March 5, 2012                            HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS              Vol. XLVII No. 2


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Wiseman): Order, please!

Please be seated.

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: Mr. Speaker, the Justices of the Supreme Court have arrived.

MR. SPEAKER: Admit the Justices of the Supreme Court.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Admit His Honour the Lieutenant Governor.

[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 be seated.

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: May it please Your Honour, the House of Assembly, agreeable to Your Honour's command, have proceeded to the choice of a Speaker and have elected Ross Wiseman, Esquire, Member for the District of Trinity North, to that office, and by their direction I present him for Your Honour's approval.

HIS HONOUR THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR (John C. Crosbie, PC, OC, ONL, QC): On behalf of Her Majesty, I assure you of my sense of your efficiency and I do most fully approve and confirm you as Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Your Honour having approved the choice of this House in constituting me as their Speaker, it now becomes my duty in the name of the representatives of Her Majesty's loyal subjects, the people of the Province, respectfully to claim of Your Honour their accustomed rights and privileges, especially that they shall have freedom of speech in their debates, that they may be free from arrest during their attendance in Parliament, and that I, as Speaker, may have full access to Your Honour's presence at all reasonable times and that they have confirmed to them all their ancient rights and privileges which have been confirmed to them by Your Honour's predecessors.

HIS HONOUR THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: Mr. Speaker, I do confirm this House, on behalf of Her Majesty, in the enjoyment of all its ancient and undoubted rights and privileges.

I made a mistake of starting to read the Speech from the Throne standing the first time I gave it, and I am going to sit, if it is all right with hon. members, while I read this marvellous document.

Celebrating Our Heritage

Diamond Jubilee

Mr. Speaker and Members of the House of Assembly:

It was on a Wednesday, the 6th of February, 1952 – just a week after my 21st birthday – that King George VI passed away. These two events were not, of course, associated together; it just so happened. His eldest daughter, only 25 at the time, inherited a burden of responsibility the weight of which none of us can truly comprehend. Canada was the very first Commonwealth realm to proclaim Her Majesty's accession to the throne, with a prayer that God would bless our new Queen, "with long and happy years to reign over us." Long and happy years they have indeed been, and throughout 2012, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will join others around the world in celebrating the very rare Diamond Jubilee. Once as Princess and three times as Queen, Her Majesty has honoured Newfoundlanders and Labradorians with a visit. As we embark on a year of commemorations, we convey to Her Majesty not only our joy, gratitude and profound respect, but also our hopes and prayers for the years to come. As the prayer in the third verse of the Royal Anthem states: "Thy choicest gifts in store, / On Her be pleased to pour; / Long may She reign: / May She defend our laws, / And ever give us cause / To sing with heart and voice / God save The Queen."

The Colonial Building

Of our many Sovereigns, only one other marked the Diamond Jubilee: Queen Victoria, who reigned for 63 years and seven months. It was in the tenth year of Victoria's reign, 1847, that construction began on the Colonial Building, the site where Responsible government was given to Newfoundland in 1855. In the coming year, My Government will advance the restoration of this historic site, which also served as our province's first official legislature. Once restored, the Colonial Building will be a flagship Provincial Historic Site, a place where residents of and visitors to Newfoundland and Labrador can step back through those ionic columns to learn about our unique and colourful history interpreted within. Excuse me, I developed a cold this morning so I may have to take a sip from time to time.

Soldiers, Sacrifices and Security

Ours is a history written with the blood of sacrifice. The freedoms we cherish were purchased by heroic Newfoundlanders and Labradorians willing to lay down their lives that others might reap from the crimson soil a harvest of peace. From Beaumont-Hamel and Monchy-le-Preux to Suvla Bay, the stories are told of valour unsurpassed. To all who suffered and all who died, we owe our gratitude and honour. It is atop their proud shoulders that we stand tall. This year marks the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, where the Newfoundland Regiment – as it was then called – served gallantly in what is now Ontario and in the United States in the battles of Crysler's Farm in 1813 and Lundy's Lane at Niagara Falls in 1814. A century later, our soldiers' heroism was immortalized at such places as Gallipoli in 1915, Beaumont-Hamel in 1916 and Masniθres in 1917. As the 100th anniversary of World War I approaches, My Government is working with others both locally and internationally to develop initiatives by which we will commemorate, as we must, the sacrifices of all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who served.

Even today, our sons and daughters are serving to secure peace and save lives. On the front lines overseas and in training missions here at home, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are stepping into harm's way to deliver others from peril. Whether in combat or preparation for combat, as protectors of the peace or guardians of the vulnerable, they deserve our gratitude and our admiration for all they do.

Just as Newfoundland and Labrador has played a strategic role in national and international defence in times past, we can play a strategic role in times to come. We urge the Government of Canada to take full advantage of our strengths by investing in defence infrastructure and initiatives at key centres such 5 Wing Goose Bay, 9 Wing Gander and Canadian Forces Station St. John's on our country's easternmost flank.

Canada has a responsibility, not only to ensure the security of our nation's coasts, but also to ensure the safety of those who travel them. Whether it is fishers sailing the seas in boats or rig workers skimming the seas in helicopters, people are not unjustified in expecting the Government of Canada to provide the resources to enable Coast Guard and Search and Rescue personnel to respond promptly and effectively to emergencies.

Sadly, there are times when searches end tragically. We as a people have witnessed far too many terrible endings. While each and every tragedy is profoundly felt by the loved ones of those it touches, some grip the hearts of people far and wide. Such has been the impact of the death of fourteen-year-old Burton Winters in January on the icy coast near Makkovik. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will never forget his fierce determination to get back home to the ones he loved. We are heartbroken by his loss. We mourn for the many like Burton whose lives have been so tragically cut short. Even in recent days, we have been reminded how swiftly a tragedy can strike. We also share the burden of those who brave the elements to search for the missing, putting their own lives in jeopardy to focus on others. Sometimes, even the most vigorous and valiant rescue efforts are unsuccessful. As we remember those we miss, let us also honour those whose extraordinary efforts are dedicated to bringing people home. Sons, daughters and friends of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians serve bravely in vital Search and Rescue capacities. As we pause for a moment now to reflect on those we have lost, let us also remember those who serve and comment them for their selfless dedication.

I think a moment of silence is in order at this time as we remember them.

[A moment of silence is observed]

HIS HONOUR THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: To carry on now with the Speech from the Throne:

Energized for the Future

A New Mandate

Mr. Speaker and Members of the House of Assembly:

The responsibility for representing the best interests and legitimate aspirations of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians rests on the shoulders of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. Elected with a fresh and decisive mandate in October of 2011, My Government is fully prepared to bear that responsibility with new energy and firm resolve. Our Premier is celebrating our province's strengths and vigorously pursuing new opportunities for growth in dealings with Canada's other First Ministers, American Governors and leaders of industry, whom she meets with, both nationally and internationally. The people of our province share this determination to realize our full potential. How far we have come already! We have finally embraced our newfound status as one of Canada's leading economies, buoyed with confidence and optimism that we are poised to witness successes unprecedented in Newfoundland and Labrador's history.

Those successes hinge on the choices we make today. Whether we are talking about 30 years from now, or ten years from now, or two years from now, the future we reap will be determined by the seeds we sow – the choices we make – right here, right now. We will not allow poor choices based on failed philosophies and narrow agendas to reverse every gain we have worked so hard to achieve and squander the very opportunities that our approach this past eight years has made possible.

Three Objectives Moving Forward

To ensure Newfoundland and Labrador takes maximum advantage of the unprecedented opportunities before us right now, My Government will focus this year on three principal objectives:

The first is to refocus the Government's approach to the delivery of services to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The second is to give Newfoundlanders and Labradorians the added support they may require to seize career opportunities.

The third is to improve the conditions that give businesses and communities the power to grow.

These three objectives encompass everything our Government does, so this year's strategy is an ambitious one. What follows are some details of the ways My Government intends to make progress on all three of these objectives in the year ahead.

Focused on Priorities

Accountable, Adaptable, Responsive Government

Refocusing the Government's approach to service delivery is vital. The world is changing. Technology is advancing. Governments must adapt. Public service delivery in the 21st century does not have to be complicated. It must be focused. It must be flexible. It must be responsive to the needs of our people and receptive to feedback from those it serves. It must be transparent and accountable.

My Government's commitment to accountability is solid. This is the Government that proclaimed the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and strengthened its provisions. This is the Government that introduced the Transparency and Accountability Act and the Lobbyist Registration Act. This is the Government that opened the books of the House of Assembly to the Auditor General, commissioned the Green Report and led the implementation of its sweeping recommendations to overhaul House of Assembly operations. This is the Government that began legislating and publishing performance-based plans and progress reports from government departments and agencies. This is the Government that commissioned Justice Margaret Cameron to inquire into failures of hormone receptor testing and recommend sweeping reforms, and then took action to implement those recommendations. This is the Government that has repeatedly earned the praise of the Auditor General for exceeding targets in acting on the recommendations of the annual reports of this independent office of the House of Assembly. My Government will build on this solid record by bringing forward amendments to the Public Tender Act and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

A Clear Focus on Priorities

Just as My Government will strengthen accountability, it will also take measures to ensure public service delivery is versatile to adapt to people's changing needs, user-friendly and clearly focused on priorities. Each department will undertake a structured review of departmental functions to identify opportunities to do things better. These reviews will be complemented by cross-departmental studies and ongoing reviews of the province's Regional Health Authorities. The objective is to ensure all the Government's personnel and resources are focused first and foremost on delivering high-priority services and achieving high-priority goals. This process will identify not only the current best practices for service delivery, but also innovative approaches to deliver services more effectively.

A Responsible Approach to Fiscal Management

My Government's 2011 policy Blue Book makes a commitment that: "The pace of growth of public investments must be sustainable. Our commitment to fiscal sustainability is firm. In implementing the commitments identified in this Blue Book and in fulfilling our responsibilities as a Government, we will ensure annual provincial expenditures do not grow beyond the level our economy can sustain." My Government stands by these words.

When facing the global recession two years ago, My Government opted to take a long-term, multi-year approach to fiscal management. It opted to bridge the period of decline in private sector activity by accelerating the pace of growth in public investments, knowing it would be ratcheting back the rate of growth once the recession was over. This was the right approach, and it worked. The two-year period of accelerated growth did precisely what it was intended to do. No province weathered the downturn more successfully than Newfoundland and Labrador. Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney said our approach served as a model for the country. Now that the recession has ended and private sector activity in this province is rebounding, this is the right time to contain the pace of public investment growth to ensure we continue to live within our fiscal means.

Just as a multi-year approach enabled us to bridge a short-term dip in private sector activity, it can also enable us to bridge the short-term dip in public sector revenue we are facing in the next two years. My Government has prepared Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to expect revenues to dip in 2012 and 2013 as federal payments under the Atlantic Accord end, two offshore platforms are taken offline for refits and the volume of oil production is reduced. To achieve balanced budgets in those two years, the province would need to reduce expenditures so precipitously that critical services could be compromised. Rather than take such a rigid, shortsighted approach, My Government has opted once again to take a long-term, multi-year approach to fiscal management. It is determined to achieve efficiencies and to maximize the value of every public dollar spent; but to ensure vital programs are not compromised when revenues swing due to circumstances beyond its control, My Government has established a longer-term debt reduction target. Already, it has reduced the province's burden of debt by more than a third from a high of $12 billion to an estimated $7.7 billion at March 31, 2012, diverting hundreds of millions from interest payments to high-priority initiatives and tax relief. Improving Newfoundland and Labrador's debt position even more in the next ten years to achieve the same per-capita debt as the Canadian average is a goal the province can reach through discipline in spending and the allocation of a significant portion of surpluses to debt reduction, while allowing for periodic deficits. Debt reduction is not an end in and of itself, but a means of strengthening our economy to leave our children a legacy of growth. This is the responsible way forward, and Newfoundland and Labrador will be stronger for taking it.

