May 25, 2009              HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS              Vol. XLVI   No. 25


The House met at 1:30 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Fitzgerald): Order, please!

Admit strangers.

Today the House of Assembly would like to welcome thirty students from Grades 3-6 from Hillview Academy of Norris Arm in the District of Lewisporte. The students are accompanied by their teachers, Ms Shelly Whiteway, Mr. Wayne West, and Ms Kimberly Preston.

Welcome to the House of Assembly.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Also visiting the House of Assembly today is a group of forty Level I students from Mount Pearl Senior High. The students are accompanied by their teachers, Mr. Darrell Penney, Mr. Shane Antle and Miss Sarah Alexander.

Welcome to the House of Assembly.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Statements by Members

MR. SPEAKER: The following member's statements will be heard: the hon. the Member for the District of Lewisporte; the hon. the Member for the District of Mount Pearl North; the hon. the Member for the District of Cape St. Francis; the hon. the Member for the District of Fortune Bay-Cape la Hune; the hon. the Member for the District of Bonavista North; and the hon. the Member for the District of Labrador West.

The hon. the Member for the District of Lewisporte.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise in this hon. House today to recognize a recent accomplishment by a group of elementary students from Hillview Academy in Norris Arm.

Hillview Academy, Mr. Speaker, is a small rural school with an enrolment of 108 students. It is a great school that serves students from Norris Arm North and Norris Arm South.

This group of recorder students, under the direction of their teacher, Krista Murphy, participated in the Gander Kiwanis Music Festival on March 3 of this year. They played their hearts out and received a first place award for their efforts. They were so good they were invited back to perform at the Starts of the Festival.

Members of the House, please join with me and with the principal of Hillview Academy, Mr. Peter Wheeler, his staff and the parents in congratulating the elementary recorder group from Hillview Academy.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for the District of Mount Pearl North.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise in this hon. House today to acknowledge a youth group that has been very active in communities across this Province and across Canada.

Katimavik is a national volunteer service organization that aims to empower youth to make a significant contribution to local communities and participate in nation-building while fostering their personal and professional development through a challenging youth-volunteer, leadership and service-learning program.

The City of Mount Pearl and its residents have been seeing the benefits of Katimavik first-hand. A new group of volunteers joined our community in January. They will volunteer five days a week with local non-profit organizations, including: Admiralty House Museum and Archives, Association for the Arts in Mount Pearl, Circle Square Ranch, the Glacier and Smallwood Areas, Seniors Independence Group, Mary Queen of the World Elementary, Morris Academy, O'Donel High School, Mount Pearl Sport Alliance and Masonic Park Nursing Home.

Mr. Speaker, I ask all members of this House to join me in welcoming our newest volunteers and send best wishes to those who participate in this exciting nine-month journey of discovery, which allows them to visit three regions of Canada. This truly is a mutually beneficial program that serves volunteers and organizations alike.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

I rise in this hon. House today to recognize the Holy Trinity Concert Band and Jazz Band who won gold at the Heritage Festival held in New York City on May 8 and May 9. There were over 1,200 participants from all over the United States and Canada.

The Holy Trinity Concert Band consists of forty-five students and the Jazz Band consists of sixteen students, along with their director Mr. Ron Collins. Also a member of the Jazz Band, Hilary Moores was singled out. Hilary is a Grade 11 student who plays saxophone and sings as well. Her vocal performance of Orange Coloured Sky caught the attention of adjudicators and she was presented with the prestigious Maestro Award. Hillary was one of only six of the approximately 1,200 students who participated who was chosen for an individual honour.

The director, Mr. Ron Collins, and the parents and teachers were very proud of the students, not only on their performance but how the students were great ambassadors for our Province in New York City.

Mr. Speaker, I ask all hon. members of this House to join with me in congratulating the Holy Trinity Concert Band and Jazz Band on their impressive performance at the Heritage Festival in New York.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for the District of Fortune Bay-Cape la Hune.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS PERRY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is with great pride that I rise in this hon. House today to deliver accolades to the Bay d' Espoir Midget Hockey Team, who won the provincial gold hockey championship in Botwood on April 15.

This is a testament to what children in rural Newfoundland and Labrador can achieve. Through endless hours of dedication and volunteerism, parents and residents of the Bay d' Espoir area ensure that our children are receiving quality recreational activities comparable to anywhere in the Province.

It was a great day of jubilation for these young athletes, and for our communities as a whole. I would also like to give honourable mention to the goalie, John MacDonald, who was named player of the game.

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all members of this hon. House join with me to congratulate the Bay d' Espoir Blizzards on their remarkable accomplishment.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for the District of Bonavista North.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HARDING: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge an exceptional young resident of Bonavista North who recently received a tremendous honour. Jeanna Goodyear of Lumsden was nominated by the Army Cadet League of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador Branch, to be their nominee for the extremely prestigious General Walsh Memorial Sword.

This award was established in 2004 by the Army Cadet League of Canada. Jeanna is now entered in a competition with twelve of her peers from across the country as she vies for this top honour. This extremely select group of individuals is chosen based on their performance as cadets, their level of community involvement, and their academic standing.

Jeanna and the other nominees are truly representative of the very best and brightest our country has to offer. Even at their young age, the level of discipline, dedication, and commitment to their community, as evidenced by their inclusion in this select group, provides a standard that we can all aspire to.

Jeanna is currently a Chief Warrant Officer with 2910 Lions Army Cadet Corp in New-Wes-Valley and attends Lester Pearson Memorial High where she also serves as student council president. We are indeed incredibly fortunate to have Jeanna represent our Province in this competition, and I expect this is only one of many accomplishments that will be realized by this extremely capable individual in the years ahead.

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all hon. members of this House join with me in extending congratulations to Jeanna Goodyear on her recent honour and to offer our support and encouragement as she vies to become our country's top Army Cadet.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

On Friday, May 8, the Town of Labrador City and the Labrador City Recreation Commission hosted their thirty-fifth annual volunteer appreciation and awards evening to honour its volunteers and athletes. I was proud to attend and bring greetings.

Volunteer awards were presented in various categories. The ten year plus volunteer of the year award was presented to Sharon Brown, a teacher at Menihek High School for her dedicated work above and beyond her normal duties. Kelsey Butt was chosen as youth volunteer for a wide-ranging list of activities at the school and community level. The adult volunteer award went to Beatrice Whittle for her work with cross-country skiing.

Tim Leriche was chosen coach of the year for his work with the junior ski program. The executive of the year was awarded to Max Rogers for his work in restructuring the minor soccer program. Builder's awards recognizing community involvement over an extended period were presented to Lester Murphy, George Kean and Mayor Graham Letto.

In the athletic category, the team of the year award went to the Labrador West Pee Wee Lakers for success at the regional, provincial and the national level. Soccer player Glenn Freake was chosen as senior male athlete of the year, Taylor Ryan was selected junior female athlete for her success in soccer and gymnastics, and the junior male athlete was a repeat winner from last year, Kyle Power for cross-country skiing. The rising star award for athletes twelve and under went to figure skater Emily Benson and cross-country skier Konrad Kuhne.

Mr. Speaker, I ask all members to join me in congratulating all the award winners in the volunteer and athletic categories for their outstanding contribution and success.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Statements by ministers.

Statements by Ministers

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, on September 29 of this year, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will go to the polls to elect their municipal representatives for the next four years. Local government is where the action is. Every day, this level of government impacts the lives of just about all residents of our Province.

From my experience, I cannot stress enough the level of satisfaction and pride one can gain from contributing to your community by offering yourself for election as a mayor, deputy mayor or councillor.

Mr. Speaker, in 2007, Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador, through the Community Cooperation Resource Centre, conducted a survey with municipal councillors where only 38 per cent said that they would run again in the next municipal election. Strong municipal representation is essential for our Province's success. This primary level of government contributes to the foundation that strong communities are built upon. And our communities, Mr. Speaker, are the foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Therefore, Mr. Speaker, our government will soon announce a campaign to promote participation in our treasured democratic process leading up to the September 29 election. The anticipated launch of this campaign is early June.

Today however, Mr. Speaker, I will say that the campaign will incorporate means to facilitate the exchange of information and ideas. We will actively recruit individuals who may have been on the fence about offering themselves for election in previous years. Making a contribution in this way can be of great importance not only to the general population, but to their family and friends as well.

One focus of our plan is to encourage the active involvement and full participation of women and youth in municipal government. With the face of local government possibly changing forever this year, it is time to persuade young people and other potentially interested groups to join this very important democratic institution.

Mr. Speaker, we are excited about this upcoming campaign. At the Department of Municipal Affairs, we see first-hand each and every day how important strong representation is when working to make the communities we call home a better place to live and to raise our families. I feel it is our duty to encourage as many people as possible to take the next step by offering themselves for election, because, Mr. Speaker, where you see a construction worker, I see a councillor. You may see a school teacher, I see the next mayor of a town.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BUTLER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I want to thank the minister for an advanced copy of her statement and to say that we, too, on this side look forward to this fall and hoping that each and every town and municipality and local service district in our Province will have full slates of individuals running.

Mr. Speaker, from a lot of the smaller towns that we hear from, from time to time, with issues that they have, one of the main reasons why there is only 38 per cent saying that they are running - and this is not just fear mongering or anything. What they are saying is, they agree with the new waste management project that is coming on-stream. They know it has to be done. They are in total agreement, but many of them are saying, I cannot do to my residents what we have to do and increase the fees to see that this is taking place.

Mr. Speaker, I believe municipal government is the key level of government because many individuals start at the municipal level in hopes to come to this hon. House of Assembly. Many have been successful, as I look across the House and on this side, and others have not been able to get here for that reason, but we hope that this campaign will encourage men and women both young and old to take part in municipal government this year and hopefully when the fall comes we will see the greatest percentage we ever saw before, people taking part in a municipal level of government.

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 her statement. I, too, think municipal government is very important and is key to our whole governmental structure in our Province and in our country. We do need more people running. The result of the survey that was done by Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador is a serious number, only 38 per cent wanting to run again. I would encourage the department as they put their campaign together, while looking at women and young people, we have other diverse groups as well in our Province and in our municipalities who should be encouraged to run.

Minister, I am not quite sure what you mean when you say that you will actively recruit individuals who may have been on the fence about offering themselves. I am not sure it is the role of the department to recruit individuals but maybe you are talking about seeing them as a group that you are going to focus on. That way I can understand, if that is what you mean.

It is a hard job, being a municipal councillor. For the most part it is volunteer work. It takes a tremendous amount of commitment. We have a lot of municipalities where the tax base, number one, is getting smaller because of younger people moving out. So we are losing both tax base and volunteers. So the provincial government does need to encourage people to run but also find ways in which to more and more support our rural municipalities so that they can govern themselves with wisdom and resources.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

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.

Mr. Speaker, Central Newfoundland has been waiting for the services of an MRI machine for the past couple of years. We know that funding has been approved, but we are not sure why government would be stalling on announcing whether that equipment would be based out of Gander hospital or Grand Falls hospital. We are aware that there has been an internal study done to look at where the equipment should actually be positioned.

I ask the minister today if you can advise the people of Central Newfoundland as to when an announcement will be made, or where the MRI equipment will be located.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WISEMAN: The member opposite was half right. There was a consultant engaged; it was not an internal process. There was an external group of people engaged to provide a recommendation to government. They have done that.

I have had an opportunity to review the report, and I will be bringing that forward to my Cabinet colleagues in the very near future. We would anticipate, right on the heels of that, being able to make a public announcement.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It was over three weeks ago, actually, when the minister indicated to me that the report was in his department and that they would make a decision within a few days. While government has been delaying this announcement for well over a year, the people in Central Newfoundland have to drive to St. John's to access the service and be placed on a wait-list.

I ask you today, Minister: When can you make a firm commitment as to when this equipment will be open and operational and available to the people in Central Newfoundland?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WISEMAN: As I said a moment ago, the report, I acknowledged we have had it in the department and I will be bringing it forward in a matter - I would suspect that within a week to ten days I will be able to bring that forward to my Cabinet colleagues. I suspect that right on the heels of that we will be making a public announcement. At that time we will be able to talk a little bit about when we might anticipate that becoming operational.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

When the House opened for this session, one of the first issues we raised was around the Cameron report and the minister committed to provide information, including the action plan, for the implementation of the report's recommendations before the final session of the House of Assembly.

I ask the minister today if you can give us some indication as to when that action plan and those timelines will be tabled in the House and made available to the public.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WISEMAN: Mr. Speaker, I suspect some time before the House closes in the next couple of weeks. As I said, I had indicated that I would have it tabled before the House closed. The House is not yet closed, and I am not aware that we are planning to close any time soon, so before the House closes I will have that tabled.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

On March 23 when I questioned the minister about the details of costs associated with implementing the Cameron report he also committed to finding those details and advising the House of Assembly.

I ask the minister today: Now that you have had two months to get this information, could you please provide the people of the Province with the details around the cost of implementation?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WISEMAN: Mr. Speaker, if the member opposite would recall, I had said at that time as well that would be a part of the implementation; as I tabled the implementation strategy I would be able to firm up some of the costs associated with that.

My answer to this one is the same as the previous one. Before this session adjourns, I will be tabling the action plan and I will provide the House and the people of the Province an update on what we anticipate to be the costs associated with the implementation of those recommendations.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Also, Justice Cameron identified the need for more staffing positions within Eastern Health and within the four health authorities.

I ask the minister today - because he did commit to bring forward a list of those positions and a timeline as to when those positions would be filled - I ask him today: What action has been taken on that issue, and have any of those positions now been recruited or filled with Eastern Health or the other health authorities?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WISEMAN: Members of the House would recall, I think it was probably two weeks ago the Budget finally passed in this House. In that Budget submission there were a whole number of new initiatives in health, and the member opposite might recall in the Estimates we talked in some detail about how that money might be spent.

Some of the money in this year's allocation responds to the recommendations in the Cameron report as well as some of the recommendations made by the Task Force on Adverse Health Events. So, with the passing by this House of the most recent Budget, Eastern Health now would be advised of the new allocation they have for this year and the recruitment process will be undertaken by that organization.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

We also questioned government on their commitment to compensate families that have been affected by the faulty breast cancer screening who may be excluded from any financial settlement. The Premier did commit to help facilitate this process.

I ask today, if government can give us an update on what actions have been taken in the last two months to help ensure that these families do get the compensation they deserve.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Deputy Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I apologize, I didn't catch the first part of the question. I wonder if the Leader of the Opposition would pose the question again, and I will do my best to answer.

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Earlier in the House of Assembly, when we first opened, we questioned the government as to what action would be taken to ensure compensation for patients who were affected by faulty breast cancer screening that may not meet the other financial compensation programs that are available. At the time the Premier said that he would facilitate a process and we are asking for an update on what has happened and what action has been taken to ensure these people do get compensated.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Deputy Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, the Premier, in all his remarks regarding this issue, has stated time and time again that we will do everything we can, as a government, to ensure that fair compensation is paid to the people who have been most directly affected by the whole breast cancer piece.

Mr. Speaker, the Premier has also said there is a legal process that has to be gone through. We are waiting until that process completes itself, and then if there are other actions that have to be taken we will take that under full consideration.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Maybe the minister could give us an update in the House of Assembly how many of those families who were affected by the faulty breast cancer screening will receive financial settlements based on the assessments that have already been done by Eastern Health, and how many will be excluded that will have to be taken some interest in by government.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

Of course, in this particular instance these are court cases against Eastern Health, not against government. As the Deputy Premier indicated, there is a process that has to be engaged in and government will await the outcome of that process before giving consideration to any request that might be made to it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS JONES: Our salaried medical specialists state that stress and fatigue are compromising patient safety, and recruitment has largely been unsuccessful, resulting in shortages of doctors and gaps in the system. In fact, according to Eastern Health, the net gain for new recruits since 1997 has been zero.

I ask the minister today: Is there anything specifically being done to address the recruitment and retention of salaried medical specialists in the health care system?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WISEMAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am very pleased to be able to comment further as I have done in this House many times on the success that we have had in physician recruitment in this Province, Mr. Speaker. One of the most successful tools that we have been able to use has been our bursary program. You may recall, last year around this time I was announcing with the Dean of the Medical School the new graduates who had actually gone through the program sponsored under the bursary program who are now committing to practice in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Some time in the very near future we will have some thirty-one new graduates coming out of this year's program who are again recipients of a bursary program, who have a return and service commitment to practice in Newfoundland and Labrador. I am looking forward to, in the very near future, announcing the locations of where those thirty-one physicians will be practicing throughout our Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I guess the evidence here is that there has not been a net gain. There have been more people leaving the system than there has been going into the system and that is why the net gain has been zero. So, minister, it seems like there is quite a bit of work that needs to be done.

We have the fastest pace in population aging and the highest rate of chronic disease. Yet, since 1994 only eleven residents have completed the general internist training at MUN but only four of them remain to work in the Province and right now there are no new entrants in the program at the university.

I ask the minister: What is the plan by government to address this general internist shortage and increased demand - with an increased demand for their services today in the Province?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WISEMAN: Mr. Speaker, one of the interesting things that is happening - and she was very selective of her words and I appreciate and understand that. She talks about general internists, and one of the things that we are noticing, not only in Canada but throughout the world, there is a real movement away from general practice, and in that terms, Mr. Speaker, specialty as well. What we are finding is a lot of internal medical specialists are deciding to specialize in some sub-specialty areas. Instead of being a general internist, now they want to become a sub-specialist in some further area of training that they require.

One of the things we are experiencing as a country is a general shortage or a shortage across the country of general internists. Mr. Speaker, that is something that we are not only just grappling with in this Province but we are as a country; connecting that, though, to the aging population, Mr. Speaker, there is not necessarily a correlation. We have been saying for many, many years that as a Province we are aging more rapidly than many other parts of the country and chronic illness is one of the biggest challenges facing all of us.

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The minister knows we have the highest rate of chronic disease in this Province, of any Province in Canada, including high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. Minister, there are currently thirty-four general internists that are working in our Province; almost 30 per cent of them are over the age of sixty-five. These general internists provide about 50 per cent of the internal medicine, in-patient services and emergency services at our main hospital, the Health Sciences Centre.

I ask the minister: What is being done to secure the proper complement of internal doctors that we require to be able to continue to run these emergency rooms and our hospitals in the Province?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WISEMAN: If the member opposite were the Minister of Health we would perpetuate a circumstance we have in this Province, and we need to fix it, Mr. Speaker.

