May 28, 1998 HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS Vol. XLIII No. 34


The House met at 3:30 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): Order, please!

Before we begin our routine proceedings, the Chair wants to rule on a point of order raised by the hon. Member for Waterford Valley that the hon. Minister of Education had breached the rules of the House by imputing motives to a member presenting a petition and a member supporting the petition on May 26.

The Chair has reviewed the minister's comments and concludes that in the context of his remarks the minister did not impute that the member intentionally or deliberately provided misinformation to a certain group. To say that a member has provided information that is not accurate, or provided misinformation, is not a breach of the rules of the House. Therefore I rule no point of order.

 

Statements by Ministers

 

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

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: More good news, Mr. Speaker.

Yesterday my federal counterpart, the hon. David Anderson, announced that as part of the 1998 groundfish management plan there will be a 20,000-tonne quota for 3Ps cod this year.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: This quota, double what it was in 1997, is based on recommendations of the Fisheries Resource Conservation Council, and reflects what appears to be a steady improvement in the status of that cod stock.

This, Mr. Speaker, is very positive news for our fishing industry, particularly on the South Coast. Close to 1,000 core fishing enterprises are expected to be involved in the 3Ps cod fishery. The additional quota will expand the fishing operations for these vessels, and provide additional income for several thousand harvesters involved. The additional 22 million pounds of cod this year will also create an additional 9,300 person weeks of employment for 1,000 plant workers or more, creating even more spin-off benefits to the economy.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: I must emphasize, Mr. Speaker, that if this cod fishery is to be as successful as I know it can be, quality assurance must be a priority for everyone involved. Everyone must co-operate to ensure that we do not have a repeat of last year's situation when practically all landings and processing occurred over a very short time frame, It is encouraging that many harvesters have agreed to stagger their landings this year to ensure that we have the best quality product possible.

Mr. Speaker, while we must recognize that some other groundfish stocks are not recovering as we would like, we must also not lose sight of the fact that we have other fisheries that are doing well and are making significant economic and employment contributions to our economy. Last year, for the first time in four years, total landings exceeded 200,000 metric tonnes.

Our fisheries are off to a good start again this year. The early price settlements for crab and shrimp have allowed these fisheries to begin on a timely basis. Right now, approximately eighty fish plants are in production around the Province. About 6,000 plant workers are working right now processing fish. Other plants and jobs will come on stream later. Between 6,500 and 7,000 plant workers will be employed when crab processing reaches its peak.

As I indicated to the House last week, the significant increase in the Northern shrimp quota for the inshore sector this year will provide new employment. Approximately 1,000 harvesters and another 1,000 plant workers will be involved in the Northern shrimp fishery within the next few weeks. I anticipate that the inshore shrimp fishery this year will have a landed value of $50 million and an export value of $100 million.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: Combined with the successes of these and other fisheries such as our sealing sector, the increase in this 3Ps cod quota will further assist in generating new wealth and help put our fishing industry on a more stable footing for the long-term benefits of everyone involved.

Mr. Speaker, I full anticipate that the export value of our fishery this year will surpass the 1997 value of $575 million, again demonstrating the significant contribution that our fishery makes to our economy.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I thank the minister for a copy of his statement prior to the opening of the House. Once again, Mr. Speaker, we see the minister stand here today. Normally he will stand and say that he is not responsible for federal matters, or for federal decisions. We see him today stand and make a federal announcement. Be that as it may, Mr. Speaker, this 3Ps -

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: This was announced yesterday on the Fishermen's Broadcast, I say to the minister.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FITZGERALD: This is old news, I say to the minister. It should have been announced last week. As positive as this is, Mr. Speaker, it should have been announced last week.

Last week we saw two fisheries close down in area 3Ps. We saw the monk fishery close and we saw the skate fishery close because of the high by-catch of cod that they were catching in this particular.

Mr. Speaker, the people in Newfoundland and Labrador would love to have heard today, in this Ministerial Statement, what was going to be done differently than what was done last year. The minister is saying that he is hoping it will be done differently, and it is going to be done differently; but what, I ask the minister, has he done to make sure that we do not see a repeat of what happened last year when we saw fish in 3Ps dumped, after having a moratorium for more than five years. That is what should be done.

The minister also talks about the shrimp fishery. It is very positive, Mr. Speaker. It is going to create some opportunities in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. It is going to create some opportunities in my district. I am glad to hear that, and I am certain that the figures he put forward are very conservative figures.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. FITZGERALD: It probably will even bypass the dollar value and the number of jobs that are going to be created. We look forward to that particular fishery being carried out in a very positive manner.

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.

I welcome, obviously, the announcement by the federal minister that there will be an increased quota for 3Ps cod this year. It is very positive and I am sure very uplifting to fishermen who fish in that area to know they will be able to fish for cod.

I note that this was recommended by the Fishery Resource Conservation Council, a council that the minister has said publicly ought to be abolished. He did not say that today, that it should be done away with. This is an independent body, Mr. Speaker. While we may not always agree with all of their conclusions - I don't think everybody does - it is an independent body, and we have to pay very, very strict attention to the issue of conservation after what has happened to our fishery, Mr. Speaker.

I am welcoming the news. I know that our fishery is going to be able to increase on a far greater scale as time goes on if we are very careful about the resource.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Minister of Forest Resources and Agrifoods.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we hosted a reception to launch the Newfoundland and Labrador Agriculture Awareness Campaign. The campaign, which is a joint venture between the Department of Forest Resources and Agrifoods and the federal Department of Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, is designed to raise the public's awareness of the Province's diverse agriculture industry.

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are generally unaware of the extent of quality products produced locally. How many of the general public realize that Newfoundland and Labrador products are now successfully marketed in all of Canada, with growing interest overseas? Farmers in this Province produce all the fluid milk and eggs that we consume. Most people would not realize that there are opportunities to not only expand and diversify primary production, but even more so in the area of value-added food products.

This is why this government wants to increase the awareness of the agriculture and food industry, so that we can foster new ideas to take advantage of these opportunities.

The Province's agriculture industry is a major contributor to our economy. Newfoundland and Labrador has over 740 farm units and more than 100 secondary food processors operating in all areas of the Province. The value of the agriculture industry is undeniable and often understated. The capital value of the primary industry alone is over $184 million. Farm produce sales reached a record high of $74 million last year. The value of manufactured agrifoods products also continued to increase in 1997 with values over $300 million. The agriculture industry employs approximately 5,000 people in the Province. Most of these jobs are in rural areas of the Province.

The advertising campaign began yesterday with television and newspaper ads and will run throughout the summer and fall months. The initial focus of the campaign will be on highlighting the industry itself. The second stage will focus on agriculture products and procurement.

Mr. Speaker, I encourage all members of the House and all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to take full advantage of our home grown products and consume them whenever they can. For the Rodriguez Winery in Markland to Andy Larner's poultry operation, Newfoundland and Labrador's agricultural products are second to none.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I thank the minister for the copy of his news release prior to the opening of the House. I say to the minister, this is one industry in this Province that needs much more than lip-service paid to it. This is one industry, Mr. Speaker, that has great potential, great potential to employ people and to provide exports. But up until now, governments on both side of this House done very little for the agricultural industry in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Especially in secondary-processing - I know in my district alone, we probably have two of the biggest root crop farmers in Newfoundland and Labrador. In the area, the Member for Terra Nova's area, the bordering district, we have four large dairy operations employing people twelve months of the year, helping the economy in that particular area.

Great opportunities, but there has been very little help from government, Mr. Speaker, from this government or from governments of years gone by. When you see milk being taken from this Province -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. FITZGERALD: - carried to the Atlantic Provinces and brought back here as secondary products and marketed on the shelves, it makes me wonder -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. FITZGERALD: - how much effort we are putting into the agriculture industry.

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

Does he have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes.

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

There is contrast in the two statements today, the Minister of Fisheries and the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture.

The Minister of Fisheries is talking about our fishery being valued at $575 million and the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture is talking about agrifoods being worth $375 million. That is half the value. Awareness is important. It is a very, very important industry. I think the government has to be far more aggressive in pursuing that. Obviously the potential, if it is already half the fishery, is far greater, as the Members for Humber Valley and Port au Port know, and other members from those areas that produce agriculture. There must be far more aggressive action on the part of government.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, yesterday at O'Donel High School in Mount Pearl the Member for Terra Nova, on my behalf, and officials from ACOA released a CD-ROM entitled, We're Doing It Right Here. That CD-ROM is designed to provide youth with a snapshot of the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador by describing the skills that young people will need to participate successfully in the economy.

This is an important educational tool to inspire the young people of the Province; to make them aware of the many opportunities available for those with an entrepreneurial spirit.

Mr. Speaker, many young people have limited appreciation of the local economy and the many successful entrepreneurs who are creating new wealth and sustainable jobs in our Province. To address this, the Department of Development and Rural Renewal has been delivering a program called Getting the Message Out to high schools for the last two years. I might say this is current, and will probably be re-announced in another ten years again.

Given the need to communicate well with students, my department used college and university students, as a peer group, to deliver the program. While we have been able to reach around 160 high schools each year and make another forty presentations to various other youth groups, the demand for the program has grown dramatically over the past year, as young people became aware of these success stories.

This new CD-ROM now allows us to reach every high school in the Province and can be retained as a reference tool for students throughout the Province.

Mr. Speaker, we chose the CD-ROM format to deliver these local success stories because electronic communications is a young people's medium, one they seem to take to naturally. A CD-ROM allows students to use the material in a variety of ways. They can receive the straight presentation, or use the raw data from the presentation to help them with class projects. So, perhaps a CD-ROM version is, in some ways, even better than a live presentation itself.

Mr. Speaker, my Department intends to update the Getting the Message Out CD-ROM regularly so that it is a continuing source of information and inspiration for teachers and students. As new companies emerge and existing companies expand their horizons, we will include them so that the CD will be a continuous record of economic achievements in our Province.

Mr. Speaker, I will today provide all members of the House of Assembly and members of the press with CD copies of Getting the Message Out. Anyone who views this CD will be impressed and inspired by the positive economic changes that are taking place in Newfoundland and Labrador; and, Mr. Speaker, I am sure that would be even true of the Member for Bonavista South.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

The good news quest, Mr. Speaker.

There is no doubt about it that this tool, this CD-ROM - I know there are members in the House who have used it on occasion - is a good way for technology, especially with the geography of this Province and rural Newfoundland and so on, that students can avail of such things as this and see positive things that are happening in the Province. Of course they also see the negative things that are happening in the Province, but we would like for them to take part in that, use this ROM, to see what is happening and good. At the same time, I say to the minister, there are a lot of young people in this Province, he is right, entrepreneurs with some real good ideas. They have been in my office and every office in this Legislature with good ideas, but the truth is that you run into a lot of red tape instead of the red carpet when it comes to their own ideas of expanding business in the Province.

Some of them make it through the system, others drop off and give up on their ideas. So what we really have to do, besides the CD-ROM, is to make sure that any of these young people with good ideas around this Province can come into this Legislature, or come into these buildings, go to the different ministers and be able to get through the system and, of course, be able to go through and fulfil their ideas and make some meaningful jobs instead of seeing 11,000 people leave this Province, as we saw last year.

Yes, it is a tool that can be used very well. Yes, it is something that should be used by students around the Province. It is technology that can be used by students.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SHELLEY: And hopefully we will see a lot more young people in this Province stay here and develop their ideas.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes.

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This is all very interesting, it is high tech and all that sort of stuff. I wonder how many members of this House even know how to turn on a computer, Mr. Speaker, let alone put in a CD-ROM and get it to do something.

Mr. Speaker, if this is going to be presented and updated regularly, I hope it is going to be updated more regularly than the tourism web site; because we do an awful lot of talk about technology, but a computer to run this would cost about $2,000. I wonder how many people in this Province actually have access to this kind of material.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

 

Oral Questions

 

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. E. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My questions today are for the Acting Premier.

Recently, in some conversations that I have had with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans with respect to the Coast Guard, it is apparent that the Coast Guard is in for some further reductions from the federal budget to the amount of $4 million to $5 million.

I would like to ask the government, through the Acting Premier: Is he aware of this? If so, have they had any discussions with the federal department with respect to the situation I have just outlined?

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

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

In the Premier's absence, I have to say personally I am not aware. I will check with some of the officials and find out if we have had any consultation with Ottawa on the matter.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, my understanding, in speaking with officials there from the department, is that there is about $4 million to $5 million that will be cut from the Coast Guard budget. The impacts will be swift, severe and immediate.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible) supplement.

MR. E. BYRNE: I am going to get to it, I say to the Government House Leader. You are the House Leader; you are not the Speaker of the House. If you want to get up and ask a question or (inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. E. BYRNE: Exactly, but this is the Speaker. I am in the process of asking a question.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

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

I appreciate the protection you are providing from the Government House Leader.

I say to the Minister of Finance - in view of his asking the questions - my understanding is that these program cuts will affect about 100 people, drastically reduce the service to the provincial government. I would like to ask him today: Will he take it upon himself today to contact the federal department and report back to this House on the issue with respect to funding being clawed back from the Coast Guard?

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

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Over the last several years, we have repeatedly emphasized to the federal government that we are very concerned about the impact of federal cuts on this Province. I would venture to say that the largest impact in any province in the country has been Newfoundland and Labrador because we have, in many cases, a fairly substantial group of federal civil servants in areas like the Coast Guard, like the fishery.

What I had indicated earlier is that, being Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, this does not come directly under my department but I will certainly undertake to check with our officials, as I say, probably someone in Intergovernmental Affairs, to see if we have been advised of the proposed cuts. I can assure the hon. member that it is our policy that we seek to protect the fishery, we seek to protect the Coast Guard, which is critical in this Province in Search and Rescue and if these cuts are going to have a very substantial impact we will certainly voice our concerns to the federal government.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, if these cuts are pending it is another example of where certainly in the last two to three years the federal government has downloaded significantly on this Province. We have seen decisions with respect to Marine Atlantic; we have seen the downloading from the federal government to the provincial government; we have seen claw-backs on UI where Newfoundland and Labrador bore - about 30 per cent of all the money saved was taken out of this Province.

Is the minister concerned that the federal government's activity generally in this Province - in the services they provide, the type of downloading that is occurring - that this Province is taking more a brunt than any other province? Is he concerned about that trend, that the federal government is eliminating services and that is causing severe hardship on the people of the Province? If so, is the government generally taking a thrust to deal with the federal government on the downloading that is occurring?

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

MR. DICKS: Yes, absolutely, Mr. Speaker. I have repeatedly said that at federal Finance Ministers' meetings. In fact, I will be meeting with my other counterparts of the other provinces and the federal minister on June 15, in Ottawa. I would add to the list the hon. member says. I am very concerned that CHST has been cut from an amount in excess of $400 million, down presently to something in the order of about $280 million. I am very concerned that equalization has been eroded in the Province because as we come to the point where we start to prosper again, our numbers are declining and we are losing substantially more equalization than we should.

I would say to the hon. member that the fact that we brought these and other concerns to the federal government is having something of an impact. At the last meeting - I believe it was in Fredericton; it was in New Brunswick - the other ministers agreed in principle to a population floor for equalization. So we are trying to work with the other ministers and bring forward a position to the federal government that would insulate provinces that find themselves in Newfoundland's position with declining populations from severe impact on equalization.

I agree wholeheartedly with the hon. member. The greatest impact on the federal budget in (inaudible) over the last number of years in balancing this budget, has not been on their own direct budget but rather in their transfers to the Province, and those cuts were substantially more than they inflicted on themselves. So I agree entirely with what the hon. member says.

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

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

I would like to ask the minister, when he has discussions with the federal department, at DFO which is responsible for the Coast Guard, would he take the time to outline the following concerns: that a reduction in service or programs to the Canadian Coast Guard will affect our ability to patrol the offshore; in real terms, affect our ability to monitor any overfishing, if any, that is going on.

Will he also take the time to outline the significant impacts employment-wise that it will have on the Province? Will he also take the time to outline the concerns with respect to the risk management, our ability to respond to situations or emergencies that exist offshore, especially in light of the fact of the emerging and growing oil and gas industry that is taking place off our coast?

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

MR. DICKS: Yes, of course, Mr. Speaker. I would probably put them in a different order. The last point I thought he raised was the one I raised earlier, and the one that I think is most apparent to most people. If the Coast Guard activity - Search and Rescue in particular - is cut substantially, then of course it will erode our ability to offer sufficient and appropriate marine protection to people who have to venture on the seas. That is something that concerns us to the greatest extent. Of course patrolling our fisheries, which is a federal responsibility, and employment are legitimate concerns as well.

These are all part of what we have been representing to Ottawa and what we will continue to do. I will certainly undertake to find out what information we have to report back to the House.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Waterford Valley.

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

My questions were intended for the Minister of Education but I will direct them to the acting minister. They concern the political interference and the crass political manipulation of education and decision-making in the Vista School District by the Premier's parliamentary assistant.

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the question: Why has the minister and this government condoned the intrusion into the internal decision-making processes of the Vista School Board? Is the government not at all concerned with what this political intrusion means in terms of the autonomy that we have supposedly given to all elected school boards in this Province?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS KELLY: Mr. Speaker, it certainly is true that the school board has the decision making power, and that is exactly what happened in this case. The school board made the decision and this government supports the school board's decision.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Waterford Valley.

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

The Acting Minister of Education may wish to note that the Minister of Education the other day talked about words like school board autonomy. However, if the recent interference and the manipulation for crass political ends is to be the new way of managing education in this Province, we have moved from a church run system of governance to a politician run system.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

I ask the hon. member to get to his question. He is on a supplementary.

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

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I know it's rare in Question Period to rise on a point of order, but the hon. gentleman is making statements which we all know in this House not to be true. There was no manipulation of the school board. A member of this House did what a member, any member, is supposed to do: represent his constituents. To suggest that he used the office of parliamentary assistant to the Premier is totally wrong and totally out of order. The hon. gentleman should behave himself better.

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

No point of order.

I ask the hon. member to get to his question. He is on a supplementary. It should require no preambles.

MR. H. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, I ask the acting minister: In view of what has happened in the Vista school board, what steps has your government taken to assure school boards that your caucus will not use the school system as a political football for your own narrow political interests?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS KELLY: Mr. Speaker, the school boards have been democratically elected, they have been given autonomy, they have been given authority under the schools act by this hon. Assembly.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS KELLY: This government finds truly, truly reprehensible the statements that are being made in this House this afternoon. All of us as MHAs, it is part of our job to represent our constituents. In this instance this MHA represented his constituents. He did not interfere and do political interference. I find it truly reprehensible that these accusations are being made in this House.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Waterford Valley.

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

I want to ask the minister: Why did your government commit $280,000 of taxpayers' money to maintain three existing schools at subsistence levels, when the Vista school board's own consultant clearly showed that a two-school system offered a much better program of studies to students at a much lower cost?

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

MS KELLY: Mr. Speaker, obviously the member is asking the question in the wrong direction. It is the school board that must be asked these questions. This was a school board decision. This government supports the decisions of the school board.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Waterford Valley.

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

I say to the minister that we have asked the question to the school board, and school board trustees have told us there was crass political interference.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. H. HODDER: That is why I bring the questions here to the Legislature today.

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

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

MR. H. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, the parents of Southern Harbour, who are in the galleries today, believe the Member for Bellevue (inaudible) -

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

I ask the hon. member to get to his question. He is on a supplementary. No preamble is required.

MR. H. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, the Member for Bellevue is obviously motivated by -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. H. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, I ask the acting minister: Why has your government returned to the Smallwoodian style of vindictiveness and intimidation with a Tobin flair for fanfare and pork-barrelling?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

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

MS KELLY: Mr,. Speaker, that does not deserve an answer. I have never, in my two-and-a-half years in this House, heard a question stated in such a way. It is truly reprehensible. Talk about politicking! Talk about grand-standing to the gallery!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS KELLY: I cannot believe I am hearing this question. It does not deserve an answer. I would not sink that low.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Waterford Valley, final supplementary.

MR. H. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, the people of Southern Harbour have been told that they do not deserve an answer. According to the course selection information distributed by school board officials two weeks ago, the status quo of the three schools would mean only thirteen courses are offered to Level I students next year, and two of these would be by Distance Education.

However, a two school system would offer Level I students twenty-one courses -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. H. HODDER: - with no courses for Distant Education.

Mr. Speaker, how can the government justify or approve such an inferior program of course selection, when there are clear alternatives regularly available that will offer a greatly improved educational program to the students of that part of the Vista School Board district.

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

MS KELLY: Mr. Speaker, on the one hand the member is suggesting, that we offer autonomy to the school board and making such vile accusations. Then the next minute he is asking: Why would we ever approve such and such a thing?

I have to say to you, the school board makes the decisions. I think the statement you just made was highly insulting to the school board. The school boards are democratically elected, doing the very best job that they can do, and I understand in this instance are planning for the future and over the next few years will make their plans known. I support the decisions that the school board has made, the Minister of Education supports them and this government supports them.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Waterford Valley.

