May 31, 2011                       HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS                   Vol. XLVI  No. 33


The House met at 1:30 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Fitzgerald): Order, please!

Admit strangers.

Today, the Chair would like to welcome thirty-two members of the Heritage United Church Prayer Shawl and the United Church Ladies Group and their friends from the Districts of Terra Nova and Bonavista South. The groups are accompanied by their leader, Ms Vi Parsons, and their bus driver, Ms Lydia Wiseman.

Welcome to the House of Assembly.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Statements by Members

MR. SPEAKER: The following members' statements will be heard: the hon. the Member for the District of Cartwright-L'Anse au Clair; the hon. the Member for the District of Bay of Islands; the hon. the Member for the District of The Straits & White Bay North; the hon. the Member for the District of Baie Verte-Springdale; and the hon. the Member for the District of Kilbride.

The hon. the Member for the District of Cartwright-L'Anse au Clair.

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise in the House today to congratulate an upstanding young man from Red Bay who was recently recognized at the URock Volunteer Awards Gala for his contribution to his local area.

Mr. Speaker, Johnathon Earle was one of eight winners honoured with the prestigious title - and a custom-designed electric guitar - which acknowledged the unique and creative ways that young people volunteer.

Mr. Speaker, Johnathon is a twenty-five-year-old law student at UNB and has done an extraordinary amount of volunteering while excelling academically as well. He has been instrumental in the success of two key projects in Southern Labrador. The first was the Moulder of Dreams Pottery Studio that employed five people with myotonia, and the second was a Think Green recycling business for Grade 6 students. Jonathan has also been a member of the Youth Advisory Panel advising government on its Youth Retention and Attraction Strategy and in June, 2009, he became one of twelve youth to receive the prestigious National Aboriginal Role Model Award, an organization he remains active in.

I ask my colleagues in the House of Assembly to join me in recognizing Jonathan for his contributions to my district and for being a role model for many young people in Newfoundland and Labrador. It is also a pleasure, Mr. Speaker, to acknowledge the valuable contribution of the other seven award recipients who received awards in our Province as well.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for the District of Bay of Islands.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LODER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise in this hon. House today to recognize Mr. Darren Park, owner of Park's Carpentry Limited of Hughes Brook.

Mr. Speaker, Park's Carpentry started business in the mid-1980s with three employees and one old truck, and within a couple of years the numbers grew to just under ten. The firm continues to grow and specializes in new home construction.

Within the last week, Mr. Speaker, Park's Carpentry won the Atlantic Home Warranty Program's Customer Choice Award in the under twenty-five homes per year for 2010. This is the third time that Mr. Darren Park and his firm won this prestigious award.

Mr. Park states, much of his business success must be attributed to his suppliers and the quality of their products. The team of Park's Carpentry deserves most of the credit, as they are professionals at what they do. They work hard and take pride in their work. Mr. Park thanks all of his wonderful customers that supported him over the years.

Mr. Speaker, I ask all members here today to recognize Darren Park and all his employees for their accomplishments and pride they put in their work on a daily basis, and wish them well in the future.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. DEAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise in this hon. House today to congratulate Emma Graney, Editor of The Northern Pen in St. Anthony, on receiving one of the most prestigious awards at the Newspapers Atlantic Awards Ceremony that was held in Halifax on May 21. Ms Graney was awarded the 2010 Outstanding Journalist Award.

Emma, originally from Australia, moved to St. Anthony from Vancouver last April to work with The Northern Pen and to experience life in rural Newfoundland. Both her and her husband, Juris, are reporters with The Northern Pen and have quickly become well-known throughout the Northern Peninsula and Southern Labrador for their outstanding reporting skills.

In addition to this award, Emma was recently awarded silver at the Canadian Community Newspaper Awards that was held in Vancouver for the best historical feature section, and The Northern Pen also picked up second for the best holiday edition. I would also like to note, Mr. Speaker, The Northern Pen was presented silver for best community reporting in any medium at the Atlantic Awards Ceremony in Halifax.

Mr. Speaker, I ask all members of this House to join with me in congratulating Emma and The Northern Pen on receiving such recognition this past year and to wish them well in the future.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for the District of Baie Verte-Springdale.

MR. POLLARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It gives me great pleasure to rise in this hon. House today to acknowledge and show appreciation to the Springdale Volunteer Fire Department.

Mr. Speaker, comprised of women and men, this extremely dedicated, courageous group of volunteers are the unsung heroes of our community. Responding not only to house fires, but to other types of emergencies such as motor vehicle accidents, cold water rescues, the Springdale firefighters have served the people of the area with pride and with passion. For that, Mr. Speaker, they are to be applauded and commended, and never to be taken for granted.

The Springdale fire department serve with excellence as they faithfully meet every Monday night for training and to go over policy and procedure so that they meet and surpass current standards. Mr. Speaker, we really are not aware of the huge amounts of volunteer hours they put into their fire department and the commitment of their spouses as they try to raise funds for new equipment and try to keep it in top-notch condition.

I had the pleasure to attend their annual ball this fall and I have to say, Mr. Speaker, it was an evening of fun, good humour, and appreciation. It was encouraging to see many awards and certificates given out indicating their high level of commitment to unselfishly serve the community. Led by outstanding fire chiefs over the years, and strongly supported by their town council and the community, the Springdale fire department is poised to protect and serve its citizens to the best of their ability and to do it with great pride.

Mr. Speaker, I ask all members in this hon. House to join me in conveying my appreciation to the outstanding commitment of the Springdale fire department in carrying out its duties.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DINN: Mr. Speaker, I stand in this hon. House today to congratulate Goulds Elementary for being chosen as one of the fifteen schools across this country to host an Everyone Jump Concert, a unique health promotion initiative that focuses on type 2 diabetes.

The Everyone Jump Concert took place at Goulds Elementary on Monday, March 28 at 10:30 a.m. The two young moderators had the audience and student population totally involved as they sang, danced and jumped.

Everyone Jump is a school-based diabetes prevention program that teaches students how to prevent type 2 diabetes through the adoption of healthy behaviours. It is well known that Type 2 diabetes is largely a preventable disease with healthy eating, regular physical activity and the maintenance of a healthy body weight. Yet the rising incidence of this illness, coupled with obesity, particularly among children is a growing concern across Canada.

The Everyone Jump Program and the concerts are both part of a national program sponsored by Ophea and Novo Nordisk Canada Inc., a leader in diabetes treatment and care.

I ask all hon. members to join me in congratulating Goulds Elementary, its students, and staff.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Statements by Ministers.

Statements by Ministers

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, last week I had the honour of attending one of the convocation ceremonies at Memorial University. I rise this afternoon to offer congratulations to our Province's newest university graduates.

It was truly inspiring to look out and see literally hundreds of our future leaders ready to take the world by storm. They joined the thousands of alumni who are proud to call Memorial their alma mater.

Mr. Speaker, this Province has finally begun to benefit from being a resource-rich land of opportunity. Our most valuable resource will always be our people, especially our young people who will build on the economic foundation we have laid and help this Province reach its full potential in the future.

Our government is committed to ensuring Memorial University continues to offer students a world-class post-secondary education that is both accessible and affordable.

Tuition fees are among the lowest in the country, Mr. Speaker, and we have invested heavily in a tuition freeze to keep it that way. Upfront, needs-based grants, which were eliminated in the 1990s, were reintroduced in 2007 and expanded in 2009, so that post-secondary students can now receive almost 60 per cent of their provincial assistance in the form of a non-repayable grant. Also, this government has eliminated the interest on the provincial portion of student loans, the first province in Canada to do so. Combined, these initiatives represent an investment of more than $225 million.

We are also investing in the university itself, its people, its programs and its infrastructure. Since 2003, Memorial University's operating and capital budget has increased by 152 per cent from $145 million to $366 million this year.

Our strength is our people, Mr. Speaker, and our future is in the bright minds of young women and men who can envision what this Province can be, and who have the skills and knowledge to make that vision a reality. I invite my colleagues to join me in wishing them all the best as they pursue their chosen endeavours.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. DEAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to thank the minister for an advance copy of her statement. I, too, would want to offer congratulations to our Province's newest university graduates and, indeed, graduates from all of our colleges and different institutions. It truly is an inspiration to see our young people as they stand and get their diplomas. I certainly want to wish them well in their future endeavours, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to note that there is a lot of commentary in this statement about the investments of government and the fact of what is being done in education. We do know that the tuition freeze that was mentioned was brought in by the Liberal government some years ago when Budgets were much less than what they are today. It has been maintained, but it has not been improved.

I would suggest that more needs to be done. Affordable, accessible education should be a right, not a privilege. Every individual, every young person in Newfoundland and Labrador, graduating from high school should have the same access to it regardless of their own personal and family financial situations.

We still have issues with young people graduating having to leave the Province to find work. These are all challenges that will continue to be around us, Mr. Speaker. I trust that we will see improvement and that opportunities for young people will only improve in years to come.

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 an advance copy of the statement and also join with others in extending congratulations to all the graduates from our post-secondary institutions here in the Province. I know they must feel proud; I know their parents and those who support them feel proud. Of course, they come out hoping that they are going to find a job here in this Province. Unfortunately, many of those who are going to graduate with trades and university programs do still have to move away. I have many families in my own district where when I go door to door they tell me their young people are not living here and they wish they were living here.

In spite of everything that we are doing for our students, we still know that they are coming out with heavy debt loads and we have people with heavy debt loads who are now out working still trying to pay them off. I think in this Province we should do a forgiveness of debt for those who have it, and make life easier for them. I think, too, what we have to do in this Province is that we need to expand the needs-based grant program, as has been requested by the Canadian Federation of Students. A lot has been done, but a lot more has to be done if we are going to keep our young people here in this Province.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Further statements by ministers?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

With the value of mineral shipments expected to climb to $4.8 billion, exploration expenditures expected to increase to $127 million, and direct employment set to jump by more than 20 per cent, this is an incredibly exciting time in Newfoundland and Labrador's mining industry.

This growth is giving rise to countless opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises. In Labrador West, for example, companies such as Carol Lake Metal Works and Labrador Rewinding are strengthening their workforce so they can secure new business from local mines, and ultimately expand their operations.

As a government, a priority in our business and economic development agenda is to enable local companies to fully explore and realize benefits attached to our natural resources. Quite simply, we want to facilitate the growth of small and medium-sized businesses and create an environment where they can become more successful, more profitable, and employ even more Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

To accelerate the growth of small and medium-sized businesses, and enable them to target opportunities within the supply chain of mining and exploration companies, and for that matter, other large-scale industrial projects, the Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development, delivers a Supplier Development Program. Through the program, interactive information and networking sessions are held in communities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador that help create awareness of bidding opportunities and purchasing practices of large procurers of goods and services.

For local businesses, this program serves as a platform to learn more about purchasing requirements and creates awareness of some of the vast opportunities that exist. For procurers, they are able to acquire greater insights into the depth of products and services that exist in the Province. Most importantly, it helps build important linkages between vendors and procurers.

Mr. Speaker, on Friday June 10, the department, in co-operation with the Baie Verte and Area Chamber of Commerce, Emerald Zone Corporation, and College of the North Atlantic, is hosting a session titled Supplying the Mining Industry. Scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m., this session, which is free of charge, coincides with the twenty-fourth annual mining conference in Baie Verte and is a must-attend for those looking to target opportunities within the rapidly expanding mining industry.

I encourage all interested participants to contact officials at the Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development to learn more about this valuable initiative.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. DEAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I first want to thank the minister for an advance copy of her statement. It truly is an exciting time for mining and mineral exploration as an industry in our Province. The industry is rolling back from a downturn that it faced in 2008 and 2009 when we went through the global recession. It is today, fortunately, back on the verge of approaching the employment numbers and expenditures that were reached before the downturn.

Mr. Speaker, Newfoundland and Labrador is not known just for its fishing and its oil, but obviously it is an important mining jurisdiction historically as well. At one time, the Island was the leading world producer of copper. The grades of iron ore, for example, that came from the grounds of Buchans remain unmatched throughout the world today. We are setting similar standards in our productions of nickel and copper at Voisey's Bay.

Mr. Speaker, I certainly would congratulate the entrepreneurial companies that are mentioned there from Carol Lake Metal Works and Labrador Rewinding and showing their commitment and foresight needed to keep reinvesting in the industry when times are not so well. These companies are operating in the world-famous Labrador iron ore deposits in a region of our Province that is seeing a lot of new exploration and mining production in the coming years as well.

The minister, in her statement, mentioned Baie Verte and the Baie Verte mining show coming up next month. There is a lot of special mention, I guess, that can go there to the people of the region. Mr. Speaker, even during the darkest days of mining, that part of the region continued to stay focused and stay attached to the mining. Certainly, they are showing the rewards of that today.

Mr. Speaker, let me conclude by saying that it is the grassroots prospectors of our region and geologists of the Province really who drive the industry by their efforts. Today, I would like to congratulate them as well.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

I, too, thank the minister for an advance copy of her statement. There is absolutely no doubt that the mining industry is on a whole new upsurge in this Province, particularly in Labrador West. Any visit there will impress upon anyone what is happening.

It is also very important that smaller companies, not just the large companies, international companies that do the actual mining, but smaller companies get support and smaller companies are encouraged in this Province. It is good to see companies like the Carol Lake Metal Works and the Labrador Rewinding and the work that they are doing because they are helping increase the employment rate, there is no doubt about that, and increase skills training which is extremely important. Having myself lived on the Baie Verte Peninsula when it was a booming mining peninsula, I am glad to see this effort with regard to the Supplying the Mining Industry session in Baie Verte. I think it is extremely important that we do that.