We have said many times before that we have, as she has indicated, one of the highest rates of chronic illness in the entire country. The real way we are going to deal with that is the kind of investment we are making in our wellness piece. The way to manage chronic illness is not to provide cures for it, Mr. Speaker. We need to have a system. We need to have Province. We need to have a society to take in responsibility for our own health, looking at the investments we are making in wellness, look at what we are doing – and this generations to change, Mr. Speaker. Some of the work we are doing today in our schools, looking at our new school guidelines, healthy eating, exercise, physical activity. I join with my colleague responsible for recreation, looking at a new recreation strategy.

If we are going to come to grips with chronic illness in this Province we need to start building a foundation today so future generations, as they age, do not age with the same degree (inaudible).

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS JONES: Great speech, Mr. Speaker, but the reality is that we do need general internists in this Province. They are declining at a fast ratio and the positions are not being filled. In fact, they do a lot of the community promotion and healthy promotion work.

Mr. Speaker, rheumatologists treat complex diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoporosis. In fact, the recommended specialist-to-patient ratio is one for every 50,000 people. In Newfoundland and Labrador we have one for every 120,000 people. Our wait times for this service are twelve times the national standard and this is having a major impact on patients with inflammatory arthritis.

I ask the minister: Does he feel that these wait times are acceptable to the people in the Province who require this service?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WISEMAN: Mr. Speaker, as a health system we are constantly trying to improve our wait times, trying to shorten them. One of the things we found – and let's connect the two questions, Mr. Speaker.

The member opposite talks about the incidence of chronic illness in this Province, and she is absolutely right. The incidence of chronic illnesses in this Province is driven to increase utilization. So if we are going to truly come to grips with some of the issues we are dealing with, whether it is wait times or chronic disease management, it goes back to the original point I made a moment ago. We need to change our approach to how we provide services to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. As a society, we need to change the approach to our thinking about health care. It is not all about cure, Mr. Speaker, it is about prevention. The emphasis we are placing on our strategies for prevention, a healthier society, whether it is health aging, our recreation piece, our chronic disease strategies, Mr. Speaker, are all things to ensure we are better as a society and we will age much healthier than the generation we currently have.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, but the minister did not answer my question.

Right now, today, the wait time for inflammatory arthritis, patients who suffer from that, is twelve times the Canadian standard.

I ask you, minister: Is that an acceptable wait time for these patients in our Province, and what is the plan by your government to deal with this?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WISEMAN: Mr. Speaker, I acknowledged in my last answer, the wait times are something that as a government, through our four health authorities, are continuously working on, trying to improve, trying to shorten, and there is no one magic solution, Mr. Speaker, to trying to deal with some of the issues we are facing in our health system.

I was trying to map out for the members opposite some of the things we are doing through a wellness piece, so that we are not always focusing on cure, cure, cure, Mr. Speaker. We need to be investing more in prevention. Investing more money in prevention, Mr. Speaker, and that is why we have made unprecedented investments in our wellness strategy, so that we do not have the increased incidence of chronic illnesses that we are now experiencing, and we do not have the increased pressures on many of our health providers because of the wait list they have because of the increased number of visits people need because they need support in managing their chronic illness, Mr. Speaker.

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Province's physicians are the next group hoping to negotiate a contract with government.

I ask the minister: If you can update the people of the Province today as to what the status of those negotiations are?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WISEMAN: Mr. Speaker, members of the House might be fully aware, we have announced it much earlier, that the physicians' contract does not expire until September.

Wanting to be very proactive, Mr. Speaker, wanting to make sure that we were working with physicians to ensure that we had a successful conclusion to negotiations, we started negotiations some time ago, Mr. Speaker, so we will be ready well in advance of the expiry of that contract in September. Because we want to make sure that, as she just pointed out, that the physicians will be the final group of individuals that we will have a very successful conclusion to collective bargaining with, and those discussions are moving very well. In fact, if I am not mistaken, there was a meeting again this morning; it was the most recent one.

So I say, Mr. Speaker, progress is being made. The parties are at the table talking, and there have been some really good initiatives coming forward by both the Medical Association and our negotiating team and we are very optimistic that we will have a successful conclusion to those (inaudible).

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BUTLER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

On or about March 24, near the community of Burnside, the ferry Sound of Islay collided with a privately-owned wharf and did enough damage to lift the foundation with regard to the major structure.

I ask the minister: What are the procedures, the processes and reporting mechanism that his government have when a government-owned-and-operated ferry causes damage to private property, and if he can confirm that these processes were followed in this particular case.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TAYLOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, whenever there is an event with any vessel on the water, likewise in the air with aircraft, Transport Canada becomes engaged. In the case of the incident at Burnside, it was brought to my attention some time shortly after it happened. I believe that most, if not all, of the official processes were followed, with the exception of whether or not the individual who owned the wharf was contacted in as timely a fashion as should have happened.

Mr. Speaker, that incident is under investigation. If we are liable for it, we will do the right thing and compensate the person for the wharf. I believe those discussions have, to some extent, taken place.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BUTLER: Mr. Speaker, I guess my next question is really a follow-up to what the minister had said, and one of the most important parts.

According to the individual, he advised us that he had not received any confirmation from the department and, even worse, when the accident was brought to the attention of the authorities, officials within the department preferred to deny or otherwise minimize the incident.

I ask the minister: Can he advise the House - and I know he said he was going to look into this, or what have you, but I am wondering what action he has taken to address the reluctance of officials in his department to properly address this issue before it was reported in the media and became a subject of a potential hit-and-run incident.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, all I can say to the member opposite on that is, whenever there is an incident with any of our vessels, or any of our equipment for that matter, as soon as I become aware of it, I direct officials to take as expeditious and firm an action as can be taken.

I cannot vouch for whether or not our ferry damaged that wharf or not. I was not there that day. I understand that we have had some incidents with our vessels this spring. I know that one of our captains has been off on paid leave as a result of an investigation on whether or not disciplinary action should or should not take place. I cannot quite remember if this is the same incident or not. In any event, when we have an incident where our vessel touches a rock or a wharf that we should not be touching, it is being investigated as soon as I find out about it, if not before, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BUTLER: Mr. Speaker, as of this morning this gentleman who had the damage done to his wharf at Burnside advised our office that nobody from government has contacted him to even apologize or give an explanation or an indication of what repairs would be made by the department. What he stated to us: all he has seen is an e-mail statement from the minister to The Telegram which was reprinted in the paper this past weekend.

All I ask the minister, Mr. Speaker: Can he advise this House, will he provide a proper apology to this individual and make sure that compensation will be offered to address this problem?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Transportation and Works.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I have asked our officials, if appropriate, that we compensate the individual for damage that our vessel – if our vessel damaged the wharf, then we provide the appropriate compensation.

Mr. Speaker, wharves in bays in Newfoundland and Labrador, especially on the Northeast Coast where there is ice, may or may not be damaged by ferries. Once we establish whether or not we damaged that wharf, if we damaged it, we will compensate. If we did not damage it, then the owner of the wharf will have to look after it himself.

No, we are not going to issue an apology yet. I do not know the details of whether or not we did it. I was informed that there may have been an incident there. I asked that it be investigated and that the appropriate action be taken once we find out what the answers in the investigation are.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BUTLER: Mr. Speaker, we were also advised this morning that the individual has stated that someone from the department has looked at the damage that was done and said yes, they did do it.

My question to the minister now, since he mentioned with regard to the captain, whether he was on or off duty, is: Will he check this out and confirm to this House what did happen, and if the captain was involved in this particular incident or was he off at that particular time?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Transportation and Works.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, either the owner of the wharf or the hon. Opposition Transportation critic needs to get their story straight. He is suggesting that nobody has contacted him, in one sentence, in one set of questions, and then he turns around, in the last question, and said that somebody from the department had been in contact with him. So, what was it? You cannot stand up here in the House in the course of three minutes and accuse officials in my department of not contacting the owner of the wharf, and then turn around and say that we were in contact with him.

Mr. Speaker, all I can say is that I am aware of the incident. I asked the people involved, the officials involved, to ensure that appropriate action was taken.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TAYLOR: Once we find out if we were liable, what the cost is, the person will be dealt with appropriately.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BUTLER: Just as a follow-up, Mr. Speaker, I say to the minister: neither the minister nor any official in his department actually spoke to the individual who owns the property.

AN HON. MEMBER: Then how do you know (inaudible)?

MR. BUTLER: He has other relatives that were spoken to.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

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

MR. BUTLER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

In the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor, the former Grand Falls Academy high school has now been listed as a potentially harmful structure. The building is full of asbestos. According to Occupational Health and Safety it is safely contained at the present time; however, if this building is disturbed in some way such as by fire, which has already occurred and damaged the building, and if this further continues, asbestos could become potentially hazardous to the exposure and to those individuals who are nearby. The Town of Grand Falls-Windsor is extremely concerned about the safety implications and should this old building remain in place, and they feel that government should be helping them to deal with this situation.

I ask the minister: What is government doing in order to solve this problem in an efficient manner and ensure that the surrounding residents will not be exposed to the asbestos?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

For the information of the member opposite, the building is not the property of the provincial government or the school board; it was disposed of. The expectation from me would be that the current owner of the building would dispose of it in a manner that falls within the legislation of government with respect to the handling of dangerous materials such as asbestos.

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, another week, another tragedy. It appears a possible adverse event happened last week in the Clarenville Hospital, though there is still no official word from Eastern Health one way or the other. This information has been on a radio station Province-wide and could create a panic.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the Minister of Health and Community Services: Why isn't Eastern Health saying anything publicly at this point about the death of the child who was seen by personnel at the Clarenville Hospital emergency room on Thursday past?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WISEMAN: There was a real tragedy in Clarenville on Friday and our thoughts and prayers are with the families who have been affected by that.

To the member's question: I understand that the Medical Officer of Health with Eastern Health has been speaking publicly this morning. At least on two media outlets I understand he has made comment. I would be only too glad to supply the member opposite with a copy of those transcripts so that she may have the same information that the public does.

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

MS MICHAEL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am aware of what the Chief Medical Officer from Eastern Health has said, and he has confirmed that the child died of meningitis, but the information that is on the Province-wide radio station is giving much more information than that with regard to the child's being sent home from the emergency room and all those details. I am sure if the minister knows what the Chief Medical Officer said, he knows that information as well.

Because of the public nature of the information out there, why has Eastern Health not yet made a public statement addressing those issues?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WISEMAN: It is a delicate topic that she is raising here, and I want to separate two issues.

One is Dr. Allison has been out talking about the public health issue, making sure that the information is in the public domain with respect to meningitis.

The other issue at hand, Mr. Speaker, is the tragedy itself, and it would be very inappropriate for Eastern Health to be, in a public way, responding to comments that may have been made in the public domain by other people, or responding to questions that may be being asked by family members. Those sorts of things will be dealt with in a very private fashion.

It is not a practice of Eastern Health or any other health authority to get into a discussion in the public domain with respect to issues around patients or their families, this confidential information. Sometimes family members may choose to raise questions in the public domain, but unfortunately the health authority does not have the ability to be able to respond publicly because of confidentially, Mr. Speaker.

During this very sensitive time, I appreciate why Eastern Health would not want to engage in a public discussion around what may or may not have taken place, until an investigation is finally concluded.

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

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

The minister and I both know that if there has been an adverse event, that there are two dimensions to the reporting by Eastern Health. One, is admitting the adverse event to the family or those involved, or to the individual, if the individual has not died. The other is making public statements with regard to it.

So, I am not asking for confidential information to be made public, but I think the public needs to know from Eastern Health if there was an adverse event that took place. If they do not know it as yet, when are they going to know it?

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I ask that question of the minister.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WISEMAN: I fail to understand why the member opposite would want to start prying into something so private in such a very public way.

Eastern Health has indicated that there has been – I think Dr. Elliston commented this morning that there was an event that happened on Friday. The event is under investigation, and until that investigation is over, Mr. Speaker, Eastern Health themselves are still trying to determine exactly what went wrong and what happened, and until that is done, no one is in a position to make a comment.

So thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The time allotted for questions and answers have expired.

Presenting Reports by Standing and Select Committees.

Tabling of Documents.

Notices of Motions.

Notices of Motion

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

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, and I say this with all seriousness, I give notice that I will ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Revise The Law Respecting Rail Service. (Bill 36)

MR. SPEAKER: Further notices of motions?

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that under Standing Order 11 I shall move that this House not adjourn at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26, 2009.

I further give notice under Standing Order 11 I shall move that this House not adjourn at 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26, 2009.

MR. SPEAKER: Further notices of motion?

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. KELVIN PARSONS: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

Wednesday being Private Members' Day for the Official Opposition, we give notice, moved by the Member for Cartwright-L'Anse au Clair and seconded by the Member for Port de Grave, pursuant to Standing Order 63.(3):

WHEREAS autism spectrum disorders are lifelong neurological disorders that affect a person's development and how the brain processes information; and

WHEREAS ASD is the most common neurological disorder affecting children; and

WHEREAS Newfoundland and Labrador had a prevalence rate of 1 in 132 in 2008, and the rate is expected to be even higher for 2009; and

WHEREAS the number of people receiving a diagnosis of autism is on the increase in Newfoundland and Labrador; and

WHEREAS evidence-based research shows that the lifetime cost of assisting a person with autism can be reduced if the child receives early diagnosis, effective treatment and adequate supports; and

WHEREAS all current direct government programs for children with autism end after age 6; and

WHEREAS schools do not have adequate resources and there is a demonstrated need for programs; and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that this House calls on government to extend autism services currently offered for children below six years of age to all children of the Province.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Further notices of motion?

Answers to Questions for which Notice has been Given.

Answers to Questions for which Notice has been Given

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Deputy Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, questions have been raised in this House on December 10, 2008 and again on April 30, 2009 regarding the status of a report that I have requested into financial transactions at the Chicken Farmers of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, when it was brought to my attention that there were possible financial irregularities with the Chicken Farmers of Newfoundland and Labrador I directed my staff to contact the RNC to ask them to do an investigation. The RNC indicated that they would require some evidence or proof of wrongdoing before they would initiate an investigation. I then instructed my staff to engage an outside auditor to review the finances of the Chicken Marketing Board. We were not successful in engaging a firm to review another auditor's books in the absence of any specific concern. It was at that time, Mr. Speaker, that I engaged our internal government resources, through the Office of the Comptroller General, to conduct a review of the financial transactions of the Chicken Marketing Board.

Mr. Speaker, I want to take the opportunity to update the House as to the status of this review. My department received a report of the Comptroller General and his recommendation a few weeks ago. My officials have done a preliminary review of the report and action has been taken to implement the recommendations in the report that will ensure protocols, checks and balances are in place at the board.

Although the report does not make any conclusions with regard to criminal wrongdoing, I have sent the report on to the RNC to ensure that we have done our due diligence on this matter with respect to any untoward activity. The report has resulted in a tightening of the protocols at the Chicken Farmers of Newfoundland and Labrador and an implementation of proper processes for handling future transactions by the board and its staff manager.

I am now interested in ensuring we have covered all bases with our investigation by bringing this report to the RNC and to a proper conclusion. I will keep the House informed of the outcome, Mr. Speaker.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Further answers to questions for which notice has been given?

Petitions.

Orders of the Day

Orders of the Day

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, I move Motion 4, pursuant to Standing Order 11 that this House not adjourn at 5:30 p.m. today, Monday, May 25, 2009, and further, Mr. Speaker, I move Motion 5, pursuant to Standing Order 11 that this House not adjourn at 10:00 p.m. today, Monday, May 25, 2009.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The motion is that this House do not adjourn at 5:30 o'clock today, Monday, May 25.

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

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

The motion is carried.

Motion carried.

MR. SPEAKER: Further, a motion that this House do not adjourn at 10 o'clock p.m. on Monday, May 25, today.

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

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

The motion is carried.

Motion carried.

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, on the Order Paper, Motion 3.

Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the hon. Minister of Justice and the Attorney General –

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Order, please!

The Government House Leader is providing Orders of the Day and the Speaker is unable to hear the instructions that are being provided over members' conferring back and forth the House.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MS BURKE: As I was saying, Mr. Speaker, Motion 3 from the Order Paper. I move, seconded by the hon. Minister of Justice and the Attorney General for leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Amend The Adoption Act, The Child Care Services Act, The Child, Youth And Family Services Act And The Regional Health Authorities Regulations, Bill 35, and 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 Child, Youth and Family Services shall have leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Amend The Adoption Act, The Child Care Services Act, The Child, Youth And Family Services Act And The Regional Health Authorities Regulations, Bill 35, and that this bill be now read a first time.

Is it the pleasure of the House that Bill 35 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 Child, Youth and Family Services to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Adoption Act, The Child Care Services Act, The Child, Youth And Family Services Act And The Regional Health Authorities Regulations," carried. (Bill 35)

CLERK: A bill, An Act To Amend The Adoption Act, The Child Care Services Act, The Child, Youth And Family Services Act And The Regional Health Authorities Regulations. (Bill 35)

MR. SPEAKER: Bill 35 has now been read a first time.

When shall Bill 35 be read a second time?

MS BURKE: Tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: Tomorrow.

On motion, Bill 35 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, Order 2, third reading of a bill, An Act Respecting Credit Unions.

Mr. Speaker I move, seconded by the hon. Minister of Government Services that An Act Respecting Credit Unions, Bill 11, be now read a third time.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion that Bill 11, An Act Respecting Credit Unions, be now read a third 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 Respecting Credit Unions. (Bill 11)

MR. SPEAKER: Bill 11 has now been read a third time and it is ordered that the bill do pass and that its title be as on the Order Paper.

On motion, a bill, "An Act Respecting Credit Unions," read a third time, ordered passed and its title be as on the Order Paper. (Bill 11)

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, Order 3 on the Order Paper.

I move, Mr. Speaker, seconded by the hon. Minister of Government Services, third reading of Bill 19, An Act To Amend The Income Tax Savings Plans Act.

MR. SPEAKER: It is properly moved and seconded that Bill 19, An Act To Amend The Income Tax Savings Plans Act, be now read a third 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 Income Tax Savings Plans Act. (Bill 19)

MR. SPEAKER: Bill 19 has now been read a third time and it is ordered that the bill do pass and that its title be as on the Order Paper.

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Amend The Income Tax Savings Plans Act," read a third time, ordered passed and its title be as on the Order Paper. (Bill 19)

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, Order 4.