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

I want to ask the minister as well: With a three school system, or the status quo, it means that primary and elementary students will be in all multi-graded classrooms next year, however, a two school system which was the recommendation of Vista school board would mean that all multi-grading at the primary and elementary levels would be eliminated. Why, Madam Minister, in your acting capacity, will your government not go to the Vista school board and tell them that their original recommendation for a two school system is the best option for the children of that district?

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

MS KELLY: I cannot believe what I just heard, Mr. Speaker, that he is asking us to go to the school board after demanding that we give the school board autonomy. Then: Why are we not going to the school board to make demands?

The reason that we are not going to the school board to make demands, for one thing we support the decisions of the school board. They are democratically elected. I cannot believe what I am hearing here this afternoon. These school boards, under the School Act, have been given authority and we intend to give them the authority.

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

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

I agree that we give them the authority. But, I am saying to the government: Let them exercise it without interference.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. H. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, in the March Budget, there was great fan-fare about the $50 million allocated for school construction over the next two years, and that was a good idea. Given that Newfoundland and Labrador Investment Corporation Directors are senior civil servants and given that the minister has clearly replaced the church run system with a politician run system, I want to ask the question: Will the government now admit that the $50 million allocated is now open for political abuse and for Liberal style pork barrelling?

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

MS KELLY: Mr. Speaker, I absolutely cannot believe the disrespect that this member is showing to our whole education system. We have school boards elected which make recommendations, these recommendations are assessed by professionals, and within the $50 million - you know $50 million is a lot of money to spend over two years. But there are more needs out there, believe it or not, than even $50 million. Priorities have to be assessed, put in place and we will do the very best we can to make the most urgently needed repairs, and new schools put in place, as quickly as possible for the students of this Province.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My questions today are for the Minister of Health and Community Service.

The policy of taking blood from a cancer patients has changed as of last Friday, May 22. Cancer patients, who normally came to the Dr. Bliss Murphy Cancer Centre, could have their blood taken there where they have quite access. As of last Friday, they have to go to the lab at the Health Science Centre where they have to line up for lengthy periods of time.

I ask the minister: Does she consider this to be fair treatment to the very sick, many of whom are fighting for their lives?

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

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

This policy, if in fact it is a policy, changes one that has been set by the St. John's Health Care Corporation, and I would ask that the member speak to the Health Care Corporation on the day-to-day activities that occur in their organization or other boards as they are brought forward to him, and as I would do, Mr. Speaker, were they brought forward to me.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Two weeks ago she told me to speak to the Community Health Board and she asked them to change the policy, I must say to her.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: Now I say to her today: One of the people who called my office said they were fifty-first in line, in a line-up where they were calling number nineteen at the time. He eventually missed his appointment with a specialist that he had later that day and had to be squeezed in, after a very long waiting day for a very sick person.

Minister, people drive in from out of town. There are people here in the City of St. John's -

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. member is on a supplementary, I ask him to get to his question.

MR. SULLIVAN: In light of the fact, Minister, that there are people receiving chemo therapy who are physically unable to wait for hours and hours at a time, having to wait for a service that they had provided last week, I ask the minister: Will she try, as she did two weeks ago, to have this policy changed so these people can get the same level of service that they were getting last week and forever before that?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS J.M. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, there are tens and thousands of interactions with our health care system in this Province every single year, and I will say again, as I have said previously, if you have an issue with a particular isolated case, or with a policy that is not set by the Department of Health but rather by the day-to-day practice requirements of a particular board, then I would ask this member to go and address that through the proper channels.

For the record, I think it is important to note, I did not direct any board to do anything. I met with the board, I pointed out the issues and I asked them to consider a possibility.

It is ultimately their decision to make in their practices, because we have autonomous boards. While he does not agree with the board structure or support them, in fact we do have autonomous boards and they do the day-to-day running of our health care system, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: The minister might try to remove herself from the health care system. She is the one responsible for seeing that funding goes to those hospital boards to be able to do the job. When they do not get funding, they eliminate services here that depend on this government to provide sufficient money to do that.

People receiving chemo therapy have a very low immunity level as well as suffering from other effects from that treatment. Doesn't the minister feel that people like this, sick people on chemo therapy who are fighting for their lives, having to wait for lengthy periods, are jeopardizing their health in line-ups with fifty and sixty people, and may increase their chances of picking up infection and having serious repercussion? Doesn't the minister feel that is a problem? Doesn't she feel she has some responsibility, as minister, to care for these people who are sick out in our Province today?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

Yes, we do give the funding to our health care system and, in fact, this year, even though the federal government was not able to provide any funding, we were able to provide an additional $32 million to increase and stabilize the services in our system.

Mr. Speaker, I don't need the Leader of the Opposition, after twenty years in the health care system, to point out to me the issues surrounding chemo therapy. As a matter of fact, in this Province, we have broadened our base of care, even though he may not necessarily agree with how we do it, because it is pointed out in previous questions throughout the week. However, we have actually moved the treatment of cancer patients closer to home, in a new model whereby much of the chemo therapy that people used to come to tertiary care centres for, in fact now is able to be obtained very close to their own homes.

I will say it again, Mr. Speaker, in case he did not hear it the first time or the second time: If he has an issue with this particular case or with that policy, he knows well enough that it is the St. John's Health Care Corporation - if that is who he is talking about - in the city, through the Bliss Memorial Health Care Centre. He would need to talk to them or talk to the Bliss Memorial Centre about that issue, Mr. Speaker, if it is in relation to the day-to-day running and activities of that particular institution.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. minister to conclude her answer.

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

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My questions today are for the Acting Premier. Recently the federal Department of Justice passed opinion on the Labrador Metis land claim. This claim was for Metis rights and title in Labrador, and the Justice Department made it public yesterday that a case has not been established by the Metis. However, they did not deny their status as aboriginal people.

I want to ask the minister today: What would be the political fall-out of excluding 5,000 aboriginal people in Labrador from the land claim process?

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

MR. DICKS: Mr. Speaker, I think the member's question is misguided. It is not a question of political fall-out, it is a question of whether or not justice has been done.

It is easy for people to claim to have aboriginal status, but the hon. member is inferring that the federal government is rejecting a legitimate aboriginal claim. What the federal government has said is that it has examined the claim twice and that there is no legitimate claim to aboriginal status. The whole question of aboriginal rights, whether they exist or not, is totally a matter within the federal purview, and the hon. member should address her questions to the federal government and not the provincial government.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Cartwright - L'Anse au Clair.

MS JONES: I say to the minister: I am not misguided, and no, the department has not made a ruling. They have merely passed a legal opinion that has not yet been assessed by the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. The minister cannot deny that this aboriginal group which resides in this Province has a legitimate claim and title to land where major development is occurring like the Voisey's Bay project, the Lower Churchill project -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MS JONES: I want to ask the minister: How are the rights and interests of these people going to be protected within the aboriginal claim area and within this Province?

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

MR. DICKS: Mr. Speaker, we are not talking about the ordinary rights of Newfoundlanders on a day-to-day basis. What the hon. member is talking about is a group that wants special status within the Province. Now, the federal government has come to the conclusion that their claim is non-sufficient, that it is tenuous at best, and frankly that the people do not have aboriginal status. There are many people in this Province who can go back to their ancestry and find one or more aboriginal people. That is insufficient.

There is a legal definition. The hon. member must know the complexities of what constitutes aboriginal status in this country, and for her to stand in this House and say that the government is not protecting the rights of these people is totally inadequate, totally insufficient, and totally wrong.

What these people want is not the protections that are afforded to us all by the provincial government. What they want is a tract of land, they want special status, they want special rights, they want money, they want parts of Voisey's Bay, and so on like that. There are groups that may be entitled to that, but the federal government has made the determination that these people are not. As far as I can see, that is a matter for the federal government to determine, and totally within their jurisdiction.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Cartwright - L'Anse au Clair.

MS JONES: Mr. Speaker, I say that it is the minister at this point who is misguided. Because the aboriginal people, the Metis people, have been recognized by the Department of Justice federally as aboriginal people. They have also been outlined by the royal commission on aboriginal peoples, in their latest commission, that they are indeed aboriginal people. I would have to say to the minister that they do reside in this Province, they have legitimate standings as other aboriginal groups within this Province -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MS JONES: My question to the minister is: Is the provincial government willing to intervene in this process, aid the Labrador Metis people of Labrador in their cause to have land claim recognition for the people they represent?

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

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The hon. member has, in her question, put her finger on the very nub of the issue. It's a land claim. Rather than share in the rights that we all have to the resources of the Province, some people want preferential rights. In many cases aboriginal people can make a legitimate claim. The issue is whether or not there is an aboriginal society, and that decision has apparently gone against this particular group.

Now, we have many other groups in this Province that claim parts of Newfoundland. There is a group in Quebec that claims it. There are other groups within the Province and on the Island that make claims as well, but they have to establish that at law they meet the criteria of an aboriginal people and an aboriginal society.

The federal government has said this group does not. They stand with every person, or most of us in this House, I should say, who rank to have the same rights as every other person who lives either in Newfoundland on the Island portion or in Labrador. That is a provincial right, it's a general right. Before we accede to any request for people to have land claims, special rights to the exclusion of other people of this Province, we have to be very careful. We have to carefully weigh the whole notion of Aboriginal association, Aboriginal societies and Aboriginal status, and it is not something one should give lightly. If the federal government has made a determination that these people do not need that societal criterion, then we should think very carefully before we hand over some other vast tract of this Province to one group that makes a claim, because the federal government believes to be spurious.

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

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

My questions today are for the Minister of Human Resources and Employment.

On Wednesday, May 20 this House unanimously passed a resolution of support for any initiatives of this government to press HRDC to continue funding for the Youth Internship Programs.

I ask the Minister today: Where are these initiatives that we are supposed to be supporting?

Because of this resolution, your government had in its hands unanimous power - because of the unanimous resolution - to make a powerful case to Ottawa for restored funding. Have you made this case to Ottawa or have you chosen to be passive in ignoring this unanimous resolution of the House?

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

MS BETTNEY: Mr. Speaker, both the Minister of Education and I have made representation to the Minister of HRDC in Ottawa, expressing this government's support for the Youth Internship Program and for the Co-operative High School Programs which were supported through that means.

In addition to this, at the present time, officials from my department and from the Department of Education are setting up meetings with the HRDC officials here, regionally, in order to address this issue further with them. I expect that it will take into next week before we will have the results of that but the work continues.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Bonavista South, time for one quick question.

MR. FITZGERALD: One quick question, Mr. Speaker, and my question is to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

Today the minister announced the quota of 20,000 metric tons for the 3Ps cod fishery. I would like to ask him when we can expect to hear a quota announced for 2J+3kl on the Northeast Coast. I think the FRCC suggested 4,000 metric tons and the fishermen suggested 15,000 metric tons. Maybe the minister would like to tell us how many metric tons are going to be announced and when can we expect to hear it?

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

MR. EFFORD: As the hon. member said to me regarding the ministerial statement, Mr. Speaker, that was said yesterday on the Fisherman's Broadcast. There were 4,000 tons announced yesterday for 2J-3kl -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. EFFORD: - and it is not used as a directed fishery. It is going to be used as central fishery and an offshore research fishery.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has ended.

 

Petitions

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Waterford Valley.

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

I rise today to present a petition on behalf of the residents of Southern Harbour. It reads as follows:

To the honourable Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly:

We, the constituents of the electoral District of Bellevue, appealing to the Hon. House of Assembly for rectitude of our intentions, do solemnly publish and declare, that the House instruct the hon. Minister of Education to abstain from interfering with the decision-making powers of duly elected school boards and prohibit members of the Hon. House of Assembly from exerting undue pressure on said school boards which causes decisions to be made that are detrimental to the provision of educational opportunity to our students.

By affixing our signatures to this petition, we therefore make this request.

Mr. Speaker, this petition is signed by many of the residents, just about every resident, I do believe, of the Town of Southern Harbour.

Mr. Speaker, in the last several days we have become very much aware of the interference by an hon. member into the decision-making processes of the Vista School Board.

Back in February of this year, The Vista School Board Facility Management Policy recommended a two school system for Sunnyside, Arnold's Cove and Southern Harbour. Mr. Speaker, that would have meant that the school in Sunnyside would have closed, and that the children from Kindergarten to Grade VI would have been taken care of in a school in Arnold's Cove, and the existing school in Southern Harbour, which is a fairly recent facility, eight or ten years old, would have accommodated all the children from Grade VII to Grade XII.

Mr. Speaker, that would have meant, for example, if that were implemented next year, that in Level I the existing system would offer Level I students something like thirteen credits. However, if we were to go and have the system that the school board recommended, these students could have twenty-one credits. Mr. Speaker, similarly in Level II there would have been, with the existing system, about twelve or thirteen credits. With the proposed system that the school board had, there would have been twenty-three courses offered. In Level III, the same thing.

Mr. Speaker, what has happened here is a travesty. What has happened here is that the children of that particular group of communities, next year, will be exposed to a lesser quality of education. Instead of being able to take up to twenty courses as options in each one of those grades they will have to take eight or ten or twelve courses. Note that in all of these grades, if we keep the system that is there now, some of those courses, at least two per grade, will have to be done by distance education.

Similarly, at the primary and elementary level, if we were to go to the system that the school board wanted, there would be no multi-grading. There are enough students in Sunnyside, Arnold's Cove and Southern Harbour. If they were all bused, as the school board wanted, as the parents in the gallery wanted, to have their children bused into Arnold's Cove, and they agree to that, we would have no multi-grading whatsoever. There are enough students there to accommodate that.

Mr. Speaker, clearly what has happened here is that the Member for Bellevue went out to the district, he supposedly took up a petition signed by parents - and in the House the other day the Minister of Education said it was signed by 1,100 parents. Well now it seems to me that there is a total of about 400 students in all that system. As a matter of fact, the petition was not circulated at all in Southern Harbour. So, if we were to take out these parents and we were to say there are about 300 students in Arnold's Cove, Sunnyside and that area, then if we say that each parent or family group, if there are two, if there were no families with two children in the school system, we would have a maximum of about 600 people who could sign the petition.

So, Mr. Speaker, where did the 1,100 names come from? They could not have been signed by the parents, because mathematically it is not possible for that to occur. Mr. Speaker, this kind of crass interference has to stop. The message has to go out loud and clear if we are going to carry out the reforms that were promised in educational referendum days, if we are going to carry forward on a new -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. H. HODDER: - program of reform, then we can't have happen the kinds of things that have happened out in the (inaudible) district. The children of Newfoundland and Labrador should not be sacrificed.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Does the hon. member have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave.

MR. SPEAKER: No leave.

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

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I stand to support the petition as put forward by my colleague, the Member for Waterford Valley. This petition is one of great significance, I say, Mr. Speaker, and I say to the members of the House of Assembly. It deals with the fundamental issue - and my colleague referred to it - the issue of reform and really what reform means as it relates to education in our Province. One message that was loud and clear, and the message that the Minister of Education keeps repeating, Mr. Speaker, is the fact that the power of programming and curriculum and changes, as it relates to those schools and communities under each particular jurisdiction, is left unfettered with the power of each individual school board.

What we see here, Mr. Speaker, and what is most unfortunate is in the very first year of school reform and what it is supposed to mean to our various communities, we see interference without need. Interference of any kind is wrong, but in this particular case what makes it particularly offensive is the fact that a decision was made which was generally accepted by the various communities and by the individuals and residents of these communities.

I met last year, Mr. Speaker, with the people of Southern Harbour. I can tell you that the people of Southern Harbour have a very genuine interest and concern for the well being of their children. They have beautiful facilities. I had a tour of the schools. I also met with many of the parents, many of the teachers, and I can assure all members in this House that the people of that particular community have in mind only what is in the best interest and in the best welfare of their children.

If it means the closure of a school, so be it. Because what the people of this community want is the best possible program, the best possible curriculum, the best possible opportunity, for their schoolchildren. What they find offensive, Mr. Speaker, is when an outside influence is taken into account to alter and change a decision which met with what was in the best interest of their children.

Mr. Speaker, I stand today to endorse and support the people of Southern Harbour, and to endorse and support the petition which has been presented by my colleague, the Member for Waterford Valley; and hopefully let this particular example serve as a lesson to all of us, I suppose, that once a legally entrenched body, a separate legal entity, such as a school board, has made a decision which takes into account the best interests of children, that decision should remain. It should not be interfered with, it should be left unhurt, untouched, so that the children of this particular region are served in the proper and appropriate way.

Mr. Speaker, this is an important petition. I am proud to second it. I sincerely hope that all members take into account the gist and the importance of it.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS KELLY: Mr. Speaker, I also stand to speak to this petition. I would like to say to the Member for St. John's East, who just seconded this petition, that I think it is time you followed your own advice.

I listen to many of you, as I listen to all of us on this side, being members, being advocates, lobbying for constituents. I remember - I hope my memory serves me correctly here - that this member was out talking to school boards last year on behalf of Bishop O'Neil and asking: Could you please meet with people, could you please change, could you please listen? That is what this member has done. I totally understand.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MS KELLY: Well, listen to the discussion that is going on about St. Bon's these days.

All of this we have every right as citizens, as members, to be addressing. The member did not do anything that could ever be worded as crass interference. He was doing his job as a member, doing his work, you know, meeting on behalf of his constituents at their request.

I understand the concerns of the parents of the students who were in the gallery today, and those of all of the students and parents who are in that area. Whenever we have change in our school system we need to be concerned, we need to always look at what's happening, and to understand what is best for our students.

The members today need to understand that it is their school board they have to meet with. The school board was democratically elected by the people of that region, and the people of that region, I am sure, will work with the school board to find a resolution that will suit everyone. I think it is important to say that we are carrying out the reforms we promised, not as the member suggested. We are carrying out the reforms that we promised by the fact that we have held the elections and school boards are making their decisions, and we are accepting the decisions that the school boards made.

School boards have a very difficult task ahead of them, and it is incumbent on all of us, members of government, members of the Opposition, parents, students, and anyone interested, to support the school boards and to work with them.

 

Orders of the Day

 

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, Order No. 3, Concurrence Motions. We call the Government Services Committee. I believe the Chairman is the Member for Topsail.

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

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

It is certainly a pleasure for me to rise today as Chair of the Government Services Committee and speak briefly in Concurrence debate.

First of all, I want to thank my colleagues on both sides of the House for their commitment to the hearings and, of course, the ministers and their staff for their appearance. I want to thank the Vice-Chair, the Member for Cape St. Francis, the Member for Placentia & St. Mary's, the Member for Port au Port, the Member for Conception Bay South, the Member for Trinity North, and the Member for St. John's East.

The Budget, entitled The Future is in Our Hands, is a very appropriate title for this document. The government realizes we must prepare our Province for a prosperous future as we enter the new millennium. Mr. Speaker, that is the kind of approach that we get from members opposite, you know. Everything is quite well and serious when they are up asking question, when they are making a point. But when a member on the government side stands up, all you get is a heckle from the other side. How soon they forget. How soon they forget - when their party was the government party in this House.

When we came here in 1989, with a debt, with a cost on interest of $550 million a year, $12,000 a minute. That is what the government had to pay to service the debt.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) opinion or your honest opinion?

MR. WISEMAN: No, that is a mathematical opinion - to service the debt created by that party opposite.

AN HON. MEMBER: How much?

MR. WISEMAN: Twelve thousand dollars a minute. That is what it was costing, $12,000 a minute, by their mismanagement and misspending, without any conscience of looking at where the people of this Province were going to end up.

As I started to speak on this particular Budget, I said that the title of the Budget is very important and appropriate: The Future is in Our Hands. That is right, Mr. Speaker, that is where it is.

I believe that this government has to be a responsible government and do what is in the best interest of the people of this Province. The government realizes that we must prepare our Province for a prosperous future as we enter the new millennium.

We have seen predictions, and I am just about to get to what the House Leader is talking about. We have seen predictions by a number of financial institutions, and more recently the Bank of Montreal, that our economic growth will lead the country.

When we look at this Budget document, this government has tried to address what is a strong consensus in this Province. The government of this Province wants to address basically what the people want done. Firstly, the Budget must be balanced. Yes, it must be balanced. No longer can you spend willy-nilly without any hope or any conscience of what is going to happen down the road. Secondly, extra money must go to education, health care, and those in need. Over the last few weeks you have seen in this House the commitment made by this government to all of these areas. Thirdly, the tax burden must be reduced. This Budget ensures that such a consensus will not be ignored. The Budget shows that we are aware of helping those who are in most need.

Mr. Speaker, the committee reviewed and approved the Budget for the Department of Finance, including the Public Service Commission, the Department of Government Services and Lands, the Department of Works, Services and Transportation, and the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. It included the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation.

This Budget is a very positive one, a very positive budget indeed, dedicated to making very important improvements for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

In this review process there has been little or not change in - the questions that have been asked have been quickly answered. Our government is helping our people gain employment, especially our youth. This year over $7.5 million will be directed towards youth employment strategies, and $4.4 million will be provided in wage subsidies to create up to 1,200 meaningful employment opportunities in the private and non-profit sector. This combined amount of $11.9 million is dedicated towards youth employment strategies.