The other thing that we have to look at, Mr. Speaker, especially right now in Labrador West, and we have to do it for anywhere else that we see this growth happening, we have to plan. What has happened in Labrador West, there was no long-term planning, so consequently we have an unfinished or just beginning hospital while we needed that hospital a good four or five years ago, if not longer, and affordable housing is a major issue.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS MICHAEL: So, Mr. Speaker the government has to keep up with business and has to make sure that long-term planning is done to put an infrastructure in communities where the mining industry is booming.

Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: Further statements by ministers?

Oral Questions.

Oral Questions

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, the Governor of Vermont has announced that New England has excess generating capacity largely because of natural gas. The governor also said it is a buyer's market for electricity with many utilities offering to sell them power.

Mr. Speaker, we all want to see the Lower Churchill developed but a deal that has to be fair for our taxpayers and has to make economic sense. The reality is that the Muskrat Falls Project makes no sense without customers beyond this Province.

I ask the Premier today: Where are the identified buyers for this power? Because a project this size makes no sense without it.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, if we were developing power only for market, we would be developing the full Lower Churchill.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I want to point out to the Leader of the Opposition that markets have not dried up since 2003. In fact, if we developed everything in Eastern Canada that is now under consideration we would only be able to meet 25 per cent of the demand just in the Eastern United States. Mr. Speaker, we are concerned first and foremost with the needs of the people of this Province and Muskrat Falls makes sense for them without any other customers.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

No power purchase agreement and it is not only the Governor of Vermont who is saying this. Mr. Speaker, Hydro-Quebec recently signed a twenty-six-year power purchase agreement with Vermont. They are going to sell electricity for about 5.8 cents per kilowatt hour. If Muskrat goes ahead the wholesale price would be above fourteen cents per kilowatt hour.

Premier, New England can get their electricity cheaper than this government's plan for Muskrat. The only identified profit to be had on Muskrat is the profit that will be earned on the backs of the people of this Province.

I ask you today: Why should we have to pay more for our own resource than people on the mainland? I say to you, this is not the Lower Churchill deal that the people of our Province envisioned.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, if we could get 5.6 cents kilowatt hour electricity into this Province, we would be buying it. We would not be trying to develop 14.3 cents kilowatt hour electricity. The people of Nalcor - people on this side of the House have not lost their minds. We are not trying to give it away, Mr. Speaker. We will not give it to Hydro-Quebec to sell, which is what you were going to do and put all the money in the coffers of Hydro-Quebec. We are not prepared to do that, Mr. Speaker. What we need to do is assess the needs of the people of this Province.

What is the cheapest option to provide power for this Province to continue to thrive and grow as it has done in the last eight years, Mr. Speaker? The answer to that is Muskrat Falls.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS JONES: Maybe for her, but not for the people who have to pay for it, I say to you Premier.

Mr. Speaker, New Brunswick is exploring for natural gas. So it is not just Vermont, it is not just the deals with Quebec. New Brunswick is exploring for natural gas and looking at expanding its nuclear output to meet its future needs. The only markets for Muskrat power today are Nova Scotia, which is getting it for free as long as they pay for their own link, and the people of our own Province who will have to pay the highest prices on the Eastern Seaboard because of your deal.

Premier, the reality is that you have no identified buyers for this power. I ask you, again: How is this multibillion dollar megaproject feasible when you are selling less than 40 per cent of the power and then you are only selling it to the people in our own Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is feasible because we will charge 14.3 cents a kilowatt hour, which will be roughly the equivalent of what people will be paying on the isolated system in 2016. Mr. Speaker, any other power purchase agreements that we enter into will bring money back into Nalcor, which can be used on a decision of the government however it is felt appropriate to do so. Some of that may be done in rate reduction, Mr. Speaker.

If we get a loan guarantee – when we get our loan guarantee, I should say, from the federal government that will reduce those 14.3 cents even further.

Mr. Speaker, this deal makes sense for ratepayers in Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS JONES: The Premier knows that is not the case, Mr. Speaker. She knows the people in our Province cannot afford this project and this power.

On the weekend, economist Wade Locke made a presentation in Gander. He delivered sobering news to the people attending a meeting of credit union directors. Like the Auditor General, Dr. Locke said your government spending is unsustainable and because of declining oil production going forward this Province is on the verge of running billion-dollar deficits annually.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS JONES: Mr. Speaker, Dr. Locke said that in ten years' time, this Province is facing a provincial debt of $18 billion and that is not even counting the debt that is associated with Muskrat. Now, that is quite a legacy I say, Premier, for your government –

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. Leader of the Opposition to pose her question.

MS JONES: So I ask you today: Given what Dr. Wade Locke's dire forecast is how can we possibly afford to borrow another $4.4 billion for Muskrat Falls?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, when we came into government in 2003, our friends opposite were running a $12 billion deficit and a $1 billion over expenditure on your Budget. That is what you were doing. Mr. Speaker, we brought that debt down by almost $4 billion.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: We reduced our spending, Mr. Speaker. We have increased our royalties. While even our reserves may go down in the next four or five years, our return from our oils will be even higher, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Now, Mr. Speaker, this is a question better asked of her own caucus. A $174 million reduction in gas tax is a figure they got right, because they lifted it right from our Budget documents. Now, Mr. Speaker, what is broadband going to cost?

So instead of asking us about what we might do to the debt, what are you going to do it?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

No response to Dr. Wade Locke who says the Premier and her government is out of control and saddling the people of this Province with debt. She will not respond to that, because she knows it to be true.

According to Dr. Locke, potential retirees now outnumber new entrants in the workforce and will continue to do so going forward. That means there will be fewer people working and paying taxes and able to afford steep increases in electricity bills when Muskrat Falls comes on stream.

Again, I ask you: How can we possibly afford a Muskrat Falls Project that only sells power to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians? If there are fewer people working, as Mr. Locke indicates, how much more will we have to pay to pay off Muskrat Falls?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Mr. Speaker, here we go again. We are going to finish the way we started: no vision, no plan, and no hope. The better question that she needs to ask her caucus, given the aging population that we have and the demand on health care: How are we going to afford - according to their new platform - to provide home care to everybody in this Province for as long as they want and for as many people who want it? That is the question: How are you going to pay for that?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

We know the Premier does not support home care for our seniors. We know the Premier does not support broadband Internet for rural communities.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS JONES: We know the Premier does not want to put money back in people's pockets in this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair is having difficulty hearing the hon. member pose her question. I ask for members' co-operation.

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MS JONES: We know she does not support any of those initiatives, Mr. Speaker, but we do not know why she will not answer to Dr. Locke, knowing that what he says could potentially come true in the next few years.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS JONES: Now, Mr. Speaker, another point Dr. Locke noted is that interest rates are expected to go up. Mr. Speaker, even if you look at the 7 per cent Nalcor has budgeted for interest charges that would amount to an additional $900 million to the cost of Muskrat Falls.

I ask the Premier: If Dr. Locke is right and interest rates go up during the construction of this project, how much more will we have to pay for our electricity on Muskrat Falls?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MARSHALL: Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada is going to give us a loan guarantee that is going to reduce our interest rates by over 2 per cent. That is what is going to happen to interest rates.

In terms of the Auditor General, the hon. member talked about the Auditor General, let's see what he said; she always refers to the Auditor General. Here, on page one of his report: "There have been significant surpluses and reductions in net debt". Two –

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member knows full well that he is not to recite any documents here, or read directly from the papers.

I ask the hon. member to close his answer.

MR. MARSHALL: The Auditor General said that this government is being sustainable because we are running surpluses – six surpluses in the last seven years. We have reduced net debt by $3.8 billion, we are paying down our direct debt – $400 million this year, $400 million next year, $400 million last year, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. MARSHALL: When the hon. member was in office, they did not pay net debt by a dollar, not a dime, not one copper, Mr. Speaker, and that is the difference.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It was our government who signed White Rose, Mr. Speaker, and Hibernia, and Terra Nova, and the Voisey's Bay deal, which is where you get all your money today, minister, to be able to look after the finances of this Province. The Auditor General says it is not sustainable, Dr. Wade Locke says it is not sustainable, the government will not answer to that, Mr. Speaker.

The Premier likes to tell the people of the Province that their power bills are going to double, regardless of Muskrat Falls; however, that is not the case. She says it is because we are tied to the price of oil. What she does not say is that we are using Holyrood less every year. In fact, we used 2 million barrels of oil less last year than we did ten years ago. Also, GLJ Petroleum Consultants, which are used by Dr. Locke, are forecasting that oil –

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Again, I ask the hon. member to pose her question. The member knows that we have forty-five seconds to ask and answer questions.

MS JONES: Mr. Speaker, GLJ Petroleum Consultants are forecasting that the cost of oil will be less in 2016.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I call on the member again, if she has a question, to pose it or let the Chair recognize another member.

MS JONES: Based on what they are forecasting, why is it that you are inflating the projections that you are using to cost out Holyrood?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

World renowned forecasters are telling us this week that the price of oil is going to continue to rise. Now, Mr. Speaker, there are the facts. Listen to the news, you hear today they are talking about shutting down nuclear reactors in Germany because they are so unsafe. New Brunswick relies on nuclear power. Ontario relies on nuclear power. People are trying to move away from fossil fuels whether it be oil or gas. Mr. Speaker, this Province is an energy super warehouse. We have what the world wants. We will bring it to market. We will supply our own people, Mr. Speaker, and we will earn from those resources for generations to come.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

All we are doing is asking the government day after day to back up the information. GLJ Petroleum Consultants, which were used by Dr. Wade Locke, are forecasting that oil will cost less in 2016 than it costs today, I say to you Premier.

Why are you inflating your projections about the use and cost of Holyrood? Why don't you give the people of this Province the facts to back up what you are saying? If not, we are going to go on what experts in the industry are telling us, not on what you are telling us with nothing to back it up.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Mr. Speaker, we would all be better served if they tried to use their own intelligence to work their way through some of these things instead of relying on what people tell you. Mr. Speaker, in the eight questions you have asked in the two months of this House of Assembly, it has been what this person has said, that person has said and you have been all over the map. We have provided you with the forecast I say to you, Mr. Speaker –

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: – and to the Leader of the Opposition, from leading experts in the world on forecasting oil prices, Mr. Speaker. We have provided the generation forecast for this Province, for the next twenty years, Mr. Speaker. Do your own research; find out what is happening in the Eastern United States, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, on one hand they are saying you are fiscally irresponsible, on the other hand they are saying spend, spend, spend. They are all over the place it is enough to make you dizzy in here.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MS JONES: You said it, Premier, not me.

Mr. Speaker, the only thing that I would like to remind the Premier of is this: she is trying to bring forward a deal that is going to double up the cost of electricity for people in this Province. She does not have a power purchase contract with anyone else outside of this Province. We know that other areas, Mr. Speaker, are already filling their power needs with power elsewhere, cheaper power, than she can provide from Muskrat Falls. We know that professors like Doctor Locke, Mr. Speaker, are forecasting that her spending is unsustainable.

I say to you Premier, it is time for you to answer to the people of this Province and tell them what it is that justifies this deal. Why is it that they will have to earn their hard earned money to pay for a project that is unsustainable and uneconomical?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition's view on people changes as frequently as her statistics do on Muskrat Falls. Dr. Locke is a hero today, somebody we should all be paying attention to. He was a complete and utter idiot when he defended the fibre optic deal. So what is it? Is he a brilliant analyst or is he somebody who does not know what he is talking about? Make up your mind.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is easier for the Premier to tear people down than to answer to the people of the Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS JONES: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Premier one last question on energy prices –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair has recognized the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Minister of Natural Resources and Nalcor officials have all confirmed that the base cost of Muskrat Falls power will be 14.3 cents per kilowatt hour. That is if there are no construction overruns. What she does not say, however, is that Newfoundland Power will have to add its cost and markup to that rate as well. Our research shows that Newfoundland Power's markup varies from 40 per cent to 60 per cent.

I ask the Premier today: Is it true Newfoundland Power, if they add just 40 per cent for its markup to the price that this will not double up the cost of power to the people of the Province? You know the difference and you know…

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, this is another myth they have been banging around for weeks. Mr. Speaker, the 14.3 cents per kilowatt hour includes the cost of the plant, includes the cost of transmission, plus the return on transmission, it includes return on equity, the cost of the debt interest, it includes the Labrador link, and –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: – it includes the rate of return, which is regulated by the PUB in this Province. The rate of return that is earned by public utilities in this Province, Mr. Speaker, is regulated by the PUB.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Included in that 14.3 cents are costs of overruns. There are costs of overruns included in the 14.3 cents.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. DEAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, on April 13, 2011, your government announced enhancements to the dialysis service in St. Anthony. It is almost two months later and the wait list still exists. The hours of operation are still the same. Patients are still left in limbo waiting for someone to act. In fact, a recent e-mail from the CEO of Labrador-Grenfell to one of the families on the waiting list states they hope to be in the position to open the facility by the fall. That is almost a full Budget year later.

I ask the minister: Why is this government and the health board dragging its feet on such an important issue?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENNEDY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I do not think it is fair to describe what this government is doing with dialysis as dragging our feet. Mr. Speaker, since 2005 we have opened dialysis sites in Burin, Carbonear, Gander, St. Anthony, Labrador West, Port aux Basques and Happy Valley-Goose Bay. This year, Mr. Speaker, there was a $3.1 million announcement where we extended dialysis in Burin, in St. Anthony, and also announced new dialysis in Harbour Breton.

