May 8, 2001 HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS Vol. XLIV No. 22


The House met at 1:30 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): Order, please!

There are a number of outstanding matters before the Chair on which the Chair has not given a ruling, a decision or made a comment, so before we begin our Routine Proceedings today I would like to deal with two of these outstanding matters.

On May 3, the hon. the Minister of Education rose on a point of privilege alleging that a press release issued by the Member for Harbour Main-Whitbourne had misrepresented her department's policies on the position of primary school language arts. As I have ruled on a previous occasion, the authority is clear that these circumstances do not fulfill the requirements of a breech of privilege. I quote for members Beauchesne's 6th Edition, which states: "31.(3) Statements made outside the House by a Member may not be used as the basis for a question of privilege." I would therefore rule that a prima facie case of privilege has not been established by the minister.

On December 14, 2000, the hon. the Government House Leader rose on a point of order concerning a display of books by the Member for St. John's West during oral Question Period. It has been ruled on a number of occasions in this House that it is not permitted to display exhibits. The definition of exhibit, in parliamentary terms, is fairly broad. While it is obvious that such things as fish, vegetation, bottles of salad dressing, crepe paper draped over desks, and competing flag designs are exhibits, Speakers have also ruled out of order the use of documents to illustrate remarks. In this case, it is the opinion of the Chair that the use of the textbook by the Member for St. John's West would fall within the prohibition against props and displays and the Chair so rules. I might add that displays of tabled documents such as the Auditor General's Report certainly would not fall under this prohibition.

Statements by Members

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Bonavista South.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Citizens Crime Prevention Association and the Newfoundland Liquor Corporation recently joined with Province's police forces in the Anti-Drinking and Driving Contest.

Seven thousand Grade 4 students took part in the contest by drawing on Newfoundland Liquor Corporation bags. The theme of the contest was: Drinking and Driving is Everyone's Concern.

The zone winners were: Jessica Blake of Happy Valley, Goose Bay; Colin Brett of Corner Brook; Katie Pynn of Springdale; Amanda Ryder of Bonavista; Samantha Roberts of Mount Pearl.

Amanda Ryder of Matthew Elementary School, in Bonavista, was selected as the provincial winner. Amanda is aged ten, a Grade 4 student. She is the daughter of Calvin and Joyce Ryder of Elliston, Trinity Bay. For winning the contest Amanda was awarded $500 for herself and another $800 for Matthew Elementary. Amanda's teacher is Peggy Duffett.

I congratulate all participants in this awareness campaign, especially the provincial winner, a constituent of mine, Amanda Ryder.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burin-Placentia West.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS M. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, I rise in this hon. House today to congratulate a youth in my district who will be heading to British Columbia and Indonesia as part of the Canada World Youth Exchange program.

Jaymee Miller, daughter of Ron and Sheila Miller of Marystown, is one of the forty-five Canadian youth involved in the exchange program. She will spend three-and-a-half months in British Columbia and will be involved in a community based work placement. After that period, she will go to Indonesia and will live with a local family and be directly involved in community work in that area.

The Canada Youth Exchange program strengthens awareness of local and global issues and gets the youth directly involved with issues that affect the country they are visiting.

I congratulate Jaymee on this accomplishment and I sincerely hope that her experience in Indonesia will open new avenues to her in the future.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Statements by Ministers

 

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LANGDON: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador remains committed to clean harbours for our Province.

The Province and the municipalities of St. John's, Mount Pearl and Paradise have worked together and committed to the principle of cost sharing on the project to clean up St. John's harbour. However, because of the size of the project we need a third funding partner, the federal government.

In November, 2000, a joint letter was sent to the Federal Industry, Environment, and Infrastructure Ministers to seek their support to bring the federal government on side as a one-third funding partner in this venture.

For the past several years, our government has been very supportive of the efforts of the Joint Mayors Committee and the St. John's Harbour ACAP Inc. We have maintained an open and supportive dialogue with both groups, and have partnered wherever possible to advance this important project. Since 1997, $10 million has been spent toward the first phase of the St. John's Harbour cleanup. The Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs has provided $4.5 million in this initial phase.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LANGDON: Mr. Speaker, we are now demanding that the federal government put up their one-third of the cost.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LANGDON: It is unconscionable that the federal government has not addressed this problem. They have the resources and they know full well that we cannot take money from the Canada-Newfoundland Infrastructure program to clean up St. John's Harbour. If we did do that, it would take every cent from the program for the next four years. We cannot and will not do that. We need a program in addition to the CNIP to address this urgent need.

The federal government has not executed their responsibility up until now. We are asking them to address this problem immediately.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LANGDON: Mr. Speaker, the problem is larger than St. John's. There are other municipalities in this Province that have unhealthy harbours, such as the City of Corner Brook, and they will require equal consideration. It is therefore very important that municipalities join together to encourage the federal government to establish a national program for clean harbours.

I have been advised that our Premier has discussed the issue with Premier Lord of New Brunswick, as they are in a similar situation with the harbour in St. John. We will support municipalities from this Province in a concerted effort with municipalities throughout the country to demand the federal government establish a national program for the cleanup of harbours.

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador remains committed to the goal of clean harbours for the municipalities of this Province.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would say to the minister: Welcome on board to (inaudible). Welcome aboard!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: In fact, our caucus and our party from day one has said it, and I agree: the government has given their commitment, and I congratulate the government on giving their commitment.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: But, the commitment of the federal government is what is at stake here, I say, Mr. Speaker. Our federal Minister of Industry was down here yesterday, and he stood on the waterfront in the last election campaign and said it would be a priority of the federal government. Two PC members from St. John's - East and West - have (inaudible) it to be a low priority.

It is the people of St. John's, Mount Pearl, Paradise and surrounding areas that benefit. All of the tourists who come here, people from all over the world, benefit by a cleaned up St. John's Harbour. I think it is reprehensible that the federal government would treat it in a manner they would during an election campaign, and come back now, turn their back and not even participate.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, I say to the minister, I welcome your statement by going after the federal government. We could have gone after them before.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: We should have kept their feet to the fire on this issue, right back from day one. Let's all get together and put pressure on the federal government.

We had an opportunity yesterday when the minister was here to take him to task publicly here in the House, not when he went back to Ottawa again, went back home again. We will accept it any time. It is late, it is very late, but now I ask the minister to ensure that it becomes a priority of expenditure for the federal government. They are now sitting on a tremendous surplus, I might add.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SULLIVAN: It should be used for the benefit of all people in this country, not only here in our Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

What a bunch of phonies across the way, Mr. Speaker!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. HARRIS: Yesterday, the Premier said he wanted to have a separate fund for the St. John's Harbour. Today, the Minister of Municipal Affairs says he wants to have a national program all across Newfoundland and Labrador, all across the country and New Brunswick.

All they are doing is providing excuses for their former leader to walk away from the problem. All they are doing is making it easier for Mr. Tobin to weasel out of his promise and say: Oh, we need a national program. The Newfoundland Government does not know what it wants. We will have to wait until we get everybody on side all across the country before we can do anything. That is what Mr. Tobin is saying, and this statement gives him the support to do it because this government does not know what it wants and really has no commitment to the St. John's Harbour cleanup.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Before we proceed, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome to the House of Assembly today, His Worship, Mayor David Luther of Corner Brook, who is sitting in the Speaker's gallery.

AN HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

As hon. members will recall, yesterday the Premier announced that a committee of ministers would examine potential concerns surrounding our Province's drinking water. As chair of that committee, I rise today to table information relevant to Newfoundland and Labrador's drinking water supplies.

The Department of Environment monitors approximately thirty chemical and physical parameters, including trihalomethanes (THMs), in our public water supplies. Communities are notified of the test results and the data is regularly updated on the government's Web site. This data is publicly available, and today I am tabling the most recent results of the chemical and physical monitoring.

In addition to the chemical and physical monitoring done by my department, routine bacteriological testing is conducted by the Department of Government Services and Lands. While the test results are currently not in a format which can be tabled in this House, I have asked officials to prepare the data for public release. However, today I am tabling a list of the boil water advisories currently in effect in the Province, including the date and reason why each advisory was issued.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to update the hon. members and the people of Newfoundland and Labrador on some of government's other initiatives with respect to drinking water safety. Last year, my department hired a drinking water quality engineer to work solely with municipalities on Trihalomethanes, commonly known as THMs, and other drinking water quality issues. To date, he has met with over thirty-five communities to provide information, analysis, advice and training relevant to each community, and he is continuing to meet with as many communities as possible.

In addition, my department is working with the Departments of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, Health and Community Services, and Government Services and Lands to develop a complete safe drinking water plan for the Province. In the coming months, we will be addressing the sampling, training and infrastructure needs of this initiative.

Mr. Speaker, government is committed to ensuring that the residents of our Province have continued access to safe drinking water. As Minister of Environment, it is my top priority to take whatever action is necessary to ensure that the drinking water in Newfoundland and Labrador remains clean and safe.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

I guess, in keeping with the Premier's promise to have free flow of information to the people of the Province, the minister is releasing information that is available on the Web site.

Mr. Speaker, the minister has said that he has an official who has met with thirty-five communities to provide training, information and analysis. At that rate, I guess it will be ten to fifteen years before he gets through to every community in the Province. That is not good enough, Mr. Speaker. It is simply not good enough.

The minister is saying now that they are going to come up with a plan, they are going to develop a complete safe drinking water plan in this Province. We have been told by government for the past two to three years that they have had a plan for safe, clean, quality drinking water. So, if they have a plan, what are they developing one for now, I ask you, Mr. Speaker? They have no plan. They have no enforceable standards. That is what he should be working on, putting in place enforceable standards on the quality of our drinking water in this Province, because the people of this Province need to be assured that their water is safe to drink.

Over the past three years, you have been saying that. It is time to deliver.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The minister's statement, itself, demonstrates how clearly inadequate this department's program is. To suggest that they are now going to develop a complete safe drinking water plan for the Province is an admission that they don't have one to date. In addition, Mr. Speaker, to say that in the year since they have hired somebody to deal with this issue they have only been able to consult with thirty-five communities - with in excess of 200 boil water orders in the Province, at that rate it will be six years before they get around to it. Obviously, their program is inadequate -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HARRIS: - and their timing leaves something totally to be desired about this most important issue.

Oral Questions

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. T. OSBORNE: Mr. Speaker, the underlying fact, in both Walkerton and North Battleford, that stands out is that while staff had some training to deal with the control of pathogens in the water, it was only minimal.

Minister, in a Province that has almost half of the boil orders in all of Canada, why is it that we do not demand that the operators of our water supplies have the training and background to deal with and treat pathogens such as parasites and bacteria in our water? Shouldn't we be training the operators of our water supply systems, Mr. Minister, to guard against public health and safety risks?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

If my memory serves me correct, and I know that it does, I outlined yesterday in the House that we, as a department, are - not only my department, but the Department of Government Services and Lands, Health and Community Services, the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, and the Department of Environment, have been working for some time with municipalities in the Province with the quality water issue. As I said yesterday, it was only in March that my department held a conference in Gander that was attended by well over 350 people from municipalities around the Province. We have met with the Federation of Municipalities and they, themselves - there was a great willingness to be involved, because all of us in this Province and in this House know how important quality water is to people. I understand where the member of the Opposition is coming from but I also have to point out that on March 21, when I stood in this House and read a statement about the importance of World Water Day which was on March 22, every single member over there laughed their heads off, Mr. Speaker. Every single one of them laughed their heads off.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. minister now to conclude his answer.

MR. RALPH WISEMAN: So, we cannot have it both ways, Mr. Speaker. We have to be serious. Water issue is a very serious issue. It is very vital to life and human life in this Province and we take this issue very seriously.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

If my memory serves me correctly, and I know it does, you just read a statement saying we provided training to thirty-five communities.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. T. OSBORNE: Mr. Speaker, this Province has no enforceable water quality standards. In fact, our guidelines are substandard in this Province. Minister, are you prepared to bring legislation in to set enforceable water quality standards in this Province? If so, when are you going to do it?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

Mr. Speaker, for some time we, in this Province, have been following the Canadian drinking water standard guidelines which is in and used right across this country. If my memory serves me correctly, I do not think there is anybody in the country who has legislated water quality in that sense. Now, the hon. member wants us to go out and point the finger at municipalities and say: Here is what you have to do. Well, Mr. Speaker, if we went and did that he would be up in arms saying: you are dictating to the municipalities.

What we are doing is we are out there working diligently. We are out there working diligently with municipalities around the Province to ensure that the water is safe. We are putting money this year, into quality water, into chlorination and the engineers are out there checking to make sure that the filtration systems are in order and that kind of thing. We have already worked with Marystown, Clarenville, Terra Nova; and these kinds of situations which exist have been corrected and adjusted.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. T. OSBORNE: Mr. Speaker, there are areas in this Province, such as Peters River in the Premier's district, where agriculture sites are very near water supplies, and there are areas in this Province where there are incinerators fuming out dioxans, furans, and other such chemicals into our water supplies.

Why is it that this Province does not test for pathogens such as the parasite that is evident in Saskatchewan, and cancer causing agents such as dioxans and furans?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. RALPH WISEMAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To my knowledge, this particular parasite that was discovered in Saskatchewan was never tested for before. What the member has to keep in mind, and everybody else has to keep in mind, is that this particular parasite is not only transmittable by water. This parasite lives in every warm-blooded animal, and it can be transferred by human contact. We have to keep in mind that across this country people do not test for every conceivable parasite or bug that might exist. What they do, when there is an ailment of a number of people - say fifteen or twenty people - affected by a particular ailment, in this it was case was diarrhea, then the Department of Health will look into it and do the test to determine if there is a cause from the water supply system. If you have one, single, isolated case -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. minister now to conclude his answer.

MR. RALPH WISEMAN: - it is not an epidemic, it is not an outbreak, it is an isolated case that can be transferred by human contact.

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

MR. T. OSBORNE: Mr. Speaker, I will ask the minister again: Why is it you are not testing for dioxans and furans in our water supplies in this Province? This is a very serious issue, I say to you, minister. Why is it you are not testing for these items in our water supplies?

Minister, your department has a report on the quality of the Province's water supply; a report denied under the Freedom of Information Act on a number of occasions; a report that obviously holds information vital to the people of this Province. When are you going to release that report so that the people of this Province have the information that they have a right to?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

I just stood in the House and tabled the most recent results from the testing that my department has done and other reports that are not published on the Web site, which are the boil orders. These are here now for public view of why these boil orders have to be put in place, so on and so forth. What I find unusual is that - this is 2001 and we have now tabled in the House the most recent results of the water testing in this Province and the member opposite wants to go back five years and see what was going on five years ago, which has very little relevance to what is happening today.

