December 1, 2008          HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS          Vol. XLVI   No. 42


The House met at 1:30 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Fitzgerald): Order, please!

Admit strangers.

Today, the House of Assembly would like to welcome four students from the Baie Verte Skills Link group who are visiting us from the District of Baie Verte-Springdale. The group is accompanied by their coordinator, Tina Thomas; and chaperones, Larry Harvey, Gail Goudie and Clem Thomas.

Welcome to the House of Assembly.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Statements by Members

MR. SPEAKER: The following private members' statements will be heard: The hon. the Member for the District of the Isles of Notre Dame; the hon. the Member for the District of Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi; the hon. the Member for the District of Kilbride; the hon. the Member for the District of Port de Grave; the hon. the Member for the District of Placentia & St. Mary's; the hon. the Member for the District of Burgeo & LaPoile.

The hon. the Member for the District of the Isles of Notre Dame.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DALLEY: Mr. Speaker, I rise in this hon. House today to recognize Mr. Gordon Noseworthy, the supervisor of the Twillingate Harbour Authority.

As harbour supervisor since 1998, Mr. Noseworthy has worked tirelessly to improve and develop the infrastructure in the Twillingate Harbour. As a result of his vision and dedication, the Twillingate Harbour has seen construction of wharf extensions, floating docks, a gear storage shed, and a harbour authority office complete with laundry facilities, paved roads and parking, and fresh water services. Homeport to 115 commercial fishing vessels and strategically located along the Northeast coast, Twillingate Harbour is well equipped thanks to Mr. Noseworthy's efforts.

Mr. Noseworthy recently organized and hosted the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans and seized the opportunity to promote the infrastructure of the Twillingate Harbour Authority.

Mr. Noseworthy was recently recognized as the winner of the Regional Individual Commitment Award, given to the individual who exhibits individual commitment of extraordinary dedication to the ongoing success of the Harbour Authority Program in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Further testament to his outstanding work, Mr. Noseworthy also received the Department of Fisheries and Oceans National Individual Commitment Award, awarded to one of the 574 Harbour Authorities supervisors across Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I ask all members of this hon. House to join with me in congratulating Mr. Gordon Noseworthy on his success as the supervisor of the Twillingate Harbour Authority.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS MICHAEL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am pleased to rise in the House to recognize World AIDS Day, which we mark today, and the work of people in our Province who work tirelessly to improve the situation for people who have HIV-AIDS and to increase the public education needed to decrease the incidence of this disease.

I pay particular tribute today to the AIDS Committee of Newfoundland and Labrador which is celebrating its twentieth year of operation this year.

The members of this mainly volunteer group work tirelessly to undo the stigma, discrimination and misinformation that is still very present in all parts of our communities.

Their work covers everything from managing the Tommy Sexton Centre to advocating for anonymous HIV-AIDS testing which should be available throughout the Province.

I have had personal contact on a regular basis with the volunteers and staff of the AIDS Committee of Newfoundland and Labrador, their office is in my district, as is the Tommy Sexton Centre, and I know the depth of their commitment. We cannot thank them enough for the service that they provide to the community and especially, to the community of persons with HIV-AIDS and their families and supporters.

I wish them well as they celebrate their twentieth year and I ask members of the House of Assembly to congratulate with me the AIDS Committee of Newfoundland and Labrador on its wonderful work.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for the District of Kilbride.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DINN: Mr. Speaker, I rise in this hon. House today to recognize an outstanding young person of my district, Ian Smallwood.

Ian is attending Grade 4 at Hazelwood Elementary in St. John's. He plays hockey with the St. John's Caps both house league and all-star. He has been playing softball at Waterford Valley for five years, including this past summer. He started playing baseball this summer in Mount Pearl. He has been in Tae Kwan Do since he was three years old and now holds a purple belt.

He is extremely athletic as you can see. This past summer, at the age of nine, Ian begged his mother to let him join her in running the Tely 10 Road Race. Equipped with new running shoes he trained with her for the big day.

Ian ran the Tely10 and won an award at this year's event for being the youngest to finish the race. He finished ahead of 429 others.

Ian is a tremendous young man, the proud son of Sue and Glen Smallwood of Thomas Street, St. John's. His goal in life is to be a professional hockey or basketball player.

Mr. Speaker, I ask all hon. members of this House to join me in congratulating this young man for such an outstanding sports achievement.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for the District of Port de Grave.

MR. BUTLER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Gary Kennedy of Port de Grave is an established Newfoundland artist who is recognized in many parts of the world. His work can be found in private collections in Australia, Norway, England and the United States.

Without any formal training, his style evolved through the influence of the late George Noseworthy, a celebrity American artist from New York who moved to Port de Grave in 1966. One of his many highlights is the exhibition that is presently taking place at The Rooms. His exhibits will be at the art gallery in St. John's until December 7.

The late E.H. Vokey, an educator, made the following comment, "I wish I could express in words, what you have done with a brush and paint." Truly a remarkable story and a milestone for one of our many local artists.

I ask all hon. members to extend congratulations to Mr. Gary Kennedy and I hope you will be able to visit his exhibits at The Rooms before December 7.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. COLLINS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It gives me great pleasure today to rise in this hon. House to pay tribute to Corporal Joshua Collins of Placentia, who recently returned from an eight month tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Joshua is the son of Keith and Karen Collins of Placentia, both of whom are retired soldiers.

Corporal Collins was welcomed home to Placentia on November 1, by a 100-vehicle motorcade, followed by an official ceremony at the Royal Canadian Legion, in which I was privileged to participate and bring greetings on behalf of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

During his visit home, Corporal Collins participated in the Remembrance Day ceremonies in Placentia, as well as the other events held in the local schools.

It was also fitting that he celebrated his twenty-fifth birthday on November 11. He was serenaded on many occasions by admiring students and residents of Placentia.

Corporal Collins is one of the many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who put their lives on the line every day while serving their country in Afghanistan for the cause of world peace. The tremendous greeting and outpouring of pride by the people of Placentia on November 1 is reflective of the overall support and appreciation we have for our troops overseas.

Mr. Speaker, I ask all hon. members to join me today in welcoming home Corporal Collins safe and sound and in saluting all our Province's men and women who serve in the armed forces.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for the District of Burgeo & LaPoile

MR. KELVIN PARSONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to recognize and congratulate The Gulf News, which celebrated its thirty-fifth anniversary on November 23.

The Gulf News is a weekly publication that serves south western Newfoundland. It has a press run of just over 3,000 copies each week. Over the past thirty-five years, The Gulf News has won multiple industry awards on a regional and national level for excellence in reporting, advertising and circulation.

The Gulf News office is located in Port aux Basques, and the local staff is made up of Natalie Musseau, reporter; Charlene Blackmore, customer service representative; Fay Cousins and Selma Kilpatrick, advertising sales representatives; and Mandy Ryan, editor and business manager. The managing editor, whose office is located in Grand Falls-Windsor, is Ron Ennis, and the publisher, who works from his office at The Western Star in Corner Brook, is Shawn Woodford.

The Gulf News has had many different formats, publishing days, editors and staff since its first issue was distributed on Friday, November 23, 1973, but the content has always been relevant to the people of the southwest coast. For thirty-five years this paper has been delivered door to door in communities from South Branch, to Port aux Basques, to Franηois. The stories thirty-five years ago, dealt with health care, the municipal election and the minimum wage – the same issues that often concern us today. Residents still look forward to getting the Monday edition of The Gulf News and reading the local and provincial news, sports, birth, wedding, and graduation announcements.

Mr. Speaker, I ask all members of this House to join with me in extending congratulations to The Gulf News on their thirty-fifth anniversary. May you continue to thrive and grow for another thirty-five and beyond.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Statements by Ministers.

Statements by Ministers

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SKINNER: Mr. Speaker, I rise in this hon. House today to report on the provincial government's continued support of the Province's manufacturing sector.

Today, and extending through Wednesday, the Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development is facilitating the Lean Product Design and Development Workshop. This is an initiative of the Fluent Manufacturing Consortium and the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association.

Delivered by Ronald Mascitelli, the Founder and President of Technology Perspectives, the session is based on themes outlined in the newly published book, The Lean Product Development Guidebook. Internationally recognized, Mr. Mascitelli's clients include Lockheed-Martin, Adidas, Intel, Boeing, and Rockwell Automation/Allen-Bradley - a global provider of industrial automation and an employer of 20,000 people.

The workshop is designed to provide companies and organizations with a set of practical tools for reducing waste and increasing the profitability of any new product development activity. Firms using these methods have experienced a 50 per cent reduction in time-to-market, as well as dramatic improvements in gross margins and enhanced customer satisfaction.

Earlier today, I had the opportunity to attend a portion of the session and was impressed by the level of enthusiasm and interest of participants that included, among others, Lotek Wireless, C&W Industrial Fabrication and Marine Equipment, Abbyshot Clothiers, Genoa Design International, Country Ribbon, and the Newfoundland Labrador Liquor Corporation.

The manufacturing sector represents a key component of the Province's growing economy. For this sector to continue to grow and prosper, it is important for the independent companies and organizations to work collectively and individually to improve productivity and ultimately to improve profitability.

I am happy to report that my department helped create this partnership through a $16,400 investment under the Business Networks Program and sector specialists who worked to bring this local community together.

As a government, we are committed to providing accessible programs that enable local companies and organizations to more effectively sell their products and services, expand their operations, and target new opportunities. This is evident in our series of financial and non-financial programs aimed directly at diversifying and strengthening local economies.

We are in exciting and prosperous times as a Province. I am confident that programs and sessions of this nature will enable private industry to capitalize on business opportunities and position the Province for continued growth.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. KELVIN PARSONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I thank the minister for an advance copy of his statement.

We in the Official Opposition, of course, would certainly endorse and support any kind of initiative, ITRD or any other department of government that is of assistance to the manufacturing sector or indeed any other business in our Province.

I guess it is not always the massive announcement or projects and programs, for example, that help people along. It is the combination, sometimes, of a lot of smaller initiatives such as these types of seminars and so on, and marketing campaigns, that help business. Albeit we do, I think, have an exciting time in our Province right now, I hope the word prosperous, as used by the minister, certainly comes to be; because, in addition to the manufacturing companies that he referred to, we have some much larger manufacturing and producing entities and bodies which are going to probably be on a few tough times in the next twelve months or so.

I refer, of course, to our mining industry in particular; the recent announcement by IOC that they are going to take serious looks at their expansion programs. Wabush Mines, for example has already announced layoffs. In our export sector, for example, the fishing industry, particularly in aquiculture and the rest of the fishing products, in which we could be upon some serious times if the Americans and Europeans do not have the money to buy our products; and, of course, we all know about the serious impacts we have had for some years now in the forest industry.

Anything the government does to make it easier and better for our companies to be productive and profitable, we would certainly be supportive of.

Thank you.

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

MS MICHAEL: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.


I thank the minister for the advance copy of his statement.

It is good to see this kind of effort being supported by the government. Anything that can be done to increase the productivity of businesses in this Province is extremely important. It is also interesting, too, with the whole thing of practical tools for reducing waste, that is an important aspect of this announcement as well because I think that is the kind of environmental action that has to be built into all of our business around the Province.

It is an example of the kind of economic diversity that the government needs to be putting effort into; because, if twenty or twenty-five years down the road we cannot be depending on the offshore - we do not know, but at this moment it looks like we probably will not be able to - we have to make sure that effort is going into economic diversification. So, I would encourage the minister to look at ways in which, under his leadership, secondary processing in areas like the fishery, in agriculture, and value-added production and resource-based industries can creatively be created. We need the opportunities for those things to happen if we are going to have an economic diversity that will lead us into the future even when we no longer have the resources that we get, especially from mining and oil and gas.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Further statements by ministers.

The hon. the Minister of Justice and Attorney General.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

I rise today to congratulate the Deputy Minister of Justice and the Deputy Attorney General for Newfoundland and Labrador, Mr. Donald H. Burridge, Q.C., on his becoming a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. The American College of Trial Lawyers is widely considered to be the premiere professional organization composed of trial lawyers in both Canada and the United States. This is a very prestigious recognition, as membership in the College cannot exceed 1 per cent of the total lawyer population in any state or province. There are currently three Fellows of the College of Newfoundland and Labrador, but this is the first time a lawyer with the Department of Justice has been bestowed with this honour.

Mr. Speaker, founded in 1950, the College is composed of the best of the trial bar from Canada and the United States. Fellowship in the College is extended by invitation only, and only after careful consideration, to experienced trail lawyers who have mastered the art of advocacy and whose professional careers have been marked by the highest of standards of ethical conduct, professionalism, civility and collegiality.

Mr. Burrage has demonstrated an exceptional knowledge of the law and has extensive work in litigation, having been trial counsel in approximately eighty-six cases, particularly displaying expertise in Canadian constitutional law and Aboriginal law. Mr. Burrage was called to the Bar of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1985 and during his career has successfully argued cases in the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal, the Federal Court of Appeal, as well as the Supreme Court of Canada.

On behalf of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, I am very pleased to acknowledge the induction of Mr. Burrage as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. I am particularly pleased to acknowledge and recognize such a level of expertise within our own public service - one which I experience each and every day in my work with Mr. Burrage as Deputy Minister and Deputy Attorney General.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask all members of this House to join me in congratulating Don Burrage on his induction as a Fellow into the American College of Trial Lawyers and this recognition of his significant expertise and accomplishments in the legal profession.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. KELVIN PARSONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I appreciate the minister's advance copy of his statement.

I would certainly concur in everything he has had to say about Mr. Burrage in terms of his abilities. I had the good fortune not only to have dealt with him in private practice for some years but also work with him when I was in the department as minister for four years. At that time I believe he was assistant deputy minister, and he has now worked himself up to be the actual deputy minister.

I do not know if he is inclined to the administrative piece or not, because he was always so intent, when I was there - he loved the courtroom, loved the advocacy piece of it, and he was certainly suited for it.

Not only is he a very dedicated employee; he does, in fact, have a superior work ethic, superior legal skills, and a superior knowledge level. I am surprised - and I told him quite often that there is no doubt he could go anywhere in this country that he wishes, if he wished to work in private practice. There are firms in this country who would readily take Mr. Don Burrage to work with them, if they could, so we are very fortunate in this Province to have him now be the mainstay in our Department of Justice.

I remember in particular working with him on the establishment of the Lamer Inquiry and the Terms of Reference for it. I could say that, in addition to everything else and all the other skills that he has, he has a huge dose of common sense and he brings a lot of humanity to everything he does.

We would certainly like to congratulate him as well. I do not know if he is still as committed as he was to his run but every day faithfully, I believe, for the last twenty-five or thirty years, he runs ten kilometres at lunchtime. I hope he still gets time to do that, because that shows his level of commitment as well.

Thank you.

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

MS MICHAEL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I, too, thank the minister for his advance copy of the statement.

I am very pleased to join with the minister and with the Opposition House Leader in congratulating Mr. Burrage. I do not have the privilege, as both of my colleagues have had, of even meeting Mr. Burrage, let alone working with him, but just reading what the minister has presented to us, I think, should make us proud that we have somebody of his calibre working in the Department of Justice.

I really am quite pleased to congratulate Mr. Burrage, and maybe I will drop into the Department of Justice to meet him and say hello.

Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: Further statements by ministers.

Oral Questions.

Oral Questions

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My questions are for the Minister of Finance.

Since August, eight of the ten provincial jurisdictions in this country have already had enough confidence in their economic information to release financial updates. The ninth province, New Brunswick, has already outlined their timetable as to when they will make their announcement and also put a plan in place for the economy.

Mr. Speaker, in Newfoundland and Labrador we have only seen bits and pieces of information and I guess a lot of that has been conflicting, depending upon the audience that government was addressing on any given day, whether they were people in collective bargaining or people outside. Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the minister today: When are they going to release the vital economic information and data for Newfoundland and Labrador? Because it is imperative that the business community and the public have that information.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENNEDY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I thank the Opposition Leader for her question, but what is imperative is that we continue to run this Province as we have been doing over the last number of years and try to fix up the mess that was left by the Liberals when we took power in 2003.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENNEDY: Essentially what we are doing, Mr. Speaker, we have consulted with experts throughout the country, locally and nationally, as to how this economic crisis should be addressed. We are taking the steps that are suggested, the first being to maintain and keep spending money on infrastructure, which we are doing and which will be outlined in the economic update. Secondly, Mr. Speaker, to create employment and to continue to create employment which will give people money to spend.

We take this situation very seriously, Mr. Speaker, and the economic update that will come forward in the next week or two will outline how we plan to address the situation. The advice that has been given to us, and the advice that we are following, is to maintain the course and steady as she goes.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS JONES: Mr. Speaker, maybe I should remind the minister that the have status that this Province finds themselves in today is to a large degree because of the deals that were negotiated by previous Liberal governments and Liberal premiers, I say to you, Minister, and that cannot be ignored in the economic –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MS JONES: Mr. Speaker, the Province and the minister has had months to prepare this vital economic information to gather the opinions of the leaders in the business community.

I would like to ask the minister today: Have you met with the leadership in Newfoundland and Labrador? Have you consulted with the business community, and do you have a handle on where the industry sectors are going?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENNEDY: Perhaps, Mr. Speaker, I remind the Leader of the Opposition, if she would stop giving speeches and ask questions I could specifically address it.

Let me remind you of a couple of basic facts. When we took power in 2003 there was a $12 billion debt and a $1 billion deficit left by those Liberals. So what we have attempted to do is to clear that situation up. We have done that.

Let me remind the leader of the Opposition, in case she missed it, for the last number of years we have ran a surplus based on prudent and fiscal spending. Last year we spent 36 per cent of a $6.35 billion budget on health care – $2.36 billion. We spent another 20 per cent on education - $1.3 billion.

What we are doing, Mr. Speaker, is looking after the well-being of this Province, continuing to take the steps that we have taken, and we will see our way through this crisis.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The minister did not answer the question in terms of who has been consulted, who in the business community has been engaged in these discussions by the Province.

Mr. Speaker, let me remind him of something else. The millions of dollars in debt would still be there if it was not for the revenues that rolled in from Hibernia and from Terra Nova and from White Rose and from Voisey's Bay, projects that were done by Liberal Administrations. Why doesn't the minister get a history lesson in all the numbers that his department handles, and where that comes from?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS JONES: Mr. Speaker, we do not know of any consultation that has occurred with industry sectors in the Province, so maybe the minister can tell me what dialogue he has had with his federal counterparts in terms of looking at what the proposed economic stimulus package will be from the Government of Canada, how it will impact Newfoundland and Labrador, and what investments will be made here.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENNEDY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


Well, let me see, a Liberal government when the Upper Churchill was done; let me see, the Lower Churchill was going to be given away by a Liberal government, so don't talk to me about what the Liberals have done other than leave us in debt, Mr. Speaker.

