November 19, 1999 HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS Vol. XLIV No. 35


 

The House met at 9:00 a.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): Order, please!

 

Statements by Ministers

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am pleased to report today that for the second year in a row the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board is reporting a new record for land sales as a result of the 1999 Call for Bids in the offshore area.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

MR. GRIMES: As we are aware, Mr. Speaker, last year’s Call for Bids in the offshore area resulted in work expenditure commitments of $175 million, an increase from the previous high of $126 million which was registered in 1996.

This year, compared to the previous record of $175 million, $192.5 million in bids were received - that is a record in itself - including the largest single bid this year ever recorded in the amount of $110.2 million by Petro Canada and Norsk Hydro for exploration in the Flemish Pass area of the Grand Banks.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

MR. GRIMES: The previous high single exploration bid was back in 1995 when Amoco bid $90.3 million for a parcel of land northeast of the Terra Nova field.

Petro Canada and Norsk Hydro were also successful in two other areas of the Flemish Pass with bids of $60.2 million and $20.3 million.

Pan Canadian bid $1.5 million for a parcel in the Flemish Pass and Corridor Resources was successful with a $275,000 bid for a parcel in the offshore West Coast area of the Province.

Mr. Speaker, it was less than two week’s ago that we heard great news from Husky Oil regarding this year’s delineation program at White Rose which identified substantial amounts of oil, gas and natural gas liquids in that field.

The success of Husky’s program tells us that White Rose is the forerunner for our next petroleum development project in the Province. The well results also identified our largest recoverable gas resource, 2 trillion cubic feet or more. White Rose is more than a potential near term oil development; we believe it represents the beginning of a natural gas industry for Newfoundland and Labrador.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, Newfoundland and Labrador has significant gas resources, more than 8 trillion cubic feet of discovered natural gas, and an undiscovered potential estimated at more than 50 trillion cubic feet. We believe White Rose will provide the impetus to unlock this tremendous potential.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, Grand Banks production will grow substantially within the next few years. Hibernia Management Development Corporation has indicated that Hibernia production could reach more than 180,000 barrels per day this year. Terra Nova is scheduled for production late next year. With White Rose and Hebron/Ben Nevis developments to follow, production could reach better than 400,000 to 500,000 barrels per day by the year 2004.

The offshore activity in this Province is strengthening and gaining local, national and international attention. This announcement today confirms the growing confidence and interest in Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore resource.

This high level of industry confidence has not occurred just as a by-product to successful exploration. It also results from the combination of the development of a competitive generic offshore royalty regime, substantial investments in infrastructure and a competitive, well-trained and available workforce.

All of these elements combine to support a major expansion of the Province’s oil and gas industry over the next several years. In closing, Mr. Speaker, we congratulate the successful bidders for 1999 and wish them well in their exploration activities in Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

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

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I thank the minister for a copy in advance. I thank the minister as well for an update on this great Tory legislation, of course, as found -

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

MR. OTTENHEIMER: - and as enshrined in the Atlantic Accord, the results of hard work, dedicated work, by both levels of government on both the provincial and federal levels.

On behalf of members of this side of the House I too wish to congratulate the successful bidders. It is indeed a serious undertaking, a very significant undertaking, with respect to offshore development. I too was excited when recently we learned of the great potential with respect to White Rose and of course, as the minister indicated, it is only a matter of time before hopefully all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will see the benefits of this great natural gas industry.

What is important, I say, is the reference that is found towards the end of this Ministerial Statement when the minister refers to a "generic offshore royalty regime, substantial investments in infrastructure and a competitive well-trained and available workforce." I say that our offshore industry will not have peaked until any Newfoundlander who is trained in the offshore field, whether it be a technologist, whether it be an engineer, when those trained individuals upon graduation of their particular program can say as a matter of choice: I would like to stay in my home province and exercise and perform my expertise in my home province.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Mr. Speaker, that is when we will have peaked in the offshore industry. Until that happens we have a lot of work to do. Because as I say, there are too many graduates from our technological colleges. There are too many electrical engineers - in fact, the vast majority - who must say upon graduation: I must go to Texas, I must go to Alberta in order to perform my expertise.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member’s time is up.

 

MR. OTTENHEIMER: I say, Mr. Speaker, it is at that time when we will have peaked and we must continue to strive to reach that goal.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Labrador West.

 

MR. COLLINS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I thank the minister for an advance copy of his statement. I must agree that this is indeed good news. I’m wondering when we are going to hear the great news, the great news being what we do with the oil and gas once we get it offshore. In this Province today we have one oil refinery, and that refinery is not allowed to sell one liter of oil in the rest of this country.

The oil that is coming offshore from Hibernia and other developments will not be positive for this Province in a real sense until there are jobs that can be created in the Province through the development of the natural resource, the processing, and all of the secondary employment that comes from that. So while this is good news, the great news will not be until we get the secondary jobs in this Province so that as people graduate, as people come out of school, they will have a place to go and will find jobs in a good industry that are well paid.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

 

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

 

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

I would like to remind hon. members that while tomorrow is National Child Day, this government is committed to children and families every day throughout the year.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

MS J.M. AYLWARD: Thank you.

In recent days we have seen the opening of Family Resource Centres on the Northern Peninsula and here in St. John’s, under the National Child Benefit Reinvestment Plan, and will be opening more in the coming days. This week, in keeping with Addictions Awareness Week, we sponsored a conference in Labrador on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome to raise awareness about this preventable condition. Yesterday, I announced the formation of a Teen Tobacco Team to help address the issue of youth smoking. As well, yesterday, the federal government announced the launch of a pilot project in the southwestern region of the Province which will look at ways pre-school children learn and develop physically, emotionally, socially and cognitively.

Today, Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to announce and inform hon. members of our continued commitment to children by announcing the commitment of more than $2.2 million, over the next three years, for autistic children in our Province.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

MS J.M. AYLWARD: Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and can occur in as many as 1 in 500 individuals. While it is more prevalent in boys than girls, it knows no racial, ethnic or social boundaries. Family income, lifestyle and educational levels do not affect the chance of autism’s occurrence. Children and adults with autism typically have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities. The disorder makes it hard for them to communicate with others and relate to the outside world.

Evidence shows that early intervention results in dramatically positive outcomes for young children with autism. To be effective, any approach should be flexible in nature, rely on positive reinforcement, be re-evaluated on a regular basis, and provide a smooth transition from home to school to community. While a cure for autism may seem unrealistic in terms of today’s understanding of brain-based disorders, better understanding of the disorder has led to the development of better coping mechanisms and strategies to deal with the disability.

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to point and acknowledge my colleagues, the hon. Roger Grimes, Minister of Mines and Energy; the hon. Anna Thistle, President of Treasury Board; my colleague, the Minister of Education, Minister Judy Foote, for their continue advocacy and working with us to develop this strategy.

We have started a two-year project which is an early intervention program for twenty children ages 18-42 months with Autism/Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PPD). In addition, we have explored other options to enhance autism services in the Province and a plan has been approved by Cabinet which includes the following:

1. The Autism Pilot Project will be expanded with additional funding of $55,000 in this 1999-2000 fiscal year; $200,000 in 2000-2001; and $150,000 in 2001-2002. This funding will allow the project to expand to provide services to fifteen children between the ages of 43 months and school-age. These children will be provided with Discrete Trial Applied Behavioural Analysis up to school entry, at which time their ongoing requirements will be a assessed and transition services provided.

2. Funding will also be provided to train professionals in preschool and school treatment options. My department and the Department of Education will work together to ensure community and educational professionals and paraprofessionals throughout our Province receive the appropriate training to work with these children.

3. Funding will also be provided to create positions for three Child Management Specialists to provide services to all children with special needs, including children with autism.

4. Three Professional Development Consultants through the Department of Education will provide training and transitional planning for school entry and exit.

5. An annual grant of $40,000 per year to the Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador which will be used to help them establish a provincial office and a one-time $20,000 grant for a needs assessment for adults with Autism/PDD.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the efforts of the Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador for their work with community leaders and the private sector, and particularly the President, Joyce Churchill. I would also like to commend and acknowledge Carolyn Forsey, a parent, an advocate, and an autism consultant, for her efforts to raise awareness of autism in our Province. I believe Ms Forsey joins us here today as well for this announcement.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

MS J.M. AYLWARD: Today’s announcement means that autistic children in Newfoundland and Labrador and their families will receive help, training and support which otherwise may not be accessible to them.

There are many other departmental initiatives currently underway to help children in our Province. For example, we are moving forward on our new Child, Youth & Family Services Act, and during the fall sitting of the House I intend to table new legislation to govern adoptions in our Province. We are investing in many areas of need for our children and we will continue to do so through our investment of $10 million through our National Child Benefit.

Mr. Speaker, this has been a busy week. This morning I had the pleasure of having breakfast and serving some of the children at the Froude Avenue Community Centre. We are celebrating Addictions Awareness Week, and we are also celebrating Early Childhood Education Week. I would like to thank the Association of Early Childhood Educators of Newfoundland and Labrador who today have provided me with blue ribbons to distribute to all MHAs with the hope that you will all recognize and celebrate, tomorrow, National Child Day.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

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

 

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The minister made reference to tomorrow being National Child Day, and certainly it is a very important day. In fact, tomorrow, November 20, the celebration is extra special this year because it is the tenth anniversary, I might add, of the adoption of the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child by the UN National Assembly. There are special events planned right across the entire country tomorrow. That adds a special significance.

With reference to the main thrust of the minister’s statement, apart from reference to that, I would like to comment briefly. It is about time we started to move on this bill, Bill 37, that was introduced over a year ago here, respecting child, youth and family services. It is about time they started to do something. They were so rushed and positive to get it moving and then it seemed to have grounded and nothing happened. I might add that the performance has been terrible.. The minister, in the previous department responsibility, had a responsibility for this specific area, as she addressed in her statement today. Three years ago I sat over in the department with people trying to do something for autism. We had to undergo an $80,000 fund-raising effort for a constituent of mine to go to the U.S. to get the early intervention they need in this Province. Autistic and PDD children in this Province have been neglected and they have not had something in place. A pilot project now to address twenty people is welcome any time. We should have gone through that stage, minister. We should have a comprehensive Province-wide program for assessing and dealing with people who have PDD, autism and other related disorders of that sort.

Minister, it is almost four years dealing with this with you as minister. Right back from HRE minister and now. The response is certainly welcome. It is not comprehensive and Province-wide enough. It is not enough to address the problems out there, and it is about time something gets moving on this. Because there are people out there in need today with autism and other related disorders that are in bad need of assistance here. This government has not given the leadership and the resources to get something done about it.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

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

 

MR. COLLINS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I want to thank the minister for an advance copy of her Ministerial Statement. I think this is a topic that I certainly welcome. I welcome this news because I happen to be the godfather of an autistic child. It is quite a while ago now, but I know what the family went through for the past twenty odd years. This is quite good news to hear. A lot of people in this Province have sacrificed greatly, financially and in other ways, to take care of their children with autism. Really, a few years ago there was not a whole lot known about the subject and people did, as the former speaker said, take their children down to the States at great sacrifice.

It is good news. It is welcome news. I would like to say also that it is not just with the children, because as these children become adults they still need special attention, their families still need special support. I hope that this Ministerial Statement and the actions by the minister today will lead to that.

Thank you.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

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

 

MS KELLY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This morning I rise to inform my hon. colleagues of the latest company to be approved for EDGE status under the Economic Diversification and Growth Enterprises program.

This program is a successful business attraction tool that is working for our Province. To be designated an EDGE corporation, an applicant must show potential for minimum capital investment of $300,000 or incremental sales of $500,000 annually, the potential to create and maintain at least ten permanent jobs, and must provide a substantial net economic benefit to the Province, among other requirements.

Mouyal Corporate Group, of Montreal, Quebec, is establishing a sales and marketing centre in St. John’s. The centre will initially house sixty-five seats and is scheduled to begin operations in the next two to three weeks. At that time, approximately twenty-five full-time jobs will be created. Eventually, the company will hire 120 people full-time.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

MS KELLY: I should point out, Mr. Speaker, that EDGE is the only support being received by this company from the provincial government.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

MS KELLY: Mouyal Corporate Group operates two main divisions. International Business Directories compiles, publishes and markets speciality business communications directories, and Merchant Transaction Supplies markets point-of-sale transaction paper and supplies. The centre will service both North American and European markets, and will handle sales calls for both divisions.

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to recognize the contribution of NETWORK Newfoundland and Labrador in bringing this new business venture to our Province. This organization is a partnership between our government and Newtel Communications, and was established to help attract call centres to this Province.

NETWORK Newfoundland and Labrador worked with Mouyal Corporate Group over the past several months to establish our Province as the preferred location for the new centre.

The EDGE program was a key factor in Mouyal Corporate Group’s decision to locate to this Province, which shows that EDGE is a successful business attraction tool that will continue to bring economic benefits to Newfoundland and Labrador. To date, sixty-seven companies have received EDGE status, investing $73.6 million into our provincial economy, and creating 1,482 jobs for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

I am pleased to welcome Mouyal Corporate Group to Newfoundland and Labrador, and wish it every success as our newest EDGE company.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

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

 

MR. FRENCH: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to thank the minister this morning for a copy of her statement in advance. I would like to say to the minister that we as well welcome this new company to our Province, and can only hope that the news that you have said here, and hopefully the 120 jobs, will become a reality, not like the ten years’ work we promised to the people of Marystown -

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

MR. FRENCH: - that seems to have gone into a hole, that seems to have been hidden away. I hope that this crowd lives up to their commitment to the people of this Province, and they live up to their EDGE status, not as has happened in Marystown, Newfoundland.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

MR. FRENCH: That is reality, boy. That is reality for you.

 

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

 

MS FOOTE: Mr. Speaker, I rise to advise hon. members of efforts by all Ministers of Education across the country to enhance access and quality in post-secondary education.

Access to affordable and high quality post-secondary education is critical, which is why this government injected an additional $11 million in our public post-secondary institutions last year to freeze tuition for two years, Mr. Speaker.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

MS FOOTE: Earlier this week, the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada and of Human Resources Development Canada announced the launch of a wide ranging review of barriers to the accessibility of post-secondary education.

This accessibility project continues the work of the CMEC that the Ministers of Education initiated with their Report on Public Expectations of Post-secondary Education in Canada, which was released in February 1999.