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

MR. T. OSBORNE: Mr. Speaker, I will ask the minister this question - and if he can give this House and the people of this Province today, an unqualified guarantee that their drinking water is safe and they have nothing to worry about, then I will not bother you about the quality and safety of our drinking water again.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. RALPH WISEMAN: Mr. Speaker, I want to make it very clear that I am concerned about the drinking water quality in this Province. I will do my diligence in trying to ensure, to the best of my ability and official of my department, and will certainly keep as close an eye as humanly possible on this particular issue, which is a very vital, important issue in the Province. What I cannot do is give an unequivocal guarantee that everything is absolutely perfect. I do not know of anybody in this world that could give that kind of a guarantee. I am going to try my utmost to ensure that it is safe. We have said that. With the policies, procedures and the testing that we have in place, we say that the water is safe; but I cannot say absolutely certain because I have no control over all the things and the possibilities that may happen in this world. I have no control over it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

Following up questions by my colleague, yesterday the Minister of the Environment said there were no known cases of cryptosporidium reported in the Province, yet the Canada Communicable Disease Report, volume 22, number 7, clearly indicates that there was at least one known case reported. Why did the minister not share this information? Maybe he could apprize the House as to the circumstances surrounding that particular report.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Environment.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

The answer is, yesterday I did not know. If I had known yesterday, I would have shared the information with you.

What we were dealing with yesterday was this particular parasite in water. The case that the hon. member raises today has to do with an individual who was caring for a baby calf, who was in contact with the calf, and consequently picked up this parasite. It has been investigated. It has absolutely nothing to do with our water supply.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Waterford Valley.

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

Mr. Minister, water quality reports, as my colleague has said, are not just any reports. We have asked in this House since 1996 to have the reports tabled on a timely basis, to have that report tabled which your government has been hiding for the last five years. When, we ask on this side of the House, are you going to table the 1996 water quality report so we can get a complete picture of what is happening?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Environment.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

As I have said, we are certainly very attuned to what is happening with the water supply in the Province. I do not answer this just on behalf of the members opposite. I am answering this for all the people of the Province. I believe that the people of this Province are more interested in what is happening today with their water supply than what happened five years ago.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for The Straits & White Bay North.

MR. TAYLOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise again today on the issue of shrimp allocations off the Coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. Yesterday, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture informed this House and the people of the Province that the government opposes any further allocations to outside interests - further, I stress.

Mr. Speaker, the minister also informed the people of the Province that the P.E.I. shrimp allocation was not a one-time deal as everybody understood it, but rather a three-time deal, and that the P.E.I. consortium will get its allocation again this year and again in 2002.

Last year, the former Minister of Fisheries suggested that there would be riots in the streets over this allocation. I would like to ask the Premier, if he would, to explain this apparent change in the government's position, and explain his government's apparent acceptance of the decision to allocate shrimp to a consortium in P.E.I.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TULK: I realize that the hon. gentleman was not here last year. I also realize, therefore, that probably his colleagues have not informed him that this government has always been opposed to - the former Minister of Fisheries made that quite clear, and the present Minister of Fisheries has made it quite clear -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TULK: Did you get fed today, again?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TULK: We have always been opposed to the allocation of not only shrimp but any of the offshore resources that are off this Province. The hon. gentleman can try to do what he likes over there. The truth of the matter is this: Last year when this was announced, it was announced as a three-year temporary program; and the Minister of Fisheries, as I understand it, has obtained from the federal Minister of Fisheries, his assurance that there is no intention to increase that quota and that the thing will not be made permanent; when the three years is up, that is it. I do not know what else he is looking for.

We remain opposed to the allocation of any fish resources that rightfully belong to the people of this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for The Straits & White Bay North.

MR. TAYLOR: Well, Mr. Speaker, what the Deputy Premier is saying today is a little bit different from what we see in the paper and what we have heard in this House just recently. The bottom line is that the minister said that the government opposes any further allocation and they have not reiterated their opposition to the P.E.I. one from last year.

Will the minister admit that as long as the federal minister continues to issue the P.E.I. consortium its quota, it does not matter whether it is called permanent or temporary, full-time or part-time; the bottom line is, they have the allocation.

Can you tell me, Mr. Minister, that in two years time, after three years of fishing that quota, you honestly believe that they are going to take it back?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TULK: I do not know how many ways the hon. gentleman needs to be told what the position of this government is on that allocation. I do not know whether he needs a movie, or whether he needs a script of some sort. The Minister of Fisheries - and he can read Hansard and see it - stood in this House yesterday and said quite clearly where this government stood. I will guarantee you that it was never said more clearly than it was last year, where this government stands on this issue.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TULK: It was never said clearer. We maintain the same stand now. We will go after the federal government, I say to him, regardless of its colour.

To see some of the atrocities that occurred, as a former Minister of Fisheries over there knows, when he was Minister of Fisheries and when his government was in power, this is not something new, I say to the hon. gentleman. This is a battle that all of us in this House have carried on; and for him to stand over there and try to say: Oh, you fellows over there are not pushing for this; you do not want this. Mr. Speaker, I have to say to him, he is doing a disservice to all of us, as Newfoundlanders, in this House.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: A final supplementary, the hon. the Member for The Straits & White Bay North.

MR. TAYLOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I say to the minister that it is not I, doing the disservice; he is doing the disservice, in discrediting my question.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. TAYLOR: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Deputy Premier if he or the Premier or the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture informed Minister Dhaliwal or the Prime Minister, in their recent discussions, about the fact that poor old P.E.I. - the people in poor old P.E.I. - that there is not one P.E.I. fisherman who actually got a job catching the fish in -

AN HON. MEMBER: ( Inaudible).

MR. TAYLOR: Yes, and there is not one P.E.I. fish plant worker who is getting a job out of it. The only people who are getting anything out of this, Mr. Minister -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TAYLOR: I am asking the minister, Sir, if he told this to the Prime Minister, that the only people who are getting anything out of this are the P.E.I. business people who are getting a couple of million dollars.

I would like to ask if he has also told the minister that his decision on this, and his apparent support of it today, actually says that the federal government's principle of adjacency is superceded by this quota bartering?

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Industry, Trade and Rural Development.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TULK: For the information of the hon. gentleman, the name of the company is Polar Seafoods.

Yes, we know - and this is a point that we made last year - that not a bit of that -

AN HON. MEMBER: ( Inaudible).

MR. TULK: No, we made the point last year; a year ago, I say to the hon. gentleman.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TULK: Not only this year, but last year. My friend made it to the Minister of Fisheries this year, and it was made to him last year, that not one shrimp - the company will probably realize $750,000 in cash because they will sell the quota offshore. Not one shrimp came ashore for P.E.I. I say to him that we pointed out to him that this was totally ludicrous, totally ludicrous, because you are not providing anything for the people of P.E.I. let alone Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TULK: That was made plain to him last year, it was made plain to him again this year, and we will continue, I say to the hon. gentleman, to make it plain to him that this decision is ludicrous and that he should, as soon as possible, as soon as his commitment is met, back away from it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. COLLINS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is for the Minister of Justice. Last week, the Minister of Human Resources and Employment, responding to a question about the Human Rights Commission ruling that government is indeed the employer of home care workers in a self-managed home care sector, because government provides the funding; being the employer, government has an obligation to provide workers' compensation to home care workers in this system. The minister responded: It is not a matter that we are awaiting, or to be forced by any quasi judicial body of the courts to act on issues we think are of relevance and importance to the citizens of this Province.

If this is the case, I ask the minister: Why, then, is the government appealing this ruling by the Human Rights Commission to the Supreme Court of Newfoundland?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Justice and Attorney General.

MR. PARSONS: Mr. Speaker, I will not get into the details in any degree. I do not think that would be appropriate, concerning the particular facts of that case and the individual involved. Suffice it to say that the ruling made by the adjudicator dealt with the interpretation to be given to the word employer.

Of course, any decision that is rendered by any level of a judicial body can have ramifications for many other circumstances. The purpose of the appeal here is that we would like to do a judicial review of that adjudicator's interpretation of the word employer; because, it has connotations not only for that particular lady but potentially thousands of people in this Province involved in the home care system, or involved in any other occupation that might receive government funding. We feel, rather than have a specific ruling that is unchallenged, we would like to have it judicially reviewed again and considered to see if it is indeed a proper interpretation of that word, employer.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Labrador West.

MR. COLLINS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The government spoke about the cost to the taxpayers to implement workers' compensation benefits for the workers, and that government will do it as soon as it can identify the funds. What about the costs incurred in appealing this ruling? Why is this government incurring further court costs while in the meantime home care workers in this system are still without workers' compensation coverage? Isn't this just a way, I say to the minister, to delay the inevitable and delay government in taking the responsibility it has, as an employer, to these workers?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Justice and Attorney General.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. PARSONS: Mr. Speaker, I would like to reiterate again that you take appeals to get a determination, to see if that determination is indeed a fair and reasonable interpretation. The cost of the appeal is not a consideration here. We have had a ruling from an adjudicator of a Human Rights Commission that can have far-reaching consequences for this Province, regardless of which government is here. We just want to make sure that it is indeed reasonable. The way to do that is to appeal it to the court and the supreme court.

Obviously, there is cost involved in the appeal, but we cannot decide whether we do or do not appeal something based upon the cost that might be associated with it. This is not a case to deny or delay justice to the particular individual involved in this case. There is a process. Because a very important decision has been made, we would like to know, by having it judicially reviewed, if it is proper, because it has consequences not only for that individual but potentially thousands of others, and for any government in this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

My questions today are for the Minister of Education; obviously, she is not here, so the Acting Minister of Education.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I just want to remind members that the absence of ministers or other members from the House ought not to be referred to in this House.

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

MS S. OSBORNE: My questions regard St. Matthew's Elementary School in St. John's. This school has an excellent special needs unit which provides education to children who are severely physically and developmentally challenged and they have very specific special needs. Parents have nothing but praise for the unit because they know it is giving their children the best education possible and a strong foundation for moving on in life. This unit has had national awards and has been also written up in Maclean's Magazine as a very effective unit. The government, through the board, seems to want to phase out this unit against the parents wishes or against the students best interests. Will the minister explain why?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. K. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the minister, I would like to take the question under advisement and get the information, but also to indicate that the government is very proud of the record that it has established in helping special needs children in this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. K. AYLWARD: As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, I believe, from everything I have read and discussions we have had, that we have probably one of the best programs in Canada. Certainly, the minister, once we get the information, will undertake to get the details and deal with the situation. Also, we would like to get more information from the board about the situation.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

I would like to say to the minister that I do not know about the other programs but the program up there is a very special program. As I said, it has gotten national awards and has been written up in Maclean's Magazine, therefore my question is: Why is the government phasing out this program?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. K. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, as a government that has been extremely sensitive to special needs children in the Province, we certainly will check out the situation. I am sure we will have discussions with the board and look at where the board wants to go with the situation, but first off, we will get the information.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. Barbe.

MR. YOUNG: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is also for the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. Mr. Minister, on April 10 I asked why women's hockey was not included in the provincial Winter Games that are being held in Gander next year. Now is the time to advise the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador whether women's hockey is in or out. Is women's hockey going to be included in competitive sport in the provincial Winter Games being held in Gander next year?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. K. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, Gander has been selected to host our Winter Games this coming year, in 2002, and we are very proud of the fact that we will have the largest number of athletes at a winter games, which will be held in Gander. On that note, we are dealing with that situation. We are talking with the organizing committee. The Member for Gander and the Minister Responsible for the Status of Women have been extremely helpful in these discussions. At this point, Mr. Speaker, we are working on the situation and I would rather not have provincial politics thrown into it at this point. I would like to get the situation resolved. So I would ask the member -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. K. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, we are working on the situation.

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

MR. OTTENHEIMER: My questions are for the Premier, Mr. Speaker.

When Inco announced on April 25 it was moving ahead with a $1.4 billion U.S. nickel cobalt project at Goro, New Caledonia, analysts said, and we agree, that this in no way undermines prospects for developing Voisey's Bay sooner rather than later. That is because the ovoid here is bigger, richer and so easily mined that its copper will practically pay for the nickel extraction, and Inco knows that.

My question for the Premier, and this in the form of updating members in this House and the people of the Province: Has Inco come forward with proposals, either informal or formal, to get things moving on Voisey's Bay development, sooner rather than later?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I indicated, I think, in the latest public update on the Voisey's Bay situation and negotiations at the Board of Trade about thirty days ago - and I said at that point that within thirty to sixty days we would, hopefully, be back in a more formal negotiating stance with Inco, vis--vis the Voisey's Bay project. So, in direct answer to his question: it is premature. We are not yet at a point where we have exchanged any type of proposal formally with respect to any part or any concept of that development. We are preparing ourselves well for a good, hard and hopefully, successful negotiation. All of us will await its outcome with interest because, I believe, we all have a genuine interest in ensuring that, subject to the people of this Province getting the absolute maximum benefits from that project, subject to that, we hope that we can conclude a successful arrangement.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Question Period has ended.

Presenting Reports by Standing and Special Committees

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair hereby tables the report of the Commission of Internal Economy for the fiscal year April 1, 1999 to March 31, 2000.

Petitions

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for the Straits & White Bay North.

MR. TAYLOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have a petition here I would like to present, Mr. Speaker. I am not sure that it is in the right format, but I will read it if you don't mind.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible) the Chair?

MR. TAYLOR: I haven't, no. I will read this line: We hereby petition -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

We will hear the prayer of the petition and then -

MR. TAYLOR: We hereby petition the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to take the necessary action to keep the promise that was made by our former member, Minister Tobin, last year that our road would be top priority this year, and finally make the commitment to begin the upgrading and paving of our road, ASAP. It is from the Town of Conche.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Obviously, the petition is not in the proper form. Is the Chair asking for leave?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave.

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

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. TAYLOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. LUSH: Mr. Speaker, we try to encourage hon. members to present petitions in the proper order. It is not difficult, we have the format here. It is not an appropriate petition at all. It is not the kind of petition that should be brought to the House, Mr. Speaker. So, it is not my intention to give approval to that petition.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I guess the hon. member presented the petition. I did indicate to him: Look at the petition. It does petition the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, but unfortunately it was addressed also to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. Many times petitions come to the House and we ask for leave to present them because it is difficult to tell people who went around and got names for a petition to go back and redo it. The intent is there to petition the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and that is why we figured it was neutral enough to ask for leave to do it.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair will hear one submission on the point of order, but quickly.

The hon. the Minister of Industry, Trade and Rural Development.

MR. TULK: I understand, Mr. Speaker, and I think this should be followed in the House, but if I am not greatly mistaken - and I would ask the Speaker to clarify this - but I understand that last year or the year before we all agreed on a procedure here whereby members would bring petitions to the House, because of some of the formats that we were getting. I think it was this, that first of all we would check with the Speaker's office or the Clerk's office - I am not sure which - to see if the petition was in the right order and then there would be a decision made by the Chair on the advice of the Clerk or something of that nature. I would like that ruling, Mr. Speaker, if we could, to be clarified again, if indeed we did make it.

MR. SPEAKER: To the point of order, obviously, the petition that the hon. member was presenting is not in order and there is no leave of the House.

Members ought to know - and I take this opportunity to remind members - that before any petition is presented in the House we have requested members to consult with the Table officers, to check and see if the petition is in order and if changes have to be made to make it presentable to the House. Again, I ask all hon. members, when they have a petition they want to present to this House to check with the Table officers to make sure it is in order.

The hon. the Member for St. Barbe.