Now, in terms of what have we done? What have we done? On October 31, I was appointed Minister of Finance. Three days later, I was at a Finance Ministers' meeting. Since then, Mr. Speaker, I have been at the First Ministers' meeting with the Premier, I have met with the chief economists of three major banks - the Bank of Montreal, the Toronto-Dominion Bank, and the Royal Bank - I have met with local economists. We are monitoring the situation on a daily basis. We are following the advice that has been given us.

Mr. Speaker, what we have done in this Province is exactly what is suggested in order to battle recession: one, to maintain the course; two, to pay down debt; three, to reduce personal income taxes; and, four, to create employment.

Does that sound like a plan, Leader of the Opposition?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Maybe the minister can outline for me, then - outside the ministers' meetings - were there serious discussions with the Government of Canada on investments into sectors of the economy like the fishery, the forestry sectors in Newfoundland and Labrador, Mr. Speaker, and if there will be any investments coming forward for future projects like the Lower Churchill?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENNEDY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

In case the Leader of the Opposition has missed it, there appears to be an insurrection going on in Ottawa right now and we are not quite clear who is going to run the government. The Building Canada Fund is not outlined as to how it is going to be dealt with.

The steps we have taken, Mr. Speaker, are to continue to spend – and, again, with some due credit to the Liberals, the Vale Inco deal was announced there a couple of weeks ago; Hebron is on course. So what we are doing, Mr. Speaker, we are taking the steps that need to be taken to maintain a strong economy.

We have also, Mr. Speaker, offered the unions wages, the public sector increases, which will amount to $500 million over four years; 8 per cent which could go into their pockets immediately, Mr. Speaker, and which they could spend for Christmas.

These are the kinds of steps we are taking to stimulate the economy, to battle the recession; and, as has been pointed out, Mr. Speaker, we are actually in the best position in this country to battle this recession and crisis.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS JONES: Mr. Speaker, it sounds a lot like status quo to me, but let's establish this. There has been no discussion with the industry leaders in this Province. No discussion with the business community in this Province. No serious discussion with the federal government on forestry and fishery investments or even large scale developments like the Lower Churchill.

Mr. Speaker, let me ask the minister this: Have you had any discussions with the federal government around the perspective sale of shares in Hibernia and has there been any dialogue with our Province, you as the minister, and the feds on that issue?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENNEDY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

What we are aware of, Mr. Speaker, as we enter this – as we are in the middle of this crisis actually, is the best way to put it, is that we cannot control everything that goes on in the world.

What is happening in the United States, the sub prime mortgage crisis was not brought on by us. What is going on in Europe and Asia was not brought on by us, but, Mr. Speaker, we have to live in a goldfish bowl if we thought that it does not affect us. So what we have done, we have consulted with the experts, we have looked at our own figures, Mr. Speaker, and we are quite confident that it is by maintaining the status quo, if the status quo, Mr. Speaker, is spending money on infrastructure, building schools and hospitals. If that is the status quo, well yes, we will maintain it because it creates employment, it puts money in the pockets of individuals, and that is what stimulates the economy.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Every other province in the country is getting their heads around what is happening in terms of the economy. The minister claims that we are in the middle of the tsunami on the economy. Economists are saying we might be at the beginning. I do not know where his information is coming from.

Mr. Speaker, let me ask him this: What analysis have been done with regard to the retail sales tax in the Province? We already know that the number of imports coming into the Province has dropped by about 25 per cent. We are hearing of businesses that are closing up shop in Newfoundland and Labrador.

So I would like to ask the minister: What analysis has your department done on what the outlook on retail sales tax will be, and how that will affect the bottom line of the budget this year?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENNEDY: Mr. Speaker, I am not quite certain what the Leader of the Opposition refers to. Is she talking about retail sales or retail sales tax? Is she talking about revenues? Because last year, Mr. Speaker, the revenues in our Province broke down to - 61.8 per cent came from taxation, which included offshore oil royalties and mining royalties are 37 per cent of our revenues. There was investment; there were fees and fines, other provincial sources, and equalization and the transfers - the Canada social and health transfers.

So I am not quite certain what the hon. Leader of the Opposition is asking me, but if she asking me about retail sales, Mr. Speaker, it is expected that they will grow and they have grown 8.1 per cent, August of this year.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENNEDY: Mr. Speaker, we have an actual increase in housing starts. The only province in this country right now, I think, that has an increase in housing starts. We are up to 220, 298 by September.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENNEDY: So does she wish me to keep going (inaudible)?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My next question is for the Minister of Natural Resources –

MR. KENNEDY: Give up, did you?

MS JONES: Oh, not by far.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS JONES: I say to the minister, I have hardly given up, I have only just begun.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MS JONES: It just goes to show, Mr. Speaker, how serious they really take this issue. But I say to him, I am not giving up, Mr. Speaker, by a long shot. There will be lots of questions to come on this.

Mr. Speaker, my question for the Minister of Natural Resources is in relation to an answer she gave us last week when we asked her about the mining operations in Labrador West. She stated she was in regular communications with the mining companies, certainly did not outline that there could be any downscaling of activity there.

So I ask you minister: When were you made aware of the plans of IOC and what the impact was going to be, and why did you not inform the House?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Natural Resources and Deputy Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

At the time that I gave my answer in the House, I had been in discussion with the management of IOC within that twenty-four hour period. I was told at that time that it is was steady as she goes, that they will be slowing down perhaps their Phase I and Phase II development but would still be taking orders. That while the world-wide global crisis was having an impact on them, they saw that if – because they had made significant investments when times were good, they felt strongly that they could weather through the next piece but they were going to further assess that as a company and be in further contact with me, which they were, Mr. Speaker, late last week. That is when I was informed of the significance of the slowdown with regard to Phase I and II, the impact on temporary workers and contractors, but no layoffs are expected at IOC at this time, Mr. Speaker, of permanent employees.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Maybe the minister could inform us as well, when she will get the next update from the company and if you expect that there will be any layoffs going into the summer if the demand for steel remains down?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Natural Resources.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS DUNDERDALE: Mr. Speaker, we are very proactive in our communication with these companies. I initiated the contact with IOC, especially when Wabush Mines indicated that they might be having some layoffs. I wanted to know where everybody was. That is the plan that they have laid out at the moment, Mr. Speaker. They continue to make investment. One of their pellet plants – each of their six pellet plants will be refurbished during this period. That speaks to their commitment in preparing for a time when production comes up again. They expect a four-week shutdown in July; they are asking everybody to take their holidays at this time. There will be an impact felt on contractors and on temporary employees, but IOC will continue to invest and expects, hopefully, at the end of the year, to have ridden out this crisis.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

At least we have one minister over there who claims to be somewhat proactive. Let me get to the Minister of Health and Community Services, Mr. Speaker.

In the media interview on Friday, the Minister of Health stated that he only recently became aware of a 2003 report on mental health services. Well, Mr. Speaker, this contradicted the information that was contained in all the reports filed by the Child and Youth Advocate from 2003 to 2007, in which the Child Advocate stated that the mental health report was being reviewed by the executive of the Department of Health and Community Services.

So I ask you, Minister: Which is it, did you just become aware of the report in your department and start dealing with it or is the information reported in the Child and Youth Advocate reports incorrect and inaccurate?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WISEMAN: Mr. Speaker, there is no either-or answer to the question. There are two separate issues. I am not going to refute what the advocate wrote in her report. It is there in black and white. Anyone who wants to read it, they can. So it is there for the reading.

Fundamentally, what I had indicated in the House and indicated outside the House was that, a short while ago, this report of 2003 came to my attention and I have asked officials in the department to start reviewing that report to see about its validity for today, to update any information in it, to look at the suggestions and recommendations that are there, to ensure that they are reasonable, reliable and we can look at them as being a foundation piece to make future decisions. So there is no either-or to the question being posed here, Mr. Speaker.

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

MS JONES: Mr. Speaker, there is so much confusion around this particular issue. In 2005 the Child and Youth Advocate indicated that the first option was to review this report, the mental health report, that would be done by the Department of Health and Community Services, and that they would look at therapeutic foster care as a way of reducing the number of youth being sent out of the Province for mental health services.

I ask you, Minister: Was that review ever done in 2005 or was it just told to the Child Advocate, reported in their annual report, and no action taken?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WISEMAN: Mr. Speaker, personally, I cannot speak to what may have happened in 2005. If the member opposite would like for me to find out whether or not the department reviewed the issue in 2005, I can determine that answer and provide it to the House and to anyone who has an interest, but fundamentally the question to me was with respect to my involvement, what I was personally doing, and what I had indicated just very recently: I had revisited that 2003 report and had it reviewed by officials.

There is no contradiction in the report. The member opposite is trying to make an issue of nothing. Fundamentally, if the advocate has indicated that there were some comments in her report in previous years, that is in black and white, as I said a moment ago, and anyone can read that. I cannot speak to what activity may have taken place within the department in 2005 on this issue but I say, Mr. Speaker, I can speak very clearly to the issues that I have been seized with since I have been minister. With respect to this report, very recently I have directed officials to review that report and provide some advice to me, and I have committed to review the question at hand and to make some decisions on behalf of government, or bring it to my colleagues for decisions on behalf of government.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order please!

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MS JONES: Mr. Speaker, let me ask again. The Child and Youth Advocate reported in 2005, and reported again in 2006, that the Department of Health and Community Services was doing a review of therapeutic foster care as a way of reducing the number of children being sent out of this Province for care. I ask you again, Minister: Was that review ever done in the Department of Health and Community Services? If so, where is it, why was it never tabled, and why were you not aware of it as the minister?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WISEMAN: If the member opposite can repeat her questions maybe I can repeat my answer.

Fundamentally, I said, Mr. Speaker, anything that is written in the advocate's report about something she may have said, comments she may have made, it is there in black and white, anyone can read it; I am not going to refute that. Anyone can read that statement.

What I am saying to the member opposite, in response to questions she has made - and I have said to the media, in response to the questions they posed - where the status of that report is today, as of today, in my role as minister, I have recently provided direction to officials in the department to review that report, to sit down with me when they have done that analysis and we will then talk about what actions we will move forward with. I will then decide what recommendations I will bring to my colleagues in Cabinet, and as government we will make a decision around what future direction we will take with respect to enhancing and improving and building upon mental health services for children in this Province, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I want to remind the minister of something: people in this Province need to have confidence in the information that is being reported to them by public offices like that of the Child Advocate or even your office in the Department of Health. Why is this information contained in public documents and you have no knowledge of it?

My question is: Will you find out if the review on therapeutic care was ever completed in this Province and, if not, can you tell me why the Child Advocate was given that information from your department and it reported to the public?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WISEMAN: If the member opposite wants to stretch out Question Period by repeating the same questions, I can repeat the same answer. I gave you an answer a moment ago. I had indicated to you that I would undertake to find out whether or not a review had taken place and report back to you. I just gave you that answer about two questions ago, but if you want me to repeat it I just did it again. If you would like it repeated again, ask that in your supplementary question again.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Ever since the story broke and these families had the courage to go forward and talk about the mental health issues affecting their children, and the lack of services that they have been getting in the Province, the minister and the department has been hiding behind the fact that they are conducting a review of a report that they have had for five years - five years - and not dealt with. The same department that every report must go to die on a shelf or not be read, Mr. Speaker, I am not sure.

Anyway, let me ask the minister this, while he hides behind that review: Can you give us a firm timetable, when will you be able to respond to the legitimate pleas of these young people in the Province who need help and need services? When can we expect your department to have this current review you talk about completed and have information laid out for the public?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WISEMAN: Let us make something abundantly clear, Mr. Speaker: This minister, any minister in this government's Cabinet, does not hide behind any reports.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WISEMAN: I think, Mr. Speaker, this government has very clearly, since we were elected in 2003, demonstrated that we are an action oriented government. All you need to look at are the investments we have made, the success we have had, and the improvement we have made in the delivery of health services, education, and other social programs in this Province. That is the kind of government we are, Mr. Speaker, not one that hides behind reports.

With respect to the question at hand, though - when will you have it? - I had indicated that they are undertaking a review. Very clearly the problem in this House has been, when the member opposite says, give me a date, then she is on her feet: Why don't you have it? I clearly indicated to people I have met with respect to this issue, including the families in question, that over the next couple of weeks I will have an opportunity to be able to provide some kind of response.

If the member wants to nail down how we will roll that out and what timeframe, I am not in the position to give her that level of detail.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. KELVIN PARSONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is for the Minister of Justice.

On April 18 of this year, then Minister of Justice Kennedy announced a review of the operation of adult corrections in the Province, and this report was received by government in late September of this year.

I ask the minister: Your predecessor had committed to release this report prior to the opening of the House of Assembly, it has not been released, and I am wondering if the minister is in a position to tell us when he intends to reveal the findings of that report.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

I thank the hon. member for his question.

My predecessor, as Minister of Justice, with a goal to improving living and working conditions in the various correctional facilities we have in this Province did ask that an independent review be undertaken in April. Simonne Pourier and Gregory Brown, who are senior managers with the Correction Services of Canada, were retained to do that report and they were joined by Mr. Terry Carlson, a former executive director of the John Howard Society of Newfoundland and Labrador. They have conducted, I think, 275 meetings. They have a report of about 280 pages with seventy-seven recommendations.

After extensive discussion, government is anxious to get this report out. I am very anxious that this report and the whole idea of corrections generally becomes part of the public debate and discourse in this Province. The hon. member does know, however, that there are processes –

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. minister to conclude his answer.

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

There are processes and policies and protocols that we have to go through. We are going through those procedures right now and when they are completed I will be very happy to release the report.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. KELVIN PARSONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

We had a commitment from this administration in the Blue Book, going back to 2003, about the time they release reports, and I believe sixty-days was the timeline used there. We are certainly well beyond that, I say to the minister.

The review of corrections was considered necessary in response to reports of inhumane treatment at a provincial lockup, a suicide and a preventable death at Her Majesty's Penitentiary. Media sources indicated at the time that the report itself highlighted some seventy-seven recommendations for improving the state of adult corrections in this Province.

I ask the minister: Assuming that you are reviewing the findings of the report, will the provincial government now undertake any specific inquiries into those alarming deaths and suicides that prompted the report in the first place?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. T. MARSHALL: Mr. Speaker, the first thing of course is for government to complete its work, its protocols in order to look at the report – in order to release the report to members of the general public because I do know that the report will be of great interest to correction officers and to inmates and ex-inmates and their families.

With respect to specific inquiries, I can only tell you that the recommendations are being reviewed. I have met with government officials and with certain members of the general public concerning that request, and that information would come forward in the normal way in due course.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for the District of Signal Hill – Quidi Vidi.

MS MICHAEL: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Government Services said in Question Period last Thursday that the section of the Occupational Health and Safety regulations covering occupational diseases is being removed because it is too broad and he would have to register all 35,000 workplaces in the Province.

Mr. Speaker, the registry is specifically for the workers who regularly work with biohazardous wastes on dangerous, heavy industrial work sites and with hazardous materials among other things. Not all workers in the Province would have to be registered under these regulations.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the Minister of Government Services: Will he reconsider and revise the draft section of the regulations to indicate that all occupational diseases would be reported?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Government Services.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. O'BRIEN: Mr. Speaker, what I have committed to is to meet with the President of the Federation of Labour and any other of the stakeholders out there, to explain exactly what we are trying to do within the regulations themselves.

Again, to Thursday's question, my answer is that I see this as a strengthening of the regulations, a strengthening in regards to me as the minister responsible being able to focus in on issues within different industries that we see developing within the Province.

The code of practice that we have developed in regards to silica; the code of practice in Wabush is hailed worldwide, used in other jurisdictions as a template. We have been asked for it from Australia. These are the ways that we can actually address, in a focused way, those issues and those concerns by those workers in these industries.

Again, as well, in regards to the listing of those particular diseases, they are covered off under S.23 of the Workers Compensation Act. So in no way are we violating or changing our focus in regards to industrial disease. It is a concern, but also the safety of the workers are (inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MS MICHAEL: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I say to the minister that the code of practice is one thing; the identification of the diseases and the workplaces where they are related is another thing, and I think that comes before the code of practice. I have no problem with individual codes of practice. I do have a problem with making sure that all diseases are covered.

So I do have to ask the minister then, in reference to section 23 of the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation regulations, under the act that covers those regulations: Can the minister actually stand there and tell us that all currently recognizable occupational diseases are covered by section 23, because I have read section 23?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Government Services.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. O'BRIEN: Mr. Speaker, as I said in interviews, and also in regards to the House last week, on last Thursday, I do not believe coming from a profession of pharmacist that we can ever cover off all the diseases that might have to be addressed under occupational disease, because we have a changing global industry. We have industries that are developing in Newfoundland and Labrador as we go forward with our economic development plan, but, in saying that, S.23, as I understand it, will continue to be updated. The list that is currently under the regulations of Occupational Health and Safety and Government Services is forty years old. When I stated, in regards to one of the talk shows, that it was outdated, I meant that some of the diseases might have dropped off the table, but they have not dropped off the tabled. It is just that we have more diseases to deal with, and other industries to deal with that are related to the safety of our workers, which is always a major concern.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The time allotted for Questions and Answers has expired.

Presenting Reports by Standing and Select Committees.

Tabling of Documents.

Notices of Motion.

Notices of Motion

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Amend The House Of Assembly Accountability, Integrity And Administration Act, No. 2. (Bill 68)

MR. SPEAKER: Further Notices of Motions?

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, last week we introduced a private member's motion for Private Members' Day of last week, and because we did not get the private member's motion called last week, I am asking for a clarification. Do we need to read the motion again today for Private Members' Day on Wednesday or will the motion, as read last week, stand for Private Members' Day on Wednesday of this week?

MR. SPEAKER: Unless members want the motion read into the record, the Chair is willing to accept the motion as already read into the record by the hon. the Member for Grand Bank.

MS BURKE: By leave.

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, with that, we will leave the motion as read last week into the record for Private Members' Day of this week.

MR. SPEAKER: Further notices of motions?

Answers to Questions for which Notice has been Given.

Answers to Questions for which Notice has been Given

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Transportation and Works.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TAYLOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am not sure if I am in order here but last week in Question Period, you will recall, the Leader of the Opposition was inquiring about the status of carbon monoxide sensors in Seal Cove and also the nature of the inspections that were done and what orders might have been provided to the department as a result of the inspections. If it is okay, I will give the report here now.

