May 18, 1999                 HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS            Vol. XLIV  No. 26


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): Order, please!

Before we begin our routine proceedings, the Chair would like to welcome to the gallery today thirty-four Grade IX students from Holy Trinity High School, Heart's Content, in the District of Trinity-Bay de Verde, accompanied by their teachers Mr. Calvin Young and Mr. Roger Gillingham, along with their bus driver, Mr. Jude St. George.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: As well, I want to welcome to the gallery today a former Member of the House of Assembly and now MP for St. John's West, Mr. Norman Doyle.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Statements by Ministers

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to provide hon. members with an update on the status of the multi-year accelerated capital works program announced in the latest Budget. Members will recall that expenditures of $100 million have been allocated for this initiative that will see projects financed on a 50-50 provincial-municipal basis. My department is currently in the process of accepting applications from municipalities for this program.

The primary purpose of this multi-year capital works program is to enable municipalities to complete water and sewer projects at an accelerated pace and to enable them to achieve economies of scale associated with larger infrastructure projects.

Guidelines for this program have been developed in consultation with the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Municipalities. The response to date has been positive. I feel confident that we now have a program that will enable municipalities to complete major infrastructure projects more efficiently than would be possible under the traditional municipal capital works programs.

Other positive features associated with this program include increased economic activity in all areas of the Province and fully serviced municipalities at an accelerated pace which would result in positive health and environmental benefits.

We have worked hard to build a strong relationship with municipalities in the Province. Today's announcement clearly shows that we are listening, and it is another example of the cooperation that exists between the provincial government and the Federation of Municipalities, to the benefit of all residents of the Province.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the minister for a copy of his statement before the House sat. The Premier, I suppose, would refer to this as a good news statement, and God knows, the crowd on the other side are trying to create a little good news.

I would advise the towns to be very wary of this program, because if they take advantage of this program they can wait fifteen years before they can access the municipal operating grants.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!

MR. J. BYRNE: I think the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs should try and control the Minister of Fisheries, because when he made the statement that they are currently in the process of accepting applications, the Minister of Fisheries clearly was heard, on this side of the House, saying: From Liberals. That is what the Minister of Fisheries is all about.

He also said, "we have worked hard to build a strong relationship with municipalities in the Province." Saying it does not necessarily make it so. I would advise the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs and the government to reinstate -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

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

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave!

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave!

MR. SPEAKER: No leave.

MR. J. BYRNE: - some of the $40 million or $50 million they cut from the municipal operating grants.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. J. BYRNE: The proof was in the pudding. Success in this program remains to be seen, Mr. Speaker.

Thank you.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, certain aspects of this program are certainly desirable: the multi-year funding, the amount of money, and the 50-50 participation.

The concern that I have is what level of confidence can many communities of the Province have in this particular government being able to participate in a program which would require a payback over a large number of years? With the unemployment rate in this Province, particularly in rural areas, the economic activity that the minister speaks off is not spread adequately across the Province -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HARRIS: - and makes it difficult to take advantage of the program.

Oral Questions

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

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

My questions today are for the Minister of Mines and Energy. I am led to believe that government has been having discussions, negotiations, with the Voisey's Bay Nickel Company. I understand as well that the clock is ticking in terms of if that project will proceed and will develop a type of project that will benefit everybody. I wonder if the minister, on behalf of the government, could update the House today on the latest discussions that he and his department and his officials have had with the Voisey's Bay Nickel Company in the last six to eight weeks.

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I appreciate the opportunity to address the issue briefly as well today in giving an update. Two or three weeks ago a question was raised with respect to this issue in the Legislature. I informed the House at the time that since, basically, last summer when the official publicly stated position of Inco was that they would do no smelting or refining of any Voisey's Bay ores in Newfoundland and Labrador there have been no official discussions with the companies since that time. They have offered no other position other than that in any official capacity. We have engaged in no official meetings.

However, there have been informal discussions between Inco officials and the Premier and myself on two or three occasions just to keep the lines of communication open. We are expecting that Inco itself may be in a position to make a proposal to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador within the next month or so.

Ourselves, Inco, the Aboriginal groups, and the federal government are continuing our evaluation of the recommendations of the environmental assessment panel which released its report about six weeks ago now. When all of those things come together we fully expect that there may actually be an official meeting with Inco sometime within the next month to six weeks. Until that happens, there is nothing to report substantially as to what may or may not occur in relation to any negotiations between the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and Inco, which have the rights to develop the deposit at Voisey's Bay.

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

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

So unofficially we are waiting for an official response, I guess, is the Reader's Digest version of the minister's brief comments with respect to the issue.

I would like to ask him this, because he has raised an important point himself with respect to the environmental assessment panel. Of the 107 recommendations, I believe, there are two that are very important. One is the mode of development. The second is the anticipated successful conclusions with the Innu. We have announced in the Province, and government have announced, successful conclusions or at least a successful negotiating period with respect to the LIA.

Could the minister update us on the issue with respect to mode of development? Have there been informal discussions with Inco on that? Secondly, could he update the House to the extent that he can with respect to how close the Province is with its negotiations with the Innu? Because I understand that they met with the Premier yesterday.

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

MR. GRIMES: Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have nothing to report with respect to mode of development. That is an issue that will become front and centre when we do have some formal discussions with respect to the development of the whole project at some point in the future.

With respect to the Aboriginal issues and the Innu in particular: Fortunately, I would suggest, at this point in time there is a continuing dialogue between the government and the Innu Nation. I think all members would know, and the public of the Province would recall, that only a couple of months ago we were at a bit of an impasse where the Innu Nation had decreed that they were walking away from the table and would no longer discuss any issues with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador unless and until all of the land claims and self-governance matters in a general and broader based type of approach were satisfactorily dealt with. That, as I understand it, is no longer the position of the Innu Nation.

There are a group here in Labrador, in Aboriginal Affairs within the government, who are continuing a very constructive dialogue, as I understand it, with the Innu Nation. One of the issues, of course, being discussed - as well as the Labrador Hydro project, which is one issue they were discussing - is the kind of relationship that will have to occur to successfully proceed with a negotiation respecting the development of the Voisey's Bay deposit as well.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, the minister has indicated in the House today that they are anticipating a proposal coming forward from Inco to the Province. Is the minister in a position today to confirm that part of that proposal is a scaled down version of the original smelter-refinery complex that would see, at the end of the day, semi-processed ore from Labrador smelted and refined in this Province shipped out? Is that the type of proposal and informal discussions that the minister, the Premier, and Inco have been having?

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

MR. GRIMES: No, Mr. Speaker, there has been no speculation whatsoever in the discussions we have been having. I described it, in answer to the first question, as us having informal discussions merely, simply and only to keep the lines of communication open to understand when they may be ready to make a proposal. It is not for the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to make a proposal. Our position has always been clear. We want maximum benefits for Newfoundland and Labrador.

The last position of Inco, which is a year old now, just about, was not at all satisfactory. We have no idea what it is, and it would be useless to speculate whether it may be this or it may be that. We have no idea of what they might propose in the next month or six weeks. That has not been the purpose of any informal discussions, to try and find out quietly and privately what it is they might be going to propose. It is just a matter of courtesy meetings to keep the lines of communication open so that they know, whenever they are ready to make a serious proposal to request the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to give them the proper permits and licenses to start a development at Voisey's Bay, that we have been just indicating to them that we are ready to talk to them whenever they are ready.

We are very patient. We are not in any rush to do this. We are going to do what is right for Newfoundland and Labrador at the appropriate time. It will be fully debated and discussed, I am sure, in this Legislature and outside in the Province, when the group comes forward with a proposition. There has been no speculative type meeting saying: Well, if we bring this, will this be okay? Can we try this on? - and so on. That is not the nature of the discussions we have been having, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, there is a lot of concern in the industry. There is a lot of concern with people in the Province. There is much concern with the business community from one end of the Province to the other. I know the minister knows this. Maybe the minister can either confirm that or provide his own point of view on this question. I am led to believe that we really are at the eleventh hour with whether this project will proceed or whether it will not proceed. This is the information that certainly I have been told.

I would like to ask the minister: Are we at that point? Are we at the eleventh hour where the possibility in terms of negotiations or waiting for a proposal to see this tremendous resource developed for maximum benefit - I agree; there is no disagreement on that in this House or in the Province, I would say - but are we at that point, that this project may be shelved for some time?

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

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, maybe it is important that in the context of that type of question to again give a little bit of a background reminder.

The only reason that there were no real discussions and progress in the last year was because all of us had to go through an environmental process, in any event, that made a number of recommendations suggesting that before any lease or permit be given that we be assured that the life of the project would be some twenty to twenty-five years instead of six or seven years; that there would be arrangements with the Innu Nation and the other Aboriginal groups that have a direct interest here, and that these things be put in place before the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador gives any kind of lease, license or permit to anybody to develop that particular ore body in Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, I can tell you that contrary to the kind of tone that was in the last question, the only discussion of a general nature that we have consistently had with Inco, who are the people who have purchased the right to develop this if they can get the lease and permits from the government, is that they firmly believe that good projects get done. That is the constant phrase that has come through all of the informal discussions: that at some point, if this is a good project, regardless of what else is going on anywhere else in the world, anywhere else in different continents and so on, that if this is a good project, the company will try to come forward with a proposal to start it and get it done; and, if it is good for Newfoundland and Labrador, we will certainly try to facilitate it and explain to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador why it is proceeding at a point in time - because it is good for everybody, or else why it is not going to proceed, if it is not for fifty, sixty, seventy or 100 years, because it is not good for Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. E. BYRNE: A final question, Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Mines and Energy. It goes back to one of the answers that he gave earlier. He said - and he can correct me if I am wrong - that government is anticipating a proposal from Inco within the next several weeks - six weeks.

Will you be in a position at that time, Minister, to publicly release what that proposal is, to give a further update to the people of the Province on what the nature and status of this very important project is? Can you make a commitment today that when you receive that proposal, after obviously what would be considered due consideration by the department, will you make that proposal public for all of us in the Province to have a look at? What the details are, what the outstanding issues are surrounding the project, and whether we should proceed or not proceed, and let the debate begin on what is, as opposed to right now not knowing exactly where this project is going?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I think again that the full expectation not only by ourselves as a government but by Inco as the corporate player in this, as I indicated, who have purchased the right at some significant cost to them to develop this if they can get an agreement with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the absolute expectation for everybody involved is that this whole project has already attracted so much attention in Newfoundland and Labrador that it would be impossible for anybody, once we start a formal actual negotiation, to do anything with it other than in a very public way.

So the expectation from Inco is that when they make a proposal, as the Leader of the Opposition has indicated, after a due period of consideration and evaluation by the government, that the full expectation from them is that whatever they propose will become very public in Newfoundland and Labrador because this whole issue has raised a lot of public interest from the beginning.

Everyone understands that you do not do the actual minute detail of the negotiation in a public vein, but once the examination is done of what is proposed and once the government is prepared to answer aye or nay as to whether or not we are about to give a permit, a lease or a licence, they fully expect that the full details of what we are going to agree to or disagree with will be public in Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My questions today are to the Acting Minister of Health and Community Services. Personal care homes in this Province have been experiencing financial problems for some time. Over the last several years, several have closed and others are on the point of bankruptcy. Your department is seriously underfunding this important sector of our health care system. We have seen subsidized beds in this Province drop by between 300 and 400, from 1,346, just in the last four years alone.

Owners cannot survive with the $8 per month increase that was provided in the Budget this year. It is really an insult to these, and the impact is going to be felt by residents of those homes. The question is: Does the minister feel that the current $923 a month is sufficient to care for those residents?

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

MS BETTNEY: Mr. Speaker, in allocating the resources of the Department of Health and Community Services, there are many conflicting priorities that the department has to contend with. The hon. member has brought to the floor of this House on many occasions over the past number of weeks, many of the items of concern that he has raised with respect to costs of things like: the cost of nursing, the cost for physicians, the cost for equipment, the cost for many, many other health and community services in this Province.

Certainly, when you try to look at the kind of levels of funding that we provide for issues like the home care, when you look at levels of service for long-term care, these are all issues that have to be taken into consideration when you are trying to allocate your funds and do it as prudently as possible.

The Minister of Health and Community Services has said on many occasions that they have difficult decisions to make, and I am sure all members of the House are aware of some of those difficult decisions as we try and deal with issues as they arise in health.

At the present time, and through this current budget process, this is the level of funding the department has seen fit to allocate based on a whole range of other priorities that it has to find funding for. That is certainly something that everybody can recognize, that you have to work within the means that you have, and that certainly there are only limited dollars to be able to give to any individual priority within the department.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A supplementary, the hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I asked the minister, was $923 a month sufficient? I still do not know whether it is yes or no. If she looked at a report that is in her department, the Department of Health and Community Services, she might find out that it is grossly inadequate - that the department has not released it because they know it is very underfunded, I say to the minister.

Maybe I might release that report too, Mr. Speaker. Maybe I might.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: Minister, how can you justify paying government funded nursing homes up to $5,000 per month, in cases, to care for residents who require the same level of care when personal care home operators are expected to care for those people for $923 a month?

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

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, and I will do when the minister is here, not when (inaudible) out of the Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Human Resources and Employment.

MS BETTNEY: Mr. Speaker, this kind of line of questioning, I guess, was started last week, I believe, when there were some suggestions made with respect to the quality of care that was being provided in public, long-term care institutions versus private home care institutions. There was certainly some dissatisfaction, discontent and upset that those particular suggestions caused in the long-term care facilities in the Province that are publicly funded.

What everybody knows is that there are different levels of care and that in large cases - I can only speak at a general level at this point, as the acting minister - but there are different levels of care that are provided and, for the most part, you are seeing higher levels of care in the public facilities versus the private facilities. I would expect there is some connection between the levels of care that are provided in this manner.

I would suggest that if we want to get to the actual specifics, other than at the general level that I am able to comment on here today, that perhaps the question can be deferred for more detail to when the minister is actually here.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yes, I wish the minister were here. I will deal with things when the minister is here, not when a minister stands while I am out of the House and deals with things.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SULLIVAN: I have the intestinal fortitude and the professionalism to deal with it when the minister is here, I tell the minister. That is when I will do it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SULLIVAN: I am glad the minister said it is based -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am glad the minister said that it is based on the level of care because the minister's department, or the department of which she is the acting minister, has just approved Level II care for personal care homes. The minister has not put the funding to go with the increase from Level I to Level II in these, that is provided in nursing homes. Minister, why are setting a double standard of care based on where a person lives?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS BETTNEY: Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear in my comments. When I responded I said, in very general terms, that I could speak in very general terms as to the nature of the policy, but that if you wish to have a specific and detailed response to your specific question you should ask it when the minister is present so that she can provide you with the specific answer. If you care to check, that is definitely the nature of my comments to the previous question.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted with the minister. I am sure she will read her comments in Hansard later and see exactly how she said it should be funded, on the level of care.

I ask the minister: Are they intentionally trying to keep funding at a low level to personal care homes and force them out of business because government does not wish to pay a subsidy to these people? I ask the minister: Is it your plan to expect those residents to have to fund 100 per cent of their care in personal care homes even when their income is below that level required?

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

MS BETTNEY: Mr. Speaker, I do not think I really understand what is at the bottom of this question. If you ask me very specifically, then the obvious answer, as some of my colleagues are suggesting here, is no. I am kind of left thinking that there must be more to the question than what I am hearing right here.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

I say thank you to the other side of the House for that round of applause when I got up.

In the Estimates Committee hearings the topic of municipal assessments came up. The Member for Bellevue had some problems with certain questions. So I ask the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs the following question.

The Municipal Assessment Agency will receive the last $500,000 of a $3 million subsidy over three years this fiscal year. With out-migration and high unemployment rates in rural Newfoundland, small towns are having trouble collecting their property taxes. In turn the towns are having trouble paying their assessment bills. We have a letter from the town of St. Mary's basically confirming this. I ask the minister: How much does the minister expect the per property assessment to rise for these rural towns when the Municipal Assessment Agency loses its subsidy this year?

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The new Municipal Assessment Agency was put in place, in part, in response to what would best serve the needs of the municipalities themselves in terms of getting assessments done in a timely fashion and getting them done at an appropriate cost. The subsidy over a three-two-one year period does expire this year. The business plan of the assessment corporation has all of that factored into it. The rates they are charging municipalities has been generally accepted by the municipalities has been generally accepted by the municipalities as being a fair assessment rate based on the service that is being rendered.

I am not personally aware, as minister, of one instance where a municipality has come to me and said that this is going to have an adverse affect on their fiscal position next year or on their ability to get assessments done. There may very well be communities where because of the increase in the assessment rate they may think it will cause them some difficulty.

The upside to it, Mr. Speaker, is that the municipalities are now having assessments done in a more timely fashion so that they can adjust their tax rates at an earlier date, and thereby enhance their revenue stream to meet their own business plans and provide the level of municipal services that they are, of course, mandated to do.

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

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

I do not know who is more out of touch of with what is going on in the Province today, the Minister of Education, the Minister of Health, or the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. I have a letter here from the town of St. Mary's bringing up their very concerns. It has been sent to -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. J. BYRNE: Anyway, I will get to the question, Mr. Speaker.

For the Municipal Assessment Agency to operate, full recovery would have to be expected, I say to the minister. What controls are there in place to prevent an outrageous increase in property assessments to municipalities in the future? Were there financial projections done for beyond this fiscal year to address the concerns of the smaller towns in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador? Are the smaller towns, in reality, being hung out to dry here?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, there is nobody over here out of touch or unplugged from the real world or from the responsibilities that they have as ministers or otherwise. We are all well plugged in.

I would suggest that if the hon. member wants to be well informed and learn something that he plug in as well to what he hears from this side of the House on an ongoing basis. He will be well served, he will be well informed. He will be the better for it. He will be a better constituency man himself.

As to the substantive part of his question, the business plans of the Assessment Agency have been developed in collaboration with the Federation of Municipalities, which represents the interests of all the municipalities. If you ask the question, as he did: What mechanism is in place to ensure that things will not get so substantially out of hand on a cost basis that municipalities will be injuriously affected?, then I say to the hon. member that the best mechanism possible is in place, and that is a good working relationship between the Federation of Municipalities, our department, and the new Assessment Agency. That working relationship, which is going along very well, at the end of the day will ensure that the municipalities' real interests are best served by virtue of this agency.

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

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, I say to the minister he should unplug whatever computer he is plugged into. I can tell you that. Obviously, he does not know what is going on with respect to rural municipalities. Maybe it is because he is a fairly new minister in the department and maybe he should be given a little bit of leeway.

I say to the minister that the Newfoundland Municipal Financing Corporation can attach the municipal operating grants to get the money they are owed. The Municipal Assessment Agency cannot. I ask to the minister: Has the Assessment Agency asked the government to give it the power to attach the municipal operation grants as the Newfoundland Municipal Financing Corporation can do today? Is government contemplating such a move? What would be the impact if they are given that authority?

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

MR. MATTHEWS: I think the answers to his questions are yes, no, yes, and no again, if he really wants the short version. If you would like some more meat on the bones I would be glad to oblige.

The new Assessment Agency does not have the authority to attach MOGs, to intercept payments from towns for whom they have done work. We are not contemplating giving the agency that level of garnishee ability or attachment, because we believe that the Municipal Assessment Agency, as it has already demonstrated, can work best and most effectively on behalf of the municipalities on a direct basis.

I would say to the hon. member that I had an opportunity a month ago to go to his district, actually, and meet -

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!

MR. MATTHEWS: Hold on now. Wait until I am finished. I met with the joint councils. I just happened to be in his district where the meeting was being held. I met with the joint councils of the northeast Avalon, which included some towns in his district, and which included some towns in other districts in the Province. I can tell you that I garnered no sense of concern or being distraught with respect to the new agency, which we discussed, because of its operation. As a matter of fact, the municipalities were a very congenial, cordial group of individuals representing the various towns. They were, on balance, quite pleased with the fact that we had a municipal agency to do the assessments -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. minister to conclude his answer.

MR. MATTHEWS: - and things were working very well. So, rest easy and sleep well tonight, all is in good hands.

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

MR. J. BYRNE: I say to the minister, by the answers he is giving here today he should have a chat with a few people within his department. Obviously you do not know what is being planned.

If the towns have their municipal operating grants attached to cover assessment charges, their infrastructure will suffer. Remember that the reason many towns cannot afford to pay is that their tax base has been disintegrated over the past few years. Without MOGs they cannot build the infrastructure needed to attract new investments. So it is a downward spiral that ends with streetlights being turned off and streets turning to mud, I say to the minister.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. J. BYRNE: When is this government going to stop abandoning our rural communities which find themselves in dire straits because of the cuts to the municipal operating grants over the past few years, and the downloading by this government with respect to this Municipal Assessment Agency when the towns cannot afford to pay their assessments? Who is going to pay it for them, I ask the minister?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The hon. member, as usual, is an if and when member when he gets up: When the sky falls in, and if the world comes to an end, and if something else happens, and because something else might happen. Chicken Little, whoever he was, seems to replicate this fellow.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: That is the fellow who said the sky is falling.

For the hon. member's information, the sky is not falling in on the heads of us or our municipalities. We are working closely with the municipalities in the Province through the Federation. We have just introduced a new municipalities act that has been asked for for many years. We have delivered on it as a government.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MATTHEWS: We are in the process, Mr. Speaker, of having a $120 million capital works program for the first time ever in the Province. We are committed to a new urban and renewal planning act which will be presented in the House in the fall session to further assist the municipalities doing their work.

All I have heard, in all honesty, in the five or six months that I have been in the department are words of congratulations, words of commendation, and words of general satisfaction and encouragement from the Federation that represents the municipalities. Do we have municipalities that are having a difficult time? Yes, there are municipalities who are having a tough time in certain circumstances, but on balance, Mr. Speaker, the towns are responsible, being run by responsible councillors, and they do not need the gloom and doom that this member tries to perpetuate and put forward -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MATTHEWS: - on a scaremongering basis to excite the people of the Province when there is no need of it. He should be doing better things!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has ended.

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

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

MR. DICKS: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I wish to table the annual report of the RNC Public Complaints Commission covering the period from April 1, 1997 to March 31, 1998. It is in accordance with section 39 of the RNC Act.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. REID: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to inform the House that the Resource Committee has considered and approved, without amendment, the estimates of expenditure for the following departments: Fisheries and Aquaculture, Forest Resources and Agrifoods, Tourism, Culture and Recreation, Industry, Trade and Technology, Mines and Energy, and Development and Rural Renewal.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am pleased to present the report of exemptions under the Public Tendering Act for the month of February 1999.

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

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

I am pleased to present the Newfoundland Crop Insurance Agency annual report for 1998, and the Livestock Owners Compensation Board report for 1998.

Petitions

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is my pleasure today to present the following petition:

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland in parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned nurses of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador asks for the House of Assembly to accept the following prayer:

We, the nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador, have honestly and openly conveyed our concerns about the failing health care system of this Province. In good faith and under the collective bargaining process of this Province we attempted to negotiate these issues with the Liberal Government. Premier Tobin and the Liberal Government showed their lack of respect for nurses' concerns and made a mockery of this Province's collective bargaining process by legislating nurses back to work without binding arbitration.

If the Liberal government honestly wishes to pursue constructive dialogue with the nurses of this Province in an attempt to help solve the existing health care crisis, we wish to inform the House of Assembly this can only be made possible if the Liberal government admits they made a mistake in not acknowledging the depth and scope of the crisis facing health care in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador and the hon. House of Assembly repeals Bill 3 and the Liberal government resumes bargaining in good faith with nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador by using the collective bargaining process that existed before Bill 3.

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to continue to present those petitions as they come in on behalf of -

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

On a point of order, the hon. the Member for Terra Nova.