All premiers endorsed this report in August 1999 at the Annual Premiers’ Conference. In the report, the Ministers of Education identify what Canadians can expect from the post-secondary education sector in six key areas: quality, accessibility, mobility and portability, relevance and responsiveness, research and scholarship, and accountability.

HRDC has collaborated with CMEC on its work in post-secondary education through a significant financial contribution and by participating in the development and ongoing activities of this project.

Through the CMEC, Ministers of Education are working on developing innovative policies in key areas such as transition from secondary to post-secondary education, access as a force for social and economic mobility, the use of technology to enhance access, inter-jurisdictional mobility, and financing issues.

Ministers of Education and all Canadian Premiers have called on the federal government to fully restore the Canada Health and Social Transfer, a portion of which is aimed at supporting post-secondary education. They noted that full restoration is essential to ensuring that post-secondary systems continue to have the capacity to respond to the growing demands of a knowledge-based economy and to assist provinces and territories respond to the issue of student debts.

While the measure taken to freeze tuition shows the commitment of this government to enhancing access to post-secondary education, to ensure an prosperous future for all people in Newfoundland and Labrador, this government as well is matching dollar for dollar the $25 million being raised by Memorial University through its Opportunity Fund. Access to a high quality post-secondary education is crucial for our students and we are endorsing what the Ministers of Education and the Premiers have done in calling on the federal government to fully restore the Canada Health and Social Transfer.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

 

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Harbour Main-Whitbourne.

 

MR. HEDDERSON: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I thank the minister for providing me with this release prior to the House sitting this morning.

Again, it is encouraging to find our minister dialoguing with the ministers across Canada, coming together and talking. I also hope that the minister is listening to the policy directives that this Council of Ministers may put forth, that she will bring it back to the Province and perhaps action it, unlike many of the reports that have been ignored. I refer again to the Canning Report where, yesterday, the minister indicated that we are out to lunch if we expect the government to follow the directives of a report that they commission.

When we look at this Province and what the Province has done with regard to post-secondary action, the student debt in this Province once again is a very serious problem. The freeze of tuition levels is a start, but the post-secondary students are waiting for more action from this government. If indeed the Council of Ministers of Education are putting forth policies and suggestions as to how this can be dealt with, I would encourage the minister to listen and to act.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member’s time is up.

 

 

MR. HEDDERSON: Act is the main thing.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

 

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

 

MR. COLLINS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I thank the minister for an advanced copy of her statement.

The access to education is one of the most important things in our society. I would like to point out and say that of the many problems that young people in this Province today are experiencing, one is the access to education, and second, and just as important, is the support for them while they are obtaining an education.

I can assure you that I, like many members in this House probably do, get a lot of calls to their office about students who, a lot of times, have to drop out of educational institutions simply because they do not have anything to support them while they were going. The student debt load in this Province encourages people to leave when they finish post-secondary training, even if they can find employment in this Province.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member’s time is up.

 

MR. COLLINS: Because if they can find employment in other places that pay more, they need to make that to get their lives back in order by paying off their student debt.

Thank you.

 

Oral Questions

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

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

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

My question today is for the Minister of Mines and Energy. Earlier this week in Question Period, on Tuesday, when I questioned the Premier about Inco, the Premier said - and I quote from Hansard of that day, page 1159 - that "Inco is coming back to recognize that there will not be a mine/mill development unless there is 100 per cent processing of concentrate in this Province. They are putting on the table a proposal as to how that can be achieved."

I would like to ask the minister this question. Is the proposal that is on the table before you as minister and before the department that Inco has put forward is to build a test plant in Argentia, similar to that of what has been done in New Caledonia, in Goro, to test a new process in nickel concentrate for processing?

 

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

 

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Maybe to bring some further clarity to the issue, there is and has been no formal proposal from Inco to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. Since last spring, we have maintained regular and ongoing contact with representatives of Inco and Voisey’s Bay Nickel. I guess in the information and the exchange there has been one constant. The constant has been a message repeatedly to the representatives of Inco and Voisey’s Bay Nickel that if they expect to have an operation in Newfoundland and Labrador, the only reasonable proposal that would ever even be considered by this government would be one that includes a proposal that details processing of the nickel in this Province.

My understanding is that they are in a position where they would like to bring a proposal. They understand that the only proposal that would ever be accepted by this government has to include secondary processing of the nickel concentrate in Newfoundland and Labrador. We still await the possibility that sometime in the not too distant future they might actually come forward with a formal proposal that would then engender some public discussion in Newfoundland and Labrador about what is in the proposal, what it contains or does not contain, what the components of it are, and whether or not the government has assessed that it is good, bad or indifferent for Newfoundland and Labrador, and whether or not we are willing to recommend acceptance of it.

 

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

 

MR. E. BYRNE: To bring some further clarity to the issue, it my understanding minister - we will not call it formal discussions, you do not like that word - that you have been informally discussing for four months now the process by which the nickel concentrate in Voisey’s Bay will be developed. It is my understanding that what - I will use your own words again - has been informally proposed is that there will be a test plant in this Province similar to that of what is in Goro, New Caledonia.

I would like to ask the minister this. Is it government’s view that such a test plant, based upon his own analysis and his own department’s analysis, which I know he has done, in this Province would be acceptable to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador?

 

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

 

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The government will gladly state to the people of the Province whether something is acceptable or not if and when it is proposed to us. At this point in time, we are not engaged in the process of speculation and what ifs. We expect and we fully believe that we are within a very short period of time of actually getting a formal proposal from the representatives of Inco and Voisey’s Bay Nickel. If that occurs, if we get a formal proposal, we are confident that it will contain provisions for the full processing of the concentrate in Newfoundland and Labrador. There is no point or purpose, as we see it, in speculating if it might be like Australia, Goro, Sudbury, Manitoba or lots of things. There are dozens of operations in the world, all of which work, all of which use different technologies. If there is going to be one proposed for Newfoundland and Labrador, we look forward to having a public total acknowledgment from Inco and Voisey’s Bay Nickel that they do understand that in Newfoundland and Labrador there will not be a mine and a mill in Labrador unless there is processing of the concentrate somewhere else in the Province.

 

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

 

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, the minister is being very careful, as he should, I guess, with the words, but he did not answer the question. I will ask it directly to him again. Would a pilot test or a test plant similar to what is in New Caledonia and similar to what operates in Goro - you must have, as minister, looked at all the options in your informal four month discussions; you must have looked at something - be acceptable to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador? A process that is operating right now by Inco in Goro, New Caledonia, a test plant, a pilot plant, is that an acceptable option for the people of the Province?

 

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

 

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition obviously seems to be quite interested in: What if this were to be offered, would that be acceptable, what is that were to offered, would that be acceptable? Maybe he would like to answer for the people of the Province now that if something like what was operating in New Caledonia were to be offered, what would the Opposition say about it?

I will tell you one thing. We are not interested at all in speculating about something that may or may not be offered to Newfoundland and Labrador as a means of having a full integrated operation - mine, milling, processing - so that what leaves the Province is a final nickel product instead of some other intermediary product. That is the position of the government.

Experts and officials have looked at operations worldwide because our interest is in making sure that what is proposed, that we would understand what it is - we have done that background work - that there will not be any surprises, and that we would like to be able to respond to it fairly quickly rather than to say: Well, give us a proposal, and it might take us five or six months then to check it out.

We have done some preliminary work but we see no purpose whatsoever in stating for the public record that, if Inco comes forward and says: We will do in Newfoundland like some other company is doing in Australia, is that okay? If Inco. comes forward and says: We will do in Newfoundland what some other company is doing in Finland, is that going to be okay? We will wait and see what is proposed.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. minister to conclude his answer.

 

MR. GRIMES: We have analyzed all the different operations in the world. We will be able to make a fairly quick judgement as to whether or not it is a good process for Newfoundland and Labrador and whether or not it gets full and fair benefits in Newfoundland and Labrador.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

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

 

MR. E. BYRNE: The minister has not answered the question again. This is the same minister who last spring speculated publically about shipping - maybe shipping - some of the nickel concentrate; and this is the issue here, Mr. Speaker, the nickel concentrate.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

 

MR. E. BYRNE: I will ask him again, in this way: It is fine for government to make a policy position known on any issue. Is a test plant or pilot plant similar to other parts of the world? Is that an acceptable option for the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, yes or no, Minister?

 

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

 

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, all I can say, with great sincerity to the House of Assembly and to the people of the Province , is that I do not know what could possibly be gained - within days or weeks of hopefully getting an actual proposal from the people who want to invest billions of dollars in Newfoundland and Labrador in a nickel mine, a nickel mill and concentrator, a nickel processing plant in Newfoundland and Labrador - I don’t know what could possibly be achieved, accomplished or gained by speculating about what if some particular part of it might or might not be part of the proposal.

We will have a proposal, hopefully soon. The proposal will entail and certainly contain provisions for full processing of nickel concentrate in Newfoundland and Labrador. When that proposal is made available to us, it will undergo necessary scrutiny. It will be certainly publically debated in this Province. We will certainly then describe to everybody in the Province, and in this Legislature fully debate the merits or lack thereof of every single component of the proposal. To stand now today and say something that may or may not ever be part of a proposal -

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. minister to conclude his answer.

 

MR. GRIMES: - is it okay or not, to me serves absolutely no purpose.

 

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

 

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

A final question to the minister. Let me ask this, in terms of the process that we are talking about that operates in New Caledonian, Goro. It is my understanding, and I believe it is yours as well, that the refining process, what’s left, the concentrate, that it is not a finished product with respect to completion of smelting and refining, where it is concerned, and that in those areas, in that test plant or those test plant operations, that concentrate has to be taken from where it is, sent elsewhere to be further refined.

Has government said to Inco that when it comes to the further refining, or refining, that all refining, as the Premier said on Tuesday in the House, 100 per cent must be done here from A to Z? Is that the position of the provincial government with respect to any suggestion or any informal proposal that has been put forward to your department indicating that a pilot project is the way Inco. wants to go? Has there been any suggestion to that, and what has been government’s response? Has it been: No, we are not interested unless every bit of concentrate is processed in this Province?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

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

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

 

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, the government - I will state again for the official record in the Province - has not received a formal, official proposal from Inco or Voisey’s Bay Nickel. However, in the informal discussions that have gone on for several months, the repeated message from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to anyone and everyone involved is: Please, do not waste anybody’s time by coming forward with a proposal that does not allow for the full processing of nickel concentrate in Newfoundland and Labrador.

We understand that if a proposal comes forward, the proposal will allow for the full processing of nickel concentrate in Newfoundland and Labrador, and we hope we get the actual proposal soon.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

 

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

 

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

My questions this morning are for the Minister of Health and Community Services. Four years ago, in St. John’s, a seventeen-year-old girl who is developmentally delayed was acting out in her home. Her mother called for assistance. The young girl was taken to the Remand Centre, searched, stripped and handcuffed. Four years later this same individual, still with the same behavior management program, when she acts out in her home and her mother seeks assistance, the policemen come to her home, the only option is the lockup. Minister, what is the government’s policy to take care of developmentally delayed individuals who are in this situation?

 

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

 

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

Again, I have to say I find it very offensive when a member across the House would stand up and speak about an individual case and expect some sort of a response about an individual case. I think it is -

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

 

MS J.M. AYLWARD: I think it is important and I say it time and time again - I said it here in the House again to the same member last year; I have said it to members opposite - if there are individual cases where behaviors are deemed inappropriate or there are questions around it, I think it is only right and fitting, first of all, that the boards have the courtesy of the information, and that I would have the courtesy of the information, to try to do something for that particular individual in that particular case.

Mr. Speaker, my view in this regard is that this question is nothing more than another example to get a headline in the paper and not really deal with the issue. I would like to have the information. I, too, would be concerned and would like to deal with those sorts of issues.

One has to ask, when a question is put forward -

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Health and Community Services; I ask if you would conclude your answer please.

 

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

One has to ask the intent and the motive behind the question, and if they are truly concerned about those issues again -

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

 

MS J.M. AYLWARD: - or if they are trying to get on Open Line or make a headline with the people up in the gallery.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A supplementary, the hon. the Member for St. John’s West.

 

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

The intent behind this is to have this policy changed. I have called the RNC, I have called the Waterford. The policy is: Take them to the lockup. The minister should know this; it is her department.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

 

MS S. OSBORNE: It is not one individual; it is the policy. I have checked. The minister should know what the policy is in her department, and it is not just one individual, Minister.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

 

MS S. OSBORNE: Can the minister tell me why there aren’t facilities in place at the Waterford Hospital or any other similar institutions to take care of these individuals so people who are developmentally challenged will not have to suffer the degradation of being locked up with criminals.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

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

 

MS J.M. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, it is all coming out right now. You know, what I heard from that member is that they are opposed to the integration of the physically and mentally challenged into our communities.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

MS J.M. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, let them hear it! Lock them up in the Waterford Hospital? Put them in the Waterford? That is appalling.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A supplementary, the hon. the Member for St. John’s West.

 

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

When you are developmentally delayed, suffering, having a behavior management problem, would you rather have a psychiatric unit or the lockup under the Courthouse?

 

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

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair has recognized the hon. the Minister of Health and Community Services.

 

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

I want to say it again. Let the people of the Province hear that the question asked to me and the answer given by the same member is: Lock them up in the Waterford Hospital. I think it is shameful!

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair has not recognized the hon. Minister of Mines and Energy.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Final supplementary, the hon. the Member for St. John’s West.

 

MS S. OSBORNE: Police officers have told me that they are appalled about having to bring people to the lockup. They have no choice. Individuals in such circumstances are detained under section 12 of the Mental Health Act, which specifies that officers must "take him or her to a treatment facility or other safe and comfortable place..." Does the minister consider the lockup or the Remand Centre to be a treatment facility or safe and comfortable place appropriate to hold developmentally delayed individuals until they are seen by physicians?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

MR. GRIMES: (Inaudible) just proved herself a liar (inaudible).

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

MS S. OSBORNE: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

 

MS S. OSBORNE: Did I just hear that she just proved herself to be a liar from the Minister of Mines and Energy?

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. minister knows that he cannot say those things in this Chamber. I ask him to withdraw.

 

MR. GRIMES: Absolutely withdrawn, Mr. Speaker, in respect of the rules of the House.