As I said last week, Thursday, Friday, Occupational Health and Safety inspectors were at the College of the North Atlantic facility in Seal Cove. The first issue on the CO monitor, carbon monoxide monitor, is there is no carbon monoxide monitor at the Seal Cove campus. There are carbon monoxide monitors in various facilities around the Province. There appear to be some inconsistencies in the way carbon monoxide monitors are deployed. That is being reviewed by the department right now. We tend to have them in facilities that have heavy equipment shops and what have you. However, as I said, there are some inconsistencies, which we are in the process of correcting right now.

Occupational Health and Safety's inspection last week found no immediate problems. However, they did provide the department with a list of items that they wanted us to address and we are in the process of complying with those orders – four or five orders, basically. One of them dealt with a number of leaks in the building, in the roof and around a number of windows. We are in the process of dealing with that. There were a number of water damaged ceiling tiles that Occupational Health and Safety felt should have been replaced due to the possibility of mould development, and that is being addressed as well.

There was an order about general air quality in the building. I will just clarify what that issue was about. In the vicinity of the air intake for the ventilation system in the building, of course we know last week two diesel operated vehicles were parked in close proximity and idling to the air intakes.

We have been told, we have been directed by Occupational Health and Safety, to post No Idle signs in the vicinity of the ventilation system. We have been asked to compile the various air quality testing that has been done in the recent past on the building and provide that to Occupational Health and Safety, which we are doing. We have been asked to provide them with our asbestos abatement plan, which we have, and we will do. We have also been asked to have an oil burner mechanic inspect and certify the boiler that was replaced in 2007-2008. While there was no apparent problem with the oil burner identified last week we have been directed, as I have said, to have somebody who is certified as an oil burner mechanic do an inspection and verify that what we believe to be correct is actually correct.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Petitions.

Petitions

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for the District of Port de Grave.

MR. BUTLER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I stand today to present another petition with reference to a long-term care facility for the Conception Bay North area. I want to explain, Mr. Speaker, when I say the Conception Bay North area, it also takes in the south side of Trinity Bay and all around that particular loop.

Mr. Speaker, we know that last year the minister, in his good judgement, through the Department of Health and Community Services, asked government for $1 million to see that this project would proceed. This year he announced a million dollars for two different facilities here in St. John's. Mr. Speaker, I stand on behalf of the people who signed this petition and I have several petitions, let me assure you.

It was good today to hear the minister refer to this government being prudent, how they have their departments review issues, and how they do not hide behind reports. I will go along with all that, Mr. Speaker, but I say to the hon. members opposite, when it comes to this report, I ask them to really give it consideration. It is a serious situation. We can bicker back and forth all we want, but the residents of that area have spoken out. The professionals have spoken out about the facilities.

I am not saying that should be taken from Carbonear and built in Shearstown or Bay Roberts; that is not the issue. I do not care where they build it; the people in that area deserve a new facility. It has been recommended; it has been suggested by the professionals that that would be done.

Mr. Speaker, I am just calling upon the hon. members - there are three ministers from that area – that this year they would give it serious consideration, to ask government, when the Budget comes down this year - and I hear my hon. colleagues, they give it serious consideration every year. That may be true, but when you know that you were at the top of the list back in 2001, another report in 2007, and there are five other facilities that have been built throughout this Province, I would say that we are far from at the top of the priority list now.

I just ask government and the hon. members for that area to consider it and put it before the government again this year for consideration.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Further petitions.

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I stand today to present a petition on the Long Island Causeway on behalf of the people in that particular area. These petitions, which contain thousands of signatures, have been circulated all throughout that part of the Province and they contain signatures, I think I said last week, from Triton, Pilley's Island, Springdale, Grand Falls, Windsor, Lushes Bight, and all around that particular area, because it is a serious issue not just for the people who live on Long Island but also for the people who live in that particular area because of the interaction of family, relatives, the dependency upon services, and being able to get off the island even for their children to attend school in Pilley's Island. It is a major issue for the people in this area.

In their lobby to government over the years to have a causeway built to Long Island, they never dreamed that they would end up with a reduced ferry service as their future mode of transportation. Mr. Speaker, this is a perfect example of where government has not listened to people, has not taken the time to understand what the real transportation issues are in this community and in that part of the Province. Even though their MHA sits on the inside of government, his voice obviously has not been heard either.

Mr. Speaker, I say that because it was this issue when the minister went out and announced there would be no causeway, that there would be a new ferry service, never even went into Long Island and Little Bay Islands to announce that ferry service, Mr. Speaker, went to another part of the Province to tell the people out there what their future ferry service would look like, never even went in their communities to do it, to sit face to face with them.

In addition to that, according to their MHA, they never informed him either. He was out in the public at the time saying to people, the government did not inform him, the minister did not inform him, the bureaucrats did not inform him. Well, Mr. Speaker, to me that is a serious breakdown in how government represents people in this Province.

The people in Long Island today are not only being told that they are not going to get a causeway but they are being told that you are going to get a ferry service, a new ferry, a new boat, a beautiful new ship, but you are going to get a lesser quality of service. Now, does that make sense? Does that make sense to all of you over there in the government, to tell the people in Long Island that we are going to build you a beautiful new boat - not go out there and tell them; go down in Marystown and shout right across the Province to the people in Long Island that we are going to build a new boat and give you a new ferry service, but do not go in the community, do not go in and sit down and talk to them about it.

Mr. Speaker, a new ferry with a lesser quality of service. Will the children on Long Island – because I have been to Long Island and I have been to the school in Pilley's Island where these children go to school. When they get up in the morning and they take the ferry across, and they get on a bus and they take the bus to school in Pilley's Island, they need to have some assurance that at the end of the day they are going to have a ferry to get back home. They do not have the privilege that -

MR. SPEAKER: Order please!

I remind the hon. member that her time for presenting a petition has lapsed.

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have thousands more, so I will have lots of opportunity to present them.

MR. SPEAKER: Further petitions?

Before we move into Order of the Day, I ask members for their co-operation.

A long-standing tradition of the House - not only this House but every other parliamentary precinct as well – is not to refer to members, while they are asking questions or providing answers or providing commentary, by their given names, but to refer to all Members of the House of Assembly by the district that they represent or the position that they hold on the executive.

Orders of the day.

Orders of the Day

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the hon. Minister of Justice and the Attorney General, for leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Remove Anomalies And Errors In The Statute Law. (Bill 53)

I further move that the said bill be now read a first time.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that the hon. Minister of Justice and Attorney General shall have leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Remove Anomalies And Errors In The Statute Law (Bill 53) and that the said bill be now read a first time.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the minister shall have leave to introduce Bill 53, and that this bill be now read a first time?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against, 'nay'.

The motion is carried.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Finance and Attorney General to introduce a bill, "An Act To Remove Anomalies And Errors In The Statute Law," carried. (Bill 53)

CLERK: A bill, An Act To Remove Anomalies And Errors In The Statute Law. (Bill 53)

MR. SPEAKER: Bill 53 has now been read a first time.

When shall the said bill be read second time?

MS BURKE: Tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: Tomorrow.

On motion, Bill 53 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the hon. the Minister of Health and Community Services, for leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act Respecting The Practice Of Dentistry. (Bill 61)

I further move that the said bill be now read a first time.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that the hon. the Minister of Health and Community Services shall have leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act Respecting The Practice Of Dentistry (Bill 61) and that this bill be now read a first time.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the minister shall have leave to introduce Bill 61, and that the said bill be now read a first time?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against, 'nay'.

The motion is carried.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Health and Community Services to introduce a bill, "An Act Respecting The Practice Of Dentistry," carried. (Bill 61)

CLERK: A bill, An Act Respecting The Practice Of Dentistry. (Bill 61)

MR. SPEAKER: Bill 61 has now been read a first time.

When shall the said bill be read a second time?

MS BURKE: Tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: Tomorrow.

On motion, Bill 61 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the hon. Minister of Health and Community Services, for leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Repeal The Venereal Disease Prevention Act. (Bill 58)

I further move that the said bill be now read a first time.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that the hon. the Minister of Health and Community Services shall have leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Repeal The Venereal Disease Prevention Act (Bill 58) and that this bill be now read a first time.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the Minister of Health and Community Services shall have leave to introduce Bill 58, and that this bill be now read a first time?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against, 'nay'.

The motion is carried.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Health and Community Services to introduce a bill, "An Act To Repeal The Venereal Disease Prevention Act," carried. (Bill 58)

CLERK: A bill, An Act To Repeal The Venereal Disease Prevention Act. (Bill 58)

MR. SPEAKER: Bill 58 has now been read a first time.

When shall the said bill be read a second time?

MS BURKE: Tomorrow, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Tomorrow.

On motion, Bill 58 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the hon. Minister of Health and Community Services, for leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Repeal The Private Homes For Special Care Allowances Act. (Bill 57)

I further move that the said bill be now read a first time.

MR. SPEAKER: It is properly moved and seconded that the hon. the Minister of Health and Community Services shall have leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Repeal The Private Homes For Special Care Allowances Act (Bill 57) and that this bill be now read a first time.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the hon. minister shall have leave to introduce Bill 57, and that this bill be now read a first time?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against, 'nay'.

The motion is carried.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Health and Community Services to introduce a bill, "An Act To Repeal The Private Homes For Special Care Allowances Act," carried. (Bill 57)

CLERK: A bill, An Act To Repeal The Private Homes For Special Care Allowances Act. (Bill 57)

MR. SPEAKER: Bill 57 has now been read a first time.

When shall Bill 57 be read a second time?

MS BURKE: Tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: Tomorrow.

On motion, Bill 57 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the hon. Minister of Health and Community Services, for leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Repeal The Midwifery Act. (Bill 56)

I further move that the said bill be now read a first time.

MR. SPEAKER: It is properly moved and seconded that the hon. the Minister of Health and Community Services shall have leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Repeal The Midwifery Act (Bill 56) and that the said bill be now read a first time.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the Minister of Health and Community Services shall have leave to introduce Bill 56 and that the said bill be now read a first time?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against, 'nay'.

The motion is carried.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Health and Community Services to introduce a bill, "An Act To Repeal The Midwifery Act," carried. (Bill 56)

CLERK: A bill, An Act To Repeal The Midwifery Act. (Bill 56)

MR. SPEAKER: Bill 56 has now been read a first time.

When shall the said bill be read a second time?

MS BURKE: Tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: Tomorrow.

On motion, Bill 56 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the hon. the Minister of Health and Community Services, for leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Repeal The Homes For Special Care Act. (Bill 55)

I further move that the said bill be now read a first time.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that the hon. the Minister of Health and Community Services shall have leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Repeal The Homes For Special Care Act (Bill 55) and that this bill be now read a first time.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the minister shall have leave to introduce Bill 55, and that the said bill be now read a first time?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against, 'nay'.

The motion is carried.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Health and Community Services to introduce a bill, "An Act To Repeal The Homes For Special Care Act," carried. (Bill 55)

CLERK: A bill, An Act To Repeal The Homes For Special Care Act. (Bill 55)

MR. SPEAKER: Bill 55 has now been read a first time.

When shall the said bill be read a second time?

MS BURKE: Tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: Tomorrow.

On motion, Bill 55 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, I moved, seconded by the hon. Minister of Natural Resources, for leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Repeal The Schools Boards' Association Act. (Bill 54)

I further move that the said bill be now read a first time.

MR. SPEAKER: It is properly moved and seconded that the hon. the Minister of Education shall have leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Repeal The Schools Boards' Association Act (Bill 54) and that this bill be now read a first time.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the hon. the Minister of Education shall have leave to introduce Bill 54, and that this bill be now read a first time?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against, 'nay'.

The motion is carried.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Education to introduce a bill, "An Act To Repeal The School Boards' Association Act," carried. (Bill 54)

CLERK: A bill, An Act To Repeal The School Boards' Association Act. (Bill 54)

MR. SPEAKER: Bill 54 has now been read a first time.

When shall Bill 54 be read a second time?

MS BURKE: Tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: Tomorrow.

On motion, Bill 54 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, I moved, seconded by the hon. Minister of Natural Resources, for leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Amend The Student Financial Assistance Act No. 2. (Bill 52)

I further move that the said bill be now read a first time.

MR. SPEAKER: It is properly moved and seconded by the hon. the Minister of Education to have leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Amend The Student Financial Assistance Act No. 2 (Bill 52) and that Bill 52 be now read a first time.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the hon. the Minister of Education shall have leave to introduce Bill 52 and that this bill be now read a first time?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against, 'nay'.

The motion is carried.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Education to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Student Financial Assistance Act No. 2," carried. (Bill 52)

CLERK: A bill, An Act To Amend The Student Financial Assistance Act No. 2. (Bill 52)

MR. SPEAKER: Bill 52 has now been read a first time.

When shall Bill 52 be read a second time?

MS BURKE: Tomorrow, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Tomorrow.

On motion, Bill 52 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the hon. Minister of Municipal Affairs, for leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act Respecting Fire Protection Services In The Province. (Bill 60)

I further move that the said bill be now read a first time.

MR. SPEAKER: It is properly moved and seconded that the hon. the Minister of Municipal Affairs shall have leave to introduce a bill, An Act Respecting Fire Protection Services In The Province (Bill 60) and that the said bill be now read a first time.

Is it the pleasure of the House that Bill 60 be now read a first time?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against, 'nay'.

The motion is carried.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Municipal Affairs to introduce a bill, "An Act Respecting Fire Protection Services In The Province," carried. (Bill 60)

CLERK: A bill, An Act Respecting Fire Protection Services In The Province. (Bill 60)

MR. SPEAKER: Bill 60 has now been read a first time.

When shall Bill 60 be read a second time?

MS BURKE: Tomorrow, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Tomorrow.

On motion, Bill 60 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the hon. Minister of Municipal Affairs, for leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Provide For The Organization And Administration Of Emergency Services In The Province. (Bill 59)

I further move that the said bill be now read a first time.

MR. SPEAKER: It is properly moved and seconded that the hon. the Minister of Municipal Affairs shall ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Provide For The Organization And Administration Of Emergency Services In The Province (Bill 59) and that this bill be now read a first time.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the hon. minister shall have leave to introduce Bill 59, and that this bill be now read a first time?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against, 'nay'.

The motion is carried.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Municipal Affairs to introduce a bill, "An Act To Provide For The Organization And Administration Of Emergency Services In The Province," carried. (Bill 59)

CLERK: A bill, An Act To Provide For The Organization And Administration Of Emergency Services In The Province. (Bill 59)

MR. SPEAKER: Bill 59 has now been read a first time.

When shall Bill 59 be read a second time?

MS BURKE: Tomorrow, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Tomorrow.

On motion, Bill 59 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the hon. Minister of Government Services, for leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Amend The Securities Act. (Bill 49)

I further move that the said bill be now read a first time.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that the hon. Minister of Government Services shall have leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Amend The Securities Act, Bill 49, and that the said bill be now read a first time.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the minister shall have leave to introduce Bill 49, and that the said bill be now read a first time?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against, 'nay'.

The motion is carried.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Government Services to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Securities Act, carried. (Bill 49)

CLERK: A bill, "An Act To Amend The Securities Act," Bill 49.

MR. SPEAKER: Bill 49 has now been read a first time. When shall Bill 49 be read a second time?

MS BURKE: Tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: Tomorrow.

On motion, Bill 49 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the hon. Minister of Government Services, for leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act Respecting Certified Management Accountants, Bill 51; and I further move that the said bill be now read a first time.

MR. SPEAKER: It was properly moved and seconded that the hon. the Minister of Government Services shall have leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act Respecting Certified Management Accountants, Bill 51, and that this bill be now read a first time.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the hon. Minister of Government Services shall have leave to introduce Bill 51 and that the said bill be now read a first time?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against, 'nay'.

The motion is carried.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Government Services to introduce a bill, "An Act Respecting Certified Management Accountants, carried. (Bill 51).

CLERK: A bill, "An Act Respecting Certified Management Accountants," Bill 51.

MR. SPEAKER: Bill 51 has now been read a first time. When shall Bill 51 be read a second time?

MS BURKE: Tomorrow.

On motion, Bill 51 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, on the Order Paper, the second reading of bills, I would like to call number 3, second reading of a bill, An Act To Repeal The Labrador Linerboard Limited Agreement Act, 1979, Bill 47.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it the pleasure of the House that Bill 47, An Act To Repeal The Labrador Linerboard Limited Agreement Act, 1979, be now read a second time?

Would there be commentary?

The hon. the Minister of Natural Resources.

MS DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The purpose of this bill, Mr. Speaker, is to repeal the Labrador Linerboard Limited Agreement Act, and what that Act was: it was enacted in 1979 to facilitate and support the transfer of the Labrador Linerboard Mill at Stephenville to Abitibi Consolidated ownership, and the conversion of the mill to newsprint production.

Mr. Speaker, the initial Act dealt extensively with the transfer of the facilities and the property to Abitibi Consolidated. It also addressed the issuance of twenty-year timber licences to that company at Coal Brook, Journois Brook, Robinsons River, Flat Bay Brook, Southwest Brook, Jackson's Arm, Sheffield Lake and Chain Lakes. All of which are in Western Newfoundland, Mr. Speaker.

So, as per Schedule B, clause 3 of the act, these licences were renewed; at first for twenty years and then for another five years, expiring permanently on January 1, 2005. On that date, Mr. Speaker, all requirements of the act had been met, the terms and conditions of the licences were extinguished, and the land reverted to the Crown as un-alienated Crown land.

The timber that reverted to the Crown, Mr. Speaker, is allocated by forest managers in a manner that best satisfies local forest management objectives. This has included the allocation of timber to logging contractors and to domestic cutters.

Mr. Speaker, the Labrador Linerboard Limited Agreement Act no longer serves any useful function since the closure of the Abitibi Mill in Stephenville. With the closure of the Stephenville Mill, the processing plant link to the licences was permanently severed, making the act's logical candidates for repeal as part of the Department of Natural Resources red tape reduction efforts.

The Forestry Branch of the Forestry and Agrifoods Agency has a three-year red-tape reduction plan, Mr. Speaker, in place to eliminate unnecessary forestry related legislation in years two and three of the plan, 2008-2009. Because this act is no longer applicable, Mr. Speaker, it was identified as a piece of legislation that could be immediately addressed. It removes legislation that has outlived its purpose and intent and reduces forestry's red tape count by 412.

There are no legal implications or impacts to proceed with the repeals of the acts, Mr. Speaker. Abitibi has been consulted and they have no concern with the repeal of these acts, Mr. Speaker.

Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. KELVIN PARSONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I wonder if I might call upon the Government House Leader for her co-operation. When we had met this morning it was agreed that Bill 41 would be called first, and that was going to be responded to by the Leader of the Opposition. I believe she is currently being interviewed by the media and not available to respond in second reading at this time. I also understand that the Leader of the NDP does not have her papers with her to respond to this bill at this time either. So with the leave of the Government House Leader, we could move on to something else that would be beneficial to everybody.

