May 12, 1999               HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS              Vol. XLIV  No. 22


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): Order, please!

Before we begin the routine proceedings for the day, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome to the galleries nine grade XI and XII students from Sacred Heart School in Conche, Newfoundland, in the district of The Straits & White Bay North, accompanied by their teacher David Eddy.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Statements by Ministers

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

I stand today to honour a nursing pioneer who made a very positive mark in the nursing profession in Newfoundland and Labrador. Ms Joyce Nevitt was born in England and moved to St. John's in 1965. She was the founder and the first faculty member of the Memorial University School of Nursing. When she started, she was the only faculty member and had a class of twenty-eight students. In 1973 she wrote White Caps and Black Bands, a history of nursing in Newfoundland. She continued teaching at MUN and the Grace General Hospital School of Nursing after her retirement in 1982 and was involved in a number of volunteer activities. Sadly, Ms Nevitt died in November of last year.

The diversity within the nursing profession spans caring for all age groups in all settings at every point along the continuum of care. One such age group is the senior population. The specialty of gerontological nursing has experienced profound growth over the last decade revealed in research on elderly persons, the increase in published journal articles on geriatric issues, inclusion of gerontological nursing courses in the undergraduate nursing programs, and certification in areas of gerontological nursing.

As you know, this year marks the International Year of the Older Person and in honour of this year and this nursing pioneer, Ms Joyce Nevitt, the Department of Health and Community Services is announcing today the establishment of a nursing scholarship in the amount of $2,500 to be given to a nurse who is pursuing post-graduate studies in the area of gerontological nursing. This is the first time such funds have been made available for study around geriatric and gerontological issues.

This scholarship is to be named The Joyce M. Nevitt Memorial Scholarship and will be administered through the ARNN Education and Research Trust. Many nurses throughout Newfoundland and Labrador will recognize this woman for her work at Memorial University's School of Nursing. However, Ms Nevitt also worked as a clinical nurse, besides being a nursing educator, nursing administrator, nursing researcher, and a published author. She worked in all manners of practice settings. She typified the diversity that is nursing and I think it fitting she will be remembered by nurses through this initiative.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I certainly today pay tribute to the work of Joyce Nevitt and certainly endorse the efforts announced here by the minister today. It is certainly being positive in the recognition of nurses.

Today being International Nurses' Day, I would like to take the opportunity, too, to salute all nurses across this country by referring to their United Declaration that states:

"In over 100 countries around the world, nurses have agreed to celebrate Nurses' Day, May 12, in a very special way. Everywhere, on all continents, nurses take this opportunity to reflect on the role they play with regard to the health of the populations they serve. For everywhere, in all countries, nurses are the largest group of health professions delivering care in health care institutions, in the home and in the community.

"This year, in many Canadian provinces, nurses are moving from words to action. Severe cuts in funding by the Canadian government have resulted in cutbacks in the funding of the public health system everywhere. With the drive for a zero deficit, income tax cuts and government disinvolvement, in most provinces, health institutions have had to face even greater reductions in funding. Everywhere, nurses have suffered a deterioration in their working conditions and heavier and heavier workloads. So, their mobilization is not surprising.

"Government and employer's lack of respect for nurses as individuals and professionals, has left us disillusioned and demotivated. Moreover, increased workloads have threatened our ability to provide safe, quality care that the public expects and deserves. These are all factors which contribute to our anger and mobilization at a time when the end of downsizing - "

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SULLIVAN: By leave, just to finish?

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

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave!

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave!

MR. SPEAKER: No leave.

MR. SULLIVAN: Pardon?

MR. SPEAKER: No leave.

MR. SULLIVAN: The Government House Leader, I think -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave!

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It goes on:

"These are all factors which contribute to our anger and mobilization at a time when the end of downsizing indicates that governments now have some leeway to solve existing problems, redress inequities and improve our situation.

"From coast to coast to coast, our demands are the same: more nurses to care for patients, conversion of casual positions into permanent positions, education, compensation, the need to address workload and quality of care issues. Everywhere, unionized nurses are fighting privatization as well. We also want to settle the current problem of staff shortages, and recruit young nurses. From Saskatoon to St. John's, from Winnipeg to Montreal, from Vancouver to Charlottetown, from Toronto to Halifax, from Regina to Moncton, from the Northwest Territories to the Ungava Peninsula, we know that it is increasingly difficult to offer quality care.

Today, collectively, we want to protest working conditions which make it difficult for us to be able to abide by our code of ethics and our professional standards of practice which we are legally obliged to maintain. Because we realize that the quality of services depends largely on the conditions in which they are delivered, we want to voice our concern publicly. Together, with the same breath, we extinguish the flame of our candles, a symbol the energy which continues to motivate us, even after years of cutbacks. Tomorrow, we all take up the torch again.

We will continue to fight and speak out on behalf of our patients.

That is the United Declaration, today celebrating International Nurses' Day.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to join in paying tribute to the work and contribution of Joyce Nevitt to the nursing profession and nursing education in this Province.

Certainly, the development of the MUN School of Nursing and its last twenty-five years of providing top quality graduates has transformed the nursing profession in the Province and raised the standard of service and the professionalism to the highest order. It is fitting that a scholarship be named after her.

I do have to say, however, that it is ironic that having achieved the basic standard of a Bachelor of Nursing for the nursing profession -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HARRIS: By leave, Mr. Speaker?

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

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. HARRIS: - that we are now faced with the circumstances where nurses themselves find it difficult to practice their profession and provide safe and quality care, as it was so eloquently contained in the Nurses' Declaration.

I think this government has to accept its responsibility in that area in failing to answer the demands that were placed before them during the recent nurses' strike, and failed to take up the proper course in looking after the needs of patients and ensuring that the nursing profession can continue to offer the kind of service that they ought to be able to provide for the people and also to carry out their duties and professional responsibilities as nurses.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I wish to associate myself with your comments in the welcome earlier of the students who are here from Conche. I am delighted, as the Member for The Straits & White Bay North, to say welcome to those students who are here in the House today.

Mr. Speaker, my purpose in rising today is to update members of the House, and through the House the people of the Province, on the status of the Friede Goldman Newfoundland operations at Marystown.

Honourable members will recall that Friede Goldman International took over operations at the Marystown Shipyard and the Cow Head fabrication facility in their entirety at the end of 1997. Those assets were sold to Friede Goldman for the price of $1, with the condition attached that the company provide 1.2 million man hours of work per year at a minimum over the first three years of operation by Friede Goldman.

Failure to meet this obligation would generate financial penalties to Friede Goldman in the amount of $10 million in the first year, and $5 million in each of the two succeeding years.

Recently there has been some public comment and some speculation about the status of the Marystown operation. Friede Goldman Newfoundland has consolidated their existing work at the Cow Head fabrication facility, and they have also been sending Marystown workers to their operations at Pascagoula, Mississippi. Currently, indeed, there are thirty-one skilled workers from Marystown working at Pascagoula.

Last week, while at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Texas, myself and the Minister of Mines and Energy met with Friede Goldman International, with the Chief Executive Officer J. L. Holloway, to discuss Friede Goldman's commitment and operations in Newfoundland and Labrador. In addition to that, I travelled with officials to Pascagoula, Mississippi, and met there with the executive team and observed Friede Goldman's operation in Mississippi.

I have to say that we observed, in Mississippi, four brand new rigs under construction at an average cost of $250 million US each, and another four vessels which are currently being operated as jackup semi-submersibles being converted to floaters at a cost of $150 million each.

In all of these offshore exploration vessels - both new builds and retrofitted existing vessels, for a total of nine vessels - all of them were being built with the large components assembled at Marystown. Indeed those components were present at Pascagoula, and while there we met with some of the employees from Marystown.

Mr. Speaker, there are several points in our agreement with Friede Goldman International to take over Marystown which I wish to reaffirm and clarify in the House today.

First of all, the agreement calls for Friede Goldman Newfoundland to provide some 1.2 million hours of work per year at the Marystown facility, or to pay financial penalties. Last year, Friede Goldman exceeded the 1.2 million hour requirement by half a million hours. Indeed, it represented a record year at Marystown. However, we wish to make clear that the additional hours worked last year do not apply to the hours required for this year, 1999, and do not apply for the hours required for next year, 2000. They must provide, under the agreement, a minimum of 1.2 million hours of work in each year of that agreement.

Furthermore, we have advised Friede Goldman in writing that the hours worked by Marystown employees at their Friede Goldman facility - and while the employees appreciate that experience, as indeed does the government - that those hours at Pascagoula do not apply to the annual hourly requirement for Friede Goldman Newfoundland.

Mr. Speaker, I want to assure the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, and in particular the workers of Friede Goldman Newfoundland and their families, that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has every intention of holding Friede Goldman to the agreement negotiated in 1997, and will enforce financial penalties if necessary.

Having said that, I should be quick to add, a meeting that I and the Minister of Mines and Energy held with Mr. J. L. Holloway was a very productive meeting. He assured us in Houston, and again at Pascagoula, of the parent company's long-term commitment to Friede Goldman Newfoundland. He has confirmed that Marystown is an integral part of the company's plans and operations internationally, and they have a presence in North America, in Europe, and, of course, here in Canada, in Newfoundland. He reiterated and reconfirmed the company's commitment to keeping its full obligation to meet or exceed, this year, its 1.2 million man hour commitment to Friede Goldman at Marystown, Newfoundland. Beyond that, Friede Goldman has undertaken to discuss ways of expanding operations at Marystown.

Mr. Speaker, we have arranged for the full Friede Goldman executive team to be here within the next two weeks where a Committee of Cabinet, in consultation with the hon. member representing Marystown, will sit down with Friede Goldman to look at ways to realize the day when we are not sending parts for offshore exploration platforms to be assembled somewhere else but where we are assembling - that is the dream, that is the ambition - offshore drilling platforms right here at Marystown, Newfoundland.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. FRENCH: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I wish to thank the Premier for providing our office with a copy of his statement today. This statement, to me today, kind of sends chills down my spine.

Several weeks ago I was in Marystown. I can assure the Speaker today that there was certainly little or no talk of any work being done in Mississippi on the rigs that are presently being built coming to Newfoundland and Labrador. There may well by thirty-seven Newfoundlanders working in Mississippi, but there are 500 Newfoundlanders in Marystown and that general area today, I say to the Premier, who are unemployed and who are looking for work.

They are closing the yard, I say to the Premier, in Marystown and they are moving everything out to Cow Head. I hope that this is not a ploy by a company to get us -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FRENCH: That is what they told us. There were two of there and that is exactly what they told us.

When we look at this, I say to the Premier that it is a company which bought a $55 million facility for $1. I think we had better be very careful and we better stay on top of this company because after two years this deal runs out. There could very well be no Newfoundlanders working in Marystown or working in Cow Head if we do not make sure this company lives up to the deal they have in Marystown.

Mr. Speaker, I say I am very pleased that they have to guarantee the work that they have to guarantee last year, again this year, and again next year. We should stay on top of this company and we should do everything in our power to make sure that they send work to Marystown so that the people in that area of our Province can be looked after. I say a word of caution. We should really watch and see exactly how much work they send to Marystown.

As well, last week there was a motion passed in this House on shipbuilding, which I was very proud to stand in my place and support along with my colleagues, and colleagues on the other side. If the Marystown Shipyard is going to be used for what it was initially built for, then we had better as well get a ship building policy in Canada.

I hope the Premier will talk to the Prime Minister, who was very vocal, because I quoted some of his sections a week ago when he was in opposition on his feeling for a national ship building policy. So I hope the Premier will impress upon the Prime Minister of Canada how badly Marystown - Newfoundland - needs a ship building policy.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon member's time is up.

MR. FRENCH: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

For some reason, we did not receive an advance copy of his statement, but I am glad to hear that the Premier is optimistic about the future of Friede Goldman Newfoundland.

When I look at the recent labour force statistics, I see that the highest unemployment rate in Newfoundland is on the Burin Peninsula and South Coast at 29 per cent, three times that of the St. John's metropolitan area. This is at a time when there are two ships, the Newfoundland Offshore Terra Nova project, being built in Nova Scotia as a result of a Nova Scotia government policy supporting shipbuilding in Nova Scotia.