MR. YOUNG: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition here signed by well over 100 people in and around the Town of Anchor Point. On the basis of proportion, this is a huge petition considering the population of the area. I would like to read the prayer of the petition in its proper form:

To the hon. House of Assembly of Newfoundland, in legislative session convened, the petition of the undersigned residents of Anchor Point and their supporters;

WHEREAS roads conditions have deteriorated to the point that some roads are unsurpassable; and

WHEREAS upgrading of these roads are never beneficial past the next rainfall; and

WHEREAS when work commences at the local plant, shrimp runoff and mud accumulates in large potholes; and

WHEREAS some residents have to live with sewer running through their homes, along with water from the spring thaw; and

WHEREAS sewage which accumulates in ditches along the roads creates a health hazard;

WHEREFORE your petitioners urge the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to improve road conditions and water and sewer conditions in the Town of Anchor Point, as is duty bound your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, this is a desperate situation. What the people are describing are conditions that you would expect to find in the Third World; raw sewage running beside the streets and through homes, and waste products accumulating in large cesspools.

What I am describing is a small but prosperous town on the Northern Peninsula. Anchor Point has a shrimp plant, a dragger fleet and an inshore fishery. Anchor Point has flourished despite the harsh economic conditions which have plagued most of the Northern Peninsula. Yet, there is not a plan in place to ensure decent living conditions for the community. The people of Anchor Point are desperate and asking for help. They are asking their government, which is responsible for municipalities in the Province, for road conditions, and for water and sewer conditions.

We see what is happening in Walkerton, Ontario and North Battleford, Saskatchewan. Provincial governments take the blame when faulty municipal water systems claim people's health. Hindsight is 20/20. In this case, even without 20/20 foresight, you can sometimes see that something needs to be done or else there will be health consequences in Anchor Point. The question is: What are you going to do about it?

Mr. Speaker, the buck stops right across the House from me on the desks of the Minister of Transportation, Municipal Affairs, Health, and Environment. This is a petition that should worry them all. You can never say you were not told because the people of Anchor Point, their supporters, and their MHA are telling you now, loudly and clearly, that there is a problem that must be addressed.

Attached to their petition are comments like these: Our roads, that we use everyday, are worse now than they were in the nineteen century. We cannot keep mufflers on our vehicles and the life expectancy of our vehicles is only half of what it should be. When work starts in our local plant tractor-trailers start using the road. We are left with potholes full of shrimp runoff and mud trenches in the roads because they are too soft for big trucks.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

Does the hon. member have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave.

MR. SPEAKER: No leave.

MR. YOUNG: What the people of Anchor Point -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Does the hon. member have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. YOUNG: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

What the people of Anchor Point, and indeed the people of the Province, want to know is when the ministers responsible for fixing such problems are going to fix this one, and when they intend to act?

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

I have a petition today, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

I have a petition today on behalf of the residents of the Shea Heights area regarding wheelchair accessible housing in that community. The prayer of the petition reads:

We, the residents of Shea Heights, wish to petition the hon. House of Assembly to address the need for wheelchair accessible housing units in the Shea Heights area. We are asking the government to consider the fact that people with disabilities and their family need to be able to utilize the support of family and friends within the community of Shea Heights. If persons are forced to live in units outside the community, it compromises the help and support that families so vitally need. We are asking that serious consideration be given to the construction of wheelchair accessible units in the Shea Heights area so that families with physical disabilities may avail of the essential support networks.

Mr. Speaker, while people on the other side of the House may mock this issue, it is a very serious issue. It is a very serious issue indeed. Shea Heights is a community larger than many of the communities in rural Newfoundland. It is a community onto itself, although it is a part of St. John's. The families in the Shea Heights area are very, very attached to the area. Their families, relatives, people they grew up with, they want to stay there. The demand for housing in the Shea Heights area is perhaps the area most in demand in all of St. John's, which will tell you something: that the families in Shea Heights wish to stay in that area.

It would really be shameful to take a family out of that area and put them into a neighborhood or into an area where they do not know their neighbors, where their family are not close by, where they cannot avail of the help and support of their family and friends when they have a member of their family who is restricted to a wheelchair.

This is a very important and very serious issue. It is an issue that we really, really want government to look at very seriously and we want the minister responsible for housing to look at very seriously. There is a demand, there is a need for wheelchair accessible housing units in the Shea Heights area. There are some 1,800 people living in that area, and to not have one wheelchair accessible housing unit in that area is unbelievable. It is truly unbelievable.

Mr. Speaker, there are a number - the density of housing units in the Shea Heights area is quite large.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. T. OSBORNE: All we are asking is for government to put a wheelchair accessible housing unit in that area.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Orders of the Day

 

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

MR. LUSH: Mr. Speaker, I move first reading of Motions 3 and 4.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Financial Administration Act." (Bill 17)

On motion, Bill 17 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Labour to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Labour Relations Act." (Bill 18)

On motion, Bill 18 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

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

MR. LUSH: Order 8, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order 8.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act To Establish The Order Of Newfoundland and Labrador." (Bill 1)

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am very proud today, actually, on behalf of the government and the people of the Province, to introduce Bill 1 for consideration here in the Legislature. Throughout the Commonwealth, the notion of having an order to recognize exemplary service from the people of the Province, usually under auspices of the Queen's representative, is very well established. Everybody is aware of Canadians - Newfoundlanders who are Canadians - who have distinguished themselves and received Orders of Canada. I think everyone recognizes the kind of prestige that is associated with such an order.

We have had a consideration for some time that in Newfoundland and Labrador, because of the very nature of our people and the culture that we grew up in, the fact that there has been a long history of people in Newfoundland and Labrador who have, as a very matter of course and a very matter of what seems to be very normal, put aside their own best interest in terms of service to the community and service to others in a whole range of areas.

I think that at this point in time, and I would hope, that the Legislature and all members would join with us in terms of deciding, after appropriate debate, to establish an Order of Newfoundland and Labrador so that we can recognize the caring and compassion of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians for others, particularly in the Province, and that in fact it will recognize the abilities, the talents, the inspiration and the accomplishments of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians over the year.

Mr. Speaker, it is important, if there is going to be such an award as the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador, that it be removed from any suggestion whatsoever that it is a political patronage appointment of any type; so the appointments, obviously, cannot be in the hands of elected politicians. As much as we all know that we are above reproach and would not think about patronage, if we are doing these kinds of things we would, in fact, bestow such an honor as an Order of Newfoundland and Labrador upon deserving Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. But, because we have the circumstance where a lot of people in the general public do not particularly trust us to do that, and members opposite would even suggest, maybe, while we are the government for the next twelve or fifteen years, that we might even just give the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador to Liberals -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER GRIMES: Rather than even have any aura or specter of that kind of a discussion surrounding such a distinguished honour as the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador, it has to be totally non-partisan.

This bill lays out the process whereby the Chancellor of the Order would be the Lieutenant-Governor for Newfoundland and Labrador. The Lieutenant-Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador, whoever he or she may be, by virtue of assuming that office, would automatically be a member and Chancellor of the Order.

Then there would be an advisory committee, that is laid out in the bill, that appoints three people by virtue of their position. We have the Chief Justice, the Clerk of the Council, and the President of Memorial University. That particular group, those three, automatically, by virtue of them holding their positions, would be members of the advisory board that would look at nominations and make determinations for selection.

There would also be four members of the council who would be appointed by the Cabinet, by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, for terms of three years, and eligible for reappointment. That group would be charged with the responsibility of educating the people of the Province as to this particular honour and privilege, what it means, what it signifies, soliciting on an annual basis nominations for possible inclusion and acceptance into the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador, and go through a selection process.

Mr. Speaker, the details of that are laid out in the particular bill. It is a pretty straightforward piece of legislation, but I think it is significant that at this point in our history we take the time to put aside a mechanism and to establish a mechanism whereby we can, in fact, honour Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who have put others ahead of themselves, and recognize outstanding achievements in the arts, science, education, philanthropy, and any other area where the people of the Province, through this advisory committee, would feel that they should nominate someone for recognition and that the advisory committee would feel that someone should be actually conferred the honour of being a member of the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador. As well, it then includes the privilege and the right to have the letters O.N.L., Order of Newfoundland and Labrador, used after that person's name, thereafter, as a recognition of the fact that they are a member of the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, with those few comments, I am very proud and pleased to introduce the bill and would be interested in hearing the points that are made in the debate, hoping that this kind of an initiative would receive broad-based support in the Legislature and broad-based support in the Province as we recognize our most outstanding volunteers and citizens.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I say to the Premier that we will support this bill. We do not have a problem with that. Some of his statements may be a little off the mark, about being here for ten or fifteen more years. I am not so sure. You certainly want to make it non-partisan, no doubt about it, and I do not have any problems with the three positions there. In fact, I support three positions. Positions are appointed politically; we know that. The four appointed from the Cabinet can be political. It can be politically controlled, no doubt about it, even with the numbers in the makeup here, but somebody has to be there and somebody has to appoint them.

I do not have a problem with the Chief Justice or the Clerk of the Executive Council, or the president of Memorial University for that matter, but there is one thing we do need to do and push, really, to make it truly, truly legitimately and constitutionally correct: we do have to press Ottawa - that final mark.

Even though our Province is the Province of Newfoundland - it is not officially the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador - we do need to press that issue; because I remember here in 1996 when the Premier of the Province stood there - not the Premier; I think it was in the Throne Speech, under the Premier - and I happened to be sitting there at the time when the first thing in the Throne Speech that year was to change the constitution to become the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. That was the first commitment made by the government under Premier Brian Tobin in 1996; and to this day, over five years later, we are still the Province of Newfoundland. It is not the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, even though we call it that and I call it that. The Premier probably calls it that, and nearly everybody else, because Labrador is a very integral and important part and it is appropriate to have it mentioned here. We do not have to wait for the federal government. Maybe the pressures in Quebec, and the constitution, and their status has been delaying it and it did not come up at an appropriate time. That is for another time. I do not want to detract from the points here. It is an important gesture, and it is important, I think, to look at an Order of Newfoundland and Labrador.

We do need an opportunity to recognize appropriately people who have made outstanding contributions. They do not always get recognition. The Order of Canada does not fill a void to cover people in this Province who have made outstanding contributions to our Province, to our community, and to the country and the world in general, who can be recognized. They do not really have to be Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, I think the bill says. It could be somebody who has impacted and has made a contribution to our Province, even though they may not be members here. So, I do not see any great need. We have gone through the bill. I have taken time to go through the specifics and so on of the bill, and we do not have a problem. I do not see a need to belabour the point here.

I think it is important for people. Many people have contributed a lifetime of work in their various endeavors, whatever they may be. I think it is nice to be able to say we are being recognized by a body constituted by our Province, that you have made a contribution and you are a member now of the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador. I think it is significant because many times people toil all their lives and they do not get the recognition they deserve. I think this is an opportunity now, being a provincial privilege, a provincial honour bestowed on them, and I think we might be able to seek out people in that capacity who deserve to be so honored by that.

We support that piece of legislation, I say to the Premier, and we will not have any problem in moving that through the House in this session.

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

 

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise to speak on Bill 1, An Act To Establish The Order of Newfoundland and Labrador, and to endorse my support for the legislation. I think it is appropriate that the Premier be the person in whose name the legislation stands and who spoke to it today. It is something that, clearly from the speech as well of the Opposition House Leader, will likely get unanimous support of the House of Assembly. I understand that other provinces have such an order. Particularly in the case of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, we have a history and culture longer than that of Canada and it is appropriate that we have our separate order recognizing distinguished citizens who have made a significant contribution to their Province and to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

This type of honour, Mr. Speaker, as the Premier has mentioned, is in the United Kingdom: the knighthoods and in some cases the conferring of membership in the House of Lords by government to recognize individuals. It is something that has been around for a long time in the British Commonwealth. This is something that - obviously in this country we have had instances of Members of this House of Assembly, former Premiers of this Province, being given knighthoods. Sir Robert Bond is one example. Lord Morris would be someone who went to the House of Lords, as a former Premier of this Province. We have our own Legislature, Mr. Speaker, our own system of government, and our own ability, as we are exercising here in this legislation, to establish an Order of Newfoundland and Labrador. I know there have been some comments by the Opposition House Leader about the potential nature of the board that might make the nominations, obviously, as someone has to be chosen to do this.

It is very important and, I think, worth putting on the record upfront that this committee, who will be responsible for designated awards and certainly in the first instance, will have a very onerous responsibility to ensure that this order has no political tinge, that those who are honoured are honoured for their contribution and a contribution that should be recognized by all as being meritorious and not seen in a cynical way, which it could easily step into, Mr. Speaker. Perhaps the Premier can comment on that when he closes debate. We would want to do everything to ensure that this order does not become an object of cynical view of a reward for political support or favouritism. So, the very heavy onus will rest on the committee and the board in making these nominations to ensure that is the case. This order, if it is going to have any meaning in this Province, is one which is of the highest level of service and obligation to the people of this Province and represents something that can be, in fact, a mark of distinction that people will be honoured to receive.

Mr. Speaker, there are many areas of activity that could be honoured by such an order. We have many artists, for example, who might not be recognized on a national basis but we, here in Newfoundland and Labrador, would want to recognize their significant contribution to the cultural life of this Province by granting such an order. Also, there are many other contributors to our Province by way of volunteerism; by business excellence; by contributions to their own profession, whether it be the profession of firefighter or whether it be the profession, as I mentioned, of businessmen or any other profession which may not attract a lot of public knowledge or interest, but their contribution would be recognized.

In the area of volunteerism in sports, in the contribution to the athletic or recreational life of the Province in a manner that is deserving of some recognition. So, there are many areas where people - and even politics, Mr. Speaker. By making a contribution to the political life of the Province some individuals may merit recognition by such an order, hopefully long after they are out of politics so no one will think that there is any partisan involvement in that.

So, I will say that we support this initiative. We support that we find a way of recognizing individuals who have made a significant contribution to the Province but I do hope, and it is only a hope that I can express, Mr. Speaker, that the early nomination and early appointments will be the ones that mark this order as one of great distinction and set a standard for the future that would give distinction and honour to the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador. In saying that, Mr. Speaker, I want to be on record as supporting the development and establishment of the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

If he speaks now he will close the debate.

PREMIER GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I might point out, I appreciate the commentary from both hon. members in speaking to the bill. As an aside as well, in this year, the International Year of the Volunteer, we will be awarding volunteer service medals in Newfoundland and Labrador. From then on, most likely beginning in next year, the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador, if approved, would be an annual undertaking for up to eight as the bill lays out.

Mr. Speaker, many of the components of this particular piece of legislation mirror other jurisdictions' approach to this matter. I do recognize, as both hon. members have indicated, that it is in all of our best interests to make sure that it is seen to be non-political, apolitical, non-partisan appointments to the greatest extent possible.

Mr. Speaker, you might note as well, I did not say it in the introduction but there are some exclusions in terms of - while serving as a Member of the House of Assembly, we, ourselves, are not eligible to be members of the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador. There are exclusions as well for MPs, Senators, members of other legislatures, and members of the judiciary; judges are excluded as well. So if any of us here would like to be considered for the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador we will have to retire from this life and go on and distinguish ourselves in some other noteworthy way within the general community of Newfoundland and Labrador.

I do appreciate the commentary, Mr. Speaker. If there are other particular items that come forward I am sure we will have an opportunity to address them during the committee stage of this bill.

With that I would like to move second reading of the bill, Mr. Speaker.

Thank you.