I move, Mr. Speaker, seconded by the hon. Minister of Government Services, that Bill 21, An Act Respecting The Registration Of Deeds And Other Documents, be now read a third time.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion that Bill 21, An Act Respecting The Registration Of Deeds And Other Documents, be now read a third 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 Respecting The Registration of Deeds And Other Documents. (Bill 21)

MR. SPEAKER: Bill 21 has now been read a third time and it is ordered that Bill 21 do now pass and that its title be as on the Order Paper.

On motion, a bill, "An Act Respecting The Registration Of Deeds And Other Documents," read a third time, ordered passed and its title be as on the Order Paper. (Bill 21)

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, Order 5.

I move, seconded by the hon. Minister of Government Services, that Bill 23, An Act To Amend The Occupational Health And Safety Act, be now read a third time.

MR. SPEAKER: It is properly moved and seconded that Bill 23, An Act To Amend The Occupational Health And Safety Act, be now read a third time.

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBER: Aye.

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

The motion is carried.

CLERK: A bill, An Act To Amend The Occupational Health And Safety Act. (Bill 23)

MR. SPEAKER: Bill 23 has now been read a third time and it is ordered that the bill do pass and that its title be as on the Order Paper.

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Amend The Occupational Health And Safety Act," read a third time, ordered passed and its title be as on the Order Paper. (Bill 23)

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, Order 7, second reading of Bill 1.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that Bill 1, An Act Respecting Apologies, be now read a second time.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act Respecting Apologies." (Bill 1)

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

I am pleased to rise in my seat this afternoon to speak to second reading of Bill 1, An Act Respecting Apologies.

Mr. Speaker, I seem to remember a time many years ago when, if we did something to harm our fellow citizen, our neighbour, we were all taught to take responsibility for that action and to go to that other person, to go to that neighbour, and to apologize for your harmful activity and to attempt to right the wrong that you have accomplished.

I guess - I certainly have an impression - that our society may have changed somewhat over the years in the sense that our society has become more of a litigious society and that we are involved in lawsuits a lot more. As a result of that, our lawyers and our litigators will tell us not to admit to anything, not to apologize, because that might be taken as an admission of liability, an admission of fault, and that therefore you are responsible and therefore you will be sued for lots of money.

I think that those who practice alternate dispute resolution mechanisms will be the first to tell you that an apology is a first step and it goes a long way in leading to a resolution of your fight or your battle, and it will lead to a settlement, and it will lead to reduced litigation, and it will lead to an increase in the number of settlements that exist.

This bill attempts to do that, and this bill is set out in the Explanatory Note. It says that the bill will provide that an apology that is made on behalf of a person in relation to a civil matter does not constitute an express or an implied admission of fault or liability by the person. It is not admissible in a judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding as evidence of the fault or liability of the person in connection with the matter. It may not be taken into account in a determination of fault or liability. It does not affect the insurance coverage available to a person.

I understand that in some insurance policies there is a provision that says that if there is an apology or an admission of liability that the insurance policy will be void. This law will change that.

Finally, it does not constitute a confirmation of a cause of action in relation to a matter, and that has to do with our Limitations Act.

Mr. Speaker, the concept of apology legislation is not new in the world. Statutes of this nature can vary significantly in different areas. Some jurisdictions have adopted what is known as safe harbour legislation, which provides that where there is an expression of sympathy or regret it is excluded from evidence, but the legislative protection does not extend to situations where there has been an admission or expression of fault. Some American jurisdictions have also enacted legislation which excludes admissions of fault as evidence in certain types of proceedings, but not in all proceedings. Some form of apology legislation has been implemented in more than twenty American states, as well as in Australia.

This legislative trend, the reason we are having these various jurisdictions enacting apology legislation, is a result of a growing body of evidence that apology law assists in increasing the number of settlements that exist and decreasing the time it takes to reach a settlement, so this legislation will facilitate settlements and avoid lengthy and protracted and costly litigation.

In 2007 a group of lawyers known as the Uniform Law Conference of Canada adopted a uniform Apology Act in a number of commentaries and they recommended it to all jurisdictions for enactment. This uniform act provides that an apology is not admissible in civil proceedings for the purposes of proving liability, and that an apology is not an admission of liability; an apology is not an admission of fault; an apology cannot be used in a court proceeding to prove fault or liability.

In Canada, in our country, six jurisdictions have already enacted apology legislation. The first was British Columbia back in May 2006. That was followed by Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta, Nova Scotia, and in March of this year Ontario passed this legislation as well. While these provinces all have similar legislation, it cannot be said that they are all identical, but a section common to all apology legislation provides that an apology will not disentitle a person to insurance coverage if their policy or even provincial legislation stipulates otherwise.

Mr. Speaker, in the discussion group that was released by the British Columbia government at the time British Columbia was looking at apology legislation - the first in the country - they indicated that there were three benefits of apology legislation. One was to encourage people to engage in the moral and humane act of apologizing after they have injured another and to take responsibility for their actions. Secondly, another benefit of the legislation is to encourage natural, open and direct dialogue between people after there have been injuries. Thirdly, as I indicated earlier, to avoid litigation and to encourage the early and the cost-effective resolution of disputes.

For many parties, Mr. Speaker, an expression of sympathy, an expression of remorse often opens the doors to communication and assists parties in building an agreement that best meets their interest. For parties that are truly seeking a resolution of their dispute, apology legislation is another tool that will assist in this endeavour.

I think we have all known people who have been involved in protracted legislation and who have said: all I wanted was an apology. If they had gotten that, maybe they would have been settled a lot quicker.

The decision to apologize has often been wise where, for example, a corporation may face harm to its reputation as a result of a product liability issue, or because it has caused environmental damage. I think Maple Leaf Foods is a classic example of that. For a victim, an apology is often considered to be instrumental in the healing process and a potential catalyst to discussions to settle that dispute.

As I said earlier, for most litigators an admission of any nature runs contrary to their best advice and can cause significant alarm. They do not want an admission. They want it put to the other party the burden of proving the liability, of proving the fault. However, Mr. Speaker, by recognizing the positive impacts that may come from an expression of regret, traditional views should be revisited. As many alternate dispute resolution practitioners would indicate, and as I said earlier, a great deal can be accomplished, a great deal can be gained by the simple acknowledgement of fault.

A number of health care organizations in the country, such as the Ontario Medical Association, the Canadian Medical Protective Association, the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario, the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, have encouraged provinces and territorities to enact apology legislation.

In our own Province, the recent task force on adverse health events that was headed by Mr. Robert Thompson, the former Chief Clerk of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, our Province's highest civil servant, the report was released in December, 2008. In recommendation number nineteen the report proposed that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador adopt apology legislation, and in its report the task force suggested, and I will quote: that the adoption of an apology act in Newfoundland and Labrador should be designed to allow health care providers, institutions and boards to express honest regret or remorse without a fear of the apology amounting to an admission of liability or voiding the provisions of an insurance policy. In addition, Mr. Speaker, Madam Justice Margaret Cameron, the head of the Cameron inquiry, in her report on hormone receptor testing, also recommended that government adopt apology legislation.

So, Mr. Speaker, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is listening and is following the recommendations of the task force and the Cameron Inquiry. Not only will this legislation help the effectiveness of the justice system by removing barriers to settlement discussions, but it will contribute to improving communications and relations between patients and health care professionals.

Mr. Speaker, apology legislation is not about eliminating litigation, but it is about dialogue and allowing parties to come together in a fashion they have not been able to do in this Province in the past. If a resolution is truly desired in a dispute, than an apology can be the first step in reaching that goal.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I mentioned before the discussion paper in British Columbia and the recommendations in favour of the legislation. Now the discussion paper also did raise some negative factors. These negative factors, in turn, have been raised by the women's community in this Province. The negative factors include that public confidence in the courts could be adversely affected if a person who has admitted liability in an apology is subsequently not found liable in the (inaudible).

Secondly, an insincere apology or a strategic apology might be encouraged by the legislation. Apologies encouraged by legislation might create an emotional vulnerability in some plaintiffs who may accept settlements that are inappropriately low – and I could think of family violence situations where that could happen. I believe that our judicial system, our court system, with experienced and knowledgeable judges will not be fooled by an insincere or a strategic apology, and government is of the view that the benefits of this legislation will outweigh possible negatives.

So, Mr. Speaker, with that, I thank you for an opportunity to discuss Bill 1, An Act Respecting Apologies. I ask for the support of all members in passing this bill and I look forward to the debate from colleagues on it.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

Just a few words with respect to Bill 1, An Act Respecting Apologies.

As the minister says, we have become pretty litigious in Canada and the United States over the past number of years. As time went on, of course, you felt even if you were sorry for something, and you wanted to say you were sorry, people would use that against you, and it quite often happened in court cases that your sincerely intended apology became an admission of liability. The two are separate and apart I would suggest.

The fact that you may or may not have done something negligently is one issue. That is to be determined based upon certain standards of proof and certain omissions and so on that parties have. Albeit you may have done or not done something that has led to some harm to someone that does not mean that you cannot feel sorry for what happened. Leave that matter to the courts but do not intersperse or mix the two such that simply making an apology or an expression of sympathy gets you into trouble. That is where our legal system got wrapped up with our moral values and where we thought we should or should not do as human beings and be humane to someone, all of a sudden expressions of sympathy and humanity and feelings for someone, all of a sudden that was being used against you in a courtroom. The two should not have been mixed so.

Of course, when we get into - as time goes on, like most things, we sometimes learn that the road we are going down is not the right road and therefore you try to make changes. It is unfortunate in fact, that we have come to that point where we actually have to legislate the fact that you can make an apology. I mean let's consider what we are doing here. We have, as human beings, to pass a law saying that it is okay to apologize. Now that in and of itself suggests that maybe we have some big problems at the core when it comes to that. That it is just not simply okay anymore to say I am sorry. No matter how sincere and heartfelt it is, we actually need the protection of Legislatures in order to say that.

That is exactly what we have here, and we know going back that the Cameron Inquiry of course brought this on. It was recommendation number thirty-six, I do believe, of the Cameron Inquiry which says that we as a Province should adopt it because we saw as the evidence unfolded in the Cameron Inquiry that the officials at Eastern Health grappled with this issue. They were getting legal advice, for example, from different sources as a board, lawyers of course because they are trapped in that ideology of: Oh, we cannot apologize because that is an admission of liability.

From my understanding, there were some suggestions that there was a bit of reluctance on the board because of that, to come out and say that they were sorry. So that complicated the system. It made people more protective. Instead of being open and trying to communicate, it clammed people up. It made them take certain courses of action that they probably would not have taken if they felt that the lawyers were not involved and that any such admissions were going to lose the case for them or make them be liable. Obviously, that is recognized by the Cameron Inquiry people.

Justice Cameron herself, of course, has been a long-standing member of the legal community and the judicial community in this Province, and they came to what I think is a very sensible recommendation here in that regard; but, as I say, it is unfortunate that we actually have to legislate it, to tell ourselves that it is okay to make an apology, as human beings, and that if you do so it will not be held against you in a court of law.

There is something inconsistent about these two things that we are doing here; but, needless to say, because the courts have interpreted it and lawyers have interpreted it that an apology is sometimes a bad thing because it will get you in trouble, we find ourselves that we have to do this. That is unfortunate in that regard, but it is proper.

We saw, as well, that the lack of communications quite often lead to problems, whether it is even an apology or not. Just the communications themselves, and how you do or do not go about communicating with someone, because there are two ways to mess it up, shall we say. One way is not communicating at all, not disclosing to people by way of communication what they ought to know and what they ought to be made aware of, particularly as in the Cameron case where we were talking about people who had health issues and they were, or ought to have been, informed promptly of what the situation was.

Now, there are all kinds of factual findings that were made, of course. There have been suggestions or findings that a lot of the information was not accurate, that a lot of the information that was given was incorrect. There was not only a communication but actually a management of the information that was, from what I am reading in the Cameron report, pretty messed up, and there have been a lot of recommendations by the Cameron report that suggest that the management systems used by health care authorities in this Province should be vastly improved; and the government, as the minister has indicated, is prepared - I believe I heard the figure that it might take up to $100 million to make our system proper, vis-à-vis information that needs to get out.

The other way, of course, is not that you do not disclose. That is one way of messed-up communications, not to disclose something at all, to keep it to yourself and to not tell the parties who are impacted. The other way, of course, is when you give them wrong information. Some would say giving them wrong information sometimes is worse than not communicating with them at all, because in the case of Cameron we found out there were people who were told the wrong things. People went off thinking they were healthy, only to find out later that they got the wrong reports. People who were told that they were not healthy had surgeries done, who actually found out later that was wrong. So there are two ways of messing it up, shall we say, when it comes to communication.

In any case, there has been an acknowledgment now that there is nothing wrong with making an apology to someone, and if you do it cannot be held against you. I don't think it is any more complicated than that. It is pretty broad ranging. I noticed a word in here when they describe where this would apply. There is a Definitions section which is pretty brief, two definitions. One tells you what an apology is. I guess that is a bit ironic, as well, that we are told what an apology will be today. "(a) ‘apology' means an expression of sympathy or regret, a statement that one is sorry, or other words or actions indicating contrition or commiseration, whether or not the words or actions admit, or imply an admission of, fault in connection with the matter to which the words or actions relate."

We know now, regardless of what we all might have thought an apology was we are told now with this law what an apology is from a legal point of view. This is our legal definition now of an apology. We do not need our Oxfords any more. We do not need our Canadian dictionaries any more. We know now legally what an apology is.

They tell us what a court means. A court just does not mean a courtroom. It can be, "…a tribunal, an arbitrator and another person who is acting in a judicial or quasi-judicial capacity."

Now, I notice the word matter is used there, and there is no definition given for the word matter. I am just curious as to, I would think that is probably defined in some other piece of legislation. Probably the Supreme Court rules, probably the Judicature Act, might have a definition of a matter but I do not see it defined here.

This is all that is to this, by the way. There are only three sections in this act, but it talks about an apology, it talks about a court, it talks about a matter, but it does not define what a matter is. I do not know if that is crucial. I am assuming that it might be somewhere else and the minister, when we get to Committee stage, might have some commentary in that regard. We have defined what a court is but we have not defined what the matter is. Is that just wide open still for interpretation on a go-forward basis, what kinds of matters do the apology apply to? Because a matter can be, just using a little bit of common sense, I would think, what is that matter all about? A matter can be so broad ranging, is there anything excluded by this or is there anything that constitutes a matter? A little bit of commentary from the minister in that regard would be – it just sparked my interest here, and curiosity, as to what a matter might mean, because I do not see it anywhere described here what a matter might be.

Other than that, it does not take a lot of consideration and debate on this. I think it is an appropriate thing. It has taken us years. Law Reform Commissions have commented on it, studied up on it, and people who are into arbitrations and dispute resolutions have recommended it. It helps to settle matters, and anything that makes matters settle easily, that does communicate that there is an apology, and you feel sincerely about wanting to do it, sure, you should be allowed, I would think, morally, to do it and not have to worry about getting sued for it.

That is all the commentary I would have, Mr. Speaker, and with that I just say that we certainly would be supportive of Bill 1.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

If the hon. the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General speaks now he will close the debate on Bill 1, An Act Respecting Apologies.

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. Opposition House Leader for his comments and I therefore move second reading of a bill, An Act Respecting Apologies.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it the pleasure of the House that Bill 1, An Act Respecting Apologies, 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 Respecting Apologies. (Bill 1)

MR. SPEAKER: Bill 1 has now been read a second time.

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

MS BURKE: Now, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Now.

On motion, a bill, "An Act Respecting Apologies," read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House presently, by leave. (Bill 1)

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, Order 8, second reading of Bill 24, An Act Respecting The Registration Of Births, Marriages, Deaths And Other Vital Events.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that Bill 24, An Act Respecting The Registration Of Births, Marriages, Deaths And Other Vital Events, be now read a second time.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act Respecting The Registration Of Births, Marriages, Deaths And Other Vital Events." (Bill 24)

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. O'BRIEN: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, that Bill 24, An Act Respecting The Registration Of Births, Marriages, Deaths And Other Vital Events, be now read a second time.

Mr. Speaker, this is going to be one of three acts that we are bringing forward today to update and streamline the legislation pertaining to vital events in the Province. The others are: An Act Respecting Marriage In The Province; and, An Act To Provide For Change Of Name, which are all interrelated to vital statistics and vital events in the Province.

The current Vital Statistics Act has been in existence since the late 1800s. It has received a number of amendments over the years, but again it is not reflective of the society that we find ourselves in, in the years we find ourselves in now, in 2009. A lot of things have happened and a lot of things have changed since the 1800s in the way people govern themselves and also the way they conduct themselves when it comes to marriages and births, and the registration of those types of things. We felt that a complete update was needed to ensure that the policy issues, language and privacy requirements reflect today's standards and practices.

Our objectives are certainly to modernize the language used in the act, remove gender bias and bias against common-law couples. We also want to strengthen the provisions surrounding protocol and to protect a person's personal information and clearly outline any information in the sharing of those protocols too. So many of the changes we are proposing are already founded in policies. We have been using them for some time, but we felt, as well, that we needed to update the act in order to reflect these policies and the trends in society, which I just referenced a few moments ago.

Also, we always go out to other jurisdictions and across Canada in regards to other provinces and federally wise. We also want to reflect the trends within those other jurisdictions, including the federal government. So we used the Vital Statistics Act of Nova Scotia and Manitoba as models, as well as the Uniform Law Conference model act.

Peoples' dealings with the Vital Statistics offices will not radically change or be disrupted in any way with these amendments that we are bringing forward today in the new act in itself. If anything, I think they can take comfort that our primary objective continues to be in meeting their needs for the registration of vital events, such as births, marriages and deaths, with an enhanced security of their personal information sensitivity to the family situations as well.

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, I want to say this too and certainly have it in Hansard, that we take privacy concerns seriously and a new act will reflect today's stringent standards for the protection of that personal information.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I would like to just highlight a couple of items in regards to the most significant changes that you will find in the new act in that it will now bring forward provisions requiring the providing for the registration of stillbirths, foundlings and adoptions. There will be new provisions related to the changes of gender and the ability to amend a birth certificate to reflect the same with that change of gender, if that were to happen in the Province.

It brings forward provisions encompassing births and deaths occurring at sea or in the air, which was not reflected in the old act. It defines the persons entitled to request birth, death and marriage certificates. It defines who is eligible to be designated as the mother, father, or other parent as well. It provides for the naming of the father, mother or other parent on the birth certificate, which will encompass children born of or to same sex couples as well. There are inequities in the current act in regards to that, in that it was automatic in regards to a husband and wife. Under the act now, it was an automatic without signing of the birth certificate, if the husband's name would be included on the birth certificate. So now we have removed that. Each and every one, regardless of them being married or not, or being husband and wife, or common law, that each one would have to sign that birth certificate. That makes it equal for each and every situation that we find ourselves in the Province.