Health Care Advances

In moving forward with a long-term, multi-year approach, My Government remains committed to the delivery of health care services, a critical area of provincial responsibility. In fact, My Government has been improving health care deliveries to such an extent that Newfoundland and Labrador, once a laggard, is now a leader in cardiac care. We know that having access to the best tools to diagnose and treat cardiac disease is crucial in our province, and our investments reflect our commitment. The redevelopment of two of our cardiac catheterization laboratories in Eastern Health and the addition of a third cath lab is enabling us to treat more cardiac patients from throughout the province. We have also invested in the latest in new technologies when it comes to cardiac care, which is key to recruiting cardiologists. Health care professionals are travelling to this province to learn best practices in cardiac surgery. Imagine that!

My Government is taking the lead to ensure Newfoundland and Labrador becomes a centre of excellence in other health disciplines as well and raises the bar nationally in the delivery of health care services. Every health care dollar must be spent as effectively as possible, particularly in light of changes the Federal Government is imposing on future health transfers which will constrain growth in our share. Our Premier, with her colleagues at the Council of the Federation meeting in January, established a national Health Care Innovation Working Group to drive collaboration and innovation to provide better care for seniors, elders and all Canadians. Our Minister of Health and Community Services just fulfilled two election commitments by announcing strategies to reduce wait times for emergency departments and hip and knee joint replacement surgeries.

My Government will also be making strategic investments in the Long-Term Care and Community Supports Services sector to address the significant growth in the home support program and ensure existing and new clients receive the care required. As promised in the Blue Book, policy improvements are being developed that, firstly, will realign patient care funding so it is based on a patient's assessed need and, secondly, will create options for receiving that care from family members. My Government will introduce legislation to ensure that clients of our drug programs pay less for generic drugs. At the same time, we are in dialogue with the Pharmacy Association to mitigate the impact of reduced revenues to pharmacies, especially small pharmacies in rural areas. In these and others ways, My Government will build in the year ahead on the major advances it has made in health care delivery in the past eight years.

Child Protection

Another critical area of provincial responsibility is child protection, which My Government has strengthened through the creation three years ago of the new Department of Child, Youth and Family Services. The Department will complete the transfer of all staff from the Regional Health Authorities this month and is moving toward full implementation of improved service delivery. With the new Children and Youth Care and Protection Act now proclaimed, My Government will better serve the varied and complex needs of children and youth. A key component of this plan involves fundamental changes to our foster care system, providing greater supports for foster parents in recognition of the vital role they play in caring for children most at risk. In addition, the child protection program will provide services and supports to families to address children at risk and help them remain in their own homes. For those who cannot be returned to their families, My Government will make it easier for these children to be adopted into permanent homes. These improvements to our child protection system illustrate the advances we can achieve throughout the public service by focusing more clearly on priorities. Complementing these initiatives will be ongoing efforts to combat bullying and child exploitation.

Ready to Work

Career Opportunities and Labour Supply

The second objective My Government will focus on this year is to make it easier for employers to attract the skilled workers they require while making it easier for individuals to find the skilled careers they need. Through an unprecedented series of investments in public post-secondary education, My Government has already given Newfoundland and Labrador students the best student aid program and among the lowest tuition fees in the country. Over the course of the four-year term ahead, My Government will continue to hold the line on tuition fee increases at Memorial University and the College of the North Atlantic and shift the balance from student loans to grants.

In the skilled trades, graduates require on-the-job-experience and professional certification. In this year's Budget, My Government is introducing and expanding programs to help apprentices progress through to journeyperson status. We are increasing employer participation and employment opportunities for apprentices. We are increasing employment opportunities within government; we are increasing opportunities for seasoned workers to become certified, for training and advanced training for under-represented groups; and we are increasing awareness of the benefits of hiring apprentices. We are also providing additional supports and plans to address barriers for apprentices and journeypersons.

We are continuing to improve the participation rates of women in non-traditional skilled trades. Having established the Office of Women Apprenticeship, My Government will work to finalize Gender Equity Plans for the Hebron project, Hibernia South, the St. Lawrence fluorspar mine reactivation project and the proposed Alderon project, among others. We will also continue review and compliance monitoring for approved Gender Equity Plans including Vale Inco's Long Harbour operation, the Rambler Mines project, and the Labrador Iron Mines and Tata Steel Minerals Canada operations in Labrador. All future resource development projects in the province will require such provisions.

There are tremendous opportunities in our province for women, not only in the skilled trades, but also in business. To help support women entrepreneurs and encourage young women to pursue future careers in business, My Government will build on its partnership with the Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs (NLOWE) to advance the Business Connections program. Together, they will link women-led businesses with specific opportunities on the local, national and international stage. Some of these opportunities will relate to the major industrial projects on our horizon.

Some industrial employers will face challenges finding local workers. My Government will move forward this year to create a Workforce Development Secretariat to link industrial development and employment opportunities with people who are ready to do the work. While we will work vigorously to ensure Newfoundlanders and Labradorians benefit first and fully from these employment opportunities, other workers will also be required. As people move here from outside the province to meet labour market needs, we will welcome them with open arms, encouraging them to sink down deep roots and make Newfoundland and Labrador home. We have finally started to turn the corner toward population growth, and we look forward to building on those gains.

Recognizing that the foundations for personal achievement are established in childhood, My Government will build on the unprecedented investments of the past eight years to further advance the quality and breadth of our province's K-12 education system.

Two additional incentives will help people to capitalize on new opportunities in our province. My Government will be moving forward with a Provincial Strategy for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities in Newfoundland and Labrador. It will also be releasing a new poverty reduction action plan. Both strategies will include measures to assist people who wish to make the transition to employment.

Power to Grow

Strength Through Diversification

The third objective My Government will focus on this year is to fuel sustainable economic growth. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians understand the importance of diversification for growth. Ours was once an economy grounded exclusively on the export of fish. As recently as the nineteen nineties, we learned how devastating a sharp decline in that one sector could be for hundreds of our communities and tens of thousands of our people. Today, because of diversification, some regions are buffered against the consequences of sharp downward spikes in the demand or supply of specific export commodities. With a broad base plus provincial support, both Stephenville and Grand Falls-Windsor were able to weather the loss of their pulp and paper industries. When communities experience losses of employment in major industries, My Government remains determined to work with the people of these communities to minimize the impacts. This Government has a record of standing steadfastly beside towns facing struggles, rolling up its sleeves and finding solutions. But My Government's principal strategy is to be proactive, fortifying our regions against such downturns by broadening and diversifying the economic foundations to enhance our regions' long-term stability. There are several approaches we can take. Innovation is one of the most powerful.

The "Blue" Economy

BMO Capital Markets, in its Blue Book for February 2012, reported, "The mood among our customers in Newfoundland & Labrador is definitely more optimistic than it was just six months ago". The report went on to give one of the reasons for this optimism, stating that: "The province is also becoming a key centre for innovation. As the host for the Ocean Sciences Centre at Memorial University and a growing expertise on oil & gas, deep water drilling and deep water exploration, Newfoundland & Labrador now boasts some of the best ocean science expertise in the world."

My Government is implementing a five-year, $28 million ocean technology strategy to collaborate with our local cluster in support of its goal to increase the value of our "blue" economy to a billion dollars by 2015. Ocean technology products, services and expertise are being marketed, not just nationally, but around the world, and Newfoundland and Labrador is establishing itself as an epicentre of ocean technology. Through sustained partnerships with educational and research institutions and industry, the province will support innovators from the idea phase through initial business start-up to commercialization. A partnership with Memorial University's Genesis Centre has already helped with the development of five new ocean technology companies. Our significant investment in C-CORE will enhance our capacity to engage in northern resource development projects, leveraging our unique location and established strength in developing solutions for harsh environments. We look forward to continued collaboration with Memorial University, its Marine Institute and OceansAdvance to further enhance the research and industrial capacity of our vibrant sector.

Innovation Enhancement

In other leading-edge sectors, such as life sciences and green technologies, knowledge-driven advances are turning heads towards Newfoundland and Labrador. Investments in Memorial University's Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and the Fisheries and Marine Institute will position Newfoundland and Labrador for innovation and growth. The province's Research & Development Corporation will continue to foster partnerships with industry and academia and drive for success in priority areas such as ocean technology, energy and mining. My Government is also encouraging the private sector to invest in innovation to enhance the competitiveness of local enterprises, large and small. Expanded incentives under My Government's Innovation Strategy are driving growth, not only in larger centres but in rural communities as well.

The Fisheries

The province's billion-dollar fishing industry remains among Newfoundland and Labrador's most important. While there are significant challenges, as we all know in some areas of the fisheries, My Government has been working vigorously to build partnerships and find solutions to these challenges. The fishing industry has been studied for decades. We have a good understanding of the structural deficiencies that serve as impediments to progress. To effect change, we need the collective will to come together for a common purpose, to set aside old agendas and work together to address the core problems. My Government is there. It is imperative that all partners come to the table with a firm resolve to move forward.

Sometimes, with so much focus on the challenges, people lose sight of the opportunities available in global seafood markets and the successes we are achieving in building a stronger fishing industry. Under the province's Fisheries Technology and New Opportunities Program, we will continue to fund industry-led development projects in the fishing industry, leveraging additional dollars to drive research and development. Newfoundland and Labrador is rapidly becoming the growth centre in Canada for aquaculture, an important contributor to our economy in rural and coastal communities. Continuing investments in aquaculture will enhance biosecurity to safeguard our reputation for product excellence in this growing industry. The new Coastal and Ocean Management Strategy and Policy Framework will advance growth in ocean industries by balancing interests and safeguarding ecosystems. The province is working with fish processing companies on the establishment of seafood sales consortia. Better market intelligence, export development and targeted promotion will enable this province to increase the value, and enhance the economic benefits, of this billion-dollar industry for the people of the province.

Industries, Regions and Communities

In other sectors as well, Newfoundland and Labrador is growing. The gross value of mineral shipments is forecast to exceed $5.6 billion in 2012, while corporate investments in mineral exploration, which hit a record high of $172 million in 2011, are projected to reach $234 million in 2012. Like shipments and exploration, mining-related employment is also expected to reach a record high this year.

Across all sectors, the level of private sector investment in Newfoundland and Labrador this year is projected to exceed $8 billion, and public capital spending this year will continue to be significant. Economic activity in our province this year will be white hot.

Over the past eight years, My Government has invested billions of dollars in infrastructure to improve the quality of life in our communities and lay a solid foundation for new investment. The Trans-Labrador Highway is among the most exciting initiatives to happen in our province's history, and its completion remains among My Government's highest priorities. As part of continuing to invest in the growth of communities and regions, My Government is developing a new formula for municipal support which recognizes the contemporary nature of municipal governance and is equitable and transparent. My Government is also encouraging communities to work in partnership with their neighbours to share service delivery wherever possible so that we can take advantage of economies of scale, enhance capacity and promote growth. Through collaboration and innovation, communities will be better able to deliver high-priority services to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Volunteers and non-profit organizations also have a vital role to play in delivering services within communities, strengthening community infrastructure and drawing people together just as such organizations have been doing so effectively for centuries. My Government will work collectively with the community organizations to develop innovative approaches to the increasingly complex challenges our people and communities face; it will introduce accountability provisions that measure performance outcomes and help community organizations improve their overall impact; and it will investigate new initiatives that reward results. It will nurture partnerships between and among community, academic, private sector and government bodies because it believes that effective collaboration has the power to make real change and enhance the overall quality of life in our province.

