November 20, 1998 HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS Vol. XLIII No. 45


The House met at 9:00 a.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): Order, please!

Statements by Ministers

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS J.M. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to inform members that this is National Child Day in this Province, and indeed throughout the country. It is a day when we should all celebrate our children and recognize their value and rightful place in our society.

This morning I have had the privilege of beginning my day by serving breakfast to children at the Froude Avenue Community Centre in my District of St. John's Centre. Later today I will speak at a luncheon sponsored by the Community Services Council, at which the Lieutenant Governor will proclaim today as National Child Day in Newfoundland and Labrador.

I might add that there is today a guest speaker for the function. Her name will be Aimie Shaw, a sixteen-year-old student from O'Donel High School in Mount Pearl, who I understand will be in the gallery today. I would also like to recognize the students from St. Teresa's School, again from my district, who too will be visiting the House of Assembly today.

I would also like to inform members, the Association of Early Childhood Educators of Newfoundland and Labrador have a display in the lobby of the Confederation Building in recognition of National Child Day. I encourage all members to take the time to visit the exhibit.

Mr. Speaker, today we should all focus on children. I would like to present ribbons, provided by the Committee for the Rights of Children and Youth, for each member of this House to wear today in recognition of National Child Day.

Today this government is listening to children and families and we will continue to listen and act in their best interest. I am very pleased to announce a funding allocation of $1.2 million -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS J.M. AYLWARD: - to enhance the Child Care Subsidy Program for licensed child care services. This measure is part of the implementation of the National Child Benefit Reinvestment Program.

The Child Care Subsidy Program has been a crucial factor in the ability of low income families with young children to remain in the workforce or make the transition to educational opportunities or to the workforce. The Child Care Subsidy is also intended to assist financially with the enrolment of children with developmental or social needs that can be met in child care situations and whose families are not able to fund this service. I am very pleased to announce that this program will be expanded to provide access to the Child Care Subsidy Program to approximately 200 additional families, which will eliminate the current waiting list. This will increase the total number of subsidized spaces to approximately 950.

Government is committed to enabling low income families to access necessary child care and to supporting operators of licensed child care centres in their efforts to provide a quality service to children and to their families. This measure will also allow low income working families who require child care to qualify for assistance with part, or all, of the child care fees that are necessary. It will promote entry into the workforce by families who require this additional support.

The 1992 rate for child care subsidies has been changed to a more uniform rate structure. The previous subsidy paid to child care centre operators averaged $18 per day. Now, the vast majority of these centres will receive $20 per day.

These measure will provide the financial support that many low income families need in order to access licensed child care services. They will meet the child care needs of families moving into the workforce. They will assist child care providers in promoting the best possible care for the children of this Province.

While today is a very busy one with a major focus on children, it is only a reminder that every day is a special day for our children. We cannot be content with a one day recognition of our children. The National Child Benefit is providing funding to enhance services for children and families. We must continue to work together with community groups and concerned individuals through the year to ensure our children receive the best possible opportunities for growth and development. We have done much to acknowledge and address our children's agenda through the Strategic Social Plan. I look forward to even move positive announcements for our children and families in the coming weeks.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear!

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

MS S. OSBORNE: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to respond to this statement today. Thank you for providing me with a copy of the statement.

I will be pleased to be attending that luncheon as well. I welcome Aimie Shaw and the students from St. Teresa's School to the gallery. I am extremely pleased with the announcement of child care subsidy.

AN HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear!

MS S. OSBORNE: Over the past six or seven months the list has been mounting on my desk as well, of little people out there who are physically and developmentally delayed; people who have Attention Deficit Disorder, who are old enough to go to kindergarten but who cannot function socially in kindergarten and whose entry into the normal school system has been delayed by a couple of years without this subsidy.

I compliment the minister on this statement. I say: When can they start child care? If they can start tomorrow, that will be wonderful. Congratulations, Minister, this is wonderful.

AN HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Human Resources and Employment.

MS BETTNEY: Mr. Speaker, for many years women have been under-represented in the full range of occupations. Statistics from 1997 indicate that 50 per cent of women employed in Newfoundland and Labrador were clustered in the clerical, sales and service occupations while only 6 per cent were employed in the areas of primary, processing, construction and transport equipment operating.

Our Province is expecting to have significant economic and employment growth in the natural resource sector, particulary in the offshore petroleum industry. Despite this growth however, women continue to be under-represented in this sector. Only 5 per cent of those employed at the Hibernia construction site and on the Hibernia oil rig are women. Clearly, we need to increase the numbers of women who benefit by being employed in this industry.

In order for women to take advantage of these opportunities they need to develop the skills required to work in this field. In the 1995-1996 academic year, only 16.8 per cent of those enroled in engineering technology programs in the public college system were women, while less than 10 per cent of those enroled in trades programs were women.

As Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, I am pleased to announce today an initiative that addresses one of the barriers to women's economic equality. Along with my colleagues the hon. Fred Mifflin, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Secretary of State for the Atlantic Opportunities Agency, the hon. Ralph Goodale, Minister of Natural Resources and the hon. Charles Furey, Minister of Mines and Energy, I am pleased to announce a $250,000 Equity Fund under the Offshore Skills Training Fund.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS BETTNEY: This fund is financed through the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Development Fund.

The Equity Fund will be designed to encourage women to consider a career in the offshore petroleum industry and to help reduce the barriers that women face in trying to enter a wider range of occupations. The Equity Fund will help to accomplish these goals through two components.

The first is a community-based program to increase women's representation in the industry. This program will focus on activities to inform women about petroleum related occupations, offer supports in career exploration, and work with training institutions and the industry to directly address women's career issues.

The second component includes grants of up to $3,000 for women who have been accepted to a petroleum related trade or technology training program. These grants will provide an incentive for women to enter these fields. We hope this will improve the retention rate of women who enter these training programs. As more and more women enter and remain in the industry they will become role models for post-secondary students who are considering their career options.

The Equity Fund also benefits the employer. With more trained workers, employers will have a larger pool of potential employees and will benefit from the various talents that people from diverse backgrounds can offer the workplace.

The Equity Fund will be administered by the Department of Education in consultation with the Women's Policy Office and the Department of Human Resources and Employment.

The under-representation of women in a broad range of occupations is one of the key factors that contribute to women's economic inequality. Jobs in the petroleum industry tend to be relatively high paying and women should have access to these career opportunities. Since women have not traditionally worked in the oil and gas sector, they need to be supported and encouraged to seek careers in this industry.

Along with establishing the Equity Fund, the Departments of Human Resources and Employment and Mines and Energy earlier this year provided $20,000 each in funding to the women in resource development committee. This committee will use this funding to promote women's employment in the resource based sector.

We have also entered into discussions with the College of the North Atlantic to look at ways of improving women's access to training in non-traditional areas. The College will be forming a multi-party working group to address some of these issues around women's low participation in the training programs in these areas of growth and employment for our Province.

I am confident that the Equity Fund will benefit women individually, and as well increase their opportunities to contribute to the economic development of Newfoundland and Labrador. I look forward to its implementation.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

I would like to complement the minister on this initiative. It is a good incentive to get females to enter an industry previously dominated by males. It will also increase women's representation in the community.

This program should also encourage economic equality. At this time I take advantage of this opportunity to ask the government about the pay equity for women that is presently in limbo, women who are employed in other fields in the Province. I do not hesitate to call upon the Premier to lobby Ottawa to get something done about pay equity for women.

I understand that several years ago when the Premier was in Ottawa he got up and gave a lengthy speech on pay equity for women. I think that with the power that the Premier is supposed to have with his friends in Ottawa, I don't understand why that has not -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: Pardonnez-moi?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS S. OSBORNE: Je ne comprende pas. Mais, je ne comprende pas too very much anyway.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: Mon professor de franšais is not paid by the people of the Province.

In closing, I compliment the minister on this initiative. As I say, I think this announcement could probably be used as a springboard to get all the women in Newfoundland on pay equity. Once again, I encourage the Premier to lobby his friends in Ottawa for pay equity federally for women. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Cartwright-L'Anse au Clair, does she have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave!

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I want to respond to the minister's statement this morning and say to her I am pleased she recognizes there are few women employed in the oil and gas industry, and in a lot of the non-traditional sectors of our society. I also want to thank her for recognizing this and for effectively trying to bridge the gap between industry and women, and also recognizing that putting scholarships in place and funding arrangements enabling women to be able to partake in this is an important and necessary part of it.

As well, I want to mention what my colleague has already pointed out, the outstanding issue of pay equity in our country. I think this is another gap we have to continuously focus on and lobby for in order to make sure it is closed, and to the satisfaction of all women in our society. Thank you.

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

MS KELLY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to ask my hon. colleagues to join me in congratulating the Corner Brook Triathlon Committee in securing the prestigious International Triathlon Union World Cup for the next two years, for 1999 and 2000.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS KELLY: In 1998 this local triathlon organization hosted a first class international event that featured the world's best triathletes, called "Come Tri Our World!" In recognition of successfully hosting this year's event, Corner Brook will now have it for two more years.

Both competitors and spectators alike were overwhelmed by the level of organization and hospitality of the Corner Brook event. The Newfoundland Triathlon experience was best described by Danish competitor Marie Overby when she said: "Great expectations, but the reality was even better."

The Corner Brook Triathlon Committee has come a long way in its eighteen-year history, with the citizens of Corner Brook coming together annually to put off their race. The event has built itself up from a small community sporting event to the jewel of the ITU World Cup circuit.

Organizers have estimated that 15,000 spectators turned out on race day to cheer all those who took up the challenge of the gruelling course. As a government, we are proud to support this event along with other major sponsors including Seafreez, Newtel, Air Canada/Air Nova, the Government of Canada and the City of Corner Brook.

The Corner Brook Triathlon is truly an example of a community, government and private businesses all working together to realize a common goal.

On Saturday, November 28, the people of Newfoundland and Labrador will get the opportunity to view the 1998 World Cup event on television as it continues to broadcast around the globe.

The NTV network has agreed to broadcast the 1998 Newfoundland and Labrador World Cup at 4:00 p.m. local time on November 28. I would encourage everyone to experience this world class event and to recognize the great things being done in tourism and sports. These events continue to profile our Province in national and international markets. This program has also been picked up on specialty channels in Canada, Japan, Australia, Spain, the U.K. and France.

Plans are well on their way for the 1999 and 2000 events. We look forward to August 15, 1999, when the International Triathlon Union will again make Newfoundland and Labrador its centre stage.

I wish the Corner Brook Triathlon Committee, under the direction of Denise May, the best of luck as they chart their course for these future events.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

There is no doubt that we on this side of the House join with the minister congratulating the local people in Corner Brook and on the West Coast on what a great job they do with these types of events. Also, we would be remiss if we did not mention the great organization that is going on right now as they prepare for the Canada Games, which is coming our way this winter.

It goes to show again what this Province and the local people can do when they put their minds to it, and it showcases to the world the organizational skills and the beauty of this Province. Certainly with this triathlon, just for them to say they would wish to return for two consecutive years, and hopefully years after that, bodes well for this Province in organizing on a world level. When we showcased our Province with the Cabot 500, that also helped with our tourism industry and so on.

I want to congratulate the local people of Corner Brook on the triathlon, and also again to congratulate them as well for the organization to date on the Canada Games which we will look forward to this winter, Mr. Speaker.

Thank you.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

For the first time in the history of the Royal Winter Agricultural Fair in Toronto, Canada's most prestigious exhibition for the agricultural industry held every year, the Newfoundland Pony was present in the equine breeds of the world exhibit sponsored by GM Trucks.

This exhibit was one of the feature attractions of the Royal Winter Fair in the past two weeks. Sergeant Art Kelloway of the Trinity Conception RCMP Detachment and Sergeant Lyn Chapman of the Metro Toronto Police Force exhibited Sergeant Chapman's pony around the ring and explained the importance of the Newfoundland pony. As a result, the Newfoundland Pony Society received an award for the most successful exhibit in the Horse Palace.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. K. AYLWARD: The hon. John Godfrey, M.P. for Don Valley, who is part of the federal government heritage committee, and was also representing Minister Sheila Copps, spoke on the interest they had in the heritage activities associated with the Newfoundland pony.

Mr. Speaker, we were honoured to receive a painting by the well known Newfoundland artist, Clifford George. This painting, one of a series that Mr. George is doing on a Newfoundland pony, is called Whispering Snow. This particular painting will be displayed prominently and with pride.

I would like to remind members that this House unanimously approved a motion to recognize the Newfoundland Pony as a heritage animal. Following this motion, the Heritage Animals Act was passed in December 1996. The Newfoundland Pony was declared as the Province's first heritage animal. The Newfoundland Pony Society was also recognized as the official group to represent the pony in this Province. I would like to welcome Sergeant Art Kelloway here today.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. K. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, in January of 1999 Heritage Canada will be releasing their new symbols of Canada book, which will include the Newfoundland Pony.

We will continue to participate in combined heritage activities involving the Newfoundland Pony Society, the federal government and our own government.

The Newfoundland Pony Society, with the support of our department, is now doing DNA sampling of all Newfoundland ponies to support the registry maintained by the Society as a step towards having it declared as a breed under Canada's Animal Pedigree Act. We will be working very closely with the Newfoundland Pony Society and the federal government in helping them achieve this goal.

On behalf of the government of Newfoundland and Labrador, we want to thank Sergeant Kelloway, and also Dr. Hugh Whitney who is here today, who is our director of veterinary affairs in the Province. I want to thank Dr. Whitney for his continued help within our department to help the Newfoundland Pony Society.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. K. AYLWARD: Sergeant Kelloway has gone above and beyond duty with this. He was in Toronto in the last week or so and the people that were there did a great on behalf of the Province. We just want to say how proud we are this morning. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

We, too on this side would like to congratulate Sergeant Kelloway and the Newfoundland Pony Society. It was 1996, I think the minister said, when the member for Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi introduced a private member's resolution to recognize the Newfoundland Pony as a heritage animal here in the Province. It was only a couple of weeks ago that I was driving back from my district and I heard Sergeant Kelloway on the radio talking about his trip to go to the Royal Winter Agricultural Fair in Toronto. He talked about taking the Newfoundland Pony from some breeder or some owner in the Province of Ontario, if I recall. It is obvious that Newfoundland ponies are not only owned or reside here, but are in many other provinces as well.