There is a provision governing the naming of a child, which establishes who is eligible to name a child and provisions enabling the registrar general to reject names chosen by parents that may be objectionable under certain circumstances. It is hard to believe that each and every one of us, or a good many of us here have children, and we name our children in regards to those particular names, and mine are three girls. So naturally you had to have three common names to a certain degree, I guess. Their names, and I will read it here as well, is Adrianne, Tricia and Taylor.

Sometimes, Mr. Speaker, we actually get names that are kind of out there in left field or right field, whichever way you want to – and I do not understand why that would happen in regards to parenthood, but it does happen, and we now give the right to the registrar to object and to reject that name. Now, if the parents want to bring it further, there is court action. They can go to the courts in regards to that particular issue, and they can petition the court for a ruling on that too, as well, I believe, Mr. Speaker. So that will cover off that as well. So we are not taking away every right of the parent, or any right of the parents, as well, but we have to protect the child too, in regards to the registering of vital stats as well. Sometimes when they get older they might have a very real problem in regards to the name that was provided to them by their natural parents.

Mr. Speaker, I think I covered off most of the significant changes to the act. I think this is a very important piece as well, in regard to the work by my officials in the Department of Government Services. We have already addressed, I think, five pieces of legislation in this sitting of the House and we will do another three today.

This one is as equally important as the other in regard to the services we provide to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, and also in regard to their privacy and the protection of that information which is housed within the Vital Statistics Division of Government Services.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I will take my seat and welcome any comments that my hon. colleagues would have across the House, and I equally welcome any support they will give to my department and my officials in regard to the work they have been doing.

I will listen intently, Mr. Speaker, and with that I will wait for the comments from my hon. colleagues.

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

MR. BUTLER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I just want to take a few minutes with regard to Bill 24, And Act Respecting Registration Of Births, Marriages, Deaths And Other Vital Events.

As the explanatory note states, it is basically replacing the Vital Statistics Act. I guess, it is a bringing together of many changes that have to take place. It outlines the various rule and regulations when it comes to registration of all three very important events in the lives of individuals.

I took notice, in particular, with regard to the information concerning the birth of the child, with regard to how it has to proceed to the registrar general, and that has to be done within five days by the medical practitioner. We have to have rules like this to know what is happening and to make sure that all births are recorded. Then, within thirty days after the date of the birth, they have to be registered.

As is outlined in the legislation, in clause 4, it states how both parents or one parent - or in some particular cases if the child is in care then it would have to be signed off on by the Director of Child, Youth and Family Services.

Mr. Speaker, it is also in this legislation with regard to adoption orders and certified copies which are issued under section 25 of the Adoption Act. It is very important to have it included within this piece of legislation as well. It explains the procedures that have to be followed, and they are very details. Then again it has to be done, as the minister stated, and it is the bringing together of various issues.

Under clauses 7(1) and 7(5), the name of a child: From time to time, I guess, that becomes an issue because they shall be registered showing a surname that has been chosen by the parents. Sometimes that gets complicated, because if the parents are not married, the father wants it in his name or the mother wants it in her name. Here it states very clearly that if they cannot agree then the surname shall be hyphenated, combining both surnames, so that is very important to take care of that particular issue.

Also, as the minister stated, if the registrar general refuses a name then there is a process where it can be appealed to the Trial Division. That is very important because I guess from time to time the registrar general would see different names coming forward and, like I said, it could be crucial for the individual when they get older, later in years.

Also, clause 14, the registration of a stillbirth, is very important. It is only, I would say, about a week-and-a-half ago that I had an incident in my area. A child was born through that means maybe eighteen or twenty years ago, and now members of the family are trying to find a way to get some documentation pertaining to that. They went to the hospital and there is nothing registered there. They went to the church and there is nothing registered there, because for a stillbirth at that time it did not have to take place. I guess when it comes to the death part of this piece of legislation I do not know what was done then. Maybe back in those days there were no orders saying that the minister or the clergy had to have any documentation and you could probably go ahead and bury them without anything. Under this rule here now that will not happen and that particular case that I just referenced would be taken care of.

With regard to the registration of death under clause 15, this is very important because the funeral director shall obtain all the personal particulars and obtain a medical certificate stating the cause of death, and all of this has to be provided to the funeral director and so on, but one of the issues here, if a death occurs without medical attendance, the funeral director then shall notify the chief medical examiner.

I am not going to say any particular names, or where this happened, but I would say it was about two years ago now that an incident happened in my area where an individual unfortunately took their life through a particular means. During the investigation back and forth I even spoke with the medical examiner, trying to find out what was the actual cause. Because of the format that they took when they took their life, that is what was registered so there was no autopsy that took place. Now the family is wondering: Why did they do what they did? Were there drugs or something else involved? It is out of the realm now; it cannot be investigated or so on.

Things like that can happen, but hopefully with this legislation now things will be more broad based. The guidelines are there, and hopefully incidents like that will not be able to happen. Like I said, you have to obtain a burial permit. I do not know in this particular case, the incident I mentioned earlier, if that ever took place.

Under clause 19 it talks about what has to be done there with regard to requirements for a burial permit. You have to have this permit. "19.(1) a person shall not (a) bury or otherwise dispose of the body of a person who dies in the province; (b) remove a body from the province; or (c) conduct a funeral or religious service in connection with the burial or other disposition of a body…."

We know now what has to be done, and those regulations are all in place. Really, I guess, this piece of legislation takes you right from birth to the end of your time. It is almost like a one-package deal.

On a serious note, it also mentions here – we have a piece of legislation coming out shortly pertaining to marriages, but under here we also have registration of marriages. That is very important, too, and it outlines the regulations that have to be followed: the signing officers, each party pertaining to the marriage, the witnesses, it tells you that they have to be sixteen years of age or over, and so on, but that is very important.

The only thing – I think it is under clause 30 – I just want the minister to reference this when he takes his place again in closing the debate. It is clauses 30, 31 and 32, and it is all the same. I will just reference one, Mr. Minister. I will just take clause 30.(1) where it says, "With respect to a birth that occurred 100 years ago or more, the registrar general may issue the following documents: (a) a certificate of birth, only to a person referred to in paragraphs (2)(a) to (f);" - and it outlines who can get it - "…or (b) a certified copy of the registration of the birth, to a person."

I am just wondering when it says, "to a person". It is the same thing with regard to your date of birth, 100, and I think it is marriages of seventy-five years more or less where it says the same thing again under that one, where it says a certified copy. I know it is not the actual certificate but it says a certified copy of the registration of the marriage to a person. I am wondering, when they reference person, does that include anybody, everybody, or people with authorization from the particular family? In some cases they may be deceased, but I am just wondering who is referenced there.

The only other piece that I have is with regard to clause 43 in relation to fees, forms and so on. If there are offences that take place, if there is registration that is taking place under false pretenses or not accurate or not used properly we have some pretty hefty fines here. It goes on to say, "…and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $50,000…." So it is very serious business when you make those registrations, whether it is a birth certificate, a marriage certificate or a death certificate. You have to be very careful what you are doing, because if there is false documentation there are pretty hefty fines if something is going on.

My last comment, I guess, is with regard to the fees. I know we have to have fees for everything but I guess the only one – we have brought this up many times – is there is no fee for a death certificate issued within the first year of your death. So, I guess if you are going to get your certificate you had better get it in the first year that you are gone, because after that you have to pay $20.

Having said that, I agree, Minister, with this piece of legislation. There are some minor changes, I guess, and some that have been in the format before, but it has to be compiled in a bill such as Bill 24 so that the rules and regulations are there to govern each and every resident of this Province; because, like I said, it takes us right from birth to the grave, from your birth to your grave.

Mr. Speaker, those are the only comments I have to make. Probably you can elaborate - I do not think it is complicated or anything - on the one where I mentioned about a certified copy of the registration of the birth to a person.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I will take my place.

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

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

I am very glad to speak to Bill 24, which has to do with the registration of births, marriages, deaths and other vital events. It is very important, with the changes that are going on in our society - and they are quite rapid in recent years - that we make sure that all of our legislation is brought up to date to cover all of the situations that we encounter.

While I know that amendments have been made to other acts that have become part of the new bill, we just keep making amendments and that becomes rather complicated, actually, and you start losing a sense of continuity in an act when you have a lot of amendments made. So, having this new bill which puts together, replaces the Vital Statistics Act and revises and consolidates laws with regard to registrations, we now will have an act that will be modern, that will eliminate things that were in other acts unintentionally or intentionally, elimination of bias, for example, with regard to gender and sexual orientation, with regard to same-sex marriage and common-law relationships, especially with common-law relationships. Common-law relationships have existed in time immemorial. There have been common-law relationships, and they have been recognized in law as common-law relationships for a long, long time. It is good to have language in our act which covers vital statistics that recognize common-law relationships.

Now that we have moved, in our society, to recognizing the rights of same gender relationships, for example, and the rights of people, whether they are gay, whether they are straight, whether they are transgendered, whatever, that all of our legislation is brought up to date to recognize all of those rights.

I am not going to speak to everything in the bill, obviously, because it is an administrative bill, and certainly I am going to support it, but there are some things that I think are good to mention.

One is the registering of still births. I think that is a very, very important move. I am sure that we are all aware, and in our lives at different times have had friends or acquaintances or heard of people who have experienced still births. It is quite a traumatic event for parents, or a parent if the mother is on her own, to go through a still birth, because usually there has been no indicator that that is going to happen, especially when the still birth happens really close to term. It can be an extremely traumatic experience, and the parents of the stillbirth child want to recognize that, the same as if the child had been born live and then died. They want a recognition, they want funerals. I have seen funerals of stillbirths happen, because the child was long enough in the womb to be recognized as a child on birth. This is extremely important, that we now legislate the registering of that child.

Registration of events, such as the ones that this bill covers, births, marriages, deaths, registrations of this kind are very important for people, when it comes to self-identity, and the identity of the community that they are a part of and the family that they are part of. Years down the road, the need for somebody to prove that a death happened or a marriage happened, or whatever, can be extremely important in their lives. Having everything that one can register now being recognized, I think is extremely important.

Another thing that is covered which is certainly something new because of today's technology is the section on artificial insemination. It can be very, very tricky with artificial insemination where the artificial insemination is not from the spouse of the woman who is becoming pregnant. What happens to the partner, to the spouse of the woman who has become pregnant? This now allows for the spouse of the common law partner to be the other parent and it does not matter whether the spouse of the pregnant woman is male or female. There is no bias. Same sex or different sex, it does not matter. The other spouse, the spouse of the common law relationship, can, not only can but will, be the other parent. This recognition of these rights, this recognition of new realities in our society, are so important because they help us in the creation of being a society that cares about one another, that cares about people's rights, that does not judge people, and that accepts the realities of people's lives.

The other one, too, which certainly has to do with new technology - a lot of these things in this act are there because of new technology - is the point on surrogacy. Certainly surrogacy is something that, in the form that I mean it, did not exist 100 years ago. Now, if there is no genetic link to the child, the one who is going to be the parent, in other words the woman who carries the child, if she is not going to have anything else to do with the child once she carries the child, she will have to legally adopt the child. This is extremely important. The one who is going to be the parent, not the one who carries it - I think I said that backwards - not the one who carries the child but the one who is going to be the parent, in order to be the parent just cannot be, oh, I paid to have that person, in the states it would be paid, we do not do that here.

This person has carried the child and I am going to become the mother, and that is fine. The baby is born and this other person with no genetic link cannot automatically become the parent - it could be the father as well - cannot become the parent automatically without legally adopting. That is extremely important both for the child as well as for the mother who carried the child in her womb. There has to be protection for both and it has psychological and emotional impacts down the road as well.

The surrogacy section deals with many different kinds of surrogacies. The wording in the section covers all types of surrogacies and that is extremely important. The language, I think, from what we have been able to tell, and in speaking as well with people from the ministry, from the minister's office, is that the language has been worked based on language that is used in acts in other jurisdictions. The language has been proven to cover all cases and to work in other jurisdictions. For that reason I think we say yes to this language.

Having said all that, the other one that was interesting for me - and this will be my final point I think, Mr. Speaker - had to do with the Change Of Name act. If an individual wants to change his or her first name and they want to change it on any shared documents - that would be legal documents where the person's name as well as their partner's name is in the document - then the spouse or partner has to be involved with the change of the name, that that person has to give permission for the name change to happen. It is because of the implications of that person's name also being on the document. It does not have to do with a document where only the individual's name exists.

For example, if somebody wants to change his or her name on his or her own birth certificate, that person does not need permission of a spouse or a partner, but if they had a document which had to do with ownership, for example a legal document where both names are on the document, then the other person has to give permission for the change. That is not a power issue, it is an issue of legality, that both names are on the document, therefore any change to the document would have to be approved by both people who are signators to the document.

Having said that, I am delighted to see that so many pieces of legislation are being "cleaned up" and that we are bringing our legislation into the twenty-first century. I will be happy to support this bill.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Government Services. If he speaks now, he shall close debate.

The hon. the Minister of Government Services.

MR. O'BRIEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker,

Certainly, I welcome the comments of my colleagues across the House and their support in regard to this very vital bill because it is the Vital Statistics Act and a very vital bill to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

I think there was only just one question, it was pertaining to clause 30, 31 and 32, I believe, in regards to a definition, what is the definition of person. If I could explain it this way, is that after 100 years the public can actually access the registration form that was submitted by the parents. That registration form only gives very informal, or the basic information. That is all that is there after 100 years. Also, as was referenced by my hon. colleague, the person is probably passed way by then and only the family members themselves can access the certificate, which is the formal documentation of identity. That protects the identity of the person in regards to identity theft that the person has to be a family member who can get that actual piece of information. This certainly reflects current policies and also current policies in other jurisdictions. So I hope that explains it for my hon. colleague.

Certainly, they have reflected too on the importance of this piece of legislation and the amendments and the new act itself in pertaining to a lot of things that were never addressed in the piece of legislation that was first enacted in the 1800s. As my hon. colleague from Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi said, there were many, many amendments brought forward to the actual act but it became more complicated as we went along.

I also want to compliment my staff in the Department of Government Services because they are doing an absolutely fabulous job –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. O'BRIEN: - in regards to the 150 pieces plus legislation that we find. You will find that in the fall we will be bringing a number of pieces of legislation forward too, as they do their most important work for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I will take my seat and move to the next piece of work for the day.

MR. SPEAKER: It has been moved and seconded that Bill 24, An Act Respecting The Registration Of Births, Marriages, Deaths And Other Vital Events be now read a second time.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the said bill be 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 Respecting The Registration Of Births, Marriages, Deaths And Other Vital Events. (Bill 24)

MR. SPEAKER: This bill has now been read a second time. When shall the said bill be referred to a Committee of the Whole House, now, tomorrow?

MS BURKE: Now, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Now.

On motion, a bill, "An Act Respecting The Registration Of Births, Marriages, Deaths And Other Vital Events," read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House presently, by leave. (Bill 24)

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, Order 9, second reading of a bill, An Act Respecting Marriage In The Province. (Bill 25)

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

MR. O'BRIEN: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

I move, seconded by the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, that Bill 25, An Act Respecting Marriage In The Province be now read a second time.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that Bill 25, An Act Respecting Marriage In The Province be now read a second time.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act Respecting Marriage In The Province." (Bill 25)

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

MR. O'BRIEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This is, again, one of the three acts that we are bringing forward today that are all pertaining to much the same thing in regards to the registering of vital events and very, very important to the Province. It is a part, again, of the ongoing work of my officials in the Department of Government Services, to not only clean up the acts that have been there for a long, long time but also to bring forward new legislation and also taking into account other jurisdictions and what works. Why reinvent the wheel when they have experienced that probably previous to us because of their population density?

The current act, the Marriage Act or The Solemnization of Marriage Act, has been in existence since the mid-1970s I believe, and it certainly has received a number of amendments over the years which has sort of complicated it to a certain degree in regards to the general public being able to read the act and understanding what it actually means. So we believe that a complete update was needed to ensure that the policies, issues, language and the privacy requirements reflect today's standards and practices as well.

Many of the changes that you will find in this act today are administrative in nature, such as changing the name of the act in itself, to make it easier for people to identify it if they go looking for the act itself on-line or wherever they might look for it. Other changes will certainly modernize the legislation to today's standards, much different than what we find ourselves in the 1970s as well.

Again, I will just reflect, the name of the old act was The Solemnization of Marriage Act. If I went on-line I would not type in solemnization, I would actually type in marriage, and nothing would come up. Anyways, in regards to that piece of Internet service and IT service, we certainly thought that a change in the name of the act was warranted.

Also, one of the other changes, there was not a whole lot of changes in regards to this act. One of the other ones was to allow me as the minister, or the minister, whoever that may be, to appoint marriage commissioners or licence issuers from outside the Province on a temporary basis, where they make a good case for doing so.

This provision already exists to the clergy. It is also reflective of other jurisdictions as well. They do it, and certainly we thought that we should do it as well to keep everything current. We have people probably, that actually marry people, say in Ontario, Alberta or wherever, and they are issued a temporary licence to do so. So, this gives the same right to the people that we find in other provinces as well.

In general, I think this act is a great improvement, and certainly more in keeping to the standards that we find ourselves today. It reflects the importance of the registering of vital events, and also in regards to the whole surrounding piece of work around marriages today and how they are actually performed and how they are actually registered as well. So everything has changed again since the 1970s, and we want to reflect the modernization and stay in modern times.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I do not have a whole lot to say because there is not a whole lot of work there, other than it was administrative in nature and we cleaned up the act and then made a couple of changes, too, as well.

So, I am going to take my seat now and welcome any comments. I will listen intently to my colleagues across the House.

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

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

It is a pleasure, again, to be able to stand and take a few minutes with regards to Bill 25, An Act Respecting Marriage In The Province.

I guess, as the minister stated, his department is doing a lot of work. We are noted here in Newfoundland, in the spring we do a lot of housecleaning, and I have to say, the minister is doing a lot of housecleaning. I think there are eight or nine bills that he is bringing in during this session, and I think that is great to see that bills are coming together. Any deletions and anything that has to be done to clean up the bills is being done.

Just a few comments with regard to Bill 25; as it states, it is to repeal and replace the Solemnization Of Marriage to revise and consolidate the law respecting marriages in the Province.