MR. LUSH: Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman must sit down while I am on a point of order.

I do not know what position the House has taken, but I -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. LUSH: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: You are the new Speaker now, (inaudible)?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. LUSH: No, (inaudible) when any member is recognized, the other member sits down.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. LUSH: No, not at all, the member who is speaking.

Mr. Speaker, I do not know whether the House has changed its rules with respect to petitions, but time after time this hon. gentleman presents petitions that are not in accordance with the Standing Orders of this House. I heard the hon. gentleman read the petition, and at no point did this ever meet the conditions of the Standing Orders of our House.

It is addressed - talking about the Liberal government. No petition is supposed to do that. A petition is addressed to the House of Assembly with a prayer, and that is to avoid debate. Again, I could be wrong. Maybe the House has changed its rules and the hon. member's petition is acceptable.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Is the hon. member speaking to a point of order?

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The hon. member should realize that when he was absent from this House, the Speaker made a ruling on your point before and ruled a statement - you stood here and indicated that I was presenting a petition that was not in order, and his hon. the Speaker ruled that what I did was within the rules of this House at that particular time. The member should read Hansard to find that out.

Secondly, this is a petition I presented on a dozen occasions, continue to present to this House, and nobody has objected except the member. The only member who has objected to this in the House is the Member for Terra Nova. If he does not want this to be heard in the House, certainly it is addressed to the hon. House of Assembly.

It says: To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province..., and they are calling upon this House to repeal Bill 3. They are calling upon the Liberal government to resume bargaining with the nurses of this Province.

Mr. Speaker, that is in order. It has a prayer and it has a request.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

To the point of order, the Chair has not seen that particular petition. I want to ask the hon. member if he has consulted with the Table on this matter, on that particular petition? Has the hon. member done that?

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, I have presented this exact same petition on a dozen occasions before in this House.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. member to take his seat.

The Chair has ruled in the past that when someone raises a point of order on whether or not a petition is in order, it is difficult for the Chair to decide if it is in order or not until the Chair has seen it. The Chair has not seen this particular petition. What the Chair has done is ask hon. members to consult with the Table before presenting a petition in this House. I said that if that is not done and there is a question of the order of the petition, then the Chair would have to rule that the petition is out of order.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. SULLIVAN: On the petition, Mr. Speaker, or...?

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair has asked the hon. member if he has cleared it with the Table.

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, I received the petition and I felt it was not in order. I sent it back and said, I cannot present this. They reworded it and I still said I could not, and we did pass it in on several occasions before.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SULLIVAN: It is the same petition, Mr. Speaker. It has been passed in here and signed by me each day and presented to the Chair.

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair has been informed by the Table that it has looked at the petition and has decided that the petition meets the requirements of the House.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

By leave to comment on the petition?

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave.

MR. SPEAKER: No leave.

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

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

MR. GRIMES: (Inaudible) apologize (inaudible).

MR. T. OSBORNE: I say to the Minister of Mines and Energy, it is you who should apologize to the nurses.

I am pleased to speak to this petition. We have seen the nurses demonstrate in a very professional manner. We have seen the nurses carry on their right to strike in a very professional manner until it was cut short by government under Bill 3. It should have been called the sunshine bill because their right to strike was cut short until after vacation was over. Then, government wanted to call them back to the bargaining table again.

These nurses bargained in good faith. They bargained with government, expecting the right to binding arbitration if government ordered them back to work. That right was taken away.

All these nurses are asking for, as a professional group of people in this Province, is the right to either fair bargaining with government, the right to strike, or their right to binding arbitration if their right to strike is removed.

Unfortunately, neither of those has taken place. The nurses were ordered back to work with 7 per cent. We all know in this House that doctors were given a much higher raise than 7 per cent because doctors were deemed to be essential to our health care system. Nurses are no less essential to our health care system than doctors. Their services are also essential to our health care system. Otherwise, government would not have ordered them back to work.

All the nurses are asking for here is that the hon. House of Assembly repeal Bill 3 and the Liberal government resume bargaining in good faith with nurses in this Province by using the collective bargaining process that existed before Bill 3 was implemented.

Mr. Speaker, I speak in support of the nurses and in support of this petition today, and I am proud to do so.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to make a few comments with respect to the petition that was presented.

I think everybody in this Legislature knows the game that is being played by the Official Opposition in presenting the petition weeks, and now months, after the issue has been dealt with decisively by this particular Legislature and this government. They will stand up and suggest that there is something wrong with the course of action taken when, in fact, when they were government they did exactly the same thing.

It always puzzles people like myself, and people on this side of the House, when they can see a group standing up because they happen to be very happy, as I understand it, very pleased about the fact they are going to be in Opposition for another four years. They were very excited about it at their annual meeting. They have secured their place as the Official Opposition for another four years, and were patting themselves on the back for it. We hope to let them congratulate themselves again in four years' time for another four or five years in Opposition because that is where they are headed.

Everybody in Newfoundland and Labrador can see what happened. When they were the government, they took actions exactly identical to what this group took when they were the government.

AN HON. MEMBER: Worse.

MR. GRIMES: As a matter of fact, a little worse because they were going to fire the people first. They were going to fire them before they fined them.

We have the other Opposition party talk about how they would take care of all these people in the public service, particularly nurses, when the NDP government in Saskatchewan was worse than the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador in that five seconds after the nurses went on strike in Saskatchewan, the NDP government had them ordered back to work with a similar piece of legislation. They will have the nerve to stand up one of these days and suggest, of course, that: We would never do that. Trust us. We would never, ever do that.

Of course, they can say it because they will never, ever be the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. The group opposite had a seventeen year period where they were the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and their track record speaks for itself because they did the same kind of thing. They legislated health care workers back to work with more severe legislation than was seen here a month or so ago.

The thing that I am puzzled about as well - I noticed when the issue was being dealt with, with the nurses, I used to walk through the lobby and regularly our friends opposite would be out playing to the crowd, being big heroes. They would not admit here in the Legislature what they had done out there. They would not stand up in Hansard and say what they had done.

When I used to walk through the Legislature, the nurses booed me. They booed me. They did not speak to me like their friends over there, who were mollycoddling them and so on. They booed me. I was a bit puzzled by it because they certainly were not booing me for the fact that we had created 125 brand new nursing positions above and beyond what they had asked for at the bargaining table. They were not booing me, I am sure, because we had just given them a 7 per cent raise after they had eight years of a wage freeze, that they had the first raise that they had gotten in some nine years that this government gave to them. They could not be booing me or anybody else for finally giving them a raise.

They could not be booing us for converting some 540 casual nurses to permanent nurses when, at the bargaining table itself, they had only asked for the conversion of 400 casuals to full-time and so on. We converted, or are in the process of converting, 540 nurses, so I knew they could not be booing me for that.

They certainly were not booing me for the fact that we had just provided $20 million for new equipment in the hospitals so that they could do their jobs better. They certainly were not booing me because of the fact that we had just reinstated $40 million into the operating budgets in the hospitals where they work and the institutions where they provide care for our patients.

They certainly were not booing me because we had provided another $20 million at the end of last year to make sure that their jobs could be done better on behalf of patients in the institutions of Newfoundland and Labrador. They certainly were not booing us for adding additional supports with licensed practical nurses and other support staff in the hospitals so that they could concentrate on their nursing duties and not have to do other duties.

They certainly were not booing me for the fact that we had put kidney dialysis in the hospital in Grand Falls-Windsor to expand that service in Newfoundland and Labrador in the last year or so. They certainly were not booing me or anybody else because we were committing hundreds of millions of dollars to build new facilities in places like Stephenville, Harbour Breton, Fogo, Gander, Grand Bank, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, and Grand Falls-Windsor with a new senior's home.

As I say, Mr. Speaker, I was puzzled. I can understand why they were talking to their friends because they pretended to be their friends.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. GRIMES: They pretended as in the point of this petition that they would never do those kinds of things when the record shows the exact opposite, Mr. Speaker. I hope they present the petition again so we can go on the record again as to what is really happening in this Legislature.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Lewisporte.

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition signed by parents whose children attend the Gander Bay school system, particularly parents from Harris Point, George's Point, Clarke's Head, Wings Point, Victoria Cove, Rodgers Cove, Horwood, Stoneville and Port Albert. This is part in my constituency and part in the constituency represented by my friend for Bonavista North.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!

MR. RIDEOUT: Part in my constituency as well, I say to the hon. member. So I am representing constituents of mine who presented me with those petitions when I was in the school at Wings Point last Friday, I say to the hon. member.

Mr. Speaker, before I go any further, I have to admit, having listened to points of order here today, that I have not submitted this petition to the Table for it to have a look at. I would say right up front that strictly speaking it probably does not meet the rules in the sense that it does not mention the House of Assembly, but there is no doubt about the prayer of the petition. The prayer is asking for reconsideration for a different formula for putting teacher positions in rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

So while the technicality may be outside the scope of what is laid down in our rules, I think that this House on dozens of occasions over the last number of years has allowed petitions to come forth when they did not exactly meet the strict criteria as laid down in our Standing Orders. I want to say it up front, lest I be accused of trying to sneak something in by the back door.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RIDEOUT: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, having said that, the prayer of this petition is this. The people who have signed it are asking the government to allocate teachers to our schools on the basis of program requirements, as opposed to the current practice of pupil-teacher ratio, the aim of which is to ensure appropriate instruction in the prescribed curriculum irrespective of a school's pupil enrolment.

This particular petition is signed by fourteen people from the area served by the Wings Point school. I want to say that on Friday I had an opportunity to visit that school because, as I said, three or four communities in my constituency send -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RIDEOUT: To allocate teachers to our schools on the basis of program requirements as opposed to the current practice of pupil-teacher ratio. That is the prayer, I say to my friend for Bonavista North.

I met with the school council in that school. I met with a student assembly at that school. I took questions from the student assembly. Some of the things that I learned - and it is a beautiful new school, lovely, four or five years old, I understand. It is a great place, a lovely building, but they have a serious problem and the member should realize that they have a serious problem. The problem is this.

That school is a K-XII school with 330 students from K-XII. Last year that school had twenty-one teaching units. This year it is going to lose one of those units. Over the past five years they have lost units and as a result of losing units - I hate saying units because it is personnel, it is teachers, it is people, it is human beings, but that is the way it is referred to these days, as units. Over the last five years that particular K-XII school has had to make cuts including the following. They have had to drop industrial arts, home economics, music, and they have had to drop French at the senior level and French in the primary level. That is what they have had to drop at that school over the past five years.

That school, Mr. Speaker, has paid a price. We all know that it is a K-XII school. What they are doing is they are trying desperately to keep the numbers in primary and elementary school as low as they can. The price that has been paid for that of course is two things. Firstly, the class size in the senior high level is much higher than the norm because they are using more teaching units in the primary and elementary grades to keep the numbers down. Secondly, they are in a situation now where they just do not have the allocations any more to be able to offer anything other than a basic core program. No frills. There is not a frill left in the senior high school program in this particular school. As a matter of fact, they are now having to alternate math, science and English to fit it into the particular core program of that school.

So, Mr. Speaker, this is a -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. RIDEOUT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This is a serious situation that the people in that school want addressed. They are sending their petitions in here that are perhaps not technically correct, but certainly correct enough that this House ought to be able to give consideration to the prayer.

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, let me say to the hon. Member for Lewisporte that I think it was some three or four weeks ago maybe that I met with the people from Gander Bay, Wings Point school, first when this issue started to become apparent. We made a point to them at that time that we would work on their problems, that we would work within a Cabinet system of government on their problems. Also, that if you are a member of Cabinet, you do not go around taking on the government; that you do not have the liberty that an Opposition has of getting out and saying they would do this, that and the other thing and doing whatever they want to do, knowing full well that they have to do nothing.

If this government had to stand here and add up the totals the Opposition has passed out since we came back from the last election - we will not say anything about the election, the $800,000 income tax that they were going to pass back to people. They were going to cut $800,000 worth of taxes out of the economy. We will not say anything about that. We will look at just what they have said since they came back here.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!

MR. TULK: Would the hon. gentleman contain himself?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) money (inaudible).

MR. TULK: Would the hon. gentleman over here contain himself?

AN HON. MEMBER: No I can't, I can't.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, let me say to the hon. gentleman that if you add up the totals this Province would be a financial wreck in the same way as it almost was when the Tories left here in 1989.

Let me say to the hon. gentleman, let me say to the people of Gander Bay, that the Minister of Education and the Premier have committed in this House to studying the problem. They have a brand new school that this member here pushed hard and got for them, one of the best schools in this Province, and I am proud that they have it. Let me say to the hon. gentleman that the Premier and the Minister of Education have committed themselves to looking at this problem, to looking at it in a sensible fashion, to looking at it and keeping rural Newfoundland in mind as opposed to what the differences are between rural Newfoundland in terms of geography. Not the differences in people, but the differences in geography between rural and urban Newfoundland. I am sure the Member for Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi would agree with me that there are vast differences.

They will look at this problem. This government will look at this problem. Where there need to be holes plugged this spring while we are waiting to move on to putting perhaps a better plan in place for the schools in this Province, this government will do it. I want to say to the Opposition that we need no lessons from the other side.

Now the third person can stand over there and have a go at it. Here he comes, I knew it would be. They had it planned twenty minutes ago.

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

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

I am very pleased today (inaudible) to stand in support of the petition presented by my colleague for Lewisporte. We are not going to use politician slights or anything to address this petition. I am going to talk about the students who are so often left out of this debate, the people of this Province who are our greatest resource, who keep leaving in droves every year. They are the people who are sitting in the classrooms from kindergarten to Grade XII.

MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order.

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

MR. BARRETT: I want to agree with the hon. member that the students are very important in this debate. I want to tell the hon. member that in Clarenville last night, when the parents wanted to have a province-wide walkout of the students in this Province, and the parents were advocating that we haul all the students out of the school, a student got up and said: You are all out to lunch. The one thing we do not want is to miss any more school, we are concerned about our education. The parents backed down.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Baie Verte.

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Speaker, the member is trying to interrupt on a petition being presented by this Member of the House of Assembly as we talk about the students in K to XII in Riverwood Academy in Wings Point. That is why I am here to speak on, not to be interrupted by such tripe as that.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SHELLEY: The bottom line is the students in school. Any parent or former teacher - as I am, both, a former teacher and parent - with kids in school today can tell you that children in this Province or in any province, anywhere in the world, do not just go to school. We would love to think so, but they don't run to school every day and cannot wait to get into math, history and science class. That is not all there is to education. Anybody who does not know the difference of that, you are out to lunch.

It is as simply put as this. Unless we have those extra courses in school, such as physical education, music, drama, the science fairs, all of those added things that make education whole, then you will see an increased drop out of students in this Province. It is as simple as that.

When we started talking about core programming, yes, we need core programming. You need that to be able to go on to post-secondary and so on. From a six-year-old to a seventeen- or eighteen-year-old who leaves school, there is a lot more than math and science that makes that person whole, that makes that person more prepared for the world after high school.

As a former coach, teacher and person who was involved with extra curricular activities in school, I can tell you now that a lot of students today, the same as it was fifty-years ago, the same as it will be fifty years from now, are interested in all the extra things that happen in school. That is what makes it exciting and fun. It is the same now as it was then for all of us when we were students.

If anybody is sitting here believing that a core programming in school is going to keep students interested and will develop that person wholly and socially, they are not in touch with reality. We need more than the core programs.

When you see indications of parents and students speaking up and saying that they are losing drama - I had a list of them a few minutes ago - but the different programs that they are losing, Mr. Speaker.

MR. TULK: Point of order.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. TULK: Let me just say to him that the first thing that has to be defined here is what is core, what is essential to the schools. That does not necessarily mean the three Rs, as he is talking about over there.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Baie Verte.

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Speaker, here is one specific example. This particular school lost industrial arts, home economics, music at the senior level, French in the primary level. That is already done. What about next year when they announce a half-time physical education teacher, or that extra curricular is wiped out altogether? Then try to relate that to the teachers. I do not call them units, they are teachers, people. They are good teachers who take their weekends and evenings to coach teams and take students away on science fairs and all of those things. How are you going to expect to go to a teacher and say: By the way, now that we have cut you to the bone, now that we have squeezed you, would you mind coaching the basketball team? Would you mind taking them on a science fair? How would you expect that to happen?

The point I am making is that this has a ripple effect that goes down through the system. The bottom line is that it affects the student at the end of the day. I am seeing it now. You are going to see it more in the near future, and that is what the shame of this entire process is all about.

This was for education improvement. It was not even for status quo. We are not even getting status quo. I think there is a time now that people out there are saying: Even if could keep what we have, we would be satisfied. Yes, you are going to save monies through some of this reform, but now they are going to go backwards. Imagine doing school reform to go in reverse. It just does not make any sense.

Then the members opposite say that we lead the quest. When we are out in these meetings, I will tell the Member for Bellevue by the way, there was very little being said. It was what the people told us.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SHELLEY: The truth is the government side could not take it. I support these students.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Orders of the Day

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I would like, if I could, to inform the House that on Order 2 I think we have some two hours and forty-seven minutes left. At that point we will be forced by the time to put all of the heads in Consolidated Fund Services, Legislative, Executive Council and the Contingency Reserve. Then I think we have nine hours of concurrence motion left. We have Government Services and I think we also have - we finished yesterday the Resource Committee. That has been reported on. We would move into those.

I am going to call Order 2.

I also move that the House not adjourn at 5:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House not adjourn at 5:00 p.m.

All those in favour, `aye.'

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye!

MR. SPEAKER: Those against, `nay.'

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Nay!

MR. SPEAKER: Carried.

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

Committee of the Whole

CHAIR (Smith): Order, please!

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

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

I am going to stand today and give some debate on the Executive Council. We have had some lively debate back and forth. We have had good answers from the President of Treasury Board on this and we are looking forward to some more answers. I am sure she has all the answers over there so we will eagerly await her responses.

Some of the items I am going to ask about today are regarding the salaries. I will start off, I guess, with the Premier's Office. We have seen an increase in salary from the budgeted amount last year of $707,800. I am sure the Premier would like to have all of that amount. I am sure he is not getting it all. The revised amount was $740,000, so I am just curious as to whether or not there was somebody else hired or if there was a change in salaries in that department, or what would account for the difference in the amount of salary allocated to the Premier's Office.

Also under the Premier's Office, in 2.1.01.04, Supplies, we see it budgeted at $19,400 and the actual amount spent was $30,000. If we could find some clarification, perhaps, on where those supplies had been spent, what they were?

If you want, I can list off a number of items or we can go back and forth. It is up to yourself.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. T. OSBORNE: Okay.

We also see Transportation and Communications, a budgeted amount of $145,000 and a revised amount of $165,000. I cannot say with great certainty, but I am pretty sure there was more transportation by the Premier than what is allotted here. I was wondering, first of all, why the difference in $145,000 to $165,000; and, secondly, if there were any other allocations for the Premier's travel from anywhere else throughout the Estimates or Budget that would account for some of the trade missions he has gone on, in the selling of the Province. I am sure they were all good trips. If we could find out where the other allocations of funding for transportation for the Premier and the people who have travelled with the Premier, the trade missions and so on, where that funding has come from?

Also, under Executive Support, I say to the minister, we see Professional Services had $32,700 budgeted. There was only $10,000 spent. Now, while we are not complaining that the Executive Support division was very frugal in their spending, I am just wondering if there could be some explanation as to where the $22,700 savings had come from.

Again, under Purchased Services, there was a $20,900 saving in that department last year. I am wondering if there could be some explanation as to where those savings had come from.

Under Property, Furnishings and Equipment, there was $27,000 budgeted and only $5,000 spent. Maybe we could have some clarification of where the savings had come from there as well.

I will allow the minister to respond to those before I ask some others.

CHAIR: The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MS THISTLE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

In response to the question of the member opposite, I have already answered, actually, all of these questions a couple of times before, but I will answer them again today. You may not have been here in the House when those were asked, but I will afford you an answer.

AN HON. MEMBER: Tell him to read Hansard.

MS THISTLE: Or, as my colleague suggested, maybe Hansard would be enlightening.

Your first question was directed to 2.1.01, which was Salaries for the Premier's Office. I have to say to you that in 1996, when the Premier came to this office, there were seventeen employees and today there are fifteen. The amount listed here for Salaries, $740,000, is the cost of fifteen permanent and one contractual position. The increase was due to a special assistant in severance expenses, and it also reflect the non-recurrence of the twenty-seventh payroll period as well.

Under 2.1.01.03, Transportation and Communications, that is basic travel related expenses such as telephone, fax, cellular, and courier. It is also included to cover the cost of travel by any other Member of the House of Assembly who is authorized to represent or accompany the Premier at official functions.

Number 04 was routine office supplies and sometimes lunches, when they were considered to be working lunches.

Under 2.2.01, which is Executive Support, there was an actual reduction in salaries there. It represents the salaries of eleven permanent and one contractual position, and also the fact that there would not be a reoccurrence of that twenty-seventh pay period.

Number 06 is Purchased Services. That would be in relation to meeting room rentals for committee meetings, official entertainment, photocopier charges, printing. That would cover all divisions of Cabinet Secretariat.

The other one is Property, Furnishings and Equipment. It was office furniture. Actually, it was budgeted for $27,000 but only $5,000 was used.

I have to direct your attention to the bottom line there. That particular heading, 2.2.01, the budget was $975,300 and there was only a need to spend $903,700, so there has been some good planning there.

I believe that might answer the questions that you asked in that category.

Thank you.

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

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

There are a couple of other areas in which I have some questions. Under Economic Policy Analysis, we see under Employee Benefits, $1,000 was budgeted last year and again this year. There was actually $2,100 spent.

Under Supplies, we had a budget of $2,000 last year and this year. Last year there was actually only $500 spent.

Under Social Policy Analysis, we had a budget of $161,400 for Salaries. There was actually only $114,000 spent. Again, were there some changes in staff that would account for that, a decrease in salaries, which is probably unlikely?

Under the Offshore Fund - Administration we see, under Professional Services, $37,300 was budgeted both last year and this year. There was only $15,000 spent last year. If we could have a brief explanation as to what that was.

Again, Purchased Services, $7,500 budgeted last year and this year and only $2,000 spent last year. Maybe the minister could provide some explanation there.

CHAIR: The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MS THISTLE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Under 2.2.02, that would be the heading for Economic Policy Analysis. Your question was on 02, which would be Employee Benefits. That section was an increase due to membership and conference registration fees.

Under 04, Supplies, it was budgeted for $2,000 but in actual fact only $500 was used because the requirements were less than anticipated in that area.

Under 2.2.03, Social Policy Analysis, Salaries, it was budgeted for $161,400 and only $114,000 used. That represents the salaries for a full year of two permanent and one temporary employee. The savings were actually due to vacancies for part of the fiscal year.

Your other question is related to the Offshore Fund - Administration. This is a federal-provincial initiative that encourages development of individuals and businesses as it relates to the offshore Newfoundland and Labrador funding. This funding is provided through the Department of Industry, Trade and Technology.

Your reference to Professional Services, 05, it was budgeted for $37,300 and only a budget of $15,000 was used. The cost of Professional Services was actually less than anticipated and it represents the hiring of an independent auditing firm.

Under 06 in that category, Purchased Services, it was budgeted for $7,500 and only $2,000 used. It is interesting that you are asking questions when all of the funding has not been used. That is an interesting question. The reason for that was advertising and printing costs. In that particular one, 2.2.04, the budget for that one was $130,100 and only $96,000 was used in total.

Thank you.

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

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

Under the Economic Renewal Agreement Administration, we see last year a budget of $124,300. There was actually $141,000 spent.

Under Employee Benefits there was $1,800 budgeted last year and this year, and only $500 spent.

Under Transportation and Communications, again, $10,000 budgeted both last year and this year, and $20,000 spent. Why the double in the budget there?