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Establish The Order of Newfoundland and Labrador," read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House on tomorrow. (Bill 1)

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

MR. LUSH: Order 12, Mr. Speaker.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act To Amend The Chiropractors Act, The Dieticians Act, The Pharmaceutical Association Act, 1994 And The Social Workers Association Act." (Bill 11)

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

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This piece of legislation has been necessitated by the Agreement on Internal Trade which was signed by the federal, provincial, and territorial governments back in 1994. It came into effect on July 1, 1995. What it does is deal with the free movement of workers across provincial boundaries throughout this country. In order to allow for that, there is a need to make some changes in our present legislation to allow for the free movement.

This bill deals with the amendments to the Chiropractors Act and the Pharmaceutical Association Act to allow the respective regulatory bodies to recognize equivalent professional qualifications from other jurisdictions; an amendment to the Dieticians Act to remove all references to the Canadian Dietetic Association; and an Amendment to the Social Workers Association Act which will allow the regulatory body to accommodate diploma prepared social workers from other jurisdictions, under a restricted license, to require them to upgrade their competency to attain full licensing requirements. The latter one is of note because in some jurisdictions - whereas in our jurisdictions right now we require a university degree as a basic entrance level for people going into social work. In other jurisdictions there is a diploma program. What we are saying - in order to protect, as much as we can, our own people and to see that this whole issue is dealt with fairly - is that people coming in from other jurisdictions at the diploma level, we will accept them only if we cannot find people with degrees. Once they do come in, then we will give them a period of time to bring their certification and qualifications up to the standards of that which we now have in this Province.

These are fairly basic, Mr. Speaker. As I said, they are required changes. We need to have these in place before July 1 of this year so that this Province will be in compliance.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

We, on this side, have looked at this piece of legislation which, essentially, is just bringing things up to the standards that are acceptable in this Province. There has been extensive consultation with the members of the professional groups that are mentioned here: the chiropractors, the pharmaceutical association, and the social workers professional group.

We agree that persons who are coming in should meet our standards and should be given reasonable time. However, we would like to make the point that we do not want the associations or the government, to act in a high-handed manner. I do understand that there has been sufficient time allocated for people to bring their qualifications up to the new standard. That is happening in the profession with the registered nurses and with other groups. It is happening at the university level as well. We feel that as time moves on it is necessary for us to bring our minimum qualifications in sync with the rest of Canada and with other provinces.

With that in mind, we, on this side, support the legislation knowing that there has been consultation, knowing that it is a matter of streamlining our legislation, making it consistent with other provinces, and the intent is non-controversial. It is merely, shall we say, bringing our legislation in keeping with the kinds of professional qualifications that are deemed to be appropriate for the practice of these professions in our Province.

Thank you very much.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I listened to the minister's introduction to the bill and understand there is a requirement for complying with mobility requirements, that these changes would make sense.

I do have a concern with respect to the Social Workers Association Act. I know back in 1992 when the act was passed, and prior to that, there was a lot of concern within the social work profession with respect to grandfathering in people, allowing people who did not have the standard of the BSW to practice social work in the Province.

I note that paragraph 20(2)(c) of the act is being amended here. The minister indicated that this was in relation to temporary registrations. That, in fact, is the case. It only refers to employees of the government of the Province, who are employed after the commencement of the act and who practice social work in the course of their employment, they shall be granted temporarily, for a term of one year, which may be renewed for seven years, a period of temporary registration. Is it the intention of the legislation, I am asking the minister, to have these mobility provisions only relate to employees of the Government of Newfoundland? That is what section 20 deals with, and does not allow registration of people generally.

I ask the minister whether this provision of the legislation, that is before the House, Bill 11, has been vetted by the Social Workers Association or the registration organization, and whether they are satisfied that this is not going to interfere with their overall concerns of watering down the social work requirement for the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the basic requirement being a Bachelor of Social Work degree? This does seem to be a watering down of the requirement, that not even a Bachelor's degree is now required of any kind, let alone a Bachelor of Social Work. I did not have any representations from the Social Workers Association but it seems that this applies, first of all, only to social workers employed by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is only a temporary registration which can go on as long as seven years. I guess the minister can advise what discussions have been had with the Social Workers Association in terms of registration, and how they intend to operate that. Is it the expectation that a new employee of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, who qualifies under this new section, would be required within a certain number of years - is that number of years seven - to actually meet the qualification, or is it intended to allow for temporary registration on an ongoing basis for a period of up to five, six or seven years without any requirement of meeting that condition, (inaudible) to the seventh year?

It appears, under the existing act, that: Shall be registered temporarily for one year. That temporary registration may be renewed annually for a total of no more than seven years. I would assume, from the minister's comments, that means they are required to register that person for the first year, but that the second and subsequent year registrations are contingent upon some program of studies or some commitment from an individual to undertake a program of studies for the next ensuing years.

Other than those concerns, Mr. Speaker, I do not have any problem with the legislation. Perhaps the minister can address that when he closes debate.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Human Resources and Employment. If he speaks now he will close the debate.

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. member's questions, indeed, as I pointed out in my opening remarks, the changes as they relate to social work is the one area that was of some concern. The changes that are being made have, in fact, been vetted with the association, have been dealt with by them, and my understanding is that they are comfortable with what is being proposed.

Basically what it will do, as I pointed out in my opening remarks, right now, because there is a different standard in our Province as compared to some other jurisdictions - in fact, here right now we do require a university degree level whereas in some jurisdictions there is a diploma program of two years. Anyone coming in now, if they do not meet our qualifications, will be given a restricted licence and will be given a period of time in which to upgrade their competency to that which is accepted here in this Province.

I do not know if that satisfies the hon. member's question or not, but that is my understanding of the changes that are being made here.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I move second reading of this bill.

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Amend The Chiropractors Act, The Dieticians Act, The Pharmaceutical Association Act, 1994 And The Social Workers Association Act," ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House on tomorrow. (Bill 11).

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

MR. LUSH: Mr. Speaker, I move second reading of Bill 14, An Act To Amend The Provincial Court Act, 1991.

Mr. Speaker, this act is a simple act.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. LUSH: I do not know where he is. I do not know where the minister is, so I am introducing it, okay? I do not know where the minister is at the moment. While we are looking for the minister, I will speak to the act, Bill 14.

Mr. Speaker, this is a very benign amendment. My understanding of it is that there was a committee together to report on the salary of judges. They were supposed to report at a certain time, at a certain date. Because of one difficulty or the other -

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice has now made his appearance. I will defer and ask the Minister of Justice to continue with moving second reading of Bill 14.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act to Amend The Provincial Court Act, 1991." (Bill 14)

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

MR. PARSONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Under the Provincial Court Act there is provision to appoint a tribunal which would review the salaries and benefits payable to provincial court judges. The section, as it read, or still reads now, says that tribunal, once appointed, would report back by April 22. It is on a four-year basis. The tribunal, in fact, has been struck. It was late getting struck and, because of that, they are unable to report back by April 22 of this year. The way it works out, it is going to be virtually impossible at any given time - the way they do their appointments, given the amount of detail that they get into - of actually getting the committee struck, the hearings done, the report compiled and back into the House by April of any given session that they have this review.

We have had representations from the committee. To allow them to properly do the work, we would extend the period from April 22 to September. In conformity with their request, we have agreed to do that. That is the purpose of this amendment.

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Government House Leader referred to this piece of legislation as benign. It was benign until he minister arrived, and all of a sudden it has taken on great historic significance.

Yes, we have no difficulty with the principle of the bill. The only difficulty I have, and I have to say this to the minister, the purpose of this amendment is to extend from April 22, 2001 to September 14, 2001 this particular committee. The House has been in session since some time in March. This piece of legislation is retroactive. This piece of legislation has a retroactive clause in it that makes it retroactive to April 21, which is a couple of weeks ago. This Legislature has been in session now since some time in March. It would seem to me that the least the government could have done would be to have such a benign - to use the Government House Leader's quote - to have such an insignificant piece of legislation passed without having to invoke retroactivity.

I say that for this reason: retroactivity in legislation, I would say to the minister, is always repugnant. Sometimes it is necessary, but it is always repugnant. It is never more repugnant than when it has to be done with something that relates, in even a benign way, to the judiciary. This matter relates to the judiciary. If we cannot have our House in order, to bring in a piece of legislation that takes all of thirty seconds to pass, because I do not think there is anybody going to object to it -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RIDEOUT: I feel like making a speech. Do you have any objection?

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, I remember the Deputy Premier talking about hobnail boots. The hobnail boots are being worn over there again today. We are asked to pass retroactive legislation that relates to the judiciary, and we should not have to do it; not that I object to doing it. If the House was not sitting, that would be one thing, but the House was sitting. It has been in session since some time in early March -

MR. SULLIVAN: Twelve days before that date.

MR. RIDEOUT: Twelve day before that date, so it could have been done, it should have been done. I hope the minister, in humility, learns a lesson that when this type of thing, if it ever comes up again, and the House is in session, do it. Do not unnecessarily wave red flags with a piece of retroactive legislation, that is not necessary.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, with those few brief remarks, we would give our blessing to the passage of the amendment.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Justice. If the hon. the minister speaks now, he will close the debate.

MR. PARSONS: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his comments. I move that we close second reading.

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Amend The Provincial Court Act, 1991," read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House on tomorrow. (Bill 14)

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

MR. LUSH: Order 13, second reading of Bill 12.

MR. SPEAKER: Order 13.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act To Amend The Medical Act And The Medical Care Insurance Act, 1999." (Bill 12)

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

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This is an amendment that is being brought forward at the request of the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association. Basically what it is, it is allowing the doctors of the Province to incorporate their practices and their operation. They put forward some valid arguments in cases, that this would be to their advantage to do this.

Also we recognize, as a government, that having this available could probably serve to assist us in the recruitment of new physicians to serve here in our Province. It in no way limits the liability for allegations of malpractice or negligence. It is just something that is being done, as I said, to better serve the physicians of this Province. We feel it is a good amendment and we are pleased to bring it forward.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

We on this side want to lend support to this particular piece of legislation. It is my understanding that this will permit the Newfoundland Department of Health and Community Services to be, hopefully, more successful in attracting medical practitioners, particularly specialists. I had some conversations in the last couple of days with some of the people in the medical profession. They tell me that they are not competitive. In fact, the only Province that does not have a similar piece of legislation like this is Ontario. They are the only Province. Newfoundland did not have this ability for doctors to incorporate themselves, but Ontario still does not, so right now we, in this Province, will be able to be on an equal footing with other provinces.

Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that this will let us attract specialities like, for example, cardiologists and oncologists and many other specialists who find that it is far more attractive to them if they take up practice, for example, in Nova Scotia. It is a piece of legislation that does not take away from the liability of medical doctors. In fact, in section 23.8(1) it says: "Notwithstanding a provision to the contrary in the Corporations Act, a medical practitioner who provides services or practises medicine through or on behalf of a professional medical corporation is liable to a person in relation to those services and the practice of medicine to the same extent and in the same manner as if the medical practitioner provided those services as an individual and that liability is not affected because of the medical practitioner's relationship to the professional medical corporation as a shareholder, director, officer, employee or in another capacity."

Mr. Speaker, we do believe that this protects the public of Newfoundland and Labrador in the very same way that they are protected now, so there is nothing here that would prevent any person in Newfoundland and Labrador from seeking redress for any grievance they might have with a member of the medical profession; but this does prevent the incorporation of the medical practitioner or medical practitioners, because there can be more than one, and that will have a beneficial effect when it comes to their being able to actually attain more revenue and, I guess, keep more of their earned dollars.

Mr. Speaker, I have also spoken to the Newfoundland Dental Association and they have told me that they have been pressing the government for a similar amendment to the Dental Act. I have with me today a memorandum from the Newfoundland Dental Association whereby they are seeking a similar kind of piece of legislation. In a presentation they made to the then Minister of Health and now the Premier of the Province, a year or so ago, they brought forward this request. Since then we have lost some of our dental specialists in the Province because they could find it more attractive to practice in other parts of Canada or, for that matter, in the United States.

Mr. Speaker, in giving approval to this particular piece of legislation on behalf of the medical practitioners in the Province, we also bring to the government's attention the fact that the Dental Association, on behalf of all the dentists in the Province, is seeking a similar piece of legislation that would have the same effect, letting us attract and keep dental specialists that we are now finding very difficult to attract. When we do attract them they often find that they can make more money, save more of their earned dollars, if they were to practice in some other province or in the United States.

Mr. Speaker, we are giving our word that we will vote in favour of this particular amendment before the House today, the Medical Act. We are asking the government if they will give some consideration to including or bringing forth another amendment that will offer the same kind of benefit to the dentists in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Thank you, very much.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would just like to say a few words on Bill 12 regarding the legislation to permit the corporation of a professional practice of medicine. I think it obviously has some advantages to the medical doctors themselves. It provides some flexibility in terms of arranging their affairs and income, and other provinces have gone down this road. We do need to have some flexibility there. It will provide some additional attraction, as the minister pointed out, to people intending to practice in the Province. It also has some other application potential to the kind of practices that we are seeing, such as in Clarenville, for example, where medical practice is operating with - in addition to medical practitioners, nurse practitioners and other professionals. So you could actually have a different type of medical practice, under professional corporation, that could employ people to carry out certain functions.

I would like to see in this Province, Mr. Speaker, a stronger emphasis on a community health approach where you can have a combination of doctors, nurse practitioners and others working in conjunction to deliver health care service so that we are not totally reliant on a medical doctor in each and every community, in each and every instance, to provide services; particularly when some of those services can be provided on a more efficient basis in some respects, but also on a more present basis through other medical professions who could provide advice, who could provide certain medical treatments, who could, in fact, do a screening of who needs to see a doctor on an urgent basis and provide delivery of health care to regions which may have difficulty, under any circumstances, attracting a resident medical doctor.

I am thinking of a conversation in a meeting I had the other day with the Executive Director of the Victorian Order of Nurses in Corner Brook who described some of the activities of clinics that are undertaken by the VON. In Lark Harbour, for example, they operate a nursing clinic a couple of days a week and are able to provide certain medical services that would otherwise not be available in the Lark Harbour area. This is a situation where there was a doctor going there regularly - and there is no doctor going there regularly now. The communities are serviced by a nursing clinic that operates two days a week.

We could see, and perhaps we should see a development of delivery of health care services based on a community clinic model. Instead of fee-for-service doctors, doctors who receive a salary or - as I understand happens in Clarenville - doctors being paid on the basis of a salary or an hourly rate, and the fee-for-service monies that are collected from MCP being used to pay not only the doctors but also other medical practitioners or nurse practitioners working in that kind of setting.

We do need to see some flexibility for various models being developed, and we do generally support the legislation allowing medical professionals to incorporate. I do not know if there is any calling on the government to do the same for dentists or lawyers, which are allowed to be incorporated in some other provinces. I do not know if our professionals have even gone so far as to consider that here, but clearly, the medical profession have gotten the support of their colleagues for this.

We do not have any serious objection to allowing medical practitioners to incorporate their practices and have some flexibility in how they organize their affairs in the conduct of that practice.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: If the minister speaks now he will close the debate.

The hon. the Minister of Human Resources and Employment.

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I thank the hon. members for their input, and I now move second reading of this bill.