 

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

 

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

I think it is also important to note, based on the previous question, the member’s own views on her whole perspective on institutionalization and integration. I also want to say that I do not second-guess the judgement of the RNC. She read out the policy. They make a judgement. We do not any more bring people to the Waterford Hospital to put them there. There are judgements made about levels of violence and public safety, and I think the member opposite knows as well as I do that this is nothing more than trying to get her position across on the integration of people and her views against integration of people into the community.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

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

 

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My questions today are for the Minister of Health and Community Services. When some bacteria, minister, is present in Gander Lake or other water supplies, and someone may contract beaver fever, your department issues a warning to people to treat the water.

For the last three years the department has known of the presence of a toxin, trihalomethane in drinking water, a chemical that causes cancer and produces birth deformities. Why didn’t your department issue a warning to people in those communities? Why didn’t you advise them what they could do to avoid the horrible consequences of ingesting this toxic? You do it for beaver fever, minister. Why do you not do it for trihalomethane?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

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

 

MR. LANGDON: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

With your permission, I would like to go into a bit of history here to -

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I just want to inform the hon. minister that if he considers the question due a rather lengthy answer, he should take it under advisement and report at another time.

 

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

 

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

 

MR. TULK: There is some information (inaudible) she wants to pass to the Opposition to let them know, and to let the public of the Province know. I recognize that the Speaker has made the right ruling, but in view on the interest of the public and the Opposition in this question, I wonder if they would give leave for the hon. gentleman to give a somewhat lengthy answer so that they could have the information.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

Are you speaking to the point of order?

 

MR. SULLIVAN: I would be delighted if myself and my next colleague could finish their questions in Question Period today, maybe in the next question, rather than use up Question Period. We can allow it.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

 

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, if the hon. gentlemen - whatever time the -

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

 

MR. TULK: Sorry.

 

MR. SPEAKER: I ask the hon. Government House Leader to get to his point.

 

MR. TULK: Yes, get to the point. If indeed the hon. gentleman uses up five minutes to give this lengthy piece of information to him -

 

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!

 

MR. TULK: Hold on now. I will say to him that we will extend Question Period by that same amount.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I understand that whatever time the hon. minister now takes to answer this question, this amount of time will be added on to question period?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave!

 

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, it should be noted that at 9:51 a.m. the minister stood and was recognized to answer this question.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Environment and Labour.

 

MR. LANGDON: Mr. Speaker, I will not take a long time, but what I want to say to the members opposite and say to the House is that we are talking about the report written by an official with the Department of Environment and Labour. That particular report was a working document between the officials in the Departments of Health and Municipal and Provincial Affairs. They share the information that was in the report.

In that report there were thirty-five municipalities that were listed with THM results. The statistics that were given in that report for those thirty-five communities, one of those communities exceeded the Canadian guideline at that particular time, which was 350 micrograms per litre. The department, after looking at that particular report, began then - by the way, that particular report and statistics gathered on those thirty-five communities were gathered between the years of 1986 and 1990. Between 1986 and 1990.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

 

MR. LANGDON: Let me finish. The people in the department then, in consultation with the municipalities across the Province -

 

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

MR. LANGDON: Let me finish!

 

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

 

MR. LANGDON: Then the people in the department, in consultation with other officials, began to work with the municipalities and today we have information on 190-plus communities in the Province, not the thirty-five that were in the report. Of those 190 communities that are listed today, some forty-nine of them exceed the new Canadian guideline which is 100 micrograms per liter.

I’m hoping before even the day or the session is out that I will be able to have the information for the House to average out what the particular exceeding of those guidelines are. In fact, two of those communities that were listed out of the forty-nine exceeded the guidelines in 1998 but fell below the guidelines in 1999 considerably.

I have asked the people in the department to get the information to distribute it to the House, because to suggest that out there there is a crisis in the Province in drinking water is nothing more than alarmist. That is what it is, instigating fear in the people in the Province when there is no need for it. Many of those communities out of the forty are marginal, like 106, 120.

 

AN HON. MEMBER: There are not all marginal (inaudible).

 

MR. LANGDON: No, they are not all marginal. That is what I want to be able to -

 

MR. SULLIVAN: Marginal answer. Did you ever hear tell of it?

 

AN HON. MEMBER: Marginal intelligence, yes, Loyola.

 

MR. LANGDON: Yes, you have that.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

 

MR. LANGDON: I withdraw. I apologize. I did not mean to do that. I apologize to the hon. member. I did not want to say that.

Mr. Speaker, here is the situation. The communities across the Province have been working with the department. Yesterday it was suggested - and suggested by my critic again this morning - that I, as the minister, and the department, have been hiding things from the municipalities.

I think, if you listened to Bill Hogan this morning, the Mayor of Dunville, I was vindicated; because when they called the CBC reporter, he said: Well, I have the report. I have the analysis here in front of me. When they called the town clerk from Bonavista, he said: I went to the office. I looked and it was below the level.

So every person - the Mayor of Gander has said it. I talked to some other mayors last night, and they have the information. The water has to be chlorinated because not to chlorinate the water would be worse than to chlorinate.

Obviously, Mr. Speaker, there is not a health hazard here.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Government House Leader.

 

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I just want to make a note to hon. members that the time for that question was four minutes, so we will extend by four minutes?

 

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

 

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the Minister of Health and Community Services: Both the Premier and the Minister of Environment have tried to excuse the coverup of this information by saying it is safer for people to drink trihalomethane poisoned water than to drink non-chlorinated water; but, Minister, it is not their choice to make. If people had been warned of the presence -

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

 

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, I am asking a question, Mr. Speaker.

If people had been warned of the presence of THMs in the water, you could advise them what to do to protect themselves. They have been drinking clean water for the past three years.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

 

MR. SULLIVAN: Minister, will you confirm that they could have been drinking clean water for the past three years if you had told them so?

 

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

 

MR. LANGDON: Mr. Speaker, I want to say again to the House that the municipalities are aware of the THMs within their water supply. Also, there has been information from the department to tell the municipalities of ways to reduce the THMs; for example, putting a filter on the water in the house, the tap. You can buy, from any general store, a particular jug that has a filter in it; to refrigerate the water. It reduces the THMs significantly. That information has been given by my department to the municipalities and they are aware of it. To suggest a coverup just does not make sense.

 

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

 

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the Minister of Health and Community Services: This is a very serious matter, Minister. The people of the Province can only assume from your silence on these matters, Minister of Health, that you do not care about their health.

Now I ask you, Minister: Isn’t it a fact that you are more interested in protecting your Cabinet colleagues than protecting the health of people in those communities?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Environment and Labour.

 

MR. LANGDON: Mr. Speaker, I want to say again to the people of this Province, and the 194 communities that have been tested in this particular Province, the information has been disseminated to them. The people in my department have been working with the councils in ways to reduce the THMs.

As I said earlier, today I will deliver to the House the information on those forty-nine communities. I will not name them because I have already drafted a letter and asked them if I could do it, to release the information that will be posted today, but I will give an average of the number of communities, out of the forty-nine, how many of them exceed the level and by how much. Then not only will the individual who lives in town X, like Placentia, know when the information is disseminated, but any other community in the Province as well. Any media can phone any community like they did this morning and get the information if they want it.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

 

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My questions are for the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General. Are you, Mr. Minister, concerned that the environment minister has had in his possession, and to this point has failed to disclose, a report showing that some forty-nine municipalities in the Province have toxic water and that it exceeded acceptable Health Canada levels of chemicals that possibly - possibly - could cause cancer and other health defects?

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Environment and Labour.

 

MR. LANGDON: Mr. Speaker, the premise on which the hon. member just asked the question is wrong. I gave you the information earlier this morning in Question Period when I told you there were not forty-nine communities in the report. There were thirty-five communities listed in the report - I told you that earlier - and of the thirty-five communities that were listed in the report, one of them exceeded the Canadian average at the particular time that the testing was done, and there was sparse information that was gathered between 1986 and 1990.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for St. John’s East, a supplementary.

 

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I ask the Minister of Justice and Attorney General: Are you concerned, Mr. Minister, that your colleague’s failure to disclose this information to the residents of these municipalities could leave this government vulnerable to possible legal action? As the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of this Province, Mr. Minister, are you concerned of the liability issue that could arise as a result of the non-disclosure of this information by this minister to the residents of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

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

 

MR. LANGDON: Can you just imagine, Mr. Speaker, the question that was just asked? I just told the House of Assembly this morning that the information in the book - it was just a working guide between the officials in the department - were statistics. I think the people in the Province should realize this. The information in the book, that was a working document between the departments, was gathered between 1986 and 1990.

 

AN HON. MEMBER: Who was there?

 

MR. LANGDON: No, no, I want to get this point across. It does not matter who was there. I am not suggesting anybody who was there. I just want to get the information straight. The information was gathered between 1986 and 1990. That is between thirteen and ten years ago. Now the information that we have out there today, that the communities have, have been tested in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999. The communities have it, so what is the coverup?

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis, a quick question.

 

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. Will the minister confirm that Newfoundland and Labrador Housing’s regular home repair assistance program - not the urgent repair program - has run out of funding since mid-September for the Avalon region and there will not be any funding until the next fiscal year which begins in April, almost six months from when the money ran out? Does the minister have any plans to put any money into this program, in the interim, until the end of April, 2000?

 

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

 

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yes, there was an allocation of I think $8.3 million this year in the Housing Corporation for the provincial home repair program and the urgent repair program; $7 million for the capital side of it, if you like, and $1.3 million for the urgent repair program.

We do try every year to get that money allocated as early as we can in the year because a lot of it is of a capital nature that has to be done outside the House as well as inside, and most of the money was allocated by September. The work is ongoing and I expect that by the end of this fiscal year the expenditure of the budget will have taken place on the basis of the allocation of identification of work that has already been identified.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has ended.

 

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

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

 

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, I waited until the end of Question Period but I would like and beg the leave of the House for just a minute or so to state a point of parliamentary privilege, because I do believe that our privileges have been abused here in this House today in Question Period by a line of questioning from the Member for St. John’s West with respect to the treatment of developmentally delayed persons when there is some kind of problem in the home and when the police are called to the house.

I apologized at the time for indicating that the member was lying, because that is contrary to the rules of the House and I should not have used that language.

The point of privilege is this, Mr. Speaker: The hon. member, in asking her question, suggested clearly in asking the Minister of Health and Community Services that there was a policy for which the minister was responsible, a policy of the government for which the minister was directly responsible, which is why she was asking the question. Her version of it in her question was that there was a policy that stated that if the police come to the home where there is a developmentally delayed person and there has been a disturbance in the house, the policy says that the police must take the developmentally delayed person to the lockup. That was her question to the Minister of Health and Community Services, Mr. Speaker.

I suggested that was a lie because there is no such policy and I am not allowed to say that. I apologize for it and I will not say it. However, later in a supplementary, the same member -

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

 

MR. GRIMES: The point of privilege is what I am addressing, Mr. Speaker.

The same member in a supplementary took a piece of paper which was not tabled - because we asked for the policy - and said: There is a policy within the RNC Act that says: If there is a disturbance, you must take the person to a treatment facility or other safe location.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask how it is that anything but our privileges are abused when members can stand up and absolutely, totally misrepresent information and suggest that it is the responsibility of the minister, and if that is not the abuse of our privileges.

 

AN HON. MEMBER: He is on a point of privilege (inaudible).

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh! Oh, oh!

 

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

The Chair will hear what the hon. minister has to say on this point of privilege, and I ask him to get to it quickly.

 

MR. GRIMES: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

Using that as the example which just occurred in our Legislature in Question Period, for my own clarification - because I certainly feel that my privilege has been abused - if in fact I am instructed by the rules of this Legislature to accept that every statement made in this House is true - therefore I am not allowed to say that it is a lie, the rules prohibit it - then if the statement is true, are not my privileges abused when the speakers themselves then in a later question admit that what they proposed, the question before, was not true?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

To the point of privilege, the hon. the Member for Waterford Valley.

 

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

I refer the Speaker to Beauchesne, page 121, where in section 409(7) it is talking about the decorum of the House. It says: "... in terms of inferences, imputing motives or casting aspersions upon persons within the House or out of it."

Certainly the Member for St. John’s West did nothing in her question to cast aspersions, to make inferences or anything else. However, it is quite clear that both the Ministers of Mines and Energy and Health and Community Services this morning cast aspersions as to the motive of the Member for St. John’s West.

I refer as well to page 142 of Beauchesne where in section 484(3) it says: "In the House of Commons a Member will not be permitted by the Speaker to indulge in any reflections on the House itself as a political institution..." The phrase I want to use is the next one: "or to impute to any Member or Members unworthy motives for their actions in a particular case..."

This morning the Minister of Health in her statement in reply to the question from the Member for St. John’s West in my opinion certainly indicated that the Member from St. John’s West had a unworthy motive. She indicated that the member was more interest in getting headlines than in seeking to bring to this House the concerns of a particular person.

I say as well that in this particular case the Member for St. John’s West has done nothing that was outside the orders of the House. In fact, her privileges here were interfered with because she was accused of having motives that certainly are not consistent with her rights to ask questions and to make representation on behalf of the people to this House. This is the people’s House, this is where people’s issues get brought up, and that is exactly what the Member for St. John’s West was trying to do this morning, and trying to abide within the rules. If there was any interference with the rules of this House it was by the Minister of Mines and Energy and by the Minister of Health herself.

 

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker.

 

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

 

MR. TULK: To that point of privilege, Mr. Speaker. The hon. gentleman is right, this is the people’s House, but the truth of the matter is that in this Legislature you are also required to give correct information and the hon. gentleman knows that. The truth of the matter is that the Member for St. John’s West, either knowingly or unknowingly - I would suggest, perhaps even unknowing -

 

AN HON. MEMBER: No, I would not.

 

MR. TULK: I would. I would give her that benefit of the doubt, because I have known the lady for some time. Let me say this to you. Here is what she did say in this House. She said in this House that the RNC are forced to take people who are developmentally delayed to the lockup. That, she said, is the policy of the government. Then she stood up a few minutes later and here is what she read out of the policy. She said: Take them to a treatment facility or other safe location.