Our government is constructing health care facilities across the Province, providing $10 million this year to help stabilize hospital budgets, also providing $50 million - $50 million - towards school construction and upgrading over the next two years.

Our government is devoted to developing our infrastructure; $26.6 million in municipal capital works have been approved, and we will be improving our highway system on both the Island portion of the Province and in Labrador by embarking on the largest ever highway construction program in the history of this Province, some 453 kilometres of highway, construction dollars valued at $108 million. Can you imagine, Mr. Speaker, the most money ever spent in this Province, $108 million!

MR. T. OSBORNE: Sure the Liberals are driving them all out; you need a big highway.

MR. WISEMAN: The Trans-Labrador Highway construction, Mr. Speaker, will receive $36 million -

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, drive them out of Labrador too while you're at it.

MR. WISEMAN: The Member for St. John's South starts to whine. Every time they hear positive news, they start to whine. That is what they are, Mr. Speaker, a bunch of whiners and nay-sayers.

Yes, Mr. Speaker, some $36 million will be spent on the Trans-Labrador Highway, while $16 million will be given to provincial road construction and improvements. This does not include the $56 million provided to improve the Trans-Canada Highway and our trunk roads under the Federal/Provincial Transportation Initiative.

We are also taking responsibility for the Coastal Labrador ferry service for the first time, and we are making positive changes such as no rate increase for the first time in five years. We are helping small businesses by changing the payroll tax, and also helping post-secondary students with $4 million in scholarships. So, Mr. Speaker, this government has really and truly shifted its strategies from mega-projects to people projects.

The new Department of Health and Community Services was established to integrate the provision of our child and family health services through existing regional community health boards. There is funding for new transitional homes in Nain and on the Burin Peninsula, and the basic rate for individuals and families received an increase equivalent to those in our public service. Those families on the Labrador Coast with dependent children will receive $150 a month cost of living allowance.

Mr. Speaker, we hear every day that this Province's prospects are getting better, but we cannot rely on prospects to pay our bills. We must manage our finances wisely, and the Budget for this year does this by focusing on our health care system, education, persons with disability, and support for low and middle income families.

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to support this document as we enter a new century, and Newfoundland and Labrador's place in the Federation of Canada looks bright as we enter the year 2000.

AN HON. MEMBER: Is his time up yet?

MR. WISEMAN: Now, Mr. Speaker, I can understand the members opposite. I can understand them getting a little bit testy every now and then, when they hear about all the good news that this government intends to do; and, Mr. Speaker, they will do it.

The Minister of Human Resources and Employment announced the other day that we would be given the total amount of the Child Benefit to the people of this Province.

Mr. Speaker, as I said in the beginning, this government has shifted its strategy from mega-projects to people projects. It has always been the Liberal way to look after people and to look after their needs, because that, Mr. Speaker, is what Liberalism is all about. Now, I know the members opposite have a problem understanding that philosophy. They have always been business orientated, business driven, and always look to the mega-bucks for their hopes and their wishes.

Mr. Speaker, we think back to the 1980s, how they called three elections on the offshore and they never did get to sign a deal. When that crowd over there were members, when they were the government, three elections, Mr. Speaker, they promised us pies in the sky. That is why when they sit in Opposition today they have so many problems dealing with this government, because this government is forthright, up front and honest with the people of this Province. We don't make those kinds of promises. We deliver. We stand up, we say what we are going to do, and we do it.

When I saw the Minister of Human Resources and Employment stand in this House the other day and stop the changes that the federal government wanted this Province to do, when I looked across the way and saw the look on the faces of these people opposite, then I knew that we were doing the right thing. They looked like they were on the way out. In fact, I was going to ask our Minister of Health and Community Services to go over and see if she could in some way check their respiratory signs to see if they were still breathing, because they knew what this government was doing was right, because the members on this side stand to be counted. They stand and say what they think, and this government listens to people. We are here to represent people.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WISEMAN: Mr. Speaker, we have the hon. Member for St. John's West, who stood in this House with petition after petition on Sunday shopping. Lo and behold, she wanted to reserve Sunday shopping, not to be shopping on Sunday, because she wanted to go to the flea market. That is what she wanted to do, she wanted to go to the flea market! Now if going to the flea market on Sunday is not Sunday shopping, then I don't know what Sunday shopping is!

MR. SPEAKER (Oldford): Order, please!

The hon. the Member for St. John's West on -

MR. WISEMAN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I so move this report.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Is the hon. the Member for St. John's West on a point of order?

MS S. OSBORNE: Yes, I am on a point of order. At no point during my petitions did I say I wanted to go to the flea market. At least the petitions I put in were the ones worded by the petitioners, not ones that - I did not reword and fraudulently present.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Government House Leader to the point of order.

MR. TULK: To that point of order.

MR. SPEAKER: Yes.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Government House Leader asked to speak to the point of order.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TULK: (Inaudible) point of order.

MR. SPEAKER: (Inaudible) that the Government House Leader speaks to the point of order.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, let me say to the hon. lady that her point of order is not a point of order. If she can't stand the heat then she - let me just say this to her, though, that the point was well taken that she made about the Member for Topsail. But if she can't stand the heat, she might as well get out of the kitchen.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

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

It was my turn to get up today and a say a few words on the Budget.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I have recognized the hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

MR. J. BYRNE: How much time do I have, Mr. Speaker? Twenty minutes?

MR. SPEAKER: The member has thirty minutes.

MR. J. BYRNE: Thirty minutes? I thought I had ten minutes. Thank you, I say to the Minister of Justice. I thought I had ten minutes; I have thirty minutes.

Mr. Speaker, I sat in my place today wondering what I was going to say, and when the Member for Topsail got up I had no worries. I have a good half-hour here now just to respond to what the Member for Topsail had to say. What planet does that man live on? I don't know, that is for sure. There is a show on television now called 3rd Rock From the Sun, and I am sure that he must be from some other planet than this planet Earth, with the comments he made today in this House of Assembly.

First of all, he said, in 1989 we came in here - `we', which would normally include the person - `we', me. He wasn't here. The first time I saw his face in here was in 1996, two years ago. He is talking about `we' coming in here and straightening up the mess that was left for them to straighten up.

He talked about the $550 million debt of this Province. Here are the words he used: The previous Administration had no conscience of spending.

For that to come from that side of the House in this House of Assembly is ludicrous, when we know - just look at the record of this Administration since 1989. We had Trans City, which by the time it is all said and done will cost the taxpayers of this Province $40 million. Because they went for a request for a proposal, changed the tender mid-stream, and put it out, and accepted a proposal.

The judge down here in the court ruled against the government. He said they did something wrong in accepting the Trans City deal. We talk about upwards of $40 million, and a member on that side of the House has the audacity, Mr. Speaker, to say that the previous administration had no conscience of spending.

Also, Mr. Speaker - and I said it here many times before - something that always boils my blood is what went on with the previous Premier in this House of Assembly, not the one who is there now. He has his own load to carry, I say, Mr. Speaker, and we will show you what that is as time goes by.

I will tell you this, the previous Premier and members on that front bench there, a good many of them, Mr. Speaker, were involved in this Hydro fiasco, the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro. We, on this side of the House, led the charge to stop that, Mr. Speaker. We led the charge and we stopped it. We stopped that side of the House from privatizing Newfoundland Hydro. It cost the people of this Province -

AN HON. MEMBER: It was Sue (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Sue got all the answers from us, my son; that is right.

Ten million, Mr. Speaker, and not one job created. It cost the people of this Province $10 million, I say to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, and not one job created. Yes, it was us who led the opposition. Why did they stop, and, Mr. Speaker, what are they doing now? We have the member over there talking about balancing the budget, the Member for Topsail, and they are using the sales from Newfoundland Hydro to balance the budget.

MR. TULK: Do you know what I did today?

MR. J. BYRNE: What did you do today?

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: I'm sure. I find that hard to believe, I say to the Government House Leader. The Government House Leader says he phoned the previous Premier and wished him the very best on his new appointment as a judge. I congratulate him too. I think that man could be a fair and impartial justice.

MR. TULK: He found an ideal spot now.

MR. J. BYRNE: And I think he has found the ideal spot. It is something I think he was looking forward to for a long, long time. I really don't know what the man was doing in politics in the first place, Mr. Speaker. I think he was begged, coerced, forced to come back to try and lead that crowd over there to victory, Mr. Speaker.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, back to what the Member for Topsail was talking about, and Newfoundland Hydro. He talking about balancing the budget, what the people want. They were trying to sell off Newfoundland Hydro, give it away. They were talking about giving it away, Mr. Speaker. To whom, is the question? Was it going to be their Liberal buddies? I wonder who was going to get it, Mr. Speaker? I don't know, but it looked that way from my point of view, from my perspective. As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, that was at the time -

AN HON. MEMBER: Is that a new tie?

MR. J. BYRNE: That's a very old tie, I say to the member and I know he is trying to distract me.

That was at the very time - I tell you how serious I thought it was and how I wanted to oppose Newfoundland Hydro - it was at a time when I had -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Who has the floor, you or I?

It was at a time, Mr. Speaker, when I had very serious surgery. I was in hospital -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. FITZGERALD: (Inaudible) called before.

MR. J. BYRNE: Here boy, get up.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, I will get on with it. We are talking about balancing the Budget, that this is what the people want. I have another point to make with respect to that. Yes, we should have a balanced Budget. That is what all the provinces and all the countries in the world are looking toward these days, Mr. Speaker, a balanced budget. But, if you compare it to a family, Mr. Speaker, you want to balance your budget there is no doubt about that, but how fast do you do it? It took us forty or fifty years to get into the position we were in, Mr. Speaker, because it was all led by the Prime Minister of the country. The first deficit spending in Canada, by the way, was started by the former Prime Minister Trudeau, Mr. Speaker.

If you compare it to a family, you have to look at the hardships that balancing the Budget would cause the people of the Province or any province. So if you have a family - take me for example. Say I have a mortgage of $100,000 and it is there for twenty years, I am going to pay it off in twenty years, but I am going to say: No, no, no, I cannot have that, I cannot have proper planning, so I am going to pay that off in five years. But, I am not going to have any heat in my house, I am not going to have any food in my house, I am not going to have my house insured in case it burns down. I am causing hardships to my family. It is not realistic how fast you did it, Mr. Speaker.

The problem with that side, Mr. Speaker, in balancing the Budget - and it is the same thing with the Prime Minister. Well, yes, he is the Prime Minister but Paul Martin up there, Mr. Speaker. The hardships that he has imposed upon the provinces, Mr. Speaker, are unreal and are unacceptable.

It is nice and hunky-dory to say that we have a balanced Budget, but what hardships did it cause over the time that they were trying to balance the Budget. We have not really seen the affects of balancing the Budget in our Province and in the country.

For example, Mr. Speaker, in the hospitals, we saw the cuts to social and health transfer payments -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: I will adjourn in a couple of minutes, I say to the minister. I have to come back, I have to finish off my half-hour. Thank you to the Minister of Justice. I really did not realize I had a half-hour. I appreciate it.

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the situation in the Province, it has been the downloading from the federal government to the provinces. What do we have on this side of the House, Mr. Speaker? The people who are supposed to be taking care of, looking out for the interests and the rights of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, what they were elected to do. All we have, Mr. Speaker, is: Yes minister. Yes, Prime Minister.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: What is that? Tell me.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Is that all?

Mr. Speaker, the Government House Leader is over there making comments about polls. He is always at it. Whenever I get up to speak, he is always talking about polls for some strange reason. As a matter of fact, he sends over copies of polls to me. I stand to be correct. I have seen polls that I think were made up. I really do not think they were legit.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible)

MR. J. BYRNE: You just said it, boy.

I have seen certain sections of polls and I really question if they are legit or not. I just cannot see how one individual, as they say, could be so high in the polls. It is me they are talking about, Mr. Speaker, so high in the polls. I guess they cannot accept it.

The Member for Topsail is in his chair and I am so pleased to see him there, so he can hear the comments that I have to make about his speech and how far off base that man is. He does not have a clue, not a click, not an iota, of what is going on in this Province today.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Well, I won't get into that.

I say, Mr. Speaker, I cannot believe what that man thinks.

It is late in the evening, Mr. Speaker, and we are going to adjourn for a couple of hours. I have a lot of comments to make on the words of the Member for Topsail, so I will continue when we come back here at 7:00 p.m.

So, I say to the Government House Leader, I am going to adjourn debate now. Can I move adjournment until 7:00 p.m.?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I think the agreement was that we would not adjourn, we would just recess for two hours and come back at 7:00.

MR. J. BYRNE: I recess, whatever.

MR. SPEAKER: Okay, we will come back at 7:00.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, if I could, just to remind members, while we are at recess, that the House comes back at 7:00 p.m. We are only recessed, we are not adjourned. I should also remind members that we have a vote at 7:00 p.m.

 

Recess

 

[Continuation of today's sitting will be found in Hansard No. 34A]


May 28, 1998           HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS              Vol. XLIII  No. 34A


[Continuation of Sitting]

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): Order, please!

Before we begin our proceedings, the Chair would like to draw to the attention of members that one of our Pages, Roxanne Sinyard, has graduated from Memorial University and received her Bachelor of Arts yesterday.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: When we recessed we were debating the Concurrence Motion for the Government Services Committee. The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis, I believe, adjourned the debate.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I think we are ready for the motion on the first head of Government Services, after the Speaker puts the motion.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it the pleasure of the House to concur on the report of the Government Services Committee?

All those in favour, `aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Nay.

Motion carried.

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, Order No. 3(b) Social Services Committee Concurrence Debate.

MR. SPEAKER: The Concurrence Motion on the Social Services Committee.

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MR. MERCER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is my pleasure to bring in the Concurrence Motion on the Social Services Committee, and if I could just find my notes I think we would be all set to go.

I would just first of all like to thank the members of the Committee, in particular the Vice-Chair, the hon. the Opposition House Leader.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MERCER: Well, I think the hon. the Member for Ferryland is indeed an hon. gentlemen. I would say that during the debate we had great camaraderie. There was a lot of good nature. I think I have now found my notes.

The Social Services Committee, I must say, were a very amicable group of individuals, with possibly one exception, and I would not want to say anything disparaging about the Member for Waterford Valley. If he were here I would have said the same thing. The Member for Waterford Valley had a tendency to go on and on and on. It was kind of nice, though, to see his own members slip me notes and say, `Look, interject. Bring the debate to a conclusion'. And many times we did that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MERCER: That is my hon. friend from Port de Grave, but that is okay, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MERCER: No problem, Mr. Speaker. I would not want to repeat what I just said, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MERCER: I would indicate that the Social Services Committee - we did have a good discussion and a good debate, as I said, with the possible one exception of the Member for Waterford Valley who tended to run on and on. His own members wanted him to sit down because they had caucus and things like that, and he just would not. He just kept going on like the rabbit with the Eveready battery, or something like that.

AN HON. MEMBER: The Energizer.

MR. MERCER: That is it, the Energizer.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not the coppertop.

MR. MERCER: No, not the coppertop. The Energizer lasts much, much longer.

I think the type of discussion and debate we had, and the camaraderie that we had in the Committee, faceted good discussion, and there was a minimum of politics being parleyed. Answers were given with a good feeling, and questions were asked in the same way.

However, Mr. Speaker, we did have other members appear before the committee who tended to ramble on a little bit. I would not want to draw attention to the hon. the Minister of Education, but he did tend to say a lot of words. When he could have used one or two, he tended to use ten or twelve. That is what we have come to learn and expect and love from our beloved Minister of Education. I wish he were here to hear all the sucking up I am doing to him at the moment.

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to report that the Social Services Committee did consider all of the matters to which it was referred and reviewed the Estimates of the Department of Health and Community Services, the Department of Education, the Department of Human Resources and Employment, the Department of Environment and Labour, and the Department of Justice; heads which accounted for some $2.2 billion, or about 65 per cent of the total provincial Budget. I am pleased to report that these Budget Estimates were considered, and that they were all approved without amendment.

I probably could say a lot more but I probably should not. I would like for the hon. members now to engage in the debate on the Estimates of the Social Services Committee. With these few remarks I move adoption of the Committee's report, and look forward to what I am sure will be a very enlightening debate.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

I am just going to continue on with a few words I was saying this afternoon when the Member for Topsail was on his feet singing the glories, like the Member for Labrador West does all the time, of this Administration. The preacher, the resoluter from Labrador West, the only member on that side of the House who is consistently getting on his feet with resolutions. A lot of them don't make sense, and we have problems with a lot of them -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Who did? One. I said one, one of many that you present, the Member for Labrador West. He seems the only one on that side of the House who consistently presents resolutions for some reason or other. I don't know if he is trying to get Brownie points, Mr. Speaker, from the Premier and looking forward to better days ahead, to move from the back benches back there up to the front. A long time coming, I would say, no doubt there. There are other members on that side of the House who have a better chance to become ministers of the government than the Member for Labrador West.

In the meantime, the Member for Topsail was up today singing the praises of the Budget that was brought down by this Administration. He spoke about the previous Administration having no conscience in spending money. I think I addressed that earlier on today, so I won't cover that ground again tonight. He talked about the future being in our hands, which I think is the title of the Budget, is it, The Future is in Our Hands? Whose hands would it be in? It is up to us to form the future for generations to come. We have to look at the situation the Province is in today, look at the situation the Province was in previous years, and we have to learn from our mistakes. We have to learn from the mistakes of the Liberal Administration years ago where they went tooth and nail after major mega-projects, all kinds of major industries going to come to the Island of Newfoundland, and major industries going to come to Labrador; like we say, shoe factories, chocolate factories, and all that kind of thing over the years.

We have to get away from that mind-set, I say, and we have to look at the individuals in this Province, the small - I can't say small individuals because we are all sizes, I suppose, but what we have to look at is the individual entrepreneur in the Province. Look at the jobs that have been created across this country over the past number of years. It is the small enterprises that have created the jobs - I think the stats will show that - not the big, major, mega-projects. It is great to have them if they come, Mr. Speaker.

The last election was won on hope, and there are lots of people yet still waiting and waiting for a better tomorrow. As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, there has been an individual out here this past week in the lobby waiting for a better tomorrow after going through arbitration and winning the arbitration. There were questions asked in this House of Assembly about that individual trying to get his rights. An arbitration board ruled unanimously in favour of that individual, and this Administration has put him in the courts, trying to delay -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) sixty-nine.

MR. J. BYRNE: Who is sixty-nine?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: You are sixty-nine? The Member for Windsor - Springdale just told me he is sixty-nine years-old, I think. He said something about sixty-nine. He acts it in this House of Assembly. He acts sixty-nine, that's for sure. He has very little to say in this House of Assembly, very little, unless we irritate him and rile him up, get him up on his feet to say a few words about what is going on in the Province.

Anyway, they are talking about some foolish poll they had done, and they try to distract us.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, I am being interrupted by members on the other side of the House. They are talking about this poll. The Government House Leader said they were at 54 per cent, the Member for Labrador West said they were at 64 per cent, the Member for Windsor - Springdale said they are at 69 per cent, so they are going to have to get their story straight.

Mr. Speaker, in the last election this Administration started out at 70 per cent in the polls, and what did they end up with? Forty-something percent, Mr. Speaker. So if they are at 50 per cent in the polls now, we can guarantee you we are going to form the next government. We are going to form the next government, no problem at all. I am confident, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: Jack? Jack? Jack?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, do you hear them yapping out at me saying: Jack, Jack, Jack? What's wrong with them?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. J. BYRNE: You are supposed to refer to a member by the district.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

Now back to what the Member for Topsail was saying today. He talked about - just listen to this now. Here are the Budget Highlights of this Administration for 1998. Here is reality. He talked about education, extra dollars. I remember the Premier and the Minister of Education going around this Province in a referendum saying that the money saved will go back into education.

Mr. Speaker, this is the Budget, the highlights of the Budget. Let me see here now; I will see if I can find the point I am making. In the Summary of Gross Government Expenditures - this is their own document. The Member for Topsail was up saying they are putting more into education. Here are the expenditures on education.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: I will tell you what is going on here on education, as soon as I can locate it. Education, here we are.

Education Facilities: in 1997-1998, they spent $40,941,000. In 1998-1999, they are spending $23,749,000. That is a difference of $17 million, and the Member for Topsail is up saying they are putting more money into education. They are cutting it by $17 million. The Premier and the Minister of Education went around the Province saying that the money they saved on education reform was going to go back into the education system, and they cut it by - what is that, let me see - almost 50 per cent.

I do not know what kind of math that is, Mr. Speaker, but it is certainly not more. It is not on the positive side. That is the kind of stuff this Administration is trying to force down people's throats, trying to put a positive spin on everything. Now the new tactic on that side, and it is led by the Premier and other members over there, the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, trying to paint this side here as being negative when we are pointing out reality. We are pointing out reality, and they cannot take it and they get upset with us. That is what we are here for.