Under Purchased Services, $2,400 was budgeted last year and this year; there was $5,000 spent.

Also, under that same heading, there was a revenue of $95,000 last year, up from a budget of $77,200. I am just wondering where that revenue comes from, and what would account for the difference in what was budgeted and the revenue received?

CHAIR: The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MS THISTLE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Under the heading 2.2.05, Economic Renewal Agreement Administration, the question with relation to Employee Benefits, 02, occurred from membership and conference registration fees.

Under 03, Transportation and Communications, was the cost of telephone, fax machines, cellular and travel. I have to tell you that these travel expenses were greater than originally anticipated.

Under 06, Purchased Services, it is in reference to printing of information brochures and photocopier charges.

The last question you asked in that category was 01, Revenue. That was anticipated revenue from the federal government under the Economic Renewal Agreement, and that would be 50/50 funding.

Thank you.

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

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

While the Minister of Fisheries keeps recognizing me, I think I will keep getting up.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) stand up, at least say something.

MR. T. OSBORNE: At least when I say something, I say to the Minister of Fisheries, it is of substance.

Under the Advisory Councils On Economic And Social Policy we see, under Transportation and Communications, $78,500 budgeted last year and this year, and only $20,000 spent. I am just wondering, why the difference there?

Under Supplies, $5,500 both last year and this year. There was $1,200 spent.

Under Purchased Services, again $20,000 last and this year, and only $5,000 spent.

Under Property, Furnishings and Equipment, $4,000 both last year and this year, and only $1,000 spent.

CHAIR: The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MS THISTLE: Mr. Chairman, with reference to subheading 2.2.06, that would be Advisory Councils On Economic And Social Policy, heading 03, Transportation and Communications, that is standard costs relating to travel, telephone, fax machine and cellular phone.

Under 2.2.06.04, Supplies, is routine office supplies. Funding is also provided for working lunches and for dinners for the Advisory Council meetings. I might add that $5,500 was budgeted and only $1,200 used.

The other one, 2.2.06.06, Purchased Services, is standard, which is meeting room rentals, expenses associated with the meetings, photocopier charges and printing costs.

Under 2.2.06.07, Property, Furnishings and Equipment, it was budgeted for $4,000 and only $1,000 used - purchase of office furniture and equipment.

The total budget for that category was $245,100 and only $174,200 was used.

I must say it is a very efficient committee, when you consider that there was a budget of $245,100. We depend so much on this independent advice to government, and they have lived well within their means.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: Order, please!

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

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

I say to President of Treasury Board: I was just told by my colleague that she has the information on Adler bars and fish chowder. She told me that the Minister of Fisheries is good with fish chowder. He organized a wedding about a year-and-a-half ago and the fish chowder was fousty. It was his daughter's wedding - the Minister of Fisheries - and the fish chowder was fousty. Is that true?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, it is.

MR. T. OSBORNE: That was what she came over and told me. The fish chowder was fousty.

AN HON. MEMBER: He had it in his boat too long.

MR. T. OSBORNE: The Minister of Fisheries organized a wedding for a certain family member a year-and-a-half ago and the fish chowder was fousty. They threw it all out.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. T. OSBORNE: The Minister of Fisheries.

MR. TULK: Fousty fish chowder.

MR. T. OSBORNE: Fousty fish chowder. At least you would figure the Minister of Fisheries could organize fish chowder.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. T. OSBORNE: I only asked if it was true.

I say to the President of Treasury Board, under Protocol, 2.2.07.03, Transportation and Communications, we see $170,000 budgeted, only $30,000 spent, and we see $170,000 budgeted again this year. I am wondering, why the difference in what was spent and if there was only a need to spend $30,000 why we budgeted $170,000 again this year?

Under 2.2.07.04, Supplies, we see $50,000 last year and again this year and only $20,000 spent.

Under 2.2.07.06, Purchased Services, we see $140,000 last year and this year and there was only $110,000 spent.

Under Senior Management Development Committee, 2.2.08.06, we see $25,000 budgeted last year and this year, although there was nothing spent. I was just wondering why we budgeted that amount again this year if there was no need for the expenditure?

Then we get into Intergovernmental Affairs Secretariat, 2.3.01, the Minister's Office, and I guess the reason for the differences there was because that department was set up just late last year. I will ask the minister to confirm whether or not that was the case there.

CHAIR: The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MS THISTLE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

In response to the question on heading 2.2.07, Protocol: The budget and the activities surrounding this one are usually for major provincial events such as Soiree '99, the 50th anniversary of Newfoundland joining Canada, the year 2000 celebrations and arranging the itinerary for visiting dignitaries. It is all related to whatever extra events are going on throughout the year. Your question was on 2.2.07.03, Transportation and Communications. That is the usual standard charges or expenses for travel, telephones, cellular phones and the like.

2.2.07.04, Supplies, shows a reduction and spending of the funding that was forecasted to be $50,000 and only $20,000 was used. That would include the routine office supplies, gifts, and souvenirs. It also included funding for the purchase of the Newfoundland and Labrador Bravery Award Medal, the Newfoundland and Labrador Volunteer Medal and the Newfoundland Volunteer Service Medal.

The 2.2.07.06 heading, which is Purchased Services, that amount was entertainment such as lunches, dinners, receptions, banquets, photocopier charges, printing, advertising, lease of office equipment, vehicle rentals, photography charges. That is about it.

If you look at the total Protocol budget, it was forecasted to be $462,500 and only $249,000 was spent. It relates mostly to what celebrations and events are envisaged throughout the year.

Under 2.2.08.06, Senior Management Development Committee, Purchased Services, there was an amount of $25,000 budgeted. It was for the development of human resource policy respecting the development of management and executive. That activity did not take place and as a result there was none of that budget used.

The next category was 2.3.01. Your assumption for the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs was quite right. That $30,000 represented a portion of the year only for the minister's salary.

Thank you.

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

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

Under Executive Support, the Intergovernmental Affairs Secretariat, we see Salaries gone up this year considerably from what was budgeted and spent last year. As well, we see under Transportation and Communications that what was budgeted last year was $71,000. There was actually $137,700 spent in that budget. Under Supplies, they roughly doubled the budget last year in what they spent from what they had initially budgeted there. Under Professional Services, the amount had gone up from $1,500 to $12,800. Under Property, Furnishings and Equipment the budget was doubled again. I'm just wondering if there could be an explanation as to why that amount had doubled.

CHAIR: The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MS THISTLE: Mr. Chairman, in response to the question concerning 2.3.02, Executive Support to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, the first heading, .01, Salaries, forecasted to be $256,900, when in actual fact it was $265,000, represents the salary cost of four permanent and one temporary position. This year coming up it also makes reference to the new office of ADM regional development. A strong focus on rural development, I might add.

Under 2.3.02.03, Transportation and Communications, that budget is really issue-driven. It depends on the issues of the day and that budget particularly had new funding because of the discussions on social union and various other ones on resource policy. That went from $71,000 to $137,700. Now this year it is back to $71,000, so unless there is a major issue that turns up throughout the year the forecasted amount should stand.

.04, Supplies, the budgeted $6,600 went to $12,300, and that is for routine office supplies. In .06, Purchased Services, there was actually a decrease there from $27,800 to $15,000. That represents the standard services such as photocopier, printing and so on.

The other one you asked about was Professional Services also, .05. That would relate to anticipated consultant studies on issues such as native land claims and resource development. If you look back at last week, the agreement that was signed - all of the budget really in this category is issue-driven and sometimes can escalate, depending on the issue. Of course, this coming year you will be dealing with the big ones like Voisey's Bay, the Churchill River project and so on.

In .07 there was $2,500 budgeted for Property, Furnishings and Equipment but in actual fact it was $5,000. That was for the usual office furniture and equipment.

Thank you.

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

MR. T. OSBORNE: There are only two other subheadings in the Resource and Economic Policy, so I will do both of those.

Under Social and Fiscal Policy, 2.3.03, we see under Transportation and Communications a budgeted amount, both last year and this year, of $29,300. That was almost doubled in the actual expenditures. Under .04, Supplies, there a decrease from $3,500 to $2,000. Under .05, Professional Services, the amount budgeted both last year and this year was $12,000. There was only $5,000 spent. I wonder if there could be an explanation as to what that was.

Under Resource and Economic Policy, 2.3.04, we see under .01, Salaries, an actual decrease this year in salaries. There was $240,600 budgeted last year. There was roughly $6,000 in addition to that that was actually spent, but we see a decrease in the amount of budget this year. With an extra pay period under this fiscal year that would amount to a substantial decrease in actual fact, when you take in the extra pay period that should have been on there and the actual decrease. So I wonder if the minister could tell us why there is such a substantial decrease in the amount of salaries under that subheading?

There was $49,400 budgeted for Transportation and Communications, .03. There was approximately half of that actually spent. When you look at the total amount there for .04, Supplies, $2,400 budgeted both last year and this year, only $500 was spent. I wonder if the minister could provide some explanation as to where the savings were accrued there.

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for Bellevue.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BARRETT: Mr. Chairman, I think we spent enough time talking about the bureaucracy in St. John's and professional services and all the other things that are in the Estimates.

I would like to address two issues that have been centres of debate in this House and around the Province for the last while. Number one is education reform. The hon. Member for Lewisporte talked about the devastation of rural Newfoundland. I remember in Question Period about one week ago, he got up and questioned the Minister of Development and Rural Renewal about the devastation in rural Newfoundland, and how rural Newfoundland was gone. This government was a failure.

I want to remind hon. members that before we introduced Term 17, and before we brought about the great educational reform - the only government that ever attempted it - it took us two attempts to do it, but we brought about this great educational reform in this Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: And had the intestinal fortitude to do it.

MR. BARRETT: And had the intestinal fortitude to do it, and reorganized and reformed the educational system in this Province. Of course, I am very proud to be part of the government that initiated that, and brought it forward and got it approved.

I remind hon. members that if we look at a simple thing like school construction in this Province, and the way that money was allocated over the years, it was a disgrace. It was an absolute disgrace how taxpayers' dollars were allocated for school construction in this Province.

Money was allocated to the churches based on their population and, depending on the percentage of the population of that religion - there was a period when this government gave $25 million a year, I think, for three or four years, for school construction.

What we saw seeing happening in rural Newfoundland and around this Province were schools being constructed that now will be boarded up because they were a waste of money, because we put schools there based on religion rather than based on need.

AN HON. MEMBER: Did the Tories do that?

MR. BARRETT: Yes, the Tories did it, and previous governments did it in this Province.

I have a situation in my district right now in St. Bernard's, Jacques Fontaine, where there are two relatively new schools, two kilometres apart, and there are not enough students for one school, let alone two schools.

Ten years ago, a school burned down, and because the people could not come together and because of our constitution and all those complicated matters - I am not saying the people in the area would not come together, but the churches would not come together. The powers to be would not come together. They could not agree on what to do about the school. What happened was, the school burned down and they built a new school. That is ten years old.

This year, in September, two kilometres away, there will be a new school boarded up. If we could drag it from one end of the Province to the other...

We look at the Northern Labrador Coast. Next week, this government will be opening new schools in Hopedale and Rigolet. I do not know of anybody in this House, but I had the privilege and honour of travelling the Labrador Coast. If you were ever into the school in Hopedale or Rigolet - I attended a meeting last night in Clarenville where people were complaining about their educational system.

I can tell you one thing, if these people ever went to Hopedale and Rigolet and those communities - the hon. Member for Torngat Mountains - and if we never reformed the educational system in the Province, the Premier and the member would not be in Rigolet and Hopedale this week opening new schools, because of the way the money was being allotted. We did not allocate it based on need. We based it on religion.

People are out there now, saying that education reform is a failure. No, it is not a failure.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BARRETT: Education reform is the best thing that ever happened to this Province, I can assure you of that.

As a person who spent some twenty-five years in the education system in this Province, and saw the waste that was being carried on in this Province in education, it was disgraceful.

We talk about the devastation of rural Newfoundland. When we talk about opening new schools in Rigolet, Hopedale, Nain, Arnold's Cove, Old Perlican - the hon. Member for Lewisporte says we are devastating rural Newfoundland.

Over the next two years, this government is going to spend $125 million on school construction.

AN HON. MEMBER: Codroy Valley, waiting ten years for a school.

MR. BARRETT: As a matter of fact, Codroy Valley and communities like Arnold's Cove would have had to wait ten years if we had not reformed the educational system in this Province. Ten years they would have waited, or longer, before they could have gotten a new school; and people in this House are talking about doom and gloom.

I have been sitting here since this House opened back in March, in the last two or three weeks, and I get so depressed sometimes that I figure I should go and get some pills at the doctor's office because the Province is falling down around our ears. Thanks be to God, two or three times a week I go out to my district. I go out to my district and see what is happening in the great District of Bellevue. When I walk into Arnold's Cove, and people are waving and saying: Percy, (inaudible) great. We are getting a new school. Yes, we are getting a new school. If you had not been part of a government that reformed the educational system, we would never have gotten this new school.

MR. TULK: I was out there on the weekend to a graduation and I thought they were going to canonize him.

AN HON. MEMBER: Canonize him, or was it cannibalize?

MR. TULK: Seriously (inaudible), Southern Harbour.

MR. BARRETT: In Southern Harbour, they love me.

AN HON. MEMBER: In a different way. In a different way, Percy.

MR. BARRETT: All fifty-five of them.

AN HON. MEMBER: They love you in a different way.

MR. BARRETT: They love me in a different way.

It was the right thing to do. We talk about the devastation of rural Newfoundland. The educational system - in rural Newfoundland we have a problem. We have a problem and we have to rethink and re-look at the formula for allocating teachers. There is no doubt about it. It is archaic. It is out of style. It is out of date, as was our educational system before we reformed it.

I remember when I was principal of the school in Point Leamington. Kids used to leave Point Leamington and travel on a dirt road from Point Leamington to Grand Falls, past a high school, past an elementary school, and travel to Grand Falls to go to school, all in the name of religion.

AN HON. MEMBER: Come on, now. (Inaudible).

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. BARRETT: Oh, come on. Okay, we went through this debate long before you became a member of this House, all in the name of religion, and do you know something? Half the people in that community refused to send their children to Grand Falls. They came to the school that I was principal of.

AN HON. MEMBER: Choice. Constitutional choice (inaudible).

MR. BARRETT: Constitutional choice, yes. It was a constitutional right, but it was not the right thing to do. We wasted a lot of money on education in this Province that we should never have wasted. We are out there now and the road show is going around the Province listening to the complaints of people in these communities. If we had not reformed the educational system, I can tell you one thing, we would be in a worse state than we are today. We would be in a worse state than we are today if we had not reformed the educational system.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) anti-Confederates and anti-reformers on the other side.

MR. TULK: We know where you are coming from.

AN HON. MEMBER: Now we know,. Now we know. One member, two members, three members.

MR. BARRETT: I tell you one thing we said, when we were looking at the reforming of the educational system in this Province, that we needed roughly $100 million or $125 million in new capital construction if we were going to reform the educational system in this Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: We didn't have to send the RCMP to the school like they are doing now.

MR. BARRETT: The hon. member can shout and bawl all he likes, but this government is on record as reforming the educational system and within the next couple of years we will have the best educational system in this country. We will be allocating teachers based on need, allocating teachers on the quality of education, not based on religion or any other factors. We will look at schools in rural Newfoundland and we will be giving them teachers based on programming. This government is committed to rural Newfoundland.

If we were not committed to rural Newfoundland, would we be spending $125 million in rural Newfoundland on highway construction? The people in Blaketown, Arnold's Cove, Old Perlican and all the other communities around this Province are looking at this government and saying: This is a great thing that you are doing. We have to allocate our resources in education based on need and no other factors.

I was alarmed yesterday when I picked up the paper and saw that the school board in St. John's was able to hire another seven music teachers. I have nothing against music, but I can assure you there is something wrong with a formula that this school board can allocate seven more music teachers and we are losing some teachers in rural Newfoundland in essential programs. Probably we need only one school board in this Province.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. BARRETT: Who is going to fix it? This government will fix it. I can assure you that this government is committed to rural Newfoundland when it comes to educational reform and when it comes to providing a quality education in this Province. I will be back in a minute.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Member for Conception Bay South.

MR. FRENCH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I would like to take a few minutes and to have a few words to say, especially to the Member for Bellevue. To hear him talk, he was the only one in Newfoundland and Labrador who agreed with education reform. I would like to tell the hon. member that 71 per cent of the people in my district voted for education reform. So, do not jump up and wave your flag.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

CHAIR: Order, please!

MR. FRENCH: I do not mind the sandbagger in the back because nursing on the West Coast is different than it is on the East Coast. All of a sudden he has something in his back and he found his voice. Since 1996 he is finally able to talk.

The nurses on the West Coast next time around, I say to the sandbagger, will look after you. Your statements about the nurses have gone to the West Coast. They will look after you, you need not worry about that.

I would like to say to the Member for Bellevue, Sir, that you were not the only one in this House who stood in his place and voted for education reform. I believe that everybody in this House voted for education reform. I believe that everybody in this House voted for education reform the night the legislation was passed.

AN HON. MEMBER: In the House.

MR. FRENCH: In this House. The night that the education bill was passed, every member here voted for it. There was one district in Newfoundland and Labrador that voted against it, but that member stood in his place on the night that the legislation was passed and voted in favour of it.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who?

MR. FRENCH: Well, I think you should know. He used to sit with you.

He stood in his place and voted for education reform. That was his choice, and I have no argument with that.

I want to say to the member that when you talk about all the money for schools, and where schools are built, and on and on it goes, maybe you should tell us about the school for Whitbourne and -

AN HON. MEMBER: Do you want me to get up?

MR. FRENCH: No, you can get up when you like. You can get up when I am finished. I believe you are taking too many lessons from the Minister of Mines and Energy, because it seems that you are the only mouthpiece left on the other side. It seems, when somebody sits down, you are the only fella who jumps up; but again, since 1996 you have found your backbone. Since 1996 you have finally found your voice and you have now found out that you can actually talk.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FRENCH: Oh, he is a great fella. As a matter of fact, I say to the Government House Leader, what a shock I got several weeks ago when this House was closed and I went out to a friend's cabin and I hauled up to be greeted by this red and white sign that was nailed onto the roof of the cabin: Vote for Percy Barrett.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FRENCH: Well, I said to myself: If I have to go in there -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FRENCH: The guy who owed the cabin was. I think it was his brother-in-law who nailed the sign up. It was a job to get rid of it, Percy, but I think after a day or so I think somebody arranged for the sign to disappear.

I just want to say to the Member for Bellevue that I believe in education reform there was an awful lot of people in this Province who certainly supported education reform. When you talk about music teachers - and I listened several days ago to Newfoundland fiddle player, Kelly Russell, and I listened to an instructor, I believe, from Memorial University talk about music. To say -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FRENCH: I think the minister knows me a bit better than that, I say to the member. If I got something to say to the minister I will say it to him. I would not poke fun at anybody in here. So there you are.

Again, to say that one school board may have a number of music teachers, that is fine, but there are schools in this Province, I say to the member, and I have been to some of those districts, where these schools are actually going to lose their music teacher. I say to the Member for Bellevue that that is not right.

The education reform I voted for, the education reform I wanted to see, was the person who lived in St. John's or Cow Head or who lived up north or lived in Labrador - I thought that all of our education would be equal. I thought that everybody in this Province had the right to the same type of education. That is the type of education reform, I say to the Member for Bellevue, that I supported. That is the kind of education I voted for.

I was at a function about a week or so ago when there were school administrators there who told me that by cutting teachers they were going to have to cut programs. That is wrong and it is very sad. When the minister stands and asks us for examples of what transpired, and then when she gets them she really does not want them, then again there is something wrong. I would like to refer to the editorial, the picture in I believe it was Saturday's paper, which I think clearly shows the minister in the light that some of these schools boards around this Province are holding the minister.

While you may think it was a road show, the information that has come back from people travelling this Island has been correct, it has been true. I am sure if you have travelled to some of the other areas of this Province you have heard what cuts in education, cuts to teachers, will do to schools, how certain schools will lose programs. I don't know if you think that is right. I do not think that is right.

Like I said, the education reform I voted for was to create a better system of education in this Province. The new system that I had hoped would be created was that the students, the young men and young women, throughout this Province, from one end of her to the other, would all be treated equally and would all have the right to the same education as somebody in St. John's or in Corner Brook or in Port aux Basques, or wherever. Everybody in this Province has the right to the same level of education. I'm sure you would want that for your district. I certainly want it for mine.

All was not well. I do not know about the teaching cuts, because I do not know if there are any taking place with the Avalon Board. I think the Avalon Board are still tied up with their restructuring. Even though it seems to be completed, all their schools are in -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FRENCH: They have closed schools. You will get no argument from me on that. If the schools have to close, I have no problem with them closing when they close the schools. The only thing I would have asked the Avalon East School Board to do was to give parents a better understanding and to respond to correspondence about schools which now their children are going to be forced to go to. I believe those parents had a right to that, and I still believe that today. The parents who have to take their child from one school and send the student to another have a right to know if the education they are going to get in a newer school - not in a newer school physically, but in a new school to that student - if their education is going to be on the same level and on a par with the school they came out of.

A lot of times, or in some of the meetings I attended, the Avalon East School Board could not answer those questions. As a matter of fact, two months ago I wrote them. I am still waiting for an answer back. We will find out. I hope they do not have any problems. I hope for the sake of the students that they do not have a problem.

The school where I went to in my own district is one of the schools, I say to the Member for Bellevue, that is closing. It is shutting down this year. Once the school closes in June that is it, and the students will be moved to others. There is another school in close proximity to that one that will close as well. They will move the students to Upper Gullies, Kelligrews, Long Pond or wherever. Those things are happening and if it has to happen, fine. The only thing I say is that the parents should have the right to know, if their children are going to a different school, if the education they are going to get is going to be on a par with the school they are giving up.

I found in one of the cases, although I think the Board has since corrected it, that one of the schools offered a tremendous band program. When they took the students out of that school and moved them to another one that program was not there, it was not offered. I understand now the program is going to offered, so that will make a difference.

I have some concerns about numbers in some of these schools. I hope they are not rushing to do the work in schools at the expense of safety and other things. I hope the engineering work that is going to be done is going to be done and done properly, and that when the schools reopen with larger numbers in the fall of 1999 then I hope that all the safety issues are addressed and covered, and that there will be no problem to the students who have to attend any of these schools.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Member for Bellevue.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BARRETT: Mr. Chairman, the hon. Member for Conception Bay South made the assumption that I, you know - the fact that I was the one that... What I said was that I was very proud to be a member of a government that took the leadership. You can sit on that side of the House forever and a day and you can promise everything. You can say you are going to cut taxes, you are going to give this program money, you are going to give that program money, but you do not have the authority or the wherewithal to do what is necessary. All you do is criticize what the government does. Sometimes you do provide some worthwhile suggestions.

What I am saying is that it was this government that I was a member of that took the leadership role. Granted, once the parade started the Opposition joined in the parade, because if they had not joined the parade they would have been left far behind.

I want to get back to the Member for Windsor-Springdale. What I was talking about was with regards to a seventy-two passenger bus that for twenty-odd years left Point Leamington with six or seven students on, bypassed schools in Point Leamington, bypassed schools in Botwood, bypassed schools in Bishop's Falls, and travelled to Grand Falls at tremendous expense to the taxpayers of this Province.

What I am saying is this. There was nothing wrong with it. Under the Constitution they had every right to do it, but it wasn't right to do it in terms of expecting the taxpayers of this Province to foot such a tremendous bill for this kind of waste. That is what it was, a complete waste of money. We are paying for it now. When I go out to these meetings and meet with the school councils, teachers, and all the groups in my district and other districts, and people are saying that we have to cut programs, when we talk about the $500 million that we have in debt, that we pay on the interest on the debt, it was because we made these crazy kinds of decisions where we wasted these kinds of monies in the past. That is why we are paying today.