Mr. Speaker, under clause 3 and under clause 7, I think these are two very important clauses of the act. One is with regards to the Labrador Inuit rights, and it states very clearly: the provision, term or condition of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement shall have precedence over the provisions of this act. I think that is very important to know that that is there.

As well, in clause 7, the Baha'i Faith has approval from their National Assembly of Canada to appoint a marriage registrar, and if the marriage performed is in accordance with the rites it shall be considered to be valid. So there is consideration given to that in this particular piece of legislation.

Under clause 4 we reference who can perform a marriage. It is all listed the various rules and regulations. A member of the clergy who is registered under this act or a marriage commissioner authorized under section 11 to perform a marriage.

With regard to sections (1) to (4) of clause 5, it outlines with regards to registration of clergy. I think I have a couple of questions as we go through there for the minister. I am just wondering, is this new or would not all clergy, with regards to registration of clergy? I was just wondering if it is new because I would have thought that all clergy of all faiths would be registered through their various religion or religious body or society when they take up their chosen careers, or is this something that has to be done now? It states there that it has to be repeated by January 31 each year. So I am wondering, does each religion, each group in the Province have to report to the department through the minister to register whoever is with their particular faith each and every January 31? Maybe I am reading it wrong, but just some clarification on that. Is there a fee attached to that? If they register say January of 2009 is there a fee when they register again in January of 2010?

Under section 9 with regards to "cancel authorization to perform marriages." I am just wondering, does the minister receive this information from other groups or bodies or just from the religious body or society that they belong to? Is it just when - I will just use the United Church or whoever, any denomination, is it when they know that someone has left the practice or for whatever reasons they might have moved on to another career. I guess the only information that you would be judged by is what would come from this group or society.

Then again with regards to who or who is not a member, would it not be acceptable that their word when they joined that religious group - that would be the ones that it would come under I guess and they would remain registered until clause 9 would become a factor. Once they are registered I guess, until you heard from those particular groups or religions.

With regards to clause 10, even though I brought up that what I just mentioned, Mr. Speaker, but they are given the option to appeal anyway. For instance, there might be someone who is performing marriages and for whatever reason their name was put forward to be cancelled, they do have an appeal process.

Under section 11, appointment of marriage commissioners, 11(1) and (2), where it says, the mayors, the Provincial Court Judges, by virtue of their office, marriage commissioners: I am wondering: When it comes to the mayors, does that particular council have to report every January 31, or the Department of Justice or whoever, with regard to the judge who can perform? Do they have to register again every January 31, like is done through the other religious bodies?

Clause 12(2), a form of ceremony: If a marriage takes place by a commissioner, the ceremony outlines, "…an expression shall not be used..." I guess when it is done by a religious group or society it is different from when it is done through the commissioner, because they are told what they cannot say or can say there. It says, "…the exclusion of other persons while both of the parties are alive." till death do us part. I guess that is what you are referring to, because with a lot of the religious groups that is in the marriage ceremony. I guess it is telling the commissioners that they can't use that or don't have to use it, or whatever.

The other thing in the bill that I think is very important explains the timeframes, the deadlines, what forms have to be used, and the required fees. All this has to be in order before anything can take place.

Clause 14 states that a marriage commissioner or a member of the clergy cannot issue the licenses. I guess an issuer can't marry and vice versa the other way. That is clarified by the minister.

Clause 27, where it talks about secrecy: I think that is very important. As we went through Bill 24, the same thing with the registration of marriages, birth certificates and death certificates. It is very important, because if a person willfully violates this section they are not off the hook either. There are fines for various offences, not to exceed $5,000. I think that is something that has to be done to make sure that people understand this and are not filling out applications or applying for applications, whatever they are for, and in particular marriage certificates. They know there is a penalty there in case they should try to do something wrong. There is a timeframe once they receive them, as well, in which they have to use them, and I think they can also have an extension.

Clauses 29 and 30 continue with information of various offence and penalties that I just referred to.

The only other comment I have to make, I guess, I believe there is an amendment being put forward to Bill 25 with regard to where it says husband or wife it now substitutes the words with husband and wife, wife and wife, or husband and husband.

I guess, as my hon. colleague mentioned earlier, we are going through different changes that probably a lot of people do not understand and have not seen. This has to be in the legislation now, I guess, because we are in a time, an age, where various situations arise. I will leave that portion and maybe the minister will comment on it with regard to subclause 12.(1) of that bill.

Having said that, Mr. Speaker, those are the only comments I have. I know this bill will come into effect in October 2009. As I stated, those things have to take place. You have to have procedures. Really, one of those bills, they all fall in line with regard to the respecting of marriages and then go into the bill we just had with regard to the proper registration.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I will take my place.

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

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

I am quite pleased to speak to Bill 25, which will be the new Marriage Act, or called the Marriage Act. Again, as the minister has said and as my colleague from the Official Opposition has said, we are dealing with administrative bills here for the most part this afternoon. This is another one modernizing the legislation with regard to the governance of marriage in our Province.

Of course, as we all know, marriage has changed in its definition of who may marry. It is a whole new phase in society, the recognition of same-sex marriages, and that is one of the issues that needed to be dealt with in bringing in a new bill.

Another issue, of course, is the separation of church and state. It is not something that people recognize a lot, but somebody could choose, for example, to be married by a commissioner who is not from a religious denomination, a commissioner who is a legal commissioner but sectarian, not related to one denomination. Then, one could choose after that to get married in their denomination.

In some countries, for example, in France, you have to get married first under the non-sectarian legal governance. You get married legally outside of anything to do with church. Then, if you are a person who is part of a religious structure, Christian or otherwise, you then have your religious ceremony; but the actual, official marriage has to happen in the non-church setting, in the totally legal setting, first.

We do not do that here because clergy become registered, as we know, but you still have to have some recognition of the jurisdiction of the state, which is separate from the jurisdiction of clergy, and the fact that the clergy, in becoming registered, have to abide by the laws of the state is extremely important. One of those laws, of course, is that because clergy have to register they have to do things like providing annual lists of the marriages that they perform, and if the lists are not updated then the Minister of Government Services can cancel the authorization that that clergy has.

Now, a clergyperson in that situation - and this is something new that is in this bill that I think is important to point out. This kind of thing, of not keeping the annual lists up to date, could be caused by anything, overwork or whatever, or it could also be carelessness, but they can appeal if they feel that it is unjust that they lose their authorization.

The difference in the new bill is that they appeal to the court, whereas in the old system they appealed to the Cabinet, which is rather patronizing, if you think about it, and patriarchal, going to the Cabinet for their appeal. This is a legal issue, so now the new bill would allow the clergyperson or commissioner – it is not just a clergyperson; it is any marriage commissioner –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS MICHAEL: - they now appeal to the court, which is more appropriate, as I have said, in a democracy where we are not a patriarchal society structurally, anyway, in our legal system. We are a democracy, so going to the court makes much more sense.

One of the things that I want to bring up, I will not wait for the minister to speak to it because I went to the minister about this. I have said this before in the House and I will say it again, it shows that no matter how many eyes read something there can still be something new that needs to be taken care of. This is one of the reasons why every party in the House, whether it is the government, whether it is a party in Opposition, why we need the resources to be able to research and to study legislation that comes before us, because we can continue to find something that needs to be changed in legislation. I contacted the minister because, when I read section 12.(1), I found something that did not seem to fit completely in the move towards the modernization of the language, so I want to read what is listed the act that was circulated to us.

Clause 12.(1) says, "A particular form of ceremony is not required in a marriage that is performed by a marriage commissioner…."

Mr. Speaker, because of my hearing problem I really am requesting that there be less noise in the House. I am really sorry, it is a point of order, but I really am having difficulty physically.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I am asking for the co-operation of all members in the House, and to respect the speaker who has been identified.

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

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

In clause 12(1), "A particular form of ceremony is not required in a marriage that is performed by a marriage commissioner, expect that in some part of the ceremony, in the presence of the marriage commissioner and witnesses, each of these parties to the marriage shall declare…" – and that is not what I am going to look at. Well, I will – " ‘I solemnly declare that I do not know of a lawful impediment why I, A.B., may not be joined in matrimony to C.D.', and then each of the parties shall say to the other: ‘I call upon persons present to witness that I, A.B., take you C.D., to be my lawful wedded spouse (or wife or husband)'…. "

The use of the word spouse there recognizes that the couple may not be using the term husband and wife - they may choose to use spouse - but the person they are speaking to could also be identified as their wife or husband as they want.

Then the next clause says, "…after which the marriage commissioner shall say: ‘By the authority invested in me by the Marriage Act, I pronounce you, A.B. and C.D., to be spouses of each other (or husband and wife).' "

Now, I contacted the minister and shared with him my reading of that clause where the marriage commissioner would say either spouses of each other or husband and wife. The reason again for the spouses or husband and wife, or for the spouses first, the reason for spouses is to be inclusive, so that both mixed marriages or same-sex marriages could all be covered by the term spouse but once you put in husband and wife, there you are specifically speaking to a marriage of a man and a woman.

So in order to make it inclusive, if you are going to put in: or husband and wife, I suggested to the minister that you also will have to put in: or wife and wife, or husband and husband in order to make the term spouse completely inclusive. Couples who have become married and who are of same sex - two women, for example, refer to each other as wife and two men refer to each other as husband, or they may refer to each other simply as spouse.

If clause 12. (1) is to be completely inclusive, which is the intention of how it is written, that it be completely inclusive to recognize same-sex marriages, then the section with regard to what the marriage commissioner says, I suggested to the minister, would have to be amended to include: or wife and wife, or husband and husband.

I am glad to see that the minister and the people in his ministry agreed with that interpretation, and he himself will obviously speak to the amendment that has been distributed. I wanted to point out that having the ability to read the legislation, having enough people to do the work in our office that we were able to pick up on that, and that is why it is important that the parties in Opposition have the resources to read legislation and to be prepared to stand in the House and speak to legislation because it does not matter how many people looked at this piece of legislation, that loophole was there. It would have been something that if it were not changed, would have gotten criticism from people in the gay, lesbian and transgender community because they would have seen it, because it would not have included them in that one particular section. So I am really glad that I saw it, that I was able to speak to it with the minister ahead of time and that he will be putting forward an amendment to the act allowing for that change.

Having said that, Mr. Speaker, I think I have made all the points that I wanted to make. I am not repeating a lot of points that have been made already, both by the Speaker and by my colleague from the Official Opposition. I think that it is an administrative piece of work but it still is important, even with - nothing is just anything, that we have to have it correct. That is why we have to take the time to read the legislation and to have the discussion.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Government Services, if he speaks now he shall close debate.

The hon. the Minister of Government Services.

MR. O'BRIEN: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

Certainly, I welcome the comments of my hon. colleagues across the House and I do welcome their comments in regards to the proposed amendment, which we will address in Committee of the Whole. At that particular time I will bring forward an amendment, as referenced by my colleagues, and I will read that amendment at that particular time when we go into committee.

I think one of my hon. colleagues brought forward a couple of items that he needed clarification on. One was to do with the registering of clergy. Right now, it is required under the act that all clergy be registered with the Registrar General but we found that was not actually happening at times. So now we are going to require that to happen annually. The onus is in regards to the different denominations that we find in the Province, that now they will have a requirement to register annually. We can keep our lists up to date.

Also, it gives me, as a minister, the Minister of Government Services, the right to cancel a commission to marry. For the simple reason, is that they might not be in the Province and they might not be acceptable at this particular time because of circumstances. So it gives the minister flexibility to give cancellation to that policy.

Also, I think it was mentioned in regards to mayors and their right to marry. A number of years ago I think there was a statute brought forward to give just the three mayors of the cities the right to do so, St. John's, Mount Pearl and Corner Brook. Since then, and since I have been the minister who brought forward that policy, I thought that all mayors should be treated alike. So mayors will be given that right too, as well, and only while they are in office. Once they are in office - it ceases to exist.

Also, I want to point out too, that they have to follow the guidelines and the policies of government. One of those policies that I want to point out in particular is the issuing of a commission to marry. If a mayor refuses to marry a same-sex marriage, well they will not be issued a commission. They have to follow the complete regulations and the complete guidelines thereof. If they do not, well then, they will not be extended that right, but if they follow the complete guidelines and the complete policy surrounding the legislation then certainly we will issue that commission.

I think one other thing that was – no, I think that is probably it. Yes, it was brought up, I think by one of my hon. colleagues, in regards to the wording around the marriage ceremony itself, clergy as compared to commission, people that have commissions that allows them to marry. Yes, again, they are given very specific instructions and guidelines that they have to follow pertaining to the legislation. So that would be a condition of the issuing of that particular commission as well.

Hopefully, that clarified a few things. When we go to Committee of the Whole I will bring forward an amendment to reflect the comments of my hon. colleagues across the House. I will sit now, Mr. Speaker, and move to the next piece of legislation.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: It has been properly moved and seconded that Bill 25, An Act Respecting Marriage In The Province, be now read a second time.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the said bill be 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 Respecting Marriage In The Province. (Bill 25)

MR. SPEAKER: This 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, Mr. Speaker.

On motion, a bill, "An Act Respecting Marriage In The Province," read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House presently, by leave. (Bill 25)

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, Order 10, second reading of Bill 26, An Act To Provide For Change of Name.

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

MR. O'BRIEN: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

I move, seconded by the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, that Bill 26, An Act To Provide For Change of Name be now read a second time.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that Bill 26, An Act To Provide For Change of Name, be now read a second time.

The hon. the Minister of Government Services.

MR. O'BRIEN: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

Again, this is one of the three particular pieces of legislation that we are bringing forward today in regards to the registering and the legislation surrounding vital events in the Province. It is very important again to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador because the Change of Name act has been around since the 1970s. Again, it received a number of amendments to reflect some of the changes that happened since 1970. Again, as you bring down amendments, and amendments on top of amendments, you make your legislation more complicated. The people of Newfoundland and Labrador can access it, yes, but probably cannot really make a whole lot of sense out of it with all of the different amendments to it. This is a complete update again. We felt that was needed to ensure that the policy issues, the language and the privacy requirements again reflect today's standards and practices.

Many of the changes that you find are changes such as definition. A Definitions section now is included, and they are also administrative in nature. Other changes will certainly modernize the act. For example, the registrar general currently has the right to refuse a name change but now there will be a provision which will allow a person to appeal that decision, which was not reflected in the current act. Again, we researched other legislation in other jurisdictions and provinces. We believe that the wording and the legislation as it is presented here in the House today is current and modern, because they would probably run into these issues more often than us in regard to our Province of Newfoundland and Labrador because of the densely populated areas of Ontario, B.C., Alberta, wherever, as compared to ourselves only having 500,000-plus souls living in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Other changes include the reducing of the residency requirements from six months to three months, and also adding offences for changing of name for fraudulent or misrepresentation, and the use of the name after a request for a change has been be refused or annulled, and the use of the certificate issued under a previous name.

In the current act, whether or not a person's consent is required to change the name of their child depends on whether they are married to the other parent, divorced, widowed, or they have never been married. We have eliminated this distinction and added protections in the act so that if a parent wants to change the name of a child that parent is required to get the consent of the other parent, regardless of martial status. In other words, in the current act, if two people, husband and wife, had a child, they would name the child. If they were to become divorced and one of the parents had custody of the child and then decided to change the name of that child after remarriage or common law, the natural parent of the child, who was divorced, in the process, would have no right to the changing of that child.

We thought that was wrong, and certainly I believe as the minister responsible that it was wrong, so we brought in changes to the legislation that reflected that reason in regard to that, that both parents would have to consent to any change. I think that is right, and I think that provision should be pointed out here in this House today.

In general, I think that is mostly what it encompasses. That is the major change in regard to this piece of legislation, so I wanted to just point that out as well, how important that is.

Again, Mr. Speaker, I am going to take my seat in this hon. House and welcome any comments by my colleagues across the House.

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

MR. BUTLER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I just want to take a few minutes again on Bill 26, An Act To Provide For Change of Name. I think the minister is after explaining to us the changes that are taking place in this bill, and we know that this bill will repeal and replace the Change of Name Act to revise and consolidate the laws respecting the requirements respecting change of name.

Under the heading and the explanations of what each title means from time to time, under clause 2 it says a child is a person classified as under the age of majority. Then we go into cohabitating partners, and it states very clearly two persons who have been in a relationship outside of marriage for at least one year.

I have to say, Mr. Speaker, as I stated earlier, times are changing. I am sure we all saw the story that was on TV and in the papers back about maybe a month or a month-and-a-half ago where a couple in my area were living together for some ten to fifteen years. They were not married; however, they were in a relationship for ten to fifteen years. They applied for a housing unit and they were turned down. They were turned down because they were not classified as in a relationship, as in a marriage relationship.

It went on for a while, and finally it hit the news media. It was on television and in the local papers, and I think even in The Telegram, this particular story. It went on. They called me and we did follow-ups on it, and so on, but at the end of the day it came down to the point that they did get this unit and they are in the unit.

Like I said, times are changing, and hopefully this piece of legislation, where it defines what each individual's title is, will probably help this in some other event. It outlines that a spouse means either of two persons who are married to each other. Then again, in this particular case, they were not married. However, they were in a relationship, and at the end of the day, it was resolved in their particular favour.

Under sections 4 and 5, it states very clearly that as long as you are age twelve or over and have been in the Province for at least three months – I know the minister said that is one of the things changed from the old act, where the timeframe was six months - you can make application to have a name change. I am sure this is something new, that an individual who is just age twelve or older can apply and have a name change for whatever reasons; I guess as long as the support is there from the parent and so on.

Under section 6, it outlines the process in various situations, whether it is name change by parents when one is not the parent of the child. The minister touched on that, because I think they do have to give notification to the parent of the child who is not in that particular relationship at the time. If thirty days should elapse, then they can proceed with the name change. I think that is important, because if you do not put timeframes on it the other person outside the relationship now may let this continue on and they would not be able to do what the child or the now parents wanted to do.

Under sections (1) and (2) of clause 7, and also under clause 8, it explains the custody order involvement, the director of Child, Youth and Family Services, and it also goes into at a time even having to go before a judge. I am sure we are all familiar with many cases where children are taken into custody, for whatever reasons, and we know the involvement and the direction that has to be taken by the director of Child, Youth and Family Services. It is good to see this in this piece of legislation, because from time to time parents and guardians of children want to know that they are protected in this particular bill, if anything should arise in the future and be of major concern to them.