Mr. Speaker, between the Budget announcement and the opening of a unit, there are certain things that have to take place. What is going on in St. Anthony, Mr. Speaker, is that there has to be a new water system installed and that takes time. There also have to be nurses trained. Essentially, we have announced the money in the Budget. We will extend dialysis services, but the fall is when it will take place that is correct.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. DEAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I have been speaking to family members throughout this week, family members who are here in St. John's, who are doing dialysis, have been here for three or four months, and do not know where they are going. We understand today from the CEO that advertisements for the nursing positions have not even yet been posted, let alone the two months or so of additional training that will be required. The CEO says they are hoping to move forward as soon as possible to advertise the additional dialysis nursing positions.

I ask the minister again: Why would there be a delay in advertising those positions, a very fundamental piece of it, when they will play such a critical role in the delivery of dialysis services?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

Without getting into the details of any specific case, I am aware of what the member opposite – the family he is talking about. I did reply to them yesterday in detail. I said to them I understand your anger and frustration, I understand why you feel the way you do. I outlined in detail the process.

As for why the advertising has not taken place, I agree with you, they should have been done by now. I have instructed the CEOs of both Labrador-Grenfell and in Eastern Health to advertise for these nursing positions. Dialysis is a basic service that is required by the people of this Province. It is something that we are very proud of what we have done.

I say to the member opposite, on that point we do agree, Sir. To these families, and to all of them, we are doing the best we can but between the Budget it takes time to implement the services.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. DEAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is good to see that someone is taking action, quite frankly, because they do not appear to be listening to the correspondence from the CEO of the board.

The St. Anthony expansion, Mr. Speaker, is delayed and will not see a dialysis centre open until the fall. We realized on April 13 as well, the government announced its expansion of three other sites in St. John's, Burin and Stephenville.

I would just like to ask the minister: Are those proceeding ahead of the unit we are speaking about today?

Mr. Speaker, thank you.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENNEDY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yes, the Budget is not passed yet, but I will say in all seriousness, Mr. Speaker, that the Members for Grand Bank and Burin-Placentia West –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. KENNEDY: – have been in constant contact with me. We have people who drive over that Burin highway, Mr. Speaker, to go to Clarenville and St. John's. It is very unfortunate.

No, to answer your question, it is going to be the same time frame. Again, there was some delay in advertising for the nursing positions. We are looking at the fall. It is my understanding and the House Leader could tell us that the Port aux Basques unit is either opening very shortly or has just opened. Lab West, Mr. Speaker, is open. We are doing the best we can. As for Harbour Breton, I have indicated in the past, Mr. Speaker, it takes time.

What I say to all the people of this Province: The message here is that this government cares about each and every one of you and about your family members, but it does take time to put things in place.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. DEAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, the people of Port Union are still in limbo after Hurricane Igor and the damage to their fish plant over eight months ago. They are frustrated with, we know, the government's failure to provide adequate assistance. They sat in the gallery in April. The Premier promised government would find a way to help. Over a month later, the people are still waiting.

I would like to ask: What is taking so long to respond?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. JACKMAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

We are indeed working our way through that process. Myself and my two colleagues, the other ministers who are involved from Municipal Affairs and HRLE, have been working with our staff. As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, we have a meeting tomorrow morning with the union with the latest update. So, Mr. Speaker, things are progressing.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. DEAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Minister of Fisheries recently as well sent out a letter to the key players involved in the MOU in March to clarify some confusion about the decision to reject the MOU report. I understand at least one of those players, the FFAW, has sent in the response to the department.

I ask the minister today: Could he state clearly without going around in circles with the whole issue what the status in the process is now? Does he see that there will be any future developments arising from the process of the MOU we have been through?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. JACKMAN: Mr. Speaker, as a matter of fact, we have received responses from both parties. We do look forward to working with them. There are other initiatives, Mr. Speaker, in the MOU around marketing and inventory financing that we are working our way through. We hope to be able to work with the industry around that.

Mr. Speaker, if we are going to make the changes those are the types of things that we need back from the industry. To be quite honest with you, Mr. Speaker, I did expect more back from both parties but we will work our way through that I am certain. Mr. Speaker, the one response that I did not get back yet, got it from everybody else on outside buying except the Opposition Liberals, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

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

Mr. Speaker, this year's Budget announced a twenty-five cent increase for the home support hourly subsidy rate. It is our understanding that every year in recent times there have been increases of at least fifty cents, if not more, to the hourly salary for home support workers. Both the employers and union came to agreements based on the expectation that government would continue this pattern.

Mr. Speaker, I ask what is the Minister of Health and Community Services going to do about the shortfall in the expected wage increase for home support workers.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENNEDY: Mr. Speaker, as outlined by the member opposite we did increase the home care support rate by twenty-five cents, but, Mr. Speaker, as we look at and we have often talked about the long-term care strategy, there are a whole bunch of issues that we have had to look at. This year we dealt with the personal care homes. We increased the small personal care home subsidy, Mr. Speaker, by $792,000 or $2,000 a month. Prior to the Budget we put a million dollars into isolation grants. Mr. Speaker, we also are building our facilities trying to finish off with our long-term care facilities. Significant investments, Mr. Speaker, in the St. John's long-term care facility, Carbonear and Lewisporte.

Mr. Speaker, what we are doing, we are not focusing on just one area. The continuum of care is something we are looking at from the time the person is in the home until the time they go into the long-term care. Mr. Speaker, need I reiterate all the money we spent on senior's wellness and we are getting our money back, Mr. Speaker, a hundred fold.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS MICHAEL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yes, this government recognizes its responsibility for the existence of home care but under this government the home support hourly rate subsidy is an essential part of the home care system and, Mr. Speaker, this year's drop in the government subsidy is set to have a detrimental impact.

Mr. Speaker, could the minister clarify for employers, the union and workers why this year's investment is only twenty-five cents more?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Health and Community Services.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENNEDY: Mr. Speaker, what we have to do as a government in the Budget process, we have to look at all of the needs and we have to balance those needs. Now, I could be wrong, Mr. Speaker, but I thought we had also, in the previous year, Budget 2010, increased the home care subsidy rate by twenty-five cents. That is still approximately $3.5 million, if I remember correctly, Mr. Speaker.

What we have done in the last number of years is invest over $200 million in providing services, and again in the long-term care sector. I come back to the basic point that this year we spent approximately $300,000 on seniors' Wellness Grants. We put probably $100,000 out there in small grants to our seniors. What we are doing, Mr. Speaker, we are trying to combine the preventative approach with the treatment approach. Home care is one aspect of that, it is an important aspect, but we are looking at all aspects of the provision of care.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS MICHAEL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, we need a publicly funded and administered system where all home support and long-term care facility workers are trained and paid equally. We are coming to the end of the session of this House and the long awaited long-term care and community support services strategy is still on the missing list, Mr. Speaker. It is shameful that people in the Province still do not know what this government's plan is for home support and long-term care.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the minister, before we close this House, will he tell us exactly what he and his government envision for the care of the sick and the elderly in this Province?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENNEDY: Mr. Speaker, I do not want to correct the member opposite in her use of grammar, but it is not a question of what we envision, it is a question of what we have done. What we have done, Mr. Speaker, is spent over $200 million –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. KENNEDY: Mr. Speaker, what we have done is spent over $200 million. We built long-term care facilities throughout this Province, state-of-the-art facilities in Corner Brook, in her own district in St. John's, Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi. Look at the towers rising down there.

What we are doing, Mr. Speaker, our strategy will outline where we are going to go in the future but that does not take away what we have done in the past, because the past leads to that strategy, which will lead to the future, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The time allotted for questions and answers has expired.

Presenting Reports by Standing and Select Committees.

Tabling of Documents.

Tabling of Documents

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KING: Mr. Speaker, I rise today as the Minister Responsible for the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission, to table the commission's 2010 annual performance report.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Pursuant to section 10 of the Public Tender Act, I hereby table the report of the Public Tender Act exceptions for April, 2011 as presented by the Chief Operating Officer of the Government Purchasing Agency.

Further tabling of documents?

Notices of Motion.

Answers to Questions for which Notice has been Given.

Petitions.

Petitions

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise in the House of Assembly today to present a petition on behalf of people in Newfoundland and Labrador, and especially on behalf of women who are asking that government reduce the age for screening of breast cancer in Newfoundland and Labrador. They are asking the age be reduced from age fifty to age forty, which is a new benchmark being established by provinces all across Canada.

I will read the prayer of the petition which says:

WHEREAS breast cancer is the most common cancer among Newfoundland and Labrador women excluding non-melanoma skin cancer with approximately 370 women to be diagnosed with breast cancer in Newfoundland and Labrador this year; and

WHEREAS we have one of the highest mortality rates from breast cancer and breast cancer in young women tends to be more aggressive; and

WHEREAS the benchmarks for Newfoundland and Labrador's organized breast screening program is age fifty; and

WHEREAS women aged forty to forty-nine are not eligible to participate in Newfoundland and Labrador's organized breast screening program while women aged forty to forty-nine are eligible in the Provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Northwest Territories and the Yukon; and

WHEREAS there is evidence that routine mammography screening of women in their forties can reduce mortality from breast cancer by at least 24 per cent but Newfoundland and Labrador still does not allow women in that age group to self refer into their breast screening program;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to allow women aged forty to forty-nine to be eligible for breast screening to begin at age forty and that all women be able to self refer through Newfoundland and Labrador's screening programs.

Mr. Speaker, women throughout this Province cannot understand why the government is not prepared to implement this new benchmark and policy around breast screening for women in terms of early detection of breast cancer. Mr. Speaker, we know that more than 370 women in our Province again this year will be diagnosed with breast cancer. We know that more and more, younger women are being diagnosed with breast cancer. We are asking our government, we are asking the Province to bring us in line with the rest of the country. We want to allow women in this Province to be able to self refer for mammography testing at least at the age of forty and over, not fifty.

Mr. Speaker, the government can commit to do this and they can commit to do it now. We feel, as an Opposition, that this is a very important issue. We feel it is one that should be implemented in this Province. We feel there is clear evidence out there to support this. That is why all the other provinces in Canada are already doing it and others are reviewing and committing to do it. Just recently, the Province of Ontario has said they will reduce the benchmark for all women in their province and they will design a program of self referral.

Mr. Speaker, I hear from women all the time who were diagnosed at an earlier age, who were diagnosed before the age of fifty. There is clear evidence out there to support this.

I ask the government: Why drag this out? Why not make a commitment to the women of this Province and move forward with this program?

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Further petitions?

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

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

I take this opportunity to present a petition once again on behalf of the residents of Cape Ray who live in the District of Burgeo & La Poile. It concerns, of course, the roadway from their community leading to J.T. Cheeseman Provincial Park. It is only about a couple of kilometres at best, 1.5 kilometres maybe to two kilometres long. It is gravel road, it has never been paved. They are not asking for pavement. They are asking, basically, that it be made usable. It is in deplorable condition right now. The prayer says:

WHEREAS the Department of Transportation and Works of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is responsible for the funding and maintenance of roads in the community of Cape Ray; and

WHEREAS the roads at Cape Ray are in a deplorable condition, including the road leading from the community to J.T. Cheeseman Provincial Park; and

WHEREAS the citizens of Cape Ray demand the roads be upgraded;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to provide sufficient funding to complete the necessary repairs to the roads at Cape Ray.

The principal concern here, as I have indicated to the minister privately – and I actually drew him a diagram as to what the roads were. He said he would be checking into it. As of today when I checked, there has been nothing done with it and nothing has been committed to be done with it. It is amazing that such a small stretch of road with a few loads of fill and a grader, all of which are adjacent to and right in the community, and we cannot get this done.

Apparently the guy on the ground there, vis-à-vis Transportation and Works, who cannot do it and does not have the authority to do it, too frightened to move to do it. Anyway, I brought this to the minister's attention. He is going to speak - and hopefully we can get something done here. It is very frustrating.

It is not only the citizens who use this, Mr. Speaker. There are literally dozens, hundreds, and thousands of tourists who go into that park and come out through that community. So it is a small piece of work to be done or being requested here, for a large reward, for example, how we impact the citizens and how we impact people who travel to our Province to visit.

MR. SPEAKER: Further petitions?

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I get up today to present the remaining petitions I have on behalf of the people in the District of Twillingate-New World Island. These are with regard to the Notre Dame Bay Memorial Hospital.

Mr. Speaker, the issue out in the hospital there was that there were five acute care beds that were redesignated as restorative care beds in their facility. There was a need for restorative care beds in this hospital but there was also a need for acute care beds. Government, as opposed to expanding the service, they cut out five of the acute care beds in this facility and they redesignated it to restorative care.

It is a little tricky, Mr. Speaker. It sounds good when you make an announcement and put out a press release, although the member said yesterday there was no release put out, but there was. When you put out a press release announcing that you are going to do this project to provide alternate care for people in the area, expand the service in the hospital, you would think that it is something new and that a cut is not being considered as part of this project.