From the smallest partnership to the largest project, Newfoundland and Labrador is growing. Hebron is expected to make up some of that new growth as the proponents take the last regulatory step before project sanction. The ramp-up of Hebron construction at Bull Arm and other locations will further drive growth and confidence. Together with Vale Inco's Long Harbour project, Hebron fabrication demonstrates our capacity to add value to commodity industries and enjoy the benefits of skills transfers. Having negotiated equity partnerships in three offshore projects, My Government has established an international reputation for strength and proficiency in the energy sector.

The Shift to Renewable Energy

We are about to take our energy sector leadership to new heights by advancing another project in our energy warehouse. Among the most important things Newfoundland and Labrador can do to fortify and grow our economy is to shift from nonrenewable sources of fuel purchased on the world market to renewable sources of fuel generated here at home. Wide swings in the price of oil mean instability for jurisdictions that rely on oil to meet power needs. Muskrat Falls gives us an alternative to fossil fuel – an alternative that is not only more stable but also less expensive than any other option.

The development of Muskrat Falls is needed to meet the electricity needs of individuals, families and businesses in Newfoundland and Labrador. It is the least-cost means of meeting those electricity needs. The project will have the added benefit of transitioning our province from reliance on greenhouse gas-producing fuels to clean, green, renewable energy.

The Muskrat Falls development proposal has received more advance scrutiny than any other project in Newfoundland and Labrador's history. It has been on the drawing board for decades. Later this year, My Government will make its sanction decision. A number of significant factors will inform the Government's decision, including these:

In June 2011, the Government asked the province's Public Utilities Board to review and report on whether the Muskrat Falls project represents the least-cost option for the supply of power to Island Interconnected customers compared to the Isolated Island development option. The deadline for the final PUB report is March 31, in a few weeks time, 2012.

In August 2011, the Environmental Assessment Joint Review Panel released its report on the Muskrat Falls generation project. The Government is completing its review of the panel report, including its recommendations, and will communicate its decision in the coming months. The Labrador-Island Link and the Maritime Link are also registered for joint Federal/Provincial Environmental Assessment.

In August 2011, the Governments of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia signed a Memorandum of Agreement to provide a loan guarantee for the Muskrat Falls project.

In September 2011, Nalcor released an independent review of the Muskrat Falls project undertaken by Navigant Consulting. The review validated the proposed development of Muskrat Falls and the Labrador-Island Link as the long-term, least-cost supply option for electricity consumers on the island of Newfoundland.

In November 2011, the official signing of the Innu Land Claims Agreement-in-Principle, the Lower Churchill Impacts and Benefits Agreement, and the Upper Churchill Redress Agreement occurred, a major step.

In February 2012, as part of the PUB review, Manitoba Hydro released its report that analyzed two generation expansion alternatives: Muskrat Falls, and an Isolated Island system. Manitoba Hydro concluded that Muskrat Falls is the least-cost option to supply power to customers on the Island to meet anticipated load growth.

Last week, the Consumer Advocate affirmed the conclusion of Manitoba Hydro that Muskrat Falls is the least-cost option for supplying energy to the province.

If the Government decides to sanction the project, it will then take the required actions, such as bringing forward the requisite legislation during 2012-13 so the project can move forward.

Partisan campaigns must not colour the Government's decision. Neither unreasonable attacks nor fear to act should deny people the power they need at the lowest cost. Failure to take the right course of action today would be no different than taking the wrong course of action as happened a generation ago.

Muskrat Falls will be a decisive step toward energy self-reliance, positioning the province not only for Gull Island development later on, but also for the return of control of the Upper Churchill to Newfoundland and Labrador in 2041. In the decades to come, there will be sufficient renewable energy in Labrador to fuel unprecedented growth throughout our province. Not only will we have the natural resource commodities, the skilled workforce, the culture of innovation and the solid backbone of reliable infrastructure that developers require, but we will also have inexpensive power in bountiful supply. What we do not use, we can sell to buyers hungry for power, generating revenue to grow our province and benefit our people.

The Best is Yet to Come

Newfoundland and Labrador is ideally positioned to achieve growth the like of which the province has never seen and few in this province ever imagined. This growth is neither fortuitous nor inevitable. It will be achieved only if we continue to make sound decisions and resist the calls to sell ourselves short for lesser gains. It will be achieved only if people park their divisive agendas and come together to partner for growth. This is true in all sectors, including the fisheries. Surely it is time to put Newfoundland and Labrador's best interests first, to forego the negativity and to focus on people so no one is left behind. My Government has been given a decisive mandate to steer the course and to build on the solid foundation it has established. By creating a healthy climate for business growth and innovation, by supporting individuals as they reach out to grasp the opportunities before them and by sharpening the focus of the public service to concentrate on addressing high priorities, My Government can ensure the peak in economic performance we are enjoying today becomes the new high plateau on which we build a more prosperous society for our children and grandchildren. Considering how far we have come already, we are right to be optimistic, right to be confident and right to believe that the best is indeed yet to come for Newfoundland and Labrador.

I am coming to the end of the formal address here, and I just want to make a personal comment of my own, if the members will give me that leeway. It will not take too long. I just want to make a personal comment at the end of this speech in connection with the passing away last week, at eighty-four years of age, of Megan Nutbeem (nee Moores) of Harbour Grace, another of the women of our Province who has been of such importance to our families in communities throughout our history.

The daughter of Dorothy Duff Moores and Silas Moores, a legendary fishing entrepreneur in the development of the fresh and foreign fishing of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, and sister of our second Premier, Frank Moores, Megan had an amazing zest for life. She was an acclaimed judge in purebred dog shows and one of the important saviours of our famous Newfoundland dog breed, a very important contribution she made to Newfoundland. Her daughter Devon is continuing her impressive support of that noble breed.

I attended Harbour Grace yesterday to pay tribute to her and the Moores-Nutbeem clan, and I do so again this afternoon with your forbearance.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the House of Assembly:

HIS HONOUR THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: Estimates of expenditure will be laid before you in due course and you will be asked to grant supply to Her Majesty.

I invoke God's blessing upon you as you commence this new Session.

May Divine Providence guide you in your deliberation.

Thank you.

[His Honour the Lieutenant Governor, the Vice-Regal Entourage and the Justices of the Supreme Court leave the Assembly Chamber.]

MR. SPEAKER (Wiseman): Please be seated.

Order, please!

The hon. the Acting Government House Leader.

MR. KING: Mr. Speaker, I ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act Respecting Procurement By Public Bodies, Bill 1.

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

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes.

MR. SPEAKER: Leave granted.

The hon. the Acting Government House Leader.

MR. KING: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Service Newfoundland and Labrador, that An Act Respecting Procurement By Public Bodies, Bill 1, be now read a first time.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

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

Motion carried.

CLERK: An Act Respecting Procurement By Public Bodies. (Bill 1)

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

When shall the bill be read a second time?

MR. KING: Tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: Tomorrow.

On motion, Bill 1 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: His Honour the Lieutenant Governor has been pleased to make a Speech to the members in this General Assembly. We shall now take a few moments as the Pages distribute copies of that Speech.

[The Pages distribute the Speech to all members]

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BALL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Let me begin by saying I would like to thank the Lieutenant Governor for gracing us with his presence today. I am sure, like most of you here, we can remember the many prolific and colourful speeches he took part in, in this House, as an MHA and a minister. We are truly fortunate to have such a distinguished gentleman, with his rich and esteemed history, contributing to our Province as our Lieutenant Governor.

As this is my first time back in the House of Assembly since I last served in 2007, I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to the residents of Humber Valley for putting their trust in me and allowing me to represent them in this House again. It is quite an honour that they have bestowed upon me, and once again I am humbled.

Mr. Speaker, it is also my first opportunity since becoming Leader of the Official Opposition to congratulate the Premier on her election win and becoming the first female in the history of our Province to lead her party in election victory.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BALL: I am sure that her election will be an inspiration to many women who subscribe to the challenges of public office and who aspire to becoming Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. I look forward to a constructive relationship with the Premier as we debate the issues that matter to the people of our Province.

I also congratulate the Leader of the Third Party for her electoral success, and I look forward to working together with her and her caucus for the betterment of our Province.

A word of final congratulations to each of the newly-elected MHAs of all political stripes: You are embarking upon a new and exciting career where you will encounter trials and tribulations along the way, but we know that our greatest reward is when we help our fellow citizens and shape a better Newfoundland and Labrador. Like myself, I know that I can count on your support as we join together, committed to building a sustainable and viable future for the next generation of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

Mr. Speaker, the Speech from the Throne has outlined government's vision for the upcoming session of the House of Assembly. As Leader of the Official Opposition, it is my duty to the people of the Province and to the House of Assembly that I offer my thoughts as we collectively work together to secure a brighter future.

One of the basic principles in which our government is based is the idea of balance. It is balance between government and the House, balance between government and our people, balance between all levels of government, which includes municipal, provincial, and federal. We believe that no matter where you live there is an expectation that there are services and benefits that we all should access and enjoy. Even though one party receives more seats than another leading them to form government, their decision making goes so far as administering the daily operations of government. This does not mean that under the cloak of Cabinet secrecy that this government can deny the people of the Province and their representatives of the House the opportunity to tightly scrutinize the decisions they make.

Ultimately, government is accountable to the House of Assembly. Accountability can be achieved in many different ways. An obvious way is through Question Period and the debates in the House; however, our analysis of jurisdictions across the country tells us that we are near the bottom of the list in the number of days we sit in the House of Assembly and the length of our Question Period.

Mr. Speaker, the people of our Province expect better of their elected representatives. Now that our hiatus is over, I look forward to working with the Premier and her government to secure a more fixed and long-term schedule for House sittings.

As history shows, accountability has not always been paramount in our Province. In his thorough report, Justice Green cited the Public Accounts Committee as one of the greatest safeguards this House could exercise. As a committee of the House responsible for ensuring government expenditures are effective, above-board, and to make sure the people of our Province get value for their money, the PAC can be the crucial mechanism for ensuring transparency and accountability in government financial operations.

In his report, Justice Green said the Public Accounts Committee was one of the most important means of oversight. He stated, "Public accountability is a fundamental obligation in a democratic system." What distinguishes the Public Accounts Committee is the fact that a Member of the Official Opposition sits his chair, thus providing a tremendous level of scrutiny and analysis of government spending decisions. As Leader of the Official Opposition, I can assure this House that the people of the Province, under our watch, the Public Accounts Committee will be active and therefore critical in the democratic process of our Province.

We are not reaching the benchmark of accountability that the people of this Province have set if government merely claims to be open, accountable, and transparent. The government must act and that way we are clearly open, transparent, and accountable. I look forward to working with the members of this House as we work to reform its operations.

We have a weak legislative committee system here. The Province has suffered for it and the government has suffered, too. One example is the accidental expropriation of the AbitibiBowater mill in Grand Falls-Windsor. Government's plan was to take back forestry rights and power generation stations. I support standing up for the rights of our resources, as I did then and I do now, but haste makes waste and purely by accident this government also expropriated a defunct mill with hundreds of millions of dollars of environmental liabilities. If the bill had been allowed to go to a legislative committee, things would be different today.

In light of the hasty multi-million dollar mistake, another decision that would benefit from close scrutiny by a House committee would be Muskrat Falls. Despite the government stating that this is not going to happen, it is not too late to offer a thorough review of all options. So, on behalf of the ratepayers of Newfoundland and Labrador, we must continue to advocate for this position.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BALL: We support a debate in the House of Assembly that would allow all members to vote on the development of Muskrat Falls. I am sure all members have committed to be a strong voice to their constituents and would be more than willing to stand in their place representing their respective districts.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BALL: Muskrat Falls is the largest provincially-funded project of any kind in our history. It is shameful that this House will not have a dedicated opportunity to debate and examine a project of this magnitude – a project that will have such long-lasting impact on the future of our Province.