I want to say that it is not enough for this government to be optimistic and to pass, unanimously, resolutions saying that there should be a Canadian ship building policy. There has to be far more aggressive action on the part of this Province to ensure work in the offshore, to ensure that our ship building facilities are being fully used, and to ensure that we get our fair share of the developments in our own offshore.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I wish to advise the House that I will be meeting this Friday in Ottawa with the Federal Minister of Transport, the hon. David Collenette, to discuss with him the Province's total dissatisfaction with the Gulf Marine Ferry Services.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Kelvin Parsons, MHA for Burgeo-LaPoile which includes Port aux Basques, and the hon. Fred Mifflin, the Newfoundland and Labrador representative in the federal Cabinet, will join me for the meeting. Together we will impress upon the federal transport minister our many concerns which include, amongst other things, a replacement vessel for the Atlantic Freighter.

Mr. Speaker, the Atlantic Freighter is simply not adequate to meet the needs of truckers and travellers. We want a multi-purpose vessel that can handle freight demands while also providing quality supplemental passenger service, one that can provide a more timely and efficient level of service on a year-round basis.

This Province desperately needs a much more consistent and user-friendly level of ferry service and we are demanding a vessel with sufficient freight and quality carrying capacity for passengers.

Such a supplemental passenger-freighter vessel would enhance year-round accessibility to our Province with its emerging tourist industry; it would enable Marine Atlantic to respond to weather-related service disruptions, and clear up passenger and freight backlogs in a more timely fashion as well.

I, along with senior officials of the department, have had frequent meetings with the Marine Atlantic Board of Directors, the St. John's Board of Trade and the Town of Port aux Basques to discuss our mutual concerns with the Gulf Ferry service and I understand that these groups will be making their views known on this important issue later today. I am happy that these groups have joined our campaign for improved service on the Gulf, and I am confident that as a result of our joint efforts we will no longer be treated as second-class citizens.

The service provided on the Gulf since the commencement of 1999 has been totally and completely inadequate for truckers and travellers and this is having a negative impact upon our economy.

There is an obligation under the Terms of Union for Marine Atlantic to provide a level of service which meets the commitment that was made to us when we joined Confederation in 1949.

Many people are expected to travel to this Province this year to take part in the 50th anniversary of Confederation celebrations known as Soiree '99. This government wants Marine Atlantic to make sure, and to take the necessary steps to ensure, their services are meeting the needs of their customers.

We have heard enough excuses. It is now time for action. We do not intend to tolerate such insensitivities to travellers and truckers who are totally dependent on this service. We want Marine Atlantic to meet the traffic offering.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to thank the minister for a copy of the statement before the House opened today. It has certainly been a long debate, I say to the minister, in this Province, some fifty years now as we celebrate joining this country. We see our Trans-Canada, as some people refer to it, debated, and there have been concerns raised by truckers, by tourists and by people in this Province with experiences that they have had, and I have had myself, on that ferry system.

People in this Province are certainly going to be looking for action this time. They are not going to be looking for meetings back and forth to Ottawa that will drag out for a year, another two years, another three years.

I have spoken to many of the same people the minister has talked to over the last few days and last few weeks. I am going to continue to meet and speak with them over the next few days, few weeks and few months. We are going to continue this. The people I am meeting with are telling me to tell the provincial government in this Province to get more aggressive with their federal counterparts, and to tell Mr. Collenette that we will not be treated as second-class citizens any longer, as you have said in your statement.

Those people are also telling me that they will not let this government and this minister drop the ball again on Marine Atlantic until we get the ferry service that we deserve in this Province. It is time to highlight it and make sure that it is focused on in the next days to come.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I don't know why it has taken the minister so long to recognize that we are being treated as second-class citizens of this Province with respect to Marine Atlantic. I would have expected that if that were the case the Premier and the members of the government would be talking about it long since.

The biggest single deterrent to people coming to this Province, and I have met hundreds of them over the years, is the actual cost of travelling from North Sydney to Port aux Basques. They want to come but they cannot come because of the cost. When they build a ferry they build it ten inches too big to even be overhauled in the St. John's dockyard.

So, Mr. Speaker, there has been a whole long litany of complaints about the Marine Atlantic ferry service, and I hope -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HARRIS: - that this minister and this government are going to finally start to do something about it.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, I wish to take a minute today to inform the House that this week, May 10 to 16, is Mining Week in Canada. The theme for Mining Week this year is "Mining Makes It Happen," referring to the importance of mineral products in our everyday lives and the very significant contribution that mining and mineral exploration brings to our provincial economy.

As you are aware, government introduced considerable incentives for mining and mineral exploration in our Province in this year's Budget.

Under the Junior Company Exploration Assistance Program, as announced in the Budget, government provides $1.5 million of annual funding and the program provides 50-50 cost-sharing of the eligible costs of advanced exploration projects and these projects can be up to a maximum of $100,000 each.

To date, I can report that four junior mining companies exploring - one in St. Lawrence, one in Twillingate, one in South-Central Newfoundland and one in the Springdale-King's Point area - have benefitted from this initiative, receiving contributions from the program of just over $300,000, and the projects themselves will lead to an expenditure of just about $1 million. Several other applications are being considered and we expect full subscription of the program by the end of the fiscal year.

As well, this incentive program has been warmly received and commended by the mining and mineral exploration industry which fully appreciates the fundamental importance of mineral exploration.

Under the expanded Prospectors Assistance Program, approximately fifty-one prospectors are receiving financial support as well. These grass-roots projects have diverse targets and are located throughout Newfoundland, on the Island and in Labrador.

This program has increased from $100,000 last year to $250,000 for this fiscal year. To date, I can inform the Legislature that $130,000 has been granted to respective prospectors. Again, the program has been highly successful and we anticipate many more participants during this field season.

The Prospectors Assistance Program, in cooperation with the Bay St. George Campus of the College of the North Atlantic, also supports Prospectors Training. Twenty-six applicants have been accepted for a two-week course which begins May 28 of this year.

The final component of our program this year was a Dimension Stone Incentive Program. To date, no projects have yet been approved, but there are several being considered for cost-sharing to a maximum of $50,000 per project. We anticipate, as well, full subscription to this program before the end of this field season this summer.

Today, Mr. Speaker, as well, I will table the specifics of the Prospectors and Industry Assistance programs that I have mentioned in this statement, outlining the names of the companies and individuals who have received assistance under this program and glad to do so at this time.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Before the Chair recognizes the hon. the Member for Baie Verte, it is 2:29 p.m. We are getting close to 2:30 p.m., at which time I would have to call Question Period. Do we have an agreement that we would move the Private Members' Day ahead?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

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

I will just make a couple of brief remarks. Certainly we stand and we certainly are glad about Mining Week, May 10 to May 16, and support it. We all realize in this Province how important the mining industry is and could be. What jumps out at us right away is Voisey's Bay and where that stands right now, but hopefully, in the not too distant future, we will see something happening on that front.

As far as junior mining companies and exploration in this Province goes, and I have said this to the minister before - I said it to him last night in meetings and I have said it before in this House - as prospectors say you have to look for it before you can find it. That is why we have to encourage in every possible way these junior companies, the small companies. If you read the book, The Big Score, about Voisey's Bay, exactly how that was discovered, that is what happens. They get out in the field and do their field work, they explore, and hopefully we will find some other major developments in this Province. Mining is a very important part of this Province's economy and should continue to be so.

It is a step in the right direction, I would say to the minister. I have said it before that it is an incentive for junior exploration but it is only a small step, I say to the minister. There is much ground to be covered when it comes to exploration. More incentives are needed. There is no doubt that the change to the Mineral Act - and we have heard it nationally and internationally, I have had calls myself on it - may have been in a certain light negative. As the minister has assured me, there is a better understanding of that now, and that incentives such as this will encourage people to come to this Province to explore more so we can look for more developments in the future.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Labrador West.

MR. COLLINS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise in support of the Ministerial Statement. I think the theme is quite true and appropriate: Mining Makes It Happen. Mining makes a lot of things happen, particularly the revenues that are generated from mining in the country and, more particularly to us, in our Province.

This year mining will be close to $1 billion in our Province, and that is quite significant. There are also many high-paying jobs in the mining industry that generate taxes that provide other things such as medicare, education, and other services that we need as a society.

I think it is also important to recognize the fact that there has to be assistance for the prospectors because a lot of the places they go into are inaccessible, except by air mostly -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. COLLINS: - and it costs a lot of money to do that. So, I support the initiative brought forward by the minister today.

Oral Questions

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, when education reform was proposed in this Province several years ago, there was widespread public support for the concept of reform in our educational system.

What people expected of this reform was that there would be an improved educational experience for our children. However, people are beginning to see now clearly that we are getting something else entirely than what they expected.

The PC Education Committee, for example, met last night in Port aux Basques. There, the people brought forth to that committee several examples of where reductions have clearly been demonstrated and the education system - the reform that was promised - is clearly not materializing.

I want to ask the Minister of Education: Is this the positive reform that the government promised and the people of this Province came to expect as a result of education reform?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS FOOTE: Mr. Speaker, this government is committed to a quality education program in this Province. An indication of that is if you look at how we have not applied the formula for allocating teachers in the past two years. In fact, over the last two years, if we had applied the formula that exists in the department we would have seen over 800 teachers removed. That, we did not do. We chose not to do that. In fact, less than half of that number came out of the system.

Even this year, if you were to look at the number of teachers that have been allocated, keeping in mind the number of students in the system, we used 97,000 students as a basis on which to determine the number of teachers that would be in the system. In reality, there will be 93,500 students in the system - 4,000 fewer students.

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, the minister repeatedly states that she feels that teacher reductions will not result in program reductions. The evidence continues to mount and the minister continues to ignore it.

In St. James Elementary School, for example, in Port Aux Basques, the guidance counsellor will be reduced to half time. This year's three classes of Grade IVs will become next year's two classes of Grade Vs, with thirty-two and thirty-three students, respectfully, in a class.

I ask the minister again: Is that the kind of education reform that the government promised and the people have a right to expect?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS FOOTE: Mr. Speaker, if ignoring the concerns that are being expressed out there is being shown by meeting with all of the education directors with each of the school boards to determine where those concerns are coming from, with a promise to address any legitimate concerns that are out there, it is a strange way of ignoring an issue.

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, the minister has made reference to it again today, and she has given vague commitments in the past, that she is going to seriously look at this problem.

I have to say to the minister, those kinds of vague references are not enough. I want to ask the minister this: Who does she have looking at this problem for her? What is going to happen with those reductions that are going to take place in this particular school, in Port aux Basques, in September? Is the minister going to continue to ignore the mounting evidence that is growing from all parts of this Province that program reductions are going to be the result of teacher reductions in the classrooms in the schools of this Province?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS FOOTE: Mr. Speaker, in addition to senior officials in the Department of Education, including the deputy minister, meeting with all of the education directors of every school board - and, unfortunately, several of those education directors were in Iceland on a study tour at a time when we were being told about concerns that are being expressed out in the districts.

Unfortunately, we have not been able to meet with all of them in the time frame that we would have liked to do so. Those meetings are now cluing up. There are only a couple more to happen, now that the individuals are back in the Province. Once we have had a chance to do that - and we are also listening to concerns that are being brought forward by members on this side as well as members opposite.

Again, we allocate the teachers to the school boards. The school boards allocate to the schools. We have to ask questions about how those teachers are being allocated by the school boards to the schools. We are not ignoring any concerns that are being expressed. If we were, why would we be going through this process now?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, again I have to remind the minister that the commitment was that reform would lead to a better system of education. People are expecting improved quality. They are expecting improved access to properly staffed classrooms. They are not expecting reductions in primary French; they are not expecting reductions in library services; they are not expecting reduced music instruction, as will happen at St. James Elementary School in Port aux Basques this year.

Mr. Speaker, again I ask the minister: When is she going to stop ignoring the overwhelming evidence that is piling up in front of her on quality and access to education? When is she going to stop this vicious attack on the education system in rural Newfoundland and Labrador?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS FOOTE: For the third time, Mr. Speaker, if meeting with all of the education directors to try and determine how they have allocated teachers; if listening to the concerns that are being expressed by parents - and I appreciate the concerns that are being expressed by parents, given the information they are being given out in the system. I appreciate their frustration. I understand where they are coming from. If I was being told some of the things they are being told, I would probably react in the very same way.

Let me say, Mr. Speaker, in terms of a quality education program, we have seen access increased in a number of subject areas in our school system over the last two years of education reform, including increased access to physical education and music as well as computer technology, as well as a number of subject areas. So, in terms of course offerings, we have seen increased access.