Mr. Speaker, these people have petitioned the House of Assembly and I will read their petition for the record:

WHEREAS there were fifteen acute care beds in the Notre Dame Bay Memorial Hospital Health Centre; and

WHEREAS five of the acute care beds closed last summer and did not reopen in the fall; and

WHEREAS the availability of acute care beds is critical to the people of Twillingate-New World Island; and

WHEREAS the shortage of acute care beds is resulting in people being denied admittance to Notre Dame Bay Memorial Hospital Health Centre; and

WHEREAS the people of Twillingate-New World Island do not want to see their health care services cut;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to reinstate the five acute care beds in the Notre Dame Bay Memorial Hospital Health Centre.

Mr. Speaker, these petitions have come from communities all over that area because there are people all over the region who depend upon the service there. Just going through the petitions, they came from places like Herring Neck, Bay View, Durrell, Morton's Harbour, Valley Pond, Bridgeport, Summerford, Virgin Arm, Cottlesville, Twillingate, Carter's Cove, Too Good Arm, Crow Head – those were just some of the ones that I jotted down when I was going through this.

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the member for the area said that we did not even propose any questions around this particular issue. We did, we actually wrote to the minister and to the regional health care authority. We wrote them back in February; I have the correspondence here. We asked them to clarify what was happening in this facility in Twillingate-New World Island, the health care facility. We did receive a letter back about six weeks later from the minister. We also received a letter a couple of weeks later from the CEO of the health corporation explaining what was happening here, and we did correspond with people in the member's district who had called us about this. We gave them copies of those letters. We explained the situation and the responses we had gotten, and it was their decision, Mr. Speaker, to petition the government and ask the government to restore those beds in their health care facility. So whether the member for the area agrees with it or not, that is the story, that is how it unfolded, and that is the reason they are petitioning the House of Assembly today.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Further petitions?

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

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

I appreciate an opportunity, the last time this session, to enter a petition on behalf of the people of La Poile. Hopefully, we will have it done, so when I come back here in the fall, Mr. Speaker, I will not have to hound the Minister of Transportation and Works anymore to get this done. I think this is the number eleventh or twelfth time we have done this.

The petition reads, very clearly worded, Mr. Speaker, to say what it is that is needed:

WHEREAS the people of La Poile must use the provincial ferry system in order to travel to and from La Poile; and

WHEREAS the people of La Poile and visitors are required to wait at the Town of Rose Blanche from time to time for the ferry; and

WHEREAS there is no restroom-waiting room at the Town of Rose Blanche where users of the ferry service may use washroom facilities; and

WHEREAS citizens of all ages, men, women, children, seniors, disabled persons require washroom facilities as a basic human need in the course of their travels, and particularly while they are awaiting transit systems; and

WHEREAS it is an abuse of human dignity as well as health and safety regulations to allow such degrading and dehumanizing circumstances to continue;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to immediately construct and operate a waiting room-washroom facility at that location.

People commonly call it the porta-potty petition, Mr. Speaker. In fact, we do not want a porta-potty petition, we want a washroom petition. We did this back earlier on for Ramea, Grey River area, and the minister of that time came through with it. I have had some conversations with the current minister and hopefully he will see his way clear so that we can manage to do this, because it is one of the few locations and areas in the Province where people are still using very demeaning, dehumanizing circumstances. Hopefully, they can get a washroom. It is not a big deal but absolutely essential if you are travelling and using their provincial government service.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Further petitions?

Orders of the Day.

Orders of the Day

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

MS BURKE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

We will go to the Order Paper and we will call Motion 2, which is Bill 30.

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

MR. MARSHALL: Mr. Speaker, I have received a message from His Honour, the Lieutenant Governor,

MR. SPEAKER: All rise.

As Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, I transmit Estimates of sums required for the Public Service of the Province for the year ending 31 March 2012, by way of further Supply and in accordance with the provisions of sections 54 and 90 of the Constitution Act, 1867, I recommend these Estimates to the House of Assembly.

Sgd.: ____________________________

John C. Crosbie, Lieutenant Governor

Please be seated.

The hon. the Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board.

MR. MARSHALL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Government House Leader, that the Message be referred to a Committee of Supply.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the letter be referred to a Committee of Supply and that I do now leave the Chair.

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

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

The motion is 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 Committee is now reviewing the resolution and Supply Bill.

Resolution

"That it is expedient to introduce a measure to provide for the granting to Her Majesty for defraying certain expenses of the public service for the financial year ending March 31, 2012 the sum of $4,690,903,500."

CHAIR: Shall the resolution carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay'.

Carried.

On motion, resolution carried.

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 4 inclusive.

CHAIR: Shall clauses 2 through 4 inclusive carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay'.

Carried.

On motion, clauses 2 through 4 carried.

CLERK: The schedule.

CHAIR: Shall the schedule carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay'.

Carried.

On motion, schedule 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: Whereas it appears that the sums mentioned are required to defray certain expenses of the Public Service of Newfoundland and Labrador for the financial year ending March 31, 2012 and for other purposes relating to the Public Service.

CHAIR: Shall the preamble carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay'.

Carried.

On motion, preamble carried.

CLERK: An Act For Granting To Her Majesty Certain Sums Of Money For Defraying Certain Expenses Of The Public Service For The Financial Year Ending March 31, 2012 And For Other Purposes Relating To The Public Service.

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 resolution and Bill 30 carried without amendment?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay'.

Carried.

Motion, that the Committee report having passed a resolution and a bill consequent thereto, carried.

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

MR. MARSHALL: Mr. Chair, I move, seconded by the Government House Leader, that the total contained in the Estimates in the amount of $4,690,903,500 for the 2011-2012 fiscal year be carried, and I further move that the Committee report that they have adopted a resolution and a bill consequent thereto, and ask leave to sit again.

CHAIR: The motion is that the total contained in the Estimates in the amount of $4,690,903,500 for the fiscal years 2011-2012 be carried, and that the Committee report they have adopted a resolution and a bill consequent thereto, 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: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Committee of Supply have considered the matters to them referred and have directed me to report they have passed the amount of $4,690,903,500 for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, have adopted a certain resolution, recommend that a bill be introduced to give effect to the same, and ask leave to sit again.

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair of Committee of Supply reports that the Committee have considered the matters to them referred and have directed him to report that the Committee have adopted a certain resolution, and recommend that a bill be introduced to give effect to same, and ask leave to sit again.

When shall the report be received?

MS BURKE: Now, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Now.

When shall the Committee have leave to sit again?

MS BURKE: Tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: Tomorrow.

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. Minister of Finance, that the resolution be now read the first time.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that this resolution be now read a first time.

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion that this resolution 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.

CLERK: That it is expedient to introduce a measure to provide for the granting to Her Majesty for defraying certain expenses of the public service for the financial year ending March 31, 2012 the sum of $4,690,903,500.

On motion, resolution read a first time.

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the hon. the Minister of Finance, that the resolution be now read the second time.

MR. SPEAKER: It is properly moved and seconded by the hon. the Government House Leader that this resolution be now read a second time.

Is it the pleasure of the House that this resolution 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: That it is expedient to introduce a measure to provide for the granting to Her Majesty for defraying certain expenses of the public service for the financial year ending March 31, 2012 the sum of $4,690,903,500.

On motion, resolution read a second time.

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the hon. Minister of Finance, for leave to introduce the Supply Bill, Bill 30, and I further move that the said bill be now read a first time.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that the hon. the Minister of Finance shall have leave to introduce a bill entitled the Supply Bill, Bill 30, and that this bill be now read a first time.

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion that Bill 30 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.

CLERK: A bill, An Act For Granting To Her Majesty Certain Sums Of Money For Defraying Certain Expenses Of The Public Service For The Financial Year Ending March 31, 2012 And For Other Purposes Relating To The Public Service. (Bill 30)

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Finance to introduce a bill, "An Act For Granting To Her Majesty Certain Sums Of Money For Defraying Certain Expenses Of The Public Service For The Financial Year Ending March 31, 2012 And For Other Purposes Relating To The Public Service", carried. (Bill 30)

On motion, Bill 30 read a first time, ordered read a second time presently, by leave.

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the hon. Minister of Finance, that the Supply Bill be now read a second time.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded by the hon. the Government House Leader that the Supply Bill, Bill 30, be now read a second time.

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion that Bill 30 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 For Granting To Her Majesty Certain Sums Of Money For Defraying Certain Expenses Of The Public Service For The Financial Year Ending March 31, 2012 And For Other Purposes Relating To The Public Service. (Bill 30)

Motion, second reading of a bill "An Act For Granting To Her Majesty Certain Sums Of Money For Defraying Certain Expenses Of The Public Service For The Financial Year Ending March 31, 2012 And For Other Purposes Relating To The Public Service". (Bill 30)

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the hon. Minister of Finance, that the Supply Bill be now read a third time.

MR. SPEAKER: It is properly moved and seconded that the Supply Bill, Bill 30, be now read a third 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: A bill, An Act For Granting To Her Majesty Certain Sums Of Money For Defraying Certain Expenses Of The Public Service For The Financial Year Ending March 31, 2012 And For Other Purposes Relating To The Public Service. (Bill 30)

MR. SPEAKER: Bill 30, the Supply Bill, is now read a third time and it is ordered that Bill 30 do pass and that its title be as on the Order Paper.

On motion, a bill, "An Act For Granting To Her Majesty Certain Sums Of Money For Defraying Certain Expenses Of The Public Service For The Financial Year Ending March 31, 2012 And For Other Purposes Relating To The Public Service", read a third time, ordered passed and its title be as on the Order Paper. (Bill 30)

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

MS BURKE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

We will return to the Order Paper, and I will call Motion 1.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 1, that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government, otherwise known as the Budget Speech.

The hon. the Member for the District of Port de Grave.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

I guess there is a first for everything, and I might try it again in October.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BUTLER: I have to say, Mr. Speaker, it is indeed an honour and a pleasure to be given the opportunity here this evening to say a few words in closing during the fourth session of the forty-sixth General Assembly.

I would be misleading - I do not want to mislead this hon. House - if I said I did not stand here today with some mixed emotions. After twenty-two years it is difficult to just walk away; however, the decisions that I made prior to the election of 2007 still stands and I know it was the correct decision for my family and I. It is totally personal. My party and leader have my support 100 per cent.

As of tomorrow, June 1, until 8 p.m. October 11, I will be doing whatever I can to return a Liberal candidate to the hon. House of Assembly from the District of Port de Grave.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BUTLER: During my twenty-two years, I have had the opportunity to work under fourteen leaders of our Party. From 1966 to 2007 I have been actively involved with thirteen general elections, plus all federal elections from 1966 to 2011. During that time I have witnessed ten Premiers who have led our Province, all the way from Premier Smallwood to our current Premier, Premier Dunderdale. I must say, I had a relationship good and bad, because five of them were Liberal and five were PC.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BUTLER: I mentioned, Mr. Speaker, twenty-two years; yes, twenty-two years. Twelve years as executive assistant sitting here in the gallery, and ten years this coming June as the elected official for the Port de Grave district in a by-election in 2001, re-elected in 2003, and again in 2007.

As my political journey is winding down, I can honestly say, I enjoyed every minute. Making thousands of friends, my life has been enriched with the hundreds of memories that will last forever. Over twenty-two years I have worked with people from Georgestown which is now in the District of Harbour Main, as far in the other direction to Brians Cove, which is in the District of Harbour Grace-Carbonear. Today, my district consists of communities all the way from Island Cove to and including Makinsons. I have to say, I am very proud of all the residents and humbled by the support they have shown me.

I can assure you, my colleagues will attest to this, it takes great teamwork and tremendous support to survive the election of 2007, which I classify as a Tsunami.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BUTLER: I want to pay tribute to a few people, with your permission, Mr. Speaker. The four departments: Social Services they were called then: Transportation and Works; Fisheries and Aquaculture; and Intergovernmental Affairs. The tremendous working relationship I had there when we were working in those four departments, friendships that were made and last to this very day.

To the Commissionaires, the security, Hansard - God only knows how many times they had to come to me and say: What was that you said? We cannot pick it out - our parliamentary library, the Table Officers here in the House, and yourself, Mr. Speaker, as well as the Sergeant-at-Arms, and the corporate members who have a difficult job to do as the investigations unfolded here in the House, and the tremendous job they have now to keep us all straight and above-board.

I want to recognize the staff in the Official Opposition office. Even though we are small in numbers, we did not get all the funding we wanted a few years ago, but having said that, those young men and women are a credit to the office. They go beyond the call of duty doing their research so that our leader and fellow colleagues have the information that we need from time to time. Also to my co-worker of twelve years, while I was an executive assistant and ten years she has been my constituency assistant, Ms Joan Efford who now works in the office in Bay Roberts, I want to thank her.

To my colleagues in the Official Opposition, what can you say? Two of them, I have worked with them now for the full ten years. In a by-election a little over a year ago, my colleague from The Straits & White Bay North came on stream. I have to say he is a character, a great friend, and someone who keeps me going every day. I want to thank all three of them for the extra work that they have done over the past several weeks for me.

I want to thank my family. I know Maude and Darrell are here in the building today, but also the immediate family who are at home. Because, ladies and gentlemen, anyone who enters the political arena, it is not an easy life when you want to have a good family life. We all know that, the ministers know more about it than the backbenchers from the time they spend away from their families. It is a tremendous chore on any family, but it is a profession that calls for that and I want to commend each and every one of you.

To the constituents in Port de Grave district, I want to say, once again, a sincere thank you for your support. To the hundreds of calls that I have received in the past, I would say, four or five weeks, calls of congratulations and calls of saying: Why don't you reconsider and run again? To them, I say: I am sorry.