Mr. Speaker, did you see the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture yesterday in the House of Assembly when the Member for Bonavista South gave him a dose of reality? He was on his feet, and the red... I know what Liberal red is, because you could see it starting at his collar and going right to the top of his head. That is the Liberal red - getting upset because he was getting a dose of reality.

That is education we are talking about here now. Then he talked about taxes being reduced. This Administration are all the time talking about bringing in a balanced Budget and no new taxes.

Now, let us look at their Budget document here, Mr. Speaker. Let's look at this now: Summary of Gross Capital Account Expenditures, Summary of Gross Government Expenditures. We have a little interesting note here. I highlighted it, if I can find it. The Summary of Current Account Expenditures, where the money comes from, now listen to this. No new taxes, he said, but last year - they have a list of where the money comes from: Personal Income Tax, Sales Tax, Gasoline Tax. Here, in the Revised 1997-1998, they took in $420 million in other provincial sources. This year they are planning on taking in $466,672,000. That is an increase of $46 million in sources other than taxes. Where is this money coming from?

I am after saying in this House of Assembly on a number of occasions, what they do and what they have done for the past three years - I will go back not to last year but the year before - there was one full page of licence fees and permit increases, doubling, tripling and quadrupling, fees for things they never charged for before.

In last year's Budget I think there was something like three pages of licence fees and permit increases. No taxes, Mr. Speaker, but they are still taking it out of the pockets of the ordinary citizen in the Province who cannot afford it.

In this year's Budget I think there was something like six pages of licences, fees and permit increases. No wonder they can talk about balancing the Budget. Even that is not true. That is not a true document because they say they are $10 million in deficit.

They are going to balance the Budget next year, but if it was all to be known, because of the cuts and the increases in the fees and permits and what have you, they could have easily balanced the Budget last year. How they could have balanced the Budget last year - because there is a $30 million slush fund they have here. If that was properly implemented in the Budget, in actual fact they could have a $20 million surplus this year. Last year they could have had a $10 million, and the year before they could have balanced the Budget. They are telling the people of this Province that we are in hard shape, no money.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, did you ever see the like of that in your life? We have a Minister of the Crown sitting in the Premier's seat, by the way, mouthing off to me, saying, `relevance', and I have the Budget Highlights in my hand. We are talking about the Budget and he does not know the difference. That will tell you what input that minister had into the Budget.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: There are pictures. Look, there are the pictures, the pie chart. That is where I get my notes, I say to the minister of whatever, the Minister of Mines and Energy. It does not make any difference.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: I will tell you one thing. Since I came in here this afternoon and tonight, there is that front bench (inaudible) that reminds me of the old couple in the Muppets. All they are talking about is polls, polls, polls. That leads me to believe that they are very nervous on that side of the House. As Shakespeare says: Methinks thou doth protest too much.

They protest too much. They are frightened to death over there. I will tell you something else -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: This Administration over there - what is in the media and what they are trying to put out there is very positive for this group over here. What is on the street and what is in the small communities of this Province are two different things. The one I predict in the biggest trouble in this Province is the Minister of Mines and Energy, in his own district. He is frightened to death to go back to his district. He will not go out there. They are looking for him, signs up all over the place: Where is Chuck? Where is Chuck? That is what is up there. He is frightened to death to go back up there. That is why he travels all over the world, so he does not have to go back to his own district.

AN HON. MEMBER: He should not be travelling so much.

MR. J. BYRNE: He should not be travelling so much.

Mr. Speaker, I have so much to say on this. Here is another pie chart. It is the Summary of Budgetary Financing Sources. Here is a very interesting point. I am after referring to it in this House of Assembly on a number of occasions. The Revenue Sources Provincial last year was $1,789,000,000. This year it is $1,951,000,000, an increase of $200 million. Where are they getting it from? Out of the pockets, again, of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, taxing them to death, hidden taxes everywhere.

Here is the point I want to make. This is a very good point, and it is the Revenue Sources: Federal.

AN HON. MEMBER: Relevance!

MR. J. BYRNE: Here is the relevancy, it will hit you right between the eyes in two seconds. Last year, Mr. Speaker, $1,584,899,000, that is what the federal government put here last year. This year it's $1,476,752,000. That is a difference of $100 million, and we don't hear a squeak, not a peep, nothing from that side of the House, from the Premier, going after Ottawa and saying: Listen here, we are tired of the cuts. Be fair with the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

You are the same party. They are your cousins in Ottawa. All we get on that side of the House is whatever they want to send down from Ottawa, no matter how bad: Yes, Prime Minister. There used to be a show on television called Yes, Minister! Over there all the ministers are yes-ministers to the Prime Minister of the country.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: They should take this very seriously, because really the government is elected to represent the best interests of the people of the Province, not the best interests of the party or the Liberal Party, Mr. Speaker, the government themselves. They aren't speaking up. There have been all kinds of cuts coming down from Ottawa over the past few years and the Administration haven't taken them on.

I will tell you one former premier who didn't mind taking on the prime minister of the country, former Premier Peckford. He didn't mind going after the prime minister of the country, even if it was the same party. He went after him and fought for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. They aren't doing it here, and it's not right. It's not right and it's not fair to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Anyway, I'm going to sit down for a few minutes and let my throat rest.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave!

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, now they want to give me leave, but see, here is the plan. When the Minister of Justice was up not long ago giving one of his performances and he went on and on, I finally had to stand and withdraw leave to do a favour for that individual. I'm smarter than that. I will save my throat for a little bit now and let someone else get up, say a few words, so I get can back up again. Instead of spending another half an hour I will be able to get up for probably two hours later on, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

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

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm going to lower this a few decibel points and talk about a couple of things. My ears are still ringing so I'm going to lower it a little bit and have a serious discussion on a topic I want to talk about tonight.

As a matter of fact, I made a couple of notes today of something I wanted to talk on tonight, and that is on education, and overall about the education reform, and specifically then talk about something constructive. As the Minister of Justice said the other night, there are some points we can bring up in debate in this House that you take seriously. I wanted to discuss tonight the education reform process and what has been happening, an update on it. Then also hit on something now I think we should talk about more in this House: the teaching profession and what is happening with the profession as reforms are taking place with our education system in the Province.

When we started this whole debate a couple of years ago I know this caucus, the same as across the way, had many discussions about education reform and what we would finally end up doing. We went through two referendums and so on. There was a lot of heated debate, a lot of emotions within caucuses, I know, on both sides of the House, and a stressful debate. You had it at home, you had it with your friends. My wife is a teacher, and we sit down and talk about it many times. You talk to your colleagues, being a former teacher myself. Many times you discuss this issue, and it's been tough over the last couple of years.

We are moving in a direction. The ultimate goal of the education reform process is that at the end of the day we can say that the system we have now is better. That is the whole reason for the reform. Like one teacher said to me: When you get married, you do it for better or for worse. The education reform was for the better. Simply put, it was just simply to have a better system of education in place for our children.

We talked about the problems we have addressed for many years about school buses passing one school to get to another half-empty and so on. We discussed all of those issues, but at the end of the day, next month and next year and so on, we should all be able to turn to the kindergarten, grade X or grade XII student and say to him: You are now in a better system because we have reformed the educational system. That is the goal.

Right now we are in a little grey area with all of that. We aren't sure if it is or not. There is a lot of people who question it. We hope that the scepticism and the concerns that people are raising now are all going to settle themselves down and we are going to finally move into a better system of education. As of right now we are into a transition period, I guess. It will take a lot of time for a system like that, which was here a long time in this Province, denominational education, to settle down. The point I want to make tonight, and I said I would talk about this, is about teachers and the teaching profession, as we have gone through these transitions and we have seen this profession.

I have been in the staff rooms and have been a part of staffs where you go in and if you have new people coming into the system, the same as in the Legislature here, if there are new faces around they show enthusiasm. A lot of us when we sit here for too long a time, or in the staff room, we sort of sit back and take it all in, but it is the new blood that comes in -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: I will get to that point. It's the new blood that comes into any group, whether it be teachers, legislators or whatever, they really brings that bit of freshness to it, new debate, some new thoughts and so on, and we move on with it.

Mr. Speaker, what I want to talk about tonight is the teaching profession and the whole curriculum and how important it is to education. What I want to plug are things like physical education, drama, music, art, culture, all those things. Those things that, at the end of day, next month or next year, whenever it is, like I said in the beginning, if we still have those things in our system for every Newfoundland and Labrador student in school, well then, we have a good system.

The last thing I want to see, and I have seen some trends towards it already, and I hope some former teachers here agree with me, from being a former phys. ed. teacher - the Minister of Mines and Energy asked me what I was. I was a physical education teacher. I also taught math, French and some other different things, but mainly I was a phys. ed major and I was very involved with sports teams in school.

Now I just used that as one example, but I know the drama teacher in my school, for example, was so into that, and the students. The point I am getting at is the phys. ed, the drama, the extra things in school are what give you that complete education, because there is nothing more important when you involve students in extra curricular activities. I mean, if we are all here to kid ourselves, we all know, especially any former teachers, students don't jump up to go to school 9:00 in the morning because they are waiting for a math class or waiting for a science lab or anything else. They are coming in to school with different interests.

I readily admit, and I am sure many members will admit, when you were getting ready to go to school in the morning when you were in grade IX and X you were excited because you had a basketball practice that day, or because your class was going on a field trip, or because you had drama practise. Maybe you had a concert that night. All of those things are what interest kids.

If you want to be realistic as a parent and not forget too quickly as we grow older, a lot of young people come to school for the simple reason of the extra curricular activities. That is what it is all about. They know they have to go to do the math, science, geography and all of those things, but a lot of that doesn't matter to them. What they really believe is that they have to have a full, well-rounded education, to keep them interested for one thing.

Number one, they do it to keep interested in school. Otherwise you would see a lot of dropouts in this Province. You would see an increased dropout in school rates if you don't have those things. A lot of teachers these days are starting to get worried that if they see phys. ed dropped off, and music, drama and those things, you will see an increased dropout in this Province. I don't think that is a projection that is very far off, because I've taught the kids. I know what it is like for them when they come into a basketball practice or a hockey practice after school and they know they have to go on a school trip. That is what they are interested in.

What we have to remember is that when we go through the education reform process which we are doing now - and schools closed down, and a number of students are less, therefore less teachers -, we don't look right away and start cutting the list: phys ed. sports, extra curricular activities and those types of things. Because if we start to drop those we are going to see an increase in dropouts in this Province, and we are going to see it spiral downwards from there on in. That is what we should keep in mind, that a full education is that very thing, the whole rounded sports, culture, art, music and so on.

To the teachers in the Province - I did this before in this Province - I salute them for the extra things they do. Besides with the whole transition and all the reform that is taking place, schools coming together and so on, look at what the teaching profession has done. It has kept them together through all this strange time. If there is either profession in this Province that went through a tough time it is the teaching profession.

When we were talking about everything else that was going when all this reform was going on, I talked to teachers who were in a classroom one day and they didn't know if they would be there the next, or where they would be, moving to different towns, getting bumped all over the place because of the geography of a certain area. They didn't know if they would be teaching forty miles away the next day. You take that situation and having to go into a classroom with thirty or forty students, and you have to have your spirits up. Because I can tell you as a former teacher that if you go into a classroom and you aren't interested in what you are doing the students know, they are the first ones to know. If you don't show interest in what you are doing they will tell you, they will know you are bored and you aren't into what you are doing.

The teaching profession went through all of this. At the same time they had to walk into a classroom and still try to put the best face forward and say they are interested and that they were going to continue to coach after school, they were going to continue to take kids on trips and everything. Because I know, I did it. I can tell you that a lot of students, especially in my area where I taught - one year I coached a basketball team there and took twelve students to Oshawa, Ontario for a trip. I'm going to tell you, out of those twelve kids -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) lost every game.

MR. SHELLEY: We lost every game, you are absolutely right, we did though, but that didn't matter because the games we played didn't matter. The twelve kids I had there, Mr. Speaker, eight of them were never out of the Province in their lives, never on an airplane. Within twenty-four hours they went to Deer Lake, got on a plane - the first time ever on a plane in their lives -, they were in Toronto and Oshawa, all those areas, brought them around the city, and they were billeted with different people. Those type of things are what education is all about. I can tell you that a good number - I won't say all of them - of those particular students probably would not have stayed in school except for sports programs. You might think that is a sad thing to say unless you face reality. If you think your kid is jumping up 9:00 every morning running to school saying: I can't wait to get to math class, you are kidding yourself. The students go to school for extra curricular activities.

My whole point in bringing this up tonight is because as the Minister of Education makes decisions about cuts to education he better be very careful when they look at that big list and say: The first thing we will cut are your phys. ed. programs and sports, we will cut out your Music. All of those things they enjoy, all the drama. You can name a lot more things. I know a lot of students who live and die for those Science Fairs that they go on and they get really involved in it. Now, of course, with the computer age and so on they are interested in computers, the technologies, and the CD-ROM the minister announced today. A lot of students are really entrenched in this age of computers. They would love to get into it all. They like to go to conferences and so on to learn more about computers that are changing every day.

Those are the things that are going to interest students in school these days. God forbid if we ever get to a stage in this so-called education reform - but it's not reform, it's really a cutback. That is what it's going to be. We are going to lose the faith of students who are going to school. That is why we have to say to the teaching profession that went through all this transition, whose morale was shot because they did not know where they were going to be the next day, they went through all that transition and stayed there and stayed interested. Even though all these things were happening to teachers they still held on to the programs that they have had for years. That is what I want to say about the teaching profession tonight.

Sometimes the government is unfair in the way they treat people. I was talking to Mr. Eagan, who is out in the lobby day after day, and the situation he went through. The decision was made and he was dismissed from his job. The arbitration board, three people, decided he should be brought back to his job. Now the government is appealing. If the gentleman hadn't won the arbitration I wonder would he be appealing it? Here is the government wasting time and money. Instead they should have acted upon the arbitration and that man should be back to work. He is out there every day. He was up in the gallery yesterday with his wife and child. He is going through a very difficult time now. I think Social Worker II was his title, in the Marystown area. You stop and talk to him every now and then and you wonder why the government is so hell bent on doing something like that when they should be doing so much more, paying attention to more issues that are about this Province.

It is easy to talk about CD-ROMS and the good news things that come out today. I'm going to have a look at this CD-ROM, I know how to use it, I'm going to have a look at it today. There is nothing wrong with being positive with students.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: That is plenty, I say to the minister, we are way ahead then. I only have one bit of advice if you are so secure about it. Call it!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Go ahead, I'm having fun too.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) you won't be back.

MR. SHELLEY: You better send out a better grade than you sent out the last time, I say to you. You better send out a better one than your buddy from the last time.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Yes, and we each owe each other thank-yous for that one, Mr. Speaker, so I say. I'm still expecting a thank-you letter from the Premier any day at all now.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Speaker, we all know about those polls too. They went up and down. I've seen them for years, the snapshot. The Premier knew all about when the poll was going on, I say to the hon. House Leader. Do you know what the Premier did? He's so good at it, right? The Premier knew when the poll was going on. Sure, he knows before it comes out, he knows everything about it. I'm just wondering about where the poll is coming from. They all know about it. How much the poll is being paid for by - the polling that went into account.

Do you know what he did? He wouldn't know but we didn't know the difference, right? The poll was about to be done, he knew when the phone calls were going to be made, so for two weeks he came on with this entourage of Mr. Lee was coming into the Province, the Hibernia oil was flowing, and everything was going on. The Province was in good shape.

Let me remind the experienced hon. members across the way - and there is nobody who knows better than -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: No, it wasn't. Mr. Speaker, I know all about the polls, playing games with the polls. I have no worries about the games with the polls, it doesn't bother me one little bit. I'm not nearly as experienced as the hon. House Leader, I say to him with all due respect, and he has been around for a few times when he saw those polls up and down. I will tell you a little story about polls.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) got to tell you something.

MR. SHELLEY: Never mind, you had your say. If you want to get up and say it, (inaudible) you say it. I'm going to tell you a story. I was in Ontario the summer that David Peterson called the election. Seriously. We were up there with my sister-in-law for two weeks, the year Bob Rae (inaudible). David Peterson, the great Liberal Party of Ontario. I was there that summer. I just got there -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: I got there two and a half weeks. I'm just telling you, now, if you want to hear a story on polls, Mr. Speaker. The party was at 67 per cent in the polls when the election was called. That was 1990. I was there.

MR. SULLIVAN: It was 57 per cent.

MR. SHELLEY: Fifty-seven per cent, yes, Mr. Speaker, he was. I don't know what the numbers were. Whatever it was, the point was when I went there that summer Bob Rae, the -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: What was Bob Rae, I think he was 9 per cent or 8 per cent. Bob Rae at the time, I don't remember what the numbers were, I can't remember the exact figure, but he was like 10 per cent or 12 per cent in the polls. I went there and I had just started to golf that year. Right next door to my sister-in-law was a little golf course. I went over the very first day. I golfed with three different people ever day.

The first day I got there I talked to these guys I was golfing with and I asked: How is the election going to go? They said: Peterson, boy, it's probably a full wipeout just like in New Brunswick. I said: Is that right? I took it for what it was. By the way, I wasn't involved in politics whatsoever at the time. Next day pretty well the same thing. By about the fourth or fifth day people are starting to say: Boy, I don't know how good he is doing. Do you know what? Three days before the election I left to come back, and that third day before I came back, Mr. Speaker, where was Mr. Peterson? He was gone, and Bob Rae, the NDP, got in. If I'm not mistaken, he was at 11 per cent in the polls when the election was called.

I'm just saying to you I've seen it before. I'm not as experienced as the House Leader, but that doesn't bother me. I've seen it. I'm not around in politics very long, but I was around the year Tom Rideout and the hon. Clyde Wells first had the election. What was the poll, can you remember?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: (Inaudible). What was it the day he called it? The PC Party under Tom Rideout was at 59 per cent. Clyde Wells was 16 per cent, if I'm not mistaken.

MR. T. OSBORNE: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Eleven point eight per cent.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Twenty-one per cent. He was higher than that. Maybe that was the party. It was the leaders. I've seen them. I would love to have a poll today where we are way up too, Mr. Speaker, it gives you a little vibe of energy for a little while, but it comes and goes. As a matter of fact the Minister of Mines and Energy says it's nothing but a roller-coaster. Up and down. Some days are diamonds, some days are stone, like they say. It's up and down like a dog's stomach, as the old saying goes. It really doesn't bother me one little bit, to be honest with you.

You go through the transitions and everything else. It doesn't bother me one little bit if they say we are 5 per cent, 6 per cent or 10 per cent or 20 per cent. I know when the writ is dropped that is when the real time starts. John Crosbie would always say: Thirty days before, that is when an election comes down to it, Mr. Speaker. I have seen them come and go and all of a sudden the waves change and it is up and down.

There is nobody in this racket in the 1990s, let me tell you, who thinks they are safe if they sitting in their seat. If they do they are out to lunch.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Don't believe what, that you are safe in the poll? No, he was arrogant and cocky about it, no doubt about that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: That is what you might do. You know, I really don't believe this latest poll anyway. You all know it beforehand, you know exactly when to do the polling and everything else, and you know the results. Who are they paying to do the polls? We always remember the phantom poll of 1989, right? All of a sudden, from out of nowhere, this poll came out. Nobody knew where it came from, who did it or anything. Clyde Wells in 1989, right? He made up the poll and flicked it out. That is what he did, made up the poll and flicked it out. Polls, Mr. Speaker, are a snap shot of the day, and tens days later you could see a whole different change again.

So it's power to the pollsters, power to the people who believe them. All I know is that in rural Newfoundland and Labrador today, as we speak here today, people are worried. They are in a foul mood, they want to see things. Some people are hopeful, some people have lost that hope. I'm going to tell you now if there are any members across the way sitting in their seats thinking they are all comfortable and safe in their little nests, they better think again. Because when the writ is dropped the real polling starts. I've always said, long before I ever (inaudible) I used to hear about these polls all the time. The only poll I'm interested in is on election day.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: I don't care. I don't will whistle past anything, and I don't worry about it, I say to the hon. House Leader. All I know is that what I'm doing now, when the writ is dropped I will go door to door in my district and they can decide. I never stop to worry about it, I never do. If that is fine with people, I still have a long life ahead of me. I will do something else if they decide that. I have no problem.

MR. EFFORD: Tell the truth. You are thinking about now not running in the next election. Tell the truth.

MR. SHELLEY: I say you hope I don't run.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Don't be saying that. No, that is not true.

MR. EFFORD: You are saying that is not true -

MR. SHELLEY: No, it's not true.

MR. EFFORD: - and you and your wife haven't had a (inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Now, that is not very nice of the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture talking about my wife and I. One day we had the House Leader talk about me -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture better have his head shaved for the next election. He is going to have to change his image. (Inaudible) the personal things you get into (inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: You are not running in the next election.

MR. SHELLEY: Is that right?

MR. SULLIVAN: Tell him about our Christmas party the year before last or do you want me to do it?