Under clause 11(6)(a) and (b), it is listed under refusal of application. I will not say it was humorous, but I thought under that particular piece it says: A name may be undesirable in the public interest if it might cause offence to a reasonable person. I take that one, but then it goes on to say under clause 11(6)(b): if it is unreasonably long. I think about many people who are coming to our Province from other countries and some of them have fairly lengthy names, there is no doubt about it. I do not know what this piece of legislation considers as long. I mean, if someone comes to this country and then finally gets married here and they are using their name – it does not say if it references their last name or their first name – because the individual's name was fairly long I cannot see them being refused application on that grounds. From time to time I have had general practitioners who have come from another country and their names were fairly long. I was just wondering how long is long, if you refuse that name if an application should come forward?

Mr. Speaker, there is a process in this bill. Like all the other pieces of legislation that are brought forward by this department, there is an appeal process, a thirty-day appeal process, whether it is the length of the name or a name that someone might think is unreasonable for someone else in the community, there is a process where they can appeal that.

Under clause 19, I guess like all the other pieces of legislation, if offences do occur, there is a means of fines and imprisonment up to ninety days, anywhere from thirty to ninety days, if someone should, I guess, make a name change for any reason outside of a legitimate one They may be doing it for many reasons and we know there are so many people today trying to do things in a corrupt way. There is a means here. There is a fine and possibly up to imprisonment for thirty to ninety days if that should take place.

Under clause 22 it says, with regard to fees and that, there are fees for just about everything now. I was wondering what fees are in place when it comes to this piece of legislation, and if there are any would there be any increases to them at this particular time?

Having said that, it is like the minister said, this is a piece of legislation that is brought forward. It is a housekeeping thing, bringing recommendations, I guess, to many bills brought forward in the past, and amendments to them. Now the department is taking them and consolidating them into one bill.

I think this is a very important piece of legislation, as well. Even though it may not sound like much, just provides for a name change, but as you read through the bill there are complications that can happen from time to time with individuals and people throughout the Province.

Mr. Speaker, those are the only comments I have, only to say to the minister that I will be supporting this piece of legislation.

Thank you.

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

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

I am happy to rise again and speak to another bill which has to do with what we have been dealing with this afternoon, administrative issues, some with regard to registrations. I guess, in a way, the change of name has to do with registrations as well: what has to be done if somebody is going to change their name.

I am just going to speak to two particular parts of the bill. The first part is just to do a bit of a commentary to make it clear for people who may be interested in reading the bill, clear from my perspective, and then I have a question about one section that I will put when I get to it.

In reading sections 4 and 5, in particular, one has to read each section carefully to get the full meaning. I had to read it carefully myself to get the full meaning, to tell you the truth.

First of all, in clause 4, "A person who (a) is resident in the Province, and (b) has reached the age of majority may make an application under this Act to change his or her name." Then the question is: Well, what is the age of majority? The age of majority in the Province is nineteen. I think that has been pointed out by my colleague from the official Opposition.

That becomes important when you go to subsection (3), because when you get into subsection (3) of clause 4 it says, "Notwithstanding subsection (1), a child may apply to change his or her name where he or she (a) has been married; (b) has been a cohabiting partner; or (c) is a parent of a child."

It is a bit jarring when you first read that, but by law until you reach the age of majority you are legally called a child. In that sense, a child may marry but the child has to be sixteen in order to marry. It is jarring, so for somebody to pick it up and read it they may question it. It is simple as that, until you are nineteen, under law one is referred to as a child. A seventeen year old, if the seventeen year old has been married or the seventeen year old has been proven to be cohabiting with a partner, or the seventeen year old is the parent of a child, then the seventeen year old on his or her own can apply to have their name changed.

When you come to 5, the difference is, it is not the child asking for the name change. "The name of a child who is 12 years of age or over may be changed under this Act only with the consent of that child." In other words, if somebody else wants to change the child's name and the child is 12 or over, for example, a parent may want to change the child's name – if a parent wants to change the child's name then it is not the rules under subsection (3) that count; it is that the child has to give consent, even though the child does not fit the definition, but it is not the child making the application.

That is my understanding, and I see the minister nodding the head – his head. I just did what they do in French: you nod the head; you don't nod your own head. You don't own parts of your body. I just did a translation from my French knowledge into the English. The minister nodded his head. We do own our parts of our body in English.

In clause 5, then, it is important that the consent here is the consent of the child when somebody else is making the application to change the name.

So, those three clauses, or those three sections there - it is two clauses, but sections of one clause and then the next one - they are a bit complicated but you sort of have to look at all of them together to get the full meaning of the impact on a child, when one may make it, and then definitions for the child of when a child is allowed to make their own application - child in the legal definition of child - and when a child's consent has to be sought by a third party.

It is written clearly, but one has to understand the different definitions that are at play in order to get the full meaning. I just wanted to point that out, probably because I had to work through it myself.

The one point I am questioning, and I would like the minister to respond to when he speaks, has to do with clause 7.(2), but I have to refer to section 7.(1) first. Under section 7.(1) we talk about the name change of a child who is in custody, and it says, "Where a custody order has been made in respect of a child…" – and, again, understanding the definition of child – "…an application to change the name of the child may be made by (a) a director of Child, Youth and Family Services where there is a permanent custody order…" – that means the child is permanently taken out of the family home – "(b) a director of Child, Youth and Family Services with the consent of the parents where there is a temporary custody order…" – when it is temporary, that means the child could move back into the family home, the parents' consent has to be sought when it is a temporary order – or, "(c) where the custody of a child is given to a third party, that party, with the consent of the parents." Again, the parents are still involved because it is still not, I presume, a permanent situation; it could change.

When you come to section 2, and this is where I have the question for the minister, "Notwithstanding subsection (1)…" with those three times when a child's name can be changed by somebody else, by somebody who has custody over them, notwithstanding that section "…the registrar general may dispense with the consent required under that subsection upon satisfactory proof that one or both parents of the child are deceased."

So my question to the minister is - I can understand when both parents are deceased, that the registrar general would have the authority to do this, and that makes sense to me when both, but I find it strange that you take, for example, 7.(1)(b), that if a child is in a temporary custody order and one parent is still alive, and that child could go back with that one parent, why would the authority of the registrar general supersede that of the living parent in a temporary situation?

I only picked this up this afternoon, actually, and maybe there is a logical explanation, but the child still has a parent. The child is only in temporary order. Why wouldn't that parent still have a responsibility and the right to be the one to give the consent? Why would the registrar general's authority supersede the parent?

I hope my question to the minister is clear. I think he has been nodding his head, and I think he understands what my question is, so I look forward to his answer to that, whether it comes at the end of the second reading or in Committee. It does not seem right to me when it comes to 7.(1)(b) if there is a parent alive, and the same way with 7.(1)(c) if you also have a parent alive there.

I can see the registrar general's authority superseding a single parent when there has been a permanent custody order. I cannot see why the registrar general would supersede the authority of a parent if there is at least one parent still living. That is what I am questioning.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: If the minister speaks now he will close debate on Bill 26.

The hon. the Minister of Government Services.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. O'BRIEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It certainly is referenced by my hon. colleagues across the House that this is an important piece of work to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, as all my legislation pertains to servicing the people that we find living in our fair Province.

First off, I think my hon. colleague from Port de Grave raised a question in regard to clause 4 and clause 5. I think it was actually sort of referenced by the Member for Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi as well. I think she probably explained it, but again I will just reference that a person over the age of 19 is considered to be an adult in Newfoundland and Labrador and they can apply on their own. The consent of a child who is age 12 or over, the consent of that child will be required by the person making application for a change of name before it can proceed, unless the courts dispense with that requirement. If they were to go to court beforehand, for whatever reason it may be, then the court decision would then stand.

I think my hon. colleague from Port de Grave also referenced section 11.(6)(b) in regard to the refusal of a name change because of the length, or for whatever reason. The only way that I can put it to him is that it would have to be really, really, really, really, really long before that would happen. Anyway, that is the only way I can say it to you: that it would have to use up more than all the letters that we find in the English alphabet before that would be done.

Also, there is a fee of $25 attached to the other reference in regard to fees. There is a fee of $25 but this would be a good time, Mr. Speaker, and I think I am allowed to do this, we continually analyze and have a look at the fees pertaining to anything – permits, et cetera – that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador have to address in regard to applying for a permit or whatever. I think in one particular budget alone we removed $34 million worth of them. So, again, they are always under review and certainly there is a fee attached to this one. It may be for a very simple reason, because sometimes we put them there to prevent people from just doing it on a whim, or whatever way you want to put it. Anyway, we are continually reviewing our fees at any particular time.

I just actually want to refer and apologize to the House. I had a glance at my Blackberry in regard to one of the questions.

A clarification in regard to that point is that if there is one parent living, that parent would have to give consent as well. I just got that in, so it is there. The answer to that question is that, with pertaining to having consent on a temporary custody that would be there. I will have a closer look and I will probably further address that in Committee as well, to make positively sure to the member across the House, that it is addressed within the legislation. I am understanding from my officials, both in Government Services and in Justice, that it would require that if there is a parent living, that the consent of the parent supersedes and that would be required.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I will take my seat in this hon. House and then we will work with all of the rest of legislation, the good work that we are doing for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador today, and I will have further comments when we go to Committee in regards to my legislation.

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 Provide For Change Of Name. (Bill 26)

MR. SPEAKER: Bill 26 has now been read a second time.

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

MS BURKE: Now, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Now.

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Provide For Change Of Name," read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House presently, by leave. (Bill 26)

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, Order 11, second reading of Bill 27.

MR. SPEAKER: It has been moved and seconded that Bill 27, An Act Respecting The Public Trustee, be now read a second time.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act Respecting The Public Trustee." (Bill 27)

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

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

It is a pleasure for me to be able to stand here today to speak to Bill 27, which is An Act Respecting The Public Trustee.

With this act, we are continuing with our government's commitment to be open and accountable and to provide a process which is more accessible for the general public.

This bill, Mr. Speaker, will do a number of things. First of all, it will create the Office of the Public Trustee as a corporation. Secondly, it will transfer the responsibility and the organizational framework that is now associated with the administration of estates from the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador to the newly created Office of the Public Trustee.

We will also repeal and replace the current Public Trustee Act to reflect the current realities of the administration of estates in our Province. We will also create accountability by ensuring that the public trustee reports, not to the registry of the court, but reports to the Minister of Justice, who in turn reports to the people of the Province through the House of Assembly.

We will ensure, under section 21.(1) of the act that the Auditor General can examine and audit the accounts of the public trustee. This bill will also make the process of distributing property more accessible as the trustee may now distribute property to heirs or a personal representative if the estate is valued under $10,000.

Mr. Speaker, the concept of a public trustee is not new in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. In fact, in 1962, over forty-seven years ago, the House of Assembly passed a Public Trustee Act to provide for the creation of the Office of a Public Trustee that would be separate from the Registrar at the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The public trustee was, amongst other things, to act as an administrator of estates of deceased persons and to oversee a range of other guardianships and trustee functions, such as being guardian for the estates of minors and guardian for the estates of mentally handicapped.

Mr. Speaker, this act has never been proclaimed. The Public Trustee Act has never been proclaimed after a period of forty-seven years. That raises the question: Why was it not proclaimed?

Now, Mr. Speaker, under the current system, the estates administration division is a division of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, and that operates under the direction of the Registrar of the Supreme Court. The registrar's overall authority is conferred by the Judicature Act and the responsibilities in relation to the administration of estates include: the administration of estates of people that are deceased where the Supreme Court has appointed the registrar to be the administrator of the estate. Secondly, the administration of trusts of minors and mentally disabled persons, where the registrar has been appointed as guardian of the estates of minors or trusts of mentally disabled persons.

Also, the custodian of monies that happen to be paid into court in pending actions, as well as other monies that may be paid to the court or to the registrar under various pieces of legislation in the Province, such as the Judicature Act, the Life Insurance Act, the Automobile Insurance Act, the Trustee Act, the Survival of Actions Act and others.

The estates office is physically located separate from the Supreme Court and is located in the Viking Building on Crosbie Road here in the City of St. John's. It currently operates with approximately ten staff. This includes the Estate Trust Administrator, Mr. John Baird, five estate officers, and I understand that of those five estate officers, three look after the estates of deceased persons, and one looks after the estates of mentally disabled persons, and one looks after the estates of minors. There is also an accountant and an accounting clerk.

Mr. Speaker, as the number and the complexity of estates has increased in recent years, the position of assistant estates administrator was created and was supported in budget 2009. I understand that the job description is in the process of being completed, and that will then go to the human resources person in the Department of Justice. From there it will go for classification through Treasury Board. At least this other position will be there to provide additional support to the people in the Estates Administration Office.

Mr. Speaker, the current organizational structure of the Supreme Court, which encompasses the Estate Administration Office, is unique in the country of Canada. In no other common law jurisdiction in the country is responsibility for estates administration included in the organizational framework of the courts.

It may not be appropriate, Mr. Speaker, for the courts to administer this function, as there are issues of public perception, and the independence of the office and the judiciary, in the event that an officer of the Estates Administration Division would be brought before the court to account for its actions in dealing with assets pursuant to a court appointment.

Given the close relationship that exists between the registrar, the court itself, and the Estates Administration Office, this bill proposes to separate the role of the Estates Administration Office from the Supreme Court. This means the office of the trustee will continue to administer estates on behalf of deceased persons, it will continue to administer trusts of minors and mentally disabled persons, and it will also engage in other estates and trust functions. However, the Office of the Public Trustee will no longer be the custodian of monies that are paid in court. This function will remain with the registrar of the Supreme Court.

A minimal disruption is anticipated, as the Estates Administration Division, in many respects, operates now as a separate division of the court.

Mr. Speaker, the proposed bill establishes an Office of the Public Trustee as a corporation. The office will report to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General. While many of the concepts that are set out in the 1962 act remain in the proposed bill, there are a number of new provisions which reflect updated procedures and practices that are associated with the administration of estates in this Province.

These provisions include the administration of estates of missing persons, in sections 5 to 7, the administration of a charitable trust, and also the administration of small estates in section 13.

Mr. Speaker, the hallmark of the William's Administration has been openness and accountability, and this new Public Trustee Act will continue this by allowing the Auditor General to examine and audit the accounts of the public trustee. The people of the Province can take comfort in knowing that the Auditor General will ensure that appropriate measures are taken, and as well discussions have taken place with the Comptroller General of the Province. He has reviewed this legislation and is supportive of the actions we are taking.

Under section 13, accounts under $10,000 can now be distributed by the public trustee to a person's heirs or personal representative without having to deal with a protractive court proceeding or procedure. We are, therefore, increasing the accessibility of this process, possibly saving individuals delay and financial costs.

As well, as I said earlier, the Office of the Public Trustee will now report to the Minister of Justice who is responsible to the House of Assembly for its actions, and, through the House, to the people of this Province, instead of the office being responsible to the registrar. I think that is very important.

I know we have a difference of views in this House as to who should appoint and be responsible for certain public officials. I think there is a tendency for some people to suggest that people should be appointed to these positions, not by the Cabinet, not by the elected representatives of the people, but by some independent body. My concern is always: Well, who are they responsible to? If you have an arbitrator make a decision, who is the arbitrator responsible to? At least if the decision is made by government, government is accountable, government is responsible. I would prefer that. I would prefer that this office will report to the minister, and, through the minister, to this House and to the people of the Province rather than to the registrar of the court.

Finally, most if not all of the provisions relating to financial administration of the Office of the Public Trustee were adopted from the Judicature Act, from the rules of the Supreme Court 1986, and from the Trustee Act. Bill 27, An Act Respecting The Public Trustee, would be subject to proclamation. This is to provide time for the Supreme Court and the newly created Office of the Public Trustee to deal with some operational issues relating to human resources and relating to accounting.

Mr. Speaker, on Friday I, along with officials of the department, visited the office of the Estates administration division in the Viking Building on Crosbie Road and there are some challenges; there are some issues. There are needs for more estate offices, and that involves the amount of money we are paying them, and that involves classification, so we need some time to address these issues.

This bill is an important one to the Province. The concept of an independent public trustee to oversee the administration of estates as well as other guardian functions is widely accepted practices in all provinces of the country. Members of the general public will be well served by this legislation, as it reflects modern realities concerning the administration of estates within this Province.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I will take my seat and urge passage of second reading of An Act Respecting The Public Trustee.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: 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 this piece of legislation, Bill 27, An Act Respecting The Public Trustee. I would certainly agree that I guess we are coming into the twenty-first century compared to the other common-law jurisdictions in the country. They have their public trustees separate from their court systems, and it is great to see that we are going to catch up to them.

I am familiar with how it has worked. In a past life, of course, as a lawyer you often get involved with estate matters. You are dealing with minors, you are dealing with disabled people, and Mr. Baird became a fixture, I guess, in any legal practice, or you had to know him and know what it was all about because you often were doing a lot of stuff through him. I think he has been down there - someone said at one time he was older than Signal Hill, but he has been there a long time.

I guess one question I would ask the minister is: Is it intended that all of the current staff will be rolled over? And, who will be the public trustee? Because we have gone through, in this Province and in this House, in the last number of years - I notice he is going to be appointed, and that gets us into a lot of problems in some cases. We talk about appointing people, and we utter out of one side of our face that we are going to be open and transparent. Then we turn around and make appointments that people say, well, him or her were political cronies, and we get in this House and we hear all kinds of speeches about it.

We all went through this with the appointment of Mr. Reynolds as the Chief Electoral Officer. We had it when a former politician, Mr. Furey, was appointed, so I am just wondering. I hope Bill 27 doesn't become a stick that people use to beat the government with again, because the intentions, I would think, are to bring it in to the twenty-first century, to be truly open and apparent and transparent. If you turn around and you muddy that by appointing someone who is strictly a political person as opposed to being appointed for his or her abilities - for example, I would think that the professional abilities that someone would have going to that position, it might be an accountant of some kind, it might be somebody with an accounting background, somebody who has worked in positions of trust before, someone who is known as being a good administrator, someone who has the faith and confidence of the people, and not someone who has a political history.

Everybody, I am sure, in the Province will be watching to see how the LGC handles this, and if it just becomes another retirement home for some former political crony we are certainly going to miss the boat on what the intentions of this piece of legislation are.

I agree, as well, in the sense of separating it from the courts. We went through, last week here, a Ministerial Statement given by the minister. It talked about how the Supreme Court systems in the Province are being reorganized from the Family Court perspective. We have seen the new family violence court that has been up here. We are going to have two new chief justices in the Province as of tomorrow. There is going to be a swearing-in ceremony, I understand, tomorrow. There have been a lot of major structural organizational pieces done in the Province with the additional Family Court services in Corner Brook with Justice Peddle, for example. There is a lot gone on and this is, I would agree, a proper move. Take this estates piece out of the operations of the courts and let the courts be the courts.