Even though she wants to come in here and get her face on the television or get her face in the news, I want to suggest to her this morning that is not correct behavior in this House to come in here and try to say that something is what it is not or unknowingly do it. The truth of the matter is that in that policy -

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. minister to get to his point quickly.

 

MR. TULK: The truth of the matter is, and I will finish here, that in that statement that she read the RNC have the option of taking somebody to the Waterford if they wish, to a hospital if they wish, or indeed wherever they wish. She should stand up and apologize to the people of this Province.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

AN HON. MEMBER: Sheila, if you can’t take the heat get out of the kitchen, boy. (Inaudible).

 

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

The Chair will take under advisement the point raised by the hon. Minister of Mines and Energy. We will review the Hansard to see exactly what has been said and will rule on it accordingly.

 

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

 

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

 

MR. SULLIVAN: Point of order.

Mr. Speaker, the Member for Bellevue made a statement here to the Member for St. John’s West that it runs in their family. I ask him to withdraw that remark because that is a personal insult to this member and her family.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Bellevue.

 

MR. BARRETT: (Inaudible) for making that comment. What I was indicating was that the hon. Member for St. John’s South all summer was calling into open line with misinformation about a project.

 

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no -

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

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

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

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

The Chair has asked for some order to be restored. The Chair will leave here until some order is restored and then come back. The Chair will recess the House. If hon. members are not going to pay attention to the rules then the Chair will recess the House until the hon. members show some respect for this institution. This has gotten out of hand. The comments that have been made here today and the kinds of things that are happening should not happen in this House. The Chair does not want to see this kind of thing happening again.

The time for Oral Questions has elapsed.

 

Notices of Motion

 

 

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

 

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

I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Physiotherapy Act."

 

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

 

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce the following bills:

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Loan Canada Pension Plan Investment Fund Act 1966".

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Human Rights Code".

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Financial Administration Act".

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

 

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

 

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my colleague, the Minister of Forest Resources and Agrifoods, I give notice that he will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Forestry Act".

 

MR. SPEAKER: Further Notices of Motion?

Answers to questions for which notice has been given?

 

MR. TULK: Mr,. Speaker, (inaudible) notice of the Minister of Environment. I am wondering if we can revert to that? He wants to give a notice of another bill.

 

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

 

MR. LANGDON: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Occupational Health And Safety Act". (Bill 33)

 

Orders of the Day

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker. Order 6, "An Act To Provide For The Conservation, Protection, Wise Use And Management Of The Water Resources Of The Province", (Bill 31), otherwise known as the bulk water act.

 

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

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Just to continue, and I will be very brief this morning to follow on a few points I was trying to make yesterday, this is a very important piece of legislation that I understand, when the partisan politics is taken out of it, has the support of the House of Assembly. It may very well be unanimous in terms of the support of the Bill.

I did, though, want to continue on the line of a few comments that were made yesterday because the Leader of the Opposition in particular has made, in his opening comments with respect to the Bill, a couple of statements that cannot be left as part of the public record, because he has stated them as if they are facts, when I think he would now acknowledge, if given the opportunity, that they are not factual.

In Hansard from yesterday, just to make sure again that we understand exactly what the Leader of the Opposition said, he indicated that - and these are his words exactly: ...your federal cousins and your buddies in Ottawa have asked for a national ban because of the implications on the North American Free Trade Agreement.

I believe now that if I were to give leave and he were to rise and speak today, he would want to acknowledge for the public record that the Government of Canada has never ever asked any of the provinces to engage and involve in a national ban on the bulk export of water because of implications on the Free Trade Agreement. Mr. Speaker, they have asked the provinces, through the Environmental Ministers’ Table, to institute and support a ban on bulk water for environmental reasons only.

Then, in the same few minutes that the Leader of the Opposition did speak, he mentioned that there is nobody who understands this issue better then the Member for St. John’s South. Nobody, that is his exact word, but before it is over... It goes on to say as well that the Member for St. John’s South clearly understands the implications of this both nationally and internationally. Before he finished speaking, however - before the Leader of the Opposition, who made those two statements finished speaking - he said that the Member for St. John’s South has pointed out clearly, both inside and outside the House in speaking engagements, that there are serious concerns about the implications of exporting bulk water. Not that he knows that there are implications, because he does not.

He does not because, in fact, the last information that has been public on this issue, with respect to trade issues, is that not only in the North American Free Trade Agreement - which is Canada, the United States, and Mexico - but in the World Trade Organization, which is all of the trading partners in the globe, worldwide, the United States representatives, the Senator from the United States, the Canadian representative, and the Mexican representative, on behalf of the North American Free Trade Agreement, are going to the next session of the World Trade Organization because they fear that other trading partners in the world are trying to have bulk water declared as a good for trade in the world. The United States are sending a representative saying: We will not agree to that; we do not want it. Canada is sending a representative saying that. Mexico is sending a representative saying that, because in the North American Free Trade Agreement there is no reference whatsoever to bulk water as a good for export.

The Maude Barlows of the world, the left-wingers - here is one of the strangest things in this - of the country who are normally affiliated with our friends from the New Democratic Party, all of a sudden have bosom buddies in the Tories, which are the right-wing of Newfoundland and Labrador, supposedly. The Tory Member for St. John’s South, the Tory Leader of the Opposition, who says that he will stake anything that he says on information from the Member for St. John’s South because he is the world’s foremost expert on this issue - the world’s foremost expert on bulk export of water is the Member for St. John’s South, in the words of the Leader of the Opposition. Their only authority that they can get to agree with them, that there may be some implications, is Maude Barlow from one of the leading left-wing think tanks in the country.

Now you have the left-wingers and a right-wing Premier with an expert from St. John’s South, self-proclaimed and endorsed by the Leader of the Opposition, who are now bosom buddies. Despite the fact that we can get nobody from the offices of international trade, nobody from the Government of Canada, nobody from the United States, nobody from Mexico, to suggest that water itself, in bulk form, is a good under the Free Trade Agreement, these couple have concluded that it is - they are going to say that it is - but one minute they suggest they know there are implications and that the expert over here is the expert, and in the next breath the same leader says: Well, our expert has spoken inside and outside the House and he has said in speaking engagements that there are serious concerns about the implications. Not that there are implications and I can tell you what they are. What they are saying is: You know, there might be a problem because somebody in the United States, or somebody in Mexico, might put something in the courts to challenge as to whether it is or is not.

The authors of the Free Trade Agreement never ever suggested it should be. The Free Trade Agreement is silent on the matter but in the meantime the Leader of the Opposition, if given a chance, if I acceded my time right now, would surely stand in the House and want to admit that he would not want the record to show that he, as the Leader of the Official Opposition, would stand by a statement that says - his words, "...that your federal cousins and your buddies in Ottawa have asked for a national ban..."

His reason - this is why he is concluding what he is - is because he believes, with the advice of his expert from St. John’s South, world-renowned expert, that the reason the Government of Canada asked for the ban is because there are implications on the Free Trade Agreement. Not true.

The whole basis of the big scene that they had laid out in the summer - oh, if something happens in Gisborne Lake there are going to be problems with free trade. Then, of course, the other big issue that we talked about yesterday: By the way, Bill, by the way Bas, by the way George, by the way Jim - as they call the radio shows - I have no proof of this.

Here was the great cover: I have no proof of this, but don’t stop me from putting out a big lie. I don’t have any proof of it but don’t stop me from using the public airways of the Province to suggest - here is the language they used. They said: Don’t make any mistake, Jim, don’t make any mistake Bill, don’t make any mistake Bas, don’t make any mistake George, there has been a golden handshake - wink, wink, nod, nod. There has already been a deal. This government has already given permission. Don’t be fooled.

Just in case somebody might come back, I have no proof of this.

 

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

 

MR. SPEAKER (Smith):Order, please!

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

 

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

The Minister of Mines and Energy has been on his feet this morning, earlier, accusing people on this side of the House of lying. He has managed to speak now the past six or seven minutes and he has referred to people on this side of the House as putting out the big lie. It is unparliamentary for him. I want him to withdraw that remark and apologize for it. Mr. Speaker, I expect that you heard it also.

 

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker.

 

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy, is he speaking to the point of order?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy.

 

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Let me conclude just by saying this. I just wanted to make those couple of points because I am convinced -

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member’s time is up.

 

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and certainly I look forward to participating at the Committee stage.

 

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

 

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

 

AN HON. MEMBER: Are you going to give him leave?

 

MR. J. BYRNE: Give who leave? He took leave of his senses years ago.

Mr. Speaker, I want to address what the Minister of Mines and Energy was saying here yesterday. He was on his feet for twenty-one minutes yesterday afternoon and he did not refer to the legislation, not once. What he did do was he attacked people who do not sit in this House of Assembly, who are not here to defend themselves, namely, first, Sue Dyer, and second, Maude Barlow. He was up attacking these individuals who do not have the opportunity to sit in this House and defend themselves!

 

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

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

 

MR. TULK: We all realize that the hon. gentleman wants his friends protected, but does he really want them protected that badly?

 

MR. SPEAKER: No point of order.

The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

 

MR. J. BYRNE: No point of order as usual from the Government House Leader, who is supposed to know something, who is supposed to have a clue about the rules and procedures in this House. He is batting 1,000 on not knowing, Mr. Speaker.

Now, what I will say up front and I am not supposed to -

 

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

(Inaudible) hon. gentleman will answer the question. Does he really want his friends protected that badly?

 

MR. J. BYRNE: I will address that in due course, I say to the hon. House Leader.

We see `Sir Gisborne’ of Bellevue, I will address his concerns, and how he cannot, in all honesty, stand in this House of Assembly and vote in favour of this legislation. He is a member who pointed to the Premier and said: You are wrong and I will be proven right. How can he stand and vote in favour of this legislation? The Minister of Mines and Energy was saying it was going to be unanimous, but I will predict that `Sir Gisborne’ of Bellevue, the hon. Member for Bellevue, will either not be in his place when the vote is taken or he will get up and go against what he said publicly and in this House of Assembly. What does that make the Member for Bellevue, I would say to the minister? What will that make him, Mr. Speaker.

I have no problem to stand here and say up front, within the first three or four minutes, that I do support the spirit and intent of this legislation. Now we shall see as we go through the legislation when we debate

 

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!

 

MR. J. BYRNE: Pardon?

 

AN HON. MEMBER: Is he a Tory?

 

MR. J. BYRNE: I don’t know what he is. If he is a Tory I would not want him over here, I tell you that.

Mr. Speaker, when we get into this legislation I am going to speak on the intent here and the spirit of the legislation, and how I support it. I find it so ironic that we have members on that side of the House who only a few short months ago - and we had the Member for Bellevue talking about the open line show, we had the Minister of Mines and Energy talking about this on the open line show, the Member for Twillingate & Fogo talking about it - now are over there trying to twist it back to us yesterday that we do not support this. How childish, immature and simpleminded. That is what you said.

The Government House Leader stood in his place yesterday and pulled a fast one with respect to this legislation. We had discussed with our House Leader and the House Leader had discussed what would be -

 

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

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

 

MR. TULK: The hon. gentleman knows that the day before I read it what we were going to do, but his own Member for St. John’s South got up and presented a petition asking that this legislation be brought before the House. We obliged him.

 

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

 

MR. J. BYRNE: What went on here yesterday, and you can get Hansard and check it, I say to you, Mr. Speaker... The day before yesterday, before the House closed, the Government House Leader stood in his place and said: We will be discussing tomorrow bills such and such. It was agreed upon.

Yesterday they came in here and trying to be coy and smart, and being the headline hunters that the Premier and the members on that side are, they tried to twist it back to us that we were not going to support this legislation. Again, I say, how foolish. It did not work. The Government House Leader decided to call the legislation anyway, which he had the authority to do, and he did not even know it until somebody had to tell him that we had already had first reading. Then he called it and went back on his word.

Back to what I said earlier. We had the Mines and Energy Minister up twenty-one minutes yesterday and by the way, another nine minutes this morning, and only once did he refer to supporting this legislation. Do you know what he said? He did not say he supported it. He left some doubt actually, because he said this may not be unanimous. Now was he talking about himself? Because had been on the open line show just a few weeks ago condemning bringing in legislation about the exporting of bulk water. He was saying it was no problem, we should be exporting bulk water.

 

AN HON. MEMBER: Who?

 

MR. J. BYRNE: The Minister of Mines and Energy. He was on Open Line saying that.

 

AN HON. MEMBER: No.

 

MR. J. BYRNE: Oh, yes, he did. Definitely. I heard him myself.

 

AN HON. MEMBER: You heard him say what?

 

MR. J. BYRNE: I heard him say that he supported the exporting of bulk water. We should be doing it.

 

AN HON. MEMBER: When did he say that?

 

MR. J. BYRNE: He said that a few weeks ago on the open line show when he came on to defend the Minister of Environment, when the Minister of Environment was out trying to say to support it, and throwing out all kinds of misconceptions. The Minister of Mines and Energy got on and tried to back up the Minister of Environment. We did not know who was supposed to be the Minister of Environment at the time. We had the Premier on talking about one thing, the Minister of Mines and Energy saying something else, the parliamentary assistant to the Premier saying something else, and the Minister of Environment saying something else.

I will tell you about the confusion within that caucus over there. What really went on is that the Premier himself - talk about this legislation - made an announcement that he was going to bring in legislation to this House of Assembly banning the exporting of bulk water out of the Province, at the very same time that the Member for Bellevue was on extolling the attributes or the benefits of doing it. The Minister of Environment didn’t have a clue about what was happening. The Minister of Mines and Energy didn’t know. No one knew on that side of the House. I can only imagine when they had their first caucus meeting the next day, or whenever it was within that time period, what must have been discussed then. I would say the Premier came in and sat down. I would think that the Member for Bellevue, if he had any guts whatsoever, had to go up one side and down the other side of the Premier, if he had any guts.

Now other members, the Minister of Environment -

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I would ask the hon. member to withdraw that term. That has been ruled already as unacceptable.

 

MR. J. BYRNE: Which one is that?

 

AN HON. MEMBER: Guts.

 

MR. J. BYRNE: Guts? That is no problem. Okay, I withdraw it.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Check Beauchesne.

 

MR. J. BYRNE: It isn’t parliamentary?

 

MR. SPEAKER: No, it is not.