We have also put $125 million back into the system for new school construction, for redevelopment of schools.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS FOOTE: We have spent a further $10 million on air quality. We have frozen the operating grants to school boards. Even though we have fewer students and fewer schools, in this year's budget we have retained the operating grants for the school boards. Those are reinvestments of monies, savings reinvested back in our education system.

Are we listening? Yes, we are listening. Are we committed to a sound education for the young people in our Province? Indeed we are, and we will continue to be so.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My questions, too, are to the Minister of Education. I say to the minister, reductions are nothing new in education. Administrators, teachers, students, have been putting up with reductions for many years. They thought there was going to be a plan brought forward but they find out now that the only plan is the plan to save money.

Minister, schools are being forced to reduce services to students and, by reducing services, inferior programs are being provided that do not meet the needs of those students. The minister asked the critic for education a few days ago to bring forward some examples. Minister, I have a list of some examples that our committee heard just last night on the West Coast.

At the Stephenville Middle School, library services have been eliminated. Class size will increase at the Grade VI level to thirty in each class. French immersion students will be mixed with the regular students. Administrators will be expected to spend more time in the classroom. I say to the minister: Is this what education reform is all about?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS FOOTE: Mr. Speaker, I can repeat again, I guess, the reinvestment back into education as a result of savings that have been realized through consolidation but the hon. members opposite know that. I am wondering if they know, though, that in this Province we spend more on education than any other province in this country, based on our ability to pay - a budget of $700 million for the Department of Education. Twenty per cent of the entire provincial budget is spent on education. We have seen a larger percentage increase of assistants to students than any other province in this country, with the exception of Saskatchewan - a 19 per cent increase in the last five years.

Mr. Speaker, if that is not a commitment to a sound education system, I do not know what is. We can all give examples. As the hon. member opposite has said, change is nothing new. We have seen things happen over the years. When the school system opens up in September, there are different programs offered every September.

We have undertaken to ensure, and we have a mandate to ensure, that every high school student who graduates will be eligible to attend any post-secondary institution in this world, based on the quality of the programs that we are offering and the credits available to them.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I say to the minister that students have come to expect more than the basic services. Minister, the Lourdes system will be losing two teachers come September. There are two Grade I classes this year - seventeen in one class and sixteen in the other. Come September, these two classes will be combined. Two kindergarten classes will be combined, with thirty students in that particular class.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member is on a supplementary.

MR. FITZGERALD: Guidance services will be reduced to one-quarter time. Minister, do you realize that the parents of students attending the Lourdes system - do you think they really knew what your education reform process was all about?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS FOOTE: Mr. Speaker, again let me repeat -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

MS FOOTE: Mr. Speaker, once again the member opposite is rhyming off examples of what will happen. We are going through a process right now, meeting with all of the education directors to determine how it is possible that this will be happening. I have said, and I repeat again, where we are able to make sure that there is not a negative impact on programming, based on our ability to pay and based on legitimate concerns out there, we will address those.

Mr. Speaker, that is the process we are going through. Let's let the process run its course, and we will make decisions that will have an impact for September of this year.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker

Minister, Our Lady of Mercy Elementary School will also see a teaching position disappear come September. The effects of this loss will be two Grade V classes combined, with a class of thirty-one in Grade VI next year. This school presently has a Grade IV class of thirty-six. How large is acceptable, Minister? Is that what school reform should mean to the students who are attending Our Lady of Mercy Elementary at St. George's?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

AN HON. MEMBER: Thank God there are only (inaudible).

MS FOOTE: I would say, thank heavens there are only three in the road show or they would all be up asking similar types of questions today.

Mr. Speaker, let me say again - no wonder the parent out there are concerned, if this is the kind of information being fed - fearmongering, again suggesting that these things will happen.

Again, let us go back to the source of the information. Instead, let us see what the boards are saying. Let us find out. Those that have the responsibility for allocating the teachers to the system are allocating the teachers based on what they think the need is. Once we have had a chance to evaluate that, then we will be in a better position to respond.

MR. SPEAKER: A final supplementary, the hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister, St. Michael's Elementary School in Stephenville Crossing will also lose a teaching position come September. The principal will be expected to go half-time into the classroom. This year there were two Grade IV classes. Next year, there will be one class with thirty-three students. There will be one Grade VII class, Minister. Listen to this one, Minister.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Minister, there will be one Grade VII class with thirty-seven students. I ask the minister if her government's education reform process considered students at all in their rush to save dollars?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS FOOTE: Mr. Speaker, let me repeat again that 20 per cent of the entire provincial budget is spent on education. We spend more money on education, based on our ability to pay, than any other province in this country. If the hon. member is asking us to spend more and to reinvest more, I would love to know where they would suggest we will get it. At a time when we have an aging population, a declining birth rate, more people needing access to our health care system, the question is: Where do we get the money?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

Yesterday, Minister, on an Open Line program, you indicated that we are the only province in this country that has only nurses and licensed practical nurses working in our nursing homes. Most other provinces have patient care attendants. You said, and I quote: We don't. Will we in the future? Well, that remains to be seen.

I ask the minister: Is that part of your plan, to deal with nursing shortages by reducing the level of care residents are receiving in our nursing homes?

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

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

I thought the member opposite was going to stand and apologize to the people working at Hoyles-Escasoni for commenting on the quality of care they provided to the system.

I have to say, with respect to long-term care, we stand very proud in acknowledging - and I said it very often publicly - that we are the only province in the country that still has only nurses and LPNs working in the system, without patient care attendants.

Again, like most comments made, you have to take them in the full context of what they mean. What I am saying, and what I said very clearly yesterday on Open Line, was that we need to be careful what we are convincing the public of; because eventually, if we do convince them that our publicly funded system is a failure, something else -

MR. J. BYRNE: They can see it for themselves.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

If we continue to try to convince our public that the publicly funded system that we have fought for and that we are very proud of is failing, then it is very obvious that we will have very little control over how our health care will be delivered. In many cases, where there is a larger privatization section than in this Province, we know exactly what has been happening. It does affect the quality of care.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yes, I might say, Minister, I talked about the government's failure to provide adequate quality of life with six in a room, and the structure at Hoyles-Escasoni, Minister. Never did I make any comment on the quality of care provided by nursing professionals or other health care professionals.

I fully expected the minister to stand in her place today, on International Nurses' Day, and have a Ministerial Statement on the work that nurses do across this country.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member is on a supplementary.

MR. SULLIVAN: Surgeries, Minister, are being cancelled every day now - today and yesterday - because there are insufficient nurses to staff our hospitals. It is unfair to expect nurses to carry heavy workloads and receive far less compensation than they do in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and the rest of this country for that matter. On this International Nurses' Day, will the minister announce a positive action to address the disparity among nurses in this Province to the rest of the country?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

Before I get to the answer, in response to the preamble, the member did, in fact, on NTV last night, make reference to the quality of care being delivered at Hoyles-Escasoni. He can go back and watch it himself. That is why he has been all over the open lines this morning backtracking on having said it, because he did say it, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS J.M. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, also he made comments that the privately operated deliver a better quality service than those in the public. I think that speaks about where they are on that side of the House.

I think it is important to note that over the last number of weeks we have been putting in place a number of initiatives to try to address many of the concerns that have been outlined. We have been working very closely with the boards. As was mentioned in the House, in addition to the 200 conversions that we announced in April there are another 340 conversions of casual to permanent nurses in the system.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS J.M. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, that is in addition to the 125 new positions. We are continuing to monitor the status as well.

I think very importantly as well, there is a $4 million allocation for hiring of support staff to assist nurses with the work that they traditionally have done and has been recognized as not necessarily being work of nurses. We have put in place the opportunity for boards to hire workers such as porters, medical service aids, administrative staff and licensed practical nurses to assist in these areas.

In addition, as noted, we have been having discussions with the schools of nursing and also the nurse practitioner program about increasing enrolments in the fall, and have received a proposal which we are now analyzing.

I think it is also very important to note that we have not laid off front-line nurses. We have been working very hard to try to maintain those nurses. Most recently, by converting over 340 nurses across the Province, in consultation with the boards, we hope that we will be able to try to create one of the lowest casual pools of nurses across the country. Right now we have about 18 per cent and we would like to be able to bring it lower, keeping in mind that there still are casual nurses who prefer to work casual because of the fact that it allows them more flexibility in their lifestyle. Not all nurses prefer to work casual. Many would want a permanent position.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. minister to conclude her answer.

MS J.M. AYLWARD: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

In addition to the opportunities of working as a casual, those who would prefer to work as casuals, there is a benefit increase from 14 per cent to 20 per cent for casuals, over and above their base salary in lieu of the benefits they do not get as permanent nurses. So, Mr. Speaker, we have been taking measures to try to address those issues.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The minister is missing the point completely. Minister, how do you plan to get nurses to take up positions in this Province and deal with the nursing shortage here, and stop the out-migration of nurses from this Province, if you are not even prepared to pay them on par with lowly Prince Edward Island, with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick? Tell me what the solution is, Minister, if you will not pay them?

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

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

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible) small province!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Health and Community Services.

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

I would be -

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible)!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member asked a question. I ask him to let the minister answer.

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

I would be very curious to hear what the member opposite's solution is, because every day in this House he stands up and says more money for - last year -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MS J.M. AYLWARD: No, seriously, Mr. Speaker, I think it is important. If I may have an opportunity to answer, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

Yesterday in this House of Assembly he stood and accused us of not putting money into remodelling nursing homes, and then a few minutes ago he said: Bricks and mortar over people. Talk about speaking out of both sides of your mouth.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS J.M. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, it is not easy, but we do spend over a third of our budget -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. minister to continue.

MS J.M. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, yes, I heard where he said this morning how to fix the nursing home situation. He repeated exactly what the executive director said about increasing residents' comfort and changing the rooms and making all the types of arrangements that the previous speaker had made, but still he criticised that very board for doing the work they were doing.

In response to the question, and I say, Mr. Speaker, it is important, even though we will always be challenged with respect to meeting salary requirements, we are spending over a third of our total budget in health care. I have said it time and time again, and everyone in this Province can verify, that you would be very hard pressed to find any single group of professionals or non-professionals making more money than their counterparts across the country. That is something we would all wish we could do.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. member to conclude her answer.

MS J.M. AYLWARD: Yes, Mr. Speaker. That is one of the functions of working within a financial limit. It is easy to offer money for everything when you do not have to be accountable. On one hand he says: Government, be accountable, but on the other hand he throws money everywhere and I have to be accountable.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is for the Minister of Education on the issue of the reductions in teacher allocations. The minister constantly talks about a formula that she does not use, an obsolete formula to reduce the number of teachers. Why doesn't the minister not implement the formula at all instead of half-implementing it, which is what she is doing now? If the formula is obsolete, scrap the formula, scrap the reductions of teacher allocations, and build up the basis of need in our schools and not cut down from the top. Why doesn't she do that instead of reducing the programs in our schools as we have heard from all over this Province except from her?

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

MS FOOTE: Mr. Speaker, what the hon. member is suggesting is exactly what we have done. We have not applied the formula for the past two year. Again, because we are into education reform, we have chosen as a government not to apply the formula.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS FOOTE: In fact, Mr. Speaker, if we had - let me repeat again - there would be over 800 teachers coming out of the system. When you look at a declining student enrolment, when we see 4,000 students coming out of the system every year, if you want to project out then we are looking at, in about 2010, maybe 58,000 students left in the system. If we were to listen to the member opposite we probably would end up with the same number of teachers, 6,453, in the system then as we have today.

Again, we have not applied the formula, and in fact, we have gone further, particularly for rural Newfoundland. We have instituted a category called the Small Necessarily Existent Schools. In fact, we have done that deliberately to ensure that in rural Newfoundland students will have access to a quality comprehensive program, bearing in mind that the distances for them to travel to the nearest school is too great in our opinion, and because we want to ensure, again, that they have access to quality programs wherever they live in this Province. Of the 363 schools in this Province, ninety-three of them have been designated Small Necessarily Existent Schools as a way of accommodating schools, students and parents in rural Newfoundland.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

As a further example of the minister's double-talk she is implementing the formula partially, not wholly, but she is implementing the formula.

Further, how can the minister stand in this House and say that we are spending more on education than any other province in Canada when in fact we spend $2,000 per student less than the Canadian average? Another example of the minister's double-talk. How can she say that when we have overcrowding in our classrooms, multiple grading, more distance education and the Dean of Education at Memorial University complaining about reductions and the quality of education in this Province? How can she say all that when we spend $2,000 less per student than the Canadian average? She is trying to claim that we spend more than any other province.