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Amend The Medical Act And The Medical Care Insurance Act, 1999," read a second time, ordered referred to the Committee of the Whole House on tomorrow. (Bill 12)

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

MR. LUSH: Motion 1, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 1, that the hon. the Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board move: That This House Approves in General the Budgetary Policy of the Government.

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

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

It is a pleasure to speak on the Budget today and make a few comments. There are a couple of issues I would like to speak on regarding the Budget, obviously water quality.

We spoke about water quality today. It is unfortunate that within the Budget we did not see more funds made available for testing and treatment of water throughout the Province. Obviously, it is an issue that is of great concern. We seen what happened in Milwaukee a couple of years ago, what happened in Walkerton just last year, and again now this year in Saskatchewan.

Water bodies are vulnerable to parasites and bacteria. We have, in our Province, almost half of the water boil orders in all of Canada. There is a great concern. When it comes to the health and safety of the people of this Province - when you look at our water quality, that has to be the greatest concern surrounding water quality issues in this Province. So why there is not more treatment of our water, why there is not more testing of our water for more bacteria, more parasites, more pathogens, why we do not do more testing, that is the question. That is a very serious question.

The people of this Province are very concerned about their water quality. Yes, we have gone into hotels and restaurants throughout the Province. I am sure many of the members on the other side have seen the same type of thing, where they have little signs posted next to the taps, not to drink the tap water without boiling it. We have seen, in some hotels, where they advise you not to brush your teeth with the water. What a message to send to tourists, to send to visitors. That cannot be the type of message that we want to send to visitors who come to this Province. That cannot be the type of message that we want to send to people who are coming to this Province, when we are trying to build a tourism industry; when we are trying to build an industry to replace some of the jobs that were lost through the groundfishery.

When you look at situations, such as incinerators with dioxins and furans that are emitted - the toxins from the incinerators - those toxins are going directly into water bodies; rivers and streams that led into water bodies that are used as drinking supplies. It is just incomprehensible, for a number of reasons, why we would allow that to happen. We do not test for dioxins and furans in our drinking water supplies. We do not test for those carcinogens. We know what they do. We know that they are bio-accumulative. We know that they build up through the food chain and yet we do not test for those items in our drinking water supplies. That in itself is a very scary situation. Why we allow that to continue to happen in our Province. Why we continue to allow municipal solid waste to go to incinerators - and numbers of toxins are spewed out of those incinerators, not only into our water supplies, but into the vegetation around the area. That vegetation is affecting rabbits, moose, caribou and other wildlife in those areas. They bio-accumulate, which means that eventually through the food chain, rabbits and other rodents and so on are eaten by bigger animals and eaten by people. Mr. Speaker, I cannot understand why we would allow that to continue to happen. Now today we find out that we do not even test for these toxins, these chemicals, in our drinking water. We allow the incinerators to continue to spew tons and tons of emissions into the air around our water bodies.

We have areas in the Province, such as Peters River, where we have a large number of aquaculture related industries along Peters River. Peters River leads into Peters Pond, which is the main drinking water supply for Botwood. The minister knows what I am talking about.

AN HON. MEMBER: I know all about Central Newfoundland, ask me anything.

MR. T. OSBORNE: Absolutely, and you have to agree that the drinking supply for Botwood is not the most palatable.

AN HON. MEMBER: I would prefer to speak about my district, Sir.

MR. T. OSBORNE: Mr. Speaker, the drinking water supply in Botwood, the residents out in that area are concerned about it. It is my understanding they are probably even - I will ask my colleague - looking for a new water supply for that area out there?

AN HON. MEMBER: I heard something (inaudible).

MR. T. OSBORNE: You have to wonder why - when you have such contaminants and such concerns about our water supply - government are not testing to ensure the health and safety of the people who drink the water in those areas; why they are not protecting the people who consume the water in those areas.

We are talking about incinerators and municipal solid waste. You look at what they are doing in other provinces in reducing municipal solid waste that go to incinerators and the great success that other provinces have had. Really, Newfoundland is in the dark ages when it comes to reducing municipal solid waste. Newfoundland is in the dark ages when it comes to recycling, and recycling initiatives. When you look at other provinces - even one of our closest neighbours, Nova Scotia, look at what they have done by reducing the amount of municipal solid waste that goes into landfill facilities to about 50 per cent of what it was just six or seven years ago; look at the types of things they have done in achieving that. By reducing municipal solid waste they have reduced the number of landfill facilities down to some ten, twelve or fourteen sites, I believe, now in Nova Scotia. They are hoping to get that down to less than ten. Not counting landfill facilities, not counting landfill sites in this Province, we have almost fifty incinerators; four times the amount of incinerators that Nova Scotia has in landfills.

The incinerator that Nova Scotia has is not the old tee-pee style that we are operating with. In fact, we do not have anything compared to what Nova Scotia has in incinerators. They have a state-of-the-act facility up there that reduces, significantly, the amount of emissions created by that incinerator and, in fact, as an added bonus, generates electricity; and our incinerators are the most antiquated technology that you can have. They are the old teepee style incinerators where you just throw it in the high heat and the amount of emissions - anybody who has driven out over the highway past Foxtrap or any other area where there is an incinerator will know what I am talking about. You can smell the fumes from the incinerator as you are driving by. I means, it is the worst type of treatment you can force upon the environment, and those emissions are falling over green spaces, over our water supply. Really, it is almost shameful when you talk to other environment departments across Canada and compare notes. It is shameful to compare what we are doing here with what they are doing in other jurisdictions in Canada. It is shameful. It is shameful to know that we create more dioxins and furans from our incinerators than the steel industry in all of Canada. It is shameful to know that the incinerators in Newfoundland have been noted by the American government as one of the most significant environmental concerns in North America. It is shameful to know that we are allowing this to continue to happen. Not only is it bad for the environment, Mr. Speaker, it could be very, very hazardous to human health. It is shameful to know that we are not taking greater actions - and I will recognize and compliment government on some of the changes that they have made to the beverage container recycling program, and on considering putting out proposals for tire recycling; but those are ideas, Mr. Speaker, that we brought to the floor to the House of Assembly, that we raised, two and three years ago, that we asked government to consider two and three years ago, that we were told two years ago by the Environment Minister at that time that those issues were going to be addressed that year. A couple of years have gone and we are only now addressing them.

While I commend them on taking the actions that they have on tire recycling, I have to say that could have been done a couple of years ago. We could have looked at those issues a couple of years ago when they were raised; when the minister, at that time, said that we were going to address those issues.

Still, Mr. Speaker, I will say this: when you are talking about the couple of good things that government have done, the couple of things they have done in a positive direction, it is completely overshadowed by their lack of responsibility or their lack of direction, their lack of accountability when it comes to the environment, their lack of action when it comes to addressing issues such as reducing municipal solid waste. To take some money out of the beverage container recycling fund and to put that money out as grants and ask the people throughout the Province to come up with ideas; to put some $4 million out there and say that this is going to help solve municipal solid waste, it is going to help reduce municipal solid waste, not only is it an insult to the people who paid the deposit; not only is it an insult to the people who paid their deposits on beverage containers in good faith that the money was to be used to promote and enhance beverage container recycling and to help increase the amount of beverage containers that are being recycled; not only is it a slap in the face to those people, but really it is a slap in the face to the environment when you consider that government threw some measly $3 million or $4 million at, you know, community groups and said: You guys try and figure out a way to reduce municipal solid waste.

Government have to take the responsibility to reduce municipal solid waste, as they have done in other provinces where they have reduced significantly the amount of solid waste that goes to landfills; and they have proper landfills, lined landfills, so that you do not have leaching occur, so that you do not have leaching of toxic substances into the ground and into water tables and aquifers. They have proper landfills where they have lined landfills in other jurisdictions throughout North America - landfills, modern landfills - and what do we have here? Some forty-five incinerators spewing tons and tons of toxic emissions into the air, dioxins and furans, emissions that cause cancer, emissions that bio-accumulate, emissions that do not go away. Long after they have fallen from the air and you cannot see or smell those emissions, they are still there building up in the environment.

Mr. Speaker, it shameful what this Province has done to protect our environment. It is totally inadequate. They have not taken the proper direction when dealing with the environment in this Province, not at all. We are further behind than any other province in all of Canada, and further behind than perhaps any of the United States. The way we treat our municipal solid waste, there are Third World countries, I would say, that probably do a better job on dealing with municipal solid waste. There are areas in the world, such as Nova Scotia, where they have turned solid waste into a resource, where they have turned solid waste into something valuable.

You may say, how could you do that? Well, look here. In Nova Scotia, they have created some 600 meaningful jobs by reducing municipal solid waste. They have created some 600 good jobs by turning waste into reusable products; by setting up sorting lines at their landfill, where they actually open up garbage bags and sort and put things into different piles and turn them into valuable products; where people have curbside recycling, where people do curbside recycling; where things like rubber tires are turned into car mats or safety pylons.

AN HON. MEMBER: ( Inaudible).

MR. T. OSBORNE: How much time do I have?

AN HON. MEMBER: Four minutes.

MR. T. OSBORNE: Four minutes.

Where people turn rubber tires into things like safety pylons and floor mats for cars, and cow mats and so on.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is not hard.

MR. T. OSBORNE: I know it is not hard. Exactly.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. T. OSBORNE: They are turning them into blasting mats.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. T. OSBORNE: Well, there are an awful lot of tires going to our landfills, absolutely.

Mr. Speaker, I tell you, not only on the environment but on a number of issues, I am so disgusted with this government that I am going to move an amendment here today. I am going to move an amendment. I am going to move the following amendment: That all of the words after the word "that" be struck and replaced with the following: This House acknowledge and condemn the government's failure to represent accurately the Province's fiscal situation; to manage competently the Province's Treasury; to protect adequately the Province's resource wealth; to secure soundly the Province's social programs; to invest wisely in the Province's youth; to deal fairly with the Province's public employees; to maintain properly the Province's infrastructure; to contract capably with the Province's investors; to fight aggressively for the Province's best interests; to answer candidly to the Province's people; to listen attentively to the people's concerns; to administer accountably the Province's departments and agencies; to plan prudently for the Province's growth; to respond creatively to the desperate need for jobs, or to discharge effectively any of its other responsibilities.

This is seconded by my colleague, the Member for Bonavista South.

I move this amendment.

MR. SULLIVAN: Are you going to speak on it for a minute?

MR. T. OSBORNE: I will, yes. Sure. Why not?

Mr. Speaker, I will speak on this.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The House will take a short recess to determine whether or not the amendment is in order.

Recess

MR. SPEAKER (Mercer): The Chair has reviewed the amendment and deems it to be in order.

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

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

AN HON. MEMBER: He must be the leader today, is he? Are you the Leader of the Opposition? (Inaudible) leader, is he?

MR. T. OSBORNE: And I did not need to buy a new suit to do it.

Mr. Speaker, I am going to speak on this amendment a little bit. When you look at what is contained here in the amendment to represent accurately the Province's fiscal situation, how can government say they have represented the people's fiscal situation properly? When you see things like - I believe it was Term 29 back a couple of years ago, or Term 27. What was that, Roger?

MR. FITZGERALD: Twenty nine.

MR. T. OSBORNE: Absolutely, Term 29, where they took an up front settlement from the federal government and, in lieu, wrote off, gave away, agreed not to take, $8 million a year for some twenty years. How can you say they are representing the people's fiscal situation properly when they took a HST deal up front, took millions of dollars up front, and in turn lost valuable revenue every year thereafter? How can you say that they are representing the people's fiscal responsibility properly when the Auditor General questions the financial practices of government; when the Auditor General says that government's accounting practices are not up to scratch, that they are basically jigging the books, working the books to make the financial situation look better than it is; when the Auditor General says that the Province actually has a greater debt than the books are showing, because of government's fiscal practices, the way government do their books? How can you say that government are managing competently the Province's Treasury? They are not. Again, the Auditor General points to that.

The Minister Responsible for Finance and Treasury Board has put through what government has said is a beautiful, gleaming example of a budget that we should all be proud of. Yet, the Auditor General questions that and we question that. It turns out that the numbers we have used, that the Member for Kilbride used in questioning the previous Finance Minister, when all of the members on that side laughed and mocked and joked, were far, far more accurate and in line with the true picture of the fiscal situation in this Province than the government put forward.

How can we say that this Province is adequately protecting the Province's resource wealth, when the Premier is toying with the idea of letting some ore go out of Voisey's Bay in return for getting some back at a later date? What guarantees do we have that it is going to be the same grade, or when are we going to get it back? What guarantees do we have that the process that Inco is looking at using, is going to work? Why take the risk? How can we say that the Province is adequately protecting the Province's resource wealth when we are toying with the idea again of giving away our bulk water; when the previous administration gave iron ore pellets from Labrador City to Sept-Iles, Quebec, instead of processing it here; when we allow the shrimp to go to Prince Island instead of being utilized to the maximum benefit of the people of this Province?

The Member for St. John's North said the roof is falling in. If we allow government go continue to sit over there much longer, it may just fall in.

How can we say that the Province is securing soundly the Province's social programs, when families who need medical attention often times need to go to the mainland; when there are long lineups waiting for dialysis; when people sit in hospital beds for weeks waiting for a two-hour operation that can send them home the following day, waiting -

Mr. Speaker, can you hear me?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

How can we say that the Province is securing soundly the Province's social program, when people are waiting in hospital beds for weeks for an operation that could be done today and the person send home tomorrow? What is that costing the Province, to have somebody sit in a hospital bed every day? What cost is there to have them sit in a hospital bed for weeks? Do you know the reason that was given in that particular case, Mr. Speaker? They could not get access to an anaesthesiologist. So a person who went in on one day for day surgery, and was supposed to go home the next day, they would not release him from hospital because of the concern they had for him, and he sat there for over three weeks waiting for an operation.

Mr. Speaker, how can we say that we are going to secure soundly the Province's social programs. How can we say that? Because the Province is not. How can we say that the Province is investing wisely in the Province's youth? Maybe the investment per capita per youth has increased because of the number of youths who have out-migrated from this Province to other areas of Canada and North America. Madam Speaker, how can we say that we are investing in the Province's youth when there are so many young people, educated people, bright young people, leaving this Province? That is not investing in youth. It is certainly not investing in youth.

How can we say that the Province is dealing fairly with the Province's public employees. Ask the nurses. Ask the RNC. They will let you know. Because, Madam Speaker, I will tell you, this Province does not have a happy group of public employees, I can tell you that. That do not have a group of happy public employees.

How can we say that the Province is maintaining properly the Province's infrastructure when municipalities do not know whether their water is safe to drink; when we have boil orders. Is that the answer, boiling water? Is that the answer to handling of the Province's infrastructure, boil your water before you drink it? How can we say that is properly managing the Province's infrastructure?

How can we say, Madam speaker, that the Province has done a good job in contracting capably with Province's investors when in the Speaker's own district we gave away an industry for a dollar? How can we say that the Province is contracting capably with the Province's investors? How can we say that, when we did not secure the assets there? They failed to secure the assets. They failed to put in place fines for promises not delivered by Friede Goldman.

How can we say that the Province did a good job in fighting aggressively for the Province's best interests? Again I will point to Friede Goldman. Again I will point to the shrimp allocations that went to PEI. You do not have to look too far to see where government has failed.