 

MR. J. BYRNE: If he had any spunk, he would have had went up one side and down the other side of the Premier. Did he? We do not know. Intestinal fortitude, those are the words I am looking for. I would venture to guess that the Minister of Environment did not know about this. Now they are all over there supporting this legislation, and rightly so. It is something we had in our policy manual during the last election, and we were ridiculed in this House of Assembly.

The Member for St. John’s South brought this up two to three years ago, making the point with respect to the shipment of bulk water, the impacts it would have, and he talked about job creation in secondary processing. Why would we send our water out of this Province to create jobs elsewhere? That is the point we were making. That is the key issue, in my mind, and he was laughed at. The Premier ridiculed him here in this House of Assembly. I would say many other members on that side -

 

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

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

 

MR. EFFORD: I don’t know what has come over everybody on that side, if it is Friday morning or if it is something they did Thursday night, but something definitely happened over there.

The point I want to make is that the hon. member spent his first ten minutes condemning the Minister of Mines and Energy of not referring to one clause in the Bill, and yet he spent ten minutes and he has not mentioned one word about the Bill whatsoever. Is it just that he has no knowledge of what it is going on, or something happened last nigh that has him all knocked astray this morning in the House?

 

MR. TULK: It is the frost. The frost struck his head last night (inaudible).

 

MR. EFFORD: The frost.

 

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

 

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

No point of order, as usual, and that is my preamble.

By the way, I say to the Minister of Fisheries, the Minister of Mines and Energy spoke for thirty minutes. I have been up ten. I have also, right up front, said I support the intent and the spirit of this legislation. The Minister of Mines and Energy never ever said it once, in half an hour, I say to the minister.

I am talking about what has happened, the history of how he got to this point, how he got this legislation in this House of Assembly, because the Member for St. John’s South, members on this side of the Assembly, the people put the pressure on the Open Line shows to the Premier; so much pressure that he announced that he would bring in legislation that the ministers, his Cabinet did not even know. The first thing they heard of it was on the news, that they were going to bring in this legislation.

 

MR. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible).

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

 

MR. MATTHEWS: Just a point of personal privilege.

Because I enjoy the rhetoric and the speech making of my critic and hon. member opposite, I would ask that he give me due notification when he is going to speak in the House, because I have missed part of his speech and I know by missing part of his speech I have been unduly ‘disenriched’ this morning.

I would ask the hon. member to let me know when he is going to speak. I want to be here when he is on his feet because the quality of his rhetoric is something to behold. He is like pure music to listen to; he is like poetry to watch.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair would point out there is obviously no point of personal privilege here, and again I would remind all hon. members, as I did yesterday, that I think we should be very cognizant of the rules of this House and not be abusing the rules of the House. That applies to everyone who has the privilege to sit in this Chamber.

The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

 

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

A good ruling because I have been on my feet ten or twelve minutes and there have been three ministers on that side of the House up already, trying to cut into my time.

If the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs is so concerned that he did not hear what I had said in the beginning, I ask the House to give me leave to start again so he can hear.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

MR. J. BYRNE: Okay, I will start again.

Mr. Speaker, in this House yesterday the Minister of Mines and Energy stood in his place for twenty-one minutes - I am starting again now - and never once confirmed that he supported this legislation. That is the beginning of it. I can go on if you want.

Mr. Speaker, again I will get back to the point that I mentioned with respect to people being attacked in this House who are not here to support themselves. The Minister of Mines and Energy did it twice - yesterday and today.

I was saying that I find it ironic that members on that side of the House were so opposed to us having in our policy just back in February, during the election, the point of banning the exporting of bulk water out of this Province, but I can understand where they are coming from because it was a solid issue right from the beginning. The Member for St. John’s South was on solid ground when he brought this up two or three years ago. It took a long while for it to sink in to the skulls and to the brains of the people on the other side of the House, but it finally did sink in because of pressure from members on this side of the House, from pressure from the public, pressure from people like Sue Dyer, who the Minister of Environment has some kind of problem with. The minister has some kind of a problem but the lady, when she gets up to speak, knows what she is talking about, I say to the members on the opposite side of the House.

Mr. Speaker, this legislation, Bill 31, An Act To Provide For The Conservation, Protection, Wise Use And Management Of The Water Resources Of The Province, is a good bill, so far as we know it today. We are reviewing this piece of legislation and I hope that we will be supporting it. I know I support the intent and the spirit, but oftentimes when we in this House of Assembly try to rush legislation through the House, as the minister or the Government House Leader tried to do yesterday - tried to pressure us by using political tactics to try and rush something through the House of Assembly - we oftentimes make mistakes. It has happened in the past. We it with other legislation where it was rushed through the House. Within the next sitting, this government, this Administration, had to bring it back and make amendments and changes to the legislation.

When you look at this legislation, and if you think about the benefits to the people of this Province, the long-term benefits - if we shipped water out of here in bulk, in tankers, all we are doing, and I think people on the other side of the House would agree, is shipping jobs out of this Province. We have been doing that for too long. We have been doing it in the past for years and years and years.

 

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

 

MR. J. BYRNE: I am not going back at him now. I had enough to say about him.

Mr. Speaker, we have been doing it for years. We did it with our fishery. We shipped out of here in bulk, salt cod and the frozen fish that was shipped out of the Province. We have done it with our forestry, when we shipped the logs and the wood out of here for secondary processing. We have shipped our ore out of this Province. We shipped it from Bell Island years and years ago. We are shipping it from Labrador today.

With respect to Churchill Falls again, all kinds of money flowing out of this Province, all kinds of jobs flowing out of this Province, and here we are...

I think the Minister of Education was up this morning talking about post-secondary education. What we need to be doing is to be training people to stay here in this Province and getting into the secondary processing of our natural resources that have been raped for years and years. Only for the Member for St. John’s South and members on this side of the House, we were right on the verge of doing the exact same thing again. We were right on the verge of doing it, shipping the water out of here for people to create jobs in other provinces and other countries.

 

MR. GRIMES: (Inaudible).

 

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, the poor Minister of Mines and Energy is at it again, over there trying to throw comments to this side of the House.

I will just give you an example how the Minister of Mines and Energy tries to deflect and how he tries to protect the members on that side of the House. He is the mouthpiece when the Premier is not here. The Minister of Mines and Energy is the mouthpiece for the Premier.

He stood in his place this morning, when the Member for St. John’s West stood in her place and asked good, legitimate, bonafide questions to the Minster of Health, and what happened after Question Period? The Minister of Mines and Energy stood in his place and tried to create another issue to deflect the real attention from the issue that the member brought up, to create another issue, but I don’t think this time that the media fell for it. I really don’t think the media fell for it. Those are the tactics they use.

When we bring up stuff in the House of Assembly - questions, say, like yesterday, on Voisey’s Bay, Churchill Falls or IPL - the Premier is on his feet right away saying that were are here being irresponsible, asking irresponsible questions. What do they want? What does the government want, I ask you?

We, as elected representatives, are in this House of Assembly to do that very thing. That is what democracy is all about. Last week, November 11, we were all out on parade, laying wreaths in honor of the war vets - who are getting fewer and fewer at these functions each year - for the very right for us to be in here, in this House of Assembly, and to stand and ask questions. They try to ridicule us every time we are on our feet. Every time we are on our feet they are trying to ridicule us. not to be asking those questions. Mr. Speaker, what is this Province coming to?

Talk about coverups. The questions that were are asking, in trying to get to the bottom of it - this morning, Voisey’s Bay, asking questions on that.

 

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

 

MR. J. BYRNE: It is like this now. With respect to the Minister of Education, she is a constituent but I can tell you one thing: she didn’t vote against me.

 

MR. SHELLEY: She knew it was a waste of time, Jack.

 

MR. J. BYRNE: She knew it was a waste of time to vote against me, that’s right.

 

MR. SULLIVAN: He won by twenty-some hundred. He got all the other votes down there, didn’t he?

 

MR. J. BYRNE: Every vote in her lane where she lives.

 

MR. HARRIS: If she was smart, she would vote in her own district.

 

MR. J. BYRNE: Exactly.

As I was saying, we are talking about coverups here. The Minister of Mines and Energy is very good at this kind of stuff, to get up deflecting the issue, not answering the questions and coming back with responses - non-answers. When he was Minister of Education, he carried the government through this whole shemozzle with the education reform when it was going on. Anyway, I told the people what they should do. I did what my district told me to do.

Now he has the Voisey’s Bay situation and he will not answer questions on that. He will not answer questions on Churchill Falls. These are the issues that are directly basically related to this legislation. I will make the connection with respect to relevance, because I am sure someone over there is going to it say soon. I am talking about our natural resources. This piece of legislation is referring to a natural resource, the shipment of bulk water that the Minister of Mines and Energy was opposing us on all summer long in the Open Line shows, opposing us, saying that we basically are being foolish.

 

AN HON. MEMBER: He said we lied.

 

MR. J. BYRNE: I am not going to use that word in the House of Assembly. I am not going to say that in the House of Assembly, the word, the big L word, unless it really applies.

 

MR. T. OSBORNE: Jack, do you know why liar is one of his favourite words?

 

MR. J. BYRNE: Why?

 

MR. T. OSBORNE: Because it rhymes with retire.

 

MR. J. BYRNE: Oh, yes.

This legislation, when it is passed in this House of Assembly - when it is passed, I say - it is going to be good news for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, contrary to what many on that side of the House thought a few short months ago. It is going to allow us, hopefully - because the demand for water worldwide is increasing day by day. For example, in this Province alone, we do not know what ten or fifteen years down the road is going to bring, or what kind of demands we are going to need for clean, fresh water. We saw an example the past three days in the House, where we are asking questions with respect to water supplies in the Province. What impact now will this have on us in the future?

An individual told me the other day that David Suzuki, a well-known scientist, says that in a number of years, five or ten years down the road, Newfoundland will not know what snow is. So what impact will that have on our water reservoirs in the future if, in fact, that is true? Especially with the snow melting in the spring of the year and running into our water reservoirs.

I say that to the Minister of Mines and Energy, if he were listening. David Suzuki, a well-known scientist, stated that in five or ten years’ time Newfoundland may not know what snow is. We may not see it because of the global warming. I am saying, what impact will that have on this Province with respect to this legislation? I am saying that this is going to be a good thing for us, not only from the aspect of secondary processing, creating jobs and what have you, but it is going -

 

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

 

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy, on a point of order.

 

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, I just wonder if the member could further clarify what the connection is between concerns raised by pre-eminent people like David Suzuki over water levels, and whether they are there or not in fifteen years, as to whether that has anything to do with whether the water is put into a bottle or not? Suzuki’s concern, as I understand it, is that there may not be water to use, either to put into a bottle or not put into a bottle, and I do not understand the connection and the relevance to this piece of legislation.

 

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.

I cannot believe that the Minister of Mines and Energy, the man that this Province has in charge of our natural resources with respect to ores, trees, water, got up and asked that question and could not make the connection. To me, it is unbelievable. If that is the case and he truly believes what he just said, he should resign. I would be embarrassed if I were him. I am embarrassed to have him as the Minister of Mines and Energy. It is pathetic that he would ask that question. Can he not understand that in Newfoundland and Labrador, our water supplies, the ponds and the rivers in this Province, are so heavily dependent upon the spring runoff?

When we have a lot of snow, it brings our reservoirs up and helps get us through the summer months. Does he understand that if there is less water in these reservoirs that the demand for water all the time in the Province is going to be more important to us, rather than shipping it out of here in bulk, which is what he was supporting all summer long? We have him as the Minister of Mines and Energy. I am embarrassed to have him as the minister. I really think we should put someone in his place, someone like maybe the Minister of Environment.

 

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

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Minister of Mines and Energy, on a point of order.

 

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, just for clarification, because I am following the commentary very closely, I understand, then, that when we get to the Committee stage the hon. Member for Cape St. Francis will be suggesting that we delete section 5. Because, if the concern is that we are going to have environmental global warming and that there will be a lack of water in Newfoundland and Labrador, then certainly he will not agree to a statement that says the water can be shipped out in containers; because if we do not have any, which is the point he is making, it makes no more sense to send it out in a container than it does to send it out in bulk. Is he suggesting that he will be moving to delete section 5?

 

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.

Here, again, the minister is deliberately misunderstanding, in my mind, my words. What I am saying is that we should delete the minister!. That was pretty clear. I thought what I was saying here was pretty clear; but if I have to put it in black and white, I will write it down for you: resign!

 

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

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

 

MR. TULK: I wonder if the hon. gentlemen wants leave to do that?

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

 

MR. J. BYRNE: I was saying that we should be deleting the minister, no problem there, but if we had to pick someone from that side of the House - who? We need new blood over there. Ten years, fifty years for the Government House Leader. Let’s put some new blood in there. The Member for Bay of Islands, he looks like he might be alright, young new ideas. That is what we should be doing.

Let it be clear -

 

MR. TULK: Do you want me to delete him?

 

MR. J. BYRNE: If I had him on the computer and I could hit the delete button, he would be gone long ago. If I had him on the internet, he would be gone.

Let it be clear on this side of the House that I, as one, and everyone on this side of the House, certainly support the intent and the spirit of this legislation. In the days to come we will be discussing this clause-by-clause .

 

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

 

MR. J. BYRNE: Could I?

I have been asked by the Government House Leader if we could take a vote to delete the minister. I say, we have sixteen on this side of the House and we have one over there, the Bay of Islands, and Sir Gisborne of Bellevue will vote for it for sure.

Let it be clear, because I am still not clear where the Minister of Mines and Energy stands on this legislation.

 

AN HON. MEMBER: He will be out of the House.

 

MR. J. BYRNE: He may be out of the House, because he was against it all summer. He stood in the House of Assembly and didn’t say he supported it. Half an hour of speaking and he did not say he supported it. Not once did you say you supported it. Twenty-one minutes yesterday, nine minutes this morning. Two good ones sitting together now, Statler & Waldorf, the two that may oppose this legislation. I hope they will not. I hope it is unanimous, but I will say that the Member for Bellevue has a real dilemma on his hands, a real struggle in his own conscience: What is he going to do?

I would say he either will not be here for a vote or he will go against his conscience and go with the Premier, because the Premier will turn around and point and say, up, and up he gets. That is what is going to happen, especially if he deletes the Minister of Mines and Energy.