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

MS FOOTE: Mr. Speaker, let me say again that based on our ability to pay - and you will find this in respect to a lot of areas throughout this country when you deal with different issues -, which is based on our GDP, we spend more on education than any other province in this country.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, we spend less per student than the Canadian average, about $2,000 per student less. Now, the minister is trying to convince us that less is more. That is what we are being told, that less is more. That is like -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: That is the kind of information that this minister is trying to give to the people of this Province. We know that when you reduce the number of teacher, the quality of education is going to go down. The minister is not listening, although she says she is.

If she was serious about listening to the people, why wouldn't she and her caucus join with the PC committee and with our caucus and have an all-party committee of this House to go around the Province and hear what the people have to say about the reductions in the programs in their schools?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is committed to a quality education for our children.

I should point out, so we do not forget, that members on both sides of the House, including the members on this side of the House, have children in the school system. I think the notion that anybody would want to portray that somebody has a monopoly on concern for the quality of education of our young people is simply a false one.

There are many people on this side of the House, and many on that side of the House, who have children in our school system today in urban and rural Newfoundland.

The Minister of Education has the flexibility. She is now going through each of the boards, board by board by board. Let there be a clear message to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador that where there are difficulties created at the board level, the decision by those who have the responsibility to deliver a quality education system to our children, having heard the representation from the school councils, from parents and from students, the minister has the flexibly to act and the minister will act in the best interest of quality education.

Let me make this comment, if somebody represents a rural constituency. In my mind, if there needs to be a change to the formula, and there does, and we will go through that this year in time for next year, we need to tilt the balance more toward rural Newfoundland (inaudible).

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, it is going to be interesting to see whether the members opposite are prepared to support those kinds of values.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Question Period has ended.

It now being 3:03 p.m., we move to the Orders of the Day.

Orders of the Day

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Placentia & St. Mary's.

I believe the member has a motion on the Order Paper.

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am pleased today to present a private member's resolution. I would like to read the resolution into the record, to move the following private member's resolution:

WHEREAS today marks the 50th Anniversary of the first full day that Newfoundland became a part of Canada; and

WHEREAS certain benefits have been accrued by Newfoundland and Labrador as part of that Confederation; and

WHEREAS Newfoundland joined Canada, we had complete control of our own resources, including the fishery and hydro power; and

WHEREAS Newfoundland had little political clout on the national scene, several sections of the Terms of Union with Canada have caused great concern and strife to the people of this Province; and

WHEREAS several deals were made affecting the control of our fishery, and deals such as the Churchill Falls contract, that have reaped major benefits for other provinces and the federal government while Newfoundland still remains a have-not province; and

WHEREAS sections of the Terms of Union have been renegotiated in the past, such as Term 17;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that this hon. House call upon the Government of Canada to begin discussions on renegotiating the Terms of Union so as to give Newfoundland and Labrador more say in decisions affecting the overall welfare of this Province so that then we, as a people, can control our own destiny.

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have the opportunity today to stand here in the House of Assembly, during this 50th year of Confederation with Canada, to discuss some of the concerns that people in the Province, over the past number of years, have been raising as it relates to the Confederation deal that was signed more than fifty years ago.

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

MR. SPEAKER (Smith): Order, please!

On a point of order, the hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy.

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, just for a point of clarification, I was listening as the hon. member read his motion into the record, and I was following the printed copy that is on the Order Paper for today. In his last WHEREAS he made some reference that I did not see printed on the Order Paper.

I believe that he read into the motion a different motion than is on the Order Paper. I would like clarification as to which motion we are debating today, because what he read is completely different than what is on the Order Paper here today. Could we have clarification as to what we are debating today?

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, we are debating the -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Placentia & St. Mary's, is he speaking to the point of order?

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, we are debating the order that is on the paper, the resolution that is on the Order Paper.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Speaker did not hear the hon. member when he originally read the - are you saying there was some error in what you read into the record earlier?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. TULK: (Inaudible) clarification just exactly what it is that we are debating here today. (Inaudible) if the hon. gentleman might stand in his place and read the resolution that is on the Order Paper, and that is what we are debating, as opposed to what he just read.

The point is, if I could, I say to the Leader of the Opposition, what he read and what is on the Order Paper are two different things.

MR. SPEAKER: To the point of order, the hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The resolution being debated today is the one that was read into the record previously and printed on today's Order Paper. That is the one being debated today. If he read one different than that, it is not the one being debated. He has already indicated that. For the record, it is the one that was officially read and given notice a week or two weeks ago, way back some time ago, and announced yesterday. The one that was submitted by the Member for Placentia & St. Mary's, the one that is listed on the Order Paper today, is the official record to be debated, regardless of what was said here today.

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

MR. TULK: All I am asking the hon. gentleman to do is, just for the record - I am not disagreeing with him. All I am asking him to do is, just for the record, to read - he just read a resolution on the Order Paper which is not the correct one.

MR. GRIMES: It is totally different.

MR. TULK: Totally different. Now I am just asking him kindly if he would stand - if he wants an extra minute to do it, I will give it to him - and read the resolution that is on the Order Paper into the record so that we are clear on the record just what it is we are debating.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Placentia & St. Mary's.

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, I would like to read for the record what we are going to discuss here today. I was trying to do this, if the hon. members on the other side of the House will give me the opportunity to do so.

WHEREAS we have celebrated -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. MANNING: WHEREAS we have celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Newfoundland and Labrador's entry into Confederation with Canada; and

WHEREAS certain benefits have accrued to Newfoundland and Labrador because of Confederation, and tremendous benefits have also accrued to our fellow Canadians; and

WHEREAS Newfoundland and Labrador's limited power within Confederation to control matters affecting our destiny has often been the source of great concern, frustration and strife for the people of this Province; and

WHEREAS national policies relating to our own resources have often provided greater benefits to other parts of Canada and therefore have not been fair and equitable;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that this Honourable House call upon the Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to begin discussions immediately on adjusting roles and responsibilities for Newfoundland and Labrador within Confederation to give the people of Newfoundland and Labrador greater say in decisions affecting the overall welfare of this Province and to give our people a greater measure of control over our own destiny.

Mr. Speaker, now that the members opposite have calmed down, I would like to get to the concerns that this resolution brings forward and indeed the concerns that have been brought forward to me over the past number of years that I have been involved in politics, by the people of the Province.

I guess as we stand here today, just after celebrating the 50th year of Confederation, there are many parts of that Confederation that have been good for Newfoundland and Labrador. I believe that at this crucial time in our history, it is time that we sit back and see: Are there some ways that we can look at the things that are not bringing as much benefit to Newfoundland and Labrador, I guess, as our forefathers thought they would?

I believe, when we look at the concerns that have been raised with me over the past number of years, there are many different deals that have been made that are causing concern. I just want to touch on a few that I think we, as legislators, and the government of this Province should be addressing today. Certainly, I am going to touch on four points today, if I could, and hope that we garner some debate on these points and see where the debate will lead us.

I certainly think that we should be addressing the concerns of fisheries management. It has been brought up by the government opposite and former governments of this Province, on some type of shared fisheries management for Newfoundland and Labrador with Canada. Most of what happens in our fishery now is in total control of Ottawa. We see that this control, and the fact that many people in our Province do not believe that Ottawa listens to the concerns of the people of the Province and definitely, in most case, Ottawa does not understand the concerns of the people in the Province as they relate to the fishery, the fishing communities, and the people who make a living from the sea.

I do believe that we have an opportunity now during this celebration year to bring this concern to the forefront and hopefully get some of the concerns addressed. That is one of the things I hope to touch on as the day goes on.

Another concern that has certainly been raised over the past number of years has to do with transfer payments and the equalization program. It seems over the past number of years, as Newfoundland has begun to develop some new industries such as our oil and gas, looking at the possibility of a mining industry down in Voisey's Bay with the richest nickel deposit in the world, and other industries that are forthcoming, it seems that any benefits that come our way, or are due to come our way, we end up losing a fair amount of the dollars and the profits to Ottawa in lieu of transfer payments or equalization. I think this is grossly unfair. I think that it is something that needs to looked at so that Newfoundland and Labrador has an opportunity over the next few years to become a have Province.

If we do find something here and begin to develop something here that is going to reap benefits, monetary benefits, and other benefits for this Province, I think it would be grossly unfair of the federal government to take those dollars and keep us down at the present level while these dollars could give us an opportunity to get ahead and become the have Province that we all want to become.

Another situation that is certainly a grave concern in my District of Placentia & St. Mary's, and as I listen to the news and have watched over the past number of years, I think it is very important that we have a second look, or it could be a tenth look for all I know, but definitely have another look at the Employment Insurance program that is brought forward to this Province from Ottawa.

I think over the past number of years, with the changes to the employment program, many people in our district, whether it is the forestry on the West Coast, whether it is the fishery of the Province, whether it is the tourism industry, or whatever the case may be, many of these industries are seasonal operations. We do not have the opportunity in our small communities to avail of many different types of employment. Therefore, we are usually brought up on the fishery, the forestry, or whatever the case may be. People who work in those industries, at certain times during the year, when it comes time to be laid off and go back to depending on Employment Insurance to help them out during the winter, the changes that have been brought on over the past number of years have taken almost $600 million out of payments to this Province from EI. I think that is something that needs to be addressed also.

I think there is no doubt about it on each and every one of our minds, our lips, over the past number of years, and indeed, I suppose, the past decade more so that any, is the deal, the contract, as it relates to the Upper Churchill. This contract is costing this Province billions of dollars. Ottawa is refusing - and many people look at Quebec as the enemy. Many people look at Quebec as the block, in a way, that they are going to keep us from finding an equitable deal on the Upper Churchill. I see Quebec as an opportunity, someone who can come to the table, someone who is looking to develop the Lower Churchill, and someone we can sit down and talk and try to find some ways that we can bring in more policies, better policies, as it relates to the Upper Churchill, and something that will reap benefits for this Province. It is certainly something that needs to be looked at. It is a golden opportunity now with the talk and the possible development of the Lower Churchill. It is a golden opportunity for us as a province to make some major inroads into the Upper Churchill contract, to have some sidelines, and this is one of the other things I would like to talk about today.

I am just going to over these four points and touch on these. There are many others that we could talk about. We have the Gulf ferry service that was brought up in the House today, the transportation network that we have, an equitable distribution of federal department jobs, resource management, overall environmental concerns, tourism concerns, trade concerns and so forth.

If we try to take all the issues that are out there among our people today and try to address all the concerns, I think we could get lost in the shuffle. Therefore that is why I am putting forward a four-point plan. I think we should address these four issues first, touch on these four issues, sit down with the federal government, discuss these four issues, and hopefully - if we can get some mechanism in place to address the concerns that have been raised, and the inequities that are in these four issues I have raised here today - over the next number of years indeed we can address some of the inequities, and then we can move on to other things. It is important that we do not get caught up in trying to do everything at the one time.

I would just like to go back, if I could, and talk about fisheries management. I guess it is the one that certainly concerns many parts of my District of Placentia & St. Mary's, and indeed the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador as a whole. For the past 500 years we have worked very hard in the fishing industry. Newfoundland and Labrador has been in the forefront of the fishing industry in the world for a number of years. Since 1992 and the moratorium we have been given an opportunity to sit back and have a look at exactly where the fishery is going.

I receive correspondence from all around my district, and I would just like to quote if I could from a letter I received from a Mrs. Bride Martin in St. Vincent's. The questions she asked are: "Is government listening today? What is government's plan for Newfoundland and Labrador?"

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave.

MR. MANNING: I am just getting - Mr. Speaker, if I could -

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave!

MR. SPEAKER: Leave denied.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: Okay. I just would like to make a comment, Mr. Speaker, if I could, and I say it to the hon. Minister of Fisheries. If he would just listen for a moment to a letter I received from a constituent of mine I am sure he would not be shaking his head.

This letter was sent off to Minister Anderson in Ottawa. This lady from my district said: "... Our Minister of Fisheries who is giving you the facts and visual proof of what damage is being done by [the] seal herd to a resource that we are trying to rebuild for the life-blood of our province?"

