legacy -

CHAIR (Oldford): Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. RAMSAY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I understand, Mr. Chairman, that I missed an entertaining couple of hours, but I will tell hon. members were I was. I would like to just make a few comments on the evening, because it perhaps reflects more of the real situation that we are dealing with and perhaps says more about this Budget, says more about where we are in Newfoundland and Labrador today, than any commentary that can be made by any member standing up this evening and joining in debate.

Mr. Chairman, I attended the Holy Heart of Mary High School Partnership Program employer appreciation dinner that was attended by close to 300 people. These are students and employers who are involved in the co-op program. Of course, as all members are aware, that is a program whereby students are twined with employers, and a fair number of government employers I might add, and hospital workers, individual entrepreneurs and private businesses and so on throughout the region. It is an opportunity for students, who are involved in this co-op program, to be active participants in an entrepreneurial way and to join in concert with their employers on a day to day basis for several weeks, maybe a couple of months, throughout a particular term or semester.

What was sad to see, Mr. Chairman, was the fact that this particular program, this program which has been enjoyed to such an extent by so many students, is in jeopardy. In fact, words were used by the school principal and also an employee of the Department of Education, referring to tonight's appreciation dinner as the `Last Supper'. Those were the words. That was the terminology, Mr. Chairman, that was used by the school administration and by the Department of Education officials as it relates to this particular program, namely the co-op program, at this particular school in the City of St. John's. That, Mr. Chairman, I think is a sad reflection of where we are today when a program as successful as the co-op program is in such jeopardy that terminology such as `Last Supper' has to be used.

You could tell this evening, Mr. Chairman, in speaking with the students, the employers, the school assistants, the teacher assistants and those individuals involved with the program, how this program was appreciated and respected and how disappointed and sad they are to see the possible end of it.

What is required, Mr. Chairman, is an effort by this department, with federal government help and federal government assistance, to do what is possible to ensure that this particular program continues on a regular basis. The funding originally, in this particular school, was for, I am not sure if it was three years or six years, but it was an interim period and this funding was provided on an interim basis, either for a three year or a six year period. Sadly, Mr. Chairman, the time has come when that program has come to an end.

Mr. Chairman, it is most unfortunate because we saw, for example, students working with children in a number of schools of the Avalon East School Board. We saw employers - I will just mention a few of them: Austin Advertising, Avalon Physiotherapy Limited, the Battery Hotel, Blackmarsh Esso, Breakwater Books, Churchill Park Esso. The City of St. John's was an active participant in the program. The Regional Fire Department, Daybreak Parent Child Centre, the Delta Hotel, The Evening Telegram, a lot of the leading businesses, Mr. Chairman, were active participants in this co-op program with Holy Heart High School.

The Member for Twillingate & Fogo mentioned the provincial government and, yes, the provincial government was an active participant. It is so ironic when you see the provincial government, being such a strong supporter and endorsing this program to the extent that it has, just standing by and witnessing the collapse of the program. It is so unnecessary, because to see and talk to those students this evening who were a vibrant part of this program, to see their enthusiasm, it is such a shame that this program is in the jeopardy that it now finds itself in. Not only the provincial government, Mr. Chairman, but also the federal government, through the Coast Guard, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Department of Veteran Affairs, were also partners in this co-op program at the school. Just to mention the departments of the provincial government: the Economics and Statistics branch of the Department of Finance and Treasury Board, the Department of Mines and Energy, the Department of Forest Resources and Agrifoods, the Department of Works, Services and Transportation, and the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, all active and helpful participants in a program so much appreciated by the students.

Again it's ironic, because we see our government departments bending over backwards to work with these students - and I applaud those departments that are prepared to welcome students on a daily basis and become active participants in the program - but it is a tragedy when we see this program being jeopardized to the extent that it is.

Mr. Chairman, maybe this is really a true commentary on the Budget debate. This is perhaps the reality of what is happening. It takes five minutes to drive from here to that school where some 300 people are in a gymnasium consisting of and comprised of students and employers, all of whom say: We have a great thing here, we have a great program here, but they refer to it as `The Last Supper.' That is the reality of the Budget debate. Maybe that particular program and the end of it is really what this Budget debate is all about.

We have had, over the past number of days and weeks, an opportunity to discuss in detail the various headings of the Budget. As can be seen by the commentary by members on this side of the House, many important questions have been asked, I say to the Government House Leader. The Minister of Finance and Treasury Board has been called upon to respond to questions that were posed by members on this side of the House. There was an opportunity during debate to speak as to the various departmental heads, to question ministers, to make representation with respect to, in particular, the Departments of Education and Health and Community Services.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Mr. Chairman, we will continue to ask these questions, because in addition we have the Concurrence Debates to look forward to. Unlike what the Minister of Justice said earlier, there are important questions that have to be asked. We will continue in due course in fulfilling our role as an Opposition to ask these questions.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: Order, please!

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

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

MR. TULK: I believe that we have agreed that we would put all of the heads under Consolidated Fund Services, Legislature, Executive Council and Contingency Reserve all in one motion. Since the time is up, we might as well.

CHAIR: Order, please!

On motion, total heads for Consolidated Fund Services, Executive Council, Legislature and Contingency Reserve without amendment, carried.

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

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

MR. SPEAKER (Penney): Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Trinity North.

MR. OLDFORD: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole on Supply reports that the Committee has passed the heads of expenditure of the Executive Council, Legislature, Consolidated Fund Services and Contingency Reserve without amendment, and ask leave to sit again.

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

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, before we close, I would like to tell all hon. members that on Thursday, out of respect for Mrs. Clarke, a lady who worked with this Legislature and who just passed on, the Opposition House Leader, the Leader of the NDP and I have agreed that we will not open the Legislature until 3:30 p.m. At 3:30 p.m. we will begin the regular routine of the day.

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

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