Mr. Speaker, this is a perfect example of an issue that government is in a hurry to get done. In a hurry, you already cut corners. One of the corners they have cut is in proper, dedicated, expert, unencumbered oversight. The Public Utilities Board hearing did not allow for this detailed oversight. Instead, government restricted the Public Utilities Board of regulating the pricing and provision of electricity in this Province. They did that by imposing a mandate designed to ensure that government gets the answer they were looking for. So, to simply choose between one of two options – the isolated island option or the Muskrat Falls option – is not what Newfoundlanders and Labradorians define as a thorough and rigorous review.

The Public Utilities Board is one of the most important regulatory bodies in our Province. Their first and primary mandate is to regulate the prices of utilities, such as electricity, according to the Electrical Power Control Act. The act states, "…production, transmission and distribution of power in the province should be managed and operated in a manner… (iii) that would result in power being delivered to consumers in the province at the lowest possible cost consistent with reliable service". Yet, the board was asked by government to conduct hearings to specifically exclude the impact on ratepayers. That means there will be no independent review of the impact of Muskrat Falls on electricity rates.

To make matters worse, government did not even allow the PUB the time it required to conduct hearings in Labrador, the home of Muskrat Falls. Mr. Speaker, this is nothing short of an injustice to the people of Labrador. The government's plan to ship power from Labrador to the Island and on to Nova Scotia deserves public input from Labrador where industrial power needs are growing. It is fine for the government to say that they can pull the power back to meet Labrador needs, but there is nothing in the plan that says they will. There are no transmission provisions, no vision. I just came back from Labrador recently and judging by the sentiments and feelings of the project, it appears that the people of Labrador are being treated as an afterthought by this government.

On the day that Muskrat Falls was announced we were able to see that there was no comprehensive plan to meet the power demands in Labrador, and there was no mention of Labrador or the power needs for the mining industry. I say to government, you can strike a deal with one group and ignore all others.

Mr. Speaker, to get back to the PUB review, they have been prevented from carrying out an independent review of the impacts of the alternative sources of power. There will be no examination of the alternatives such as natural gas. No talk of it whatsoever is permitted in front of the PUB. During a time when natural gas is radically changing the energy industry in the United States and around the world, our government has prevented us from even looking at it.

The government's own energy plan in 2007 stated that we have a potential of 60 trillion cubic feet of natural gas sitting off our shores, enough gas to supply our energy needs for generations, but this government has closed their eyes and has left it stranded.

The PUB is also forbidden to look at the role of energy conservation, the role that could play in our future energy. All around the world we see new, smart technologies that help us use less power, but this government will hear nothing of it. They proclaim we will continue to consume more and more energy but that is simply just not the case. Energy conservation and demand management are real alternatives that are implemented all over the world, saving people and governments vast amounts of money, but again, government has closed its eyes to this option.

Under the PUB process that government has set up, we will not know until it is too late if we are getting the lowest possible rates for the people and businesses of the Province through Muskrat Falls. Even the PUB chair has publicly commented that they have not been given the time, resources or mandate to do a proper evaluation. Nonetheless, we will still be extending a request to government to allow Muskrat Falls debate in this House. We want one, the people need one, and we know the people of the Province deserve one.

When this government sat on this side of the House, the Grimes' government negotiated a deal with Voisey's Bay. As Opposition members, you constantly called for a special debate in the House on the Voisey's Bay deal asking: what did government have to hide? Well, the fact was nothing, so that is exactly what happened. The Premier of the day, Roger Grimes, made arrangements for this House to sit in a special dedicated session debating the Voisey's Bay deal. Every speech and every question was on that single topic.

So why is the government different today? Muskrat Falls is bigger than Voisey's Bay and the stakes are higher. The Voisey's Bay deal provided the opportunity to add substantial revenue to the Province's economy and is a key economic driver today, but Voisey's Bay, as important as it is, did not put the people's money at risk. Muskrat Falls exposes the finances of our Province and our provincial economy through the provincial investment and commitment to the project.

This government wants to put billions of dollars of people's money into Muskrat Falls, but insists that the House need not debate it. This government is willing to enter into a long-term agreement with Emera, they are willing to accept risks of construction overruns, and are proceeding without a detailed plan for electricity demands in Labrador. Labrador industrial development should be included, and to simply say we can recall the power is unacceptable.

They are willing to limit the PUB review in order to have a report delivered to the House, but they are not willing to allow the House the time or the resources to address a report and the project in the way it needs to be addressed. Of concern to me is a driving need to get Muskrat Falls done at any cost and the way that it has influenced the priorities of this government. The way this government has sacrificed provincial interests, seemingly for the sake of a federal loan guarantee, is unfortunate.

When the federal government had announced they were closing down the search and rescue station in St. John's, this government sat quiet. The federal government just introduced legislation to allow police and other agencies to look into private data of people of this Province without a warrant and this government provided silent support. The federal government decided to spend $55 billion on improving the Port of Sept-Ξles to accommodate extra iron ore products mined in Labrador without consideration for a Labrador report and not a word of protest. The federal government cutbacks on Marine Atlantic's funding and jobs in the Province allowed them to increase fares, and not a word.

Now we are given the impression that the Harper government will bring down an austerity budget. There is every indication that this Province will be one of the provinces that is hardest hit, if only because we are so dependent on federal services and spending.

Recently announced cuts by Service Canada have left many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians waiting weeks and weeks to access federal benefits due to processing delays. These cutbacks affect the day-to-day lives of many of our people and we should not be standing idly by. In each and every case, this government was the last to speak up for the people of the Province.

I remember during the federal election when Prime Minister Harper and the Premier stood side by side on a stage at a St. John's Conservative rally. Many people felt that the Premier was trying to build a relationship with Mr. Harper in hopes there would be some future benefit for our Province. It has been a long time since a Premier of this Province gave unqualified support to a future Prime Minister. What have we received in return? A promise of a loan guarantee, with restrictions, and it does not support the cost overruns for the Muskrat Falls Project.

When I spoke earlier about the principles of balancing government, this is what I was talking about, Mr. Speaker. The provincial government defends the people and jurisdictions against encroachments by our federal government, and, in turn, the federal government defends its jurisdictions and its programs. What we have in this Province is an imbalance, both inside and outside the Province.

Inside the Province, government has closed down, minimized, restricted, and limited every possible means of accountability. They closed down the House, shut down House committees, made personal attacks upon government critics, limited the Public Utilities Board and the Public Accounts Committee, launched court actions against Freedom of Information requests, and they still claim to be open, transparent, and accountable.

On the federal-provincial level, affairs have been thrown out of balance. When the Province fears losing their loan guarantee, they neglect to stand up for the provincial interest in other spheres, tilting the balance in favour of Stephen Harper and his federal Conservatives.

It is also important that I address the political environment of the day, where the critics of the government are publicly scolded for speaking out against government policy. Truly troubling is the fact that residents of our Province are beginning to fear government when they speak out. Mr. Speaker, Benjamin Franklin once said, "In free governments, the rulers are servants and the people their superiors and sovereigns." It appears that since last October we have been constantly stepping back and seeing rights denied. We must not seek to suppress opposition; instead, we should embrace it.

I am really disturbed by the personal attacks made by government on private citizens who have raised questions about the direction of government. We must not forget, Mr. Speaker, that just a few months ago this government said they encourage questions and comments on projects like Muskrat Falls, agreeing that the more questions asked would mean a better project.

Now, the minister and the Premier have tried to claim that the people who are raising concerns are either all Liberals or partisan. These people do not have partisan axes to grind; they are simply worried about the future of our Province. Independent voices, independent thinkers, they are truly concerned and want the best for our Province. We should encourage such active participation. We should use their experience to analyze the details of this proposal. Simply dismissing the arguments as partisan is simply not good enough.

The same cavalier approach was taken by this government just last week when the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture abruptly cut funding to research programs to FFAW. Now, first of all, the value of the work done by these investments is what was put at stake. The relevance of the research programs is what is important, not the report card on the relationship between the two groups. In haste, the minister sliced funding to programs that had positive impacts on our fishery and our Province.

Mr. Speaker, I want the people of our Province to know that the Official Opposition will speak up for them, we will speak on their behalf, and continue to demand answers from the government and demand accountability.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BALL: The role of the Official Opposition parties is to keep government accountable for its actions. Keeping this government accountable is our first priority. Even though the House has not sat since the last spring session, Opposition MHAs have been very busy serving our constituents and fulfilling our duties as the Official Opposition; however, we have all been out of this House too long and it is time to get the House of Assembly back to work.

At a winter carnival function in my district a few days ago, I saw a group of individuals performing and they sang this song in reference to the House of Assembly. It said that this old House cannot fix a fishery and this old House cannot debate Muskrat Falls, repeating the fact that it has been closed too long.

The House is steeped in a long and rich history, but this is not to say that it does not need a major overhaul. Mr. Speaker, it needs to become a place where our residents and our people we represent can be proud of the actions of our members. This is our place to work, but the lights have been off for far too long. You cannot run government on open-line shows, just as you cannot run government on e-mail, or Twitter, or Facebook. It is called accountability and there is a lack of it on the government's side of this House.

My colleague, the Member for Burgeo – La Poile, will be tabling a private member's motion to require the House of Assembly to sit a minimum number of sitting days. It is important that we send a bipartisan signal to the people of the Province that their employees – us – are willing, ready, and eager to work regularly for them. So, I look forward to a healthy debate on this issue.

While on this topic – I have already mentioned it is important that we look at the structure and usefulness of committees, and I hope that will be part of the debate during this session - there seems to be a misconception that this House does not have standing committees, but we do. The problem is they are currently inactive and ineffective. Historically, this government has shown their distaste for the House; they claimed its committees were dysfunctional. Today, these same committees lie dormant. It is sad to see that this trend is continuing.

When these internal committees are functioning properly, and when they are active and engaged, they allow the Opposition to keep government accountable. They allow the people of our Province to have access to the processes that government uses to make decisions, and we get better value for the money we invest so we get better outcomes. This government has become accustomed to thinking they have all the answers, to thinking that they know best. The mentality is unfortunate, as there are so many bright minds in our Province with no formal input process by which they can bring their views forth.

This government's chronic reliance on internal decision making removes creativity from the democratic process. So, let us open up government, challenge our young, energetic, and knowledgeable people. Engage them, and I am confident we will get better outcomes. I hope to see cooperation from both government and the Third Party on giving our committees new life. I would even go so far as to say, let's inject new energy.

Mr. Speaker, the people of the Province expect us to be accountable. They expect us to look after their best interests. They expect us to work together, and that is what I intend to do.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to turn our attention now to the current state of Search and Rescue in our Province. This Province has been too passive and far too silent on this vital issue, which is coming at the expense of people who require this life-saving resource. There are serious issues that affect the lives of all of our citizens but we see failure on this government to advocate for the life-saving Marine Search and Rescue Sub-Centre in St. John's, which Prime Minister Harper plans to close in the coming months. We demand better than that. Our seafarers, as well as all of our citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador, must be able to rely on a timely, efficient Search and Rescue service. This is a matter of life and death. Timing is crucial. Intimate knowledge of local geography and dialects really matter when every second counts.