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, that is not a problem. I thought I would call forty-seven and forty-eight ahead of forty-one and forty-two, only to give the House a break from having to listen to me all afternoon, but I have no problem going ahead, Mr. Speaker, and calling from the Order Paper, An Act To Repeal The Pickersgill Fellowship Act. (Bill 41)

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that Bill 41, An Act To Repeal The Pickersgill Fellowship Act, be now read a second time.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act To Repeal The Pickersgill Fellowship Act." (Bill 41)

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Education and Government House Leader.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, there are a number of acts, I guess, we will be speaking on today, or at least two, to repeal some of the acts within the Department of Education. Certainly, one that we are looking at in this particular bill is to repeal the Pickersgill Fellowship Act. I think it is important to note, for the people in Newfoundland and Labrador and for this hon. House, who Pickersgill was, and this fellowship act and when it came into play and why it is necessary today to repeal this particular piece of legislation.

This act was named in honour of the late Right Hon. John W. Pickersgill. He was a senior public servant, federal politician, historian and active writer on politics.

The Right Hon. John W. Pickersgill was a graduate of the University of Manitoba and Oxford University. He began his career as a public servant in 1937 with the Department of External Affairs in Ottawa. He was also Assistant Private Secretary and Special Assistant to Prime Ministers Mackenzie King and Louis Saint Laurent. He was involved in provincial politics in the late 1940s and was instrumental in supporting Newfoundland's pro-confederacy movement.

In 1963, the Right Hon. John Pickersgill became MP for Bonavista-Twillingate, which he represented until 1967.

The Right Hon. John Pickersgill held positions of Clerk of the Privy Council, Secretary of State, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Government House Leader and Minister of Transport.

In 1970, he was appointed Companion of the Order of Canada. In recognition of his service as a former public servant and former federal Cabinet minister he was bestowed the title Right Honourable.

The Right Hon. John Pickersgill passed away November 14, 1997.

Mr. Speaker, it was in 1968, just after he concluded his term as MP for Bonavista-Twillingate, that the Pickersgill Fellowship Act was enacted as a legacy to the Right Hon. John Pickersgill. Its intent was to award a fellowship annually to eligible Memorial University graduates pursuing pre-doctorate level studies in history or political science. Since this time, government no longer requires grants and scholarships to be enshrined in legislation. We are therefore asking to repeal the legislation known as the Pickersgill Fellowship Act, because the act itself is no longer required in order for us to be able to provide this fellowship.

Mr. Speaker, it is very important to note that the fellowship will continue to be awarded every year to a graduate of the university, through the Dean of Arts at Memorial. It will in no way impact the existence of the fellowship or the students. It is also important to note that government supports Memorial's Board of Regents and their respective finance department in their commitment to ensure continued accountability for this money.

Mr. Speaker, scholarships are very important to the university and certainly to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, as we have many people in this Province pursuing a post-secondary education.

In 2007-2008, the Department of Education issued 152 provincial K-12 scholarships to students planning to attend Memorial University of Newfoundland at a cost of $152,000. This included 106 electoral district scholarships, forty-five Centenary of Responsible Government scholarships and the Constable Moss Scholarship.

In 2007-2008, the Department of Education issued fifty-five provincial post-secondary scholarships to current undergraduate and graduate students of Memorial University of Newfoundland, at a cost of over $100,000.

Memorial University also provides scholarships. In 2007-2008, the university issued over 1,700 scholarships, at a cost of $2.5 million.

It is also noteworthy, Mr. Speaker, that there are no scholarships that are required to be enshrined in legislation other than the Pickersgill Fellowship, which is being repealed. The repeal of the Pickersgill Fellowship Act is part of government's overall Red Tape Reduction Strategy, an effort to eliminate unnecessary regulations, requirements and legislation. The department is moving forward with this initiative and continues to eliminate unnecessary regulatory requirements.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, the repeal of the Pickersgill Fellowship Act is a reflection that this legislation is no longer required, as scholarships are not required to be enshrined in legislation and this repeal in no way will impact on the availability of this particular fellowship.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. KELVIN PARSONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I appreciate an opportunity to have a few words on Bill 41. I guess I have always, since I have been here ten years, starting off - when we have second readings or whatever, I try to give a little explanation to - not to members of the House, of course, because they are well aware of the rules, but a lot of people in the general public who watch this broadcast on the House channel, for example, they do not understand the procedure as to what is going on. Sometimes it is helpful to have a little explanation of what it is.

What we are dealing with here today, of course, is a bill - it has a number on it, forty-one. The government want to repeal, or get rid of, do away with an act, or a law that we had in this Province called the Pickersgill Fellowship Act. Once we are finished the debate, of course, there will be a vote and no doubt, given the numbers in the House, it will be repealed and we will never hear of the Pickersgill Fellowship Act again.

Now, I have no problem - and I am a proponent actually, sometimes, of getting rid of things that you do not need. I do not know – and on the surface of it, and I stand to be corrected here by the minister later – if this is one law or one act that we should get rid of. Maybe, once I pose some of the questions that I have, she can educate me and maybe I will be of a different view. As of right now, I am not aware of the answers to the questions which I have. So I will pose them for her consideration and response.

She refers to him, of course, as John - that is his Christian name - but everybody in this Province has heard him called Jack Pickersgill. Nobody ever called him John Pickersgill.

By the way, for those of us who are so young that you do not recall. Jack Pickersgill is an icon when it comes to the political history of this Province. I always thought, for example, he was born here. I thought he was a Newfoundlander, but apparently he was born in Manitoba. He still has family here. I am not sure, there is an article written in one of the local newspapers, I believe, one of the Robinson- Blackmore papers by a Pickersgill and I do believe that is a relative of the late Jack Pickersgill.

MR. HARDING: His son.

MR. KELVIN PARSONS: I think that is his son, according to the Member for Bonavista North.

There is one thing about red tape to get rid of things you do not need, but I certainly hope this is not seen by anybody, including the family, as disrespectful, because this fellowship came about for very good reasons back in the 1960s. It was to honour Mr. Pickersgill for the contribution that he made, not only to the history and the political history of this Province as an MP, but also what he did in the Canadian parliamentary system.

Jack Pickersgill, the word on the hill, as they say in Ottawa, for years he was so knowledgeable, so informed, carried such clout in the Prime Minister's office with Prime Minister Mackenzie King and with Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent that if you had any question in Ottawa whatsoever, the byword was: Clear it with Jack. That was the phrase that was heard for years and years in the capital of this country: Clear it with Jack.

In fact, as pointed out by the Government House Leader, he played an instrumental role in our joining Confederation. He was the person who negotiated, set up a lot of the parameters surrounding the vote that would take place back in 1948-1949, of course, when the Confederate and anti-Confederate forces were roughing it out here in the Province.

There is a famous story, apparently, that they were not sure - they thought the vote was going to be so close - Mr. Pickersgill did not know what he would recommend to the Prime Minister. If it was only, for example, by a couple of percentage points, what should the government do? Should you enter into Confederation or have Newfoundland at that time become a part of Confederation based upon such a small percentage?

Before he went in to see Prime Minister St. Laurent, he went out and he checked the election results that Prime Minister Laurent always had in all of the elections that he was involved in government. Sure enough, Prime Minister St. Laurent - albeit the votes were very, very marginal, fifty-two point something in the case of the vote that ultimately took us into Confederation - the Prime Minister of Canada of that day had even smaller percentages in any election that he ever won, so Mr. Pickersgill figured we were on pretty good terms. If Louis St. Laurent could be the Prime Minister of the country based on very small margins, we certainly could have Newfoundland as a part of the Canadian federation on very small percentages. Hence, of course, the recommendation was that it would stand, and it did stand and we became a part of Canada.

He came back to Newfoundland after that, educated originally in his undergrad in Manitoba, and then he was at the University of Oxford. Once he finished his civil servant's roles in the Prime Minister's office in Canada he came here and he got involved in the day-to-day politics, of course, and became an MP, and a very good one and a very influential one that he was indeed.

First off, I do believe, he entered the Cabinet in 1953 as Secretary of State for Canada. In 1954 he was named as the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. Later, I do believe, in 1963, in the Pearson government, he was appointed Secretary of State for Canada again, Government House Leader in the House of Commons, and also the Minister of Transport, until he retired in 1967.

This person went back into Canadian politics well before we became part of Canada in 1949. From 1949 up to 1967, the date of his retirement, he was iconic in his stature both in this Province and in Canada. Back in those days, by the way, there was an excellent working relationship between the Province and Ottawa. We cannot say the same these days, of course. We have not had that good relationship between our Province and Ottawa now for a few years, which culminated, of course, in the ill-conceived ABC plan which we saw recently. We saw that, and we talked about our cousins in Ottawa, but we saw how that all culminated with the federal election. It might not matter now anyway, I guess, because, given what is happening in Ottawa today, Mr. Harper might not be the Prime Minister very much longer anyway, but I don't think we did ourselves any favour there with this ABC issue to start with.

Anyway, I would like to pose for the minister the question: What is more important, the Red Tape Reduction Committee or the fact that we pay respect to people who have done not only the country but certainly this Province a great service?

We did not create - and you have to look at the environment in which we created the Pickersgill Fellowship. We did not create the Pickersgill Fellowship only to have it succumb to some government's - no matter what government's - Red Tape Reduction Strategy forty years hence. Sure, we have ways of giving scholarships today. Yes, we do give scholarships today and, as the minister indicates, we give something to the tune of $2.5 million a year in scholarships, and so we should - it is good thing to be doing – but, surely, do we need to take away from the reputation, the respect, the stature, that we gave to this iconic politician and legislator and civil servant that we were fortunate enough to have as part of our history?

For example, the minister referred to the fact that he was given the title the Right Honourable John Pickersgill. Well, folks, the only people in the Dominion of Canada who have the right to the title of the Right Honourable are Prime Ministers, Governors General and the Chief Justice of the country. Now, that is a pretty select group and that says something about the stature in which these individuals are held: Prime Ministers, Governors General and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. Only one person that I am aware of from this Province ever had the distinction of being called the Right Honourable, and that is none other than Jack Pickersgill.

This was not a Joey Smallwood doing in the old Liberal days of Smallwood in the 1960s. This title was bestowed upon that individual because of what he did for parliamentary process, for education, for politics, for people. Now, under the guise of a Red Tape Reduction, we are going to say: Sorry, we are going to get rid of that particular scholarship.

I mean, God forbid, if this government had its way, we would be taking the name Stanley off the cup. I mean, folks, there are certain things that are so precious to us, so important to us, that are historic to us, that they should not be tampered with.

We can look at this and say: Ah, it is a repeal bill; don't get your knickers in a knot over this. This is only going to repeal a wasted, useless piece of legislation that we have.

Well, I hope that is not the attitude that the government is dealing with. Because, folks, when we forget who contributed to us being what we are, and when we forget to pay respect and homage to the people who made us what we are, because they get tied up in a Red Tape Reduction Strategy, we have a big problem. I think that is the beginning of putting your foot on a very slippery slope.

We have stood up in this House every day and we give members' statements and we honour people, we honour events, we honour communities, and we honour things that happen in our Province because we are pleased with them and we are proud of them. Yet, here we are going to get rid of an act that paid tribute to an individual who contributed so much to us as a people. I think that is disrespectful, folks. I think that is disrespectful, and there is no need of it.

Even if the intent is that we are still going to have somebody over at Memorial University, in the Department of History and the Department of Political Science, pick somebody and say: Yes, you have the Pickersgill Scholarship. We are going to give that to you, now. We are not going to disrespect Mr. Pickersgill, because we are still going to get somebody over there to do it in his honour. – I think that is disrespectful.

This particular act exists for a reason. This is not like some of the others statutes we have here called the anomalies bill, whereby over the course of time we get rid of an and or the, or but, or a piece of legislation that is absolutely no longer necessary and we repeal it and retract it. We are talking here about getting rid of a law, a bill that exists; an act that existed out of respect for someone. How far do we take that? Did anybody consult, I wonder, with the Pickersgill family? I hope so. I hope somebody consulted with the Pickersgill family to let them know that: Thank you very much but the scholarship that we had to honour your dad, we are going to get rid of that. That does not warrant the respect of continuing to be an act in this Province anymore. I would like to know which family members were consulted because I do not know – if they did and they were they would certainly feel differently than I would if my father were honoured with such a fellowship, and only to have government say we are going to get rid of it as part of a Red Tape Reduction strategy. To even put it in the same breath is insulting.

Were the committee members - apparently this scholarship, by the way, there is a committee, as I understand, that talks about who gets this fellowship each and every year. There is no doubt, of course, look at the significance here folks, as to why it is in honour of the historical, for example, the Department of History at MUN is involved and the Department of Political Science is involved, because that is where this guy's strengths were. That is what he contributed to, our history and our political science. There was a committee, apparently, that picked the recipient of this fellowship each year. It is not the amount that is involved. I understand it was $4,000. I do not even know if it was renewable, but it was $4,000 to honour someone in the name of Mr. Pickersgill. Were the committee members consulted in addition to the family members? How did they feel about it? Who was on the committee and who said: yes, we do not think we need to do this anymore in honour of Jack Pickersgill. We are going to forget that all of a sudden. Everything he did and contributed to us as a Province, we do not need to do that anymore. We can give scholarships under the Department of Education, under some other bill so we will get rid of it.

I also notice – because there is a tie-in here. It is one thing to give endowments and to give fellowships and to give scholarships. Because one of the principle motivations of course is that our students, besides helping them financially, which is a big plus, it also makes them feel proud that as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians they win these scholarships. But is there anything sacred anymore, when the government has to take credit for everything, that the government cannot leave poor old Mr. Pickersgill's Fellowship in place so that somebody can get some credit in this Province other than the government? Can somebody please say that yes, we are going to leave Mr. Pickersgill's name there in honour and give the $4,000 rather than under the guise of a Red Tape Reduction strategy say we are going to scrap it and now all the scholarships comes from the Minister of Education, the Government House Leader or the government? Surely God, this is going a bit too far! This has gone a bit too far.

I am going to look forward anxiously to see who votes in favour of this repeal. I have to look closely because surely anybody in this Province - this is not about politics, folks. This is not about politics. Anybody who has a sense of history, anybody who has a sense of respect for our history and our culture and our political figures and heroes of the past could not vote to repeal that act. In fact, we need to go out of our way just because it is so iconic and so important and a part of our culture to recognize this individual. Maybe someday we will be passing a special act here to pay tribute and honour to some member of this House, and if that is what is required at the time, we should. We honour our Olympic heroes. We honour our sports heroes. We honour our academic heroes. Who are we now today, 2008, December 1, to question the motivations of what the hon. members and the reasons and motivations they did it back in 1967? They did not do it for the sake of the $4,000, folks. Let's not kid ourselves. Four thousand dollars was not the issue back in 1967. It was the honour that they were bestowing that was important.

These students who have been the recipients, of course, there is a bit of pride that goes with it besides the few dollars. I am sure there are people, members of this House who have been Rhodes Scholars. The Premier is a Rhodes Scholar. He is very proud, no doubt, I am sure, of having said he was a Rhodes recipient.

Same today, we honoured the Deputy Minister of Justice today because he has become a Fellow in the Royal Fellowship of Trial Lawyers. We can honour that in members' statements yet we cannot leave poor old Mr. Pickersgill's memory in the place of esteem where it ought to be? This is a backwards step, big time. This shows absolute thoughtlessness. I do not know whose suggestion it was.

I know the Minister of Business is responsible for the Red Tape Committee and I have seen all kinds of announcements and press releases come out of them in the past year, about how many question marks and semicolons and little boxes on forms that we have gotten rid of, but surely to God this is a step in the wrong direction, folks. This is a step in the wrong direction. So let's see where the compassion is here. What is more important, the memory of an important, historic, political, cultural figure that we chose to honour, this House chose to honour in 1967, or a government that is wrapped up in its Red Tape Reduction to the point where we would dishonour and disrespect this gentleman and the memory of this gentleman?

So again, I would like to know – and to simply say in such a cavalier manner: we do not need this anymore. We can give out our grants under the Department of Education. We can give out our fellowships and our research things. We can do all that now under the Department of Education. We do not need it. Well, folks, that does not make it right. That does not make it right, just because you found another way to do it. Absolutely, does not make it right.

I would like to ask a question as well, in particular on clause 2 of Bill 41, and it says: Assets arising from the repeal of the Pickersgill Fellowship Act become the property of the Crown and liabilities resulting from the repeal of that act become the responsibility of the Crown.

I am just curious, more than anything, as to what assets we could be referring to, or what liabilities we could be referring to? Because if it is simply a committee that would meet to decide who the recipient is on an annual basis and the award was $4,000, I would not think we are in too complicated an area of assets and liabilities. Maybe some explanation as well, as to where we are to with that particular piece.

The bottom line is, I think we as legislators here, and Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, have to take a second swallow on this one. You can try to hide it behind all kinds of committees and whatever, but this will be seen in the public. I am sure anybody who has heard this, if that is the case, if the family hasn't been consulted, if the committee hasn't been consulted - and even to do this regardless; you should never ever have gone down this road to start to do this. This was a misstep, this was terrible. It is a mistake.

I think it would be very compassionate, very humanistic, of this government to say: We didn't consider some of these things, folks, and it is not a right move. It is always time and it is always honourable to do the right thing, even if you started out doing the wrong thing. There is nothing wrong with saying, we made a mistake.

I think this would be one case, so that there is absolutely no perception, no possibility by anybody, that we might be doing anything to disrespect or dishonour the legend that was known to anyone and everyone in Newfoundland and Labrador and certainly in Canada as a political giant who is known as Jack Pickersgill. We need to do the right thing here. We would be more than supportive of government to say, this is not the right time to be worried about red tape. This is a time to be proud of our past and Jack Pickersgill was a very important part of our past.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MS MICHAEL: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I am glad to have a few moments to speak to Bill 41.

It was interesting, because when I first saw the bill I thought; oh, I didn't even know that there was a Pickersgill Fellowship Act. I guess I was too late to even think about applying for it. I might have been able to do it when I was in university, but I was away before this was put in place. The interesting thing was seeing the name Pickersgill, because Jack Pickersgill, when I was growing up, was a household name. I was a student and I certainly knew Jack Pickersgill's name, even when I was a little girl. I guess everybody did, because he had such a role in politics, both on the federal and the provincial level.

My ears picked up when I looked at this and saw that this was a bill, when we had the first reading. I had some questions that arose. I know it is a repeal bill and repeals should be automatic. As a matter of fact, if we are going to give a lesson to people who watch us when we are talking here in the House, it is probably also good to point out to people that usually in the House repeal bills do not get very much time. Repeal bills are very often put together under an omnibus bill and you just pass all the repeal bills at one time and you do not take the time to do the talking that we are getting to do today.