It is not easy being on the government side. It is not easy going out to those meetings where people are practically crying because they are going to lose some programs.

I was not the one who made the decisions. It was governments and people who sat in this House and sat up on the eighth floor in the old House of Assembly who wasted money over the years, who did not have the intestinal fortitude to be able to change the system. What I am saying is that I am proud to be part of a government that took that leadership and reformed the educational system.

If we had not reformed the educational system in this Province, I can assure you that we would be in a worse mess today.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BARRETT: If we had those buses coming out of Point Leamington and all those other places, and buses meeting each other on the road with five or six students, two and three buses leaving the community and going to different communities, transporting students all over the place to different schools, where would the money all come from?

We are talking about a Province, and we are talking about the Premier and the Minister of Finance who just talked about reforming our taxation system. We are paying 69 per cent personal income tax. We have 15 per cent HST. We have the highest gasoline taxes - all these taxes that we pay.

If we had not reformed the educational system, and stop those seventy-two passenger buses travelling all over the Province, we would have to raise taxes or we would have to cut programs or lay people off. We would have to find the money somewhere.

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible).

MR. BARRETT: The hon. Member for Ferryland will have an opportunity to participate in the debate. I hear him every day up talking doom and gloom - the old ambulance chaser. Just sit and listen to me for awhile and you might learn something. I want to talk about the positive things that are happening in Newfoundland and Labrador. If Mr. Doom and Gloom wants to keep preaching doom and gloom, he can keep preaching doom and gloom.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. BARRETT: Yes, the old ambulance chaser. I was coming in from my district the other night and the lights were flashing. First, I thought I had done something wrong on the highway and I was going to get a speeding ticket. When I looked, there was an ambulance behind me. When I looked further behind me, I saw this grey-haired man driving the car behind, chasing the ambulance. I said: That is the hon. Member for Ferryland. He is chasing another ambulance. He is wondering where it is going to go - Mr. Doom and Gloom, the man who would not apologize for statements that he made.

I want to get back to the hon. Member for Conception Bay South. He said: Talk about the school in Whitbourne. I do not know what he has in his gall about the school in Whitbourne.

The school in Whitbourne is now going to be built in Blaketown. It never was intended. The school board - years and years ago there was a plan, educational specifications, a consultation took place for people from Chance Cove to Cavendish. It was a process that went on for two years with the school board, the old Avalon North School Board. They put together a plan for a new school in Blaketown, in the District of Bellevue. They submitted that plan to the Integrated Education Committee. The Integrated Education Committee said to them: You can wait another twenty or twenty-five years before you get that new school in Blaketown, because under our present education system, and the way the money is allocated to the churches, it is going to take another twenty or twenty-five years before you get that school in Blaketown.

We are not talking about the school in Whitbourne; we are not talking about the divided highway in Whitbourne; we are talking about the school in Blaketown.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible) the school in Blaketown.

MR. BARRETT: I am coming to that.

The Integrated Education Committee said that it was going to take twenty or twenty-five years before you can construct a new school. In the meantime, the poor students in New Harbour and Norman's Cove are going to schools that are out of date, dilapidated, falling down around their ears, but in the name of religion we are going to say it is going to take another twenty or twenty-five years because those other groups are going to build schools in Newfoundland that are not necessary, because they have their right under the constitution to get the money for capital construction even if they do not need a school.

At one time, if the roof blew off a building on an integrated school and the government said: Look, we are going to have to allocate another $500,000 to put a roof on that building, that roof cost more than $500,000 because we had to give all the other religious groups in the Province the same proportion of money. You talk about a waste of money, and why we are in the mess we are in this Province.

I can tell you what happened with the school in Blaketown. One of the proud moments of my political career was to announce a new school for Blaketown.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BARRETT: One of the first things that happened after we reformed the educational system is that all the members who sit on this side of the House and all the members who sit on the other side of the House, who were elected to serve their constituents -

MR. TULK: Can I go out and call my wife?

MR. BARRETT: Yes, see if she has your pills ready, will you?

- all the members on that side of the House and all the members on this side of the House who sit on the front benches, in the second row and the third row, have input in terms of the need for school construction in their districts.

As soon as we reformed the educational system and took that control away from the churches, where they were going to determine where the schools were going to be built in this Province, the hon. Member for Trinity-Bay de Verde and the hon. Member for Bellevue lobbied strong and hard for a new school for that area.

The Member for Trinity-Bay de Verde, the hon. Speaker, and the hon. Member for Bellevue had nothing to do with where the school was going to go, because the people from Chance Cove to Cavendish in Trinity Bay and the inland community of Whitbourne and Markland had determined about ten years ago that the school would be based in Blaketown and built in Blaketown because it was the central location.

I hear people talk about, in rural Newfoundland, if we lose our school we are going to lose our community. What a lot of bologna! The community of Blaketown in my district is probably one of the fastest growing communities in Newfoundland. It lost its school twenty-five years ago. It amalgamated and the schools were in New Harbour. There was not a school in Blaketown, but the community still grew because the area had good schools where the people could go.

Now it is coming back around. Blaketown is going to get a new school.

MR. TULK: Is that right?

MR. BARRETT: Yes, $6.8 million. As a matter of fact, we announced it as a Grade IX-XII school. Do you know something? What happened because of this government and the great things that this government is doing in rural Newfoundland and Labrador? We are here promoting rural Newfoundland, great faith in rural Newfoundland. What we are doing - we just approved another $800,000 the other day. The Minister of Education announced another $800,000. It is not going to be a Grade IX-XII school. No, it is going to be a Grade VII-XII school, and the students from Blaketown to Cavendish, the Grade VII students, will go into that new school in Blaketown and, as the enrolments decrease -

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. BARRETT: What a shame.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

CHAIR: Order, please!

MR. TULK: I wonder if the hon. gentlemen will give the hon. gentleman leave. I have not heard a speech like that in this House in fifteen or twenty years. Have you?

MR. EFFORD: No.

MR. TULK: It has been at least fifteen years ago since I heard such a speech.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Conception Bay South.

MR. FRENCH: Mr. Chairman, I have to agree with the Government House Leader. That is one of the biggest loads of bull I have heard here since I came here in 1996.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. FRENCH: No leave, Mr. Chairman.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

CHAIR: I have to check the list and see where that fits on the list, whether it is considered parliamentary or not, but I have my doubts.

The hon. the Member for Windsor-Springdale.

MR. HUNTER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

MR. TULK: Did you ask him to withdraw (inaudible)?

MR. HUNTER: We did not withdraw.

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask him to withdraw.

MR. HUNTER: You talked about the road show, Percy.

AN HON. MEMBER: Member for Bellevue.

MR. HUNTER: The Member for Bellevue.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) animal.

MR. FRENCH: I did not call anyone an animal.

MR. HUNTER: The Premier had his own road show during the election. When he went to Triton during the election, he promised that the needs of Brian Peckford Elementary were going to be taken care of and he made a personal commitment for that area.

AN HON. MEMBER: What area?

MR. HUNTER: For Triton-Brighton school and Brian Peckford Elementary. That school needs an extension really bad. There were a lot of savings in the district in that area because of school closings in that area.

I will just read some of the letters that we have here. One is from an educational psychologist, and she states: I have assessed students in a staff room. Obviously, that room must be accessible to teachers. I have recently been completing assessments in a room which was designed for storage of lab equipment. The staff Internet computer has now been set up in the same room. The space is so small that I virtually am unable to turn around.

That is the kind of reform that we have in that school, Mr. Chairman. That is happening already, right now, and if it is going to continue in the fall then a lot of these special needs students are going to have to learn in a small room, fifteen by nine. It is a closet that - also there are more letters here from support people, professional people who have great concerns about the type of education that these students are going to get. There will be three special education students in that room next fall, and if we do not recognize the problem out there then I am afraid that these people will not have equal access to education. I believe that in the school reform it was a power struggle between government and churches.

The Member for Bellevue indicated that people had to travel on buses, on a long bus ride to get to school. They still do. I would like to inform the member that there was a 70 per cent decrease in students in Badger because they had to drive on a long bus ride. If the bus rides existed years ago, they are worse now. We are seeing a decline in student enrolments because of some of these longer bus rides.

So you cannot use that as an excuse, saying that is why we had to close some of the schools. Some schools are closed in neighbourhoods, putting kindergarten students on long bus rides, which they never had to have before.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) you have to look positive.

CHAIR: Order, please!

MR. HUNTER: There are some positive aspects to the reform, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: Order, please!

MR. HUNTER: I do not think we can use the excuse because -

CHAIR: Order, please!

Is the hon. rising on a point of order?

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

CHAIR: One second, please.

On a point of order, the hon. the Member for Twillingate & Fogo.

MR. REID: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

The Member for Windsor-Springdale just mentioned the fact about how it was a crime, I think, that there were going to be two or three special ed students mixed in with the regular stream. Did I understand you correctly there? Because, if you check with the education officials in your schools and around the Province, you will find that is the way, the norm and the philosophy of the Education Department today to do that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. REID: Well, you mentioned putting two or three special ed students in with the regular stream as if there was a problem with it.

MR. HUNTER: Fifteen by nine, approximately (inaudible).

CHAIR: There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Windsor-Springdale.

MR. HUNTER: I can read you some more letters, if you want me to read you some more letters from some of these professional people.

MR. SULLIVAN: Tell him again what you said. He didn't hear very well.

MR. HUNTER: Mr. Chairman, I would like to make a correction on that to the hon. member. I said three special needs students will be taught in a fifteen by nine classroom, which is actually a closet.

These needs are specified in this report and letters from specialists. Here is one, Mr. Chairman. It is from a consultant for PDD/Autism. It reads:

"As a teacher for children with autism spectrum disorder, I wish to address a concern I have regarding working at your school. I have made four visits to your school during the first half of this school year...

"During these visits I experienced great difficulties in trying to conduct my assessments in a professional and private manner. The problems I had include:

- not having office space to meet with the parents

- not having a room assigned whereby I could complete an assessment without disruption

- not having access to a telephone.

"On two occasions, I had to move with the child to three different rooms... These occasions proved to be extremely difficult not only for me, but for the child with autism who, by the very nature of his disability, resists change."

Mr. Chairman, she also said: "On another occasion, I had to meet with a parent - "

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

CHAIR (Smith): Order, please!

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, I do not mind the hon. gentleman even if he is reading a speech, but he is reading from a document. I wonder if he would table it as he is supposed to do.

CHAIR: No point of order.

The hon. the Member for Windsor-Springdale.

MR. HUNTER: Mr. Chairman, I could copy this. I will certainly give the hon. minister a copy of this if he wants a copy.

There is other letters here from professional people in education in this area. There is all kinds of them. I will copy them all and send them over to you. The Minister of Education does have a copy of this too, by the way.

There are a lot of needs in education. There were a lot of good changes, but I also believe that in a lot of communities in Newfoundland today the changes were for the worse, not for the better. I see it in my district particularly. The voters in Windsor-Springdale certainly voiced their concerns in the election when the former member did not stand up and support the decision of the people in Windsor. They voted in a majority against the school changes because they already had a good school system in Windsor.

MR. SULLIVAN: Did you win by a couple of hundred votes? How many did you win by?

MR. HUNTER: One thousand and twelve votes.

I would like the hon. Member for Bellevue to realize that some areas of the Province did not want to change. I think there was room in the system that some areas, particularly in Windsor - I feel we could have accommodated some of these viable schools even though they were probably, yes, religiously backed. I do not see any problem with some of the schools.

AN HON. MEMBER: How would you have voted?

MR. HUNTER: How would I have voted? You should have been in Windsor the night they took the vote, when the majority voted against it, because they lost a brand new elementary school. I also tell the hon. Member for Bellevue that my own daughter attended that school he was talking about. I never had one problem with her and there was very few problems that I heard of in that school.

Today, the RCMP has to visit the school she is attending now at least two times a week, probably three. The problems that occurred in that school, I will tell you, it is scary. My daughter lost more school this year and it is going to devastate her education this year. I am quite worried about it. If that is the type of education reform we have, I think we better look at it again in certain areas.

No doubt, I agree, in some areas it is good. In Springdale I think the education reform is working well. In some other areas in my district it is working well, but there are also a lot of districts that it is not. I think the parents deserve a better answer when it comes down to teacher allocations, because they are not getting the level of education they expected from the reform. I think that if something is not done in the fall then -

AN HON. MEMBER: Doom and gloom again.

MR. HUNTER: Doom and gloom. It is doom and gloom in your district too, I guess. It is doom and gloom all throughout Newfoundland today.

If we stay on the road we are going now there is going to be a lot more people leaving Newfoundland and Labrador. If you are worried about the tax base now, in ten years' time when you come back there will be less of a tax base, because you are driving people away. You are driving people out of the rural communities. The towns are dying, communities are declining, municipalities cannot afford to pay their bills. They cannot afford even to pay for their streetlights. In one community in my district, one streetlight is all they can afford to pay for. If that is progress, and if that is positive thinking, I guess I missed the boat when it comes to that.

I will get off the topic of the schools for a second, Mr. Chairman, if you want me to get off the topic and enlighten you on something a little bit more positive.

Last Saturday I had an opportunity, because of a few hours to spare, to take my young fellow fishing. I say fishing. Out here it is trouting, but in Central Newfoundland we call it fishing. I must say I really enjoyed the day. We spent a good many hours together.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HUNTER: By leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave!

CHAIR: Leave denied.

The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. EFFORD: I cannot believe that members opposite are continually standing in the House of Assembly preaching doom and gloom. Where have you travelled? Have you moved outside of your own district? Have you ever been outside the Province? We live in the greatest country in the whole world, bar none. In Newfoundland and Labrador we live in the greatest part of Canada. What in the name of gracious are you talking about, the doom and gloom?

MR. HARRIS: Point of order, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: Order, please!

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Chairman, the member gets up and says that people on this side, all they say is bad things, doom and gloom. I was on my feet ready to tell the members of the House some really good news about offshore development. Unfortunately, it was happening in Nova Scotia.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: That is an example of the tripe that comes out of their mouths on a continuous basis. Not babes. Do not refer to them as babes.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please!

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Chairman, it is absolutely unbelievable that day after day we hear this utter nonsense. Isn't there anything positive in your lives at all that you can get up and talk about something positive? Is there not one word that you feel good about? Is there nothing happening in your district? Because if what you are saying is factual in your districts, then the people in your district made one awful mistake when the marked their x for you, one terrible mistake when they marked their x.

I would have thought the people in Triton, who I know very well - I taught school in Triton when I was sixteen years old - I know very well that they are a very positive people, very uplifting. They do not get out of bed in the morning and talk doom and gloom all day. They make things happen. They are not the type of people who just dwell on the doom and gloom.

We will never get any better in this Province while we hear nonsense like that opposite. The unfortunate part about it is that the families of people like that, the children in your families, are sitting down listening to that on a continuous basis. How is anything going to change if we do not educate our young people and make them feel good about themselves, and talk about the positive things in the economy of this Province? Nothing will ever change.

Just imagine, to say that you live in an area where you can only turn on one streetlight. Now you know that is wrong. The hon. member is supposed to be a man who believes and tells the truth. To stand in the House of Assembly and to say that in Newfoundland and Labrador, in municipalities, we can only afford to turn on one streetlight, you know that is absolutely wrong.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: You said they can only afford one streetlight. You know that is not correct. I don't know any place in this Province - every house has a dozen lights in it. Come on. One streetlight.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Yes. I wish the hon. member would name the community so the people could respond.

AN HON. MEMBER: Beaumont.

MR. EFFORD: I have more respect for the people in Beaumont than that. What are we supposed to do? As a government, the mayor of municipalities -

MR. HUNTER: Point of order.

CHAIR: Order, please!

On a point of order, the hon. the Member for Windsor-Springdale.

MR. HUNTER: Mr. Chairman, I would like to tell you that the community I was referring to was Beaumont. They are paying for one streetlight. All the rest are being paid for by the residents in the community, the streetlights around their homes. If you want to confirm it I guess you would have to call -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. HUNTER: I said the town and community is paying for one streetlight.

CHAIR: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

You see? Just imagine what the hon. member is trying to say here this afternoon. We live in a province where we have the choice of any thing that we want to do. We go into our own communities and we have the clean air, the pristine environment. We have more resource per capita in this Province than they have anywhere else in the country of Canada. It is up to ourselves. It is up to yourself and myself. I can assure you, the hon. member opposite is not worried about being poor.

MR. HARRIS: Point of order, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: Order, please!

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Chairman, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture has just castigated the people of Newfoundland for failing to be rich, and it is his government and his government's policies that are keeping them in a situation where they do not have jobs. They are leaving rural Newfoundland, they are leaving the Province in droves, and he says we have the resources and ability that if everybody went ahead and did it they would be rich and wealthy too. He knows that that is not true, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: No point of order.

The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Chairman, I cannot castigate the member opposite because what he made off the young boys at Mount Cashel, he's not poor, I can assure you of that, and the opportunities were there for you to fill up your bankbook!

MR. HUNTER: Point of order.

CHAIR: Order, please!

On a point of order, the hon. the Member for Windsor-Springdale.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please!

On a point of order, the hon. the Member for Windsor-Springdale.

MR. HUNTER: Yes. I could not understand what the hon. member over here was saying. Could you repeat that again? Can I do that?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Chairman, let's get back to the point I was making about the resources that we have in this Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: I heard you saying they were (inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: We are getting kind of testy, aren't we? What is going on here? We are getting kind of testy. You cannot take the truth, see.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please!

MR. EFFORD: You cannot take the facts. I have not begun to make the points. I wanted to save some of this stuff for later on, but if you want to get into it now, then let's talk about the resources we have here in this Province, Mr. Chairman.

I mean, 560,000 people in this Province, and is any member opposite saying we don't have natural resources here in this Province, more natural resources per capita than any other part of this country? If any member of this Province is saying anything in this House to say anything other than that, he or she is totally wrong.

Here is the problem. What is happening over there is that every time a member speaks, and an individual speaks, in this Province of the negativity, our young people are listening to it. They are so demoralized they do not see any future in this Province because they have been brainwashed by the thinking and the talking of such people as members opposite. How can you expect young people in this Province to be any different when they are down in the mouth on a continuous basis?

I had thirty-five students come in last week from Ascension Collegiate, led by a teacher, Mr. Wilding. When I left that room up there in the government members' boardroom ninety minutes after, I was demoralized. Every single question they asked was negative. There was not one positive question that came from thirty-five students, and this is exactly what is wrong with our Province. Our young people have so much to be appreciative for, so much to be working for, so much to be educated for, and we are turning them away from it. From every opportunity there is to develop our resources, we are discouraging our young people. Our young people need to hear good news. They need to hear about opportunities. They need to hear about the resources. They do not need to hear the nonsense that is coming out of people on a continuous basis, Mr. Chairman!

MR. HARRIS: Point of order, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: Order, please!

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

MR. HARRIS: The member is talking about what is coming out of this side of the House, but the economic and statistics branch of the Department of Finance released a report a week ago saying that there was 32 per cent unemployment between the age group fifteen to twenty-four. Now who is being negative?

CHAIR: There is no point of order.

The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: All of this stuff is utter nonsense. The hon. members opposite know that. They are trying to make political points, trying to discourage. They are never going to move from that side of the House talking like that because who would want a government involved with people opposite like that? I mean, what would they have to look forward to?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Yes, some prosperity! What was it they said? Have-not will be no more? We heard about that. Someday the sun will shine and have not will be no more. We heard that for a long time.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. EFFORD: By leave?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No leave!

CHAIR: No leave.

The hon. the Member for Baie Verte.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We were all sitting here just a few minutes ago listening to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. We are worried about him. That is why we had to make a couple of comments. We are starting to get worried about him, because the race is on. We all know the race is on. The race has been on for a while but it is getting more official as the days go. I do not know if the minister realizes, but he has to have delegates from each and every district to put him over the top. He knows how tight it is going to be. They are starting to back up there now.

Right away in just ten minutes in the House of Assembly the Member for Bellevue he told to sit down, so that is eleven delegates gone right there. He told the Member for Bellevue to sit down. The look that the Member for Bellevue gave him, well, that is eleven delegates gone, plus the member himself, so that is twelve delegates gone. Then he told the Member for Windsor-Springdale -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Tory district or not, there is still eleven delegates in the Tory district of Windsor-Springdale. Eleven more delegates (inaudible). He told the people in Windsor-Springdale they did not know how to vote. He still has delegates to get out of there, Mr. Chairman.

Then if you go around the House you started to see the other candidates come back into the House. The Minister of Mines and Energy came back in because he knows. The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture started to pile up the delegates. Any time he came back and he sat right in front of the Member for Bellevue, the Member for Bellevue leaned over and said to him: My delegates are gone to you, Roger. Boy, they are gone to you now. They are starting to line up, one at a time. So you are going to start to see that train back up a little bit now.

Although here we are with twenty-five degrees Celsius temperatures outside, in the House of the Assembly debating some important issues on Executive Council - still making some very important points at least from this side of the House -, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture stands up and uses his ten minutes in debate on the Executive Council to shore up delegates from his own back benches. The Minister is smart enough. He knows that the fourteen to sixteen seats he sees on this side, that they are all flashing. That is eleven delegates in each district.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: There is still eleven. They are the ones that are up for grabs, and the minister knows that when you get into a leadership race a lot of it begins before it is official. It is already started. He knows, as he looks across to the sixteen seats and counts them, what points he can make on each district so that eleven delegates - I think the same constitution runs for (inaudible). Is it, Loyola, eleven delegates? It is the same, isn't it?

MR. SULLIVAN: Somewhere around there. I do not know (inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: He could have the delegates in Baie Verte, Mr. Chairman. I cannot speak for that. I can see the minister down in the District of Baie Verte a month or so before the leadership is called, saying: We went (inaudible) with your member.

I think it is the same on both sides. It is eleven delegates. I have seen this for a long time coming, and so have we all. I have said it since the day the Premier announced he was coming here, Mr. Chairman. It was for a pit stop, for a springboard right back. This time it is going to be different. We are not going to have press conferences to say we are not running, and we are not going to have phone calls from down south to say they are not running. There is going to be a pileup. There is going to be a lineup at the microphones when there is a press conference called out here. They are going to be wondering -

MR. SULLIVAN: They called up and said: How far away is that train now? (Inaudible) off the track yet.

MR. SHELLEY: If the tracks are put back down, if the train is back on schedule - but they are lining up.

You can be sure of one thing. As the summer months go, there may be quiet times, there may be quiet times in this Chamber, but there will not be quiet times in the trenches.

The minister even went and got a suntan so he can go around the Province looking good.

Last night - here it is again. I do not know what connections the minister has with CBC, but here we are with prime time - it is the highest audience in sports history, they are saying now - and every ten minutes last night, as we were watching a great hockey game between Toronto and Pittsburgh, the team we just put out, lo and behold, here is the minister on the Land and Sea commercial. Every ten minutes you would see the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, CBC, walking up and down -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: As a matter of fact, there was a person in the room last night watching the game and every time he saw the commercial he said: Is the minister at the game tonight or what? They did not know but the minister was at the game.

What was really funny -

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: He has some connections. I will not exaggerate, but the other people saw the game. At least five times that commercial came on during the hockey game last night. At least five times, the Land and Sea commercial of the minister down with the - what show was that? - The Boston Seafood Show, which the minister goes to every year. Sure enough, he was walking in. Here is the funny part: His buddy, his hero, his mentor, the federal Minister of Fisheries, shaking hands with him.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SHELLEY: Bill Matthews was there.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: That is the point. There are a lot of people in this Province who are not too happy. The point I am getting at is this: A lot of people in this Province are not too happy with the federal Minister of Fisheries when it comes to the food fishery, the commercial fishery, the seal fishery and so on.