MR. SHELLEY: No, no, the minister enjoys our Christmas parties. We didn't want to do it, but we were having a great little social Christmas party, and in walks the minister and says: Could you play Blue Christmas?

MR. SULLIVAN: And his wife. Danced with everyone there.

MR. SHELLEY: Having a wonderful time. Do you know what? We sang Blue Christmas over and over, had a great time.

AN HON. MEMBER: You didn't tell me that John Efford went to a Tory Christmas party.

MR. SHELLEY: Yes, twice in a row. That is the truth, Mr. Speaker. He asked: Could you sing Blue Christmas for me? There were guitars playing and singing, a wonderful evening. He wasn't the only one either. The Minister of Environment and Labour was there. He came in and said: Keep playing the guitar. There were a couple more there. The Member for Port au Port said: Come in and play the guitar. Yes, we sang a few songs for them.

Getting back to the point, I was just talking about polls. I'm not leaving that. If they want to talk about it, I don't have any problem with talking about polls. (Inaudible) up with the polls. No poll worries me. Nobody ever knows. That is two years away, right? The Premier is definitely not going to be foolish enough to call an election two years early.

MR. SULLIVAN: Paul, your nomination is over, isn't it?

MR. SHELLEY: Check it out.

MR. J. BYRNE: Mine is over.

AN HON. MEMBER: No, no.

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Speaker, they are trying to throw me off but they can't do it.

AN HON. MEMBER: No it's not, the nomination (inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: No, Mr. Speaker. We all make our decision. I keep saying every time in here, we come in here and debate this over and over. I tell you one thing, I don't let it get to me like some of the hon. members across the way, and I'm probably the least experienced. Well, there are three or four more here with only a few years' experience. Getting to you sometimes in this House.

Like the other night it was from one extreme to the other. It was really sad to see. Sometimes in this House when you are here all hours, like we did with the Hydro debate, we had a little chuckle about the premier and the dog and so on. The hon. Member for Ferryland went on for a little while. Then we would get real serious for another little while. Then you throw in some debate here and there.

Imagine if we all stayed monotonous the whole way and all serious. My God, you would go nuts in here. Throw in a little bit of debate, raise a few points, and we do. Lots of time to make a few points. Imagine coming in here all monotone, straightforward, standing straight up, talking about everything that is in that Budget. We would go stir crazy. They would have to take us out of here, take us out on a stretcher or in a straightjacket.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: He finally got to where he wanted to be, Mr. Speaker. Let me get back to what I just mentioned a few minutes ago now.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: I don't mind. You have to be realistic about things. You have to be -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: See, that is where the minister is wrong. Now he wasn't listening, see? The minister should put the plug in his ear and listen again. I will repeat what I started, Mr. Speaker, if he wants me to. The Minister of Mines and Energy, who was listening very well, doesn't want me to repeat what constructive things I said earlier, I'm sure he doesn't, but I will if the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture wants me to. I did start out very constructively.

I talked about the education reform and the teaching profession. When you people who are sitting in the Cabinet now start deciding on the cuts to education, don't cut out phys. ed., don't cut out drama, don't cut out the science fairs, because that is why our children are going to school. That is what I was talking about in the beginning. The House Leader knows all about students and how interested they are in school from doing the extracurricular things. That is what keeps them there.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: No, absolutely. I said it in this House and some people got a bit upset about it. I would guess that if I didn't -this is a bit of a statement I said before - have sports in school, I probably wouldn't have finished high school. I'm telling you, I feel that. The Member for Humber East might laugh at that. I loved sports. Not only that, as far as fifty goes - I will tell you what else. As I coached, Mr. Speaker, in school all my athletes who played on the teams had to have -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: No, get back.

MR. SULLIVAN: I will get up and tell a short joke then you (inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: No, I don't need it, I've more time yet, I've lots of time yet.

I had a lot of students in my sports programs, Mr. Speaker, and I can tell you now that they would have quit school if they weren't involved in sports. Not only that, but my students - I will even give an example. I won't give his name here but he said I could use it any time, his parents will tell you. He got in a bit of trouble with the law, like sometimes high school students do, and was ready to drop out. He actually was suspended for a little while. He came back to school, loved basketball. I was coaching the basketball team. I took him on the basketball team on one condition. I said: You are a great player, you are a great athlete, but you are only staying on one condition. Get your grades up, behave yourself in school. That was in Grade X. He graduated a couple of years ago and wrote me a letter. He didn't get the highest marks now but he got decent marks. He graduated and he is in college now. He is just one example.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: No, he graduated. We had it out a few times, I will say to the hon. member. I am sure you have run across him, former teachers here, ran across that student who was hard to control (inaudible). Mr. Speaker, what you get very now and then is this, the point I made earlier that was constructive. When you get that relation or that bond between a student and a teacher, the teacher goes that extra mile and takes that extra time, or stays after school, comes back after supper and all that - a lot of teachers do that! I was inspired by a lot of teachers who took me under their wing, so to speak, going through school and trying to keep me in school, trying to keep me interested in my books, and doing all that stuff.

There are a lot of students like that, and I know them. I can list off many students in my four years of teaching, and I taught every level. I taught elementary school, I taught high school, and I taught adult education. I know that because I was, I wouldn't say a victim of it, but I was one of those students, and I will admit it any time. We came from a large family and my parents weren't there every day to say: Crack on with the books and so on. They weren't there every day. I don't blame them for that because it was a large family, but I didn't crack on the books. Once I got into sports, got involved, it was coaches who said to me: If you want to stay on these teams, if you want to stay there, you better do your work and be good in school. Instead of being suspended or kicked out of the classroom and all of that. It happens.

I taught in Brother Rice, I was at Regina in Corner Brook, some big schools. You get these tough kids or they are having problems at home, you don't know really what is going on.

AN HON. MEMBER: (inaudible) big schools?

MR. SHELLEY: They are big schools, boy.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: You know like small? Well, the opposite of small. Big school. I will give you an example. I taught in a school of 110 students in Westport and then I went to a big school of 1,600 at Brother Rice, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Yes, that is what I mean by big. You know small? Well, that is big.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: A larger school. Something like your ego, I say to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. He told me to say that. He is putting words in my mouth now.

Mr. Speaker, that is what it means to relate to students and everything. That is why it is real crucial - that is the point I made before the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture said I hadn't said anything - that the teaching profession, their spirits have to be up if they are going to walk into a classroom at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday after a tough week, forty students in front of them. Their spirits have to be up and they have to be interested and they have to motivated. Because if they aren't, Mr. Speaker -

MR. SPEAKER (Oldford): Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SHELLEY: By leave, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No leave!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave!

MR. SPEAKER: Does the member have leave?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No leave!

MR. SPEAKER: No leave.

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wanted to rise and have a few comments on a number of issues. Probably I will start with municipalities. It is the towns themselves that are being the hardest hit in my district these days. I have a number of municipalities in my district, all small communities. Some of them range from a population of about sixty to a population of about 600 people. Some of them are certified, others are not. Let me tell you, they are having trying times in trying to access funding for municipal infrastructure, programs, and so on within their community.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

MS JONES: Up until last year, Mr. Speaker, there was always a special program in place for Labrador. That program focused on bringing infrastructure into communities, upgrading the facilities, putting them on par with all the other communities within the Province. Now, I don't have to tell people in this House that up until a few years ago a lot of the communities in Labrador -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A lot of communities in Labrador were lacking in municipal infrastructure, water and sewer, road development, community centres, recreational complexes, fire equipment and so on. Through the Labrador agreement and the money that came in with that program we were able to meet a lot of those targets. We were able to put roads in a lot of those small isolated communities. We were allowed to build some recreation centres in some of these communities, town centres, put in water and sewer, even, to some of these communities that never ever had that privilege and that service before.

You can just imagine what the dependency was on this program and how important it was to the people who live in these communities. After all, you are talking about, in some cases, 300, 400, or 500 people, a really small tax base. Most of these municipalities are operating on a budget of no greater than $140,000 or $150,000 a year. That will just give you an idea of how difficult it is to do capital expenditure or any amount of work at all. What they have done is through the Labrador Agreement they have been able to do a lot of the things they wouldn't normally do. This year that agreement ran out for all these communities, and now they are left in a situation where they have to access money by whatever means are out there and possible to them.

They don't have the tax base in their communities to draw on. You aren't talking about a region with a lot of large corporations or big scale industry that is bringing in a great deal of investment and tremendous economic revenue to the area. No, you are talking about small communities which depend upon small businesses, little industries, micro-development, that provides a living for people in the area, provides a little bit of revenue to maintain and keep their towns going. So it is quite difficult to be able to do anything of a large-scale nature.

I guess some of the communities have looked to capital works and municipal infrastructure. They have done a few projects in their communities. I know in West St. Modeste, for instance, in the last year they were able to put in a beautiful complex for their community but they didn't do it without risk to themselves. They went out, they borrowed $60,000 for their town, they borrowed over ten years or fifteen years, to be able to have this building in their community, provide that service, that little bit of infrastructure.

We have other situations, in the town of Forteau, other communities which have done similar things, very (inaudible) -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. They have done very small-scale projects as well, and they have done them at great risk to their communities. A lot of these councils and mayors are borrowing for ten years and fifteen years in order to be able to provide this kind of infrastructure in their communities, and that is quite a responsibility to be taken on. I tell you, they are optimistic, and they are going to continue to try and build their communities with whatever resource is there. At the same time there are pressing needs that have to be met. When you talk about water and sewer, when you talk about roads -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS JONES: I have to point out, the Government House Leader says they have a need for a member. The Government House Leader should know they have the best member they have ever had in their lives, Mr. Speaker! The best one, and they know it! They know it, they don't need the Government House Leader to tell them otherwise.

I have to get back to the very important discussion I was having. I know every member in the House is listening attentively and they want to know how these small communities in my coastal area of Labrador and in other parts of rural areas of the Province are making it. I know they are really interested because it all affects them. They all know the difficult time these people are having.

When they come up and say: Capital works this year went up $10 million, the smiles on people's faces across this Province. They submitted their applications, tried to borrow a bit of money to get in on this program, and find out: No, you aren't getting any money this year. Do you know how saddening, disheartening, that is for these people? Do you know how hard they have to work to come up with this little bit of money for this contribution, and then they are rejected? It is pitiful. Once you put them in a situation where they have to carry the burden of a debt for ten, fifteen and twenty years, this is sad.

I have to say, though, a lot of these communities, despite the odds, are doing a tremendous job. They are doing it though because they have good leadership in their communities, because they have good volunteers to draw upon, because the communities' main objective is survival and they will do whatever it takes to be able to make it. They commit hours of service to their communities to build up their fire departments, to build up their charitable organizations, to look after their community centres and playgrounds, to build something a little bit around tourism and other attractions where they can bring people in. They do it with a great deal of pride and very few dollars, but at the same time the people themselves have to be recognized.

A great deal of the people in my district are Aboriginal people. Most of them are Metis, some of them are Inuit, but out of the 5,000 people who are within the Labrador Metis Organization about 3,500 reside in my district. Some communities are 80 per cent and 90 per cent Aboriginal, which makes them recognizable as a total Aboriginal society.

What is happening to these people is they have been pleading with the government of this country for recognition as Aboriginal people. They have documented their ancestral history, they have done genealogy work, they have traced their claims and ancestors back to the 1500s. Yes, they have now been told, finally: You are Aboriginal, you are an Aboriginal person, you are a Metis, and you are recognized under the Constitution of our country.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MS JONES: Maybe. I do not know.

These people have worked hard to try and make those claims, to try and get recognition under the Government of Canada, and also within the Province, Mr. Speaker, I might add. I guess they are at a point in their history now where they have been lobbying for years, they have had land claims, they have done genealogy, they have traced their land use and occupancy, they have written studies, reports, commissions and everything else. Even the royal commission on Aboriginal peoples recognized the Metis as being the second largest Metis nation in the country, second only to the western Indian Metis in Western Canada. They certainly have been identified by the royal commission of Aboriginal people.

The decision that has recently been announced and placed upon them by the legal ruling of the Department of Justice -

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

The Chair can' hear the hon. member. I wonder if the hon. members could allow the member to speak and be heard.

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm sure there are lots of people in this House who are anxious to hear what I have to say about the Metis people of Labrador, about the Aboriginal claims they have, and the steps they are trying to make in society. I know they all sympathize and understand the pleas of those 5,000 people in Labrador and how important it is, not only to the social, economic being of Labrador, but to the entire economic progress of the Province.

Because as you know, the Labrador Metis people, as an Aboriginal people, have rights and treaties within the lands they occupy. They will not stand for development of their lands without their consent. While we are here and while we are looking at what can be done for the Metis people in supporting their cause, I think at the same time we have to recognize they do have rights, they have been here, and they do certainly have a say in the development of the economy and the region.

My fear is that when you have an Aboriginal group of this nature, when you have a group of this calibre in a part of the Province which feels that they are being neglected and not entirely included in -

MR. EFFORD: You need (inaudible), take one of them now.

MS JONES: Thank you very much. The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture just brought me a seal oil capsule. What is this thing, Minister, what is this capsule?

AN HON. MEMBER: Protein. That is the pill!

MS JONES: I don't know if I should be taking medication prescribed by the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture or not, but you never know. The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture would certainly be interested in knowing that the Metis people have an ancestral history within the fishery of Labrador and the fishery of the Province as well. I am sure the Minister understands their rights. Their rights, Mr. Minister, to go out and net seals. They should have that right, Minister.

Under the sealing commission, I believe it was - the minister can correct me -, it was the sealing commission that recognized that the Aboriginal people should have the right to net seals, Mr. Speaker, because it was a custom of theirs. It was a part of their subsistent life style, and they should still continue to be allowed to do it. That is one of the causes they have been fighting for. As an organization, they certainly recognize that there are cultural aspects of their society that they should be entitled to practise and carry on with, but they have not been granted that privilege, and it is unfortunate.

Since I'm on the fishery I should also mention a couple of things that have been happening across Labrador with the fishery. I wasn't here the other day when the good news announcement was made on the Red Bay plant and the seventy jobs that were going to be created there, but certainly I have to acknowledge that the Shrimp Company is doing a tremendous job in building the industry and the fishery across Labrador.

I have to express the urgency, however, to be able to move this fishery along in Black Tickle because the people there are really dependent on this for a livelihood. All of us who have been there, seen the community, looked at it, visited, talked to the people, know there is no other industry that can sustain this community in a positive manner and provide some kind of safety network for them in years to come.

The fishing industry is one that can do it for the people of Black Tickle. I understand the minister is committed, that their plant will be open this summer, and they are quite excited that their plant is going to be open, that that commitment has been made to them. We wait the announcement for the money to come forth to do the work that is necessary to be able to move that along, put the people in that community back to work, put them in their boats, put them in the plant, and get them back in operation.

There is nothing sadder than walking into a community that has no industry, where everything has been stagnant for years. There is nothing sadder than to see the expression on people's faces, to see the detriment they are faced with day after day in their lives. It is totally unfortunate that our society of rural people has had to come to the point some of our communities have come to. I've seen it in the community of Black Tickle when I've gone there, I've seen it in the expression on people's faces, I've heard it in the conversations that I have had with those people, and they want something. They want to move ahead, they want to build some kind of a little fishery for their community. When you look at small communities like Black Tickle it doesn't take a lot sometimes to make a big difference.

They are progressing, they are encouraging. They are lobbying the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, they are relying on his good word that he is going to do something for these people up there. They are going to hold him to it. They are going to make sure that they are looked after, that things are done the way they want them done, that they are going to have jobs and are going to be able to work and be able to continue to live in their community and so on. That has all been put to some rest. We just look forward now to the announcement, to the money to come.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS JONES: I can't hear you.

AN HON. MEMBER: I was down there (inaudible) to say hello.

MS JONES: Were you? You don't care who you talks to but then again, boy, that's all.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS JONES: The Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology is begging for comments. Maybe we should talk about the energy development in Labrador. Yes, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Mines and Energy would be extremely interested in knowing what the people in Cartwright-L'Anse au Clair would like to see out of the Lower Churchill deal.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS JONES: No problem, you sit back and take it easy. I will tell you all about it. You see, Mr. Speaker, I should start off by telling you there is something like twenty-five diesel operated plants left in the Province to date. Maybe it is twenty-six, I don't have the figure in front of me. Having said that, the majority of those are in Labrador, and a lot of them are in my district.

Anyone who is familiar with hydro rates in this Province knows that people on the diesel station operated system pay a higher rate than anyone else in this Province. When you look at the people who are paying it is people in rural Newfoundland and rural Coastal Labrador. They probably are the people who can least afford, in a lot of cases, to be paying this rate, but nevertheless it is the rate they are paying.

You see, we are hoping the Lower Churchill is going to change all that for the people of Coastal Labrador. We are hoping that when they bring that power down from the Lower Churchill development, when they run that line across Labrador and bring it to the Labrador Straits to tie it into the Island, that the people in Coastal Labrador are going to be the first ones to benefit. Not only in the jobs, not only in the development, but they are going to be paying less. Before the line even reaches the Island they are going to pay less.

Of course they are, because one, two or three things can be done for these people. We can subsidize the current system that is already there, which we know is costing the Province money year after year, more dollars than probably they can necessarily afford at this point in our history, and it is going to cost us more in the future. That system is also costing the consumers more, and it is going to cost them more each and every year.

So in the wisdom of the Minister of Mines and Energy and his government, I'm sure they will find an alternative energy source for those people. They cannot continue to subsidize a system $20 million and $30 million a year -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS JONES: No problem. The minister has to leave, but he is extremely interested in hearing what I have to say. He is extremely interested in knowing how to deal with the energy crisis in southeastern Labrador. That is okay, because I will have a brief on his desk before he knows it, that is no problem. I will even send somebody over to read it to him if he would like, because he cannot be here to hear what I have to say.

Getting back to the energy system, nobody wants to continue to subsidize this service to the tune of $20 million and $30 million a year when alternatives can be found.

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Alternatives can be found. In that area of Labrador we have some of the largest, most beautiful rivers in the world that have water flowing through them every day that could create more than enough energy that is required to take in all the north and south Coast of Labrador. More than enough.

I think Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro have done two assessments to date, on one river in particular, the St. Lewis River. The minister could confirm for me the dates but I think it was, something like the last assessment, 250 megawatts of power that could be generated from this development. That is more than enough to supply energy needs of all of the Coast of Labrador, right from L'Anse au Clair to Nain. Yes, we would even have enough left over to sell a little bit to Quebec. We could pocket the money. It would be so feasible for us. It wouldn't cost the $20 million and $30 million in subsidies we are paying now. No, we could bank money, we could live on the interest after. We could re-invest it into all kinds of development. We would have no trouble finding the money to upgrade the plant in Black Tickle, or to put water and sewer in L'Anse au Clair, or to do something else. No, there would be more than enough.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)!

MS JONES: Anyway, that is just one option, Mr. Speaker, that can be studied. The member for one of the Humber areas is saying he can't believe I'm saying dam the river! I would say to the member the long-term plan of the development corporation in my district outlines it. I do what my people ask me to do. They didn't say dam the river, they said look at the alternatives. That is what we are saying. We are saying look at an alternative that could save you $30 million today, $50 million ten years down the road, and provide a more efficient service that is more acceptable to the consumer, that is cheaper to the consumer, and so on.

That is only one option. There is also this option. We have the power line, it's coming out of Lower Churchill, and it has to come through Labrador in order to get to the Island. There are opportunities there for people in Coastal Labrador. If that transmission line followed the route of the Trans-Labrador Highway, well, you would need one survey. Only one, not two, you are doing the same route. One environmental assessment, because the environment assessment will be done. There is enough money by taking that route - I haven't worked out all the figures on it. Maybe the minister has worked out the figures on it. He could give us the figures at another time. I would think there is money that could be saved by taking that route with the transmission line.

By doing that there is the opportunity to tie in a lot of communities on the Coast. I know you have to step down the power, I know it's going to cost money to do that, to put a converter system in, to do all these things, but again you have to get back to the savings, the savings of what it's costing right now. There are millions of dollars in subsidies that it's costing right now to the Province, and the dollars that it's costing the consumers who receive the power in that area. Everybody can win in a situation like this.

One of the biggest setbacks we have had too, I might add, has been in energy. One of the things you find when you go into small communities on diesel station operated power is that they do not have the energy capacity to be able to go out and foster business development. How can you promote large scale development or economic development when you do not have the power to provide to these companies? It has been a tremendous setback. Because how can you go out and ask for large scale development and say to them: We can provide you with what you need, come and do business with us, when you know that you can't provide them? When you know that people in the community can't even put electric heat in their home because the service can't handle it.

It has been a setback. There are ways to correct it. We have just outlined a couple of ways here that it can be corrected, and I'm sure there are other ways of correcting the problem. There are other ways that we can bring a better power source to these communities, a cheaper power source, a more efficient power source, and one that is a win-win situation for everyone.