How can we say that the government did a good job in answering candidly to the Province's people, when we have a report on the quality and state of the Province's water supply that the Province refused, under several requests under the Freedom of Information Act, to release? How can they say that they have answered to the people of the Province, when the Premier has promised more open access to information in government departments and they still refuse to release information?

How can we say that they are listening attentively to the people's concerns when people are concerned about water? What is being done? Oh, boil your water before you drink it. Do not brush your teeth with that water. When people are leaving the Province looking for work elsewhere and we are looking at giving away another resource instead of creating the employment here, when we are looking at giving away a raw resource to have processed elsewhere, utilized elsewhere, instead of processing that resource right here, how can we say that we are listening to the people? I know we are on this side of the House. We are listening to the people. How can we say that government is listening to the people? You can't.

How can we say that government did a good job in administering accountability to the Province's departments and agencies? Honestly, you cannot even get any information from those departments and agencies. They refuse to give the information.

How can we say that the Province did a good job to plan prudently for the Province's growth,

when not only do we have out-migration, not only is the population shrinking, but the only GDP growth that we can really boastfully say has boosted this economy in the past couple of years has been the offshore oil industry. Rural Newfoundland is dying. Rural Newfoundland cannot say that the offshore oil industry is putting bread and butter on their table. Rural Newfoundland cannot say that they have benefitted adequately from the jobs created by the offshore oil industry.

When the former Minister of Fisheries can stand and say that it is cheaper to bottle water than it is to process oil, and yet we are talking about letting it go in bulk, how can we accept, as an Opposition, speaking on behalf of the people of this Province - how can the people of this Province accept what the government is doing? They cannot.

How can we say that government responded creatively to the desperate need for jobs in this Province when they are going to let water go in bulk instead of processing it here, when they are going to let water go in bulk instead of bottling it here, labeling it here, and creating the jobs here? How can you do that? You cannot. How can you say that government is doing a good job? Government is not doing a good job. The people of the Province are going to let government know what they think of government whenever the Premier builds up the nerve to do the right thing, to call a by-election in Humber West. They will let the government know, as they did on the Northern Peninsula.

How can we say that government carried out responsibly its judiciary responsibilities? Madam Speaker, the people of this Province are waiting for the opportunity to let government know what they think of government. To be honest with you, I am looking forward to the day that the Premier will have enough courage to call a by-election in Humber West, enough courage to call a general election and listen to the people of the Province, to find out what the people of this Province really think. Because the Premier has swayed from the mandate that was given to the former Premier, or I should say, the former, former Premier. That mandate has been swayed from, and do you know what? The people of the Province are waiting to let government know that they are not pleased.

On that, Madam Speaker, I am going to let one of my colleagues stand and speak to this amendment.

Thank you, Madam Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MADAM SPEAKER: The hon. Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LANGDON: Thank you, Madam Speaker.

I want to make a couple of comments today regarding some of the issues that my colleague from St. John's South raised.

AN HON. MEMBER: Be careful.

MR. LANGDON: I will be careful. I always am.

Regarding, first of all, waste management. There is no doubt in my mind that we do have a problem with solid waste in the Province. We have admitted that. However, we will be able to correct it with the help of the municipalities and also with the help of the Federation of Municipalities and the citizens at large.

Just let me tell you some of the things that have happened with the solid waste management. As we speak, Madam Speaker, there is a committee in place that is looking at solid waste from Port aux Basques down to Deer Lake. It is our hope that they will be able to find, at least, a site. That will be done by consultation with a reputable engineering company that will be able to determine the site for them.

Contrary to what the Member for St. John's South said, I agree that the program for government, the policy for government, should be, first of all, regionalization; and number two, to recycle. It is the government's responsibility to put in place a policy to make that happen. I agree. It is also government's responsibility to finance part of the infrastructure to make it happen. I agree totally. However, once that is done, Madam Speaker, then I believe that government should withdraw itself from the actual running of the particular system, whatever that system might be, whether it be landfill or incineration. You have to remember, at the end of the day - and I have said this to the Federation of Municipalities - that the solid waste that is in a region belongs to the municipality; it is not government. We have to foster the relationship to make sure that there is a site.

Madam Speaker, as you would know - on an average, by the way, I meet with three particular councils a day, at least three councils a day, and I look forward to meeting with the councils, because after being there and working with them I know some of the frustrations that they encounter; and I enjoy doing that. In your district, Madam Speaker, as we speak, on the Burin Peninsula - probably a couple of years ago it would not have been possible to say this - but they are in complete agreement on the Burin Peninsula to have one waste disposal site. Now, whether that is incineration or whether that is the landfill site, that will depend. The emphasis has to be, of course, on regionalization, and it has to be recyclable. We are hoping that 50 per cent of the material that is in that particular region would go into recycle. As the Member for St. John's South said, it can be a good industry.

I visited the site in Moncton, New Brunswick, last fall, and to see the site that is there, a state-of-the-art site, environmentally sound, environmentally prepared - in that particular facility there are more than 100 people who are working full time. That, Madam Speaker, is about the size of the Avalon region, the northeast Avalon. I think that it is possible, with the co-operation of the major communities here, St. John's, Mount Pearl, Paradise, CBC and others as far away as Trepassey and the Bay de Verde Peninsula, that we could have one site. We haven't determined that yet. We are getting there, and we are hoping that we can make that happen, and I think we can.

As the member already alluded to, in Nova Scotia they have twelve sites, landfill sites or incineration; just twelve. In New Brunswick they have six, six sites for the whole of the Province of New Brunswick. We have here in Newfoundland and Labrador more than 250. You must remember that the terrain and the geography will not allow us to be able to do twelve sites or six sites in this Province. It is not possible to do so. I will also go further and say - remember I talked earlier about a committee form Port aux Basques to Deer Lake. Only recently, and a number of times, I met with the Member for Windsor-Springdale, and as we speak there is a group of people out there, Springdale, King's Point, Brighton, Triton, Pilley's Island, Port (inaudible) and South Brook, that are coming together to do one site for all of that region.

Last week, the Federation of Municipalities sponsored a meeting, and there were people there from Grand Falls on the west, Badger on the west, to Benton on the east and all points in between. I talked to the president of the Federation of Municipalities who told me that he was very, very encouraged by the people who attended. There were more than twenty-five or thirty people who attended that particular meeting. I have also met with other communities that want to do the same thing. So, we are going there.

I also want to say to the Member for St. John's South as well - he talked about Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. There are no two ways about it, they are way ahead of us when it comes to recycling. However, only recently, when the Minister of Environment announced a month or so ago that we were going to a deposit refund system, from ten and five, the Member for St. John's South got up and criticized the Minister of Environment saying: It is a tax. You are taxing the people. You know what, Madam Speaker? Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have had that system in place for years. How do you think they got the six sites and the twelve sites, if it was not for the revenue that came back from the Multi-Material Stewardship Board or their equivalent in these two Provinces? That is what happened and he knew that.

In Nova Scotia, for example - and I am sure the minister in time will revamp the board or whatever - somebody from the federation sits on the board. Do you know what? Profits in excess of running the system go back to the twelve sites.

In New Brunswick the system is a little different. In New Brunswick, you know what happens? All the profits that come to the government, 1.5 million goes directly back to the Department of Environment and the minister can use it at his or her discretion. There is a difference in it, but they have the ten and five. To consider it to be a tax, and to somehow (inaudible) the government into saying that we are doing something wrong, he knew different. Absolutely! I think, in that case, you were probably playing a little bit of political politics with it. I am telling you, we have eight and five now. It will only be a matter of time, if we get it in place the way that I see it, a main corridor for the solid waste plan that the minister will probably announce in a very short time, that we can reduce substantially the number of landfill sites in the Province.

Now, when you talk about incinerators, we do have a large number of these Teepee incinerators. I agree with that. But what we have said, when I was the Minister of Environment and the Minister of Environment is saying now, whenever people came to us we have said no, and he has said no to people who want us to repair their incinerators. We are saying no, we are not going to do that, because we have signed on, Madam Speaker, with the Department of Environment, Canada, and the other provinces to say that by 2007 there will not be one Teepee operating in this Province, because we have already signed on to say that it will not happen. I do not think it will take that long to be able to eliminate the majority of them.

However, we do have some problems in some of the small isolated communities along the south coast where there is no fill and the same thing along the coast of Labrador where they have problems being able to use a landfill system to be able to get rid of their waste. Regardless of that, we will have to have a modified incinerator system to protect the atmosphere and to protect the environment. I agree with that wholeheartedly and I think that will happen.

The member also talked about the water supply for Botwood and the water supply for Peterview and the other areas. I want to tell him, I am a step ahead of him, because only about three weeks ago the people from these councils came in to me, and I was the one who said to the people from Botwood, the council that was there: Why don't you connect into the Exploits Valley water system? They said: We never thought of that before. So, they went back and investigated that, and what they have done is talk to the Exploits Valley water board, and I think that they are in favour of doing it. If we were to do that, we could hook up Botwood, Peterview, Northern Arm, and possibly able to do the community down from Northern Arm - Phillips Head. We might be able to do that as well. The major problem that we have in this Province, when it comes to water quality, is the number of water bodies that we have that people use to drink. We have more water bodies than we have communities.

When we look at the boil orders, we have a large number of boil orders and nobody is going to dispute that, and I would be the last one to do that. Again, the major problem is in the small rural areas because 85 per cent of the population in the Province are not on boil orders. I think I am correct in saying that. So we have about 15 per cent of them.

MR. FITZGERALD: How many incorporated communities do we have?

MR. LANGDON: Incorporated communities, I think, in reply to the Member for Bonavista South, is about 250. I think we have 150-something of local service districts and we have about 100 communities that are not incorporated at all. That is a major problem for us as well because, as you would know, in many of the smaller communities that are not incorporated, many of these systems were put in under LIP grants and what have you. They were put in without proper standards and so on, but nevertheless it is our responsibility and we have to work with it.

I met with the Member for Bonavista South and his councils the other morning. I think we had a real good meeting with them and I threw out some challenges to them and I hope that in the future they will consider it and who knows where they will be able to go with it.

The other thing that I want to mention is about a plan where we deal with water quality in the Province. In fact, we have dealt with, I think, more than fifty communities that we funded through the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs for chlorination systems, to repair them or to put into new systems. We have said to the municipalities, that we will, as a Province, pick up 100 per cent of it for a ceiling of less than 100,000. You know what? I can say here today that up to this particular point we have not refused one community that has come to us. In fact, I want to say also to the Member for St. Barbe - he had a council in to see us on some problems he had with the chlorination system. Right there on the spot, as he knows, we said: Okay we will do it for you because it is a problem that we have. I filled him in afterwards on that, and hopefully that particular project can become a reality for him.

We do care, and I am going to tell you that for me being here - and I would think that over the next little while, over the next week or two, when we finalize the program for the municipal infrastructure and the Canada-Newfoundland Infrastructure Program, that people will be able to see that we have made a commitment to clean water, where we want to help as many municipalities as we possibility can. Can we do it all? Obviously not, because we had more than $550 million worth of requests, more than 1,150 applications, so you could not do it all. I think we have been able to help more than 172 projects, which is a fair number of projects, with an average of about $300,000 a project. I think that is within that range. I think that people will be able to see that this government has a commitment to that.

AN HON. MEMBER: How come today there are incinerators near water bodies?.

MR. LANGDON: The thing about it is, what I have been saying to you, I know that we have incinerators. The Member for Windsor-Springdale has talked to me about the situation in Grand Falls. What I can say to you is that I know we are addressing it, because I have talked to the mayor and other mayors in the Central region. In fact, I did it on the weekend. The Minister of Environment was there with me. I talked to Mayor Blackmore and Mayor Claude Elliott and the president of the Federation. We met with them and, in a sense, they know we are coming, and they were really enthused about it happening.

Let me tell you about one more thing that we did. Talk about being proactive and being a government, wanting to do things for the municipalities. I talked about it last year with one of the consulting engineers in the Province when we had problems with the THMs. I said: Wouldn't it be a good idea if we were able to make a Newfoundland-made solution to the THM problems that we have, where we could look at the problems that we have in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador and be able to devise a system.

Two days ago, the Minister of Environment and myself, along with the Dean of Engineering at Memorial and two of his staff - we said to them and to the Federation of Municipalities: We want to draw up a memorandum of understanding between us and the four departments, Health, Government Services and Lands, Environment and my department, where we would hope that the university would be able to devise a plan for us where we could provide a center of excellence at our own university to deal with the problems in the many communities that we have.

One of the ways that they can deal with that is to have two portable units, where they would be able to take those two portable units and go to a small community in the rural part of the Province, look at the water supply and look at everything that is there, be able to do the testing on the site, and, hopefully, be able to devise a system for us whereby we might be able to correct that particular problem.

I know that is a little way off, but you have to start, you have to set your plan, you have to set your goals. In that particular situation, I think we are doing that. In that particular case, the Minister of Environment here is taking the lead. He is the lead minister on environment. I think that when the people come back from Memorial University with a memorandum of understanding for us, I think it is going to be great.

The other thing that I talked about here also is: I believe that it is very, very important to be able to consult and work with organizations. As I said, we have a great working relationship with the Federation of Municipalities. In fact, some of the people who are there are people who I worked with when I was on the board some twelve or thirteen years ago, and I have a good relationship with them.

The weekend before last, I went to the NLAMA conference in Grand Falls. That is the town clerks and managers, as they had their annual general meeting in Grand Fall-Windsor. Do you know what? I want to congratulate the organization. They have come light years in being able to improve on the administration of the municipalities.

MR. HUNTER: On a point of order, Madam Speaker.

MADAM SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Windsor-Springdale, on a point of order.

MR. HUNTER: I would like to ask the minister: Could he tell me today if regular testing is being done on the Exploits regional water supply for dioxins, furans and carcinogens? Could the minister bring me up to speed on the testing that is done on the Exploits regional water supply?

MR. LANGDON: Madam Speaker, I am not the minister responsible for the testing on the water bodies. That falls under the responsibility of the Environment and the Department of Government Services and Land, who do the testing for us. Right now, in my capacity, what we do is, we are the financial arm whereby we were able to do some of these projects and be able to make it happen.

I will get back to the NLAMA group. I congratulated them. I know the city clerk in Mount Pearl, Gerard Lewis, and Mr. Kelly from Marystown, who is the president of that particular association - Dennis Kelly - a longtime friend of mine. I have know him for years. He was there when I was on the board of directors of the federation. I complimented them on the work that they had done.

Do you know what? We signed a Memorandum of Understanding with them too, because we cannot operate in isolation of each other. We want to work with the federation. We want to work with the fire chiefs' association. We want to work with the NLAMA group. I think that consultatively, when you get together and consult, and you do things by consensus and have them help us to develop policy, and that is what we want to do, then we are in the right direction. I think that over the next little while you will see dividends of that happening.

I wanted to make these particular points, and I want to also say regarding the tire program, that is right. We announced, when I was the Minister of Environment, that we were going to do a tire program. I am telling you, I went to Nova Scotia and I went to New Brunswick and I saw the programs. One of the things that I wanted to do was to make sure that we did it right and when it was done that we would be able to take care of the problem of recycling. I want to congratulate the Minister of Environment on that, for taking up the torch, and now the proposals are in the paper. I understand that he has had a number of people who are interested in doing that. I look forward to making that happen and I look forward for other projects that we can do.