I never realized before, until the minister actually said – I never, ever looked at it that way - but the potential for conflict was there because the chief justice, I would think, of the Trial Division was officially the boss, shall we say, of the Estates Office, not only as administrator of the Supreme Court but he was, I guess, ultimately responsible for the operations of the Estates Office, and the registrar and so on. I never, ever contemplated it, but I guess it was a potential conflict. If someone in that office got into a problem or a situation where he had to make a ruling, or make a decision, that Mr. Baird – I use Mr. Baird because he was the gentleman who was usually there, the person there, that it would have put the courts in a potential conflict, so it is good to see that is has been taken out for those reasons as well.

I am just wondering, however, and I just throw out a few things here, I made my comments about the appointment process, and who it might or might not be. I am assuming from the minister's comments that the Estates Office, or the office of the public trustee, will indeed stay in Crosbie Place.

The minister made some comment that there are some challenges. He said there are some human resource, I believe, and some accounting issues that need to be resolved before we proclaim this bill; and, God forbid, we will not be forty-one years like we waited since the last one - forty-seven years since the last one - and it still never did get proclaimed. Hopefully, it won't take that long. We are going to make the law and set it up. Hopefully, those accounting and human resource area challenges are not such that we could be sitting here in forty-seven years' time, or someone will be, saying that we never did that either.

I say to the minister, I have no idea why the Public Trustee Act of forty-seven years ago got lost in the bowels of government in some legislative office and was never proclaimed. Probably if I were to venture a guess, I would think it was because no one ever had the wherewithal to make the distinction and take the Estates Office from the courts and to say that it is going to operate separately and to set up the mechanisms to do it, or had the resources to even do it. It is something that worked from antiquity so they said let it continue as it is, because no one wanted to take the trouble to go about and make it work like it should work, and take it out of the court system. That would be my guess, and probably a resource issue that was attached to it in terms of staffing and so on.

They were always in the court, as I understood it, for years and years, on Duckworth Street. They made the move now to get out and get separate themselves. That probably was a good impetus to take it a step further and say not only are you physically separated from the Supreme Court but we are going to do it legislatively now and set you up properly.

Again, another question I have for the minister is in section 3 when they say that we are establishing as a corporation but it is not governed by the Corporations Act, or the Corporations Act shall not apply. I am just wondering if the minister, at some point, could outline the distinction. We are going to make it a corporation but it shall not be subject to the Corporations Act. I am just wondering; maybe some commentary or explanation around that piece would certainly be helpful.

There was one other comment I wanted to ask the minister about, as well, and that was in section 25 when they say – because we have given all of our commentary about taking this out of the Supreme Court and being separate from and so on, and the possible conflicts of interest that might have been there by where it was. Then we go on in clause 25 to say, "Nothing in this Act derogates from the inherent powers of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador."

I am wondering if maybe there is some explanation there as to if it was an inherent power of the Supreme Court that they became the operational, administrative piece of the estates. Here we are trying to create something separate, yet we are saying in 25 it does not infringe upon the Supreme Court. I am just wondering what the interplay is between the intention of Bill 27, but yet leaving this section in here.

If it was an inherent act of the courts and we are trying to severe it, why wouldn't we severe it? Why would we be saying now that it is not subject to the inherent powers. Maybe it is because I do not have a proper understanding of what inherent powers means. Maybe it is as simple as that.

Part of this process, which I like about the process, is you get to ask the minister questions and say: I do not know, can you tell me? I am sure a lot of us here comment on these acts and laws and sometimes we do not understand what they are for and so on. It makes it a lot easier when you understand something, as to why you are being asked to vote for it and so on. Even if someone else asks you to explain it, at least you are in a capacity, in a position, where you can explain it to someone else.

I certainly do not understand the interplay between those two sections, and I would appreciate it if the minister could fill us in.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The member speaking is making comments that he will want the minister to respond to. The minister has to hear what he is saying, so I would ask for the member's cooperation please.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

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

I am not sure if anyone will listen to you, actually, but anyway I hope the minister got the drift of my questions. In any case, I am sure he did.

Mr. Speaker, that is all I have to say. Just a couple of questions that I directed to the minister, and if he did not hear what those questions were, I would be more than happy to repeat them to him privately if he wishes.

Thank you very much.

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

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

I am glad to have an opportunity to speak to Bill 27, An Act Respecting The Public Trustee.

It is an important bill, actually, and I certainly hope, as has already been expressed by my colleague from the Official Opposition, that this time we will have an act that will be passed. I think the public needs to have some sense of security that their interest is taken care of. There are certain different circumstances that this bill deals with whereby having a Public Trustee means that we do have the concerns of the public taken care of.

I, too, have a concern with regard to the appointment of the position. I think it is extremely important that the public trustee be seen as being independent and separate standing on the Office of the Public Trustee, being independent and standing on its own both in terms of its relationship to the registrar of the courts as well as with regard to Cabinet.

I know that the minister spoke a bit to it but and he acknowledged that there are differences of opinion about appointments, but this is a position that has to do with people's wills, with estates, with the taking care of the public trust, for example, of people who may be mentally disabled. There are just so many powers that this position covers that the person definitely has to be seen as being completely independent. So I, too, have some concerns.

I found it interesting when I looked at section 8 with regard to charitable trusts. I am really glad to see this section here, and I will just read it for anybody who is listening in the public and does not have this in front of them. "(1) The public trustee may accept and administer a charitable trust. (2) Where a charitable trust has been established and (a) the donors to that trust; or (b) the beneficiaries of that trust so request, and where the matter is in the public interest, the public trustee may apply to a judge to administer that charitable trust." Section 3 of the clause: "A judge may, by order, direct that the public trustee administer a charitable trust on the terms and conditions the judge considers appropriate, and the public trustee shall comply with that order."

I think we have had situations in the Province where money gets collected in times of emergencies, for example, and people, out of the goodness of their hearts, set up money in the form of a charitable trust and then do not have the ability to administer the money; yet the money is public money. It is not public in the sense that it is under government but it is public in the sense that the citizens of the Province have entrusted the money to be used in a certain manner.

I think one of the situations had to do with the disaster on Bell Island where a charitable trust was set up and the group administering that trust really did not have the ability to administer it. It happens quite frequently.

I remember the time of the disaster of the Ocean Ranger when the Telegram set up a trust fund. I am not saying that the Telegram did not have the ability to administer, but the families' foundation that I was with at the time questioned very much how the decisions were being made by the Telegram. There really was nowhere for the families' foundation to go to question the fact that there were women in need and the money was not being given to them, because the people at the Telegram had not even set up a terms of reference for the money. I think we have had situations, not only do I think it, but we have had situations in the Province with regard to charitable trusts - it particularly happens at times of disasters – that show that in regard to charitable trusts there is a role for the public trustee.

I am not going to make any more points. Some of the sections are quite logical, for example, section 13 with regard to small estates. I think that this is something that is being done in jurisdictions across the country, too, where you can end up with a lot of these small estates and nothing happening with them. Having this under this jurisdiction of the public trustee is also a good idea. Again, for anybody at home who does not have this in front of them, I will read what it says in section 13, "Where the public trustee acting in any capacity holds property not exceeding $10,000 in value, of a person who has died, the public trustee may, on receiving evidence satisfactory to him or her, distribute that property to the person's heirs or personal representative without requiring compliance with" the section before, and I do not need to read the section before.

The idea is that the public trustee with small amounts of money can go ahead and distribute the money. I would imagine that you could get a lot of those small estates building up and that would become more or less an administrative nightmare. Without complicating getting rid of small estates - and there are rules around larger issues in clause 12 - clause 13 recognizes that some estates are so small that you do not want to complicate it, you just go ahead and distribute the money.

I think I have made the points that I want to make, Mr. Speaker, and I look forward to hearing the minister's response to a couple of the issues that have been raised.

Thank you.

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

The hon. the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General.

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

I will try to briefly answer some of the questions raised.

First of all, with respect to who might be appointed public trustee, whether it will be an independent person. Of course the officer will be independent and separate from the court, but whether it will be a person who is qualified or whether a person will be appointed for political reasons, the position of public trustee is a very important position. It is a position of trust, and as the leader of the NDP indicated, the trustee must look after the estates of people who are deceased, the trustee looks after the estates of minors and people who suffer from a mental disability, and therefore it is extremely important that a qualified person have that position. Now we are at a bit of a disadvantage in this Province. At one time there were companies that did a lot of this type of work, like Royal Trust Company, Montreal Trust Company, that hired these estate officers and trained them. They took courses with the national training institute.

I understand from Mr. Baird that a number of years ago these companies moved their trust offices to Halifax, and therefore there is a lack or a dearth of people here in the Province who are trained in this particular area. So it makes it difficult, and that is one of the challenges of the office.

I assume that the public trustee will be the current estate administrator, but of course he is eligible for retirement. So we will just have to wait and see, but your points are very well taken. The points raised by the Leader of the NDP and the Opposition House Leader are well taken in that regard. You are right about section 18 (inaudible) trust, that was meant to deal with the Bell Island situation.

As I said in my opening remarks, there are going to be challenges. There are challenges on the human resource side. Finding people who are qualified, making sure we pay enough to attract people into that, and making sure the people we attract are willing to take the educational program offered by the trust society or the trust administration society – I do not know the name of the group or the organization, but there is one.

We have to remember that these officers, these estate officers and the public trustee, they manage estates in the value of $30 million, or $40 million, or $50 million in those accounts. Therefore you need people who will have a knowledge of, obviously, accounting – and I think the Opposition House Leader mentioned that - but also taxation, and also investment principles because you are dealing with trust monies. You have a very high duty to these people. So we have to make sure - and it is going to be challenging to make sure that we attract people; we attract the right human resources. We give them the equipment they need to do the job and the education they need, the constant upgrading of education that is going to be needed.

I am glad after forty-seven years we are now going to take this on. I have my own suspicions as to why this act was never proclaimed, possibly if it was down in the courts no one would challenge it. If anything is in the courts, the media do not pay attention; people do not pay attention to it. Now that it will be brought here into the department, the light will shine on it, the media will pay attention to it, the Opposition will pay attention to it and that means the government has to pay attention to it. So I think what we are doing here is a right thing regardless of (inaudible) was in the past.

I thank hon. members for the debate and I urge passage of this legislation.

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'.

Carried.

CLERK: A bill, An Act Respecting The Public Trustee. (Bill 27)

MR. SPEAKER: Bill 27 has now been read a second time.

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

MS BURKE: Now, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Now.

On motion, a bill, "An Act Respecting The Public Trustee," read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House presently, by leave. (Bill 27)

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, Order 14, second reading of Bill 31.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that Bill 31 be now read a second time.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act To Repeal The Government-Kruger Agreements Act." (Bill 31)

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

MS DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the hon. Government House Leader, that this bill now be read a second time.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill 31, which is really, simply a bill to repeal an outdated piece of legislation. Repealing the Government-Kruger Agreements Act really is a housekeeping item. This act was originally developed in 1984 to implement the transition of ownership between Bowater and Kruger. In 1984 an agreement between government and Kruger was executed to facilitate their purchase of the Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Mill. Several subsidiary agreements were negotiated and the banks required those to be incorporated into legislation.

So simply put, Mr. Speaker, these instruments that we are repealing today were used to finance the purchase of the mill by Kruger and were required by the banks that they were dealing with. All of these agreements now have expired and because these agreements have expired, Mr. Speaker, this legislation is no longer required and will not impact on Kruger's operations in any way. The master agreements that control the sale of the mill from Bowater to Kruger, and their arrangements with government are stand-alone legal documents from the Government-Kruger Agreements Act and will continue to be valid. The working relationship between government and Kruger Incorporated will not be affected by this action. The repeal of this act has no adverse effects associated with it and is being carried out as part of government's commitment to reduce red tape by 25 per cent.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to acknowledge at this time that my colleague in the Department of Business announced last week that we actually surpassed our target for eliminating red tape. I believe that the count now is somewhere around 27 per cent reduction of red tape since this initiative was begun.

The repeal of this legislation, Mr. Speaker, will reduce an additional sixty-five regulatory requirements from government's operations. It is important for me to reassure interest holders at this time, such as the Town of Corner Brook, the forestry sector, forest sector workers and the public that the repealing of this outdated piece of legislation will have no effect on the forestry sector whatsoever. I also know that the media has significant interest in any actions carried out by the government dealing with the forestry sector and private industries. However, as I said earlier, this is a housekeeping item only as the act really has no purpose, no useful purpose any longer.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for allowing me to outline the very simple reasons why this act is being repealed.

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

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

I do not intend to belabour this issue. We certainly are aware, and there comes times of course when you have to clean up the kitchen and this is one of them. It is time to clean this up with an repeal, so we will certainly be voting in favour of this as well.

Thank you.

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

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

I am happy to speak to Bill 31. The logic of it is not to be questioned, obviously. There is no sense having legislation in place that no longer has anything that it relates to. Naturally, I will be supporting the bill, but I think that the minister in referring to people's concerns and saying do not worry that the bill does not change anything with regard to the industry is an important point to make because the industry still exists.

Kruger still has a mill operating and we still have a forestry to be managed in this Province, and I know that the minister knows that because it is under her jurisdiction. We have I think many commitments with regard to that forestry management. Government's own study, the Newfoundland Forest Sector Strategy, there are so many recommendations in that study that have yet, really, I think to be evaluated and certainly to be put in place. There are recommendations, for example, changes in the Forestry Act, to establish a sustainable forest management license regime. This is something I really would like to see the minister speaking to, and bringing to this House. That certainly is an amendment that I would like to see in the Forestry Act, that establishment of a sustainable forest management license regime.

I know that there are many different positions on some of the issues around sustainable forest management. One of the issues, of course - and the issues exist both out in the community as well as in this House, and different positions - is the whole issue around clear cutting and where does that fit with regard to sustainable management. While we have an act here today that we have because of these required loan agreements and the legislation that covered them, the issue is that we want this industry to go on. Nobody wants the industry to stop, we want the industry to go on, but we want it to go on in a way that our forests will continue to be rejuvenated, will continue to grow, will continue to be renewed as we search for new ways in which to use our forests.

Obviously, Kruger wants to use the forest for their own industry, but now that we have a whole forest in Central Newfoundland that a mill is no longer dependent upon, we want to look at very new ways to use that forest, in a way that will be sustainable, in a way that we will have a forest in a hundred years that we are still using, that we are still able to meet the needs of people in this Province from. Whether those are economic needs or whether they are social needs, there are various needs that we have here. We have environmental needs.

The role of the boreal forest right now is extremely important with regard to being carbon dioxide filters. With our global warming, maintaining enough boreal forest on the planet is extremely important. Even here in little Newfoundland and Labrador, we have a role to play in that international goal of increasing our boreal forests and maintaining what we have, but not just maintaining, increasing as well, and how we can do that in a way that also bring economic benefits. It can be done. There are things that can go along with maintaining the boreal forest, which also benefits us economically.

I think this bill is a bill that gives us an idea or makes us stop and think about what it means to have the forest that we have. We have some good things going on in the Province and things that I continue to learn about. For example, we have in Labrador a good example of an ecosystem based management plan there where Innu worked with forestry scientist Herb Hammond to develop a long-term forest plan. There are all kinds of ideas out there about how we can work in this Province to maintain our forest, use our forest, and benefit from our forest, both for ourselves and for the global needs on our planet.

I am glad, Mr. Speaker, to have had a moment to at least put some of these ideas out. They spring from the notion of this bill and spring from the fact that we do continue to have pulp and paper. That is not going to end, but let us just make sure that both the use of the forest for pulp and paper and whatever other ways we decide to use the forest will be done in such a way that we will still have these forests in 100, 200, 300 years' time.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

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

The hon. the Minister of Natural Resources.

MS DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, there is not a great deal to add to the debate here. As I said, this is a housekeeping item. These acts are no longer required. They expired some time ago. This is a housekeeping item that we have here before us today, Mr. Speaker and simply put it is really no more than that.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it the pleasure of the House that Bill 31 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 Government Kruger Agreements Act, Bill 31.

MR. SPEAKER: Bill 31 has now been read a second time. When shall this bill be referred to a Committee Of The Whole House? Now? Tomorrow?

MS BURKE: Now.

MR. SPEAKER: Now.

On motion, Bill 31 read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House presently, by leave.

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, order 16, second reading of Bill 33.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that An Act To Amend The Memorial University Pensions Act, Bill 33, be now read a second time.

The hon. the Minister of Education.

MR. KING: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Government House Leader, that Bill 33, An Act To Amend The Memorial University Pensions Act, be now read a second time.

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

MR. KING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This bill, as well, is a little bit of a housekeeping item for us. The employees, Mr. Speaker, at Memorial, are governed by the Memorial University Pensions Act and this includes full-time employees with the university as well as some contractual employees.

Mr. Speaker, Bill 33 is being brought forward at the request of the Board of Regents from their December 11, 2008 meeting. Very simply put, it is intended to comply with human rights legislation, which eliminated the mandatory retirement age of 65 years of age.

Mr. Speaker, in May of 2007, changes were made to the Human Rights Code and Memorial proceeded to operate within the changes required. However, the legislation has not been amended and it now time to do so, so the Board of Regents has requested that we bring this forward. As I said, Mr. Speaker, I am presenting it here today for ratification of the House.

Thank you.

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

MR. KING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I guess speaking now will close the debate.

As I said in my preamble, this is simply a housekeeping item to make sure that Memorial is in compliance with the Human Rights Code.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it the pleasure of the House that this 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 Amend The Memorial University Pensions Act, Bill 33.

MR. SPEAKER: Bill 33 has now been read a second time. When shall this bill be referred to a Committee of the Whole House? Now? Tomorrow?

MS BURKE: Now, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Now.

On motion, a Bill, An Act To Amend The Memorial University Pensions Act, read a second time, referred to a Committee of the Whole House presently, by leave. (Bill 33)

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the hon. Minister of Natural Resources, that the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole to consider Bills 22, 1, 24, 25, 26, 27, 31 and 33.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that I do now leave the Chair for the House to resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole to consider bills 1, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 31, and 33.

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt this motion?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

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

Carried.

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

Committee of the Whole

 

CHAIR (T. Osborne): Order, please!

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MS BURKE: Mr. Chair, Bill 1, An Act Respecting Apologies.