To all colleagues here in the hon. House, all forty-seven – forty-six, one is the Speaker but we are all forty-seven colleagues – I want to say it has been an honour and a pleasure. I believe over the ten years I have been here, many friendships have been made. There are times we all do not agree. You hear that every day as we heckle back and forth across the House. To each and every one of you, the member of the Third Party and all government members, I want to wish you good health and success in the future, but not the amount of success I have to offer to my own colleagues when October comes.

Mr. Speaker, I have to mention one member here in this hon. House and that is the Member for Lake Melville. On many occasions when I would stand, he would say: Socrates is on his feet again. You will hear it now. Well, I could not get a quote from Socrates but I did get one from Confucius. He said: "Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail."

Mr. Speaker, if anyone followed my career from the time I went to work with John Efford up to now, I failed many times. I have fallen many times, but it is because of the great people of the District of Port de Grave that they have lifted and planted my feet on solid ground. I am humbled to be standing here representing them today.

So, Mr. Speaker, with that, I say: Thank you for the opportunity and God bless you all.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HARDING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

First of all, I would like to express my personal appreciation to the hon. Member for Port de Grave, because I knew him long before he got into politics, through the Lions organization, and I know that he has always done a really good job wherever he has gone. So I would like to thank him personally, and wish him all the best in the future.

Mr. Speaker, it is always an opportunity and a privilege to say a few words on a Budget, and today certainly is my privilege now, even though I have been told I do not have much time, because the Premier is going to need a fair bit of time. So I am certainly prepared to give her whatever she needs.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HARDING: Mr. Speaker, I want to also congratulate all those who spoke on the Budget, especially my colleague for Humber West, he is our newest member. I say that because there are three of us here now, out of the forty-eight, who have direct roots to the little Town of Greenspond in Bonavista North. That is myself, who was born and raised there, the hon. Member for Humber West, his parents were born and raised there – he moved to Pool's Island a short time after – and the hon. Opposition House Leader, the Member for Burgeo & La Poile, his parents were also born and raised in Greenspond. So I thought I would just like to mention that for the record, three sitting members from such a small community at any one time.

So, Mr. Speaker, over the past eight years or so we have certainly come a long ways in this Province. Back then, eight years ago, when we had our first Budget, the Premier at the time made the statement that he would need or his government would need eight years to lay the foundation for this Province, and that has been done, Mr. Speaker. Now, we have a new Premier, and she is building on that foundation. I do not think we should forget, Mr. Speaker, who this new Premier really is. We should not forget that she was a key player, when she was Minister of Natural Resources, in negotiating improvements to the Province's agreement with Vale Inco, and now we have the Long Harbour Project out there going full speed ahead. In addition to that, Mr. Speaker, she was also, when she was Minister of Natural Resources, instrumental in playing a major role in securing unprecedented super-royalty and equity agreements with –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HARDING: – the White Rose Project, with the Hebron Project, and with Hibernia South Extension. Also while Minister of Natural Resources she was directly involved and played a key role with the planning and development of the Muskrat Falls hydro-electric deal.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HARDING: Mr. Speaker, I think the people of the Province should remember that when October 11 comes.

While driving back from my district on Sunday, Mr. Speaker, I was listening to CBC, I think it was, and they made a comment about the Liberal AGM here in St. John's on the weekend. One of the things that the Leader of the Opposition said was that she wanted to change the fiscal management system that our government has been following. Mr. Speaker, I could hardly believe what she was saying. It is only recently that Standard & Poor's, the largest and most reputable credit bond rating company in North America, that they upgraded our credit rating from A to A+.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HARDING: The highest that has ever been since we have been a Province of Canada.

Also, Mr. Speaker, only recently the Chairman of the Bank of Canada classed Newfoundland and Labrador as the best jurisdiction in Canada in terms of fiscal management.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HARDING: In fact he went on to say that Newfoundland and Labrador should be used as a model for this country in terms of fiscal management. Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition wants to change that.

Also, Mr. Speaker, more recently the Chief Economist with the Scotia Bank said that our investments this year in infrastructure are really important investments and they are good investments even though we may have to borrow to do that. She also referred to that move as one of the great ones in terms of economic and fiscal management, Mr. Speaker. I think the people of the Province should be very cautious in listening to what the Leader of the Opposition will be saying between now and October 11, especially in terms of fiscal management.

Mr. Speaker, I wanted to make a few comments about the Muskrat Falls deal, if I could, because in our Throne Speech and in the Budget we placed great emphasis on that project and so we should, Mr. Speaker, because Muskrat Falls is one of the most attractive and clean energy projects in North America.

I do not think we should forget the fact either, Mr. Speaker, and I think most people realize that the era of cheap energy anywhere in the world is imminent, not only because of the depletion of these resources because, as we all know, they are non-renewable. Since 2000, energy prices, in terms of fuel, have quadrupled and they are still going up. Also, we should not forget that countries like Tunisia and Egypt that were major exporters of oil are now importers of oil. It is also being said that countries like Bahrain, Yemen and Syria also major exporters of oil, are now becoming in the not too distant future importers of oil. So that is going to have a major impact on the world prices of oil, Mr. Speaker.

With respect to the Muskrat Falls deal, I think as important as the obvious benefits might be in terms of employment opportunities, in terms of potential economic advantages especially for Labrador, in terms of security of clean electrical power, the benefits from that project are immeasurable.

Normally, Mr. Speaker, when you hear talk of a Budget being presented, you would always look for whether there are going to be tax increases or whether there are going to be cuts in services. Whenever you see that, you would have to say that it is a good Budget. This year again, Mr. Speaker, no tax increases, no cuts in services, so most people I think would agree that we have presented another great Budget for the people of this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HARDING: Mr. Speaker, just another few comments if I could in terms of the Muskrat Falls development. I refer to comments made by Mr. George with the small independent business association when he said our spending has increased by 75 per cent. Well, Mr. Speaker, so has our revenue increased by 75 per cent. He also said that we should put money into a heritage fund. I would like to ask the question, Mr. Speaker: When we are investing in the Lower Churchill Project, what is that doing? When we are investing in a renewable resource, what is that doing? I can only say that if you want to call it a heritage fund or whatever, that it is investing in the future of this Province.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I just want to say that the foundation has been laid. We are building on that foundation. From region to region, resource to resource, industry by industry, and enterprise by enterprise, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are moving forward with boldness in the marketplace. We are moving forward to generate the kind of economic activity that is going to sustain our communities for generations to come. With the vision, with the ingenuity, and with the passion of our new Premier –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HARDING: – and with the right public policies of her government, Mr. Speaker, we shall ensure that our wealth of natural resources will work to our advantage and will provide lasting benefits to the future of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER (T. Osborne): The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to rise in this House today and speak to Budget 2011. It is the eighth Budget of this government, the eighth since 2003, but it is my very first Budget as Premier.

Let me begin, Mr. Speaker, by first offering my gratitude to the Minister of Finance for his masterful work. Our Department of Finance is second to none – second to none – and I commend them for their unwavering commitment to the people of this Province. A job well done, Minister. Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Mr. Speaker, this year, the minister began this process as he has done in years gone by. Mr. Speaker, he started to prepare his Budget by first listening to the people of this Province. He travelled the length and breadth of Newfoundland and Labrador to hear what our people had to say about what was important in their lives.

Mr. Speaker, listening is a trademark of this government. Members of this caucus do it day in, day out. They go home in their communities. They are out amongst the people they serve and represent here in the House of Assembly. They talk to them in their own homes, in their own communities, about what they want from their government. They bring that back here and clearly reflect it at the caucus table and at the Cabinet table, Mr. Speaker. That is what drives policy development and program development in our government. Nothing is more important to me, as Premier, than hearing from the people of the Province that we are charged to serve and nothing is more important to the caucus that I work with every day.

Mr. Speaker, too many people in this world live under governments that do not listen. Mr. Speaker, to have such a high standard is extremely important, not only for the people here in the House of Assembly but for the people of our Province. Abraham Lincoln really had it right when he talked about government of the people, by the people, for the people. Mr. Speaker, that always has to be the guiding principle for everything we do. We do that by building partnerships and a sense of community wherever we go in this Province. We talk about self-reliance and being masters of our own destiny, we can only do that if we all become one team working together. Only then do we reach our greatest potential.

We have an obligation to work as partners to secure a strong and sustainable future for the people of this Province. We owe our children and their children nothing less than our total engagement, not only as politicians but as the people who live in this beautiful place and are charged with seeing it grow and prosper. So that means we have to work with open ears, with clear vision, with compassionate hearts and an unfailing commitment to the best interests of the people we serve. We need to continue to listen day in and day out.

We have shared values in this Province. Despite all our colourful accents and our brogues, we really do speak with one voice. We express very fluently our values, what is important to us as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Most of us speak most of the time about the goals we share as a people and as a Province and the fundamental values that under carry all of those goals.

Mr. Speaker, we want an economically sustainable future here in Newfoundland and Labrador. We want our society to be grounded on sustainability. Mr. Speaker, we want stability in our economy. We are a resource driven Province. It was the fishery resource that brought the first people to our shores, Mr. Speaker. The fishery is extremely important and we have had wonderful highs in this Province from the fishery, but we have also experienced terrible lows. That is why it is important to diversify, so that when we have that ebb and flow in our resources, when we have that ebb and flow which is so normal in commodities, there is something else to help us ride out the storm.

People are very realistic in this Province. You could not live in this place and not be grounded in reality. One of my favourite, favourite books is Random Passage. I read it every year, because I go down to Trinity every year. When I go to Trinity I have to go out to Cape Random and the movie set where they filmed Random Passage. I have to bring my book with me because it is such an inspiring story about who we are as a people, about our forebearers who built this place.

Sometimes in the middle of winter when it is sleety and cold and barren and the wind is whistling, you think about the conditions under which those people lived. You think to yourself, how bad was it where they came from that this was good? This was good to be in such a harsh climate without enough food, without proper shelter, without proper clothing. As tough as it was, it was better than where they came from. Not only was it better than where they came from but here they also sensed an opportunity, an opportunity to build something better.

The courage and the fortitude of those men and women as they went into lonely coves and harbours, where they fished day and night, where they lived in huts put together with a few small trees and mud, where they bore their children and tried to educate them, tried to build community. You cannot help but be lifted up by the stories of who they were. You cannot help but be inspired by their vision, their passion and their tenacity. If they had the courage to invest everything they had, even their lives, in the building of this place, how much more for us who are so much better off in so many ways to continue to build on what they started for us?

That is what we have been doing in this government for the last eight years. We have been standing patiently and unflinchingly, fighting for things like the Atlantic Accord, like equity stakes in our offshore oil projects, and like Voisey's Bay development – enhanced Voisey's Bay development that saw real benefits come to the people of the Province, not best efforts like the original agreement stated. Best efforts are not good enough. You need real benchmarks that can be measured.

The people of this Province demand today real benchmarks. We are tired, tired, tired because in the midst of our hard work and our struggle to sustain ourselves and build community, too many people came our way and took advantage of us – too many people. We saw our resources building better lives for people outside of our Province. We made a solemn promise as a government and as a party in 2003 that there would be no more giveaways and that we would develop resources in this Province in the best interest of the people of the Province.

Yes, we want investors to come. We go all over the world encouraging them to do so, telling our story, telling them what is available to them in Newfoundland and Labrador, this wonderful place, and telling them: You come invest your money with us and we will do everything we can to ensure that you get a healthy return on that investment and that you will get something back. We also need to tell you the people of the Province need to get something back as well. So we need to become partners in building a success story around your company and building a bigger success story in building the economy in this Province.

That is what we have done, and we have succeeded, Mr. Speaker. We have done really well. We will continue to do well into the future. Mr. Speaker, we have prospered in the last eight years and some of that, no doubt, has been due to the price of oil and the resurgence in commodities like iron ore. It is also due to good fiscal planning. It is also due to good solid investments in the business community in this Province, to economic development, to rural development specifically. It has been in the midst of great difficulties for some of our people.

I will never forget early in our term going to Harbour Breton when Fishery Products International announced the closure of the plant. The community came together to talk to Premier Williams at the time and to myself. It is not a moment you would ever forget, Mr. Speaker. To stand in the midst of men and women who could not see a way forward, who were stressed to the absolute maximum because they were worried about how they were going to look after their children. Were they going to be able to live in their community? Were they going to have to leave their community to go places beyond and leave their homes behind and leave everything they had worked their whole life for that would be no value to them beyond Harbour Breton? To stand in a room where grown men, who had risked their lives every day facing the perils of the sea, crying, sobbing; proud men but so caught in fear, anxiety and stress that they wept openly.

Mr. Speaker, people came forward with all kinds of ideas about what we ought to be doing down in Harbour Breton. We were roundly chastised when we would not put a shrimp plant down there, roundly criticized when we would not have roll-on roll-off ferries that just did something for tourism down there. I mean there was no end to the suggestions that were coming forward. Mr. Speaker, every time we investigated and really strongly felt that it was not appropriate to make that kind of investment, we were given the gears, we were hauled over the coals; the selfish, uncaring, cold people, a cold government that was not responsive to the people.

That was not the case, Mr. Speaker. We persevered, we worked with the community, we studied the region, we looked at what was possible, and we looked at what the strengths of the region were. What did they have in resources, Mr. Speaker? We looked at an industry that had just been limping along for years in aquaculture, and we found a jewel, a jewel that we could polish and do something with. Mr. Speaker, that is what we did. We talked to the community about it. We went to people who were involved in the aquaculture industry outside of this Province who had an expertise. We brought them in. They formed partnerships on the ground in Harbour Breton. This government made the appropriate investments in infrastructure, in working capital funds.