This lady who is retired wanted Minister Anderson to know that what the hon. Minister of Fisheries for our Province is bringing to Ottawa are facts and concerns of the whole population of the Province. The fact is that we have a situation here just with the seal hunt alone that we do not have any say over. The people of the Province are definitely going through a very difficult time, and if we could have some say and be able to rule our own day that we could do something for the rural parts of this Province.

I think that fisheries management is one of the many avenues that we could address with the Government of Canada. It is time we call on the government opposite to put in place a mechanism where we go to Ottawa and say: Look, it is time that the concerns of the people of this Province are addressed, it is time the concerns of the people of this Province are heard, and it is time that the concerns of the people of this Province are acted upon.

I will leave it now, Mr. Speaker, and ask someone else to finish up for me.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Terra Nova.

MR. LUSH: Mr. Speaker, it gives me a great privilege today to speak to this particular resolution. The hon. member's speech, the hon. member's verbal approach to this resolution, seemed to be much more effective to me than what the actual wording of the resolution is.

When I read the resolution I wasn't quite clear as to what the hon. member was trying to achieve. I did not know if it was sovereignty association, I did not know if it was economic union that he was looking for, or whether it was complete separation from Canada. Because some of the language is quite strident, and what is not strident is sort of incomprehensible. One does not know what it is the hon. gentleman is trying to achieve.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

On a point of order, the hon. Member for Placentia & St. Mary's.

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, I would just like to set the record straight for the hon. member, because he seems to be a bit clouded on what we are trying to do here today.

I addressed for the past number of minutes that I believe that many benefits have accrued to this Province. If you read the `whereases' of my resolution, there are many benefits that have accrued to this Province from Confederation with Canada. I think we would all be a little naive if we think that - there are many concerns that have been raised also. It is time that we get an equal footing as a true partner in Confederation, and that is what this resolution is putting forward today.

MR. SPEAKER: No point of order.

The hon. the Member for Terra Nova.

MR. LUSH: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The hon. gentleman just proved substantively what I had said. He got up and acknowledged that we had received many benefits from Canada. That is completely absent in the resolution. As a matter of fact, the resolution states specifically -

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

On a point of order, the hon. the Member for Placentia & St. Mary's.

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, the resolution states, "AND WHEREAS certain benefits have accrued to Newfoundland and Labrador because of Confederation, and tremendous benefits have also accrued to our fellow Canadians..."

I ask the member to read the resolution, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: No point of order.

The hon. the Member for Terra Nova.

MR. LUSH: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am about to read the resolution. The hon. member not this minute but probably another minute ago acknowledged that there were many benefits from Canada, but the resolution when he read it said, "AND WHEREAS certain benefits..." Certain benefits. I wondered why the hon. member seemed rather timid to say that there were many benefits accruing from Confederation, but he has said that there were "certain," and "certain" is such an unspecific word. "Certain" is not a very descriptive word.

So it suggests the attitude and the spirit in which the motion was done. Not too happy with Confederation. I believe fifty years ago he would not have been on the Confederate side. He is still trying to go back to that old debate. He wasn't afraid to put it the other way though when it came to the benefits that Canada received from Newfoundland. That is a debate that scholars really have not yet resolved. Scholars, academics, have not resolved yet who won, whether it was Canada or Newfoundland. We would like to say that it was Newfoundland, but in the spirit of nationalism and pride we say both won. Canada and Newfoundland both won equally in that very happy and harmonious union.

Another part of the resolution, if I might read it, the fourth whereas, pointing out again that the hon. member was not sure where he was going, says: "AND WHEREAS national policies relating to our own resources have often provided greater benefits to other parts of Canada..."

Isn't that something? National policies have allowed greater benefits to go to other parts of Canada. Again, the selection of the word seems to be a bit negative, a bit pejorative: "other parts of Canada." Expressing it like a machine, you know, "other parts of Canada." I would have suggested that it would have been other areas of Canada. Other regions of Canada would have been a much better term. Like some old skeleton or something, "other parts of Canada."

Well, I do not like the particular wording of the resolution. Therefore I am going to move an amendment as follows. I move, seconded by the Member for Bonavista North, the following amendments to the resolution:

That the resolution be amended (a) by striking out the words "certain" and "tremendous" in the second recital; (b) by striking out the third and fourth recital clauses altogether; and (c) by striking out the resolution clause and by substituting the following:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that this Honourable House call upon the Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to continue their efforts and discussions aimed at enhancing this Province's role and destiny in Confederation.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LUSH: The resolution then, Mr. Speaker, will read - so the Speaker will know what the resolution is - in total:

WHEREAS we have celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Newfoundland and Labrador's entry into Confederation with Canada;

AND WHEREAS benefits have accrued to Newfoundland and Labrador because of Confederation, and benefits have accrued to our fellow Canadians;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that this Honourable House call upon the Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to continue their efforts and discussions aimed at enhancing this Province's role and destiny in Confederation.

MR. SPEAKER: The House will recess for a few minutes just to determine if the amendment is in order.

Recess

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. RIDEOUT: (Inaudible) previously many times to amend the resolution to make it more acceptable to the House and so on, but there are certain things that cannot be done in proposing an amendment to a motion before this House.

One of them, Mr. Speaker, I refer you to is in item 578.(3) on page 176 of Beauchesne. It says simply this: "An amendment approving part of a motion and disapproving the remainder is out of order."

This amendment as proposed by my friend from Terra Nova does exactly that.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!

MR. RIDEOUT: Oh yes, I say, it does so. It proposes that part of this motion be disapproved, be taken out, be deleted, and that something else be put in in its place. I would ask Your Honour to consider this very carefully. If we are going to be making amendments here holus-bolus - it is all right to make amendments to make something more acceptable to more members in this Legislature, but it is not all right to do it in the wrong way, and do it by taking out part of a motion and supplementing it and supporting it with something else that is totally foreign to the intent of the resolution that the House was considering.

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

MR. TULK: The hon. gentleman has spoken like a true lawyer. Mr. Speaker, let me also point out to Your Honour section 567 first and then 569 of Beauchesne, I say to the Opposition House Leader.

I will read 567 first: "The object of an amendment may be either to modify a question in such a way as to increase its acceptability or to present to the House a different proposition as an alternative to the original question."

Now, 569.(1) reads: "A motion may be amended by: (a) leaving out certain words; (b) leaving out certain words in order to insert other words; (c) inserting or adding other words."

Further, 569 (2) says: "When an amendment is irregular in one particular, the whole of it is not admissible and must be ruled out of order."

Let me say to the hon. gentleman too that an amendment cannot be ruled out because of its vagueness, but this amendment is not even vague. The motion in front of us proposes to do the same thing. It modifies it to make it more acceptable in the House. As the hon. gentleman for Terra Nova says it is not as strident. I think that was one of the words that he used. It still proposes to do the same thing. It modifies some of the words, modifies some of the clauses.

Mr. Speaker, I would say to Your Honour that this motion is entirely in order.

MR. SPEAKER: The House will now recess and the Chair will determine if the amendment is in order.

Recess

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair has determined that the amendment is in order.

I recognize the hon. the Member for Terra Nova.

MR. LUSH: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I just wanted to more or less give my position before I get into making some more points, from the view of if I run out of time.

I simply want to say that we have some of the concerns that the hon. gentleman does in terms of economic concerns. We think there are many things that we can do within the system to improve the financial situation of Newfoundland and Labrador, and we certainly would like to have more input into the fisheries of this Province. We are working towards that end. We certainly want to have more say in the petroleum development of the Province, the oil development in terms of the hydro development. We want to make sure that we maximize Newfoundland's effort and opportunity in all of those areas, but we believe that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is doing just that. We believe they are doing that. I have confidence in the present leadership of the government, that they will ensure that Newfoundland's opportunity is maximized in all of those areas.

Mr. Speaker, we have received tremendous benefits under this union. I just wanted to say, in conclusion - there were three or four points that I wanted to make, but I just wanted to make an economic observation, a financial observation, and ask hon. gentlemen and hon. ladies what they would do without that input.

The federal government, present, and has been since 1949, paying anywhere between 50 per cent and 52 per cent of all of the expenditures of our budget. The budget that is presented to us now, the federal government's contribution is around 50 per cent of that budget. To make it a little more emphatic, the federal government is paying 50 per cent of the salaries of every member here today - the Member for Bonavista South, the Member for Lewisporte, the Member for Bonavista North - all of us. Fifty per cent of our salary is coming from the federal government. Fifty per cent of the salary of nurses of this Province is coming from the federal government. Fifty per cent of the salaries of doctors of this Province is coming from the federal government. Every public servant in this Province, 50 per cent of their salary is paid by the federal government. All of the salaries - the Lieutenant-Governor - all of the salaries of the Judges of the Supreme Court, the Appeal Court, the Provincial Court, are paid by the federal government; all of the salaries of these hon. gentlemen. I would ask, in conclusion: What would this Province do without that 50 per cent contribution? What would we do?

Secondly, in addition to that, the federal government makes direct payments to the people in terms of family allowances, UI, old age pensions, veteran's allowances. How much have I named? All of that, in the last fifty years, is direct payments to the people.

In addition to that, they fund development like ACOA, LIP - and what were all the programs in the past? - FRAM. There have been so many definitions. These are programs that they fund themselves. They are in fisheries, forestry, mines and energy.

The Trans-Canada, a $120 million job, funded 90-10; 90 per cent by the federal government and 10 per cent by the Province of Newfoundland. Mr. Smallwood, who was the great advocate of Confederation, said: What are the benefits of Confederation? The greatest, he said -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. LUSH: Mr. Speaker, if I could just conclude with that sentence, if hon. members will allow me. The greatest, he said, was in transportation. When we joined Confederation, we had 112 miles of road. We now have about 6,000 miles of paved roads. He said, eliminating the curse of isolation was the greatest contribution that we received as a result of being a part of Canada.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. LUSH: Mr. Speaker, I wish I could carry on, but with these remarks I conclude.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am glad to rise today to have a few words on this particular motion, and the amended motion as put forward by the Member for Terra Nova. I am wondering if he was itching to be in the portfolio of intergovernmental affairs and go to Ottawa and present all our views on behalf of this Province.

The member talked about timid, that things are not so clear, and all these different words, and he talked about how great it is. In my short experience in this House of Assembly, with the federal government, on committees going to Ottawa, on dealing with MPs and so on, I am not satisfied, I can tell the member, of what this Province has in (inaudible). Yes, we have - and I will not say certain because that muddies the water, it seems like, but in many things, yes, we have gained from Confederation. Yes, I am proud to be a Canadian. Yes, I am very proud to be a Newfoundlander. I say that every day. I do not need the member or anyone else to tell me that - as, I am sure, are other members of this House.

We are talking about a relationship between the federal government and the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and have we been managed with our resources? That is what we are talking about here today. I have decided what I wanted to talk about.

I will go right back to the last comment the Member for Terra Nova made on one of the great benefits of Confederation - transportation. Yes, I agree that the road system - of course, the input by the federal government has put a road system in this Province that cost a lot of money. Is it the best road system? No, far from it. Is it even up to standard? Far from it in a lot of areas of the Province.

When we talk about transportation, what is timely for today is the Marine Atlantic service to this Province. Is the Member for Terra Nova proud of that, too? Is he going to send a thank you card to Ottawa for the job they have done, or is he going to listen to his minister here today, and listen to us being treated as second-class citizens? It is in the minister's own statement. The minister said: I am confident, as a result of our joint efforts - which he means by all of us - we will no longer be treated as second-class citizens.

Yes, we are happy with the benefits of Confederation, but this is just one example - transportation. The great line the Member for Terra Nova used by Mr. Smallwood was about the great transportation system, but he did not mention Marine Atlantic. For fifty years in this Province this debate has been going on about Marine Atlantic. The Trans-Canada - in the Terms of Reference, the Terms of Union, they talked about how that was one of the things - as a matter of fact, the minister said it again here, in this Province a lot of the people refer to it as our Trans-Canada, our surface link to our country, and how important it is for the tourist industry, for our goods and services in this Province, for people in general.

When we have Newfoundlanders piled up on the other side waiting two, three, and four nights to be crammed onto a vessel and be herded over here - that is what they said - is the member proud of that?

I am just using one example. I decided to use Marine Atlantic, and the transportation system. It is so blatant, and it is in front of us today.

We are not talking about whether we are proud as Canadians, or proud as Newfoundlanders. Certainly, I am proud to be a Canadian. I say it many times on the national front. I am also proud to be a Newfoundlander. Are we being treated the way we should be treated by our federal government, the government that we went into Confederation with ? Definitely not.