What I am saying to the minister is: Yes, it might have been prime time but a lot of people out there, delegates in the districts, are saying: Look at who he is shaking hands and smiling with.

He is losing votes all the time. He is losing delegates all the time.

MR. EFFORD: Don't you worry your little head (inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Well, he got prime time on CBC. What we are waiting for now -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: He could very well, Mr. Chairman. The minister could very well have a lot of support on this side. When there is a leadership race on any side of the House, lo and behold, the whole House takes into account because there are delegates.

MR. EFFORD: The highest majority three times in a row.

MR. SHELLEY: The highest majority three times in a row. Nobody will dispute the minister's own district. What we are talking about is a different animal altogether. We are talking about a leadership. We are not talking about an election - a totally different animal.

The minister now is not worried about votes out of his district. He is worried about delegates. That is what he is worried about.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: We know that. That is very trivial to what we are talking about. Yes, we understand that the minister wins with high majorities all the time, but that game has changed now. That is all out the window.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is only one district.

MR. SHELLEY: That is one district, that doesn't mean anything to the minister. The minister knows that the eleven, twelve, or fifteen delegates - because if he has ex officio there are a few extras there, plus he will get his own vote. He has his district taken care of. He is not worried about his own district. What he is worried about is all those seats. Every time he looks around the House and looks behind and makes a comment now to any of his colleagues, he watches for that second look to see if he still has the support; because once he gets the support of the member he knows he has the eleven delegates, at least eleven delegates.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who is that?

MR. SHELLEY: The minister.

I see the Member for Bay of Islands putting up his hands. They are all lining up. That is the way it runs.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible) sixteen delegates.

MR. SHELLEY: Sixteen delegates? Oh, now it is even more important. We will get a show of hands now in a second. The Government House Leader is telling me, in your political party, it is sixteen delegates per district.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible) sixteen delegates.

MR. SHELLEY: Sixteen official delegates, plus ex officio and so on.

I am sure that the minister does it every day he is in the House. I have watched him looking at all the seats. He is going around: eleven there, eleven here.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: I can just imagine.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SHELLEY: By leave, Mr. Chairman?

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for Bellevue.

MR. BARRETT: I think we need to get back on track here and start talking about the issues facing the Province. I do not think we should be talking about fictional things, or fantasies, or things that are going to happen in the future. There is no leadership convention on, so the hon. Member for Baie Verte just wasted ten minutes in which he should be talking about the issues of the Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BARRETT: Going on with foolish. The next thing, he will be in Fogo trying to order Chinese food for the Member for Port de Grave, or off to a trip to Italy. We do not want to get on with that.

Being a teacher, I want to relate to some people some of the history of leadership conventions. There was once a person from Grand Falls who ran for leadership of the Liberal Party. Mr. Spencer ran for the leadership of the Liberal Party. He went to the leadership convention, and he and his wife were voting delegates to the convention. When the final count came out, Mr. Spencer ended up with one vote. You can imagine the conversation in the car as they travelled back to Grand Falls, in terms of who voted for him. He and his wife were delegates and he only got one vote, so we wonder about leadership conventions.

I think the hon. Member for Baie Verte should be talking more about what is happening in his district, and the fact that there is a great need for road improvement and all the other things in his district, but he gets up here and wastes time.

I want to talk about the District of Bellevue right now, and about the great things that are happening in the District of Bellevue.

In addition to the great school being built in Blaketown, that the hon. Member for Conception Bay South for some reason thought should go in Whitbourne; in addition to that, the brand new facility that is being built in Arnold's Cove - another $6 million for a new facility in Arnold's Cove that will serve the communities of Little Harbour, Southern Harbour, Come-By-Chance, Sunnyside -

AN HON. MEMBER: Transshipment Terminal.

MR. BARRETT: We are getting to that. That is the next chapter.

All of these new facilities, improvements to the gymnasium in Swift Current, which has being designated as a Necessarily Existent School in rural Newfoundland, a Necessarily Existent School in English Harbour East, a Necessarily Existent School in Grand Le Pierre, a Necessarily Existent School in Southern Harbour, a Necessarily Existent School in Arnold's Cove, a Necessarily Existent School in Sunnyside, a Necessarily Existent School in Terrenceville, a Necessarily Existent School in St. Bernard's - that is only a small number to ensure that there are quality programs going on in English Harbour East, Grand Le Pierre, Terrenceville, St. Bernard's, which covers five or six communities in Fortune Bay, Swift Current, Arnold's Cove, Come-By-Chance; all of these communities have been designated as necessarily existent. Of course, the schools in Southern Harbour and Arnold's Cove and Sunnyside have been designated as Necessarily Existent Schools only until September of the year 2000, when an alternate modern school will be built in Arnold's Cove to accommodate all the students from those five communities, and so they should.

When you look at what is happening on the Isthmus of Avalon, in the great District of Bellevue, we just look at what is happening in terms of the North Atlantic Refinery that the hon. Minister of Environment - one of the best ministers we have ever had - just signed a new compliance agreement in terms of the emissions and the money that is being spent.

AN HON. MEMBER: How many people are employed?

MR. BARRETT: The North Atlantic Refinery, on any one particular day, has 700 employees. On a shutdown it can go up to 1,200. There was one shutdown where there were 1,800 people employed.

As a matter of fact, if you look at the community of Arnold's Cove, I am very proud to say, it has one of the lowest unemployment rates of any community in North America. Less than 2 per cent of the people are unemployed.

As a matter of fact, when the new school is under construction in Arnold's Cove, we are going to have to bring people from the District of Port de Grave, Conception Bay and all around, to come to build the new school because everybody in Arnold's Cove is working.

We are going to spread out from the great District of Bellevue and start employing people from other communities, because in North Harbour and Garden Cove and Swift Current and Goobies and all of those communities around there, there is practically 100 per cent employment.

In addition to the North Atlantic Refinery, with which we just signed a new compliance agreement - hard work by the minister and the departmental officials in the Department of Environment. We reduced the emissions tremendously and improved the quality of life in that area. More needs to be done; there is no doubt about it. More needs to be done and it will be done under the leadership of this government.

We take leadership over here, you see. That is the difference. Over there, they talk about doing all the things that they like to do and they want to do. They want to cut taxes and they want new programs, but they will never be in a position to be over here to do it. That is the unfortunate thing about it.

Another great company employs 420 people in the District of Bellevue - National Sea Products Ltd. - one of the great wonders of this world. One of the most efficient, cost-effective, fish plants to be operated anywhere in the western world is in Arnold's Cove.

As a matter of fact, some years ago when they were talking about closing fish plants in Newfoundland and Labrador, I met with the President of National Sea at the time and he said to me: Percy, the plant in Arnold's Cove will be one of the last plants to be ever closed in the whole system. As a matter of fact, he said, the employees are so effective...

I remember one night travelling to Carbonear first when I got elected. I was listening to the Open Line program and, as a woman said last night to the hon. member for Terra Nova, my blood started to boil. My blood started to boil because this woman called in and was talking about the resettlement program. She was talking about the devastation that was caused under the resettlement program in Placentia Bay, and the people from the islands in Placentia Bay.

I am from an island in Placentia Bay. I am very, very proud to be from an island in Placentia Bay, but this woman - and we hear so much of it on the Open Line programs, the doom and gloom - she talked about the fact that the people who were resettled from the islands in Placentia Bay were living in the ghettos in Arnold's Cove - living in the ghettos in Arnold's Cove. You talk about a person who was misinformed, in a community that has more services than any other community in Newfoundland, has one of the lowest property taxes.

As a matter of fact, four or five years ago they went out and bought a garbage truck, a compacter garbage truck. Most towns would go out and finance it over a fifteen-year period or a ten-year period. The Town Council of Arnold's Cove went out and paid cash for the garbage truck and this woman was... This is the kind of indication of the doom and gloom that we hear in Newfoundland, talking about how the people on the islands of Placentia Bay had moved into the ghettos in Arnold's Cove.

Arnold's Cove is a community in Newfoundland, a community in North America, that has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Canada - less than 2 per cent - and we hear that kind of garbage being transmitted on our airways. The cellular phone that I had at the time, the service was not that good. It was 1:00 a.m. before I got to Carbonear and the program had gone off the air. That is the kind of foolishness and nonsense that we hear about.

The National Sea plant in Arnold's Cove was one of the most efficient, cost-effective plants in the whole system. As a matter of fact, the President of National Sea - I am very proud to say that a lot of these people who moved off the islands in Placentia Bay are workers at the National Sea. All these people who moved into the ghettos in Arnold's Cove are workers at the National Sea plant, and that 95 per cent vote Liberal in every election. Sometimes they run away with themselves and they might, in the federal election, vote a little bit of NDP, but they will always vote Liberal in a provincial election. I do not know why. Most of them are from my home, I guess that is why.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BARRETT: The President of National Sea at the time said to me: Percy, that plant will be one of the last to be closed in our system. As a matter of fact, they closed the plant on the south side in St. John's -

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No leave!

MR. BARRETT: They closed the plant on the south side in St. John's because they could truck the fish to Arnold's Cove and process it in the plant in Arnold's Cove at ten cents a pound cheaper than they could do on the south side.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. BARRETT: That is a great compliment to the workers in that particular plant. I will be back.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I have to say it is very encouraging to see the Member for Bellevue finally come out of his shell. I understand he has been here longer than me. I had to check the records to find out. I understand after checking the records that he has been here longer than me. I do not know how many years I was here before I heard him speak. I have to say that in the last two or three days I have heard him speak more often than all the rest of the time put together. All I want to know is: What is it that he is on so I can get some of it? Whatever it is, it solved whatever problems he had in Las Vegas last year. He is a new man, he has new vigour, he is ready for another election. Just after coming off the last election he is ready for another one. He is showing, by his recent vigour, that he is ready to take on the challenge of a Cabinet post. So any of you over there who have ambitions to form a Cabinet, in the not too distant future, please take note of the abilities of the Member for Bellevue.

AN HON. MEMBER: The inabilities.

AN HON. MEMBER: The flexibilities.

MR. HARRIS: The flexibilities. I dare say if he was offered a Cabinet post he could be very flexible indeed, especially in the pre-election period, in the delegate selection period, and the lead up to the selection of a new premier. I will just leave on that, because I do not want to spend my very short period of time talking about the new-found voice of the Member for Bellevue.

What I want to talk about was what I intended to talk about when the Minister of Fisheries got up and was saying that people were negative over here about the economic prospects. I have in front of me a press release about economic development. It talks about taking advantage of the growing market for offshore oil and gas services, and a particular project for the building of two offshore supply vessels being built with provincial government support in the form of a loan guarantee.

It goes on to say: The province is helping to develop the infrastructure needed to support the offshore oil and gas sectors so that companies like ours can compete with the larger international firms and put people to work here. There will be many opportunities in the offshore oil sector.

It goes to say: This particular program is an example of the province's commitment to ensure that local companies with the necessary expertise get in on the ground floor of growing offshore markets worldwide. Three hundred jobs during peak construction periods would pump millions of dollars into the provincial economy.

Mr. Chairman, it is a great story about economic development, about taking advantage of the offshore, building supply vessels for the offshore. A great announcement. In fact, the announcement was so great it was going to be made in late January, but it got put off until after the election. I do not know why you would put off a great announcement about the development of the offshore - there are 300 jobs - until after the election.

AN HON. MEMBER: Tell us why.

MR. HARRIS: It is a real mystery. Because a press conference was called, the press notices went out, the press conference was going to be held at 10:00 in the morning. Then all of a sudden the press conference was called off.

MR. EFFORD: Point of order, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: Order, please!

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

MR. EFFORD: I have never seen the hon. member stand with so much enthusiasm as he has here tonight in the few remarks he is making. I wonder, does it have anything to do with the fact that he had lunch today with Andy down on Green Sleeves deck, when he got all of that information? Because that is where the information had to come from.

CHAIR: There is no point of order.

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

MR. HARRIS: I dare say it will be a frosty Friday in February before I have lunch with Andy.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. HARRIS: Or a frosty Friday in July.

This announcement about promotion of the offshore, and wonderful stuff for the Province and provincial government support, this announcement was going to be made in January but it was not going to be made in Newfoundland, Mr. Chairman. This announcement is not about this Province taking advantage of the offshore. This is about Nova Scotia; two supply vessels being built in Nova Scotia for the Newfoundland offshore.

The announcement was going to be made in January during the provincial government election - a press conference called, a notice went out - until somebody in Newfoundland heard about it. All of sudden, the press conference was called off until after the Newfoundland election was over; because the government of this Province did not want to be embarrassed about the fact that two vessels were being built in Nova Scotia for the Newfoundland offshore with provincial government subsidy from the Province of Nova Scotia.

We wonder why, down in Marystown - according to the statistics that I mentioned a minute ago where we have 29 per cent unemployment in the Burin Peninsula and South Coast - people are concerned in this Province about the future, when we have vessels being built in Nova Scotia under a Nova Scotia provincial program for the Newfoundland offshore and we have workers and a shipyard down in Marystown unable to get that work.

The labour force statistics for the month of April 1999 shows the highest unemployment rate in Newfoundland on the Burin Peninsula and the South Coast at 29 per cent, and vessels being built for our offshore in Nova Scotia with the support of a provincial government loan subsidy program by the government there.

Now, I ask you, what is wrong with this government? What is wrong with our offshore policy? What is wrong when we see that happening in our neighbouring province? - not that we are against Nova Scotia. We think they are doing very well. They doing very well compared to how we are doing. They are doing very well when it comes to the Marine Atlantic. They are doing very well when it comes to federal government defence spending, I say to members opposite, all over Nova Scotia.

If you go to Halifax, you cannot turn around but you see the Canadian Forces or the Canadian Navy or airplanes, boats, ships and planes, all federal government dollars being spent in Nova Scotia. They are doing very well, and they are subsidizing the building of ships for Newfoundland offshore and we have 29 per cent unemployment in the Burin Peninsula.

I think we have a very serious problem, and on the other side of the House the only thing they can talk about is people over here. They are not talking about what they are doing. We have a situation which I exposed the other day and made public.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) the worse possible scenario.

MR. HARRIS: We have a situation now - and this minister knows it - with the Voisey's Bay project. The project that this government is contemplating is going to produce a windfall to the Government of Canada to the tune of $5 billion.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HARRIS: By leave, Mr. Chairman?

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave.

CHAIR: Leave denied.

[The continuation of today's sitting will be found in Hansard 26A.]


 

May 18, 1999                   HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS       Vol. XLIV  No. 26A


[Continuation of sitting]

MR. HARRIS: We have a situation now, and this minister knows it, with the Voisey's Bay project; the project that this government is contemplating is going to produce a windfall to the Government of Canada to the tune of $5 billion.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HARRIS: By leave, Mr. Chairman?

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave.

CHAIR: Leave denied.

The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Chairman we had another member opposite get up to talk about all the good news. Is there anything good in your life at all to talk about? Is there one little word, one iota or word that you can talk - something positive.

MR. TULK: No wonder he is down. He (inaudible) his life.

MR. EFFORD: Down?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: I heard you took the mirror out of your bathroom. You did not want to look at it.

Look, we have so much in this Province that even The National Post is talking about it. You cannot talk about it opposite, but one of the largest newspapers in Canada is now talking about the good news in Newfoundland. Look: Job prospects rosier in Newfoundland. New figures show employment prospects for Newfoundlanders are looking up and fewer people are leaving the rock.

You cannot stand good news.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: The National Post, May 18, 1999; not 1989.

MR. TULK: Read the first paragraph.

MR. EFFORD: I intend to read the first paragraph. Good news. When you have to go to a national newspaper to get good news, and not one member opposite can take five minutes out of a speech given in the House of Assembly and talk about it.

According to data compiled by the economic statistics branch, new employment levels are up by 5.7 per cent from 1998, over 10,200 new jobs in 1998-1999.

Ten thousand more new jobs. Now, we have not even begun to touch the fishery this year. These are new jobs in the manufacturing industry, new long-term jobs. You cannot stand good news. See how they all get excited when you talk about good news? I am sure you can take that now and turn that into a negative story.

Any member opposite will take those statistics, take those numbers, and turn them into a negative story, and sit home by the kitchen table and tell your children and your grandchildren about all the doom and gloom, and depress them some more. No wonder the pharmacists are making good money with the anti-depression pills. That is what they take, anti-depression pills, on the opposite side. (Inaudible) family. Absolutely unbelievable.

Let me talk about the District of Port de Grave. Let's talk about some good news. In the community of Port de Grave there is $80 million worth of fishing boats. What do we have happening in that community today? First of all, it is an unincorporated community, no local service district, no asking government for anything. It has its own garbage collection that it pays for, it has its own streetlight system that it pays for by the families, and every single family in Port de Grave has its own water services - artesian well - with no requests from government whatsoever.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Let me finish. I am getting there. Just remember what I said: $80 million worth of boats, the largest fishing village in the whole of the Island, creating the economic growth of that area out there as the fastest growing region in Atlantic Canada.

I am not finished with Port de Grave yet. Right now in Port de Grave we have the largest harbour development going -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Does the hon. member want to listen to some good news? He cannot stand it.

We have the largest harbour development taking place in Port de Grave today in all of Canada - $5.7 million development in the Port de Grave harbour.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: You have that right. It took me eight years to get it, but I got it - $5.7 million. There is not a piece of road in Port de Grave that is not paved, not an inch of road in Port de Grave that is not paved.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not an alley.

MR. EFFORD: Not an alley. Every alley, every driveway, everything in Port de Grave is paved. What I didn't do, the people did themselves. Even Andy Wells took notice - up to the back windows. Andy Wells made note of it - right up to the back doors. That is only one community.

Let's move next door to Bay Roberts. There are more businesses in Bay Roberts than in any other rural municipality in Atlantic Canada. The fastest growing region in all of Atlantic Canada is in Bay Roberts.

What did we do in Bay Roberts last year? We built a brand new marina by the Royal Canadian Legion with no money from the federal or provincial government for capita construction. It was totally done by corporation donations, by the people and equipment in the area, by contractors who donated. One of the best marinas ever built in Canada has now been built in Bay Roberts.

What do we have out there? We have one of the richest agriculture areas in Shearstown and Bay Roberts. The average farmer in that particular area out there, minimum production on an annual basis, $300,000 annual production per farm - minimum production - no request to government.

I never had a fisherman come to me since I have been elected in 1985 and ask me for any money from government. Not a fisherman ever comes to me. All they ask for are the licenses, the quotas, and the right to go earn a living.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Chairman, members opposite should listen about good news. Members opposite should talk about production.

The Member for Bellevue said that his district is so prosperous that he will be bringing in members, people from Port de Grave District, to go to work. I am happy about that but I have to tell him something. He will have to go to another district because there is nobody out there unemployed. They are all working.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: No such thing.

I leave to go to St. John's every morning at 5:30 and there is a stream of traffic from Bay Roberts to St. John's, a continuous stream of traffic, people going to work, keeping this city alive, keeping the city growing in there. Take out the bay and what do you have left in St. John's? Nothing.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: They do that. The expertise, the professional people, have to come up there and show them how to do it. That is what happens up there -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. EFFORD: - professional people from the great District of Port de Grave.

Why can't members opposite stand and talk about the good news instead of talking about the negative, the doom and gloom? There is so much in this Province to be thankful for.

MR. TULK: In Bonavista North, things were never better.

MR. EFFORD: That is right. Every member on this side of the House can stand and talk about his or her own district and talk about all the good news that is happening around the Province.

We have two of the best schools - Ascension Collegiate and Amalgamated Academy in Bay Roberts, the elementary and the high school - two of the best schools in Newfoundland.

Do you know, I never get a call of complaint from those schools? I never get a call. If they have a problem, they simply say: Could we have a meeting? Could we discuss our problem? Can we find a solution? Always people are proactive, never down in the mouth, never doom and gloom - proactive, proactive. That is how it has been since I have been elected in 1985.

MR. TULK: Professor May at Memorial University is a bit pessimistic. I wonder why.

MR. EFFORD: Who is he listening to now, John Crosbie?

MR. TULK: I wonder, why is Professor May a bit (inaudible)?

AN HON. MEMBER: He must have had lunch with John Crosbie.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible) in this Province, I wonder?

AN HON. MEMBER: Doug May.

MR. EFFORD: Oh, Doug, okay. I thought you were saying Art.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: I think all members on both sides of the House should be very proud of the Province in which we live, about the things we have to be appreciative for. We should be passing the good news along to our children. We should not be brainwashing those young people with doom and gloom and discouraging them. There is a lot to be positive about in this Province.

Like I said one time, out of every ill wind that blows something good comes out of it.

I remember when the ground fishery collapsed in 1992 and everybody said, it is all over. I said: Just stop for a minute and look at other things you can do in the marine life other than what you have been doing.

All of a sudden, people realized there were other things to do. As a result, people started to be innovative, people started to do research, people started to look at other species. They forgot the doom and gloom of the former Minister of Fisheries opposite. They started to be proactive. As a result today, in 1999, we will go over $800 million of export value in fish products in this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: Eight hundred million dollars worth of fish. It may very well be higher, depending on market conditions, on price (inaudible), and that is going up on a continuous basis.

AN HON. MEMBER: Tell them how much we are going to export in cucumbers this year.

MR. EFFORD: Down to Robin Hood Bay?

Let's talk about the sealing industry. How many people thought three or four weeks ago that we had a terrible sealing industry this year?

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. EFFORD: By leave?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please!

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

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

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: Yes, and I would like to talk about my district, a wonderful district. There are 9,500 voters in that district, very bright voters I must say. In that district they had a high school, a junior high school and two primary schools. Do you know what has happened to the wonderful people in that district? They are going to lose their high school.

AN HON. MEMBER: They are going to what?

MS S. OSBORNE: They are going to lose their high school.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: No, no, a beautiful building. They are going to lose their high school.

AN HON. MEMBER: Education reform, is it?

MS S. OSBORNE: It is called education reform, but I will tell you something about the people in that district. When the referendum was called -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: How much do they pay for the bus?

AN HON. MEMBER: Forty kilometres.

MS S. OSBORNE: How much is the bus?

AN HON. MEMBER: Forty kilometres.

MS S. OSBORNE: How much is the bus?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) bus?

MS S. OSBORNE: Yes, how much is the bus?

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: The people in my district will have to pay for the bus. They will have to pay for their bus when they are moved out. The people in my district will have to pay.

Listen, in 1997 they listened and 83 per cent of them voted for optimum programming, they voted for lower pupil/teacher ratio, and they voted for neighbourhood schools - 83 per cent of them.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: No, but it was bloody well in the paper! It was in the paper.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) the word bloody.

MS S. OSBORNE: Bloody?

AN HON. MEMBER: There is nothing wrong with that.

MS S. OSBORNE: Do I have to withdraw it?

CHAIR: I ask the member to withdraw it.

MS S. OSBORNE: I withdraw that, but they bleeping well read the paper!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member has already withdraw it. If the member is rising on a point of order with regard to the language, the hon. member has already withdraw the -

MR. MATTHEWS: That is right but my main concern is for the well-being of my member. At any cost, I would not want to see her demise over anything that was ill-toward in terms of language. I appreciate her withdrawing that in the best traditional parliamentary decency.

MS S. OSBORNE: I did withdraw it, and my main concern is for my constituents - and my member and his children. They are losing a high school up in -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: They are so losing a high school. The high school children will be bused and the high school children in St. John's West will pay for the bus.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: I beg your pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: They are losing high school teachers. They are losing high school programs. They will retain the building.