I remember the Newfoundland pony being a very common site around our communities in rural outport Newfoundland when the days were that we could allow animals to roam freely in the summertime. In the town of Bonavista, not many years ago, the Newfoundland Pony was a common site, hauling salt fish along the streets and pulling water to individual homes even when the town water supply was put in place. People still would like to go and access their favourite water supply and bring it home with the Newfoundland Pony. I too would like to congratulate Mr. Kelloway. We have a lot of heritage in this Province, and we should never be shy about standing and promoting it and putting it forward. Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Before we proceed to Oral Questions, the Chair would also like to take the opportunity to welcome Sergeant Kelloway to the Speaker's Gallery this morning, on behalf of all the members of the House.

As well, we have sitting in the gallery seventy grade VI students from St. Teresa's School on Mundy Pond Road in the District of St. John's Centre. They are accompanied by their teachers Mr. Robert Smart, Ms Roseanne Collett, Ms Margie Roach, as well as chaperones, Mrs. Hart and Mr. Connors, along with bus driver Mr. Don Gough. I would like to welcome them on behalf of all members.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, my questions this morning are for the Minister of Justice.

In the last several months we have all heard the stories surrounding the treatment the people have endured at the Whitbourne Boys' Home when they were younger. The stories themselves are very eye-opening and in fact, I think he would agree, very disturbing. What is more disturbing is that because of the passage of time many of these alleged victims of abuse will probably not see their day in court, and not get to tell their stories of what went wrong and where the system needs correcting.

The victims have asked, and we are asking you today, Minister, will you use the most appropriate tool at your disposal to get to the bottom of the allegations of a systematic abuse at the hands of the justice system, as was done with respect to Mount Cashel, and commission a judicial inquiry into the allegations of abuse at the Whitbourne Boys' Home?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the Whitbourne Boys' Home, in philosophy, in content and in physical structure, is gone. It is no more.

One of the first things this Administration did when we came to power was to make provisions to change the philosophy that was out there and to build a brand new complex, so that today I can stand proudly and say we have one of the best centres in all of Canada, a centre which people from all over the world, but from all over Canada, certainly come and look and certainly try to emulate.

There have been accusations of abuse in the 1980s. In 1983 or 1984 there was indeed a judicial inquiry conducted when the brother of the present critic, Mr. Ottenheimer, was Minister of Justice. There was a judicial inquiry done. There have been numerous investigations done. There were about thirty in the years between 1983, 1984 and 1985. Just recently there was one done by Dr. Inkpen, with fifty-seven recommendations. Twenty-nine have been fully implemented, and all of the others are being acted upon. There have been police investigations and there have been charges laid. Father Bromley has been sentenced to 6.5 years. The police have done a thorough investigation. Every time there is a complaint made the police go in and do an investigation.

The hon. member is asking me to do the appropriate thing. I tell him proudly that the appropriate thing is indeed being done. Every time there is a complaint laid it is thoroughly investigated by the police. There is no need at this time to do a complete investigation. I could do a judicial inquiry, but there have been judicial inquiries done, as I told the member, and all of these inquiries are available to the public. They are there for the asking, Mr. Speaker, anybody can have them.

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

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

This is an important issue. There are times that questions are asked in this House that are not of a political nature, and I would put forward to the minister that this is one of these times. These stories are never told. There have been many stories come forward. Privately, people have talked to me. If these stories are never told or investigated in the manner that is appropriate, how will government ever know, I say to the minister, what flaws in the system need correcting so the system will not continue to fail our young people? Isn't the minister concerned that these questions may go unanswered, that abuse may go unpunished? That is the issue. Serious problems with the system may go uncorrected if he continues with his choice not to call a judicial inquiry.

Minister, don't you think that it is necessary for the people who have been in situations where they either have been neglected or abused by the system that they have an opportunity to tell their story and to come forward, and that the most appropriate tool to do that is through a fully independent, open, transparent judicial inquiry?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I know this is a very serious issue. That is why it is being dealt with so seriously by the Department of Justice. That is why one of the first actions that this Administration took was to do away totally with the old philosophy that was being used out there, to do away with the content, and to build a brand new structure. It is very serious.

That is why the police take every accusation seriously and do a thorough investigation whenever it is felt necessary and complaints are made. That is why we have just witnessed in the court system of this land a priest sentenced to 6.5 years in prison for sexual abuse, which was proven in the court case. Every single complaint is taken. There have been numerous reports done. I am not sure whether the hon. member is asking for a judicial inquiry or a Royal Commission of Inquiry. He said a judicial inquiry; I suspect he means a Royal Commission of Inquiry. We do not believe that at this time there is any evidence that would warrant a complete Royal Commission of Inquiry. There was a judicial inquiry done in the 1980s which the hon. member is certainly welcome to. I am just trying to recall if there has been a recent inquiry. Some people ran away out there a while ago.

It is a serious matter, yes. We have fixed the institution, we have made it one of the most modern, one of the best institutions in all of Canada. However, I would say to the hon. member, if he has some specific complaint which he would like to bring to my attention I would certainly pass it along to the police to make sure it is investigated, Mr. Speaker. Every single complaint is dealt with, it is very serious, and at this time we do not see the need for a Royal Commission of Inquiry.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, more than thirty-one months ago Dr. Linda Inkpen delivered to the government her final report on secure custody at the Whitbourne and Pleasantville correctional centres. One of the report's key recommendations was to establish an independent advisory council to help create, implement and monitor all policies, I say to the minister, and procedures at secure custody facilities of youth corrections.

In view of the serious consequences that have resulted from having such a body not in place, in the thirty-one months that have passed since the minister and government have received that report, what action has the minister taken to implement this very crucial recommendation?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, as I told the hon. member, the Inkpen report made fifty-seven recommendations. Twenty-nine of them have been fully implemented. All the others are in various stages of implementation. One of the recommendations was an independent board.

We have not accepted that recommendation at this time. The Home has a very close affiliation with the school board out there, the hospital board out there, the police out there, and with all the different agencies in the town whose input, advice and recommendations are always dealt with, accepted, and welcomed.

At this time we have decided not to put another level of bureaucracy in place to deal with the Home. It is one of the recommendations that to date we have not accepted. That is not to say that we will never accept that recommendation. If there is some overriding reason as to why that recommendation would somehow be the panacea of making everything excellent, we will certainly do it.

I have to remind the hon. member that the present Home in Whitbourne is not the old Whitbourne Boys' Home. I can proudly stand and say that this Administration torn down the structure, built a brand new physical building, and changed the philosophy of the way the residents of that Home were dealt with. We can stand today and say that we have one of the best institutions in all of Canada; an institution which other people come to look to.

What happened in the 1980s? There have been numerous investigations. There have been some police investigations. Charges have been laid, and in some cases people have been sentenced. I do not think there has been a stone left unturned. I do not see what a Royal Commission would achieve at this time.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, I am saddened to hear that the minister has rejected the notion of an independent advisory council because it was a key and fundamental recommendation of that report.

In fact, I will review for him again the reason that recommendation came forward: so that it could implement and monitor all policies and procedures so that situations that have occurred in the past that we know about do not, in fact, occur again.

I would look to urge the minister, at his earliest possible time, if not immediately, to review the stance and decision government has taken on that recommendation, and to look again at that recommendation with a view of implementing it at the earliest possible date.

If the Inkpen report tells us one thing we need to hear, it is that the system has been failing our young people by neglecting to focus enough resources on prevention and rehabilitation. She was clear that services for young offenders must not end when they leave closed-custody facilities.

Whenever the government has talked about - and the minister's language again confirms what I am about to say - acting on this recommendation, it always speaks in the future tense about something that will happen, that you will be developing, or that you hope to have in place.

The question is ask government is: When is government going to do what is needed in terms of rehabilitation and follow-ups so that youth corrections stops working as a revolving door, recycling our young people between the streets, prison, the streets, and prison again?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I can only repeat what I have already said.

The Inkpen report made fifty-seven recommendations, twenty-nine of which have been fully implemented. That does not seem to me as a department which is talking about something that will happen in the future. Twenty-nine recommendations were fully, totally, absolutely implemented. That is past tense; that has already happened.

The other recommendations are in various stages of implementation. We are implementing them at various times. One recommendation - we believe there is another process in place, namely our association with the police, school board, hospital board, various volunteer groups out there, the non-government agencies and so on and so forth. We believe we are doing an excellent job.

If I were sitting on that side of the House, I would be ashamed of the fact that for seventeen years they were in power and they allowed that Home out there to exist with the philosophy which belonged in the last century.

It took a thinking which we brought to this situation to destroy the philosophy, to destroy the content, to put a brand new structure that today we can be proud of. When young people spend their term in that Home, they are not sent out into the district and forgotten, there are follow-up programs, some of which were implemented has as a result of the Inkpen report.

If anyone should be ashamed, it is the members opposite who sat on this for seventeen years and never had the fortitude to get out and do something about it. We did something about it, and we are proud of it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, I acknowledge that there have been recommendations implemented by government from the Inkpen report, but when you see fundamental recommendations that could act as a grid, if you will, Minister, so that situations that have occurred in the past will not happen by implementing an independent advisory panel, then it leaves me to wonder in terms of how serious government's commitment is. When we talk about the situations of neglect and abuse that children find themselves in, we wonder why there is not a child advocate appointed.

The question I have for the minister is this: We learned from him last year, on May 5, that the Victim Services Program, the branch of government mandated to provide assistance, case counselling, education, pre-court orientation, and emotional support for victims of crime, does not provide those services to the very group in our society that are most vulnerable, children.

Children are left to another branch of government that is already overburdened, that does not have victim services in its mandate, and that can do little more than provide ad hoc services.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Minister, I would like to ask this question: Is it still the case that victim services are not available on a consistent, organized basis to the most vulnerable segment of our society - as in May, by your own statements - namely our children?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, victim services are available to all people in Newfoundland and Labrador. Because of the nature of youth, we also involve the Department of Social Services very heavily in providing victim services to youth.

To say that the victim services groups around the Province are not caring for children is really not understanding, not grasping the full picture. The services are available to all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians but, because of the special nature of children under sixteen, they are dealt with with the assistance of social services. However, there is no gap there, because where social services are unable to do it, the victim services groups certainly do take care of it.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: What the minister has said is that the status quo remains the same; that in victim services, adults still get priority and children do not.

Minister, discrimination on the basis of age should be intolerable in any society. The question is: Have we learned anything from the Hughes inquiry, from the Inkpen report, about the impact of crime on children and how the system has so often failed them?

Minister, I ask you this: When will you start following the mandate of your own department, the Justice Department, and start ensuring that victim services are provided to all victims of crime, and stop failing the children of this Province who need your help the most?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, with respect, I have to tell the hon. member that we have started. This have been ongoing ever since I have been Justice Minister, and certainly with my predecessors in this Administration, and I would assume in his Administration. There is a mandate that government has to carry out, and we are doing that.

If the hon. member has some specific case that he wants to bring to the attention of me, or officials in the department, or the police, I would certainly encourage him to do so.

He started off this by saying it is a very serious issue and he did not want to politicize it. I am beginning to wonder if that is not the motive behind all of this; if the hon. member is not trying to score some political points at the expense of some group in our society which is least able to defend itself.

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

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The day before yesterday there was a line of questions to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General with respect to gag orders and non-disclosure statements as a result of settlements on the courthouse steps. We are still waiting for information, facts and figures, that people have a right to know.

We are talking about the people's money and, to put it simply, the people have the right to know. It is their money. It is not the minister's money; it is not the government's money; it is the people's money. We are waiting, Mr. Minister, for details and for particulars with respect to that particular out-of-court settlement; that particular gag order which has denied the people of the Province their right to know.

I ask the Minister of Justice and Attorney General: Are there other examples that he is aware of where in fact gag orders have been imposed, non-disclosure agreements have been agreed to on behalf of government, on behalf of the people of the Province? Are there other examples? Could he please now tell us if in fact they exist?

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

MR. DECKER: Yes, Mr. Speaker, there are other examples. When we settled with the boys of the Mount Cashel Orphanage there was an non-disclosure clause, for a very real reason.

In the most recent one that the hon. member raises, there is a non-disclosure clause. That was put there at the request of the company. It was agreed to by both parties. The hon. member has made a request under freedom of information. He knows, and he has received a letter explaining to him that government has written to the company, and when we get our reply from the company then we will deal with his request under freedom of information.

The hon. member talks about the right of the taxpayer to know, and he has a valid point. There is a right of people to know certain things, but you also have to strike a balance between the rights of the people to know and the rights of a company to protect itself.

There is a non-disclosure clause by a company which sued government and won in the Trial Division, and won in the Court of Appeal. If we breach that non-disclosure clause without having a good reason, without having an understanding with the company, we can leave ourselves open to be sued again by the very company which already won twice against us in the court.

I do not want to put the government at risk. We want to look at all sides of this issue. At the end of the day if we do not harm a company, and do not set the taxpayer up for another hit, then we will make it public.

The hon. member wants everything to happen all at one time. He wants to get his letter in today and get an answer yesterday. That is not the way things work. We have to have fairness and balance, we have to do things in a rational manner, and that is exactly what they are doing.

The hon. member might not agree with agree with that. The hon. member might not like that.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DECKER: It might not service political purpose, but that is the way things are. The hon. member has to live with reality.

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

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

In terms of yesterday, yes, it is true that the people of this Province have a right to know how much of their money is being spent in settlements on the courthouse steps.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. OTTENHEIMER: The minister has mentioned the Mount Cashel settlement, and we are talking about the Atlantic Leasing settlement, the Atlantic Leasing gag order where again the people have been denied their right to know. I ask the minister: Are there others?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, there are none which come readily to mind but I can certainly check on it and let the hon. member know. I do not know of any off the top of my head. It is not the kind of knowledge that I normally carry around with me.

I can tell the hon. member that it is quite common, as he should well know, that when settlements are made there is a non-disclosure clause for - sometimes it is for a length of time to give a company an opportunity to get its affairs in order before the amount is made public, or for whatever reason.

Mr. Speaker, are there any others at this present time? I do not know, but I would be willing to guess that in all probability there are; there could indeed be some. I will certainly attempt to get that information for the hon. member.

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

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I say to the minister: Get a grip on his department. Get a handle on his department.