Since each bill is being taken individually, even though there is no need to do it, I certainly am glad to make some points with regard to this bill.

Scholarships are very important, there is absolutely no doubt about that, and when I saw the bill being repealed I automatically assumed that the scholarship was going to be repealed as well. Then the Minister of Education said, when she introduced the bill, that, no, the fellowship will not be cancelled, the fellowship will continue to be awarded. What I do not know is: will the fellowship continue to be awarded with the same name? Will the government maintain the name? I will be happy to hear from the minister, when she gets the opportunity to make the final statements, what the answer to that is.

I do have to agree with my colleague, the Opposition House Leader, that I think it is important to maintain the name, because the fellowship was put in place to honour not just the life of Jack Pickersgill but the kind of life that he lead as a politician. It is specifically geared to people who are doing political science in their studies as part of what they study. It is obviously there and in place to make sure that young people – because generally it is young people in university, although you can be a mature student – that young people who are interested in politics and who are doing political science get a fellowship to help them on their way with that study.

For that reason, I think it is important to maintain Mr. Pickersgill's name on the fellowship, because anybody getting it does a little bit of reading of history. If the person has not already come across Jack Pickersgill's name they certainly will when they research who the fellowship is named after. In the context of political science at Memorial University, it maintains Jack Pickersgill, which is what the naming of the fellowship was supposed to do. I think that is extremely important.

I also looked at section 3 of the bill where it talks about the assets arising from the repeal. I, too, would like to have more information from the minister on what exactly are the assets and the potential liabilities resulting from the repeal. I am really not sure what that is and I think we need to get the detail of what those assets and liabilities are.

I thought I heard the minister make reference to the Board of Regents. The implication, to me, was that the granting of this fellowship is not going to be under the government, per se, but is going to be under the Board of Regents. I would like to have further clarification on that because I thought that is what I heard the minister say. I took quick notes: The government supports the Board of Regents and trusts or believes in its accountability. It seems to me that she was saying, the responsibility will be passed on to the Board of Regents for granting this fellowship.

I would like to have further clarification about that because I think that would be extremely important, because with the repeal of the Act we no longer have a structure in place for the granting of this Act. We no longer have a board that is responsible or a committee that is responsible. I would like more information from the minister, then, on; if this board is not in place or this committee is not in place and we no longer have an Act, where is it going?

I guess I am a little bit surprised that the bill does not spell that out a bit. Now, maybe section 3 covers it and the pointing out of assets and liabilities, that is what it is all about. I think it would have been interesting for the bill to indicate that this does not end at the scholarship itself and that there is a structure that will be replacing the granting, even if that structure is passing the responsibility on to the Board of Regents.

I think it is important, for the record, that we find out from the minister exactly how this is going to happen. Is it going to be called the Pickersgill fellowship still, is it going to be granted annually, and is it the Board of Regents who grants it? I presume there is a mechanism inside the university in the Arts Faculty where people who are eligible can easily find out about this fellowship. That is how they get it. Because they are in political science, they become aware of the fellowship and they can apply for it. I think we do need to know what the mechanism is. It does not bother me if the Act is gone as long as there is something in place replacing what was there, a structure that is already there. You do not need a superstructure because that is what the Act did, it created another structure. If the Board of Regent has a way of – and it does – giving out scholarships and fellowships then there is nothing wrong this one becoming part of that structure as long it is still called the Pickersgill Fellowship. I would like some details on that.

I would like to take a couple of minutes to use this opportunity of the repealing of this bill with regard to a fellowship just to make some comments on how important scholarships and fellowships are. We do know that our students, I think more so today than before, for different reasons, really have a heavy burden when it comes to getting their post-secondary education. Some of us in this hon. House will remember going to university and not even having to pay for our courses at all. Many of us – I see some of my colleagues nodding – are old enough to remember that. We did not even have to apply for some of these fellowships unless you went on in post-graduate work. In your post-graduate work, of course, it was a different story. A lot of us got our first degrees without having to pay any cost for tuition.

That begs the question, then, when I think of this fellowship - a small number of people are lucky enough to be able to win fellowships, to win scholarships. The numbers that the minister gave out are impressive, you know, 152 K – 12 scholarships, fifty-five post-secondary, and 1,700 at Memorial, but when you balance them against the number of students at Memorial, for example, 1,500 is a very small percentage of the full body at Memorial. That is the way it has to be because not everybody can win scholarships and win fellowships. With the Pickersgill, how many years since it was in place? Forty years. Maybe, forty by four - that is how much, $4,000 - that is how much money has gone out in the Pickersgill fellowship. Only one person a year.

I think it would be good for us to reflect at this time that we are repealing this Act, reflect on the reality of our students in this Province and the student debt that they carry.

I want to use the opportunity to ask the minister to continue to think about the whole issue of interest that our students have to pay.

I began some while ago saying that we should have no interest on student loans, that they should not have to pay interest. I understand that the minister at different times has indicated - quite recently, actually - that it is something that she is willing to look at, to give some consideration to, and I would encourage the government and the minister to do that because, you know, when a student has a $25,000 debt and that student has to pay 10 per cent interest, if the student pays off the loan in ten years it means that the student will have paid two-and-a-half times the value of the loan. While banks may do that, and while financial institutions may do that, and credit cards may really rob us of money - because I think that is what they do - I do not think that government should be doing that with students. I think we really do need to look the whole issue of interest on student loans, and I am glad to see that there has been some indication from the minister that she is willing to look at that issue and willing to give it some thought. I use the opportunity of this bill to encourage her to do so.

I think, Mr. Speaker, those are all the comments that I want to make but I do encourage the minister, and I am sure she will, when she does her final statements on this bill, that she will be able to give us some answers to the questions that I have raised here.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Port de Grave.

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

I am just going to take a few minutes to speak with regard to Bill 41, An Act To Repeal The Pickersgill Fellowship Act.


I guess when I came here today, and I know you had to do research into it, when you get a bill and there is so very little information in it, I guess many of the questions that I had for the minister she provided them in her opening comments.

I was wondering if this particular Fellowship Act would continue, if the scholarship would be still in place, and so on, but we learned, Mr. Speaker, that this will continue. The only thing that is happening here today, in my understanding - I know the hon. Member for Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi asked if the name would stay the same, and in my understanding the minister said in her opening remarks that it would still be known as the Pickersgill Fellowship.

We know, Mr. Speaker, that with regard to this act it was put in place, I guess, to pay tribute to an individual. I am not going into the full comments that my hon. colleague from Burgeo & LaPoile made. I think he did a fine job. I almost forgot his district that time, but just to say that I think the comments that he made should be considered by all hon. members in this House, and to know that the scholarship will continue.

I guess, in the act, one of the other questions that I had for the minister is what is stated there: assets arising from and the liabilities resulting from. I was just wondering if there are assets there and were those funds raised through the name of the late Mr. Pickersgill, and the amount of liabilities that may be in place, or what is referenced when it mentions this in the act.

I believe, Mr. Speaker, that it is good to see that this is going to continue. The only thing that I would caution all members is that we should continue to pay tribute. This individual's name was placed on this act for a very special reason, for the role that he played. Like my hon. colleague said, it is not a political issue. It is something, I guess, that goes right back to our days when we became a part of this great country, Canada, the part that he played not only in Ottawa but that he played here in our Province by coming here and being elected as a member.

Having said that, Mr. Speaker, I just want for the minister, in her comments, to explain with regard to the asset aspect of it and the liabilities that are mentioned in the act.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, this is the second time I speak in second reading of Bill 41, so I assume that when I speak now on this bill I will conclude debate at this stage of the bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Government House Leader is speaking on behalf of the Minister of Natural Resources and Deputy Premier. If the hon. –

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, we started with that bill and went into the repeal of the Pickersgill Act, so I spoke on that as Minister of Education. Now, as I stand to speak again, I will conclude debate on that particular act.

MR. SPEAKER: If the hon. Minister of Education and Government House Leader speaks now she will close debate on Bill 41.

The hon. Minister of Education and Government House Leader.

MS BURKE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I certainly want to address some of the concerns that were raised here as we debate the repeal of the legislation known as the Pickersgill Fellowship Act.

It was noted that we will never hear of this act again, and we will not as we repeal this act, but what is really important is that we will continue to hear about the Pickersgill Fellowship, because what is important here is not the legislation on paper; it is the fact that we have this fellowship that is named after the Right Honourable J. W. Pickersgill, and the fact that it will continue.

Government has continued to invest in the Pickersgill Fellowship and it is renewable for two years. It is $7,500 a year and last year we awarded $15,000; a new recipient as well as somebody who received it as a renewal.

We will continue with this fellowship, and I think that is the basis of what is so important here, and the fact that we recognize the importance of this fellowship and that in no way will we be eliminating it.

I have also been asked, will it be maintained with the same name, and, yes, it will. It will still be known as the J.W. Pickersgill Fellowship at Memorial University for a student who comes from the arts but will have a particular interest or major in history or political science as has been noted.

It is also important to note, Mr. Speaker, that there are other scholarships that are named for other individuals but are not necessarily reflected in acts or legislation. Some of the other scholarships that we give out as a Department of Education to our post-secondary students would include the Dr. Arthur Barnes Scholarship, the Dr. Vincent P. Burke Scholarship, the Dr. William W. Blackall Scholarship, the Rev. Dr. Levi Curtis Scholarship, and the Ronald K. Kennedy Scholarship. There are other scholarships where we honour individuals by having scholarships named after them, very similar as with the Right Hon. Jack Pickersgill.

Mr. Speaker, the point I want to make is that the legislation is unnecessary, but what is necessary is that we do continue with the Pickersgill Fellowship at the university, and we certainly intend to do that.

I mentioned the Board of Regents and what I said was that we want to support Memorial's Board of Regents and their respective finance department in their commitment to ensure continued accountability for this money. As we give this money to the university we want to ensure that it is given to the student who is selected by the Dean of Arts to receive this particular fellowship. Certainly, we feel that our Board of Regents will have that level of accountability and that the money will be directed in the appropriate fashion.

It is also important to note that the J.W. Pickersgill Fellowship is not something that is selected by anybody, including the minister or any persons in the Department of Education. This is a name that comes forward for us to be able to award this fellowship from the Dean of Arts, and the Dean of Arts was consulted in this process to ensure that we were committed to this process but did not necessarily need legislation in order to aware this fellowship.

There have also been questions with regard to the bill and to clause 3. It says: Assets arising from the repeal of the Pickersgill Fellowship Act become the property of the Crown and liabilities resulting from the appeal of that Act become the responsibility of the Crown.

Mr. Speaker, that is basically standard wording as we wind up the legislation because there are no assets from this fellowship and we award the money on an annual basis. There are no assets built up. It is just something that we do year after year through the budgetary process of the Department of Education. It is standard wording as we clue up this but it does not affect – there are no assets there that are necessarily going to be affected by this.

Mr. Speaker, in conclusion, I just want to make the following points: the fellowship will continue; it will be in the same name; we anticipate that the money that we allot for that will go to the person who is selected by the Dean of Arts; there are no assets at this time; and, it will continue to be distributed on an annual basis.

I also want to assure the people of this hon. House that this repeal in no way shows any disrespect for the late, Right Honourable J.W. Pickersgill. In fact, Mr. Speaker, we are very proud to be able to continue the tradition since 1968, which is forty years now, to be able to offer this fellowship to outstanding post-secondary students at Memorial University who either have an interest in history or political science, and we will continue with that tradition.

This in no way is a swipe at the family to show that we are no longer interested in our heritage and in our history and who we are as a people. It is the commitment of the money and the fact that a student is selected and is awarded this money ever year in the name of this fellowship, that is what is absolutely important.

This legislation in no way means that we are not going to continue on that path and continue with the J.W. Pickersgill Fellowship.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Is it the pleasure of the House that the said bill be now read a second time?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against, 'nay'.

The motion is carried.

CLERK: A bill, An Act To Repeal The Pickersgill Fellowship Act. (Bill 41)

MR. SPEAKER: The bill has now been read a second time.

When shall the bill be referred to a Committee of the Whole House?

Now? Tomorrow?

MS BURKE: Now, later today.

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Repeal The Pickersgill Fellowship Act," read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House presently, by leave. (Bill 41)

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, I would now like to call, from the Order Paper of today, An Act To Repeal The Memorial University Foundation Act. (Bill 42)

I call second reading of An Act To Repeal The Memorial University Foundation Act. (Bill 42)

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that Bill 42, entitled, An Act To Repeal The Memorial University Foundation Act, be now read a second time.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act To Repeal The Memorial University Foundation Act." (Bill 42)

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, as we address Bill 42, I would like to speak on this as the Minister of Education and this is An Act To Repeal The Memorial University Foundation Act.

Many people have probably never heard of the Memorial University Foundation, and probably with good reason. It certainly does not relate to the basement over at Memorial University.

As part of the government's Red Tape Reduction Initiative, Memorial University conducted a review of its legislation and recommended that government repeal the Memorial University Foundation Act. The Department of Education is certainly supportive of looking at legislation to see what legislation is on the books that is no longer, I guess, necessary or being used in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. When we see acts of legislation that are no longer current we need to take action, and in this case we certainly need to repeal this act which has been redundant for quite some time.

Mr. Speaker, some members of this House, although I do not think too many at this point, would probably remember when the Memorial University Foundation Act was initially proclaimed in 1997. The act was to establish the Memorial University Foundation. The intent was to foster support for the university through a tax advantage for donors. However, during the same year, the federal budget eliminated this tax advantage through the introduction of a standard deduction limit for donations. As a result, the Memorial University Foundation never operated and the associated legislation is redundant.

So, Mr. Speaker, the repeal of this act will in no way impact on donations that can be made to Memorial University. In fact, there are many ways that people donate to the university and I know there are very active means of doing fundraising at the university and certainly the university uses the money that is raised with their operations but in particular the money raised is used many, many times in order to provide scholarships to the students at the university. As I had noted in the previous debate, Mr. Speaker, on the previous bill, the university, in the school year of 2007-2008, actually issued over 1,700 scholarships at a cost of $2.5 million.

As I stated earlier, Mr. Speaker, the repeal of the Memorial University Foundation Act will in no way impact the ability of individuals or organizations to make donations to Memorial University. In addition, Mr. Speaker, the students at Memorial University will not be affected as we repeal this particular act.

Again, having legislation on the books that was certainly not enacted and not used means that it is redundant and it becomes red tape for the department and for the university. We certainly do not need that legislation if it is not being used and has never been used.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, this is an act that came about, I would assume, at the time with nothing but the best intentions; however, it was never enacted and never used because at the same time it was brought in there were federal budget changes that eliminated the tax advantage that was established under the Memorial University Foundation Act. As a result of that, Mr. Speaker, we are putting forth the bill to repeal the Memorial University Foundation Act, known as Bill 42.

Thank you.

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I want to speak for just a minute on Bill 42. First of all, I heard the minister's introduction, and I was in the House of Assembly when this legislation was enacted back in 1997. In fact, it was in 1996 when Roger Grimes was then the Minister of Education that this legislation was introduced in our Legislature, and it was introduced at the time for a very good reason. It was when the university set up its Opportunity Fund. It was a fund in which corporate sector or individuals could donate money to the university, they could get a tax receipt for donating it, and the government of the day, the Liberal government of the day, agreed to match each one of those donations dollar for dollar up to $25 million that would go into the Opportunity Fund for the university. That money was to be used to deal with primarily three things. One is the scholarship fund, which the minister talked about in terms of right now being something like 1,700 scholarship handed out in the Province on an annual basis to students, but it also was to deal with capital expenditures and to also look at an endowment fund for the university.

I was never aware, and in fact the minister told me something today I did not know, and that was that this fund was never, ever, used and that there was no money generated in it. That was a surprise to me, because I thought that the Opportunity Fund at the university did generate some revenue back before the regulations had currently changed around the tax credit and the fact that you could get receipted for any of those donations. I will have to go and check into that.

Mr. Speaker, this particular act was implemented with all good intentions. In fact, it was asked for by the university back at that time because they were able to avail of donations that were coming in from corporations. They needed the money to be able to go in to do a number of projects over there. They confronted the government of the day and said: Why don't we set this up in a way that every dollar we raise the government will match it? They agreed to do that. It was supposed to be a very positive piece of legislation that would have generated revenues of up to at least $50 million was the intention at the time for the university. So I will certainly have to look into the fact that it was never, ever used, that no money was ever generated.

Mr. Speaker, I think that any opportunities or initiatives like this are always a good thing. It is always a good thing when you have institutions like our college system, like our universities, like our health care corporations and so on, whereby they are able to leverage money outside of that which comes from the people's purse. Anytime that they can do that it certainly allows them to be able to enhance their programs, be able to launch new initiatives that normally they would not be able to get involved in and do things like providing money that can go back into the pockets of students or of people that are users of the system.

We are all for that, Mr. Speaker. Probably what the university needs to do is look how they can put a similar program in place, doing it in a different way where they can still capture matching dollars from government. This is not unheard of. We have seen it happen in the Health Care Corporation, in a number of initiatives that they have launched over the years as well.

Mr. Speaker, government's red tape initiative - it is funny that we are seeing these kinds of acts being repealed because when the red tape initiative was undertaken I guess I at least, was under the understanding and my interpretation from most people was that it was a process whereby it would make it easier for people to track things through government departments. If I needed to get a land application sorted out for Crown lands, if I needed a permit to put in a septic system, if I needed to be able to access a licence to operate a tourism establishment, or any of those kinds of things, that people were looking at it in terms of reducing the red tape that you would have to go through from one government department to another to be able to get through the system and get the result that you wanted, or at least to get a response.

What we have seen so far is not reductions in that kind of legislation, or that kind of process but rather just the repealing of acts that have seen them become defunct or no longer required within the system from a legislative body. We will have to see if there are any other bills that they are going to look at, in addition to what they have tabled already, that will help make the process of going through government departments a little bit easier for those who want to get permits. I know I deal with a lot of things with regard to Crown lands, the registry of lands, the obtaining of permits for water systems, septic systems, and people always have a very difficult time. In fact, in most cases you have to go through two or three government departments just to get clearance to be able to go ahead and do something like this.

I think when people looked at reducing red tape this is what they were looking at. How do I navigate the system and do it a little bit easier to get the result that I want as a resident of the Province, or as a homeowner, or whatever the case may be? So, we have yet to see that kind of reduction in red tape or legislation. In fact, what we are seeing, apparently, is a number of bills that government is just repealing simply because they are no longer being used, they are no longer active, and they are just removing it from their books. It really has little or no impact upon the users of government services or the users within the system. So it is certainly a different intent than what it was made to be when the program was first launched. We will have to see if there is more coming forward.