This is very important and very serious legislation, in my mind. I am hoping that it will get approval in due course in this House of Assembly. I think it is going to impact in the future upon the people of this Province probably more so than any other piece of legislation that we have had here in some time. That is why we have to be so very careful in what we are approving in this House of Assembly, that we do not rush like the Government House Leader wanted us to do yesterday.

 

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

 

MR. J. BYRNE: Yes, he was trying to rush it through the House yesterday.

In my mind, as I said, we will be supporting this legislation in due course, I think, when we all go through the clauses, clause-by-clause , in second and third reading or what have you. I do not know what other legislation - we have some here that is going to some before us in the near future.

I would say this is probably one of the most important that I have seen here, although... That is another point. Yesterday, the Government House Leader was on his feet -

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member’s time is up.

 

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

 

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

 

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

 

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

 

MR. J. BYRNE: In conclusion, here we have a couple of sheets. We have had legislation here a half inch thick, that is probably not as important as this piece of legislation, but the Government House Leader was on his feet yesterday saying: Sure, there is nothing to it. It is only a couple of pages.

 

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

 

MR. J. BYRNE: Who? Oh, the Premier. I am sorry, I stand corrected. I apologize to the Government House Leader. The Premier said that.

It is only a couple of pages long but the content and the quality of legislation, although it may appear to be brief, is very, very important. I think we will prove it in due course and I will be supporting it in due course.

Thank you.

 

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

 

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

It is really interesting to hear the debate back and forth across the House of Assembly on this Bill that they wanted to rush through on second reading and not have anything to say about. It is really interesting to hear especially the minister -

 

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

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

 

MR. TULK: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

(Inaudible) understand that the hon. gentleman obviously has floating around in his head. There is no rush to get the legislation done. Let me just say to the hon. gentleman that we wanted to introduce it and give everybody a chance to debate it and then pass it, but there is no big rush to get it through, to say, don’t speak or don’t do this or don’t do that. Just get it together. You fellows wanted it passed. We said: Yes, let’s do it. Let’s give everybody a chance to say their stuff.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order

 

 

MR. TULK: There is no rush.

.

 

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

 

MR. SHELLEY: As usual, since this debate started and they tried to rush second reading through the House, it is the same again. There is no point, there is no order, and there is no point of order as you have said.

 

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

 

MR. SHELLEY: They did, on the second reading, but we decided that with such an important piece of legislation - which I will speak to directly - that we will be looking at it very, very closely. Just because it is a couple of pages, as was said yesterday by the Premier, just a couple of pages, one line is all it takes for a mistake. One word is all it takes for a mistake. If you want to go further than that, one letter can make a mistake in a piece of legislation, which has been seen before.

There have been a few typos by this government over the last few years. That is where the mistakes start; that is where the typos start. One of the typos could have been easily corrected - like the Member for Cape St. Francis said - by hitting the delete button on the computer.

 

AN HON. MEMBER: There’s a whole bill of them, look.

 

MR. SHELLEY: Yes, there are all kinds of - remove anomalies and errors in the statute of law. There are all kinds of examples of -

 

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

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A point of order, the hon. the Government House Leader.

 

MR. TULK: (Inaudible) recall that was made in this Legislature in terms of legislation was made, I think, some two years ago when I trusted, to the ability of the Opposition Leader, the Member for Kilbride, when he came across here with an amendment that he wanted made to some bill. I thought, to be frank with you, I had faith in him, I had all the confidence in the world in him, and said: Yes, if you say so then we will do that.

I discovered later that my confidence in the Leader of the Opposition was ill-founded. To be frank with you; yes, I confess that we had to call the House back in the middle of the summer to change the mistake that the hon. gentleman had made. That is the only amendment that I know that has had to changed by this government, and that was made.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Baie Verte.

 

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Speaker, in my efficient research -

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I recognize the Member for Baie Verte.

 

MR. SHELLEY: In my efficient research, in some thirty seconds since the minister stood to his feet to say there was only one mistake, I just happened to reach down at the desk, with my colleague’s helped -

 

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

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

 

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Speaker, this can’t go on all day.

 

 

MR. TULK: I am going to do this, and this is the last time.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

 

MR. TULK: The hon. gentleman, as usual, is trusting somebody else to do his little bit of research. The Leader of NDP just had to inform him about a piece of legislation. That is a mistake, I say to the hon. gentleman again, that was made - your research is wrong again - by governments other than this one.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

This is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Baie Verte.

 

MR. SHELLEY: I guess, Mr. Speaker, the first point is: How come it has taken you ten years to correct it? Secondly, in the statute of law, twenty-nine errors and anomalies in one piece of legislation. Then you wonder why the minister doesn’t know what is going on.

First of all, when this whole debate started - I will get back to my point - the Minister of Mines and Energy gets on his feet and starts to talk about our experts. Well, he should remember, if he let his memory float back a little bit... I remember the day in the House of Assembly when the Member for St. John’s South first raised the issue on this whole situation with bulk export, and talked about NAFTA. It is not reported in Hansard. Do you know why? Because there was no response from him - verbal response. Do you know what they did? Three or four of them - I can pick them out and tell you - laughed. What is he talking about NAFTA? That is not connected to NAFTA. What a load of rubbish. What a load of nonsense.

Of course, the Minister of Mines and Energy continues to say - like he called the Open Line one day. He was the Acting Minister of Environment and he was the Acting Minister of Health, and he was the acting minister of something else another day, and he calls in and says: Hello, Bill. This is the Minister of Mines and Energy, but I am not calling on mines and energy today but something else.

 

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

 

MR. SHELLEY: Yes, they are going to hit that delete button real soon now, Mr. Speaker.

He wasn’t the minister of what he was supposed to be - he was acting, acting, acting - to tell us that this is all hogwash, that these implications we were talking about with NAFTA are not going to happen, and he continues to say that, Mr. Speaker.

Now, the question I have for the Minister of Mines and Energy - if you believe what you are saying, if you believe that all this is rubbish, if you believe that there are no implications for NAFTA, the simple question is - why is the government, your government, your Cabinet, now supporting it? What is your reason for now supporting it, if you tell all of us here today that it is all rubbish? That is the hypocritical part that I cannot get hold of, and I would like the minister - and I am sure he will get up again - to explain that to us. If it was all that he said on the Open Line, if it was all that he said here today, why are we standing here in this House of Assembly today with a government that is going to support it?

Unless the Minister of Mines and Energy is, on D-Day, going to stand in his place and vote against the government, maybe. Mr. Speaker, I doubt it very much, because the truth is that this debate that has started on this whole issue all derives from the debate in this Province of resource giveaways. That is why this issue got so sensitive.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I have recognized the Member for Baie Verte.

 

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

The reason why this debate has started as loud as it has by the people in the Province - a lot that government underestimated by the way. That was their mistake in this whole venture; they underestimated the sensitivity of this particular issue as it relates to resource giveaways. This is at the top of their list now. They have seen the Churchill Falls, they have seen IOC and the pellet plant, and year after year they have seen it with the fish, they have seen it with the forestry, they have seen it with everything, and this was at the top and they said, this is it. This was the last draw for people in this Province, to say: Not again; we are not sending it out.

Then we had those silly, silly arguments that, instead of letting water flow to the ocean every day, we can make money by sticking in a tanker and sending it out.

I was away recently on a trip in another country where they actually talked about the shortage of water and how valuable water will be in the very near future. Here we are in the small Province of Newfoundland, in this big world or ours, and it is time for us to realize what a valuable resource we had right under our noses. That is the whole point. Do you realize that is in some parts of Asia - this is a fact now, something for the Member for Bellevue to understand. Because we don’t know really where he is yet. I am sure he is going to point at me like he pointed at the Premier’s chair the other day and said the Premier was wrong. He said it twice. He said: The Premier is wrong, and he pointed at the chair.

 

AN HON. MEMBER: Who said that?

 

MR. SHELLEY: The Member for Bellevue pointed in the House of Assembly right to the Premier’s chair twice, not once, and said he was wrong. He stood - and it is in Hansard, if you do not believe what I just said - and said: In ten to fifteen years from now, I will be proven right, that bulk water should go out of the Province. That is what he said in Hansard.

Some facts you gather up as you go along the way. In Asia, do you know how much a small bottle of water costs right now? One bottle. You can get it on the Internet, too. I have a list of prices on the Internet.

 

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SHELLEY: Just let me tell you, if you are interested. Do not push it away. You can get it on the Internet, I say to the Member for Twillingate & Fogo, if he wants to look it up. Eight dollars for one bottle in parts of Asia. You can look it up on the Internet. Anybody can find out. I will give you a web address for Water Vision. Here is an address for the Member for Twillingate & Fogo to get some information. Now get your pen ready, I say to the Member for Bellevue, for some information, because obviously you do not use the computer much. I’m going to give you an address now: If you are interested in getting facts, look it up. That is the World Water Vision. There is a lot of information there on prices, about all the studies done on water. There is everything on that. There is an incredible amount.

It really goes to show you that if you want to look outside our Province and go worldwide on this particular issue, which this Province should -

 

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SHELLEY: I do my research, I say to the Member for Twillingate & Fogo. When you go on that Internet and if you keep looking around for information, it is incredible. I will put all that rhetoric aside. It is really incredible when you really get out there in the world, in the global market, and look at how important water is. It is incredible. Eight dollars for a bottle of water in Asia. In Russia I think it is $6. As a matter of fact, when you go to the stores in Asia and parts of South America and so on, you can get beer, liquors and wine cheaper than you can get water.

We have right under out noses. Everywhere you go in the world, it is mentioned of the pristine water of Canada, but especially Newfoundland, that we have in our environment. It is incredible. Right under our noses.

 

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SHELLEY: That is a government problem that you should have handled a long time ago.

 

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) House of Assembly (inaudible)!

 

MR. SHELLEY: We are not talking about the municipalities’ water supply, you (inaudible).

 

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SHELLEY: I said "id." It came close, though.

Mr. Speaker, that is the fact of it, that we have that very resource right here in this Province under our noses. We all should be very tight on this so-called two pages of legislation. We should all be very careful before we all jump up and say yes.

Yes, we all support the spirit and the intent of the bill, but we are going to make sure, down to every word, letter and period in that bill, that it is the best, it is solid and fool-proof. That is what we have to do. That is why the Member for St. John’s South keeps bringing up the points. He has said there may be implications, and that what he has said over and over. That is apparently the Premier’s argument now for supporting it, according to yesterday’s press conference. According to yesterday’s press conference, the Premier’s reason for bringing this legislation in is to make sure that the implications and to follow the national agenda -

 

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SHELLEY: Yes, sir. I was going to call you something else.

Mr. Speaker, he is trying to take me off my train of thought, but the train of thought I am going to stick to. Because I’ve tried to listen to the Minister of Mines and Energy, because he advised me this morning. I said: I’m going to take his advice this morning. He said stick to the bill and to the issue. That what I have been doing for the ten minutes I have been up, talking about water export and this particular bill.

We are into second reading. We are going to get very specific when we get to Committee and bring out the points, the lettering, the periods, whatever we have to bring out, because this is an important piece of legislation. It is nice to jump up and down. I guess the Premier wants us after the press conference to jump up and down and say we are all together now. We can link arms and go forward on this. Hopefully, we will. However, there is nothing wrong with taking a few days and a few hours to make sure all parties in this House read through it specifically and be very careful that we do it right. This is another resource. Remember, we all thought we had it right with Churchill Falls. Too bad some people did not read between the lines and cross the `t’s and dot the `i’ s when we did Churchill Falls, the one that our children will be talking about for generations to come. Not this time. This is one water export, this is one thing in this Province that we have to do right this time. That is why.

The reason why many people say: I am glad you did not pass that quickly yesterday, I am glad you did not rush that second reading, because everything should be taken in its time, is because of one simple thing: trust. That is the whole idea, that is what this all came down to.

The issue has been very sensitive to Newfoundlanders and it has taken on a life of its own through a lot of people across this Province. A lot of points and a lot of information were brought forward by people in general. You can name names. People bring up names in this House on personal people. We should not be attacking people personally no matter who they are, if they have the interest of the people in this Province. I am sure that as time goes we will get our chance in this House of Assembly to look at each and every single one. Because the day that the Member for St. John’s South brought this issue to the forefront in this House, like so many other issues lately, it seems as though - taxation, as an example - what has happened after is that the government decides to follow. It is too bad we could not do something about the fine print on the taxation when we found out what the real result was for low income people in this Province. What a great boost it is. What a great boost the taxation relief is for the low income people in this Province. There are going to buy a lot of Christmas gifts this year with the taxation relief they receive. That is where the fine print came in.

So when it comes to this particular bill, and though we are on second reading, look through it, and every member in this House should stand and talk about it. They should, Mr. Speaker. I am glad the Minister of Mines and Energy got up this morning. The Member for Cape St. Francis is absolutely right, that although we agree with the spirit and the intent of the bill, as an Opposition and Members of this Legislature, it is both our duty and imperative that we look at it very carefully and that we study it for implications for the long-term. Not that it is good this year and then all of a sudden we find out next year there is something wrong with it. We cannot be doing that. I think it is the responsible thing to do. It is our duty and that is what we will do. I’m sure as this debate continues and we do get into the Committee stage some more interesting facts outside of Newfoundland, as it affects us globally, in the global markets, and the resource that we have under our very nose, it will become more obvious how important it is that we do it right this time.

I would encourage all members of the House, especially those closest to it, to get up and make their comments as they see it. That is what they should do, stand in their place on an issue that is going to be written in the history books, that will be there long after we are gone. As a matter of fact, it will be very soon for some people. Long after we are gone people will read this piece of legislation and hopefully our children, at the end of the day, can say that a government back ten or fifteen years ago did the right thing this time. So that people, like in our generation today, do not have to look back every day and talk about Churchill Falls and the giveaways we have done in this Province. That is what this is about. That is why, principally, it is so important that we do that.

Those are my concluding comments for this part of the bill, for the second reading, but as we head into the specifics of Committee stage we are going to bring up more relevant points that make sure that from the very first letter to the last period, on this piece of legislation, that it is right and is best for the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and that it is best for the future of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

 

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

 

MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a privilege for me this morning to get to rise and speak on this bill, to make some comments about this bill and to make some comments about the whole process.

It was very interesting yesterday. There was a motion put to the floor that we would pass this bill immediately, that we would unanimously support this bill.