Having talked about the energy development and the line that is going to come down through Labrador, through the Labrador Straits, bring the power to the beautiful Island of Newfoundland, supply the energy needs of the Island so that we don't run out of power and we are all in the dark here, well, that line has to cross the Strait of Belle Isle, the body of water that has separated Labrador and the Island for eternity.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MS JONES: Not for eternity? The member says there was a land bridge at one time. It has been a long time, Mr. Speaker. It seems like eternity. It has been a very long time since I have seen somebody walk across the Strait of Belle Isle, but they should be walking the Strait of Belle Isle. They should be walking it or driving it, one thing or the other.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS JONES: You've got it.

There has to be a fixed link that joins Labrador and the rest of the Island. There has to be something connecting - something substantial, tangible - that you can see and use that connects Labrador and the Island, and the Lower Churchill development can provide us with the leeway to be able to do this. That line has to come across the Strait of Belle Isle. They are turbines, large-scale turbines, Mr. Speaker. They are going to have to be housed in big tunnels to allow air circulation and fan cooling systems and maintenance operations. So I say: Why not look at expanding it, look at making it a transportation mode between the Island and Labrador so we finally bridge the gap in this Province, and we bridge the transportation gap for people in both ends of the Province.

I know the Minister of Mines and Energy is looking at options like this. I know he is looking at all of these options and making the crucial decisions about the development of this large-scale project. I know that he knows the people in Labrador would like a fixed link, a tunnel, or some connection that is going to be put there to allow them to transport back and forth through this Province with whatever freedom this can provide to them, Mr. Speaker.

A lot of people have said: Do you really think this can happen? I think it can happen, Mr. Speaker. You have to believe. You have seen tunnels that have been built all around the world. You have seen tunnels that have been built across the English Channel that are far greater projects, to a certain scale, than what this one would entail. We have seen it done in Iceland, through mountains. We have seen it done in Sudbury, a big mining town, tunnels being built under lakes, under the town, under people's property and so on, so it can be done. We have to look at the feasibility of doing it right here in this Province.

There are a lot of benefits that can be attributed to a development of that scale, a tremendous amount of benefits that can be attributed. We just have to be innovative enough to capture each and every opportunity we can in all of this development.

Look at the tourism potential this would provide. It would allow people to circumnavigate the entire Atlantic coastline and travel through all the Atlantic Provinces, to come and see and spend time in our beautiful Province as well. The dollars that would be saved in the subsidization of the ferry services, air services, and all the other transportation modes that we are putting into place right now, could certainly be compensation towards a project of this nature.

Yes, Mr. Speaker, it is possible and it has to be looked at seriously and adjusted for the feasibility wherever possible to make it fit, because it is such a critical and important part of our transportation network that can be put in place to provide this kind of service.

Mr. Speaker, transportation is not only across the Strait of Belle Isle but it is a priority for people in my district. It is a priority for people all across Labrador. When you live in small, rural, isolated communities, transportation has to be a priority. Getting in and getting out is always a necessity to everyday living, survival, conducting business, and whatever else you do within the region.

We certainly have had our share of difficulties with transportation. I should tell you that there are communities in my district that have no fixed transportation mode, that are totally isolated from airports, hospitals, and from all other facilities.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MS JONES: By leave, Mr. Speaker?

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave.

MR. SPEAKER: No leave.

MS JONES: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I am very surprised that members opposite, on the Liberal side of the House, were unwilling to give leave to the Member for Cartwright - L'Anse au Clair. She is the best member for the Straits who has been here since I have been in this House, Mr. Speaker, and is doing a terrific job representing the people of Cartwright - L'Anse au Clair. She is very astute politically, very active in defending the interests of her people, shows no fear nor favour, does not mind taking on the Minister of Fisheries when it is necessary to do so, does not mind taking on the member for Labrador when it is necessary to do so, and does not mind taking on the Premier when it is necessary to do so. She certainly does not mind taking on the Minister of Fisheries.

I will tell you something that she has not said in this House - and she is being too kind to him on this one, but I am going to talk about it, Mr. Speaker. We had a statement in the House the other day. Now, I was not apprised of all the information and I don't even know if the member was. I was very interested in the statement made by the Minister of Fisheries in the House the other day, about the operation of a new fish license in Labrador in Red Bay.

The story I hear, Mr. Speaker - you know, we had a statement a couple of days before from the Minister of Fisheries about down in Lamaline. You have a fish plant license being given to a private entrepreneur. The minister got up -

AN HON. MEMBER: That was Lawn, was it not?

MR. HARRIS: I am sorry! Lawn, it was.

The minister was very, very clear that it was the private interest he wanted to give the license to. Then he followed up a couple of days later, and the minister remembered my comments after that, and said: Now, you have to remember we can't have development, particularly a community economic development, exclusively in the hand of private enterprise. We do have community organizations, like the Fogo Island Co-op and the Labrador Fishermen's Union Shrimp Company and the Great -

MR. EFFORD: What is your point?

MR. HARRIS: I will get to the point. You just listen up.

- the Great Northern Peninsula Development Corporation; fine examples of community controlled operations, controlled by the people in the interests of the people, Mr. Speaker.

Then he followed up a few days later with a statement about a development in Red Bay. He talked about this partnership with a company called, was it Labrador Gem? What he didn't say, Mr. Speaker - I mean, I had my few suspicions about who Labrador Gem was, but not enough to be able to say. Now I find out the minister says it was Danny Dumaresque he gave the license to. What he didn't say, Mr. Speaker, was that he had refused the license to the Labrador Fishermen's Union Shrimp Company.

MR. EFFORD: That is not correct.

MR. HARRIS: He refused the license, Mr. Speaker. They applied for a license and the minister said: No, I am not going to give it to the Labrador Fishermen's Union Shrimp Company. I will not give it to the community organization, to the people, Mr. Speaker, to the democratic organization of fishermen who have been working for the last fifteen, sixteen, seventeen years, I think. The Labrador Fishermen's Union Shrimp Company, a democratic organization, I won't give it to them, Mr. Speaker, in Red Bay. No, I will give it to Danny, my buddy.

MR. EFFORD: What is wrong with that?

AN HON. MEMBER: What is wrong with Danny?

MR. EFFORD: What is wrong with that?

MR. SULLIVAN: You ask Harvey what is wrong with that.

MR. HARRIS: I have a question for the member. I will ask the question.

MR. EFFORD: Ask a question.

MR. HARRIS: I will ask the question that the Member for Cartwright - L'Anse au Clair asked in Ottawa.

MR. EFFORD: What?

MR. HARRIS: Whether you were able to deduct child care expenses for looking after Danny? That is the question, Mr. Speaker.

MR. EFFORD: Come on, for God's sake! How silly! (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: It was the same day as the meeting with the Minister of Fisheries.

MR. SULLIVAN: His favourite song is Oh Danny Boy.

MR. HARRIS: It was the same day that the rest of the committee met with the Minister of Fisheries, I say to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, the same day that the rest of us met with the Minister of Fisheries in Ottawa.

What I want to know, Mr. Speaker, is why did he turn down the democratic people's organization, the Labrador Fishermen's Union Shrimp Company, for a license, and give it to his buddy, Danny Dumaresque and a company called Labrador Gem.

Now, this is a serious issue, Mr. Speaker, and there is a political aspect to it obviously. There is a political aspect to it, but it is a very serious question. Are we going to have - now, the minister was on t.v. tonight threatening to take away crab licenses from people. I don't know who they are.

MR. EFFORD: Tories.

MR. HARRIS: There we are. Tories, he said.

I mean, the minister used to be pretty good. He didn't used to put that sort of thing on the record. But on May 4, Mr. Speaker, he overstepped his bounds. He talked about killing every last seal on the face of the earth. Then he tried to blame it on me, Mr. Speaker.

MR. EFFORD: The old IFAW supporter. There are only him and Harold Horwood left.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HARRIS: Well, I found out something today that I didn't know.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, it is one thing to get up here in this House and debate back and forth about things that a politician or member of this House does, to help whatever political partisan party, but it is another thing to be turning against people in the Province who gave him his livelihood, being the only other individual on the Island of Newfoundland to join the forces of Harold Horwood.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I found out something today that I didn't know before. Do you know, Mr. Speaker - Mr. Speaker knows, I am sure.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: Perhaps, Mr. Speaker, other members don't know: That every single word that is spoken in this House, that is written down in Hansard, is not only recorded but it is on the Worldwide Web. You know something, it is updated every day, not like the tourism web site, Mr. Speaker, once a year.

I learned how to turn on my computer today, Mr. Speaker. I turned it on and went to the Government of Newfoundland Web Site and I looked on What's New. I wanted to see what was really new. I wanted to see what the government thought was new. I looked into the Tourism Web Site and it said: Transfer interrupted. You bet it was interrupted, Mr. Speaker. It was interrupted by a CBC show yesterday morning and never heard from again.

All the members here have a computer in their office. Just click on the Netscape Navigator and it comes up, Government of Newfoundland. Then click on tourism and you will get a noise, a big `blat': Transfer interrupted; no news. Then go to something called What's New. Well, I wanted to find out what was actually new. I looked at what was new and what was new is -

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to have the hon. member explain why it is okay for the United States, Scotland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, North Africia, to kill seals and burn them and why it is not okay for Newfoundland.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

So, I look at What's New, and -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: Do you know something, Mr. Speaker, when you look at What's New it says Hansard and House of Assembly. When you click onto Hansard, do you know what's new on Hansard. Every day, Mr. Speaker, Hansard is on the Worldwide Web. Do you know how new it was, Mr. Speaker? Today is May 28. Do you know that May 27 Hansard is already on the Worldwide Web; so that everything that was said in this House yesterday is on the Worldwide Web today, so that anybody from anywhere in the world can click on whatever day it was.

MR. TULK: And you are some proud of it. You made sure of it, didn't you?

MR. HARRIS: I did nothing about it.

The next thing I did, Mr. Speaker, I clicked on May 4, and what did I find on May 4? I found the most irresponsible statement that a Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture in this Province could ever make, published on the Worldwide Web, for everybody who wants to attack Newfoundland to see.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: They probably have these - what do they call them? - search engines. They are browsing the Web. They have key word searches and they are looking in Hansard for every time anyone used the word seal.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, this is getting quite serious. This is really getting quite serious. The whole future of Newfoundland and Labrador's economy, rural Newfoundland, depends on the fishing industry. The whole future, the very existence of tens of thousands of people, and some 400 plus communities depend on the decisions that are going to be made by the people in this Province on the sealing industry.

The hon. member will stand to his feet and talk about what I said here and what is copied in Hansard. He, himself, publicized it. I will not take it back, when other countries in the world - the United States kills seals every year and burns them and buries them in the dump; Scotland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, for the existence of their marine life and the protection of the marine life and protection of the people. And this man has joined the forces of Brigitte Bardot, Loretta Swit, William Shatner and Harold Horwood and he has turned his back on the people of this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Shame! Shame!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

On the Worldwide Web, Mr. Speaker, they have these search engines, these browsers -

MR. EFFORD: To hell with the Worldwide Web.

MR. HARRIS: They are going around and they are looking. They are going to Hansard of Newfoundland and every time the word seal is mentioned they are homing in on it.

Do you know what they found, Mr. Speaker. They found on May 4, the most irresponsible statement. They were delighted to see it. I was not delighted to see it, Mr. Speaker, because I want to tell you something, I agree that we have upset the balance of nature. I agree that we have destroyed the balance of nature, as a result of which we have far too many seals than we should have. But I want to tell you something, Mr. Speaker, I don't think -

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

MR. HARRIS: No point of order, sit down.

MR. EFFORD: You are not the Speaker.

MR. HARRIS: Sit down.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. TULK: Ask him does he agree with the (inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should think carefully.

MR. HARRIS: No point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. EFFORD: The member sitting him from Labrador - go down and tell the people of Black Tickle where there is no cod today and there are tens and thousands of seals off the shore that we should protect the seals and not the people in Black Tickle.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is not point of order.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, do you think -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: Do you think, Mr. Speaker, we are going to get support for an expanded seal fishery in this Province?

MR. EFFORD: We don't need an expanded hunt, we need a cull.

MR. HARRIS: Do you think we are going to get support, Mr. Speaker, for an expanded seal industry in the Province, with the kind of statements that this minister is making?

AN HON. MEMBER: Jack, jack, jack, sit down.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: It might be very popular, Mr. Speaker, in some quarters, but let me tell you it ain't going to happen with those kinds of comments, because all he is doing is inviting -

MR. EFFORD: Not with you around. The IFAW (inaudible). This side is not going to hamper it.

MR. HARRIS: All he is doing, Mr. Speaker, is inviting those who want to vilify and destroy the reputation of the people of Newfoundland, and use it to make money - he is only giving them a weapon, Mr. Speaker. That is all he is doing; playing into their hands. That is what he is doing, Mr. Speaker, he is playing into their hands.

MR. EFFORD: There is a name for you.

MR. HARRIS: The man who publishes statements on the Worldwide Web, the likes of what he said, inviting the kind of outrageous statements that have been made about the people of this Province, inviting them to come here and try and take pictures to make it look worse.

MR. TULK: What would you suggest (inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: I could read out the words that the member said in the House of Assembly. They are all down there in black and white, Mr. Speaker, published on the Worldwide Web by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador; not by me, not by this hon. member, published by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador on the Worldwide Web, spoken by him and transcribed and published on the Worldwide Web.

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. Are you on a point of order?

MR. EFFORD: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has stood here for the last ten minutes in this House saying that I have done something that other countries in this world are not doing. I say that this hon. member is misleading this House, very clearly. Because two years ago, in Australia, they had an overpopulated kangaroo herd, where they killed 5 million kangaroos. No utilization, no ability to utilize, and what did they do? They took them to the dump and they burned them; 5 million kangaroos, and not one word from those people opposite.

Yet, 6 million seals in the ocean destroying the very livelihoods of people in this Province and don't say anything about it. Old Hot Lips himself protecting them.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

What the minister is proposing, he does not have the power to do. So I want to ask, Mr. Speaker - he does not have the power to do that, the only people who can do that is the Government of Canada and they are not going to do it, Mr. Speaker. So we have this man here calling for blood and we have the Government of Canada saying: No, no. We cannot do that. We will ruin our image internationally. So what is the net affect, Mr. Speaker, of this kind of intemperate comment?

AN HON. MEMBER: Whose side are you on? Traitor!

MR. HARRIS: What is the net affect, Mr. Speaker? The net affect of what he is doing is destroying the seal fishery, Mr. Speaker, as well as destroying the possibility of the recovery of the fishery.

What we have to do, Mr. Speaker, is support what Tina Fagan and the Sealers Association are doing, building the markets, supporting the activities of utilization of the seals, producing products like the seal oil. I mean, the minister has some good points.

MR. EFFORD: Judas!

MR. HARRIS: I wish he would show more of them and stop showing his bad side, because I think he is doing damage to the people of this Province.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible)?

MR. HARRIS: I didn't go out anywhere, Mr. Speaker, I was right here in this House the same as him. He published it on the Worldwide Web, Mr. Speaker.

MR. TULK: You took it to the press.

MR. EFFORD: Judas! Judas! You should bury you head in shame.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, on May 4 it was published on the Worldwide Web by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador -

MR. TULK: And certainly that is alright (inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: On May 4, Mr. Speaker, anybody searching the Worldwide Web and finding the Government of Newfoundland and trying to find out what's new, they would look to tourism and find out that is not new. The only thing new on May 4 was Hansard and it was the statement of the hon. minister, Mr. Speaker. That is what was on the Worldwide Web on May 4.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No leave.

MR. HARRIS: Is my time up? I will have to speak on a point of order for ten minutes, I suppose, if my time is up.

Mr. Speaker, what I wanted to say is that the minister -

MR. EFFORD: Sit down, Judas!

MR. HARRIS: - who plays politics with the ministry, and admits that he gives out licenses or takes away processing licenses on the basis of political persuasion - he admits that. He admitted it here tonight. He is also -

MR. TULK: Missus gave it to you the other morning on the radio.

MR. HARRIS: He thinks that makes him a good politician, Mr. Speaker, but I tell you what he is doing with the seal issue is destroying the reputation of this Province and hurting the very industry that he claims to be trying to promote.

MR. EFFORD: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I have not recognized the minister yet.

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

MR. EFFORD: I apologize for getting carried away, Mr. Speaker.

Seriously, this hon. member is misleading this House of Assembly. He is trying to condemn this side of the House of Assembly for something that his government just did in British Columbia when they culled the seals on the rivers, shot the seals, took them to the dump and burned them, just this past October, culled the seals in British Columbia. So, if they can do it in British Columbia, it is good enough for the NDP but it is not good enough in Newfoundland and Labrador.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Again, that is not a point of order.

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

MR. EFFORD: Judas!

MR. J. BYRNE: Judas is not parliamentary.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw your attention, on a point of order, to two statements of the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. Number one, he said that I was misleading the House.

MR. EFFORD: You were misleading the House.

MR. HARRIS: Secondly, he used the word Judas, neither of which are parliamentary.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, to the point of order.

The hon. gentleman -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I have not recognized the member.

The Government House Leader, to that point of order.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, to say that somebody cannot stand in this House and say that somebody has misled the House - where are you coming from, boy? You cannot say that somebody deliberately misled this House, but you can certainly say -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TULK: He said we are doing it all the time. You can certainly say that somebody misled the House. The truth of the matter is that the hon. gentleman has raised this issue of burning seals to the point where it should not have been raised. He was the person who attracted the media attention in the first place. He knows it. He knows he is guilty of supporting the trends of the IFAW.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

On the point of order raised by the hon. the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi, the Minister of Fisheries did say that the member was misleading the House, and misleading the House has been ruled unparliamentary in the past, and I ask him to withdraw the comment.

MR. EFFORD: With the respect I have for Your Honour and the Chair, I will withdraw it, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, there are certain expressions in Beauchesne - obviously I am not going to question the ruling of the Chair, but let me just say this, that there are certain words which are deemed to be unparliamentary and there are certain words which are deemed to be parliamentary, depending on the context in which they were used and the tone in which they were uttered. I don't believe for a minute, Mr. Speaker, that the Minister of Fisheries in any way clearly intended to convey the feeling that the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi was deliberately or in some way viciously misleading the House. I think the Minister of Fisheries would conclude that the member was too stunned to do that anyway.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I remind members that page 149 of Beauchesne, 491, says, "The Speaker has consistently ruled that language used in the House should be temperate and worthy of the place in which it is spoken. No language is, by virtue of any list, acceptable or unacceptable. A word which is parliamentary in one context may cause disorder in another context, and therefore be unparliamentary." And there has certainly been disorder here tonight.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I did refer to a second word that was uttered. Did Your Honour consider that; the word Judas which was yelled across the House?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I didn't hear the word Judas. I will review Hansard and come back later on this.

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

MR. J. BYRNE: (Inaudible) traitor.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It may not be in Hansard, but I distinctly heard it and members here on this side of the House heard it used. It was certainly there. I look forward to your wise ruling on that point as well, Mr. Speaker.

MR. EFFORD: Walk in over your neck, Jack.

AN HON. MEMBER: Take a hike, Jack.

MR. J. BYRNE: I told you he would be upset before the night was out.

MR. EFFORD: You are walking in over you neck, Jack.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, it was not my intention to cause an uproar on the other side of the House. I was merely pointing out that the words that are uttered in this House are broadcast worldwide by the Government of Newfoundland over the Worldwide Web. I would remind members -

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Government House Leader, on a point of order.

MR. TULK: I would ask to bring something to Your Honour's attention after he has had a chance to review Hansard.

In Beauchesne, page 146, there is a list of items. As Your Honour has already said there are times when words are used and they are unparliamentary and there are times when they are used when they are not unparliamentary. It depends of the context of the House and so on.

Now, I think if you review Hansard you will find that the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi several times tonight referred to the minister as being irresponsible in his duties, not a thing which he should do, being irresponsible with a statement.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I have to suggest to you that if indeed it was unparliamentary in this particular case for the Minister of Fisheries to use the word misled, because the debate was somewhat acrimonious in this House, unsettling or whatever, then I would suggest to you that in that same context the statements made by the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi would also have been unparliamentary.

After reviewing Hansard, I would ask Your Honour to ask the hon. gentleman if indeed he said them, as I know he did, to ask him to withdraw them.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Opposition House leader. On that point of order?

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

Beauchesne has shown that in two different instances you may rule misled as parliamentary or unparliamentarily. But it also states that the word irresponsible is only included in the unparliamentary list, and it has not been listed as one that has been accepted under parliamentary language.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

We will review Hansard and we will get back -

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: You are speaking on that point of order?

MR. HARRIS: Yes.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

What I said was that the minister's statements were irresponsible. So when you are reviewing Hansard, Mr. Speaker, take that into account.

MR. EFFORD: Somebody could have written that for the minister, right?

MR. HARRIS: That the statements were irresponsible, Mr. Speaker, and I stand by that.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

That would show up in Hansard. We will review that and get back to the House.

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

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

Is this a separate point of order?

MR. CANNING: Yes, it is.