I have information that only several months ago, a company called Tors Cove Excavating entered into, once again, a courthouse step settlement, whereby there was a non-disclosure statement, a further gag order, involving significant provincial dollars, public dollars.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Again I ask the minister - it seems to me there is an obligation on our minister - whether there is one, whether there are two, whether there are five, ten, twenty, thirty. That is the problem, we do not know. This government will not tell us the details.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. OTTENHEIMER: I am simply asking the minister to come clean with the people of this Province. Give us the details, give us the amounts, so that the people who have a right to know will know.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows full well that when settlements are made, quite often a non-disclosure clause is included.

I would ask the hon. member, who practised law for years, surely goodness he must have been party to cases where there were non-disclosure clauses? It is quite common.

Do I have full knowledge of every time that happens? I do know that there was a settlement with Torbay Excavating. I am not sure if there was a non-disclosure clause there or not.

AN HON. MEMBER: Tors Cove.

MR. DECKER: Tors Cove, that is correct, Mr. Speaker.

It is the nature of this job that the minister does not carry around the details of every single transaction. I would think that yesterday there were probably forty-five or fifty traffic tickets issued. I don't know who they were for.

The minister is responsible for policy and legislation, but the day-to-day administration is not carried out by me. In order to do that I would be the deputy minister or assistant deputy minister or director, and I have no desire of taking any of these jobs at the present time.

Anywhere it is in the public interest to make information available, we will do it quite readily. The specific cases that he has, I will certainly look into.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A supplementary, the hon. the Member for St. John's East.

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am not talking about Traffic Court, and I am not talking about Small Claims Court. I am talking about significant amounts of public dollars; perhaps, in that particular case, well in excess of $1 million.

Again I ask the minister: In cases where significant public dollars are at stake, and in view of the principle that the people of this Province have the right to know how their money is being spent, where it is being spent and so on, will the minister review cases in his department which have been settled relatively recently on the courthouse steps?

These are very public cases. This is litigation involving the public of the Province. These are very public cases. Will the minister either tell the Members of the House of Assembly and the people of the Province, or table in this Legislature, details and particulars of cases where there have been courthouse step settlements, and thereby telling the people of the Province where and how their money is being spent?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, surely the hon. member knows that in any given day this Province is being sued by probably a dozen people or companies. It is an ongoing thing. Most of the time government wins its case and government does not have to settle.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the hon. members laugh. The Member for St. John's East should laugh because he knows the system. We only hear publicly about the bigger ones. We only hear about the Frank Ryan cases, we only hear about the one which the Tors Cove woman brought to our attention, the ones which government tends to lose.

Mr. Speaker, after a case has been lost, or if government believes or the Department of Justice believes that there is a good chance, an excellent chance, that we will lose, then attempts are made to settle. When these settlements are made - and, as the hon. member points out, sometimes on the courthouse steps - both the company and the government have an agreement. Sometimes the agreement will say: Neither will disclose this for a period of two weeks, six months, twelve months. I am not aware of one where it was ever said we will never make it public. As a matter of a fact, the Frank Ryan issue we said we would not disclose unless we were legally required to do so. It seems like the freedom of information act will require that we make it public.

Mr. Speaker, we have written Mr. Ryan. As soon as they give us the authority, as soon as they say it is alright to answer that request and give the amount, we will do it. We will do it today, no problem. Government has no problem making the figure public. I will tell you why.

The company was asking for $11 million, and in addition to that there was a personal suit being threatened against us for another $9 million or $10 million. We had the potential of paying out $22 million. We lost that in the Trial Division, we lost it in the Court of Appeal, and we did not think that we had a solid enough case to have the Supreme Court even agree to accept it. We asked if they would accept it.

We did what we thought was right, and what we believe was right, and that we know was right, in the public interest. When we will disclose that figure -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. minister to conclude his answer.

MR. DECKER: It will depend on what the company has to say. If the company says yes today, it will be released today, Mr. Speaker. If the company says: Give us time to get our affairs in order -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. minister to finish his answer.

MR. DECKER: We have a duty to the company to hold off until they get their affairs in order. The hon. member knows that. He is just trying to make political points, that is all.

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

MR. H. HODDER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Education.

On September 24, 1998, the minister re-announced a commitment made in this year's provincial budget to provide bridge financing for an awards program available to deserving and needy post-secondary students. As many as 2,000 students this year will receive scholarships of $1,000 each. That was great news, I say to the minister.

However, why have the minister and his government denied access to this scholarship fund to student who attend the private colleges? Of course, as he knows, the announcement in the March Budget and his announcement in September limited access to those students who were in public colleges, namely Memorial University and the College of the North Atlantic. Why have you discriminated against private college students?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Recognizing there is not much time left in Question Period, and realizing he has several other very important questions he would like to ask, I will try to give a brief answer. In fact, with regards to the awards program, 2,000 students in Newfoundland and Labrador actually received their cheques in the last week. It is a very positive initiative.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. GRIMES: It is, as recognized by the opposition critic for education, a very positive initiative. I must say, in the almost three years now that I have been in the office as Minister of Education, it is the first and foremost, the uppermost issue on which we have actually had students call the Department of Education and thank the government for putting this particular program in place.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. minister to quickly conclude his answer as question period is running out.

MR. GRIMES: Yes, Mr. Speaker. The awards were put in place through a committee process that very intimately and heavily involved the students of Newfoundland and Labrador, who put together with government officials the criteria for the program. Everybody agreed that the current criteria are the appropriate ones for this fund.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Question period has ended.

Presenting Reports by Standing and Special Committees.

Notices of Motion.

Answers to Questions for which Notice has been Given.

Petitions.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: No. The Chair called it but nobody rose. Can we revert to Presenting Reports by Standing and Special Committees?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: We will revert.

Presenting Reports by
Standing and Special Committees

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

MS BETTNEY: Mr. Speaker, I wish to table the report for the income support division of the Department of Human Resources and Employment for the fiscal year 1997-1998.

Petitions

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today to present a petition to the House of Assembly. The petition reads:

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

WHEREAS we feel the priorities being followed by HRDC for the hiring of applicants on term job creation projects are morally wrong and unfair; and

WHEREAS we believe priority one should be given to former TAGS clients who are unemployed and have little or no income; and

WHEREAS we further believe that whether or not an individual received EI in the past three years should have absolutely no bearing on a person's placement on a priority list;

WHEREFORE your petitioners urge the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to immediately make strong representation to the Government of Canada urging them to direct their HRDC offices to give first priority in hiring for term job creation projects to former TAGS clients who are unemployed, and to disregard whether the applicant has received EI in the past three years.

Mr. Speaker, those petitions came from a group of concerned people that are trying to access the post-TAGS program as put forward by the federal Government of Canada, the Department of HRDC in Ottawa. Their concern is well justified. I have had at least five meetings with HRDC, trying to have them change their priorities or the criteria they put forward in determining who should get first crack at the jobs that are being put forward by Human Resources Development Canada.

The situation is that not all HRDC offices are using the same criteria. What they have done is put forward a priority list. The priority list is, according to the HRDC office in Clarenville, that the people who would get first recognition for jobs would be people who have not drawn EI in the past thirty-six months, people that were taken off the TAGS program. The second priority would be people who have not received EI in the past thirty-six months. The third priority would be all others.

What we have is the very people those programs were meant to help being put in the lower priority list. What they are saying is: Because we had the initiative to find a job and go to work, we are now being penalized. I always thought that the person who had the initiative to go and look for a job should be rewarded, not penalized. I fail to understand how HRDC can look at somebody and say: Because you worked in the past thirty-six months, because you have had a job, because you have qualified for employment insurance, we are now going to put you at the bottom of the priority list.

The very people this program was put in place to help are finding themselves having to wait until everybody else goes to work. Some of those people have not seen a paycheque for two years. Some of them were taken off the program early for one reason or another. Some of those people have spent fifteen or twenty years in the fishery. They find themselves unable to access the early retirement program, and now they find themselves unable to access a job program put in place to help them.

I and everybody else realize that when you bring forward a program, and if you do not have enough work to help everybody, there have to be rules and regulations.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. TULK: I just want to say to the hon. gentleman that I did not hear what he was presenting in his petition. If we require leave for him to go back over it again - I wonder if we could have - I think this is an important issue that the hon. gentleman has raised in regards to TAGS through a petition. If we require leave to get him to review it, if his time runs out before he gets a chance to review it, then I would like for him to review the facts of the petition again so that we know exactly what you are saying.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: The problem, I say to the minister, is with the priorities HRDC has brought forward in allowing people to be hired on those programs that are brought forward now with post-TAGS funding.

Everybody realized that if you do not have enough jobs or if you do not have enough employment to go around and serve everybody who is unemployed, then you must have rules and regulations and you must set priorities. I have no problem with that, and the people who have called me and have signed this petition have no problem with that. What they have a real problem with is one of the rules that HRDC has implemented in order to set the priorities. It is the one whereby, if you have drawn EI - if you have had the initiative to go and find a job, and have drawn EI - in the past thirty-six months, which is three years, then you are put in the lower priority list. You are put in priority number three.

Everybody else is in priority number two, so everybody would have a right to apply for a job, even somebody who left school today -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) TAGS.

MR. FITZGERALD: If they were not on TAGS.

Everybody would have a right to apply for a job and receive priority over those people who had the initiative to go out and look for a job and receive EI up to thirty-six months ago. If you came off EI last week, you are not eligible. If you came off EI thirty-four months ago, you are not eligible to be considered for those projects until everybody else go to work.

When I say everybody else, I am talking about everybody out there today who is old enough to go to work. To me that is wrong. We are talking about TAGS recipients. We are talking about people who have spent years and years in the fishery. The very people that this program was put in place to help are being denied the opportunity to apply for a job, or to be considered because of this foolish rule and regulation.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: Absolutely.

What those people are saying is that we feel this is discriminatory. We feel that because we have the initiative to go and find a job, we should be encouraged and helped, and not discriminated against. That is all this petition is saying.

I support the petition, and I think the minister will as well. I do not know how many calls his office has received, but it is a big problem in certain areas of this Province.

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, let me just quickly, if I can, put this issue to rest by saying to the hon. gentleman that I would be pleased - I have to say to him, in all fairness, that I am not aware of this problem. I have to say that in all honesty.

What I like to propose to the hon. gentleman is that we would get together after we get straightened away in the House today and he can present the problem to me. I would like to present it to HRD and find out if it is the problem that he says. I will point it out to them and ask if indeed they would reconsider the regulations and rules for applications.

I cannot guarantee him a solution, because he knows it is not my money and I have no say in spending it - the $34 million or $36 million. I think the federal MPs primarily wanted to see that this was spent by the federal government, so this government has no authority in getting those regulations changed; but we would certainly like to be aware of the problem and to make representation on behalf of the people of the Province who are experiencing the problem.

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

MR. SHELLEY: I want to rise to support my colleague in this petition.

I am a bit surprised to hear that the minister is not aware of it, but I am glad he is going to look at it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Speaker, tell the minister to relax. It was not meant as a derogatory comment. Just to say he was not near the situation - like I am in my thirty-three communities, and the member in the forty-four communities he has. We get this over and over. I am just going to point out again one of the problems with it that I find so ridiculous. I cannot believe a bureaucrat sat somewhere and actually did this up.

Basically what they are saying is that if you went to work in the last three years and tried to do better for yourself, if you tried to help yourself out, we won't let you get on this project. In other words, you tried to help yourself and it is the wrong thing to do. What kind of a signal is that to send out?

The other problem I have with this is, for example - I will use one of the examples of my colleague across the way. Mr. Baker - which overlapped partly into my district, in one of the communities, in Little Bay Islands - at a public meeting, with everybody there in the place, just a couple of months before this was all announced, slammed his fist on the table and told everybody at the meeting that every single person who qualifies would get on a project. That is what he told them at a public meeting. Of course, he went away from that meeting with everybody there sitting around and saying: Well, he is the MP. He is the guy who is putting this in place. He should know what he is talking about.

The point is that they are putting across mixed signals. Then we have the MP for Humber - St. Barbe - Baie Verte, slamming the HRDC. There may be problems at HRDC; I do not deny that. There are all kinds of arguments we could put in place, but the overall argument -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: On the EI thing?

This is part of it all, and this is what I am going to get to. He is absolutely right. I had it down right here as my fourth point but I will bring it up now. If you go from one HRDC office to another, the MP is having a big say in one but he is not having a big say in the other. One office is doing something and the other office is not doing something. Then you have one HRDC office saying: We will do the hiring. We will decide who gets on. In another area they told the community council: No, you decide who gets on.

The truth is, we are all right. Everybody is right. This is a mixed bag of inconsistencies everywhere you go, from one part of the Province to another. So what I was saying to the minister was not in any way derogatory. The point I was making was that the signals are different all over the place and maybe in the minister's area he does not have that problem.

Really what I am supporting here today, and the reason I am supporting the petition, is because we have so many inconsistencies that it is a good idea that the minister get together - I am serious. I am telling you. I know the Member for Twillingate & Fogo, and I know we are bombarded with calls, of something that is happening different here and there and all over the Island and in different communities and we are trying to get a handle on it. I am getting hundreds of calls, not to be exaggerating, and I am sure the rural members are getting the same thing, of different things that are happening all over the Province.

The minister is right on, as far as inconsistencies. You go to one community - he is right. He knows. There is no skating around this because we are in the middle of it. I am going to go upstairs now at 12:00 o'clock and there are going to be twenty to twenty-five calls about the TAGS and the projects, who is getting on, and the member has his pink slips up there and I will show you mine. He is right on.

I am glad that the minister said he is going to have a meeting afterwards and look into this and see if maybe the provincial arm of this whole mess can bring some consistency back into this and put people on the projects who need it most, that the money is spent where it should be, that the projects are in some (inaudible) long-term and so on.

This is a very important petition here today. I am glad it was brought to light by the Member for Bonavista South. Maybe we can try to get a handle on it, through the minister, the government, and the other members on the other side who are hearing the same things, and get some kind of consistency going through this Province so that people are getting hired who should be getting hired and so on.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TULK: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. (Inaudible) people speak on the petition.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. TULK: We have had three people speak on the petition but I believe that the Member for Twillingate & Fogo would like to lend some clarification to this issue. I wonder if he could get leave of the House to speak?

MR. SPEAKER: By leave. The hon. the Member for Twillingate & Fogo.