Mr. Speaker, just to conclude my comments with regard to Bill 42, is that it was certainly set up with the best intentions in mind. It was done, Mr. Speaker – this is a very key point as well, because if you look at the legislation that set up this act in 1996, although the government of the day was willing to match the university's Opportunity Fund up to $25 million, they did not designate the matching contributions.

Mr. Speaker, the money that they were putting in, the $25 million, they were not telling the university how they could spend that. The act provided for complete autonomy of the university to be able to spend this money in the way that they chose. Mr. Speaker, when you look at the debate around the university today, that is a very large comment, a very important comment, one that made its way into the agreement and the legislation that governed that act, because we do not see that today.

Today we see a government who thinks that because they put money into the university, they can go over and hire the president, Mr. Speaker, to run the institution. That is what we see today. We see the minister today, because they vote for money in their line budget for the university, think that they can call people into their office and interview them for the job of president of the university. That is the kind of disrespect that this government has shown our institution, our highest academic institution in the Province, Mr. Speaker.

It is really ironic that that would have made its way into legislation, going back in this House to 1996-1997, to ensure that the university had that autonomy under the Opportunity Fund to spend the money the way they wanted to spend the money. You know, twelve years later, a different administration, a different minister, it is a different ballgame. It is one in which they think, as I said, because we vote for money in the budget to fund the university or to provide for educational programs that now we have the authority to control, to do interviews, to hire the President, and to select who goes over and runs the institution. It is a completely different perspective and it certainly does nothing to allow for the complete autonomy of the academia within this Province.

Mr. Speaker, if there is one thing we should do as government, it is respect the institutions which we form in this Legislature and provide for under legislation. We certainly haven't seen that at the university when it comes to the intervening of the Minister of Education and that of the government in which he sits.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, that is a speech that I will save for a couple of days from now, but right now, in terms of Bill 42, it certainly had great intentions. I will have to check to see if there was ever any money. The minister says there was never any money generated under that fund, and certainly that was not the interpretation that we had. Now, whether it reached a capacity or the limits that it was intended to, I don't know, but I certainly remember, Mr. Speaker, when the campaign was ongoing for the Opportunity Fund at the university if that is what falls under the same piece of legislation. At that time there was a big display set out down in the parkway. I think it was in front of the Education Building down at the university, in which they were every day moving the lever up and down depending on how much money was being contributed and if they had reached their goal for the Opportunity Fund. I learned today from the minister that they didn't raise any money in that fund. We will have to check that out, Mr. Speaker, but the intention was certainly good.

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

MS MICHAEL: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I won't take too much time to speak to Bill 42, but I thought it was important that I do make some comments, because I was surprised, I think, by two things. I wasn't living in the Province actually when this foundation was put in place, when the legislation was put in place, so, no, I did not know that there had been or I don't know if even there was a foundation. We had it on paper. I missed the fine point the minister gave about the short period of time in which the act had any relevance. I think it sounded very short to me and she may repeat that for my sake when she stands up again simply because I just missed that one point in between the two pieces of legislation, the one that brought it in and the second one that made it redundant. I even wonder, did it even get to the point where the first Board of Trustees was set up? That is not even clear to me.

It seems to me that the foundation itself may have been a very good thing to keep in place and it is, I think, too bad that it was not kept in place. One of the reasons is that a foundation plays a very special role with regard to an organization. Most hospitals, for example, have foundations because the hospitals themselves - well, number one, you do not want to be involved in the administration of fundraising. Secondly, they, in and of themselves, are not charitable organizations and therefore they cannot grant tax receipts; however, the foundation of the hospital can do that kind of thing. I presume that was originally why this foundation was needed.

The other role that a foundation plays is the promotion of the institution of the organization that they are raising the money for. I noticed, when I read the act that covered the Memorial University Foundation, that indeed that was part of the role of the foundation. It was to promote the university. It was to make the programs of the university public. It was to give the university a profile that was adding to, obviously, the profile that the university also created of itself.

It is really too bad that it did not take off. Now I know there are bodies in the university who do that. For example, the Alumni Association does a tremendous job in promoting the university, but the more bodies you have ready to do that the better it is. It is a little bit surprising to me that this did not take off at all.

I would like to know from the minister – and this could be the reason why it did not - was the Board of Trustees even set up, the initial Board of Trustees? Was there even a board set up? Perhaps, if there was not, that is the reason why the idea died so easily when it was decided it was no longer needed for taxation purposes, because there was no Board of Trustees in place to say: Well, hold on now; there is still a job that could be done here that the foundation could do. I am curious to know whether or not the Board of Trustees was initially even set up. Did any action get taken whatsoever?

I also am interested, I was very interested when I read in the act that the foundation itself had totally autonomy over the funds that were raised, and that included the matching funds from the government. I think that is really important. It is important for organizations, and especially for educational institutions, to have money that they feel they are accountable for - they have to be accountable for how they spend it - but they can make their own decisions over how that money gets spent. I think that is one of the things that would have been very important if this had continued.

I am not saying that the university does not have control over the money that it raises, whether it is money from government or money from the private sector, but this sort of put into a piece of legislation that was part of the foundation that made it very clear that any of the money that was raised under the foundation was money that was in total control of the foundation itself for the benefit of the university, because it is important to remember that universities are special bodies historically. They just are not a business. They are not. They are a corporation in terms of how they are put together legally, but they are not money-makers. They are there to do a very specific job, to serve our society. Being able to do that with pride, being able to do that with a sense of autonomy, being able to do that believing that they know what they are doing is really important to them. That is why - and I made this decision early on when I saw this bill – I, too, have to raise the whole issue of where we find our university right now, where we have an interim president who could have been the full-time president, where we have staff and students and all who care about the university not even knowing how much longer it is going to take for the university to choose a president.

I have been told by people inside the university, who are involved in the process, we certainly will not have a president before another two years. Yet, we know - and this is becoming even more and more obvious - that across the country today we have one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen universities in Canada right now looking for presidents, and the issues around trying to get a new president are very, very difficult. We were actually on the cusp of having a president at the university here in Newfoundland and Labrador. Now we are going to be competing; the competition is getting even harder right now. At this moment, even just a few months beyond what happened with regard to the fiasco around not getting a president for Memorial, even in those few months the situation has become even more competitive in this country with regard to getting a president for our university.

We actually had, in the recent time, another seven universities that did get new presidents but now we have this other whole load who are looking. It is really too bad that we are in the situation that we are in.

The recognition of a university being autonomous, the recognition of our universities being able to make their own decisions is something which this House has to look at. Today, we are repealing the foundation act. What I want to see coming into this august House, and I look forward to its happening, is amendments to our Memorial University Act that will bring it up to the year 2008, and that that amendment will include that that university no longer has to come for permission to hire the person that they think is the best person to run the university.

While we are very quick to say there is no more foundation, we do not need it, and we can repeal this piece of legislation because we do not need this piece of legislation any more, I hope we will be just as quick to realize that the government has a responsibility to Memorial University to help it stand with pride and to stand as an adult, mature university, an educational institution that knows how to run itself and that knows how to choose its own president.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Education and Government House Leader.

If she speaks now she will close debate.

MS BURKE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

With regard to the debate we are having on Bill 42, An Act To Repeal The Memorial University Foundation Act, government was asked to repeal this act from the former president of Memorial University, Dr. Axel Meisen, because of the legislative changes that came about in a federal Budget that changed the full purpose as to why the foundation had been set up. Therefore, what had been initially conceived as what would be the process by which funds would be collected had changed. Therefore, the Act was no longer required. I can say that the information I have indicates that there has never been any activity under the Memorial University Foundation Act. It had never really started. What it intended to do originally did not start.

Now, the university does raise money and had an Opportunity Fund, and was able to raise money, collect money and do projects, but it was not done under this particular Act. So what this particular Act set out to do was not achievable with the changes in the federal legislation, so therefore it never really got off the ground and got started.

Therefore, with the request, as I said, from the former president of Memorial University, Dr. Axel Meisen, we were asked, as the Department of Education, to repeal this particular legislation, and therefore that is what we are proposing in this bill.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it the pleasure of the House that the said bill be now read a second time?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

CLERK: A bill, An Act To Repeal The Memorial University Foundation Act. (Bill 42)

MR. SPEAKER: This bill has now been read a second time.

When shall the bill be referred to the Committee of the Whole House – now, tomorrow?

MS BURKE: Tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: Tomorrow.

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Repeal The Memorial University Foundation Act," read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House on tomorrow. (Bill 42)

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, we will return to the Order Paper. Prior to the calling of Bills 41 and 42, we had commenced the debate on Bill 47, so we will call second reading of a bill, An Act To Repeal The Labrador Linerboard Limited Agreement Act, 1979, Bill 47.

The minister has already spoken on this Act, so therefore we will continue debate.

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Minister of Finance for all that applause this afternoon, and tell him that before I get finished talking on this bill I am sure there will be lots more applause forthcoming.

Mr. Speaker, Bill 47 is a little bit historic when you look at the role that the Labrador Linerboard played in Newfoundland and Labrador over the years; a very historic piece of legislation, not unlike the role that Labrador plays in the Province in many ways today in terms of its contributions financially, its contributions to the GDP of the Province, and the economic progress that Newfoundland and Labrador has been able to make.

Mr. Speaker, this agreement which was enacted in 1979, as I said, has significant historic relevance especially for the forest industry in Newfoundland and Labrador and the policy issues for the Department of Forestry today. Mr. Speaker, the pulp and paper mills came into operation in Grand Falls and Corner Brook in 1909 and 1925 respectively bringing much prosperity, I would say, to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians back in those days. The turn of the century, Mr. Speaker, the beginning of the real industrial revolution in terms of what would happen right across the Province, and forestry being on the verge and the cutting edge of that we saw two pulp and paper mills being established.

Mr. Speaker, when Joey Smallwood came into power as the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador he brought with him a dream for all kinds of industrial development and one of them happened to be another mill that was established in Stephenville. Mr. Speaker, that particular mill was, I guess, the catalyst to start the Labrador Linerboard Limited, and that actually started in 1973 although the legislation was not enacted until years later. Those of us who grew up in Labrador - I am sure my colleague from Lake Melville spent a lot of his life in Churchill Falls. Back in those days, when the Labrador Linerboard would have been at its peak, Mr. Speaker, contributing to the great wealth of Newfoundland and Labrador, would have been at its peak, would have been the main source, I would say, of fibre back at that time, that would have been able to sustain the entire operation that was set up.

Mr. Speaker, Smallwood undertook a Royal Commission on forestry in 1953 to determine whether a third mill was necessary in Newfoundland and Labrador. They didn't talk about it being viable back in those days, just about being necessary in terms of looking at providing for more industry. In 1955 the report did suggest that the Island could support a third mill but only if the other two companies, Bowater and Abitibi Price, who had held the tenure for over 60 per cent of the Island's prime woodcutting land, would work together to rationalize wood supply on the Island. Neither company was interested at that time, in such an agreement.

Mr. Speaker, one could see that the writing was on the wall for this initiative by virtue of the situation that they found themselves in. You had two pulp and paper companies already on the island. They had 60 per cent of the control over all the wood cutting lands. They were not prepared to enter into an agreement to be able to allow some of that wood to go to a third mill that would be established in the Province. After the release of the Royal Commission, Joey Smallwood's government, Mr. Speaker, knew that there would not be enough pulpwood on the Island, even at that time, to justify the existence of a third mill.

It did not stop the premier of the day. He set his eyes on the millions of cords of black spruce, Mr. Speaker, that would line the forests of Labrador. Of course, Mr. Speaker, at that time, the people in Labrador, not unlike today, had their own vision as well; their own vision of building a mill in Labrador, and to use the resources of Labrador for that development and not for the development of a third paper mill on the Island of Newfoundland.

Mr. Speaker, the premier of the day, Premier Smallwood, pushed on in his plan to establish a pulp and paper mill and a linerboard operation in Labrador, and he felt that it could be profitable. At the time there was a tremendous amount of demand in Europe. Mr. Speaker, they were replacing almost everything, then, with wood. He knew that the demand was there, and if they could provide for an additional operation that it would certainly be a productive idea for the people of the Province.

Mr. Speaker, they joined forces with John C. Doyle Limited, I think it was, or an individual by the name of John C. Doyle, whom we know of in our history, who has had a tremendous impact on the way some developments have gone in Newfoundland and Labrador. He was the one that government partnered with at the time, and it was a company that they set up which held the timber rights to extract large tracts of wood, Mr. Speaker, from Labrador. Even today, in Labrador, growing up there, when we hear of developments that are taking place we are always reminded of our history and reminded of the situations that took place back then. Mr. Speaker, I am sure that none of this is new to the people in Labrador, because, like myself, I have heard it for a number of years, over and over.

Smallwood and Doyle did agree and they set up the linerboard joint venture and the third mill was established and the mill's location was in Stephenville. Mr. Speaker, that did provide some much-needed economic activity in our Province for a long time. Not only was Stephenville the site of the military base, and, Mr. Speaker, as you know, at the time in 1966, that base was closed. I have a limited history of the base in Stephenville, but I do know from having lived there for a short period of time that it was the closure of the base back in the late 1960s that had a tremendous impact upon this community where there was probably 1,000 or a couple of thousand people who lost their jobs at that time, and the population of the area decreased significantly, probably double that, up to about 4,000 or 4,500 people actually moved out of Stephenville when that base closed.

Mr. Speaker, when they were looking at establishing the third mill, they were doing so on the eve of an economic crisis of the base closing in Stephenville, being able to replace it with some other industrial activity to curb the out-migration that was taking place there at the time and to create jobs. Stephenville already had a lot of the infrastructure. These were the arguments that they used in favour of setting up the mill there at that time, because the hospitals were already there, the paved roads were already there, the water and sewer was already there, having been constructed as part of the military operation.

Of course, Labrador did not have that kind of infrastructure to be able to compete for this kind of industry at the time and were certainly not given the consideration that many today felt that they should have been given back then, including the Member for Lake Melville. I heard him speak about this a number of times. I think at one time he stood on the wharf in Goose Bay blocking the barges of wood from going out of Goose Bay to Stephenville because they wanted to put the mill in Stephenville on a barge and bring it back to Goose Bay instead. Even the member himself has been very passionate about this issue over the years. I am certainly sure that many others have been, including myself, and you will find lots of comments on record to that degree, I say to hon. members.

At the time it was always used that Labrador did not have the infrastructure to support that kind of industrial activity, and I suppose, Mr. Speaker, what is really sad is that it is fifty years later and the same arguments can be posed in Labrador in many cases. With the exception of a couple of regions, many areas of Labrador, the argument is still posed that the infrastructure is not there to be able to sustain large levels of activity, and neither is the electricity in many cases to be able to substantiate it.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, the operation did proceed and wood chips were shipped out of Happy Valley-Goose Bay. There was some activity that occurred there through the new liner board operation in which wood was being cut and being shipped. It did provide for a lot of jobs and it allowed the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay and that area to be able to grow because it did provide for a large scale of investment and also a large number of jobs in the woods. People became accustomed to being in the forest industry and became cutters.

Mr. Speaker, they would cut at a rate - I think that they were harvesting something like, at that time, about 800,000 cords of wood per year was being harvested in Labrador. Just to put that in perspective for you, today the annual AAC, I think for Labrador all together, is only around 160,000 to 180,000 cords. I am sure the minister can confirm that or give us the exact number, but I think it is less than 200,000 cords of wood is the entire allocation for cutting today in Labrador over all four jurisdictions of forestry development. Just to put that into context of when this liner board started and they were cutting up to 800,000 cords of wood, Mr. Speaker, it was quite different.

Mr. Speaker, 35,000 tons of chips was being shipped out of Labrador at that time to that particular company. So, it was a large operation. Actually, a great deal larger operation than you are seeing in the forest industry in Labrador today.

Mr. Speaker, this legislation, I guess there isn't a need for it anymore. We went through the period in our history when we seen the mill being constructed in Stephenville in the 1970s. We saw the kind of investment balloon out there back in those years when you had $100 million and $200 million being invested for this kind of activity. You saw people starting to move back into that community and you seen jobs being created. It is all a process that we have certainly been through and went through in our history.

It is so ironic today that while this bill is being repealed, there is no longer a mill operation at Stephenville. There is no longer a pulp and paper plant there. That is really sad because in all the years that people like myself, and the Member for Lake Melville, and many others in Labrador stood up and always felt that Labrador had somehow been cheated in not having this mill established there in the beginning, I do not think anyone ever dreamed that we would see the day when the entire operation would be shut down in Stephenville and that there would no longer be jobs there and that there would no longer be a demand for Labrador wood. As we stand today, Mr. Speaker, there is not a demand for Labrador wood. In fact, I have seen sawmills in my district close up in recent years. I have seen them lay off up to twenty-six and twenty-eight employees that worked in their family business operations, because the demand is just not there.

There has not been any focus on diversifying the economy. So for all the years that we complained about the Labrador wood being shipped out, Mr. Speaker, we are complaining today because we have nowhere to ship it. That is the reality. There is nowhere to ship it. In fact, thousands of cubic metres of wood, I do not know what the exact number is, I know it is less than 200,000 cubic metres – I might have said cords earlier, but cubic metres is what I meant – that was being harvested or available for harvest in Labrador. We have seen very little activity taking place around any of it. In fact, my guess is, there is probably less than 20,000 or 30,000 cubic metres of wood being harvested annually in Labrador today compared to what would have been done over the last two to three decades. It is far less; there is no doubt about that.

Mr. Speaker, we never, ever thought we would see the milling operation in Stephenville close down, anymore than we thought we would ever see the operation of the linerboard phase out in Goose Bay over the years, because it did start out as a boom in our economy. Not unlike today when we are seeing booms in mineral activity and booms in nickel, booms in uranium. Not unlike the activity that we are seeing in the oil and gas industry, where we are seeing a booming crude industry over significant periods of time.

It is all a cycle. As the demands of society and the world markets change, it has an impact on us. We are not insular to any of this activity that takes place, and that is why sometimes I find it often frustrating when we find ourselves in the economic situation that we are in today. Yet, the government is refusing to come forward with a proper economic plan and has not done any analysis on where we are in terms of our retail taxes, in terms of our industrial development sectors and manufacturing sectors and how all that works.

While we talk about repealing the Linerboard Act, Mr. Speaker, it is always important to note why it was there in the first place, and the fact that it was there to supplement and to support highly industrial activity in the forest industry in our Province, Mr. Speaker, activity today that has fallen tremendously over the last couple of decades, tremendously, to the point that the very mill that this board and this legislation created to supply wood to that mill, that very mill today in Stephenville ceases to operate. It no longer exists, no longer employs people, and no longer contributes to the GDP of the Province or the economic growth of the Province, Mr. Speaker.

Look at how easily industry sectors can change, and not only in Stephenville, Mr. Speaker, but even in Grand Falls. Look at the volatility that exists around that particular operation and what is happening there today.