 

MR. J. BYRNE: (Inaudible) the bill (inaudible).

 

MR. BARRETT: If the hon. Member for Cape St. Francis would be quiet I would like to make my comments, please.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

 

MR. BARRETT: It was interesting that there was a motion to put this Bill and pass it immediately, and I assumed that the hon. members of the Opposition would go for it unanimously because all during the summer, when this debate was going on, they were calling into Open Line programs and screaming, shouting and bawling and saying that the House of Assembly should be open. You should open the House of Assembly and pass a bill to ban the export of water.

The hon. Member for St. John’s South was on Open Line every morning saying that we should open the House of Assembly and we should pass legislation immediately. As a matter of fact, if we opened the House of Assembly we would give you unanimous consent. Yesterday, they refused to do that. It gets back to really -

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

 

MR. BARRETT: They are not interested in the bulk shipment of water or bottling plants or anything else. They are not interested in jobs in Newfoundland. They are not interested in anything else - only playing pure politics with any issue. That is all they are famous for and that is what they are doing.

 

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

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

 

MR. T. OSBORNE: The Member for Bellevue said that yesterday I refused to give consent to this. I challenge him to find that on the record, because I certainly did not.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Bellevue.

 

MR. BARRETT: In response to the hon. Member for St. John’s South, I assume, over there, that the House Leader speaks for the caucus. I assume that is the - normally in Parliaments, if the House Leader does not give consent then the reason the hon. Member for St. John’s South did not give unanimous consent - he wanted House opened immediately last July and August and he would not give unanimous consent for this Bill to be passed yesterday. It was of such urgency that we needed to pass it immediately. Why did he not give his consent yesterday?

 

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

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

 

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

The Member for Bellevue just made a comment, or he asked a question, basically: Does our Opposition House Leader speak for him? Well, I have a question for him: Does the Premier speak for you?

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Bellevue.

 

MR. BARRETT: It is interesting; they would not give unanimous consent to this Bill because it was so important that they needed it to pass -

 

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible). It was on the Order Paper.

 

MR. BARRETT: The Opposition House Leader knows what happened yesterday. They were screaming, shouting and bawling that we should pass this legislation immediately, but do you know why they could not do it? Because they had to go outside of Newfoundland and Labrador to hire lawyers to get advice. What happened to the lawyers that we have in Newfoundland? You talk about jobs in Newfoundland and Labrador. We have -

 

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

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Opposition House Leader, on a point of order.

 

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

Just to let the member know that on yesterday’s Order Paper, Bill 31 was on the Order Paper for second reading and it could be called without any consent just on the request of the Government House Leader. I just want to make it clear for the record, that is the proper procedure and that it was certainly in order to do that. They did not need unanimous consent. I want to let the Member for Bellevue know that.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Bellevue.

 

MR. T. OSBORNE: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

 

MR. T. OSBORNE: Mr. Speaker, the Member for Bellevue said we had to go outside of Newfoundland to get a lawyer. The lawyer that we are getting advice from is a NAFTA lawyer and, to my knowledge, the only NAFTA lawyer in St. John’s sits on the Tribunal Panel and it would be against his privileges to give us advice because he sits on the Tribunal Panel.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Bellevue.

 

MR. BARRETT: It is interesting that the Leader of the Opposition says that the resident expert on NAFTA and bulk shipment of water is the Member for St. John’s South. He did not trust his expertise so he had to go outside of the Province and hire a lawyer in Toronto to give him expertise. What happened to Mr. Crosbie? Where is John, the guy who wrote and negotiated the NAFTA agreement? Why didn’t you go to Mr. Crosbie? Why didn’t you go to the Member for Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi? He has a full-time law practice. The Member for Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi has a full-time law practice. Go to him.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

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

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

 

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I understand that the lawyer he refers to, Mr. Crosbie, is on record as not having read the NAFTA agreement.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

 

MR. BARRETT: Anyway, it is getting much more difficult to make a speech in this House.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The noise level in the House was such that I did not hear the point of order put forward by the Member for Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi.

 

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I was pointing out that the lawyer to whom the hon. member refers, Mr. Crosbie, is on record as having said that he did not read the NAFTA agreement so I do not know how he would be consulted on such an issue.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Bellevue.

 

MR. BARRETT: The hon. Member for Placentia & St. Mary’s will find out in due course whether the hon. member supports the Bill.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

 

MR. BARRETT: The hon. member will find out in due course.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

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

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Placentia & St. Mary’s, on a point of order.

 

MR. MANNING: The hon. member stands in his place and wonders why we will not rush through this Bill, because we want time to look at it and study the Bill. I ask him, if he is in such a hurry to get it passed, why doesn’t he stand in his place and tell if he supports the piece of legislation?

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

 

MR. MANNING: Have the guts to stand up and tell if you support it or not.

 

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

 

MR. BARRETT: If you want to go and get the transcripts, if you want to have the transcript of the taping that I did at CBC, if you want a transcript of the Open Line programs - the transcripts for the Open Line programs - I have a lot of the transcripts for the Open Line programs, because I was watching the debate very carefully.

An interesting thing is that every time that the Member for St. John’s South called into the Open Line programs, he said: I don’t have any proof of this, but I am led to believe and I think from various sources that a deal is already done. There has been a golden handshake - this is verbatim in terms of what the hon. Member for St. John’s South - there has been a deal -

 

AN HON. MEMBER: A meeting in Central Newfoundland.

 

MR. BARRETT: There has been a meeting in Central Newfoundland, and I wonder which Cabinet ministers are in on it. Is the Minister of Justice in on it?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No.

 

MR. BARRETT: Is the Minister of Mines and Energy in on it?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No.

 

MR. BARRETT: Is the Minister of Forest Resources and Agrifoods in on it?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No.

 

MR. BARRETT: Is the Premier in on it?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No.

 

MR. BARRETT: The Minister of Development of Rural Renewal, is he in on it?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No.

 

MR. BARRETT: The Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No.

 

MR. BARRETT: The Minister of Health and Community Services?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No.

 

MR. BARRETT: The Minister of Human Resources and Employment?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No.

 

MR. BARRETT: The Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No.

 

MR. BARRETT: The Minister of Environment and Labour?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No.

 

MR. BARRETT: Nobody. None of the minister over here have an investment in the McCurdy proposal. How strange, but the hon. Member for St. John’s South said: I have no proof but there has been a golden handshake and I know that there are a few Cabinet ministers who are involved and they are investing in this thing.

He actually made these comments on an Open Line program.

 

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

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

 

MR. T. OSBORNE: Mr. Speaker, at no time did I implicate that there were ministers investing in this, and for the Member for Bellevue to say that, is simply untrue.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I recognize the Member for Bellevue.

 

MR. BARRETT: The hon. Member for St. John’s South just said that something I said was untrue. I can get you the transcript.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

 

MR. TULK: You cannot say the member is saying something untrue. The word I -

 

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

 

MR. TULK: What is wrong with you now? What is wrong now, Harvey? Harvey, what stirred you this morning?

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman cannot say that something is untrue, because the word -

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Government House Leader.

 

MR. TULK: Why is it that on Friday mornings, and only on Friday mornings, they are like piranhas; every time you stand up, they come after you.

Mr. Speaker, the truth is that you cannot say that somebody is being untruthful. You can say that the statements that he made are untrue, but you cannot say that somebody is being untruthful. You cannot say that.

 

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

 

MR. TULK: I am just suggesting it to the Speaker. I am asking the Speaker for the ruling. Does the Member for Placentia & St. Mary’s understand? Does the Member for Placentia understand that you can ask the Speaker to rule on something? Does he understand anything? I am asking the Speaker -

 

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I recognize the Government House Leader on a point of order.

 

MR. TULK: I am on a point of order.

 

MR. MANNING: (Inaudible).

 

MR. TULK: Yes, but I have to finish mine first. You must know that I have to finish mine first.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the Member for Placentia & St. Mary’s to take his seat. We will finish the order (inaudible).

 

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

 

MR. TULK: Right. If you want to make a point of order later, feel free.

Mr. Speaker, you can’t stand and make that statement because it is the same as saying that it is the lie.. He can say that the facts are untrue but he cannot say that the member is telling something that is untrue. He cannot say that.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Quite frankly, the noise level in the Assembly this morning is such that I did not hear him. We will research Hansard and we will make a decision and get back to the Legislature at a later date.

I recognize the Member for Bellevue.

 

MR. BARRETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

What I said, and I will put it on the record again, was that the hon. Member for St. John’s South, to an Open Line program, was talking about the golden handshakes, he was talking about the cabinet minister who were involved, and there seemed to be some people who are, in other words, lining their pockets because of this particular proposal.

The hon. Member for Bellevue was always up front in terms of - and talked about this particular proposal. I was in favor of the Gisborne Lake, the McCurdy proposal, but I always said in my comments - you can get the transcripts from Open Line, you can get the transcripts from CBC that I did the taping for - right up front I always indicated that I was against the bulk shipment of water. I always was against the bulk shipment of water and I will say it again and again and again. I am against the bulk shipment of water. I am all in favor of getting jobs in Newfoundland and Labrador.

What I did indicate was that the McCurdy proposal had a proposal in that indicated that he was going to take the bulk shipment of water but he was also going to have a bottling plant and he was also going to have a plant that would make the bottles. I saw it as a great opportunity for investment, a great opportunity to provide jobs in my district, and I did my best to lobby this government. As a matter of fact, I was continuously lobbying the Cabinet, the Premier and everybody else, to make sure that this proposal would go ahead. Unfortunately, it got sidetracked by a lot of people on the Open Line programs with misinformation.

The hon. the Member for Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi one morning called in, rushed to the phone and said: I have to call in to the Open Line program because this McCurdy group is going to take the water out of Newfoundland and they are going to bottle it in Montreal - a complete fabrication. There was no indication of him taking the water out of Gisborne Lake and sending it to a bottling plant. They put the Newfoundland population right in a frenzy, got really emotionally involved in the whole issue.

 

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

 

MR. BARRETT: I wish the hon. Member for Placentia & St. Mary’s would stay quite. Mr. Speaker, I would request silence while I am making this speech. I think this is a very important issue for my district. I was elected and sent here to represent the views of my constituents, and I saw this proposal as a start of a new industry for Newfoundland and Labrador.

The hon. member for Baie Verte talked this morning about over in Southeast Asia, that a bottle of water this big is $8. How come True North and all the other bottling plants in Newfoundland are not selling that water in Asia if we can get $8 a bottle for it? How come we are not selling it? How come there are not people lined up outside the door of Confederation Building now for a bottling plant for Gisborne Lake?

 

MR. H. HODDER: A point of order, Mr. Speaker.

 

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

 

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

I refer to section 49 of Beauchesne, page 145, and it concerns the use of the word fabrication.

Just a few moments ago, the Member for Bellevue said that the member over here has been fabricating a statement. It is very clear because it says, in the adjournment debates dated January 30, 1961, from the House of Commons: When accusing one of fabricating a statement is unparliamentary. Since 1958 it has been ruled unparliamentary to use the following expressions...

Fabricating a statement is clearly against the rules, as shown in House of Commons in Ottawa, and I ask the Speaker if he would ask the member to withdraw that statement.

 

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair definitely heard the Member for Bellevue use the word fabricate or fabricating. I am not sure in what context he used it, so I will review Hansard and will come back with a ruling at a later date.

The hon. the Member for Bellevue.

 

MR. BARRETT: It is very difficult to give a speech when there are so many interruptions. Obviously -

 

MR. MANNING: We want to know what you stand.

 

MR. BARRETT: You know where I stand. Everybody in the Province knows where I stand. I just said to you -

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

 

MR BARRETT: Will you ask the Member for Lewisporte where he stands? The Member for Lewisporte indicated to Mr. White that he supported his proposal.

There is one thing about it, I will not have to go for my walk today because I get enough exercise getting up and down.

The hon. Member for Lewisporte supported this proposal at the time.

 

AN HON. MEMBER: He should not be talking about people when they are not in the House, Mr. Speaker.

 

MR. BARRETT: I never said that he wasn’t in the House. I just said that the hon. Member for Lewisporte supported the proponent on his proposal. That is all I said. I never indicated - I am well aware that the hon. the Member for Lewisporte... Our thoughts and prayers are with the Member for Lewisporte. I am not saying anything disparaging against the Member for Lewisporte. I realize the difficulty that he is going through in his life right now, and I would not be up here today to mention his absence from the House. All I am saying is that the hon. Member for Lewisporte is on the record as indicating that he supported the McCurdy Group of Companies in their proposal.

I want to go on record as saying that I was always against the bulk shipment of water, but I saw this as a great opportunity for my district. I saw a great opportunity to provide jobs. I also saw it as a great opportunity to provide revenue for the Province. We heard yesterday - and I knew long before this - of all the water that comes out of B.C., the B.C. government gets $27,000 in royalties. I listened to the Sue Dyers of the world and everybody else on the Open Line programs this summer saying: What a great resource we have; all the money we could get in royalties from this great resource. As a matter of fact, one morning she called in and said: The hon. Member for Bellevue is either ignorant or he is corrupt.

I can assure you that the hon. Member for Bellevue has no connection whatsoever with Gerry White or the McCurdy Group of Companies. He is certainly not ignorant.

 

AN HON. MEMBER: And he is certainly not corrupt.

 

MR. BARRETT: And he is certainly not corrupt.

The hon. Member for Bellevue has never, ever received a campaign donation from Gerry White. For the woman to say that the hon. Member for Bellevue was corrupt -

 

AN HON. MEMBER: That is the typical way it is done.

 

MR. BARRETT: Yes, it plays on attacking individuals rather than looking at the issues. Up to this point, I have put up a -

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

 

MR. BARRETT: Up to this point I have done my best as the elected representative for Bellevue to present the views of my constituents and to advance as far as I could this particular proposal. Someone said to me the other day: Do you support this government? Yes, I endorse this government 100 per cent. Why wouldn’t I endorse this government 100 per cent?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

MR. BARRETT: I have sat on this side of the House for the last ten years and seven months today. There have been issues that I have disagreed about with this government. There have been issues that I fought against this government, the previous government. There have been issues that I have fought against the government on, but at the end of the day I supported the government. I am one person in thirty-two who feels this way. What is to be accomplished for me to get up here and vote against the government? Nothing. I have lost this battle, but I will live to fight another day. I have lost the battle, but I can assure you that there have been battles that I have won.