In addition, talking about the Multi-Materials Stewardship Board and some of the projects that they are doing, I do not know if the Member for St. John's South would know that one of the last things I did when I was Minister of Environment was to give St. John's Clean and Beautiful a large grant whereby they could look at ways that they would do the pickup of recycling in the City of St. John's. When the lady came to me, she said: We want to look at how we are going to do that: whether we are going to do it on Duckworth Street; how are we going to do it on Prescott Street as compared to what we would do in on Cowan Heights? So, they are doing that. I believe, at the end of the day, when we get a new centre on the Northeast Avalon, it will be a landfill system that will be properly engineered so that there will not be leaching and all of this kind of thing. But, at the same time, if we want to do it, we can have the household hazardous wastes, we can have the contaminated soil, we can have construction material, we can have recyclable steel and so on in all places. Then we can recycle what is left out of that, and that can also be a landfill system that has been planned. After you have it bailed and so on, in the proper way, then you can sod it over and you will never know that it was a landfill site.

That is the type of thing that we want to do. That is the type of thing that has gotten the municipalities in this Province interested. I have seen that happen. It has not been easy. As the Member for Windsor-Springdale knows, the first meeting we had in his area there was no idea that it would be so difficult to bring the communities together. Now that it is much less difficult, other communities are joining them. I think that once they see a plan in place that they can work with and they dare to see something happen, then I think that it will be a success.

I wanted to make these particular points to have them on the record.

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Madam Speaker.

I stand today to second the motion put forward by my colleague, the Member for St. John's South, in bringing forward his -

MR. SULLIVAN: Oliver seconded it.

MR. FITZGERALD: Oliver seconded it by standing. I guess he did. The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Employment probably seconded the motion, since he spoke second, in bringing about the non-confidence motion in response to the budget that is brought forward.

Some of the issues that the minister brought forward are certainly of concern. It is nice to know that he is moving in that direction. I think he has found, in meeting with the many councils that he has talked about here recently, that a lot of the councils are in cooperation as well. They do not find it any more acceptable than the minister does. They would like to reach out to have a common waste disposal site where they can go and allow their refuse to be gotten rid of, instead of driving around or going in every other woods road and seeing the garbage blowing around and seeing the smoke towering out and coming across the roadway. It is not acceptable. The quicker we move and get those areas cleaned up and have probably half a dozen areas, instead of the 150 or 200 areas that the minister spoke about, is certainly a step in the right direction and it is a route that we should go.

The one issue in this Province today that is on the other end of the conversation when my telephone rings, the one issue that is of major importance in rural Newfoundland and Labrador, is employment. I do not think anybody sitting in this House here today, whether you are on the government side or whether you are on this side of the House, will refute that statement. Ninety per cent of the phone calls that we get, as rural members, are calls directly related to unemployment, directly related to the lack of employment opportunities here in this Province. That brings on all of the other problems that surround that when it comes to dealing with government departments, or when it comes to dealing with other special situations, whether it be unable to access a drug card, whether it be unable to have funding to travel to access a job, or to try to reach out and have some piece of equipment to allow a mother to be able to look after the family home, it all stems from the lack of employment.

I do not have a quick answer to the solution to that. I wish I did, I say to members opposite. I wish I did; because many times, I think, when the phone rings, a lot of the people, a lot of our constituents, want somebody to listen to them. I do not think they call me knowing that I am going to give them directions to where to go to find a job. They know that employment opportunities exist in Alberta. They know that there are job opportunities in Ontario. They know that there might be funding available to them if they went to the office of the Minister of Human Resources and Employment, but that is not what people want to hear.

I think, Madam Speaker, that we have to start looking very seriously about how we are going to deal with some of those problems. I firmly believe that after the downturn in the fishery, I firmly believe the number of people who wanted to access mobility money, I feel the number of people who wanted to go back to school and retrain in order to reach out and do other things, I think most of those people now have gone in that particular direction. The people we see in the Bonavistas, the Marystowns, the Catalinas, the Port Unions and the Duntaras of the world are people who have made up their mind that they are going to stay and live in those communities.

What we are going to do for people who live in Spillars Cove, Duntara and Keels, we are certainly not going to create an industry there. We are certainly not going to be able to have people employed, everybody employed, in their own little community. We are certainly not going to be able to continue to put forward make-work projects every year. In order for the make-work project to happen, it seems like people have to go out, they have to protest, and they have to dominate Open Line shows in order to put the case forward that we need to be employed and we need to generate some form of make-work in order to qualify for EI. I do not think that is the direction that we should go in.

I do not think that we should realistically expect people to come to some of those outports to put in a manufacturing industry that is unrealistic. There is nobody going to go to Bonavista and make parts for cars. There is nobody going to go down to Port Union and get involved in manufacturing airplane parts. We have to look at the reasons why those communities exist, and I think we have to build on the infrastructure programs that we have there. If it means reaching out and supporting some of those industries, then I think maybe that is the direction that we should go in.

The great concern today, or most of the calls that I get today, are people, fishermen, who still maintain their fishing licences, wanting to go fishing but unable to access Employment Insurance because their Employment Insurance has now expired and, for no reasons of their own, they are unable to set their lobster pots because of ice conditions around the shore. They are unable to take part in the fishery for reasons beyond their control.

Madam Speaker, we are not talking about a cash-strapped system here. We are talking about fishermen and fish plant workers. We are talking about loggers who cannot get in the woods because of the unusual winter we have had this past winter, with something like in excess of twenty feet of snow falling, that they are unable to get in the woods in order to work and to work for the employer who they would normally go to work with. Their plea is: to allow us to collect EI for another two or three weeks to get us over this hump and allow this to happen.

Madam Speaker, I brought it up here in the House of Assembly on a couple of occasions. The Prime Minister apologized to the people in this country, not only to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. The Primer Minister apologized in the last election to the people of the country. He said: I am sorry. I am sorry for bringing about the changes that my government brought about in changing the EI system. I did not realize that it hurt so many people; and, because of that, we are now looking at changing it.

He did bring about some changes. He is going to get rid of the intensity rule. He is going to allow the EI regulations to allow people to collect 55 per cent of their wages; so that you include 55 per cent in the equation rather than 50 per cent. He is going to allow maternity leave to be extended for a longer period of time. He is going to allow the cap to be raised from $39,000 up to forty-eight thousand, seven-hundred and some odd dollars, Madam Speaker. Those are changes that are helpful; but I say to you that when you look at the changes that he brought in, they are not changes that are going to help the majority of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. There are no changes in the length of time that you need to qualify for EI. There are no changes in the length of time, the duration that you are allowed to receive employment insurance, and the one change that has not been touched and has not been talked about is the divisor rule, where somebody today, if they are fortunate enough to find a job, and if that job only lasts for ten or eleven or twelve weeks and they receive the minimum number of hours in order to qualify for EI, 420, they have to take the number of weeks that they have worked and divide it by fourteen; the minimum number of weeks that you need in order to quality for EI in this Province.

Now, if somebody quits their job, if somebody leaves their job because of their own actions, I do not have a lot of sympathy for them unless there is a justified reason for doing that. I think that we should gear up any benefits that are there for the people who lose their job or are unable to go to work for reasons beyond their control. The people who I talk to, the people who work as fishermen, the people who work in the lumber woods, the people who work at construction, they do not decide when they get laid off. They do not decide when they are going to work. They wait at the phone, for the most part, and wait for somebody to give them a call and allow them to go to work, and when the job is finished they go home. If they can only get twelve weeks work, then why should they be penalized and have the number of weeks that they worked divided by two extra weeks that they never worked and never had an opportunity to work.

When you look at opportunities in rural areas, when you look at wondering what it is that you can try to do and create employment, sometimes we have to reach further beyond what happens between our own two ears. Sometimes we have to reach out and we have to ask what the strengths are for the region, what the strengths are for the area. I say, for the benefit of those people who are here today, some new members who may not know of a great suggestion that was brought about by a present member, a present minister, and a former Premier of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, who had a great idea for rural Newfoundland and Labrador. He was going to create a buffalo ranch, I say to members opposite. A buffalo ranch was going to be created, and it was going to be a test ranch on the Avalon Peninsula. The headline read -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) wrong with it.

MR. FITZGERALD: Well, I am just going to put it forward and we will let other people decide and you can have your chance to get up and speak about the positive things about it.

The headline read: Here's the beef. Buffalo beef, that is. Local buffalo beef and bison burgers may soon be a regular commodity on supermarket shelves and restaurant menus in Newfoundland and Labrador. The provincial government is currently studying a proposal to operate buffalo ranches on the Avalon Peninsula and in other areas of the Province.

This was a great proposal being put forward by a former Premier.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who was that?

MR. FITZGERALD: A former Premier.

He went on to say, Madam Speaker: Newfoundland is the only Province which doesn't have buffalo ranches. The plans call for the establishment of three or four buffalo farms on the Avalon Peninsula, one in the Central region and another one on the West Coast. Right now bison meat tops the Canadian market, both in terms of demand and price. He went on to talk about how they were going to be farmed. He went on to talk about the advantages of eating buffalo meat because it was low in cholesterol. Madam Speaker, that was back in 1996.

I have to use this story because I am thinking, I say to the minister, that it might be my last time because I hear the former Premier is going on to bigger and better things. There is no point in talking about buffalo ranches if the proponent is not in the House to listen to it. It is not everyday that you can bring it forward and talk about it. It was a great proposal. I might send it on up to the red chamber when the minister goes up there to take his ideas across Canada. I may send it up to the red chamber to have it talked about there because it never got off the ground here.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) red cucumbers?

MR. FITZGERALD: No, not red cucumbers; the red chamber, I say to the minister.

AN HON. MEMBER: Blue lobsters.

MR. FITZGERALD: Blue lobsters; that is a prime example of what is happening in this Province today when you look at what is happening on the West Coast. I say to the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Fisheries, you wonder what is happening. People talk about the blue wave, the blue tide and the blue sweep that is coming across this Province.

It was only this morning I heard, listening to the radio, that in order to catch a blue lobster - apparently there is one chance in 20 million of catching a blue lobster. Guess what? There have been two blue lobsters caught this last week.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: Over on the West Coast.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: Well, you can read into it what you want. It shows that the blue lobster is an indication and is indicative of the blue wave that is sweeping across this Province. It shows that there is a blue wave sweeping across the Province, and even the lobsters are turning blue.

To get back to a more serious note now, Madam Speaker. I want to get back to a more serious note because there are some serious issues that have to be debated here. There is one thing that I would like to bring up, and that is health care here in the Province. I had a letter some time ago from a neighbouring district of mine, the district of Terra Nova, where a concerned citizen asked me to bring forward their concerns here in the House about trying to get a doctor on St. Brendan's island. In fact, I think it is a very responsible position that he is taking. He wrote me, and has written several letters to people, some of them on the other side. This letter was dated back on February 10 of this year.

AN HON. MEMBER: And you're just reading it now?

MR. FITZGERALD: No, I am sorry, March 2. The letter was written February 10 to some of your colleagues and up until that time he had not received a reply, I say to the minister.

What the gentleman is asking is if a doctor can be made available to come to St. Brendan's for regular visitation. He is not asking that a doctor be placed in St. Brendan's full-time. He is saying that we are an island community, and what we are asking is for a doctor to be allowed to come to St. Brendan's, preferably the same doctor, so that there can be some kind of doctor-patient relationship. Preferably the same doctor would come to St. Brendan's on a regular visit in order to look after the health cares of St. Brendan's island. Apparently what has happened, sometimes a doctor is scheduled to go to St. Brendan's but if the weather is bad that particular day and the ferry is cancelled, or if for some reason the doctor has to change his schedule, it does not mean that the doctor will go back to St. Brendan's tomorrow, Madam Speaker. What happens then is the people in St. Brendan's have to wait a full month in order to have doctor services and their health attended to.

What they are asking for and what they are asking the health care board, Dr. Blackie, Chief Medical Officer of the Gander District Health Board - and they are asking their member and asking this government - what they are asking for is to have a doctor assigned to visit the island of St. Brendan's on a regular basis so that people might be able to access health care. I say this to the member who just came into the House, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, that it was a letter that was sent to me back in March month from some people in St. Brendan's. I can give the minister the letter but I think he knows it well because he was provided with the letter. They asked me to raise the issue in the House where they wanted a doctor to be assigned to the island of St. Brendan's on a regular basis where they might be able to access health care services. I say to the minister, and I will repeat myself because he should hear it, those people are not saying that we want a doctor stationed in St. Brendan's. They are not saying that somebody should be in St. Brendan's every second day. What they are asking for is a doctor to be assigned to the island of St. Brendan's on a regular basis and hopefully, it will be the same doctor so that they can have some kind of doctor-patient relationship.

The gentleman went on to say that if there is a visitation scheduled and that visitation is cancelled because of problems with the ferry, because of weather conditions, because of the doctor's incapabilities of being able to go to St. Brendan's for other reasons, then not only do they have to wait a longer period of time but they have to wait for the regular visit to occur again. It does not happen the next day. That is not too much to ask for. That is a reasonable request by a reasonable individual asking that they be afforded some degree of health care. I fully support them. I fully support them, Madam Speaker, in allowing that to happen. I am sure the minister does as well, but they have not been able to receive any benefits. They have not been able to receive a reply, I say to the minister, to that particular request. It was brought to my attention and I assured them that I would raise it here in this House.

Madam Speaker, I talked about employment insurance. I talked about employment opportunities. We have to do more with what we have. I recall a few years ago, sitting here in this House, the Premier of the day, now the federal Minister of Industry -

MADAM SPEAKER: Order, please!

I remind the hon. member that his time is up.

MR. J. BYRNE: By leave.

MR. FITZGERALD: By leave.

MADAM SPEAKER: Leave granted.

MR. FITZGERALD: I will just finish this statement and I will not take advantage of the leave, I say to the member.

I remember sitting here one day and the former Premier came back from opening the Whiffin Head oil storage site. He came back and stood in his place, and talked about what a wonderful day it was. It was a red letter day for the Province. He and another minister - I am not sure who the other minister was - just came back from Whiffin Head, opening this big project that was going to allow our offshore oil to come here to the Province and be stored. Well whoop-de-do, I say to you, Madam Speaker. What about the jobs for refining oil? What about the petro-chemical plants? Where is the oil going to be taken to after it leaves the Province? We should be satisfied that we are going to store our oil - I will call it our oil - here when we have places with about 80 per cent and 85 per cent unemployment? That we should be satisfied with that because there are forty jobs created? Those are the kinds of things, I say to people opposite, and the kind of mindset that we have to change. Those are the kinds of things, Madam Speaker, when we see 3,000 jobs out at Hibernia and we say that we are happy - or what is the member talking about because we have a 1,000 people out there? That was a question that I brought up here on another occasion, at another time, and the minister rose and said: I do not know what the member is complaining about. There are 3,000 people out there.

The comment was made was made here at a particular Estimates meeting: We cannot have any more people working at Bull Arm, because we do not have the facilities there to accommodate them. I know lots of people -

AN HON. MEMBER: Who said that?