You know, we do not have all the answers and the details from government as to what the future of that particular paper mill is going to look like in Grand Falls. All we hear is, we are talking, we are discussing. We are not hearing a whole lot of action or a whole lot of decisions around what it is going to look like in the future; but, Mr. Speaker, it goes to show that over a very short period of time things can change and they can change very drastically.

In all the years that I lived and grew up in Labrador, and heard about the Labrador Linerboard, about the men who went to work in the woods and left their families, Mr. Speaker, when I heard about the political commentary around the Labrador Linerboard, and how Labradorians were just used as a fibre supply for more mills on the Island of Newfoundland, to foster jobs in Newfoundland communities while Labrador was being left out and omitted, while I grew up hearing all of these stories, while I watched people in Labrador block barges in bays, stand on the heads of wharves to stop wood from being shipped out, protested in the wood industry, fought the government and lobbied aggressively for more activity for Labrador communities, no one ever dreamed that the day would come when there would be no demand for the wood in Labrador at all, when there would be no source for our fibre, when our businesses up there would have to close up because they have nowhere to sell their wood, and when the day would come when that very third pulp and paper mill in the Province would be shut down and no longer see operations.

Mr. Speaker, that is the reality that we find ourselves in today. That is the reality. Over the last two to three decades before the Stephenville mill even closed up, or before the Labrador Linerboard no longer was an operating entity, Mr. Speaker, they had their challenges. There were always challenges. That is the way it is in any kind of industry that you are in, just like we have challenges today in the oil and gas industry where the market is volatile and prices are fluctuating, where we have challenges in the mining industry, trying to develop an industry that will reflect the environmental expectations and the environmental needs and desires of people today. It is always a challenge, always a challenge, and it was no different back then, Mr. Speaker, through the 1970s, when the Linerboard Mill in Stephenville was no longer feasible and they needed millions of dollars – millions of dollars - to be able to sustain and stabilize the operation and they carried extreme debt, something like $15 million of debt they were carrying, even back at that time. So it always had its challenges but it was the companies and the governments of the day that found their way through that process.

The Stephenville mill did not close up in the late 1970s when they found themselves in an extreme deficit position, when they owed millions of dollars, when they were no longer operating at the levels that they thought or dreamed they would be when they started their operations. Government still found a way to secure the operations of that mill and to run it right up until 2006, Mr. Speaker, when the government opposite could no longer find the solutions to maintain that industrial sector within our Province.

Mr. Speaker, with the closure of that mill it became a catalyst to open discussions around other mills - because, look at Kruger. Immediately following all of that, there were all kinds of discussions around Kruger and what they would do in Corner Brook. They shut down one of their paper machines, Mr. Speaker. They stopped buying wood off the Northern Peninsula, which caused a lot of those businesses to have to lay off people. People lost their equipment to the banks because they were not able to operate any longer. Now we are seeing a similar situation out in Grand Falls that is unfolding.

This legislation, Mr. Speaker, has a significant amount of history in this Province, and it is not a chapter of our history that is completed. It is nowhere near completed. In fact, Mr. Speaker, until we have a good forest sector that we are able to sell and offload our fibre into a market that is going to produce for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians the chapter will not be closed. It will not be closed until we know what is happening with industry sectors such as that of Abitibi out in Grand Falls today.

This is a chapter in our history that, while we may be repealing legislation of the Labrador Linerboard that instigated the third pulp and paper mill in the Province and provided the market for the launching of fibre out of Labrador, it is certainly not the end of a chapter in the forest industry in Newfoundland and Labrador. In fact, Mr. Speaker, we are probably more challenged or as challenged today in this industry as we were back in the 1970s. We survived the several decades that followed that, with good, strong leadership, with governments making investments and supporting the industry. We will have to see what happens in this case today, because no matter what industry you are in, there are always going to be challenges from the world market. There is always going to be a challenge when you are an exporter and you depend upon the demand of others to make it viable. That is no secret. That happens in every single industry, and it is no different in the forest industry.

Mr. Speaker, this is a piece of legislation that I guess is no longer necessary in terms of the operations within the Province, no longer necessary but will always hold some significant importance in Newfoundland and Labrador history. There is absolutely no doubt about that.

Mr. Speaker, it was the catalyst for development. It was a topic of political debate between Newfoundland and Labrador over a lot of decades. It even drove Labradorians to the point of talking about separation over a number of decades. It was driving the wedge in terms of resources coming out of Labrador and being used to foster employment and opportunity on the Island of Newfoundland.

That has not changed a whole lot, Mr. Speaker. It has not changed a whole lot over our current history. What has happened is that at least people are more educated today. They are more educated in terms of understanding the significant importance of investments to all people in the Province, to a certain degree. Mr. Speaker, I think that people understand as well that resources are very important to the people of Labrador and maximizing those resources, which is a fact that was lost on leaders and parliamentarians for quite some time in our history.

Mr. Speaker, we obviously have no problem with repealing the legislation, but repealing this legislation it is not closing a chapter in our history. I said that in terms of the forest industry but I mean it in terms of Stephenville in particular. Mr. Speaker, even though we repeal the legislation, we still need to address the environmental damage of the lands of Stephenville, the environmental damage that was created in that community when the whole linerboard mill was established.

Mr. Speaker, we have received reports in our office, and I am sure that government has as well, about many buildings and sites which Abitibi had refused to take responsibility for when they took on the site through legislation. These things need to be done as well. That cleanup should occur out there so that at least it is not a liability that is left to the people of that area. I think that is something that government needs to strongly look at.

Mr. Speaker, we will certainly not be voting against the repeal of this legislation. However, I think it is important for all members to understand that there is a significant history that goes along with it and it is one that will be talked about and written about, I am sure, for many decades to come. It is a piece of history that is ongoing in this Province and I do not think that we are going to see the completion of it for a very long time. I hope that we do not, because it is about continuing the growth and the development of the forest industry of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MS MICHAEL: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I am glad to have some time to speak to Bill 47, An Act To Repeal The Labrador Linerboard Limited Agreement Act, 1979.

I am not so much going to look backwards to history, though I want to refer to it, as to look more at the present. My hon. colleague from the Official Opposition has done both. I think the jury will continue to be out on the history of our forestry and related industries in this Province.

Where we are right now is in a very difficult moment in this Province and we cannot possibly pass this bill to repeal the Labrador Linerboard Limited Agreement without looking at the present situation that we are in. Unfortunately, not always in the past were decisions made by government that took a long enough view in making the decisions. Sometimes the decisions were short-sighted, and I guess there will always be two or three, if not multiply more, opinions on both the Linerboard Mill as well as the Pulp and Paper Mill that was in Stephenville, neither one of which now exists.

The jury will be out on that, I guess, probably forever. Who knows? It certainly is a sore point right now when you talk about these two mills and you look at what is happening in Grand Falls- Windsor. The fact that Grand Falls-Windsor, I would suggest, is in the situation that it is in is because the company was allowed to ignore the future of that plant and the fact that they had a responsibility to keep that operation not only operating but to keep it up with the times. The fact that Abitibi can now say that it is not worthwhile investing in what, in their terms, is a 1965 automobile - it is a waste of money to try to bring it up to a 2008 automobile - well, the 1965 automobile is what they allowed to happen and in that sense what we allowed them to do. We have to take responsibility, and the government has to take responsibility, for what we historically have allowed to happen in this Province when it comes to our forestry and pulp and paper industries.

I know what is happening globally, but when we look at what is happening globally in these industries, companies should be held accountable and should be planning for alternative ways of operating so that they can deal with the global reality and the global economies that they are competing with for the good of the workers who work in the operations that they already run. This is the responsibility that we have.

I know there are different ways of looking at that, and I know that you do not keep – and I do agree with this – something going just to keep people working. But when you know, as the people in Grand Falls-Windsor do, Mr. Speaker, that you had and could have continued to have a viable operation if adequate investments had been made regularly along the way, and that the argument that is now being used by Abititi would not hold any water if that had been done, then it is right to say that they have to be held responsible for the workers in that plant, for the families of the workers in that plant, and those that they are responsible for, because they literally allowed the situation to happen.

I know that government does not have the power to say to a company that you have to go ahead and make the investment and you have to make this work. I know we do not have that. I do think government has responsibility to make sure that things are not allowed to end in Grand Falls-Windsor, and if things come to an end it is because Abititi has proven beyond any shadow of a doubt that there is really no way that they can keep it going.

Some day we are going to be standing here and we may be standing and recognizing the end of forestry and pulp and paper in Newfoundland and Labrador. I mean, that should not be allowed to happen. That should not be allowed to happen. So, this moment right now is something that should shake us up, to realize that could happen, and if it could happen there, where it should not have to happen, because we are talking about a renewable resource when we are talking about the forestry, and the pulp and paper is renewable because it depends on that renewable resource, if we had managed it correctly up to now we would not be where we are, but it is not too late for us to look at our renewable resource and to see where we can go from here.

Now, I know that the minister responsible has been showing us that in terms of Grand Falls-Windsor she is talking, she is there, she is trying to do as much as she possibly can, and I encourage the minister to keep on that track, and I trust this minister, and I believe that she will. I do believe that.

It is not easy, but we have to look to the future not just of the current workers in Grand Falls-Windsor but to the future of this Province, and we have to find ways to use our current resources to make sure that our renewable natural resources are still here in 100 years' time. We do that by adapting technology, and we do it also by making sure that we have regulations in place that companies cannot come in, use our natural resources, use them all up, and then say: Oh, sorry; we have to go now. – which is what is happening, which has happened.

I use this moment of Bill 47 just to put that out. I am sure that none of us is ignorant of what we are dealing with, and what has to be done, and what has to be tried, but repealing this act is a reminder to us of what this act stands for.

I just caution all of us to look at the decisions that have to be made, and to make sure that we are making decisions that benefit everybody, and just do not benefit the company that came in and can walk out.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

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

The hon. the Minister of Natural Resources and Deputy Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I thank the Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the Third Party for their remarks with regard to this legislation that we have before us here today, Mr. Speaker, and it is a very troublesome time in the history of this industry here in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Cheap energy, Mr. Speaker, and cheap access to fibre are not enough even today. They were big issues back when Stephenville was operational. They have been major issues for both companies that have been involved in the pulp and paper industry here in the Province. They are always, I suppose, to some degree, significant issues but we certainly see in Grand Falls-Windsor that access to cheap power and access to fibre are not enough to save the mill. You know, we are hopeful that AbitibiBowater will find a way forward. We do not disagree with the analysis that has been put forward here today, of the lack of investment by that company when times were good, that puts companies in a good position to weather storms that are bound to come, especially in an industry that is as cyclical as is the pulp and paper industry.

I thank particularly the Leader of the Opposition for her history lesson and, Mr. Speaker, I expect as the days and weeks go by that history lesson will continue, because there will come a time in this House when we will have a discussion, no doubt, about water rights on the Exploits River, and how they occurred, and whether or not they are tied to the production of paper - a critical question for the people of Central Newfoundland and certainly a critical question for the people here in the House.

Mr. Speaker, it is important that we do all that we can to support an industry that is in trouble, and this government has been very proactive in doing that, and also to look to find a way forward in this industry. The year before last we did a forestry study in Labrador. There was a major recommendation coming out of that study, and once we have the District 19 management plan approved we hope that we will be able to move forward with the recommendation.

In the last Budget, Mr. Speaker, we announced a $14 million restructuring for the forestry industry here in this Province and we are well on our way to implementing that restructuring plan. There has been a diagnostic done of our integrated sawmills, and we are now moving down to the next level.

We are in the process of hiring a marketing manager so that we can work with these operations here in the Province to do value-added work and to do what they need to do in terms of their own operations, to make sure that they have a solid go-forward business plan.

One of the most exciting aspects of that, Mr. Speaker, is the development of a wood pellet industry here in the Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS DUNDERDALE: We just announced a 25 per cent subsidy up to $1,000 for people installing pellet stoves in their homes. We have a pellet operation now that is just about ready to sell to the market, and the market has been expressing a great deal of interest in that.

We are looking at a number of pilots that we might be able to do in terms of using pellets, using the wood that is available to us, to revive that industry and provide energy for different areas of the Province.

So there is a lot happening in the industry. These challenges did not occur overnight, and they will not be solved overnight, but there is a plan, and a plan that has the approval of the industry. They sometimes get a little frustrated, and we all understand why. When you are trying to keep the lights on in your own home and the roof over your head, and your business operational, sometimes it is a little difficult when things are not moving as quickly as you would like them.

It is important, Mr. Speaker, as in everything we do in terms of these strategies, that we are doing it right, so we will continue to be vigilant, we will continue to make investment, and we will continue to plan strategically with our partners to ensure that we do have a bright future here for the forestry sector.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, to continue second reading of bills.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Is it the pleasure of the House that Bill 48 be now read a second time?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against, 'nay'.

The motion is carried.

CLERK: A bill, An Act To Repeal The Labrador Linerboard Limited Agreement Act, 1979. (Bill 47)

MR. SPEAKER: This bill has now been read a second time.

When shall this bill be referred to a Committee of the Whole?

MS BURKE: Tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: Tomorrow.

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Repeal The Labrador Linerboard Limited Agreement Act, 1979, read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House on tomorrow. (Bill 47)

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to call Order 4 from the Order Paper, second reading of Bill 48, An Act To Repeal The Labrador Linerboard Limited Agreement Amendment Act, 1979.

MR. SPEAKER: Before we proceed, the vote on second reading for Bill 47. I think I mistakenly referred to it as Bill 48.

It is moved and seconded that Bill 48, entitled, An Act To Repeal The Labrador Linerboard Limited Agreement (Amendment) Act, 1979, be read a second time.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act To Repeal The Labrador Linerboard Limited Agreement (Amendment) Act, 1979." (Bill 48)

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Natural Resources and Deputy Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, this is more of the same. This is a bill that recommends the repeal of An Act To Amend The Labrador Linerboard Limited Agreement, 1979.

Basically, Mr. Speaker, this legislation came into force to ratify, confirm and adopt an amending agreement entered into between the Province and Abitibi-Price in 1986. The amending agreement called for renumbering clause six of the 1979 agreement act and inserting words around the revised interpretation of the regeneration. So, Mr. Speaker, that is just part and parcel of the discussion that we just had and the repeal of legislation that really has no more effect or use.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Again, Bill 47 is another bill not unlike Bill 48, which was set up at the time to be the legislation that would see the operation of the forest industry in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, I want to take a few minutes because when I spoke to the last bill I outlined a little bit of the history that went around that legislation and the importance of that bill in the economic development of Newfoundland and Labrador as a Province, and it did have significant impacts.

Mr. Speaker, as I was saying in my last comments, it was not without challenges. I want to talk about this for a minute. I only alluded to it briefly the last time. It was not without challenges. In fact, the Labrador linerboard in the operation of the Stephenville mill ran into significant problems back in the 1970s; significant problems. Problems in which the government of the day found themselves investing I think altogether something like $300 million into this operation before it changed hands between Labrador Linerboard and Abitibi-Price, as we have come to know it in our recent history.

Mr. Speaker, back in the 1970s when this particular operation ran into significant challenges because of a whole lot of things – the cost of getting fibre into their plant, the world market of the day, what was happening in Europe, what was happening in the United States, was all having an impact. During those days there were 1,600 jobs that were affected with the closure of this operation in Stephenville because it ended up closing down under the Labrador Linerboard, but it was the government of that day that saw the need to invest, to try and sustain this particular operation. It took them a few years to negotiate the deal with Abitibi, because Abitibi at that time was already operating their mill in Grand Falls-Windsor which they had started back around 1909. Mr. Speaker, they were already operating that particular mill and had been for a number of years. So they were the ones that government decided to try and brokerage a deal with at the time to take over the Labrador Linerboard mill in Stephenville.

Mr. Speaker, they did brokerage that deal and people did get back to work but it was after government themselves - government themselves had to lead the negotiation. They had to invest the money to allow that operation to be able to get off the ground and start again, and it did start. It started back around the early 1980s and it operated in this Province for nearly twenty-five years after that, employing the people in Stephenville and the Bay St. George area. I think the last count there was something like 250 direct employees that were in that mill when it closed down in 2005 under the leadership of the government opposite. Twenty-five years later when the industry ran into their next hiccup, whether it be because of fibre, energy or the world markets, it was this government who could not brokerage a deal between the company, was not prepared to make the investment, and therefore the operation closed up after twenty-five years and is no longer in operation in this Province.

Now, Mr. Speaker, that has had a significant impact overall. I am not just talking about the people who lost their jobs at that time, because if you talk to some business people out in Stephenville they will say to you we have not seen a big shift in the economy, and I am sure they have not. Unlike back in the 1970s, there probably were not 4,000 people who moved out of the area because today they can commute back and forth to Alberta. They can maintain the salaries that they would have been making in the mill and some of them making even more money, but they are doing it as commuters. So it has been really the Alberta economy that has saved places like the west coast and Stephenville area as a result of this mill closing down. It certainly has not been the kind of large scale development or alternative developments that government has instigated in the region because that does not exist.

Mr. Speaker, to continue with my point; it has an impact, and not just for the people out there who have been fortunate enough to find work in the Alberta economy and live at home and commute back and forth and still spend their money in Newfoundland and Labrador. I hope that can continue, because in light of the current economic situation we find ourselves in in Canada that is starting to shift. In fact, I was told by some workers who are commuting back and forth to Fort McMurray that only a few weeks ago there were 3,500 people let go from jobs in that area. That is a significant number. I can assure you that a number of them were Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. In fact, Mr. Speaker, I have talked to a number of people who had jobs secured in Fort McMurray for this year who have now just been told that they will not be needing them for at least another two years because their expansion plans have been put on hold. That is being felt. So not all the time will we have the Alberta economy. I hope we will, but it is looking today like that may not be the case where we always have the Alberta economy and the success of the oil patch to pick up the slack where industry fails in Newfoundland and Labrador.

So, Mr. Speaker, those are things that we have to be very cognizant of as government enters into negotiations with Abititi Price, the same company that operated Stephenville that are now operating Grand Falls.

The minister said: Well, maybe the member will give us a history lesson when she talks about the water rights on the Grand Falls river. I know exactly what the minister talks about. She knows I know what she talks about but I also know that for every piece of legislation there are remedies, minister, and we will see how creative you can be when you try to look at and address that problem. That is a debate for a different day, and I am all there to have that debate, I say to the minister. A lot of the members in the House of Assembly, especially in our own government, may not know what the situation is there or what exists there, but some of us who followed it and are a little closer to it than what she thinks in terms of following what is happening, getting our own opinions on what is happening and how it can be remedied, we will be prepared to have the debate.