MR. G. REID: Mr. Speaker, I think that I have the second or the third largest district in the Province with TAGS recipients, and for the past two to three months I have been receiving a minimum of fifty calls a day about the TAGS project or the new program that HRD has in place; but, unlike the Member for Bonavista South, the criteria in the Gander office, which is the central region, are different. If that is the case, then what is happening in his area? Because the criteria in the Gander office of HRD states: Priority one, or anyone who had received TAGS and had not received UI in the last three years, that is the first pool; that is the first priority. They go to work first.

Priority two would be anyone who had received TAGS and did receive EI in the last three years. Priority three would be everybody else.

At the beginning of this week I had a discussion with an HRD official in Gander and he told me that by that the end of this week or very early next week everyone in my District of Twillingate & Fogo who was ever on TAGS will have gone to work on a project.

There is another problem involved there, and it goes back to what the hon. Member for Bonavista South discussed first about the person who went to work. In my district right now there is a number of individuals who managed to receive enough hours this summer to receive low UI this winter. There are people out there right now who have signed up for EI and are receiving $50 or $60 a week.

These people have not to date gone on a project. In that light, Mr. Speaker, the person who made an effort to go this summer and to find a few hours work, even though they be at low wages, right now are being penalized for having done so. Those people who were on TAGS at one point but had been dropped or are either still on it and had gone back this summer to try to find a few hours work, these people are being disqualified.

Outside of that as well is that HRD is also telling me that if there is any money left, and they think there will be some - in fact, in my district it is now happening - that they are going to get into the third criteria, the third pool, and that is everybody else. That means everyone outside of those who had received TAGS. In fact, I know some constituents of mine who have gone to work this week who had never drawn TAGS, because all those who have been on TAGS are at work or will be by the end of this week. That is according to HRD.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

I rise to present a petition on behalf of a number of people from Labrador City regarding the moving of the pellet plant or the upgrading to Sept-Iles, Quebec.

The petition of the undersigned residents of Labrador City:

WHEREAS we the residents of Labrador City condemn the provincial government in supporting the Iron Ore Company of Canada's decision to process the Labrador City resources in Sept-Iles, Quebec;

WHEREFORE your petitioners urge the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to reverse this decision immediately and support a policy of secondary processing within the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

And as in duty bound your petitioners will ever pray.

We have a number of signatures and they continue to come in to us, these petitions, Mr. Speaker. The people of Labrador - and province-wide - want us to speak up in this House of Assembly, and to show the people of the Province the policies of this Administration in not supporting the people of Labrador and the people working in IOC.

If you look at what is going to happen in the future and the natural progression of things, the natural progression is this. That if -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: - Sept-Iles starts producing a better quality pellet, Mr. Speaker, then - what is he saying?

MR. SHELLEY: He said you were lying.

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, I just heard the Minister of Education say across the House that I was lying, and I think that is unparliamentary. I ask you to ask the member to apologize. That is a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I did not hear what the hon. minister was saying.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

I did not hear what the hon. minister was saying, but I am sure that if the hon. minister had said anything that was unparliamentary I would expect he would withdraw it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: No point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. TULK: Did I understand the hon. gentleman that while he was - yes, there is a point of order. Why should the hon. gentlemen, when he is speaking, raise a point of order? He has the floor anyway. How silly can you get?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

AN HON. MEMBER: You can't call a point of order when (inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: (Inaudible) a point of privilege, how about that?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

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

I will say to you that you are going to have to keep that side of the House, the members to your left, in check. They cannot be over there bawling out all kinds of unparliamentary words when you are sitting in the Chair, or anyone is sitting in that Chair. The Minister of Education should know better. I would not use such terminology in this House.

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

MR. SPEAKER (Penney): On a point of order, the hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: I heard the hon. gentleman say, just before the Speaker left the Chair, that he was up on a point of privilege. I want to ask the hon. gentleman, was he just speaking to a point of privilege then, or was he speaking on the petition he has there? Because I don't know, Mr. Speaker. I would like to know if he is on a point of privilege. If he is then I want the privilege of course to speak back to it.

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

MR. J. BYRNE: Is that a point of order? Let me ask you that first. Because (inaudible) want to speak to that? Can you rule on that first, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair is seeking guidance. This hon. member just sat in the Chair as the hon. Government House Leader was standing on a point of order. I am expecting that the hon. Member for Cape St. Francis will give the Chair some clarification.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, I was not recognized on a point of privilege. The Government House Leader again is confusing matters as he normally does, on a point of order, and I am just waiting to find out if that is a point of order on his behalf so I can speak to it.

MR. TULK: Just clarify it.

MR. J. BYRNE: I just clarified it. Are you listening? Are you trying to confuse matters?

MR. TULK: Are you speaking to the point of order?

MR. J. BYRNE: I am speaking to the petition.

MR. TULK: Okay.

MR. J. BYRNE: I am speaking to the petition, Mr. Speaker, and I would expect -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Therefore it is the ruling of the Chair that number one, there is no point of privilege, and number two, there is no point of order, and the member has been recognized to speak in the debate on the petition.

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

Again, the Government House Leader -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

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

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

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. member is speaking by leave.

MR. J. BYRNE: All I have is one minute. I gave you leave a couple of minutes ago. Sit down.

Mr. Speaker, again the Government House Leader got up to abuse the time of the House to take away my speaking time for the five minutes.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) giving you leave (inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Pardon? Yes, I am just trying to clarify what happened here so the Speaker can understand the (inaudible) tactics in this House of Assembly.

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

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

MR. TULK: I have to tell the hon. gentleman, on a point of order, that you are at the mercy of the House, and that means every person in this House must agree that you are on leave. Now if you don't want leave withdrawn, I say to him, in the interest of the people that you are presenting that petition for, stand and say what the petition is about. You have not touched it yet.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis speaking by leave to the petition.

MR. J. BYRNE: I am speaking by leave to the petition.

With respect to the petition, Mr. Speaker, I support the petitioners in Labrador City. I have a lot to say on this matter, but we just gave leave to the Member for Twillingate & Fogo to speak when the Government House Leader the other day would not allow us to do the same thing. The Government House Leader is abusing -

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. J. BYRNE: - the time of the House as he normally does, Mr. Speaker!

Thank you. I will speak to another petition down the road.

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

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

I would like to stand and speak to the petition on IOC. The petitioners in Labrador City and surrounding areas have some very legitimate concerns, and those concerns I believe were raised by the Premier himself when the Premier took such a strong stand on the smelter. Even though Inco are saying that it is not a viable project the Premier has continued to take such a strong stand on the smelter as it relates to Voisey's Bay.

I would submit that the pellet plant in Labrador City, while it may not be viable on its own, is viable as a part of the overall project and therefore, as it is the resource that belongs to the people of this Province, the people of this Province should have a say in where the pellet plant goes. The same point that the Premier made on Voisey's Bay - if there is no smelter, leave the ore in the ground -, well, in Labrador West we should say: If there is no pellet plant we should leave the ore in the ground until they put a pellet plant in Labrador West.

It is the resource belonging to the people of Labrador, the people of Newfoundland, the people of the entire Province. For decades we have seen our resources taken away from us and given to outside interests without the secondary processing done in this Province. Without the secondary progressing done in this Province, when we export raw resources with that we export jobs.

This Province has seen out-migration in numbers that we have never seen before. The only way to cure that is to create employment here, and the only way to create employment is to start using our natural resources to the maximum benefit of the people of this Province. We are now looking at proposals to export water from Gisborne Lake. Again, exporting our natural resources to allow somebody else, another interest elsewhere, to process our resources.

If the Premier can take such a strong stand on Voisey's Bay, why is it he is not prepared to do so with all of our other resources? In order to curb the out-migration problem in this Province, in order to put people in this Province back to work, in order to stimulate the economy here, we need more than just oil production. This Province needs jobs. This Province needs jobs in all sectors.

Talking about oil production, it would certainly be nice, considering the fact that Newfoundland and Labrador are going to become a major player in the world oil industry, that we start perhaps looking at producing the oil here, refining it here.

The real issue on the table today is the iron ore in Labrador. The fact is that the Iron Ore Company of Canada is looking - while they have had a fantastic royalty regime for decades, while they have made hundreds of millions of dollars on our resource - now at taking jobs away from this Province by putting a pellet plant in Quebec.

What is most ironic about this is that part of the reason Quebec could subsidize this plant, part of the reason Quebec could offer such incentives to the Iron Ore Company of Canada, was because of the profits they are making on the Churchill Falls project. The same profits that they are making on the Churchill Falls project are going to subsidize the pellet plant in Quebec. The same power they are taking from Newfoundlanders in Labrador is going to power this pellet plant in Quebec. It is almost a three-way slap in the face for Newfoundlanders.

Newfoundlanders have to stand up for their rights. I believe the people in Labrador West have been doing that by petitioning government, by lobbying government, by holding news conferences. We have to become more vigilant in this Province. We have to start producing our resources here to benefit the people of this Province, as opposed to sending out our resources to benefit people elsewhere.

The people of Labrador West have taken a stand and I think government should listen. The people of this Province should listen, the members of this House of Assembly should listen. If the overall project is viable, regardless of whether the pellet plant on its own is or not -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. T. OSBORNE: By leave, Mr. Speaker, just a minute to conclude.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Does the hon. member have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave!

MR T. OSBORNE: Thirty seconds.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. member does not have leave. I ask him to take his seat.

MR. T. OSBORNE: I will have it put on the record, Mr. Speaker, that the government are still not listening. Thank you.

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

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, just a few brief comments with respect to the petition presented so ably and capably by the hon. Member for Cape St. Francis and supported by the Member for St. John's South.

There are a couple of things with respect to it. I am pleased to see the petitions continuing to be presented on behalf of the residents of Labrador West. Because the actual resolution within that petition, that we support secondary processing of resources in Newfoundland and Labrador, is the position of this government. We have no hesitation in supporting that general principal.

The difficulty - and I am pleased to hear particularly the Member for St. John's South address the issue because it articulates clearly the position of the Opposition. At least I assume when he speaks that the whole caucus agrees with the same position.

Their position, and I have listened very closely, clearly is that if there is not going to be an expansion to the pellet plant in Labrador West, we should leave the ore in the ground. In other words, you cannot ship -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. GRIMES: That is what he just said. Hansard shows it clearly, and he will stand up and acknowledge that is what he said: we should leave the ore in the ground. That is the phrase that he used, and he used it two or three times in his address -

MR. T. OSBORNE: A point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for St. John's South on a point of order.

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

I know that the minister was attempting to listen, but hearing and listening and understanding are probably altogether different. I was putting together a comparison of what the Premier said regarding the ore from Voisey's Bay, and if there is no smelter, there is no ore, leave it in the ground, and the fact that he has not taken that stand on IOC.

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order. The hon. member took advantage of the opportunity to provide further clarification on the issue raised.

The hon. the Minister of Education.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

He confirmed again exactly what he just said, that he said that the Premier and the government should take exactly the same stand with respect to Labrador West as the government is taking with respect to Inco and the smelter; that is, if you do not build the smelter, you should leave the ore in the ground. Therefore, he is saying that if you do not extend the pellet plant in Labrador West, you should leave the ore in the ground. That is exactly what the hon. member said, and I understand that to be the position of the Opposition, and we will send that transcript to Labrador West so they know. Because, I believe, Mr. Speaker -

MR. TULK: Can I interrupt you for a minute? The Member for Ferryland clearly stated the other evening -

MR. GRIMES: And the Member for Ferryland, who is the Opposition House Leader, said exactly the same thing in his presentation a couple of days ago, so we assume that is the position of the Official Opposition. We will have that position send with Hansard, and the proper clippings and quotes, to the people of Labrador West, because I am sure they have not thought through the consequences at all.

Surely goodness they would not then suggest that the government should take a position with the Iron Ore Company of Canada, North IOC, that in fact you must send all pellets out of Labrador West or leave the ore in the ground, when across the lake in Labrador West at Wabush Mines there is a full operation where nothing except concentrate has been shipped for over thirty years.

If we are going to say, too - if they are suggesting that if they were the government they would say to the Iron Ore Company of Canada, `You cannot ship concentrate out of Labrador West; it must be a pellet', then how is any government going to stand up with credibility and say to a company across the same lake in the same part of our Province in Labrador, who ships nothing but concentrate, that you must now ship pellets. They have never shipped a pellet. The consequence - Wabush was closed down, because you cannot have two different positions from the government on the same issue.

MR. T. OSBORNE: A point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for St. John's South on a point of order.

MR. T. OSBORNE: Mr. Speaker, the minister is speaking nonsense here. The operation that has been in place for thirty years is established. Are we going to continue to make the same mistakes of the past? I am not saying to shut down an operation that is already in place. What I am saying is: Do not start up an operation in Quebec that should be started up in Labrador.

MR. SPEAKER: Is the hon. the minister speaking to the point of order?

MR. GRIMES: No, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order. Is it the ruling of the Chair that there is no point of order. Honourable members are taking advantage of the rules of the House to engage further in debate.

The hon. the Minister of Education.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

That clarifies again why the hon. Member for St. John's South does not understand why there is a difference between Voisey's Bay and Inco and IOC, just as he compared Wabush and IOC. IOC has a forty-year operation existence in Newfoundland and Labrador in which the finished products have been pellets and concentrate. That is going to continue on with an expansion.

Inco does not even have a licence to operate in Newfoundland and Labrador, and unless and until they agree with the government that there is going to be full benefits and secondary processing in Newfoundland and Labrador, the law that has been introduced here in this Legislature will indicate that they will not get a licence.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. minister's time is up.

MR. GRIMES: He does not seem to understand the difference. It is kind of sad in a way, but I guess we cannot control how people think.

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

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

I just had another petition passed to me by one of the members who had to leave, to present today with respect to IOC. It is basically the same petition that has been presented in the House a number of times, but they are continually sent in to us so we are going to continue to present them.

Mr. Speaker, I have to address some of the concerns -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. J. BYRNE: Did you hear what he said, Mr. Speaker? Are you deaf, or did you hear him?

MR. TULK: A point of privilege, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: On a point of privilege, the hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: I have heard this hon. gentleman make some comments, and one of the things that protects us as members to carry out our duties in this House is the integrity of the Speaker. You do not look at the Speaker and in any way insinuate that he is not ruling in this House, or making proper rulings in this House.