Mr. Speaker, what a joy it was for me and members of the Economic Policy Committee of this government to go back last year to Harbour Breton. The place was buzzing. The energy was incredible. To be taken on a tour of the plant that was in full production, processing fish raised on fish farms, salmon raised on fish farms. The plant that had been falling down in disrepair was vibrant with energy and people earning a living making good money. To talk to mayors in the surrounding community who have wept because their community was going to die a few years before, saying we need more money for infrastructure, the roads cannot keep up with the traffic and the eighteen-wheeler trucks going in and out of this place. That is the difference, Mr. Speaker.

It is an easy, easy thing for governments to do, is to throw money at a problem. Even better, if you can give it to the people in the community and say, here you go, straighten yourselves out. Knowing full well that often the resources they need to do that are not available to them, that the capacity is not there to do it, they do not have the access to do what they need to do. When they spend the money and nothing results from it, governments get to walk away and say: well look, we did what we could do. We gave you $10 million, we gave you the $15 million. Not only did you fail the first time, you failed again. So, this community is a write off. You are a bunch of losers because you just cannot get it together.

Now, I saw that happen. I saw that happen in this Province when governments walked away from their responsibility and set communities up for another failure and then blamed them when the inevitable happened. That is not the way this government does business, Mr. Speaker. That is not the way this government does business.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: We walk with our people because that is what we are charged to do as politicians. We do not become separate from our communities because we get elected to this House of Assembly. We listen to what people have to say. We work with them to find solutions. We go beyond the community when the capacity is not in the community to do what needs to be done. We source it in other places and we bring it home to work with our community partners to rebuild, to grow, and to reinvest. Mr. Speaker, while we are doing that, we see the difference that kind of approach has made in the lives of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Our initiatives in education; what that has meant for young people and access to post-secondary education. What a joy it was, Mr. Speaker, to be a member of this government when for the very first time, five years ago we went over $1 billion investment in our Budget in education in one year. Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely marvellous.

Mr. Speaker, I came from a generation that had to get over apologizing for who we were and what we sounded like. I marvel at our young people here today. Mr. Speaker, I was here in this House of Assembly this morning with ninety-one young elementary school children. They are bright, they are smart, they are healthy, they are beautiful, they are full of energy, and they are full of hope. Mr. Speaker, it lifts you up. If you ever needed a reminder of what we are doing in this place, all you had to do was come here this morning and look at those beautiful young faces and know that the world is available to them. Why is it? Because they will be properly trained, educated, and supported in our communities here in this place. They will be fed and looked after by their parents because they have the means to do it. They will either be able to do it because of the good work that is available in this Province and the good wages that are available to the people in this Province from all the different businesses that we have on the go, all the different resources that we have being developed here in this Province, or because of the social programs that we have to support families who are going through a rough patch. We are doing our very best to make sure nobody gets left behind, that we are an inclusive society and that everybody in this place matters to us.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Mr. Speaker, we are doing that, and one of the main ways we are doing that as a government is by being fiscally responsible. Look at the wonderful things we are able to do in this place. In 2003 when we came to government, we were $12 billion in debt. Our annual Budget had nearly a $1 billion deficit, that first year.

I will never forget our first Budget exercise for as long as I live. I came to this place full of enthusiasm, full of passion for this place, filled with ideas about how working together with my colleagues I could make a difference in the lives of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and then I got in the Cabinet room and we had to deal with the Budget. Basically, we were bankrupt. Not only were we not able to have a great deal of discussion about new initiatives, we had to talk about what we were going to cut just to keep the place afloat.

I remember night after night not being able to sleep, almost becoming breathless with the responsibility that was on our shoulders to try to find a way forward. How many times did we talk about carving it off a little piece at a time, what we could manage, and doing what was right and trying to find a way forward. Mr. Speaker, we found the way forward. Since that time, how many surpluses, Minister?

AN HON. MEMBER: Six.

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Six consecutive surpluses in our Budget and we have reduced our debt by almost $4 billion - unheard of.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: While we have been able to improve the standard of living for every Newfoundlander and Labradorian. We have invested in hospitals. We have invested in schools. We have invested in highways and bridges. Mr. Speaker, we have invested in small and medium-sized business to drive the economy of this Province.

Mr. Speaker, when we came in 2003 the Liberal government of the day was investing $2.6 million in economic development in this Province - scandalous, absolutely scandalous - with $1 billion deficit and a $12 billion debt. What were you doing with the money because you were not trying to build the economy of this place? Today, under this government, over $130 million is available to businesses in this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Mr. Speaker, in terms of our offshore, a royalty regime that had been negotiated on Hibernia, the top tier that nobody – it would have taken a miracle for us to ever get the full payout on that project and receive the kind of royalties that people talked about in the agreement. Mr. Speaker, we had companies delaying investing in our offshore because there were no timelines on them. They could keep it for fifty years, or seventy-five years, or 100 years. When the time was right for them, they would come invest in Newfoundland and Labrador, because there was no requirement for them to develop like there was in most other places in the world.

If you had to develop something over in Asia, they were telling you to hop to it and you better get it done in a certain length of time or you were going to lose your lease. So why would you invest over here when you knew that one was safe? You go secure the one that you had to make the investment in, and our government said oh no, you do not. While we did not get a great deal of support in terms of the whole land tenure piece, Mr. Speaker, we were able to bring enough pressure to bear on the oil companies, again amidst a storm of controversy and abuse, often led by our friends across the way I might add. They always understand the other person's point of view. They have a little difficulty aligning themselves with the aspirations, the hopes, and dreams of the people in Newfoundland and Labrador. If somebody has a contrary point of view, you can look for a good explanation of it and a spirited defence, often, of the other point of view from across the way.

Mr. Speaker, we were able to bring incredible pressure to bear on the oil companies that they had to be more responsive, more respectful of the people of this Province if they were going to do business here. They came back to the table and as a result we were able to negotiate Hebron - unprecedented benefits to the people of this Province. For the first time in the history of this country, gender and diversity plans, probably the first in the world, Mr. Speaker. Even now companies come back to us and say we were so resistant on that piece, yet we are taking the template that was developed in Newfoundland and Labrador and we are applying it around the world because it works for us, it works for our partners in other countries.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Mr. Speaker, we were able to negotiate super royalties. We could not dream it twenty-five or thirty years ago, it is a reality here today. Mr. Speaker, we became partners in the development of our own resources by taking equity, which will bring returns to the people of this Province for as long as there is oil out there.

How good were these arrangements? Well, Mr. Speaker, there is going to be a little shifting, a little weaving, and ups and downs as we go through our oil reserves in the next two years. Our oil reserves are starting to drop now, and that is why it is important that we encourage companies to keep exploring and to keep investing in Newfoundland and Labrador, because we need to find new oil reserves. Even though our reserves are dropping, our royalties, our income from oil and gas is going up. It is going up because this government negotiated those super royalties and got that equity.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: So, Mr. Speaker, while we give clarity to the business community about what they can expect from the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, when we give them clarity about what Newfoundland and Labrador expects from them when you invest in business development here in our own communities all over this Province - I heard our wonderful Minister of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development speak in this House last week, talking about over 70 per cent of the small- and medium-size business funding that we have in this Province going outside the Northeast Avalon.

Mr. Speaker, you can see it in communities as you go about this Province. You can hear it in the voices of our young people who are such proud Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, who have such hope for this place and such confidence in who they are and what this place is, and their role in what it will become. Mr. Speaker, it just lifts you up. How can anybody not be moved and not be passionate about what we do when you hear those young voices? They talk to us all the time. It is absolutely marvellous. We have achieved that balance of investment, fiscal responsibility, listening to our people and making the right choices with them about what it is they need for a healthy life here in this Province.

Mr. Speaker, one of the most exciting projects that we have been involved in is the development of Muskrat Falls. The Leader of the Opposition pounds day after day in this House of Assembly with her two or three questions around Muskrat Falls, and yet, she cannot knock this file back. She cannot do it because this is work that has been well done.

Mr. Speaker, everybody in this Province has a scar on their soul from the Upper Churchill contract. Every one of us, who is old enough to understand, knows the wrong that was done to the people of this Province in that contract that gets done day after day, after day. I was Minister of Natural Resources for four years, and I dealt with the Churchill River in one way or another, almost on a daily basis. Even with that amount of exposure, I could not desensitize myself to the terrible wrong that has been done to the people of this Province. All I needed to hear was that in 2009 Hydro-Quebec earned $2 billion from the Upper Churchill and Newfoundland and Labrador earned $67 million, to put me in a state.

Now, Mr. Speaker, while that is a great hurt in the psyche of the people of this Province, there is also a great fear that can go with that when you are a government and you are looking to do the next deal. Nobody, nobody ever wants to be hung with that epitaph, that you developed a second Upper Churchill; that the benefits of one of our greatest resources went to people out – the very history we are trying to change, to be part of repeating that mistake is nothing that any government wants anything to do with it. Although, Mr. Speaker, I have to say, we came pretty close to doing that in 2003. We came close to doing it in 2003, because if you keep doing the same old thing you will keep getting the same old result.

Mr. Speaker, one thing that oil companies have is expertise and one thing that Hydro-Québec has and can well afford because of its great income, is expertise. When you go to the negotiating table you better be prepared. You better be prepared to deal with your opponent. You need to deal; you need to be as smart, as bright, and as well-informed as the person who is sitting across the table from you.

I am going to tell you, Mr. Speaker, I do not know all of the negotiators in the 2003 deal because it is hard to know who knew anything about it. The board of directors of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro did not know anything about it. From statements made here in the House of Assembly I do not think the Cabinet knew about it. The Premier knew about it, Hydro-Québec knew about it, and I can guarantee you the people of Newfoundland and Labrador did not know anything about it. In terms of what we know of what was negotiated, Mr. Speaker, it is hard to think how it could get worse than the Upper Churchill.

The 2003 deal on the Lower Churchill was worse than the Upper Churchill. At least we are getting $67 million a year now on that deal. Remember when that project would have been going forward, it would have been going forward when the bottom was falling out of the world, when we were having the economic crisis that we are just starting to get out and beyond now. That is when all of that – so you want to talk about overruns. Newfoundland and Labrador would have been responsible for all of the overruns. If we could not finance the overruns – now remember we had a $12 billion debt – then Hydro-Québec would finance the overruns and end up owning the whole project.

I do not mind questions on overruns, Mr. Speaker. It is a good thing that we were around as an Opposition in 2002 and 2003 to ask those questions. Mr. Speaker, you cannot be paralyzed by fear, you have to move forward. It is our greatest resource in this Province today. I mean we have 3,000 megawatts in the Lower Churchill. We have another 6,000 megawatts in its tributaries. We have ridiculous amounts of wind in Labrador. We talk about 5,000 megawatts because people can relate to 5,000 megawatts. It is hard to relate to 10,000, 15,000, or 20,000 megawatts of wind, but there is phenomenal wind in Labrador. There is phenomenal wind in this Province. There is new technology being developed around tidal energy. We are surrounded by water.

So the opportunities for this place are enormous. As our Minister of Finance put it so eloquently, it will provide income for our children, our grandchildren, and our great-grandchildren, as long as the waters run to the sea or as the wind blows. Mr. Speaker, the fact that we have hydro and wind together makes it even more valuable.

We talk about the fact that you cannot store wind so you cannot store the electricity from wind. What we mean by that is if we have a lot of rain, we can store water in a reservoir. That is like storing energy in a reservoir. So we go through a time when we do not have a lot of rainfall, we can take water out of the reservoir. It is like taking electricity out of the reservoir. You cannot store wind somewhere.

We have not developed the technology, although we are working on it in Ramea. We are storing wind in hydrogen. That is a project that may revolutionize energy generation in our isolated communities and in the North, and that is so exciting. Right now, we do not have the technology to store wind. So when the wind is blowing and generating electricity, we have to use it. We have to put it into the grid right away because there is no way to store it.

As we all know, even where you have the best wind, sometimes the wind drops out. Now what do you do? What is your customer going to do now? What are your people going to do now, somebody who is running a mine or running Long Harbour down there? What are you going to do when the wind drops out? You have to be able to call on another source of energy to backstop the wind and to say: Okay, the wind is not blowing now, but do not worry, we are still going to deliver your energy because now we are going to draw on our reservoir in Bay d'Espoir or we are going to draw out of our reservoir on the Churchill River and we are going to flow electricity to you for that.

So when you sell wind to any customer, you have to be able to backstop that wind. That is how the industry refers to it. You have to backstop the wind. Well, they are not giving you something to backstop the wind for free. That is the big issue between, for example, PEI and New Brunswick. PEI has great wind regimes and they are developing their wind. They do not have anything to backstop the wind with so they have to go to New Brunswick and say: Can you sell us some power from Point Lepreau, your nuclear reactor? Can you sell us some power from that because we have to have that on standby to be able to use it when the wind stops blowing and our turbines stop running, we still have to be able to feed our customers the electricity they need. New Brunswick said yes and it is going to cost you this. You have to tack that on to the cost of wind.

Now, Mr. Speaker, when we develop the Churchill River that is our backstop for 5,000 megawatts of wind. Mr. Speaker, when we have a Labrador Island link we are able to develop wind here in the Province because we have a backstop for the wind. When we have a Maritime link, Mr. Speaker, we are able to take that electricity out of this Province and bring it to market.