I believe the Member for Cape St. Francis is displaying something on his desk which he is not entitled to do.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I cannot read what the hon. member is displaying, my eyesight is not that good.

MR. J. BYRNE: It is just a report, Mr. Speaker.

MR. TULK: He is not allowed to display it.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I would ask the member to remove the -

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

How much time do I have left, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

AN HON. MEMBER: A point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I have no problem with sitting in this House and listening to debate, listening to the partisan politics back and forth from one member or one party to the other. I have been here since 1985. I have participated, I have sat and listened, I have given and taken. Sometimes you get upset about some of the political partisan politics back and forth, but it is only for the minute that you get upset about it and then you leave it and you forget about it. It is one thing to be partisan, but another thing to carry on with the type of irreprehensible words that the hon. Member for - where is he from?

AN HON. MEMBER: Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi.

MR. EFFORD: Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi, historic village. What he has said and done in this hon. House over the last number of weeks -

AN HON. MEMBER: Quidi Vidi, a fishing village.

MR. EFFORD: What he did I will never be able to accept.

MR. HARRIS: A point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi, on a point of order.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture just said that what I said was `irreprehensible'. There is no such word.

AN HON. MEMBER: He said reprehensible.

MR. HARRIS: No, he said `irreprehensible'. There is no such word, and surely it must be unparliamentary.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: There are a lot of adjectives I could use on the hon. member that would not be in the dictionary, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, they have been used in more communities than Port de Grave, too.

The one thing with which I can stand with pride in this House of Assembly - like a lot of hon. members in this House on this side can stand with pride - is that we do not turn our backs on the people of this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: While we have our own different political views, and while some of us are very strong on our political views, at the end of the day, regardless of our political views, we stand for the people in every community in Newfoundland and Labrador with pride.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: There is only one other individual I have met - not met - that I have talked with in the last six or seven months, besides the hon. member opposite, and that was our famous author from Newfoundland, now living in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, the famous Harold Horwood, whom I will never again - and I will say this, and I will go on record if you want to print it and you want to put in the papers, and you want to put it on the radio stations tomorrow morning - I will never every again have any respect for, as a Newfoundlander and Labradorian. I will never consider him a Newfoundlander. I will never be able to stand in his company any more because he turned his back on the people of this Province. Why would the hon. member opposite put himself in that category?

Why is it that every country in this world that has a seal population can do what I said the other day and no recourse held to them? Why is the United States, every single year - the Pribilof Islands off Alaska kill seals to have an annual cull for the sake of killing them. They do not utilize the animal in any manner whatsoever, take them to the dump - whether they burn them or bury them or dig a hold in the ground or whatever - (inaudible) they destroy the animal because they protect the marine resource. Why, in Scotland, do they have a population of 100,000 seals and every single year they will have an annual cull; an annual cull, with a population of 100,000.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, in our Canadian waters, we have a population in excess of 6 million. Why is it that six years after the moratorium the FRCC, based on scientific information, will tell us that the Northern cod stocks are worse than pre-1992? Is it because of the environmentally controlled temperatures of the water? Is it because the winds blow north, south, east or west? Or is it because we have an overpopulated seal herd?

We interfered with the balance of nature. We fished for 500 years, we hunted seals for 200-plus years, and then in the early 1980s we stopped hunting seals, but we never stopped taking fish out of the ocean. The large factory-freezer trawlers brought in by the former governments of this country, and the greed of the foreign ships, decimated the cod stocks, decimated the groundfish stocks. The greed of men created an imbalance in nature, where the fish stocks are down there and the seal population is up here.

We fell prey to Greenpeace, the IFAW, not because they were interested in protecting the seals. Because if they were true humanitarians they would be interested in the lives of the people in coastal communities in Newfoundland and Labrador. They have one thing in mind: fill their bank accounts on the backs of the people in Newfoundland, on the very way we carried on our culture and our tradition for hundreds of years.

You get the like of that opposite protecting those people over there, the Rick Smiths of the world whose salary is millions of dollars a year, $50 million last year. What did we do today? I stood in this House of Assembly today with a Ministerial Statement and what did I say? No cod quota for Northern Labrador, no cod quota for the Gulf, no cod quota for the northeast coast of Newfoundland. In other words, tell the people in Black Tickle this year they are not allowed to catch cod. Tell the people all up around Northern Newfoundland, no cod. All along the northeast coast of Newfoundland, you are not allowed to go fishing cod.

In fact, we will go beyond that. Last October in Bonavista two senior citizens, one seventy-nine years old and one seventy-five years old, who all of their lives knew nothing only to take a few cod out of the water for their personal use, what did we do as a country last year, the federal government? We took those two people to court and we charged them with taking cod out of the water as they have done for seventy years-plus. We fined them and we embarrassed them and we humiliated them as a people in this free country of ours for taking cod out of the water, two elderly gentlemen who knew nothing else all of their lives, living in a rural community in this Province, (inaudible) using their little boat.

There is nothing wrong with that, to embarrass those people, to bring them into court, to do something that was never done before in the history of this Province. There is nothing wrong with a man doing that, but this country of ours says there is something wrong. At the same time, while those two individuals were out there in that boat, we allow 6 million animals to take fish out of the ocean.

Let me tell you one as equally as bad as that. Two individuals in Trinity Bay last year shot a seal with a .12-gauge shotgun. When they came into the beach there were two fisheries officers waiting on the beach for them to come in. They took the seal out of the boat, and when they did the fisheries officer looked at the seal and saw the little pellet holes in the body of the seal - they were dead. They were charged, their boats were taken, their guns were taken. Two individuals went to court and paid $700 and $800 for a fine for killing a seal with a .12-gauge shotgun. On the very same day in the courthouse in Harbour Grace there was a young man from out in Conception Bay who was charged with sexual assault of five boys, five years old and six years old and eight years old. What did he get? The same time those two sealers were charged? He got off with a year's probation, the same day as the court in Harbour Grace.

AN HON. MEMBER: Shame, shame!

MR. EFFORD: Where is the justice? Where are the rights for our people? When you hear the tripe that comes out of the mouth of that individual opposite of saying what I said here in this House, what five other countries in the world are doing, killing seals just for the sake of killing them, cull the seals with not one-twentieth of the population, and burning them in the dumps, all of a sudden the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture is irresponsible.

AN HON. MEMBER: He should hang his head in shame.

MR. EFFORD: He should hang his head in shame, Mr. Speaker. A Judas, a traitor to the people of this Province (inaudible) Horwood.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. minister to take his seat.

The hon. member cannot use that kind of language in this House. I ask him to withdraw it.

MR. EFFORD: With respect for the Chair, Mr. Speaker, I withdraw it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. minister to withdraw his statement.

MR. EFFORD: I withdraw it, Mr. Speaker.

Harold Horwood, I called him personally on the phone. Let me explain it so the hon. members opposite understand what is happening in this Province. Let me tell everybody in this Province of ours that unless we control the overpopulated seal herd there will be no communities existing in the future in this Province because every community in rural Newfoundland and Labrador depends on the marine resource. As sure as you and I are sitting in this hon. House this evening, nature will do it; because, while I am wrong in what I am saying about killing the seals, nature will kill them.

In the month of January down on the coast of California 80,000 sea lions died of starvation in one week. In PEI this year, hundreds of seals washed up on the shore for some unknown reason of nature. When the overpopulated seal herd gets out of control and the food chain gets so low then they will die and perish, but what an expense. What an expense the coastal communities of Newfoundland and Labrador will pay. How many more people's lives need to be devastated like they have been over the last five or six years? How many more communities in this Province do we want to see disappear because we are afraid to stand up and do what is right?

I spoke in Winnipeg last week. I said to the people in Winnipeg: If you had 10,000 bison trampling your fields, your wheat fields and your agriculture, your farm, what would you do about it? They said: We would kill them.

What did they do down in Pennsylvania? Each and every year they have an overpopulated deer herd. They cull them. What did they do in Ontario a month ago? It was shown on national television. They had too many black bears. They killed 7,000 black bears because they were overpopulated. What did they do in Australia two years ago when they had an overpopulated kangaroo herd? They killed them. Why? They were destroying their vegetation. What are we doing in Newfoundland and Labrador with 6 million seals eating fish when you and I cannot take one fish out of the ocean to put in the pot? We don't do anything. We are falling victim to the greed of the IFAW because they want their bankbooks built up. They do not want to stop the seal hunt. They do not want us to stop the seal hunt, because if we stop the seal hunt they will have no means of raising money. So let's be the nice guys.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: Let's be the nice guys of the world. Let's be the whimps of the world. Let's please the IFAW. Let's please the Greenpeace, and let's destroy and wipe out every rural community in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Well, personally, Mr. Speaker, my job doesn't mean a row of beans - and I will say this for all Newfoundland and Labrador to hear - if I have to sacrifice the future of the communities in rural Newfoundland. I believe in this Province. I believe in my community. My family wants to earn a living, and the people of this Province want to have the right to earn a living and not be sacrificed by the IFAW, some organization out there whose average salary a year is $250,000 per person, who get paid to go around - When I was in Winnipeg last week, a woman stood up in the audience and said she was being handed out folders on the streets in Winnipeg, to her door. When that individual came to her door she said: Are you getting paid for this? - Greenpeace, they have an office in Winnipeg - they said: Yes, we are getting paid a good salary for passing out this literature against the seal hunt in Newfoundland. She closed the door in their face.

It is too bad, hon. member opposite, that you are not like that: that you don't close the door in their face; that you don't stand up for the people in this Province; that you don't stand up for the people down in the village which you represent, who depend on codfish and groundfish for a livelihood. You go down there and tell them that it is okay to have 6 million seals in the ocean. Will the markets ever get to the number that you can hunt a million seals a year and sell the products? No, Mr. Speaker, they will never get to that situation.

MR. HARRIS: A point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

On a point of order, the hon. the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi.

MR. HARRIS: What the minister said in the House, Mr. Speaker, was that all 6 million seals should be killed. I don't think that is the responsibility -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Let me explain my statement clearly so everybody in this Province understands it, regardless of who he or she is. There is definitely an overpopulated seal herd. A conservative number - God forbid, using that word `conservative' - a conservative number is 6 million minimum. The estimated population is much beyond that. An estimated number is much, much beyond that. In fact, I will go as far as to say that when a count is done by scientists at DFO - if they ever get around to doing a count, if nature doesn't kill them before that - it will be far in excess of 6 million. The number of seals during the height of our run for 250 years was around 2 million seals. You can take 5 million to 6 million seals out of the ocean today and it will not hurt the population, the sustainable number of seals.

AN HON. MEMBER: How many could you take out, did you say?

MR. EFFORD: You could take 5 million to 6 million today, no trouble.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Yes, you could. Yes, you could, and still -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Two or three million will live, twice as many there as we have.

I have a video. I have a live video. It was done three weeks ago by DFO. Listen to what I am saying, Mr. Speaker. Listen to what I am saying. I have a video in my office done by DFO three weeks ago off Twillingate. In one herd of seals, seven minutes by a surveillance plane, 2.5 million seals surveyed in one little spot off Twillingate. You have to see it to believe it. Everywhere you go around the Province, every bay in Newfoundland and Labrador -

AN HON. MEMBER: It does not seem (inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. EFFORD: Last year in Mary's Harbour the hon. member opposite was at the same conference with fishermen - told us the stories up in Eagle River. Twelve miles up the Eagle River they counted thirteen seals in one spot. You were there, you heard the story. Go up to the Gander River. You go in every river in Newfoundland, the same story.

Listen to this story, Mr. Speaker. Let me tell you how serious the situation is. I was down in Clarenville High School a while ago speaking to a group of students, and I was talking about the seals and the overpopulated seal herd. A gentlemen came up - I believe he was a (inaudible) in the school - and said: Mr. Efford, I was walking my dog in Sunnyside two nights ago and it was in the dark. The dog took off and I thought he got into a fight with another dog on the street and I ran up to grab him. When I ran up and grabbed my pet dog, there were two seals he was growling at on the road in Sunnyside. And on and on the story goes.

I ask you, Mr. Speaker, what are we protecting? What are we concerned about, the people in this Province or the people of Newfoundland and Labrador?

AN HON. MEMBER: Or the seals?

MR. EFFORD: Animals have a right to live, seals have a right, but there comes a point because we interfered with the balance of nature for several hundred years. Now we can sit down, be the nice guys, and let nature take care of it. And, as sure as you and I sitting in these chairs, Mr. Speaker, nature will balance it.

Do you know what DFO regulations have been brought in this year? Listen to this one.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: The Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi, listen to this one that DFO just brought in this year. Every fisherman in Newfoundland and Labrador this year got a lump licence to put out lump nets, and every one of those fishermen who got a lump licence will get a seal in the by-catch. An average of 25,000 seals will be killed in the lump nets. But, let me tell you, listen to what I am saying because this is serious stuff and it is time to grasp this problem. Because somebody in Ottawa has in mind about the number and the quota we should kill - that seals are dead. And because Ottawa does not agree with over-catching the quota and does not want the IFAW to know about it, the 25,000 seals that will trapped in the lump nets are to be dumped and rotting on the bottom of the ocean.

That is a regulation you are supporting. That is the type of tripe that you get up in the House of Assembly and support and say that I am irresponsible. Twenty-five thousand animals are being dumped in the ocean and rotting on the beaches, and I got a call last year from the people in Twillingate (inaudible). We had to send people down from our office and pick up the rotten seals on the beach.

I tell you, Mr. Speaker, we have a serious problem. Sometimes I am driving along the highway and feel like I am becoming a complete idiot talking about it, trying to convince the people of this Province, convince the people of this country, we have a serious problem on our hands.

I wonder if I am not obsessed, if I am going insane, with this nonsense. Then I stand in this House of Assembly, or I am driving in over the Trans-Canada in the morning and I hear this Janet Russell quoting the stories that this guy released here, about Efford saying that seals burn. For the last 200 years, or 100 years, they have been burning seals in the United States and not a word. In Scotland, in Ireland, in Iceland, in Norway, not a word. Only in Newfoundland and Labrador.

I, in my concluding remarks this evening, will stand and fight for the future of this Province irregardless - and there is such a word as irregardless - of the people who do not agree with me, and irregardless of the people who make fun of my accent or my language, because, Mr. Speaker, I am proud of it and I am going to fight for it.

Thank you.

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

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to thank the members for the warm welcome.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Listen, I will tell you where I am, and if you happen to be the same as me, maybe you are on my team on it, maybe you are not. I will say what I feel is right, and whoever's team that happens to be on, that is the team I am on. I say to the minister, the minister did make a statement here, by the way. Yes, he did say, kill all of them. Whether he meant it is another question. He did say it. I wouldn't go that far. I really don't think he meant it, because he is well aware of the importance and the future of a sealing industry in our Province.

MR. EFFORD: Let me ask you one question, and I don't want to interrupt. (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SULLIVAN: I joked in the House with you about it back and forth. I don't know what that person did, what anybody did. I am only accounting for what I do, I will say to the minister. I am not accounting for anybody else.

There is a problem, I can tell you. I was up in a little place on the Southern Shore a few years ago on this side of Cape Race, a little place called Clam Cove. They call it (inaudible) Cove, in that area, a little sheltered place in off the ocean. There was a shipwreck there years ago and people lived in the area. We saw seals in that area. The area where I was born, in Calvert, someone told me this week they could look over the bridge in a little small place and see seals swimming around in the area. They are further south than they have ever been. I made some reference to it I believe in my presentation in Tors Cove, I say to the minister. Both ministers were in Tors Cove, and I think I made some reference to it in my statement to the Standing Committee on fisheries that was in Tors Cove.

It is a major problem. What the number is, most people are probably not in the position to say what should be culled out of there. If there are, I can tell you, 2.5 million seals in a matter of a small area off of Twillingate, I would be very surprised if there are less than 10 million seals out there. I might even believe there could be 12 million if there are that many in that area, because the seal population is overpopulated, I might add. I have a bit of a background in biology with a biology major, and understanding something about - no expert on it, I don't call myself a biologist. I have a dozen university courses in it, enough to understand how a food chain works, and the importance of links in the food chain.

We have got to the point where the seal population has been allowed to grow unchecked because we have bowed to international pressures on it. That has been the responsibility of the Canadian Government. They have been responsible for allowing it to happen. In other parts of the world it simply wouldn't happen. We are being too good on the world scene. We are too concerned about our reputation at the cost of damage we are doing to people in our own country. We have to start realizing that there has to be - I can tell you, you will never - this year, what, 285,000 or so this year, approximately - we will never come close. We will lose - that 285,000, that is basically... We cannot go out and say, just to market, go out and do pelts and oil. The industry has to grow, but the industry will never grow enough to be able to bring it down to a sustainable level.

Basically what needs to be done is there has to be several million removed out of that. Whatever it is, I don't know the number that is out there. If 6 million is all that is out there, obviously we cannot take 4 million or 5 million. There has to be a certain amount there. If it is 10 million or 12 million we can, like the minister said, take several million out of there, 6 million or 7 million out of there. Until we know fairly accurately, until a proper count - and it wasn't done last year. There were problems with ice, I think, and it is supposed to be done this year. They tell us it is going to be done but it may never be done, because when it is done they will have to do something about it. That is the problem. Then they will have to act. When it is not done, they can always buy some more time with the problem, because the cod fishery in 2J, 3K, 3L and those areas - because the seals are starting to move a lot further south.

In fact, in 1992 when the moratorium was announced, there could have been a very successful inshore fishery in the southern part of 3L in my district. My district, in 1989 - 1991, the last three years before the moratorium, were three of the best inshore trap fishing years that we have had in a long time. There would have been fish there in 1992 and in 1993 and you will catch trap fish there today. You will go out and do as well as you ever did out there. But they have not opened it, because where do you draw the line. They do not want the politics of dealing with a decision to allow it in this area and not allow it in another, and 3Ps is too low a number.

I agree with what people are saying out there. The minister announced 20,000 ton today. I know it is old news but he still announced it, and he got good press out of the announcement; no doubt about that. It was a smart move. I suppose if you can get a bit of press out of a federal announcement, so what! If it is popular to beat up on those feds, do it and get some press. If it is popular to make those announcements, make them and get a bit of press out of it. But 20,000 ton is not enough.

I ask the minister - and the minister has some control over this provincially - who do you expect in business today to go out and gear up for a two-day fishery? I mean, it is crazy to spend tens of thousands of dollars in freezing equipment, get it up and running, meeting government inspection standards and do everything else with your building to gear up for a two- or three-day fishery. Who is crazy enough to want to lose thousands of dollars to do it? It cannot be done. This year, with 20,000, it is not sufficient.

According to what the minister announced today, and the number of harvesters, that is about twenty ton per groundfish license holder basically, average, which is 44,000 pounds; times 2,200 pound or metric ton. So we have about 44,000 pounds of that. For a crew to gear up and get out there, it is very marginalized. Even last year with 10,000 ton, it was a farce. This year, with 20,000 - it needs to be a bit higher. It needs to be higher because 3Ps never experienced the same downturn. We had warmer temperatures, the stocks were better, it was not the same as in 3M. As we went further north, the fishery failed.

We have talked about things under the TAGS Program. The Member for Torngat Mountains articulated quite well the plight that started further north, but it is starting to move further south. The problem we fear is: What is going to happen to seals as they go further south? Is there going to be an adaptation to warmer temperatures? Are they going to move south into the 3Ps stock? We are going to see seals eventually. I mean, the evolutionary process allows animals and mammals to be able to survive and adjust to the climate; survival of the fittest. That can happen very quickly in certain areas where there is intervention, but normally it could take a lot of time.

As you go further south you may get less fat content. You do not get the same return on them from a market point of view then in the industry. You do not get the same return on the seals and you destroy others in the process. Because the size of a 3No cod fish and the size of a 2J, 3K or 3L cod fish of the same age is unbelievable. It is two, three or four times as heavy, bigger in size, because of the warmer temperatures and the food chain of activity in warmer areas of the ocean.

There are lot of theories put forward about what happened out there with our fishery. The minister was talking about seals, and I want to touch on a few other aspects, but the seal population is a major problem. I know the minister said he might seem foolish, running all over the country talking about that and no one seems to care, but that is not really a fact. There are people in this Province who are concerned about it. The people in the rest of the country probably do not give two hoots. Maybe our time is more productively spent by the Premier, the minister or whoever, running around this country trying to drive that home, than it is by trying to change an Upper Churchill contract that I said was a waste of time. They all laughed at me. I read the newspaper in Montreal, my comments. It was a story done here in St. John's that was carried, a press story. They get their stories (inaudible). Other people said the same thing I said; you have to utilize it. People play a bit of politics at times. The Premier is good at that, we all know that. He is pretty good at playing that scene.

I know the minister is pretty involved, he is pretty passionate about it, and he strongly believes in it. Some people think he has gone fanatic on it. If he has or if he has not, the problem is there and it needs to be addressed. Sometimes, if you do not get the attention of the international community - because it is the people outside of this Province we have to convince. It is the people up in Ottawa who are scared to make a decision: $500,000 people in Newfoundland, we can keep them on hand-outs forever. We can handle those few. How do we deal with the major players in the rest of Canada and on the international scene?