Let us go to another issue very quickly - I only have a few minutes - the fishery. Are we proud of how they represented us on the fishery? Then the member talked about FRAM. As a matter of fact, when I heard him saying it, I said: He has the nerve to mention FRAM. By the way, thank you for all that TAGS money. We really appreciate it. It gave us really good jobs. It really helps us out. We forgot to mention, I say to the member, that they mismanaged our resource, that forced them to give us something like FRAM. I didn't want FRAM. Nobody in this Province wanted FRAM. No fisherman wanted FRAM; he wanted to be out on the water fishing.

That is what is destroying this Province today. It goes to the very crux of the issue. The mismanagement by our federal bosses, the people who run our resources, has pretty well destroyed a way of life in this Province. That is how serious it is.

Are we happy with them on that? No. That is why it should be an aggressive approach. Ask the Minister of Fisheries, when we talk about sealing - our federal counterparts up there, how excited they are, how good they have been to us. I know the minister will not respond, but I know how the minister feels on this. I know because I feel the same way.

When they talk about FRAM and TAGS money they can keep their TAGS money and keep FRAM. When I go home to my district every weekend now I am dealing with people who are packing up and leaving, every single weekend. Thirty-eight people left the community of Ming's Bight last month. Thirty-eight people left one community in my district last month, in one month.

One fellow called me this morning from Prince Edward Island to tell me - I tell the minister here today that he is in a lobster plant over in PEI that just last week secondary processed 19,000 pounds of lobster from Newfoundland. He is working in PEI. We talk about resource management by our federal government. They should be ashamed of themselves. They should be. We should be more aggressive with Marine Atlantic, with the fisheries, and with everything else in this Province so that we do have more control of our destiny.

The amendment now made that we continue - we should not continue on the road we on now or it is going to get worse and worse as the days go by in this Province.

This amendment that my colleague brought back was all about resources in this Province, and the management of them. That is what I perceived it to be. It wasn't muddying the waters to me. It was quite clear. I am not satisfied with Liberal governments, PC governments, NDP governments - I don't care what it is in Ottawa - who have managed our resources in the last fifty years and have done a miserable job.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SHELLEY: That is what it is all about. It is ruining the way of life in our Province. No, we should not condone it. We should not sit back and continue to do the same thing. Status quo is not good enough.

In the next months and weeks we are going to see a change in this Province because of the downturn in the fishery and so on. People leave every day, 41,000 since. No, they have not done a good job.

Before I commend them for doing such a great input with our transportation system, we should ask them to look at Marine Atlantic.

I can go on today with some other issues but I am not going to go any further than that. Talk about Churchill Falls, talk about the EI changes that brought hundreds of millions of dollars less to this Province. That is what our federal government did. Are they all up there, where we should applaud them and so on?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: I tell you, I do get involved in this issue because it is at the heart of Newfoundland and Labrador today. I hope I can keep my voice to talk about it for the next two minutes that I have.

Yes, I am proud to be Canadian. I am more proud to be a Newfoundlander. Do I agree that the federal government in this country over the years - it is fifty years back since this Province began - are doing the right thing in management of our resources, our fishing resources, our marine, the EI changes, Churchill Falls? No, definitely not. They have done a miserable job on all accounts. Liberal and Tory governments previous, every one of them. I am not afraid to say it. It has been over a long period of time.

It is time in this Province that this government, any government to come, are more aggressive, making sure that the role of this Province - not because we have a small Province with a small population - do not get walked over any more, and that our resources benefit the people of this Province. Yes, we can help provinces next door who have benefitted over the past, but this Province should not be... This is a simple statement I have heard made over and over. With a Churchill Falls, a Voisey's Bay, the fishery resource, the forestry resource, the resources in this Province, there is so much unemployment.

That is a problem that we have to face and we have to be more aggressive in pursuing, and that is why I wanted to speak on this particular motion today.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER (Oldford): The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MR. MERCER: I would just like to have a few words on this particular private member's motion here today.

Let me say first, Mr. Speaker, I am somewhat puzzled, perplexed if you wish, by standing in this House today to discuss the motion that was placed on the table.

Like my colleague from Terra Nova, I have sat down and read through this motion, and I can only assume, based upon the words it contains, that it is a motion which appeals to that section in our society which feels that Confederation in 1949 was not a good deal.

One of the first things I ever learned in public life - I was a mayor and a councillor - is that you never impute motives to anything that anyone says. I will certainly not impute any motives here today, but I can only speak as I see. In reading this resolution as it was presented - not as amended, but as presented - I can say from my own point of view that it is simply a motion which says that Newfoundland, in 1999, should not have joined Confederation in 1949. Being a -

AN HON. MEMBER: Confederate.

MR. MERCER: No, I can't say I was a Confederate. I was not born a Confederate. My father cast his vote for me and I must say, I think he cast it in the right direction, but I was born in 1945, so you can figure out how old I am. In 1949 I did have some glimmer of what was going on around me when in fact the Confederation battle was raging.

The words which have now been struck from the original resolution - "AND WHEREAS certain benefits have accrued to Newfoundland, " and whereas "tremendous benefits" have accrued to Canada - very clearly, Mr. Speaker, I think my hon. colleague from Terra Nova was quite correct in having these stricken from the record. What is being said and what was being said is that the biggest beneficiary out of this was Canada and somehow little Newfoundland, or as one of the members said, lowly PEI - and I will use that adjective towards Newfoundland - lowly Newfoundland got a few crumbs off the table.

I do not intend to dwell greatly on the number of benefits that Newfoundland got from Confederation. A former premier who led the Confederation battle has certainly stated that many times: not once, not twice, not three times, but many times. So I don't certainly need to do that but I just want to speak about those certain benefits very briefly.

I grew up in a community - and we have talked about the educational discussion and debate here in these last few days - had a school, and it was not a one-room school, although there were lots of them in the general vicinity. It was a three-room school. I never went to any school in my life that never had at least three grades in it. In some cases there were four. When we talk about having thirty-two students in a classroom, when I went to school thirty-two students in a classroom would have been a rarity, because we had up to forty students in some cases spread over three or four different grades.

I also remember from going to school in those days that you brought your splits. You brought your splits to be able to get the potbellied stove started up in the morning. You took your turn, when you got in the higher grades, to go to the school early enough to be able to start that fire. So there are certain benefits, and I must say the certain benefits are a lot more than what this resolution seems to indicate. The hon. the House Leader indicated that he was prepared to substitute the word "many." I suspect that that would not have found favour with the individual who was moving this particular resolution.

I will just add a little bit more to those certain benefits. Another topic of great currency in this Province today is the whole discussion on health care. I think that was probably a benefit of Confederation. While I am at it, on a day and in a time in our Province when the Opposition is out going across the Province with their dog-and-pony show into every community talking about the educational issues -

AN HON. MEMBER: Which one of them is the pony?

MR. MERCER: That is a very good question, which one is the dog and which one is the pony, and who is leading who.

Mr. Speaker, I am saying that at this point in time in our history where there is such a discussion ongoing in our Province on the educational reform issue and the changes that are happening in our school system - and today we had the nurses in the gallery attesting to the fact that we have certain problems in our education or health care system.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. MERCER: Mr. Speaker, I cannot believe that in 1999, with these issues now before the people of this Province, that we are debating a resolution which is, in effect, debating whether or not our forefathers in 1949 made the right decision to join Confederation. I just find that terribly incomprehensible.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MERCER: Not nearly as good as the Minister of Mines and Energy or whatever you are doing these days.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not much.

MR. MERCER: Not much mines and not much energy.

Mr. Speaker, just to continue on in a serious vein, the original resolution makes reference to our limited powers within the Confederation, and a need to change those things to affect our destiny, and the fact that the national policies are not playing in Newfoundland's favour because we are not getting as great a benefit as some other part of the country.

Let's be clear. If the hon. member opposite had brought in a resolution which dealt with the words that he used mostly in his preamble and in his discussion, the need to have a greater control over our fishery, the need to have a greater control over our resource management, I think I could stand in my place and I could very staunchly approve and support that type of resolution.

What we have here is basically a resolution which is coming in through the back door and is saying that our Confederation with Canada in 1949 was a colossal mistake and we are trying to flower it up a little bit by saying: Really, what we need is more control over our resources. I just wonder what was the intent of this particular resolution. As I say, it is not my place to impute motives or to cast aspersions upon anyone. That is not within the parliamentary tradition of debate and I would not do that, but in my own mind I have to ask myself: What is the purpose of this resolution in the way in which it was put forward on the Order Paper?

If we wanted to deal with the fisheries issue, if we wanted to deal with the resource management issues, by all means, lay it on the table, let's have a full and open debate, but to bring that kind of a discussion into this Chamber and to bring in this resolution, as one member of this Chamber I will have to sit down and ponder this at some length as to why this resolution.

The amendment as presented by my hon. colleague the Member for Terra Nova, yes, I can support that. It says: "WHEREAS we have celebrated the 50th Anniversary of... Confederation..." In my house it was a celebration. I did, in fact, celebrate the anniversary of Confederation of Canada with Newfoundland or Newfoundland with Canada, whichever way you wish to put that.

So indeed it was a celebration, and it was a celebration for the vast majority of the people in this Province, because they did see the benefits, they have seen the benefits. They have lived through what was and what now is. It is very clear the vast majority of the people of this Province, given the opportunity today, would vote in favour of Confederation by a substantial majority.

As the hon. Member for Terra Nova in his amended version has stated: "THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that this Honourable House call upon the Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to continue their efforts and discussions aimed at enhancing this Province's role and destiny in Confederation."

Yes, we are a Confederation. We are part of a confederacy, we are not part of a union. Our friends to the south of us in the United States are part of the great melting pot, where individual states really are subservient in all matters to the federal government. We have in that particular situation a union. The rights of the states are very precisely defined under the Constitution.

In Canada, we have a federation, we have a Confederacy, the joining together of provinces or territories or whatever you want to call them as equal parts of a dominion. In that particular country, we have attributed to the federal government certain rights and certain privileges to look after the vested interest of all Canadians. We have given to the legislatures of the various provinces, including this one, the right to make laws and to regulate activities within our provincial jurisdiction.

Does that mean everything is perfect? Of course it is not. There is nothing perfect. There is nothing perfect in an individual's marriage. We all have our spats and we all have our troubles and we all make up at the end of the day.

I think we need to remind ourselves that within the Confederation, where there are many different partners, there is room for divergency, there is room for difference of opinion, and there is, at the end of the day, room for change and modifications to the Constitution.

I have just one last point. If I were to interpret this resolution in a kinder way I would be perhaps be saying that the hon. the Member for Placentia & St. Mary's is basically asking for a renewal of the constitutional debates that plagued this country - I use the word plagued deliberately - in the 1970s and the 1980s. Is this what the members opposite are asking for, a renewal of the constitutional debates, the debates that led up to Meech Lake and to the Charlottetown Accord, and the divisiveness that resulted in Canada as a result of that, the division that has resulted in two referendums in the Province of Quebec? We are now told that there will soon be a third one. Is this what the hon. members opposite are advocating, a renewal of the constitutional discussion and debate to get involved with more divisiveness? To see our Canadian dollar sink to an all-time low because of these kinds of discussions occurring within the country? Is this what the members of the Opposition are calling for?

As I say, if I were at my most charitable, that is what I would ascribe to this particular motion. However, as I say, in reading the plain words of this resolution, I see it nothing more than a condemnation of all those who in 1948 and again in 1949 cast their ballots in favour of the Confederation issue and decided to join the great Confederation which is Canada.

I know that there are other members opposite who would love to rise and defend this particular motion. I would take my place and eagerly await their arguments in favour of it, because I can see no arguments in favour of the original motion. I can see and I can support the motion as amended by my colleague from Terra Nova.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I recognized the hon. the Member for Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I want to speak to this resolution which unfortunately has been so changed by the amendment as to almost trivialize the importance of it. There is a fundamental difficulty that we face in Newfoundland and Labrador. Sometimes people talk about the fact that we only have seven members in Ottawa, and there is 295 members of Parliament, and therefore it is very difficult for us to influence events based on pure numbers alone. That is certainly true.

There is a greater issue than that, and that does have to do with what kind of expectations we can have as a people in this great Confederation. I say it is a great Confederation to the Member for Terra Nova. It is a great Confederation that we are part of. I have never hesitated to praise Canada as a nation in terms of its commitment to creating a good society, and it is with good reason. It is with good reason that we praise the ability of Canada to take its place in the front of the line in the world as a great nation.