The Marine Search and Rescue Sub-Centre is more than just a call centre, as the federal Conservatives have claimed it. It is the hub of our planning, co-ordination, conduct, and control of Search and Rescue services. In fact, according to Coast Guard's own information, the Newfoundland and Labrador region has the highest proportion of distress incidents in Canada. The St. John's rescue centre responds to an average of 500 incidents per year involving 2,900 people; 28 per cent of those incidents are classified as distress calls. When we are being stripped of life-saving services in our Province the primary advocate should be the Premier and the government, yet there has been silence. We need to maintain this sub-centre in order to keep it open for the sake of our people and for the safety of our people. Recently, we have all become more aware of the desperate need for a greater Search and Rescue presence, and especially in Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, it is important that all members of this House work together to achieve the best for Newfoundland and Labrador. The Official Opposition will provide notice later today of her first private member's motion on Wednesday, urging government to ensure a full investigation is conducted into the tragic events surrounding the death of Burton Winters in Makkovik. Burton Winters was young, he was bright, he was determined, and as all members of this House know, Burton got stuck on his snowmobile and walked through 19 kilometres of ice floes trying to find home before he was stopped. He walked through sleet and through snow; he walked through frigid temperatures on the North Coast of Labrador in a harsh Canadian winter, waiting desperately for help. He anxiously hoped for help to come, but, Mr. Speaker, it did not. It did not arrive until forty-eight hours after it was called for. It took forty-eight hours for a military Search and Rescue chopper equipped with skilled personnel to arrive off the Coast of Labrador. As we know, it was too late. The system failed Burton Winters.

I ask the Premier and her government, this is not what we call efficient service, so why aren't we taking a leading role in advocating for a better Search and Rescue? Mr. Speaker, Burton Winters started the walk and it is up to us to finish it.

Just last week, I had the opportunity to visit Makkovik and meet with the family and friends of this young man. There was one phrase that really struck home to me, and it said: We do not need a Southern solution to a Northern issue.

I am calling on this government, and the Premier, to lobby their federal counterparts to complete a full investigation and commit to establishing a search and rescue centre at 5 Wing Goose Bay, which is a Northern solution.

Tied to issues surrounding search and rescue is our oldest industry, the fishery. Mr. Speaker, without a doubt the fishery has been the defining narrative of our Province for the past 500 years, and our challenge today is to make sure that this resource remains very much a part of our provincial storyline for the next 500 years.

We all hear the cries for a more efficient and rationalized industry, and there is no doubt that structurally we do need changes; however, Mr. Speaker, these changes must be part of a long-term, focused vision for the future of this industry. These discussions must take place. A plan must be forged before action is taken. There is no doubt that changes must reflect a balance of the interest of all those who have a stake in this important industry.

This year will be the twentieth anniversary of the cod moratorium, an event like nothing else in our history. Since then, we have seen 80,000 people and 25,000 jobs leave our Province. Twenty years later, the moratorium is still in place. For nearly nine years, almost a decade now in fact, this government has had the opportunity to set a course for the fishery, to demand more from the federal government and make some significant headway on major fishery issues, to forge alliances and partnerships, to form a consensus, but we have not seen the leadership where it is needed. I admit the fishery is complex; it is a complex industry with many challenges, but you just cannot moor it off for a decade and expect it to thrive, as this government has done.

We have witnessed growing turmoil in the troubled industry. The recent plant closures of Marystown and Port Union, as well as the incident with the Newfoundland Lynx point to recent examples. It is imperative that we work for a brighter future for our industry and our workers. We must strive to ensure that this does not become a forgotten fishery, so I call upon the provincial government to strike a new accord with the federal government on the fishery. It is time for a new way forward and a renewed partnership. This fishery is not an Ottawa narrative; it is Newfoundland and Labrador's. We need to work together to make the fishery a better storyline for our Province and our people. As our Province moves forward, Mr. Speaker, we must ensure that we are not leaving anyone behind.

One thing that is clear is that affordable housing is a key issue facing our Province. Too many of our residents have to worry about having a roof over their heads, especially lower income people, students and seniors. As the cost of living is continuing to rise in our Province, particularly in St. John's and Labrador West areas, an increasing number of our residents of the Province are finding it difficult to afford housing. Not only that, the availability of housing is another issue causing tremendous strain on our people.

While St. John's and Labrador are certainly feeling the housing crunch, it is not only these regions experiencing the growing lack of affordable housing. Communities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador are bearing the brunt of the government's lack of planning when it comes to housing needs across the Province and this is negatively impacting them. We need a housing plan that ensures every citizen of Newfoundland and Labrador has adequate housing, but government has not implemented one thus far, to the detriment of the Province.

Mr. Speaker, I would be remiss if I did not mention government's refusal to allow the Auditor General to access required documentation for his audit of the $5 billion government infrastructure spending. As a government who touts its openness and transparency, shutting out the Auditor General in relation to this is unacceptable. We have the right to know where the money is spent and where it has been spent, and where it is being spent today.

The other key concern here is about the nature of government's often-touted infrastructure strategy. The Auditor General discovered that there was no defined strategy for infrastructure, yet $5 billion was spent. The people of our Province were led to believe that there was a detailed, comprehensive and sophisticated strategic plan. We felt this plan was leading government's infrastructure spending. We were led to believe that the plan was supposed to prioritize and evaluate our infrastructure investment and lead the way to economic growth. Without the Auditor General being able to access all the required documentation, we did not get the answers and therefore the people did not either.

The Auditor General himself referred to government's refusal to allow him access to the information as precedent setting. To shut the Auditor General out in this way when it concerns $5 billion of public money is just not appropriate. For the sake of the credibility of all MHAs, let's open up government processes. Let's be willing to be open and transparent. We must do this.

Mr. Speaker, one piece of infrastructure that is desperately needed is Internet and cellular service throughout the Province. We are twelve years into the twenty-first century now and to think we have places in our Province without basic twenty-first century communications is, quite frankly, unacceptable. Modern communications connect communities to each other, and, moreover, to the outside world. It is through these connections that we can build our knowledgeable economy and rural business initiatives. Unfortunately, many of our communities are left behind. So when it comes to emergencies, these communities are in great danger as well.

The provincial government has a Rural Broadband Initiative that was introduced last June; however, many communities in this Province are still not connected. Mr. Speaker, it is time for all communities in Newfoundland and Labrador to have modern communication infrastructure. It is long overdue. As Opposition, we will continue to press this government to seeing that this happens.

Mr. Speaker, time and time again, if you ask the people of the Province what concerns them the most, health care comes out on top. Health care spending reached an all-time high of $2.9 billion in 2010-2011. That is $4,472 per minute. We spend over $5,000 on every man, woman, and child in our Province, the most per capita of health care of all provinces in Canada; however, we have some of the poorest health outcomes. Mr. Speaker, we have some of the highest rates of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and smoking in the country. So, no matter how much government claims to have invested into health care, our health outcomes are not changing significantly.

It is essential to get value for the money through smarter spending in health care. Mr. Speaker, there lacks true accountability from this government and too much waste, limiting our ability to provide necessary services. Many health care professionals feel that the system is becoming increasingly bureaucratic and inefficient. The work environment in health care must be focused on patients and their families. If we are going to have a high-quality health care system, we need specifically-trained professionals working together. The health care system too often bumps along from crisis to crisis without tackling the underlying problem, and there is no way to run an efficient and effective health care system this way.

Our commitment around mental health is another critical area. Good mental health is a resource for living and a foundation for individuals' well-being and effective functioning in communities. Mr. Speaker, over 100,000 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will experience a mental illness during their lifetime. With so many people affected and having only a patchwork of programs in place, we are seeing very long wait-lists for mental health care. It is time for government to refocus their efforts on mental health and for the well-being of the people of our Province.

Mr. Speaker, people cannot consistently access mental health services. We know of areas that are restricted in our system: where you live and what your age is. We have to do a better job for some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Mr. Speaker, we need a strategy, we need to focus on promoting mental health and wellness, reducing the impact on individuals and their families.

Another area of concern is the fact that rural and remote populations are finding themselves at a distinct disadvantage in terms of easy access to life-sustaining treatments, especially in the demand for dialysis services; the cost of transportation frequently proving a taxing load, given the physical and emotional demands of such treatments. We are seeing an ever-increasing number of applications for short-term financial assistance.

Provincial health officials have said that the need for dialysis in Newfoundland and Labrador grew by 12 per cent last year. We have to focus our efforts to not only prevent kidney disease but to provide services to the patients who need it as close as possible to their homes, surrounded by the support of their family and friends.

Let's not lose sight that in 2025, one in every four people in this Province will be seniors – some of us. The government promised a long-term care plan back in 2008; but, to date, they have failed to deliver. Mr. Speaker, we have to plan for that seniors' wave that will hit us in the near future, but this government is not preparing for it. We need to invest in rehab and community care. We need to look at financial security and housing options for our aging and our seniors. We must develop a plan to give them the best and the most appropriate care in our acute care system. We need to focus our commitment to community-based care, access to care in the community, keeping people out of our most expensive acute care institutions.

Health promotion, education, and preventative medicine investments will provide future dividends and save our health care millions of dollars down the road. Addressing the challenges at hand is critical, and the answers are not easy. It will require innovation, commitment, organization and management. This is essential to the sustainability of our health care system, as well as the protection and security of our people.

Mr. Speaker, last week, the Hebron Review Commissioner stated that he had serious concerns about the impending labour shortage in our Province. This is indeed an issue that our Province is not prepared to take full advantage of the benefits of the major construction projects. I know the Premier recently established a Department of Advanced Education and Skills to specifically deal with the issue, and I hope that this is a step in the right direction, but fundamentally, we have to do a better job matching our skilled labour workforce with the opportunities that are available.

What I mean when I say that is, we are seeing many young apprentices being forced to leave the Province to obtain their journeyperson certificate. This is called an education bubble by skilled trades. Government has ushered hundreds of apprentices through the system, recently boasting the doubling of seats at the College of the North Atlantic. These apprentices are now unable to secure work experience, the victims of this education bubble. This illustrates that government missed the mark in addressing the skilled labour shortage. Apprentices are not lacking; apprentices are stalled in a vicious circle. They need work experience to log hours toward their plan of training in order to qualify for their journeyperson certification, but they cannot find a job because they are not experienced enough.

Surely, with megaprojects like Long Harbour and Hebron on the horizon, we can make room for our apprentices to learn. Surely our government should be expected to negotiate with multinationals like Vale and like ExxonMobil to ensure a baseline of apprentices are hired each year to facilitate their movement to journeyperson status. Surely our government should be expected to get creative with employers to take on apprentices. Government has been investing $2 million annually over the last couple of years toward hiring apprentices. This helps twenty apprentices log their hours, but with 6,000 apprentices out there, and with megaprojects in the billions of dollars, surely this is a relative drop in the bucket.

Mr. Speaker, the last thing we want to do is educate our people only to see them move out of the Province because they are stalled in their apprenticeship. The latest census revealed our population has grown for the first time since the 1980s. We need to maintain this upward trend, and we need to be creative and mindful of rural Newfoundland and Labrador to ensure population growth is something we see throughout the Province.

Our K-12 system's average final marks for public exam courses are slightly below admission requirements for Memorial University, which means we have some work to do to reduce the numbers of high school graduates having to complete bridging programs. Education is the means by which we will fulfill our greatest dreams and aspirations. A house is not built by starting with the walls; it requires a solid foundation. Similar to that, children need a strong and early education to garner skills required to succeed in today's economy. Research by experts has shown that as a child, a child is most adaptable to learning from ages zero to three. This research supports the establishment of an early childhood education strategy, which includes investigation into full-day kindergarten as studies consistently show the positive long-term benefits and savings on learning for a full-day program.

As children move up the levels of our K-12 system, we must ensure we are preparing them for a world we are releasing them into. Maintaining the tuition freeze is a measure to help students earn a post-secondary education. As a powerful determinant of health and well-being, higher education is a critical investment. Education is not a privilege; it is a right.

The student aid program in the Province could do with a review, particularly in the needs and contributions assessment, as working students see drastic clawbacks to their wages. In a Province where food and housing costs are exceeding inflation, we need to try and mitigate impacts on students to avoid graduating with huge debt loads.

Infrastructure is not to be forgotten in envisioning education for the people of our Province. We must take care that our students are learning in sound structures built and maintained to respond to their evolving needs.