AN HON. MEMBER: Bill Marshall (inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: No, it was not Bill Marshall. It was the Minister of Mines and Energy, Chuck Furey, at the time.

Madam Speaker, I know lots of people who would have been glad to get up in the morning, get aboard their car, take their lunch box and come home every night. Laborers - we imported laborers into this Province in order to build the Hibernia project.

AN HON. MEMBER: Shame.

MR. FITZGERALD: You are right, it is shameful.

I am not saying that people should have been admitted to the unions and prop up their membership, but the least we could have done was give them a work card and allow them to go to work.

We were talking about the Marystown Shipyard, something that is very near and dear to you, Madam Speaker. We look at the type of people there who are looking for a job, with their capabilities, and we have to ask ourselves -

AN HON. MEMBER: Could have been working at Gisborne Lake..

MR. FITZGERALD: They can be working at Marystown, where the facility exists today. That is where they can be working. You look at the floating platform that was built. Where did we have it built? We had it built in Korea; but guess who has to now go out and attend to the deficiencies for that particular project? Newfoundlanders. Aren't we capable of building ships here? Aren't we capable of building floating platforms here to look after our own oil development?

Those are the kinds of things that can get Newfoundlanders working. Those are the kinds of things that can take advantage of the trades and skills that already exist here in this Province. Until we get the mindset that we want full and fair benefits, and until we get the mindset that we are going to take advantage and have every Newfoundlander provided with every opportunity that becomes available, we are still going to stand here in this House and talk about the problems with employment insurance and become beggars to the central government.

Thank you, Madam Speaker, for allowing me leave, and I allow somebody else to carry on the debate.

MADAM SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for The Straits & White Bay North.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TAYLOR: Thank you, Madam Speaker.

I just have a few comments this afternoon on the Budget, and motion of non-confidence, and the amendment or whatever it is called.

I was just sitting here this afternoon and I went through some papers in my folder, and actually I took the time to count the number of graduating students - the students we have in Grade 12 in my district this year. I did not think there were that many, and I guess I was right. In the whole District of The Straits & White Bay North, graduating in June of this year, we hope, there will be ninety-five students from Englee around to Flower's Cove, every school.

I look around at the tip of the Northern Peninsula in particular, and I look at the tourism industry, the fishing industry and the forestry industry. I look at L'Anse aux Meadows, the legacy of the Vikings that we waved flags about and had the big celebration on last year. The members opposite will remember some questions a couple of weeks ago on Norstead, a remarkable facility, L'Anse aux Meadows, a great site, quite a tourist attraction for people around the world.

In St. Anthony, we have the Grenfell legacy, the legacy of Dr. Grenfell. Just a little while ago they celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the construction of his first hospital in St. Anthony. The anniversary is some time this fall, actually, when it was officially opened. I am not sure if they had too many ribbon cuttings back in the 1901, all the same, for a hospital in St. Anthony. Nevertheless, Dr. Grenfell's name has a certain appeal throughout the world, as a missionary and a person who did great work on the Northern Peninsula, and again as a tourist attraction in itself for people who are looking for educational tourism as opposed to ecotourism, I guess.

You look just across the street, over in the district of the Member for Cartwright -L'Anse au Clair, and we see Red Bay, another legacy, another big drawing card for tourism on the Northern Peninsula and Southern Labrador; and our French shore history, certainly, with Jacques Cartier, who landed on and camped in Quirpon. Quirpon that is, Hansard, not carpooling, which they put in last week. Jacques Cartier camped there. I understand that in 2004 we are hoping to have a French shore celebration here in Newfoundland and Labrador, and certainly communities like Conche, Croque, Griquet, St. Lunaire and Quirpon, those places, are hoping to make some kind of event out of this.

As I said, I look at all these attractions that we have, just from a tourism industry perspective, and all the opportunities that should go with that. I look around and say to myself: we are getting ninety-five graduates. Why do we only have ninety-five graduates? It is not because the people of the Northern Peninsula probably are not all that sexually active; it is just that there are not that many of them left around to be sexually active.

The problem that we have on the Northern Peninsula, Madam Speaker, is that the people have left. The people have left and the people are continuing to leave. They have left in droves over the past number of years since the collapse of the cod fishery.

In spite of opportunities like the ones that I just mentioned in the tourism industry, the area continues to struggle to get ahead. As a matter of fact it continues to back slip, I suggest, most days.

Unfortunately, with the opportunities that we have here in the tourism industry, the problem that we have, I think, is that the Province has not been doing the job. The provincial government has not been doing its job to promote Newfoundland and Labrador as a premiere tourist destination. They have not been doing the job. I guess that is the reason why I had to rise in this House a couple of weeks ago and ask the questions that I did on Norstead, and the funding for Norstead, looking for a measly, I suggest, $100,000 to run Norstead this year, when last year there was a couple of million dollars spent to build the place. It is amazing that you could even find yourself in the predicament that they were in less than twelve months after the facility was constructed.

I was told one time, and I am not sure if this is true or not, but I guess whether it is true or not it will point out how little attention we have paid to marketing tourism in Newfoundland and Labrador. As I understand it, the marketing budget for Molson is greater than the marketing budget for tourism in Newfoundland and Labrador.

You turn on the TV, you know, American channels, Canadian channels, especially the Boston channels, you look at the television, and what do you see? Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Canada's Ocean Playground, the Bay of Fundy, P.E.I. What do you see from Newfoundland and Labrador? Nothing. Nothing, I suggest. That is why our tourism industry is not developing at the rate that it should be developing.

How do we expect to build communities like Quirpon, L'Anse aux Meadows, Red Bay and St. Anthony back to some stature?

MR. JOYCE: (Inaudible) 27 per cent tourism increase.

MR. TAYLOR: I ask the Member for the Bay of Islands, has he checked the reservations with Marine Atlantic recently? Can he tell me how much reservations are up this year over last year? Can he tell me that? He seems to be able to throw out some statistics about how we are up 27 per cent, 27 per cent growth. I suggest to the Member for the Bay of Islands that we will not see that this year, unfortunately, if indeed it is true.

The problem, Madam Speaker, with the members opposite here, the problem with this government, is that the only social spending that they understand is throwing a party every now and then. That is the social spending. Instead of throwing a party once in awhile on tourism, maybe we should look at a long-term strategy for tourism development here in Newfoundland and Labrador as opposed to celebrations from time to time.

Earlier today and yesterday I have been asking questions in this House about the fishery and the P.E.I. shrimp allocation. Some time ago we asked the minister questions about the proposal from a Quebec based group for access to 6,000 tons, I believe it was, of northern shrimp off the Coast of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Here in the House - I think they were here today; they were here yesterday, anyway - some people showed up from Black Duck Cove in the district of my friend from St. Barbe. These people are having great difficulty, I guess, with the shrimp plant that they have in their area, like some of the people in Englee, friends of mine in Englee, back and forth there from time to time. I spent a lot of time in Englee over the years and I go there and they have the same difficulties. They have a crab plant, and Black Duck Cove has a shrimp plant, but both places are finding it very difficult to secure any kind of employment, short-term or long-term, within the fishery.

At the same time that those communities and many others around Newfoundland and Labrador - the minister over here with a problem in his own District of Twillingate. I hope that the minister is able to solve that problem; but I hope, in solving that problem, he does not create more, and I hope that he can help solve the problems that we have in some of the other communities around the Province.

The problem that we have here - and I am sure that the people in Twillingate have the same views as the people in Conche and the people in Black Duck Cove and the people in Englee - they get frustrated when they see boats coming ashore in their harbour and unloading fish and putting it on a truck and it is hauled somewhere else for processing within the Province.

I suggest, Madam Speaker, that the problem that we have in Newfoundland and Labrador with the fishery, by and large, is not - although there are problems with that and I can understand and share people's frustrations when they see these types of things happening, the real problem is that there are too many boats fishing off the Northeast Coast of Newfoundland and Labrador and, for that matter, off the South Coast and West Coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, and taking fish that should be brought ashore in Newfoundland and Labrador, should be caught by Newfoundland and Labrador fishermen and should be processed by Newfoundland and Labrador plant workers, that they are taking it - and it is not the truck that is rolling down the road. It is the boat that is rolling along by the shore on its way to Sydney and Canso and Halifax and wherever.

This is the problem that we have in Newfoundland and Labrador with our fishery primarily, Madam Speaker, and over on the West Coast we have the same problem, but there is a responsibility there. In spite of my comments there that the federal government is responsible for a large part of this, there are things that the provincial government could be doing to help. I got into it a little bit the other day, and I think I might have raised the previous minister's blood pressure a little bit. At the risk of doing that again today, there are things that the provincial government could be doing. Maybe I will raise the present minister's blood pressure, but it is not to get confrontational. It is to make suggestions on where I think we went wrong and where I think we need to go.

We have shrimp being landed in Newfoundland and Labrador now by Canadian vessels, Canadian quotas fished in Canadian waters, shrimp that, as I said the other day, some of it is going to the market in the form that it comes off the boat, and it is understandable because certain people, certain markets, would like to have uncooked, frozen-at-sea, unpeeled shrimp; but there is a market for the cooked and peeled, and that is what we cater to here with our processing plants in Newfoundland and Labrador. Roughly 20 per cent, I guess, of the shrimp that comes ashore from these offshore Canadian vessels, with Canadian quotas, in Canadian waters, is industrial shrimp; industrial shrimp that goes somewhere to be cooked and somewhere to be peeled. In large part, this industrial shrimp is not going to Newfoundland and Labrador based plants, and the provincial government has a responsibility. The provincial government actually has legislation or policy that says that fish landed in Newfoundland and Labrador must be processed in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Obviously there are times when maybe that policy must be looked at, but this is not one of those cases. In this situation, the industrial shrimp that comes ashore is put aboard a container, shipped off to Iceland, Greenland, Norway, some Scandinavian or European Union affiliate country, and it is processed there. Then we have to go and compete with that same shrimp in the market. You know, it really begs the question: Why do we allow this to happen here when we do have control over the fish that is landed in our ports, and control over the processing of it? It is a provincial government responsibility and it is incumbent upon the provincial government to act on this as soon as possible; because, Madam Speaker, just the amount of industrial shrimp that is not processed here in Newfoundland and Labrador, if it went to Twillingate alone or if it went to Englee alone - and I know this would not happen - but if it went to these places alone, it would probably solve much of the problem that these communities have. Certainly, irregardless of where it went, if it was spread throughout the plants that exist in the Province now, maybe we would see the shrimp processing sector and certainly the harvesting sectors - once the shrimp processing sector became more viable, with that you see the viability of the harvesting sector increase also.

I mentioned the other day lump roe - not a very romantic topic, I do not expect. It is not something that people jump into every day but certainly there are thousands and thousands of barrels of lump roe caught here in Newfoundland and Labrador every year. The roe is put into a barrel, as I said, and a bit of salt thrown in with it. That is about the extent of it, and shipped off to the market; no processing. I am pretty sure that people do not eat caviar out of thirty or forty-five gallon drums. I am pretty sure they do not.

AN HON. MEMBER: It would be expensive.

MR. TAYLOR: It would be expensive. Yes, I suggest it would be, Mr. Minister.

I think what the provincial government needs to do is look at its processing policy and say that it has to be processed here in Newfoundland and Labrador; and say to the processors and to the market - I mean the market for lump roe for caviar is a limited market. There are a limited number of suppliers in the world. We happen to be one of the biggest. We happen to have some influence in that market. We can actually throw our weight around a little bit. We should be saying to market and to the processors here in Newfoundland and Labrador that we are going to develop a strategy to get more employment out of this resource. We are going to move from shipping it in bulk - because it is a bulk mentality that seems to have permeated this Province and probably has existed since the day we move here; but we have to get away from it, I say to the minister. We have to get away from that bulk mentality and try to figure out, not how many fish we can get for a dollar but how many dollars we can get for a fish. This is where we have to go with lump roe. We need to say that in five or six years the lump roe that is leaving Newfoundland and Labrador has to be processed further than what it is right now, from the barrel stage, to something more reflective of what the market wants.

I am going to take a couple of more minutes because there is one issue that I really must address here. I will look at it from my district prospective here. It is not related to the fishery or tourism. It is related to the Throne Speech and the Budget Speech, I think it was mentioned there, and also - I do not know the name of the education report last year. Anyway, the issue I want to comment on is the proposed distance education centre for the Province. Now, School District 2 happens to cover all of my district, part of St. Barbe district, and part of Cartwright-L'Anse au Clair district. School District 2 is the greatest user of distance education in this Province. School District 2 has the most small schools of any district in this Province. School District 2 has the highest unemployment rate in this Province. It has the technology that is required to host a distance education centre. It has something to do with bandwidth and highspeed Internet access - stuff that I do not know anything about and do not want to. It can meet the technological requirements that is needed to set up a distance education centre within School District 2. There is fibreoptic cable all the way down the Northern Peninsula now. So there is no problem hosting the site.

Last year there was a - I was going to swear then I believe. Anyway, there was a going on -

AN HON. MEMBER: Swear (inaudible)?

MR. TAYLOR: It almost slipped out, I believe.

Anyway, last year there was a bit of a going on when government decided to move government workers out of the capital city to rural areas of the Province. Relocation great-

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. TAYLOR: By leave, Mr. Speaker, for a couple of minutes to clue up.

AN HON. MEMBER: You can get up again tomorrow.

MR. TAYLOR: No, I will not get up tomorrow; I am going to be gone home.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, thank you.

MR. TULK: Adjourn the debate.

MR. TAYLOR: I am going to, sir. I am going to sit down now shortly.

Anyway, the area can use it. Last year there was a move to relocate people out of St. John's to other parts of the Province, at a great cost to taxpayers, I would add. Right now we are in the fortunate position, I suppose, where we find ourselves in a position where there is going to be a new centre established, new jobs, a distance education centre. I do not know where the government is going to put this. I have heard rumors about where they are planning to put it, and it is not a very rural area. It is not an area that needs it as bad -

MR. TULK: What?

MR. TAYLOR: The distance education centre, secondary education.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible) St. John's.

MR. TAYLOR: I hope not. I am not going to say where I think you are putting it, but you should put it in School District 2. That is where it should be.

MR. TULK: Why?

MR. TAYLOR: Because - you missed it. You can read it in Hansard.

Basically, School District 2 is the greatest user of distance education in the Province. It has the highest percentage of small schools in the Province. It has the highest percentage of schools with a senior high, I think it is, with less than fifty students in the combined thing. It has the highest unemployment rate; it has the bandwidth; it has the fibre optics that is required.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TAYLOR: As I understand it, there were thirty to thirty-five jobs starting out. You know, and I know, where distance education is going in the future. It is going to increase.

Mr. Speaker, I understand my time is up. Those are just a few comments that I wanted to make on the Budget as it relates to my district. Certainly, there are a lot of issues but if the provincial government dealt with them differently, I think we would find that the real fiscal problems we have in Newfoundland and Labrador is the failed economic policy on the other side of the House.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. LUSH: Thank you.

Mr. Speaker, I move that the House on its rising do adjourn, and that this House adjourn until tomorrow, Wednesday, at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. LUSH: (Inaudible) the resolution will be the resolution introduced by the Member for Burin-Placentia West, having to do with shipbuilding.

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