Speaking about buildings, there is another bunch of children in my district who go to a school just out of the district. It is called St. Augustine's. When the teacher goes into the library in the morning, she takes a cloth and wipes mouse droppings off the books.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MS S. OSBORNE: That is what is happening to the children in my district - mouse droppings on the books. There are spores growing on the walls, on the floors and on the ceilings. There are mouse droppings in the school. Come visit the school any time you would like. There are mouse droppings on the books, on the toys, and on the things that the children use for programs. There are mouse droppings on the books in St. Augustine's. That has been seen. It is a mouse infested school. That is where the children from my district go.

I was at a school council meeting the other night and I asked the principal how many children were in the classrooms, because I saw in the Throne Speech that there would be an average of 14.7. She said: In Grade VI, there is an average of between 31 and 35; in Grade VII, there are 34; in Grade VIII, there are 31 to 33; and in Grade IX, there are 38 children in one of the classrooms.

That is what is happening in my district. Geographically, it is a beautiful district. There is a park in the district, nice walking trails in the district, a lovely district. The people did not see it on the ballot, but 83 per cent of them went out and voted for education reform because the paper said that they would have optimum programming and they would have neighbourhood schools.

The last time I looked, Booth Memorial was not anywhere close to Cowan Heights.

As far as busing is concerned - sure there is busing and they would have no problem with busing, but when you have a family who is on social assistance and they have to pay $25 -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Mount Pearl to go to school?

MS S. OSBORNE: It does not matter to them, but when they have to pay $25 a child for their buses - I would say that if the people who live in rural Newfoundland had to pay $25 a month to go on the buses, they would probably have a different tune and the members opposite would probably have a different tune.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: I beg your pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: St. John's West is a growth area. There are people moving into St. John's West. There are new subdivisions in St. John's West, not in the electoral district but all south of Topsail Road, all new houses, all new families moving in and high school services moving out. It certainly does not make sense to me and it does not make sense to the people who live up there either. It has been put on hold for a year.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please!

MS S. OSBORNE: There was a nice high school.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: Alright, pay them for the bus. Subsidize the buses.

AN HON. MEMBER: There are people living in St. John's West who are (inaudible).

CHAIR: Order, please!

MS S. OSBORNE: In St. John's West there are not. It is too bad that the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: Now that I have finished talking about my district, I am going to talk about lists. The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture got up the other day with a list, so I decided that I would have a list. There are some companies listed here and what it shows is what was owing in Newfoundland government guaranteed loans. This is not to take into account the interest that was forgiven, or the interest written off, or the payments that were delayed.

We have a company called Adler Bars - I do not normally subscribe to going back into other administrations, whichever side of the House they are on. I do not normally believe in going back, no matter what side of the House or what government it is, but it seems to be the fashion in this debate that people are getting up talking about previous administrations so I thought I would jump on that wagon.

Adler Bars opened in 1956 and closed in 1960, owing $891,875.72 in a government guaranteed loan.

AN HON. MEMBER: They barred it up, didn't they?

MS S. OSBORNE: They barred it up.

They put the fists on this one: Atlantic Gloves opened in 1954 and closed in 1957, owing $967,780.97.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please!

MS S. OSBORNE: Atlantic Hardboards opened in 1952 and closed owing the government, owing the people of Newfoundland, $1,830,705.79; Eckhardt Knitting Mills opened in 1955 and closed in the early sixties, owing $1,103,399.72; Gold Sail Leather opened in 1957 and closed in 1960, owing the government and the people of this Province $256,352.17; Hanning Electric opened in 1953 and closed in 1958, owing the people of Newfoundland $760,358.90; Newfoundland Hardwoods opened in 1952 and closed in 1980, owing $4,367,217.13; Superior Rubber Company opened in 1953 and closed in 1956, owing the people of Newfoundland $1,931,393.73.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave.

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave.

CHAIR: No leave.

MS S. OSBORNE: Am I finished already? I will continue.

CHAIR: The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I think this is first occasion that I have risen in debate in this session of the House, and I think it is only fitting and proper that I follow in this debate after my member has spoken. I think, in fairness to my member, she deserves to hear from her member. I am sure she will be interested to know that having said earlier in her comments that she does not go back in history, she then proceeded -

MS S. OSBORNE: A point of order, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: Order, please!

On a point of order, the hon. the Member for St. John's West.

MS S. OSBORNE: What I said was that I do not believe in going back in history but it seems to be the fashion in this debate.

CHAIR: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Chairman, I was about to say this: The hon. member reads a litany of things that happened in the fifties. We do not deny the historical record of what happened then with respect to some industrial development initiatives, but I will say this to the hon. member and to members of the House: It is better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all.

I think about the former President of the United States. I think it was Abe Lincoln who, before he became President of that great nation, had personally had the tragedy - and I guess it was a tragedy - of having tried and failed eight times in business ventures. As a matter of fact he declared bankruptcy, I believe the historical record shows, eight separate times, Abe Lincoln.

AN HON. MEMBER: Thirteen times.

MR. MATTHEWS: Thirteen times. I thought it was eight. In any event, the point is that Abe Lincoln tried and tried and tried again.

I think what the hon. member, in all fairness, should continue to do, if she gets to her feet again, is to say that notwithstanding the record of industrial development that was commenced in the fifties, and notwithstanding what happened to some of these industries, the record is that today we are amongst the most prosperous, the most blessed, the people in the world with the most to be thankful for because of the leadership of Joey Smallwood, the man who was gutsy enough to try more than one initiative to try and get this Province under way.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MATTHEWS: I want to say to the members of -

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

CHAIR: Order, please!

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

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

I would like to know if the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs is so in love with the former Premier, Joey Smallwood, why did he run for the Tory nomination back in the 1980s?

CHAIR: Order, please!

I ask the minister to take his seat for a minute. I have not ruled on the point of order, but obviously there is no point of order.

The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you.

The point I am trying to make here is this: We have been subjected to some sad failures in our history, but let me say this: We have also been subjected to some very, very brave and innovative leaders who have brought this Province from a point of desperation, from a point of bankruptcy, from a point of having nothing and being down in the mouth and looking at our own boots, to a place today where we can stand as one amongst equals, shoulder to shoulder -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MATTHEWS: - jowl by jowl with any Canadian and say we are as good as, if not better than, most. Our level of prosperity is because people like Joe Smallwood were prepared to take the risk, were prepared to try to do something different, were prepared to try and be innovative, were able to go to Ottawa and convince the federal government of the day, Louis St. Laurent and others, that what we had done was the right thing in making a decision for Confederation and that we were going to go forward with Canada as -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Chairman, we are where we are today because people were prepared to try to make chocolate bars, because people were prepared to try and knit sweaters and bring us, because people were prepared to try and create wood products out of our birch in the Province for Newfoundland Hardwoods and other things. We may not have succeeded in everything we tried, but I will tell you the cumulative result of those efforts was that we learned a lot, we moved forward and built a strong and dynamic economy and a society that today represents the Province of Newfoundland.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MATTHEWS: Before I was diverted from what I really wanted to say, I wanted to make a few comments that would build upon the great speech that was given by my hon. colleague, the Member for Port de Grave, a man whom I have great respect for, whose voice I listen to very attentively when he speaks, which is quite often. I know that what he says comes from the heart. Not only does it come from the heart, it comes from the head. He has more between his ears that is of value and worth than probably the cumulative result, if we were to shape the heads of all those I am looking at opposite me.

When he started to talk about the great economy that has been built and that is emerging still in this Province, I wanted to talk a little bit about my own district, St. John's North.

The hon. member lives in St. John's North and I think it is only right that she acknowledge and pay due respect to the government that sat on this side of the House since I have been here in the last six years, that have seen in excess of $250 million of provincial money alone spent in our district -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MATTHEWS: I say our district because I represent it and she lives there - as a result of the initiatives of this government. Because, and I would say this rather modestly, those on this side of the House had the good sense to make some challenging decisions with respect to health care restructuring.

AN HON. MEMBER: I got it all here.

MR. MATTHEWS: That is good. You save any type of valuable literature like that you find, my son, because you will need it in future life.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MATTHEWS: I think, Mr. Chairman, the indirect point that the hon. member is trying to make, for the benefit of everybody on this side of the House and that side of the House, is that he really - the hon. member is a very modest man sometimes. Not always. The hon. member is really trying to make the point that he is honoured and privileged, delighted and well served by the fact that he too lives in my district.

What he is trying to do is say: Mr. Minister, you are also my member. I appreciate you, I respect you. People in St. John's North voted appropriately, they voted right, they voted wisely. Notwithstanding full-page letters that went in the mailbox two days before the campaign ended signed by the hon. John C. Crosbie, QC, RC, PC, DC, FC. Anyhow, he filled out all the space behind his name and he got down to the second line and he was still going with letters. It meant nothing to the people of St. John's North.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MATTHEWS: The people in St. John's North looked at my literature and said: There is a leader there by the name of the hon. Brian Tobin who has the intestinal fortitude, who has the guts, who has the vision, who has the vim, who has the vigour and who has the program to lead this Province, and I am going to support a man who is going to be with the Tobin team when they go back to the House of Assembly on February 9!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MATTHEWS: The hon. member in his heart of hearts, notwithstanding where he sits, is proud and delighted to be represented by a member from this side of the House. As a matter of fact, he held up the pamphlet and his face turned red. Very telling, Mr. Chairman. On more than one occasion I would say that in sharing just a private conversation with the member he has dropped it to me: I live on University Avenue. He is really saying: I am in your district. I am proud of you, boy. I am happy about it, I am delighted. I think in his heart of hearts - and this should give you some courage, this should make you feel proud, hon. constituent of mine and member of mine as well - this gentleman in his hearts of hearts -

CHAIR (Oldford): Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. MATTHEWS: - tried to be and wants to be a townie. I think he wants to be one of us. Now there are those on this side of the House who would question his wisdom, would question his judgement, would question his ambition, would question his desire -

CHAIR: Order, please!

MR. MATTHEWS: - would question his good common sense, but from your perspective, and I am sure you would give it a wink and a nod, you would say: Smart man. He has moved into the city. He wants to be one of us, and he is not all that stunned on that account after all.

CHAIR: Order, please!

The member's time is up.

MR. MATTHEWS: There are a lot of things that I want to say about St. John's North, but I will take a few minutes after supper, after we eat the Kentucky Fried or whatever grease they are going to bring in to us.

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

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: I was. Yes I was, and I did not think the Chairman had seen me.

AN HON. MEMBER: Give me leave (inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: Give you leave. All right, I will give leave to the hon. Member for Cape -

CHAIR: Order, please!

I recognized the Member for St. John's West.

MS S. OSBORNE: Mr. Chairman -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MS S. OSBORNE: No leave. Okay, I will carry on.

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave.

MS S. OSBORNE: I am giving him leave. He asked me to. All right, I will stay up. I am not giving you (inaudible). Sit down.

CHAIR: I recognized the Member for St. John's West.

MS S. OSBORNE: Mr. Chairman, I would like to say to my hon. member, not a bad member either, but if the hon. -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS S. OSBORNE: Welcome, strangers.

I would like to say that if the hon. John Crosbie had gotten his letter into 335 more mailboxes we might have had a different story today. A lot more people read the hon. Mr. Crosbie's letter this time around. I don't know what the margin was this time around, but not as great as it was last time around. The people are starting to listen to Mr. Crosbie.

MR. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible) point of personal privilege.

MS S. OSBORNE: Okay.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. MATTHEWS: I agree with the hon. member wholeheartedly. I believe that a lot of people this time did read Mr. Crosbie's letter of endorsement for the PC candidate in St. John's North. I believe the result of them reading that letter was pretty obvious as to what happened in the district when the votes were counted. They looked at what was being offered, they looked at what was been proposed by Mr. Crosbie, and they said: We want no part of that. We want Matthews, we want Tobin, because that is the team that is going to take us forward.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MATTHEWS: We are not looking back into the Dark Ages. We are not looking back into the decades past. We are looking forward to the next millennium and we are going forward into the next millennium. We are going to be blood red as we go forward!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

CHAIR: Order, please!

I remind the member that he cannot raise a point of privilege in Committee.

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

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

I guess the point that I was trying to make is that the margin was not as great this time as it was the last time.

Now, I would like to address the 10,200 new jobs that were created. I guess things are still pretty even because we had 10,000 people entering the workforce, didn't we?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) good news (inaudible)!

MS S. OSBORNE: That is wonderful news, but I do not see any difference in the number of people unemployed. I do not have the editorial with me now, but The Telegram said during this week: If things are so great, why are so many people still out of work?

MR. EFFORD: Point of order, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: Order, please!

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

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

Just listen to what the hon. member just said. The National Post prints a good news story about the job prospects in Newfoundland and Labrador, where the jobs grew by 10,200. In other words, there were 10,000 new jobs created in the Province, 10,000 new people got into the workforce, and the hon. member is saying that is negative.

CHAIR: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

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

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

I wonder if that is a result of the crab fishery starting last month.

The hon. Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture was up talking about what a wonderful place Canada was, and it is. I think the United Nations said it is the best country in the world. If I were to vote, I would say that Newfoundland is probably the best province in Canada, with the most resources.

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, (inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: Exactly. Where are the jobs? Why aren't we taking advantage of -

MR. REID: Point of order, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: Order, please!

On a point of order, the hon. the Member for Twillingate & Fogo.

MR. REID: The Member for St. John's West is asking: Where are the job? Last week in Lewisporte's The Pilot, the first time I have ever seen it happen in this Province, the Comfort Cove fish plant was advertising for employees to work in the fish plant in Comfort Cove.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

CHAIR: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

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

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

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) in this year, not five years ago.

MS S. OSBORNE: I am living right now, when we have all these resources -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

CHAIR: Order, please!

I have recognized the Member for St. John's West.

MS S. OSBORNE: We have all these resources but we are not taking advantage of these resources.

MR. EFFORD: What? (Inaudible). Point of order, Mr. Chairman.

MS S. OSBORNE: Is he taking up part of my time?

CHAIR: Order, please!

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

MR. EFFORD: Yes, Mr. Chairman. The hon. Member for St. John's West says we are not taking advantage of our resources. In 1998, there were 27,500 jobs in the fishing industry, with absolutely no subsidy from government whatsoever.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

CHAIR: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

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

MS S. OSBORNE: In fall of 1998 the pellet plant goes out of Labrador City over into Sept-Iles. That is our resource going. The pelletizing plant moved to Quebec because it was convenient for -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MS S. OSBORNE: That is irrelevant. What did the Liberal candidate do? Did he win?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: Such a nice fellow and such a good constituency person, but the people there recognized what happened to the pellet plant, didn't they?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: Yes, and they sent a message.

CHAIR: Order, please!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

CHAIR: Order, please!

MS S. OSBORNE: It is irrelevant whether it is an NDP member or a PC member. What we are talking about is a member who had the best interest of the people in his district at heart. He would not have voted to send the pellet plant out.

The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture got up and spoke all about the resources we have, all about the wonderful Province. This is a wonderful province. Isn't it unfortunate that so many of our people have to move to the other less great provinces of Canada to get jobs?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) not fit to go up there or what?

MS S. OSBORNE: What is not fit?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) anti-Confederate.

MS S. OSBORNE: No, I'm not an anti-confederate, but if Canada is the best country in the world any place in Canada is good but the people from Newfoundland and Labrador - I wonder if you sat out in Port aux Basques and watched how many tears were shed as the people take everything they own in a U-Haul on the back of their truck.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: Yes, this is a great country but unfortunately we do not have the wherewithal to make jobs with these resources to keep our people here. I am very fortunate. Six of my children are still here in the Province, but many of my relatives and a great many of my friends, people my age who have children who are of working age, those children are working on the mainland. They do not want to be working on the mainland. They would certainly be living here if the jobs were here.

I am not suggesting that we go out and spend millions of dollars, like some previous administration did, creating jobs for political expediency. The hon. Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs got up and said: What a wonderful job Premier Smallwood did. Probably he did, but there was $26 million spent on -

AN HON. MEMBER: He did a grand job.

MS S. OSBORNE: He did a grand job, he did. The government guaranteed loans, in today's figures, would be $150 million of the people's money that he spent. I would say if he had to give the money to the people in their hands themselves to go and create jobs they would have done a far better job. He was advised from time to time, time and again. Even Valdmanis started to tell him not to be creating jobs.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: I am dating myself. I better start talking (inaudible) now.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: No. That was economic development. I do not believe in going back into the past. I already said that, but when the hon. Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture can get up and read off lists - almost every time he is on his feet he is talking about what the Tories did when they were in office. I thought I would join his parade and speak about what the Liberals did when they were in office. The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture is nodding his head. Anyway -

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MS S. OSBORNE: No, I cannot stick around tonight. I have to go.

CHAIR: Order, please!

MS S. OSBORNE: Pardon?

CHAIR: The member's time is up.

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

 

On motion, total heads for Consolidated Fund Services, Executive Council, Legislature and Contingency Reserve without amendment, carried.

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, I move that the Committee rise, report progress and ask leave to sit again.

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

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): The hon. the Member for Trinity North.

MR. OLDFORD: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole on Supply have passed the Estimates of Consolidated Fund Services, Executive Council, Legislature and Contingency Reserve, and ask leave to sit again.

MR. SPEAKER: The Chairman of the Committee of the Whole on Supply reports that the committee has considered the matters to it referred and has directed him to report that the Estimates of the Consolidated Fund, the Legislature, the Executive Council and the Contingency Fund carried and ask leave to sit again.

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

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, before adjourning for supper - and I understand we are going to go from now until 7:30 p.m. -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) adjourn debate.

MR. TULK: Or whatever. Recessing, we are recessing. It is an agreed upon recess from now until 7:30 p.m. Before we -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TULK: Yes, 7:30 p.m. Don't go looking gift horses in the mouth.

Before doing that, Mr. Speaker, I want to call Order 3, the Concurrence Motion. There will be no debate until after - we need to call it now.

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

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) adjourn (inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: You are not going to vote on it now?

AN HON. MEMBER: No.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I adjourn debate on the Concurrence Motion, the Government Services Committee, until, as the Government House Leader said, at 7:30 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: This House is now recessed until 7:30 p.m.

Recess

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Opposition House Leader I believe adjourned the debate. We are on the Concurrence Motion.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker?

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, the Opposition House Leader adjourned the debate but it is normal in the Concurrence debates - and I am not trying to take away from the hon. gentleman's time to speak - to have the chairman of both committees introduce the head first. I wonder if we could have the Member for Topsail introduce Government Services and the Member for Twillingate & Fogo -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. TULK: The Government Services Committee, that is the hon. gentleman down here, and then you can take up from there.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

It certainly is a pleasure for me to rise today as chairman of the Government Services Committee to speak briefly on the concurrence debate. First of all, I want to thank my colleagues on both sides of the House for their commitment to the hearings. Of course, I could not do that without thanking the ministers and their staffs.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WISEMAN: I also want to thank the vice-chair of the Committee, the Member for Waterford Valley, as well as the Members for Carbonear-Harbour Grace, Bay of Islands, St. John's West and Placentia & St. Mary's. They certainly did put in a great effort on behalf of the Committee.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. WISEMAN: Mr. Speaker, I can understand the Member for Placentia & St. Mary's being a little bit -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. WISEMAN: I could add of course, Mr. Speaker, that the Member for Cape St. Francis did fill in, but basically that is what he did. He filled in and he asked whatever questions he saw necessary. Not necessary, what the Committee saw necessary, but he did perform his responsibility quite well, and I say that in all sincerity.

Mr. Speaker, 1999 is a very special year in this Province's history. Not only are we nearing a new millennium, but we are also celebrating fifty years of being part of a great country called Canada.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WISEMAN: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I am reading from some prepared notes that I have, and those of us who sat around the House for the last couple of days, I think, can really appreciate why. I think most of the debate this afternoon was focused a leadership contest that doesn't even exist. It is all part, I guess, of parliamentary tradition and parliamentary procedure, that sometimes members opposite do get somewhat carried away, but for the most part, Mr. Speaker, they are doing their job, they are carrying out their responsibility as an Opposition.

As I just said, Mr. Speaker, this is a very special year in the history of this Province. You will have noticed that the Budget is entitled Celebrating 50 Years. It is a very appropriate title. As this Budget says, we are enjoying the best fiscal performance since we joined Canada in 1949, with a $4.3 million surplus for 1998-1999.

As well, Mr. Speaker, the unemployment rate in this Province in February of this year was 15.5 per cent, down from 20.3 per cent in February of 1996. Employment growth in 1998 was 3.1 per cent, our highest rate of job growth in a decade.

Mr. Speaker, I can understand -

AN HON. MEMBER: How come you are all leaving? Where are they all going?

MR. WISEMAN: Mr. Speaker, the members opposite want to know why some members are leaving. The fact of the matter is that there are no members leaving. There are no members on this side of the House leaving. I think there is a lot of joy and a lot of pride on this side of the House because this government is fulfilling its mandate, and that is to govern this Province in a responsible, conscientious way.

Mr. Speaker, the facts speak for themselves. I should be saying, of course, that the committee reviewed and approved the budget for the Department of Finance without amendment. This includes the Public Service Commission, the Department of Government Services and Lands, the Department of Works, Services and Transportation, the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, and also the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation.

Mr. Speaker, the Budget is a positive one. It has been said, not by members of this House but by members of the general public, that this document is a document of vision, a vision with a positive future.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. WISEMAN: You want me to give up now? Don't be so foolish, boy, I am just getting started.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WISEMAN: One minute left! No!

I must say, Mr. Speaker, during the review process the questions that were asked were answered very promptly by the ministers. It is just an indication of how well they know their departments, how well they know what they are doing and the great sense of direction that they have.

Mr. Speaker, this government has introduced projects such as NewFoundJOBS, a $2 million fund that will assess over 500 social assistance clients to enter or re-enter the labour force. We are also providing $5.7 million for a wide range of employment initiatives, to assess the unemployed workers, find and maintain employment or to start their own business. We also started a pilot project to assist single parents, or social assistance increase employability -

AN HON. MEMBER: Enough is enough.

MR. WISEMAN: You want me to quit?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes.

MR. WISEMAN: It is unfortunate. I have so much that I want to say. I have a commitment from the House Leader that I can do it later. I really appreciate that, but I do not necessarily -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. WISEMAN: I know how difficult it is for members who live on this side of the House.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, before the hon. gentleman starts, I understand we have an agreement that this gentleman will speak and then we will have the Member for Twillingate & Fogo introduce the Resource Committee and we will debate both at the same time. It will be ten and ten.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: We are very agreeable, I must say.

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

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

After the eloquent speech from the Member for Topsail, we will agree with anything on this side, I say to the

House Leader.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: I will find the page now.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: No.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have been out of the House today in meetings, consulting with members on the other side of the House, working on the formation of another committee; but I am not totally prepared to announce that yet. I have to wait until later on.

AN HON. MEMBER: You have to get warmed up.

MR. MANNING: I have to get a couple of details...

That are four people I have not spoken with on the other side of the House on this committee. I will get back to them after, but I would just like to finish up what I started the other day.

I am pleased to see the Member for Topsail on his feet. It goes to show what his new role on the `meetloaf' committee has done for his self-esteem. The Member for Topsail is the director on the `meetloaf' committee. He is back on his feet. He is jumping up and taking part in the debate. It just goes to show what the new role on that committee has done for the Member for Topsail's self-esteem. I am very proud that he is living up to his expectations on the committee.

I think I would be remiss if I did not go back to my discussion the other day that I did not get to finish. I will find the page now. Back to page 1 again, about out-migration. I think I have to reiterate this because I am afraid it may not have hit the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: Oh, look, see what happens? I mentioned the director for the `meetloaf' committee but I forgot to mention the chairperson and he got upset. The chairperson for the `meetloaf' committee is back on his feet. No, he is not back on his feet - he is in his chair - but he will hopefully get back on his feet tonight.

AN HON. MEMBER: He was all afternoon (inaudible).