I just heard the hon. gentleman say: Did you hear him, or are you deaf?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TULK: Are you deaf? Those were the words.

I would ask the hon. gentleman, before we get to the place where everybody's privilege in this House is affected by that kind of statement, that he would withdraw at least that part of the statement - are you deaf?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis, speaking to the point of privilege.

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, I not only withdraw it, I apologize for using the words: Are you deaf?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair acknowledges the withdrawal and accepts the apology.

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

Twice this morning I have clearly heard - and other members of the House have clearly heard - the Minister of Education say across the House that I am lying in this House of Assembly. Mr. Speaker, you are in that chair and very close to the man. I think, at that time, you did hear the Minister of Education call me a liar. I want the Minister of Education to apologize.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair has recognized the hon. Member for Cape St. Francis to the petition. Would the hon. member stand and speak to the petition?

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

MR. SPEAKER: A point of order, the hon. the Member for Baie Verte.

MR. SHELLEY: The point of order is that this member, at five different times today, which I have heard from this distance, the Minister of Education called him a liar in this House - five times, twice while you were in the chair, three times while the other Speaker was in the chair, and it has not been acknowledged. We have reported it three times here and still there is nothing being done about it.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Government House Leader, to that point of order.

MR. TULK: It is one thing for the hon. gentleman from Cape St. Francis to stand up and question, and ask the Speaker if he is deaf. The hon. gentleman from Baie Verte is the assistant, the half House Leader over there, or quarter House Leader, or whatever he is over there. He should know that you cannot do through the back door what someone else has tried to do through the front door. He should know that he cannot stand up in any way - stay in your seat because you may make a bigger fool of yourself - he should surely know that he cannot stand up and say: Well, this has been reported and there has been nothing done about it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair is trying to hear the presentation being made by the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: I say to the hon. gentleman opposite, if he wants to stand up and say: Mr. Speaker, I would ask you to pay attention to what the Member for Exploits, the Minister of Education, is saying; would he please do so? He can do that, but he cannot stand up in this House and tell the Speaker how to do his job. That is what he is doing.

AN HON. MEMBER: You are making a fool of yourself.

MR. TULK: That what you are doing. You have already made a fool of yourself.

I would ask the Speaker, if he is going to continue in that vein, to bring him to order and, if you have to, to name him and we will do the appropriate job on him.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Baie Verte, speaking further to that point of order.

MR. SHELLEY: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I am speaking further to that point of order.

First of all, the member rightly so apologized for what he had said to the Speaker, and that is the past now. The problem is, the frustration has built on the member because of this - five times. It didn't happen once, twice, or three times, but five times. Every member on this side of the House and the people sitting next to him knows - and the minister knows himself so he will not deny it - he has called the member a liar on five occasions.

We have acknowledged it with the first Speaker, and now the Speaker who is in the chair now. We are asking again, because he has never been brought to task on it. He has called the member a liar on five different occasions and it has not been dealt with. It is as simple as that.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Education, speaking to the point of order.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, it is a very important point of order that I would hope you would rule on for clarification, for my own purposes, because I have been here for almost ten years and I would like to make sure I know the rules.

When a member of this particular Legislature is brought to order, or called to task, because of comments they have made, I am assuming that the only way the Speaker could rule, and that the record of the House could show, was if I was the recognized speaker when I was making the comments. Otherwise, how would anybody know and how would history ever record what it was that was said if I had not been recognized as the speaker.

I have done it in this Legislature before. If I was the recognized Speaker and I am engaging in my then privilege to speak, suggested that a member - and used unparliamentary language - suggested that a member was a liar while I was the recognized speaker, I would fully expect to be called to task by the Chair, by the Speaker, for unparliamentary language - and I have done that in the past - and I would readily apologize.

I have been in this House for ten years, and there are all kinds of conversations and barbs that go across the floor that are never recorded in Hansard and are never part of the official debate of the House. I would like to know: What is the role of the Chair in trying to control the unrecognized language that goes on in this House of Assembly from time to time?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Baie Verte, speaking to the point of order.

MR. SHELLEY: To clarify this we can go back and forth here all day. The member has asked: Did you hear the member call this member a liar?

MR. SPEAKER: If hon. members will take their seat, the Chair is prepared to rule.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

It has been ruled many times in this hon. House, and backed up by the Standing Orders of practically all Legislatures in this Dominion of Canada, and by Beauchesne, that it is unparliamentary for any member to call any other member in the House of Assembly a liar, whether he is on the record or whether he is not.

Unfortunately, when the Speaker is sitting in the Chair, the Speaker is paying attention to the member who has been recognized to speak and cannot possibly be paying attention to all forty-eight members in this Chamber at any one time.

If the hon. Minister of Education made some comments for which he wishes to apologize, the Chair will acknowledge that. If that is not the case, I will go back and recognize the hon. Member for Cape St. Francis, that he is speaking to the petition, but I will also remind the hon. member that his time is up.

The hon. the Minister of Education.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I appreciate the clarification and because I did use that phrase, even though I was not recognized as the speaker, I do apologize because I would not want to engage in unparliamentary language. At a future point when another one of these petitions is raised I will get up and explain why I was so insensitive and I used language that I should not have used.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair acknowledges the comments made by the Minister for Education and accepts the apology.

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

MS S. OSBORNE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak to the petition on behalf of the residents from Labrador West. As the Minister of Education said: IOC has been in Labrador West for forty years.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. TULK: I would draw the attention of the Speaker - I am not trying to tell the Speaker what to do, but I would like to draw attention to the fact that the half, or quarter, of a House Leader on the other side is still saying across this House what he is not allowed to say. I ask the Speaker to pay close attention to him. He is still saying that the Speaker heard the Minister of Education call the Member for Cape St. Francis a liar. I ask him to pay particular attention to him.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Baie Verte, to the point of order.

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Speaker, I do not know what the minister is talking about. Did you hear me say that? If you did not, and there is nothing on the record, there is nothing to be talked about.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Education has acknowledged that he used words that he considers unparliamentary, has withdrawn, and has apologized. That is satisfactory to the Chair, and it should be satisfactory to all other hon. members in the House.

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

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

As I was saying, the Minister of Education said that the Iron Ore Company of Canada has been pelletizing in Labrador West for forty years. It behooves me why they cannot continue this operation. The present company has said that it is more viable for them to re-locate to Sept-Iles. Viable according to whom? It looks to me like we have the foxes guarding the chicken coop here when they go out and employ their own people to do their own report showing viability.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: Anyway, the crux of my reply, and what I would like to talk to, is how a year ago, at the Winter Games in Labrador City, how the Premier said to the people - and whether he was saying it for political purposes or whether he really believed it at the time, who knows? It is only the Premier who knows that. But when he said that if the pellet plant isn't in Labrador West, he will personally fly to Australia and see to it that it happens....

He has not gone to Australia yet and the pellet plant is not going to remain in Labrador West. So one of the things we have to look at here is: Why promise somebody something? Was it said for political reasons? Was it said because it felt good to say it at the time? He had a good audience there, there was a lot of rah-rah, people felt good about the carnival being held in Labrador City, and it was a perfect opportunity for the Premier and the Minister of Mines and Energy to get up there and make all sorts of promises.

These people lived in hope, and they trusted the Premier. They took him to his word, and now what has happened is that the Premier has not lived up to his word. He is not fighting for what he said he would fight for back at the winter carnival last year. So how can the people, how can the rest of the residents of the Province, trust anything that the Premier said? Where is the accountability here when the Premier of a Province can get up and say: If the pellet plant does not remain here, I will personally fly to Australia.

This was a promise made in front of a lot of the residents of Labrador City to his people, and he is not following through. So it goes to follow, if we are going to draw analogies here on things that other speakers are saying, then we can draw an analogy: I said it but I didn't really mean it. So in the future, anything that I say you don't need to take for face value because a year down the road, two months down the road, six months down the road, I can say: Yes, I kind of meant it at the time but no, I don't think I will do that right now.

How many other things are being verbalized by the government that the people can listen to and say: Well, does he really mean that or is he saying it because he has a good audience at the moment; he can get up and there is a lot of cheering, a lot of ranting, and it is very politically nice - and: Oh my, what a nice guy the Premier is. He is going to stand up on behalf of the people of Labrador West -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MS S. OSBORNE: Thank you.

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I move that the Orders of the Day be now read.

AN HON. MEMBER: Division.

MR. SPEAKER: Division.

The Chair did not see three hon. members standing, so the motion is carried.

Orders of the Day

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, Order No. 13, Bill No. 38, "An Act To Amend The Mineral Act."

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act To Amend The Mineral Act". (Bill No. 38)

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

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am going to continue with some comments I started yesterday on a very significant piece of legislation that is about to pass through this House of Assembly. There are a lot of strange things happening in the mining industry these days with IOC, Inco, and so on.

To get back to some of the housecleaning points, and to make a point to the minister, like I said, there are lots of things to clean up in the Mineral Act, there is no doubt about it. Things have happened with staking claims and so on. One of those housecleaning acts was to do something about the archaic way of doing the claim staking, where people have to line up in their cars and put campers - as a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, as we speak today I have constituents from my area camped out in the parking lot of where the stake claims are going on, the mines building.

One of the suggestions I think in this one is basically a lottery where people can put in their names. I am glad we are trying to fix that, because something has to be done with it. The first I heard of it was yesterday. I tried to think about it and talked to a few people about it. They are glad too that there is something going to be done about it. The fear I have, and I wonder if the minister has thought about it, if people can just call in and put in their names, is this. I will just take a very simplified example. If I want to stake a claim I can get my wife, my son and my uncle and another ten more to put in theirs. Right? What it might come down to is that whoever has the biggest family, or whoever has the most people to call in to put in that claim, has a better chance at the lottery.

It was something that was brought up to me, Mr. Speaker, and it is simply something we should look at.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Yes, go ahead.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Would the hon. minister like to have the microphone turned on for answers?

MR. FUREY: Yes, sorry.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you.

MR. FUREY: You raise a good point and it is one that we thought about, and it is one that industry brought to our attention. You get people who are going to chase one piece of property and they all of sudden invade the lottery with phoney names. Phoney names is incorrect. Stacked names, I guess, is the best way to put it.

What the legislation will do is allow us to move from that archaic system that is currently in place and create the lottery circumstance. What we have to do now is consult with industry to see how we put the rules in place for that. There are no set rules yet. We just want the mechanism to create that ability to set the rules.

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

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I guess it could be a suggestion at this point, but somebody made a suggestion that maybe when you are staking claims to a particular area of the Province - as an example, if you are staking claims on the Baie Verte Peninsula -, and if the people are interested in that, then a day or two days are set aside, depending on how many claims are possible. People who want to stake claims in the Baie Verte Area go to a regional office for that day and stake claims. Or if it is in Gander they can go to that area. At least you will not be lining up for days in St. John's for the whole Province.

Secondly, there is a big disadvantage. For example, like you said, in your district, Port au Choix, I have people who drove in here from Baie Verte who are sleeping in their cars down there now to stake claims. Why couldn't they stay in Baie Verte if they want to stake claims in Baie Verte? Open up a office there at the time.

We aren't talking about huge expenditures of money, I don't think. It just another suggestion and I really don't know if that will work. My point is that we have to look at something there that will give fairness to everybody and remove this foolishness that we go through now. I am glad we are attempting to fix that.

I do not know down the road if we can have more discussions on it. Maybe that is a good idea, to have an open discussion form on it for a day or so with some people in the industry to come up with suggestions. Then the minister has something to work with it to clear it up. So that may be right. As far as that housekeeping goes, it is something that is moving in the right direction. Whether we have it nipped in the bud properly yet I do not know.

One of the other things the minister talked about is about losing mineral claims, to be able to give them up if you do not use them over a period of time. There are some of those that make a lot of sense, and it certainly needs to be cleaned up, there is no doubt about that.

Now to get into the heart of the amendments. There are people who do not understand, but the minister does, and probably a lot of people in this House. I do, to an extent, but I do not claim to be an expert on it. I know about mining. As a matter of fact, I was even explaining to a young fellow yesterday here in St. John's - I will not use his name; we talked about mining and so on -, I said: If somebody looked over at the Southside Hills today and said there might be some mining potential there, there is where you go with it. You start off by going to tap your rocks, you do your geology work. I had a little bit of work to do with geology over the years. That is where you begin.

Because you see, like Voisey's Bay when it was discovered, the rust in the rocks, and you go up and you tap the rocks. I am trying to simply for anybody that would look at the mining industry part of it. Then of course you do the seismic work, and the technology that we have today does some very good work. All those things do really to the mining person is give you some clues. It gives you clues about where you should get ready to spend your money.

The real money comes when we have got to go through thousands of meters of rock to set up drills and so on. That is when we need the big bucks. That is when we have to get an investor, either inside or outside the Province, to come in with the big bucks and say: Let's do it.

The point I am getting at on that, and the minister agrees, is that the mining industry is all about high risk. It is like a lottery. Buying a ticket for a lottery, you get a chance to hit or miss. Again, the minister knows what I am talking about with lotteries. That is the truth of it. The simple reality for the people who do not understand is that when we are talking about mining we are talking about guys to come in to get a lot of money spent and they start punching holes. In many instances they do not find the ore. As a matter of fact, if you listen to the story of Voisey's Bay - and I have heard it first-hand from the fellows who discovered it - I mean right up to the last dying days they thought they had nothing but those last few drill holes. The word came back: I think we got it, it is a big one.

Now of course the book is out on it. I have not read the book yet, I say to the minister. Very interesting. As a matter of fact, what I have done is asked the Verbiskis if they would read the book and let me know if it is real. Because a lot of times you get these books written, and really it is a lot of fiction. They did not get a lot of the facts and so on. I would like to hear, from the fellows who discovered it really and what the book is all about, if these people believe it is the real story of Voisey's Bay and how it was discovered. It is very interesting. I am certainly planning to read it as soon as I get a chance, hopefully even next week to start to read it, I want to hear from the Verbiskis themselves if the book is really relevant to exactly what happened. It is going to be interesting to hear what their comments are going to be on it.