We have traded off cod out there. We have made many mistakes out there and given away rights in treaties, and with the French. Here within our 200-mile limit we have gotten into a lot of problems in order not to jeopardize trade with people in other parts of this country, in Western Canada. We have been the scapegoats, we have been the pawns on the chess board here for too long in this Province and I am starting to wonder what benefits do we get in the long term. Are we better off or are we going to be better off than we were before 1949? Well, at the rate we are going, if we are depending on the rest of this country, I am beginning to have serious doubts, to be honest with you. I am beginning to have serious doubts.

We had an area where we had offshore jurisdiction, we had potential for offshore oil and gas for $500,000 people in the Province, the offshore resource of fish in other areas, the forestry, and in Labrador it was minerals; to keep $500,000 people. Norway employed everybody over there. We had such resources here in this Province and we have abused our resources, we have exploited our resources. We have been pawns on a board, representing 2 per cent of the population of Canada, or less than that. Every time we get a report, every quarter, we are a smaller percentage of the Canadian population.

We have a major problem here. We are a small player in a big game,

MR. SHELLEY: And the attitude is a lot of it. That is the problem.

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, it is an attitude. Basically it is. Right now, Ontario drives this country with 101 Liberals sitting in the House of Commons. That drives the country. They have to be able to do things to appease - and I use the word appease because they do it. They do things to appease Quebec. They do not want to raise the issue and rub anybody the wrong way. I am a strong believer in Canadian unity, by the way. I am a strong believer that Quebec should remain a part of this country. It can function well within the country and so on.

I can tell you, we are facing problems. The more they look at assisting us, they are afraid of western alienation that has been growing. The Liberal administration and Trudeau, we do not have to go back to that. When we brought in the energy policy - what is it called, the agreement on energy, when they alienated Western Canada?

AN HON. MEMBER: National Energy.

MR. SULLIVAN: National Energy Policy it was called, where a country that is diverse - and we are politically diverse now in the House of Commons. We are carved up. That is a very dangerous political situation for this country right now, especially with the way everybody has gathered around, regionalization of the country and so on. It is very, very difficult unless somebody has the guts to stand up and do what is right. We have a right in this country to expect equality as a member of the Federation, and there are times when we do not get that. If we are in a Federation and we cannot be treated as equal partners, we cannot derive the benefits from it, then you have to wonder what is the purpose of being there if we can't derive the sharing of benefits.

Now that our resources have been raped, in many cases - we are into a long-term agreement on the Upper Churchill and we cannot get that back until 2041. We made some band-aid (inaudible) to get us a bit of extra revenue there, that I said a year ago would happen. I said they are prepared in Quebec - and I had discussions with people - to make some changes on the Upper Churchill to keep it from going bankrupt, to get extra revenue in the coffers and so on.

We have a fishery now where our Province is not capable today, and in 1949, of protecting that coastline internationally. We were a province then but we could have developed that. We would have grown and we could have developed that and taken jurisdiction. We gave that right to Canada when we joined. They are responsible for dealing with it, and they haven't done a very good job, I might add, of protecting the resources that are in the ocean.

The seals are one of the things, I guess, that got me up to have a few comments. That is one we have been afraid about. We haven't had the political guts to make decisions that are needed here, because the powers that be are not here in this Province to control that decision. We didn't have the guts in the cod fishery to do something about it when it was a crucial time, and that is why we have a problem in the industry today.

There are many, many concerns. There are numerous others I won't get into tonight. There are many things I could talk about on this Province and the fishery of the Province, things that are not happening. Every single thing happens in this Province, I can tell you - while I agree with the minister on that, there are a lot of other instances I don't agree with the minister on, and ways we are heading in certain particular aspects. We cannot do to other industries what we have done to the cod fishery in our Province. We cannot let happen what we allowed to happen to the seal industry here in our Province. Sometimes when the pendulum swings so far we have seen there are millions of species that have become extinct over the course of time. There are more that have become extinct than are now living in the world today.

We are going to see links in that food chain, like cod, for example, that is in great danger now of being out-competed by other members of that food chain out there. They may never get the prominence they once had within that food chain, and could be replaced by other species. That is a real distinct possibility in certain parts of the North Atlantic now, especially in the northern parts of the North Atlantic. In the southern part, we will say, of the North Atlantic, off the Avalon Peninsula and south in this Province, that danger is not as great. It is fast becoming a major concern. Until rationality prevails here and the government is willing to do something about it, all we are going to do is gradually move along into an industry that is going to go into oblivion, and we are going to have to replace what employed nearly all the people in the fishing industry in this Province at one time, in the future employing nobody in this Province in a basic primary cod fishery.

All the cod fishery now almost is a secondary thing. We have one occurring now, directed fishery for cod, 3PS, 20,000 ton. Other fisheries out here are directed fisheries for other species, of which cod is only a by-catch. In the southern parts the by-catch -I think my colleague for Bonavista South mentioned today, you have to stop fishing for hake, skate, monkfish and others because the by-catch of the cod is so high.

I talked to a person last week up in my district. I bumped into him when I was visiting someone in a hospital. He was in the same room in the next bed. He said: We had a 22,000 pound by-catch of cod. We couldn't get clear of it, we couldn't avoid it. Wherever we put our nets we couldn't avoid the cod. There is so much cod getting caught along with the directed fisheries they were pursuing they had to stop fishing. It happened last year and it has been happening down in the southern part of the Province, I guess 3NO, 3PS, those areas. They haven't experienced the same problems that we have in what we call 3L and 2J and 3K and other areas of the Province.

It is quite possible to survive out there in the fishing industry as a harvester, as a processor, but the attention has quickly been focused into other than traditional species there to be able to survive. That is an ability I think Newfoundlanders have had, an ability to be able to survive in tough times, an ability to be able to rebound and adjust and, I guess, carve a living out of the resources that are in our Province even in the toughest times. We are going through a very tough transitional period in this Province in the history of the fishing industry. We have moved rapidly in a matter of a few years from a directed cod fishery into numerous other species now that we are looking at there.

The potential for many of these was there in the past, but because of the large amount of cod, the markets that were there, and those particular areas -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I say to the minister, we will turn up the heat on the minister. If she wants me to get on to health issues I will turn up the heat on the minister. Maybe that is what we will do. Maybe we will talk about health care and then we will get the heat on.

Actually, I think I will leave her alone. I will let her rest for tonight. I will give her rest for tomorrow. That is right. I don't have any questions for tomorrow. I think I will give her a break tomorrow, Friday. It is awful to go into a weekend and spoil someone weekend, isn't it?

In fact, I thought it was kind of warm. I will tell you one way: When you get on your feet and speak and get involved, you don't mind it, do you? You don't mind that cool air. It is refreshing, that cool air coming down around us here. In fact it is great. It is a lot better than the hot air we have been hearing all year over on that side of the House, I say. This cool air is the best thing that has happened to this House all day long, I might add. I am sure the last thing we want now is the Minister of Health and Community Services talking about hot air on that side of the House.

I am sure my colleagues are itching to get going. I could go on all night, but I do not want to deprive my colleagues of an opportunity to stand here today and have a few words. I am sure the member to my right would like to get up and have a few words. I will sit down now, I have pretty well used my allotment of time.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

I stood here on Tuesday night and asked a question, and the question pertained to 3.1.07: French Language, on page 29 in the book of Estimates. The hon. Government House Leader -

MR. TULK: I will go get them.

MS S. OSBORNE: Thank you and I hope that he does get them for me.

It had to do with the salaries for French Language. One hundred and ninety thousand dollars was spent in 1997-1998 and $247,000 is proposed for 1998-1999. I asked for a breakdown on how many teaching positions or teaching translator positions were involved and how many students were involved?

The Government House Leader got a bit patronizing and he said to the Premier's special assistant: Now, Mr. Barrett, you come over here and sit down and write down these questions so you can get the answers for that women. Today, I asked the Premier's Executive Assistant where were the answers? He said: I had all the translating lessons. Then I asked the Government House Leader, I said: I did not get an answer to my questions. He said: Oh, Sheila you do not want an answer to those questions, do you? I do want an answer to the questions.

How many positions are involved in the $190,000 that was spent in 1997-1998 on French Language? That $190,000 was just for salaries. Was that for teachers or translators? These are the questions here. You write them down. How many positions were involved in the $190,000 that was spent in 1997-1998 on French Language salaries? How many positions are involve in the $247,000, almost a quarter of a million dollars, that you are proposing to spend in 1998-1999 on French Language? How many students are involved in this $247,000?

Now, I asked the question on Tuesday night and the Government House Leader was patronizing me when he suggested that the Premier's Executive Assistant write down my questions so he could bring that woman the answers. I do not have the answers yet and I would like to have the answers soon, as soon as possible. It should not be all that hard because the amount to be voted in 1998-1999 on French Language is $486,000 of taxpayers' money, and I would like to have a break down on how that money is going to be spent.

Now I would also like to refer to this report here. It says what the Public Service Commission used to do. I don't need to go into details on what the report is about, but I happened to come upon this report tonight. It says: No appointments or promotions to positions within the public service shall be made except on the recommendation of the Public Service Commission. Section 13 is to the effect that all appointments to positions within the public service shall be made from within the public service except where, in the opinion of the PSC, it is not in the public interest to comply with that requirement.

Then it goes on to say, under Section 15.1 of the act, that the PSC is permitted to establish boards to examine, test and pass upon qualifications to candidates. Then there is a recommended list of three candidates that goes to the department, to the deputy minister.

Now I have noticed recently in the paper, in the telegram, in the job section, that people are asked to apply directly to the departments. I am just wondering - this is another question now that I would like to have the answer to - I am just wondering now if there has been a change? Why is it that people apply directly to the departments for positions as opposed to going through the public service? Has there been a change in the Public Service Commission Act? Now to the Government House Leader: Have you got that question?

MR. TULK: It will all be in Hansard.

MS S. OSBORNE: It will all be in Hansard, okay; because I would like to get an answer to that as well.

I just have one more brief thing, because I know there are a couple of other people who want to get up.

The Member for Topsail referred today to Sunday shopping and it is interesting that when I went up and opened my mail, there was a letter there dated May 25, and it is from a lady who is the wife of a Dominion Store employee who is a meat cutter. She works at the Health Sciences Centre. She says it has always been her schedule to work every second Sunday and she did not mind that because out in the health service people are required to work on Sundays. But she says: When my eight to four shift was over we spent time together as a family with our boys, and on my weekend off we had the whole day. This is something I think children today need, quality time with both parents as a family. However, my husband has had one Sunday off since Sunday shopping came into effect. Is this fair or what? I feel and I know there are a lot of people out there in my boat. Our marriage and our family life has been shafted.

This is what I was speaking about when I got up to speak on Sunday shopping. It says: Who gave Brian Tobin the right to take away our family life? He is playing God. Nobody wanted Sunday shopping. How did it come to be? Furthermore, it was only supposed to be from 12:00 - 5:00 p.m. on Sundays and now Sobey's, the bigger stores are open twenty-four hours, Dominion are open from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight.'

So I just thought it was interesting, seeing as how the Member for Topsail referred to Sunday shopping today. It has not stopped. These letters are continuing to come in.

So I will sit down now and let one of my colleagues who wants to get up - but I do ask the Government House Leader if post-haste I can have the answers to my question on the French Language issue and also my questions on the Public Service Commission.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER (Oldford): The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I think in order to get this head done, in order to get three hours on this head, which is the amount that is allocated for this part of the Concurrence Debate, we need to go until 10:02 p.m. I think that is the time the three hours will be up on this head. I think we started at 7:01 or 7:02 p.m. So, Mr. Speaker, in order that we might get that done I am going to move that the House not adjourn at 10:00 p.m. but as soon as that motion is put I will then put the motion to adjourn.

So, Mr. Speaker, I would move that the House not adjourn at 10:00 p.m.

Motion, that the House not adjourn at 10:00 p.m.

On motion, that the House not adjourn at 10:00 p.m., carried.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to draw the attention of members of the House to the contents of a very important study that was released yesterday, Mr. Speaker. There was $140,000 spent on the report, and it is the report on Information Technology. Now, I understand that copies of it were made available to the Speaker's Office.

MR. EFFORD: On a point of order.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, is it my understanding that the hon. member is up for the second time speaking on this, and he is not supposed to be? If that is the case, Mr. Speaker, I am not going to grant any leave.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I would like to consult with -

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, if I could, there has been nobody up twice in this Concurrence Debate under this head. We have been using the half-hour rule for everybody who wants to get in and the three-hour time frame to get the time in. If there are other members in this House who want to speak, then I think they should have a chance to speak.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I have consulted with the Clerk, and the hon. member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi has spoken for thirty minutes already, so he is not allowed to speak again in this debate, unless he has leave.

MR. EFFORD: No, no leave.

MR. SPEAKER: Is there agreement?

MR. EFFORD: No leave.

MR. SPEAKER: No leave?

MR. EFFORD: No leave.

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

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

Mr. Speaker, I am going to spend a few minutes and speak on this section of the Budget. I guess, part of what I want to reference -I spent several weeks just this past winter travelling the Province, conducting -

MR. FITZGERALD: You did a good job.

MR. T. OSBORNE: And did a good job according to my colleague and according to the minister responsible who stated that I did a good job as well. We conducted a public interview across the Province with anybody interested in coming out.

Mr. Speaker, in Clarenville we had our smallest number as we only had three people. The Speaker finds that of interest I know, because of the Speaker's connection with that particular town. We had three people in Clarenville. In Grand Falls - Windsor, actually, we had more than double the number that the minister's consultation process had in Grand Falls. In Grand Falls we had over twenty people at our meeting. We had over twenty people out at that consultation process, Mr. Speaker. In Gander we had seventeen people and in Corner Brook - I do not see the Member for Corner Brook here - we only had six. We had a very good turnout here in St. John's. We had two meetings, Mr. Speaker, and at both meetings we had over thirty people. So there was tremendous input into the issue on our side of the House.

I was quite pleased when the minister announced, just last week, his changes to the Public Tender Act. In his announcement, Mr. Speaker, most of what we recommended, not all of what we recommended but most of what we put forward in our recommendations to be changed in the Public Tender Act, was incorporated into what the minister had announced. So I was quite pleased to see that, Mr. Speaker. We are off to a good start.

I notice that the disc that was passed out today, Mr. Speaker, by the Department of Development and Rural Renewal was produced by a Newfoundland company which is good to see. It is good to see that government is starting to support our local business, because the reason we started this consultation process was because we saw injustices, I should say, in the way government was dealing with business. Even in our own cafeteria, many of the products still are not locally produced products, when those products are available, but they are getting better. They are starting to use locally produced products, Mr. Speaker. I was delighted to see this today.

Mr. Speaker, there are some areas that we recommended to be incorporated into the changes in the Public Tender Act, and that was not done. We did not see those changes announced, so we will be pushing government to incorporate those changes soon, because we feel that those are important areas as well. On behalf of the Opposition, I feel a great victory, because when we started asking questions regarding the Public Tender Act, Mr. Speaker, we were told: Don't be so foolish, there is nothing wrong with it, government is doing a great job. But through our persistence and the success of our persuasion here in the House and through the public consultation process, government incorporated many of our ideas in their announcement. So we will take that as a sign of encouragement on this side, that the ideas we are bringing forward and the work we are doing, is obviously having an effect. What the Opposition is here to do, which is keep the government accountable for what they do, is obviously working. That was one area.

Another area, Mr. Speaker, was on the export of water from the Province. I remember when I started almost two years ago asking questions about water export from this Province, the Minister of Environment and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology both stood in their places and said that there was absolutely nothing wrong with exporting water. We argued it, I kept it up for two years, and finally, Mr. Speaker, it paid off. It took a great deal of investigation and research on behalf of the Opposition as well, but finally it paid off because we found some clauses in the NAFTA agreement that basically said that, if we were to export water from this Province, it could have a drastic effect on our freshwater resources throughout the Province. It could open up the flood gates to American and Mexican companies.

It took a while to convince both the Minister of Environment and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology that this may be the case, but again the Opposition has done their job. We have kept government accountable for the decisions that they are making and government, finally, after two years of saying there is absolutely nothing wrong with exporting water, there is absolutely nothing wrong with putting water aboard a bulk container and shipping it out, there is absolutely nothing wrong with selling our freshwater resources, finally they have agreed that they will not sell our freshwater resources, they will not export our freshwater resources. They put a condition on that, if it is going to go out of the Province to be bottled and processed elsewhere. So we still have a little bit of work to do there, Mr. Speaker, to convince government that there should be absolutely no export of our freshwater resources unless it is put in bottles here and the secondary processing is done right here. We have made great headway with that issue, the issue of water export.

There is another issue that I brought up with the Minister of Environment on several occasions in the House, and this is going to be my next project. So I will give him fair warning now, Mr. Speaker, that the next project I am going to take on and get my teeth into the issue, is regarding - I can see I am entertaining the Government House Leader. I will get into your keys a little later -

Mr. Speaker, the next issue is regarding the oil spills and companies that are pumping their bilge oil off our coasts and the fact that we are now becoming a major player in the world oil industry and we do not have sufficient resources in this Province, or for that matter in Atlantic Canada, to protect our environment in the event of a major oil spill.

We see some of the ships pass through our waters and pump their bilges that kill thousands and thousands of our sea birds, pollute our environment, and have a drastic effect on our marine species, our fish populations and so on, Mr. Speaker. We saw the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture stand in his place tonight and talk about how important our fish resource is and how we have to bring the seal population under control in order to protect our fishery resources.

We also have to be very cognizant of what oil damage does to our fish resources, because this Province has survived for 500 years as a result of our fish resources. While we are getting into the oil industry and while we are getting into hydro in this Province, I should point out hydro that may finally benefit people in this Province as opposed to the people of Quebec, we have to remember that our fish resources are what kept this Province alive for 500 years. So we have to start bringing in better legislation, better regulations to protect our environment from shipping companies that send their ships to our waters and pump their bilges, especially when you look at the bird sanctuaries on the south coast and so on.

Just as important, Mr. Speaker, we have to start looking - and this was brought out by the Terra Nova Oil Council, the C-NOPB as well. It was brought forward that we do not have enough resources in this Province or in Atlantic Canada to protect our environment in the event of a major oil spill. The minister stood in his place last year, when I brought this issue up, Mr. Speaker, and said that we have enough resources in Atlantic Canada and on the Great Lakes that we could bring these resources together in a period of seventy-two hours.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. T. OSBORNE: Mr. Speaker, I can hardly hear myself think here.

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

MR. T. OSBORNE: Mr Speaker, the Minister of Environment told us that we have enough resources in Atlantic Canada and on the Great Lakes, that we could bring these resources together in a seventy-two-hour period and collect 10,000 gallons of oil.

Mr. Speaker, we saw a disaster in Alaska not too long ago by the Exxon Company which spilled in excess of 100,000 gallons of oil. Mr. Speaker, if we are going to be content with collecting 10,000 barrels of oil, when one of these huge tankers carries in excess of 100,000 barrels of oil, obviously that is only 10 per cent of the capacity of those carriers and obviously not enough. For the Minister of Environment to stand in his place and say that he feels confident, that he feels happy, with the fact that we are able to collect 10,000 barrels of oil, I do not think that is good enough.

Mr. Speaker, have the members on that side read this report? They brought out recipes, Mr. Speaker, of other documents and I am sure we can find some recipes in this document as well. I will just remind hon. members that there are recipes in this document that would be of great interest, great interest -

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. T. OSBORNE: Very interesting! I believe you wanted us to go on until two minutes after ten? Two minutes after ten, I ask the Government House Leader? Two minutes after ten? I am on a very important topic.

Mr. Speaker, quite obviously the capacity to collect 10,000 barrels of oil is not nearly enough. I am not comfortable with that. The tour boat operators that bring people out to see the bird sanctuaries on our South Coast are obviously not comfortable with that. I am sure the fisher people of this Province are not comfortable with that. The idea that it would take seventy-two hours to gather the resources from the Great Lakes and the other Atlantic Provinces, and bring them together to collect oil in the event of a major environmental disaster, is obviously not good enough.

Mr. Speaker, this is an issue I am going to fight. This is an issue I am going to bring forward. This is an issue that we, in the Opposition, are going to be very diligent in bringing forward. Just for the record, it is quite obvious that we have a lot of work to do on this particular issue.

Mr. Speaker, I am tempted to ask for protection from the Government House Leader, but I will adjourn debate for the evening.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. gentleman has put the lid on her for the night. I think we are ready here for the question.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Is it the pleasure of the House to concur in the report of the Social Services Committee?

All those in favour, aye.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: Those against, nay.

Motion, carried.

On motion, Report of the Social Services Estimates Committee, carried.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, before moving the adjournment of the House, let me say that tomorrow we will be back on Order No. 3 again, Concurrence Motion to do with the Resource Committee.

I move that the House adjourn until tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m.

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