MR. MANNING: He was all day on his feet? Oh, I missed this afternoon's session. I was out in my district this afternoon and I missed the hon. Member for Bellevue on his feet. According to my colleagues, you have been on your feet most of the day.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: Four times.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: Well, I am very sorry. I will have to read Hansard tomorrow and get caught up on that, but I am sure reading it in Hansard would not have same effect on me as listening to the hon. Member for Bellevue, I say to the Government House Leader.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: No, I am still enjoying this, I say to the Government House Leader.

I am sorry I missed the chair of the `meetloaf' committee when he was on his feet this afternoon. I am very sorry but I am sure that before the night is out he will be back on his feet again.

AN HON. MEMBER: Is your time up?

MR. MANNING: No, my time is not up yet. I am just getting warmed up, I say to the Member for Bellevue.

I want to get back to the out-migration because it has been very easy - trying to get a message across to especially the Minister of Fisheries, because he kind of argued with me the other day that out-migration was not at an all-time high in this Province. I want to reiterate that I think it is. When you look back at the record of the past ten years, and as I touched on the other day, out-migration began with this government coming into power back in 1989 or 1990. We had a net out-migration that year of 711 people.

As I stated here in the House the other day - and I was very serious when I stated this - the red snowball started back then with 711 people who in 1990-1991 left this Province. In 1991-1992 we had a net out-migration of 1,669 people. In 1992-1993 we had a net out-migration of 3,078 people. In 1993-1994 we had an out-migration of 4,952 people. In 1994-1995 we had a net out-migration of 6,974 people and, I am telling you, it gets worse. Most times when you are trying to explain a story, things hopefully get better.

In 1995-1996, on that promise of a better tomorrow, we had 7,436 in out-migration; 7,436 people who stood here in the Province and hoped to have a better tomorrow. Well, they may have a better tomorrow but it is definitely not -

AN HON. MEMBER: Who was in power then?

MR. MANNING: Who was in power then? This government came to power I say to the hon. member.

In 1995-1996, we lost 7,436 people through out-migration. In 1996-1997, as the better tomorrow evolved, we had a net out-migration of 8,134 people. The better tomorrow gets even better or, I should say, it gets better for some people but most of them are in Alberta, Ontario, British Columbia. I turned on the TV last night, a group of Newfoundlanders working in a crab plant in PEI while we have communities in this Province looking for crab licenses.

Mr. Speaker, in 1996-1997 we had a net out-migration of 8,134 people. In 1997-1998 we had a net out-migration of 11,434 people.

When you look back at the record, the total from 1990-1998 was 44,388 people.

AN HON. MEMBER: How many?

MR. MANNING: There were 44,388 people, net out-migration from 1990-1998.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: That was 1997-1998, so I would say it is; but that was during the period of the better tomorrow, I say to the Premier. It was during the period of a better tomorrow. So the question I have to ask is: Who was the better tomorrow for?

MR. SULLIVAN: It kept getting better.

MR. MANNING: It kept getting better. Every year it kept getting better; better for Marine Atlantic, better for Air Nova, better for CN bus, better for U-Haul, better for Ryder Truck, better for Budget Rental, better for Ontario, better for Alberta, better for British Columbia, better for Prince Edward Island, but it has not been better for the people of this Province. It has not been better for the people of this Province.

When I look back at this record - I gave notice yesterday that I will be appointing a new committee to the House tonight, a new committee.

AN HON. MEMBER: A new committee?

MR. MANNING: Yes.

I know that the `meetloaf' committee I appointed the other night are up and running. They are doing quite well. It is just a training ground for the Cabinet, I say to the Premier. I would like to report progress on the `meetloaf' committee. As I said, I would like to report progress. The `meetloaf' committee consists of the Member for Bellevue as the Chair, the Member for Humber East as the Vice-Chair, and the Member for Topsail as the director.

MR. SHELLEY: Is the Minister of Fisheries on this new one?

MR. MANNING: No, the Minister of Fisheries is the runner up.

MR. SULLIVAN: Why did you call it `meetloaf'?

MR. MANNING: Because sometimes they meet, most times they loaf. When you look over at that side you understand why.

I just want to go back, if I could, to the record of out-migration. From the record of out-migration, I look across the floor - I say to the Premier, the Premier came in 1996 and this started before the present Premier took his place. It got worse since he became Premier but it started before he was Premier. It got worse since 1996 but it started many years before he became Premier. I would just like to say it got worse but at the same time - then, with all this information that I have on out-migration, I have to wonder why it happened. I have to wonder why 44,388 people left this Province in less than ten years. I have to ask myself why 44,388 people left this Province.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. MANNING: The result of this out-migration I will have to get back to in chapter 2, I say to the Minister of Mines and Energy.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Twillingate & Fogo.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. REID: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It gives me pleasure to rise tonight to introduce the Estimates of the Resource Committee of government. I would like to thank the members who played a role in that committee: the Member for Cartwright-L'Anse au Clair; Burgeo & LaPoile; Bay of Islands; Conception Bay South; Windsor-Springdale; Carbonear-Harbour Grace; the Member for Labrador West; and a special thanks to the Member for Lewisporte who co-chaired the committee. We did the Estimates of six departments and we clued them all up on time. They were gracious enough to even allow the ministers to keep their salaries.

I have been sitting here now since we came back in March and all I have been listening to across the floor is nothing by negativity. Honestly, it depresses me to come in here on a daily basis. Every time I come in here, all I hear is doom and gloom.

Every time I go to my district, I say to my secretary when I come back: What a pleasure to go out there, because if you listen to the people across the floor you would be afraid to go into rural Newfoundland.

Let me tell you, they talk about how this party and this government is destroying rural Newfoundland and Labrador. Well, I happen to represent one of the most rural areas in this Province. Twillingate & Fogo is the name of the district, four islands -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. REID: I will tell you where the hospital is going. I will tell you all about the hospital. Just sit down and relax for a minute. You talk about how we do nothing for rural Newfoundland and Labrador. Let me tell you about the district I represent - Twillingate & Fogo.

In 1996 we combined two districts. Once, it used to be called Twillingate district and Fogo district. Since 1949, those two districts had the misfortune of electing a Tory only once in three years.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. REID: Because they only elected a Tory once, that district suffered, and it suffered badly.

I can remember when I went to New World Island in 1982. The only piece of pavement across that island was the main road, and that was laid down back in 1971, in the fall of the year, by the late Premier Smallwood. There was not another road touched on that island. It was the same with Fogo Island. There was nothing done, we had no infrastructure. We had a hospital in Twillingate. There was nothing built, nothing fixed, no infrastructure programs, and it was because of the Tory government.

I had the opportunity to serve on a council in Summerford from 1985 to 1988. Each of the three years I was there, we would send in for our capital funding for water and sewer for Summerford, and every year we were told we were not getting a cent. They used to tell us: Because you were stupid enough or something to vote Liberal. When they voted Tory -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. REID: They did. They said: When you vote Tory you would get your money. There was one community council out there. There was one community in the whole district that had a few counsellors who were Tory. They would come out in the paper every week without fail and blast the Liberal member for the area. That was the only community that was paved.

Let me tell you some of the things that have happened since 1989 out there. The first time I can remember happening in 1989 when the Liberals formed the government was the people from Summerford came forward and said: We are one of the only districts in the Province that does not have a home to look after our seniors. That year my good friend, Eric Gullage, gave $750,000 to the Pentecostal Assembly -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. REID: - to build a chronic care facility in the town of Summerford.

A few years later, in 1996, the town of Summerford came forward. They had a shed, basically, where they held their council meetings. The wind would blow through the place, it would freeze you in the wintertime. Because of my good friend, Art Reid, he gave us $550,000 to build a new town hall.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. REID: On Fogo Island, that my colleague represented. My colleague represented it well out there in the 1980s, and because he was a Liberal, he got nothing for the Island. I will tell you, in 1993 we got a brand new stadium on Fogo Island.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: What happened to `Zamboni Sam'?

MR. REID: `Zamboni Sam' is `Zamboning' it, wherever he is today.

You say we are destroying the education system and the health system. Fogo Island had a hospital built fifty years ago. I took my good friend, the current Minister of Health, out there two years ago just to show her the hospital. She said: Gerry, we are going to make this a priority. Within two months after that, we were able to announce $8 million for a new hospital for Fogo Island.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. REID: New World Island had five -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) the six beds (inaudible).

MR. REID: Do you want me to tell you about the six beds? I will tell you. We have lots of time tonight. You just bring it up again, because I will be up again. No problem. I will tell you, for one thing they never closed six beds, they closed three beds. The media misreported it. Then they went back to work on Saturday, no problem. In fact, they made three casual nurses permanent and they hired a new one.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. REID: Everybody is happy. We had five schools on New World Island. They closed three.

AN HON. MEMBER: Closed six (inaudible).

MR. REID: Call the member of the union down there.

We had five schools on New World Island, Mr. Speaker, and under the school reform we decided we were going to bring the schools together. Because there are two religions down there, and religion is strong on New World Island, we had a Pentecostal school system and an amalgamated school system. Neither really wanted to go into the other. I went out and sat down and talked to them. They did not want to say: We do not want to go to this school or to that school. I said: Why don't we build one school for the entire Island? There are only 4,000 people down there, 650 children. All concerned said: Yes, let's build a building that we can all call our own.

I came back and explained to the previous Minister of Education how we could save by closing four schools on New World Island and opening one. Not only would we give them a brand new facility, but we would save enough money to build that school. What did the previous Minister of Education do? He said: Yes, boy, go out and tell them they got a brand new school.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. REID: Eight million dollars. I cannot wait to turn the sod on that one.

Let me tell you, thirty-nine communities and no roads paved. Let me tell you how many roads have been paved on New World Island, Fogo Island, Change Island and Twillingate Island since 1989. All of these are communities that lived and ate dust: Carter's Cove, Virgin Arm, Chanceport, Bridgeport, Moreton's Harbour, Valley Pond, Fairbanks, Too Good Arm, Pikes Arm, Cobbs Arm, Twillingate, Durrell, Crow Head, Stag Harbour, Deep Bay, Island Harbour. They recapped most of the roads on Fogo Island and paved a section of the road on Change Islands. All of that has been done.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, I heard the Member for Bonavista South the other day talking about how he never heard there was any pavement for this year and he wanted to know when it was going to be announced. Sure, the Member for Lewisporte knows it was announced. He saw my picture on the front page down with the mayor of Tizzard's Harbour, standing in the middle of the road, and she with a hand on my shoulder telling me what a great job I was doing. They were getting (inaudible).

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. REID: Not only is Tizzard's Harbour going to get their pavement this year, but Virgin Arm South. Tizzard's Harbour, Newville, Hillgrade North and South and Indian Cove are all going to be paved this year. Every bit of it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, that is not all of it. I have only just begun. I will guarantee you, sir, when I was elected I came in here to serve the people of Twillingate & Fogo.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. REID: When I go out of here sometime in ten, fifteen, or twenty years from now I will be able to look -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. REID: I will wait for you. I do not know if I want to wait around that long though.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. REID: I came in here to represent the people of Twillingate & Fogo and I get a great pleasure in seeing things done in my district. When we are divvying up the pot in here - I have always played sports, coached basketball - I always want to get my share of what is being handed out, and I make sure that my district gets ours.

It gives me great pleasure to be able, when I retire from here one of these days, to say that I had a hand in building that school and I had a hand in building that hospital. I had a hand in getting the crab licence for Cottlesville that now employs 400 to 500 people every year.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. REID: Under the Tory government, they refused to passed that licence over. Now they cannot find enough workers, basically, on New World Island to go to work up there. They advertised for workers. Mr. Speaker, when they talk about how this government -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. REID: By leave, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Bouchard.

MR. MANNING: I say to the Premier that I think you are much closer to Mr. Bouchard than I am, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: Oh, now, don't. After hearing the speech from the Member for Twillingate & Fogo and watching the Premier leading the applause, the Member for Conception Bay East & Bell Island thinks there is a Cabinet shuffle on the way.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MANNING: Stay calm, I say to the Member for Conception Bay East & Bell Island. Do not worry, there is more than a Cabinet shuffle on the way, there is a leadership race on the way. If memory serves me correct you were one of the major contenders that did not run last time around.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MANNING: You were one of the no-shows. There were a couple of other no-shows, too. I will get to them later, Mr. Speaker. I do not think he even got on the track. I do not know if the Member for Conception Bay East & Bell Island was even on the no-show track. I am not sure.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to get back to what I began a few minutes ago talking about, the out-migration from the Province. I was trying to find a reason why we had such massive out-migration in this Province for the past ten years. I thought long and hard about it, I consulted with members on this side of the House, and I even talked to the Leader of the NDP about it one time. I talked to some people on the other side of the House. I have found out the reason why out-migration has reached an all time high in this Province, and the reason is flip-flop. That is the reason why. I am going to explain why.

I gave notice here yesterday I was going to announce a new committee. I say to the Member for Bellevue, don't smile, you cannot be on two committees. I'm sorry. He knows I'm pretty fond of the Member for Bellevue, and even though the Member for Bonavista South and he slept together -

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

MR. SPEAKER (Smith): On a point of order, the hon. the Member for Bellevue.

MR. BARRETT: I know the hon. Member for Placentia & St. Mary's is quite busy forming committees in the House, but I've sat here now for two or three days and I am wondering what happened to the Member for Harbour Main-Whitbourne -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) sat here silently for two or three days.

MR. BARRETT: He sat here silently for two or three days. I'm wondering what happened to the Member for Harbour Main-Whitbourne, and where he stands on the divided highway. Did he get lost on the divided highway and he cannot find his way back?

The hon. Member for Placentia & St. Mary's is wondering what to do with the highway. I am sure he is waiting for the hon. Member for Harbour Main-Whitbourne to come back so he can decide which approach to take on the divided highway.

MR. SPEAKER: No point of order.

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

MR. MANNING: Good ruling, Mr. Speaker. I say the Member for Harbour Main-Whitbourne is out trying to increase his majority in the House for the next election.

I would just like to get back if I could -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. MANNING: It is some job to try to explain things here. Listen, I would just like to get back, if I could, to the topic. I understand there is a lot of members on the other side of the House waiting with baited breath to see who is going to be appointed. I have to say in all honesty that I have it down to three. I would like to be able to appoint many of you. Believe you me, there are many of you on that side of the House.

I look over at the Minister of Municipal Affairs. He thinks he is going to be on the committee just because once upon a time he was a good solid Tory and now he is a Liberal. That was a major flip-flop, but I am sorry, you cannot make the committee, I say to the Minister of Municipal Affairs. You were pretty close but you just didn't have it all there.

I look at the Minister of Environment, up in the back, another member that could have made the committee. He was a solid good Tory a few years ago. He did a major flip-flop. He could have made the committee. No, he did not get to make it either.

Based on the information I received from some members on the other side of the House, I even thought about putting the Premier on the committee. I thought I would put the Premier on the committee. Then you ask why you would put the Premier on a `flip-flop' committee. I want to tell you a couple of reasons why he was considered. Now, he did not make it, I have to be honest, but I will tell you why he was considered.

One reason why he was considered is because when we were discussing education reform in the Province and he was out selling his education reform, he said to people: We are going to save millions of dollars and we are going to put it back into education. The question is being asked by the people out in the Province today: What happened to the money? That is a major flip-flop: We are going to put it back into education or we are not putting it back into education. It is not going in. We are borrowing more money, $125 million I say. We are not putting the dollars that is supposed to be saved out of education back into education, so we have a major flip-flop.

We had another one. When the Premier during the election campaign went out and he laid the hand on the shoulder of the nurses in this Province, he said: Trust me, I will give you a good deal. When he got back in the House again with a new majority, what happened to the deal? There was a major flip-flop again. Flip-flopped over: Out the door, nurses, I'm running the show here now. Then lo and behold, the one that really struck me was the situation with cutting taxes. Oh my God. Where did the Tory's dream up that one? Where did the Tory's dream up that they could cut taxes? Where did they come up with that one? It cannot be done. We do not have the money. We are irresponsible. We cannot do it. Where did they come up with that? Then ninety days later, less than one hundred days into the mandate: We are going to look at cutting taxes. I say that was a major flip-flop too. All these things were considered, but the Premier did not make the cut either.

The Minister of Health was pretty close because of the situation where she stood out here one day with the nurses and said: I will fight to my dying breath for every fair piece of legislation and every fair dollar that we can get for you, and then, when she got elected and got in here, said: Sorry, I don't like them any more, I don't talk to them any more, I don't want to see them any more. Therefore, the Minister of Health made a major flip-flop when it came to dealing with the nurses in this Province but again, she did not make the grade either.

The Minister of Education was here last week and she said: Go out in the Province and find me the examples of program cuts. We sent our very esteemed colleagues across the Province and they came back with example after example. Then the Minister of Education said: I don't want your examples, I don't want to listen to your examples, it will not make any difference about your examples. After we sent our three esteemed colleagues out across the Province to gather the examples and bring them back here so we could have a good solid debate on education in this Province, she did not want to hear the truth. Again, she did not make it either.

So then we got down to a numbers game and it seemed -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) they don't make it.

MR. MANNING: No, they don't make it. Mr. Speaker, there are a few of the eliminators. They are eliminated off the committee. They did not make it.

AN HON. MEMBER: Did the Member for Ferryland make it?

MR. MANNING: No, Mr. Speaker, the Member for Ferryland did not make it either. No, he is too solid to make the `flip-flop' committee. The first member of the `flip-flop' committee -

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

On a point of order, the hon. the Member for Twillingate & Fogo.

MR. REID: I have to clarify a statement by the Member for Placentia & St. Mary's that was rather misleading. He talked about the Premier being out during the election promising something, one thing or the other. I was with the Premier in Twillingate when we addressed a group of nurses. Right on the stage, he looked at the nurses and told them right up front that we could not give them any more than 7 per cent, but he did realize that they had other needs in the nursing profession and that he would look at it.

You also talked about how the Minister of Health did a flip-flop. Listen, since the strike took place back in April the Minister of Health and this government first of all, just right at the end of the strike, made 200 casuals permanent, made 125 new positions and just recently also announced another 340 conversions from casual to permanent, for a total of 665 new full-time positions in the nursing profession.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

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

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, if I look back, about three minutes ago I was talking about the Premier and his situation -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. MANNING: By leave, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No leave!

MR. SPEAKER: Leave denied.

The hon. the Member for Bellevue.

MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, as a good teacher I guess I should do a review on the proceedings of this afternoon, because if we don't do a review I am afraid the hon. members on the other side might fail the test. We will have to do a review on some of the points in terms of the education reform and how we devastated rural Newfoundland.

I represent a district that never sent a Tory to the House of Assembly. Never.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BARRETT: We had a person one time that did a flip-flop. If we are appointing a `flip-flop' committee, we had a member once who tried to follow - the present Member for Lewisporte and a few others went over there and they got a Cabinet post. Then we had the hon. Member for Bellevue who once crossed the floor and went over, but he found out that he could not really accomplish very much on the other side of the House. As a result, in the 1989 election we did not even get an opportunity to defeat him because he got defeated in the nomination.

If we want to talk about neglect of a district, Wilson Callan used to be the Member for the District of Bellevue but he crossed the floor just before a by-election. Actually, he crossed the floor just before an election in Waterford Valley.

MR. EFFORD: In 1988.

MR. BARRETT: He did not survive. The District of Bellevue never did elect anybody else, only a Liberal to the House of Assembly, and I guess -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Liberal Reform.

MR. BARRETT: It elected Liberal Reform but it was still a Liberal.

This afternoon I was talking about that great community of Arnold's Cove, and about the fact that the unemployment rate in Arnold's Cove was less than 2 percent; also I was talking about the number of people at National Sea and the efficiency of the fish plant.

I remember that back when the present Premier was the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans that plant was in difficulty. I remember that the hon. Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, at that time, transferred a clam quota that was in Nova Scotia back to Newfoundland. The fact that we started to process the clams helped that fish plant survive. Now there are 420 people working at that fish plant twenty-four hours a day processing fish, Russian cod, and also from Placentia Bay, because of the Minister of Fisheries. The quality of the fish is fantastic. The fish coming out of Placentia Bay is fetching $1.10 a pound, the best price ever for fish. There are 90 boats in the community of Southern Harbour involved in the fishery.

This afternoon I talked about the refinery and the great work that was done by the Minister of Environment. There may be an objective test, so I have to review this. The Minister of Environment turned things around out in Come By Chance with the refinery, a new compliance agreement. That may be an question on your objective test tomorrow morning so I want to point out which minister turned around the oil refinery. Remissions are down to a very low level, so low that people out there are very pleased with the Minister of Environment. As a matter of fact, I am terrified he might seek the nomination in the District of Bellevue and might defeat me in the next election.

Just down the road from the National Sea Plant - which was, as I reviewed this afternoon, the most efficient plant in the Western world. I said this afternoon, before I got cut off, that National Sea when they were closing down the plants closed the plant down on the South Side Hills because they could process the fish, truck it from St. John's, truck it to Arnold's Cove, and process it ten cents a pound cheaper than they could in St. John's because of the workforce. One of the reasons I said that the workforce was so efficient is because 95 per cent of those people that work in that fish plant vote Liberal. As a matter of fact, the hon. Minister of Fisheries has visited there, the hon. Premier has visited there, and they all got a very warm welcome.

Once or twice in a federal election they went back a little bit and some voted for the NDP, but never went to the Tory party. They never go that right wing, that they would vote for the Tory party. The plant was so efficient that it survived. Under the great leadership of Bruce Wareham and the people at the plant, the leadership at the plant, it is one of the best plants in North America.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. BARRETT: I do not need to be reminded of the former Member for Humber East. I served under her leadership when she was the Minister of Education. I wish you would not put notes in front of me. Because I remember when the Minister of Education left the Department of Education. She came in under the hon. the Member for St. John's East. His brother used to be the Minister of Education. He had a great vision. I have to compliment him. He knew where he was going. Then that was filled in by the hon. the Member for Humber East -

AN HON. MEMBER: There was the flip-flop.

MR. BARRETT: If there ever was a flip-flop, if you are appointing members to a `flip-flop' committee, that was the biggest flip-flop that ever existed. When she left the Department of Education, there were twelve bags of garbage in her closet.

AN HON. MEMBER: What?

MR. BARRETT: Twelve bags of garbage in her closet of correspondence from people. You talk about communication and consulting with people. You talk about the present minister of Education not responding to letters? She never sent a reply to any piece of correspondence when she was the Minister of Education. As a matter of fact, at one time those of us in management were going to walk out on her because she was so ineffective within the department. When she left the department, in her closet in the department there were twelve bags of garbage, twelve bags of correspondence from people from around the Province she never ever responded to. Some member put her name in front of me that just reminded me how efficient she was as the Minister of Education.

AN HON. MEMBER: She threw their letters in the garbage.

MR. BARRETT: They threw the letters in the garbage after she left. She moved over to the Department of Justice. Then I heard that when she left the Department of Justice - of course, not many people write the Department of Justice about things - there was only five bags of garbage when she left as minister in the Department of Justice.

Let's get back on to the positive things that are happening in the great District of Bellevue. In the 1996 provincial election campaign, we had all those great Liberals at a hall in Arnold's Cove and there was great controversy. I remember the hon. Member for Humber East, the then-leader of the Conservative Party, saying there is no way there will ever be a transshipment terminal in Newfoundland and Labrador. It is not possible, it never will happen.

I remember her looking at the present Premier in the fact in the debate and saying that there will never be a transshipment terminal in Newfoundland and Labrador. She said: It is going to Nova Scotia. She was very proud that she was able to advertise that the Transshipment Terminal was going to go to Nova Scotia.