Mr. Speaker, let me just talk about the forest industry, because that is the bill that we are dealing with today with regard to the Linerboard. Labrador was one of the economies that thrived on the forest industry. It was one of the economies that thrived. At the time we always wanted more, and we should. We should have wanted more and we demanded more. It was our right to demand more; but, Mr. Speaker, in the days that we were shipping tons of wood out of Labrador for those operations, never did we dream that we would have a situation like we have on our hands today, where we have no market in Labrador for our wood, and have not for a number of years; where we have nowhere to develop the raw material that is out there in the forest. There is something like 160,000 or 200,000 cubic metres of wood in Labrador, of which most of it is not even being harvested. It is not even being harvested because there is no secondary processing for that wood, there is no market for the by-product that comes from harvesting, the industry. There is some sawmilling activity going on, but there is no market for the by-product, and as a result of it operators have closed down and there have been significant setbacks.

I know, especially in the Goose Bay area, in the Upper Lake Melville area, because I have known the people who worked in that operation over the last twenty-five and thirty years, they have stuck it out through some very tough times, but they are finding the crunch because the market is just not there. There is just not a reason for them to put harvesters in the woods, because they do not have anywhere to sell it.

I know, in my own district, I watched small sawmill operations grow over the years simply because they had viable markets, not only for their sawlogs but also for the pulpwood as well, and they were able to continue to grow their operations, as I said, to twenty-five and thirty employees.

I have one sawmill operator left in my district now; one sawmill operator that is operating on a commercial basis that employs probably at most ten people. Maybe twelve people at most. That is how far this industry has fallen in the last three to four years.

Now the minister talks about a study that they did on Labrador, on sawmilling in Labrador, or utilizing wood in Labrador, and I have read the study. It was actually done by a consulting firm out of Halifax called Global Consulting or Halifax Global, I believe it was called – yes, Halifax Global – and, Mr. Speaker, the recommendations that they posed in the report as solutions to the woods industry in Labrador, they were never implemented. They were never implemented, I say to the minister. The report has been there for three years, I think, if my calculation is correct. This year will be the third year for the report. I am not seeing any activity taking place around it. At one point there was actually some talk about putting a pelleting operation and sawmilling operation in Goose Bay. I do not think that ever got past a Request for Proposals, and I do not even know if there was a proposal that came forward. I have no idea if it ever saw anything other than a study being put out that was presented to the department and the department paid for, but Mr. Speaker, the recommendations in the study for a development of Labrador wood were to service a market that was in the north more or less, to service the Artic market in places like Nunavut, to look at the export market in places like Iceland and Greenland. Then, a year later, came along the report on forest development on the Northern Peninsula. A year later the same company looked at doing a forestry –

MS DUNDERDALE: For the Island.

MS JONES: The minister says it was for the Island, okay.

- looked at doing a forestry development plan for the Island. The same solutions, Mr. Speaker, were being proposed: a pelleting operation in which Newfoundland and Labrador would start converting to a pellet base, energy supply and heat generating supply, the same recommendations that were in the other study. The same recommendation to develop a pelleting operation for export markets into Iceland, Greenland, into Nunavut, all these things were being looked at.

In fact, there were actually companies that were interested, because I talked to business people up on the Northern Peninsula who were actually interested. The one for the Island - have you released the study for the Island?

MS DUNDERDALE: (Inaudible)

MS JONES: Exactly. The minister knows I did not read the study on the Island because it is not even released. The recommendations that were talked about in the media practically mirrored the recommendations that were in the study for Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, when the minister releases it, because she has had it for nearly two years, I think, nearly two years – actually, well over a year she has had it in her office, so she is meeting her sixty day deadline to release reports. When I actually get it – tomorrow, she says, she is going to release it – I will have a chance to study it further.

The information that I was provided with on the Island-based study is not unlike the study that was done in Labrador three years ago, in which we have seen no activity taking place, no new activity being generated in the forest sector in Labrador. Although there is an AAC that is available to be cut in every single jurisdiction and allowed to be developed, there is no activity. In fact, we have seen less activity. We have seen operations close up. That is what we have seen, no advancement on the activity.

Mr. Speaker, that is where we are in the forest industry. We have two studies by the same consulting firm: one on Labrador wood, one on Newfoundland wood. It has been three years in the making. One is still in the department, has not yet been released to the public to even see what is in it, and that has been the solution to further forestry development in Newfoundland and Labrador, Mr. Speaker. A pathetic record, I say to the minister, absolutely pathetic record. So we will have to see how far the investments are going to go on the Northern Peninsula in the pilot project that she talks about with the pelletization piece.

Mr. Speaker, to see where that is going to -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS JONES: According to the newspapers, and your colleague from The Straits & White Bay North going back a year ago, the big discussion in the Roddickton-Englee area was about the pelletization of wood, and whether the operations would go in that area, Mr. Speaker. I think the minister has even met with business up there who have talked about their investments and what they want to do around that activity. We will have to see where all of that goes.

Mr. Speaker, I guess if the report is coming out tomorrow we should have the plan in very short order because they have now had an opportunity to review the study for the last year-and-a-half within the department.

Mr. Speaker, you never know, after three years and two studies we may actually see some new activity going to happen in the forest industry. So, we will be waiting to see what activity that is going to be, what shape it is going to take, and if we can start moving forward with some developments in this industry; because, Mr. Speaker, God knows there was a lot more happening when the Linerboard legislation was being implemented in this Province than we are seeing happen today in forest activity.

Then, Mr. Speaker, we still need to determine what the fate of Grand Falls will be, and what will happen with that particular operation out there. Now, we are hoping that at some point this government is going to be able to secure a deal with Abitibi, because we know they could not secure a deal to continue with operations in Stephenville and that mill closed up, so we are going to see what is going to happen in Grand Falls now. We will see at the end of the day if this government has the leadership and the insight and the forthrightness, Mr. Speaker, to actually make this industry work for the people of the Province like it has worked for the last eighty-odd years in Newfoundland and Labrador.

That will be the record, Minister, that you will compete with, to see if you will be able to secure that operation for the people of the Province. Even though over the last eighty-odd years it has had many challenges, Mr. Speaker, let's just see if the challenges can be overcome this time like they have been in the past.

Mr. Speaker, while we repeal the Labrador Linerboard Limited Agreement and Bill 47, we do so at one of the most dismal times in our history in forestry development in Newfoundland and Labrador. Let there be no doubt about that. What we have seen is a downturn in the industry, almost a complete shutdown in certain sectors, and no vision, Mr. Speaker, to be able to move forward with the generation and growth of the industry to create jobs in other areas of the Province in this sector.

Minister, the studies might be there, you might be putting together your plan, you might have $14 million that you are allocating to it, but we have yet to see any results. I can guarantee you that we will be watching to see what the results are, where the activity is going to be, and where the jobs are going to be created in this industry; so that we do not continue to have a raw material source that is going to sit there and not be used while people leave this Province and continue to look to Alberta for employment.

Let's just see if the vision around that piece will survive as long as the legislation did on the Linerboard operation.

MR. SPEAKER (Mr. Fitzgerald): Order please!

If the hon. Minister of Natural Resources speaks now she will close the debate on second reading.

The hon. the Minister of Natural Resources.

MS DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

A few remarks, Mr. Speaker, in response to what the Leader of the Opposition had to say. There is a big difference between what she thinks she knows and what the facts of the situation are.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS DUNDERDALE: I am happy to clarify some of the issues that she has put forward. I encourage her to, first of all, read the report that came out of Labrador, the Labrador forestry study. There was a Request for Proposals, Mr. Speaker, coming on the heels of that report. We have not been able to progress with the Request for Proposals because we have not had the District 19 Management Plan approved at this point.

Mr. Speaker, there is a broad consultation that goes on when the department formulates a management plan for any of our forestry districts here in the Province. As part of that consultation plan we engage all kinds of people. One of the groups that we engaged in Labrador, Mr. Speaker, was the Labrador Mιtis Association. Not only did we engage them in consultation, Mr. Speaker, we paid them significant amounts of money to be involved in the development of the Management Plan for District 19. Well, when the time came for me to register the plan for District 19 in Labrador with the Department of Environment & Conservation – as I have to do, because these plans have to undergo environmental assessment – the Labrador Mιtis Association notified me that they did not feel that they had been properly consulted.

Mr. Speaker, at that time I said, well, we have time. If you feel that way, I am going to pull back registration of the management plan and we will further consult with you. I want you to put on the table what your issues are and I want us to deal with them in a very clear, open and transparent way.

My response from the Labrador Mιtis Association is, we are prepared to do that, but only on the circumstance if we can put all are other issues on the table as well. We are going to talk about Lower Churchill, we are going to talk about hunting and fishing, we are going to talk about all of this issues; a number of them that are out of my purview and that I do not have the ability to negotiate. They are not prepared to come back to the table, Mr. Speaker, to fulfill what they see as a responsibility to tell us what we ought to be doing in District 19.

Up to this point, Mr. Speaker, out of respect for the Labrador Mιtis, I have not proceeded with registration with the Department of Environment & Conservation of District 19 Management Plan. That is the reason why we have not been able to progress.

I say to the Leader of the Opposition, who only has contempt, it would seem, for the recommendations that have been put forward by Halifax Global, that we have had three very good responses to our request for proposals. We maintained contact with these people all through this process, and once the plan is released, Mr. Speaker, they are more than prepared to proceed with the proposals that they have presented to the department. That is what is happening in Labrador.

Down in the Southern part of Labrador, there are significant challenges; there is no doubt about it. We have a lot of wood there, but the wood has a twist in it and some of it is rotten at the core. We have transportation issues, transportation to market. At the same time, we have had businesses there that have been able to develop a market in the region for the lumber they supply, and we are trying to work with them under our forestry restructuring plan that we announced in April, perhaps to have a kiln installed in that area so they could do more value-added work.

We are also talking with them and talking with Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro at this point in time to see if we can't do something with the pellet industry there that would give the people involved in the industry a market for their goods, a place to put their residue, and there might be an opportunity there to provide cheaper power to the people in that area of the Province.

In terms of the Halifax Global study for the Island part of the Province, Mr. Speaker, we did not wait for the report. We were talking to the consultant, we were engaged with the industry, and we know the constraints that this industry finds itself in, not only in this Province but across the country and across the world.

With regard to the pellet industry, we have any amount of interest expressed from companies all over the world wanting to come here and set up a pellet industry. Mr. Speaker, we do not have the critical mass of fibre that would allow us to penetrate European markets while we have two and pulp and paper mills operating here in the Province. Those pulp and paper operations are extremely important to the people involved, the harvesters in the industry, because they need somewhere to bring their pulpwood. That is an extremely important component of their business. They need the pulp and paper industry. We all need the pulp and paper industry.

The results of our studies show us that we can develop a domestic industry here for pellets. In terms of what we are doing in the promotion of that, the response has been marvellous. What we have tried to achieve in the subsidy that we are offering for wood pellet stoves, working with the industry around diagnostics, working with the industry to help them develop these pellet plants, we are getting the response that we wanted from homeowners and from retailers right across this Province. It also takes care of a huge environmental problem for us in that harvesters and saw millers now have something to do with their residue.

Mr. Speaker, we have been there for the industry. The Leader of the Opposition speaks about stepping up! Abitibi Bowater in Grand Falls has access to about $12 million of energy a year from the people of Newfoundland and Labrador; $6 million of that goes into the operation of the plant; and $6 million goes into their pocket to do something else with it. They have access to hundreds of thousands of hectares of forest land and they have had access to one of the best workforces in the world.

On top of all of that, Mr. Speaker, we have come forward in these challenging times over the last three years with more than another $20 million of subsidies and support for both the pulp and paper operations here in this Province. We just had a history lesson from the Leader of the Opposition when she talked about how Stephenville was made to prosper on the backs of the people of Labrador. We are not going to do that, Mr. Speaker. We do not do work that way. There has to be a reason for a business to operate in this Province and, no, we do not keep businesses going at any cost. We are more than fair, we are more than reasonable, and we have enjoyed, as we have dealt with this crisis, the support of the people of Grand Falls-Windsor and the surrounding communities. We particularly have enjoyed the support of the people who work in that mill, and our objective is the same. They know that we are fair and that we are reasonable and none of us are prepared to do anything at any cost. We have never worked that way, Mr. Speaker. That is why we have success stories in Harbour Breton. That is why we have success stories in Stephenville, and we will have a success story in Grand Falls-Windsor, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER (Fitzgerald): Is it the pleasure of the House that the said bill be now read a second time?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against, 'nay'.

The motion is carried.

CLERK: A bill, An Act To Repeal The Labrador Linerboard Limited Agreement (Amendment) Act, 1979. (Bill 48)

MR. SPEAKER: Bill 48 has now been read a second time.

When shall this bill be referred to a Committee of the Whole House?

MS BURKE: Tomorrow, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Tomorrow.

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Repeal The Labrador Linerboard Limited Agreement (Amendment) Act, 1979," read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House on tomorrow. (Bill 48)

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, from the Order Paper I would like to call Order 6, second reading of a bill, An Act to Amend The Real Estate Trading Act. (Bill 39)

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that Bill 39, An Act To Amend The Real Estate Trading Act, be now read a second time.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act To Amend The Real Estate Trading Act." (Bill 39)

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Government Services.

MR. O'BRIEN: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to get up in the House today and talk to the Act To Amend the Real Estate Trading Act, Bill 39, which essentially removes the residency requirement in section 9(1) of the act which stipulates that a person who would transact any real estate type business in the Province would have to reside and have an office in Newfoundland and Labrador. This is contrary to the provisions under the Agreement on Internal Trade, and specifically Chapter 7 of the Internal Trade Agreement.

Now, we do know that the Agreement on Internal Trade came into effect in 1995 but it has only been recently that the Federal-Provincial First Ministers identified about fifty-one regulated professions across Canada and noted that thirty of those fifty-one professions are not in compliance with Chapter 7 of the Agreement on Internal Trade.

In regard to my own department, and I have a number of self-regulated bodies, this is the only one that would be in violation of that Chapter 7, so this act certainly addresses this in removing and repeal of section 9(1). We have had consultations with the Real Estate Association. They have no problem in regard to the repealing of this section, for a number of reasons. They do not think it is going to have any kind of significant impact in regard to the way they do business or the competition thereof. They also see it as a positive thing in some ways, in regard to real estate agents right now would have the opportunity to transact business and mortgages and the like outside the Province, if a person from Newfoundland and Labrador or anybody wanted to use a real estate agent from Newfoundland and Labrador, so you have complete mobility.

I also want to mention that there are a number of provinces now that have addressed this issue already in regard to their own jurisdictions and also their legislation. Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta have already addressed this issue and it is also my understanding, from my counterparts, that they are also moving their legislation, too, as well, to get this piece done.

We have been directed by First Ministers to have this done by January 2009. That is the reason why I have this on the floor of House today in regard to this session, so we would have this done.

We have also agreed in the past in regard to and addressed mobility issues in some other of the professions, such as chartered accountants, lawyers and the like. These have already been addressed in this House, and allow us mobility.

I would also like to say, Mr. Speaker, that in regard to the Agreement on Internal Trade and addressing the issues of labour mobility, I think this is a very good thing. I know it has been on the go since 1995 and is working its way through. Some of these things take a long time, but it makes Canada, it makes our nation open to our people in regard to being able to move from one place to another to transact business or to work. I know we have been addressing some of the issues, too, in regard to some of our professions and their licensing requirements in other provinces as well.

These are all good things with regard to the nation that we live in, and the Province that we live in, and is very democratic. Most people will say, and I have heard it many times as I travelled outside of Canada, that Canada is the best nation, the best country, to live in. People have a lot of respect for Canada, and so have I, and I am sure this is a very good thing.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I think it is self-explanatory. As I said, the association, itself, will have no problem with it whatsoever because they do not see it as having any impact on their business and the way they do business in this Province or the competition thereof.

So with that, Mr. Speaker, I will sit and I will welcome and I will listen tentatively to any remarks by hon. colleagues across the House, and hopefully I can answer any questions, if they have any at all.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for the District of Port de Grave.

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

I just want to take a few minutes in regards to Bill 39 and first of all, to thank the minister. We did have an opportunity this afternoon to speak to some of your officials on this bill and several other bills.

I guess, Mr. Speaker, we all know that the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Realtors came together in 2005, I think, from the various areas of the Province. They make up some 560-plus realtors in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. We have been speaking to some of them – not all of them, let me assure you, but a few of them. Some of them had no problems with this whatsoever. Others made the comments that they did not know the legislation was coming forward, but I concur with the minister, that it is a known fact that the association has agreed and they do not see any problems with this piece of legislation, Mr. Speaker.

Having said that, we also know that there are different times when different issues come forward, and the realtors are only one group at this time. What it is, is removing barriers. Like the minister stated, many other trades have done that. It opens the door, I guess. It is almost like a small trade agreement, that we can work back and forth from one Province to the other. Really what it is, it is harmonizing the effect of different trades and it opens up opportunities.

I spoke to one lady who is in the real estate business and she thought it was an excellent opportunity to open up different areas from outside the Province which she cannot get involved in now. I think the minister made the comment of why he has brought it forward. It has to be done by January, 2009.

I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, we will be supporting this amendment to the legislation, based on the fact knowing full well from the correspondence we had from your officials, plus people within the industry, and knowing that the association is in total agreement with us.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

If the hon. Minister of Government Services speaks now he will close the debate on Bill 39.

The hon. the Minister of Government Services.

MR. O'BRIEN: I thank my hon. colleague across the House. Yes, and I agree and he agreed with me in regards to this issue, and certainly the association itself and the realtors see this as a positive thing. This government has been very committed in regards to addressing mobility issues, and having free trade across Canada is very good for the Province. We cannot have a closed shop. Neither can any other jurisdiction or Province have a closed shop if we are going to have a striving and worthwhile economy. This gives us the opportunity to address a number of issues in regards to mobility and competition and having our people being able to travel and work in other jurisdictions and enjoy the good life that this nation provides us.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I will close debate on Bill 39. I thank you for having the opportunity to speak.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it the pleasure of the House that Bill 39 be now read a second time?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against, 'nay'.

The motion is carried.

CLERK: A bill, An Act To Amend The Real Estate Trading Act. (Bill 39)

MR. SPEAKER: Bill 39 has now been read a second time.

When shall this bill be referred to a Committee of the Whole House?

MS BURKE: Tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: Tomorrow.

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Amend The Real Estate Trading Act," read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House on tomorrow. (Bill 39)

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the hon. the Minister of Natural Resources, that the House do now adjourn.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that this House do now adjourn.

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against, 'nay'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Nay.

MR. SPEAKER: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. of the clock tomorrow, being Tuesday.

On motion, the House at its rising adjourned until tomorrow, Tuesday, at 1:30 p.m.