Now, Mr. Speaker, to suggest there is not a market for green energy, I do not know what world somebody might be living in because there are two facts that cannot be argued. First of all oil and gas reserves are going down all around the world. It is becoming a very valuable commodity which is why we are investing on the West Coast of this Province, Mr. Speaker, and a good thing to do. Mr. Speaker, we need to firm up our reserves, the world is going to need oil and gas for some time to come. We are not going to make that transition very quickly and oil bubbles up to the top of the ground out on the West Coast, so with the right investment and understanding the geology we are going to find the source of that oil and the people of the West Coast are going to prosper in a more direct and significant way from our reserves out in that area of the Province as the Northeast Avalon and some parts of the South Coast do now from the oil on the Grand Banks. That is a good thing to do. The people of the West Coast deserve all of that, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Mr. Speaker, we have seismic activity going on off the Coast of Labrador now; the first activity up there since the 1970s and the same opportunities are going to exist particularly in gas for the people in Labrador and so it should, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, it does not change the fact that reserves are being depleted all over the world and so we are having to do this transition. We are having to do this transition from oil to other forms of energy. That is a fact, Mr. Speaker.

The second fact is that oil and gas are dirty, nuclear is dangerous and people are moving away from it because it is killing our environment. To do the kinds of things that we need to do to clean up the environment is so expensive, that it just drives industry and governments to find cheaper sources – cheaper sources, cleaner sources, sources that are available in great supply. What better than hydro? Hydro is the cheapest form of green electricity in the world.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Hydro is cheaper than any other way of generating electricity, Mr. Speaker, and it is clean. You can use the water time and time again. Mr. Speaker, the same water we use to generate electricity in the Upper Churchill, we will use in Muskrat Falls. When the time comes we will use it in Gull and then we will use it in Muskrat Falls. That is the wonderful thing about it, Mr. Speaker. It will go clean out into the ocean and as our minister said, generating income for generations to come. These are good investments, Mr. Speaker.

We laid out the vision for our sustainable economy so that when we go through the highs and lows of the fishery, when we go through the highs and lows of commodities like iron ore and nickel and so on, we will have that solid foundation of renewable energy that is needed by the world. Mr. Speaker, we do not live here in isolation when we are developing these projects, which take me back to the Lower Churchill.

When you are going to a negotiation, as I said earlier, you go well-prepared and you go evenly matched or one above. Mr. Speaker, they clearly did not do that in 2003. When this government came and we knew that we wanted to develop the Lower Churchill, Mr. Speaker, we went and we found the best minds we could find for the development of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and the development of our Crown corporation, Nalcor.

Mr. Speaker, we invested first of all in Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro that the Liberals had bled dry. When you looked at that utility and compared it to other utilities in this country, it was enough to make you weep, because Newfoundlanders and Labradorians had made it quite clear what they felt about Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, and rightly so, when it was tried to be privatized, Mr. Speaker. We saw that same debate happen in New Brunswick last year. If you are not in control of your own energy supply, how can you be in control of your destiny? You have to have a measure of control over energy generation in your Province, Mr. Speaker, so you can direct the economy, that you can attract industrial development.

We had a weak utility that we needed to get back on a solid, fiscal footing. We made those investments, Mr. Speaker. We combed this Province and combed this country and found the best minds, the best people. We have the smartest, brightest, best educated, Mr. Speaker, who had an experience in utilities, had an experience in oil and gas, had an experience in the generation of electricity, and boy, did we find them. We found them in people like Ed Martin, and Jim Keating, Gilbert Bennett. Brilliant, brilliant people who wanted to come and work for us. Do you know one of the reasons why they wanted to come and work for us? Because they are Newfoundlanders, and they are as passionate about this place as we are. Passionate Newfoundlanders and Labradorians whose goals and whose vision and whose values are shared by all of the rest of us.

Then we started to develop a methodology for developing the Churchill River. The one thing we knew was that we had to understand the run of that river from A until Z. We had to know every part of it. We had to know where the challenges were, where the obstacles were. We had to know how much it was going to cost us. We had to understand energy markets, not only here in Newfoundland and Labrador and in Eastern Canada, but in the United States as well. We had challenges on all fronts. We had to try and find a way through Quebec, and if we could not find a way through Quebec, how else could we develop a way to get our power to market? Were we always going to be hostage to a sister province or somebody else, or were we going to really be able to be masters of our own destiny? We had to work at that. We had to test that, we had to see if there was something else that we could do.

Mr. Speaker, we developed a methodology that answered all of those questions. It took a lot of time, it took a lot of investment, it took a lot of intelligence, and it took a lot of research and analysis. When we could not find the answers ourselves, Mr. Speaker, we went where other experts were and asked them the questions and got them to be part of the project. So before we ever got talking about a deal, before we ever got talking about power purchase agreements, the PPAs that the Leader of the Opposition talks about all the time, we needed to understand that project, and was it going to work, first and foremost, for the people of this Province. That was the fundamental question before we decided whether or not it could work for Quebec, or work for Nova Scotia, or work for New England. Was it going to work for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians?

Once we understood the project and understood that river from top to bottom, the resounding answer to that, Mr. Speaker, was yes, and that is what we are doing in Muskrat Falls. The fundamental question - when the Leader of the Opposition has been interested in asking salient questions - has been: Is this the least cost option for ratepayers in Newfoundland and Labrador? Now, Mr. Speaker, we believe it is, because we would never come promoting this project if we did not believe that.

Nalcor, as part of its own due diligence, has now put that question to external consultants to determine the answer. Mr. Speaker, very predictably, the Leader of the Opposition says: Well, we cannot accept anything that those consultants might come back with because you are paying them. We expect that they unprincipled people and they are going to come back with the answer you want rather than the truth. Well, Mr. Speaker, they hold the PUB in high esteem. So that is where we have gone now for a completely independent look on whether or not Muskrat Falls is the least cost option, because if Muskrat Falls is the least cost option, then it is the least cost electricity available to the people in Newfoundland and Labrador. Like everything else we do in the Province, the needs of the people have to come first and their needs have to be put first.

Mr. Speaker, it is heartbreaking to stand in this House day after day and listen to a person who wants to be Premier of this Province, who wants to take on the role of this office and be responsible for the needs of the people of this Province, people who want to form the government, to say: We do not need Muskrat Falls. We do not need new electricity generation in this Province. We do not need it. We do not want it. Nothing is happening here in Newfoundland and Labrador, sure; what do we need new power for? - and ignores all of the evidence that is put before her, that tells her that decision is incorrect.

Mr. Speaker, somebody who publicly, in other forums, has said: We do not want diesel generation in Labrador. We do not want it. It is too expensive and it is harmful to the environment. Who comes back to this House of Assembly and says to the people in Holyrood: Suck it up. We need that plant for another thirty years, there is nothing wrong with it, we will continue to do diesel generation out of Holyrood and you deal with it - deal with it. The double standard, Mr. Speaker, is absolutely appalling and it is completely unacceptable.

Mr. Speaker, the high standards that we have set for ourselves in terms of fiscal responsibility, in terms of being responsible to the people of this Province is the same approach we have taken in terms of the development of the Churchill River. Nobody on this side of the House wants to be accused or go down in history of a giveaway again on the Churchill River. We are making sure that we are not doing that, but at the same time we have a responsibility to develop our resources in a very responsible way and in a way that brings prosperity first of all to the people of Labrador, most appropriately to the people of Labrador, and then to the rest of the Province. The same as we have done in our oil developments, Mr. Speaker. From all of those investments and in terms of that whole approach that we have taken the governance here, we have seen wonderful, wonderful results.

The Leader of the Opposition mocks us in terms of the different strategies that we have developed here in the last eight years. We have approached everything we do strategically. You might as well call it what it is, it is a strategy; I suppose we could spend time trying to devise up a different name for it, but that is what it is, Mr. Speaker. It is to have a vision about where it is you want to be. What is it that you want this place to look like? What is it you want families to have? What is it you want to deliver in your schools for our children? What is it that we want for working men and women? What is it we want as a society when we talk about people who are marginalized because of no reason other than the circumstance into which they were born? We want to be inclusive. We want people to have a good standard of living. We want our children to have access to education. We want them to be happy and healthy, and to have opportunities. It is every parent's dream to help our children become all they could be or would be. Everything we do has to be about that, and it has been about that, Mr. Speaker. That is what this is Budget is about, Mr. Speaker.

So we can play political games and political games get played every day. There always comes a time to be absolutely serious about what it is we have been charged to do as politicians. We have some work to do as politicians, Mr. Speaker. I, for one, own that and my colleagues on this side of the House own that. For far too long – far too long – politicians have said what they think people wanted to hear to get themselves elected, and then they went and did what they wanted to do. That day should be gone, Mr. Speaker, never to see the light of day again.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Mr. Speaker, the mandate on this side of the House or the mantra on this side of the House is: Remember who hired you and why. The day that anybody forgets that, Mr. Speaker, is the day they really ought to pack up their briefcase and go home. Our commitment on this last day in our wonderful House of Assembly is to say that we make a commitment – I make a commitment here today as the Premier of this Province, on my own behalf and on behalf of all of my colleagues, that we will never forget who hired us and we will never forget why. We love Newfoundland and Labrador. We are committed to Newfoundland and Labrador. Mr. Speaker, we have gotten it right for eight years, and we promise to get it right for at least another four.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that the House approve in general the budgetary policy of the government.

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

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

AN HON. MEMBER: Nay.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Carried.

Motion carried.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I understand His Honour has arrived and we are just waiting for His Honour to prepare himself for arrival in the House. I believe we will take a short recess.

Recess

MR. SPEAKER (Fitzgerald): Order, please!

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: Mr. Speaker, His Honour the Lieutenant Governor has arrived.

MR. SPEAKER: Admit His Honour the Lieutenant Governor.

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: All rise.

[Mr. Speaker leaves the Chair. His Honour, the Lieutenant Governor takes the Chair.]

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: It is the wish of His Honour the Lieutenant Governor that all present please be seated.

MR. SPEAKER: Your Honour, it is my agreeable duty, on behalf of Her Majesty's dutiful and loyal subjects, Her Faithful Commons in Newfoundland and Labrador, to present to Your Honour a bill for the appropriation of Supply granted in the present session.

CLERK: A bill, "An Act For Granting To Her Majesty Certain Sums Of Money For Defraying Certain Expenses Of The Public Service For The Financial Year Ending March 31, 2012 And For Other Purposes Relating To The Public Service". (Bill 30)

HIS HONOUR THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR (John C. Crosbie PC, OC, ONL, QC): In Her Majesty's name, I thank Her Loyal Subjects, I accept their benevolence, and I assent to this bill.

MR. SPEAKER: May it please Your Honour, the General Assembly of the Province has at its present session passed certain bills, to which, in the name and on behalf of the General Assembly, I respectfully request Your Honour's assent.

CLERK: A bill, "An Act Respecting The Protection Of Adults". (Bill 1)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Labour-Sponsored Venture Capital Tax Credit Act". (Bill 3)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Public Accountants Act". (Bill 4)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Smoke-Free Environment Act, 2005". (Bill 5)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Standard Time Act". (Bill 6)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Municipalities Act, 1999". (Bill 7)

A bill, "An Act To Repeal The Law Reform Commission Act". (Bill 8)

A bill, "An Act Respecting Correctional Services". (Bill 9)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Labour Relations Act". (Bill 10)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Sheriff's Act, 1991". (Bill 11)

A bill, "An Act To Repeal The Regulatory Reform Act". (Bill 12)

A bill, "An Act To Repeal The Subordinate Legislation Revision And Consolidation Act". (Bill 13)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Proceedings Against The Crown Act". (Bill 14)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Petroleum And Natural Gas Act". (Bill 15)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Support Orders Enforcement Act, 2006". (Bill 16)

A bill, "An Act Respecting The Mandatory Reporting Of Gunshot And Stab Wounds". (Bill 17)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Municipalities Act, 1999 No. 2". (Bill 18)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Urban And Rural Planning Act, 2000". (Bill 19)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Highway Traffic Act". (Bill 20)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Revenue Administration Act". (Bill 21)

A bill, "An Act Respecting The Practice Of Medicine In the Province". (Bill 22)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Crop Insurance Act And The Livestock Insurance Act". (Bill 23)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Loan and Guarantee Act, 1957". (Bill 26)

A bill, "An Act Respecting Forestry Professions". (Bill 27)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Health Research Ethics Authority Act". (Bill 28)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Fish Inspection Act". (Bill 29)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Income Tax Act, 2000". (Bill 31)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Revenue Administration Act No. 2". (Bill 33)

HIS HONOUR THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: In Her Majesty's name, I assent to these bills.

I understand, Mr. Speaker, that it would not be out of place for me to say a few words on this occasion. Being the type who is always looking for occasions in which he might say a few words, I will say a few words.

What I want to comment upon is the very commendable project which the Legislative Assembly has authorized and which was celebrated this week. The debates of the Newfoundland Legislature for 1932 and the Newfoundland Legislature for 1933 have been resuscitated. With the support and the approval of this hon. government and the Chamber, the editing has been undertaken by Dr. J.K. Hiller who has done a magnificent job of producing an accurate recital of what happened in the important years of 1932 and 1933 in this hon. House of Assembly. As you know, Newfoundland was in grave financial peril.

I want to congratulate the government and the members of this hon. House for having authorized and supported the work that has gone into producing the debates of the Newfoundland Legislature of 1932 and the debates of the Newfoundland Legislature of 1933. Now, as you know, I do not have much to do so I have actually already looked through the debates of the Newfoundland Legislature of 1932, which are most interesting. In the next few days, I am not saying I will read every word, but I will go through it to look at what I think is important in the 1933 Hansard or its replacement now.