That was just an example, and something for the history books of Newfoundland and Labrador of what really happened with Voisey's Bay and how significant that find was. What it did was open the eyes of investors all around the world to look at Newfoundland and Labrador. That was one of the most positive things, besides the actual physical act of finding a major ore find and so on. What it did beside that, specifically, was that it opened the eyes of a lot of investment people out there who said the geology of Newfoundland is exciting. Because that is what they first have to see. When people with all that money out there are looking around, when they found out about Voisey's Bay, they said: Labrador, what a place to go, what a place to send up money and explore. That is what they looked for. So, Mr. Speaker, the key -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) time do you have left?

MR. SHELLEY: I don't know. I would like to know. Could you find out? I didn't know exactly how much, actually.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

For clarification, the hon. member's time is up at 11:36 a.m.

MR. SHELLEY: I get an hour, right? I get one hour? I have only spoken for twelve minutes.

MR. J. BYRNE: You didn't start until 10:45 a.m.

MR. SHELLEY: Yes, but I started yesterday.

Mr. Speaker, getting back to the point - I don't want to lose the train of thought on this -, the Voisey's Bay discovery, besides the actual mine itself and so on, and the point I am trying to make here today, is that the most important part of our mining industry is attracting investors, attracting the big dollars really to come in, to get under the surface to see what is there.

We can go around and we can do prospecting work - which I have done - we can do the seismic work and the technology that shoots into the ground to see if there are anomalies there, but the real work comes when the drill goes down in the ground. If there is dredging done, that is another way of doing some of the surface work, but the real work -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: You are only going to listen to me for quarter of the time though, aren't you? Because I am only a quarter of the House Speaker, or whatever.

Mr. Speaker, what I am saying is that the significance of Voisey's Bay and the discovery is not just specifically for the people who are involved with Voisey's Bay and Archaen Resources, and now Inco and Diamond Fields. The significance is for Newfoundland and Labrador as a whole. Because what it did was start a rush. They had the gold rush in the Klondike, we had the nickel rush here. The claims were unbelievable, and we had investors from all over the world going all over Newfoundland and Labrador.

As a result, for example, this year out around the Buchans River area, on the Baie Verte Peninsula and King's Point, we see investors coming in from Ontario, Texas, Nevada, all over the place, saying that the geology in this part of the Province, because of the significance of the Voisey's Bay discoveries and other ones, that they are interested in the area. Now what we have to get them interested in spending the millions of dollars needed to find out if there is ore beneath our feet. Because all the rest of it means nothing. When we tap the rocks, when we do the seismic work, when we do the dredging, that is just to get them excited about it. Now we have to convince them that there is a lot down there.

I have been around these people. The Minister of Mines and Energy has met a lot with the junior mining companies, and trying to excite people and getting out press releases. Then of course we have that other scenario which I do not like at all which is what happened with the - what is the name of the firm, Roger? I forget for a second. The big gold thing down in...

MR. J. BYRNE: The one that went bust? That is down in Indonesia somewhere.

MR. SHELLEY: Yes, Indonesia, but what is the name of the company? Anyway, Mr. Speaker, that is what happens when there are falsehoods put up. I will get the name in a second. Bre-X. When Bre-X went on there and so on. The problems with those is when you have something like Bre-X and whatever it sends false hope. Again, related to all this, is the investment again. Besides the fact they have to spend so much money, now they also get these stories that blow up and a lot of people make a lot of money on, and then all of a sudden people lose a lot of money on them. It scares people off, that is what it does. We can ask the Member for Conception Bay East & Bell Island. I was just talking about what a great fishery -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Bre-X was an example. My point about it all is that when you are trying to encourage people, excite them into coming in the Province, these junior mining companies - I have sat around and had many discussions with them - they are trying to excite this big company like Inco, or other big companies, to come in: We need $5 million to do an exploration project. Mr. Speaker, last year alone in the Voisey's Bay area Inco spent $20 million. They are excited about what is up there. They are excited about what they have found.

Now we have to be very careful in this Province what signal we send out to these investors. They are not listening to what we are saying in the House of Assembly today. If they are looking at coming to Newfoundland and Labrador to spend $5 million, $10 million or $15 million to look for an ore body that could mean a lot of jobs and a lot of prosperity for the Province, they are going to say: What are the rules that are in place that can take us there? Besides the fact that the ore is there, they are going to find out now: What are we going to be operating on?

That is why the most important thing about any changes to any act - because remember, the act is the law of the land, it is what governs us - what is really important is that those investors that are going to take a high risk, and that is the point we have to remember, they need to know what the rules of the game are before they play. They are not going to come in and play unless they know what the rules of the game are, and they know that after they spend $5 million, $6 million, $10 million or $15 million they are not going to have something coming in through the back door that is going to change things. That is what we have to be careful of.

We have had the smaller mining companies all over this Province. In my district right now, Nugget Pond, there is Nugget Pond Mine on the Baie Verte Peninsula, which employees about eight to eight-five men. It is not a big mine, but it is very environmentally friendly. Everybody who has gone there who has toured the site cannot believe the impact. They have a long-term plan for cleaning up the site and so on afterwards. They have done the right things. The Nugget Pond gold mine on the Baie Verte Peninsula - I do not know if the statistics are exactly -

MS THISTLE: Not to mention all the stuff that is going on in Grand Falls-Buchans.

MR. SHELLEY: I just mentioned that earlier. The Nugget Pond mine on the Baie Verte Peninsula, is a small mine, Mr. Speaker. The point to this is that what they have proven - and what I have been told from McWatters now who is looking at an area in the King's Point area - is that a small compact mine can work. It does not have to be a mega-project.

I will tell you have well it could work. The Nugget Pond mine as of now, either with Canada or North America, is the lowest cost producer of gold in North America, or if not, one of the lowest. I do not know if they are in the top five or something or the lowest. The Nugget Pond mine on the Baie Verte Peninsula is one of the lowest cost producers of gold in North America, and it is amazing what they have done there.

Now, McWatters is looking at a site at the Hammerdown near King's Point-Rattling Brook in the Green Bay area. We hope within the year we are going to see the construction of a mine site, and hopefully into production of a mine within the next year to eighteen months. Very exciting.

Because you have to remember what Nugget Pond is doing on the Baie Verte Peninsula - like what hopefully McWatters will do - once they had this mine up and running, and it is compact, solid and cost-effective, which it is - they are showing profits on every quarter to date and their profits are increasing all the time -, they know they have to do a good job. What is really important too to note is that when these small mining companies come in and construct a mine and put it into production, like Nugget Pond right now, they are circling the area, exploring more and more. I have a funny feeling we are going to hear more about it.

In the Buchans River area, like the Member for Grand Falls-Buchans announced, again the excitement is out there. We do not know yet. It is just like Voisey's Bay starting, and they are not sure. What they are trying to be, and I applaud them for it, is cautiously optimistic that the right things could happen in that area. Who knows?

That point again comes back to my beginning point which says that people in the mining industry, yes, they get excited about the prospects for mining and that things can happen, Mr. Speaker, but at the same time they know it is a big risk. They know that there are millions and millions of dollars to be spent, and they can handle it.

The whole mining industry in all of these sectors is all down to; Yes, there are small companies, yes there is big companies, but what we have to remember is that these companies are going to come in with very high risks. They want to know what the rules are before they enter the game. That is why we have to be very careful.

I have a funny feeling that within the next year to two years - by the time we hit the year 2000 in Newfoundland - if we keep them interested, if they are still excited about investing in this Province, you will see more and more discoveries in this part of the country. Especially - and to put a plug in for my own district and the area around Grand Falls, actually all that area, Green Bay, White Bay area, Central Newfoundland - I have had geologists say to me that the geological structures of the land masses in that area are very similar to the Klondike. The folding, the different amounts of minerals found in assays and so on, proves to be that it could be very similar to the Klondike.

Remember, just like Voisey's Bay - they walked over Voisey's Bay for years and years. It is a fascinating story if you hear the story firsthand from the fellows who were there. They actually were there and did a little chipping, and went on somewhere else, and they walked over it over and over again. Apparently the last couple of times they flew over the area they said: We should have one more look down there. Basically that is what it was in Voisey's Bay. They went over it so many times, they said: We should have one more look.

The other part of the story is that once they attracted the investor, Diamond Fields to help them with the cost in drilling and so on, they got almost to the end of that when they realized they were not getting the results they wanted. As a matter of fact, they had some holes drilled and a lot of money spent and down to pretty well the last cent on the exploration part or it, when they found out they finally hit the big one. It was three or four holes, I think, left to be drilled when he could call home and report. He said: I think we have hit the big one.

Mining just does not happen by going in and chipping out a few rocks. What it takes is a lot of smart planning. By the way, a lot of people in this Province are learning - the junior companies are learning, that you just do not go in and plug a drill down in the ground, like a lot of them do. A lot of our own Newfoundland people, basically they are starting to learn more and more - I guess you learn with anything - that they had to have a well-planned exploration plan. They had to have a good exploration plan in place. You just do not go and look at a rock and drop a drill down. What you have to do is proper seismic work, some dredging work and so on, taking good samples, doing good assays.

As these mining companies prepare, every time they start preparing they are looking at the exciting end result which hopefully will be a huge ore bottom. Right now in the year to year-and-a-half in this Province there are a lot of junior companies. I was out to CIMM just recently here in St. John's where I talked to many of these mining companies and junior companies. As a matter of fact, the focus this year was on junior mining companies and how excited they are about some prospects they have in this area.

If you were out around that conference - the minister was there and some people here in the House -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: The Member for Grand Falls was there, and so she should be, with the excitement that was in Central Newfoundland. If you sit around and talk to these companies, how excited they are. Everyone had their little corner where they talked about assays they had back, and the drills they had going. I sit and talk to them all the time. Especially out in my area you see these junior mining companies come in.

That is where it starts, small junior mining company that comes in, does a little bit of its assays, does a little bit of dredging, a little bit of geological work, surface area work.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Who?

Anyway, what I was talking about was the mining industry and the importance of the junior companies to get excited. These junior companies have to get excited themselves about the potential, an then their big job is to excite the guys with the big bucks, the guys who are going underneath. That is why when we all talk about changes to the Minerals Act, and some concerns that are being raised now, there is no doubt about that, we do not want to turn off those companies from coming in to find out what we have got under our surface. Otherwise we will be walking over these grounds for hundreds of years, and we could be literally walking over a gold mine. That is one geologist said to me, he said: It is a funny thing. Every time you walk through the woods for your rabbit snares and your hunting and everything else, you would be actually walking over a gold mine, or nickel mine or whatever, but they use that term - a gold mine. Lots of times in Newfoundland and Labrador we do that.

We can see what the prosperity of mining can bring if it is done right. For example, the Advocate Mines at Baie Verte for years mined asbestos, not a lot of plans in place for afterwards. There were no long-term plans of cleaning up, and therefore we have an environmental mess there today. But the mines today, Nugget Pond again, they have a long-term plan environmentally; they have met with all environmental regulations, and keep up with them. They are very environmentally minded, but at the same time with prosperity and economic prosperity for the year because they are putting people to work.

What these people are trying to say is that we have to watch for these junior companies when they get excited when they are doing their groundwork so to speak. That is what they call it, their ground work. When they have to turn on a big corporation to come in and spend the bucks, we have to make sure that the game is open to them, and that they know what they are heading into.

It is easy for us to say we have to be tough with the companies. I know we have said it with Voisey's Bay and so on, and there is no doubt. There is not a member in this House who would not say that we want the resources of this Province to benefit Newfoundlanders and Labradorians first; but at the same time there is a balance. You have to talk about the companies and the rights to profits. I mean, we would all be fooling ourselves if we all thought that Inco or IOC or any of them are coming in here because they like us, or out of goodness of their heart. They are coming here for business. They are coming here for profit. The real trick for the minister and the government of the day is to be able to balance. Okay, they want to make a profit. We want to put people to work and get benefits from our resources.

The government's real test is to balance that, and those scales have to be balanced evenly. The company has to be happy with the profits they are making. The people of the Province who are the government shareholders are the people who have to say we are getting the best benefit from our resources.

That is the trick, and that is the balance that government has at hand. They have to make sure that everybody is happy. What they cannot do is on one hand - and it seems like two extremes at times with what happened with IOC.

Take IOC for an example, just for an example today, not for bring up the points that we have already raised many times with petitions and so on. IOC has been here for thirty-eight years, with profits in the range of $110 million last year, $40 million some other years, $50 million. That is not bad. That is not a bad return for a company that has been here for a long time. The argument that Labrador City still holds - and we can throw all kinds of numbers at them, and statistics, and move things around, but you have to remember that you are looking at people who come out through that gate every day full of iron ore dust, worked in the mines there every day, coming out through and saying: Yes, I got a job out of it.

This (inaudible) is making a fortune. Yes, they are a good company. They are going to get profits, there is no doubt about that. The question we have to ask is: How much? Because on one hand when we say they have to make profits, at the same time the government - and we all know that there is a word in any company which make them either successful or unsuccessful, and that is greed. It is human nature. It is greed with ourselves. Every person wants more. You get $10 and you would like to get $20.

It is the same for the company. If the company is making $110 million per year, and if they think they can get away with taking our resources out of the ground and making more money for themselves and less befits for the Province, they are going to do it. I do not blame the company one little bit. Any company is going to do it. If you have a company - if you can away with something and make more money, you are going to do it. Why wouldn't you do it.

That is where the government's job steps in. That is where it comes into the face of the government of the day, the Minister of Mines in particular and the Premier, but overall all of us, to make the right decisions and say: Okay, you can make profits but there are limits. We have to make the people, our shareholders, satisfied by guaranteeing them jobs and economic benefits and so on.

It makes sense, Mr. Speaker. I am not down on either side of this. I am just trying to lay out the fact of the mining industry and how it operates. If we are going to make the right decisions, we have to understand the mining industry. That is the point I was making here today.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: I grew up around the mining industry, I say to the member - that is how I know about it - and I have sat around many, many hours talking to junior companies who were excited around dredging. I actually went up there. I had family who worked in the geology department who went in and were tapping on rocks that day. They came home to supper and said: I think we have something.

That is where my beginning started. My brother worked with a geology firm, actually.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: The Member from Bellevue doesn't know anything about fishing. That is not a very good statement. Well, come out. We will take you out in a boat and teach you a few things - how to catch and gut it. I can get the Member from Bellevue started. He doesn't know anything about fishing, he said.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: There you go. The Minister of Justice is well versed in everything - the forestry, the fishing and so on. The Member for Bellevue, if he wants to, we will take him out in the boat, let him catch the fish, then we will clean it and show him how to eat it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: I don't know if I would go that far.