However, we have a serious problem in this country, and in fact the problem is getting worse. There was a time - perhaps a golden era, you might call it - after Confederation when things were, in fact, getting better for Newfoundland and Labrador. If you looked at the measures such as the gross provincial product per capita, incomes per capita, unemployment, other amenities, we were making progress. Each and every year from Confederation onward we were making progress, but something funny happened around 1970, 1971, 1972. That progress stopped. The Canadian average was up here, and we were stuck at a position far below that in terms of income per capita, in terms of possibilities of full employment, in terms of opportunities for our people to participate fully in the Canadian Confederation.

Coincidentally, that was around the time Pierre Trudeau was first elected prime minister of Canada. He talked about something that got a lot of people's attention and imagination in this part of the country. He talked about the problems of regional disparity. He talked about the problems of lack of social justice. He talked about the problems of inequity between the regions of Canada, such as the Atlantic and rest of Canada. His government said they were going to do something about it. They started the Department of Regional Economic Expansion; DREE it was called. Don Jamieson was the first minister, as I recall, of DREE. The hon. Don Jamieson was minister for a number of years. That department was supposed to try and do something about it. It has not happened.

There was a period, up until recently, when the Government of Canada, through the Canada Assistance Plan, made it possible for us in Newfoundland to have the same programs as other provinces in social assistance, social services and health services, and the established programs financing, which made it possible for us to have a health care system with national standards, equally accessible to all.

All of the debates we have been having in the last couple of years in this House - with the Minister of Education today, with the Minister of Health today and other days, in this session of the House, and in the last couple of years - all have resulted from changes in the arrangements between Canada and the provinces over the provision of basic services such as health care, education and social services. They have changed in a negative way. This country is getting worse in terms of protection of the region, getting worse in terms of the disparity of incomes between the rich and the poor. There is a very serious problem with the fiscal arrangements over resource development and what happens in the offshore, what happens when we get resources developed.

I will give you an example. I know the Member for Terra Nova would be very interested in this. Let's ask a basic question about the fiscal ability of this Province to pay for services such as education, such as hospitals and schools. Where does it come from? It comes from the taxes in our treasury. I want to tell the House what Inco put before the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency as part of the environmental impact statement on Voisey's Bay, as to the impacts on the treasury of Newfoundland and Labrador versus the treasury of Canada of the Voisey's Bay project.

They had all kinds of economic analysis. They analyzed the number of person years of employment and the four phases of the project, and the start up. I will give you the four phases here that they looked at: the construction phase, the open-pit operations phase, the underground operations phase, and the decommissioning phase. They looked at the number of jobs. They looked at the impact on taxes for Newfoundland and Labrador and for Canada. They looked at the equalization formulas and what it would do.

Because I haven't a lot of time, I am going to give you the totals. After you look at corporate income taxes, mining taxes, personal taxes, payroll taxes, all of the benefits, all of the offshoots, all of the indirect employment calculated by Inco and their economists and put before the environment assessment panel, the grand total net benefit to the treasury of the Province of the whole of the Voisey's Bay project is calculated to be $417 million for the life of the project. The total impact to the federal treasury, to the Government of Canada and the people of Canada, is $4.989 billion. More than ten times as much will benefit the federal treasury over Voisey's Bay than the provincial treasury.

Let's think about that. I was astounded. I do not know if anybody else was is surprised. Is anybody else surprised, I ask, Mr. Speaker, through you? Is there anybody else surprised at this? An economic development activity in the Province of Newfoundland, what many people regard as the salvation of the current Newfoundland economic dilemma, the Voisey's Bay project, is going to be, to the Province of Newfoundland and Canada, a total benefit in terms of government revenue of $5.4 billion. Of that, $4.9 billion goes to the Government of Canada and $417 million goes to the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

If there was ever any example of the problems of Confederation, that is it. Mines and minerals are a provincial resource belonging to the Province and the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, and an economic development of a resource owned by the Province should benefit the Province more than the people of Canada. Yet, Inco's figures, a public document that I in fact got it off the Internet - I guess I will have to have a press conference to make sure that people know about it. Voisey's Bay Nickel Company Limited filed this as part of their economic impact statement as a result of questions asked by members of the panel on the environmental assessment: What are the financial impacts on the treasury of Newfoundland and Labrador versus the treasury of Canada?

Here is their answer. Newfoundland will benefit by $417 million, and the Government of Canada will benefit by $4.89 billion. Ten times as much! We want to know what is wrong with the relationship between Newfoundland and Canada? We want to know whether we are benefiting from our natural resources? Something is very wrong.

I know the Member for Terra Nova meant well in amending the resolution before the House, but I want him to understand that we have a very serious problem. We have a very serious problem if the development of what people regard as the largest single modern development in Newfoundland, that is going to benefit us in Newfoundland and Labrador, Voisey's Bay, if the Canadian taxpayer, the federal treasury, benefits ten times as much as the people of this Province and their treasury.

MR. LUSH: The hon. gentleman seems to suggest that my amendment would stop correcting that kind of situation where - I do not think there is anything in the amendment that would stop adjusting or correcting that injustice.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, the amendment seems to me to give a rubber stamp to the status quo because if the ongoing discussions between the Government of Newfoundland and the Government of Canada so far have produced this inequity, ten to one inequity, then I am not satisfied with the state of the discussions. I am not satisfied that we have to accept that ongoing discussions are what is required.

What is required is a fundamental change in the relationship between Newfoundland and Canada, and something has to be done about it because no matter what - we can sign whatever deals we want but if the result of the taxing arrangements, if the result of the equalization formulas, if the result of our Province's inability -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: I am looking at things like the taxation system: provincial sales tax, $61 million; federal, $300 million in sales taxes on this.

This is a document that ought to be examined by every member of the House, and I will make available copies to every member of the House because I think it is worth reading. I think it is worth reading because it shows that we have a serious problem in our relationship with Canada. We have a serious problem because a lot of formulas have changed, to the detriment of this Province. We are now being treated on a per capita basis for post-secondary education and other formulas under the CHST, as opposed to based on need. That is costing this Province a tremendous amount of money. It is no accident that people are saying that the Liberal government of Ottawa and perhaps the Liberal Party of Canada has abandoned the Atlantic region. It is no accident people are saying that, because it appears that it no longer matters to them.

Mr. Speaker, I do want to say that there are very serious problems in our relationship. There are very serious problems in how we get treated as part of Canada. Even today, the Minister of Transportation says that we are being treated as second-class citizens. If we are second-class citizens in Canada, why are we talking about ongoing discussions about our second-class citizenry? There has to be some fundamental recognition that we have a serious problem, and it has to be tackled in a different way than just ongoing discussions.

We would not have even known about the ongoing discussions of the Minister of Transportation unless the Member for Baie Verte asked a question yesterday.

Today he gets up in the House and all of a sudden we are second-class citizens. Well, if we are second-class citizens today, we were second-class citizens yesterday and the day before and, as part of the ongoing discussions of this government with the Government of Canada, that is what led us to be second-class citizens. They have been here for six years, seven years, eight years, nine, ten years. For ten years they have been having ongoing discussions with the Government of Canada, and the result of it is that all the minister can say -

MR. TULK: Jack, time flies (inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Ten years of misery.

MR. HARRIS: I have been here ten years too, almost.

All we can say after ten years of ongoing discussions - the minister gets up in the House and says, we are being treated like second-class citizens. Well, if we are being treated as second-class citizens as a result of ongoing discussions, maybe we should do something about it, I say to the Member for Terra Nova. Maybe we should do something about it. One of your ministers said today we are being treated like second-class citizens by Ottawa -

MR. J. BYRNE: The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. HARRIS: The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation says the result of ongoing discussions have been that we are second-class citizens. Well, we have to do something more drastic than that.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HARRIS: I am disappointed that the member has modified the resolution because it makes it a mealy-mouth resolution -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

MR. SPEAKER: Does the member have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave.

MR. SPEAKER: No leave.

MR. HARRIS: - a very tepid resolution, and not properly recognizing the seriousness of the issue.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Conception Bay South.

MR. FRENCH: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I had come in this afternoon to support the motion of my colleague and really had not intended to speak this afternoon until I heard the Member for Humber -

AN HON. MEMBER: Humber East.

MR. FRENCH: - refer to me as a separatist, or members on this side as separatists, and whatever else we were -

AN HON. MEMBER: Humber East.

MR. FRENCH: Humber East.

To me, that is an insult. I should congratulate him, I guess. I have been here since - certainly not as long as the Government House Leader, but this is the second time on his feet since 1996.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FRENCH: I do not know if he made one maiden speech or two, I suppose. When you sit and listen to that nonsense or that foolishness, to me it is really something.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FRENCH: If the Minister of Fisheries wants to get up - he can sit in his seat. I listened to him the other day when he was up speaking and I would ask him to give me the courtesy today. If he does not wish to, I could care less.

Let me tell you that as one member on this side of the House, certainly not an anti-confederate, certainly agrees with us being a part of Canada but I do not agree that everything between Newfoundland and Canada is rosy. There are ministers who sit on the other side who certainly feel exactly the same as I do.

I will just touch on CN. When this House passed a resolution a year ago that we would have the CEO come live in Port aux Basques - the Board of Directors of CN Marine does not have a president, so we cannot move him to Newfoundland because they do not have one and they do not know when they are even going to make a recommendation to Ottawa so that we can get one. I agree with the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, by the way, that is just one area where this Province is being treated like second-class citizens.

As well as members in this House, I have travelled back and forth the Gulf. I have watched people get on board at night with small children, with sleeping bags and blankets, to crawl under a set of stairs to go to sleep. I have heard from truckers and truckers.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FRENCH: Now listen, friend. I listened to you. You can do me the courtesy of listening to me or you can go back to your seat. If you want to criticize me, go ahead, but I just congratulated you -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. FRENCH: I told them you have made two speeches since 1996, so you are a great fella; you are really working hard.

The other point I want to get up and speak on, Mr. Speaker, is that while the member was up speaking he referred to the dog and pony show. I wonder, is he referring to the people in his own district who will drive into Corner Brook tonight for a meeting? I wonder how many of them are part of a dog and pony show as he likes to put it. I wonder how many of those people he is referring to as a dog and pony show.

Mr. Speaker, let's just be assured that there are members on this side who certainly do not have much respect for you as a dog and pony show either, my friend, let me tell you that. If you want to be insulting, be as insulting as you like. You cannot dream some of the stuff, probably, that we have heard.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. FRENCH: So, if you think you are a great fella, keep going, boy. Keep going because you are doing a great job. You have made two speech since 1996 in three years. That is not too bad, I say to the Member for Humber East. You have done a great job. You are really a worthy representative of your district.

AN HON. MEMBER: One hundred per cent improvement.

MR. FRENCH: One hundred per cent improvement in a week. He has made two speeches. Great job.

When the times comes, when you have -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. FRENCH: When I sit down, you have your chance. Get up, boy. If the legal beagle wants to get up, get up and be as legal and as beagle as you like.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. FRENCH: Mr. Speaker, I have no intention of supporting the amendment that was made. I will vote with my colleague. This was brought in today to say that all is not well between our Province and the Government of Canada. It is not about separatists. It is not about separating from Canada. I do not know where people got that notion, where they got that dream, but that is not what this is all about. It is about us working as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to get a better agreement and a better deal for this Province.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, if I could, by leave, I would like to move the following motion.

I move that a select committee of the House be appointed to review the Standing Orders of the House of Assembly and to review the recognition of political parties in the House during this Assembly and future Assemblies, and to make recommendations in a report to be presented to the House of Assembly when the House commences sitting after the summer adjournment.

I further move that the following members comprise this Committee: the Member for Bonavista North, the Member for Ferryland, the Member for Trinity North, the Member for Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi, the Member Terra Nova, the Member for Lewisporte, and the Member for Topsail.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: Those against, `nay'.

Motion carried.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Placentia & St. Mary's.

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am pleased to stand and close the debate on my private member's resolution. I certainly feel that some members opposite have tried to paint my resolution as something more than what it was intended to be. I certainly speak of the Member for Humber East and the Member for Terra Nova.

I brought in this resolution because I believe that we in Newfoundland and Labrador are experiencing some great inequities with Confederation with Canada. There are certainly some things that we have benefitted from, but we are facing some great inequities.