 

AN HON. MEMBER: You were told (inaudible).

 

MR. BARRETT: Nobody tells the hon. Member for Bellevue what to do. I can assure you that this member is never told what to do. The hon. Member for Placentia & St. Mary’s may be told what to do, but this hon. member is not told what to do.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

MR. BARRETT: Charlie may tell you what to do, but there is no Charlie over here to tell the hon. Member for Bellevue what to do. We have no Charlies on this side to tell us what to do or what not to do.

There is nothing to be accomplished by me opposing the government. I presented the case. I have done my best. I have lost the battle, but the war is not over. There will be another day. I remember that for eight years I was against the government’s proposal to divide the highway through Whitbourne. It took me eight years to win the battle. If we want to talk about battles won and battles lost, I have lost this battle, but I will be back to see another day.

I am supporting ministers like the Ministers of Finance, Mines and Energy, Development and Rural Renewal, Environment and Labour, and Municipal and Provincial Affairs, and all my colleagues on this side of the House. So when the vote is counted on this particular bill it will be unanimous. I will not oppose the government, or vote against the government that I was elected to be part of. I am a part of this team. Over here it is a team, and members of the team can express their point of view when they feel differently about a particular issue. I feel comfortable on this side of the House to be able to stand and be able to say to the people, the Cabinet, and to other members that I think you are wrong. Obviously, in this case, I must be the one wrong, because 90 per cent of the people in Newfoundland feel differently than I do.

I have had my say. I have supported my constituents in their battle to get an industry, and we have lost, but I can assure you one thing, that I have the commitment of the federal and the provincial governments, and if there is money available and if there is a proponent who comes forward tomorrow, this member will work to make sure there will be a bottling plant in Grand Le Pierre, in Newfoundland and Labrador.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

MR. BARRETT: I will do everything I can, and I am part of a committee now that will be looking at the royalty schemes. In my travels I will be promoting Gisborne Lake, and one of the greatest accomplishments for me will be when I am in Grand Le Pierre, one of those days, and we are opening a bottling plant.

You know something? All those people who said that it is so profitable, and there is so much money out there, and there is such big demand, the only way that a bottling plant will ever go in Grand Le Pierre and water will come out of Gisborne Lake is if the Minister of Finance in this government forks over some money, or the Minister of Finance in Ottawa. It is not such a viable industry, it is not so lucrative as people think it is. If it is, why did the people in Springdale, the True North and all the other people need such a great subsidy? If you can get $8 a bottle for a small bottle in Asia, why isn’t there a line-up of people outside of Confederation Building now trying to get permits? This summer I was expecting to be on the phone continuously, that there would be all kinds of developers lined up to get the water out of Gisborne Lake so they could bottle it and make all this money that is available. So yes, hon. members, and to my hon. colleagues, who know where I stand, when the vote is called on this particular bill I will stand with the team that I was elected to be with.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

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

 

MR. FRENCH: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I’m glad today to rise on this particular piece of legislation. It is a piece of legislation that I’ve wanted to see for some time.

 

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!

 

MR. FRENCH: Mr. Speaker, do we have a slush fund in the House of Assembly so we can buy a muzzle for the Member for Humber East? I have listened to him talk now for three days when everybody is on their feet. Would he get up, and if has got something, would he please say to me exactly what he wants to say?

I am glad to see this piece of legislation coming forward. It is a piece of legislation that I, for one, wanted to see come forward in this Province. It is a piece of legislation that I think we should see. I won’t be standing in my place today pointing at somebody, telling somebody they were wrong. I will not do that. I certainly will not do it to my Leader as I saw happen in the House three days ago. It is a very important piece of legislation. It is a piece of legislation such that before anybody really got into this we probably should have had this legislation in the House of Assembly.

I was told something this summer a professor in a university, I say to the Member for Bellevue, from Houston, Texas. I got a message from this gentleman, who said to me: If there is one thing you people should do in Newfoundland and Labrador it is protect your water. Protect your rights to the water, protect how you handle your water, because in a few years time water is going to be one of the greatest commodities on God’s given earth. We should protect our rights to that water. We should have the proper legislation in place.

I realize there has been now a committee struck - I believe the Minister of Environment is part of that committee - to come back to the House with a royalty regime on the exporting of water from this Province. I say to the Member for Bellevue that I’m totally against the exporting of bulk water. I think the water that goes out of this Province should be bottled. I too would like to see a bottling plant in Gisborne Lake or somewhere in this Province where the water can be bottled and then shipped out. I hope and pray to goodness that that day comes so we can employ more Newfoundlanders in this Province by giving them the right to bottle what is naturally ours, naturally belongs to us, and we are now going to bottle this water here in our Province and we are going to ship it all around this globe.

I believe that is what we should be doing and I hope that is what this particular piece of legislation is going to do in this House. It is now going to make us derive all the benefits from the resource that we have, a resource that cost us absolutely nothing. It is a resource that is here and it is a resource that we should be taking full advantage of. I am glad to see this legislation. It is a piece of legislation that I, for one, will have no problem in supporting.

I am not sure about the Minister for Mines and Energy, I am not sure if he is going to support it or not. He spoke for twenty-eight or twenty-nine minutes and he never did tell us whether he was for the legislation or against it. It is a piece of legislation that I am certainly in favor of and certainly will support when the time comes. I would only hope that the time comes when we can bottle this water in the Province and we can export it out of here, much sooner rather than later.

Mr. Speaker, I thank you for those few minutes.

 

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

 

MR. LANGDON: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SULLIVAN: Oh yes, I understand.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

 

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I’m glad to have an opportunity to have a few comments on the export of bulk water. I’m delighted to see a change. Over three years ago I traveled around this Province and spoke to different groups and organization from Labrador, the West Coast, Central Newfoundland, on this. One of the main things, one of the four things I addressed on resources over three years ago before it was a topical item here, was water and the future in our Province.

 

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, I was, that is right. I decided in December 1998 I did not want to be, if you want to get the record straight.

 

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!.

 

MR. SULLIVAN: The ‘sandbagger’ from Humber East, the guy who took the hum off the Humber. We had someone put it on it and now we have someone taking the hum off the Humber. We were twenty years trying to get the hum on the Humber, now we have to take it off again. All we have now is a ‘ber’ out of him. The hum is gone. All we here is ‘ber, ber, ber.’ That is all we here. Sometimes we hear a hum but it is pretty disjointed.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SULLIVAN: That is right.

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

 

MR. SULLIVAN: There are a lot of people in this Province on waiting lists waiting to get a knife and get surgery, I say to the minister. They cannot get because you are doing nothing about it, I would say.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

MR. SULLIVAN: You should be more concerned with the long waiting list in this Province for heart surgery, for orthopedics, for gynecological surgeries and others. That is what you should be interested in.

 

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

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please,

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

 

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, on the principles of a bill relevancy is considered to be very wide-ranging, but the I think the hon. gentleman is straying a bit.

 

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. member to get to the debate.

 

MR. SULLIVAN: I would like to inform you that water constitutes a major part of the living system of organisms, and in her role as minister, her job is to keep them alive so we can continue to have a significant part. That is one of the roles of the Minister of Health.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

 

MR. SULLIVAN: Export of bulk water should be forbidden, period, and this legislation is going to do that, we certainly hope, not just for the short term but for the long term, and whatever happens then happens. The member who doesn’t, I know, speak for government, has made some comments that were contrary, but he has indicated: Look, they aren’t knocking down the doors in this Province to start bottling water. The point is this. If you ship it out in bulk and you allow it to happen, you will never get that. My philosophy on our resources is if we cannot maximize it to the advantage of the Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, keep it. Do not give it away. Keep it.

The same applies whether it is Inco in Voisey’s Bay and the rich ore that is there. If we cannot maximize it and process it here on the same comparison, we cannot refine it here, leave it there. That is what I would say. I have said it from day one, and I agree, leave it there. If we cannot do it with water, you leave it there.

People are starting to realize today, the oil companies even, major international corporations, they are looking at getting in on bottled water. Paul Desmarais of the Power Corporation said over three-and-a-half or four years ago, I heard, that it is tomorrow’s gold. We have to realize that we have significant water resources here, and we want to protect them. We would like to have safer water to drink in our Province and that is certainly on the topic. As we mentioned in 1993 - and someone asked questions around the House, I will get a chance to discuss it under this bill, because it is a broad-ranging bill here on water - up until 1993, 350 parts per billion, or 350 micrograms per liter, was acceptable by Health Canada. They changed the level in 1993 down to one hundred micrograms per liter or, in common terms, a hundred parts per billion.

Now the United States is moving down to eighty micrograms per liter because of new scientific evidence, new research, new efforts by the health department. Scientists out there are starting to find out that the four basic parts of chlorinated water - and there are four. It isn’t just chlorine. In this case it is chlorine. There are four members, we will call them. In case people do not know, (inaudible) the halogen family, four different organic compounds can be formed. There are four basic ones from the methane base that is normally there. We can have chlorine added to the water, which is done here in this Province. When you get three chlorine replacing hydrogen in that, that is when you get this substance called trichloromethane, or trihalogen, because they are the halogen family. That is what is happening here with the treatment. We want to preserve and deal with water that does not have this contamination if possible, and if it is, we have to use the resources to be able to treat it, and be able to ensure that it is safe.

We had opportunities here. The Department of Health alerts us on beaver fever, and we do not get alerts on something that has been proven scientifically to cause cancer of the bladder? It has been shown in some studies, inconclusive in others because research is ongoing, that colon and rectal cancer have been caused, birth deformities, neural tube deficiencies. We should be sending out precautions to people to say: Here is what could happen, here is what is shown to happen here, and do something even as low as 100 micrograms per liter. Here we had 350 micrograms acceptable six years ago. We are advancing and getting new information.

Here we are talking about water. We seem to have an abundance of water in this Province. Abundance of safe water is another question. An abundance of safe water is one thing, but a lot of the water - and people around this world want water. It is a high demand.

Granted, you are not going to sell bottles of water in high volumes in certain areas that want to get larger amounts, but if we do not do what we can to protect our resource here, and the floodgate is open, we are going to have a very serious situation that we are going to be fighting for water in the future. One of my colleagues made reference to David Suzuki indicating that with the global warming, with the changing, without the snowfalls, the precipitation - my colleague for Cape St. Francis - they have long term effects. We have the plan for the future in the human race. Where are we going to be in a few years’ time?

Six years ago, 350 parts per billion was acceptable; today they are saying 100, and now they are saying it probably should only be fifty. We are getting more modern research, more accurate and more precise. We are observing deficiencies - usually in pregnancies it is nine months; it could be sooner - a lot of people with defects occurring. You can observe that within a year. Numerous other cases of cancer take longer periods to be able to produce these results.

We need to look at our water supply, we need to protect what we have and what we are using, and we need to look at this resource for further generations here, and to maximize it. Just because there is no one knocking on your door today saying: We have a bottling plant and we want to start it, doesn’t mean we let it go out of here. I do not buy that it is running into the ocean now. Churchill River runs out into the ocean. How many rivers don’t in this world today? How many are running clean water into the ocean? We have a water cycle. Water comes back. I am sure you are familiar with that. It doesn’t all run out and empty Gisborne Lake. It is recycled back. We run through a water cycle and that replenishes the amount again. I am sure people are quite familiar with that biological aspect.

 

AN HON. MEMBER: Rain.

 

MR. SULLIVAN: We have rain, that is right. It comes back as rain, I think.

 

AN HON. MEMBER: And snow.

 

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, and we had a problem this year with water levels because of a shortage of snow this past winter. We are a part of a global climate here, in water, the implications with NAFTA. It is serious business. We have been calling for this and I am delighted that this has been coming all along. In fact, I fully expected it. The government has no choice.

 

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

 

MR. SULLIVAN: I do not know anything about his company. I talk from my own experience, in having dealt with this. We have to look at protection of the water that is here in our Province. That is important, very important.

I fully expected this government to come forth with this legislation. I am not surprised. I have been saying all along we are going to see it; we are going to have a reversal by this government in their stand. They said the feds are going to have to compensate. That is what the Premier said at one time.

We went ahead with the Northwest River project and we talked about that; it’s going ahead had adverse effects. We had to pay $1 million out in compensation, this government did on that, because they did not make a decision appropriately, at the right time, and there would be legal consequences. We have seen governments move ahead on decisions here, and I do not have to tell you about all of those, where there were severe legal consequences in the millions and millions of dollars. The cost of going ahead with it cost tens of millions, absorbed by the Treasury of this Province in addition to the lawsuits that were settled.

We have to look at preservation of our resources that we have and other people want. We might not be alive, we all might be passed on, when other parts of this world are going to want our water, but the future generations and our children and so on could reap the benefits of people coming for something - when you have something that people want, they are going to come for it sooner or later. You can bet your bottom dollar that Voisey’s Bay, they are going to want to come and get that sooner rather than later. But, I can tell you, if we hold out and we get it processed here in this Province on the same comparison here, people will come looking for it. They will come looking for that ore because it is rich, it can be done at a low cost, it has other associated minerals with it that can pay the cost of the operation the same as the water here, the bottled water. It may not be the panacea to solve all problems here, but it is starting and it is starting to grow.

In my district, I visited on three occasions the past year, a water-bottling operation where they have invested $1 million in Trepasssey, a company in water operations. They put in a whole new production line, seven I think, 25,000 litre storage tanks, all part of the process to try to increase jobs in rural Newfoundland today. Grand Le Pierre needs them. I met with the mayor three years ago in Grand Le Pierre and told him exactly where we are on it. I went around this Province, to Corner Brook, Central Newfoundland, Labrador and elsewhere, and addressed this topic there and said exactly where we stood on this issue from day one. It is being followed by our current leader, by the Member for St. John’s South and other people here. We have been unequivocally unaltered from our position right from the very beginning, and we have to do it. I am glad that government finally relented, not because we said it but because whatever it was - even if it came from public pressure -

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

 

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

 

MR. SULLIVAN: I am glad they have seen the light on it.

Mr. Speaker, with that - it is kind of difficult to continue here anyway - I will adjourn debate now until Monday.

 

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

 

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House adjourn until 2:00 p.m. on Monday, and at that point in time we will return to this Bill.

I move that the House do now adjourn.

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