We had all the people, the good Liberals, in Arnold's Cove in the hall. The Premier came in there and he said that the Transshipment Terminal would go to Nova Scotia over his dead body. The first phase of the Transhipment Terminal is completed.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. BARRETT: No, it is not in Nova Scotia, it is in Whiffin Head, which is between Come by Chance and Arnold's Cove. After they got it completed last year they found it was not big enough. The one that we promised we would put there during the election campaign was not big enough.

AN HON. MEMBER: What do we now?

MR. BARRETT: What do we do? The oil companies are going to expand that Transhipment Terminal. There are going to be people from all over Newfoundland and Labrador travelling into the great District of Bellevue. In the district, the people moved into the ghettos of Arnold's Cove from the islands of Placentia Bay. Now we have a big Transhipment Terminal out there and it is being expanded. Do you know something? Within the next month or so there are going to be another 500 people working at Whiffin Head, in addition to the fifty to sixty -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BARRETT: People might think that one of the highlights is the building of the new school in Blaketown or building of the new school in Arnold's Cove and all the other great things that are happening.

One morning I came into my office and I received news that eight young people from our post-secondary institutions received permanent jobs at Whiffin Head. Young people that had just recently been trained received jobs at Whiffin Head. They were not moving away to the Mainland to find jobs, they were moving out to Whiffin Head into the permanent jobs that are going to be there until they retire. They will have a job until they retire. All these young people will have children that will attend the new school in Arnold's Cove.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon member's time is up.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No leave!

MR. BARRETT: In addition to that

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. BARRETT: You cannot stand good news. By August, September, there will be another 1,000 workers at the Bull Arm facility working on the Terra Nova project.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. BARRETT: So if the hon. Member for Placentia & St. Mary's wants to talk about the `flip-flop' committee...

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HARRIS: By leave!

MR. BARRETT: In addition to that -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No leave.

MR. BARRETT: You cannot stand good news.

By August or September there will be another 1,000 workers at the Bull Arm facility, working on the Terra Nova project.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. BARRETT: If the hon. Member for Placentia & St. Mary's wants to talk about the `flip-flop' committees, the `meetloaf' committees, come out to the great District of Bellevue and you will see what progress has taken place in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. member to take his seat.

PREMIER TOBIN: A point of order, Mr. Speaker.

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

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, having heard the speech of the hon. Member for Bellevue - could I have that back? - and having heard the speech of the Member for Twillingate & Fogo, I am so inspired that I wish to take it back.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Labrador West.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. COLLINS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I say to the Premier: If they had known that was going to be your reaction, with all the people vying for your job, maybe they wouldn't have said these good words.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to talk a bit about Labrador West and some of the things that are important to the people who live there, and some of the concerns that they have. I would like to say, in the beginning in Labrador West, I guess very little was expected or required from government because the mining companies in the area pretty well took care of all the needs and wants of the people who lived there. They established all of the infrastructure in the communities and, I think, going back and looking at what was done and what was accomplished, there was very little in terms of public money used to build the communities of Labrador City and Wabush.

Mr. Speaker, during the downturn in the iron ore industry in the earlier 1980s that changed, and with that change the mining companies laid off large numbers of people; and that was the first time in the history of those communities.

Mr. Speaker, the need for government to do something for the people of Labrador West probably occurred then for the first time in our history. I heard one of the members across the way say today that Labrador West has the highest per capita income in the Province, and that is true, but the reality is that that does not apply to everyone in Labrador West. Newfoundland probably has more millionaires per capita than anywhere else in the country, but it does not mean that everybody in this Province is rich.

AN HON. MEMBER: Now, be careful, you are getting close to home.

MR. COLLINS: What's that, the part about the millionaires or the part about living in Newfoundland?

Mr. Speaker, it is not true that everybody in Labrador West is wealthy and that they don't need any form of government assistance to survive. As a matter of fact, back a few years ago social services probably didn't even have any staff working in that area. Today the caseload for social services probably numbers, with the last stats I heard, over 400. It is mostly young people who don't have any jobs, and there are no job opportunities for them. It has sort of stagnated.

MR. EFFORD: Four hundred young people on social services!

MR. COLLINS: Four hundred young people, Mr. Speaker, on social services.

MR. EFFORD: Go away, boy, your mad.

MR. COLLINS: I am wondering when the minister is going to announce the fish plant for the area, but I don't expect that is going to happen too soon.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. EFFORD: My understanding is that the employment rate in Lab City is up over 90 per cent. I have to make sure that I clearly understood the hon. Member for Labrador West. Did I understand correctly that he said over 400 young people in his district are dependent on social services, over 400 young people?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

No point of order.

The hon. the Member for Labrador West.

MR. COLLINS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

What is happening is that the employment in the area generated by the mining industry, mainly, has sort of stagnated. For the younger people coming up, finishing school, there are no opportunities anymore because the mines are not expanding, they are going in the other direction.

What they are doing right now, Mr. Speaker, is encouraging - and the last collective agreement proved this - people to retire and they have added some good incentives for them to do that. Wabush Mines is in negotiations, as we speak, and hopefully some of the same good things will come from theirs. What is happening is people are encouraged to retire but after retirement there are no young people being hired to replace the workers that leave.

Mr. Speaker, if we look at other things in Labrador West - since I was elected a couple of months ago, I have had occasion, four separate times, to intervene for people. Because if you need more than band-aid attention, nine chances out of ten you have to travel to St. John's. On four separate occasions, Mr. Speaker, we have had people out here, kids as young as six and twelve, and adults, who ended up in body casts, who ended up with different surgeries, where they could not travel on conventional airlines. The regular airlines will not take them.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. EFFORD: I don't know if it is the nice in the House, Mr. Speaker, but I am having a job understanding the member. I am trying to pay attention to what he is saying. I want to again clarify and understand exactly what he said.

Did I understand the hon. member to just say that in his district, if anybody has a simple problem anymore than a band-aid, the workers cannot handle it and they have to go to St. John's for health care? Is that what the hon. member said?

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Labrador West.

MR. COLLINS: No point of order, so I ignore the minister's comments.

What I said is that health services are not great in Labrador West. Anything more than a simple out patient service or any simple surgery has to come to the Island. I call that band-aid. I call that not much more -

AN HON. MEMBER: Band-aid?

MR. COLLINS: Yes. I do and the people of Labrador West do, I tell the hon. member.

Now, when people have surgery and they are not able to travel on regular airlines, because the regular airlines do not take stretcher cases, then they are out here and cannot get back to their homes, unless the air ambulance is called to respond to an emergency in Labrador, and they will take them back during the flight to respond to an emergency. They could be here for a week or two weeks or a month, Mr. Speaker.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. COLLINS: When I start feeling too bad, I will get one of your seal oil capsules.

MR. HARRIS: Ignore him. Ignore him. Just ignore him.

MR. COLLINS: I think the high cost of living in Labrador, in terms of medical aid when it is required, in terms of education when young people have to leave the area - it is an enormous cost to the parents who have to pay for that. It is not as simple as getting in your vehicle and being able to drive home any weekend or any long weekend that you may want. The cost of travel to Labrador West -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. COLLINS: I am coming to you.

MR. HARRIS: Now, laughing stock, you sit down.

MR. COLLINS: The high cost of travel, Mr. Speaker, of getting back and forth to Labrador West, is enormous. I don't have to tell members across the House that. There are three other members in the House from Labrador and they know the high cost of airfares. When you are talking St. John's to Wabush return, it is $1400.

MR. HARRIS: The Minister of Mines and Energy is afraid to go to Labrador West.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. COLLINS: There are also the road conditions, Mr. Speaker. The road from Labrador City to Fermont is deplorable. It is totally ridiculous. For the amount of tax that comes out of that area, for the investment back in -

AN HON. MEMBER: What do you pay for electricity?

MR. COLLINS: I just explained the medical costs, the transportation costs and the education costs. Electricity is subsidized by the company.

Mr. Speaker, let me tell you, there are places in the Province where, I understand, road conditions are deplorable, but they are deplorable in Labrador West as well. The road from Labrador City to Fermont, as I said, is ridiculous, until you come to the Quebec border and get onto the Quebec highway system. Then the road starts to get good. The road is good there, Mr. Speaker.

If we look at the pellet plant - and I think the Member for St. John's West spoke about it today. We talked about the pellet plant situation. The government of this Province announced that decision for the Iron Ore Company of Canada. The Iron Ore Company of Canada didn't have to do anything, they did it for them.

The minister, with his remarks lately in the local papers in Labrador - and I told him the other day - is the laughing stock of Labrador West.

MR. GRIMES: Yes, and I am delighted.

MR. COLLINS: You may be, but the people of Labrador West are not delighted, I say to the hon. member. They are not delighted. I can assure you that when the hon. Minister of Mines and Energy - or should I more appropriately say, the minister responsible for provocation and aggravation - when he decides to take a run for the Liberal leadership he is not even going to get one Liberal vote from Labrador.

When we talk about the transshipment site for oil - it was said in this House the other day that about 30 per cent of the oil in this country will come from this Province within the next few years. Still the government can get up and smack theirselves on the back and congratulate themselves for building a transshipment. I can assure that when Alberta is producing oil, they are not building transshipment sites to send it to Ontario for further producing. They are taking care of their own province and their own people by expanding on the industry.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Member for Bay of Islands.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. JOYCE: Mr. Speaker, it is ten years late but I am here.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. JOYCE: As I look across -

AN HON. MEMBER: Elected twice and hasn't got a term.

MR. JOYCE: Elected twice and hasn't even got a term.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. JOYCE: Well, I have ten years to go.

I was told first when I came in that when you get up for your maiden speech, no one heckles you, everybody listens. I have to say that I am proud, because I want to make it quite clear - and I have good friends on the opposite side; the Member for Baie Verte is a good friend of mine - I just want to say and make it quite clear that I am glad to be on this side representing the Liberal Party, and I will tell you why.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. JOYCE: I listened to the Member for Lewisporte talking about rural Newfoundland, the devastation of rural Newfoundland. Now, I have to say here tonight - and this is one of the true facts if Eddie Joyce is ever going to tell a true fact - one of the reasons that Eddie Joyce in 1989 stepped aside for Clyde Wells was because of the policies that Member for Twillingate then, at the time, premier -

AN HON. MEMBER: Lewisporte.

MR. JOYCE: - Lewisporte - had in place.

In 1989, when I was just a rookie, a young fellow out running for a seat, during the provincial election the Premier at the time came out to the Town of Humber Arm South. Now, I have to explain that Humber Arm South from Mount Moriah to Lark Harbour, which is one-third of the Bay of Islands, seventeen years under Tory rule, there was not one house that had water and sewer. Not one house had water and sewer.

On the North Shore, which was another one-third of the district, 10 per cent had water and sewer. The last water and sewer project that was done from 1972 to 1989 was when the Premier, when he was the MP, got the work done for Mount Moriah, McDonald Drive. That was the last bit, from 1972 to 1989.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. JOYCE: So, to add insult to injury, in 1989 during the provincial election - I heard here: Oh, you should not make promises - there was a big press conference down in Humber Arm South. The member was there, the person who was running at the time for the PCs. They had a big press release: If the Town of Humber Arm South votes for PCs, they will give them $650,000 worth of water and sewer, $500,000 -

AN HON. MEMBER: Who said that?

MR. JOYCE: The PC candidate made the announcement during the provincial election. The Member for Twillingate was the Premier at the time.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Not Twillingate, Lewisporte.

MR. JOYCE: Lewisporte.

On top of that, I go over to a meeting with a council in Summerside.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. JOYCE: Obviously it never worked.

He went over to the Town of Summerside. I had a meeting with the council in Summerside. When I sat down with the council, he had this piece of paper and he said: We want you to sign it. I said: What is it? I read it over. He said: The PC candidate just got off the phone with the Premier - at the time, the Member for Lewisporte - and he said that if we vote for the PCs we will get $450,000 for water and sewer, $300,000 for roads -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. JOYCE: - with the condition that they will come out the next day and support the PC candidate.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. JOYCE: That was done in 1989.

When the Member for Lewisporte wants to talk about rural Newfoundland - since 1989, with the water and sewer in rural Newfoundland, and the fish plant in Benoit's Cove - which at the time could not even supply its own town; they had to put in their own water supply - last year in the fish plant in Benoit's Cove there were 525 employees -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. JOYCE: - mainly because of the infrastructure that was put in place by this government here.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. JOYCE: Last year this same fish plant - they went up to the summer student program in Corner Brook and said: Give us every student you have. We will employ every student you have in Corner Brook and everywhere.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. JOYCE: When the members opposite want to say, rural Newfoundland, I say to you: I have firsthand experience about rural Newfoundland, when there are people down there - my family had to come to my house to shower because they could not get any money for water and sewer, basic infrastructure.

I have to apologize to the Minister of Fisheries. I think the - wait now, I am just getting used to this.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. JOYCE: The Member for Waterford Valley got up with a petition about a road.

AN HON. MEMBER: A cabin road.

MR. JOYCE: Well, it was a road. I am independent; it was a road. The minister got up and said it was a cabin road and I said, here goes politics again. He gets up and we have to go back.

I have to apologize. During the committee meetings, the Member for Baie Verte got up and talked about the neglected roads in his district. He looked at the member and said: But this is not a cabin road.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. JOYCE: I have to apologize, Mr. Minister.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. JOYCE: Then I hear today - talking about senior citizen homes - that there is not enough senior citizen homes in the Bay of Islands, in Corner Brook itself.

Last year when the - I would bet my reputation - the nicest home in Newfoundland and Labrador was being built in Curling, which is part of the rural, the member over there criticized saying it should not be there.

AN HON. MEMBER: Conception Bay South.

MR. JOYCE: Conception Bay South - criticized the government for helping out. That home now has a person in every room.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. JOYCE: So, when the Member for Ferryland gets up here and says: What is government going to do to help our senior citizens, our senior citizen homes? and we do it, the member stands and says: Oh, no, you should not do it. You cannot have it both ways, I say. This is why I am glad I am here.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Member for Windsor up there asking for it the other night.

MR. JOYCE: The Member for Windsor-Buchans, I think it is -

AN HON. MEMBER: Springdale.

MR. JOYCE: - Windsor-Springdale, was saying here to the minister: Minister, rural Newfoundland is suffering. Rural Newfoundland has problems. Small businesses cannot operate. You have to put some programs in place to help out.

Of course, we walked over and said: Where in the Blue Book does it say it? Show us where it says in the Blue Book, eliminate all the grants, cut out all the grants; but when the member here asks the minister for it, now the minister is supposed to give it to them because they want it, but in their platform they say: Eliminate it; forget rural Newfoundland.

I would not be able to have my night complete without having one little small word to say about the Member for Labrador West. This again happened during the Estimates meetings when the Member for Labrador West was questioning the Minister of Mines and Energy about the pellet plant.

It was strange to me when the minister explained his side - the minister did it quite well - and said: Here are the facts. What can we do? After the debate going back and forth, the Member for Labrador West said to the minister: Do something. The Minister of Mines and Energy said: What will I do? The response came out: Don't ask me; you are the minister.

I say to the Member for Labrador West: If you are going to criticize, have something to put in place.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. JOYCE: The second point I would like to make on that statement - again my friend, the Mines and Energy Minister, was there. The Mines and Energy Minister was saying: Well, there are 1,000 jobs but your party says the big companies, the multi-million dollar companies, we cannot subsidize them. Your party is saying don't. What did the Member for Labrador West say? Yes, you can. If there are 1,000 jobs, do it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. JOYCE: The Minister of Mines and Energy said: Well, that is not your party platform. So what? That is not the party platform.

When you wonder why it is nice to be on this side, it is nice to be on this side because you take a stand. Good, bad or indifferent, you make a stand.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. JOYCE: I remember the former Premier Clyde Wells, when Clyde Wells first came forward and said - and the Premier at the time, when he was leaving, said: I do not have the ruthlessness to do what has to be done.

AN HON. MEMBER: Brian Peckford.

MR. JOYCE: Brian Peckford, that is what he said.

When the provincial government came in - now, this is just from recollection - there was a $243 million deficit for that fiscal year.

When I look at this side of the House, this Liberal government, we took a lot of knocks, we took a lot of criticism, we cut everywhere we can, but I have to say that we are fiscally responsible.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. JOYCE: Now, boys.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. JOYCE: Oh, I have just started.

MR. SPEAKER (Oldford): Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave.

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

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. JOYCE: I have to just make one more statement. The Member for Cape St. Francis - I was here today with the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. He said: Give back to municipal affairs, give back the capital grants, give back the programs for rural Newfoundland.

I can tell you, if you knew anything about the capital infrastructure before 1989, if you knew anything about it whatsoever, that is why a lot of the towns are in the trouble they are in today in the Province.

The way it went prior to 1989, what you paid back to the provincial government was 20 per cent over what you collected. So if a town needed $100,000, they collected $120,000. If you put $5 million in for roads and water and sewer, that is all you paid back. So when all the money came out from the provincial government, the towns were saying: Oh, thank you very much. To run our town, all we needed was a certain amount; 20 per cent was paid back.

After seventeen years of financing, make no wonder we are in the trouble we are in. So to the Member for Cape St. Francis, when you say give back, I say that obviously you were not around seventeen years ago to understand how it worked. I can honestly say that to you.

Mr. Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity and thank you very much for the courtesy. Then again, I have to say I am glad to be on this side of the House. If you see the prosperity in rural Newfoundland, in the Bay of Islands right now, I remember - and again this affects rural Newfoundland because of forestry and other programs - when Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, Kruger was moving in. I remember all the big criticism: Oh, we are going to give them money, we are going to help them out, when they had to restructure about five or six years ago.

I have to say the most profitable and most stable company right now in Newfoundland is Kruger in Corner Brook because of the government's fiscal responsibility to say: We will help out but you have to spend your own fair share. I would say I am proud to be one this side of the House.

The fisheries again is another example. When the Member for Lewisporte talks about rural Newfoundland I can tell you, sir, that if you are going to speak it, you have to give the opportunity for people to have the infrastructure to expand. Don't do what was done for seventeen years prior to 1989 and say: If you do this, we will give you this. It is not the way to run rural Newfoundland, it is not the way to run this Province. I am glad to be a Liberal on this side of the House.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

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

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I was going to propose that after such a profound speech and such a fantastic start in the House - I mean, seldom in the annals of this place, or in the previous place, the old Colonial Building, has such an inspiring piece of oratory been delivered as a maiden speech by any member on any side of the House.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I was going to propose, knowing the Member for Cape St. Francis would want to take a sufficient amount of time to make his remarks, that the House, given that it is 8:50 p.m., would call it 9:00 p.m. We can come back refreshed to hear the Member for Cape St. Francis at the next occasion, but of course it is entirely up to him.

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

MR. J. BYRNE: There is no point of order as usual, Mr. Speaker. He must be talking lessons from the Government House Leader.

What is going on in this House of Assembly today, I say to the people on the other side. We have seen the Member for Bellevue on his feet this past couple of days. That is completely unusual, completely out of the norm for the Member for Bellevue, and out of character. We saw the Member for Twillingate & Fogo up, who said, when he was on his feet, he was going to tell us where the hospital was going, but he did not tell us. We saw the Member for Bellevue on his feet and I was starting to feel hurt. They saved me for last, so I must be the best, of course.

I would like to say to the Member for Bellevue, here is the fact. Back in 1986 -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Bay of Islands. In 1986 I was mayor of a small town in this Province, I say to you. I saw firsthand what this Administration has done, starting with Clyde Wells in 1989. I saw what this Administration has done to the small municipalities in this Province. You may not have been a mayor or on council, I do not know, but I saw it firsthand. I saw the previous minister, the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, and carried on by this minister today, who was on his feet today in this House of Assembly and he should be ashamed of himself -

AN HON. MEMBER: Why?

MR. J. BYRNE: For what he said in this House of Assembly today, I say to the Member for Bay of Islands. Because he was on his feet today saying: The former premier, Joey Smallwood, put us where we are today. What an accomplishment, I say.

The Member for Placentia & St. Mary's talked about 44,000 people leaving this Province. Is that something to praise yourself about, to slap yourself on the back about? Forty-four thousand people left here in the past ten years. Is that where you want to be? It is not where I want to be, I say to the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

Then he got on his feet and started sucking up to the number one contender for the leadership when the Premier leaves.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who is number one with them?

MR. J. BYRNE: In his mind the number one contender is the Minister of Mines and Energy.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Gone, not a chance, Mr. Speaker. Then the Minister of Mines and Energy, also the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, had the gall to try to say something negative about John Crosbie.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

On a point of order, the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible) abundantly clear. I think the hon. member on the other side was getting close to tea time and he did not hear everything clearly. He very rarely does hear anything clearly, but tonight was the exception.

I was not sucking up to anyone that he deems to be the number one leadership contender. I stood after the hon. Member for Port de Grave gave his speech and I simply said that I was so inspired, I was so animated, I was so touched, I was so moved by the great Liberal Member for Port de Grave, that I felt it was only appropriate that I follow, being the second greatest Liberal member in the House, in his steps and behind his heels, and that was exactly what I did!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

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

Now listen, as usual the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs is totally confused. I said: He considers the Minister of Mines and Energy the number one contender and he was sucking up to the Minister of Mines and Energy. I also said the gall, the audacity, for the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation and the former Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, the Minister of Fisheries, to have anything negative to say about John Crosbie, the man they should be on their knees to every night praying, thanking God for John Crosbie for the Roads for Rail Agreement and the money they are still spending today in Liberal districts, most of it.

The Minister of Fisheries was on his feet today talking - and I could not believe my ears - saying that Port de Grave is not incorporated. He said: Every road out there is paved and I paved the roads in Port de Grave. Who paid for it? The people of the Province, the incorporated towns across the Province. Your former minister -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: You, trying to say what a great district you are representing, and you out there spending - every driveway paved out there.

Then there is the Premier, Mr. Speaker. I want to get on to the Premier. I have a brown envelope that was delivered to me, and from what I can tell it came from a member on that side of the House. It was delivered in my mailbox. When I opened it, what could I do? I had the big grin come across my face, I can tell you that. A brown envelope delivered from a member on that side of the House.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: I am not quite sure if it came from one of the ministers or one of the backbenchers. It could have come from the Member for Bay of Islands, according to what he was saying here tonight. The Premier said that all members from Bay of Islands become premiers. There is a certain subtle undermining going on here now, Mr. Speaker, when the Opposition gets brown envelopes from the other side of the House.

I opened it. Does anybody want to see what was in it?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: I could not believe it. I mean, the undermining and the insulting and the lack of respect that they have for the Premier of this Province, well, I was hurt. I respect the position of premier of the Province regardless who is in it, I will tell you that, Mr. Speaker, but when I saw it I could not believe my eyes.

AN HON. MEMBER: Were you hurt?

MR. J. BYRNE: I could not believe it. Hurt. I think the members on that side of the House should respect the Premier. Here, look, can everybody see this? Lame duck Premier. Look, a broken leg, Mr. Speaker. Lame duck Premier from that side of the House.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, I think that is disgusting.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. J. BYRNE: (Inaudible) here, look (inaudible).

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

MR. J. BYRNE: In print, I can see it, I think it says: The office of Lloyd Matthews.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

MR. J. BYRNE: (Inaudible) now I'm going to pull an Inspector Clouseau. I'm going to prove (inaudible) that the Minister of Mines and Energy (inaudible) Inspector Gadget (inaudible). (Inaudible) bottom of this (inaudible).

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. J. BYRNE: If I find out this I'm going to be the first one on the Premier's steps and whoever did it, if it is a minister, is going to be fired. Whoever is in the back benches that sent that to me will never ever be a minister in his portfolio or in his Cabinet.

Mr. Speaker, I adjourn debate.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, it now being 10:00 p.m. I would move that the House adjourn until tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. Tomorrow, I think, we are going to be debating the private member's resolution put forward by the Member for Burgeo & LaPoile.

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