Adult Basic Education has a potential to improve the lives of many individuals who have not reached their full potential, Mr. Speaker, like the young mother who needed a high school diploma, who is now an energetic community health nurse, or the mother who for years could not afford to celebrate Christmas with her kids and is now a kitchen manager. Adult Basic Education leaves not only educational success but also personal confidence. ABE needs to be more accessible and offered in more rural communities. Further investment in ABE will return dividends for financial and individual personal development.

Mr. Speaker, I will speak about municipalities in our Province. All throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, our communities need help. They need help in providing good, reliable services to the residents they represent. To provide those services they need more revenue. The revenue from property taxes just does not cut it anymore. Communities in Newfoundland and Labrador have been very active trying to identify new sources of revenue for their membership. They have commissioned a report by Dr. Wade Locke to analyze different options that may be available to them; of course, they would need the co-operation of the provincial government to make it happen.

Mr. Speaker, municipal revenue must be predictable and it must be sustainable. The provincial government must work with MNL to establish a strategic plan for the municipal sector, providing clear goals and objectives for a sustainable and effective system of municipal governance including new sources of revenue. It is time that we work with our communities to ensure they have the resources required to provide services to the people of our Province.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to represent the Opposition's response to the Speech from the Throne. I also thank you for the opportunity to present to you, to the Members of the House, and indeed, to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, some of our goals as the Official Opposition for the session ahead. As you can see, there are many issues and challenges facing the people of our Province, but you can be assured that the Official Opposition will demand answers and accountability from this government on behalf of all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl South.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LANE: Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to stand here today amongst my colleagues in the House of Assembly and speak to the Speech from the Throne on behalf of the people of the District of Mount Pearl South. Before I do, I would first like to thank His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor for delivering the Throne Speech to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

On October 11, the people of the great District of Mount Pearl South elected me as their representative in the House of Assembly. I want to express my appreciation to the constituents for supporting and entrusting me with this responsibility. I am truly honoured, and I am committed to work hard on their behalf to ensure their concerns are well represented in this hon. House.

Throughout my campaign, I was moved by the enthusiasm of the people who I met at the doors. They were filled with excitement and optimism over the surge of new energy in this Province. This energy is grounded in the tireless work of our government to foster growth and development in Newfoundland and Labrador. Today, there are exciting opportunities and possibilities right here on our doorsteps, giving our people more choices and opportunity.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LANE: Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to securing a bright future for our families, our communities, and our Province by maintaining fiscal stability. With this government and this Premier, we can indeed look forward to continued responsible growth and development. As a result of this government's prudent, fiscal approach and investments to stimulate economic activity, our economy has grown at a record-breaking pace and we now lead the country in employment growth.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LANE: This economic growth has resulted in an increase in our population. According to the latest census report, Newfoundland and Labrador has seen its first notable population increase in nearly thirty years.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LANE: The greatest growth is actually Newfoundlanders and Labradorians moving home, and I have no doubt that this will continue. This government's initiatives in economic and business developments have resulted in new business, investment and growth like never before. It is anticipated that by 2020 a total of 7,700 new jobs will be created in our Province.

To build on government's actions to ensure our workforce is ready to meet the demands of these emerging opportunities, the Department of Advanced Education and Skills was created to focus on supplying highly-educated graduates and skilled workers for our fast growing economy. What an exciting reversal of circumstances, where we move from having too few jobs to an abundance of opportunities and a government working to ensure our people are equipped to seize them.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LANE: Mr. Speaker, Budget 2011 allocated almost $1.4 billion for educational initiatives designed to equip Newfoundlanders and Labradorians with the knowledge and skills they will require to work and prosper in this Province's growing economy. In many trades, a graduate must complete apprenticeship training to qualify for employment; therefore, we are committed to increasing our supply of skilled workers by advancing apprenticeship opportunities. In addition, this government now offers a wide range of supports for apprentices in Newfoundland and Labrador, including an investment in the expansion of the required training programs to facilitate apprenticeship and journeyperson certification. As well, incentives are now being provided for employers to hire apprentices, particularly those from traditionally underrepresented groups, such as women, Aboriginals, and persons with disabilities.

Inherent to our secured prosperity has been the need to upgrade and expand our infrastructure: our roads, our water and sewer services, and our recreational facilities. In response to those needs, this government has invested millions of dollars into public infrastructure, resulting in thousands of jobs across our Province. As the Member of the House of Assembly for the District of Mount Pearl South, I can certainly attest to the fact that the residents of Mount Pearl are experiencing the benefits of this investment.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LANE: Mr. Speaker, in 2011 the City of Mount Pearl received $4.7 million from the Municipal Capital Works Program to complete municipal infrastructure projects. Other significant investments made over the past couple of years to my district include such projects as the Glacier Arena expansion, the Pearlgate Recreation Multiplex, and the Team Gushue Sports Complex, just to name a few. Mount Pearl is indeed a growing city, and the various projects made possible through this investment will benefit all residents of the community for many years to come.

Another area where government continues to demonstrate a strong commitment is in the advancement of the health and well-being of the residents of our Province. Our health care budget accounts for nearly $3 billion of our annual budget. As part of this government's ongoing investment in health care, $3.6 million was just announced to reduce wait times in emergency departments in the Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LANE: Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to this long-term plan and will ensure that actions are implemented as quickly and efficiently as possible. We have also invested in reducing wait times for hip and knee replacement surgery, and have made significant investments in infrastructure and human resources.

Over the past eight years, we have also enhanced our investments in other programs and services, particularly in education and the protection of children. At the same time that we have made these investments in essential programs and services, we have also fostered economic growth through significant tax reductions. Tax reductions totalling approximately $1.6 billion in cumulative savings for taxpayers have been introduced by this government.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LANE: Mr. Speaker, compared to 2007, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are now spending approximately $500 million less each year in taxes. As a government we are also cognizant of the need to manage our debts. This government's wise approach to debt reduction and strategic investments has earned us the highest credit rating we have ever had in our history.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LANE: As a result, Mr. Speaker, economists now refer to Newfoundland and Labrador's approach to fiscal management as the model for the country.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LANE: Prudent fiscal management of our oil revenues has enabled us to achieve sustainable growth and responsible development; however, in order to maintain self-reliance and environmental sustainability, it is our duty to protect and plan for our future and to manage our resources responsibly. This government is therefore committed to building a sustainable economy built around renewable resource projects which will provide long-term benefits for generations to come.

Based on our solid track record, the people of this Province have endorsed this government's efforts and given us a resounding show of approval. With a fresh mandate and a renewed sense of optimism, hope and pride, we will go forward under the strong leadership of our hon. Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LANE: Mr. Speaker, I now move that a Select Committee be appointed to draft an Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for the District of Lake Melville.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, it truly is a privilege to rise in this House representing the people from the great District of Lake Melville, and to second the motion that a Select Committee be appointed to draft an Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne.

I want to thank the people from my district for giving me the honour to become their Member of the House, for Lake Melville, and to serve on their behalf in the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly.

During the campaign I spoke to many people in the district and I listened to their concerns. One theme came up over and over again, and it was the feeling of optimism that I heard from all walks of life, from all ages.

The people from my district are pleased with the direction our government has taken, and are optimistic about their future prospects. All around us our Province is prospering in so many areas. I have heard from the people; they tell me they are happy to finally see and receive some benefits that come from good planning and sound, fiscal management.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. RUSSELL: Our government's investments in infrastructure, such as schools, hospitals, roads and ferries are having a positive impact on people all over this Province. The new energy that has spread throughout this Province is exciting and it just feels right. There are more jobs, and people are returning to the Province because they see a bright future here. Young people are graduating and staying here to establish their career, to build their homes, to raise their families. Personal incomes have increased, and the unemployment rate has declined. Our credit rating is the highest it has ever been in our history and we paid down our debt by approximately $4 billion.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. RUSSELL: While we see growth in all sectors, our debt reduction remains on track. This government has achieved a balance between fiscal sustainability and development. Our Premier and this team have a plan that is based on more jobs, better health care, stronger partnerships and resource development that is right for the people of our Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. RUSSELL: It was recently noted by BMO, in their financial summary for the country: Newfoundland and Labrador led the country with 3.8 per cent real GDP growth in 2011, optimism among the Province's companies remains high. It was also noted in the same report that the Province is becoming a key centre for innovation. The report says, "As the host for the Ocean Sciences Centre at Memorial University and a growing expertise on oil & gas, deep water drilling and deep water exploration, Newfoundland & Labrador now boasts some of the best ocean science expertise in the world."

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. RUSSELL: That is not the only area where we lead the rest of this country, as we are forecast to have the highest 2011-2012 surplus in the country. Clearly, we are in good fiscal shape, but as Premier Dunderdale told the St. John's Board of Trade recently, "…her government must balance fiscal discipline with debt reduction and prudent program spending." That will be our focus in the future, for with prosperity comes a great responsibility to the people of this Province to create a sustainable society based on our current strengths. We have worked hard to develop social programs and policies in areas such as mental health promotion, environmental health, child and youth development, health protection, and healthy aging.

Since we came to government, we have been addressing the deficiencies in our health care system, and have made substantial investments in our health care system that will enhance the health and well-being of people all over this Province. We continue to develop a plan that seeks to improve the quality and sustainability of the health care system. Of course, we must achieve a balance between the delivery of the vital public services and the deceleration of public spending to ensure that we remain fiscally responsible. Our wealth is based primarily on revenues stemming from non-renewable energy. The question we have to keep in mind is how do we achieve the careful balancing act that is required between economic growth, a high quality of life, and affordable public finances?

Our government has chosen to take a longer-term debt reduction target and manage the budget over time to arrive at this goal. We have examined how we do business, and as a result, restructured government to make it more efficient and productive by introducing a leaner Cabinet. Our Premier has stated that this is a priority, to ensure government works as efficiently as possible.

Another approach to fiscal sustainability is to examine other opportunities for revenue. While oil has served our Province well, it is time for us to look to renewable sources of revenue that will sustain us well into the future. Our government feels that the key to a sustainable future for our Province over the long term lies in developing the hydro power resources of the Lower Churchill. Muskrat Falls is a project based on lower energy costs, new export revenues, and new opportunities for economic development right here at home.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. RUSSELL: This project will finally allow us to develop and harness the power and the wealth that comes from clean, green energy. We have conducted a thorough review and we will debate the project in the upcoming session and determine whether developing Muskrat Falls is the best option, but we should not let fear hold us back from entering into a project that has been sanctioned by independent groups such as Navigant.

The economic benefits associated with this project are simply astounding. During the six-year construction phase, it will generate some 18,400 person-years of total direct, indirect, and induced employment in the Province, with peak direct employment of about 2,700, in the year 2013. The total income boost for labour and businesses in the Province during the construction phase will be over $1.4 billion, or on average $220 million a year for the next six years.

Muskrat Falls will continue to provide after our oil returns have declined. It will permit our Province to establish an economy grounded in renewable energy. It will provide a future for the younger generations; a legacy we can all be proud of.

This is a part of our long-term vision, and our government is working today to help prepare our communities for growth. In Labrador, we are improving and developing new infrastructure, such as the Trans-Labrador Highway, building a new regional hospital in Labrador West, and a new facility for the College of the North Atlantic.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. RUSSELL: Our Province is rich in resources and we must be ready to make the most of the opportunities available to us. Our mining sector is a significant contributor to the provincial economy and provides much employment to many men and women in districts such as Lake Melville and, indeed, the rest of the Province.

Our government supports long-term development of the industry. With projects such as Muskrat Falls, it is ensuring that the mining industry will be permitted to grow and expand. In 2011, the dollar value for mineral shipments was $4.7 billion – the highest on record for Newfoundland and Labrador.

Increased spending on large-scale mining developments contributes to the current level of investment growth in this Province. Our government is mindful of the needs this growing industry will require. Along with ensuring power resources will be there, when needed, we are also in preparation and getting ready to meet the needs for skilled labour that developments such as Hebron, Muskrat Falls, and the mining industry demand.