Mr. Speaker, we should all be aware of our resources - every one of them - from the forestry -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: There were three different examples here today, but we will continue to go on with it - the forestry and the fishery. The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture always talks about that. Every time he has talked about processing in the Province, and getting more out of resources, you will never find I have ever, in any way in this House or anywhere publicly, condemn him for that. I salute him on that. One of the ones I salute him on when we talk about resources and so on is the seal industry, the one that is right in front of us.

It is funny how you equate these together with mining, but it is the truth. It is another resource that is abundant in this Province that we are not getting full benefit out of. Not only that, the ultimate irony of all, is that the sealing industry that could be such a big industry in this Province is killing another industry that has been traditionally here for years, which is the fishing industry.

When it comes to mining, compared to forestry and fishing and other resources in this Province, you must remember; the thing with mining is the risk we take. I have seen those mining companies when they come back with their assays and they have done their seismic work and so on - I have not been with them when they walk in, but I have heard the results of some of these meetings - when they walk in there and show these core samples and so on, and they show the assays, and they are trying to excite the fellow across the desk who has millions of dollars to pour in there, that is what their job is.

Once the junior mining companies turn them on to come into the Province and says: Okay, we will give you $10 million for a bit of exploration, for some drilling in the Central Newfoundland area - let's take for instance - they will take them in there and say: We have finally convinced them. Now what they are going to say is: Okay, now that we are going to come into your Province - you have convinced us that you have good assays; you have shown us that you have good core samples and so on - do you know what that company is going to do next? They are going to say: What is the law of the land? What are the rules that are going to govern us? If we come down there and we make a major ore discovery, if we pump $5 million or $6 million in and make the discovery, what are the rules of the game?

Here are the rules of the games on the other side. They will look down. From a business perspective, the mining companies will have to look at this. They have to say: If I do put in $5 million or $6 million or $7 million and don't discovery something, then who is going to help us out? That is business, you say to them.

If you put $5 million or $6 million into an exploration program - that is why you have to look at this, and the minister knows - you have to look at it from both ends to understand where the company is coming from. On one hand they are going to say: Okay, we will spend $5 million or $6 million into drilling holes in Buchans River, and if we don't hit anything we just lost $5 million or $6 million. It is a big risk.

As a matter of fact, any of the members in the House of Assembly who buy stocks - I don't think there are many in the House of Assembly into the stock market but there are a few I am sure - the people who buys stocks, the risk is there. Anybody who is buying stock, any good advisor would tell you, be careful with mining stock. It is very risky. If you want to be really careful, put it into mutual funds and so on. In mining stock, they will tell you the same thing. The same principal overrides anybody investing in the mining industry. If you are going to sink your $5 million or $6 million into their exploration program, you are taking a big risk.

They say to the government, of course: If we spend that money, what about we don't find anything? Well, the government would say to them: Goodbye, it was a good try. You paid your money and took your chances.

So the mining company is gone. If they hit - if they have that drill hole that says they have a huge anomaly and have a major ore find, all of a sudden things start changing. Everybody starts rushing around, like what happened with Voisey's Bay. All of a sudden everybody is interested.

What is happening in Voisey's Bay is being watched around the world. Imagine, the project that we have in Labrador right now, all of these investors I am talking about who are going to be basically the engine which will drive any discoveries in Newfoundland. That is what it comes down to. The guys out there with the big bucks, the investors, are the ones who are going to drive the mining industry of Newfoundland and Labrador because you need money to go after it.

Mr. Speaker, what is so significant about Voisey's Bay is that all those investors, all those guys out there with the big money, are looking to see what is happening with Voisey's Bay. They are looking to see how the process is in Newfoundland and Labrador. Is it a friendly place to do business? Is it consistent? Is it the right way? Are they taking into consideration the chance, the risk, that these companies are taking?

Make no mistake about it. I am telling you, even as late as yesterday I was talking to some people and they have some very serious concerns.

All of us here - and we supported that, of course, the concept of resources being developed here in Newfoundland and Labrador, and processed here in the Province, there is no doubt about that; there is nobody who doesn't support that.

What they do have a problem with, and the heart of this change in the Mineral Act, is how that is done. Right now as it reads, and we are going to get into this as clause-by-clause later and ask some very specific and pertinent questions to the different clauses, especially the clauses that effect the changes of the heart of this Mineral Act, is how that is going to be done.

It is fine to say that we want all our resources developed here and we all stand on that and so on. The Premier one day can stand with Voisey and say: Keep it in the ground or not at all, and the next day he turns over to IOC and says: There is no problem; you have to go out.

That is a mixed signal. You can wiggle around the numbers anyway you want. You talk about IOC having the ability to do this and so on.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: No.

What it does basically, the changes that could come into place - yes, they will put more pressure on, of course, to process the ore here, but what it does it just open up to the whim of the government of the day.

Let us even take out the criticism that this government will do the right thing; what about a government five or ten years from now?

I mean, are going to leave it up to the whims of the government, depend upon what kind of mood they are in, or what kind of relationship they have with a company? That is where we are treading on very dangerous ground. That is where we have to be very careful.

Although the idea or the concept or the focus of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to say: We get the most out of our resources, which we all agree with wholeheartedly - and, as a matter of fact it is not done enough - it is who makes the decision and how it is decided.

In democracy around the world in anything, on any issue, there is an appeal process. There is a way to appeal; there is a way to have a second go at it.

In this particular process, and that is what we are concerned about, that is what our concern is - the process at the end of the day, the decision-making; where does it rest solely? In this particular amendment it could be that it rests solely with the government of the day, depending on the mood and the relationship of particular companies and so on. It is sending out a signal. It could be sending a very dangerous signal to those investors, the people we want to come into this Province and put millions and millions of dollars into exploration to find something, and to say afterwards: Okay, you can look for it, but once you find it we are going to decide.

Mr. Speaker, although we all focus on the concept of developing our resources in our Province for the benefits of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, there is not a soul in this House or in this Province who does not agree with that. That trust is consistent. It is in the heart of every Newfoundlander and Labradorian who wants to see our resources developed for people in Newfoundland and Labrador.

On the other end of it - and it is the part we raise concerns about, and that is what they are, concerns - is the process. At the end of the day, who is in charge? Who makes the final decision? That is where we have problems on it, Mr. Speaker. That is where it is going to be tough to convince. Because what we do not want to do is turn off those investors. We do not want to do it because if we do, we turn off the potential and we close the doors, and that is where it could hurt us down the road.

We need junior mining companies and everybody to get excited about potential finds, as they do their field work and as they sit down and rub shoulders and hob-nob with the big investors. When they turn them on to the big find down in King's Point area, at the Hammerdown, and when they finally get an okay from them that, yes, we are going to come in and we are going to construct a mine site and we are going to do your drilling for you, the first question that big company, that investor, the guy with the bucks, is going to ask is: Guys, what are the game rules in your Province? What is going to govern how we develop and how we do business in the Province? That is the scary part of it. It is scary to a lot of investors around this Province. There are questions right now. As a matter of fact, the Member for Grand Falls-Buchans mentioned a little while ago the fact that in the Central Newfoundland area of Buchans, the Buchans River now - I forget the name of that particular ground. The Powder Horn, that is what it is. The Powder Horn area in Central Newfoundland looks very encouraging.

I am going to tell you that right now with the things that are changing that could affect what is going to happen in the next days, weeks and months with that particular site. If it's as good as - because there is always that "if" word when you are talking about mining - as they say, and with what happened with Bre-X some years ago, it is like the boy who cried wolf. People are worried about what is being said, and then what is going to happen at the end of the day. That risk is also in the mining industry now. It has been there for a while now.

Of course they have catapulted that into people believing - who knows what these results are all about? They have to see it. Basically they have to go out on site now and take the core out of the ground and assay it right there to believe it. That is how serious it is getting. That is why the risk is there. That is why these mining companies have that risk there.

Imagine, besides convincing them past the normal stages when you are attracting investors, now they have to deal with all this stuff. They have to deal with all these things, bringing risk into this. What the potential is, is that these companies could have so many - we could potentially have, I don't know, maybe five to ten mines in the next five years in this Province, like the Nugget Pond situation, a very compact mine, eighty-five people working around the clock. New jobs. Remember that too. Remember that any time you bring in a mining industry and they start up to construct a mine you are bringing in new jobs. They are new jobs related to that resource that is in the ground, a resource that is there that would never have been found unless we had the people who wanted to come in and take the risk. That is what we have to do, Mr. Speaker, we have to encourage them to come in here who are going to take the risk.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: I have a sore throat actually but I think I'm going to make it. I have a couple of good points to make, Mr. Speaker, on some of the housekeeping. The Minister of Mines and Energy was here for most it. I made some good points which the minister agreed with and they are certainly serious.

Risk is what is important, risk and an understanding of the mining industry. I cannot believe that the mining industry -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Speaker, I have a funny feeling that I'm heading for leave. I would say by thirty-six I will be heading for leave and it will be granted by the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs and the House Leader. I would say that is what they are heading for. As a matter of fact, he missed a few things while he was out so I am going to repeat them. I am going to repeat those again.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: No, but it is not the same on the speaker. It is not the same as live. Yes, that is what I will do. I will do it over for you again now live. I will impress upon you again certain points.

To reiterate, Mr. Speaker, to refocus, we need an understanding of the mining industry and the significance to this Province, and the significance of the potential in the next three, four or five years. Just think about it. In the Green Bay area, a mine, about 140 men employed, hopefully. In the Buchans area, it could be an even bigger one, 200 men, maybe more. There is a silica deposit down in La Scie right now that they did some bulk samples on last year. It might not be big, but it may be forty or fifty people.

If you start dabbing here and there - maybe it is the whole philosophy that has to change in this Province. What I would love to see is ten Nugget Ponds. I would rather see ten Nugget Ponds then one big mine. That is about 1,000 people altogether because there are 100 men to a mine. So that would be 1,000 people. I would rather see ten Nugget Ponds than one mine that provides 1,000 jobs.

You have to remember, because I lived there, a town in Baie Verte where we had 600 jobs at one time at the Advocate Mines. When the mine shut down you can imagine what it did to the economy of the Baie Verte Peninsula and the town of Baie Verte. If you have ten small ones, when one shuts down another one is going, another one starts up. As a matter of fact, if we take that analogy of the mining industry, it is what needs to happen to this Province. Because for so many years government after government - first it was the Hibernia that was going to save us, then Voisey's Bay was going to save us. All of these mega-projects were always going to save Newfoundland and Labrador. This is going to be the one boys, this is the big one.

Our focus has got to start on the smaller ones. You can even relate that to small businesses. Personally, I like it when I see a business come to me with a proposal that says: We can get ten people to work, twelve people to work, fifteen people to work. A nice tight little operation, ten or fifteen people. If you get ten or fifteen of those operations in your community and one fails or two fail, you might get a new one started up.

What is does not do is devastate with one blow. It is almost like a bomb going off. Everything happens and it is flattened right away, just within seconds. If Newfoundland and Labrador starts to take the approach that - not these big businesses that fly in here on a whim that are going to create thousands of jobs from doing a t-shirt factory, and other thousands of jobs in a call centre, all of that stuff. What I am saying is that the small mines - and I am comparing it to small businesses - but small business is the answer for this Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Nobody knows what you are going to do. What are you going to do? Do you want to tell me? I hope you are going to do the right thing, Minister, and I hope you agree with this. You just agreed with most of it anyway. Small business is what is going to put this Province back on its feet.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Ten and twelve people, but it is not being done. Every year we had government after government - your government, the government before that, it was all this Voisey's Bay and mega-projects, Hibernia, all going to save us.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: That is where it needs to go and more of it needs to be done.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: You have to have more. I will tell you another one, I will say to the minister. I do not know if he is aware of this one. The minister should be aware of this one. Are you aware of the great Community Catalyst Fund? This is the one that was announced by Mr. Mifflin up in New Brunswick. The big announcement. It was the right idea. Somebody gave him a good idea but he did not do anything with it. What it was was that you can get grants of anywhere from $5,000 to $150,000 for a small business to expand or start a new one. There was a little catch to it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Yes, but this is a minister announcing a sum of money now. Do you know what it was? Two million dollars for Atlantic Canada. That is like jumping in the water and back out again before you got halfway across the pool. Imagine.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Joe Clark (inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Let me tell you, Joe Clark looks like a shining light to Fred Mifflin. Joe Clark could be the president of the United States compared to Mr. Mifflin.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. TULK: If you do not mind, I will give him a little bit of information there. Let me just say to him that the overall business investment portfolio by the department is presently valued at about $160 million. Ninety per cent of the investments made by the department since it was formed in 1996 have been under $100,000 each. Only eighteen of 468 investments made in individual companies have exceeded $250,000. Now, talk about where we are putting our money.

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Baie Verte.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

No, the minister will not see me argue on that point about small investments. There is more there. Instead of getting into criticizing (inaudible) I would say it is in the right direction, there is no doubt about that, but there is still a lot of companies (inaudible). (Inaudible) another point to it. Yes, there should be.

Young people. I think it is the right direction, I will say it to you again. How far it is getting I do not know, what the end results are. What I would like to see from the minister are some numbers on the actual jobs and the successes.

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, hold on now, I will get that little bit of information again for him again. He wants to know. Stay up for a minute, I have got to find it first, if you will give me a minute. What did I do with that piece of information? I have it put away, I say to the member, I will have a look for it for you. You are going to have to carry on for a minute until I find it, that is all.

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

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am sure the minister is going to come up with all kinds of numbers and so on, there is no doubt about it. I never ever cut off positive news, I say to the minister. They always talk about it, but I never do. In public wherever we go, and (inaudible). At the same time, Minister, there are a lot of young people and young businesses around this Province who are getting caught up in the red tape and bureaucracy and give up on business ideas.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: I know you do, no doubt about that. Hopefully we will continue to help them, with the whole mechanism in place, and the ones you help. The ones that are missing, Mr. Speaker, the people who are falling through the cracks is what I'm talking about, and entrepreneurs, especially young people. There is nothing more refreshing than to get a young person who has just come in, either just out of university or even going though it, and lay a business plan on your plate. He has an idea and he is excited about doing something. I have had them. Every member has had them.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Do you want to do it?