It is very, very interesting to have the opportunity to see what was actually said at those important years in our history. As you all know, Newfoundland and Labrador have not had an easy time in our development. In the 1930s in particular, we were in desperate straits. The government of the day, of all the revenue that the government had, 65 per cent of the revenue of our country back in those years had to go in payment of interest on the debt. They were paying on a debt that was largely caused by our support of the United Kingdom, Great Britain, and the Commonwealth in the First World War when we made a tremendous effort and initiative for which the government agreed to bear the cost of in World War I. The rest of the debt, which was not all really that great when you look back on it, was incurred in the attempt to develop Newfoundland, apart from the coastal areas, by putting the railway across the Island.

I am not going to keep you very long, but I only want to give my own opinion that I have never agreed with the conclusion of the Amulree Commission that was appointed by the British government that our problems up to that time had been caused by any lack of intelligence or integrity, et cetera, by the people who were elected to this hon. House back in those years. When I look at the past history, as supported by these latest volumes, I have to think and I have to understand that your predecessors in this Chamber did tremendous work with very little to work with. We have nothing to be ashamed of as to the record of the members of this House and governments that were in this House. Your predecessors did, I think, pretty outstanding jobs with what they had to work with.

When we realize that 65 per cent of the revenues of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador back in 1932, 1933 had to go to pay interest on the debt, that they were able to keep our country at that time going at all was remarkable. I have never agreed with the Amulree Commission that our problems were caused by a lack of ability or whatever, or alleged. I think that your predecessors in this House 1932-1933 did a very respectable job with what they had at hand. I just wanted to mention that today.

Reading and having access to these debates which you have authorized and your official Chair has helped with to get this on the record for 1932 and 1933, and Dr. J.K. Hiller who lead this whole attempt, is a great achievement. I congratulate you for it.

These are the only remarks I wish to make at the moment because otherwise I will get carried away altogether, as you know. You are all experts in speaking and listening to debates. So I only want to say I am glad to have this opportunity to congratulate you, your officials, and Dr. Hiller for the fantastic job they have done. Our history cannot be complete without the record that Dr. Hiller has now compiled for what was said in this House and done in this House in 1932 and 1933.

So those are my remarks, Mr. Speaker. I think the House should be congratulated on the support you have given this great project. You yourself, who I understand may be considering – I will not even say what you are considering. I want to thank you for your great efforts too, and all the members of the House, and members of the Opposition. I know they have a difficult job. They are small in numbers, as Oppositions usually are, but they are very important in our constitutional form.

Our parliamentary government could not be considered to be successful or in the great traditions of the British parliamentary tradition without its Opposition. There is a small Opposition here and I congratulate them on the work they have done. Of course, I congratulate the government on the work the government has done as well. I congratulate you all. I want to be on all sides of the issues, apparently.

So, good luck to you all, I know that this is the last, probably, meeting that you are going to have before the next election comes along in Newfoundland, and I want to congratulate you all for your service. I am very supportive of participation of people in the political life of Canada, and the political life of our Province. So, I want to encourage you all to continue your political careers, and I wish everyone does well – I cannot wish everyone is going to win, because there are winners and there are losers, as you know, and I have been a winner and a loser in my time. So now I am going to be a winner by shutting up and just congratulating you all on the fine work you are doing.

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: All rise.

[His Honour, the Lieutenant Governor leaves the Chamber. Mr. Speaker returns to the Chair.]

MR. SPEAKER (Fitzgerald): Please be seated.

Order, please!

The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would just like to take a moment at the end of our 4th Session of this 46th Assembly in these last minutes, to express on behalf of the government side of the House our gratitude to the people who support us in this great House of Assembly and in governance. It has certainly been an interesting session, Mr. Speaker. It has been one of our lengthier sessions. We have had thirty-one pieces of legislation come forward that have been well debated. Mr. Speaker, we have brought down a Budget, and we have had a fiery debate on the different issues in that Budget over the last number of weeks.

Mr. Speaker, I would particularly like to thank the staff here at the House of Assembly: Table Officers; the Clerk; Pages; our Sergeant-at-Arms, who keeps order, it is not an easy thing to do here some days; our commissionaires; the Speaker - Mr. Speaker, you have been fair and balanced through this session and we thank you for that, we could not do our work here in this House of Assembly without that; Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank our own House Leader particularly, and our Whip. It is extremely important and he does a very good job on behalf of us here.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Mr. Speaker, I also want to thank the people at Hansard, who operate the televised portions of the House of Assembly. Particularly, I want to thank the staff in all of our departments who support us in the work we do here but also respond to the people of the Province when they have inquiries.

To my colleagues on the opposite side, I want to say thank you very much. I want to say a particular thank you to the Leader of the Opposition. She has had a challenging year, but as anybody who has watched this House of Assembly over the past number of months would see that she is back in fine form, full of fire, Mr. Speaker, and I expect that will continue over the next couple of months. This is an election year, so we are all going to be fully engaged and highly visible. It is certainly going to be an interesting few months.

Mr. Speaker, hopefully, I am looking forward particularly on this side of the House to seeing familiar faces if we have the opportunity to come back here again. It has been a good session. I think we have done good work on behalf of the people in Newfoundland and Labrador. I thank everybody here in this House and all the people who support us in this House.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I say to the Premier, I have seen a lot of fire in her too in this session of the House of Assembly. When we come here, we all come here obviously with a great deal of passion, energy and drive to do the best job that we can do as parliamentarians to serve the people of this Province. Mr. Speaker, I think that everyone I have known who has ever come into this House of Assembly since the day I have been here, they have come here with the greatest sincerity to do that and to do things properly, to do it well, to make changes that are important to people.

Mr. Speaker, I want to first of all, commend as well the staff of the House of Assembly: to commend you, Mr. Speaker, and to wish you well; and also to recognize our Sergeant-at-Arms; our Clerk and the Officers at the Table; our Pages who have joined us again for this session, and our commissionaires. They are the people who look after us when we are here in the House of Assembly and we certainly appreciate the role they play, respect the role they play, and I thank them for that.

I also want to recognize and thank the people in Hansard and in the media centre. I can tell you there are some days they must have quite the chuckle themselves down there. I am sure they have a job that does not get too boring on occasion but nevertheless, I want to thank them as well.

Mr. Speaker, I want to specifically take the opportunity, if I may, to recognize and thank my colleagues, all three of my colleagues on the Opposition bench, in the Liberal bench. This past year has been a difficult year for me personally on occasion, and through the last session of the House of Assembly I want to specially recognize the work that they did, that they did on behalf of me and on behalf of the people in this Province in carrying forward the voice of Opposition and to bring the issues that were important to people to government and to the House of Assembly.

In particular, I want to recognize my colleague, the Member for Port de Grave who has announced today that he will be retiring. I want to wish him and his wife Maude and their family the very best. I wish him a very healthy retirement, Mr. Speaker, and I wish him everything good that can come of being a resident of this great Province of ours in Newfoundland and Labrador. I thank him for the contribution he has made to the people of this Province and to the people of Port de Grave.

In addition, Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank all of my colleagues here in the House of Assembly, and to say to each and every one of them, that as we depart here I know everyone is going to be on the hoof for a number of weeks and months, but I certainly want to wish everyone well and wish them the greatest of health as they carry out their responsibilities and they head into an election campaign.

In all the years I have been here, I think every time I have ever left the House of Assembly I have always looked around because oftentimes when we come back, players change and people change. I expect that will happen again come this fall, but having said that, I think it is always important to recognize, as I said in the beginning, the contribution that everyone makes. In fact, even when I went off this fall, I left when Premier Williams was still occupying the Chair and I came back with Premier Dunderdale occupying the Chair. So, I think it is important to recognize the contribution everyone makes in the time we are here. While people change, and faces change, there is always a role and there is always a job for government and for Opposition.

I want to thank the Premier and the Leader of the Third Party for their co-operation, and the Government House Leader and the Opposition House Leader for their co-operation during this session. Obviously if we did not co-operate here as political parties and as colleagues in the various roles we perform, the House would not perform in the capacity and the way it does. I thank you all for that.

Last but not least, Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my constituents. The people of Cartwright-L'Anse au Clair have been very supportive of me as their MHA. They have bestowed a great honour on me to come here to represent them in the House of Assembly.

This past year, I have had to be away from my district for extended periods of time, and I want to use this opportunity to thank them for their support and for their understanding through that particular process, Mr. Speaker, and to certainly say to them, as the Premier said, I am doing a lot better. I am back and they are going to see lots of me over the summer as well because I am going to be on the hoof in my district just like all the other MHAs.

So thank you all very much, and I wish everyone the best of health as they go off into the summer.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the New Democratic Party.

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

I am also delighted to be able to stand this afternoon and join with the Premier and the Leader of the Official Opposition in recognizing what we do here together in this House. We have something in common. We know that, in all kinds of ways, we have different positions on issues. The thing we have in common is the people who elect us, the people of the Province, and we are all here representing those people.

Even though we may sometimes disagree on how we are doing things, we may disagree on programs and that kind of thing, ultimately we are all here because we do care about the people who have elected us and we care about this Province. I think the more we work together and find ways to work together for the good of the Province, that is what it is all about.

The fact we can have the differing opinions and express the differing opinions, in spite of the fact I know a certain Member of Mount Pearl South is going to say something when I say this, the fact when somebody can hammer at something on the Opposition's side for three years and then see it in the Budget, Mr. Speaker, that means something to me as I stand in this House. I have to say that, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MS MICHAEL: Having said that, I would like to go on and thank everybody in the House, my colleagues in particular, as I said, the Premier and the Leader of the Official Opposition. I have enjoyed working with the House Leader and the Opposition House Leader; the three of us have to meet regularly. I appreciate the way in which the House Leader has kept us informed and we have worked together over this session.

I want to thank all of the staff of the House of Assembly, particularly – not staff, you in particular, Mr. Speaker, for the way in which you work with us here in the House and outside of the House in your role with your deputies. I thank the Clerk and the Table Officers, the Sergeant-at-Arms, the commissionaires, the Pages - particularly for keeping me supplied with water that is not cold with ice; I appreciate that. We all have to work together to make this happen, those we do not see, downstairs in the broadcasting centre and upstairs in Hansard. All of us are needed; all of us are required to do this work.

As I stand here alone, I know many people often say to me: You must feel lonely. I do not feel lonely, I am here with colleagues and I have always said that. No, I do not feel alone. I also do not feel alone because I have a tremendous staff upstairs that does really good work with me and for me. I really appreciate the work of my staff.

I think we must recognize that we did have restructuring in this House of Assembly during the forty-sixth General Assembly. Restructuring that certainly from my perspective has been for the good of the democratic role that we play here in the House, the fact that we do have a recognition which not all Legislatures in the country have, a recognition that everybody who is here and who is elected has to have the resources to do their work. It took the Green report to really create the restructuring that took place, but I think it is important that it happened and that we recognize what happened during this forty-sixth Assembly.

Having said that, I look forward to the next four months, I look forward to the work that goes into preparing for the election, all the pre-election work that we will do. I know we are all going to be bumping into each other at different times, especially over the summer as we attend community events. I have to say that I certainly am going to be looking forward to having more people seated with me on this side of the House under the banner of the New Democratic Party, Mr. Speaker, I will say that.

With all of that, I wish you well, Mr. Speaker. I want to recognize the Member for Port de Grave. I have always been inspired by his dedication to his constituents. I know that if there is anybody in this House who absolutely believes in his constituents, it is the Member for Port de Grave. They should be proud that he represented them for all the years that he did.

Having said that, Mr. Speaker, thank you very much for this my last word during this General Assembly. Good luck to everybody and good health.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: I, too, would like to join the Premier, the Leader of the Opposition, and the Leader of the New Democratic Party to wish people well and to thank members on all sides of the House for their co-operation in this, the fourth session of the forty-sixth General Assembly.

Mr. Butler from Port de Grave, I wish you well, sir. I hope you have made the right decision, and I am sure you have. I wish you well in whatever you do in the future.

Some of us will be making decisions, I am certain, over the next couple of months. Some of us by our own choice will decide not to come back in this wonderful place. Others will have to go out and receive a report card, if we decide to come back, from our constituents. They will ultimately decide those of us who come back. That report card will be delivered on October 11 and the people of the Province are never wrong.

I would like to thank Amanda and Mark. This is their last session as well. They have served us well here as Pages.

It has been a great pleasure for me to serve here in this capacity. Again, I wish all of the Members of the House of Assembly the best as they go out and mix and mingle with the good people who set us here. I think that is where we do our greatest work, out representing those people, sitting at the table, and meeting them on their territory rather than here in our territory – or in the territory we think is ours, but actually it is theirs.

Once again, thank you for your support you have given me over the past number of years. I, too, will make a decision, Mr. Butler, on whether I join you or whether I join somebody else will be known very shortly. Thank you very much for the support you have shown me.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS BURKE: Thank you.

Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Premier, that when this House adjourns today, it stands adjourned to the call of the Chair, and the Speaker, or in his absence from the Province, the Deputy Speaker may give notice and thereupon the House shall meet at the time and date stated by the notice of the proposed sitting, and that this House do now adjourn.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that this House do now adjourn until the call of the Chair.

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

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

This House now stands adjourned.

On motion, the House adjourned to the call of the Chair.