We developed a new Department of Advanced Education and Skills to oversee and focus on meeting these demands. We have expanded training programs and apprenticeship programs. We have made tuition the lowest in Canada, and introduced progressive student aid programs so people can make the choice to learn and embrace the new opportunities to benefit themselves and their families.

It is no wonder that the people of this Province are optimistic about the future. Our Premier and our government have a vision for this Province that is built on sustainable growth and prosperity. We have come so far, but we must stay focused and establish a plan for this Province that continues to benefit everyone well into the future. This government has such a plan.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. RUSSELL: I am reminded of what Robert Kennedy said: Some men look at things the way they are and ask why; I dream of the things that are not and ask why not. It is with this attitude that our government has chosen to move forward with a vision for this Province that will enable everyone to participate in the prosperity and opportunities that abound in our wonderful Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Third Party.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

I am very pleased to stand here this afternoon in the beginning of the forty-seventh session of this House – a third session that I am very honoured to be a part of. I want to use the opportunity, first of all, to say to those who have sat here with me before, welcome back and it is good to see all of you, and congratulations to the new members here. Obviously, I am extremely pleased that I am not sitting by myself in the House this time. I welcome the members of my caucus in a special way.

It seems an awful long time ago since we had the election, Mr. Speaker, I have to say. During the election campaign, though, my party made commitments to the people which we promise to stand by. What we said to them was that it did not matter what position we would have here in this House when we came back, the issues we put forward as our pledges would be pledges that we would continue to speak to, commitments that we would continue to fight for, for the people of this Province. We presented the people of the Province with a fiscally responsible platform that was proof that we can look after each other better than we are doing. We costed the commitments that we made. We had pledges that we costed, showed what they would cost, and showed how we would get the money to pay for them.

Mr. Speaker, it will be with confidence that we continue to put forward those commitments and those pledges here in this House. We will continue to speak for the people of the Province who said yes, we want those promises; we want those pledges. Twenty-five per cent of the people in this Province told us, through their vote, that they believed in us and in what we were saying. We know that they want these issues continued to be put forward, and we know that we can afford to do them. I stand here today continuing to promise to the people of the Province that the pledges that were in our platform will be the pledges that we will continue to speak for and fight for, for them.

What we are asking for, Mr. Speaker, is very, very basic. We want people's lives in this Province to be healthy and affordable. We want to take care of our seniors. We want to take care of our children. We want to make sure that our working people get a fair deal, as we continue to benefit from untold revenues from oil and mineral exploration. Mr. Speaker, what we want is just a good life for everybody in the Province. Is that too much to hope for? Is that too much to look for? I do not think so. The things that we have outlined and the things I have looked for today in the Speech from the Throne are very concrete and are needed if we are going to have people who have healthy lives, individuals and families.

There was much in the Speech from the Throne today, Mr. Speaker, and I will not have the time to speak to everything that I might want to speak to. I shall honour the time that is given me, so the government can rest. They are not going to hear everything from me today; however, we are going to have a long time, I hope, to speak to the issues that I will not get to speak to this afternoon.

What disturbed me, Mr. Speaker, is what was not in the Speech from the Throne today. Mr. Speaker, many people in this establishment know how much I have spoken about long-term care and home care. Here we are, once again without the long-term care and home care strategy, and we have more promises. I was happy to see home support mentioned and I was particularly heartened to see assessed need, but assessed need is not what we want. We want assessed need to mean – and if this is what the government means I will be very happy – medical profession says this person needs home care and they get it. I hope that the assessed need is not once again still looking at income, because we have to get away from assessing the income. I am willing to bet that is what they mean, Mr. Speaker. I am hoping it is not what they mean.

We also, Mr. Speaker, need an enhanced pharmacare program, again not mentioned in the Speech from the Throne. It is just shameful – at this point in time, with the resources we have – that not every single senior can count on being part of the pharmacare program. There should be no senior in this Province who has to fight for a pharmacare program. They all should have a drug card, Mr. Speaker – every single senior. There should not be financial assessments around pharmacare.

Now, Mr. Speaker, something else that really disturbs me, again something that this government promised going back to 2007: anti-scab legislation. Where is it, Mr. Speaker? We have workers today, scab labour, who are off on a boat while the workers from that boat are standing in a picket line in front of OCI because their job has been taken from them by OCI. This is unacceptable, Mr. Speaker, and if we had anti-scab legislation then we would not have the scab labour and we would not have the picket line in front of OCI. This is only one example of where we need anti-scab legislation. Last year, we were talking about the whole issue with regard to Voisey's Bay and the workers who were out for nineteen months. We keep bringing up the anti-scab legislation. The government pays lip service to it and says it is being discussed; it is not being discussed, Mr. Speaker. While we want this action, the government has to give leadership. They do not even mention it today, Mr. Speaker, in the Speech from the Throne.

The other thing, another piece of legislation that was promised in 2007, Mr. Speaker – again, no mention of it here in the Speech from the Throne – is whistle-blower legislation. The City of St. John's recently has brought in whistle-blower legislation. They have looked at all angles of it, and they have seen how what they have put in place can protect the worker. They have also looked at the whole issue of liability and they have the proof from legal heads that say you do not have to worry about that, there are ways to take care of that.

Mr. Speaker, why can't we have it here on a provincial level? We have one of our municipalities giving us leadership, Mr. Speaker. I am really happy that one of the cities, especially the city in which I represent a district – I am happy that one of our municipalities is giving the leadership, but, Mr. Speaker, the leadership should be coming from the Province. I am asking the Premier: why not the whistle-blower legislation? We have to be able to protect the workers; we have to be able to allow workers who see something going wrong to be able to speak out about it, Mr. Speaker. It is for the good of our system that we do that, it is for the good of our health care, it is for the good of our education system, it is for the good of how we run government offices. I do not understand why this government does not understand how it is for the common good to have whistle-blower legislation.

The other thing, Mr. Speaker, that concerns me, is no mention of increased income support in this Speech from the Throne. Therefore, I have to assume that we are not going to see anything significant in the Budget either, because if it were going to be there, we would see it, Mr. Speaker. I do notice that the speech sort of mentions a new poverty reduction plan. We really do not know what it is; there are no details in the Speech from the Throne about what that is.

What I would hope is that this time, if they are putting a new plan in place, it actually is going to help reduce poverty, not just take care of the effects of poverty. All the programs that have gone on under the current poverty reduction plan are all good programs, but they do not reduce poverty. They help people survive; that is good. I am hoping that they are finally getting the message and when they come out with a new poverty reduction plan this time, it is actually going to be geared to reducing poverty by putting more money in the hands of the people who need it.

Mr. Speaker, we still have children going to school hungry. We still have children with their parents standing in food lines going to food banks. The food bank numbers have not gone down, Mr. Speaker, they have gone up. That continues and it is not just in the large centres, it is in small centres as well. I do not know if the members on the other side of the House during the election campaign were going to the same places I was going to, but it did not matter where I went, Mr. Speaker, and it did not matter if it was rural or urban, or if it was in Labrador or around the Island; food banks are everywhere. Food banks are everywhere.

I was in Happy Valley-Goose Bay last week and I saw the wonderful new centre that the Status of Women has been able to – mainly, I think, with federal government funding and with some Provincial – put their new building in place. The biggest feature, obviously, and thanks to CMHC, is the new housing, the eight units. That is wonderful. What are two other big features, Mr. Speaker? A thrift shop, so people can buy clothing at the cheapest possible, and a food bank. That is everywhere in our Province, Mr. Speaker.

The thing that has really appalled me by the Speech from the Throne today is that there is no mention of child care. This is something that I am absolutely appalled by, Mr. Speaker. After all of the work that has been done and the consultations that have been held, consultations that some of us in this room have been part of, to still not see a plan for child care is just unacceptable, Mr. Speaker. If we do not start putting these programs in place now while we have resources, we will not be putting them in place in twenty years time when our revenues change, Mr. Speaker. Economists who I have spoken to agree with me: you put the programs in place when you have the resources. Then you do economic planning and build your economy around those resources so in twenty years time, when maybe we do not have oil, we will have other resources so that we can continue the services that we have.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS MICHAEL: Mr. Speaker, another very big blank in this Speech from the Throne is the lack of a housing plan. Probably one of the biggest issues in the Province today is the issue of lack of affordable housing, Mr. Speaker. It does not matter where you go in the Province; people are not only speaking about, but showing us the example of the lack of affordable housing.

Members of my caucus took time to go around the Province recently and to hold meetings to talk to people about housing to find out what the housing situation was like in their towns. Then last week, when one of my colleagues and I were in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, the Member for The Straits - White Bay North, we held a forum there as well and heard the same issues over and over and over. They are the same issues. They are the issues that seniors have with regard to accessing affordable housing, they are the issues that young people have with trying to access affordable housing, and they are the issues of adults with disabilities who get less than $800 a month to live on along with a drug card. They cannot afford to live on their own. In one case, I was talking to a gentleman in his forties who has to live with his mother because he cannot afford – because of his disability – to live on his own.

Yet, what do we have in this Speech from the Throne? Not even a nod, Mr. Speaker, to the issue of the lack of affordable housing. Even at a point when NLHC – because of the crisis in Labrador West, NLHC has to raise the limit for eligibility for NLHC housing to $65,000 because of what the market is demanding in Labrador West. So NLHC recognizes that there is an issue around housing, but the government does not even mention housing in the Speech from the Throne. Unbelievable, Mr. Speaker, just absolutely unbelievable.

The government says, Mr. Speaker, that they are concerned about diversification. I have heard them speak about diversification; they use the word, but here, again, we have a Speech from the Throne that gives nothing concrete with regard to community economic development. They are happy to talk about the investments, the large-scale investments that are going on, but what about investments in co-ops and small businesses and not-for-profit enterprises, Mr. Speaker? Is this part of their third stated objective: "improve the conditions that give businesses and communities the power to grow"? If they are going to have a plan on that, Mr. Speaker, then I am looking forward to seeing the plan. I am going to want to know how they are going to improve conditions that give businesses and communities to power to grow. Give me concrete ideas. Is that going to be in the budget? I am going to be looking for it, because if it is not there, I will be coming back to them and say: how come you stated this objective and you have not lived up to it?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS MICHAEL: I will also be interested to see the new formula for municipal support. They obviously are hearing what municipalities are saying – not just individually, but also through Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador – and we are hearing it, and we are hearing it both from urban and rural municipalities. So, it is going to be very important to see what it is they are going to come up with, Mr. Speaker – and are they going to do what those in the know are telling them to do? Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador really knows the answer. Sit down; it does not have to be reinvented. Let them tell you what needs to be done, and do it. So, will that be it? I do not know, Mr. Speaker, but we will find out.

I am also glad to see that there was a mention of the fishery marketing initiatives that I have been asking for, for several years. It is delightful that some of them have been outlined in the Speech from the Throne, but I am hoping there is also going to be a follow-through this time, that we are going to have real, concrete ideas acted on, Mr. Speaker, and money put into those ideas. Marketing alone will not be enough. The Speech from the Throne does recognize – it is not using the language I am using – that we know we have problem areas. I think we have crisis areas, Mr. Speaker; that is what I think. I am hoping that the Budget is going to recognize some of those crisis areas. The Speech from the Throne names it in a rather vague way. I have already mentioned the whole issue of scab labour out on a factory freezer trawler, something that should not be happening. We have plants closing in communities that have depended upon those plants for decades and generations.

This is really disturbing that we do not seem to have any plan in place. Somebody might say yes, plants are going to close, but the closing of plants, if it has to happen, should be part of a plan that all the parties in the industry sit down and work out together. That is not what is happening. If OCI feels like closing a plant, it closes it. If it feels like closing two plants, it closes them. That is not the way it has to be, Mr. Speaker, there has to be planning, because the communities and the workers are being left high and dry without any plan. Then, that is one of the hallmarks of this government, coming up with concrete plans that have timelines, which have objectives, and show how they are going to get there. They love speaking in generalities, they do not give us details, and the same way with the Speech from the Throne today.