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I just told him about the 468 investments that we have made. I think the department is being a bit conservative here. Small "c" now, mind you. Out of those 468 investments we have leveraged $28 million from private sources, and have helped create or maintain in excess of 3,600 jobs. Is that bad or good? Do you know how much that is a job?

MR. SHELLEY: How much?

MR. TULK: A quick calculation, do it?

MR. SHELLEY: No, you go ahead.

MR. TULK: Six thousand dollars.

MR. SHELLEY: Six thousand dollars.

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

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt, again, I say to the minister, that is in the right direction of people who are hitting or missing. I know. I will respond to that then. I am not going to do it now, but I will do it. Some my own calculations.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: That is right, and you will get them. Because there is a reality to all this too. Like I was about to say before the minister got up again, yes, and I come in. Any time somebody comes with a business and it is working, and I have helped out some people too, Mr. Speaker, right from doing business plans with them to getting into the right sources through ACOA and ENL.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Absolutely, I say to the member. Who do you think started talking about the sawmill and the route they should go way back? Actually, we both did, we talked about the direction they should go.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: What, about the initial concept of it? Listen, I am going to tell you, I was talking about that before you even thought about it!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) negative as you can be (inaudible) positive (inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Speaker, I am going to call the minister to task on that. I cannot use the word lie, so I will not. I will not use it, but I can tell the minister in no uncertain terms -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

MR. TULK: (Inaudible) the hon. gentleman can't do that.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. member to withdraw his remarks because the hon. member cannot say indirectly what he cannot say directly, and that is what the hon. member was trying to do.

MR. SHELLEY: I withdraw my remarks, Mr. Speaker. There you go. No problem. It is an untruth.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, it is the same thing.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Again, the hon. member cannot use -

MR. SHELLEY: Withdrawn, because I only have two minutes left, Mr. Speaker, to wrap this up. I can tell the minister in no uncertain terms when he came along bragging about all this - I will tell you what, I will go halfway with you. I will commend you on -

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Government House Leader.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)

MR. TULK: No, I was not bragging, I was just stating the fact. As every shareholder in North Co. will tell him tomorrow if he asks them.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Baie Verte.

MR. SHELLEY: The Member for Topsail does not have to worry about me being finished, I guarantee you that. I have enough extra to send up to help you, because you are going to need it from what I can understand. From the poll I saw, you are going to need it, Mr. Speaker. We are going to have to transport a few people up from La Scie somewhere to help him out.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: No, we got one that you did on us.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: I know what they are saying. The minister would not - nobody knows so much, right? He drops down every now and then and like the big (inaudible) and he thinks everybody is on his side, and they all pat him on the back, but when he goes out the door it is a different story. I have been there and done that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: You did not even get his name right, for God's sake. Yes, you know him well, he knows you well. I know him well. Only the people I grew up with, went to school with and so on. I do not know him but you do. You do not know his name.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Alright. I have another 2,000 to go, so if I can hang on. Mr. Speaker, if we get back to the point, now, I have one minute to clue up. Is it one minute?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: With junior companies and the risk of mining in this Province, we have to be very careful we do not turn off investments coming into this Province. I would like to thank the minister for getting me to digress from the issue for a few minutes.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SHELLEY: By leave, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No leave.

MR. SHELLEY: No leave? Certainly I will be back to this on clause by clause, Mr. Speaker. Thank you very much.

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

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

This new act is somewhat controversial. You have the industry -

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

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

MR. TULK: I have to get clarification, I guess, because I heard the Leader of the Opposition the other night say: We support this act. Are you saying you do not support it now?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

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

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

It was a good ruling, no point of order.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. T. OSBORNE: This act is somewhat controversial within the mining industry. If the hon. members on the other side were to allow me -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. T. OSBORNE: Thank you. This act is somewhat controversial within the mining industry, which would lead us in the House to believe probably a couple of things.

First of all, if the industry is against the act, it must mean, perhaps the act is good for the Province, not so good for industry.

AN HON. MEMBER: You think it is good for the Province because they are against it.

MR. T. OSBORNE: I never said that. Now, you listen. It may mean that it is good for the Province, it may mean that it is good for the people of the Province, and it may not.

What we are concerned with primarily here, Mr. Speaker, is what is best for the people of the Province, what is best for the finances of the Province, what is the best for the stakeholders, the owners of the resource, and that being the people of the Province. Which is precisely why we have taken the stand that we have on IOCC, which incidentally is the same stand the Premier has taken on Voisey's Bay.

The fact that the industry is against this may mean that it is going to mean more profits, more royalties for the people of the Province. I know one of the things that the act aims to do is to make the provisions of the act retroactive. We have already heard from Inco that they do not feel that it is going to stand up in the Supreme Court, or at least that is my understanding. That there is no way they can make the provisions of the act retroactive to effect Inco. If that is what the Premier is aiming at, we wish him luck. If this is what the Premier is aiming at, in order to secure the smelter within this Province, then we applaud that. Hopefully it will work.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. T. OSBORNE: Why the Premier has allowed IOCC to make their decision, and then bring in the act, raises some questions.

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

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

The fact that the Premier has allowed IOCC and applauded their decision, and then brought in this act, raises some questions with members on this side of the House, and people throughout the Province.

We are not just taking a stand on IOCC to be political. We are not doing it purely and only because the people of Labrador West have held demonstrations and have signed petitions. We are doing it because we believe the resources of this Province should give maximum benefit in terms of royalties, in terms of spin-off industry, in terms of employment to this Province, and both direct and indirect economic spin-offs.

This is precisely why we have taken the stand we have on IOCC. The act that is put before the House gives an attempt to secure what the people of Labrador City are asking for and fighting for in trying to secure for IOCC. It gives an attempt to secure perhaps a smelter for Voisey's Bay. Again, whether or not it will actually do that will be perhaps open to interpretation within the Supreme Court. Whether or not the provisions will be enforced retroactively will be interpreted perhaps by the Supreme Court, because indications out there now in the public is that there will be challenges to this new legislation. While members on both sides of the House perhaps will be in favour of this act, at the end of the day, how secure the act will b,e and how solid it will be before the Supreme Court of Canada, will be seen.

We all hope the smelter for the Voisey's Bay project will be located in the Province. We hope it will create spin-off industry and so on. The Premier has taken a stand on Voisey's Bay, and this legislation that is put before the House, in my opinion, is an attempt to secure his stand on Voisey's Bay. Because he knows that right now he is on thin ice when it comes to Inco, if he is put before a challenge on the issue of a smelter and processing the ore within this Province.

We all hope the smelter will be located in this Province, and I am sure our full thoughts on this legislation will be shown over the coming days in this House. When it is put to a vote our position on this will be seen. With that, Mr. Speaker, I will give leave to one of my colleagues to speak further on this piece of legislation.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

The Government House Leader is an incredible character. On the one hand he is asking us: Are you going to delay this legislation? On the one hand he said the Opposition are acting like they always act, trying to delay legislation. On the one hand he is critical of the Opposition getting up in second reading. He said: How long are you going to hold up this piece of legislation? When one of our members, the Member for St. John's South stands up, he does not take all of his time, he speaks to a piece of legislation in second reading, makes excellent points, I say to -

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

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

MR. TULK: The Leader of the Opposition is misinterpreting everything I said. As a matter of fact, I pound the desk, and I should have clapped for him really today, but I pound the desk when the Member for St. John's South sat down because he was so concise, so to the point, made his debate, and sat down.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. E. BYRNE: No, Mr. Speaker, that is not what has happened here at all this morning. What has happened is that on the one hand, being critical, our member stands and makes some excellent points on a very important piece of legislation, that not necessarily has very much to do with ideology, but is aimed at a particular company. He does not take all of his time. He takes what time is warranted from his point of view to make the points necessary from his critic's point of view, in terms of industry, trade and technology. Makes the points necessary from his role not only as the Member for St. John's South, but as the member and critic for the environment, and then he sits down. What do we hear from the Government House Leader? He says: He is not finished already? He has got to be clear on what he wants. He needs to be clear from here on in on what he wants.

MR. FITZGERALD: We are not used to that kind of a Government House Leader. The House Leader before him was concise, you knew where he was coming from, you knew what he wanted, (inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: There is no question about that, Mr. Speaker.

Anyway, with respect to the amendments made to the Mineral Act, the spirit and the intent of this piece of legislation is generally something that we can support. No question about it. Some of, not all of, the amendments in terms of the language that is in the former act, some of the amendments that are being suggested in this act, are the exact amendments we called for in 1995.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Absolutely, and that is why there will be a poster, Re-elect Ed Byrne, on your lawn. Because I will have one of two votes from your house in the next election, from what I understand.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. E. BYRNE: Seriously, this piece of legislation is important. Early in 1995, in the winter sitting, the magnitude of the Voisey's Bay discovery, of the Diamond Fields-Archaen Resources discovery in Voisey's Bay, became obvious. It became obvious then that amendments were needed, and throughout 1995 and 1996 we called for amendments to that act.

Now let's backtrack just for a moment. In 1994 we made amendments to the mineral mining tax act in this House, amendments supported, by the way, by the Official Opposition at the time for a very good reason. We wanted to open up and make somewhat a little bit more friendly the legislation governing exploration in this Province, in particular for junior mining companies. Anybody in the industry knows that when we talk about exploration and the amount of money required for exploration, it is a global business. The amount of money required, the movement of capital, not only from one province to another but from one country to another, whether it be in Europe, whether it be in the Eastern bloc countries, in Australia, in North Africa, in Canada, or elsewhere in the United States, the movement of that capital occurs overnight, in many cases.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: There is a book you should read too. No, fair enough. Seriously, there is a book that you should read too, it is called Cain's Legacy. There are some indications in there on how we could have maximized some benefits with respect to -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Cain's Legacy, an excellent book.

Anyway, with respect to the changes we made in 1994, the amendments were to open up, I guess, the exploration industry for junior mining companies. Mr. Speaker, when it came to the discovery of Voisey's Bay it became evident - I would even go as far as to say self-evident - that changes were required to that act because of the significance and the magnitude of the discovery in Voisey's Bay. We began calling for changes then.

The former Minister of Mines and Energy throughout 1995 and 1996 -it was apparent that there was a debate occurring within Cabinet under the former Administration and the former premier, about how they should amend the act to take advantage of or maximize opportunities for all of us. Clearly there were amendments needed. There was a ten-year tax holiday that still exists in that act. There is still a question today if Voisey's Bay Nickel Company and Inco, operating under that framework are exempt for ten years from taxes. There is still a question, although assurances have been given by the present Minister of Mines and Energy and the Premier that, that will not take place. I think it is very clear, and we should be very clear when speaking about this particular piece of legislation, that is a commitment that has been made.

Back to 1995 and 1996. It was evident that there was a debate occurring in the Cabinet about the amendments that were going to be made or about to be made, because they were going to be made. In the early days of 1996, in January, when the former Premier resigned, he did so and said that before he does relinquish the position and the power of the office that goes with that position, he was calling the House of Assembly back for two weeks to debate two important pieces of legislation.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: I am going to tell you now. You know, he knows, and most of the Cabinet know.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: I know the government member was in Cabinet at the time, but that is not what I said. That does not mean that you did not know, because it became evident after. It became evident where you were after and where you are right now.

He was calling the House back for two weeks to debate what he said were two critical pieces of legislation and two pieces of business that he wanted to clear up and to clue up before he left the job as Premier. Those two pieces of legislation were: the Schools Act - we remember it all - the House was going to open up on January 14, 1996, and it was going to close on January 28. Now it spoke of his naivety of the situation that was unfolding before him, obviously. I will get to that in a second.

The second piece of legislation that we were going to debate and were anticipating to debate and were prepared to debate, were the amendments to the Mineral Mining Tax Act, but a significant event occurred at the time. The Premier's resignation, the canonization of a new Premier, and we did not come back to the House of Assembly to debate that legislation.

What we have seen since then, from that time frame, we have seen the referendum occur, a second one, under the stewardship and guidance of this Administration. We have seen the Minister of Education deal with that. Last fall we debated the legislation dealing with the Schools Act, passed it in this House, debated it in this House, but we have yet to see the amendments and that legislation which was supposed to be all-encompassing, which was supposed to do the following things:

It was supposed to put in a place a tax regime governing Inco's activities. To date we do not have it. It was supposed to introduce amendments with respect to industrial benefits, vis-Ó-vis the Voisey's Bay discovery. To date we do not have it. It was supposed to introduce the new royalty regime, but to date we do not have it because there were discussions taking place over time.

What we see today is, I guess, a piece of legislation that is coming forward, dealing with the stalemate that occurs and that has occurred with respect to Inco. Let there be no mistake about it that the changes that are coming deal specifically with that situation.

The Premier and the Minister of Mines and Energy have indicated that the amendments that are occurring are occurring for a reason, are occurring to close a loophole.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: That is what I have been told both publicly and privately, I say to the minister, specifically to close the loopholes on what could be a possible court challenge, and in closing those loopholes to ensure that we get the maximum benefits that we require as a Province.

There is always trouble with legislation that we introduce retroactively, there is no question, the doctrine of retroactivity with respect to laws that are passed in the House of Assembly -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: I understand that. I understand where I am. I understand the sensitivity surrounding this legislation. I think that the government House member needs to be reminded again that generally we support the thrust of this bill. That will become evident in the next four or five days as we move through the progression of debate on this piece of legislation, as we get into the clause-by-clause debate on this particular piece of legislation. I understand the sensitivity surrounding it very, very well. I understand also that, at the same time, legislation coming before this House demands transparency, demands scrutiny.

It is our job as legislators to debate frankly, openly and honestly, the impacts of legislation as it comes before us. At the end of the day we may support particular pieces of legislation, all of us unanimously, and other times we may not, but the obligation remains the same: to debate in an open environment, in a very public environment, and for the public record, legislation that government brings before the House of Assembly so that all of the public can get an understanding of where we are and why government is moving in a particular direction.

After all, any government of any stripe in any time, in the type of democracy that we live in, is judged by their legislative agenda. That is the tangible evidence that government is at work in terms of what legislation is tabled in this House.

Mr. Speaker, it now being almost the time for the sitting to adjourn until Monday, I will take leave and continue the hour that I have as Leader of the Opposition, and I will move adjournment.

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House adjourn until 2:00 p.m. on Monday. On Monday, we will again come back to the Mineral Act.

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

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