CHAIR: We are now debating Bill 1, An Act Respecting Apologies.

A bill, "An Act Respecting Apologies. (Bill 1)

CHAIR: Shall clause 1 carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

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

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

I did not get an opportunity to speak to this bill in second reading, and I had some points that I wanted to make. Unfortunately, I had to step outside the House and did not realize that it would happen – I thought I would get back in time and I did not, or else I would have notified the House Leader, so I am happy to be able to make a couple of comments that I think are important.

It is sad that we have to have a bill to tell us to do what is ethically and morally correct to do, but I think we have had enough experience in this Province, and not just with regard to the health care system. You know, we may look at this and think that it relates specifically to the health care system. The thing is, the bill does not recognize any system. The bill is talking in general, so the definition, "apology means an expression of sympathy or regret, a statement that one is sorry, or other words or actions indicating contrition or commiseration, whether or not the words or actions admit, or imply an admission of, fault in connection with the matter to which the words or actions relate."

I think that definition is extremely important and has to do with any time, in any way, in the public sector that something happens to the public because of a public institution or because of public laws, or anything that has to do with the public system, that it is important to remember, and for us to remember, that there are effects on people because of decisions and actions that can happen through public institutions.

I think it is important, you know, the apology that one might make, or that an institution might make, it points out in the act that the apology made by or on behalf of a person in connection with a matter does not constitute an express or implied admission of fault or liability by the person in connection with the matter. That has been the thing that has kept public institutions from apologizing for actions of individuals inside of the institution and sometimes for the institutions themselves. It has been something that does not look good on us when it happens. It has happened in multiple situations. It has happened, for example, with the abuse of young children in our society when institutions have been involved in that abuse - it does not matter where the institutions were - when institutions have been involved because individuals in the institutions have caused pain to children who have been sexually abused. I know that there are situations where the institution did not apologize for the actions of individuals in the institutions because of the fear of litigation.

Well, the issue is, litigation is going to happen anyway. Whether somebody apologized before legal action or during it, litigation is going to happen. It was never a valid reason for not apologizing, for there not being an apology.

I think it is extremely important that this legislation is before us. Of course, in the most recent history we do know that the apology legislation was also recommended by both the adverse health task force and the Cameron inquiry. In that sense it grew out of this government's dealing with issues where people were very definitely hurt - if we can just use that simple word - because of systemic abuses that happened. Both the adverse health task force report and the report of the Cameron inquiry recognized that, and recognized the need for apology.

I think one of the things that is significant is that the Act Respecting Apologies talks about the definition of apology; it talks about the effect of the apology on liability. I already read out one section. Another section says, "An apology made by or on behalf of a person in connection with a matter (b) does not constitute a confirmation of a cause of action in relation to that matter for the purposes of the Limitations Act." It is not something that in any way makes any commitments or causes any restrictions, and an apology, "(c) does not, notwithstanding wording to the contrary in a contract of insurance and notwithstanding another enactment or law, void, impair or otherwise affect insurance coverage that is available…."

The apology does not do anything to affect anything legally. What it basically is, is something that is morally and ethically correct. The act does not speak to why the apology is happening. It does not speak to why it is happening. It does not speak to the fact it should happen, or who should do it. All it is doing is saying that if a public institution goes ahead and apologizes when something has gone wrong and people have been adversely affected by what has gone wrong, that apology will in no way affect any legal actions that come afterwards, it will in no way affect payments from insurance, it will in no way have anything to do with either one of those two areas.

That is fine, and it is important that we have the Apology Act so that will happen. What the act does, then, is implies and infers that apologies will happen. I think that is the final point I would like to make here this afternoon, is that it is important for us to recognize the need for apologies. It is important for us to recognize that when harm has been done to the public by people working within public institutions, by people who have a responsibility of trust in the eyes of the public, then apologies should happen and apologies need to happen.

We have to hope that because this act is now in place, that our institutions are going to head and start apologizing. I think that is the next role for government, is to make sure that if the institution, for example, is a hospital or it if it is one of the health authorities, or an institution is a school, or the institution is one of the school boards, that no matter what it is, whether it is a government department, that no matter what the public institution is, what the public arm is, that this government now has a responsibility to point out to its own agencies, to its own bodies that apologies are needed.

Apologies are needed for all kinds of reasons. I know from working some years ago with those who were victims of sexual abuse, that the need to hear the person who has perpetrated the abuse or the system that has perpetrated the abuse say: I am sorry, or we are sorry. It does something psychologically to the person who has been abused and it helps with their healing, to be able to hear those words, I am sorry.

I have had people, even recently I had somebody say to me with regard to an abuse situation, and it was an institution involved. She used my name: Lorraine, all I want is for somebody to tell me they are sorry that it happened. They are sorry that it happened.

So it is not enough to have the act. It is important that we have the act because the act gives the protection and the act will help free up people who are inside of our institutions into realizing that apology is needed, but government now has to take another step, and government has to make sure that all of the agencies it is responsible for, all of its departments, that we actually develop, we start developing a culture of apology, a culture that recognizes the need to apologize.

I remember years ago, we all remember the movie Love Story, and the famous line from that was: Love means never having to say you are sorry. I remember a counsellor who did marriage counselling saying to me at that time, and saying in a group of people who were being counselled, he said: No, that line is the worst line that was ever put into a movie because love means being able to say you are sorry. I will always remember that. So if we really care about the people in this Province then whenever we mess up publicly, we have to be able to say to people we are sorry and move on from there, but it is very important.

So I am very pleased to be able to vote for this bill today, but I also look forward to seeing other ways in which this government is going to, and all of us together, share ideas about how we can start developing more of a culture that recognizes the need to say we are sorry when people get hurt by the system.

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

CHAIR: Shall clause 1 carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, clause 1 carried.

CLERK: Clauses 2 and 3.

CHAIR: Shall clauses 2 and 3 carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, clauses 2 and 3 carried.

CLERK: Be it enacted by the Lieutenant-Governor and House of Assembly in Legislative Session convened as follows.

CHAIR: Shall the enacting clause carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, enacting clause carried.

CLERK: An Act Respecting Apologies.

CHAIR: Shall the title carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, title carried.

CHAIR: Shall I report the bill without amendment?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the bill without amendment, carried.

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MS BURKE: Mr. Chair, Bill 24, An Act Respecting The Registration Of Births, Marriages, Deaths And Other Vital Events.

CHAIR: We are now debating Bill 24, An Act Respecting The Registration Of Births, Marriages, Deaths And Other Vital Events.

A bill, "An Act Respecting The Registration Of Births, Marriages, Deaths And Other Vital Events." (Bill 24)

CLERK: Clause 1.

CHAIR: Shall clause 1 carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, clause 1 carried.

CLERK: Clauses 2 to 54 inclusive.

CHAIR: Shall clauses 2 to 54 inclusive carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, clauses 2 through 54 carried.

CLERK: Be it enacted by the Lieutenant-Governor and House of Assembly in Legislative Session convened as follows.

CHAIR: Shall the enacting clause carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, enacting clause carried.

CLERK: An Act Respecting The Registration Of Births, Marriages, Deaths And Other Vital Events.

CHAIR: Shall the title carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, title carried.

CHAIR: Shall I report the bill without amendment?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the bill without amendment, carried.

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MS BURKE: Mr. Chair, Bill 27, An Act Respecting The Public Trustee.

CHAIR: We are now debating Bill 27, An Act Respecting The Public Trustee.

A bill, "An Act Respecting The Public Trustee." (Bill 27)

CLERK: Clause 1.

CHAIR: Shall clause 1 carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, clause 1 carried.

CLERK: Clauses 2 to 31 inclusive.

CHAIR: Shall clauses 2 to 31 inclusive carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, clauses 2 through 31 carried.

CLERK: Be it enacted by the Lieutenant-Governor and House of Assembly in Legislative Session convened as follows.

CHAIR: Shall the enacting clause carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, enacting clause carried.

CLERK: An Act Respecting The Public Trustee.

CHAIR: Shall the title carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, title carried.

CHAIR: Shall I report the bill without amendment?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the bill without amendment, carried.

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MS BURKE: Mr. Chair, Bill 31, An Act To Repeal The Government-Kruger Agreements Act.

CHAIR: We are now debating Bill 31, An Act To Repeal The Government-Kruger Agreements Act.

A bill, "An Act To Repeal The Government-Kruger Agreements Act." (Bill 31)

CLERK: Clause 1.

CHAIR: Shall clause 1 carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, clause 1 carried.

CLERK: Clause 2.

CHAIR: Shall clause 2 carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, clause 2 carried.

CLERK: Be it enacted by the Lieutenant-Governor and House of Assembly in Legislative Session convened, as follows.

CHAIR: Shall the enacting clause carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, enacting clause carried.

CLERK: An Act To Repeal The Government-Kruger Agreements Act.

CHAIR: Shall the title carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, title carried.

CHAIR: Shall I report the bill without amendment?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the bill without amendment, carried.

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MS BURKE: Mr. Chair, Bill 33, An Act To Amend The Memorial University Pensions Act.

CHAIR: We are now debating Bill 33, An Act to Amend The Memorial University Pensions Act.

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Memorial University Pensions Act." (Bill 33)

CLERK: Clause 1.

CHAIR: Shall clause 1 carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

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

MS MICHAEL: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

This will be the last time I will take you by surprise I think in Committee, but I was not ready to speak in second reading but on principle, I do not want a piece of legislation to get passed without speaking to it.

Obviously, this is a straightforward bill and it is an amendment to remove mandatory retirement provisions because of course we no longer have mandatory retirement in the Province. Obviously, I will be voting for the bill, but I do think that it is important to remind people who are watching that mandatory retirement ended in this Province on May 26, 2007, and the minister did speak to that.

I think in this day and age it is a good thing that we did that. Obviously, we are just bringing this piece of legislation into line with it because we are living longer as a people. So many people I know – especially teachers, but more than teachers - who retire in their fifties, are still ready for another twenty years of work, some of them. I know them in their seventies, they are still working for pay. Sometimes it is because they have to, but other times it is because they want to.

Certainly, there is no restriction on us as politicians. We can keep running as long as the public wants us to work, if we can convince them that we can do it. We have had Prime Ministers in their seventies.

I think it is very good that we change the mandatory age of retirement here in this Province. I am glad, of course, that we are bringing this piece of legislation in because we had to, but I did not want it to go in without at least having a word to say to it.

Considering the fact that my comments, I think, on three bills are going to bring amendments to three different bills here today, I think it shows where reading legislation, no matter how simple it may look, is important, and speaking to it is important.

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

CHAIR: Shall clause 1 carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, clause 1 carried.

CLERK: Be it enacted by the Lieutenant-Governor and House of Assembly in Legislative Session convened, as follows.

CHAIR: Shall the enacting clause carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, enacting clause carried.

CLERK: An Act To Amend The Memorial University Pensions Act.

CHAIR: Shall the title carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, title carried.

CHAIR: Shall I report the bill without amendment?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the bill without amendment, carried.

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MS BURKE: Mr. Chair, Bill 22, An Act Respecting Consumer Protection And Business Practices.

CHAIR: We are now debating Bill 22, An Act Respecting Consumer Protection And Business Practices.

A bill, "An Act Respecting Consumer Protection And Business Practices." (Bill 22)

CLERK: Clause 1.

CHAIR: Shall clause 1 carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

The hon. the Minister of Government Services.

MR. O'BRIEN: Mr. Chairman, I move that clause 42(1)(b) –

CHAIR: Order, please!

We are now debating clause 1.

MR. O'BRIEN: Clause 1, okay.

CHAIR: I understand the amendment is on clause 42. I will ask that we introduce the amendment at that time.

Shall clause 1 carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, clause 1 carried.

CLERK: Clauses 2 to 41 inclusive.

CHAIR: Shall clauses 2 to 41 inclusive carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, clauses 2 through 41 carried.

CLERK: Clause 42.

CHAIR: The hon. the Minister of Government Services.

MR. O'BRIEN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I move that clause 42(1)(b) be amended as follows, "shall produce for examination in written form, clearly understandable to the consumer, the contents of all credit information; and"

Mr. Chairman, pertaining to the proposed amendment, I also want to add, "Paragraph 42(1)(b) of the Bill is deleted and the following substituted:…" - that I just read into Hansard.

CHAIR: It is moved by the hon. the Minister of Government Services that clause 2 be amended.

AN HON. MEMBER: Clause 42.

CHAIR: I am sorry, clause 42 - my mistake - that clause 42 be amended.

Is it the pleasure of the Committee to adopt the amendment to clause 42?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, amendment carried.

CHAIR: Is it the pleasure of the Committee to adopt clause 42 as amended?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, clause 42, as amended, carried.

CLERK: Clauses 43 to 113 inclusive.

CHAIR: Clauses 43 to 113 inclusive. Shall they carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, clauses 43 through 113 carried.

CLERK: Be it enacted by the Lieutenant-Governor and House of Assembly in Legislative Session convened, as follows.

CHAIR: Shall the enacting clause carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, enacting clause carried.

CLERK: An Act Respecting Consumer Protection And Business Practices.

CHAIR: Shall the title carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, title carried.

CHAIR: Shall I report the bill carried with amendment?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the bill with amendment, carried.

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MS BURKE: Mr. Chair, Bill 25, An Act Respecting Marriage In The Province.

CHAIR: We are now debating Bill 25, An Act Respecting Marriage In The Province.

A bill, "An Act Respecting Marriage In The Province." (Bill 25)

CHAIR: Shall clause 1 carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, clause 1 carried.

CLERK: Clauses 2 to 11 inclusive.

CHAIR: Shall clauses 2 to 11 inclusive carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, clauses 2 through 11 carried.

CLERK: Clause 12.

CHAIR: The hon. the Minister of Government Services.

MR. O'BRIEN: Mr. Chairman, I move that clause 12(1) be amended as follows, "Subclause 12(1) of the Bill is amended by deleting the words and brackets "(or husband and wife)" and substituting the words, commas and brackets "(or husband and wife, or wife and wife, or husband and husband)".

CHAIR: It is moved by the Minister of Government Services that clause 12 be amended.

Is it the pleasure of the Committee to adopt the amendment to clause 12?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, amendment carried.

CHAIR: Is it the pleasure of the Committee to adopt clause 12 as amended?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, clause 12, as amended, carried.

CLERK: Clauses 13 to 35 inclusive.

CHAIR: Shall clauses 13 to 35 inclusive carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, clauses 13 through 35 carried.

CLERK: Be it enacted by the Lieutenant-Governor and House of Assembly in Legislative Session convened, as follows.

CHAIR: Shall the enacting clause carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion enacting clause carried.

CLERK: An Act Respecting Marriage In The Province.

CHAIR: Shall the title carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, title carried.

CHAIR: Shall I report the bill carried with amendment?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the bill with amendment, carried.

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MS BURKE: Mr. Chair, Bill 26, An Act To Provide For Change Of Name.

CHAIR: We are now debating Bill 26, An Act To Provide For Change Of Name.

A bill, "An Act To Provide For Change Of Name." (Bill 26)

CLERK: Clause 1.

CHAIR: Shall clause 1 carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion clause 1 carried.

CLERK: Clauses 2 to 6 inclusive.

CHAIR: Shall clauses 2 to 6 inclusive carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, clauses 2 through 6 carried.

CLERK: Clause 7.

CHAIR: The hon. the Minister of Government Services.

MR. O'BRIEN: Mr. Chairman, I move that subclause 7(2) of the bill be amended as follows, "1.(1) Subclause 7(2) of the Bill is amended by deleting the words "one or". (2) Clause 7 of the Bill is amended by adding immediately after subclause (2) the following: (3) Notwithstanding subsections (1) and (2), where one parent of the child is living, the consent of that parent shall also be required."

CHAIR: It is moved by the Minister of Government Services that clause 7 be amended.

Is it the pleasure of the Committee to adopt the amendment to clause 7?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, amendment carried.

CHAIR: Is it the pleasure of the Committee to adopt clause 7 as amended?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, clause 7, as amended, carried.

CLERK: Clauses 8 to 25 inclusive.

CHAIR: Shall clauses 8 to 25 inclusive carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, clauses 8 through 25 carried.

CLERK: Be it enacted by the Lieutenant-Governor and House of Assembly in Legislative Session convened, as follows.

CHAIR: Shall the enacting clause carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, enacting clause carried.

CLERK: An Act To Provide For Change Of Name.

CHAIR: Shall the title carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

On motion, title carried.

CHAIR: Shall I report the bill carried with amendment?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the bill with amendment, carried.

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MS BURKE: Mr. Chair, I move that the Committee rise and report Bills 22, 1, 24, 25, 26, 27, 31 and 33 and ask leave to sit again.

CHAIR: The motion is that the Committee rise and report Bills 22, 25 and 26 carried with amendment, and Bills 1, 24, 27, 31 and 33 carried without amendment and ask leave to sit again.

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

Carried.

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

MR. SPEAKER (Fitzgerald): The hon. the Member for St. John's South and Deputy Speaker.

MR. T. OSBORNE: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole have considered the matters to them referred and have directed me to report Bills 22, 25 and 26 carried with amendment, and Bill 1, 24, 27, 31 and 33 carried without amendment.

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair of the Committee of the Whole reports that the Committee have considered the matters to them referred and have directed him to report Bills 1, 24, 27, 31 and 33 carried without amendment.

When shall the report be received?

MS BURKE: Now, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Now.

When shall the said bills be read a third time?

 

MS BURKE: Tomorrow, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Tomorrow.

On motion, report received and adopted; bills ordered read a third time on tomorrow

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair of the Committee of the Whole also reports that the Committee have considered the matters to them referred and have directed him to report Bills 22, 25 and 26 with some amendments.

When shall this report be received?

MS BURKE: Now, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Now.

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

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the hon. the Minister of Government Services that the amendments be now read a first time.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that amendments to Bills 22, 25 and 26 be now read a first time.

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt this motion?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

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

The motion is carried.

CLERK: First reading of the amendments.

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the hon. the Minister of Government Services that the amendments be now read a second time.

MR. SPEAKER: It is properly moved and seconded that the said amendments to Bills 22, 25 and 26 be now read a second time.

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt this motion?

All those in favour, 'aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

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

The motion is carried.

CLERK: Second reading of the amendments.

MR. SPEAKER: When shall the said bills be read a third time?

MS BURKE: Tomorrow, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Tomorrow.

On motion, amendments read a first and second time; bills ordered read a third time on tomorrow.

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the hon. 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'.

This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 of the clock tomorrow being Tuesday.

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