Mr. Speaker, one more thing – I have about three or four minutes left – I was really disturbed to hear the Speech from the Throne talk about partisan opposition. Whether we are talking about Muskrat Falls, whether we are talking about home care, whether we are talking about pharmacare, there is more than one position on every issue, number one, and everybody in this House, every single individual and each party, has a responsibility to speak out from every experience –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS MICHAEL: – not just one experience or two experiences or three, we have to bring every experience into this House, and it is our responsibility to do it. Every single one of us has been elected to bring those here. The two Opposition parties have been elected to bring it here. Partisan opposition, Mr. Speaker, I could not believe it was in the Speech from the Throne.

With regard to Muskrat Falls, the government is talking about accountability and transparency and then, at the same time, they tell every single group – except the Environmental Assessment Panel because they could not do it to them – that studied what Nalcor is coming up with, the only thing you are allowed to look at is Nalcor's conclusions. You are not allowed to go outside of those conclusions. Mr. Speaker, going outside of the conclusions is part of a good analysis. If we do that, please do not call that the partisan opposition, it is bringing other points of view to the House, to the floor of this House. That is what I am elected to do, that is what my colleagues have been elected to do, and that is what we will continue to do.

There is much more that I could say. I promised the Speaker that I would take twenty minutes and I am not going to go beyond that today. I am really glad the House is open. We have so many issues that we have to bring forward, so many points in that Speech from the Throne that I will continue to be speaking to. I really look forward to the Address in Reply, as I bring them forward and as my colleagues bring them forward.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

As the last of six speakers heard here today, I am sure you will be glad to hear that I am going to keep my remarks brief.

I welcome the guests who have joined us today, including visitors in the gallery. I also welcome those who have tuned in to our proceedings on television and on the Web. While it does not always make for the most riveting television, the work we do in this Chamber does have a profound effect on the lives of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. I am delighted that they have a window on the things that we are doing on their behalf.

Here on the floor of the Legislature, we are joined by new faces on both sides of the House. I extend my congratulations and welcome to those who have been newly elected. I thank His Honour and the Opposition and NDP Leaders for their remarks. I would especially like to commend the mover, the Member for Mount Pearl South, and the seconder, the Member for Lake Melville, for their inspiring addresses to this House today.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: I know how passionate and determined all members of our caucus are to advance the best interests of the constituents they serve. Let me take this opportunity, once again, to thank the people of our Province for giving our government a strong mandate in October. Serving in government is an honour and a privilege, and we will work diligently to honour the trust that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have placed in us.

In October, we made a commitment to cultivate conditions conducive to growth, responsible fiscal discipline, a solid foundation of reliable infrastructure, competitive taxation, minimal red tape and progressive public services, including a range of instruments and initiatives to help businesses grow and families thrive. We laid our plan to ensure that Newfoundland and Labrador grows stronger and more prosperous than ever before.

Our Blue Book charts the course for the next four years. Today's Throne Speech lays out our strategy for the twelve months ahead. Later this month, the Minister of Finance will set forth our government's fiscal plan in the 2012 Budget.

As the Throne Speech made clear, and as I made clear in both a speech to the St. John's Board of Trade on January 31 and in our 2011 policy Blue Book, it is vital that we live within our means. That does not mean making precipitous cuts when commodity revenues dip, as they are expected to do in the next two fiscal years. Taking a longer-term, multi-year view allows us to even out the impacts of dips, spikes and swings in revenue and still achieve the goals we need to achieve. To live within our means while continuing to foster growth and sustain vital social programs, we need to set clear priorities. We have been doing that for the past eight years and we have achieved goals many thought impossible.

Our approach has worked, but we must remain vigilant. These are tough times for the Western World. In Europe, we have seen what happens when well intentioned but utterly unrestrained social program growth drives economies to the brink of bankruptcy. Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Ireland, and others have seen the unthinkable happen. Even the mighty United States has suffered because of overexposure to debt, household debt and public debt. Governments must live within their means.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: We will manage temporary revenue dips and short-term deficits for the next two years, but we will not lose focus on meeting our target of bringing our debt down to the Canadian per capita average within a decade. It is the right approach, the responsible approach and it serves the best interests of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. This is not an unrealistic goal. We have already reduced our public debt by more than one-third, from a high of $12 billion to an estimated $7.7 billion as of March 31, 2012.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Mr. Speaker, that is why we have the confidence of the credit rating agencies, and it is the reason we are paying hundreds of millions of dollars less in interest payments than when we came to office; hundreds of millions of dollars that can be used in service to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, year over year over year.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: This money is freed up for priority investments in things like health care, education, and tax relief. Cutting debt has helped us strengthen health care, shorten wait times, and make education more accessible. I have heard Memorial University President Dr. Gary Kachanoski talk about how thrilled he is with the progress MUN is making. I have recently met with Dr. Barry Rose, clinical chief of cardiology at Eastern Health, and other cardiac care physicians at the Health Sciences Centre as they have excitedly shared how cardiologists and cardiac surgeon fellows are travelling here to this Province to learn best practices from our professionals right here in Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: We have good stories to tell. We have good stories to tell in the economy, we have good stories to tell in health care, we have good stories to tell in social programs, and you are going to hear them here on the floor of the House of Assembly. I could not be more excited to be here to share them with my colleagues here and the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Our investments are paying dividends in these and so many other areas. Our strategic approaches to meeting the needs of the people of our Province are producing results. Together, we must continue to work to secure Newfoundland and Labrador's bright future.

One of our highest priorities is to ensure Newfoundland and Labrador's people and communities reap the benefits of opportunities on their doorstep. From Hebron to Long Harbour, from mines across Labrador and the Island, to Muskrat Falls, we saw this growth coming and we are prepared. Through successive tuition fee freezes, to student aid reforms, we have set the pace for the country in post-secondary accessibility.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: We will be doing even more this year to give people the apprenticeship opportunities and journeyperson certification they need to qualify for the jobs that are coming up. We are opening doors for those traditionally under-represented in the skilled trades. We have urged companies and labour unions to work with us to ensure Newfoundlanders and Labradorians can get inside the door of opportunity to reap the gains.

This is about our future. It is about parking narrow agendas and working together as partners so that we can ensure our people and communities benefit as they should. That is true for every sector of our economy, including the fishery. We are investing in innovation, partnering with Memorial University and College of the North Atlantic, and encouraging our private sector to do the same because we understand that innovation is the path to diversification and growth.

Let me close by reiterating how important it is to balance the short-term demands of governance with a long-range perspective. We have a moral obligation to view the future of this Province, not just in terms of twenty, thirty, or forty years out. If we squander opportunities by making short-sighted decisions today, it is our children and our grandchildren who will reap the consequences.

That is why it is so vital that we not squander opportunities by delaying further the decision we need to make regarding the development of Muskrat Falls, the least-cost means of meeting Newfoundland and Labrador's power needs. The two questions that were asked on a daily basis in this House of Assembly in the last session were: Do we need the power? Is Muskrat Falls the least-cost alternative? Those questions have been answered unequivocally. There are a new set of questions now, but that was certainly to be expected once the answer was in the positive.

I have said this before and I have to reiterate it, we cannot let fear that is rooted in the mistakes of the past paralyze us from making the right decisions now.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Let me tell my colleagues on the other side of the House, I welcome the questions that will come our way in the weeks to come on the development of Muskrat Falls because it is under the light of scrutiny that this exciting project shines brightest.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: In the coming months, we as a government will fulfil our responsibility by making the decision on whether or not to proceed with the development of Muskrat Falls. Our goals are clear; to meet the power needs of our Province in the lowest cost way possible. This project will move our Province forward to a future grounded on renewalable energy; energy generation that we the people will own and use to drive industry and opportunity in our communities for generation upon generation. A renewable energy future is a sustainable future, and that is what we need to be focusing on. Decisions to proceed on any major resource development by this government only occur when and if they are right for our Province and provide benefit to our people. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are energized by the changes they have seen us lead in our Province during the last eight years. The old doubts are gone.

When I attend Council of the Federation meetings with other premiers, or international energy conferences with governors and leaders of industry, people know our story. They know who we are and what we have achieved here in this Province, and they want to know more. They are intrigued by the Province that is leading the country in economic growth, has achieved more than what many countries have been able to do in reducing debt, and is poised to move forward on the greatest undeveloped hydroelectric resource in North America.

We must remain focused, Mr. Speaker. We must not lose any ground on what we have achieved. Our government will remain steadfast as we work to ensure we capture every opportunity for this great Province to thrive and every opportunity for our people to benefit. As exciting as the opportunities on our doorstep are, Mr. Speaker, I truly believe the best is yet to come.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: It has been moved and seconded that a Select Committee be appointed to draft an Address of Thanks to be presented to His Honour the Lieutenant Governor, in reply to his Gracious Speech from the Throne with which he has been pleased to open this present Session of the House of Assembly and that the said Committee be comprised of the hon. the Member for the District of Mount Pearl South, the hon. the Member for the District of Lake Melville, and the hon. the Member for the District of Burgeo – La Poile.

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

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

The motion is carried.

Notices of Motion.

Notices of Motion

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

MR. MARSHALL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I give notice that I will move that the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole on Supply to consider a resolution for the Granting of Interim Supply to Her Majesty. (Bill 2)

Mr. Speaker, I further give notice that I will ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Amend The Income Tax Act, 2000. (Bill 4)

Thank you.

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

MR. F. COLLINS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Amend The Enduring Powers Of Attorney Act. (Bill 3)

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Cartwright – L'Anse au Clair.

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Pursuant to Standing Order 63, I hereby give notice of the following private member's resolution that will be debated on Wednesday, March 7.

The motion is moved by the Member for Torngat Mountains, and seconded by the Member for Humber Valley who is the Leader of the Official Opposition.

WHEREAS Newfoundland and Labrador is a vast land mass with a long coastline and huge areas of open ocean; Labrador alone has approximately 300,000 square kilometres with a coastline of almost 8,000 kilometres and many isolated communities, while the Island portion is nearly 10,000 kilometres of coastline and a surface area of over 110,000 square kilometres; and

WHEREAS the lifestyle of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians for work and for recreation is connected to the land and the sea; and

WHEREAS we have seen many tragedies and many lives lost due to distress at sea and on land, most recently the death of fourteen-year-old Burton Winters of Makkovik, Labrador; and

WHEREAS search and rescue assets were not adequately deployed during the search for Burton Winters; and

WHEREAS ground search and rescue is a provincial responsibility and was the first point of contact in the Burton Winters tragedy; and

WHEREAS the Government of Canada has announced the closure of the Maritime Search and Rescue Sub Centre located in St. John's thus impairing efficiency and timely coordination of search and rescue services within the Province;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that this House calls upon the provincial government to consider conducting a full investigation into the Burton Winters tragedy, examining the actions of both federal and provincial agencies and their coordination and communications; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this House calls upon the provincial government to evaluate the search and rescue infrastructure within and available to this Province in the case of an emergency in order to determine if there is sufficient and stable service; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this House calls upon the provincial government and our federal representatives in the House of Commons and the Senate to consider establishing a permanent search and rescue capability at 5 Wing Goose Bay; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this House calls upon the House of Assembly to establish an all-party committee of the House to make representation to the Government of Canada to rescind the closure of the Maritime Search and Rescue Sub Centre located in St. John's, Newfoundland.

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

MR. KING: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Member for St. George's – Stephenville East that the House do now adjourn.

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

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'.

This House stands adjourned until tomorrow, Tuesday, at 1:30 o'clock in the afternoon.

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