When I hear the Member for Terra Nova stand on his feet and talk about how much the federal government gives this Province - 50 per cent of the salaries for nurses, 50 per cent of the salaries for doctors, I have a question for the Member for Terra Nova: Is that good enough? Is that what Newfoundland and Labrador is all about? That half of what we spend in this Province, we get from somewhere else? Half of what we pay our doctors and our teachers and our nurses comes from somewhere else? Is that what this Province is all about, when we have every mineral know to man in this Province. No, Mr. Speaker, that is not what it is about.

I ask the Member for Terra Nova: Does he agree that the total control of the fisheries in this Province rests in Ottawa hands? Does he agree that a select committee of this House has to go begging to Ottawa to try to get something done with the seals in this Province so that the homes that are being closed up and barred up, the people who are packing up and moving away, that the communities have a chance to survive? I ask the Member for Terra Nova, does he agree with that?

I ask the Member for Terra Nova: Does he agree with an equalization program that, when a resource starts turning over dollars in this Province, for every dollar we have to send ninety cents of it to Ottawa so we can be equal?

Well, that is not equal in my books. That is not fair. I say we will never have the opportunity to become a have Province unless we address some of these inequities.

I ask the Member for Terra Nova and the Member for Humber East: Do they agree with the fact that for the first twenty-two years of a sixty-five year contract on Upper Churchill, the Government of Canada has put $12 billion in their pot while we got only a few million? I ask, is that fair and square? No, it is not.

I am not standing here today and saying that Canada has not been beneficial to Newfoundland and Labrador. I am not standing here today and saying that Canada has not been beneficial to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. What I am standing and saying is that there are many inequities in Confederation that need to be addressed. The status quo is not good enough.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MANNING: Continuing on with the status quo is not good enough. That is what I am saying. I will just go back to what has happened here, because billions and billions of dollars are going to other provinces on our resources.

I will stand here today and say that since 1990 up until 1998, 44,388 people left in this Province. Almost 50,000 people have left this Province in eight years, due to the fact that we cannot provide the basic necessities they need here in this Province to survive. That is what I am asking. That is what I am putting forward in this resolution. To continue on with what has happened the past number of years, whether it is Tory, whether it is Liberal, whether it is NDP, is not good enough in my books.

This is a very important resolution that I have brought forward here today. I just want to make a few quotes, if I could, and talk about the inequities in Confederation and talk about the concerns that people have raised. If I could take a moment to address a couple of quotes that have been brought forward by leaders in this Province, I will go no farther than the Minister of Fisheries on the opposite side of the House and talk about quotes. I will quote from the Minister of Fisheries. If I could quote from the Minister of Fisheries: If you are giving up nothing is going to change.

He talked about a federal program called NCARP and TAGS. The Minister of Fisheries is quoted as saying: It paid people to stay home. Put yourself in the position of those people. Look in the mirror and ask what would happen to us if we were told to lie idle for five or six years with no challenge. People lost hope and I understand that.

Those are the words of the Minister of Fisheries. That is why I stand here today because of lost hope, and the lost dreams of many people in this Province. I have to go no farther than the District of Placentia & St. Mary's to touch on lost hopes and lost dreams.

We had a thriving fishery, one of the best in this Province. Thank God, it is showing some signs of recovery, but we cannot get a handle on it because of the overpopulation of seals in this Province, and we cannot get a handle on it because we have no say in doing away with some of those seals, culling the seals or whatever way you want to take care of it.

You can go out around the District of Placentia & St. Mary's and talk to people in Mount Carmel who have seen seals up in the harbour for the first time in their lives. I talked to a gentleman out there the other day in his late eighties who never saw seals up in Mount Carmel harbour until this year. I asked you then: How often do we have to go to Ottawa? How often do we have to get down on our hands and knees and say we have a problem in Newfoundland and Labrador with our fishery management? We have a problem in Newfoundland and Labrador with the fact that we cannot control what happens with the most important resource that affects the people of this Province. I say it is very important we come to realize that we have to have more say.

I will go away from the fishery for a minute and go back to the Upper Churchill contract. This contract is in place until 2041. Billions of dollars will go into Hydro-Quebec between now and 2041. I think it is time we sat down and talked to Quebec, especially at this time when we are discussing the development of the Lower Churchill, and put it to Quebec: There will be no deal on the Lower Churchill until we address the inequities of the Upper Churchill deal. I do not believe that is asking too much.

I believe that the federal government had an opportunity, back when the Upper Churchill deal was made, to give us a fair and equal share. We have paid an incredible price.

I am not going to stand here today and blame former premiers or former governments for what has happened in this Province. We all make mistakes. We all try to do our best but the mistakes have been made. We cannot put them under the rug and say they were not made. Because when we see billions of dollars go into Hydro-Quebec while Newfoundland receives a pittance, that is not fair and square. To stand in the House today and ask for that situation to be addressed, and to find people on the opposite side upset, to find people on the opposite side thinking I have an ulterior motive, to stand and ask that these concerns be addressed in a fair and equal way? That is what I say. That is what I am asking. That we address these concerns for the betterment of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, that we address these concerns for the people that we are sent here to represent.

I say that we have quotes. I go back to the Minister of Fisheries. I talked to a lot of people in my district who believe that if the Minister of Fisheries had a say about the seals our fishery would be on a return and a rebound much faster than what it is going to be. I stand here today and say in full honesty that rural Newfoundland - I am sure that many of the members in this House can understand what the fishery collapse has done to rural Newfoundland.

All I am asking is that we address some of the concerns that have been raised. I am not asking that every issue, every concern that is in this Province, be addressed. I am not asking that. What I am asking is that there be four points that we look at first, four points that we stand and talk to the government in Ottawa on.

I want to reiterate these four points now for the record. Number one is fisheries management. I believe that if we do not get some type of say over management in our fisheries we are doomed. I stress that. All you have to do is drive around rural Newfoundland and look at the out-migration, look at the barred up homes and barred up fish plants.

I do believe that we in Newfoundland and Labrador have an opportunity to - and after fifty years of Confederation, we know what the problems are. We know what the positive results have been. We know what the problems are, and I think we know how to address and certainly look at some adjustments that will benefit us more.

The major concern that we have is fisheries management. That is something we have to put more emphasis on than the status quo. We have to put more emphasis on it rather than saying it will take care of itself in time. No, it will not take care of itself unless the leaders in this Province do something to address the concerns. That is how it is going to be done. I call on this House today to think about fisheries management as the number one concern.

I would like to touch on employment insurance. That is another point that I believe is very important. Over the past number of years we have seen millions of dollars taken out of the EI program in this Province. In most cases we have a seasonal workforce, whether it is in fishery, forestry, tourism, agriculture or construction. Whatever it may be, we have a seasonal industry. As far as I am concerned, Newfoundland and Labrador should be a unique case when it comes to the EI program, based on the fact of our seasonal industries.

If you go out in our communities, and if you were brought up in a fishing boat and are a full-time fisherman, you do not have the opportunity for a lot of other things. You cannot come out of the boat in the fall and go off on another job. No, you cannot. You are not in a metropolis like Toronto or Montreal or some other great city in this country and find other work. These are the ways (inaudible).

If it is the hope of everybody here that we try to revitalize rural Newfoundland, I believe that is one of the inequities we certainly have to look at, the fact that the insurance program is not fair to Newfoundland and Labrador. I am sure every member in this House of Assembly has had concerns raised to them by their constituents in relation to the EI program.

Another thing I certainly think should be addressed, and is point three, is transfer payments and the equalization program. I believe fully that we should look at this and sit down with some of the leaders of government, especially the Minister of Mines and Energy as he talks about and gets up -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: Yes, he is a leader of the people in the Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: Leader wannabe.

MR. MANNING: Leader want-to-be. I am saying he is a leader in his field as the Minister of Mines and Energy. Mr. Speaker, this is, as far as I am concerned, a very serious situation. We are talking about the development of Voisey's Bay. We are talking about gas and oil development. We are talking about mineral development. What I am saying is that when all these developments come around and start making some money for this Province, and we lose 80 per cent of every dollar to Ottawa, and still will not have the chance to become a have province, I think that is something to be addressed.

My fourth point that should be addressed, and definitely in no particular order, is the Upper Churchill project. I will go back to the hon. Member for Terra Nova when he talked about former Premier Smallwood. I will be honest. I do not believe in my own heart and soul that Premier Smallwood, in any way, shape or form, set out to do something wrong for Newfoundland. I believe his heart and soul may have been in the right place when he sat down and negotiated the Churchill Falls contract. He received some bad advice and therefore we are paying the price for it.

I think now more than ever that the fact that we are here at this time in this place talking about a Lower Churchill deal is a golden opportunity for this Province. I will say this directly to the Minister of Mines and Energy. It is a chance, especially as I say to the Minister of Mines and Energy, we have a golden opportunity with the Lower Churchill contract and the Lower Churchill negotiations to address some of the inequities in the Upper Churchill contract.

I am pleased to say that these are only four of the concerns. There are many other concerns, but these are certainly four of the ones I think should be addressed. Mr. Speaker, I believe that only by addressing these and not continuing with the status quo.

I am very concerned that the amendment put forward is wanting us to stay with the status quo, and I do not believe the status quo is good enough. I think we have to take a more aggressive approach to the inequities in Confederation. We have to take a more aggressive approach to developments as it relates to our minerals, as it relates to our fishery. We have to take a more aggressive approach to finding a fair and equal settlement for the people of this Province.

I am sad and very concerned that the hon. member opposite, and some of his colleagues, have certainly taken my resolution and twisted it to make it sound like the status quo is good enough, that we are all happy campers in Confederation. I can tell you honestly that there is a lot of unhappy campers in this Province, a lot of unhappy people when it comes to the inequities that in some cases Confederation has brought.

I say it is time that we addressed these concerns. I say it is time we bring it to the forefront. I hope this resolution that I brought forward today begins a debate.

I say to the Member for Humber East who talked about a debate, I think it is time. I think the debate is long overdue. Fifty years we have lived through Confederation. To think that I can stand up here today and say all is well, that everything is great? No, I can't. I cannot do that in all honesty and say everything is great. I will say in honesty that Canada has brought some great things to Newfoundland and Labrador, but it is not all great.

When you look around rural Newfoundland today - I will finish up with this - and you see homes being barred up, when you see families packing up the U-Haul trucks, when you see communities closing down, I think that all is not great. I think it is time we took a very serious look at what we can achieve through Confederation, that we take a serious look at discussion with the Government of Canada - that is why I call on the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to begin discussions - , that we take a serious look at discussion with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and a discussion with the Government of Canada to make sure that we get a fair and equal share.

A fair and equal share is all we are asking for. I do not think we are getting that under many of the circumstances we live in today. I think it would be wrong on this fiftieth year of Confederation that we certainly not sit back and have a look to see if exactly what Confederation has brought Newfoundland and Labrador has been fair and equitable. I think it is wrong that we cannot stand in this House of Assembly and ask a few questions about what Confederation has meant to this Province without getting called names from the likes of the Minister of Mines and Energy and the Member for Terra Nova.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MANNING: I think it is a shame, Mr. Speaker, that we cannot stand and ask some serious questions.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No leave!

MR. MANNING: I think it is a shame that we cannot stand and ask some serious questions on this very serious issue.

MR. SPEAKER: No leave.

MR. MANNING: I hope that the members opposite take this situation as seriously as I do, Mr. Speaker.

Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Is the House ready for the question?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye!

MR. SPEAKER: Against, `nay.'

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Nay!

MR. SPEAKER: I declare the amendment carried.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye!

MR. SPEAKER: Against, `nay.'

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Nay!

Carried.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, before you adjourn, if I could.

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

MR. TULK: I would just like to say to members that tomorrow we are going to be doing the debates that are done in the Legislature. We are going to start with the Consolidated Fund, then move to Executive Council, then we are going to move to the Legislature. Those three. I also want to inform members that tomorrow we will be moving that the House not adjourn at 5:00 p.m.

MR. J. BYRNE: You want out of here some bad, don't you?

MR. TULK: No, boy. Doing a night.

MR. DICKS: (Inaudible).

MR. TULK: The Minister of Finance has to leave and he is wondering if we would leave Consolidated Fund to last and start with Executive Council. Executive Council and the Legislature, and then we will do Consolidated Fund. Is that agreeable?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. TULK: Alright, Mr. Speaker.

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